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Beer, glorious beer!  Since our beginnings as the Town of Chicago in 1833, we’ve had a thing for that thing called beer.  It’s almost as if it’s in the water....hey, wait a minute.  But it’s true, Chicago and beer are soul mates and it’s no surprise that Chicago Craft Beer Week actually spans over two weeks.  Beginning tonight, you can participate in eleven days of unique beer-centric events happening throughout the city and suburbs.  I wish I could go to all, but here’s a suggestion for lesser known, not-to-be missed happenings near you.

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MAY 15: BEER IN YOUR GLASSEmporium Arcade Bar

Abe Lincoln will be smiling from ear to ear when you head over to Emporium Arcade for a night featuring nothing but Illinois made brews.  The event will also be the official release for Goth Syrup, a beer made by Solemn Oath Brewery exclusively for Emporium Arcade and Bangers & Lace.  Video games and local suds? Yes, please!  (Emporium Arcade, 1366 N. Milwaukee.)

MAY 19: CREATIVE MINDS ON TAP

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One of the reasons I love history as much as I do is because it’s all about story telling.  Past and present, everyone has a story.  And beer and their makers will always have a great story to tell.  If you are a lover of conversation, craft beer, creative thinking, and design, here’s one for you.  With an impressive line-up of folks, this panel discussion will focus on how breweries work to connect - and grow - their brand with consumers.  They'll take a look at how story telling and artwork help build a relationship between the brewery and the beer drinker. Moderated by my pal, Kim Leshinski of Hail to the Ale.  Yes, there will be beer.  (Jerry’s Wicker Park, 1938 W. Division.)

MAY 20 & 21: PINTS & THE PAST

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Ever want to visit a handful of bars, meet brewery owners and brewers, taste great beer and learn history all in one night?  Sounds too good to be true, but it’s happening not one night, but two.  May 20th will feature an array of nationwide breweries and bars in the South Loop.  Regional craft breweries and Lincoln Square saloons are the focus on May 21st.  And in between stops you’ll be riveted by boozy stories of the past, courtesy of yours truly.

MAY 22: BEGGIN FOR BREWS

Like those people on Facebook that constantly post pictures of their kids, I’m guilty of repeatedly posting adorable snapshots of my beer or enchanting images of my dogs.  I mean what’s cuter than beer and dogs? Nothing.  Lagunitas Brewing and Metropolitan Brewing will be hosting a beer party where you can bring your best canine pal.  A professional dog wash, paw-picures, and a play area will cater to the pups on hand.  Live music, food truck, and delectable brew from both breweries will cater to you. (Lagunitas Brewery, 1843 S. Washtenaw.)

ALL WEEK: BATTLE FOR LAKE MICHIGAN

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If you’re a proud and competitive Midwesterner from Illinois, Wisconsin or Michigan head to Links Taproom and drink your state to victory.  The bar will feature eleven beers/taps from each state and each will be linked to a digital menu board so that you can watch your state’s beer consumption progress live.  The state that goes through all eleven brews first wins. The winner will be declared at the conclusion of Chicago Craft Beer Week and $500 donation in the winning state’s name will be made to Natural Resources Defense Council on behalf of Brewers For Clean Water.  On your mark, get set, drink!  (Links Taproom, 1559 N. Milwaukee)

For more information about Chicago Craft Beer Week visit www.chibeerweek.com