As much as 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
One of the city's largest beer festivals enters its fifth year, inviting beer lovers to the Aragon Ballroom for three sessions of tasting. This year's edition of Beer Hoptacular boasts 150 beers from more than 60 brewers, a BeerHop pinewood derby race and expanded food offerings from local eateries.Read more
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 2016 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.Read more
Greet autumn with a stein full of beer in one hand and a giant pretzel in the other. The annual festival takes place outside of the St. Alphonsus Church and features plenty of brews (including craft beer tasting sessions) as well as activities and entertainment for kids and families.Read more
The best brewery tours in Chicago
There are dozens of breweries in the area, and many offer tours, which range from a booze-fueled, hours-long lesson on beermaking to quick and dirty 20-minute overviews. We tagged along on local brewery tours, where we learned a few things about brewing and drank more than a few pints of great local beer.