Day & Night of the Living Ales, the region’s largest celebration of cask-conditioned beers, was held on March 7. Twenty-two breweries from Chicagoland and beyond provided 41 different beers, while 500 attendees sampled the beers over two sessions and cast ballots to decide the 2009 Champion Real Ale of Chicagoland.

In very tight balloting, Surly Brewing‘s Tea-bagged Furious  IPA emerged as the repeat champion. Rock Bottom-Yorktown captured second place with its unique ShamRock Stout, while California’s Bear Republic took third with its Apex Imperial IPA.  In addition, the cellar staff (also consulting a list of nominees from the 12-1 professional brewers session) awards an annual Golden Tut Award to the brewery/beer that best exemplifies the overall cask ale experience. Moylan’s Batch #1000 Double Kilt Lifter was chosen for its superior clarity and conditioning.  Congratulations to the champions, and thanks to all the breweries and their brewers for supplying such an outstanding list of beers.

DotLA/NotLA could not take place without our great volunteers, sponsors and supporters. Any beer event requires a lot of effort, but the logistics of a cask event are even more complex. And everyone who organized, set up/broke down, stillaged, spiled, tapped, served, sold, etc. was an unpaid volunteer. To all our devoted members and friends who put in many hours and traveled great distances to help us, we can’t possibly say “thank you” enough!

We also owe a great debt to the Brewers Supply Group for their sponsorship; Marion Street Cheese Market (Oak Park) for their fabulous cheese; Andy’s Deli for the creative meat trays.  Above all, we want to thank John Hall, Greg Hall and Goose Island Beer Company for their unstinting support of the Beer Society over the last 22 years. Goose Island Wrigleyville has been the gracious host of this event every year. Thanks to GI-W’s General Manager Reggie Snead, GI Catering and Special Events Director Sandra Duncan, and all their staff for their help.

Of course, events like this could not take place without the support of our members and guests who buy tickets and attend. Last year we sold way too many tickets than the limited space would comfortably allow.  Many of you spoke up about this and we listened. More importantly, we acted. That’s why we split the event into two sessions and capped ticket sales so we had half the number of people at each session. We’ve already heard some positive feedback, but we know we can always improve, so keep those cards and letters coming.