Chicago Craft Beer Week: May 16 Opening Highlights & Extras

Once again, I make my humble attempt to guide you through the many offerings involved in Chicago Craft Beer Week. Sponsored by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, this year's CCBW is even bigger, with over 250 locations participating.

Having learned lessons from previous CCBW's where patrons were expected to buy passports and present them to servers for stamps, etc., this year's rules of participation were simple: any establishment can participate if they have been serving craft beers for at least a year before May 16, and if they offer at least one craft pour for $4 throughout the 11-day, uh, week. Those participating places can then have their craft beer-related event posted on the CCBW web site, which this year includes a smartphone app.

With so many events going on every single day, it would be beyond me to just list everyone. Instead, the top of this article has a button linking to the CCBW site. My attempt will be to highlight particular events with some interest: maybe featuring local brewers, especially new ones, or a chance to get at a rare brew. And I'll be noting whatever events I've run into that somehow are not on the CCBW list, or are listed for American Craft Beer Week. So hang on, I've got a lot of these to write.

Thursday, May. 16

6:30 - 9:30 pm ♦ Beer Under Glass (SOLD OUT!)
Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago
The most idyllic setting for a brew fest, Garfield Park Conservatory is the backdrop to the fanciest beer buzz you'll ever light. If you can't scour up tickets, Haymarket Pub & Brewery hosts the Unofficial  Pre- and Post_BUG party (737 W. Randolph, Chicago).

Shark Attack! A nation wide World of Beer / Dogfish Head event
World of Beer, 1727 Freedom Dr, Naperville, IL (630) 955-0399
Preliminary draft line-up: Dogfish Head 60, 61, 90 and 120 Minute, Midas, Burton, Aprihop, Positive Contact, Noble Rot, Bitches Brew, Birra Etrusca, Rizing Bines.
The Shark Attack National DFH Tap Takeover begins May 16th! In collaboration with DFH, this will be WOB's largest DFH lineup ever. We will have the NEW STANDARD IPA GLASSWARE (see this link to learn more about the glassware) and other assorted swag!

10:00 am - 1:00 am ♦ CCBW Kick-Off with Oskar Blues
Sheffield's, 3258 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago (773) 281-1350
We'll be tapping Oskar Blues Mango Habanero Dale's Pale (Firkin), Deviant Dale's, Dale's Pale Ale.

4:00 pm ♦ Thursday KBS Tapping at Tribes Alehouse Tinley
The Tribes Alehouse, 9501 W. 171st St., Tinley Park, IL (708) 966-2051
Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout.

5:00 - 7:00 pm ♦ Sofie/Sofie Paradisi Side by Side
Deja Brew Bar & Grill, 5219 W. 95th St., Oak Lawn, IL (708) 423-0484
Get a chance to drink Goose Island's Sofie and Sofie Paradisi right next to each other for Chicago Craft Beer Week! $9 per pairing, with cheese and charcuterie

5:00 - 7:00 am ♦ Chicago Craft Beer Week Kickoff with Two Brothers
Franklin Tap, 325 S. Franklin, Chicago (312) 922-8025
Paul Wonak from Two Brothers Brewing Company will be in house to chat about what its like to be at the forefront of Chicago's craft beer scene and sample out some of their old favorites and newest recipes.

5:00 pm - 2:00 am ♦ Barrel Aged Beers - Part 1 - Firestone Walker
The Village Tap, 2055 West Roscoe St., Chicago 312-330-0712
On May 16th and 17th, we’ll be kicking off Chicago Craft Beer Week in style with a 2-part series of limited edition barrel aged beers from two extraordinary breweries, Firestone Walker of Paso Robles, CA and Chicago’s own Revolution Brewery. On Thursday we’ll be featuring beers from Firestone Walker. Jeffers Richardson, the original brew master and current barrel master will be on hand. The following barrel aged brews will be available:
• Firestone Walker 16th Anniversary Ale; An American Strong Ale aged in Oak
• Firestone Walker Sucaba; An English style Barleywine aged in retired bourbon barrels
• Firestone Walker Double DBA; An Imperial Special Bitter aged in a combination of American Oak and retired bourbon barrels.
In addition, we will have the unfiltered DBA that is 100% wood fermented as well as several of the flagship FW brands.
But that’s not all!!! In addition to the above, we’ll dig deep into our beer cooler to break out some of the sought after and special brews we’ve been saving for this great occasion. Expect to find a few surprises as well as such stalwarts as:
Three Floyds Behemouth and Dreadnaught;
• What could be the last remaining barrel of Bell’s Hopslam; and
• One of our favorites, Southern Tier Choklat, cellered for 1 year.
For more info and updates check us out on Facebook.

