Beer Festival Season Is Just Getting Started

Photo courtesy of Old Irving Park Beer and BBQ Challenge

Summers are action-packed around Chicago—you can find a sun-celebrating fest on pretty much any day with a y in it, but when beer is the main attraction, then the season is really in full swing. Check out these summer-ready events centered around Chicago breweries.

Photo courtesy of Dovetail Brewery

Guided Tasting: School of Brett
Clint Bautz from Lake Effect Brewing and Lance Shaner from Omega Yeast will be leading a guided tasting of their mixed four-pack collaboration named School of Brett, in which they dosed a wine barrel–aged saison with three different strains of Brettanomyces. This is an excellent opportunity to dive deep into the nuances of brewing and ingredients, and since it takes place at Beer on the Wall, Park Ridge’s elaborately stocked beer slashie, it’s a chance to multitask and fill up the beer fridge at home.
Details: July 11, 7–9 p.m.; $20

Malt Row on Damen
When your neighborhood is loaded with breweries, you have brew fests on the regular, and Ravenswood’s Malt Row has perhaps the greatest concentration of breweries anywhere. This craft beer stroll takes place during the Ravenswood Farmers’ Market, allowing attendees to sip brews from Malt Row’s eight breweries while shopping neighborhood vendors, enjoying fresh food, and jamming to live tunes.
Details: July 17, 5:30–8:30 p.m.; $30

Horner Beer Fest
Beer tasting events with more than 20 local breweries, live music, and food trucks are proven crowd-pleasers, and even better when a festival serves as a fundraiser for the sustainability efforts of the Horner Park Advisory Council. Almost as exciting as the variety of beers are the food trucks wheeling up to the park: I-94 Ribs, L Patron, Chicago Lunchbox, Coffee & Donuts, and Fat Shallot will all be in attendance.
Details: July 19, 6–10 p.m.; $40

Sheffield Beer Festival
This event takes place during the 51st annual Sheffield Street Festival, running all weekend long. During the four-hour festival, attendees can sample 70 different beers from 35 local breweries, including Dovetail, Goose Island, Lake Effect, Metropolitan, Pipeworks, and many more. When the fest is over and you’ve exceeded your daily beer allotment, stick around for the music fest and self-guided garden walk through Lincoln Park dwellers’ swanky backyards.
Details: July 20, noon–4 p.m.; $40

Photo courtesy of Windmill Brewing/Facebook

Juicy Brews Craft Beer Festival
Hop Culture Magazine and Marz Community Brewing hook up for a craft beer and art festival with unlimited pours from dozens of the best breweries in the country, as well as brewery artists displaying work and merchandise throughout multiple floors inside Marz’s taproom.
Details: July 20, noon-4 p.m.; $60 for general admission and $20 for designated drivers

Chicago Craft Beer and Pizza Festival
Looking for that bridge brew fest to bring your non–beer drinking friends to? This West Lakeview event has got everyone covered with an array of hard seltzer stuff and irresistible food options from Bacci, Gusi’s, and Paulina Market. Craft beer seekers should opt for a VIP ticket from Bitter Pops, which includes a lot of desirable local options not available to general admission ticket holders, like Three Floyds, Noon Whistle, On Tour, Half Acre, Eris, and on and on…
Details: July 20 and 21, noon-10 p.m.; $40 for general admission and $50 for VIP, which includes special tastings and early entry

Windmill Brewing’s 4th Anniversary Party
Windmill has been making a name for itself over the past few years by whipping up some tasty hazys and adjunct-laden imperial stouts, as well as traditional sours and pilsners. Well, it seems it has made some friends along the way; joining the brewery to blow out the candles at Pheasant Hills Park in Dyer, Indiana, near its brewery, will be 21 breweries from seven other states.
Details: July 27, 11 a.m.–11 p.m.; $35 (free for kids and nondrinkers)

Old Irving Park Beer & BBQ Challenge
Sometimes a name just seems to say it all, but let’s get into the details a bit more just to further whet our appetite. Twenty-three of our favorite local breweries (Maplewood, Off Color, Mikerphone, Half Acre, Marz, just to name a few) will be paired up with a local barbecue pitmaster to create euphoria-inducing beer and food pairings. Some beers may be brewed specifically for this event, and each brewery will bring two offerings for a total of 46 sudsy options.
Details: August 3, 1–5 p.m.; $65 for general admission and $100 for VIP, which includes early entry