Blind Flights puts beer lovers’ taste buds to the test at Carpentersville Rotary Club – Chicago Tribune fundraiser

If you love beer and open your eyes to new drinks, Carpentersville’s Carpenter Park is the place to go for Saturday, July 16.

From 1-4 p.m., the Carpentersville Rotary Club will host Blind Flights, a fundraising campaign during which attendees will conduct blind taste tests to pour 4 ounces from six local breweries and two home breweries.

“It’s always a fun surprise to find a new favorite and also a shock to find that your favorite drink is actually your least favorite on a blind taste test,” said Andy Sauder, a member of the event planning committee.

The breweries slated to participate are Black & Gray, Crystal Lake, Emmett’s, Holzlager, Lucky Monk, and Sew Hop’d. Homebrews are provided by Bill Baker and Matt Weeks. There will be 13 options among all of them.

Described as a picnic-in-the-park-style craft beer tasting, customers will vote on their favorites in each style category, and brewers will be on site to talk about what their company produces.

Organizers say they hope to attract at least 250 beer aficionados to the event, which debuted last year.

Souder, who is also a trustee of the East Dundee Village Council, said, “The idea is that you can try some similar beers without knowing who the brewer is, which makes it a blind voyage. Experimenting takes a little extra work to prepare but it is the only way to really know which one you prefer.” .

Participants will try all the beers in one of the categories and then vote for their favorite using their phone to scan the QR code.

“But we won’t let them know who the brewer per tap is until after the vote, when we finally announce the winners,” said Sauder, a designer for Zeller Marketing & Design in downtown Dundee.

The club will award prizes to the best vote-takers in three categories: pink beer, sour/fruity, and lawnmower.

“Mower beer is an informal category that includes any summer beer used to drink on a lawn chair after you mow your lawn,” Sauder said. “This includes ale, American pale ale, some Belgians and anything that has a lighter ABV (alcohol by volume).”

Heather Zabsky, another planning committee member, described herself as a “big manual beer geek.” She helped establish the tasting format and recommended and invited breweries to the event.

Blind Flights will feature a wide range of styles, including her personal favorite, West Coast IPA, and a barrel-aged brew-conditioned mule from their home brewery, said Zabsky, deputy district manager for Fox River Valley Public Library.

“Music is another feature of the event. We have porch flies coming up again this year. I’m excited we’ll be getting tacos this year (from La Alcancia Taqueria of Carpentersville),” she said. “What could pair better with beer than tacos? ?”

Raffle items donated from local businesses include a bike from Main Street Bicycles, a wall of beer, and Bourbon Blind Tour tastings.

All proceeds will go to causes supported by Carpentersville Rotary, including winter coats for children in need, educational grants and local food pantries.

Admission is $30, with a $5 discount for not drinking beer. For tickets and more information, go to

Mike Danahi is a freelance reporter for The Courier-News.

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