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Lager Beer Riot

  • Benton House 3052 Ma Benton Ln Chicago, IL, 60608 United States (map)

To mark the 160th anniversary of the Lager Beer Riot, Chicago’s first act of civil disturbance, and to celebrate the city’s growing beer culture, Pocket Guide to Hell and Marz Community Brewing Company are hosting an audience interactive dodgeball reenactment and beer tasting on Saturday, April 25, 2015 starting at 6 pm. The event is part of Version Festival 15 and is a fundraiser for Benton House, the historic nonprofit charitable center in Bridgeport.

The Lager Beer Riot occurred at the Clark Street Bridge in April 1855. The reenactment is going to be staged in the Benton House gymnasium as a game of dodgeball following National Amateur Dodgeball Association rules.

One team, consisting of representatives of Law & Order under the command of Mayor Levi Boone, is to be made up of 10 representatives of Chicago area breweries.

The revolting Irish and German bar owners are to be portrayed by 10 representatives of the Bridgeport community.

The Strange Brews podcasters (Alison Cuddy and Andrew Gill) are going to provide play-by-play coverage with color commentary from Randy Mosher (The Map Room, Five Rabbit) and Tim Samuelson (City of Chicago Cultural Historian).

Historical referees, halftime music by Brass Inferno Productions, and a working model of the Clark Street bridge round out the experience.

The Lager Beer Riot reenactment is going to consist, per NADA rules, of 10 three-minute matches, with an 11th if a tiebreaker is needed. There will be a halftime show after 5 matches are played.

A beer tasting of specially brewed beers run from 6-9 pm at Benton House in the remains of the former Ramova Grill.

Participating Breweries:

Marz Community Brewing Company

Revolution Brewing

Goose Island Brewing

Haymarket Pub & Brewery

Middle Brow Beer Co.

Urban Legend Brewing Company

Spiteful Brewing Company

Ten Ninety Brewing Company

Cademon Brewing Company

Ale Syndicate

Temperance Beer Co.

Anarchist Brewing Collective

Motor Row Brewing

Half Acre Beer Company


$30 gets you admission to the Lager Beer Riot, beer, and a special issue of Mash Tun.

$40 gets you admission to the Lager Beer Riot, beer, the special issue of Mash Tun, and a limited edition event poster by Kathleen Judge. (Limit 20)

$50 gets you admission to the Lager Beer Riot, beer, the special issue of Mash Tun, limited edition event poster, and the chance to play in one of the 10 dodgeball matches (Limit 10)

Proceeds benefit the programs offered by Benton House