Bent Paddle rolling out Viking ship

Bent Paddle rolling out Viking ship

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Bent Paddle’s “Drakenvit” “our flagship Venture Pils infused with Norwegian aquavit inspired spices including caraway, fennel, cardamom, pink peppercorn, and citrus peel,” the brewery reported will debut this week, with sales to benefit the restoration of the Leif Erikson Viking ship in Duluth.

But the new beer was inspired by a different Viking ship the Draken Harald Hrfagre, a replica Viking vessel that opted to skip the Duluth festival because of its concerns about pilotage fees it has had to pay while on the Great Lakes.

The crew of the Draken had contacted the brewery several months ago to inquire about a special Viking inspired beer for the festival, which starts Thursday. Bent Paddle and brewer Bjorn Erickson decided to take on the challenge.

“I come from a very Norwegian family,” Erickson said in a news release. “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.”

After the Draken’s crew announced earlier this month that the ship would not appear in Duluth, the brewery decided to team up with Pier B Resort to host a celebration to benefit the local Viking ship, which is undergoing restoration. Friday, the resort on the Duluth harborfront will host a party featuring artifacts and historical images of the Leif Erikson ship, live music, views of the tall ships in the harbor and, of course, pints of Drakenvit for sale. A dollar from every pint sold will be donated toward the ship restoration and construction of a new display.

Bent Paddle rolling out Viking ship
it’ll be a good event where we can raise some awareness for our ship,” said Neill Atkins, a member of the Save Our Ship restoration committee.

Drakenvit also will be on tap at other bars and restaurants in the Duluth area this weekend, as well as at the Bent Paddle taproom, 1912 W. Michigan St., where growlers will be available. An additional donation to the restoration project will be made based on Drakenvit sales for the weekend.

The 42 foot long Leif Erikson ship has been a longtime Duluth fixture. Built in Norway, a four man crew sailed the ship from Bergen, Norway, on May 23, 1926. After stops in the Shetland and Faroe islands, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland and Boston, the ship arrived in Duluth on June 23, 1927. Bert Enger (of Enger Tower fame) and his partner in the furniture business, Emil Olson, purchased the boat for $5,000 and donated it to the city to be placed on public display.

After years of neglect, some restoration of the vessel took place in the late 1980s and 1990s. But the boat remained sitting in a somewhat secluded location along the Lakewalk at Leif Erikson Park,
Bent Paddle rolling out Viking ship
hidden under shrink wrap and at risk of vandalism.