The Best Breweries Near UP Ski Resorts

After a long day skiing, what is better than sitting back and enjoying a couple beers with friends for your après-ski. And if you are like me, you love microbreweries and trying new beers when you are out. Luckily, over the years many breweries have popped up across the UP giving us all access to a wide range of beer choices.

Where can you go grab a beer at a local brewery when you are skiing the ski resorts across the UP? I’ll take you through the options, including my favorites that are near each ski resort in the UP. This isn’t an all-inclusive article on breweries in the UP, just some that I like and recommend near UP ski resorts. As a note, I have not been compensated by any of the Breweries for this article.

Big Snow Country – Snowriver Mountain, Big Powderhorn, Whitecap Mountains, Porcupine Mountains, and Mt. Zion

Big Snow Country, consisting of six of the most popular ski hills in the Midwest is centered in Ironwood and has been considered one of the top skiing destinations for decades. Along with some of the best skiing, you can also get yourself a pretty good microbrew at two nearby breweries.

Cold Iron Brewing, Ironwood

Source: Cold Iron Brewing Facebook

Cold Iron brewing opened in downtown Ironwood in March of 2017 bringing craft beer to Big Snow Country. The brewery is located on the corner of Ayer and Lowell streets and has become a community hub in Ironwood. The brewery typically has 3-4 beers that are always on tap and features rotating seasonal brews. The taproom is a family-friendly atmosphere and features ping pong, shuffleboard, cornhole, foosball, and other games to play. Dogs are also welcome. No food is served at Cold Iron, but you are welcome to order from a local restaurant and bring it in to enjoy with a cold beer. In full disclosure, I have bartended at Cold Iron in the past and I call the owners of the brewery friends of mine.

Recommended Beers:

  • Drift North IPA – My personal favorite and go-to. I’m an IPA guy, so that’s usually my choice wherever I go.
  • Honey Cream Ale – A cream ale brewed with local honey for those of you have a lighter beer palate.
  • Jack Frost Dopplebock – Usually comes out in December in conjunction with the Jack Frost Festival in Downtown Ironwood. The cool thing about this beer is that the bartender will “Poke the Bock.” A hot metal rod will be poked into the beer prior to serving which gives the beer a distinct carmelized flavor.


Five Sons Brewing, Marenisco

Source: Five Sons Brewing Facebook

Five Sons Brewing is located just 20 minutes east of Snowriver Mountain Resort in the small town of Marenisco near Lake Gogebic. This is one of the newest breweries in the UP, having opened in 2022. The owner is the retired police chief and his wife is a doctor who operated a clinic in what is now the brewery building. After retiring, he decided to convert the building into a brewery in his hometown so he could share his hobby of craft brewing. And, he sure did a great job as it’s a spot you wouldn’t expect to see in a small town like Marenisco. No food is served, but you can grab a bite and take it in with you from Two Fat Guys Bar & Grill, just two blocks down the road.

Recommended Beers:

  • Bee Sting Honey Jalapeno Wheat – A crisp wheat ale brewed with honey and just a little “sting” of jalapeno.
  • Alligator Eye-PA – I like this one just because of the name. Alligator Eye is a local peak overlooking Lake Gogebic with some nice scenic views.


Marquette Mountain

I graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2005. At that time, there were two breweries in the Marquette area. Now, there are 10 stretching from Ishpeming down to Harvey! To say, that Marquette has a good choice for breweries is an understatement. I’m not going to go through all of them right now, but will give you some info on my favorites.

Blackrocks Brewery, Marquette

Source: Blackrocks Brewing Facebook

Blackrocks has been perhaps my favorite brewery due to their several very good beers, the unique aspects of the taproom itself, and the fact that they have always lended support to local outdoor recreation. Up the hill on Third Street in Marquette is what would first look like an unassuming yellow house which, in 2010, was made into one of the most popular breweries around. Recent additions to the brewery have added a large patio area, a retail shop, and indoor and outdoor music stages. The brewery has been a supporter of several outdoor recreation events such as the Marji Gesick Mountain Bike Race and the Noquemanon Ski Marathon.

Favorite Beers:

  • 51K IPA – This beer is my favorite of them all. It is a very hoppy IPA that drinks nicely. 51K was named from the Noquemanon Ski Marathon, where the 50K event ends at the Superior Dome which is 1K away from Blackrocks.
  • My Kiss IPA – I said I liked IPAs, didn’t I?
  • Barbaric Yawp – This is a strong (11%), heavy, barrel-aged scotch ale. It’s definitely one to warm up with in as a winter seasonal.


Ore Dock Brewing, Marquette

Source: Ore Dock Brewing Facebook

In the shadows of the famous Marquette Ore Dock, Ore Dock Brewing is located in downtown Marquette. Ore Dock provides one of the best live music venues in all of the UP and pulls in many great acts each year. The brewery building is a beautiful historic building made mostly of local sandstone and actually includes two taprooms. Downstairs is a brewing facility, taproom, street-side patio and upstairs is the live music venue with stage and dance floor and a large taproom bar.

