Fest Yeti Recap

What’s there to say about Chicago Ale Fest Winter Edition? Being the Fest Yeti is a pretty sweet deal. Show up to the party as VIP. Everyone wants to hang out with you but…Now you see me? Now you don’t. And once you see me, there’s sure to be a bunch of cameras and people chasing me around looking to get a picture taken with my furry white mug. It’s a handsome mug, though. Let’s all agree on that.


The organizers who put this shindig into motion chose a dope establishment to have the party — the Lacuna Lofts in the Pilsen neighborhood. When I first arrived on the scene, I immediately thought “Huh, a couple of breweries in a room. GREAT job, guys.” Then I found the second, third and fourth room FILLED with dudes in plaid shirts, burly beards and rosy cheeks pouring suds like it was a dang Brawny paper towel commercial.


There was no shortage of beer, as a total of 50 breweries were on hand to quench the thirst of the people, such as Aleman Brewing, Banging Gavel, Half Acre, Noon Whistle Brewing and Maplewood to name a few.

I didn’t know where to start! But you have to start somewhere, so I headed to Middle Brow Brewing to try their Motueka Brut IPA. I almost got another right away, but got pulled into a few photo sessions with my adoring fans. I couldn’t be happier to take the request. Everyone else looked to be enjoying themselves as well. The more that went down the hatch, the more they clamored and hunted for moi — the Fest Yeti. I won’t kid you, I love the attention.

I kept my cool though. I got a pretzel necklace from Crazy Ken’s Pretzels and decided I wanted to wear it as a belt instead. I’m always breaking the laws of fashion…and beer festivals. Unfortunately, it didn’t fit too well as my winter coat was in full effect, making me a bit…ahem…fluffier than I’m used to. I had to take it off and gave it away to a starving fest-goer despite being a little bit covered in fur. Time to hide for a bit to shake off that debacle. But Fest Yeti would return to the delight of Fest Yeti fanatics throughout the Lacuna Lofts.


Thanks to Greenridge Farm, once I returned the place had transformed into a total sausage party! Everyone had little cups of sausage, chomping and generally enjoying a bite to eat…or two or three. I definitely went back for fourths! But I burn a lot of calories posing, styling and profiling. A Fest Yeti has to keep their energy up somehow. I washed it down with a delicious Smy Rye IPA from the Smylie Brothers Brewing Company out of Evanston. It was so good, I had to wash it down with a cider from Right Bee. Nothing like a little cider made with honey to get Fest Yeti in the mood to continue partying.


Folks were playing Lagunitas’ “Get the ping pong ball in the beer” can bar game...I wasn’t able to successfully play because the fur between my fingers kept getting in the way and I needed both of my hands to hold beer and snacks. Maybe next time they’ll come up with a game called “Drink the beer” People always seem to like that one!


People also liked Chicago newcomers Twisted Hippo Brewing. I like anyone who likes to get weird and well, that’s their catch phrase! Things did get a little weird when one of their fruited beers stained the fur around my mouth pink, but I just passed it off as a new trend for Yeti’s.

All in all, it was another successful Chicago Ale Fest for the books. It makes me a little sad to see the winter edition come and go as fast as it did. Winter is always my favorite time of the year, because I sweat less with all of this fur, but there’s always next year! And in the meantime, we’ll be preparing for Chicago Ale Fest summer edition. It will be your opportunity to see yours truly in a pair of short shorts. Until then...ciao.


Josh Seago