Are There Too Many Beer Festivals in Chicago?

The Wicker Park and Bucktown area is getting its own beer festival. That’s…how many brew fests, now? Enough to make us wonder if there’s a legal limit.

photo: Hilary Higgins / Redeye

The Chicago Beer Festival was held at Union Station on March 30.

Want to have one more round? There is another new beer festival in Chicago this year.

On Saturday, May 4, Dolphin (2200 N. Ashland Ave., 773-750-8090) will host the aptly named Tap, featuring neighborhood breweries Moonshine and Piece and craft brew havens like Map Room and Fatpour. A $35 ticket from Brown Paper Tickets ($45 at the door) buys ten 6-ounce pours, a commemorative glass, and food pairings.

Sounds fun—and kind of familiar. By our rough count, the city already has five big beer festivals, and we’ve heard of at least five new ones this year.

Chicago is nothing if not beer obsessed, and drinking all day in large groups is a time-honored tradition. But we got to wondering: Do we have too many beer festivals? Is such a thing possible?

Here are the results of a totally unscientific poll:

“I support beer festivals. But my favorable opinion has less to do with whether I enjoy them, and more that they are good for the regional craft beer ecosystem on the whole.

Last year, for example, I interviewed this guy named Rob Sama who was relaunching the “first” Chicago craft beer, Baderbrau, in time for the Hoptacular. Not only was his beer going to be poured at the event, but he was going to be there talking to people about his cryogenic yeast strains and formulations.

That sort of peek behind the curtain helps get fans behind regional products and creates a fanbase for them. Another case in point: Dark Lord Day, which is coming up at the end of the month. I mean, holy shit. That is one of the hottest tickets in town, and it’s not even in town. It’s in an industrial park in Indiana—but totally worth the trip.”

—Cassie Walker Burke, executive editor


“I am of the opinion that there is probably an overabundance of beer festivals, but I would prefer that situation to the risk of running out of beer completely.”

—Harry Sawyers, web editor


“I fear it’s becoming saturated. And they’re not cheap! I’m personally going to stick to the ones I know and love (namely, Beer Under Glass) and only add newbies to my repertoire if they’re really out of the ordinary.”

—Carly Boers, associate editor


“Obviously beerfests are popular. Hell, beer is popular. How many taps are there at Howells & Hood? I just don’t get it. I am crazy bored by the whole subject.”

—Penny Pollack, dining editor


“I hate festivals in general, even when what they’re proffering are things that I tend to like (punk rock, beer, literature). They’re always hot and crowded and full of people who belong indoors. In other news, I hate rainbows and unicorns and happiness.”

—Jeff Ruby, dining critic


“I say yay to beerfests. There are never enough opportunities to be in a room (or street) where craft brews outpour Bud Light and MGD.”

—Jessica Nikolich, editorial intern

Share

Advertisement

Submit your comment