NEAR WEST SIDE — Lagunitas Brewery threw a wild party in its massive soon-to-be-completed brewery Tuesday night.
Close to 4,000 invites were sent out for Tuesday's event in the 300,000 square-foot brewery at 15th and Rockwell streets, just across from Cinespace Chicago, the Near West Side's giant film studio.
Lagunitas Owner Tony Magee has said he wanted Chicago's brewery experience to be wacky, and Tuesday night was it. Redmoon performers served Lagunitas Lil' Sumpin Sumpin ale out of teapots, burlesque dancers from Burlesco stripped onstage, while a man in a gorilla mask and a tuxedo rocked out in the audience.
Oh, and guests were greeted by a continuous loop of Willy Wonka music.
"That was me! I said, 'I want that music from Willy Wonka,'" said Magee's sister, Karen Hamilton. "People come in and they're like, 'This is like the Willy Wonka chocolate factory, except with beer.'"
Hamilton, who is also director of regional marketing for Lagunitas, said the brewery plans to have its first beer brewed by March and its tap house open by April.
When asked if the brewery plans to debut a special Chicago beer at that time, Hamilton just smiled.
"All the labels are gonna say, 'Brewed in Chicago, Illinois.' That's the special part of it," she said.