Sun’s out, suds out: Summer means beer festivals are just around the corner

Good news. It’s time for brews.

It’s unofficially the start of summer, which means it’s officially the start of beer festival season. You’ll be able to find one or more most weekends in the suburbs between now and the end of August. Then take a quick break and you’ll be in peak condition for Oktoberfest.

Here are a dozen events to get you started on a suds-filled summer. It all kicks off Friday night in Streamwood.

Hoosier Grove Barn and Brew: 5-9:30 p.m. Friday, May 31, at Hoosier Grove Barn, 700 W. Irving Park Road, Streamwood. The Streamwood Park District event will feature beer, cider, mead, wine and more from over 30 breweries, plus food from My Cocina Grill and live music. General admission tickets are $45 in advance, $50 at the gate and come with a souvenir cup and 15 beer samples. Designated driver tickets are $10.

Mundelein Craft Beer Festival: 1-5 p.m. Saturday, June 8, at Courtland Commons Park, 444 E. Courtland St., Mundelein. The 11th year of the festival will feature craft beer from over 30 vendors, food, live music and more. For those 21 and older only. $50; $15 designated driver.

Sample a variety of beers from more than 50 breweries Saturday, June 15, at the Grayslake Craft Beer Festival. Courtesy of Grayslake Craft Beer Festival

Grayslake Craft Beer Festival: 1-5 p.m. Saturday, June 15, at Grayslake Festival Park, 33 S. Whitney St., Grayslake. More than 50 breweries will offer over 150 brews during this fundraiser that provides college scholarships to area students. Munch on snacks from Nothing Bundt Cakes and Grayslake Dog n Suds while listening to live music. Tickets for the 21-and-older event are $45-$80 and can be purchased at

Solstice Hop & Vine Fest: 6-9 p.m. Saturday, June 15, at the Al Larson Prairie Center for the Arts, 201 Schaumburg Court, Schaumburg. The ’80s-themed fundraiser will feature live music and an ’80s costume contest. Admission includes 20 tasting tickets for beer, wine and food. For ages 21 and older. $50 in advance; $60 at the door, if available; $15 designated driver.

The second annual Downtown Wheaton Craft Beer Crawl takes place Saturday, June 29. Courtesy of Cinder and Vinegar Photography

Downtown Wheaton Craft Beer Crawl: 2-5 p.m. Saturday, June 29, in downtown Wheaton. The second annual event features local brews to sample at shops and restaurants, plus live music from The Wheaton Dad Band. Includes 10 4-ounce samples of craft beers. The $35 tickets are available at

Brew at the (Randall Oaks) Zoo: 5:30-8 p.m. Saturday, July 6, at the Randall Oaks Zoo, 1180 N. Randall Road, West Dundee. The 21-and-older zoo fundraiser will feature beer from Holzlager Brewing Company, Phase Three Brewing Company and Sew Hop’d Brewery, as well as food vendors, live music, lawn games, a photo booth, raffles and a silent auction. Tickets are $35-$40 or $15 for designated drivers.

Blind Flight Outdoor Beer Tasting: 1-5 p.m. Saturday, July 13, at Carpenter Park, 275 Maple Ave., Carpentersville. Carpentersville Morning Rotary Club hosts a picnic-style craft beer tasting fundraiser. Try beers from a dozen local breweries and vote for your favorites. The event will feature live music and food from No Manches and Duke’s Blues-N-BBQ. $35 beer-tasting tickets include a tasting glass.

Naperville Ale Fest — Summer Edition: 2-6 p.m. Saturday, July 13, at Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville. The fest will feature over 100 unique craft beers, as well as food trucks, live music and lawn games. Tickets ($60 general admission, $70 early entry) get you 18 3-ounce samples.

Emmett’s BrewFest and Adult Big Wheel Race: 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, July 20, at Emmett’s Brewing Company, 128 W. Main St., West Dundee. The inaugural BrewFest will feature seven craft breweries, food, live music, a car show and an adult big wheel race at 3 p.m. Reserve your spot at Eventbrite.

Lombard Brew Fest: 1-4 p.m. Saturday, July 20, at 116 W. Parkside Ave., between Lilacia Park and the Metra station in Lombard. More than 30 breweries, cideries and meaderies will offer enticing summer beverages. Tickets are $55 for general admission, $70 for VIP early entry and $25 for designated driver (limited to one nonalcoholic beer and water and soft drinks). Ticket prices will increase by $10 the day of the event. Each ticket includes 20 3-ounce samples and a souvenir tasting glass. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Lombard Junior Women's Club Philanthropic Fund.

Smells Like a Beer Fest: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, at Mikerphone Brewing, 121 Garlisch Drive, Elk Grove Village. The brewery has partnered with the village of Elk Grove to host the charity event featuring over 60 breweries, meaderies and distilleries. There will be live music, food vendors, a dunk tank, Stern pinball machines, art vendors, a tattoo booth and more. Proceeds from the fest will benefit the Youth Committee Scholarship. Tickets are $85 for general admission and $105 for VIP. Visit Mikerphone’s website for details.

Bands, Brews & BBQ: Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16; 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17; and 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, at Petersen Park, 4300 Peterson Park Road, McHenry. Not exactly a beer festival, but there will be plenty of brew to be had during the three-day event with offerings from Crystal Lake Brewing, Holzhauer Brewing, Revolution Brewing and more. Check out the food vendors and live music, too. Visit for details.

Brookfield ZooBrew: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, at Brookfield Zoo Chicago, South Gate entrance, 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield. Lions and tigers and beers, oh my! Party like an animal with the animals while you sample more than 80 varieties of beer, cider, seltzer and hard lemonade. Ticket details haven’t been released, so check for details.

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