Years ago, drinking locally wasn't about sipping the beer made in your city -- it meant drinking the beer from your neighborhood. Prohibition and the rise of conglomerates put an end to that habit.
But the craft-beer boom has turned drinkers toward local beer once more, and increasingly, that means drinking in the neighborhood.
On Jan. 28, that will be on display in the North Side neighborhood of Lincoln Square, where the local chamber of commerce will host the first annual Lincoln Square Winter Brew, a neighborhood beer festival (of sorts) from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Dank Haus.
Granted, there aren't enough breweries in Chicago for any part of town to quite pull off a true neighborhood beer fest, but Winter Brew will do its best. Five breweries will be pouring, including Half Acre and Metropolitan (both essentially from the hood) as well as 5 Rabbit, Finch's and Revolution. Food will be provided by neighborhood restaurants Fountainhead and The Grafton.
Also, awards will be handed out for the chamber's first home-brew competition, submissions for which are being accepted until Jan. 15 (information here). The Lincoln Square chamber is so serious about local beer that it recently started Square Kegs, a craft-beer committee that doubles as a home-brew club.
"When we talk local, we mean Lincoln Square," said Rich Forsythe, chair of the committee. "I believe in the 100-mile diet concept thing."
As for the beer festival, entry is $10, with extra cost for tickets that can be exchanged for beer and food. Though a complete list of the beers being poured is not yet available, there are least a couple of impressive options on the menu, including Cleetus' Slack Jawed Dunkel (a collaboration between Finch's and chef Cleetus Friedman of City Provisions) and Revolution's 2010 Vintage Barrel-Aged Black Power Stout.
More information and tickets are available here.
Forsythe said the chamber is hoping to throw a similar festival this summer, though it will be larger, longer and outdoors. Who knows? There could even be a couple new Lincoln Square breweries by then.