Emil’s Brrrew Fest offers craft beers on tap
There was a golden opportunity brewing for the return of a wintertime craft beer festival in the Village of Frankfort. So said Dean Vaundry, a partner of CD & ME and Frankfort Spirits.
“We get a lot of feedback on it,” Vaundry said. “They like that it’s run really well. We try to give people a really great experience.”
In its third year, Emil’s Brrrew Fest featured more than 45 different beers and spirits from more than 20 breweries.
CD & ME and Frankfort Spirits take pride in engaging with craft beer scene locally and regionally.
“They’re from all over, but we try to really hit the local breweries,” Vaundry said. “We want them to be part of it.”
Between bits of food and conversation, festivalgoers enjoyed live music throughout the event.
“It’s just an event where people can come out and enjoy themselves,” Vaundry said. “In the winter people get tired of doing stuff [indoors.]”
Typically, Emil’s Brrrew Fest brings in about 300 attendees.
“We just feel like we [are a solid host of] an indoor-outdoor event,” Vaundry said. “We got all these fire pits that really makes it conducive to having an indoor-outdoor event.”
Nicole Morgan, of New Lenox, had never previously attended Brrrew Fest, but she was excited to come out this time around.
“Our friends let us know that they were coming, so we decided to try it out,” she said.
Morgan said out of the beers she tried to that point, her favorite was Goose Island’s Bourbon County South.
“It’s a dark beer, kind of sweet, maybe a little bit of chocolate,” she said.
Morgan said she tends to be a fan of dark beers, but enjoys having the opportunity to try others.
“It’s just a big variety of beers, a lot of stuff to try, [the] location is great,” she said. “You couldn’t ask for better weather for January. I just love this venue.”
Breweries commonly will hold craft beer festivals and events of this type, but according to Vaundry, this separates the distillery from the pact.
“There are different breweries that are here that we do a collaboration with our whiskey and their beer, and we create other events,” he said. “Frankfort Spirits is a great partner for creating this type of an event.”
Elsewhere on the festival grounds, Peotone’s Jennie Werner stood mingling with her sister, Amie Gasaway, and her husband, Tom Gasaway, in front of a fire pit.
“We enjoyed ourselves so much last year, we wanted to come back,” she said. “They have different beers that you can sample.”
Amie was sampling a Why We Otta beer brewed by Electric Pony after having tried a few others and said this one was, by far, the best.
“It’s light,” the Manteno resident said. “It’s just [does] not [have] a strong after-taste.”
Amie said the event has a strong appeal to her.
“I like that [the festival is held] during the day on a Saturday in the middle of January when there’s not much to do,” she said. “It [has] a fun atmosphere, and we keep getting beautiful days for it.”
The hope, Vaundry said, is that event organizers will work to expand the event in the years to come.
“We can grow it to a thousand people because we have so much more space,” he said. “This is something that’s growing slowly. It’ll be where we’ll have something over a hundred beers. It’s going to eventually become one of the biggest winter brew fests in the area. There are a lot [of them] throughout the area, but there’s not a lot in the winter.”