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Albany Park

Albany Park Groups Launching Festival With Virtual Tours, Tastings Hosted By Northwest Side Breweries

Northwest Brewfest will feature free half-hour virtual experiences. You can buy sampler packs of beer, mead and coffee as part of the program, too.

Twisted Hippo at 2925 W. Montrose Ave.
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ALBANY PARK — A festival this month will give people a chance to enjoy brewery tours and beer, mead and cider tastings from the comfort of their own homes. 

Northwest Brewfest is Feb. 26-27. It will feature free half-hour virtual experiences organized by local brewers. Sessions will be a mix of pre-recorded videos and live, online discussions with owners of the breweries, cider house and a meadery on the Northwest Side. Click here to register.

In advance of the sessions, attendees can buy sampler six-packs of beers, meads and coffee from Twisted Hippo, Second City Meadery, Lake Effect Brewing Company, Eris Brewery And Cider House, Alarmist Brewing, Old Irving Brewing Company and Bru Coffeworks. 

Online sales will continue through Feb. 26. Orders can be picked up 2-8 p.m. Feb. 26 and noon-3 p.m. Feb. 27 at Eris, 4240 W. Irving Park Road.

The North River Commission and Albany Park Chamber of Commerce are hosting the festival.

“We want to remind people you don’t have to go too far away to find such a such a variety in brewers on the Northwest Side,” said Dalia Aragon, the chamber’s economic development and housing coordinator.

Twisted Hippo’s session will feature a tour of its Albany Park taproom and its owners, Marilee and Karl Rutherford, talking about their experience running the brewery together.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of this. I think the Northwest Side of Chicago has some of the best beer, cider and brewed offerings available in the city. It’s high time someone recognized it,” Marilee Rutherford said.

The owners of Meta Wine will offer a virtual tour of their winery’s home at 4300 W. Montrose Ave. alongside a lesson in wine tasting. 

“We want to demystify that and empower people by letting them no there’s no right answer to wine tasing,” said Meta Wine founder Walter Clements. “What tastes like pineapple to one person may taste like guava to someone else.”

The winery launched in 2017, and the owners signed a lease for the former ice warehouse on Montrose Avenue in 2019.

The pandemic forced Clements to adjust the timeline for opening the space to the public, but he is optimistic about the new year.

“We’ve already had some hospitality groups reach out to us to help with their custom label programs and now [Mayor] Lori Lightfoot just allowed 40 percent capacity for restaurants,” Clements said. “It looks like 2021 is going to be a good year for us.”

Proceeds from the festival will benefit the commission’s youth council education, engagement and empowerment initiatives. 

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