Favorite Beers:

  • Berserker – A hoppy hazy IPA with citrus flavors and lactoce, plus a pretty cool name.
  • Six Pointer – A dunkel brewed in cooperation with the legendary Stormy Kromer company producers of the UP’s official cap!


Barrel + Beam, Marquette

Source: Barrel + Beam Facebook

Barrel + Beam may be a bit hard to find, but is worth the search. It’s not located near downtown like the other breweries, but instead out in Marquette Township near the Menard’s and Subaru Dealership. The building was formerly a popular supper club in the area and was fully refurbished into a beautiful brewery and event hall and now also includes a test kitchen. Barrel + Beam is unique in the types of drinks it serves. They serve several different types of specialty beers you may not find as often at more traditional American breweries such as lambics, saisons, and more. They also brew up a range of ciders and meads.

Favorite Beers:

I can’t say I have a favorite beer here, as I have tried something new and interesting every time and they all have been great. I have particularly enjoyed drinking their meads. A mead is made by fermenting honey in the brewing process. Barrel + Beam’s meads are more of a dry mead and not as sweet as other meads I have tried.


The Others

  • Drifa Brewing, Marquette
  • The Vierling, Marquette
  • Superior Culture, Marquette
  • Upper Peninsula Brewing, Negaunee
  • Cognition Brewing, Ishpeming
  • Jasper Ridge Brewery, Ishpeming
  • Lake Superior Smokehouse, Harvey

Mount Bohemia & Mont Ripley

The Keweenaw is home to endless natural beauty, amazing mining history, and the best skiing you will find in the Midwest. It also has a rich brewing history as it was home to the Bosch Brewing Company which was founded in 1874 lasting for nearly 100 years into the 1970s.

Keweenaw Brewing Company, Houghton

Source: Keweenaw Brewing Facebook

Keweenaw Brewing Company’s taproom is located in downtown Houghton, but the majority of their brewing is done in the facility south of the city in South Range. The Houghton taproom is located right on the main street in a beautiful old building with a nice patio in back overlooking Portage Lake.

Favorite Beers:

  • Widowmaker Black Ale – This beer is dark and black, but as an ale drinks very smoothly. This is probably their most popular beer and found at stores and bars around the region and is my favorite of the Keweenaw offerings. Mount Bohemia also has a run named Widowmaker after it.
  • Pick Axe Blonde – Another popular beer you will find at establishments around the region, this blonde ale is easy drinking and smooth. Plus, just below the Widowmaker run at Boho, you’ll ski through one called Pick Axe.
  • Point Trail Ale – They call this a multi-hopped rye IPA and part of the proceeds from the sale support the development of the Point Trail of the mountain bike trail system in Copper Harbor.


The Others

  • Brickside Brewing, Copper Harbor – Brickside is a must-stop in the summer months but hours are usually sparse or none during the winter
  • The Library Restaurant and Pub, Houghton
  • Michigan House Cafe & Red Jacket Brewing, Calumet

Ski Brule

Iron River is home to Ski Brule and Olympian Nick Baumgartner, but you’ll have to go to a neighboring community to find a local brewery.

Alpha Michigan Brewing Company, Alpha

Source: Alpha Michigan Brewing Facebook

Alpha? Where is Alpha? Located just south of Crystal Falls is the small town of Alpha, dubbed the smallest village in America with a brewery (population 126), is the Alpha Michigan Brewing Company. Alpha has become one of my favorite brewery stops in the UP and it is also home to the amazing Thursday night “Pasty and a Pint” special. The brewery is located next to the Historic Alpha schoolhouse built in the former bus garage and right off of what is probably the first roundabout ever in Michigan, created in 1914. Just don’t drink and do the Alpha 500… 500 laps around the small traffic circle.

Favorite Beers:

  • Naughty School Girl Cream Ale – An easy drinking cream ale, described as a “lawnmower beer.” The beer was named because of the brewery location at the historic school.
  • Brule River Red – Named after the nearby Brule River, this is a tasty Amber Ale.


Pine Mountain

Pine Mountain was initially founded by beer kingpin, Frederick Pabst, so you have to enjoy a beer while you are skiing here. Pabst loved skiing and brought rope tows to Iron Mountain in 1939 to bring skiers from Chicago and Milwaukee. Pabst was instrumental in creating several ski hills across the country. So toast Fredrick Pabst for helping bring skiing to the UP with a cold PBR and then a local craft brew.

51st State Brewing, Kingsford

Source: 51st State Brewing Facebook

Why is it called 51st State? The separation of the Upper Peninsula from the rest of Michigan and the capital in Lansing, at one time, made Yoopers call for it to become it’s own state… the 51st state. The UP does have many cultural differences to the trolls down below the bridge and is only connected by a large bridge, but alas is still a part of Michigan. The brewery adopted this name and serves several great beers but some really good pizza to go with it.

Favorite Beers:

  • Ski Jump IPA – How can’t I pick this one? Obviously named after the Pine Mountain Ski Jump and my favorite style of beer this is the only choice for me.


There you have it, the official Best Breweries near UP Ski Resorts from Ski Da UP. Where will you be having your next après-ski brew when you visit the UP?

Dustin Filippini