[shareprints gallery_id=”35039″ gallery_type=”filmstrip” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_100″ image_size=”xlarge” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]Some 4800 craft beer enthusiasts strolled the grounds of Naper Settlement at the second annual Naperville Ale Fest on Saturday, July 19, enjoying craft beers from 100 brewers, munching on gourmet grilled cheese, curry and pizza and burgers, discovering a variety of hard ciders and enjoying the music of Dirty Ernie. They came from all over Chicagoland, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri and as far away as California and Georgia.
“I think we’ve managed to maintain the small-town, community festival appeal despite growing this year,” said organizer Josh Seago or Lou Dog Events. “We’ve offered plenty of local and Chicagoland brewers, including our own Solemn Oath and Two Brothers, as well as food vendors including O’Mango, Cross-town Pub and Tom & Eddie’s. The beautiful backdrop of the Naper Settlement is intimate and relaxed and pays homage to our heritage. And we’re proud to contribute a portion of the proceeds to the Naperville Heritage Society.” The event offered some 200 different craft beers and about 20 hard ciders from throughout the Midwest and across the country.
New Settlement President and CEO Rena Tamayo-Calabrese strolled the grounds and visited the VIP area with Seago at the start of the event. “We feel that our partnership with local businesses and organizations is part of being an important asset of the community. To offer our venue for events that are well-planned and respectfully presented gives Naper Settlement an opportunity to truly be a living museum, a place where the community can enjoy and embrace the history, culture and impact of our past while making history for the future, ” said Tamayo-Calabrese. “With the Naperville Ale Fest, Lou Dog Events responsibly shared our facility while supporting our mission. We are very happy to offer our home to the community in this way.”
Attendance was up 20 percent over last year, yet the crowds were well-behaved and no incidents other than one case of dehydration were reported. “I really hand it to our police and fire officials,” said Seago. “Their approach has been one of advice and collaboration, helping us plan for a safe and enjoyable event. When officers are greeting the guests at the entrances and helping check id’s and wristbands to get folks in, you know you’ve got a good team.”
Jeff Cagle, Taproom Manager for Penrose Brewing in Geneva attended the Naperville fest last year and worked in the Penrose sampling tent this year. He found the crowd to be very receptive, enjoying tasting a variety of brews. “I pour at a lot of festivals,” he said. “Naperville offered a great mix of people just getting into craft brews and diehard fans who are looking for a connection with the brewers. People were genuinely interested in talking with us and putting a face to the brewery.” Cagle said he invited many people up to Geneva for a brewery tour.
“We are really pleased that the event turned out so well,” said Seago, who manages events throughout the Chicagoland area, including a few during the winter months. “We see people planning to come to town to visit friends and family, and planning their trip to coincide with our event. That’s a great compliment; it makes me feel we’ve arrived.”
For more info, visit napervillealefest.com.