Event Recap | Two Brothers Brewing Summer Festival
Two Brother’s Brewing Summer Festival speaks volumes about the brewery’s identity. The journey for the Ebel brothers started with a brewery that barely turned profits twenty years ago to owning five locations and adding coffee and spirits to its portfolio. But, what defines Two Brothers is not its products as much as the brewery’s propensity to host events and welcome fans into its many homes. From Scottsdale to Oak Park, Oktoberfest to Summerfest, nail-pulling parties to special releases, Two Brothers invites you inside and says, “Welcome to our house, beer’s in the fridge.”
While soaking up the two-day Summerfest sunshine at RiverEdge Park in Aurora, Illinois, located along the banks of the Fox River, one could enjoy the fruits of an entire craft-beer-industry’s labor. I mean, who would have imagined, decades ago, that any brewery could throw a two-day music festival? One could literally taste craft-brewing success, pint by pint, while also enjoying the artful craft provided by numerous bands.
Along with its recently released Twenty Plus Pilsner and Pinball APA — one of the best American Pales around, Two Brothers provided patrons at the Summer Festival with an abundance of beers, including the the return of an old friend, PaHoeHoe Coconut Ale.
PaHoeHoe gives me a chance to vent a little. When did we, as craft beer geeks, become so adamant about “balance” and using the term, “subtle”? Not that there’s anything wrong with a nicely balanced beer – some breweries thrive on that, but there’s also a place for Dogfish 120 Minute, Southern Tier Creme Brulee, Stone…well, anything, and this Pahoehoe. Yes, the coconut is prominent, but that’s okay. It may not be for everyone, but it’s not badly made. It’s a beer for people that like coconut — and those that like coconut were buying it in droves.
The Special Projects Division
I will not lie. I almost spent two hours of the Summer Festival at the Special Projects Division’s tent, just tasting and ordering. My two favorites included the Foudre 44 with Brett and the Barrel 52, a Chardonnay Barrel Aged Sour American Ale that was superb. The only one I didn’t love, although it was still tasty, was the Barrel 60, Cab Barrel Aged for one year. The flavor, for me, fell a bit flat (Call it a B+ beer). However, that is nothing more than an uneducated quibble from a know-nothing beer writer. All told, the entire offering was outstanding. I could have lived in that tent.
The music lineup wasn’t just good, it seemed to fit the weather perfectly, ending with a rocking party that complimented both the arrival of the bright moon during a warm, summer night. And, let’s face it, the good feelings arising from having a few beers makes the party good, too. Some of the bands included, Blind Pilot, Savoir Adore, Knox Hamilton, The Way Down Wanderers, Saint Motel, and the X Ambassadors — not bad for craft brewery right?
The best thing about the Summer Festival setup involves the ability for fans less apt to jump and dance in front of the stage to park their lawn chairs on the grass, far removed from the throngs of high intensity partiers. With speakers throughout the back area and easily seen video boards, nothing was missed by sitting in the separated, back area.
The Grounds & Amenities
Although the trip to the far western suburbs can be a daunting one, that’s pretty much the norm in the Chicago metro area these days. Parking across the street from the festival grounds was easy to negotiate and only set people back five bucks. Bathroom facilities, both port-o-johns and permanent restrooms, were numerous and well maintained. The food, the soft drinks, the Two Brothers Coffee, the cocktails — all the items not called “beer,” enhanced the fest, too. Throw in games such as bags and pinball, a spacious park with plenty of elbow room — and a sidewalk parallel to Fox Lake, and it truly was a tough venue to criticize.
The slideshow above — 1000 words per picture — says it all.
So, yet again, Two Brothers invited guests to its home, and proved to be gracious hosts. The brewery provided great music and a multitude of beer, from wine-aged delights to APAs and a coconut concoction, which only made the night better.