You think you’re heard everything, and then, whoa – a beer circus!?? Well, it appears to be an annual tradition for Lagunitas Brewing Company at its Petaluma, CA home base. But now that founder and CEO Tony Magee, better known to Twitterati as @LagunitasT, has opened a Chicago brewhouse down in Douglas Park, Lagunitas has finally come home to the Windy City where it belongs. And what better week for a grand opening than Craft Beer Week. Hey, you north side Goose Island guys, look out for the near SW side!
So, even though the Tap Room & Beer Sanctuary (read: brewpub) won’t be ready until some time in June, the grand opening celebrations are beginning already. The beer circus is this weekend, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.. The $40 ticket price is because it’s a benefit for for Rock For Kids Chicago, which provides music education programs to poor public school children in underserved areas like Lawndale (which is right next door, though technically the park itself is in Lawndale). In addition to the ‘freaktacular’ circus performances will be lots of live music. All we need is cooperative weather. BTW, visitors are encouraged to come in costume (you always wanted to be the ringmaster or sword swallower, right?).
Ronnie Lottz is a gregarious guy. That’s probably one reason why he’s been a success at a number of (pre)occupations. He doesn’t let that cloud his business judgment, however: he insists on the best in whatever he’s involved in, be it custom auto art detailing, promotion, or tavernkeeping. His most recent preoccupation is running a craft beer and barbecue mecca in Berwyn, right on The Route.
Ronnie Lottz, proprietor of Cigars and Stripes BBQ Lounge. Copyright 2013 by M.R. Traska
Chicago craft-beer fans always hoped that one of their favorite beers with a Chicago heritage would finally come home from California. Well, it’s happening: Lagunitas Brewing Co., currently of Petaluma, CA, is coming to Chicago. As you read this, the company, founded in the Bay Area by former Chicagoan Tony Magee, is building a new brewery and brewpub between 17th and 18th Street along the west side of Rockwell Avenue in Douglas Park. And it’ll be right near historic Route 66.
Welcome to the Mother Road, Magee and company!! Here’s hoping your arrival will mean the creation of a Route 66 Special brew – you’d have a better claim to it than most.
Magee may not realize it, but it’s highly fitting that Lagunitas Chicago should be rising where it is, barely three blocks off the route. In the southern half of Chicago, you’re never far from a connection to either Route 66 or to Al Capone. The intersection of Rockwell and Ogden has both. Ogden Avenue is Route 66 between Jackson Boulevard on the Near West Side and Harlem Avenue in southwest suburban Berwyn. And the south side of Ogden between Talman and Rockwell Avenues, near Douglas Park, is where Edward J. ‘Fast Eddie’ O’Hare was assassinated – allegedly by some of Capone’s minions – on November 8, 1939, just before the big man himself was due to be released from federal prison.