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100-plus brews to try at Chicago Beer Fest

Lake Effect Brewing 4727 W. Montrose teamed up with Chicago Brew Werks make Kiwi Snow White IPA with New Zealhops.

Lake Effect Brewing, 4727 W. Montrose, teamed up with Chicago Brew Werks to make Kiwi Snow, a White IPA with New Zealand hops. | Provided

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Chicago Beer Festival

When: Session 1: 1 to 4 p.m.;
Session 2: 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday

Where: Union Station, 225 S. Canal

Tickets: $40 at

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Updated: March 19, 2014 7:25PM

With Strange Pelicans and Pig Minds manning the taps, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when Manboobs, Really Cool Waterslides, Barking Squirrels and Blood of the Kings pour out.

That’s the wilder side of the craft beer culture that will buzz through Union Station on Saturday for the fifth Chicago Beer Festival. The ticketed event will feature 61 breweries — many that craft their beers blocks away in Chicago, and others from as far away as Thailand.

For $40, beer fans receive 30 vouchers for 3-ounce pours. Tickets are still available, but festival organizer Dan Silberstein warned that the 4,000 tickets will likely be gone before Happy Hour on Friday.

And don’t ask Silberstein which beers are worth the longest wait.

“I feel like the mother of 60 children. I try not to play favorites,” said Silberstein, a promoter for Los Angeles-based Drink:Eat:Play. “We have a very, very strong local contingency of breweries: some new [ones] like Drewerys and Flesk; others have big followings like Strange Pelican and Pipeworks, and others have a big presence in Chicago like Lagunitas and Oskar Blues.”

With the 61 breweries, each offering between two and four beers, attendees should prepare a game plan for their 30-beer vouchers. Silberstein promoted local and seasonal options, so we picked a few using his criteria:

◆ Lake Effect Brewing, 4727 W. Montrose, teamed up with Chicago Brew Werks, a Plainfield brewing supply company, to make Kiwi Snow, a White IPA with New Zealand hops.

◆ Local Option, 1102 W. Webster, will be pouring two head-turning beers. Its Morning Wood is an oak-aged coffee ale that weighs in at 7.3 percent alcohol by volume. Local Option’s Blood of Kings is a red wheat ale “driven by bread, biscuit and notes of exotic fruit.”

◆ Strange Pelican Brewing, 5435 N. Wolcott, crafted its Maiden Voyage Rye IPA to balance radiant hops with tranquil honey and carmel flavors.

◆ Before taking the Purple Line up to Evanston to visit Smylie Bros. Restaurant & Brewery, get a taste of the craft brewer’s California Common and Apple Wood Porter.

◆ No better way to end the night than with a beer called Closure. Located just around the lake in Sawyer, Mich., Greenbush Brewing uses honey and white wheat malts, cascade and apollo hops, and British-style ale yeast.

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