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34 spring happenings in IL
35 IL insider chicagos best beer spots

Dynamo by Joe Marinaro

When I moved to the Wicker Park neighborhood nearly 12 years ago, I often wondered about the so-called “beer barons” that I was told had built the elegant houses lining the streets near my place. Was one of the homes occupied by the German immigrants who kicked off the tradition of local beer brewing in 1833? Did someone from the Peter Hand Brewery (the last of the great Chicago breweries to linger on into the ‘70s) walk down the same streets that I do? I may never know the answer, but I am excited to see the revival of local breweries in the city.

Many people know about Goose Island as they are the largest brewery and have been around the longest, but a new batch of brew pubs and breweries are cropping up all over Chicago. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Metropolitan is a production brewery in Ravenswood that focuses on brewing craft* lagers. Their beers are available in stores and bars in Cook and the surrounding counties. They even offer tours of the facility.
  • Revolution Brewing Company opened last month to great reviews in Logan Square. I checked out the brew pub with some friends and we couldn’t resist leaving without each picking up a growler* to take home.
  • Half Acre Beer Company’s popular Daisy Cutter pale ale can be found in many bars in the city.

Later this summer, Haymarket Pub and Brewery is scheduled to open in the former Bar Louie location at Randolph and Halsted.

Beer terms for beginners:

Craft: refers to any beer that is produced in small batches, usually under 15,000 barrels per year.
Growler: a glass bottle that brew pubs use to sell their beer to customers for take-out.

– Cybil Luett

Cybil wrote this post on behalf of the Illinois Office of Tourism

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1 spring fever at the glen

First week of Spring at the Glen

I took Monday off to go out to suburbia and have a Spring playdate with my Mom. Initially it started off as just an excursion to catch a matinee of “Hot Tub Time Machine” at Kerasotes Glen 10 theater (probably the best movie this 80’s kid has ever seen—but that’s for another blog), however being a Glenview native, I like to stop at The Glen development from time to time to check what’s new.

As a child, this piece of land was known as the Glenview Naval Air Base, a designation it received in World War Two. President Bush the Elder received pilot training here, and President Ford and astronaut Neil Armstrong served here. The only exposure I would have had to it was attending school with local “military brats.”

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2 Choo Choo Train Fest

Decatur Train Fair by Steve Bricker

Anyone who likes trains should stop by the Decatur Train Fair this weekend. The vendors have antique and modern model trains, railroad collectibles, toys, books – almost anything related to trains and railroads. The kids will love watching the operating model train displays, in addition to a live painting demo by Robert West, an artist from Atlanta, Georgia. Robert will be selling prints of his paintings of Wabash trains in Decatur and other railroad scenes. The Train Fair will be held at the Decatur Civic Center. Bring your appetite – excellent food is available at the event.

Hours and Admission:

Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Admission: $4, kids 12 and under free

Handicapped accessible
For more information call 217-454-2528

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3 the first ebertfest

Photo by richkidsunite

I was living in Champaign back in 1998, when Roger Ebert held his first film festival there.

Back then, it was called ‘Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival’, hosted by Roger, featuring films that he felt had gotten short-shrift over the years.

Because of the job I had at the time, I was able to make all of the screenings (I believe there were 10), and stayed for most of the panel discussions after (and while I wasn’t in the balcony, was able to get the same seat for each screening).

Some of the movies I remember included Maborosi, TRON, Dance Me To My Song, Shiloh and a strange one called Surviving Dorothy (I think that was the title).  Close, it’s called Surrender Dorothy (interesting, still really bizarre though).

Roger led the panel discussions after each film with the filmmakers, actors or both.  One thing that I found really amazing was that after the midnight screening of the Dorothy film, a mostly packed Virginia Theater stayed around to talk about movies; and if I remember correctly, stayed until 3 or 3:30 in the morning.

Some of the filmmakers and actors I remember being on hand included David Warner from TRON and Scott Wilson from Shiloh (and In Cold Blood).

The first festival was a great event, and I’m glad to see how much it has grown.  I’m also grateful to Roger for starting it up and having it in his hometown.

Produced in partnership with the University of Illinois, this year’s festival kicks off April 21st and runs through the 25th at the Virginia Theater in Champaign.

Scott Troehler
Twitter: @Scott217

Online program from the first festival here.

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