Chicago is known for its beer scene. Nestled between Wisconsin and Michigan, Illinois has easy access to some of the greatest breweries in the U.S., to say nothing of the great breweries that call Illinois home. Between its location and Chicago being a top three media market, a ton of the country’s best beer ends up here. In the smallest, divey-est, most out-of-the-way bar, you’re still likely to come upon a three-year-old bourbon-barrel-aged collaboration between a homebrewer in North Dakota and a few monks in Belgium. Every weekend there’s an event or festival or special release. In fact, this summer, there’s a beer festival or event happening almost every weekend. Yet with all the great beer things happening in Chicago, two guys saw a noticeable hole in the offerings and decided to do something about it.
Dave Watts and Marcus Osacky are friends who work together in IT. Watts is a bit of a beer nerd, attending aforementioned festivals and events as regularly as if they were a part-time job. Osacky is a bit newer to the craft beer scene, but along with Watts has dived in and come to love attending festivals. Yet as they talked and discussed the things they loved or didn’t love about a particular event, an idea started to blossom. “Why not put one on ourselves?” Osacky asked.
“We know what we like, what we didn’t like. We wanted to do something unique and make it about the beer,” Watts says. And so was born the Logan Square Beer Festival, (@LoganSqBeerFest). Osacky’s family owns the Logan Square Auditorium (2539 N. Kedzie Ave.) and has deep ties to the area, so there was a perfect venue in a perfect neighborhood.
Watts and Osacky are trying to create a different experience with this festival—a little smaller, a little more intimate, with beers that you wouldn’t normally have access to. Every brewery has committed to bringing something special, whether it’s a rare-and-hard-to-find release, a collaboration or an aged beer. There will be live music, but nothing overbearing. In other words, you won’t have to shout to talk to your friends about what you’re drinking. There will be a free raffle for beer-related items, and with a limit of 600 attendees, you’ve got a decent shot at winning something.
In a town known for massive festivals with dozens and dozens of breweries, Logan Square Beer Festival sticks out for doing something different. Twenty breweries bringing special releases, 600 attendees and a smaller venue mean you’re going to get a good beer without a long wait and you’ll actually have the chance to sample all the beers you’re interested in. As the festival will be located next to the Logan Square Blue Line stop, transportation couldn’t be easier. And with some of the greatest bars and food in Chicago, the after-parties are guaranteed to be top notch. Details below. Hope you’ll join me there!
Date & Time: Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, Standard Tickets, 2 pm–5 pm; VIP Tickets, 1 pm–5 pm
Where: Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N Kedzie, Chicago
Breweries attending (with more to come): Abita, Begyle, Bell’s, Boulder, Emmett’s, Lagunitas, Lake Effect, Lakefront, Metropolitan, Revolution, Rock Bottom, Sixpoint, Solemn Oath, Sprecher, Two Brothers and Wild Onion.