This would be the column that I would type in preparation of Illinois Craft Beer Week which is typically a week that celebrates all that the craft beer community in Illinois has been up to over the last year.
The kick-off event to that week is Beer Under Glass, put on by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. It’s usually held at Garfield Park Conservatory and is one of my favorite events all year. This year it is canceled due to the COVID 19 pandemic. I love this event. I was finally able to take Sam to this event last year, and we had a sensational time. These events, especially guild events, are a great occasion to catch up with old friends, check in with breweries that may have opened recently, or rekindle a long-lost love of a beer that I haven’t had in awhile from an industry stalwart.
This year Beer Under Glass is not happening, nor are the Friday Night Flights that usually jumpstart after the craziness of craft beer week ends. The other part of what the guild does during this time is it starts its Drink Illinois Summer Passport campaign that encourages craft beer fans to check in with as many Illinois breweries as possible. This part of the craft beer summer has still changed but transformed into something new.
Passport from Home is the new program where you are encouraged to buy from local craft breweries, take photos of your haul and post them to social media using the hashtag #passportathome. The contest runs through June 4. You can get a curbside pickup, growlers to-go, a six pack of cans, or merchandise that you can order online to support your local breweries. Once you get home, take a photo with the Passport from Home picture frame, tag the brewery packaged goods and use the hashtag #passportfromhome on social media. Once you have done this you are entered into a weekly contest for a $25 gift card to the local brewery of your choice.
The contest drawing entry per week closes on Thursdays at 11:59 p.m., and contest winners are drawn on Fridays. The first week’s contest is underway now and goes Thursday, May 14. The following rounds are as follows: May 15-21, May 22-28, and May 29-June 4.
“Now more than ever, we want to celebrate and reward craft beer fans across the state for making the choice to drink beer brewed here in Illinois,” said Danielle D’Alessandro, executive director for the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. “And we want to have some fun at the same time! Every order, whether a four-pack to-go or a gift card purchased for a friend, is critical to helping our member breweries sustain during this challenging time. We are tremendously grateful for everyone who supports their local breweries, and Passport At Home is a small token of our appreciation.”
You know what I am going to say now, right? I am going to recommend that you go straight to Brickstone and purchase some packaged beer to get yourself one of these Passports from Home picture frames and post it online. Of course that is what I am going to say. Brickstone has been running daily specials for weeks now that represent a perseverance and creativity in the face of a steep challenge.
I am not a food writer so I don’t normally recommend food, but my wife and I have ordered something from Brickstone at least once a week since the start of this pandemic shutdown. I have had the Monday Smash Burger Box which comes with fries and a can of beer. Then for awhile on Tuesdays, they were doing the Hoppy Meal which the one I had was a Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich, fries, a can of beer, and a keychain. Then on Thursdays they were doing a collaboration with Supermercado La Siesta in Kankakee for a Taco and Beer box which was phenomenal. On Sundays before this whole mess started, Sam and I would normally check in with Brickstone because Sam loves their wings which were cheap for dine-in then. Now, there is a box of 25 wings, a bag of fries, and a beer for $19.99. They have been doing Sangria Packages, Margarita Packages, a Date Night in collaboration with Grapes & Hops of Kankakee on Saturdays, and all different type of things. Brickstone Brewery’s Facebook page is the most happening thing in Kankakee County during this pandemic.
Milkshake IPA with Cherries N Berries from Brickstone Brewery
Style: IPA — Milkshake
Notes from the brewery: “Milkshake IPA is our series of fruited DIPAs brewed with real Madagascar vanilla and lactose sugar for an extra creamy and smooth body to compliment the juicy notes of fresh fruit and hop notes — dessert in a can.”
Where to Buy: You can find this one at the brewpub in 12-ounce four-pack cans as well as some local retailers.