CHAOS BrewBQ Homebrew Club Beer Fest: August 17

By Jeff Whelpley, CHAOS Homebrew Club

C.H.A.O.S. (Chicago Homebrew Alchemists of Sud) is a Chicago-based brew club that has a dedicated brew space for urban homebrewers who may not have the space to brew at home. Our space lets us host classes on beer and brewing and serves as a common location for meetings, storage, and hanging out with other club members. C.H.A.O.S. is funded through monthly member dues and by four quarterly fundraising events held at the brewhouse.

Our club depends on a large membership to generate income for brewhouse maintenance. To meet this need, we are fairly aggressive and successful in bringing new people into the hobby of homebrewing. But, because Chicagoland covers such a large area, homebrewers in the city and in the suburbs rarely get together other than for major competitions. In 2017, we aimed to change that by transforming our quarterly summer party, BrewBQ, into a homebrew club beer festival.

Summer BrewBQ

In summer, Chicago comes together to take advantage of the precious good weather and enjoy the outdoors. We decided this would be the perfect time to invite other Chicagoland-area brew clubs to meet up, share beer, and talk brewing, as well as show our fellow Chicagoans the camaraderie and creativity inherent to homebrewing.

The event is free to the public (we accept donations at the door to cover party expenses) and held on a Saturday afternoon, which allows guests to stop by at their leisure without conflicting with the evening activities that are so abundant during Chicago’s summer months. In addition to homebrew clubs, the BrewBQ hosts beer-related vendors who serve the homebrew community, including Omega Yeast, Brew and Grow, and Munton’s. The event also has a DJ, live music, outdoor games, and free food.

As one might imagine, a free event that offers beer, food, and entertainment draws quite a crowd. Six brew clubs joined us in the first year and welcomed approximately 200 attendees. Last year’s event featured 11 clubs (Babble Homebrewers, Brewers of South Suburbia, Brixie’s Brewers, Joliet Brewers Guild, Logan Brewlevard Society, North Urban Brewing Society, Oak Park Homebrewers, Plainfield Ale & Lager Enthusiasts, Square Kegs, Urban Knaves of Grain, and C.H.A.O.S.), Brülosophy, more than 80 beers on tap, and approximately 350 attendees. We expect this year’s event to have at least 15 brew clubs, more vendors, and an even larger crowd.

Our annual Summer BrewBQ takes place Saturday, August 17, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the C.H.A.O.S. brewhouse located at 2417 W Hubbard St, Chicago, Ill.

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