Here we are, ankle-deep in June. This month marks the start of summer food and drink festivities — included in this month’s list are a newbie and an old favorite. It’s prime grillin’ season, so get your grills ready and get some meats. It’s also prime time for refreshing beverages. And finally, I cheat a little by offering something you’ll technically have to wait until July to get.

Wear your sunscreen!

Beer | Blind Pig’s Inaugural Pig Daze Beer Fest

This first-time event is described by Bind Pig Brewery as “a psychedelic celebration of summer, beer and local art.” The festival was created to celebrate the release of Pig Daze Imperial Stout. The bottle label features artwork by Sophie McMahan, who will also be on site selling some of her art prints. Not into an Imperial Stout? No worries — there will be plenty of other beer on tap. Smoked Food Truck and Lucky Moon Pies will be on hand with food. There will be family-friendly activities, and a cat-nip dispensary (yes, seriously). Blind Pig’s brewery cat, Brewster, will also make an appearance, if you’re into cats.

The event is Saturday, June 23rd from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Blind Pig warehouse brewery parking lot at the corner of Washington and Walnut in Champaign. It’s $5 to get in; you can preorder your tickets and 4-packs of Pig Daze Imperial Stout here

Blind Pig warehouse brewery
Washingon + Walnut
Champaign
Sa, June 24th 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Poster from Facebook

Crawfish | Crane Alley’s Crawfish Boil

Here’s the thing about crawfish: you either like them, or you don’t. If you like them, I bet you really like them, and lament that you cannot get them in these parts regularly. Crane Alley’s Crawfish Boil is beloved; it’s been going on for a decade. You should really get your tickets ($23) in advance, and you should really show up at 11 a.m. if you want to make the most of this all-you-can-eat event. Tickets are also available at the door ($28), but you’re running a risk of it being particularly crowded or sold out; if you show up too late in the day, the food might be gone. Drinks are not included in the ticket price. There will be a beer truck parked in the alley; Half Acre will be on all the taps (but you can order other drinks).

Read up on what to expect here, here, and here.

The 10th annual Crawfish Boil is Sunday, June 24th from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Get your tickets in the restaurant, or call 217-384-7526 for more info.

Crane Alley
155 W Main St
Urbana
Su, June 24th 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Photo by Rebecca Wells 

Shrubs | Hopscotch, Avionics

The shrub is a trendy beverage focused on the drinking vinegar — they are intended to be refreshing and “healthy.” Apple cider vinegar is touted to have many benefits; the science isn’t exactly 100% on this, but I say if it makes you feel better, go for it.  The drinks tend to be both sweet and tart, with an acidic bite from that drinking vinegar. Hopscotch has been offering a seasonal one since opening; Avionics has added one recently. A little while back I had Hopscotch’s spring shrub ($5), and it was fruity and tart. Just this week I had Avionics’ cherry blossom shrub ($6) made with cherry blossoms from Japan House and it was sweet and floral and quite lovely.

The shrub really is refreshing AF. It’s a nice replacement for something carbonated, something caffeinated, or something boozy.

Hopscotch Bakery + Market
802 W John St
Champaign
M-Sa 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Su 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Avionics
202 S First St
Champaign
M-F 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sa + Su 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Photos by Jessica Hammie

Grilling meat(s) | Meat Science Lab

Who doesn’t like eating grilled food? The meat! The char! Stone fruit on the grill! While the farmers’ markets offer a variety of produce and meat vendors, it’s not always feasible to get what you need when you need it. The Meat Science Lab on campus is one of C-U’s best not-so-secret-secret; you’ll find all the meats, plus eggs, and jerky. There are premade burgers and sausages, and they’re much better than what you can pick up at the grocery stores around here. Even if you don’t have a grill, the meat cooks up nicely.

Hours are unusual, so plan accordingly.

Meat Science Laboratory
1503 S Maryland
Urbana
T and Th 1 to 5:30 p.m.
F 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Photo by Jessica Hammie

Soul Food Sundays | Wood N Hog

This entry is a bit of a cheat because by the time you’re reading this, you’ll no longer be able to get Soul Food Sunday food in June. Instead just go ahead and mark your calendar for July. Wood N Hog offers Soul Food Sundays on the first Sunday of the month (July 1st is next). This menu is in addition to their regular menu. The soul food menu changes each month, though I’m certain you’ll be able to find regular soul food items like collards, candied yams, and mac and cheese. I recently wrote about May’s menu (Spoiler: It was delicious).  The portions are heaping, and the food is great. Even though it’s warm outside, there is something particularly comforting about eating Southern-style soul food on a warm evening — if you’ve spent any time in the South, I think you’ll know what I mean.  Have yourself a picnic, or take it home to eat in the air conditioning.

Wood N Hog
904 N 4th St
Champaign
M-Sa 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Su 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Photo by Jessica Hammie