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Illinois Beer Fest in Morris goes on, rain or shine

Illinois Beer Festival goes on rain or shine at Grundy County Fairgrounds

Threat of storms couldn’t’ dampen spirits at the Illinois Beer Festival at Saturday the Grundy County Fairgrounds.

Soon after the rain ended, the skies cleared as patrons sampled more than 100 craft beers from 38 breweries around Illinois.

For the fourth year in a row, patrons and beer enthusiasts enjoyed everything from dark stouts to pale ales to hoppy IPAs. As live music played, the festival-goers got a chance to visit the different brewery tents for a taste.

Organizer Aren Hansen, owner of Honest Abe’s in Morris, thought about organizing a beer fest back in 2011 after attending Naperville’s Winter Ale Fest.

“I knew that there are fests all summer long and bringing the beer fest to Morris would be one-of-a-kind,” Hansen said. 

Hansen not only invited local breweries, but he opened the event to breweries across the state. Will County Brewing Company came back for its second year serving its Hazy IPA, which won a silver medal in the New England IPA category at the Illinois Beer Fest competition a week before. 

“The inclement weather didn’t stop the crowd from coming today,” said Jamie Albert, co-owner of Will County Brewing Company. “We like committing to fests because it gets our name out there and we are able to get instant feedback from the public.” 

Tangled Roots, from Ottawa, travels throughout Illinois to attend beer festivals. Katie DeCrane, brand ambassador for Tangled Roots, enjoys attending beer festivals because she is able to talk to people about beer. Tangled Roots brought out their craft beer, Devil’s PaintBox, which was named after Matthiessen State Park’s bluff. 

But the fest is not just about beer, but about the community. In addition to the fun, “Honest Abe” made an appearance to take pictures with guests. 

Samantha Corwin of Morris said she enjoyed playing Connect Four at the Goose Island Beer Company.

“Rain or shine, it didn’t stop us from coming. My husband and I have been coming since it began,” she said.

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