Put this on your list of events never to miss! For two days, over 200 beers from over 100 craft breweries make their home around Buckingham Fountain on the picturesque coast of Lake Michigan for the Chicago Ale Fest. Tents pack up today at 6 p.m. So, if you’re just learning about the festival now, while reading this, you still have about four more hours to get in on the fun. (Our free weekly newsletter guarantees you’ll know about this and other events days ahead of time. Subscribe here. You’re welcome.)
Sample enough beer to have you speaking German by following our simple to use guide below. The list is made up of our favorites from the festival. Not able to attend this year? No worries! Most options below are sold locally for your enjoyment year-round.
See for yourself what all the fuss is about NOW on Snapchat (Chicagoings)!
CHART: Which Craft Beer is Right For You
Goose Island Beer Company Tyranena Brewing Company Schlafly Beer Unity Vibration Guinness New Belgium Brewing Company Sonoma Cider Uncle John’s Hard Cider
Goose Island Beer Company
Tyranena Brewing Company
New Belgium Brewing Company
Uncle John’s Hard Cider
Down ‘N Dirty 6.5%
Double Bean Blonde 6.3%
Raspberry Kombucha Beer 8%
Nitro IPA 5.8%
Heavy Melon 5%
The Washboard 5.5%
Blueberry Apple 6.5%
Who Would Love It
Goose Island Beer Company – Chicago, IL – Halia: Perfect if you love Blue Moon but really, really love peaches.
Tyranena Brewing Company – Lake Mills, WI – Down ‘N Dirty: Looks like a beer, tastes like a chocolate milkshake. If you love that idea, you’ll love this smooth, almost creamy, brew.
Schlafly Beer – St. Louis, MO – Double Bean Blonde: See above — but add coffee.
Unity Vibration – Ypsilanti, MI – Raspberry Kombucha: Tastes just like you’d expect a kombucha beer to taste. A perfect replacement for mixed fruity drinks that aren’t so portable.
Guinness – Ireland (duh. Also, not craft.) – Nitro IPA: What it lacks in flavor, it makes up for in bragging rights. Each drop feels like millions of beer bubbles dancing on the tongue. Really. It’s unbelievably smooth and fun to drink. Sadly, Nitro, like the cutest guy you’ve ever dated, is more show than substance. Perfect for the person who needs to be first in line for that new new.
New Belgium Brewing Company – Fort Collins, CO – Heavy Melon: Hate beer? Love watermelon? Drink this.
Sonoma Cider – Healdsburg, CA – The Washboard: Sonoma Cider has finally found that happy place between cider and beer. That elusive point where both exist equally, and neither overpowers the other. You’ll love this if you’re looking for a serious beer that leaves behind a pleasant apple, vanilla finish.
Uncle John’s Hard Cider – St. John’s, MI – Blueberry Apple: It is the sweetest beer on our list and I wouldn’t recommend it for any brew purists. Perfect for the person who almost always orders Rosé.