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Irving Park Beer Festival To Benefit Twisted Hippo Employees Set For Monday

Chicago's brewing community has rallied around Twisted Hippo since a fire destroyed its building last month. "I don't know how many ways to say how lucky we are,” a Twisted Hippo owner said.

A massive fire destroyed Twisted Hippo Brewery, Ultimate Ninjas Gym and an apartment building near the corner of Montrose Avenue and Richmond Street early Feb. 21, 2022 in Albany Park.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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IRVING PARK — Eris Brewery & Cider House’s owners are organizing a beer festival next week to support Twisted Hippo’s employees after a massive fire destroyed its Albany Park home. 

The Stronger Together Benefit Beer Fest kicks off 5 p.m. Monday at Eris, 4240 W. Irving Park Road. Single tickets are $75 and can be bought here

Proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to support Twisted Hippo’s employees.

“We’re taking over our whole parking lot for an almost tailgating-type festival experience. We have so many participating breweries,” Eris co-owner Katy Pizza said.

More than 40 breweries from the Chicago area are donating beverages, including Banging Gavel Brews, Burning Bush Brewery, Haymarket Beer Company, Hopewell Brewing, Miskatonic Brewing, Revolution Brewing, Second City Meadery and Sketchbook Brewing.

Attendees will be able to sample the beers and get food provided by Smoque BBQ, including brisket and pulled pork, Eris co-owner Michelle Foik said.

The food Smoque BBQ’s team will be preparing is donated by Sysco Wholesale Restaurant Food Distributor. Other businesses associated with Chicago’s brewing community are donating supplies and equipment for the event, Foik said.

Monday’s beer festival came about after Eris’ owners spoke to other brewery owners about holding a fundraiser, Foik said. Skeleton Key Brewing then sent out a call to the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, asking who would want to donate to a festival to benefit Twisted Hippo, Foik said. The response was overwhelming, Foik said.

“We had so many people wanting to give cases and quarter barrels that Monday will be great. Every time something on tap goes dry, we’ll just have another another beer on its way ready to go,” Foik said.

A fire last month that started at a neighboring apartment building spread to Twisted Hippo, 2925 W. Montrose Ave. destroying the building the brewery had called home since 2019

Almost immediately, the city’s beer community stepped up to help Twisted Hippo co-owners Marilee and Karl Rutherford with fundraisers.

“I don’t know how many ways to say how lucky we are,” Marilee Rutherford said. “I can hardly articulate the amount of gratitude we have for our neighborhood and our beer community. The outpouring has been immense and intense.”

Twisted Hippo’s home on Montrose has been demolished. Its owners are still working on the cleanup and navigating the insurance processes, Marilee Rutherford said. 

Very little could be salvaged from the property. Rutherford said she hasn’t had time to think about the next steps for the brewery because everything happened so quickly.

“But I’m thankful everybody’s safe and sound,” Rutherford said. “And we still have the ability to figure out what’s going to happen next. And all of this support is just amazing. It’s huge.”

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