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Dunlap Island celebrates beer and beer history Saturday

Nordlager Club beer collectors Chris Olson (from left), Pete Clure, Bert and Judy Whittington and John Pickar stand under the 40-foot blowup Hamm’s Bear at last year’s Nordlager Club Show outside the Northeastern Hotel & Saloon on Cloquet’s Dunlap Island. This year, the Whittingtons are adding an afternoon brewfest to benefit the United Way to the list of events on Saturday. Special to the Pine Journal

Beer lovers and collectors of beer memorabilia are invited to gather under the shadow of the inflated 40-foot-tall Hamm's Bear Saturday, July 8, at Cloquet's Northeastern Hotel & Saloon.

Collectors will descend on the historic building from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday for the 17th annual Nordlager Club Show, a "huge sale" of beer signs, clocks, cans and beer memorabilia both old and new, held in the giant tent rain or shine.

The Dunlap Island Brewfest will run from 3-7 p.m. Saturday and feature beers from 10-15 microbreweries, including Castle Danger, Bent Paddle, Indeed, Beaver Island, Third Street, Hamm's, Schells and Grain Belt, Mankato Brewing and Bells. There will also be live music by Jury from 3-7 p.m. All profits will be donated to Carlton County United Way, said Northeastern owner, brewfest organizer and Nordlager member Bert Whittington.

Cost for admission to the brewfest (which comes with an actual tasting glass — not plastic) is $20 in advance and $25 on the day. The brewfest and the Nordlager show will both be held at the Northeastern, 115 St. Louis Ave., in Cloquet, on Dunlap Island next to the campground.

The inside of the historic building (built in 1904 and one of a few buildings in Cloquet to survive the 1918 fires) is decorated with numerous antique and/or unique beer signs throughout the bar area, as a point of added interest.

This isn't Whittington's first brewfest, although it is the inaugural "Dunlap Island Brewfest." He held the Big River Brewfest at the Northeastern from 2007-2009 after taking over The Big Lake Brewfest from Wessman Arena in Superior.

"Then other places started having their own brewfests (with the same name) and this time I figured there's only one Dunlap Island," Whittington said. "So here we are."

When asked if he has any interest in brewing his own beers at the Northeastern, the former teacher shakes his head and smiles.

"I look at beer like donuts," Whittington said. "I don't make donuts, but I know what a good one tastes like."

For more information, call 218-879-9968 or stop by the Northeastern.