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Chicago Breweries You Need to Visit
Are you one of the growing hoard of travelers who just don’t feel like you know a place until you’ve tried the local beer?
Well, prepare to drink up, because Chicago boasts a wealth of breweries big and small. Here's our list of current favorites.
Revolution, Logan Square
Check out the taproom on Kedzie, or the brewpub on Milwaukee. We’re partial to the Anti-hero IPA, one of the best beers to come out of the Chicago scene. You can also find them featured in the movie Drinking Buddies.
Half Acre, Lincoln Square
We love this place. Brewery tours are first-come, first-serve, and offered only on Saturdays. Get in line early.
Fortunately, they have a beautiful taproom next door open late, with the latest experiments and of course, tried and trues like Daisy Cutter. Bonus points for our favorite logo of all the Chicago breweries.
Piece Brewery, Wicker Park
Just a short walk from the famous Six Corners intersection, Piece makes tasty beer and fabulous “New Haven-style” pizza.
No, we didn't know what New Haven-style was either, but it's good.
Lagunitas, Neighborhood Unidentified, but it’s west, call it Douglas Park?
Not a Chicago original, but the owner is from the area, and the brewery is the largest in the city.
Opened in 2014, this off-the-beaten path taproom and brewing facility is worth the trek. The taproom is located on the second level of the factory, with catwalks taking you above the brewing floor to view the entire premises.
The food is great, the beer greater, and live music plentiful. Try Lagunitas Suks, because it doesn’t, and ask your server about the name.
Goose Island, Goose Island
The Chicago standby is Goose Island, now part of the Anheuser Busch empire but still respected by Chicago’s brewers. Visit their taproom near North and Clybourn in Lincoln Park, or take a tour.
You’ll see their 312 (pronounced Three-One-Two, not Three-Twelve, don’t do this to yourself) on tap everywhere. It’s to Chicago what Corona is to the beach. But venture - we tried the Bourbon County Stout last week and it was among the best we’ve had in a while.
In a hop-heavy beer world, Metropolitan offers something different, focusing on Lagers.
We tend to go with Flywheel or Krankschaft. The latter is an interesting and refreshing Kolsch-style, which at 5% ABV we find rather sessionable. Unfortunately, they don’t offer regular tours or a taproom, so you’ll have to settle with finding them on menus all over the city.
Bonus fact to impress your beer nerd friends: When they opened in 2009, they were the first brewery to open in Chicago in a decade!
PipeWorks, Wicker Park
Another brewery without a taproom, we’ve bumped into these guys at a few breweries around the city. They make wonderful beer on their own in small batches, but are known as great guys and supporters of the brewing scene.
No taproom, but you can get a growler filled up at their Ravenswood locale. Look for them on menus.
Tours on Saturdays include a glass and tastings for $10.
Atlas Brewing, Lincoln Park
Didn’t fall in love on our first visit, but they’ve been growing up and growing on us ever since. Beautiful tap room, solid food, and in a great location in Lincoln Park.
We rarely encourage people to head to the suburbs during their Chicago visit. Okay, we never do, but just this once, if you really love beer, you might want to make your way out to these great breweries.
Solemn Oath, Naperville
The taproom is an hour from the city, so we forgive you if you can’t make it. But you’ll find their Belgian-style brews on tap all over the city, and we encourage you to try one.
Two Brothers, Warrenville
Head to their production facility, where they house a restaurant that serves solid gastro-pub fare, or check out the Roundhouse in Aurora, an old train depot purchased by the brewery to house restaurants, host weddings, and roast their coffee.
Thrillist produced a list of five new breweries worth checking out. We haven’t hit them yet, but don’t blame us. The Chicago brewing scene is exploding and we’re happy to try keeping up!