April 1, 2015

Chicagoland Suds Cup



 In an effort to crown a “true” local champion of beer styles, Ale to the Burbs is presenting The Chicagoland Suds Cup Championship on April 11, 2015. Hosted by Beer House, located at 322 Yorktown Center in Lombard, this public indoor event will run from 1:00-5:00pm.

A field of 16 local American Indian Pale Ales (IPAs) will go head-to-head in a bracket-style, blind tasting competition to be decided solely by attendees.

In today’s somewhat crowded craft beer market, it’s difficult, even for the most seasoned drinker, to not make purchase decisions based on hype, marketing or plain old familiarity. By keeping the competitors in the event shrouded in secrecy (even to the breweries themselves), Ale to the Burbs is forcing attendees to vote with their palates instead of their eyes. “With the Suds Cup, we’re looking to completely turn people’s perceptions and biases of beers upside down and reveal the ‘bitter truth’ about their tastes,” said Eric Woodruff of Ale to the
Burbs. “After this competition, I guarantee that attendees and others following the results will have an entirely different mindset when they order an IPA at the bar or walk down the aisles of a bottle shop.”

The Chicagoland Suds Cup Championship is broken down into four rounds with attendees visiting head-to-head stations, tasting 2-ounce samples of each beer and casting their votes to determine which one advances. Once a winner is crowned, attendees will receive a full pour of their choice of any of the 16 IPAs available. For a $35 ticket, guests will receive a total of 76 ounces of beer, two commemorative taster glasses, pizza, live music courtesy of Magoo from Whiskey Jezebel and an entry into prize drawings that will take place between rounds.

Tickets are only available online through Brown Paper Tickets at

Sponsors include Green Door Promotions, Armand’s Pizzeria Victory Tap, Coleen’s Better Than Breadsticks, and Lombard Ale Fest.

About Ale to the Burbs
Ale to the Burbs is a dedicated group of beer lovers that coordinates events to bring people together in celebration of craft beer in the Chicago suburbs – whether it’s in a brewery, bar or your neighbor’s backyard. Contact Ale To The Burbs at aletotheburbs@gmail.com

About Beer House
Located on the outskirts of Yorktown Center in Lombard, family owned Beer House brings more than 60 craft beer taps and hundreds of bottled beers to one great venue. With an atmosphere catering to both the beer aficionado and those just looking to have a good time, it offers live entertainment on a mezzanine stage, sports on 15 massive televisions, and order-in or bring-your-own food concepts.


December 21, 2014

and a Crafty New Year

A number of options are available for craft beer drinkers to enjoy New Year’s Eve and avoid the typical amateur night. With the exception of one event, this list will focus on venues in the suburbs of Chicago. All information provided by the hosts.








Brew Year’s Eve is a craft beer centric New Year’s Eve party that will take place at the historic Salvage One building in Chicago. For 30 years Salvage One has been saving architectural elements from the wrecking ball, breathing new life into them, and helping people add style and creativity to their homes, offices, restaurants, and bars. The 60,000 square foot facility boasts three floors and is one of the most amazing venues in Chicago.

Brew Year’s Eve will be spread out over three floors and will feature ten Chicagoland breweries serving over 30 different craft beers. Live music, butler passed hors d’oeuvres, a dessert buffet and many unique photo ops will make this a New Year’s Eve you won’t soon forget.

Come celebrate Chicago Craft beer, Chicago history, and the promise of the
New Year with Brew Year’s Eve!

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Grant Park Conservancy. The Grant Park Conservancy is a 501c(3) not-for-profit with a mission to provide a permanent body that enables Grant Park to respond and adapt to the changing needs of its users, as the park passes from generation to generation. Some of these needs relate to landscaping, infrastructure, design, cultural activities, and environmental issues.

Brew Year’s Eve is a Lou Dog Events Production







New Years Eve Celebration @ the Two Brothers Roundhouse

Come ring in the New Year and raise a glass of the finest craft beer at the Two Brothers Roundhouse!

The party starts at 8pm with DJ Jayrock spinning favorites from the 70′s through today! Included in the night will be a buffet going from 8-10 pm and a midnight buffet (11:30-12:30) to keep the energy to party all night.

Complimentary Champagne toast at midnight with special Two Brothers offerings on tap as well!

Tickets: $40 available at the Roundhouse host stand!







 Come celebrate New Year’s Eve at Hopvine Brewing Company.

Hopvine will have a DJ playing tunes next to the dance floor, multiple

gourmet food stations, a late night buffet, party favors, and of course,

an end of the night toast. The various gourmet food stations include

  Beef Brisket, Risotto, plus more, prepared for you to order.

