By Amanda Parker
Craft beer has only recently become a cultural fascination (and some might say an obsession) in Chicago. Before Goose Island opened a brewpub here in the late 1980s, the city had no craft beers to call its own. But all of that has changed rapidly in the last few years, as Chicago now boasts a massive variety of breweries and bars serving up specialty beers in record numbers.
This week, the city’s craft beer culture culminates once again during Chicago Craft Beer Week. The popular 11-day festival runs from May 15-25 with more than 300 venues across the city participating. Throughout the fest, bars and restaurants will offer discounts on local craft beers and host special events. This year, all of the events are listed on an official app that you can get on your phone, but here are a few events and deals to get you started.
For more information all the happenings, visit http://chibeerweek.com
The week kicks off with Beer Under Glass at Garfield Park Conservatory on May 15. From 6:30-9:30 p.m., enjoy beer and food from more than 50 restaurants and breweries in the outdoor gardens.
General admission tickets are already sold out, but you can still purchase VIP tickets through www.Garfield-Conservatory.org
Lagunitas Chicago Beer Circus, on May 17 and 18, is part craft beer festival and part big-top circus. Along with an array of beers from Chicago’s best local breweries, there will be performances by circus performers, carnival rides and art installations.
Lagunitas Chicago Beer Circus is located at 1843 S. Washtenaw. Tickets can be purchased at www.Lagunitas.com
May 18 brings the Craft Beer ‘L’ Train Tour, where a double-decker bus stocked with snacks will be traveling to some of the best bars along the green, orange, brown and red lines. Liz Garibay, a beer historian (how do I get this job?), will be on the tour sharing tavern stories.
Tickets are available at www.Brewline.BrownPaperTickets.com
Franklin Tap in the South Loop has two events this coming week. First, on May 20, five special Goose Island beers will be available during the Goose Island Tap Takeover from 5-7 p.m. On May 22, Franklin Tap welcomes Kevin Pearson from Lakefront Brewery, who will talk about his experiences working with craft beer. At 5 p.m., a rare ginger-infused Fixed Gear American Red Ale will be tapped.
Franklin Tap is located at 325 S. Franklin. Visit them online at www.FranklinTap.com
Park Grill at Millennium Park will celebrate by hosting a dinner on May 20 from 6-9 p.m. on their patio under the bean. A selection of locally crafted beers, including two exclusive brews, will be available.
Park Grill is located at 11 N. Michigan. Tickets can be purchased at www.ParkGrillChicago.com/Events
This glorious week comes to a close on May 24 at the West Loop Craft Beer Fest. The massive block party includes, you guessed it, tons of local beers and food vendors. A general admission ticket will get you in from 1-5 p.m., but a VIP ticket allows you an hour head start, more beer tasting tickets and access to special brews.
The fest is on Clinton Street between Lake and Washington. Tickets are available at www.WestLoopCraftBeerFest.BrownPaperTickets.com