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Only Oswego

Brew at the Bridge to Offer Brews Close to Home

Sep 12, 2014 11:34AM ● By Steven Jack

Photo courtesy of the Oswegoland Park District

Fall means high school football everyone cheering on Wolves and Panthers. 

It means soccer Saturdays, apple doughnuts, and seasonal squash jammed into all sorts of food and drink.  The Oswegoland Park District has brought a new tradition to adults in the area for the past couple of years. Autumn is a time for sampling craft beer downtown Oswego.  Brew at the bridge is back on Saturday, Sept. 20 from 1:00 – 7:00pm.  Hudson Crossing Park will be full of music, tasty seasonal food favorites, and the best craft beer in Chicagoland. 

The spectrum of beer being presented is impressive for 2014. From the larger companies, guests will be able taste those obscure limited offerings.  Boston Beer Company will be presenting their Fat Jack Double Pumpkin Ale and New Holland Brewing Company out of Michigan will have their Dragon’s Milk as well as their Ichabod Pumpkin Ale.  There will be two different hard ciders, both gluten free options.  Guests can try the sweet Crisp Apple from Angry Orchard.  Also bringing in hard cider is Virtue Cider, a company whose founder, Greg Hall who was last involved in Goose Island.  Virtue’s cider is made in the European style with less sweetness.

As always, beer made in Illinois will take the center stage at Brew at the Bridge.  Algonquin’s Village Vintner and Brewery will feature their Coco-nilla Stout, Destihl from Normal will bring up their Nit Wit, and Evanston’s Temperance will bring Gatecrasher and Smittytown.  Chicago will be well represented with beer from Revolution, Baderbrau, 5 Rabbit, Ale Syndicate, and Lagunitas.  Last’s year People’s Choice for Best Beer, Hopothesis will be back this year to defend their title!

The past decade has seen the western suburbs come into their own creating unique beer.  Brew at the Bridge will provide a great opportunity to feature what is being brewed close to home.  Geneva’s Stockholm Brew Pub will be serving samples, as will Plainfield’s Werk Force Brewing and Nevin’s Brewing Company.  Hopvine, a brewery and restaurant from Aurora will present samples from their line.  Three Angels, the Yorkville brewery dedicated to growing, brewing, and drinking local will be providing samples of their well-received Our Daily Bread beer.  Brandon Banbury, Oswego High School alum will be bringing his brewing company, Hailstorm Brewing home to share.

In 2014, the park district expands the event to include offerings from four area Home Brew Clubs. Spent Grain Society, Plainfield Ale and Lager Enthusiasts (PALE), Marseilles Society of Home Brewers ( MASH), and the Basement Brew Crew will all be at the event explaining how their love of a well made brew has driven them to create one on their own.  Each club will be bringing a limited supply of what they have been brewing.  While not available for purchase, each starter pack includes three 2oz. taste tickets to sample while the home brew supplies last.

The event looks to be a beautiful afternoon along the Fox River.  $20 starter tasting packages include a commemorative 2014 glass, five 2oz. taste tickets to the breweries, and three 2oz. taste tickets to the limited Home Brew Tent.  Additional taste tickets are available for $1/ticket.  It is necessary for every taster to purchase the starter tasting package with glass because this funds the event’s bands, tents, and staff.  No outside alcohol will be permitted into the park for this event.

We welcome everyone to try some the craft beer samples and determine their favorite.  The Oswegoland Foundation of Parks and Recreation will have a cash vote to crown the Brew at the Bridge People’s Choice Award.  The money raised will go to the Foundation’s pet project, funding the first Oswego Dog Park, Fido Field at Jaycee Park.  So, vote for your favorite and help this group get closer to their goal of giving dogs a great place to run and play in town.

Leashed and happy dogs are welcome at Brew at the Bridge.  The Oswegoland Park District just asks you bring what you need to clean up after your furry friend. 

Families are welcome to attend and enjoy the music of Tony Pape at 1pm, Happy Wanderers Polka at3pm, and Frank and Dave at 5pm. Sausages from Wurst Kitchen, Genoa pizza and pulled pork sandwiches from Upper Crust will make for a delicious picnic.  Event Partner Tap House Grill will have their beef and gouda, burgers, and large soft pretzels with cheese.  Page’s Popcorn from downtown Oswego will have both sweet and savory popcorn and the Oswegoland Optimist Club will raise money for their charitable organization by selling the event’s famous pretzel necklaces. 

Oswego Junior Women’s Club will host the Glass Washing Station.  They will also be selling raffle tickets for Bears tickets and prize baskets.  Guests can also try their game of strength.  See how long you can hold out the full beer stein!  The traditional game of hammerschlagen will be hosted by the Oswego Young Professionals.  This Oktoberfest activity involves hammering a nail into a wood stump in one swing. 

It takes 120 people to host each year’s Brew at the Bridge, so please consider working a three hour shift, learning a lot about the making of a great beer, and leaving with a really cool Brew at the Bridge t-shirt.  To lend a hand, contact Christine Hartnett at or calling (630) 554-4445.

Provided by Kristie Vest, special events supervisor, Oswegoland Park District