A new craft beer festival is coming to Aurora and Wheaton this year, but its focus is on Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Beer and Cheese Tour will be held on Saturday, May 31, at River Edge Park in Aurora and on Saturday, June 21, at the DuPage County Fairgrounds in Wheaton.
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"It's going to be very fun and different," said Zoe Barker, marketing and social media manager for BrewFest Partners, which is hosting the event. "It's Wisconsin-themed. They're the land of beer and cheese."
Organizers are hoping about 40 Wisconsin breweries will be part of the tour, which is limited to two stops this year. More than a dozen have already signed on, including Capital Brewery of Middleton, Lakefront Brewery Inc. of Milwaukee and Ale Asylum of Madison.
But the focus isn't just on beer.
Attendees will have an opportunity to pair their drinks with artisan cheese and sausages provided by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and Gilbert's Craft Sausages.
"I think it's fun to sort of explore those things we don't have access to," Barker said, adding that the event may feature popular Wisconsin foods, like cheese curds, or specialty beers that can be found only in the Badger State.
General admission is $40 and includes a commemorative pint glass and 24 sampling tokens. No one younger than age 21 will be admitted, including babies in strollers.
VIP tickets will be sold for $65 for the Aurora event only, which runs from 4 to 7:30 p.m. They include the commemorative glass, 30 sampling tokens, snacks, exclusive tastings of select beers in a VIP deck overlooking the grounds and a voucher for $10 off festival merchandise. VIP ticket holders also will be able to enter the park an hour early, at 3 p.m.
The Wheaton event is scheduled for 5 to 8:30 p.m. Barker said BrewFest Partners ran the Wheaton Ale Fest in 2011 and 2012 before it was taken over by the Wheaton Park District and renamed Wheaton Brew Fest.
"We know this area really likes beer and we're excited to bring that to them again in a new way," Baker said. "I think both Aurora and Wheaton are pretty receptive to the idea."
A $15 designated driver ticket is also available for both events, which includes unlimited soda and water and 10 food sampling tokens. Both events will feature food demonstrations and activities and a Milwaukee band, The Invaders, will perform at the Aurora stop.
Tickets and information are available at wisbeercheesetour.com.