You’ll notice a certain theme with Chicago’s Winter Festivals--that would be C-O-M-F-O-R-T. From the comfort cheese-laden poutines at Poutine Fest to the mind-blowing bacon creations at Baconfest and the encased meats at SausageFest--Chicago's Winter Festivals go down easy--creating the perfect anecdote to help ward off the cold.
Saturday, January 31 (2 p.m. or 7 p.m.)
Winter Brew takes the cold out of winter by bringing the Chicago Street Festival scene indoors. Cozy up at Lincoln Square's DANK Haus German American Cultural Center (4740 N. Western Avenue) with local brews, eats and more. The fun takes place in the spacious 5th floor ballroom and 6th floor skyline lounge of Dank Haus. Tickets are $12.
Saturday, February 21
Right up there with its deep dish pizza Chicago is a city proud of its sausage. The popular Haymarket SausageFest, showcases some of the best of the Windy City's encased meats with 10 housemade sausages, 10 Artisan cheeses and 20 beers, ciders and entertainment at Haymarket Pub and Brewery. Tickets are $50 and usually sell out fast--so if you are a serious sausage lover you better move fast.
Sunday, February 15
Poutine a dish that originated in Quebec, Canada has taken Chicago comfort food foodies by storm. Although there are some variations, the basic artery clogging treat is made with french fries, topped with gravy and smothered with cheese. You can check out the original poutine creations from some of Chicago's finest including Bite and The Bad Apple at the third annual Poutine Fest at Haymarket Pub and Brewery.
Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18
The crowds and atmosphere at Baconfest Chicago will definitely get you in the spirit for Chicago's upcoming summer festival season. This highly-anticipated fest gets bigger and better every year. Hundreds of chefs, restaurants, and vendors are on tap for the 2015 bash which now spans two days.
Tickets allow fest-goers to sample creative bacon-laden food and drinks from the likes of Sugartoad’s Jason Smith; Sunda’s Jess De Guzman, Small Bar's Justin White, South Water Kitchen’s Roger Waysok, Mercadito’s Patricio Sandoval and Mercat A La Planxa’s Cory Morris to name a few at the UIC Forum at 725 W Roosevelt Road.
Friday, April 10
Taste 300 whiskeys, and learn from master distillers and blenders at WhiskyFest at Hyatt Regency Chicago. This event sells out early--so if you want a shot at the 2015 WhiskyFest you better get moving.
CHICAGO BEER FESTIVAL
Saturday, March 21 (1 or 6 p.m.)
Chicago's Union Station's Grand Hall is the setting for this grand event that is a favorite with beer geeks. The Chicago Beer Festival includes 40 tastings in the afternoon or evening, with food sold separately.
NAPERVILLE WINTER ALE FEST
Saturday, February 28 (Noon to 4 p.m.)
Get a jump on the outdoor festival season at the Naperville Winter Ale Fest. Just make sure to wear your long johns and winter parka at this outdoor festival that takes place on "the frozen tundra" of Naperville's Frontier Park.
The fest offers samplings of over 120 craft beers plus food-trucks in the great outdoors--complete with fire-pits and hopefully snow cones.
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