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Craft Beer Week's Cup of Events Runneth Over in Wicker Park, Bucktown

By Alisa Hauser | May 20, 2013 9:54am
 Matt Zimmerman, 25, an actuary, lives in Ukrainian Village and was drinking beer at SmallBar Thursday with his friend, David Wiegard, 26, a consultant.
Matt Zimmerman, 25, an actuary, lives in Ukrainian Village and was drinking beer at SmallBar Thursday with his friend, David Wiegard, 26, a consultant.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

WICKER PARK —  Need a drink this (work) week?

You're in luck.

From a Tuesday night trolley tour with stops at five bars to a Wednesday pub crawl and a flurry of "tap takeovers" and new releases, it's a busy week at several Wicker Park, Bucktown and West Town bars taking part in Chicago Craft Beer Week.

Since the list of happenings is exhaustive, the organizers of the 10-day long citywide fest which ends Sunday have created a mobile phone app to guide beer lovers through their stops at 250 participating bars and venues.

At SmallBar's craft beer week kickoff Thursday, owner Phil McFarland said said craft beer has "exploded" and it's "fun to be a part of it."

McFarland said he remembers when craft beers were called "microbrews" and only a handful of Chicago bars such as SmallBar, Hopleaf and the Map Room were known for serving them.

During Chicago Craft Beer Week, SmallBar, at 2049 W. Division St., will offer 30 new craft beers at a series of day-by-day events in addition to the many craft beers already on its menu, McFarland said.

McFarland said he's most excited for Tuesday's "Cross the Lake" classic that will pit breweries Greenbush (Swayer, Michigan) and Solemn Oath (from Naperville) against each other in a friendly competition. Drinkers will decide which company has the best brews based on a 12-tap takeover, with six beers from each brewery.

McFarland said he's been waiting to try Solemn Oath's "Radth" beer, which is a chardonnay barrel-aged Belgian blonde ale with cherries.

SmallBar joins over a dozen local bars that are offering special tap takeovers, release parties and other events.

For the complete schedule, searchable by neighborhood, click here. 

A sampling of local Chicago Craft Beer Week highlights Include:

Tuesday, May 21

6 to 11 p.m. American Craft Brewers Trolley Tour.  This Monday night trolley tour puts American craft breweries in the spotlight and plans to make stops at five bars: High Dive, Smoke Daddy, Bar De Ville, Fatpour and The Bedford. The tour begins at High Dive, 1938 W. Chicago Ave., and will include a sample beer at each bar, along with networking opportunities with brew masters and founders. Tickets can be bought for $20 online. Reservations are required.

6 p.m.  Battle of the Breweries at Emporium Arcade Bar, 1366 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park. Craft beer lovers and arcade gamers will compete for prizes and awards from breweries including Solemn Oath, Haymarket, Metropolitan, Begyle, Spiteful, and Three Floyds. 

12 p.m. to 11 :45 p.m.  Beer release for Founders Doom.  An Imperial IPA aged in bourbon barrels for four months, the beer will sets up 'roots' at Roots Handmade Pizza, 1924 W. Chicago Ave. in Ukrainian Village.

Wednesday, May 22

5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Lagunitas Beer Night at Floyd's Pub, 1944 N. Oakley Ave. in Bucktown.

5 p.m. to 2 a.m. $3 Craft Beer Cans and Free Pool at Easy Bar, 1944 W. Division St. in Wicker Park.

6 p.m. Division Street IPA Crawl.  Three Division Street bars will be offering craft beers from across the country — literally.  At SmallBar, find West coast draft and cask IPAs from the best "left coast" brewers, including Ballast Point, Stone Sublimey, Green Flash and Sierra Nevada.  Pop by Jerry's Sandwiches for Midwestern IPAs (Solemn Oath, Boulevard, Dark Horse, et al)  and Bangars & Lace for East Coast (and English) beers.

Thursday, May 23 

5 p.m. to 2 a.m.  Goose Island Greenline at Six Corners Sportsbar, 1950 W. North Ave. in Wicker Park.  Just east of Wicker Park's bustling six corner Milwaukee-Damen-North intersection, this bar will serve Goose Island's Greenline for $4 through May 26.

5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Stone Vertical Epic Flight Night at Bluebird, 1749 N. Damen Ave. in Bucktown.  Enjoy "an amazing library of beers" from a Southern Califiornia brewery, Stone.

7 to 9 p.m. Grand Teton Beer Release Night at Floyd's Pub, 1944 W. Oakley Ave. in Bucktown. Buy the beer for $8 and get a glass to take home with you at this tapping of Grand Teton Oud Bruin Belgian Style Ale. The beer is described as "a Flemish style ale with a light sourness."

Friday, May 24

5 to 10 p.m.  Beer and Bacon Flight Combo Discount at bar bar black sheep, 1415 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park. Along with Founder's Breakfast Stout on special for $4, there's a special discount when you purchase a bacon and beer flight combo.

7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Boomtown! with Live Bluegrass music at Jerry's Sandwiches, 1938 W. Division St. in Wicker Park.  Local beers from emerging Chicago-based breweries will take the spotlight at this party, featuring brewers from Begyle, Spiteful, Ale Syndicate and Lake Effect.  Live bluegrass music from The Grasstronauts starts at 10 p.m.

Saturday, May 25

1 to 5 p.m. West Loop Craft Beer Fest Closing Event, in Clinton Street between Lake and Washington Street.  Billed as the "largest craft beer outdoor block party" in a news release, this gathering includes craft beer tastings and a sampling glass. Tickets ($65 VIP; $40 general admission) can be purchased online.

6 p.m. Meet the Brewers Event at High Dive, 1938 W. Chicago Ave. in Ukrainian Village.  Six new Belgian craft beers will be on tap, along with an opportunity to meet brewers from Colorado.

Sunday, May 26

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  SmallBar's third annual Half Acre Brunch offers four Half Acre beers paired with four small plates for $30.