About 4,800 people strolled the grounds of Naper Settlement during the second Naperville Ale Fest on July 19.
Patrons from as far away as California and Georgia enjoyed craft beers from 100 brewers, and munched on gourmet grilled cheese, curry and pizza and burgers. The event offered some 200 different craft beers and about 20 hard ciders from throughout the Midwest and across the country.
Music from Dirty Ernie also was on tap.
“I think we’ve managed to maintain the small-town, community festival appeal despite growing this year,” said organizer Josh Seago of Lou Dog Events in a press release. “We’ve offered plenty of local and Chicagoland brewers, including our own Solemn Oath and Two Brothers, as well as food vendors, including O’Mango, Cross-town Pub and Tom & Eddie’s.”
A portion of the proceeds also go to the Naperville Heritage Society, he said.
New Settlement President and CEO Rena Tamayo-Calabrese strolled the grounds and visited the VIP area with Seago at the start of the event.
“We feel that our partnership with local businesses and organizations is part of being an important asset of the community,” she said. “To offer our venue for events that are well-planned and respectfully presented gives Naper Settlement an opportunity to truly be a living museum, a place where the community can enjoy and embrace the history, culture and impact of our past while making history for the future.”
Attendance was up 20 percent over last year, yet the crowds were well-behaved and no incidents other than one case of dehydration were reported.
Jeff Cagle, taproom manager for Penrose Brewing in Geneva, attended the Naperville fest last year and worked in the Penrose sampling tent this year.
“I pour at a lot of festivals,” he says. “Naperville offered a great mix of people just getting into craft brews and diehard fans who are looking for a connection with the brewers. People were genuinely interested in talking with us and putting a face to the brewery.”
Cagle says he invited many people up to Geneva for a brewery tour.
“We are really pleased that the event turned out so well,” said Seago, who manages events throughout the Chicago area. “We see people planning to come to town to visit friends and family, and planning their trip to coincide with our event. That’s a great compliment; it makes me feel we’ve arrived.”Tags: Ale Fest, festivals