You won't have to wait for summer to enjoy a cold one if you head over to the inaugural Naperville Winter Ale Fest from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Frontier Park.
"The Naperville Winter Ale Fest will be the first full-scale outdoor winter beer festival in Illinois," said Josh Seago of Lou Dog Events, the fest organizer. "We had such a great time at the Naperville Ale Fest in July, we couldn't wait a full year for another Naperville Ale Fest."
The winter fest will feature more than 120 beers from 60 craft breweries around the country, some from as far away as Colorado, California, New York and Delaware. The fest also boasts 23 brewers from the Land of Lincoln.
"Beer styles change with the season, so the beer being offered at the fest is going to be very different then what you will find at a beer festival in June or July," Seago said. "The Naperville Winter Ale Fest will feature a large selection of stouts, porters and barley wines."
Some of the slated breweries include Angry Orchard Hard Cider, B. Nektar Meadery, Forbidden Root, Lake Effect Brewing Co., Slapshot Brewing Co. and Transient Artisan Ales.
"If the heated tents and bonfires don't warm you up, the beer definitely will," Seago said.
Adding to the atmosphere will be live music from the Chicago-based New Orleans-style Four Star Brass Band and a live ice sculpture demonstration. For when the munchies hit, there will be six food trucks, including Bridgeport Pasty, the Calle Wagon, Chicago Pizza Boss, Cupcakes for Courage, OMango and Toasty Cheese.
"A craft beer festival is as much about the experience as it is the beer," Seago said. "Don't get us wrong, a great craft beer festival must have great beer. But the opportunity to interact with fellow enthusiasts, meet the brewers and sample beer in a unique setting is what makes it an experience."
While showcasing American craft beer is the festival's focus, there's a good cause on tap as well.
"A portion of the proceeds from the Naperville Winter Ale Fest will benefit the Naperville Parks Foundation," Seago said.
Only those 21 and over with a valid ID will be admitted to the festival. General admission tickets are $45 and include 15 drink tickets, a commemorative festival glass and program guide. Each drink ticket can be exchanged for a 3-ounce beer sample. Additional samples are available for 50 cents per ticket, limited to 10 tickets for a total of 30 ounces.
Designated-driver tickets are $15 and include complimentary soda and water as well as a commemorative festival glass and program guide. Designated drivers are not allowed to sample beer.
For more information or to purchase tickets, go to napervillewinteralefest.com/tickets or call 888-695-0888. A limited number of tickets will be available at the gate.