Photo: chicago craft beer week

Chicago Craft Beer Week starts today and runs through May 26. 

The Chicago Craft Beer Week schedule is a little scary, but the 11-day, four-year-old festival should not be faulted for having something for everyone. Below are some highlights—29 may sound like a lot, but listen, that's out of more than 300.

This is a mix of the most promising and the downright weirdest events on tap today through, wow, a week from Sunday.

Unless indicated, events listed have no cover charge. Complete details and schedules are available on the CCBW website.

Thursday, 5/16:

  • Cigar & Beer Pairing at Tap House Grill (24402 W. Lockport St., Plainfield, 815-733-5540) includes three cigars and three microbrew drafts per attendee. Tickets are $25.
  • Tap This! Local III, the third annual beer festival at Fischman Liquors & Tavern (4780 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-545-0123), moves outdoors. Live music, food trucks, and 16 local breweries will set up in both the restaurant and the lot outside.
  • Whole Hog Beer Dinner featuring Wild Onion Brewing Company beers starts at 7 p.m. at Burger Bar Chicago (1578 N. Clybourn Ave., 312-255-0055). Bacon, cheese, and pork pack this beer-matched menu, whose crowning jewel is a malted bacon milkshake. Reservations are required.

Friday, 5/17:

  • Belgium and Trappists Beer Night at Act One Pub (1330 W. Morse Ave., 773-381-4550) includes $2 off 15 of the brewer’s beers. Free music from The Amazing Heeby Jeebies begins at 10 p.m.

Saturday, 5/18:

  • Only Run for Craft Beer 5K starts at 8:30 a.m., but that just means runners get a head start on the finish line event at Haymarket Pub & Brewery (737 W. Randolph St., 312-638-0700). A $25 ticket includes 5 local brew samples, a talk about the history of the neighborhoods on the 5K route, and a participant shirt.
  • Great Firkin Brunch at Old Town Pour House (1419 N. Wells St., 312-477-2800) pairs local beers with a brunch menu by chef John Madden. A special brew of Metropolitan Brewing’s Dynamo Copper Lager infused with Two Brothers coffee will also be available. Brunch starts at 10:30 a.m.
  • Over the Influence: The Art of Beer is part beer dinner, part arts exhibition. Starting at 5 p.m., Co-Prosperity Sphere (3219 S. Morgan St., 773-837-0145) will open with complimentary drinks and work from more than two dozen artists inspired by the aesthetics of craft beer. Admission is $30, and reservations are required.
  • Beer Prom at Atlas Brewing Company (2747 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-295-1270) combines the best parts of your high school prom (‘80s music, crazy hair and outfits, balloon arches, Polaroid photos) with one of the perks of adulthood (good craft beer). The party starts at 9 p.m.

Sunday, 5/19:

  • Great Firkin Brunch at Old Town Pour House (1419 N. Wells St., 312-477-2800) pairs local beers with a brunch menu by chef John Madden. A special brew of Metropolitan Brewing’s Dynamo Copper Lager infused with Two Brothers coffee will also be available. Brunch starts at 10:30 a.m.
  • Bottles, Bleachers, and Baseball is a Greenbush bottle launch party overlooking the Cubs vs. Mets game from the Murphy’s Bleachers (3655 N. Sheffield Ave., 773-281-5356). The $85 ticket includes four Greenbush beers, all-you-can-eat food, and a famous view of the game at Wrigley Field.
  • CAN’d Craft Beer and Music Fest at Rock Island Public House (13328 Olde Western Ave., Blue Island, 708-388-5513) is an all-day festival featuring punk and ska bands alongside canned craft brews from eight breweries. Doors open at noon, and bands start playing at 1 p.m. Cover is $10.

Monday, 5/20:

  • Beer Dinner at Bangers & Lace (1670 W. Division St., 773-252-6499) is a joint venture by chef Adam Wendt and Perennial Artisan Ales. The five-course menu will include additional welcome and nightcap beers. Dinner starts at 7 p.m.
  • Viking’s Feast at Jerry’s Wicker Park (1938 W. Division St., 773-235-1006) and Jerry’s Andersonville (5419 N. Clark St., 773-796-3777) combines Solemn Oath Brewing beers with Viking films and Nordic metal music for an all-night Viking affair. Films will play on a big screen, and at 10 p.m. the Wicker Park location will have live music from Dumpster Babies and Slushy.

