American Craft Beer Week highlights for May 15-16

Time for me to attempt to chronicle the overwhelming schedule of events that is Chicago Craft Beer Week 2012. This year's special event in held in conjunction with American Craft Beer Week, coordinated by the Brewers Association and running May 14-20. The Chicago edition runs May 17 - 27, coordinated by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. That's right, there are beer events for two whole weeks.

After the glitches caused by last year's passport & stamps program, where bars paid a premium to participate and servers weren't apprised of their establishment's specials, this year any place serving beer can be put on the CCBW schedule. The customer's incentive program has been simplified: Pick up a lanyard and a neighborhood map at any of the locations on this list. You'll get a sticker for each venue where you buy something to create your own keepsake. Those who collect two stickers from each of ten Chicago neighborhood (all of the suburbs are commingled into a "Greater Suburban" neighborhood, and you'll get VIP treatment at Revolution Brewing's opening party for its new Kedzie St. Brewhouse May 25 (though you still must buy a ticket to the event to get in).

With so many events going on, many of which are ticketed and thus sold out, I can best try to present highlights for each day of CBBW. These highlights will mainly focus on:

  1. New Chicago brewers introducing their product
  2. Cheap Beer
  3. Brewers debuting in the Chicago market
  4. Free Beer
  5. One-of-a-kind collaborations and rare beer tappings. This time around, Kentucky Breakfast Stout barely gets a nod.
  6. Did I mention, Free Beer

Before I get carried away with myself, Free Beer usually means a "tasting," where you can score a couple 2 oz. samples. "Tappings" mean a keg or firkin of beer is tapped at the scheduled time. Tasters may be passed around. As an admitted RateBeer "ticker," I know that getting several samples of new-to-you beer can be just as much fun as entire pints.

Be it known that you can see a full schedule of CCBW events of their web site. My regular calendar, now at ChiTownOnTap, also lists non-affiliated events. In the interest of a good night's sleep those, I didn't include CCBW events that are just dinner specials at some restaurants with a nice beer list.

First, a few ABCW events ahead of the opening of the Chicago version:

Tuesday, May 15
4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Fountainhead Presents: Dogfish Fest - The Music Series **RARE BEER**
Fountainhead, 1970 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago 773-697-8204
We are thrilled to have Dogfish Head's Owner/Founder/Mad Scientist, Sam Calagione at Fountainhead. We are having a music & beer fest of sorts, featuring all of the Dogfish Music Ales as well as few others.
The Set List:

  • Miles Davis' Bitches Brew
  • Robert Johnson's Hell Hound On My Ale
  • Pearl Jam's Faithful Ale
  • As well as a very rare Firkin of Johnny Cask: 75min IPA

The rest of the line up: Red & White, Black & Blue, Sah-Tea, Olde School. And a special keg of the first run of Palo Santo Marron (2007).
Facebook Events page

7 - 10:00 p.m. • Dogfish Head Ancient Ales Beer Dinner
Hopleaf, 5148 N. Clark St. Chicago (773) 334-9851
Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione will join Hopleaf for their first beer pairing dinner of 2012! A multi-course meal designed around and featuring the unusual Ancient Ales of Dogfish Head, whose recipes are reverse engineered from traces discovered at archaeological sites. The last Ancient Ales dinner sold out. This one should be even more amazing. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased at BrownPaperTickets.
Facebook Event Page


Look for the big CCBW Opening Thursday events in my next post!

Follow me on Twitter, Google+ or my Facebook fan page. For even more tappings and events, check my calendar on Chitownontap.com.

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    Mark McDermott

    Writer, trivia maven, fan of many things. I thought to learn all there is to know about beer as a way to stay interested in learning. It is my pleasure to bring Chicago's craft beer scene to you.

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