Each and every year the Michigan Brewers Guild have four major festivals in which they collect a huge number of beers from the now over 300 breweries in the state. Every September the UP Beer Festival takes over Marqette, MI. and this year is no different! With 600 different beers from 90 breweries, the list is the biggest ever. But with over a 600 beers, we tell you the 20 we want to try at the festival, to represent the 9 year anniversary!

1. Ozones Brewhouse – Roller Kolscher

A cucumber Kolsch may not be something to think about on a breezy fall day in the UP because it definitely sounds like a warm summer day beer, but this brew sounds like something crisp, delicious, and easy to drink in the middle of the day to cleanse your pallet of bitter IPAs and strong barrel aged beers. The reviews are all over the place for this beer which means that it’s got a lot of people talking. For a non-standard flavor and beer profile, this is your chance to get out of your element to try something that you may like (or not), but if this isn’t your style, maybe their LiQuad Art may be up your alley!  Check out their episode when they came onto our SHOW

2. Jaden James Brewery – Russian Imperial Stout

We’ve talked on ends at how much we love Jaden James, and the head brewery was as humble as we expected when we bragged about how much we loved his peanut butter porter (which we suggest as well), but this beer was a hit for us during the Summer festival. It’s not too sweet and a little malt forward, but smooth for all weather types!

3. Soo Brewing Company– Soo Wheeat

Fall is coming and who doesn’t love a wheat beer? This raspberry wheat may not be getting too many reviews on Untappd, but the beer itself is a solid brew. So many of their beers are great and this is the chance to have it without having to get to the brewery! Clean, crisp, refreshing, and flavorful without being overpowering.

4. Cognition Brewing– Octopus Was Very Scary

Here’s where the honesty has come in. These are beers we WANT to try, not beers we’ve had necessarily, and this beer stuck out the second I read it. Referencing the deleted scene that rarely everyone sees (because it’s cut from TV, the attack of the Octopus), Data still mentions it at the end of the movie leaving people wondering “what octopus”. This beer is a ‘rocky road’ imperial stout that doesn’t have much to go on as the first rating was only on September 1st, but we can’t wait to get our hands on it.

5. Tripelroot– Barrel Aged Bumbletown Brown

This small brewery in Zeeland was very lackluster when I showed up. A lot of guest taps and not too much for their own beer. This is the chance for it to turn around and allow me to try their beer. While the brewery has a decent tap and bottle list, but we’re hoping this brown (and the BA version) are as delicious as I hope!

6. Dark Horse Brewing Co– Obtuse Spruce

Obtuse Spruce is a beer I haven’t had a chance to get my hands on even though it’s bottled, and excited to get the sweet malt taste out of it with the smell of it being piney and citrusy. This is an outlier for one of the best beers there that isn’t the ‘big beers’ or ‘IPA’s’.

7. Arbor Brewing Co Brewpub– Old #22

If you listen to Better on Draft, you know Ken is a big fan of altbiers and had his heart broken when the owners (at the time) announced they were no longer making/bottling Old #22. The altbier is a style that is rare to find, so when I get a chance to drink it, I will. I will be making a B-Line to the ABC booth the second I get in with the early entry!  Listen to the old owners when they were on our SHOW.

8. Transient Artisan Ales– Only I DIdn’t Say Fudge

Everyone is out here talking about Transient and their IPA’s, but I’m excited for this Christmas Story themed milk stout. Getting a 4+ on Untappd is hard enough but reading the reviews, this is a solid beer that is even better..on draft!

9. Ore Dock Brewing– Loose Juicy

Not to be confused with the 800 other NEIPA’s, Loose Juicy from the local Ore Dock is a must have (and a beer you can probably get right after the festival as well if you liked it so much). With amazing beers like the Reclamation IPA, Bum’s Beach Wheat, and their Saison, this is sure to hit on all cylinders.

10. Railtown Brewing-Kilted Bean

Not too often you see wee heavy’s at these beer festivals simply because like the alt, it’s a very under appreciated style, but a wee heavy with coffee is great. Depending on how it is made, we hope not to get a bitter coffee flavor in it, but many people are enjoying it that we’ve seen, that it makes it a must try!

11. Territorial– Drop it Like It’s Apricot

An apricot sour is something that’s not on everyone’s “GO TO” list, but this really caught our attention. The name alone made us take a second look at it, and while we are reading the sour flavor overpowers the apricot, on a nice fall Saturday, who knows what it’ll taste like!

12. ROAK– Raspberry Flavorful Five Double IPA

ROAK, so many in the craft brewery fandom’s joke just because of how aggressive they came out, made EVERYONE eat their words when they came out with Blow Your Face Out. Now they’re doing a NEIPA including this raspberry version of it. Get your fruit juice lips going as this is the second (and final) NEIPA suggest we make on this list.  Check out when one of the owners joined our SHOW.

13. Elk Brewing– Watermelon Cucumber Gose

This beer was the #1 beer for me at the summer beer festival. I could go on about the flavor, the taste, how the watermelon isn’t overbearing and for a 100 degree day it was the most solid and crisp beer, but seriously, just try it, you won’t be disappointed.

14. Founders– Green Zebra

Our first Gose on the list, this is THE beer to get from Founders. Sure they have all their barrel aged beers, but sometimes barrel aged isn’t everything. Solid can, probably an amazing river floating beer, and at only 4.6% abv, this is a crusher that you can have many! Why wait in line for KBS, when you can get this a few times!  We had Founders on our show twice!  Check them out HERE and HERE!

15. Brewery Vivant– Habanango

Barrel Aged Sour with Habanero and Mango. So much in one small little glass. This beer should have so many flavors and I would think the Mango and Sour parts will definitely subside the heat of the habanero. Spicy beers may not be for everyone, but this may be the one beer to try that won’t kill your taste buds.

16. OUR Brewing– Megalodon

The only Barleywine on this list, Megalodon seems to be one of the best choices from OUR. The brewery itself set in the basement of the building, the head brewer has put his touch on so many amazing beers that we expect nothing less from this Barleywine.

17. Fetch Brewing– Gingertide

I’m not going to lie. We chose a beer from this brewery simply because of the name of the brewery itself. (see video above). These older style beers (we assume this will be a fruit but there is nothing on the internet about it yet), will be great, no bitterness, and easy to drink while at the festival!

18. Lake Charlevoix Brewing– Dang Braggot

The Only Mead/Braggot on this list, but we are excited to try one at the festival. The fruity/sweet beers that they have coming up, this Mulberry and Blueberry Braggot will probably be just as sweet as it is dangerous at 9%+ ABV

19. White Flame Brewing– Double Tap

One more IPA for the road. Hudsonville’s White Flame is bringing their Double Tap, a session IPA that is an Amarillo dry hop blend. We suggested this beer to promote safety while drinking! So many beers here have such a high ABV, and there is nothing wrong with a clean and crisp seasonable beer!

20. Lansing Brewing– Fox in the Hen House

Having a black peppercorn finish, this traditional saison using a wheat malt will allow for a fruity and tangy beer that will bring out more sweetness than anything. We are hoping the malt comes through and gives you a delicious juicy malt bomb and nothing too bitter.

By Ken

A craft beer fan since 19, used to look for your non-regular beers on frequent trips to downtown Windsor with friends, at 21 Ken basically took over an entire refrigerator with monthly visits to Merchants. With 5 years of podcasting prior, Ken decided to create the brand and show Better on Draft in the spring of 2015, and began creating his dream of a beer-centric website that wasn't too full of itself. He now runs the board and does a lot of the back office stuff while the show goes on, keeping everyone in line, and the beer flowing!

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