Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Brewing up HISTORY

Castle Danger’s stout has roots in Tower’s earliest days

Stephanie Ukkola
Posted 6/27/18

TWO HARBORS- The historic Tower brewery closed during Prohibition and never reopened its doors but the spirit lives on today. A delicious stout is now on the market that has roots tracing back to …

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Brewing up HISTORY

Castle Danger’s stout has roots in Tower’s earliest days

Posted

TWO HARBORS- The historic Tower brewery closed during Prohibition and never reopened its doors but the spirit lives on today. A delicious stout is now on the market that has roots tracing back to Tower’s Iron Range Brewing Company. George Hunter Stout, made by Castle Danger Brewery in Two Harbors, was named after the Tower resident who opened the Iron Range Brewing Company in the late 1800s.

Clint MacFarlane, Hunter’s great-great-grandson, followed in Hunter’s footsteps and opened his own commercial brewery, Castle Danger, in 2011 and began selling the George Hunter Stout, named after the brewing pioneer. “I wanted to brew a stout, which is a well-known Irish beer. The stout we make is more of an Americanized version. George Hunter was an Irish immigrant and was a stout man, so the name just seemed to fit. Also, George Hunter sounds like a good, strong name so I wanted a strong, bold beer to match,” said MacFarlane.

MacFarlane said that he has always been interested in beer, but didn’t know “great beer” until a family trip to Belgium in 2001. In 2006 he saw a beer kit for sale in a Cabela’s catalogue, “I thought it was crazy that you could make beer at home and I loved the idea,” he said.

The former Iron Range Brewing Company was the first brewery north of Duluth and it operated from the late 1800s to 1920, when the enactment of Prohibition shut down many such businesses. The brewery was located near the Tower harbor and consisted of a wooden building where the beer was brewed and an immense concrete building where it was stored. The concrete building, which still stands and is now for sale, was made with two outer concrete walls with space in between. During the winter workers would cut ice off the lake and use horses to transfer and hoist it up the three-story building, allowing the beer to stay cool throughout the summer, said Hanson.

Fast forward nearly a century, and George Hunter Stout has proven a very popular brew throughout Castle Danger’s distribution area in Minnesota. The stout was previously only available during the winter months but has been upgraded to a year-round beer just this year. The beer is also available as a foamy nitro beer. George Hunter Stout is described as “An American Stout with flavors and aromas of molasses, licorice, maple, coffee, chocolate, and cream. It is a big, roasty, full-bodied brew that will stand up to Minnesota winters.”

George Hunter Stout can be found locally in Tower at Fortune Bay, and the Ledge Liquor Store; in Ely at Insula, Rockwood Bar and Grill, Mike’s Liquor, and Lakeshore Liquor; and in Babbitt at Junction Bar and Grill, according to the Castle Danger website.

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