6:00 pm ♦ Chicago Doet Belgie at SmallBar Division Street
SmallBar Division, 2049 W. Division St., Chicago
Some of Chicago’s best breweries take on classic Belgian styles, often adding their own twist. Enjoy some of our recent favorites along with Belgian food specials like steamed mussels, pomme frittes and more!
Half Acre Bones & All
Three Floyds Tiberian Inquisitor
Two Bros 16th Anniversary
Lake Effect Snow Wit
5 Rabbit Missionario
Revolution Little Crazy
plus a surprise from Pipeworks Brewing.

6:00 - 9:00 pm ♦ Tap This: Drink Local 3 at Fischmans
Fischman's Liquors & Tavern, 4776 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago (773) 545-0123
Time to kick off Chicago Craft Beer Week again! We’re tapping 16 of Chicago’s finest as we celebrate the amazing craft beer made right here at home by our friends and neighbors!

Awesome Food Truck lineup as well!

6:30 pm ♦ Bell's Beer Dinner in Morris
Chapin's Restaurant, 701 Liberty St., Morris, IL 60450
Celebrate American Craft Beer Week with this five course dinner paired with four different Bell's beers. Call 815-942-1880 for more information.

6:30 pm ♦ Goose Island Beer Dinner at Maggiano's Little Italy
Maggiano's Little Italy, 1901 E. Woodfield Rd., Schaumburg, IL
Pairings with Goose Island India Pale Ale, 312, Matilda, and Nut Brown Ale. $60 per guest. Check Maggiano's website for the menu and reservations.

7:00 pm ♦ Hinterland Meet the Brewer/Firkin Tapping
The Bar on Buena, 910 W. Buena Ave, Chicago, IL
Bar on Buena will be hosting a Hinterland Meet the Brewer/Firkin tapping. Brewer Mike Motousek will be there & tappings include Cheer Wheat, IPA and a special Firkin for the occasion.

7:00 pm ♦ Solemn Oath & Stone Tap Takeover
Howells & Hood, 435 N Michigan Ave., Chicago (312) 262-5310
Join us at 7pm, and be part of the nationwide toast in celebration of American Craft Beer. We’ll use 20 of our 120 tap handles to feature 10 beers from both Solemn Oath Brewery & Stone Brewing Co. Be sure to experience this unique craft beer event, in the heart of Chicago’s Michigan Ave. (no cover charge, just pay for what you drink).
Howells & Hood will also offer $4 Solemn Oath Kidnapped By Vikings 6oz drafts for the duration of Chicago Craft Beer Week! We also have a slew of $4 6oz pours available.

7:00 - 9:00 pm ♦ Wild Onion Brewing Company Whole Hog Dinner
Burger Bar Chicago, 1578 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago (312) 255-0055
$50 per person. Check the website for full menu and reservations.
Pork and bacon pairings with Wild Onion's Kainz Brau Bohemian Pilsener, Hop Slayer Double IPA, Phat Chance blonde ale, Hefty Weiss hefeweizen, and Beggars Brown nut brown ale, topped by an oatmeal stout bacon shake.

7:00 - 10:00 pm ♦ Revolution Tap Overthrow at Duke’s Ale House
Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen, 110 N. Main St., Crystal Lake, IL (815) 356-9980
Revolution Brewing stages a tap overthrow. Check Revolution's web site for an updated beer list.

7:00 - 9:00 pm ♦ Battle of the American IPA's!
Pizza Rustica, 3908 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago (773) 404-8955
Featuring free tastings of Founders Centennial IPA, Great Lakes Commodore Perry, and Barley Island Barfly.

Follow me on Twitter, Google+ or my Facebook fan page. For more tappings and events, check my Google Calendar. View my One-Take Beer Review Videos. And see the latest of my 2,600 beer reviews on RateBeer.

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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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