To Make A Reservation Call Today at 630.229.6030

Hopvine New Year’s Eve Party Packages

(shots not included)

  1. Regular Party Package: $65 Pre-order / $70 After December 23rd

(Includes Gourmet Food Stations, House Wine, House Beer)

  1. Premium Party Package: $80 Pre-order / $85 After December 23rd

(Includes Gourmet Food Stations, House Wine, House Beer, Well Liquors)

  1. Deluxe Party Package: $90 Pre-order / $95 After December 23rd

(Includes Gourmet Food Stations, All Wines, All Beers, All Liquors)

*Designated Driver Package Available Upon Request*






8:00 pm – HAPPY BREW YEAR! ~featuring beers from around the world! Taste and enjoy our journey around the world this New Year’s Eve! We will have beers representing traditions from







The U.S.of A.

Walk through the doors of Ellis Island at 8pm for a fascinating world of 21 different brews. 7 Unique brews by Brewmaster Marc Wilson

Food pairings by Executive Chef Marcus Mooney

Special release tapping at Midnight

Guests will receive a commemorative logo tasting glass for sampling

Live entertainment by DJ Emcee





We will be featuring two wonderful dinner options in addition to our regular menu, and then welcome in the new year with the biggest drink list in the area, with 90 craft beers, seasonal cocktails, and wine on tap. – See more 

*** If you are having a craft beer focused New Year’s event in the suburbs & would like to have it added- email eric@blahblahbeer.com


November 20, 2014




Ale to the Burbs and Nevin’s Brewing Company invite you to attend the The OneDer Beers, a Festival of One-of-a-Kind Pours.


Exclusive, never-before-poured, one-off beers from your favorite breweries

Each attendee will receive 20 tickets for 3oz sample pours and a commemorative logo pint glass

– The following breweries will be there + more to come!
– 350 Brewing
– Bucket List Brewing
– Flesk Brewing
– Goose Island
– Imperial Oak
– Lagunitas
– Nevin’s
– One Trick Pony
– Pollyanna
– Slapshot Brewing
– Transient Artisan Ales
– Upland Brewing
– Two Brothers
– Werk Force Brewing
and more….

Tickets – $35/person

Event Sponsors:
Lou Dog Events- www.loudogevents.com
Beer House- www.beerhousechicago.com
Sovereign- www.sovereigntap.com
The Beer Cellar- www.beercellarchicago.com
Chicago Brews Cruise- www.brewscruisechicago.com
Frank’s Night Out- www.franksnightout.net
Spent Grain Society- www.spentgrainsociety.com

August 6, 2014

Socially Responsible Labeling

by blahblahbeer
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It has been some time since I have posted. Life tends to get in the way of what we truly want to do. Something has happened over the past couple of days that was motivating enough to force me to put aside everything else and begin to type.

If you consider yourself a member of the craft beer community, you have probably noticed the debate waging over a beer label from Pig Minds Brewing Company for a beer named Panty Dropper. For me, the opinion that best fits this debate was written by Karl at Guys Drinking Beer. While I think Karl hit a home run with his post, I believe there is more to be said.

PMBC-Prunus Lbl


The Urban Dictionary gives the following listing:

Panty Dropper:

A guy who is so good looking, or has so much money, or some other such quality, that women will drop their panties at the sight of him.

I am sure this is what Pig Minds had in mind when they bestowed the name “Panty Dropper” upon their beer. I am further inclined to believe this after finding out the name was the brainchild of the brewer’s wife. I will even allow that the label is an artist’s interpretation of a beer filling in for the “good looking guy” (I’m giving a lot of leeway).

With that said, I am sure many will find that as enough to argue in favor of Pig Minds moving forward with releasing their label for Panty Dropper.  I’m a guy and I have always worked in “manly” industries with other guys. Part of me wanted to side with Pig Minds on this topic, but something didn’t feel right.

While The Urban Dictionary has one definition of Panty Dropper, there is yet another. This alternative definition adds to the problem associated with the Pig Mind’s label. In certain circles, Panty Dropper is the nickname given to date rape drugs. Go ahead, look at the label with those words in mind and tell me how you feel. Like I said before, I don’t believe this is what Pig Minds had in mind when they created the name of label, but the reality is- Panty Dropper is a nickname for such drugs.

