Here’s How to Drink Your Way Through Illinois Craft Beer Week

Photo courtesy of Revolution Brewing

So you forgot to jump on tickets to Beer Under Glass at the Garfield Park Conservatory; never fret, there is so much more imbibing to be had during Illinois Craft Beer Week.

Photo by Rudy Rubio/Courtesy of Band of Bohemia

Tasting and Beer Pairings at Band of Bohemia
Where can you find the nation’s first Michelin-starred brewpub? Right here in the Chi, of course. Band of Bohemia is a treat for the senses with every effort made to showcase dishes of the highest quality and expert preparation. A restaurant of this caliber is a special experience, but the fact that they also brew beers specifically designed for pairing with their food distinguishes this Ravenswood establishment from both fine dining restaurants and run-of-the-mill brewpubs. To celebrate ICBW, all week Band of Bohemia is offering complimentary beer pairings when you order a five-course tasting menu; it’s usually $20 for this upgrade, so this is an excellent opportunity to save some bucks on what will inevitably be a pricey tab.
Details: May 10-17 at Band of Bohemia, 5-9:30 p.m.

Barrel-Aged Blowout at Begyle Brewing
It’s halfway to barrel-aged season (as I’m sure we’re all well aware) and Begyle wants to commemorate the moment with an all-day ICBW event showcasing their barrel-aged program. They’ll start out with a special brewery tour centered around their barrel-aging, hosted by head brewer Liz French and owner Kevin Cary. It’s a 90-minute tour starting at 11 a.m. and includes three pours and a souvenir glass—all for just $10. The rest of the day they’ll be cracking into some kegs of their vintage barrel-aged beers: Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged Snooze Button 2018, Bourbon Barrel Aged Snooze Button 2018, Barrel Aged Imperial Pajamas 2018, and more. Swing by during the day for this bevy of boozy options, food from Taco In A Bag and the Cubs vs. Brewers game in the upstairs event space.
Details: May 11, 12-10 p.m. at Begyle Brewing

Maplewood X Saint Errant Release Party at Maplewood Brewery & Distillery
Maplewood and Saint Errant hooked up to brew a no-boil DDH DIPA ready for release on May 13 during ICBW. And now I have yet another thing to learn about craft beer: DIPA is a double India pale ale, DDH is double dry-hopped in the fermenter, but what in the hell is this no-boil business? Isn’t boiling an essential part of preparing a wort for fermentation? Well, apparently the new crop of brewers is looking for maximum mouthfeels, and this technique creates a protein-rich beer with softer mouthfeel. Sounds like a must-try, and the first 100 people will receive a limited speciality glass with a fresh pour of the collab! Plus, Joe’s Barbershop will be in the lounge from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the $40 haircut, beer and shot special.
Details: May 13, 4-11:30 p.m. at Maplewood Brewery & Distillery

Saisonathon at Forbidden Root
ABV Chicago podcast hosts this ICBW event toasting the glorious and diverse world of saisons. Saisons are a traditionally Belgian style with lively carbonation from bottle-conditioning, strong hop presence and golden/light amber hue. But they have evolved in the American craft beer renaissance to a wide-ranging style with varying alcohol contents and fruity and/or funky notes, depending on how it’s brewed and the adjunct ingredients. Bottom line: there are enough examples of this style to fill up an evening of appreciation and dissection. Luckily, many of Chicago’s finest will be represented at the event: Temperance, Afterthought Brewing, Whiner Beer Co., Middle Brow, Lo Rez, Cruz Blanca, and Maplewood, to name a few. Now add to this Forbidden Root’s delicious food menu and it’s a match made in heaven.
Details: May 14, 5 p.m.-12 a.m. at Forbidden Root

Photo courtesy of Maplewood Brewery & Distillery

Hops For Hope at Old Irving Brewing Co.
Old Irving Brewing Co. is playing host to their beer/cider-making buddies to benefit Hope For The Day, a nonprofit that achieves proactive suicide prevention by providing outreach and mental health education. Look for Chicago favorites like Pipeworks, Maplewood, Alarmist, Right Bee, Eris, Corridor, and many more to be pouring away in Old Irving’s large beer hall. $30 entry fee includes tasting glass and pours from 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Details: May 16, 6-9 p;.m. at Old Irving Brewing Co. 

