One of the best beer festivals in the state is the annual U.P. Fall Beer Festival. The 14th annual festival will be held in Marquette’s Mattson Lower Harbor Park in September 2023.
With more than 350 breweries around the state, Michigan is a beer-loving state and its passionate craft beer scene can be felt and found in different corners of the state.
Every year there are craft beer fests around the state, celebrating the state’s best brews with breweries offering old favorites and exciting new flavors.
If you love craft beer, this Michigan fall festival is the perfect spot to come and spend a day. You can get back together with your friends and think back to your glory days.
Getting to Know the U.P. Beer Festival
A Trip Back in Time
Remember those warm summer nights sitting around a campfire where you were drinking your favorite beer, cranking your favorite music, and sitting amongst your best friends?
You’ll get that same warm and fuzzy feeling when you attend the U.P. Beer Festival. Located on the shores of Lake Superior, Marquette is the perfect spot for the U.P. Michigan Beer Festival. With tasty food available, hundreds of beers, live music, the good company of craft beer enthusiasts, and more, you’ll feel right at home.
Mattson Lower Harbor Park has a shoreline bike trail, an illuminated walkway along the waterfront, and plenty of space to spread out. Marquette has plenty of space for camping too, so this is the perfect opportunity to plan a weekend getaway and enjoy the festival.
The weather in early September is just right too, so you feel the perfect mix of summer warmth and fall crispness before it gets too cold.
A Buffett of Beers
The annual U.P. Beer Festival has been a staple in Marquette since 2008 and is organized by the Michigan Brewers Guild.
With lots of good food and unique beers, attendees are in for a treat. There’s a selection of hundreds of locally crafted beers from dozens of Michigan breweries.
That means you’ve got options galore. You can enjoy old favorites from some of Michigan’s renowned breweries or you may just find a new favorite altogether.
A Blast From the Past: Remembering the 2013 Festival
Northern Michigan University alum and writer Chaz Parks attended the 2013 U.P. Beer Festival and fondly remembers the time he had with his friends:
An Exciting Trip to the U.P.
I planned a camping trip so everyone could meet up, make some smores, and look at the stars before our homecoming. Next time you are in the U.P., make it a point to visit Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Jaw-dropping landscapes, wondrous outlooks, and Chapel Rock are God’s wonders. This tree is literally growing through this rock that is 500,000 million years old.
Ripping up M-28, with Marquette in our sights, everyone was getting anxious and awaiting our time to indulge in Michigan nectar.
The Sights, Sounds, and Tastes of the Festival
Once I made my way to Lower Harbor and walked inside the fairgrounds, the world was my oyster, well at least the fenced-in area around me. Grabbing cups, stacking coins, and grabbing a map, I looked where to get my first drink.
With over 300 beers to choose from, this was no easy task, so I went with my go-to, an IPA.
I tried The Fluffer by Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. to start things off. Their DRIPA is considered one of the best IPAs in the state, and the best thing about these Michigan beer festivals is that you get to experience beers that sometimes never hit the shelves, let alone the tap rooms.
The Fluffer was a session ale and having a full day ahead, I wanted to start off light. Next up I wandered over to Shorts, my personal favorite, and saw an unholy list of madness.
Not one of their year-round beers was in attendance. Lil Wheezy was my pick and I was flabbergasted. It is a heavily hopped amber ale and it left my mouth in bitter euphoria. Two of my favorites combed into one knockout punch.
In a State of Beer Euphoria
After about the first two hours, I had to hold the beer list closer to my face to figure out what English was, so I asked around to see what people were drinking.
Everyone told me I had to have the Scary Jesus Rockstar from Dark Horse. This apricot chamomile ale was crazy nutty, with citrus and fruit tones that tickled my tongue.
Now I could go on and on from Arcadia to Greenbush and about crazy beers named Looping Owl to Teddy Bear, but at the end of the day, it’s about the experience more than anything.
