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AleFest Chicago

Submitted by on July 7, 2009 – 8:04 AMNo Comment
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Joe Waizmann is a very lucky man. For the past 30-plus years, his life has revolved around beer on a daily basis. The native of Dayton, Ohio is a distributor consultant and works with restaurants to make sure their beer lists offer the finest varieties available. For fun, Waizmann is a judge at the Great American Beer Festival. As if that’s not enough, he was also a home brewer for 15 years.

alefest3So Joe Waizmann is in the enviable position of earning a living off of something that is also a hobby of his. But luckily for the rest of us mortals, Waizmann is generous and has turned his passion into something for the beer-loving masses to enjoy – AleFest Chicago. Waizmann’s third annual AleFest Chicago takes place July 11 at Soldier Field Stadium Green in the Windy City from 2 – 6 PM.

The $40 admission price is like a ticket to heaven for craft brew enthusiasts. Admission gets those 21-and-over 20 tickets for sampling some of the best craft beers around, a commemorative tasting glass and a tasting guide to AleFest Chicago.

Over 50 world-class breweries, featuring between 175 and 200 different beers, will get a chance to strut their stuff at AleFest Chicago, all with an emphasis on craft beer. “That’s what this is all about [craft beer. You won’t see any beer here that’s advertised on the Super Bowl halftime,” Waizman said. “I have a lot of respect for those breweries, but they already have their day in the sun. This is a chance to let the craft brewers have their day.”

alefest1In addition to the Chicago blowout, Waizmann also holds other AleFest events, including the one that started it all 11 years ago, AleFest Dayton. “My home city of Dayton didn’t have a beer festival,” Waizmann said. “I announced to my wife that I wanted to put on a beer festival here in Dayton. And it’s been a long, up-hill road to get it off the ground, but now it’s a good thing.”

That “good thing” drew a crowd of about 175 people in year one. However, last year over 4,000 beer lovers attended AleFest Dayton. “It’s amazing the amount of work that goes into this – and then the work that follows up,” Waizmann said. “I rely heavily on volunteers and local home brew clubs, like the CBS (Chicago Beer Society). And we’re heavily involved with Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. They’re very supportive of this, as are the local distributors. The principal there is Lewis Glunz Beers. I couldn’t do this without them.”