Whenever I fear that I am missing something, I do what every good man should do and I ask my wife. My wife is one tough woman. She married a former soldier and is mother to an active duty Army sergeant. She works in an industry that is 99% men and is no stranger to the “guys club”. Sexual innuendo and lewd humor are not a problem for her.  Easily offended she is not. Nor is she a “hairy arm-pitted dike” like the description seen on social media of any woman who has a problem with the Panty Dropper label. My wife is; however, the survivor of sexual violence. Each year there will be an additional  237,868 women like her.

I showed my wife the Panty Dropper label and asked for her opinion. Her immediate reaction was, “I don’t like that.” When I asked her why, she responded, “It’s offensive and derogatory towards women. It promotes using alcohol to get in a woman’s pants. I expect this from guys in the beer industry. Have you seen some of the labels out there lately?”

Her words said plenty, but her face said a lot more. This label wasn’t just offensive, it was hurtful. Remember, she is just one of more than a million women who have been victim to sexual violence and over 200,000 will suffer the same fate in our country this year alone. If this label had an effect on my wife, I can only imagine the effect it will have on others like her.

“…I expect this from guys in the beer industry,” was another disheartening piece of her comment. My wife didn’t say this because of the interaction she has had with brewers. My wife actually likes the brewing community here in the suburbs of Chicago, but some of the labels of late haven’t reflected well on this very community that we have grown to embrace.

I think every business needs to consider their stakeholders when making decisions.  While I understand that breweries like Pig Minds have every right to affix labels like these upon their product, I have to ask, Should they? Shouldn’t a business be socially responsible? While the negative effects might be unintentional, should they be ignored?

May 16, 2014

“Can you dig it?” Canned Food Drive


The Chicagoland craft beer community continually strives to give back in many ways. From May 17-23, Ale to the Burbs and Warren’s Ale House are holding a canned food drive that will benefit People’s Resource Center in Wheaton. For every two cans donated, you will earn a chance to win one of a handful of prize packages from local businesses including Warren’s Ale House, The Beer Cellar, Lou Dog Events, River City Roasters, Massage Envy, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, Yogli Mogli, Bricks Pizza & Café, Sport Clips, L.A. Tan, Fox Bowl, Elements Therapeutic Massage, and Midwest Brewers Fest. Can donations can be dropped off at Warren’s Ale House at 51 Town Square in Wheaton (Mon-Sat: 11am-11pm / Sun: 11am-12am). Be sure to ask for your raffle tickets when dropping off your cans. Throughout Chicago Craft Beer Week, Warren’s will also have Revolution Anti-Hero on tap for only $4 a pint. Questions? Email aletotheburbs@gmail.com.

March 10, 2014

1st Annual Illinois Suburban Brewers Summit Open Forum Audio

by blahblahbeer
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February 17, 2014

A Letter To Small Breweries

by blahblahbeer
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When it comes to breweries, it is true, “If you build it, they will come,” but for how long?

Small breweries- I love you, but in a few years there will be tons of stainless steel sitting in scrap yards if you don’t get your shit together.  The American consumer is captivated by the newest thing. We are a nation that bought 1.5 million Pet Rocks. We run to buy the latest thing, looking for the rush that something innovative provides us. Everyone loves a new car, but what happens when the new car smell has faded? What keeps consumers coming back again and again?

Many years ago, a company could count on their customers to continue to buy their product due to “brand loyalty”. My father will only buy Ford vehicles. The first Ford he bought lasted more than twenty years and he continues to reward them for the quality of that vehicle by purchasing solely Ford products. My father is part of a dying breed. Today, only 25% of Americans make purchases based on “brand loyalty” (Forbes). The two biggest factors driving purchases in this day and age: price and quality.

A packaging trend has emerged in craft beer. Often, the 22 ounce bottle (bomber) is the vessel of choice for small breweries. While this in and of itself is not a problem, the purchase price of these bottles is often on the higher end of the scale. Established breweries often use bombers to package limited release beers and a higher price should be expected. When a smaller brewery is charging ten dollars or more for a bomber, one has to question themselves before making the purchase. The same ten dollars can buy a six-pack of beer from another brewery and the consumer walks away with fifty additional ounces. While a brewery is reaping the benefits of their “introductory” stage, high-priced bombers might work out to their advantage, but is this truly a viable long-term option?

Consistent taste from the same beer shouldn’t be an unreasonable expectation; however, this has become a reoccurring complaint from craft beer consumers. Color variations, gravity differences, and varying taste from batch to batch are common problems for some of America’s breweries. Don’t use the argument, “Higher quality demands a higher price,” if consumers can’t expect the same product, beer after beer. Craft beer drinkers are very understanding when brewers get experimental, but you should be able to duplicate your “flagship” beers.

