10 Must-Attend Events During Chicago Craft Beer Week
Chicago Craft Beer Week kicks off Thursday with tappings, tastings and dinners all across Chicago's beer bars, taverns and restaurants, anchored by the sold out Beer Under Glass kickoff event at the Garfield Park Conservatory.
From now until May 26 the city's streets will be awash in suds and beer geeks rolling from event to event to get their hands on rare beers from local breweries both popular and new to Chicago's craft beer scene.
The list of events during CCBW can be daunting, even for those who aren't kicking themselves for not buying tickets to showcase tastings like BUG or Half Acre's fifth anniversary party May 17. And there are plenty of small tastings, flight samplings, food pairings and meet and greets that won't put a strain on your budget.
We've listed 10 must-do events that are on our radar—a quick bucket list for the next week-plus.
- Lorna Juett and Chuck Sudo
Perennial Artisan Ales Tasting/Meet and Greet At Fischman's Liquors (4780 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
St. Louis-based Perennial Artisan Ales has become a favorite among the more discerning Chicago craft beer geeks. Meet the man behind their beers, brewer, Andy Hille, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Fischman's Liquors, in Jefferson Park, is worth the visit, having transformed itself into an oasis of great beer while still maintaining their tavern vibe. They'll be pouring Saison De Lis-a Belgian style Saison made with Chamomile flowers. We will also be pouring one from the Perennial cellar, 17-a mint chocolate stout.—CS
The Chicago Beer Geeks Tap Takeover Experience at Bottom Lounge (1375 W. Lake St.)
The folks at Chicago Beer Geeks and Wild Onion Brewery debut their collaborative beer, Deception," with a no holds barred event in Bottom Lounge's Volcano room featuring burlesque dancers, DJs and plenty of beer. The event runs from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door or online.—CS
"Two Fitty Snifty Monday" at Shoes Pub (1134 W. Armitage Ave.)
Sometimes all you want in life is a cold beer in a legitimate dive bar. Shoes Pub on Armitage will certainly scratch that itch. Not known for their robust craft beer selection, but perhaps more well known for their wobbly pool table and rotating cast of old man regulars, Shoe's is taking a cue from other Craft Beer Week events around town and will sell snifters of craft beer for just $2.50. Drafts will include pours from Hinterland, Half Acre Lagunitas, and Bell's. This probably isn't the event for the super nerds out there, but it might just be a welcome departure from the snobbery and crowds all over town. No tickets required, and the event is open to the public from 5 p.m. until close.—LJ
"Brown Line Brews" at The Long Room (1624 W. Irving Park Rd.)
The Ravenswood, North Center, and Lincoln Square neighborhoods have become premier beer destinations in the city of Chicago, and while the recognition was nice, we didn't need Center Square journal to tell us that. Celebrate all the great beer along the brown line stops that service these corridors, as well as the certified Cicerones and Beer Servers in Chicago at The Long Room on May 20. If you are Cicerone, you can register ahead of time and get a custom glass, and your first round is on them. The event is open to all, but if you're curious about pursuing a Cicerone certification, this may be a great opportunity to chat with folks who have been through the process. Featured breweries and beer shops include: Half Acre Beer Company, Begyle Brewing, Atlas Brewing Company, Metropolitan Brewing, DryHop Brewers, Bottles And Cans, and Brew Camp.—LJ
Fowl Transients, Traditional Lambics & American Wilds at The Beer Temple (3185 N. Elston Ave., 8 p.m.)
It is no secret, sours beers are entering the mainstream beer market with a noisy bang. But, we're not going to let the Belgians have all the fun. Two brewers with Goose Island pedigree, John Laffler of Off Color Brewing, and Tom Korder of Penrose, are entering the Chicago market with the expertiese to bring some local flavor to the sour scene. And, if you get a ticket for the Fowl Transients, Traditional Lambics & American Wilds event at The Beer Temple, you can also have a hand in bringing the funk, alongside the noise. Not only will both brewers be on hand, but they are also seeking your imput in shaping a sour ale to be served during next year's Chicago Craft Beer Week. Your $30 ticket also includes a blending seminar, a discussion of Belgian sours vs. American sours, and plenty of tasting, including new beers from Off Color and Penrose. Call or stop by The Beer Temple (773-754-0907) to get your spot today.—LJ
South of 80 2.0 at The Green Lady (3328 N. Lincoln Ave., 7 p.m.)
Our friends at Guys Drinking Beer are back with a selection of beers from downstate and South of I-80. Taste beers from Scratch Brewing Company in Ava, Ill.; Rolling Meadows Brewery in Cantrall, Ill.; the popular Destihl brewery and brewpubs in Bloomington/Normal and Champaign; and St. Louis-based Six Row Brewing Company and Urban Chestnut. Last year's inaugural event showed that the breweries operating downstate are doing some amazing work and the tap list for this year's event is sure to please.—CS
Prairie Artisan Ales Chicago Release Party at Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro (3905 N. Lincoln Ave., 7 p.m.)
With so much beer entering the Chicago market, both locally and from far away lands such as Colorado and California, it's rare that a new beer really blows me away. That said, I was completley unprepared for what I have tasted coming from Prairie Artisan Ales in Krebs, Okla. Based on their Prairie Standard Saison and their bottled sours, the beer coming from these brewers is going to be huge once they roll out their entire catalog. Lucky for you, you can be among the first to taste their beers.—LJ
Half Acre Open House at Half Acre Brewery and Tap Room (4255 N. Lincoln Ave., 6-9 p.m.)
If you've ever gotten up at the butt crack of dawn and stood outside the garage doors at Half Acre hoping to get inside for a brewery tour, and been turned away, here's your chance to make up for some of that lost time. On Thursday May 23, Half Acre is opening the doors to their brewery for an open house party. This event is open to the public, and does not require advance tickets. However, you might want to start standing in line today.—LJ
Northwest Side Craft Beer Ride, starting at Lake Effect Brewing Company (4727 W. Montrose, Suite C, 6:30 p.m.)
Explore the Northwest Side's beer shrines with this motorized bar crawl where 8 local breweries will be featured at 8 unique bars all connected by a regular bus loop to ensure comfort and safety. Participants will ride around in comfort on board a Chitown Party Bus as they are shuttled from bar to bar. Brewery staff will welcome the pub crawlers at each of the featured bars and will be on hand to talk up the beer, share a few, and hang out. Simply show up to one of the featured bars and when the bus arrives get on. Keep your ticket handy because you will need to show it at the bus in order to get your wristband and pint glass. At the end of the pub crawl, there will be an announcement for the last bus. Tickets available online.—CS
One Trick Pony Beer Release at Rock Island Public House (13328 Olde Western Ave., Blue Island, 7 p.m.)
Based a 40-minute drive from Chicago in Lansing, One Trick Pony Brewery is making some amazing beers right under our noses. For this event, brewmaster Mark Kocol dove deep into the histories of Blue Island pre-Prohibition breweries like Busch and Brand to create an homage to the Roaring 20s in the south suburbs.—CS