Caribou Highlands Blog

Beer toast

A North Shore Beer is Born – Odyssey Session Ale

Troy, Assistant General Manager at Larsmont Cottages, mills the malt for Odyssey Session Ale.

Exciting news to share with you all! Odyssey Resorts & Voyageur Brewing Company partnered last month to make the ultimate beer: The Odyssey Session Ale.

On a Thursday night in May, members of the Odyssey team met with Voyageur Brewing Company’s Head Brewer Anders Johansen in Grand Marais, Minnesota to help make the Odyssey Session Ale.

Anders guided them through the beer making process and the Odyssey team milled in the malt. This process consists of crushing up the malt, which they used to create the wort.

The next morning, the team met again with Anders to assist in mixing the mash with hot water to convert the malt’s starches to sugar.

Fun fact about Voyageur is that all of their leftover malt is picked up by a local dairy farmer to use as feed.

After the mixing of the mash, the beer went over to the kettle where Anders brought it to a boil and added the hops. Once that happened, he cooled it down and moved it over to the fermenter where he added the yeast. The yeast then ate the sugar to produce CO2 and alcohol. It sat in the fermenter for about 10 days.

Assistant Brewer, Drew, unloads the spent malt which will be used as feed at a local dairy farm.

After those 10 days were up, Anders lowered the temp and took the yeast out to harvest. The beer was then put in a conditioning tank where it settled a little bit more and had more C02 added to it. After that last step, the beer was ready to be packaged and to be drank!

The final beer resulted in a light, session ale with the tiniest hint of citrus-y sweetness. Basically, the perfect summer beer because it’s easy & enjoyable to drink & has a lower alcohol content so that you can drink more of it.

The Odyssey Session Ale is now available at Voyageur Brewing Company, Moguls Grille & Tap Room at Caribou Highlands Lodge, Splashing Rock at Grand Superior Lodge & Ledge Rock Grille at Larsmont Cottages.

Odyssey is so grateful for Voyageur’s generosity in hosting & teaching the Odyssey staff about the brewing process. 

The Odyssey team learns about the brewing process
Head Brewer Anders Johansen explains the brewing process to the Odyssey Resorts team.

The Odyssey team learns about the purpose of each tank in the brewing process.

Voyageur Brewing CFO, Mike Prom, and Caribou Highlands GM, John Klemme inspect the wort.

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Family roasting marshmallows at the campfire

7 Tips for Your Next Family Reunion

1 Decide who will be the leader

When putting together large affairs, like family reunions, it is natural to have a leader. This is the person who will be putting things together and calling all the far-flung relatives. In many families, it is obvious who this person will be.  Being a leader will take a lot of time, but thankfully the leader will be getting lots of help as seen at the next step.

2 Call Jennifer a year in advance

That would be Jennifer Schueller, Odyssey Group Sales Manager—and you’ll find her at [email protected] or 218.728.8060 x104

A family reunion is much like planning a wedding. It is necessary to coordinate with people from all around the country and find one time when they all can come together in one place. This puts a lot of demands on the participants and the venue. Because of this, Jen and her team start taking reservations a year in advance.

Jen and the team will ask the leader many questions to understand his or her family’s needs. She will create a picture for them and explore many different options. The participants may know a lot or a little about the area. Jen can discuss the endless possible activities available and help them plan out their days.

One of the big factors is the size of the family. Caribou Highlands is able to accommodate small groups and groups up to 600 guests.

Free Reunion Planning Guide
Jennifer Schueller

Learn more about Family Reunions at Caribou Highlands Lodge or contact Jennifer for more info.

[email protected]
218.728.8060 x104

Cross Country Skiing3 Decide whether want to do a summer or a winter reunion.

It probably comes as no surprise that most people choose to have their reunions in the summertime. Still, many will choose a winter reunion because it is easier for everyone to get off work or because they desire an authentic northern experience.

If you have family members from the lower latitudes, this could be your chance to expose them to exotic northern activities like skiing, snow-shoeing, ice fishing or even dog sledding.

4 Find out when people can make it.

It is hard to find a time when everyone can make it. Your family members might include the totally-retired or hourly workers and everything in between. Because of this difficulty many groups choose to stay at the lodge for up to seven days, so they can have plenty of time to go on adventures with their long-lost family members.

5 Decide which exciting north shore activities you would like to do.

Whether it is summer or winter, the resort offers a vast amount of opportunities for family members with various interests. Some of these opportunities are on-premise and others are off premise.

As far as on-premise, two of the highlights are indoor and outdoor pools.

During a typical family reunion, day one could just involve guests getting settled into their lodging units. On the second day everyone could go golfing. The third might involve riding the gondola up to Lutsen Mountain.

Canoeing on the Poplar RiverThere is something for everyone to do in the area, winter or summer. Summers might mean golfing or kayaking or bird watching. In winter, there is of course cross-country and downhill skiing as well as snowshoeing. Also, there is a fun mountain winery to visit about two miles walking distance from the resort. Some may choose to walk up to the winery and then come back to the fire pit to enjoy some s’mores.

For those into hiking, they can hike right from the resort, or drive to Cascade River State Park, Temperance River, or Tettegouche.

