Beer fans will want to plan a trip soon to Hammond's Horseshoe Casino.
The casino's first beer festival launches from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday at The Venue. More than 40 vendors and 150 beers will be in the spotlight.
"We have access to a lot of local and national brand brewers and breweries," said Chris Baulo, Horseshoe Casino's director of hospitality. He said the beer industry, including the craft beer market, is really exploding now with more people taking an interest in various brews.
"People can come and see what's in the market that they might not know about," he said. The Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland areas are particularly strong now in the industry with breweries continuing to debut regularly.
An assortment of vendors will be represented, including the Horseshoe's bar Sixth Street, which offers a selection of brews.
Baulo said vendors will hail from many areas and star brewers from Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. According to Baulo, up and coming brewers and younger beer producers are starting to offer various beers that veer away from the usual products. Visitors to the festival will find plenty of new and innovative concoctions.
"This festival has been in the works for over a year," Baulo said. From 1,000 to 1,500 people are expected to descend on The Venue for the event.
In addition to the beer offerings, guests will have the opportunity to purchase culinary packages or purchase other food separately. Baulo said chefs will specifically pair special dishes with different brews in various VIP packages. Beer and cigar pairings will also be featured. Food pairings will take place from 6 to 7 p.m.
Also starring at the event will be the band Maggie Speaks, who'll perform popular cover tunes from the '80s to present day.
The beer vendor roster will include Evil Czech, New Holland, Bell's, Sam Adams, Blue Moon, Rogue, Chapmans, Bulldog Brewery from Whiting; Sun King, Triton, Upland, Chicago Beer Co., 10th & Blake, Veterans, Boston Beer Co., Dark Horse Brewing Co., Brooklyn Brewing and more.
Among ticket offerings for the fest are:
• Barley ticket includes entry, souvenir glass, Horseshoe dice, bottle opener, unlimited beer sampling, cash bar and cash food available. Cost is $37.
• Hops Package includes VIP entry from 3 to 4 p.m. with elevated beer options and cigar pairing during VIP hour and general access to main event. Cost is $73.50
• Suite Package includes access into Venue's luxury suite level from 4 to 8 p.m. with heavy hors d'oeuvres and elevated beer options in the suites from 6 to 7 p.m. and general access to main event. Cost is $117.
• Beer Master Package includes combination of Hops & Suite packages. Cost is $170.
• Designated Driver Package includes unlimited non-alcoholic drinks, access to ginger beer and root beer tasting and an $8 food voucher. Cost is $15.
For more information and tickets, call (800) 736-1420 or visit chicagohorseshoe.com or ticketmaster.com