Attention all Chicago Craft Beer Week virgins: It’s not as intimidating as it may seem.
It’s not a test. It’s not a pricey, members-only event. And no, you don’t really need one of those lanyards that you’ll see many beer fans wearing to show their participation in the event.
In fact, most of the events happening around town for the third annual Chicago Craft Beer Week running today through May 27 (yes it’s a eleven-day “week”) are readily accessible to new and seasoned beer fans alike.
But that doesn’t mean there won’t be crowds, or a cost. If you’re looking for a more casual CCBW experience, avoid the seated beer dinners, ticketed opening and closing events or crowded crawls and instead try out a few casual tastings and tap takeovers. Here are a few can’t-miss events this weekend to get you started. Want to party beyond Saturday? Head to chibeerweek.com for a full event schedule.
1578 N. Clybourn Ave. 312-255-0055
Get a taste of the East Coast when New York-based beer makers Brooklyn Brewery and Ommegang Brewery hit the taps starting at 6 p.m. at this Lincoln Park eatery.
Haymarket Pub & Brewery
737 W. Randolph St. 312-638-0700
Head to this West Loop brewpub—an active hub for many CCBW events—at 6 p.m. for the start of its Greenbush Tap Takeover, a chance to try brews from the small Sawyer, Michigan-based brewery.
1028 W. Diversey Pkwy. 773-290-6988
Fans of Goose Island’s specialty brews won’t want to miss out on a chance to try a few of the different varieties that will be on tap at this Lincoln Park bar starting at 7 p.m., including Bourbon County coffee stout, Scarlett and En Passant.
The Norse Bar
6334 N. Clark St. 773-942-6344
Try a little Kansas City flavor as this Edgewater bar taps Boulevard Brewing’s Saison-Brett at 8:30 p.m. Snag a 12.5-ounce pour for $6 or opt for a pint of Boulevard’s Boss Tom’s golden bock for $4.
Small Bar Division
2049 W. Division St. 773-772-2727
Not a night owl? No problem. From 4 p.m. on, you can hit the patio at this Wicker Park bar and sip brews from west-suburban brewery Two Brothers, including Red Eye coffee porter, Bonfire dunkelweiss and Pillar of Salt white rye.
The Green Lady
3328 N. Lincoln Ave. 773-525-5571
If you’ve tried the Latin-inspired brews from 5 Rabbit, the next step is to meet the men behind the beer. Co-founders Andres Araya, Isaac Showaki and Randy Mosher will be on hand at this North Center bar, which will feature their entire line of beers on draft.
Old Town Pour House
1419 N. Wells St. 312-477-2800
Stop in to this new (and often crowded) Old Town bar to try a few craft beers out of the more than 50 beers available on draft. Bartenders will be serving up 6-ounce tasting pours for $3-$6 throughout the “week.”
833 W. Randolph St. 312-432-0500
The West Loop restaurant will be doing different daily pizza and lambic beer pairings, such as Lindemans peach lambic with mortadella pizza for $17.
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