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Local News

Hundreds turn out for first Rialto Square Beer Bash in Joliet

Sold-out crowd of 500 wrapped around Rialto to taste local brews

The inaugural Rialto Square Theatre Beer Bash was held Sunday afternoon, hosting a sold-out crowd of 500 people.

The event, which took place from 1 to 5 p.m., was open to guests 21 and older, who were lined up around the theater waiting to attend the event.

Will County Planning and Zoning Commissioner Michael Carruthers visited the beer fest with an open mind.

“It was a great opportunity to taste craft beers at one function,” Carruthers said.

Although he has not tasted craft beers in the past, this event opened up the opportunity to try some different types of beers.

Mike Trafton, a longtime resident of Joliet, remembered when the streets in downtown Joliet were empty on the weekends.

“It’s good to see Joliet grow. People are starting to visit more often to help small business flourish,” Trafton said.

Mike Trizna, owner of Chicago Street Pub and organizer of the event, was on hand during the beer bash, making sure everything was set and ready to go.

Trizna “Triz” is known to help small businesses as well as local residents. Trizna has worked with the Rialto on several occasions, including on events with local musicians called Local Music Mondays.

“I have been lucky enough to be a very small part of the renaissance of the theater,” Trizna said.

All the proceeds from the event will go back to the Rialto to help restore the theater.

“I wanted to do something to raise some money for the Rialto, while keeping the same community idea in place,” Trizna said.

The idea of using local breweries for the fest was to bring small businesses together. The main hallway of the Rialto was lined with different breweries from around the area.

Each brewer featured at least two different types of craft beers and information about their breweries.

Elder Brewing of Joliet was one of the brewers present.

“We have worked with Triz at Chicago Street and with the Rialto on numerous events,” said Melissa Polykandriotis, co-owner Elder Brewing.

Tangled Roots Brewing Company of Ottawa is one of two breweries located in Ottawa’s downtown. The brewery not only is a company that owns its own hop and barley farm, but also has a farm-to-table restaurant.

“We are excited to be here. Fests like this help local breweries in small towns,” said Mariela Coss, brand ambassador of Tangled Roots Brewing Company.

The cost of tickets included a T-shirt, beer samples from each brewery, a collectible mini pint glass, tacos from Supermercado LaLoma in Joliet and live entertainment. Once inside, guests were given their items along with a ticket for three tacos for the LaLoma taco truck, parked in front of the Rialto.

Michael Sheehan, a member of the Beach Bum Band, played a solo set on the balcony with his guitar while singing classic songs.

Thirteen breweries along with a meadery and the Joliet Brewers Club were on site. Tickets were sold online, at Chicago Street Pub and at Rialto Square.

“Many [who] wouldn’t otherwise go to all of these breweries have a chance to pick and choose what they might really enjoy,” Trizna said.

There are at least a dozen craft breweries in the area.

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