Ursa Minor Brewing - Craft Beer On Tap and Much More!
A local brewery that is all about people, Ursa Minor is a happening place for food, fun, friends and family. Small-batch craft beer is served up in their taproom with wood-fired pizza. Some amenities include a year-round pet-friendly patio, live music every weekend and regular taproom events and games.
The inspiration behind the name was the North Star, found in the Ursa Minor constellation. CEO and Founder Ben Hugus says that craft beer is their “guiding light,” leading them into the ever-growing craft beer community. They even take their logo from the constellation’s “small bear” with a long tail.
Their website notes, “Our mission at Ursa Minor Brewing is to unite people through incredible craft beer and give people genuine experiences, meaningful connections, and a chance to give back to the community around them.”
Hugus said he had dreamed of opening a brewery for a long time. “I started brewing when I was in college when I began experimenting with my own home brews.”
After graduating, he became a math, science and chemistry teacher. “I was still fascinated with the fermentation process and how yeast turns into something amazing. I have always seen that beer brings people together, better than any other beverage, and how a place to gather and enjoy good beer could be a community magnet.”
After moving to Duluth from Marquette, Michigan, Ben searched for a space and the financing needed to open his own brewery. Finding a “home” in the Lincoln Park Craft District, he opened Ursa Minor in September of 2018. He and his family, wife Sarah, and three young children call the Northland home now as well.
“There is a real entrepreneurial spirit in Lincoln Park. We feel very welcome and supported by our neighbors here,” Hugus noted.
Obstacles of the pandemic hitting and then a fire closed them down briefly, but they forged ahead and now are one of the most popular places in Lincoln Park.
Ursa Minor offers 18-22 varieties of their beer on tap at any given time, with a style and flavor to suit every taste in the categories of hoppy, sour, dark and light. “We promise to find a beer that you will like. Our diversity is our strength,” Hugus said.
When asked to choose his favorite beer, he said, “That is like picking my favorite child! I think every beer has a time and place to be enjoyed.”
For non-alcoholic beverages, they have a rotating tap of Duluth Kombucha, Uffda Kombucha, Northern Soda Co. Root Beer, and non-alcoholic cream ale, as well as 12- ounce cans of Superior Switchel.
Ursa Minor also sells their beers all over Wisconsin and Minnesota in liquor stores, hometown bars and restaurants. They describe themselves as “a proudly independent, self-distributing craft brewery.”
Eats, Treats and More
For a food complement to their beer, Ursa Minor fires up their wood-fired oven for their made-from-scratch pizza with fresh basil (grown in their own garden), house-made sauce, Yker Acres meats, and a potpourri of veggies and other toppings. Sandwich lovers will enjoy fresh paninis with meats, cheeses, and other fresh ingredients.
Other yummy treats on the menu include Bear Bread with fresh mozzarella, parmesan, garlic, olive oil, and oregano on their home-made pizza crust; traditional large German pretzels from Duluth’s Best Bread, served with beer cheese and mustard; Helstrom Farm Beef Sticks; Firestick Pretzels with a mild cayenne kick; and Three Mad Poppers small batch popcorn.
For a cool treat for dessert, patrons can enjoy assorted flavors from the popular Love Creamery.
“We try wherever possible to use locally sourced products,” said Hugus. “We think that is being a responsible member of the community and that it is always better to support neighbors by keeping dollars local.”
Hugus noted that they believe they get better raw goods locally and that since local ingredients do not need to travel as far, they are often fresher.
Patrons can fill growlers as long as they are stainless steel with the Federal Government warning. Ursa Minor also sells their branded glass growlers and 16-ounce standard cans to-go.
Their vast assortment of branded merchandise includes hats, shirts, hoodies, onesies, glassware (steins and long-stemmed tegu glasses), socks, pitchers, tumblers, dog toys, stickers, candles and more, for sale at the Brewery or online.
Hugus is proud to support the community wherever it can. They have monthly “round-up” partners each month. Customers can round up their tab to the nearest dollar and donate that extra change to designated organizations, such as the Superior Hiking Trail and the Great Lakes Aquarium. Ursa Minor also puts together a team for the annual Dragon Boat Festival in Superior.
Let the Good Times Roll
For lovers of live music, Ursa Minor offers a variety of styles from local artists, ready to entertain on weekends while patrons enjoy brews and food. Oktoberfest, running September 22-25, is an exciting event on their annual calendar.
They offer a wide variety of fun activities, including trivia nights, bingo nights, yoga classes, a variety of clinics such as Ladies Bike Fit, painting, tie-dying and more.
People can also rent the covered patio area for their party or group. Contact [email protected] for more details.
Keeping all the good times rolling are the Brewery’s 44 employees. Hugus is most proud of his hard-working team and works to give all employees at Ursa Minor Brewing livable and dependable wages and a great work environment.
An invitation from their Facebook page reads, “The patio is calling. And so is delicious beer. And wood-fired pizzas. And paninis. And . . . what we're saying is, you should probably drop by for a visit.”
For more information, visit their website at ursaminorbrewing.com
Tap Room hours are Sunday-Thursday 11-10 and Friday-Saturday 11-11.