Beer is big in Michigan. Current count is 250 small, craft brewers across the state. It’s a movement more than worthy of a celebration or several. My first—and so far only—beer fest experience was in Marquette two years ago for the annual U.P. Fall Beer Festival hosted by the Michigan Brewers Guild at Mattson Lower Harbor Park. The weather was perfect, the beer was flowing and the sold out crowd had a blast. And so did I. This weekend’s event promises more of the same, from 1-6 p.m. Saturday, September 10 at the Lake Superior waterfront.
I wasn’t sure what (besides lots of good beer) to expect, but the concept is simple. With each $40 ticket you receive tokens for your choice of 15, 3-ounce samples of 600 beers from more than 80 Michigan breweries. If you make your way through your supply of tokens, you can buy additional samples for 50 cents each. (Designated driver tickets are $5 each.)
Local restaurants sell food and there’s music throughout the afternoon—Green Gene the Singing Farmer will be back this year. Everyone was in a good, brew-fueled mood. Here’s a sampling of the sights. If you can’t make it to Marquette, the Guild hosts festivals in Detroit October 21-22 and the Grand Rapids area February 24-25, or catch next summer’s fest in Ypsilanti or mark your calendar for next September in Marquette.