Barrel + Beam - Farmhouse Ales in Michigan's UP
Short on time? Here’s the gist!
Marquette, Michigan (the upper peninsula)
Fantastic farmhouse and barrel aged styles
Focused on high quality beer, family run, local ingredients
Must try: Terre a Terre
You may think that you know the craft beer scene in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; the usual suspects are the first to come to mind, Blackrocks, Ore Dock and Keweenaw Brewing. But if you’re going by that list then you are missing a stellar niche brewery….Barrel + Beam. Their niche is farmhouse style ales and barrel aging and they do it well. Their barrel aged beers are not the thick sugary pastry stouts you may think of but instead the classic fruited, funky masterpieces that really take on a character of their own inside the barrel. Another thing that sets Barrel & Beam apart is their use of local ingredients. They source everything they can from the local region, which usually includes the fruit, yeast, malt and hops!
Barrel + Beam is nestled inside a beautiful log cabin-esque building just off the main road running into Marquette. This building used to be home to Northwoods Supper Club, a club that dominated the Marquette dining scene from 1934 until it was shuttered in 2007. The building remained vacant until 2016 and the nearly 9 years of unuse left the space in a state of disrepair. Holes in the roof gave way to snow piles in the dining room and a family of raccoons made a home under the log stairs. Luckily, the building has been completely transformed, with more renovations to come. When you step inside, you know you are in the Upper Peninsula. The wooden beams and cozy farmhouse decor welcomes you to relax and warm up by the fire with a beer.
Terre a Terre – Saison 6.5% ABV
Terre a Terre has long been a favorite of mine. I found it at an Iron Mountain grocery store a year ago and fell in love. This is such a well done saison, fruity, spicy and a touch herbal. They even nailed the carbonation level which is a hallmark of the style. This is a staple of theirs so you can probably find it through their distribution footprint.
Pawberry- Wild Ale 7.2% ABV
Yum, yum, yum! After trying a sample of this beer, I had to get a full pour. Slightly tart, perfect touch of raspberry. The funk level in this is the real star, its definitely there (you really get it on the nose) but it doesn’t knock you over.
Synergy- Wild Ale 7.2% ABV
The perfect marriage of tart and sweet. It has some really nice fruit notes and a nice malt backbone. This would be a good introductory beer to the sour/ funky world.
Star Plum Stout- Wild Stout 7.5% ABV
I saved the most unique beer for last! Not for the faint of heart/ someone that is new in craft beer. If you like plums, you’ll love this! The plum flavor is prominent, and the rum barrels lend some spice to keep things interesting.