The Beverage Tasting Institute has awarded Marquette-based Ore Dock Brewing Company two gold medal ratings at its 2014 World Beer Championships. Both Reclamation IPA and Saison scored 93 out of a possible 100 points in their respective style categories.

The Championships take place annually with seven different tasting sessions per year.

Reclamation is referred to as a “mid-coast IPA” by the brewery. “It’s not as hop-forward as its west coast counterparts, nor is it as malty as what you often find out east,” says brewmaster Nick VanCourt.

Saison, on the other hand, has a complexity that is enhanced by bottle conditioning of the beer, ultimately allowing for an experience of the style of ale in its truest form.

“To medal with both of the recipes that truly represent our vision of the craft beer world here at Ore Dock is an awesome accomplishment,” says VanCourt. “We strive to create ales bursting with complexity while focusing on a calculated balance of beer’s big four ingredients.  The end result, we hope, is a highly drinkable product.”

6.1% ABV, Draft

Appearance: Autumn brown color, cloudy. Small head.
Aroma: Dark fruit with some hops.
Taste: Very balanced, with dark fruit, caramel and malt. Somewhat of a dry finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied.

Ore Dock’s Leaf Lookers Ale features roasty notes that are perfect for a breezy fall or spring day. With its average ABV and relatively dry mouthfeel, Leaf Lookers is easy-drinking, but still full of flavor. Dark fruit, caramel, malt and accompanying flavors come together to provide for a balanced, yet flavorful and enjoyable, brew.

4.1% ABV, Draft

Appearance: Clear golden yellow with a light head
Aroma: Malty and floral
Taste: Fresh bread and straw, lightly bittered
Mouthfeel: Light bodied

A light-bodied english bitter from Ore Dock. Pours beautifully and drinks even better. Tastes of a gourmet cracker, lightly buttered with hops and hay for a fresh and earthy conclusion. A perfect pairing for our slow passage to spring.

MARQUETTE — For the fourth straight year, the U.P. Fall Beer Festival thrilled craft beer enthusiasts with unique, one-of-a-kind beer from breweries all around Michigan.

Some of the best brews came from not only the staples of Michigan — like Short’s and Kuhnhenn — but also from newcomers to the festival.

Short’s’ newest bottle release, Peaches & Crème (9.5% ABV), was one of the brewery’s highlights at the festival. Its bright orange appearance led way to a peach-dominant aroma. The taste was sweet and overpowered with peaches and a minor bit of creme; needless to say the taste matched the beer’s name perfectly. It was definitely one of the standouts I had, and one I’m definitely going to hunt down in bottles.

Kuhnhenn’s Imperial Creme Brûlée Java Stout (8% ABV) was a great start to the festival, containing caramel, maple and (of course) creme brûlée. It wasn’t as sweet as I had expected, as coffee was more dominant than the sweet dessert.

Ore Dock Brewing Company, located just minutes away from the festival, brought a Zinfandel Barrel Aged Cocoa Blackberry Stout (7+% ABV) that also intrigued me. The cocoa was the story of this brew, with the blackberry shining through at the finish. For it being the brewery’s first time at a festival, it certainly impressed with this brew.

But my favorite brew of the day came from a brewery that was completely new to me — Blackrocks Brewery out of Marquette. Its Coconut Brown beer was a unique take on a brown, containing vanilla, coconut and a hint of coffee. The 7% brew wasn’t overpowered by coconut — rather it was more of a subtle, easy going addition to a solid brown ale. Needless to say it was quite impressive, and had me craving more.

While the U.P. Beer Festival isn’t as large as other Michigan Brewers Guild festivals, it certainly holds its own in a relaxing environment. With short lines, you could easily get your hands on some specialty brews that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.