6 Decide what special activities your family might want to do.

Is your family interested in team building activities or do you just want a place to lodge somewhere where you can just spend time with each other? Or, do they want something like a banquet dinner incorporating a slideshow? There are many possibilities and Jen can certainly help you think of something special.

Caribou Highlands has some meeting rooms that can be used for these special events. These rooms can be used for things like scrapbooking or slideshows. Others might use these rooms for breakfast or lunch arrangements.

7 Decide on one or more of the great options for food.

Depending on your needs and budget, there are many great options for food during your reunion. The onsite chef is available or guests can make their own food. This is where the lodging helps.

At the lodge, we rent townhomes that sleep up to 12 and have kitchens. Oftentimes different guests may cook dishes in their respective rooms and then bring the dishes to one room for a potluck.

Also, resort restaurant Moguls is always available for little dinners or big feasts.

This is the perfect time to start planning your 2018 reunion. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

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Kid running at Caribou Highlands


As a mother to a toddler, I will admit escaping for a family vacation tends to fall to the bottom of my list. The constant need for house chores, errands, non-overlapping work schedules, plus limited finances are just a few of the constraints our family faces. We seem to be bound to the stay-cation. Recently, my family traveled out of state for a funeral and I was reminded of the importance of a true vacation. The reason for travel was unfortunate and left us little time to explore, empty pockets, but a yearning to find a way to enjoy a vacation before summer concludes. But how?

Here are 7 tips to finally affording that family vacation you deserve.

1. Stay local

Do you ever consider exploring your own area? In Minnesota, we are extremely fortunate to have unlimited access to great destinations right here in our own backyard. That means no airfare, easy weekend trips, and affordability. Win-win-win. On a muggy summer afternoon the four of us (myself, hubby, kiddo and pug) chose to turn the truck North and drove straight to Lutsen. About two hours northeast of Duluth, the commute was easy enough to require zero potty stops – woohoo – and scenic to keep you occupied.

2. Make the most of your road trip

If you have not yet ventured up the North Shore along Lake Superior, add this to your bucket list. There are plenty of towns to explore along your drive and exceptional scenery that will leave you breathless. Split Rock Lighthouse. Gooseberry Falls. Scenic 61. Local flea markets and farmers markets. Misty fog on the lake and stony beaches to pull over and take it all in. Enjoying the roadtrip will not only extend the feel of your vacation, but also make for a more memorable experience.

3. Search for adventure

Fact: Finding a location with adventure opportunities does not require experience. Believe you me, I am not an advanced hiker. However, the reason we chose Lutsen, not only because it was close, but because it has tons of opportunity for outdoor adventure. Its reputation is as a winter ski destination; during the summer, this means hiking galore, scenic overlooks, and other activities that maintain your bottom line. In other words, cheap.

Caribou Highlands outdoor pool
Lutsen alpine slide

4.  Amenities, amenities, amenities

On our Lutsen vacation, we stayed at Caribou Highlands Lodge, a northwoods resort offering tons of amenities and room options to accommodate every budget. Everywhere we turned was something new for kiddo to explore. Honestly, the best part of the entire weekend was finding endless options for activities that required very little additional expense. And that was one invaluable benefit to staying at Caribou. The many amenities allowed us keep our rare family vacation affordable AND exciting.

Our townhome was immediately across the parking lot from a playground, which the kiddo noticed instantly. Dog bags were placed strategically throughout the resort. Another playground was discovered outside the main hotel. A fenced, heated, outdoor pool was a popular spot this weekend. Fire pit with s’mores. Hot tub. Even lawn games were hosted by the GM. Need I say more? Plus, the townhome had a few children’s movies, books, board games and a bucket of Duplos. A+ from my little builder.

5. Find lodging with a kitchen or outdoor grills

This tip never would have occurred to me without experiencing it first hand. Spending money for every single meal for every family member adds up quickly. Eating at restaurants is one expense I dread when planning a vacation. The townhome in which we stayed at Caribou boasted full size kitchens stocked with pots and pans begging to be used. Plus, a GRILL on a beautiful deck overlooking the woods. Genius! Even if your accommodations do not have a kitchen, many places will have outdoor grills for use. Grab yourself some hot dogs, buns and Pop Tarts at the local store, your family will eat for the weekend on very little money.

6. Ask the front desk

Have you ever heard the phrase “Minnesota Nice”? This is no exception up North. The front desk staff were instrumental at helping guide our vacation to our goals. Just ask. They will tell you where to go, what to see, what costs money and what does not. Family friendly adventures, pet friendly adventures, daily activities, local eateries, must-sees, even the weather forecast to plan ahead. You will be loaded with pamphlets and tourist information oozing out of your ears. Just ask.

7. Keep it short

A weekend trip is plenty of time to recharge on vacation. Forget the idea that a trip requires a week or two to really adventure. While sure, those longer stays have their time and place, it’s not necessary to getting the most out of a vacation. Remember – quality, not quantity.

(Truth be told, you’ll probably be itching to get back into your own bed and finish the laundry left in the washing machine back home.)


If somehow in the universe of crazy work schedules and tight budget my family was able to execute and afford a quality family vacation, I trust it is possible for anyone. A local destination with tons of amenities, adventure, and a great front desk staff is how you can make the most of a quick weekend trip.  Another six weeks remains before Labor Day leaving plenty of time to plan that summer vacation you deserve.

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