Chicago rose to prominence as a shipping hub during the 19th Century, but we now know the “Windy City” as a can’t miss destination complete with cutting edge-cuisine, a burgeoning craft brewing scene, and attractions for all interests. From gourmet pizzas at Spacca Napoli to Ice Fish (Japanese delicacy) at Alinea, the third largest city in America features a spectrum of culinary options. Those in search of unique beers will be enamored with locations such as Emmett's Brewing Company and Two Brothers Artisan Brewing.
The Mother Truckin’ Beer Fest is entering its first year of showcasing some of the best craft beers in America, and it will take place December 9th at the Sears Centre Arena. This year’s event will feature more than 100 beers from more than 35 breweries from across America including Lagunitas, Revolution Brewing, Half Acre, and more. Purchase of a general admission ($45) ticket includes a sampling glass, four hours of sampling, and access to food trucks. Buying a VIP ticket includes everything in General Admission, plus, extended sampling hours and a t-shirt. Attendees will love filling their cups at Beeringham Fountain, which is a water fountain with hundreds of gallons of golden beer flowing through it. The Point Break Designated Drivers Beer Lounge ($15 ticket) includes free non-alcoholic beverages and a continuous screening of the 1991 movie Point Break. From chocolate treats to savory BBQ, patrons will find a variety of dining options served up by more than ten local food trucks. We interviewed Michael Marchese, a representative of the event, to learn more about this impressive beer experience.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
MM: The Sears Centre ran a similar event in 2014 & 2015, but this my initial year working with the event, and the first time it has been called Mother Truckin’ Fest. So really this is the first event for the newly formed group.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
MM: The past events had about 1,600 participants each, but this time we are at 2,400 tickets sold and still a week away. The event is on pace to hit its maximum capacity of 3,000 participants. VIP tickets have been sold out for several weeks.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
MM: This event is 21 and over. Because of the addition of food trucks, we are seeing more couples buying tickets. The split between male and female is 50/50, and the age range seems to be 30-50.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
MM: The fact that it is indoors in December is like nothing else of its kind. Even the food trucks will be indoors so weather will not be an issue. We have a room specifically for designated drivers that will be showing the Patrick Swayze version of Point Break (our Point Break Lounge) all afternoon, and it will include free water and snacks for those drivers. In addition to many interactive sponsor stations throughout the event, we are also fortunate enough to have the Daily Herald putting on a cooking demonstration in the Club Section of the arena at no extra cost to attendees.
RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event.
MM: We have 35 beer stations, ten food trucks, a video DJ (hard to explain but very cool), interactive sponsor tables, and cooking demonstrations. We have also partnered with The Daily Herald to put on Free Beer Cooking Demonstrations which showcase how to prepare meals with one common ingredient: beer.
RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?
MM: There will be ten great food trucks from the Chicagoland area.
RAL: Tell us about the overall atmosphere?
MM: The environment is energetic, informative, and fun. The video DJ will be dictating the mood with his unique visual displays.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
MM: It gives the local breweries and food trucks a way to get their products in front of a crowd at no cost to them.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
MM: Our primary goal is to give people an experience that they’ll want to come back and enjoy the following year. Most people expect a beer fest to only be about the beer, but I guarantee our event has a variety of stimulating experiences. I want it to be like a Cirque Du Soleil where it’s not just one act you are watching but instead surrounded by eye-catching activity.
For more information about the Mother Truckin’ Beer Fest, please visit the event website.