Friday, May 18, 2012

Chicago Craft Beer Week

Good morning and happy Friday!  There’s nothing to get your weekend started like Chicago Craft Beer week, right?  Yep, it’s a big week/weekend here in Chicago.  Chicago Craft Beer Week  (CCBW) and the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization, more in this later).  This is third annual CCBW and the second year we’re participating.  This year they’ve changed things up a bit, but the essence of the week is to promote craft beer at local bars throughout Chicago area.  This means lots of beer specials ($4 for a Three Floyd’s Zombie Dust when it’s usually $8ish) and also lots of events with beer pairings as well as meet’n greets with brewmasters themselves (Yep, we picked up some business cards last night).
Last year the finale party was $40 all you could drink at Revolution Brewing (if you ever go, get the bacon fat popcorn. Uh-mazing.)  This year the event is $15 tickets and you pay for the beer once inside (it’s hosted by Revolution again, but at a new facility).  Either way, there’s one thing you should know, and especially if you’re not familiar with craft beer, is that is can be pretty potent!  Definitely don’t plan on drinking the same amount of Miller Lites as craft beers.

Another aspect to CCBW is the reward for visiting all of the bars.  Last year for every participating bar, when you bought a drink there, you could a bottle cap with a sticker from the bar on it.  At the finale party, you could redeem your bottle caps for CCBW goods like pint glasses, t-shirts, etc.  This year, they’ve divided Chicagoland into nine neighborhoods.  One bar in each ‘hood had a CCBW lanyard (free).  After getting your lanyard, each neighborhood you visit has a small map card to slip into your lanyard and you get a sticker from any associated bar when you buy a beer.  The whole goal of this is to visit at least six of the nine neighborhoods and go to at least two bars in each of them. 6 x 2 = 12.  If, by next Friday, the finale party, you’ve achieved to go to 12 different bars, you’re admitted into a VIP section of the party. Of course Ben is diehard.  Luckily, we bought tickets for another couple too, so there’s 2 husbands on the same drinking pace and then me and the other wife on the same drinking pace.  Although we’re all pretty sure it’s an achievable goal to do.  This is when public transit, cabs and bikes come in handy!  Plus it will be a fun way to check out some new parts of Chicago!

We started last night in our ‘hood at Northdown Tap and Village Tap and easily got our two stickers.  Now to branch out! Of this means a busier than usual week and much more expensive, but it’s a fun change, especially with the warm weather. Ben told me as we were getting ready last night, “I am so excited I feel like it’s Christmas.  Actually, this is way better”. It could end up being a long week though!

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