Tuesday, 5/21:

  • Maifest craft beer festival at Fischman Liquors & Tavern (4780 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-545-0123) has live music, food trucks, and Brooklyn Brewery beer for an indoor/outdoor event starting at 6 p.m.
  • Battle of the Breweries puts tipsy arcade skills to the test at Emporium Arcade Bar (1366 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-697-7922). Local breweries will recruit a 12-person team for a bracketed tournament starting at 6 p.m. Sign up at the Emporium website.
  • Bacon and Beer at Heaven on Seven (224 S. Main St., Naperville, 630-717-0777) offers a seven-course meal where each dish incorporates bacon and gets its own Brewery Ommegang brew. Reservations are required, and the cost is $50.
  • The Crowning of the Champion (of Beer Nerds) tests the knowledge of self-described beer fanatics at Atlas Brewing Company (2747 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-295-1270). The competition starts at 7 p.m., and a winner will be crowned following verbal questions and a blind tasting for finalists.

Wednesday, 5/22:

  • Lagunitas Beer Dinner at Nevin’s Brewing Company (12337 S. Rte. 59, Plainfield, 815-436-3900) is a six-course dinner paired with Lagunitas Brewing Company beers. Tickets are $35.
  • Beer and Buttons at Ground Control (3315 W. Armitage Ave., 773-772-9446) features samples of the restaurant’s new menu alongside a $4 Brooklyn Brewery beer special and buttons from Busy Beaver Button Company. The event starts at 6 p.m.
  • European and Asian Craft Brewers Trolley Tour (Lincoln Square/Andersonville/Uptown) tours European- and Asian-style craft brewers in Lincoln Square, Andersonville, and Uptown. The tour starts at Fountainhead (1970 W. Montrose Ave., 773-697-8204) at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 and include a beer sample at each bar. Reservations are required.

Thursday, 5/23:

  • Women of Craft Beer at Riverview Tavern (1958 W. Roscoe St., 773-248-9523) celebrates the women of Chicago’s craft beer scene with special tappings and a screening of the documentary, “The Love of Beer,” which focuses on women in the beer industry. In addition, $1 per pint will go to a charity for disadvantaged women.
  • Burlesque Craft Night at Finch’s Brewery (4565 N. Elston Ave., 773-283-4833) includes brewery tours, specialty Finch’s tappings, and a performance by Vaudezilla, a Chicago burlesque troupe. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the show starts at 9, followed by an after-party with Knyfs at 10:30. Tickets are $30.
  • Bowling with Brewers has reserved eight lanes at Timber Lanes (1851 W. Irving Park Rd., 773-549-9770) so beer enthusiasts can bowl alongside their favorite local brewers starting at 10 p.m.

Friday, 5/24:

  • Lagunitas Bacon Night at Paddy Long’s Beer and Bacon Pub (1028 W. Diversy Pkwy., 773-290-6988) serves up a wet-cured bacon made with a perfectly matched Lagunitas Brewing Company IPA. Everyone who buys a pint gets a free slice of bacon.

Saturday, 5/25

  • West Loop Craft Beer Fest is the largest craft beer outdoor block party in the city. Held at Chicago French Market (131 N. Clinton St., 312-575-0306), the event features some of Chicago’s finest craft beers and food (including Beavers’ signature cinnamon donuts). Tickets range from $40 to $65, and the festival starts at noon.
  • Beerfly Alleyfight is a unique homebrew, food, and art competition. Hosted at Haymarket Pub & Brewery (737 W. Randolph St., 312-638-0700), the event pits 10 homebrewer/chefs against one another while local artists create short pieces based on their meals. Everyone who attends can taste their concoctions and watch the artist performances. The competition starts at noon. Tickets cost $35 online and $40 at the door.

Sunday, 5/26

  • The Annual Lambic and Sour Beer Fest is free to attend, but $20 gets you 20 sample tickets to check out multiple vintages of beers from around the world. The event starts at noon and will take place at Delilah’s (2771 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-472-2771), a punk-themed whiskey bar. 
  • Windy City Soul & Reggae All-Dayer provides food, beer, and a top-quality soundtrack mixed by DJs from Windy City Soul Club and Feel the Rhythm Reggae Club. The party starts at noon and will be hosted by Rock Island Public House (13328 Olde Western Ave., 708-388-5513).
  • Beer School at The Green Lady (3328 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-525-5571) features the wise pedagogy of certified cicerone Christopher Quinn. The event will center on the age-old question: What’s in the glass? Event starts at 4 p.m.