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Chicagoist's Guide To Chicago Craft Beer Week

By Paul Schneider in Food on May 15, 2012 4:00PM


Chicago Craft Beer Week will test your tastebuds, your liver, and your boss's and significant other's patience with your eleven-day-long state of hangover. With our help, you can make it out alive. Well, maybe.

First, the bad news. Tickets to three of the most raucous, highly anticipated, and tasty events during CCBW are already sold out. The opening festival, a nighttime beach party thrown by Half Acre, and the unofficial closing ceremony at the new Revolution production brewery are off-limits except to those who planned ahead. Good luck on Craigslist if you're dying to go.

The good news is that there are still hundreds of great events around town to keep you more than busy. We culled the best from the overwhelming schedule to point you to the bottom of some happy pints.

Before you get started, plan on stopping in at one of the neighborhood headquarters for a free lanyard. A lanyard is required for some of the events on the schedule.

Thursday, May 17
Start CCBW off with our out-of-state friends. Three Floyds is taking over the taps at Village Pub (free, 5 p.m.-close) and Greenbush is setting up shop at the newly refreshed Hot Chocolate ($20, 10 p.m.-close).

Friday, May 18
Last year, 5 Rabbit used CCBW to introduce itself to the city. This time, Solemn Oath Brewery makes its official launch at Bavarian Lodge in Lisle (free, 6 p.m. tapping). Try their first four beers--a Belgian-style white ale with orange peel, lemon peel, and Indian green coriander, a Belgo-American pale ale, an American double red, and a cask-conditioned American IPA. The arrival of Solemn Oath is the most exciting part of CCBW for us here at Chicagoist. Also check out their Naperville taproom when it opens the following day.

When you wrap up in the burbs, head to Local Option for Salad Days, featuring beers from Against the Grain and Local Option Bierwerker, and "the most metal salad bar ever" (free, 3 p.m.-close). A great option for iron-deficient beer geeks.

Saturday, May 19
Wil Turner, Revolution's head pub brewer, organizes a free, casual disc golf outing with brewers. The group starts with pints at Rock Bottom at 11 a.m., then treks south on the Red Line to the 35th Street stop for a round of disc golf at the IIT course.

If rain extinguishes the disc golf outing, as it tried to do last year, don't worry. That leaves more time for Haymarket's annual Beerfly Alleyfight! The festival is a beer, food, and art pairing competition that highlights homemade goods in all three categories (12-5 p.m., $35 in advance).

On the south side, Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar proprietor Ed Marszewski is launching his craft beer journal, The Mash Tun, at a festival of the same name at the Bridgeport Arts Center. The $40 ticket includes a copy of the journal, a tasting glass, unlimited flagship beers, tickets for rare beer samples, and snacks (1-4:30 PM). Head to Maria's after for a ridiculous beer list.

Sunday, May 20
Goose Island is opening up its barrel-aging warehouse for what may be the best-smelling mini-golf experience ever. Tickets are available via raffle and include beers from Goose Island and friends (11 a.m., $40/pair).

To celebrate the life of Macho Man Randy Savage one year after it ended, Farmhouse is hosting a Three Floyds and Jolly Pumpkin tap takeover. Snap into a complimentary Slim Jim after a moment of silence and check out Macho Man's greatest moment on screens around the bar (free, all day).

Monday, May 21
Take a trolley tour of Bucktown and Wicker Park craft beer spots like Map Room, Big Star, and Bangers & Lace for special brews with the brewers from Uinta, Against the Grain, Shiiner, and Uncommon Brewers along the way ($20, 6 - 11 p.m.).

Revolution Brewing is reprising its excellent Firestone Walker collaboration Dos Osos as well as tapping some truly special and rare Firestone Walker beers (free, 3 p.m. tapping).

Dryhop, a Lakeview brewpub in planning, collaborated with Hamburger Mary's and Lunar Brewing to brew a few pilot batches that they'll tap at Northdown (5 p.m. tapping, free). This is your first chance to try Dryhop in anticipation of their fall opening.

City Provisions will host a beer dinner paired with Finch's beer in their Ravenswood deli ($95, 6 p.m.). Watch for their Greenbush dinner in installment two of your Chicagoist guide to Chicago Craft Beer Week!