Friday Night Flights at the Chicago Auto Show 2020
The Chicago Auto Show. It’s as February as Valentine’s Day and President’s Day. Two weeks of checking out concept cars so advanced that they’ll never be made, cars you may only hope you can afford, and generally taking stupid pictures of yourself driving or in said cars. So much has changed about the auto show since I went every year in my high school days (couldn’t tell by the previous sentence?).
The Chicago Auto Show is the largest auto show in North American. When I saw that on the banner, I was almost positive it was akin to, “Best wings/pizza/burger in Chicago” superlatives I see at almost every place that serves those items. But no, it is in fact the largest, besting my guess of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (Now I can see why. How is it both North American and International?) It’s also the longest continually running auto show in the United States, happening every year since 1901. (Oldest is the New York International Auto Show that started in 1900, but this makes no sense because no one in New York City drives a car). Enough with the trivia!
There have been some changes and additions to the Chicago Auto Show since I last went, most notably the indoor test tracks (but I was told you get driven, sad face). This was added in 2005, so you can easily see how much time I spent drinking and not paying attention to the Auto Show. More pertinent to this website, though, is the addition of Friday Night Flights to the Auto Show last year.
One of Rahm Emanuel’s (only?) good ideas, Friday Night Flights debut in 2017 and has happened every summer since. It focuses on a specific Chicago area like the “Malt Row” in Ravenswood or the West Loop and has breweries from that area pour samples for attendees. It makes total sense to move it indoors (now one wants an outdoor beer festival in the cold, right Prop Day attendees?) and feature breweries from all over the Chicagoland area in one of Chicago’s signature yearly events.
“Thanks for the history lesson jerk. Get to the breweries.”
Ok, ok, ok. It’s why you’re here after all. The following breweries are scheduled to participate (more could be added at a later date, especially if ticket sales are good), with Chicago area or city in parenthesis:
Band of Bohemia (Malt Row/Ravenswood)
Begyle (Malt Row/Ravenswood)
Eris Brewery and Cider House (Irving Park)
Great Central (West Town)
Goose Island (West Town; they will actually have an area throughout the entirety of the Auto Show)
Marz Community Brewing (Bridgeport)
Moody Tongue (Motor Row District)
Motor Row (um, Motor Row District)
Revolution Brewing (Avondale)
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery (River North)
Temperance (Evanston, IL)
If the preview event was any indication, you’ll have no problem finding a beer you’ll like. As always, we had some favorites:
All The World Is Here | Temperance Beer Company | Cream Ale | 5%
A collaboration between Temperance, the Field Museum and the Chicago Brewseum, All The World Is Here is a crisp and clean cream ale with some hop bite and a hint of malt sweetness. The corn used in the beer were of the same varieties that were featured at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago (but, you know, fresh), so not only do you get a drinkable, hoppy cream ale, you also drink some history in a way. Start your Friday Night Flight with this one and you won’t be disappointed.
Fleetwood Black | Motor Row Brewing | Schwarzbier (black lager) | 5.5%
Looks like a porter, but drinks like a lager. Fleetwood Black is all about that malt. Chocolate, a light roast, and even some caramel come through on the nose, with the chocolate and roast starring on the palate then being joined by some slight bitterness and an easy finish. Have this one in the first half of your Friday Night Flight and you’ll be good.
Van Van Mojo | Eris Brewery and Cider House | Cider | 6.2%
Blueberries and a hint of tropical fruits on the nose lead to a very balanced cider that is both tart and sweet. An ideal choice for a change up in the middle of your Friday Night Flight progression and one you won’t regret.
Rootsbeer Stout | Band of Bohemia | American Stout | 9.2%
Featuring flashes of the old Forbidden Root namesake beer, Rootsbeer Stout smells like root beer/sarsaparilla and is a balanced flavor assault, featuring little bits of each one of the 15 or so ingredients in this beer. Easily the most ambitious beer at the event, and one you should get near the end of your Friday Night Flights experience. Even has lactose!
Even if the above aren’t your thing, there’s something for everyone there. Great Central had a hefeweizen, Begyle had some hoppy offerings and a stout, Revolution had a session and hazy IPA, and Goose Island had their Lost Palate and SPF among others. Revolution was also pouring V.S.O.D. and Straight Jacket (!!), which prompted me to ask Goose about Bourbon County at the Auto Show, to which I got a, “Maybe.” (Any beer mentioned in the last sentence should be enjoyed at the end of your flight.) So there might even be something for you, barrel-aged beer fan. Once at the Friday Night Flights area, you’ll get a tasting glass and a punch card good for 10 sample pours. Use them wisely!
Seeing as how the Chicago Auto Show has only one Friday, the only day this could happen is Friday, February 14 from 6-8 P.M.. Yup, Valentine’s Day. So convince your significant other to check out some wheels, get driven around a test track, and sample some of the best beers Chicago has to offer.
You can purchase your tickets to the Chicago Auto Show Friday Night Flights event by clicking here. You’ll save $10! This also allows you entry to the Chicago Auto Show!
The Chicago Auto Show runs from February 8 – 17, 2020 at McCormick Place, 2301 S. King Drive. Tickets for the Chicago Auto Show can be purchased here.