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Carpentersville man inviting people to the dark side of brews

Chris Jacobsen Carpentersville is putting dark beer festival Sunday afternoChicago. | Mike Danahey/Sun-Times Media

Chris Jacobsen of Carpentersville is putting on a dark beer festival Sunday afternoon in Chicago. | Mike Danahey/Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 22, 2014 6:11AM

A Carpentersville man is inviting beer-lovers to come to the dark side this weekend — in Chicago, at a bar. And you might even get some cereal with your one of your beverages.

Chris Jacobsen has put together the Dark Side Beer Festival for Sunday afternoon at Emporium Arcade Bar, 1366 N. Milwaukee Ave. It will feature stouts, porters, ales, black IPAs and other dark beers.

“The Dark Side event is structured to educate the consumer about what dark beer is as well as offering a setting where they can explore and try a few different brews all in one place,” Jacobsen said. “The beers available are some of the best dark beers available on the market including specialty and barrel-aged beers.”

According to Jacobsen, the tap list is set up to offer a range of styles within the dark beer category. There will be Black IPA, American Stouts, Porters, a Weizenbock, a Winter Old Ale, a Black Ale, a Black Saison, Imperial Stouts and Barrel Aged Imperial Stouts available.

“A lot of people have misconceptions about dark beer and think they are all heavy, thick, engine oil types of beers. That can’t be any further from the truth,” Jacobsen said.

Jacobsen explained that dark beer is made dark by the type of malt used in the brewing process.

“It’s much like making a tea,” he said. “There are dark teas and light teas, and it’s based on the types of tea leaves used. Dark caramel malts, chocolate, carafa, and black malts can all contribute darker colors to the beer.”

The rest of the beer can be built just like any other beer and impart the same type of flavor as any lighter beer, Jacobsen noted. For those who drink lighter colored, that is why some pale ales can be a little more yellow-gold in color and some can be more orange to brown gold in color. It all comes down to the malts, he said.

At the festival, two of the beers available for attendees will be imports to show what other regions can do, Jacobsen said. Those will be Meantime Brewing Russian Imperial Stout from London and Cervejaria Colorado Guanabara Russian Imperial Stout from Brazil.

“We’ll even have a beer served on a nitro tap, which carbonates the beer using a nitrous feed rather than carbon dioxide to give it a really smooth and creamy mouth feel,” Jacobsen said.

To top it all off, Jacobsen said he was able to secure one of only five specialty casks made of Ballast Point’s Victory at Cereal, which is an Imperial Vanilla Coffee Porter with Cap’n Crunch Cereal added.

All told, there will be 16 breweries — seven of them local — offering 25 beers, with 24 of those on tap and one a special cask.

Jacobsen is a graphic designer and marketing/advertising guy by trade. He maintains the Hardcore Craft Beer website and related social media sites (, makes beer-related cover boxes that brewers can use when offering samples of their various versions at festivals, and produces beer-related events to educate and expose drinkers to the wide world of craft brew. He makes his own beer, too.

According to his website, it “aims to help grow the craft beer industry and make a stronger craft beer community by helping the hardcore craft brewers connect with the hardcore craft beer drinkers,” Jacobsen states online.

The Dark Side event begins at noon Sunday. Tickets are $25. For more information, see

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