My 2014 Chicago Craft Beer Week: Part 3


This is the third and final installment of a series covering my experience of this year’s Chicago Craft Beer Week. If you missed them, check out Part 1 and Part 2.

Following Beer Under Glass and the Lagunitas Beer Circus, the rest of my CCBW was spent in the suburbs, where the craft beer scene continues to sprout.

May 20 – Ale to the Burbs’ Bottle Share at Warren’s Ale House

As co-founder of Ale to the Burbs, I take great pride in the charitable elements we add to our events. For our second bottle share, held at Warren’s in Wheaton, we held a canned food drive to support the nearby People’s Resource Center. It was great seeing each of our bottle sharers bring in bags and boxes filled with cans for such a great cause. Every two cans earned them a ticket to our raffle, which included CCBW t-shirts, gift cards to Warren’s and The Beer Cellar, and a pair of tickets to this summer’s Midwest Brewers Fest and Naperville Ale Fest.

May 21 – Nevin’s Brewing 21 Beer Salute

When Nevin’s Brewmaster Marc Wilson lets his imagination run wild in his brewhouse, amazing things happen. Held at the Plainfield brewery and restaurant, this event put 21 of Wilson’s one-off beers on tap with a trio of them released every 15 minutes. Joined by a few friends, we ran the gamut, sharing samples of all of the beers. Some of my favorites included FIGJAM, a stout that goes down like a Mounds bar disguised as a beer; Spanish Fly, a session IPA infused with Epazote (Mexican wild herb) that made me want to order a buffet tray full of tacos; Chotch, a sweet cream ale using marshmallow, graham crackers and cocoa; Stones, a hoppy IPA with Saturn peaches; Internet Tough Guy, a barrel-aged Baltic porter with a banana backbone; You Must Be Fun at Parties, Marc’s famous barrel-aged Russian imperial stout infused with Birthday Cake Oreos; and YOLOMAWMIT, a strawberry balsamic pilsner that carried some delicious sweet and sour notes.

If we’re lucky, Marc took some good notes on these beers and will bring them back on a regular basis.

May 22 – Craft Beer Trivia at Warren’s

Together with my trustiest of craft beer compadres, our team, the Firkin Mashholes, rose to the trivia challenge but came up just short in second place. Warren’s, which offers fantastic beer and food menus, does a great job with their themed trivia nights, and this was no exception. They even gave attendees who brought in donations for the canned food drive a chance to win swag with a game of beer pong.

May 23 – SlapShot and Bucket List Mini Tap Takeover at Beer House

If there’s anything I’ve learned about the guys behind SlapShot Brewing (Steve and Brian Miller) and Bucket List Brewing (Kevin Salvi), it’s that they could turn a quilting seminar at a retirement home into a good time. This night further proved my point as the lot of them joined forces for a mini tap takeover at Beer House in Lombard. SlapShot poured its McLaughlin’s Red Eye Coffee Porter (best beer I drank during CCBW) and Another IPA, while Bucket List tapped its first ever keg, the Skydive Rye Saison.

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