Employees and owners from nearly a dozen local breweries show off their musical talents at this weekend’s “Brewers Rock Festival.”
More than a few bands have started their craft in a garage.
More than a few brewers, too.
And it’s easy to find a guitar-playing brewer at your favorite local brewery.
So it only makes sense that the two worlds come together, highlighted at this weekend’s Brewers Rock Festival at The Wire in Berwyn, across Roosevelt Road from Kinslahger Brewing.
Kinslahger owner Keith Huizinga came up with the idea after realizing there are “so many creative people in the beer industry, there had to be some that were also musicians.”
“Why not create an event where brewery people can get out from behind the jockey box and share more of themselves with beer lovers,” he said.
Huizinga casts a wide net throughout the industry, hoping to bring in established bands whose members happen to work for local breweries, as well as bands cobbled together with brewery employees who just love to jam. The result is a wide range of styles, from the pop punk sounds of Acceptor (Hop Butcher) to thrash metal from Crusadist (18th Street) and even bands whose names are inspired by the industry, like Trench Drain (Flapjack) and High Krausen (Miskatonic).
“One of my favorite aspects is the diversity of music performed,” Huizinga said. “Everything from freakout jazz, blues, rock, metal, funk – something for everyone.”
More than just a fun night, it’s also a benefit for the Alliance For The Great Lakes, a non-profit organization that provides advocacy, education and research efforts to protect the fresh water that serves as the foundation of all those local craft beers.
Participating breweries donate beer and Huizinga staffs the pouring stations with volunteers “so the brewery people are only obligated to perform and then they get to mingle with the crowd and enjoy the music and fruits of their collective labors.”
For the last two years, his efforts have consistently filled the 300-person venue, which he described as “a beautiful space with great acoustics and they provide a lot of support in making it all come together.”
Doors open at 3:00 p.m. Saturday and the first band begins at 3:30, with 30-minute sets going until 11pm. The $45 ticket includes a souvenir glass and 20 drink tickets to sample the goods from 10 participating breweries. Even those who just want to come check out the bands and skip the beer have a $15 ticket option. Food will also be available on-site.