WICKER PARK — Twelve local brewers. Three beer bloggers. One arcade bar with room for nearly 300 beer fanatics.
That's the recipe Beer 2UP organizers hope will help unite ale connoisseurs and up-and-coming brewmakers for a second annual event of drinking, arcade games and contests April 26 at Emporium Arcade Bar, 1366 N. Milwaukee Ave.
"It’s an opportunity to interact with the brewers in a way that you don’t typically get to," said Blah Blah Beer's Eric Woodruff, who helped create the event along with fellow bloggers Natasha Godard of MetaCookbook, and Jeremy Teel of SubBeerBia.
Beer 1UP came into being about a year ago mainly because the writers couldn't manage to get tickets to Dark Lord Day, a mega beer event that takes place each year at Three Floyds brewery in Munster, Ind., and regularly sells out, Woodruff said.
Evidently, they weren't the only ones bummed about missing one of the biggest brew get-togethers of the year.
"I know that last year we were hoping that we’d get 30 people, and we blew that number out of the water," Godard, 33, said. "It was crowded and packed."
And that was when the event had just four beers on tap.
"Last year, the three of us were fairly new to blogging and getting involved with the beer community, and over the course of the year we’ve become heavily involved," said Woodruff, a 41-year-old Naperville-based blogger.
The original four pourers — Ale Syndicate, Begyle Brewing, Flesk Brewing and Lake Effect Brewing — plan to be back along with eight others, many of which are brand new to the scene: Aleman, Big Shoulders, BuckleDown, Cahoots Brewing, Hailstorm Brewing, Pollyanna, Ten-Ninety and Transient Artisan Ales.
As Godard puts it, "Do you want to meet the brewers of the beer you’re going to start seeing?"
Godard, a Tri-Taylor resident, said she hoped the afternoon attracted both the expert drinker as well as those who were new to craft beer, like she once was.
She didn't even drink the stuff until she tried DuClaw Brewing's Bad Moon Porter in Baltimore about seven years ago.
"I was like, 'Whoa this tastes amazing,'" Godard said. "So, that was like my first realization that beer didn’t have to be kinda yucky, and it could taste kind of like chocolate."
In addition to all the beer, there'll be a pinball tournament and T-shirt contests in which both brewers and drinkers will compete alongside one another, Woodruff said.
"It kind of gives you a sense that the people that are running these breweries are just like every day people," Woodruff said.
Beer 2UP takes place at Emporium Arcade Bar, 1366 N. Milwaukee Ave., noon-4 p.m. Admission is free.