The second annual Chicago Craft Beer Week, which is sponsored by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, kicks off tonight with “Beer Under Glass” at the Garfield Park Conservatory. The $40 free-for-all features samples from over 25 breweries, along with a selection small plates from local restaurants. While advance tickets are currently sold out, we were able to confirm that some tickets will be available at the door on a first come, first served basis. That said, don’t worry if you can’t make it, as tonight’s event is really only the celebratory opening of the sudsy flood gates. Beer Week runs from now until May 27, and will include events at over 50 bars and 20 restaurants. The only issue you may have is figuring out how much beer you reasonably can drink.
That’s a lot events. Luckily, the organizers have made it about as easy as possible to sort through the lineup to find the event that is perfect for you. All you have to do is check out the main site or download the official Chicago Craft Beer Week App for iPhone and Droid smart phones. On both you can see a full calender of events, plus all the necessary information (directions, cost). Also, there is a handy map feature, which allows you to find the participating restaurants or bars closest to your house.
At first glance, the only confusing aspect of the week is the $10 Chicago Beer Passport. It’s described as resource guide and ticket, which allows you access to some select events. If you buy one, you’ll also be able to participate in the “Rewards Program,” where you can “earn prizes ranging from official Beer Week glasses and t-shirts to beer festival tickets and opportunities to serve as a special guest brewer at area breweries.” If interested, check out where you pick up your copy.
So should you get one? According the site, the “vast majority of the events” are free and open to the public. That said, each day there will be a featured event that will require a passport. Basically, there is enough beer to go around this week, and all you have to decide is how intense you’d like to be.