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The best Chicago beer festivals

Taste new suds and meet the brewers who made them at some of the top Chicago beer festivals, featuring craft ales, food and more

Lombard Ale Fest

As much a we love grabbing a drink at a local dive bar or perusing the selection at a liquor store, beer festivals offer the opportunity to try new things with a group of likeminded drinkers. Whether you're a beer nerd or a casual craft brew fan, these events take the experience of a brewery tour to the next level, allowing attendees to taste beers made by both regional and national brewers. Take a look at our list of the best Chicago beer festivals and start planning your next weekend of tastings. If you want to thank us, you can buy us a beer.

The best Chicago beer festivals

Lagunitas Beer Circus

Critics' pick

After a successful first year, Lagunitas is bringing its Beer Circus back to its gigantic Douglas Park brewing facility. The event will assemble circus performers, live music, food trucks, carnival rides and plenty of beer for an afternoon of drunken fun that could make you reconsider your irrational fear of clowns.

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Until Sat Jun 6

Neighbors of West Loop Craft Beer Festival

Critics' pick

Though it's no longer the closing event of Chicago Craft Beer Week, the city's very first craft beer festival returns for a boozy blowout in the West Loop. While tasting beer from nearly 40 local brewers, attendees can avoid a nasty hangover with the help of food from French Market vendors like Saigon Sisters and Pastoral.

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13 Jun 2015

Chicago Ale Fest

Critics' pick

Head to Buckingham Fountain for two sessions of beer tastings, featuring more than 200 different craft brews. Take in the skyline whicle knocking back drafts from 4 Hands Brewing, Southern Tier, Marz Brewing, Rogue and more. Each ticket includes 20 3oz samples.

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Until Sat Jun 20

Tour de Fat

Critics' pick

Ft. Collins’ New Belgium Brewery brings its signature celebration of bikes and beer to Palmer Square for another year of freaky fun. The day begins with a bike parade and continues with vaudeville acts, circus performers and live music in Palmer Park. The environmentally conscious festival raises funds for local non-profits and culminates with one lucky attendee trading his or her car in for a brand new bicycle.

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11 Jul 2015

Naperville Ale Fest

Ever wondered what it might be like to quaff ale in a historical village? Pack up your tankard and head to Naperville Ale Fest, where the beer is fresh and the buildings are old. The historic Naper Settlement will play host to brewers like Central Waters, Deschutes and Great Lakes.

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18 Jul 2015

Chicago Craft Beer Festival

Critics' pick

Foamy, flat macrobrewed suds in a plastic cup not exactly your idea of a good time? Unleash your inner sophisticate at this Lincoln Park fest, which serves up more than 100 local, regional and national craft beers. Purchase tickets before making your way to the tasting session each day from 11:30pm-4:30pm—each ticket is good for one 3-oz sample of beer.

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Until Sun Jul 19

Oak Park Micro Brew Review

There are a lot of beer festival that serve micro brews but most of them create a considerable amount of waste. That's not the case at the Oak Park Micro Brew Review, which prides itself as being the largest zero-waste craft beer event in the Midwest. Head over to Oak Park to sample more than 200 beers at an event that goes easy on the environment.

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Until Sat Aug 15

Deschutes Street Pub Chicago

Critics' pick

Oregon's Deschutes Brewery is touring the country making one-day stops in cities across the nation—now it's coming to Chicago. On August 22, head to the intersection of Milwaukee and California Avenues in Logan Square, where an outdoor pub will show off some of the brewery's best beers, including seasonals and year-round favorites.

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Until Sat Aug 22

350 Fest

Tinley Park's 350 Brewing Company celebrates its one year anniversary with a festival at the Tinley Park Convention Center, where it will join forces with a stacked lineup of local brewers. The event also draws upon the founders' roots in the Midwest punk scene, tapping the Smoking Popes as a musical guest.

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Until Sat Aug 22

Midwest Brewers Fest

If you're looking for a short weekend road trip, Midwest Brewers Fest is the perfect reason to visit scenic Willow Springs, IL. Highlights of the event include a tent featuring cask ales and a selection of homebrewed beers.

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22 Aug 2015

Motor Row Craft Beer & Wine Festival

With the opening of Vice District, Motor Row and Baderbräu, the South Loop is quickly becoming a popular destination for craft beer lovers. The first Motor Row Craft Beer & Wine Festival seeks to capitalize on this trend, sampling beverages from a selection of Midwest breweries and wineries in the historic South Side district. Admission is free, but a tasting session each day offers 15 samples for $35.

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Wabash Ave and 16th St Saturday September 5 2015 - Sunday September 6 2015

Logan Square Beer Festival

Critics' pick

The Logan Square Beer Fest returns for a third year, offering more than 50 different beers over two sessions. The annual event offers up cask conditioned and barrel-aged brew, swag giveaways and live music from a yet-to-be-announced act.

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Logan Square Auditorium, Logan Square Saturday September 12 2015

Highwood Craft Beer Festival

Head to the North Shore to sample 50 different beers sourced from 25 breweries at the third annual Highwood Craft Beer Festival. All proceeds benefit the Moraine County Food Pantry. Admission includes 20 beer samples.

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Everts Park Saturday September 12 2015

Berghoff Oktoberfest

Critics' pick

For three days Federal Plaza plays the role of Munich, Germany for Berghoff's version of the world's largest fair. Take in live music while sampling German beer and Bavarian food, including pretzels, strudel, brats and pork stew. While double fisting a brat and brew may not be totally out of the norm in Chicago, we’re sure happy it seems cultural here.

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Federal Plaza, Loop Wednesday September 16 2015 - Friday September 18 2015

Festiv-Ale

Critics' pick

Cure what ales ya at this benefit for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation featuring beer from Arcade Brewery, DryHop and more local breweries. When they're not quaffing a cup of suds, attendees will be able sample food from The Radler and Three Aces.

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Block 37, Loop Friday September 18 2015

Independence Park Beer Fest

Declare your independence from corporate, mass-produced beer at this Irving Park festival, which features brews by the likes of Firestone Walker, New Belgium and more. It all happens in Independence Park, just a few blocks away from one of our favorite barbecue joints in town.

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Independence Park, Irving Park Saturday September 19 2015

Revolution Brewing Oktoberfest Party

Critics' pick

Summer may be over, but Revolution Brewing wants to make sure that you celebrate the beginning of fall with a stein full of beer. This year, the local brewery's annual Oktoberfest party expands to four sessions, each with its own music lineup. You'll be able to listen to AC/DC, Beastie Boys and Creedance Clearwater Revival cover bands while enjoying Revolution's signature German lager and spread of sausages provided by Butcher & Larder.

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Revolution Brewing Taproom, Avondale Thursday September 24 2015 - Saturday September 26 2015

Lisle Ale Fest

Featuring more than 80 beers from breweries like Boulevard, New Holland and Urban Legend, this suburban festival rings in autumn by highlighting Oktoberfest and pumpkin-flavored ales. Admission includes 18 drink tickets.

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Lisle Community Park, Lisle Saturday September 26 2015

Festival of Barrel Aged Beers

Critics' pick

The Festival of Barrel Aged Beers (not to be confused with the Barrel Aged Beer Festival or the Chicago Beer Festival) features more than 90 breweries, 300 beers and the 2015 National Wood-Aged Beer Competition. It's the largest celebration of barrel-aged beers in the country and, let's face it, an excuse for us beer lovers to sample our little hearts out. There will be multiple sessions held over two days. Ticket price includes 15 beer tastings.

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UIC Forum, Near West Side Friday November 20 2015 - Saturday November 21 2015

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