Beer Fest serves up local, craft brews

Melissa Orzechowksi

With 400 varieties of beer from 60 different breweries across the state of Michigan, the U.P. Fall Beer Festival, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, is not an event to miss.

Scott Graham, executive director of the Michigan Brewers Guild, said there are many reasons to look forward to the sixth annual festival.

Blackrocks Brewery will be one of 60 breweries represented at Beer Fest Saturday, Sept. 6. It takes place at Ellwood Mattson Lower Harbor park. (NW File Photo)
Blackrocks Brewery will be one of 60 breweries represented at Beer Fest Saturday, Sept. 6. It takes place at Ellwood Mattson Lower Harbor park. (NW File Photo)

“We love hosting an event here in Marquette at the Lower Harbor Park,” Graham said. “I love the local community and the setting. We manage all of our events with a zero waste to landfill mentality. We work very diligently to advert all of the waste we generate from landfills through either recycling or compost.”

To accomplish their goal of zero landfill waste, the Michigan Brewers Guild works with groups interested in making this happen, including the Sweaty Mouse, the Marquette Food Co-op and the Marquette County Solid Waste Facility.

The Upper Peninsula Beer Festival occurs during the U.P. Craft Beer Week from Monday, Sept. 1 to Saturday, Sept. 6.

The co-founders, David Manson and Andy Langlois, of Blackrocks Brewery, a local brewery participating in the festival, said their brewery is also participating in events throughout the Craft Beer Week.

“We are going to be doing special tappings throughout the week of some of the unique beers, the Marquette Home Brewer’s Club is going to be doing a demonstration Friday (Sept. 5) of how they go about making home brews,” Manson said. “People are encouraged and welcome to check it out and see what’s going on.”

This time last year, the brewery was getting ready to launch their packaged product. This year it has been different; there is more than just what is on tap to taste.

“This year we’ve had a chance to plan it out that we really wanted to showcase our brewer’s talents,” Manson said. “We’ve got 14 different beers that are really just going to wow some people. They are just a lot of fun beers as opposed to some of the tried and true. There’s some that nobody’s ever had and that will be neat to see their reactions.”

Even those that have been to the festival in the past can expect some new flavors and variations from Blackrocks.

“For the first time we are going to have a logger, a Lake Superior logger, because they’re actually sitting in Lake Superior, somewhere undisclosed, right now finishing up the logger process,” Manson said. “We are going to pull those up on Friday and bring them to the fest. We don’t know how it is going to turn out, but based on the initial tastes it going to be a great one.”

Senior outdoor recreation and leadership management major Eric Creel missed the past two festivals due to work so he looks forward to this year’s festival.

“I really like beer and Michigan is the great beer state, they’ve got a lot of great breweries coming up and bringing their best out for the festival I believe,” Creel said.

For first-time attendees, Langlois offered some advice.

“Beware,” Langlois said. “The tiny glass will get you. Even though you’ll initially laugh at how small it is, pace yourself, drink a lot of water and take time to enjoy the beer.”

For more information on the beer festival or to purchase tickets visit www.mibeer.com. Tickets include 15 drink tokens and are $35 in advance and $40 at the gate. For information on the craft beer week visit www.upcraftbeerweek.com.