The first half of November is shaping up as a great time to stand around and drink a lot of interesting beer. And tickets are on sale soon.
First up, on Nov. 5, will be the second
at the Aragon Ballroom. Last year's two days and three sessions are being scaled back to one day and two sessions -- all the beer you can sample on one Saturday from either 1 to 4:30 p.m. or 6 to 9:30 p.m. (both if you're feeling extra thirsty). Tickets, which go on sale Friday, are $10 cheaper than last year: $35 in advance or $45 on the day of. They can be bought
This year's Hoptacular will include pourings from
, including well-established all-stars (Dogfish Head, Goose Island and Bell's), local upstarts (Finch's and 5 Rabbit), less heralded all-stars doing great work (Lake Bluff Brewing and Limestone) and a couple of head scratchers (Negra Modelo?).
For a run down of last year's Hoptacular, click
The very next weekend, on Nov. 12, will be the ninth annual Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer.
Pete Crowley, owner of
and founder of the event, said tickets will go on sale at the
next week (exactly which day is unclear at the moment). There will also be two sessions for this event, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, and it will be held at the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union, 1340 W. Washington Blvd.
Last year's Wood and Barrel Aged fest featured more than 130 wood and barrel-aged beers from more than 70 breweries. With 2,000 tickets for each session, b
oth are almost guaranteed to sell out. Crowley said he would have it no other way, even though he could expand the event.
"We don't want to make it bigger," Crowley said. "We want people to sample what they want without standing in long lines. We could make more money, but that's not why we do it. It's about the beer and the beer drinker. We want to keep it relaxed."
Some might call beer festivals on consecutive weekend excessive. The rest of us call it a good start to the winter.