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Beer And Wonder At The 2015 Lagunitas Beer Circus

By Ben Kramer in Food on Jun 8, 2015 4:45PM

Amidst all the controversy, drama and heartbreak in the world there was one place on Earth where none of that negativity could penetrate. The Second Annual Lagunitas Beer Circus on Saturday was the place where good vibrations reigned supreme, knocking all personal and global problems aside, if only from noon to five.

Walking up to the fences through the parking lot of the Lagunitas Brewing Facility in Douglas Park, patrons were met with the distant sounds of a drum line. The drummers stood tall on a metal tower performing on circular platforms, spread high and low around the structure, adorned with ladders and railings of bronze.

Once you got past the line to get in, immediately you were met with men and women on stilts dressed in steampunk-esque attire. Woman in tight corsets, leggings, skirts (one hoola hooping) and flour white face paint traveled around, encouraging circus goers to attend the Sideshow stage, play games and enjoy the live music.

Beer was a given in this equation, with several Lagunitas offerings such as Day Time, IPA and Censored on tap. Included in the mix were special cask conditioned beers, containing live yeast and twists to beloved brews such as a delicious version of Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale,which was cask conditioned and brewed with coriander and orange peel.

Small, local breweries starred as well, with Pipeworks and Spiteful being the best known. This was a good move on Lagunitas part, because it let people sample lesser knowns such as Illuminated Brew Works, Motor Row Brewing, Vice District and Blue Island, giving these breweries a chance to be heard in an ever growing beer scene.

Of course beer was important to the event but it stayed in the background instead of being in the forefront, another good move. It served as another attraction in a sea full of fantabulous sights, sounds and acts.

With entertainment provided by Chicago’s Redmoon Theater, their performers created several unforgettable moments through grounded hook suspension art, the Wine Bike (beer bike in this situation) and acrobatic pole dancing, just to name a few. Honestly the core strength those pole dancers have is phenomenal. I dare say pole dancing may be harder to master than hockey, our cities darling sport.

By far the most spectacular moment came when Danielle Nicholas and Ray Rehberg were suspended 16 feet in the air, on a piano, swinging around by pulley on the same metal tower mentioned earlier. Belting out Dusty Springfield and Hozier, singer Nicholas captivated the crowd with her vocal renditions of “Son Of A Preacher Man” and “Take Me To Church” as Rehberg played the keys at ease, still able to hit the pedals as he swayed above with guitar and drums backing him.

There were food trucks. There was an oompaloompa. All in all, this circus, the second for Lagunitas in Chicago and to benefit PAWS Chicago, was nothing short of fun, putting on a much better show than either Barnum or Bailey and rivaled the theatrics and flair of Mr. Kite.