Newbies & Freshies at Bitter Pops
Bitter Pops and bring us this ICBW event focused on new breweries to the Chicago market that will be participating in their first ICBW and SUPER FRESH local beer. I love this event because it celebrates both the exploration of new beer and the appreciation for fresh and flavorful pours. Newcomers include City Lights, Foreign Objects, Funkwerks, Energy City, Phase Three, and others. Also, look for fresh beer from Hubbard’s Cave, Marz, Alarmist, Hop Butcher, Sketchbook, and Noon Whistle. Tickets to this event are $35 and include a $15 prepaid self pour card, an 8-oz. glass and more brewery swag.
Details: May 16, 6-9 p.m. at Bitter Pops

Evanston Craft Crawl at Sketchbook Brewing Co.  
More than 30 local shops and organizations in the southeast corner of Evanston are part of this local craft beer and spirits crawl. At each stop, ticket-holders will get a taste of either a beer from Sketchbook Brewing Co., kombucha from Kombucha Brava or a cocktail courtesy of Few Spirits. I recommend this event for those who loathe shopping; ’cause we all know sipping Sketchbook’s Orange Door will help to lessen the drudgery of finding the perfect present. A portion of the proceeds benefits local nonprofit Rainbows for All Children, and all ticket-holders receive a reusable tumbler. Tickets are $37.50 online; $45 day of.
Details: May 16, 5-8 p.m. at Sketchbook Brewing Co. 

Photo courtesy of Sketchbook Brewing Co.

Phase Three Collaboration Release and Tap Takeover at Corridor Brewery & Provisions 
Fans of hop-forward hazy IPAs rejoice, the hot new brewery Phase Three with founder Shaun Berns (from Ram and More Brewing) joined forces with the established local hop-masters at Corridor to produce Set Phazers to Stun, a double dry-hopped IPA with Galaxy, Sabro, Mosaic, and El Dorado hops. A release like this one can bring in a crowd, especially since there will be some of Phase Three’s other brews on tap, and this may just be the first appearance for some of those beers as well. Like I said, “fans of hop-forward hazy IPAs rejoice,” you have your gathering place.
Details: May 16, 5-11:30 p.m. at Corridor Brewery & Provisions 

Deth Rattle at Revolution Brewing
Put Illinois Craft Beer Week 2019 to bed with some of the finest barrel-aged imperial stouts Chicago has to offer—Revolution Brewing is pouring Deth’s Tar (their 15% ABV Imperial oatmeal stout with rich chocolate flavor and silky mouthfeel) in your face. Barrel-aging builds flavor complexities of vanilla, toasted coconut, and caramel. 2014 Deth’s Tar Limited, 2016 Deth’s Tar, 2017 Cafe Deth, 2017 Deth by Cherries, 2017 VSOD, 2018 DB VSOD, 2018 Deth Ryed, 2016 Deth by Plums, and 2018 La Petite Deth will all be on draft in the Kedzie Taproom. Plus, limited packaged sales of 2013, ‘14, ‘16 and ‘18 Deth’s Tar, 2017 VSOD, 2017 Deth by Cherries and 2018 DB VSOD. This event may be the end of ICBW, but what a palate-smashing way to go out.
Details: May 17, 2-11 p.m. at Revolution Brewing

ICBW Closing Shindig at Werk Force Brewing
Make a last ditch effort to try a bunch of local craft brews and partake in ICBW at Werk Force. 30-plus beers will be on tap, including guest taps from Alter, Penrose, Alarmist, Phase Three, Hailstorm, Blue Island, and more. Expect food from The Roaming Hog and music from Scat Grub Band. This is an opportunity for brewers to shine, so I’m expecting to see not only Werk Force’s finest on draft, but also some special offerings from the other brewers gathered in this last hurrah.
Details: May 17, 5-10 p.m. at Werk Force Brewing