Naperville Ale Fest 2013

Thousands of people lined up to drink down a variety of craft beers at the first ever Naperville Ale Fest, held at Naper Settlement.

The event hosted more than 60 brewers serving samples of more than 180 types of beer.

“We went to 3 Floyds and we liked that a lot,” said Naperville Resident Paul Smid. “We’re on our second stop here at Left Hand [Brewery] and we had the stout and it’s really good.”

The entire experience was organized by Lou Dog Events, a Naperville company, even down to details like every person received a commemorative glass for sampling, so plastic wouldn’t affect the taste.

Craft beer festivals have found success around the country, but why bring one to Naperville?

“I’ve been a craft beer fan for a long time and I’ve gone to craft beer festivals for years,” said Josh Seago, co-founder of Lou Dog Events. “I would always have to go up into Wisconsin, Michigan or into the city. And I know we started to get some craft beer festivals out here. Naperville is a festival town, and I thought a craft beer festival would do really well here.”

So the idea for the first Ale Fest was born, and brewers from across the country were invited to participate.

Many of the brewers were excited to share the fruits of their labor with the public and what drew them to brewing in the first place.

“It’s something you get a quick turn around time on,” said Gerrit Lewis, owner and founder of Pipeworks Brewing Company. “So you have an idea in your head, and you want to make this beer. Well yeah, it does take a couple weeks to do it, but that’s a really quick turn around time from idea to production and you get to taste your final product.”

Just as brewers put in time to craft the perfect beer, Lou Dog Events crafted an event that also gave back to the community, donating a portion of the proceeds to the Settlement.

“We really want to give back when ever we do events and the Naper Settlement is associated with the Heritage Society so it was a great way to have a beautiful venue and give back to that particular foundation,” said Judy Phillip, co-founder of Lou Dog Events.

Due to the success of the first Ale Fest, organizers are looking forward to next year.

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