Angry Bear

Ore Dock will celebrate 5 years of springtime festival

Symbolizing awakening from hibernation, each spring the Ore Dock Brewing Company in Marquette hosts the Festival of the Angry Bear to showcase barrel-aged beer, live local music and community involvement. At left, Christopher Leith of the Upper Peninsula Shakespeare Fesitval performed while dressed as a bear at the 2017 festival. (Journal photo by Rachel Oakley) Below, a mug commemorating the 2017 festival is shown atop a barrel inside the Ore Dock’s production facility. (Journal photo by Ryan Jarvi)

MARQUETTE — Over the last four years the Ore Dock Brewing Company’s Festival of the Angry Bear has routinely come out of hibernation in April, taking over Spring Street in downtown Marquette.

This year the brewery will celebrate five years of festivities at 3 p.m. on April 14. The free event goes until 1 a.m. but the festival tent, which will be heated for everyone’s convenience, closes at midnight.

Modeled after several popular European beer festivals, the event — which welcomed around 3,000 attendees last year — showcases barrel-aged beer, live music, a variety of food options, community involvement and the celebration of spring, even if the area is still thawing out from the long winter, says Ore Dock Production Manager Adam Robarge.

“We really kind of envisioned the event as the Yooper version of Oktoberfest. But instead of lederhosen, most people are still decked out in their Sorels and Stormy Kromers,” Robarge said in an email. “We’ve got barrels of beer that have been slumbering all winter long and a bunch of people that have spent far too much time indoors. Everyone’s simply ready to just get out and have a good time. It’s a celebration of what the calendar tells us is spring.”

The festival’s signature sour, Angry Bear, Flanders Brown Ale, will return a little “angrier” alongside new barrel-aged offerings. Altogether, there will be a variety of 18 beers available.

“This year we wanted to do something for the festival’s namesake beer, making it just a touch ‘angrier’ in an attempt to really shine a spotlight on the barrel-aged process,” Robarge said. “This year’s Angry Bear is stellar, aging for 10 months in a red wine barrel before going through a traditional blending technique, only then to be finished in a brandy barrel for two more months. This offering will be limited with a 5 (p.m.) tapping and is surely something not to be missed.”

Festivalgoers will have the option to pick between two Angry Bear cups: a standard festival cup for $6 plus a free fill; or a limited edition stainless steel tankard, which can be purchased for $25. Anyone who has an official festival cup or tankard from 2016 or 2017 is welcome to bring them to use as well.

Although it’s a definite plus, the festival doesn’t only consist of tasty brews.

This year for a special Angry Bear edition of Science on Tap, Rolf O. Peterson, research professor at Michigan Technological University, will present “The Wolves of Isle Royale: What Went Wrong, and What Should We Do Now?” in the community space at 3 p.m.

There will also be the March of the Angry Bear parade taking place around 5 p.m. in the tent, with appearances by WhoDatBrass and others, followed by a special screening of short films from the Fresh Coast Film Festival to be shown in the community space at 6 p.m. Festival founders will be around to chat about the October event and tickets will be available for purchase.

Attendees are encouraged to dress up for the Woodland Creature Costume Contest for a chance to win more than $100 in prizes from Marquette businesses.

Food will be supplied throughout the event by longtime Angry Bear supporters Steinhaus, as well as Dia de los Tacos, Copper Crust Pizza Co. and Superior Mobile Koney.

Because of the growing size of the event, the Ore Dock crew prepares for the festival throughout most of the year.

“It’s on our minds the entire year long. We meet each fall to sort of lay the ground work for the following spring and then really get into gear once the new year has passed. We really strive to transfer the beer knowledge of what’s being poured that day throughout the entire staff. It’s the kind of beer experience you might think could only be had in a more metropolitan setting, so we pride ourselves of knowing the life stages for each of these beers,” Robarge said. “It’s a big day. It’s become such a staple event come spring in downtown Marquette that we truly feel a great deal of responsibility toward the community in providing this venue for celebration. As much as we revel in the late night shenanigans that take place, the family-friendly atmosphere that exists during the afternoon is equally as special. We hope there’s something here for everyone. And we receive so much support from other businesses, community organizations, and the city of Marquette itself, we’re pretty sure this event is here to stay.”

With two stages and music in the tent until midnight, the 2018 lineup includes:

≤ 3 p.m. — Last Gasp Collective

≤ 4 p.m. — Steve Leaf & the Ex Pats

≤ 5 p.m. — MARCH OF THE ANGRY BEAR

≤ 5:30 p.m. — Lalo Cura

≤ 6:45 p.m. — Strung Together

≤ 8 p.m. — Ignorant Mob

≤ 9 p.m. — Them Coulee Boys

≤ 10:30 p.m. — Galactic Sherpas

Due to growing attendance and corresponding capacity limitations, the event will be 21+ after 7 p.m. Anyone under the age of 21 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian between 3 and 7 p.m.

For more information, visit the Ore Dock’s website at ore-dock.com.

Jaymie Depew can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is jdepew@miningjournal.net.