By Dave Wischnowsky
It’s famous for being a pizza city, a hot dog city and an Italian beef city. But these days, with local craft breweries such as Revolution, Atlas and 5 Rabbit gaining steam and Goose Island turning 25, Chicago is gaining another reputation to help wash down its longstanding ones.
Welcome to Chicago, beer city.
On May 16, the fourth annual Chicago Craft Beer Week got underway. Founded in 2010, the event attracted minimal buzz in its first year, but has now grown to boast a schedule featuring almost 400 events spread throughout the city and suburbs.
And the “week” has been stretched into 11 days.
That’s good news for beer aficionados as CCBW specials and celebrations are still taking place throughout Chicagoland this weekend. For a full schedule of events, you can visit chibeerweek.com, but the following are a few ways to indulge in the area’s budding beer offerings and enjoy Memorial Day weekend in style.
West Loop Craft Beer Fest
Craft Beer Week is in its fourth year, but 2013 marks the first for the West Loop Craft Beer Fest, which is intended to be the apex of the city’s celebration of suds.
From noon to 5 p.m., more than 25 breweries will hold “the city’s largest craft beer outdoor block party” on Clinton Street between Lake and Washington streets outside Chicago’s eclectic French Market.
One Trick Pony Beer Release
If traveling to Chicago is too far of a jaunt for today, Chicagoist.com suggests a Craft Beer Week option in the south suburbs at Rock Island Public House in Blue Island (13328 Olde Western Ave.) There, the brewmaster of One Trick Pony Brewery will be regaling revelers with tales of Blue Island pre-Prohibition breweries such as Busch and Brand as he pays homage to the Roaring ’20s.
Sounds like an event that Gatsby could love.
Tap Takeover at Owen & Engine
Considered one of the city’s premier bars for beer, the English-themed gastropub Owen & Engine (2700 N. Western Ave.) in Logan Square regularly features 20 different brews on tap.
But at noon on Sunday, the bar’s taps will be “taken over” by Emmett’s Brewing Co., which will be serving six limited beers and one Firkin including Jack Daniel’s Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, German Märzen and Extra Special Bitter (ESB). My tip: Come for the pub’s full English brunch, stay for Emmett’s takeover.
Lambic and Sour Beer Festival
If you’re a fan of fruit beers, then the annual Lambic and Sour Beer Fest is made for you. The event, held from noon to 5 p.m. at Delilah’s (2771 N. Lincoln Ave.), showcases lambics (spontaneously fermented fruit beers) and sours (slightly tart or acidic beers) from a variety of breweries in addition to special $4 pints of a beer named Tart Side of the Moon.
The event is free to attend and $20 buys 20 drink tickets.
3 Floyds at Northdown Taproom
Starting at 2 p.m. just five blocks north from Delilah’s, Northdown Taproom (3244 N. Lincoln Ave.) will be serving beer from the celebrated 3 Floyds brewery in Munster, Ind., including Evil Power, Alpha King and Zombie Dust.
Beer School at The Green Lady
The syllabus for this class is likely a bit different than any other you’ve taken. At 4 p.m. on Sunday, the Green Lady (3328 N. Lincoln Ave.) – conveniently located just a block from Northdown – will be hosting Christopher Quinn, a Siebel Institute of Technology-recognized Master of Beer Styles and Evaluation and Certified Cicerone – is that a mouthful, or what? – as he teaches patrons the ins and outs of what’s in their glass.