The best Chicago beer festivals

Try out new brews and meet the people who made 'em at our favorite Chicago beer festivals
Lombard Ale Fest
Lombard Ale Fest
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If you want to try a bunch of new beers in the span of a few hours, hit up one of Chicago's many beer festivals, where local and national breweries sample their wares, hand out swag and listen to your drunken tales. In a city that's filled with so many excellent breweries and dive bars, there are plenty of opportunities to kick back and sample locally crafted stouts, lagers, sours and ales without going far from home. Whether you prefer barrel-aged beers or funky ciders, there's something for everyone on our list of the best beer festivals in Chicago. 

RECOMMENDED: Go straight to the source when you tour Chicago's best breweries

The best Chicago beer festivals

Whitney
Photograph: Dominique Goncalves
Things to do, Festivals

Revolution Oktoberfest

icon-location-pin Logan Square
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Revolution Brewing's annual Oktoberfest celebration returns to the streets of Logan Square, welcoming attendees to quaff a few beers while enjoying German cuisine (from the likes of Dönermen and the Radler) and a stacked music lineup. Local folk rock act Whitney and Mary Timony's noisy trio Ex Hex headline the stage on Friday, while garage rock vets King Khan and the Shrines and Japanese psych rocker Kikagaku Moyo top Saturday's bill. A $5 donation gets you into this fall street fest, located just off the California Blue Line stop in front of the Revolution brewpub, with proceeds benefitting the Friends of Goethe School.

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Bacon and Beer Classic

icon-location-pin Museum Campus
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Kick off October with an afternoon of bacon and beer in the middle of Soldier Field at this tasting event. Guests will enjoy pork-filled dishes from the likes of the Berghoff, Connie's Pizza, City BBQ and more local eateries. You'll be able to wash down all of that bacon with samples of more than 100 different beers from Pipeworks, Pollyanna, Sketchbook and more breweries.

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Beer
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Things to do, Festivals

Far & Away

icon-location-pin Millennium Park
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Looking for beers that you can almost never find on tap in Chicago? Half Acre's new Far & Away event gathers some of the nation's top breweries—including Fremont, Jackie O's, Jester King and Mikkeller—for two sessions of tasting atop the Harris Theater Rooftop Terrace. In addition to trying sought-after beers, you'll also be supporting a great cause—a portion of proceeds from the event support the Intonation Music Workshop, which provides music education for Chicago youth.

Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Rare and Wild Beer Fest

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Barrel-aged, funky and sour beers take the spotlight at this annual festival, which takes place in the Field Museum's Stanley Field Hall. You'll find rare and sought-after selections from the likes of Hopewell, Noon Whistle, Surly and more than 60 other breweries in attenance at the festival. Each ticket includes 50 tasting vouchers, which you can use to sample any of the beers being poured. 

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Festival of Wood & Barrel Aged Beers 2015
Photograph: Elizabeth Atkinson
Things to do, Festivals

Festival of Barrel Aged Beers

icon-location-pin Little Italy, UIC
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Affectionately known as FOBAB, the Festival of Barrel Aged Beers offers a stacked lineup of wood- and barrel-aged concoctions that some serious beer-lovers worship. More than 200 craft brewers come to Chicago for the annual event, where attendees can sample stouts, sours, ciders and mead throughout three tasting sessions. Throughout the weekend, judges evaluate all of the beers being poured and award medals in various categories—it's like the Olympics of high-ABV brews.

The best brewery tours in Chicago

Lagunitas in Douglas Park is one of the many Chicago breweries to offer tours.
Photograph: Martha Williams
Bars

The best brewery tours in Chicago

Chicago loves beer, whether it's spending a night at a great beer bar or picking up a six-pack of a local brew to take to a party. 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.

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