Angry Bear

Prepare for the

An attendee of the Festival of the Angry Bear holds a reusable cup full of beer purchased at a past event. (Photo courtesy of Dominic Davis)


Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — As the Upper Peninsula thaws from yet another fierce winter, many yearn for warmer days with an insatiable thirst for spring — or beer.

That desire will be quenched soon enough, though, as the Ore Dock Brewing Co. in Marquette prepares to host its 6th annual Festival of the Angry Bear from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. April 13.

The free festival, which takes place inside and outside the brewery

at 114 W. Spring St., is back with more craft Lake Superior-sourced beverages than ever before. Altogether, there will be a variety of 25 options available in the heated festival tent, taproom and community space. The festival’s signature sour — Angry Bear, Flanders Brown Ale — will also make its return, but that’s not all.

“We’ll also have an area for our Breakwater Seltzer, which is our new seltzers that we just released under the Breakwater brand. It’s the U.P.’s first handcrafted small-batch hard seltzer and we’re really excited about it,” said Lizzie Corser, the brewery’s taproom and events manager.

Seltzers will be available on draft in four flavors at Angry Bear, Corser said, including blackberry, cherry, white peach and lemon lime.

“From here forward, they’ll also be available on draft at the brewery, but starting April 4 they’ll be available on draft throughout the Upper Peninsula,” she said. “So, people can check with their favorite restaurants and bars to see if they carry it. In early May, we’ll also be doing a limited release of cans to kick off the summer.”

Although the festival has several new additions this year, including a bigger tent and outdoor bar area, one of the key focuses has remained the same — celebrating barrel-aged beers.

“This is the time our barrel-aged beers really hit their peak,” Corser said. “We’ll have (12) barrel-aged and sour beers available in the tent in very limited quantities. As anyone who’s ever attended the festival can attest, our sours and barrel-aged beers are usually the first to run dry.”

Because the beers are so popular, the Ore Dock from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday is offering an exclusive tasting of the barrel-aged selections prior to the festival at an event called Tour de Bear.

Attendees can purchase the limited tickets for $50 online at ore-dock.com or the brewery’s taproom for a chance to be one of the first people to try out the beverages before this year’s festival. They’ll also get a tour of the brewery and partake in an in-depth discussion with the brewers themselves and Master of Production Gabe Hopkins.

Also on Thursday, Northwoods Flora of Marquette will set up from 5 to 7 p.m. in the community space for the second annual Angry Bear Flower Crown Workshop. All materials will be provided, and the florals and greens will be “long lasting,” so the crowns will last all weekend long. The class fee is $30 and all participants will receive $1 off their first pint. Those interested can sign up in advance by calling the floral studio at 906-225-5020.

“One of the things we try to do with the festival as it’s grown year after year, is continue to curate not only a festival that’s a showcase of our barrel-aged beers that we’re so proud of, but our community partnerships,” Corser added. “The community space during the festival is intended to be a reflection of the community. So, we have a Science on Tap lecture at 3 p.m., Fresh Coast Film Festival will be doing a screening from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Barley’s Angels, a new organization in town that focuses on women and craft beer, will have an informational booth with some of their upcoming events.”

Outside, the March of the Angry Bear parade will take place in the tent around 5 p.m. with appearances by WhoDatBrass and Wolf’s Head Theater Co., and the Woodland Creature Costume Contest will be held, where participants have the chance to win more than $100 in local prizes. Top contenders will be handed a golden ticket by festival staff between 3 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and asked to head to the stage for the final call at 9:30 p.m. Breakwall Comedy will be the emcee.

There’ll be two stages and music in the tent until midnight.

“We continue to try and showcase our local musicians and artists but also show off the incredible talent throughout the state and Midwest,” Corser said about booking acts.

The musical lineup is as follows:

≤ 3 p.m. Adam Sawfox — earnest and captivating Americana from Marquette.

≤ 4 p.m. Mark Lavengood — dirt road bluegrass from Grand Rapids, sponsored by Hiawatha Music Co-Op.

≤ 5 p.m. WhoDat Brass and the March of the Angry Bear

≤ 5:45 p.m. Brothers Quinn — elements of Folk, Celtic, Rock, Gypsy and Bluegrass from Whitewater, Wisconsin.

≤ 7 p.m. Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish — blues and rock and roll.

≤ 8 p.m. Barbarossa Brothers — downriver bayou folk from Bay City.

≤ 10 p.m. Chicago Loud 9 — hip hop, rock, funk & soul from the Windy City.

≤ 11:30 p.m. LUMI, a funk-fusion band from Marquette will close out the night in the community space upstairs.

Food will be supplied by longtime Angry Bear supporters Dia de los Tacos, Smelted Wood Fired Pizzas, the Burger Bus and Digs Gastropub. Grub is available until the tent closes at midnight, or the cabinets are bare, according to the Ore Dock’s website.

To partake in craft beverages, festival-goers will have the option to pick between two Angry Bear cups: a standard 12-ounce festival cup for $2; or a limited edition 16-ounce EcoVessel insulated tankard, which can be purchased for $30. Anyone who has an official festival cup or tankard from previous festivals are welcome to bring them to use as well.

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 p.m. 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.