The House of Glunz has an English beer tasting Thursday from 7-8:30 PM. Led by beer specialist Anthony Norkus, it offers ales, stouts, bitters, and beers from all over the UK, including hard-to-find bottles such as the Welsh bitter Thomas Watkins OSB and Scotland’s Skull Splitter Orkney Ale. $20.

It’s Raining Cats and Dogs!, a benefit for the Anti-Cruelty Society, is this Friday from 6:30-10 PM. There’ll be food from 20 Chicago chefs, wine and cheese tasting, music by the Ron Harris Music Group, mingling with the furry residents, and live and silent auctions. Tickets are $125 in advance or $140 at the door.

Tour the Nielsen-Massey Vanilla factory in Waukegan with the Culinary Historians of Chicago, Saturday at 10 AM. $2, reservations required; call 847-432-8255. 

To kick off its weeklong Pumpkin Festival, featuring specials like pumpkin risotto and arctic char with a pumpkin seed crust, Mon Ami Gabi is sponsoring a tour of the Great Pumpkin Patch Saturday at noon. After lunch at local Amish restaurant Vera’s Family Meals (included in the price), attendees can pick cucurbits (i.e., squash) with chef Larry Tio, explore the straw bale maze, and take a wagon ride. Participants will receive a goody bag with pumpkin treats and a $25 gift certificate to Mon Ami Gabi. $25.

Patty Pinner signs and serves samples from Sweety Pies: An Uncommon Collection of Womanish Observations, With Pie at the Book Stall at Chestnut Court Saturday at 2 PM. The book is a collection of 70 pie recipes accompanied by childhood anecdotes from their creators.

Saturday at 8 PM, Halloween comes early with Viand’s Fantasy Ball — costumes required — hosted by local drag queen Miss Foozie and featuring go-go dancers and a DJ. There’s also a Brazilian tapas buffet and fresh juice bar. Price includes the buffet and three martinis. $75 in advance, $95 at the door.

The Tour de Champagne Chicago, Saturday at 7 PM at the Drake Hotel, features champagne from more than 20 houses paired with local cuisine. There’ll also be cooking demos by chefs including former White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier, a raffle, and a silent auction to benefit Common Threads and Meals on Wheels Chicago. $110 general admission, $145 for a VIP ticket.

West Town Tavern hosts a four-course Umami Wine Dinner Sunday at 5:30 to explore “the synergy between food and wine.” Umami is a Japanese word for the fifth taste that translates into “savory” or “delicious flavor.” Wine director Drew Goss will be on hand to discuss the wine pairings he’s chosen for each course. $85 per person, reservations recommended.

Monday starting at 6:30 PM, Vella Cafe offers a special three-course dinner to benefit the Logan Square Farmer’s Market. Most of the meal will be sourced from local farms (including that of longtime Reader staffer Vera Videnovich); offerings include roasted cauliflower soup, pork roast with apple cider glaze (or a veggie-friendly alternative, roasted vegetable galette with goat cheese), and poached pears with cardamom ice cream. It’s BYO and costs $40. 

Alleviate hunger other than your own Wednesday from 6-10 PM by eating a meal prepared by top Chicago chefs including Gale Gand (Tru) and Susan Goss (West Town Tavern). The 14th annual Bag Hunger Auction at the downtown Hyatt Regency raises money for the Chicago Food Depository with live and silent auctions featuring travel packages, gift certificates, and other prizes. Last year’s event provided more than a million meals for the needy. $125.