From a massive new beer hall opening and Easter with Mr. Hops to the Chicago Beer Classic and an Evanston bar crawl, there’s a ton to do (and drink) this season at Chicago breweries.
Opening the Week: District Brew Yards
The multifaceted District Brew Yards, appropriately located in the Chicago Brewing District of West Town, is kicking open its doors for the first time. Chicago’s breweries have always had a community-minded spirit, but this first-of-its-kind collective will bring together host brewery Burnt City Brewing and partnership breweries Around the Bend Beer Co. and Bold Dog Beer Co. under one roof to push the limits of creativity and pure craft beer enjoyment. This new location will have a cashless pour-your-own beer hall with 40 taps (10 for each of the three breweries, and 10 for a rotating selection of guest beers brewed in-house), a food menu of smoked meats and creative sides, and a shop selling merch and beer that will be packaged fresh in the Brew Yards and ready to be scooped up from their coolers. With continued brewery innovations pouring from the walls and out of cans, Chicago’s beer brains are about to get even broader.
Buzzed Cuts at Maplewood Brewery & Distillery
Whether it’s time to get some fresh lines for summer or just prune up the old pompadour, best to do it with a craft brew in hand. That’s why I love that Maplewood has Joe’s Barbershop settin’ up shop in its lounge on select Mondays. Not sure I need an excuse to go there and try the latest offerings, but I’m happy to have one. It’s first come, first cut. $40 haircut, beer, and shot special.
Details: Every Monday through May 27, 5–8 p.m.
Decades of Daisy Cutter
Chicago’s beer community is toasting Half Acre on the 10th anniversary of its flagship beer, Daisy Cutter. Swing by any of the dozen participating bars, restaurants, and taprooms in the city to imbibe five variations of Daisy Cutter, including the original, Double Daisy Cutter, Fully Saturated Galactic Double Daisy Cutter, Quad Cutter, and Smoking Daisy. Also pouring around town from Half Acre will be Ryka, a dry-hopped sour brewed with a hint of guava, and VIM, a barrel-aged Baltic porter. Celebrate a decade of Daisy Cutter at Kuma’s Belmont, Sleeping Village, HopLeaf, Beer Shop, Skylark, Logan Arcade, and others.
Details: April 19 and 20
Easter With Mr. Hops at Open Outcry
Make your obligatory family holiday fun for all at Open Outcry’s event, complete with a specialty cocktail, Easter food specials, a complimentary candy gift bag, and Easter Bunny photos with Mr. Hops. Open Outcry has always had a great selection of beers, but now with the addition of veteran head brewer Wil Turner (Goose Island/Revolution), there’s even more to be excited about at this South Side brewery.
Details: April 20, noon–3 p.m.
Friends in Beer Places at Fischman’s Public House and Bottle Shop
Didn’t get lucky enough to score tickets for Mikerphone’s Smells Like a Beer Fest? Well, Fischman’s will be tapping many of the out-of-market breweries that will be attending Mikerphone’s star-studded event. The list includes Barn Town Brewing, Dancing Gnome Beer, Equilibrium Brewery, Finback Brewery, Lil Beaver Brewery, Narrow Gauge Brewing Company, and Odd13 Brewing. Go. Drink. Brag.
Details: April 24, 25, and 26, 5 p.m.-midnight
Run for Beer at Lo-Rez Brewing
This is one of a series of brewery runs happening in Chicago during our short warm-weather season. It’s a 5K-ish, open-course run (or saunter) that begins and ends at the featured brewery. Participants get a free brew at the finish line, a collector’s pint glass, and some sweet, sweet swag. Live music, food, and, of course, much more beer for purchase will be on offer after the event. A portion of profits go to local nonprofits.
Details: April 27, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.; $30 for 5K run/$40 for 5K plus T-shirt
Chicago Beer Classic at Soldier Field
This annual event allows us to sample ales from more than 30 Chicago breweries while experiencing the awe of Soldier Field from the turf. Great opportunity to hit up some of the breweries you’ve been wanting to try while also experiencing what makes Soldier Field so punishing to opponents. Tickets include 48 two-ounce samples and tasting cup, with food available for purchase. VIPs enjoy a 30-minute head start, preferred seating, and special samples.
Details: May 4, 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. (session one) and 4 p.m.–7:30 p.m. (session 2); $69 for general admission and $89 for VIP
Beer Under Glass at Garfield Park Conservatory
This decade-old event remains a top annual gathering for new and seasoned beer fans, not only for its sheer size—more than 100 local and regional breweries are represented—but also for the universal sensory delight that is consuming craft beer in the majesty of the Garfield Park Conservatory. Tickets include samples and access to the conservatory’s unique and inspiring indoor and outdoor gardens. There will be food available for purchase from trucks outside, plus inside vendors. Proceeds benefit the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance.
Details: May 10, 5:30–9:30 p.m.; $60 for general admission and $80 for VIP
Lake Zurich Craft Beer Festival at Paulus Park
Lake Zurich and its neighboring suburbs have been loading up on great new craft breweries of late, so now it’s time to convert the lovely Henry J. Paulus Park next to the eponymous Lake Zurich into festival grounds and wheel in the kegs. Attendees will receive a commemorative three-ounce tasting glass and unlimited pours from 100-plus craft beers, including local stars such as Roaring Table, Lake Zurich Brewing Co., Crystal Lake Brewing, Buffalo Creek Brewing, and Tighthead Brewing Co., plus other Chicago studs like Alarmist, Short Fuse, Goose Island, and many other local and national favorites. Live music and food vendors will also be there to pair up with the suds.
Details: May 10 and 11, 5–10 p.m.; $39 in advance or $50 at the door
Evanston Craft Crawl Along the Main-Dempster Mile
Shop (and drink) local along Chicago Avenue, Main Street, and Dempster Street in the southeast corner of Evanston. More than two dozen local shops will be offering tastings of Sketchbook brews, Few Spirits cocktails, and Kombucha Brava kombucha in this self-guided retail/craft beverage crawl. Ticket price includes a reusable tumbler, and a portion of the proceeds benefits local nonprofit Rainbows for All Children.
Details: May 16, 5–8 p.m.; $27.50–$37.50