Not Your Daddy's Brew Fest: Unique Craft Beer, Live Music and More …

What do the names Dogfish Head, Big Muddy, Smuttynose and Clown Shoes have in common?

If you know the answer, chances are you already know about the huge festival in Plainfield Saturday.

If you don?t, fest organizers hope you?ll stop on by, too, and try something new.

Dogfish Head, Big Muddy, Smuttynose and Clown Shoes will be among 57 breweries serving up samples at the Midwest Brewers Fest, which is expected to attract some 3,500 attendees on the west side of downtown Plainfield.

?Plainfield?s never seen anything like this,? said Steve Caton, an owner of Limestone Brewing Company in Plainfield who created the inaugural event with a dedicated army of volunteers. ?It?s the only giant outdoor beer fest of its kind in Illinois. With 57 breweries on 88 acres, it?s quite large.?

The event will be from noon to 8 p.m. at Plainfield Riverfront Park on Route 126, just west of the DuPage River.

Tickets are $40 in advance or $50 at the gate and get you 25 beer samples. Extra sample tickets will be available for 50 cents each. Designated drivers get unlimited soda and water for a $10 ticket.

The Plainfield Riverfront Foundation will receive 95 percent of the proceeds for the redevelopment of the space, known as Electric Park in the early 1900s. The other 5 percent goes to Pints for Prostates, a cancer research organization.

While raising money for the park, fest-goers can sample some 150 craft beers plus a few ciders, observe home-brewing demonstrations, enjoy fare from local food vendors and check out seven local bands.

Craft brewers are small and independent, focusing on quality versus quantity and often using unique flavors such as chocolate, fruits, honey and spices.

?Craft beers are about the taste, like artisanal food,? Caton said. ?There are hundreds of styles of beer. It?s a wide experience that?s never ending.?

Participating Illinois breweries include Limestone, Brickstone, Flossmoor Station, Gordon Biersch, Goose Island, Half Acre Beer Co., Chicago Beer Company, 5 Rabbit, Argus Brewery, Big Muddy Brewery, Rock Bottom Brewery, Two Brothers and Wild Onion.

The festival not only brings together breweries from around the state. It provides the chance to sample brews from around the country in one location.

Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware, Smuttynose Brewing Co. in New Hampshire and Clown Shoes in Massachusetts will join breweries from Wisconsin, California, Louisiana, Colorado, New York and elsewhere.

?Some of these brews you cannot buy in Illinois,? Caton said.

In addition to craft beers, Magners Irish Cider from Clommel, Ireland, and Crispin Cider Worldwide from Minnesota will have booths along with B. Nektar Meadery in Michigan.

Ongoing demonstrations will be given by P.A.L.E. (Plainfield Ale & Lager Enthusiasts) and other home-brewing groups, and Marty Nachel, author of ?Home Brewing for Dummies,? will be on hand.

Food vendors include Limestone, Finnegan?s Irish Pub, Moe Joe?s, Katie O?Connor?s Pint House, Rosal?s, Bin 48, Baby Back Blues BBQ, Whole Foods, Gilberts Sausages and Bigby?s Pour House.

Caton and Finnegan?s owner Dale Lewis started talking about creating a craft beer fest while pouring beer last year at River Days in Plainfield. But Caton is quick to recognize the event couldn?t have been pulled together without support from the village and a dedicated group of volunteers, who met weekly for almost eight months, took road trips to scout breweries in the Midwest and spent time cleaning up the site.

?This group ? customers, friends, people who live near the park, business owners who like the idea ? came through in a huge way,? he said. ?It?s going to be a beautiful day with a tremendous variety of drinks for people to experience.?


Etc.: The fest will have picnic tables, a shade tent, water tent, smoking area and ATM machines. Only those 21 and older are allowed in.

Tickets: Tickets can be purchased in advance ($40) online or at Limestone and Finnegan?s. Fest-goers with advance tickets enter separately from those purchasing tickets ($50) at the gate.

A single ticket price covers 25 tickets for 2-ounce pours from breweries, as well as access to the home brewers? pavilion, a commemorative tasting glass and a program booklet to guide you through the festival. Additional sampling tickets cost 50 cents each. Designated driver tickets are $10.

Music: Music begins when gates open at noon with the Black Oil Brothers. The lineup also includes Train Company at 1:15 p.m., OD Jo at 2:30 p.m., Jack Avery?s Kin at 4 p.m., Overman at 5:30 p.m., the Jack Pines at 7 p.m. and the Hooten Hallers at closing time.

Parking: Approved fest lots are at Plainfield Central High School, 24120 W. Fort Beggs Drive; Meijer, 13521 S. Route 59; and Katie O?Connor?s, 1317 Route 30, Plainfield; and the Naperville Metra Station, 1090 N. Route 59, Naperville. On-site festival parking will be restricted to VIP ticketholders and those with handicap permits.

Free shuttles: Buses will operate every 15 minutes from the lots to the festival from 11 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. Additional shuttles will run only to and from the Metra station and festival every 25 minutes starting at 11:30 a.m.

For other details:

Of note: Downtown Plainfield streets will be cordoned off for Plainfield Hawg Night, the monthly motorcycle version of cruise night, from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday.

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