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Event Recap | Tribes Fest IV

Tribes Fest IV

The fourth annual Tribes Alehouse & Beer Company Fest (Tribes Fest IV) was for beer aficionados, as demonstrated by the abundance of guests adorned in craft-brewing shwag and who routinely engaged in beer-centric conversations. Don’t think of Tribes Fest IV as pretentious or snobby — that’s not even close. Instead, imagine enthusiastic, passionate, and nerdy beer lovers enjoying their hobby in the same manner car lovers enjoy car shows and roller coaster enthusiasts enjoy amusement parks. Tribes Fest IV offered tremendous fun, but also a place to revel in superbly crafted beer.

The breweries arrived to Tribes Fest IV from many parts of the nation, yet each brewery provided a well-informed beer pourer.

For instance, the first pour for me, from Coronado Brewing, was accompanied by a lengthy description of the beer and the brewing process. I didn’t have to ask because the explanation started the second I ordered the beer.

Lengthy conversations between brewers and drinkers never once threatened to hold up the line — what line?

A more personal beer experience would be tough to find.  It’s simple math, really. Roughly 150 people divided by 25 brewers equals six people for every brewer. Given that several beer lovers were drinking beer, wandering around or looking at their menus (or attending to nature), standing in line rarely occurred. Granted, I attended the morning session, but the afternoon session only allowed for a few a few more ticket sales resulting in something close to ten people per brewer, if that.  All in all, you probably enjoy less elbow room at a family dinner table during Thanksgiving than at the annual Tribes Fest.

Tribes Fest IV
Photo Credit: Mathew Powers


Each brewer arrived with a special, or pub-only, beer.

Many of the beers enjoyed at Tribes were not even sold locally in Chicago. That’s okay. Tribes Fest was not about pushing sales (not directly, at least), it was about showcasing breweries and having fun. You might even say brewers were showing off a bit, much to the delight of everyone’s palate.

I never once tasted a bad beer.

Heck, I never even had a beer that was average. In fact, the collection of brewing all-stars serving impeccable beers prevents any possibility of declaring any favorites. So, instead, here are a five observations from Tribes Fest IV.

  • American crafted sours are no longer new or experimental. Brewers have found their groove within this brewing genre. From fruity to dry-hopped, each one was astoundingly tasty.
  • Brewers have mastered the art of making porters light and refreshing while simultaneously robust in flavor. Skill or witchcraft? You decide.
  • German and Central European brewing styles are not a fad or something to sell during the summer. Brewers are proud of them, and they love to talk about it (for a long time).
  • Brewers love visiting other breweries. Quick, someone tell them they are competitors.
  • Michigan’s Short’s Brewing Company has the best display I’ve ever seen at a fest. (See pic).
Tribes Fest IV - Shorts Brewing Tent
Short’s Brewing – Photo Credit: Mathew Powers

Tribes Ale Fest easily gets an A+.

As a beer writer that routinely attends fests and special brewing events, I have never personally been more gratified to attend an event than this one. It’s worth every penny, and then some. Kudos to Tribes Alehouse and Grill for hosting, (and providing their own great beer!), the dedicated brewers who attended and the beer-loving patrons who know how to balance geekiness with lighthearted, summer-beer-drinking fun.

If you don’t believe me, check out this picture of the crew from Chicago’s Metropolitan Brewing… they seemed to be enjoying themselves. Cheers!

Tribes Fest IV - Metropolitan Brewing
Metropolitan Brewing (Chicago) – Photo Credit: Mathew Powers


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