Drunk Beer Tour Benefits Evanston Made

Nixie Strazza/The North West Daily

Over 30 Evanston businesses participated in the Arts and Craft Beverage Crawl to benefit Evanston Made and support the work of local artists.

More than 30 businesses lined the Main-Dempster Mile to showcase pottery, paintings, sculptures and sketches at the Arts and Craft Beverage Crawl on Thursday evening.

The event celebrated the recovery of Evanston’s commercial district from COVID-19 related business closures. All crawl ticket proceeds benefited Evanston Made, a non-profit arts organization focused on uplifting Evanston artists and promoting community connections through professional development programs, studio screenings and public events.

Painter Scott Greenberg said the collective initiatives and resources of Evanston Made make the city a great place to create.

“Evanston is the best place to be an artist,” Greenberg said. “You walk down the street and every other place is a gallery on Central (Street).”

Stores participating in the crawl are clustered in three separate locations along Dempster Street, Main Street and Chicago Avenue. The Main-Dempster Mile has assigned each visitor a starting section to avoid large crowds congregating in one place. The $30 ticket included drinks and small bites like grilled mini cheeses and soft pretzels to pick up while browsing in store.

The art of the event ranged from hand-painted silk scarves to prints made by artists from Visibility Arts – a program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities founded by Search Inc. After checking in at the starting point assigned to them, ticket holders explored the artwork available for purchase. at each location while sipping enriched samples.

As the hub of the night’s festivities, Sketchbook Brewing Company provided plenty of booze for thirsty crawlers. Its flagship beers – West Coast IPA Orange Door, named after the hard-to-miss hue of the location’s original entrance, and Amistosa, a Mexican-style lager – have appeared in stores along the main stretch. . The bar also offered visitors glasses of a German-style doppelbock aptly named The Illustrator.

“You might find our beer somewhere else, but there’s also some in the dining room that doesn’t get dispensed at all,” manager Sile Malone said. “To get them, you have to come to us.”

The crawl reflects the fundamental philosophy of the brewery: “Beer is an art”. Founded by former audio, visual and multimedia artists, creative expression is built into Sketchbook Brewing. Partnering with artists is an extension of what makes the brewery unique, Malone said.

The store featured the work of Evanston native Ailisa Qualkinbush. Using a technique similar to basket weaving, Qualkinbush created lattice-like canvases from fiber strips onto which she painted vibrant portraits and abstract designs.

Like Greenberg, Qualkinbush said Evanston Made has helped promote artists by connecting business, community and creators.

“We can use the spaces here and meet other local artists,” Qualkinbush said. “It’s a way for the community to celebrate art.”

In addition to spotlighting local creators, Malone said the event marks a return to community gatherings and group experiences before summer. After two years of modified operations, the Arts and Craft Beverage Crawl is proof that Evanston is open for business.

For Sketchbook Brewing, Malone said that means developing seasonal favorites and finding more ways to bring people together. Between new beer drinkers and craft connoisseurs, she said there was something for everyone on the menu.

“We’re excited to share beer with other people,” Malone said. “We are a communal hangout that also makes and serves beer.”

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Twitter: @NixieStrazza

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