Cheers To Chicago Craft Beer Week
(Photo: Half Acre Beer Co.)
Chicago’s always been a big beer town. All you have to do is stroll down any given strip in the city and you’ll see more sports bars than anything else. And while not everyone’s into the craft beer movement, it continues to gain ground each year.
Also growing is Chicago Craft Beer Week, which has been going on for several years. It runs May 16-26 and the list of participating restaurants and bars is impressive. It’s so massive that it’s impossible to attend every event. Need some recommendations? Here are my top picks:
American Junkie's top level (Photo: American Junkie)
- Bread & Wine. The Northwest Side eatery teams up with Michigan-based Brewery Vivant, whose boutique-style beers have been inspired by breweries in south Belgium and northern France. Five courses will be paired with the beers, and it’s $55 per person (doesn’t include tip or tax). Reservations required by calling the restaurant. 7-9pm May 22.
- Fountainhead. Local Cask Day happens at this lively Ravenswood spot, and the festivities start at 11am on May 18. Guests will get to order suds directly from the casks of Brickstone Brewery, Brewery Vivant, Greenbush Brewing, Half Acre and Metropolitan Brewing. But you’ll get a little more if you go VIP; those tickets include two complimentary pours and early entry into the event (11am). Doors open to the public at noon. The rooftop lounge will also be open. Get the $20 VIP tickets right here.
- Half Acre Beer Co. The brewery makes up for missing out on feting its fifth anniversary last year with a party at Ravenswood Billboard Factory (4025 N. Ravenswood Ave.). The event happens 7-11pm May 17 with food, drinks and live entertainment. It’s $65 per person and you can purchase tickets right here.
Fountainhead's rooftop lounge includes a fireplace. (Photo: Fountainhead)
- Petterino’s. Dishes like slow-roasted pork shoulder with beer mustard and braised black kale should complement the Two Brothers' ales and lagers set to star at this beer-focused dinner. A half-hour reception starts at 6:30 on May 17. It’s $50 per person and reservations are highly recommended; call the restaurant.
- River North Craft Beer Crawl.Here’s a grand opportunity to check out many of the area’s beer-focused bars in one night. The first-ever event of kind takes place at more than 10 establishments that will offer local craft beer, bourbon and burger specials noon-9pm May 18. Participating bars include the likes of American Junkie, Bull & Bear, English, Hubbard Inn and Public House. Here’s where to purchase the $20 tickets.
- Scofflaw. The gin-focused cocktail lounge puts its focus on beer during a special brunch taking place at 1pm May 25. Scofflaw teams up with Allagash, and five courses will be paired with the beers. The $75 ticket also includes a signed copy of an Allagash cookbook signed by founder Rob Tod. Tickets are available by calling the restaurant.
- SmallBar Division. Another beer brunch occurs when this Wicker Park pub collaborates with Half Acre. Diners will get a “food flight” of four beers paired with small plates. The event is $30 per person and happens 10am-2pm May 26.