With another Illinois Craft Beer Week in the books, the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild has a whole summer worth of events to look forward to. Friday Night Flights are sprinkled throughout the summer that offer craft beer lovers the opportunity to meet and try some of the best craft beer from all over Chicago’s neighborhoods with a kick-off event right outside Wrigley Field.
These types of beer festivals are something I think I’m starting to gravitate toward. I have gone to a whole host of the big blockbuster events that offer every conceivable thing. What I have found in the past few years though is that I like fests like Ultra Fresh, where I could possibly try every beer there within reason and feel good about that experience.
Friday Night Flights are manageable affairs that are big enough to hold your interest but small enough to wrap your mind and taste buds around.
For more information about these events, visit Choose Chicago’s website with details and links to the tickets, choosechicago.com/events-and-shows/food-and-drinks/chicago-friday-night-flights/
“We’re thrilled to partner with Choose Chicago for the third annual Chicago Friday Night Flights series,” said Danielle D’Alessandro, executive director for the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. “This summerlong series is a chance to explore new neighborhoods while celebrating Chicago’s unparalleled craft beer scene, and we’re looking forward to another great summer of craft beer.”
Friday: 6 to 9 p.m. — Gallagher Way, 3635 N Clark St., Chicago. Tickets are $20. Breweries from all over the city are participating in the first Friday Night Flights event just outside Wrigley Field: Great Central, Maplewood, Begyle, Goose Island, Lake Effect, Moody Tongue, Dovetail, Ravinia Brewing, DryHop/Corridor, Haymarket, Spiteful, Greenstar Brewing, Half Acre Beer Co., Twisted Hippo, On Tour Brewing, Motor Row, All Rise, Middle Brown, Urban Renewal, Alarmist, Illuminated Brew Works, Adams Street Brewery, Lo Rez, Argus Brewery, Old Irving Brewing Co., Band of Bohemia, Pipeworks, Cruz Blanca, Around the Bend, Off Color, Revolution, Vice District
June 28: 6 to 9 p.m. — Chicago Brewing District, 232 N. Wood St., Chicago. Tickets are $20.The Chicago Brewing District just added three new residents in one swoop with the opening of the District Brew Yards like Around the Bend, but stalwarts of the district like On Tour, Great Central, Goose Island, and other will be out and about. I think this particular stop on the trip is going to be a blast.
July 26 : 6 to 9 p.m. — Ravenswood Corridor, exact location TBD. Tickets are $20. The Ravenswood Corridor also known as “Malt Row” is one of my favorite places in the city to knock around beerwise. With solid entries like Dovetail and Begyle, along with some new residents like Urban Renewal and Eris as well, this one should be a good time.
Aug. 9: 6 to 9 p.m. — 31st Street Beach at Pier 31, 3101 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. Tickets are $20. The closest Friday Night Flight to us on the South Side, some stellar breweries come out for this event like Whiner, Marz Brewing, Alulu and Moody Tongue. This fest is just up the road from us at the scenic Pier 31, and one of the only Flight events that is on the water.
Aug. 23: 6 to 9 p.m. — Milwaukee Avenue Corridor, exact location TBD. Tickets are $20. When I think of the capital of craft beer in Chicago, I think of the Milwaukee Avenue corridor as the guild is calling it this year. Revolution, Hopewell, Maplewood and Off Color, and so many others that represent Chicago craft beer to me. Milwaukee Avenue is a special place, and I think this particular party might be the best one of the summer.
Sept. 13 – 6 to 9 p.m. — Chicago Riverwalk, The Jetty & Confluence (Wells and Lake streets). Tickets are $20. I don’t get downtown nearly enough, and I have never been to The Jetty & Confluence before so I’m eager to check the digs there. While the list of breweries has not been announced yet, I think plenty of high-quality beer outfits will show up to the end-of-summer party. Keep this one on the list for sure.
Don’t forget to check out the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild’s Summer Passport program. At participating Illinois craft breweries, you can pick up a passport that has every guild member brewery inside. If you visit 40 different breweries between May 10 and Aug. 10, you are eligible for a one-year membership in ICBG’s enthusiast program imBIBE (valued at $50) which has plenty of perks, but one that stands out to me is the VIP entry into guild-sponsored events.
For more info on that, visit illinoisbeer.org/passport.
I also gave my pick this week to Danielle D’Alessandro to see what she has been drinking lately, and she picked Lo Rez Brewing — one of the standouts of the South Side and potential 31st Street Beach hold steady — who just started canning beer recently.
Mango Chili Shortcut from Lo Rez Brewing
ABV: 5.1 percent
Style: Sour — Berliner Weiss
Notes: Just as it sounds, mango with a little hint of chili to tingle the tongue and plenty of tart from the Berliner that makes it dry and refreshing.
Where to Buy: You can find this one at the taproom in Pilsen in 16 oz pours for $5 or try and find it at one of the Friday Night Flight events they are looking forward to attending.