PlineyFest: Canaryville’s Finest Showcase.

Circa mid-2014.

I started the day by attempting to kill some time at Let’s Boogie Records in Bridgeport. Let’s Boogie Records, I found, is most definitely a money laundering scheme for the Outfit. Glancing for a second through the window at the sun-bleached Bone Thugs posters from 1997, I entered and walked in on some sort of small militia meeting. Though appearing as a record shop thus rendering the obvious context of record sales, these men asked me upon my arrival what I was doing there. Still not fully registering what was going on I asked if they had any Depeche Mode (you know, since my ex-wife decided to steal my Violator record). I got laughed out of the shop. Those guys…they don’t want people going in that store and I do not personally recommend setting foot in there without a stiletto and brass knuckles.


I headed over to PlineyFest which was to take place at Amelia’s at 47th and Halsted. PlineyFest consisted of myself, three other chaps, gourmet Mexican cuisine and a BYOB setting of roughly ten bottles of Blind Pig and Pliney the Elder, the latter at the time being the number one IPA in the world. I don’t know exactly how official those rankings are, but I contest that the rumors were true.

Our friend Ray was working off and on in the San Francisco area and although he was unfamiliar with beer at all, we talked him in to flying a bunch of Russian River bottles back to Chicago. There were a few casualties due to rough baggage handlers. A couple of bottles broke inside his suitcase, but that didn’t stop the festivities or even put a damper on anyone’s good time. What are a few pairs of pants soaked with the world’s best IPA along with some broken shards of glass compared to PlineyFest?

The Amelia’s location in Canaryville, in it’s heyday, had stuffed red pepper chili rellenos was the material of dreams unfettered. Ray wouldn’t eat the food. Ray was picky. Ray wanted to hold out for Buffalo Wings & Rings. You guessed it – an off-brand Buffalo Wild Wings. In fact, if Ray had his way, PlineyFest would have definitely taken place at Hooters.

Again, we didn’t let any bummers like that put any type of damper on PlineyFest and we succeeded in turning those surviving Pliney and Blind Pig bottles in to dead soldiers without looking back.


PlineyFest was a success (so much so that Ray bought a Pliney-bike to keep locked up out near Santa Rosa, just so he could continue to mule Pliney bottles for future events).

All I know now is that when I drive by the location where Amelia’s once stood, the sharp pain I get when I witness the current cell phone store now operating there, is quickly replaced by a small rush of warmth when I remember the time we achieved a level of beer superiority that definitely makes whatever lame thing you did that night, even if it was the best night of your life, seem like you were probably watching Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous while lying in a nest of Taco Bell wrappers.

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