Beer fest draws sellout crowd

MARQUETTE – With 53 brewers bringing samples of 300 beers for a sold out crowd, wet weather couldn’t put a damper on the Fifth Annual U.P. Fall Beer Festival.

The festival, organized by the Michigan Brewers Guild, sold the last of the 3,500 tickets available just before midnight Friday.

“The funny thing is, the weather doesn’t seem to put people in a bad mood,” said Eric Briggeman, president of the Michigan Brewers Guild. “They are having fun and sampling beer. It’s obvious that the weather hasn’t been too detrimental.”

Selling out in advance helped the fest, Briggeman said. Trying to sell tickets at the gate during Saturday’s drizzle might have been a challenge.

Each ticket holder received 15 tokens to trade in for 3- ounce samples, with additional samples 50 cents each.

“I feel like we are very well accepted here and that the city enjoys us being here, which is great,” Briggeman said. “I think the relationship we have with Marquette is one of the best.”

People came from all over the state to enjoy the festival and taste the variety of beers. Sally Smith, 27, drove all the way from Ann Arbor to Marquette specifically for the beer festival.

“I’m loving this. This is my first time here,” Smith said. “It’s fun to try new beers and breweries, especially because half of this stuff you can’t get downstate.”

Smith said she enjoys stouts more than anything. Some of the U.P. beers that she tried and really liked were the Keweenaw Brewing Company’s Nuts About Stout, Red Jacket Brewing Company’s Oatmeal Espress and the Soo Brewing Company’s Barbaric Saftig Reserve.

Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. Her email address is