Beware the Ides of Cider!

I’ve talked about CHAOS Brew Club on this site a few times but an event occurred this weekend that warrants another mention.  On Saturday, October 15, 2011, CHAOS hosted a fundraising event at the soon-to-be community brew space at 1329 W. Grand Ave in Chicago. Titled the “Ides of Cider,” CHAOS members brewed fall-themed beers and/or ciders to serve at the event, in addition to working the event itself by serving, decorating, and preparing food.  CHAOS prides itself on being a community of brewers, and this event definitely exhibited this philosophy; it was truly an awesome experience to have been involved in the process of planning this event and seeing it come to fruition, especially since none of us have prior fundraising experience.

Saturday was a beautiful, crisp fall day in Chicago; a perfect day for an outdoor festival.  The hubby and I arrived at noon to help set up and get last-minute supplies. My job for the event was to serve beer, so, wanting to be able to describe the brews to my future customers, I decided to get right down to “researching” the products upon arrival.  I had been hearing about these brews for months so I was excited to taste the final products. I had a blast pouring beer for the first time and having the opportunity to talk with consumers. I was only supposed to work one shift (3pm-5:30pm) but I was having so much fun I ended up working the whole time.

The CHAOS tapsDaniel picking hops off of the CHAOS vine

All the guests seemed to have a fantastic time and they loved the beverages on offer. David Williams, co-founder of CHAOS, had a few ciders on tap including Lost Orchard, a traditional apple cider with a slight sweetness, and a blueberry cider that came on tap later in the evening. While both were popular, the blueberry cider had a bit of a cult following and the keg kicked within an hour.  It was cool to see the pride on all of the brewers faces when an attendee gushed about a certain beer.  I know my hubby and I were ecstatic when an individual came up to order a third sample of our Bitter Government Employee ESB.  I almost wished there was a tip bell to ring every time someone ordered our beer.
Some of the other popular libations were I’m Da De-Cider, a crisp and clear apple cider; Homi-cider, a deliciously tart cider the color of blood thanks to a generous helping of hibiscus; Pom-Pom, a pomegranate cider; The Great Pumpkin Ale, a full-bodied spicy pumpkin ale; Haunted Archer Ave Ale, a pumpkin/sweet potato porter; Das Boot Maibock, a malty lager; and Gypsy Summer, a spiced honey ale. So many delicious offerings!  And what a great, diverse crowd of people!  There were attendees of all ages enjoying brew, food, and great music.  And what a patient bunch! We had limited space to serve cider, but no one seemed to mind standing in line.

Chuck Mac manning the grill

Niilo giving Ides attendees a tour of our new community brewspace

And what is a party without music? We were extremely fortunate to have Flatland Ramble, a Chicago-based bluegrass band, provide the soundtrack for the evening.  Fortified with cider and homebrew, guests began to dance and clap in time with the music.  On one of my (very) few breaks, I got to enjoy a slice of apple pie, a glass of cider and a concert on a beautiful fall evening.  Does life get any better? I don’t think so!

Flatland Ramble

Brew Camp's Jared discussing the apple-pressing process with Laura

2 Responses to “Beware the Ides of Cider!”

  1. Rosie

    Enjoyed reading your blog. Great to have finally worked out how to follow a few bluegrassy blogs on here! Had a listen to a few Flatland Ramble tracks on youtube just now; looks like fun.

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