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American Beer Classic Lands At Soldier Field In May

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Mar 12, 2013 4:45PM


What is the American Beer Classic, why is coming to Soldier Field May 11 and why does Chicago — already saturated with smaller beer festivals and events — need another one?

According to Lauren Shield of Red Frog Events, producers of the event, it’s because Chicago is such a beer savvy town they believe they can host the festival in an “iconic” setting like Soldier Field. The festival’s website went live this morning and Shield told Chicagoist response has been good so far, with brisk ticket sales. Tickets may be purchased for as low as $30 (for designated drivers). Right now general admission for those of you who want to drink beer at the event starts at $40 on a tiered system, based on ticket availability and demand. VIP tickets are $110 and will be subject to that same tiered system.

What will admission grant you? The option to sample hundreds of beers, for starters. The Midwestern craft beer movement is well represented here but, with a festival of this size, expect some offshoots from the Big Two beer conglomerates, Anheuser-Busch/InBev and Miller-Coors, to be in attendance, as well. (Miller-Coors’ Blue Moon is one of the companies on the list of participating breweries.)

Shield said to expect a full afternoon of educational seminars on beer, tours of Soldier Field and live entertainment. “Because this is being held in Chicago, we’d like to have local musical acts represented at the festival,” Sheild said, adding that organizers are working to line up speakers and acts as of post time.

This has us asking that universal question: Is bigger always better? Our criticisms of the Chicago Beer Festival at Union Station haven’t stopped people from attending that festival. Like the Chicago Beer Festival, Shield makes a good point in noting the location may be the American Beer Classic’s biggest selling point, although the only remaining “iconic” aspect of Soldier Field is its colonnades. We’re not completely against a large beer festival on the lakefront and are curious to see how this turns out.
The American Beer Classic will be held from noon until 4 p.m. May 11 at Soldier Field Tickets are available on the festival’s website.