Not to be confused with American Craft Beer Week—which starts May 13 and is actually confined to a single week—Chicago Craft Beer Week begins Thursday and continues for a week and a half. There are just too many events to cram into seven days, it seems. Really, there are enough events to fill a month or two. Just take a look at the schedule—it’s completely overwhelming. Each day features dozens of events, ranging from discounts to special tappings to all-out festivals. I’ve attempted to sort out the most promising events, and they’re listed below. Unless otherwise specified, events are a la carte (as in, you buy pints of whatever beer you’re interested in) and don’t have a cover charge. Not listed are two of the best-sounding events—Beer Under Glass at the Garfield Park Conservatory and Half Acre’s 5th Anniversary Party—because they’re sold out. Most bars haven’t yet specified what beers will be on tap.
Tap This! Drink Local III (6 PM, Fischman Liquors & Tavern, 4780 N. Milwaukee): It doesn’t have quite the lineup of Beer Under Glass, but with 16 local breweries, it’s not bad—and there’ll also be live music and food trucks.
Regional Clusterfuck (tapping at 3 PM, Local Option, 1102 W. Webster): “Rare and highly sought after releases” from Dark Horse, Central Waters, Against the Grain, Perennial Artisan Ales, and, of course, the Local Option itself.
Chicago Beer Geeks Tap Takeover (4 PM, Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake, $10 cover): Release of the Chicago Beer Geeks/Wild Onion collaboration beer, Deception, plus unspecified “rare and limited” releases from Three Floyds, Revolution, Goose Island, and others. Burlesque and live music too.
Over the Influence: The Art of Beer (5-9 PM, Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S. Morgan, $30): Work by artists and designers “inspired by the aesthetics of craft beer and how it intersects with food, culture, and society.” Beverages—from Half Acre Beer, Solemn Oath Brewery, Spiteful Brewing , Journeyman Distillery, Maria’s Ginger Beer, and others—are included; Flesh for Food will be selling eats.
Solemn Oath One-Year Anniversary Party (6 PM, Bangers & Lace, 1670 W. Division): Sixteen Solemn Oath brews, 16 Port Brewing/Lost Abbey beers, and the release of Famine, a collaboration between the two breweries.
Goose Island’s 25th Anniversary Block Party (Noon-3 PM, Goose Island Brewery, 1800 W. Fulton, $25): Virtue, Half Acre, Emmett’s, and others will be on hand, but the real reason to attend this is to try the rare Goose Island offerings, including Gran Gas, Golden Goddess, and more than a half dozen Bourbon County Stout variations (Buffalo Trace; Templeton; Speyside; Coffee—Brazil, Columbia, and Kenya—Napa, and Rare).
Chicago’s Bourbon Trail (1-6 PM, starts and ends at Fizz Bar & Grill, 3220 N. Lincoln, $25): A trolley takes participants to the Green Lady, the Map Room, the Fountainhead, and the Long Room, each of which will be offering a bourbon and a barrel-aged beer (alcohol isn’t included in the ticket price).