The craft beer movement has taken hold in Lake County and surrounding areas, with styles and flavors aplenty. From cask-aged creations to special saisons, there is a brew for your every mood and occassion. And there’s no better way to find out which is your favorite than by attending a craft beer festival showcasing the season’s freshest and finest craft beer. 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.
Lake Zurich Craft Beer FestivalFriday, May 12th and Saturday, May 13th, 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
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.
Barks and Brews Dog-Friendly Beer Festival
Saturday, May 13th, 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.
5th Annual Grayslake Craft Beer Festival
Saturday, June 3rd, 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.
6th Annual Mundelein Craft Beer Festival
Saturday June 10th, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Mundelein Village Hall, 300 Plaza Circle, Mundelein
$40 general admission / $45 general admission day of event / $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 Samadhi Vibe. 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.
Brew to Be Wild
Friday, June 16th and Saturday, June 17th, 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. (VIP entry at 5:00 p.m.)
Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark Street, Chicago
$49 general admission / $89 VIP admission / $20 designated driver.
Go wild about beer at Lincoln Park Zoo’s third 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 exclusive beer tastings, snacks, and access to a private lounge and restrooms.
Wheeling Park District Craft Beer & Wine Festival
Saturday, June 24th, 2:00 p.m.– 6:00 p.m.
333 W. Dundee Rd., Wheeling
$50 early-bird VIP tickets (through June 12) / $35 early-bird general 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. VIP tickets includes a commemorative glass, private tastings, a VIP-reserved table, and limited food tickets. General admission includes a commemorative glass and unlimited tastings, limited food tickets.
Barrington Brew Festival
Saturday July 8th, 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.
Lake Villa Craft Beer Festival
Saturday, July 15, 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Lehmann Mansion, 485 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Lake Villa
$40 general admission (in advance) / $50 general admission (day of event) /$10 designated driver
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.
Border War Beer Fest
Saturday, August 5th, 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 admisstion available through April 30) / $15 designated driver.
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.
North Shore Wine, Beer, and Cigar Festival
Saturday, August 26; VIP Tasting, 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.; General Admission, 4:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.; and Post-Taste Party 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Tickets sales: $160 Presale VIP / $200 Presale VIP + Guest / $40 Presale General Admission
The North Shore Wine, Beer and Cigar Festival is Lake County’s charity-orientated tasting festival. Proceeds are distributed to more than forty charitable organizations in the Libertyville-area and throughout Lake County. In its seventh year, this festival offers tastings from over sixty breweries, fifty wineries, and over one hundred cigar samplings. Neumann’s Cigars & More of Libertyville will offer pairings of different blends of cigars to compliment your favorite wines and beers.
Legions of Craft Beer Festival
Saturday, September 16, 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
East parking lot of Gurnee Mills, by Bass Pro Shops
6170 W. Grand Ave, Gurnee,
Ticket sales open on May 1.
Reduced-rate, pre-sale tickets available Sunday, April 30th from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Timothy O’Toole’s, 5572 Grand Ave., Gurnee.
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.
Woodstock Ale Fest
Saturday, October 7, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Corner of Clay and Bartlett Streets in Downtown Woodstock.
$70 VIP / $40 general admission / $30 VIP designated driver / $15 designated driver.
The fourth annual Woodstock Ale Fest is a celebration of Craft Beer, Bacon & Bluegrass with over 60 unique American craft beers, live music and food available for purchase. All tickets include a commemorative festival sampling glass. VIP tickets include entrance to the fest, exclusive access to the VIP area, special VIP-only beers, VIP swag bag, and a commemorative sampling glass. Designated drivers can refill their glasses with unlimited soda and water. The net proceeds from the festival will benefit Adult & Child Therapy Services.
Long Grove Craft Beer, Wine & Cigar Day
Saturday, October 7, 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, $15.
Downtown Historic Long Grove, 308 Old McHenry Rd., Long Grove
The Historic Downtown Long Grove Business Association and local merchants are hosting the inaugural Craft Beer, Wine and Cigar Day. Participating businesses include the new Buffalo Creek Brewing, UnWined of Long Grove, Broken Earth Winery, LLC and Neumann’s Cigars & More. Sample beer and wine from area breweries and wine vendors and 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.
Did we miss your favorite craft beer festival? Tell us about it in the comments!