NORTH CENTER — When Brent Raska opened Burning Bush Brewery last year, he was prepared for the challenges that come with a brand-new business. But he couldn’t have anticipated a global pandemic that shut down the city two weeks after his grand opening.
To celebrate the anniversary of the brewery, 4014 N. Rockwell Ave., Raska is hosting a socially distanced celebration Friday and Saturday with live music and food trucks. March Madness games will be on the brewery’s TV’s, too.
“It’s been stressful but I’m very thankful to have made it through this first year as we’ve learned to adjust and make things safe as we can,” Raska said.
Reservations are needed for the limited time slots. You can sign up here. Outdoor and indoor seating is available and will follow the city’s guidelines for 50 percent capacity and a maximum of 50 people per room.
The reservation fee is $15 and includes a gift bag with a commemorative glass, a beer and ticket for door prizes.
Before becoming a professional brewer, Raska was a pastor for a suburban church. When the church closed in 2017, he spent his free time making beer — and ultimately decided to pursue his passion full-time.
When he spoke to Block Club last year, Raska also talked about how his experience as a pastor informed his idea of his brewery not only making tasty beers but also giving back to the community in some way.
Last year, despite the struggles local independent breweries faced navigating the pandemic, Burning Bush helped raise funds for the Leukemia Research Foundation.
This weekend’s anniversary event will have $1 from each pint sold of Burning Bush’s newly released beers benefiting Common Pantry.
“That’s part of our mission, to be a local neighborhood brewpub that gives back to the community,” Raska said.
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