For Your Drinking Pleasure

From wine tastings to beer classes, here's where you'll be imbibing this week

Experts say that the best way to learn about wine (or beer or any type of alcohol for that matter) is to drink it. Here are a few events to help you in your ongoing educational process.

River North's Brasserie Jo will host a biodynamic wine tasting today, Tuesday, May 12. Jean Joho, the chef and proprietor of Brasserie Jo, has teamed up with Todd Hess of local wine importer and distributor H2Vino for this innovative tasting, which will feature wines grown using biodynamic farming methods. The event, which is also a fundraiser for the Chicago Waldorf School, will feature an instructional seminar on the differences between biodynamic, organic and sustainable wines presented by Hess and Jens Schmidt of Montecastelli Selections. Guests will get to sample 12 biodynamic wines and olive oils, along with light appetizers by Chef Joho. The tasting takes place from 6-8:30PM and costs $40 to attend. Call 773-828-8458 to make a reservation.

Consider yourself more of a beer connoisseur? Head to The Bluebird in Bucktown tonight for a spring beer tasting offering sips of seasonal suds from around the world. On the roster are Radermacher Rader Blonde Ale from Belgium, Schneider's Wiesen Edel-Weisse from Germany, St. Christoffel's Double Hopped Christoffel Bier from Holland, Brasserie Benifontaine's Castelain Blond Bière de Garde from France, McAuslan Brewing's St. Ambroise Apricot Ale from Canada and Almar Orchards J. K. Scrumpy Hard Cider all the way from Michigan. The Bluebird will serve up flatbreads and other appetizers during the tasting, which will take place from 7:30-9:30PM. It costs $25 to attend, and you need to RSVP to 773-486-2473.

Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen in northwest suburban Crystal Lake presents its next Duke's Beer School on Wednesday, May 13. The monthly event leads guests through several beer styles, brewing techniques and other interesting tidbits to share with your buds at the bar. Complimentary small bites that pair well with the beers being served are also offered. This month's theme is "Hop and Turf," featuring IPA beers paired with grilled steak and veggies. The beer school tasting will go from 7-9PM and costs $25 per person. (Note: Card-carrying members of the American Homebrewers Association get a $5 discount on tickets.) Call 815-356-9980 for reservations.

Also on Wednesday, May 13 is a wine dinner at Lincoln Park's L20 featuring Alessia Antinori, the 26th generation winemaker from the House of Antinori. Antinori will serve as the guest host for the evening and will talk about her heritage and the culture of winemaking in Italy. L20 chef Laurent Gras will create a five-course dinner starring such dishes as black cod with distilled cabernet sauvignon and Napa cabbage, and pork belly with a syrah reduction, shallots and braised potato. Call the restaurant at 773-868-0002 to reserve your spot.

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