It doesn’t have to be a holiday to drink a good craft beer. But during Chicago Craft Beer Week, running now until May 31, some of the more than 400 vendors participating are offering up beer-related experiences that only come once a year. Since there are so many events during the 10-day drinking fest, it’s a blessing and a curse for Chicago drinkers who have to choose—so we went ahead and rounded up the most unique events for you.
1. Support lady brewers who rock by trying 14 great breweries
The craft beer industry is a boys club, with more than 75 percent of breweries owned and run by men. The Sedgewick Stop will raise a glass and toast the badass ladies of the craft beer industry with a tapping event of 14 breweries that are women-owned or have female brew masters/head brewers. The event, dubbed Beauty and the Brews, will include unique releases as well as crowd favorites, and some of the brewers and brewery reps will be hanging out at the event on May 20, from 7 to 10 p.m.
The Sedgwick Stop, 1612 N. Sedgwick St.
2. Get steampunk’d and dress up like Halloween in May
Burnt City Brewing, formerly known as Atlas Brewing Company, hosts an alternative prom themed party every year (last year’s theme was space). This year’s party, on May 21, is steampunk themed—think sci fi tech meets 19th century steam-powered industry. With new tappings, a DJ, and a costume contest, Burnt City’s Steampunk Ball can help re-acquaint fans with the renamed brewery.
Burnt City Brewing, 2747 N. Lincoln Ave.
3. Have your favorite camp foods perfectly paired with brews
Relive your childhood summer camp glory days with this five-course dinner with beer pairings for $35 at the River North Headquarters Beercade on May 22. Courses in the Great Outdoors Dinner will include “On the Trail” trail mix paired with Almanac’s sour, Apricot de Brettaville, and “Catch of the Day” smoked salmon tartine paired with Ballast Point’s imperial pale lager Orange & Vanilla Fathom.
River North Headquarters Beercade, 213 W. Institute Pl.
4. Watch your favorite Chicago breweries duke it out in dodgeball
On May 22, Goose Island sets the stage for its 3rd annual Battle of the Breweries Dodgeball tournament, pitting local breweries against each other—for charity. Tickets are $25, with 100 percent of proceeds going to the Special Olympics, and includes 5 beer tokens for pours of Green Line, Sofie, and the coveted 2015 Bourbon County Stout Regal Rye.
Goose Island Barrel House, 603 N. Sacramento Ave.
5. Gobble Big Star tacos with brews specifically created for the Tex-Mex fave
Two local favorites, Dry Hop Brewers and Big Star, came together to create more deliciousness with a Pineapple India Pale Lager, brewed with smoked malt, pineapple puree, and Otto Supreme Hops—specifically created to pair with the famous al pastor taco at Big Star. Stop by May 23 from 6 to 11:30 p.m. to enjoy the collaboration—we recommend DryHop’s patio, if it’s not too packed with taco lovers.
DryHop Brewers, 3155 N. Broadway
6. Enjoy a booze cruise hosted by your favorite social uprising-themed brewery
OK, this happens more than once a year but it’s still a special treat. The Revolution Booze Cruise will include samplings of Revolution brews, light appetizers, a live DJ, and a 90-minute Chicago River Shoreline cruise to soak in Chicago architecture. The trip starts at 8 p.m. on May 27, and boarding begins 15 minutes prior to departure time. Tickets are $49 per person. There will be 3 other Revolution Booze Cruise dates during the summer on June 17, July 15, and August 5.
Navy Pier’s Polk Bros Park, 600 E. Grand Ave.
7. Close out Craft Beer Week with a VIP experience
Though Craft Beer Party in the Park at Welles Park in Lincoln Square on May 28 is the official closing event of Chicago Craft Beer Week, don’t worry, there are plenty of events continuing through May 31. The celebration runs from 1 to 5 p.m. for general admission, but those who spring for the VIP ticket can kick off at noon and also get $10 in food tickets and two specialty pours. Regardless, all can enjoy great craft beer, various entertainment acts, and food for purchase.
Welles Park, 2333 W. Sunnyside Ave.