You thought summer’s beer festival season was winding down? Think again. In the weeks to come, breweries and bars across Chicago keep the momentum going with beer release parties, booze cruises, locals’ night, and over-the-top events at the zoo and circus.
12th Annual Oak Park Micro Brew Review
Drink craft beers and benefit the planet; sounds like a crazy justification I came up with in a dream, but it’s actually a reality in Oak Park. This annual zero-waste event (nothing from the event will end up in a landfill) serves as a fundraiser for Seven Generations Ahead, an environmental nonprofit working to promote healthy and sustainable communities. Enjoy inventive brews from more than 80 Midwest breweries, live music, and food from restaurants that serve local, sustainable food.
Details: August 17, 3–7 p.m.; $50–$90
Revolution and Hop Butcher Collaboration Release
Revolution opened its Milwaukee Avenue brewpub almost 10 years ago and immediately became a big player in the Chicago craft beer scene, which at the time was merely blossoming. The founders of Hop Butcher were just fans of Rev’s brews at that time and were inspired to open their own brewery. Well, they say never meet your idols, but apparently Hop Butcher just does whatever they want nowadays. On August 17, Revolution will be releasing two collaboration beers with Hop Butcher: Base and Superstructure are takes on hop-forward IPAs made from the same mash. Superstructure is an imperial hazy IPA that’s heavily dry-hopped in the familiar Hop Butcher haze-making fashion. Base is a West Coast IPA made from the second runnings of the Superstructure grain bill and still heavily hopped, but in the clear and bitter style popular when Revolution began its brewing operations.
Details: August 17, noon–6 p.m.
Half Acre’s Big North IV
We try not to miss this annual anticipated party celebrating us, the Half Acre fans, and all things Half Acre. All beer is first come, first served, including a bunch of new ones, favorite brews, limited barrel-aged options, and wild beers. Ticket also includes food, live bands, and good old summertime fun at Half Acre Balmoral.
Details: August 17, 4–9 p.m.; $70
Summer Brew Cruise With Revolution Brewing
If you’ve never experienced a cruise down the Chicago River from Navy Pier, or even if you have, it is definitely a summer must-do. And this ride is a treat for all the senses. There will be seasonal beer tastings with appetizer pairings and live music while you cruise along the Chicago River. Revolution will be there, talking about its craft and pouring some of its delightful summertime brews, like Rosa and Freedom of Speach.
Details: August 23, 7–8:30 p.m.; $49
Lagunitas Beer Circus: Chicago
Through all it’s evolution and growth, Lagunitas has remained pretty dang weird—or at least eccentric. This annual touring circus held at Douglas Park appears to be a celebration of eccentricities in all shapes and sizes. Lots of Lagunitas brews will be flowing, as well as some yet-to-be-announced local guest taps. Entertainment? Music, burlesque, aerialists, sideshows…basically everything that an acid trip would deem overkill.
Details: August 24, noon–5 p.m.; $40
Zoobrew at Brookfield Zoo
You’ll likely see a lot of dads at the zoo, masquerading family time as a way to catch up on local craft brews. That’s OK, as this “crossover event” is done right, with the ticket including zoo admission and parking. Tasting stations will be set up throughout the zoo from 30-plus breweries, and you can get a half-day ticket, noon–2 p.m., or a full day, 3:30–7:30 p.m.
Details: August 24, noon–7:30 p.m.; $25–$90
Down in Front: B-Minus! at Revolution Brewpub
Fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (in any of its manifestations) will be down for this Live Movie Riffing show at Revolution’s Milwaukee Avenue brewpub. This is the first of these Down in Front shows, and with Rev’s brews to lubricate the laughs, I’m sure it will start out with a bang.
Details: August 26, 8–11 p.m.; $10
Lo Rez Locals Night
This month’s locals’ night at Lo Rez Brewing had me at honey butter fried chicken. That’s right, the North Side joint is heading down to Pilsen to serve up Daemon beer-brined fried chicken strips with Beer-BQ mustard and other goodies. Lo Rez will be releasing Pineapple Whitespace, its fruited Belgian-style Witbier. Each locals’ night helps to support a Chicago nonprofit, and this month it’s the Chicago Period Project.
Details: August 31, 4–8 p.m.
Kveik Fest at District Brew Yards
Kveik yeast has been the buzz of the brewing industry of late for its ability to ferment a variety of beer styles at higher temperature ranges in less time. Brewers love to quickly turn over their fermenter space and utilize this versatile yeast strain, which recently became available in the States but has a centuries-old history in Norway as a farmhouse strain passed down by generations of brewers. Omega Yeast is a prominent Chicago-based company producing pitch-ready yeast strains for U.S. brewers and is a fellow organizer of Kveik Fest with Burnt City. Sample beers from more than 30 breweries from around the nation and learn about the wonders of Kveik from Lars Marius Garshol, who helped introduce Kveik to the U.S. through his blog, Larsblog.
Details: September 7, 1-5 p.m.; $75