Some may argue that the best part of summer in Chicago is the lack of snow, but I disagree!
Summer in the city means two things: Outdoor. Festivals. Chicago has an unbelievable amount of festivals ranging from ‘Mac N Cheese fest’ to ‘Lollapalooza’, but one popular genre has been craft beer.
Last weekend, I attended the American Beer Classic, located inside the iconic Soldier Field. The weather wasn’t great (45 degrees, overcast, windy), but being surrounded by hundreds of craft beers—on the 50-yard line on my favorite NFL team’s field—was definitely a surreal experience.
Everyone knows that craft beer consumption is on the rise and the concept of these festivals is certainly a hot trend. I have been to a few of them over the last few years, but this one is a yearly favorite due to its location. With over 50 breweries and up to three beer choices on tap at each tent, there was something for everyone sip. Though my favorite kind of beer is a Witbier, I was trying to expand my horizons and get out of my beer-sipping comfort zone, so I tried bits of each.
A few notable beers:
- Not Your Fathers Root Beer: You guys…this is dangerous stuff. This tasted like an ice-cold can of Barq’s, A&W’s, or whatever your favorite root beer is. If someone were to tell me there was no alcohol in there, I’d believe ‘em. Give this a shot on the next warm summer day you’re craving a cold one.
- Oculto: I didn’t love this, but wanted to include it as the brewmaster was clearly thinking a bit ‘outside of the box’ when they whipped this up. This was tequila-flavored beer, and I think a few tequila-based memories came rushing back when I was sipping this, so I was actually unable to finish it.
- The Parker: My favorite Witbier of the day, this must have been a pretty new creation as it has no real ratings on BeerAdvocate. I even went back for seconds!
Overall, the list of breweries could have been a bit longer and more diverse, but I’m sure the American Beer Classic will continue to improve. You can’t beat sipping craft beers on Soldier Field all day long, and I was able to play a round of Hammerschlagen & make myself a pretzel necklace, so overall it was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!