Go beyond a logo when you create your brand. Be more than, “Hi, I’m Bob and I make Belgian style beers”. Give people a reason to associate with your brewery. If you want to be niche, that is fine. Make beers for people who hate shoes, but own it! Put footprints on your bottle and have shoeless Sundays at your taproom. Whatever you do, have an identity. Ask people to describe 3 Floyds or Lagunitas and I’m sure their brands come out quickly. How do people respond when asked to describe your brewery? You may not have imprinted the identity on people’s minds that you think.

Small brewers- you have an enormous amount of courage. You are doing what most people are unable to do. You have taken a leap of faith and become small business owners. You are following your dream and I respect you. You must become an accountant, a marketing director, a logistics manager, an assets manager, etcetera, and etcetera.  Some people believe there will be a craft beer bubble. I believe that America can sustain thousands of breweries producing an affordable, high quality product. Not everyone will become rich, but an honest living can be made by all.  I have only talked about “low hanging fruit” that you can harvest to increase your chances. America wants you to succeed.



February 9, 2014

Illinois Suburban Brewers Summit

Summit photo

The Chicago suburbs, home to a growing number of popular and successful craft beer breweries, bars and bottle shops, will soon add a groundbreaking event to its census. Ale to the Burbs, an alliance of suburban craft beer bloggers and event coordinators, is hosting the 1st Annual Illinois Suburban Brewers Summit (ISBS) to be held March 8, 2014, at Nevin’s Brewing Company. Located at 12337 South Route 59 in Plainfield, this public event will run from 6:30-9:30pm. The goal of the ISBS is to give suburban breweries the opportunity to come together and discuss the state of the market, share ideas and experiences, and collaborate on endeavors to spur increased exposure and recognition of the suburban craft beer scene. Approximately 20 breweries are expected to attend the event with representatives from each business to sit on a moderated panel for an open forum. “There’s no better time than now for this event to take place,” said Jeremy Teel of Ale to the Burbs. “With the rapid growth we’re seeing in the industry and a wide geographic area to serve, suburban brewers encounter unique challenges every day and need to establish and share best practices in order to thrive.”

The ISBS also will feature two hours of public beer tasting with aprox. 25-30 beers being poured by attending breweries. The $25 ticket will get each attendee 15 4-ounce pours, appetizers, a commemorative glass and admission to Nevin’s live music performance after the event (artist TBD). Attendees also will be able to sit in on the open forum and ask brewers their burning questions.

Tickets are available online only through Brown Paper Tickets at: http://ISBS.brownpapertickets.com

Sponsors include: The Beer Cellar, Chicago Brew Werks, Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, Lou Dog Events, Spent Grain Society, World of Beer – Naperville, & Midwest Brewers Fest.

About Ale to the Burbs
Ale to the Burbs is a dedicated group of beer lovers that coordinates events to bring people together in celebration of craft beer in the Chicago suburbs – whether it’s in a brewery, bar or your neighbor’s backyard.

About Nevin’s Brewing Company:
Nevin’s Brewing Company opened its doors in December of 2012. Between the time we opened and the time we brewed our first beer, we were expectant parents setting up the nursery, ensuring that everything was perfect for our baby, our beer. On February 21, 2013, our brew kettle fired up for the first time with our inaugural beer, Contentious, an IPA fermented with Belgian yeast. Since that christening moment, our brewmaster has worked diligently to provide a wide range of brews for all to enjoy. At Nevin’s, we brew because we are infatuated with
what happens when malted barley meets water, when hops dance in the boiling wort, and when wort marries yeast. No style is off our radar. We turn our noses up at nothing because we see opportunity in everything.



church streetfleskemmettshopvineNBCMedllion1lagunitasonetrickponypollyannapenrosesolemn oathtightheadtemperancetwo brothersurban legend



November 12, 2013

2013 Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer- preview

by blahblahbeer
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The 11th Annual Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer (FOBAB) featuring The National Wood Aged Beer Competition takes place Saturday, November 16th, 2013, at the Skyline Loft in the Bridgeport Art Center. This festival is the nation’s largest celebration of wood and barrel aged beer.




I am going to assume that if you have found your way to this website, you don’t need an education in barrel aged beer. It would also be safe to guess that you are somewhat familiar with FOBAB. With that being said, I will skip the history lessons and move on to what’s new for 2013.


