Vacation times and ideas to your Beer Mecca

Discussion in 'Great Lakes' started by ubenumber2, Dec 29, 2013.

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  1. ubenumber2

    ubenumber2 Initiate (0) Sep 1, 2012 Arkansas

    Ok I'm taking a beercation sometime in 2014 , plan on flying into Chicago with the wife and renting a car and spending about 7 days visiting breweries. I know I'll be going to Founders , so pretty much everything in the Chicago area and between there I can pack in.
    Are there any festivals that I need to plan this around that are a can't miss but you still might be able to get tickets for? Any ideas would be helpful , starting to plan this trip now , can be anytime from February through early December. Thanks in advance!!!!
    duceswild likes this.
  2. kif

    kif Initiate (0) Jan 4, 2012 Illinois

    Could always plan it around Dark Lord Day or FoBAB. Dark Lord Day has gotten much easier to get tickets since the tickets have the buyers name printed on them to stop scalping. The only problem might be that it can still be tough to get them online (they sellout fast). In person is way easier at the brewery which would be tough for you. FoBAB might be difficult to get tickets to, but its an amazing event.

    On the weekend of both events many bars in Chicago have special releases/parties to celebrate. So even if you didn't get tickets, you could probably still get some good stuff around the city.
  3. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    For breweries that can or do offer tours in Chicago. 4 Paws, Revolution, Half Acre, Finch's, are some of them that do it among others.
    Pipeworks might very well have their bottle shop open sometime soonish. For brewpubs. Dry Hop, Piece, and Revolution come to mind. For an eye popping selection? Hopleaf is truly a beautiful thing as it contrasts wonderfully with Local Option, and you really shouldn't miss the suburbs with Flossmoor Station, nor Two Brothers with the roundhouse, nor their production facility. I know I am missing gobs of Chicago and Chicago area breweries like Temperance, and Lake Effect and South Loop and a bunch of others. But getting on down to the Indiana area you got One Trick Pony, the 18th street brewery and taproom in Miller Beach, and 3 floyds in hammond.
    Heading up 94 you got Greenbush off of exit 13 in Sawyer. Saugatuk (sp), New Holland. and more than a few in between there, and as long as you have a week and some sobriety in you. Honestly, a quick stop at a rest area and you'll get a beer tourism magazine that lists all of them. So then, get your hind quarters on up to Traverse City cos it is something of a beervana, and a bit of a tourist trap as well and somewhere along the way there'll be Oddside.
    I've lost count of how many breweries, and excellent beerjoints there are along the journey from Chicago on up to Grand Rapids, but you'll have less than no problem getting a dui if you are diligent in your intent to visit as many as possible. Most of them are pretty damn good too. If you have the strength and the willing partner. Make it up to Shorts in Bell Air as well. You will be sorry, but very happily so.
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  4. Ferocious

    Ferocious Aspirant (251) Nov 17, 2012 Illinois

    If you're intent on going to Founders, you could probably plan your trip around the KBS release (late March last year.) Being in Chicago for FoBAB or Zwanze Day are pretty decent ideas as well.
  5. HighWine

    HighWine Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2010 Illinois

    Great Taste of the Midwest is an awesome festival in Madison, WI. About 1,500 beers. Same thing, tickets can be hard to come by, but well worth it.
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  6. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,893) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    I've already done the 'great circle route' around Lake Michigan, and really enjoyed it. It's a lot of miles and you'll have to keep moving, but you could time your trip to visit the Michigan Beer Guild's U.P. Fall Festival in September in Marquette if you want a festival to be a part of your trip.

    Depending on how you plan your driving route the scenery along the way can be fantastic. Drive up thru Wisconsin into Michigan's UP (include a visit to the Keewanaw peninsula where there are 4 breweries plus Fitzgerald's Restaurant/Eagle Harbor Inn right on the shore of Lake Superior); then the U.P. festival in Marquette (plus 4 more breweries in town); then drive across 'the bridge' and thru 'the tunnel of trees' to Bellaire (Short's Brewing in a must-stop); then to Traverse City (6 breweries); down the west coast to Grand Rapids and Founders (with breweries along the way); then Bell's in Kalamazoo (plus 4 other breweries); then with additional Michigan breweries along the way, you can head thru northern Indiana to Munster (3 Floyds) ; then back to the airport. It just doesn't get any better.

    Use this link to help plan for your Michigan brewery locations:
    patol8, Ferocious and MarcatGSB like this.
  7. MarcatGSB

    MarcatGSB Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2011 Michigan

    Couldn't have said it better myself!
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  8. pierdol

    pierdol Initiate (0) Sep 20, 2013 Illinois

    Chicago Craft Beer Week during mid to end of May is a great time. Lots of breweries and bars have special events. Some of the events during that time frame require tickets that sell out quickly but a lot of non ticketed worthwhile events as well.

    Good time of the year to be in Chicago as the weather is typically good.
  9. ubenumber2

    ubenumber2 Initiate (0) Sep 1, 2012 Arkansas

    Thanks for the ideas guys , much appreciated
  10. schepelz

    schepelz Initiate (0) Apr 4, 2013 Michigan

    If you're driving up to Founders from Chicago, I'd recommend stopping at FFF, Greenbush and Bells on you're way up to Grand Rapids (time permitting of course). (Looks like MostlyNorweign got most of these haha)

    If you end up staying in Grand Rapids for a day/night...make sure to hit up Perrin, Brewery Vivant, Grand Rapids Brewing Co., and HopCat.

    Although, with a week, I'm sure you could find PLENTY to do in just Chicago and the surrounding area.
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