The time had come to head to Marquette for the 7th Annual U.P. Fall Beer Fest! We packed up the car and made the 7 hour drive after work on Thursday so that we would have all day Friday to relax and explore. We woke up Friday morning to cold temps, overcast skies and light rain, not a good way to start but thankfully mother nature complied later in the day. After a quick breakfast, we headed to the store to grab pretzel necklace making supplies for Saturday. Ok, yes, they are a little beer nerdy but halfway thru a fest when the urge to snack hits, you’ll be glad you have one. Then it was time for lunch at Lagniappe, a Cajun Creole restaurant that has been serving Marquette Po Boys, Gator Bites, Jambalaya and more for 35 years. We all enjoyed our lunches accompanied by splitting a bottle of Abita’s recently release BBA Maple Pecan. If you’re in a Louisiana themed bar, you should have Louisiana beer right?
The beer was tasty but lacking the flavor profile I was expecting with the words “bourbon, maple and pecan” on a label. No worries, we knew we would be having some amazing local beer soon as it was time to walk up the hill that is Third St to pay a visit to my favorite place in town, Blackrocks Brewery.
Located in an old, yellow house the taproom of Blackrocks Brewery has been renovated to be an open and airy space with a bicycle theme. Blackrocks has many great mainstay beers including 51K, Grand Rabbits and my favorite, Coconut Brown. But today we were treated to two beers already on my list for Saturday’s fest, Mondo Beardo and Trenary Toast. Mondo Beardo was an excellent, warm, roasty Imperial Stout that hit the spot after the windy walk up the hill. After playing some cards and having some laughs it was time for another beer. We were pleasantly surprised to find out a tapping of the collaboration beer with downstate brewery Rockford Brewing, Trenary Toast, was happening right then! This beer was brewed by yoopers craving the taste of the U.P.’s infamous bakery treat. Mission accomplished, this amber ale tasted like drinking Cinnamon Toast Crunch or, as one our friends put it, “I want to sit down and watch some Saturday morning cartoons while drinking this!”
Next we headed to Marquette’s other brewery tap room, Ore Dock Brewing. By this time the rain had gone away and the sun was out so we were able to enjoy the patio while sipping on several well done beers. My favorite here was the Harvest Saison. A freshly hopped saison with a slight funkiness to it.
After scarfing down some quick pizza picked up from a local place, we quickly scrambled our group together and headed to Sugarloaf Mountain to hike to the top just in time for the beautiful sunset and amazing views of Lake Superior and the forests that surround the area. A perfect way to end our first day in Marquette!
Have you been to any of the places we went to? What was your favorite beer?