Neutral Gena, Secret Queen, Irregular Girl and Chanel Mercedes Benz (left to right) will perform at Revolution Brewing's Avondale brewery and taproom July 8, 2023. Credit: Photo by Trevor Beaty.

AVONDALE — Four drag performers will preside over Revolution Brewing’s Freedom Fest this weekend to help raise funds for a nonprofit offering services to the transgender community as well as people impacted by HIV.

The first of the fest’s two sessions kicks off at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Avondale brewery’s taproom and parking lot, 3340 N. Kedzie Ave. Tickets are $40 and can be bought at this link. The ticket price includes a tasting session and exclusive Freedom Series tasting glass. 

This year’s festival will also feature Chicago drag performers Irregular GirlChanel Mercedes BenzSecret Queen and Neutral Gena and tunes from DJ Ca$h Era.

This year’s event will also benefit Chicago House, which has supported people and their families impacted by HIV since 1985. The organization more recently started providing comprehensive resources to transgender people.

Irregular Girl will perform at Revolution Brewing’s Avondale brewery and taproom July 8, 2023. Credit: Photo by Trevor Beaty.

The brewery will be tapping 18 Freedom variants, 10 of which were created for this year’s festival, said John Carruthers, Revolution’s communications director.

“You’ve seen our lemonade and Freedom of Speach and all these other ones, but we have a lot of other stuff that we’ve been experimenting with and the best of that goes to Freedom Fest,” Carruthers said.

Some of this year’s beers feature honey from the apiary on the roof of the Kedzie brewery. Four of the drafts are named after the drag queens performing, Carruthers said. 

Freedom of Chanel is blue raspberry-flavored and infused with glitter, while the Gena Palmer has lemonade steeped with tea, Carruthers said. 

For non-drinkers, the brewery is introducing Hop Water with hops, citric acid and carbonated water, Carruthers said. 

Chanel Mercedes Benz will perform at Revolution Brewing’s Avondale brewery and taproom July 8, 2023. Credit: Photo by Trevor Beaty.

Revolution Brewing first connected with Chicago House in 2018 when the brewery hosted a Pride In December event, said Barb Sessler, Revolution’s operations accounting manager. 

“We just greatly admire the broad range services they offer. Working toward an HIV-free future to the trans Life Care program that they offer,” Sessler said. 

The four queens headlining Saturday’s festival performed at the brewery’s winter holiday party. Staff reconnected with the queens to book them and create unique brews with them, Sessler said.

“ … [T]here just seemed like no better way to celebrate Freedom Fest than with all of our colorful variants. And how best to express that than through these queens?” she said. “Their engagement with us in developing these beers has just been so much fun.”

This year’s Freedom Fest is happening when LGBTQ+ rights are being restricted and queer people are increasingly threatened with physical violence, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“We want to offer a safe space for people to be themselves. What better way to express that than through Freedom Fest? Our backlot parties have always been a blast, and I feel like this is going to take it over the top,” Sessler said. 

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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park reporterrnrnalex@blockclubchi.orgnnLincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park Twitter @avhndz