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40 Breweries to Supply Suds for Beer Fest Benefitting Twisted Hippo Brewpub

Plus, a Chicago contestant dominates “Top Chef”

bar at the Twisted Hippo
Twisted Hippo burned down in February.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

It’s been more than three weeks since flames destroyed Twisted Hippo, an Albany Park brewpub cherished by its neighborhood, a welcoming place for families and friends, that invited people from many walks of life.

Community was at the center of the brewpub’s mission since it opened in 2019, bringing much needed stability to a space that had turned into a revolving door for failed breweries. The commitment to the neighborhood helped Twisted Hippo thrive, and the way Marilee and Karl Rutherford went about their business was something other brewers noticed and admired.

Parts of the kitchen were the only items that survived the February 21 fire, says Michelle Foik, co-owner of Eris Brewery and Cider House. She’s kept in contact with Twisted Hippo ownership. It was only this week that they were allowed to return to the site to collect anything that may still have value.

Last weekend, Foik attended the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild annual convention in downstate Bloomington. Twisted Hippo’s future was a topic of discussion for many brewers prompting a group to organize a fundraiser that will take place Monday, March 21 at Eris in Old Irving Park. So far, more than 40 breweries have signed to part in the Stronger Together Benefit Beer Fest. The plan is to host the festival outside at Eris’s parking lot. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, they’ll move indoors, Foik says. Barry Sorkin from Smoque BBQ is chipping in and will donate smoked meats. The money will benefit Twisted Hippo workers.

“We had to figure out a way to donate money for the cause,” Foik says.

Foils says Jim Moorehouse (Aleman Brewing), Trevor Rose-Hamblin (Old Irving Brewing), and Clint Bautz (Lake Effect Brewing) were among those who helped organize the event. Sysco and U.S. Foods are also sponsoring the event. They’ll have 16 beers on tap at once, and when a keg gets kicked it will be replaced by another brew waiting on deck. Foik says they’ve sold 100 of 350 tickets for the event and are hoping for a big push over this weekend.

Tickets are $75 and are available via Tock. The festival is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, March 21 at Eris, 4240 W. Irving Park Road.

Chicago contestant dominates Top Chef

Virtue’s Damarr Brown won two competitions on the latest episode of Top Chef which earned him the title of MVP. This is episode three of the season, which takes place in Houston. Brown, for the Japanese category, made a smoked ham hock miso soup with togarashi hot sauce. Eater Houston has more.

River North rooftop closing for renovations

Bernie’s, 660 N. Orleans Street, is temporarily closing after dinner service on Friday, March 18, for what a rep calls a “spring refresh.” Ownership at Michigan-based Peas & Carrots Hospitality plan on reopening in late spring. They opened Bernie’s in 2015.

Baking competition benefits cancer-stricken pets

An all-star lineup consisting of Anna Posey (Elske), Ray Anthony (Paper Thin Pizza), Pat McBride (Secret Donut Society), and restaurant veteran and Muscular Dystrophy Association advocate Billy Zureikat, are judging a fundraiser to benefit Live Like Roo Foundation, a charity helping folks with pets undergoing cancer treatment. The panel will judge best pie, cookie, cake and dog treat. The Great Roo Bake Off takes place for noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 10 at Trigger, 2810 W. Addison Street. The event’s also dog friendly. Registration info for participants and guests is available online.

Mole Fest returns to Pilsen

Good news in Pilsen: Mole de Mayo, an event that had been hiatus since 2019 due to COVID-19 worries, is back. The 13th annual event will take place Memorial Day weekend on Friday, May 27 and Saturday May 28 on 18th Street between Blue Island and Ashland avenues, according to Block Club Chicago.

Smoque BBQ

3800 North Pulaski Road, , IL 60641 (773) 545-7427 Visit Website


1350 West Randolph Street, , IL 60607 (312) 733-1314 Visit Website

ERIS Brewery and Cider House

4240 West Irving Park Road, , IL 60641 (773) 943-6200 Visit Website


1462 E. 53rd Street, Chicago, IL

Twisted Hippo

2925 West Montrose Avenue, , IL 60618 (708) 844-7768 Visit Website