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.
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