Kyle’s Brew Fest Chicago 12.10.11

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock (

Having been to the first two Brew Fests hosted by Kyle Hollingsworth, I knew I couldn’t miss the third in Chicago. This was the finale to Kyle’s "Hop On Tour", which began with a pair of KHB shows out on the Front Range. It all benefitted Boulder based nonprofit Conscious Alliance. He had been giving out golden tickets in posters throughout the tour for an opportunity to share a beer with Kyle at setbreak. As well he hosted meet and greets at breweries around the country. This was a chance for everyone to get in on the fun. We arrived and took in the layout. It was a decent sized room and the fest featured twelve craft breweries including Stone, Magic Hat, and my old hometown microbrewer Bent River.

The afternoon also included a two set show by local jam powerhouse Family Groove Company. FGC started the first with their classic brand of Janis fueled funk. They have an interesting integration of both instrumental songs and Jordan Wilkow lead jazzy numbers. I was impressed with their musicianship all around. I had seen them several times back in my college days but due to the fact that they rarely make it out to Colorado now it has been a while since I’ve caught them live so I’m a little rusty on their solo setlist.

I can tell you that they straight jammed and brought a power and dynamic that turned the heads of the boozy patrons and quickly transformed the room into an all out dance party. Kyle came to the keys as Jordan stepped down. Taking the lead, Kyle opened up his portion of the show with a "Taxman" jam. Kyle is pretty much always in a good mood at his beer fests and today was no exception. He busted out his now classic Song In "The Key of Beer" and segued nicely into a rocked out version of "Way That It Goes." It was an interesting change up from not only the KHB version but also what SCI has been doing with this song on the Roots Run Deep tour. Additional highlights included a funky version of "Let’s Go Outside" and a set-closing take on Billy Preston’s "Will It Go Round In Circles." Kyle bid adieu as he obviously had places to be.

At setbreak I wandered over to check out Conscious Alliance’s silent auction. They had a ton of awesome gear on hand including signed posters, a Summer Camp running jacket, and an autographed copy of moe.’s Smash Hits CD.

Family Groove Company came out for another set as the room slowly cleared with kids that had gotten warmly drunk on the high ABV beer selections. They closed their show with a funked out "Subterranean Homesick Blues." It was truly a fun afternoon, which again reaffirmed my belief that this is a not to be missed event. Whenever they offer up a chance at a Kyle’s Brew Fest I just jump on it because they are always such a blast. I would suggest that if one comes to venue near you, go. As we headed home to get ready for one more night of String Cheese we were left with warm feelings and happy thoughts. Thanks for yet another great event Kyle!

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