Beer fest brewing for 7th year

Lauren Lee

Forget the golden ticket and snag some tokens for Michigan brews at Marquette’s 7th annual U.P. Beer Festival 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12 at Mattson Lower Park.

This event, hosted by Michigan Brewers Guild, provides over 400 brews to choose, coming from more than 60 Michigan breweries.

Ambassador of fermentology at Blackrocks Brewery David Manson said Blackrocks will have two tables at the festival this year with two and a half barrels of each kind of brew.

“My favorite thing is not only meeting new people who are novices or virgins of craft beer but also really great to reconnect with the other breweries that are from downstate,” Manson said. “We don’t get to see them on a regular basis due to geographic locations so it’s really fun to meet the guys we’ve met over the years at different beer fests.”

While patron’s taste buds rock out to Michigan beer, local musicians will be performing during the festival, including Jerry Kippola, Aral Sea Divers and Conga Se Menne.

Green Gene The Singin’ Farmer will be strolling around playing throughout the park. There is a Michigan Beer Fight Song to chant along to as well.

Purchasing a ticket to Beer Fest will provide 15 drink tokens. One token is worth a 3 oz. sample of beer; these cups are specially marked to comply with Michigan Liquor Control Commission regulations. For those who are still parched, additional tokens will be available inside the festival for 50 cents.

Public relations major Sydney Norton said her favorite part of Fall Fest bravely tasting brew she wouldn’t usually order.

“Trying a lot of different beers,” Norton said. “Be open and try things. You don’t know until you actually try it. It’s like trying on a dress, you don’t really know how it’s going to look until you try it on. I don’t like pumpkin spice anything and I tried four pumpkin spiced beers and I actually loved them.”

Tickets cost $35 if purchased beforehand. They are currently being sold online and at various places around Marquette including The Vierling Restaurant & Marquette Harbor Brewery, Blackrocks Brewery and Ore Dock Brewing. According to Michigan Brewers Guild, tickets are limited and are expected to sell out again this year. Any remaining tickets will be sold at Beer Fest for $40.Designated driver tickets are sold online for $5.

Scott Graham, the executive director of Michigan Brewers Guild, said UP Beer Fest is unique because it is the only local festival in which beer pubs can come and purchase a space.

“We have a lot of breweries that bring special things and interesting beer because they know it’s a good crowd,” Graham said. “I don’t think anybody gets as many Michigan breweries at an event like this one. We have a great following of beer enthusiasts and those new to craft beer.”

Manson said Blackrocks Brewery wants everyone to have a good time safely and to think of a driver ahead of time.

To see what vendors have to offer, download the BeerFest List app. This app also allows festival goers to create a list of beers they want to try and rate the beers after so favorites can be recalled. Download the app in the iTunes store or on Google Play.