Despite being an ardent enthusiast of craft beer in general and Chicagoland craft beer specifically, I had never attended Beer Under Glass. That was a travesty of nearly epic proportions, so when I was invited to attend its tenth iteration, I knew I HAD to say yes.

This annual event takes place at one of Chicago's most beloved attractions, Garfield Park Conservatory, and is the annual kickoff for Illinois Craft Beer Week, one of the "hoppiest" celebrations of the year.

Disclosure: my VIP ticket was comped by Illinois Craft Beer Guild, but all opinions are my own and are not influenced at all by the Neapolitan Stout.

Entering Garfield Park Conservatory

Hosted by the Illinois Craft Beer Guild and Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance (GPCA), Beer Under Glass serves not only to highlight the breadth and depth of craft beer that's produced in the state, but also as a fundraiser for GPCA's mission to connect people with plants and change lives through the power of nature.

Since this was my first time attending, I can't speak to previous events, but if this year's was an indication, I can see why it's sold out every year.

The venue itself is gorgeous. Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the largest conservatories in the U.S., and it was designed by Jens Jensen. Inside, we could stroll, beer in hand, through the greenhouses, inhaling the lush, tropical atmosphere.

Inside Garfield Park Conservatory


Adams Street Brewing at Beer Under Glass


LaGrow at Beer Under Glass inside Garfield Park Conservatory

Outside, tents offering stouts, hazy IPAs, cream ales, sours, and pretty much every other style of beer you could imagine lined the garden paths. 

Path in the outdoor gardens at Garfield Park Conservatory


Band of Bohemia at Beer Under Glass


Motor Row Brewing at Beer Under Glass


Around the Bend at Beer Under Glass


Short Fuse Creamsicle


Haymarket Brewing at Beer Under Glass


Mikerphone sign at Beer Under Glass

More than 100 breweries were on tap, and lines, by and large, were short. Mikerphone had the longest queue, beginning during the VIP hour, and it was worth the wait. My friends and I lined up a couple of times so we could try another of their selections.

The second longest line was for Elmhurst Brewing Company. The latter had the clever notion to give anyone who followed them on social media a tasting glass-sized koozy. Once the sun went down and the temperatures dropped, those koozies were definitely in demand.

There were special tappings, and restaurants and food truck vendors offered plenty of dining options.

Special Tapping at Beer Under Glass


Sun setting at Beer Under Glass at Garfield Park Conservatory


Pete Crowley cooking on the grill at Beer Under Glass


Hannah's Bretzel at Beer Under Glass


Revolution Brewing

When you recognize the gent who's on the label of one of your favorite beers, you ask for a picture! (Revolution's A Little Crazy)

If you want to attend next year's Beer Under Glass (and you know you do), follow Illinois Craft Beer Guild on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and keep an eye out in early spring. 2020 is sure to sell out, again, and I'll be grabbing my ticket early.