A few months ago the crew of the Draken Harald Hårfagre, the largest Viking Ship built in modern times and part of the Tall Ships Challenge 2016, contacted Bent Paddle Brewing Co.® to inquire if the brewery would like to create a special Viking inspired beer to be released during Tall Ships Duluth on August 18-21, 2016. The team at Bent Paddle immediately said yes and brewer Bjorn Erickson stepped up to the fun challenge of creating a beer as an homage to his Norske ancestry.
Bjorn named the infusion beer “Drakenvit” which is our flagship Venture Pils infused with Norwegian aquavit inspired spices including caraway, fennel, cardamom, pink peppercorn, and citrus peel. “I come from a very Norwegian family” said Bjorn “and we act that way too. My brother’s name is actually Leif Erickson! Family gatherings are always filled with cured or pickled fish and aquavit. It was cool for me to be able to translate this part of my heritage into a beer with my job as a brewer for Bent Paddle”.
Unfortunately, last week it was announced that the Draken Harald Hårfagre would not be making the sail to Duluth with the rest of the Tall Ships due to an issue involving Great Lakes pilotage fees. The team at Bent Paddle Brewing Co.® is sad not to be able to toast with the crew of the Draken but wanted to use the beer already created to showcase Viking culture as intended in honor of the Draken’s voyage and the proud Norwegian culture of the Northland.
Luckily our friends at Duluth’s newest hotel, Pier B Resort, came up with a great solution by inviting Bent Paddle to celebrate and promote the local Leif Erickson Viking Ship Restoration Project with the beer instead. On Friday, August 19th artifacts and historical images and documents
from Duluth’s own Leif Erickson Viking ship will be transported out of storage where the ship has been undergoing restoration for the last 4 years to be on display at a Viking ship inspired party on the party deck of Pier B Resort from 6 – 9p. There will be music by The Crunchy Bunch, a great
view of the Tall Ships harbor, and Bent Paddle’s “Drakenvit” beer will be available for purchase with $1 from every pint donated to the restoration project. Inside Silos Restaurant at Pier B there will be a special gravlax amuse bouche complimentary with every with every “Drakenvit” beer purchased that evening as well. The party will take place in the Pier B ballroom in the case of incliment weather.
The Drakenvit will also be on tap for Tall Ships weekend at other bars and restaurants around town and in the Bent Paddle Brewing Co.® taproom where you can also take a growler of the beer home with you. An extra donation will be made to the Leif Erickson Viking Ship Restoration Project based on the proceeds from the Tall Ships weekend sales of the special Drakenvit beer.
The Leif Erikson Ship was built in Korgen, Norway to replicate the type of ship sailed by the Vikings and Leif Erickson to North America over a thousand years ago. The 42-foot vessel was completed in 1926 and the ship sailed that same year on the same type of route from Norway to North America the Draken Harald Hårfagre just took on in 2016. The Leif Erickson Ship was donated to the City of Duluth soon after the voyage and was placed on display in Duluth’s Leif Erikson Park. There the Leif Erikson Ship steadily deteriorated until the 1980s when a restoration committee was formed and restoration began in 1991. Most of the restoration has been completed on the Leif Erickson Ship and now only fundraising remains for a new secure display building to be built near Leif Erikson Park at Superior Street and 10th Avenue East.
Bent Paddle Brewing Co.® Co-Founder Colin Mullen put it best when he said “We brewed this beer to welcome our Norwegian Sailor friends aboard the Draken Harald Hårfagre. Alas they could not join us to quaff a vessel together. We instead honor the Leif Erickson Viking Ship and raise our glasses (or horns) to history and heritage!”