People in Chicago enjoy drinking. Chicago has a storied and beautiful beer culture, from sipping Old Styles while watching the Cubs to downing a shot of the iconic Malort to taproom hopping to some of the best breweries.
Anyone who has spent more than five seconds in Chicago has picked up one unmistakable piece of local knowledge: Chicagoans love their beer. While the transition from Schlitz and Old Style took decades. Few could have expected the craft beer industry’s phenomenal expansion during the last 15 years. We completed the tough work for you and hand-selected the top Chicago breweries to fill up for a delicious sample of everything the Windy City has to offer—from the big boys of craft to tiny new upstarts you certainly really have to discover.
Dovetail is the place to go if you like rustic brews. The brewery chooses titles that highlight the product’s style or major ingredient, rather of the confused (and often humorous) American custom — try Dovetail Lager, Dovetail Hefeweizen, or Dovetail Kölsch.
If you want your beers aged, check out Dovetail’s barrel program, which features sophisticated, subtle representations of traditional European flavors. Such as X01: Flanders Rauch, a beer that combines Franconian smoked lagers and Belgian sours. Alternatively, X04: Wild Vienna is Dovetail’s Vienna Lager barreled and combined with some of their spontaneous beer. It’s pure magic.
Dovetail’s polar opposite is Marz, a distinctly American brewery that houses an arcade and serves elegantly packaged inventive combinations.
The Marz taproom is ideal for a wild first date or a fun get-together with work pals, with twenty-four on-tap libations ranging from Chug Life, a sparkling lager, to Marz Beer, a hazy DIPA.
At the moment, their meal menu features ‘za. Besto Pesto, for example, with red sauce, fresh mozzarella, and kale lemon pesto.
Corridor is a clever concept by Greg Shuff, a Siebel and Doemens graduate. Brant Dubovick, who previously led Pittsburgh’s Church Brew Works to the Great American Beer Festival’s Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year Award, and Executive Chef Ryan Henderson, who worked at Momofuku, Empellon, and Alder, are both on the team.
The superb pedigree has resulted in tasty hop bombs like Metamorphazed double dry-hopped double IPA and robust Belgian beers like Fiendish Ol’ Monk tripel.
Aside from the beer, there’s a refined menu with delicate salads, hearty sandwiches, and handmade pizzas. In addition, there are amusing nibbles like cauliflower and curds and pickle fries.
Revolution Brewing is definitely familiar if you’ve seen Drinking Buddies. After all, Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson’s fictional characters work at the brewery.
Revolution Brewing began as a Logan Square brewpub in 2010 and has since grown to become the state’s largest independent craft brewery. You can’t go wrong with any of the beers, but we especially like the Deep Wood Series, which features barrel-aged beers packaged and distributed.
Maplewood, a brewery that produces both beer and spirits, is located in Logan Square. They have something for every palate with their year-round pale ales, pilsners, and stouts. As well as their seasonal and specialty sours and barrel-aged releases.
If beer isn’t your thing, there’s always single malt whiskey. The taproom is ideal for a casual get-together.
Any member of the Hop Culture team is likely to order a lager these days. This deceptively difficult style of beer to create, in our opinion, fully displays a brewery’s talents. Metropolitan Brewing makes the best pilsners, festbiers, and German-style lagers in the Midwest. And besides, these people dedicate their entire lives to producing these picky, bottom-yeast-feeding, cold-temperature-loving beers.
In particular, they brew one of our favorite Oktoberfest beers. If you’re not here in the fall, couple their flagship Krankshaft Kölsch-style beer or Flywheel Pilsner with an iconic burger from nearby Kuma’s Corner, which you can have delivered directly to the taproom.
Ørkenoy, housed in the Kimball Arts Center, delivers unique beers and Scandinavian-inspired dishes. It is proud to be Humboldt Park’s first artisan brewery.
Lesser-known beer styles include Django Pennsylvania, a grodziskie (a low-alcohol, smoked Polish beer), and Cole Thumper, a rye ale with figs.
Sloppy Bjorn, slow-roasted oxtail and pork shoulder with Dr. Pepper pickle, and caraway knots with Alpine cheese sauce are just a few of the Nordic-inspired dishes on the menu.
This little but mighty enterprise, housed in The Plant, a net-zero emissions energy business incubator in Back of the Yards, is noted for its environmentally friendly brewing procedures mixed with what may be the prettiest can designs in existence.
Le Tub is by far its most well-known export, but they also produce a wide range of products, including large-format ales and kombuchas. With a concentration on barrel-aged brews and a passion for experimenting, you might just walk away with a new favorite beer.
Pilot Project, founded in August 2019 by Dan Abel and Jordan Radke, has assisted in the introduction of thirteen beverage alcohol concepts. Azadi Brewing Company is owned by South Asians. Luna Bay Booch is owned by women, and Funkytown Brewery is owned by Blacks.
Pilot Project is the first space of its sort passionate to the brewing community. Aims to assist people from underrepresented backgrounds in a primarily white, male brewing business with high entry barriers.
Pilot Project’s tasting area, which has over twenty-four taps, offers up to five distinct beverages from each of the project’s five companies. Azadi’s Gir, for example, is an IPA inspired by the Kesar mango, a brilliant orange fruit endemic to India. Or Funktyown’s signature pale ale, Hip-Hops, and R&Brew, which incorporates hip-hop culture from the 1990s into craft beer.
Off Color, another Chicago institution in 2013 by John Laffler (previously of Goose Island Brewery) and Dave Bleitner (formerly of Two Brothers Brewing).
The founders’ pedigree is evident in Off Color Brewing’s mature and technically outstanding brews, which tend toward European styles. Although the beers are serious, the branding is comical, resulting in a very silly and one-of-a-kind taproom experience at both the original location. And The Mousetrap, which is located on the North Branch Canal just west of the Old Town district.
Very, Very Far, a Belgian-style Ale that earned Gold at the Great American Beer Festival is a great Off Color beer to try.
In 2006 the production started, well before the current craft beer boom took hold. And as one of the pioneers of the Chicago brewing sector by many. Half Acre, which operates not one but two breweries on the North Side (both within a 10-minute drive of each other), just added its large 60,000-square-foot Balmoral facility to the mix. A testament to the company’s growing popularity and appetite for experimentation.
Daisy Cutter (one of five year-round ales) is the beer that placed Half Acre on the map. But the Balmoral establishment has made more room for so-called wyld brews. Which are famous for unconventional procedures and fermentation.
Hipsters may have deserted when this heavyweight was sold to AB-InBev in 2011, but the brewery essentially launched Chicago’s. And maybe the country’s—craft beer passion continues to produce high-quality brews worthy of attention, whether you like it or not. Goose Island, was founded in 1988. It was recently barred from the Great American Beer Festival. It continues to press ahead by opening additional brewpubs across the world in addition to its two Chicago facilities.
The most well-known is 312; however, food-focused options such as Sofie and Matilda are growing in favor. And if you’ve ever been to a street festival in the vicinity. You know how nicely their beers combine with good times.