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“What the beer scene needs...but still improvement required” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Canal Park Brewery

Canal Park Brewery
300 Canal Park Drive, Duluth, MN
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Ranked #29 of 229 Restaurants in Duluth
Cuisines: American, Pub
Dining options: Late Night
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night
Superior, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
106 reviews 106 reviews
79 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
172 helpful votes 172 helpful votes
“What the beer scene needs...but still improvement required”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

As a beer lover, I was very excited to see Twin Ports beer scene expand, although CPB seemed to be one of those places that was destined not to live up to the artificial hype, I was glad to see it wasn't just a flash-in-the-pan. Although some definite improvements are needed to make this a destination beer brewery, I think CPB can be something pretty great in the future.

First off, upon arrival, I can say I was let down that there was pay parking. While it makes sense logistically for the Canal Park area, it seems like this could be a large deterrent to the place's ability to draw a crowd. Parking it cheap--$2 for two hours--and you can bring in your parking ticket for $2 off your bill of $10 or more. That's a pretty good deal, because you'll surely pay more than $10 at CPB.

The thing I really like about the design of CPB is that the emphasis is definitely on the beer. The fermenters are housed in a giant, glassed-in area right when you walk in. The construction is simple here...just iron and wood...and the bar area is sprawling. The dining area is narrow, putting forth more of a tasting-room vibe than a dining-room vibe. The front of the brewery has big windows that look out at Lake Superior. One small gripe: why didn't they put windows that opened out toward the lake? How great would it be to crack those open on a warm night and let the lake breeze in?

Now, to the good stuff: the beer here is good, though has a way to go. While the beer isn't what I'd call a destination beer (such as the El Nino at The Brewhouse, which I'd gladly travel from Superior to Duluth to have), each beer is well on it's way to being something I could go the distance for. We got two flights of all seven beers available (their IPA was out) and found each beer to be very well-rounded in flavor. Each beer fit it's style...the Nut Brown was a typical nut brown, the Trippel was a Trippel (although bubble-gummy), etc. This was very welcomed. To me, it seems that a lot of breweries fall into a rhythm where they brew different beers that all taste similar (as my friend said, a "any Summit beer tastes like Summit."). The Pack Sacker stout was my favorite...it had been a long time since I'd had a beer that I exclaimed was delicious aloud and in one sip. Since each beer was singularly good in their own style, it made me really excited to try the IPA when it's back on tap.

The food plays second fiddle to beer here...like I mentioned, it's all about the beer at CPB. The menu is simple...burgers, sandwiches, and a few main dishes. I've been on a life-long quest to find the best fish taco in the nation, so I opted for the Lake Superior fish tacos. My wife had the Reuben, and my friend had the fish and chips, which was said to be delicious by other patrons. I was very happy with the fish tacos, although not the best I've ever had. They do this crazy-yet-delicious thing where they put sticky rice in the tacos! All the ingredients were fresh and well-prepared. The fish had good flavor, and was fresh as well, although I was a little sad that one of the tacos had the end of the fillet (you know, the chewy part). I got a side salad for an astronomical up-charge of $1.99 and thought that this was the most delicious part of my meal (the ranch dressing is really great). My wife said that the Reuben was delicious, and that she really liked the fries, which were typical pub fries but covered in sea salt. My friend who got the fish and chips couldn't stop raving about how good the fish was. He was also surprised by how much food he got...so much, he had to take it back in a to-go box. Sadly, when my wife got a side of mayo, we were shocked to see a $.99 cent charge for a tiny side of mayo. This is a little disheartening to see the place nickel-and-diming the customer, especially after a pint of beer is $5.50.

Lastly, the service is very average here. I'm going to accredit this to the fact that the joint is really new, but hopefully they pick up on the friendliness and welcomeness that should be a staple at a new place striving to gain a foothold. I felt more like I was being asked to leave by the waitress when she visited the table, rather than encouraged to stay. Plus, the staff at the door didn't say "welcome" or "have a great day" when we left.

I think CPB has a great future ahead of it once they settle into their new digs and get into a routine. I really am excited to have some competition to the Brewhouse and their related venues. I'm also excited to see the craft beer scene expand in the area. If CPB can make their prices for a pint a bit more competitive, make some niche beers, and improve their staff's service, I think this place will really catch on. (I think $5.50 for a pint of moderately-good beer is overpriced greatly...I'd be more apt to drink a beer here at $5 a pint). I think in a few months I'll go try CPB again and see if they've improved their beers and service (and prices, ugh!)...I'm confident that they will.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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212 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Duluth, Minnesota
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Don't Bother”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

Beer is flat, without flavor, and as said earlier, tastes like water. Worst brew pub I have ever been to. Food is average, menu is limited. Atmosphere is loud and bland. If this place stays in buisness for a year, I would be surprised. Prices, especially for what you get, are very high.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rochester, Minnesota
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“High hopes but...higher disappointment”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2012 via mobile

The beers have zero(0) body at all; they also have no head retention and when something is poured on nitro it should have that nice creamy mouthfeel, instead I felt like I was drinking water... while the flavors might be ok the thing that you go to a brewpub for is not good at all. The best and only beer that hold to proper style is the Kölsch. And the "VMO" seriously??? do you think that we are ignorant? Vienna Märzen Oktoberfest? Oktoberfest is in Germany and a Märzen is brewed in march and Vienna is in Austria... we are not ignorant people, treat us as such. Also the food is misleading, for instance the deviled eggs, the menu states that you get 5 eggs for $x.xx and in reality you get 2.5 eggs for that price; essentially you'd pay $13-14 for less than a half dozen eggs that are also mediocre at best. What I find truly appalling is that a manager(I Assume)(lady with gauged ears and a lip ring and a chest tattoo) ostracized an employee for making a simple ordering mistake in front of myself and other guests. Best part was that one of the bartenders(blonde gentleman) was kind, receptive, and enjoyable.

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Virginia USA
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
60 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“Something New in Duluth”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

I noticed the Canal Park Brewery when I arrived at the hotel next door. I was surprised because I had seen nothing in any of the Duluth write-ups about the place. Since it looked like little was going on, I started to think that maybe it was in fact only a brewery and did not have pub-service. The following afternoon, I was walking by and saw people inside so I thought I would give it a try. To my pleasant surprise, in front of the gleaming kettles was a full service bar and a very welcoming wait staff. I ordered up a pint of the Nut Hatchet Brown and was immediately warmed by a really delicious brew. The place was lively and full of very happy people. Since it was the middle of the afternoon, I had to cut my visit short and was not able to try any of the pub fare. It turns out, that was only the second day that they were open, but there seems to be few shortcomings (and they promised soon to have more than the five beers currently on tap). The Canal Park Brewery is something new in Duluth, but I think that it will be there for a long time.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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