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Beer Hoptacular 2013: Fantastic, as Usual

The same stellar beer selection followed the fest to its new location in Pilsen.

We’ve asked you before and we’ll ask again: Does Chicago have too many craft beer festivals? After a visit to this year’s installation of Beer Hoptacular, the answer is clear. Nope.

Last weekend’s four-session event, the fourth annual Hoptacular, looked a bit different from years past. For one, Pilsen’s Lacuna Artist Lofts afforded a new overall vibe. While there was still the familiar white tentful of beer vendors, there was also indoor sipping inside the gorgeous Reverie Gallery.

This year, a $45 admission ticket ($55 day-of, all per session) bought a punch card good for 30 samples. This idea was pretty much unanimously abandoned (unofficially) because

  • a.) Beer people are awesome people and regulating samples at a beer fest is anathema to the hobby.
  • b.) Punching cards just backed up already long lines. Or—
  • c.) People on both sides of the serving tables were busy drinking beer and could care less about it.

Likely some combination of all three.

The Gallery had plenty of places to sit, a couple of food vendors, and some local artisans. Wandering through the labyrinthine building, suds-lovers ended up in a room dubbed “The Bakery,” where Lagunitas (yay, the seasonal brew Brown Shugga was tapped!) and a couple other brewers were staged. This is also where the brewery Soapbox derby was held.

Saturday night, it also played host to Black Bear Combo, a gypsy/klezmer/brass/punk-rock band who serenaded the crowd while burlesque dancers twirled glow-in-the-dark hula hoops and a man in a sequined-yellow suit performed a juggling act.

Yeah, it got a little weird for a bit, but it didn’t seem out of place at Lacuna. And the happy hopheads were loving it.

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