By Beatty Nelson
Fall is finally here, and so is the third annual U.P. Fall Beer Festival, taking place in Mattson Lower Harbor Park in Marquette. Sponsored by the Michigan Brewers Guild, Beer Fest is a festival that highlights what Michigan breweries have to offer.
With over 200 different beers available for sampling, Kristoffer Rusch, a graduate student in psychology and Beer Fest volunteer, has been looking forward to Beer Festival.
“I like Beer Fest because it’s a great opportunity to experience the many flavors that Michigan breweries have to offer,” Rusch said. “It’s a rare event to have so many world class breweries in one spot, and it’s a great chance that students and community members should take advantage of. If you are able to attend, I highly recommend it.”
With all the variety offered by breweries, Beer Fest gives attendees a chance to expand their horizons and maybe even find a new favorite brew.
“I went to Beer Fest last year with a pretty vast knowledge of Michigan brews, but I still came out surprised,” Rusch said. “I got to taste some beers that I had never heard of before, and they ended up being some of my favorites.”
Beer Fest also makes sampling easy for those in attendance by providing a pamphlet with a list of all the brews available.
“It makes the experience more fun because it’s almost like a challenge to see how many different flavors you can experience, how many rare finds you can discover,” Rusch said.
Although this is only the third year Beer Fest is being held in Marquette, festival executive director Scott Graham is optimistic about the turnout.
“There are going to be over 32 breweries represented at Beer Fest,” Graham said. “There’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a seasoned Michigan beer drinker or first timer; it’s a great experience for everyone.”
Beer Fest also makes it possible to support local businesses by only allowing Michigan breweries to participate in this festival. The Vierling, Blackrocks and Jasper Ridge are just three local breweries that will be highlighted at Beer Fest.
“After having a successful summer festival, (the Michigan Brewers Guild) added one in the winter,” Graham said. “Two festivals weren’t enough, so we added a fall venue, and we knew we wanted it in Marquette where people could see the beautiful town and just enjoy themselves.”
Students over 21 are welcome at Beer Fest. Graham said the crowd is very mature, and he’s glad that students are able to come.
“It’s growing every year, and we’re looking forward to a great day. Make sure to come down and check it out,” Graham said.
Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the gate, but availability is limited. Each ticket includes 15 tokens and each token is redeemable for a 3 ounce cup of any beer of your choosing. Additional tokens are available for purchase at the festival. Beer Fest will take place on Saturday, Sept. 10th, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Mattson Lower Harbor Park. There will be food prepared by local restaurants and entertainment provided by local bands. For a full list of participating breweries, visit www.mbgmash.com.