With the brewing team of Colin Mullen and Bryon Tonnis, it was clear even before they opened that Bent Paddle would be special. Mullen sharpened his chops as head brewer at Barley John’s Brewpub for six years. Tonnis served a similar tenure at the Minneapolis Rock Bottom, where his beers garnered medals in national competition. No wonder Bent Paddle turns out such fine beers. Venture Pils is a lovely Bohemian-style pilsner with a citrus American twist. Black Ale is smooth and chocolaty, falling somewhere between a porter and a stout. 1912 W. Michigan St., Duluth; 1-218-279-2722; bentpaddlebrewing.com

Runner-up: Blacklist Beer