  • For 2013, cider/perry/mead has been added to the competition categories
  • Food trucks will be setting up in the main parking lot outside of the event
  • A shuttle will be provided from FOBAB to the Red Line & Ogilvie Station. Times for the shuttle will be posted during the event
  • It took less than four minutes for both sessions of FOBAB to be sold out
  • Justin Maynard (Executive Director ICBG) will be wearing some ultra-hip headphones


Participating breweries:

3 Floyds     5 Rabbit      Adams County Brew Crew     Against the Grain     Ale Syndicate

Allagash     Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.      Apple Knocker Hard Cider

Atlas Brewing Company     Avery Brewing Company     Bear Rupublic     Begyle Brewing

Bell’s Brewery     Blacklist Brewing     Boston Beer Co.     Boulevard Brewing Company

Breakside Brewery     Brewery Vivant     Central Waters     Crispina     Dark Horse Brewing Company

Denali Brewing     Deschutes Brewery     DESTIHL     Eden Ice Cider     Finch’s Beer Company

Firestone Walker Brewing Co.     Fitger’s Brewhouse     Flat 12 Bierwerks     Flossmoor Station

Gigantic Brewing     Goose Island – Clybourn     Goose Island – Wrigleyville

Goose Island     Grand Teton Brewing company     Great Divide     Half Acre     Halfmoon Bay Brewing

Haymarket Pub & Brewery     Iowa brewers union     Lagunitas     Lake Effect Brewing

Lakefront Brewery     Local Option     Lost Abbey     Lunar Brewing     Metropolitan Brewing

Milwaukee Brewing Company     Morgan Street Brewery     Moylans Brewery     Mystery Brewing

Nebraska Brewing Company     Nevin’s Pub     New Belgium Brewing     New Holland Brewing Co

Oakshire     Off Color Brewing     Oskar Blues     Perennial Artisan Ales     Perrin Brewing

Pig Minds Brewing     Pipeworks Brewing     Revolution Brewing     Rock Bottom – Chicago

Rock Bottom – Denver     Rock Bottom – Des Moines     Rock Bottom – Minneapolis

Rock Bottom – Warrenville     Saugatuck Brewing     Shoreline Brewery     Side Project Brewing

Sietsma Orchards     Slapshot Brewing     Solemn Oath Brewery     Spiteful     Stone Brewing Co.

sun king brewing     Surly Brewing     Ten Ninety     Tighthead Brewing Company

Triptych Brewing     Two Brothers Brewing     Uinta Brewing     Upland Brewing     Vandermill Cider

Vintage Brewing     Virtue Cider     Wheelhouse     Widmer Brothers Brewing     Wild Onion

ZwanzigZ Brewing

August 12, 2013

Have Fun and Save Money With Beer Dogging

by blahblahbeer
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One of my #AleToTheBurbs partners has something that might interest you & I thought I would share part of an email they sent out today to their Beer Dogging members:What is Beer Dogging?

Beer Dogging is the Chicago area’s fastest growing craft beer organization.  For some of us, Beer Dogging is a way of life.  It’s what we do. For years we have been chasing down the best beers.  Now the time has come to lead others on that journey.  Our mission is to keep you on the trail of craft beer and hopefully save you a few pennies along the way.  Now that you are a member, you are eligible to receive beer related deals, participate in Beer Dogging projects and events, and win prizes. Make sure to visit us on the web atwww.BeerDogging.com and download the iPhone or Droid app.  We can be found on Twitter @BeerDogging and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BeerDogging . If you have any questions about anything beer related, please contact us anytime.



The Alpha Dog Membership is an upgraded membership for $25 per year.  This upgraded membership is for the person who is really looking to stretch their beer dollars.  Alpha Dog members will receive a membership card that must be presented to claim any deals they will be eligible for.  With this program you enjoy deals year round from our sponsors.  Each time you walk in the door there will be a deal waiting for you.  There is the potential to save hundreds of dollars per year.  The membership is good through December 2014 so act now and you will be getting a few months FREE.



We are very excited about this one.  Jump aboard the Chicago Brew Bus and visit some of the most elite beer bars in the western suburbs.  Among these will be Standard Market, Wild Monk, Brixies, and Cigars and Stripes.  Lunch and appetizers will be provided as well as guided tastings and pairings.  The bottle sharing on the bus can be pretty extensive so make sure your taste buds are ready.






PRICE: $45 (Inludes bus ride, lunch, appetizers, giveaways and prizes, $10 Standard Market gift card, and guided tour by Cicerones and/or Cicerone Certified Beer Servers.


TICKETS:  Click Here

Today is Friday
August 28, 2015