Great beer-pairing fare at the pioneering North Shore brewery
Wild Rice Burger
Photos By Marissa Saurer
Joy: When Fitger’s Brewhouse first opened back in 1995 inside the historic Fitger’s Brewery complex, there were only a few other breweries in Minnesota, and I still harbored an unfortunate affinity for broomstick skirts. My, how times have changed.
Jason: You’ve kept the broomstick, though, which is cool. Like the longtime Minneapolis brewer Town Hall, Fitger’s has had so many great beer-makers come through its operation, including Dave Hoops, who just left to start his own titular brewery in Canal Park. Start with the Fitger’s sampler: seven tasters of Fitger’s different beers, including the top-notch Starfire Pale Ale and Beaver Bay Brown.
Joy: There’s an easy-going north woods vibe inside the wood-walled dining room. There’s also a cozy side room with a small stage that’s a great local music venue during the winter.
Jason: We were seated in a room next to the main dining space, which was a bit of a bummer because it’s smaller, quieter, and lacks the character of the main room. But friendly service and terrific beer-battered onion rings more than made up for the digs.
Superior Trail IPA
Joy: Those onion rings are epic—I much prefer them to Fitger’s also-beer-battered French fries.
Jason: You are a Duluth expert, Joy, and when you ordered me to get a wild rice burger, I complied. As is often the case, you were right.
Joy: I love that burger so much that I once had a friend who worked there steal the recipe for me. Unfortunately, it’s just not the same if it doesn’t come from Fitger’s kitchen, where it’s toothsome but tender and topped with just the right amount of tomato, lettuce, cheese, mayo, and sprouts.
Jason: It was far superior to the Black N’ Bleu Burger, which arrived torched almost beyond recognition. But I love being right next to Lake Superior and enjoying local lake trout, smoked in-house, served in a wrap with wild rice, greens, and a side of house-smoked dressing.
Fitger’s Brewhouse Quick Tips
Reservations Needed: Plan for a wait on summer weekends
Beer: Sign up to tour the brewery or stop by the shop downstairs for growlers and swag
Joy’s Always Right: Get the wild rice burger
600 E. Superior St., Duluth, 218-279-2739, fitgersbrewhouse.com