Beer, Bent Paddle and Beargrease: A countdown to the 2022 sled dog marathon

Published: Jan. 2, 2022 at 11:42 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - The countdown to the 2022 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is officially underway.

In just under a month, teams will begin their more than 200-mile race from Duluth up to Grand Portage.

But before then, some final fundraising still needs to happen and organizers are getting a little help from a local brewery.

On Sunday, Bent Paddle released their latest charitable brew, the Beargrease British Pale Ale.

“It’s not as hoppy as a regular American Pale Ale, a little bit more malty, a little bit darker, and it’s a fun beer to make,” said Eric Welke with Bent Paddle Brewing Company.

This is the third year Beargrease has partnered with the brewery for the special release.

They are hoping to raise at least $15,000 before race day.

“Beargrease holds a special spot for a lot of us, so it’s really important that we are a part of it,” said Welke.

And as the kegs were tapped, notable marathon racers celebrated the kick-off to Beargrease season.

“I’m just excited to be back out there to race and be with all the dogs,” said full marathon musher Ero Wallin.

Wallin is the full marathon’s youngest musher and raced in his first full Beargrease last year, taking 6th place.

“I am definitely looking to beat what I placed last year, but there are a lot of good teams this year. Lots of good competition with the dogs,” said Wallin.

For two-time Beargrease champion Ryan Reddington, who took second place in last year’s close finish, he’s back again, looking to defend his top spot.

“My goal is to make it a race and to be as competitive as we can, and if it works out for a win with us, that would be exciting,” said Reddington.

Both Wallin and Reddington said trails are looking good with the amount of snow we have gotten so far.

You can try the Beargrease British Pale ale at Bent Paddle while supplies last.

The 2022 Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon kicks off January 30th and wraps up in Grand Portage on February 2nd.

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