6th Annual Oak Park Micro Brew & Food Review

1,000s attend and many small label beers are represented

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By David Hammond

It's hard to believe the Annual Oak Park Micro Brew & Food Review has been going on for five years already and I'd never made it there…until last weekend.

This event draws thousands of people, with many ticket categories – including the most expensive VIP passes – sold out well before the event started.

Co-produced by Seven Generations Ahead (an organization that promotes sustainable commerce) and the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, the Oak Park Micro Brew & Food Review pours over 100 craft beers from over 50 microbreweries across Illinois and the Midwest.

That's a lot of beer. I tried several, but as usual with beer, the first few sips I had were some of the best. Those sips came from DryHop (3155 N. Broadway), a brewpub that opened just this past June. Brant Dubovick, brewmaster at DryHop, served me a Shark Meets Hipster, which Dubovick described as having a "passion fruit nose, and a floral taste, citrusy." I also tried their Executioner, an American Pale Ale with two different hop varieties that gave the brew an almost pine-like flavor.

I asked Dubovick what attracted him to the Oak Park Micro Brew & Food Review, and he said "I love this festival. A lot of the brewers are into the sustainability aspect, and it's amazing that we can pull 3-4 thousand people here."

Many of those beer-lovers came from Chicago, frequently via Green Line or Metra. Tim Eggert, owner of Competitive Foot, mentioned that "Many people who come to this event have never been to Oak Park before." That kind of exposure seems like it'd be an advantage for most of the stores on Marion, North Boulevard and environs. Even though, as Eggert added, "They may not be interested in buying anything" during the event, they at least visit the store and, perhaps, they'll return.

Leonard Hollander, the chef at Marion Street Cheese Market Café, was among those offering food. "We definitely do a higher level of business during this event," said Hollander, and I think I know what he meant.

I spoke with a few police officers and they all confirmed that over the years the crowds have been "very manageable" and that they'd "never had trouble," which is kind of surprising when you consider how many people are drinking for hours right down town.  But it seemed to me, too, that this was a good crowd, with many generations represented, even some families, all for the love of beer.


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Posted: August 20th, 2013 10:00 PM

Wow, cool - I guess we don't have enough drinking in Oak Park. Maybe somebody could sponsor an "future beer drinkers of Oak Park" club at the high school.

ETphonedhome from Oak Park  

Posted: August 20th, 2013 10:20 AM

This was my 3rd year in a row attending this 'festival of beer' and I'm happy to see it's growing and getting better every year. I feel the expansion has helped with having more room to walk through and enjoy the beer without bumping into the thousands of people. I didn't witness any lude or obnoxious behavior. EVERYONE I encountered, festival workers and beer drinkers, were all friendly and peaceful. Good vibes all around - Keep up the good work :))

RF from OP  

Posted: August 20th, 2013 10:06 AM

bad placement of band.. too loud in narrow space. we could not eat at OP Bar & Kitchen. North Blvd. location as with other events would be better.Anyone else think this?

Steve from River Forest  

Posted: August 20th, 2013 9:51 AM


Mike from Oak Park  

Posted: August 19th, 2013 8:59 PM

This event is the best thing Oak Park has going for it. We could really use more adult oriented events in Oak Park (and I'm a family guy). Love the beers and the non-stop parade of tattoos.

Gary Cuneen from Oak Park  

Posted: August 19th, 2013 8:23 PM

Thanks Oak Park residents and businesses for supporting another Oak Park Microbrew Review. 4,000 people this year makes the event the second largest craft beer festival in the Midwest. Seven Generations Ahead and the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild appreciate your support!

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