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On Saturday, Aug. 21, more than 45 breweries are expected to offer a wide array of craft beers at the 14th annual Oak Park Micro Brew Review in downtown Oak Park. The zero-waste craft beer fest benefitting the nonprofit Seven Generations Ahead, took a pandemic pause in 2020 but the popular event is poised to make a thoughtful return this weekend. 

Masks are required and Micro Brew Review attendees, including ticket holders, vendors and volunteers, must show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test within 24 hours to enter the event. Vaccinated attendees will need to show their official CDC issued vaccination card to hired personnel in charge of checking identification. A photo of the card, both front and back, is acceptable. Those wishing to offer proof of a negative COVID test will need to be tested after 2 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 20 to qualify for entry.

“The village hinted these changes may be coming and we planned the event as if this was going to be the case,” said Gary Cuneen, founder and executive director of Seven Generations Ahead. “It is great to be back. This is a well-loved event that is positive and fun. We always have a great crowd, and we want the event to be as safe as it can be,” he said.

The largest of its kind in the Midwest, the Micro Brew Review has historically attracted close to 4,000 people, but COVID-related capacity limitations will keep 2021 attendance lower than in years past. Organizers intentionally capped ticket sales at 1,800 this year in an effort to de-densify the festival area and promote social distancing.  The number of beer vendors was also trimmed from 85 to just under 50 to create additional space within a limited footprint.

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Haymarket Brewing will be offering two diversity-themed beers at the Micro Brew Review. In an effort to promote inclusion in Chicago and in the craft beer realm, Haymarket collaborated with brewers Sam Ross and Jay Westbrook to brew Harold’s ’83 Honey Ale in honor of former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington.

The Black Beer Baron, Jay Westbrook, is also offering Summer of ‘54 in partnership with Haymarket. The ruby red grapefruit and mango laden IPA is intended to be a celebration of baseball, friendship, and inclusion. Westbrook brewed the beer as a tribute to Ernie Banks and Minnie Miñoso and honors the first full season both Chicago baseball teams had a Black player.

Beer lovers looking for a sour should plan to stop by the Revolution Brewing tent. They will be serving up Pursuit of Freedom, the latest Freedom Session Sour, featuring both refreshing yuzu and jammy raspberry. 

Familiar Forest Park and Oak Park establishments, Exit Strategy Brewing, Oak Park Brewing Company, One Lake Brewing, and Kinslahger Brewing Company, will also be on hand pouring their hyper-local brews. 

Wild Onion Tied House, The Daly Bagel, Poke Burrito, Knock Out Catering and Hay Market Pub and Brewery will also be on site providing an array of local fare to festival goers. Four bands and a DJ will provide entertainment throughout the event.

The Micro Brew Review eliminates nearly all landfill waste through reducing, reusing, recycling, and composting to align with the mission of Seven Generations Ahead. The Micro Brew Review is the largest annual fundraiser for the organization that takes a multifaceted approach to building sustainable and healthy communities.

“We are in the midst of an existential climate crisis,” said Cuneen. “This fundraiser helps support our zero waste school programs and our work with local institutions to help them look at solar options.”

The Micro Brew Review will be held on Marion Street between Lake Street and South Boulevard from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Aug. 21. Tickets are available at https://sevengenerationsahead.org/oak-park-micro-brew-review/

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