There is a lot of stuff coming up I’m super excited about. I did an event roundup for August with a few beer festivals and small events. I think I want to get in the habit of letting people know what is happening in a given month to let you know where I might be headed in my craft beer travels.
The first event I want to preview is the brand-new craft beer festival put on by the Chicago White Sox. Chisox Craft Beer Festival takes place on from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 15. Tickets for the event cost $125 for VIP and $45 for general admission. You can buy tickets at mlb.com/whitesox/tickets/beerfest.
General admission gets you 30 2-ounce samples, access to the outfield concourse level with games, live music and plenty more. But the real deal here is the VIP ticket. The $125 VIP ticket gets you 10 bonus samples, VIP exclusive beer samples, a meet and greet with White Sox legend Frank Thomas, a behind-the-scenes tour and on-field access to Guaranteed Rate Field.
This is a special occasion, and it might be worth it to spring for these VIP tickets. I have been to one other event I would consider a beer festival at Guaranteed Rate Field. It was fantastic. It took place on a game day; the ticket got you into the ballpark a few hours early. Breweries were there pouring draft beer out of jockey boxes on the 500-level concourse.
The second event is not a beer fest specifically, but there is an interesting beer tie-in for this one. Riot Fest is one of my favorite music festivals. It takes place Sept. 13-15, and it runs from 11 a.m. until after 10 p.m. in Douglas Park in Chicago. Tickets for the event range from $50 to $150 and can be purcahsed at riotfest.org/chicago/tickets.
It takes place every September during the course of three days of nonstop bands from a side of the music genres I really enjoy. In the past, our own Brickstone Brewery brewed a beer exclusively for Riot Fest called Riot Nicely, which was a fantastic little pale ale.
This year, I reached out to the fest organizers to find out if there was a new collaboration. Goose Island is making Riot Fest Sucks as a tongue-in-cheek homage to the punk rock ethos of the event itself.
Riot Fest Sucks is a traditional sort of pale ale with a throwback amber color and upfront classic APA hops. Coming in at 5.4 percent ABV and 30 IBUs, this might be the only label of beer I drink at Riot Fest this year. The neat thing with this new can is the label peels away to reveal the entire Riot Fest lineup, which is notoriously hard to read and important to find out because bands you want to see often play at the same time in different areas of the fest. I am stoked to get ahold of one of these cans at the Friday session.
Another event I want to talk about is Virtue Cider’s Fourth annual Apple Fest from 12 to 9 p.m. Sept. 21 in Fennville, Mich. It’s a free event at Virtue’s Apple Orchard and Cider House. There are more things happening at this event than I can keep track of here, but there is a lot.
A new barbecue sauce will debut between Virtue Cider and Lillie Q’s of Chicago. There is live music by The Hideout, horse-drawn cart rides, cider house tours, Lillie Q’s pig roast, carnival-style harvest games, family-friendly farm tours and a queen pageant anyone can enter.
This party is just chockablock full of good-time fun. Fennville is only about two hours away; there is a free shuttle running from Lillie Q’s in Chicago if you are interested. You can find out everything you need to know about this event at app.anyroad.com/tours/e630476b-8453-483d-a7c5-80935bbb459d.
You have to reserve your spots for Cider House Tours and the horse-drawn cart rides beforehand.
Beerhoptacular is just around the corner as well, with the party returning to Vertiport, 1339 S. Wood St., Chicago, from 4 to 8 p.m. Sept. 28, with early entry at 3 pm. Tickets for this event cost $49 for general admission and $59 for early entry. You can find tickets at tickets.loudogevents.com/e/beerhoptacular/tickets.
This is the second year they have hosted Beerhoptacular at Vertiport, which is an incredible venue for this event. There are helicopters picking up and landing fest goers constantly. There is plenty of room for food trucks and vendors sprinkled throughout.
There is an upstairs lounge area to chill out and enjoy a beer. It is a fantastic event, and I wish I could go again this year, but children’s birthday parties sometimes happen on Saturdays in September. This is one of the great beer fests of Chicago with a homebrew competition included.
Also, look out for next week’s article, which will be a preview of a brew day I will be having with our own Steam Hollow Brewing in Manteno. It’s that time of year again to brew the beer that brought owner Blane White and I together.
I stopped by last weekend to talk with White about something else, and we came to the conclusion brewing a beer together in mid-September might be a good idea. If you have been following this column for more than a couple of years, you will remember that is how we met when he still was brewing beer in his garage in Manteno.
We put our heads together and decided we would take another run at it and will have details about an event at the beginning of October. I look forward to sharing the details with you guys then.