Every year I have seen this small little fest grow and this one even sold out days before.
I know it may be quite a hike, but if you have a passion for everything this great state has to offer, I find it mandatory that you make your way to the next one.
U.P. Beer Festival FAQs
Q: When is the U.P. Beer Festival?
A: The 2022 festival will be from 1-6 p.m. on September 10.
Q: Where is the U.P. Beer Festival?
A: It’s at Mattson Lower Harbor Park in Marquette.
Q: How much does it cost to attend the U.P. Beer Festival?
A: Advance tickets are $50 and tickets can be purchased for $60 on the day of the festival.
Q: Is there an ID or age requirement to attend the U.P. Beer Festival?
A: All attendees must be at least 21 years old and have a valid ID for entry.
Q: What is the U.P. Beer Festival refund policy?
A: Tickets are non-refundable, but the event will occur rain or shine. If you can’t attend, you can transfer your ticket to someone else.
Q: Where can I find a list of U.P. Beer Festival beers?
A: A list of this year’s beers will be printed at the gate and a QR code will be posted on Michigan Brewers Guild page as the date gets closer.
Q: Is there parking available at the U.P. Beer Festival?
A: There is very little parking close to the park itself. Festival-goers are encouraged to park in downtown Marquette and walk to the festival.
Fun Fall Activities in Marquette
The U.P. Beer Festival is the perfect reason to visit Marquette in September, but it doesn’t have to be the only reason you visit this fantastic U.P. paradise. There’s so much to see and do in Marquette for you to really make the most of your time there:
- See the Northern Lights: Marquette is located along more than 80 miles of Lake Superior shoreline and there are lots of good spots to catch this awesome phenomenon in the fall.
- See Lighthouses: If you’re a fan of Great Lakes history, you can’t go wrong with visiting lighthouses on the Lake Superior shoreline. Along the shoreline near Marquette, you can visit Stannard Rock Lighthouse, the Presque Isle Harbor Breakwater Light, Marquette Harbor Lighthouse, Huron Island Lighthouse, and Big Bay Point Lighthouse.
- Chase Waterfalls: TLC famously sang about not chasing waterfalls, but if you’re near Maquette you can see as many as four in a single afternoon. Pull up your GPS and plot courses for Yellow Dog Falls, Carp River Falls, Dead River Falls, and Morgan Falls.
- Go Hiking: Between Carp River Falls, Sugarloaf Mountain, Dead River Falls, and Hogback, there are plenty of places to explore in the region if you want to go for an early fall hike.
Where to Find Lodging in Marquette
If you’re planning on attending the U.P. Beer Festival, you’re going to need somewhere to stay. If you’re looking for lodging, consider staying at these places in Marquette:
- Marquette Tourist Park: This park offers both traditional camping sites as well as spots for RVs with modern facilities and essential electrical hookups. It’s located just outside the city, so you’re close enough to visit the city without the hustle and bustle.
- Rippling River Resort Campground: Located at the base of Marquette Mountain, there are seasonal campsites as well as year-round cabins. It’s just minutes from downtown Marquette, and there’s plenty of secluded beauty for you to relax.
- Hotels: If you’re planning a trip to Marquette and don’t want to camp, there are familiar chain hotels in the area as well as local motels that provide all the comfortable accommodations you’ll need.
Make Plans to Attend the U.P. Beer Festival
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a wonderful spot to visit in the summer and fall and the U.P. Beer Festival is the perfect reason to start planning your trip Up North.
If you love good vibes and craft beer, this is a great way to kickstart your fall adventures. With hundreds of beers to choose from, you’ll find anything and everything you could ever want to try, from IPAs to lagers to pilsners to seasonal beers, and so much more.
So call your friends, pack up your camping supplies, and get ready to have fun. Whether you’re just coming up for the festival or you plan on staying for a while, Marquette is the perfect spot to come enjoy yourself and make great memories in good company.