Wake Up from your Winter Slumber: Festival of the Angry Bear

Welcome spring to the U.P. dressed as your favorite woodland creature drinking local beer, with local ingredients, while listening to local music at the Festival of the Angry Bear this Saturday, April 6 from 3 p.m. to midnight at the Ore Dock Brewing Company in Marquette.

           “It’s a huge event,” said Adam Robarge, Production and Brand Manager at the Ore Dock. “I think last year we saw somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 people come through. We’ll have two tents instead of one this year, we doubled the tents, we doubled our food vendors, we added another bar out there. It’s just a complete doubling of the event really.”


           A doubling of an already must-attend Marquette event. Adam said, although people do come from out of town, it is still a primarily driven by the local scene and many of the beers contain local ingredients.

           “We have a blackberry sour ale soured on the blackberries picked at an employee’s family’s property up near Big Bay.”

           Every year the Plumber’s Crack beer is a stable. It’s a sour beer aged on local plums that come from, believe it or not, the Ore Dock’s plumber.

           “The beer I am really looking forward to is the Montreal which we’ve done in the past but it’s a sour brown ale soured with Chassell strawberries. It’s a really really tasty.”

           Another beer, the Big Yellow McLeod is made from Sedar Bay hops, a hop that comes from, and is indigenous to, the Keweenaw Peninsula.

           “These guys found these hops on their property; they were already growing.”

           In total, there will be 16 beers at the festival and five of the beers will be sour barrel-aged beers including the festival’s namesake, the Angry Bear.

           Angry Bear? Where did the festival get its name?

           There’s no one answer. The spring beers come out of barrels much like bears waking from their winter slumber; the Angry Bear beer itself got its name because it is brewed in the Belgiun oud bruin style; and there is even a legend that says a boy fought a bear to save his grandmother and there is a festival in Belgium to celebrate, much like this festival.

           “That’s kind of what we wanted, to have this European-beer celebration where we encourage people to dress up in costume and promote as much as we can local: local beer, local food, local music and throw out a bunch of picnic tables so people kind of have to sit together.”

           The festival is family friendly earlier in the day with Melissa Hronkin from Algomah Acres speaking about bees and the Marquette County Conservation District hosting a Native Plants Station. For more information about the events throughout the festival, food vendors, and music visit: ore-dock.com/events/angry-bear-festival

Melissa Orzechowski is the Local Food Coordinator for the UP. She is an avid outdoorswomen. Contact her at [email protected]