Beer lovers, mark your calendars, because the biggest week of the year is coming soon. Illinois Craft Beer Week (formerly Chicago Craft Beer Week) takes place between May 18-25, and includes hundreds of events featuring just about every beer maker in the entire state. There’s something for everyone, but ticket events can sell out quickly. Here are some of our favorites.
The traditional kick off to the week is Beer Under Glass on Friday, May 18, when more than 100 different breweries gather for a gorgeous night at the Garfield Park Conservatory. If you can’t get enough beer during this event, you’re doing it wrong. If you don’t like crowds, consider going VIP—for an extra $20, you get an extra hour with a lot fewer attendees. Tickets are $60.
This year, Illinois Craft Beer Week ends with a celebration (with a view) at the Theater on the Lake. The “Good Libations Beer Fest” includes 60 breweries, both local and out of state, as well as bites by Chef Cleetus Friedman. Dig out your Hawaiian shirt, since tropical apparel is encouraged. Tickets are $60.
Goose Island is hosting a “Battle of the Breweries” dodgeball tournament. You can watch your favorite brewers (more than 30 of them) attempt to smack each other with balls, all while you drink beer and laugh. Sounds like a pretty decent afternoon, plus you get to go inside the Goose Island Barrel House. You get 6 beer tokens for $25.
There are way too many events, tap takeovers, special releases, beer dinners and the like to call them all out (there’s even an app, which you’ll need if you want to come even close to tracking everything), but it’s worth browsing through the entire list. There’s also plenty of events in the suburbs, so everyone can get plenty of beer even if they don’t want to venture into the city limits.