This year, musical acts included TV on the Radio, Lily Mae (former violinist from Jack White), Mick Jenkins (Chicago-based, Alabama-origin, rising hip-hop artist), Drive-By Truckers, and the well-known, The Hold Steady. If music wasn't enough of a pull, there's no doubt that the beer selection would sure lure you in. We saw a variety of 40 total beers, from the notable 312, Dry-hopped, IPA, to the very rares of Bourbon County Stouts of rares, ports, coffees, and blends.
Arriving Friday, the work crowd was ready and thirsty for $3 beers at the festival. By approximately 8 PM, the festival was at capacity due to fire ordinance, and no others were let in. Thank goodness I made my way in before 6 PM. This year would prove to be different for me than any other, as it was an absolute must to try the BCS taps, where I viewed them in a different light in previous years. What I mean, is blowing off the two to three-minute wait in line for easier access to other beers.
The first beer of the weekend was the almighty, "Hombre Secreto," a mango Saison made in tequila barrels. And boy did that set the pace for the weekend. What an incredibly delicious beer. BCS 2017 Prop, Brassiere Noir, 312 Dry Hopped, Solei, 2015 Rare and others would be some original selections for the evening, in addition to a jam-slam delivery by Mick Jenkins. Talk about a presence on stage, with a DJ and a fantastic drummer. Mick gets my top vote for show of the weekend, next to The Hold Steady (Saturday evening). Both artists delivered a resonating performance that captivated the audience, from the far confines of the western edge of the festival to the very front of the stage.
Saturday would prove to be another beautiful day, as the gates opened at 4 PM for the early arrivers, those who likely couldn't get in on Friday plus many more. Wearing shorts and a windbreaker, I decided to venture to the jean shorts, also coined as "jorts" station and give a $5 donation to buy a pair – because, why not? And after about five beers, I'd go back to the station and do a wardrobe change, rocking the pair with nothing but pride. Low and behold, I wasn't the only one wearing them Saturday night. Many were already sporting them as early as 5 PM, some with dress shoes and dress socks; others with lots of thigh exposure – it's all up to your preference.
And there you have it, beer, music, Chicago's West Side/Fulton Market, and beautiful weather. As the festival season starts to dwindle on us, make sure to check out other options coming to the area at the end of September and into October.