Craft beer became “trendy” about ten years ago, but a decade later it’s safe to say it’s a trend that’s sticking around. From the city to the suburbs, it seems like a new brewery is popping up on every corner. With so many breweries and so little time, attending one–or maybe more–of the local craft beer fests is a great way to taste test many micro brews, from citrusy wheat bears to hoppy IPAs. We’ve rounded up the details of this year’s craft beer fests in and around Lake County, but be sure to pay attention to ticket sales — most sell out in advance of the event. These events are for adults ages 21 and older, so be sure to book a sitter in advance.
Barks and Brews Dog-Friendly Beer Festival
Saturday, April 28th, 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Broken Oar Marina, Bar & Grill
614 Rawson Bridge Rd., Port Barrington
Sample beers alongside your favorite four-legged friend at this dog-friendly, craft beer festival. Proceeds from this event benefit Save-a-Vet, an organization that aids military and law enforcement working animals as well as disabled, injured, and retired military and law enforcement veterans. Tickets to this fest include 20, 3-ounce tasting samples and a commemorative beer tasting mug.
2nd Annual Long Grove Craft Beer Fest
Saturday, April 28, 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Stemple Parking Lot, 360 Historical Lane, Long Grove.
$40 full-access ticket, purchased in advance / $50 day of event (first-come, first-served, if available/ $15 designated driver ticket
Downtown Historic Long Grove, 308 Old McHenry Rd., Long Grove
The Historic Downtown Long Grove Business Association and local merchants are hosting the second annual Craft Beer Fest. Sample beer and wine from area breweries enjoy live music. Food will be available for purchase. Full-access tickets include a commemorative glass and unlimited 3-ounce samples during the event. Designated driver tickets include a commemorative and unlimited refills of water.
Lake Zurich Craft Beer Festival
Friday, May 11th and Saturday, May 12th, 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Paulus Park, Lake Zurich, 200 S. Rand Rd., Lake Zurich
$39 general admission in advance / $50 day of event / $10 designated driver (no glass)
Kick-off the craft beer festival season in picturesque Paulus Park where you will find live music, local food vendors and unlimited three-ounce samples from more than 40 craft breweries. Tickets include a commemorative glass.
6th Annual Grayslake Craft Beer Festival
Saturday, June 2nd, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (VIP entry at 12:00 p.m.)
Downtown Grayslake, 33 South Whitney St., Grayslake
$35 general admission in advance / $45 general admission day of festival / $65 VIP admisison/ $10 designated driver.
The Grayslake Craft Beer Festival is a celebration of art of brewing and a local fundraising event. There will be over 250 brews from more than 80 different breweries. Admission includes beer samples, live music, and a commemorative glass. All of the net proceeds of the Grayslake Craft Beer Festival will be used to fund college scholarships for deserving students. Please note that in previous years, this event has sold out and there were no tickets available the day of the event.
7th Annual Mundelein Craft Beer Festival
Saturday June 9th, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Mundelein Village Hall, 300 Plaza Circle, Mundelein
$40 general admission / $45 general admission day of event (limited) / $15 designated driver.
This festival features 30 world-class breweries from Illinois and the Midwest, including Mundelein’s own Tighthead Brewery. Tickets provide admission, 3-ounce samples of beer, and a souvenir cup. There will be live music from Bellwether Blues Band and Gina Gonzalez and the Wingmen. Food will be available for purchase from local restaurants and food trucks. Last year all of the tickets sold out in advance, so it would be in your best interest to purchase ahead of time, as only a limited number of tickets are reserved for “day of” ticket sales.
4th Annual Craft Brews at the Zoo
Friday, June 15th and Saturday, June 16th, 6:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark Street, Chicago
$49 general admission / $79 VIP admission / $20 designated driver.
