On Saturday, September 10, 2016, was the Eighth Annual U.P. Fall Beer Festival in Marquette, Michigan and despite of the weather it is by far my favorite Michigan Brewer’s Guild Festival.
U.P. Fall Beer Festival
Yep, it rained.
And it was muddy.
But it didn’t matter because there were more than 80 Michigan Breweries and over 600 different beers to sample and my beer family was there.
The Beer Family Album
Victor and Dan greeted us when we arrived. (Every family has a couple crazy cousins!)
We found Chappy not long after we arrived. If I were to cast him into a role, I’d say that he is the uncle you call when you’ve got yourself in some serious trouble.
True story, once I carelessly mentioned to Chuck that I see myself as tall as Avery (my son). This confession iginted peels of laughter from both Chuck and Avery. (Did I mention Avery is 6 feet tall, he might be taller, but I hate asking for obvious reasons.) This story was shared with Chappy and thankfully he didn’t think it funny and said he understood because he knows someone who, ahem, has the same issue. Thank you Chappy for understanding. Chappy was standing on a box or something because I’m pretty sure I’m taller than this picture suggests.
It didn’t take long for Chuck to find his brothers from another mother, Jon Piepenbrok from Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. and Stephen Roginson from Batch Brewing. Be careful as you too may have brothers from another mother who own a gnome.
Thankfully, we also have many beautiful, happy sisters. I know we are not suppose to have a favorite, but Joanna Hollyday-Wiggs is definitely a contender for the spot.
I have no idea who these beautiful ladies are but I’m sure they’d love to be included in my beer family album.
Adam Engelman from Lake Charlevoix Brewing is a new member of our Beer Family. Kinda of like that boyfriend your daughter just brought home and you are pretty sure they are going to break up, but since he is so much damn fun you expect to see him at all the family dinners despite your daughters protests.
Jay Green and his wife Andrea from Tri-City Brewing are the cousins your parents kept secret and you just discovered and now you just can’t get enough of them.
And then there is that one brother, who is always showing you the cool trick you’ll never be able to pull off. That brother would be Marty and you just know you’ll never be as cool.
JImmy-one-time is the family member you can’t ever figure out how you are related. You are always left wondering, “is he our mom or dad’s relation?” because I don’t see any family resemblance.”
Finally, last but not least is Chris Lasher, the adorable baby brother. Chuck Marshall can barely contain himself when he sees him. Chuck just wants to squeeze him. When I see him I think, “damn is he really single? I need to consult with the family elders to fix that!”
I love my beer family and on most days probably more than my other family. This is mostly because they are not pretentious and love to party but also because they can make great beer. My other family doesn’t need to know this as they already consider me to be the black sheep of the family and think I drink too much. (Note: there are many from our Beer Family we didn’t mention and that is only because Chuck didn’t get their picture.)
Rain Gear Strategies
Embracing mother nature is really the only option and Michigan Beer Enthusiasts had many creative solutions.
Or you just squeezed into the tent, which is just fine too.
New Breweries (for us)
The fine folks at Austin Brothers in Alpena represented the lower peninsula in fantastic fashion with their 45th Paralyzer double IPA. This was a hard hitting (in a good way) double with a lovely grapefruit nose. I sense we need to take a ride up to Alpena to get a full dose of what they have to offer.
Big Hart located in Hart, Michigan (which is just a bit south of Ludington) had a damn nice belgian brown called Electric Hart. The belgian character was subtle which worked really well with this malty brown sensation. Nice job guys!!
Winner of one of our favorite beers of the fest is Bird of Prey from Cognition located in Ishpeming, Michigan. Isn’t it just a lot of fun to say Ishpeming? Cognition’s Bird of Prey IPA was a hop parade with six variety of hops and a really fun ABV of 6.66 which had me thinking it should be called Bird of Satan. It was a great IPA with good body and a super dry finish.
Burning Boat experimental stout from Brickside had some smoky goodness with a nice malty weigh to it. These guys are located up in the tip top of Michigan, otherwise known as Copper Harbor. Stop in and this fine lady may pour you a beer. Hell, she may even give you a hug 🙂
The crew at Cellarmen’s embraced the call of the wild U.P. and cooked up a fun Pasty Beer. I’m sure this bad boy was not vegan, but when in Rome. They topped off the glass with Jean Kay’s Kickin Pasty Sauce. You may think “Good Lord, that sounds gross”, but it was actually a nice smooth beer with just a hint of carrots.
The guys at Territorial continue to make some outstanding beers and the Tight Pants saison was delicious. It was kinda dry with a bit of fruitiness. It’s a perfect beer for relaxing with friends.
Our friends at Dark Horse always make great beers and while I typically go for the IPA’s, I wanted to check out the JAA Raspberry Black beer. Holy cow, talk about raspberry delight! This was a mouthful of awesome flavor. The black beer malt balanced out the raspberry tang to create one of my favorite beers at the fest.
The corktown maestro’s of brewing arts at Batch Brewing are a kick ass crew and they brew amazing beers. Seriously, one taste of 1701 IPA and you know this powerhouse brewery is dedicated to big taste and happy endings. By the way, did you catch that 1701 is the founding date of Detroit, Michigan?
Besides being super cool people, Andy and the crew at Blackrocks make damn fine beers. The Tip of the Ship imperial stout was a richly dark mug of awesome. I’m not going to even try to describe it. The Petal Picker Lavender IPA was complex and nicely bitter.
Our friends in Zeeland got experimental this year. We gave the Empirical Batch No. 5 – Wild Ale a taste. I’m usually not much for sour beers, but this wasn’t too sour and had a very interesting taste.
Music – jams for getting your drink on
The rain slacked off a bit for people to get down low with the muddy blues of the Organ Grinders. This four piece played some outstanding blues with a pocket full of soul. You could sip on a tasty beer like Arbor’s Euchre Pilsner or Wolverine’s Gulo Gulo and get your groove on with the band. They may be from Wisconsin, but they do plenty of shows around the U.P., so check them out if they hit your neck of the woods.
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