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Craft brews and garden tours come to Sheffield neighborhood this weekend

The Chicago Craft Beer Festival and the Sheffield Garden Walk will overlap on Saturday and Sunday
Photo by Bryan Bedder

Microbrew beer and tours of urban gardens may seem like a strange combination, but add live music and you’ll have a typical summer Chicago festival. And that’s the exact combination that you’ll be able to find in the area of Sheffield and Webster this weekend.

The Green Mountain Gringo Chicago Craft Beer Festival will happen simultaneously with the 46th Annual Sheffield Garden Walk and Music Festival on Saturday, July 19th and Sunday, July 20th. Chicagoans hoping to take advantage of this lovely post-summer polar vortex weekend by spending as much time as possible outside can sample the Windy City’s best craft brews and then hop (bad pun completely intended) to the garden walk.

The Craft Beer Festival will run from noon until 10pm on Saturday and Sunday on Sheffield Avenue between Webster and Fullerton, with tasting times occurring between noon and 4pm daily. Proceeds from the festival go to the Sheffield Neighborhood Association, which works to improve conditions of life, work, recreation, health, and safety in the neighborhood that is hosting the event for the first time this year.

At tented tasting areas, guests can select samples from more than 100 craft beers for a tasting fee of $40 in advance or $45 on the day of for fifteen tickets. Each ticket will grant guests one three-ounce sample of their beer of choice. Some of these featured microbreweries include Revolution and Half Acre from Chicago, Two Brothers from Warrenville, Hinterland, from Wisconsin, and Arcadia Ales and Founders Brewing from Michigan. Ticket prices also include access to the tasting area, a souvenir tasting glass, access to a private tasting area, and live music from Low Down Brass Band.

Lovers of local brews can find full event information, including a list of the festival’s confirmed participating breweries, at http://www.chicagoevents.com/event.cfm?eid=255.

For those who aren’t big fans of beer or who want to combine their ales with their azaleas, the 46th Annual Sheffield Garden Walk and Music Festival, presented by the Sheffield Neighborhood Association, will also take place on Saturday and Sunday. For a donation of $7, or $10 after 3pm, guests can venture to the Sheffield and Webster area and participate in self-guided tours of more than eighty gardens, guided architectural tours, live entertainment, food and drink, and an array of child-friendly activities at the Kids’ Corner.

Proceeds from this event provide support for neighborhood schools and community projects, as well as assist the Sheffield Neighborhood Association’s award-winning Beautification Program, which maintains the area as the Garden District of Chicago. Nearly 500 volunteers will contribute their time to making this weekend’s event a pleasant and educational experience.

From noon until 5:30pm on both days of the festival, guests can grab guidebooks at the Garden Center on the lawn of St. Vincent de Paul Church and guide themselves around some of the neighborhood’s most beautiful gardens in the area between Halsted to the east, the Chicago River to the west, Armitage to the south, and Fullerton to the north. At 3:30pm, Master Gardeners or Landscape Experts will lead small tours of three selected gardens, where these experts will discuss plant material, design style, and the challenges of urban gardening. Furthermore, guests can ask their most complicated horticultural questions at the Ask a Master Gardener Booth from 1pm until 4pm at St. Vincent de Paul Church.

Of course, Chicagoans would view garden tours as incomplete without live music and some great food. The festival’s main stage will feature performances by such bands as Meiko and The Samples, while the new Fullerton Stage will feature Hello Weekend and Wedding Banned, among others. The big band stylings of Barry Winograd will also be featured at the Little Sisters of the Poor St. Mary’s Home. Furthermore, Bridgeport Pasty, Crave Bar, Genoa Italian, Robinson’s Ribs, and other purveyors of festival food will be on hand to feed hungry garden tourists.

Aficionados of amaryllis and lovers of lilacs can find all necessary information on the Sheffield Garden Walk and view a photo gallery of last year’s fun at http://www.sheffieldgardenwalk.com/.