WEST TOWN — A group of West Town breweries are once again joining forces to highlight the area’s slew of craft beer options, kicking off the renewed coalition with an Oktoberfest brew crawl this weekend.
The 11 breweries have teamed up to re-form the Chicago Brewing District, which they initially launched on a smaller scale before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those brewers include: Midwest Coast Brewing Company, On Tour Brewing Company, Goose Island Beer Company, Great Central Brewing Company, All Rise Brewing Company, Twisted Hippo Brewing, Around the Bend Beer Company, Casa Humilde Cerveceria, Burnt City Brewing, Forbidden Root and Old Irving Brewing Company.
The aim of the collaboration is similar to that of the newly formed Brewers Triangle in Logan Square and Ravenswood’s Malt Row, where closely situated breweries host joint events to attract local and out-of-town drinkers.
The Chicago Brewing District stretches roughly from Chicago Avenue to Lake Street between Ashland and Western avenues, Midwest Coast Brewing general manager Ryan McKinley said. That includes the four breweries housed at District Brew Yards, 417 N. Ashland Ave.
“If you’re a person seeking craft beer, or just like brewery, taproom culture, we have a ton of breweries that are just super local, walking distance, easy to get around and each has its own kind of flair, too,” he said. “The cool thing about this business is that the whole industry has this kind of mentality of ‘high tides raise all ships’ kind of thing. So the more success in the neighborhood is just good for everybody.”
To celebrate the district’s relaunch, all 11 breweries are hosting an Oktoberfest crawl on Saturday. Each will pour its own Oktoberfest brews and feature different events and entertainment. Midwest Coast will have live music throughout the day, McKinley said.
And while each of the breweries is an easy walk from each other, there will be a free shuttle service from 1-6 p.m. Saturday, courtesy of the Reggies bus.
Organizers hope Saturday’s brewery crawl will be the first of many events for the Chicago Brewing District, which could include shuttles to Blackhawks games at the nearby United Center, joint fundraisers and more.
In Chicago and across the country, the craft beer scene has faced setbacks and a slowdown since its initial boom over the past decade. But even with several local breweries going out of business during the pandemic, Chicago remains a top beer destination, McKinley said.
“That’s another reason to band together under Chicago Brewing District or Malt Row or Brewers Triangle: Now that we have all these breweries here, let’s keep collaborating and keep the passion alive and keep getting together,” he said.
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