Monday, September 21, 2015

Recap of the 2015 Michigan Brewer Guild U.P. Beer Festival

Written by  Aimee West
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

recap-up-beerfest-article-2015

The Brewers Guild U.P. Beer fest crowd was spectacular to see when we walked down toward the harbor in Marquette to get in line. Due to an early morning tweet, we knew the festival was sold out, and the crowd was going to be epic. One positive aspect of any of the guild festivals is how well run they are. Even with an huge crowd, and a line of people around the waterfront, the line is taken care of quickly and effortlessly once the festival is open. Which is great when you are excited to get in and try all the fabulous Michigan beers!
I attended this festival with my friend Shantana, who after a six hour car ride both ways, knows way more information about me, and I about her, than either of us should. But what else are long car trips for? Being the super organized individuals we are, we started reading the beer list and highlighting the ones that were top priority. With over 200 beers to choose from and 30 tokens between us, we knew we had to pace ourselves.

I must have been feeling my German roots because the favorite of the day was Territorial Brewing Company’s, Hey Guys Its Doin It, with its deep copper color, malty flavor, and crisp finish this hit all my favorite flavor notes. We were glad that co-owner Charles Grantier had a few minutes to talk to us amid a bustling crowd of thirsty patrons. Territorial Brewing is in Battle Creek, and they specialize in German styles of beer and food. He told us the U.P. Beer Fest is, “the best one we’ve been at all year,” which was a sentiment we heard from many over the course of the day. I was excited to hear they specialize in traditional German food with a few Americanized items. Nothing reminds me of fall and home more than the smell of sauerkraut and kielbasa on the stove. After a promise to stop by the brewery sometime soon we moved on to find our next favorite.

Next on the list was Vander Mill’s Totally Roasted Hard Cider. This libation has cinnamon, pecan and vanilla notes. While drinking this we pictured an after dinner drink, in front of the fire place with snow falling on the ski slopes as we girls talked about the day. Its a beautiful visual to go with a great tasting cider. I bet this would also be delicious warm with two ounces of Tuaca (a vanilla-citrus liqueur) served in a warm glass for a Pecan pie flavor for when you first come inside this winter.

Finally, after many more stops along the way and a break for lunch we made it to our hometown favorite Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale. We caught up with co-owner, Matt Jason and his crazy crew of helpers where we talked beer and what we enjoyed about the festival so far. Matt reiterated everyone else’s sentiment that this was his “favorite festival of the year” and that he was really loving the laid back vibe of the festival. Their Coffeeweizen made our final spot of the day and we were not the only ones. While we talked, there were half a dozen or more people who used most, if not all, of their tokens on either the Coffeeweizen or the Sorachi Ace IPA. There were many other great offerings from Jolly Pumpkin, Ore Dock Brewing, Our Brewing, Blue Tractor, and others.

Walking among a crowd of 5,000 plus people on the beautiful shores of Lake Superior was a pretty spectacular feeling. To see the water sparking like diamonds in the sun, while enjoying the lush greenery of Northern Michigan in the background was a sight I will never forget. To be able to spend the day among friends was just foam on the beer, I can see why everyone said this was “their favorite beer festival.”

Aimee West

Aimee West

Is new to the craft beer scene but always willing and wanting to learn more.