The second annual Chicago Craft Beer Week kicked off last night with Beer Under Glass at the Garfield Park Conservatory. Over 25 different breweries were scattered around the dramatic space, with some stationed next to ponds, while others set up shop under tangled vines. The crowds discussed beer while walking underneath the canopy of tropical trees. To be sure, it was one of the most surreal beer events we’ve been to, and we have a slideshow below so you can see it for yourself.
For as much beer as was poured last night, it was surprisingly civil and subdued. Jared Rouben, the brewmaster of Goose Island Brewery, told us that it was probably “the calmest beer tasting I’ve ever been to.” The breweries were pretty evenly spread out around the space, not all huddled together at one long table.
Still, there were times when the narrow trails caused some congestion, and there didn't seem to be quite enough food. The longest lines by far were for the few food vendors. Pastoral’s cheese table was ransacked within in an hour, and Inspiration Kitchens actually ran out of forks at one point. But the crowds largely to dealt with the situation by stuffing themselves on Popchips and peanuts, and then went back to the business of sampling beer.
Check out our slideshow of the event, and don't forget to plan your own beer-filled weekend.