Go wild about beer at Lincoln Park Zoo’s fourth annual “Brew to Be Wild” tasting event. Enjoy selections from more than 75 specialty brews from more than 35 local and regional breweries, alongside animal encounters and other fun, after-hours activities. Admission includes 20, 3-ounce samples of beer, and a commemorative glass. Enjoy a stroll along the zoo’s winding paths, lawn games, a DJ and food for purchase. A limited number of VIP tickets will also include a reception at Café at Wild Things rooftop deck with private seating, bathrooms, snacks, and select exclusive brews.
Lake Villa Craft Beer Festival
Saturday, June 23, 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Lehmann Mansion, 485 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Lake Villa
$40 general admission (in advance)
General admission includes festival admission and a commemorative tasting glass. Designated driver admission includes complimentary water and soda during the event. Enjoy indoor and outdoor tasting areas and live music, and sample from more than 30 beer vendors with more over 65 types of beer and wine. Food and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase. This event is hosted by the The Lake Villa Beer Festival is hosted by the Village of Lake Villa in conjunction with the Village of Lindenhurst, the Lindenhurst Park District, Lake Villa Township, Lake Villa District Library and the Lindenhurst Lake Villa Chamber of Commerce.
Wheeling Park District Craft Beer & Wine Festival
Saturday, June 23rd, 2:00 p.m.– 6:00 p.m.
Performance Pavilion at Heritage Park
201 Community Boulevard, Wheeling
$35 early-bird general admission / $45 day-of admission / $10 designated driver
Celebrate your love of craft beers and wines with the Wheeling Park District, overlooking beautiful Heritage Lake. Sample more than 60 beers, ciders and wines, and talk directly to the brew masters and wine makers. Admission includes a commemorative glass and unlimited tastings, limited food tickets. New in 2018, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the PURSUIT adult day program, a collaborative program designed to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities 21 year and older by creating recreation and leisure opportunities, improving health and wellness, teaching life skills, self advocacy and community integration.
Barrington Brew Festival
Saturday July 7th, 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (opens at 2:15 p.m. for VIP ticket holders)
Downtown Barrington, next to the Metra station
201 S. Spring Street, Barrington
$40 general admission in-advance / $80 VIP admission / $30 VIP designated driver / $50 general admission day of event / $20 designated driver
This event supports the Barrington Area Council on Aging and features more than 50 brewers and over 90 craft beers to sample. Admission includes a souvenir glass, t-shirt (limited availability) and 20 tickets for 3-ounce drink samples. VIP ticket perks include early entrance, a special seating area, appetizers and a food vendor coupon. Additional sample tickets may be purchased for $0.50 each (cash only). Tickets to this event are limited.
Border War Beer Fest
Saturday, August 4th, 3:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (VIP entry at 2:00 p.m.)
HarborPark, 5510 Ring Road, Kenosha, WI
$79 VIP admission / $20 VIP designated driver / $45 general admission ($40 early-bird, general admission available through May 1) / $15 designated driver / $50 day of event
Support the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha and sample the best of both Illinois and Wisconsin craft beers and ciders. This event is co-produced by BrewFest Partners of Wisconsin and showcases craft beers, home brews and food truck cuisine. VIP general admission tickets include 2:00 p.m. admission and access to the VIP Lounge, $5 off a souvenir shirt, unlimited 3-ounce samples of rare and limited release beers, and commemorative pint glass and stein. VIP designated driver tickets include 2:00 p.m. admission, $5 off a souvenir shirt, unlimited soda, water and complimentary snacks.
4th Annual Legions of Craft Beer Festival
Saturday, September 15, 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (VIP entry at 1:00 p.m.)
East parking lot of Gurnee Mills, by Bass Pro Shops
6170 W. Grand Ave, Gurnee,
*Ticket sales will open in May
Featuring craft beer and ciders from more than 35 unique breweries along with urban cuisine from a variety of food trucks, attendees will also enjoy live bands and performers throughout the event. Participate in raffles sponsored by Gurnee American Legion Post 771, and enjoy on-site and on-air interaction with DJs from 102.3 XLC. All event proceeds benefit the American Legion Post 771 and Lake County Honor Flight for war veterans.
Did we miss your favorite craft beer festival? Tell us about it in the comments!