Craft beer-focused events in and around Chicago. If you don't see yours, let me know!
We have a few more locations that have finally been able to reopen for serving beer! And another sneak peek of Downers Grove's Goldfinger Brewing.
I have been seeing some Facebook posts from establishments who are getting scammed by food delivery services like UberEats or Grubhub. They are apparently posting menus from places that are not
their clients, marking up prices, and sending their drivers out to pick up orders. Often, the drivers never deliver, leaving the restaurant to deal with angry customers. The best way to avoid this issue is to contact the brewer or restaurant directly, to use pickup or their own delivery, or find out which service they are using, if any...
This week we have another collaboration arriving: pickups for the "Christmas in July" variety beer pack from the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild
. See below for details, though they may already be sold out...
We are still into the Phase IV reopening process, knock wood. While indoor seating is still being allowed at minimal capacity, it's better than the alternative.
Another weekend of beer debuts. Crushed by Giants, the brewpub started by the team behind DryHop, will do its first release at its space in the former Heaven on Seventh on Michigan Ave.
Additionally, Obscurity Brewing & Craft Mead
has opened its brewpub at 113 W. North St, Elburn, the farther western suburbs. Their menu includes beer and mead, and a full range of pit BBQ entrees.
Also, the famed Billy Goat Tavern once again has its name on two craft beers, an IPA and Pilsner. The brands are made at Miskatonic Brewing in Darien, using new recipes aimed at the average beer drinker. Billy Goat previously had a partnership with Baderbräu, launching in 2017; that ended when the brewer suddenly went out of business six months later. Billy Goat had previously sold a draft-only "Billy Goat Dark," which was basically their tap handle on Berghoff Dark, Schlitz Dark, or whatever dark lager they could get. (Josh Noel, Chicago Tribune
The storms of the past weekend may have delayed the plans for a lot of beer places to move to Phase 4 indoor seating, mainly because they would have had to close their outdoor seating to be safe. So I may have more last-minute reopening notices to fill in later...
The Chicago area has indeed started to move into Phase 4 of re-opening following the COVID-19 panic. I have posted the ones that have made the official announcement, and condensed some of the rules patrons will need to follow. I will keep adding more announcements as the weekend approaches.
Some places have indicated on the social media that they still might need more time...
The slow reopening from social isolation is going on, virus willing. Mayor Lightfoot announced Friday that bars and restaurants in Chicago would be able to open for limited indoor seating on Friday, the 26th. This date is also the soonest that the rest of Illinois will be able to enter the Phase 4 recovery stage, so watch for more suburban spots to expand service, too. Original article from Block Club Chicago
I mentioned the return of Conrad Seipp Brewing
, coming up next week. Now another retro brand has appeared this week. Thornton Lager Beer, which was last made 89 years ago at the current site of Thornton Distillery, is now being made in collaboration with Evil Horse Brewing. The namesake brewery was built in 1857, drawing water from an artesian well, and went under several different names before shutting down due to Prohibition… and being one of the brewers that were in fact taken over by Capone's crew...
I have not yet been overwhelmed by announcements of Chicago brewers opening their outdoor taprooms once they were given the green light. Some just popped out the "Open" sign, others still need to get their spaces worked out.
My weekend list of events is nearly back up to pre-isolation levels, thanks to Father's Day brunches and carryouts. I've also added a lot of live music events, just to mention places that are indeed open. As we get on into summer, and barring any relapse in our area infectiousness, I might go to re-focus strictly on beer events. Meanwhile, some of these weekend carryout deals will be cutting off orders by Thursday, so please take a look at them now.
Could Rock Bottom be coming back? In the past weeks, Craftworks Holdings, the bankrupt company that oversaw the brewpub chain and the Old Chicago restaurants, was acquired
by SPB Hospitality
. This firm, an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group
, has already listed the Craftworks concepts on its website. SPB group acquired the brands for $93 million in waived debt and assumed liabilities. Other Craftworks concepts include Gordon Biersch, ChopHouse & Brewery, and Big River Grille & Brewing Works. The grapevine suggests that Rock Bottom locations in our area are shooting for a late June opening. Could it be? They furloughed all of their staff, and so would have to start from scratch, including bringing on brewers.
Breaking, June 15:
Mayor Lightfoot's office has announced bars and breweries without a food license will be able to reopen starting Wednesday, June 17. According to a city press release, the new rule states that "bars, lounges, taverns, breweries and other drinking establishments that sell alcohol for on-site consumption without a Retail Food License will be able to open for outdoor service only." As I said below, I will attempt to push the opening as they are announced.
There are a few more events on my weekday schedule from week to week. That's partly because I've been including in-house concerts and food trucks, which I might not usually do when there are so many more taproom events and beer dinners. But I'm now hopeful that we'll get to those.
There are still a few establishments that are getting their construction and permits together to open to outdoor seating. And it is hoped that Chicago will soon allow taprooms without a food license to open soon. As these openings may occur last minute, I'll post them as I find out about them.
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Conrad Seipp Brewing returns[/caption]
This craft beer thing has been pretty full tilt for a few decades now, and once in a while one of the historical brands is brought back to try out the market. The latest one is Conrad Seipp Brewing
, named for a brewer who started making beer in Chicago in 1854. His brewery survived the Chicago Fire, perhaps being located in 27th Street by the Lake (this was before the Burnham Plan renumbered the South Side streets), and was Chicago's largest brewery in the 1890s before being killed off in Prohibition. One of Seipp's descendants has been working to bring the band back. They're starting with a modern version their original Extra Pale Lager, being made at Metropolitan Brewing. They are planning to go on tap at Metro on July 2...
There's a lot of ground to cover before we get to the weekend but here goes: More restaurants and bars are opening cautiously in Chicago. But apparently that permission has not extended to breweries with only tap rooms, and no food license. If you live in Chicago, you may want to drop a polite note to the Mayor's office and your alderperson to remedy this situation.
A new brewer is bringing out its cans this weekend: Liquid Love Brewing
is a group of three brewers doing collaborations and contract beers. Their first release will be at the Prairie Krafts location in Buffalo Grove. Waiting on some more new brewers to come later.
Apparently, the closed Argus Brewery in the far South Side has been listed for sale since May on Craigslist, but this was only brought to our attention this week. The asking price of $2.5 million covers the building, any remaining equipment, and Argus' intellectual property (brands). Josh Noel
reports that there have been some inquiries.
Now, a clarification. Brewers as a group make up a number of opinions and political persuasions, some of which play in to why they wanted to make their own beer in the first place. Nearly all brewers and managers of establishments have responded positively to the questions raised by the Black Lives Matter protests, which pledges to do better as businesses. But others have used the occasion to raise display some ugly personal views. They have been called out by social media, as summarized this article in PorchDrinking.com
. I have decided to continue posting events from everybody for now, and see where the chips fall...
My birthday weekend has been more active than I might have expected. We finally got new shingles on the house, we tried to take part in some of the justice rallies in our area. I even got the wife, who does not drink, to sit at the outdoor section at Black Horizon with draft beers and cheese boards for just an hour or two. The current Phase 3 restrictions actually suit her.
There are still some Phase 3 reopenings that may come about the day before, or even the day of. If I catch them, I''ll be adding to this article.
Also, One Trick Pony Brewing announces in this Facebook post
that they have approval from the village of Lansing to relocate from their current industrial park location to a building in do
wntown Lansing. Of course, under the present circumstances there's no way to be sure when this would really happen. But checking Google Streetview of the location, I found one of those odd vehicles that gets created when Google Maps stitches two photos together...