Sneak Peek of Lagunitas Brewery

Lagunitas Sneak Peek party

Lagunitas Sneak Peek party

What do you do with an empty Douglas Park warehouse on a random Thursday night in Chicago?

Serve a ton of booze, add some circus freaks and throw a party, of course.

Last night, we raged with Lagunitas Brewing Company at the site of its soon-to-be brewery on S Rockwell St and W 15th St to celebrate the impending opening in March 2013—and of course, to drink lots of beer. Taps were overflowing with the famed brewery's IPA, PILS, Pale Ale and Little Sumpin’, and food trucks served barbeque and burgers while guests mingled with circus jugglers and dancers to the sounds of Lil’ Ed. Even the Blues Brothers made an appearance.

A trolley-ride down the street, brewers held flashlight tours inside the 300,000-square-foot brewery warehouse (where Chicago Fire is also being filmed), complete with swing dancers and video montages. The brewery will be an expansion of the company’s 650,000-barrel brew house in Petaluma, California, and will allow Lagunitas to distribute to all locations east of Denver by October 2013. Will Lagunitas brew anything exclusively for Chicago? Tour Guide Nick said he’s advocating for a Pilsen Pilsner, but we’ll just have to wait and see what kinds of hop-tastic ideas owner Tony Magee comes up with.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)