IRVING PARK — Old Irving Park’s annual Beer & BBQ Challenge is still on — but it’s become a to-go event due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic made it so organizers couldn’t hold the outdoor event as usual, said Jaime Guerrero, one of the event planners. Instead, Guerrero said, fans suggested the challenge be done with to-go orders so people can still have “amazing beer and barbecue pairings, but enjoy it safely in their own backyards.”
The event will still raise money for St. Viator School and Parish.
People have two options when they order: A basic package that costs $65 and includes 10 beers, half a pound of barbecued pork, two sausages and two tasting glasses, and a VIP option for $100 that includes 12 beers, 1 pound of barbecued pork, four sausages and four tasting glasses.
To-go orders are being accepted on the event’s website and will be ready Aug. 1.
Breweries participating this year include Metropolitan Brewing, Sketchbook Brewing, Lake Effect Brewing Company, Haymarket Pub & Brewery, Eris Brewery & Cider House, Revolution Brewing and Half Acre Beer Company.
Guerrero recommended people place their orders as soon as possible so event organizers can get a better headcount on how much food to prepare. The website will likely stop taking orders a few days before Aug. 1, he said.
Now in its seventh year, the event’s raised more than $250,000 for St. Viator School and Parish. Funds from the event also support Operation BBQ Relief, which provides meals to displaced residents and emergency personnel during times of natural and other disasters.
Normally, the summer fundraiser for St. Viator School and Parish has pitmasters and brewers pair up to compete in teams. An expert panel of professional chefs and pitmasters alongside neighbors vote on which pairings of beer and barbecue are the best at the event.
“This is the first year we aren’t having the voting component. It would be unfair to the pitmasters and brewers because those teams really need a lot of face-to-face time ahead of the challenge. That just isn’t possible during COVID,” Guerrero said.
For more information, go to the event’s Facebook page.
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