You’ve finished your work for the week. It’s time to unwind, let your hair down, and embrace the onset of the weekend. In other words, it’s beer o’clock. Do you know where you’re heading to indulge in your next craft beer?
We’ve compiled a list of some of the hottest, hippest, and downright best breweries for consuming craft brew in the Chicago area. Without further ado…
Revolution Brewing is one of the most popular purveyors of craft beer in Chicago, and it’s in vogue for a reason. From flavorful Belgians like the Bottom Up Wit, to hop-heavy ales like the Double Fist and Anti-Hero IPA, Revolution caters to a range of highly refined beer palates. If you’re in the mood for a free tour, visit the brewery and distribution center in the Avondale neighborhood, open to the public Wednesday through Sunday.
If you’d rather hang out where you can drink your beer with bacon-and-parmesan topped popcorn and other tasty bites, hit up the Revolution Brewpub in the Logan Square neighborhood. Located just a mile-and-a-half apart from one another, it’s possible to visit both in the same day.
Solemn Oath Brewery
Solemn Oath Brewery is another craft brew hub that’s got its act together. Barrel-aged and Belgian-inspired beers are Solemn Oath’s brewing passion, but the brewery’s got enough range to please the tastes of all who appreciate hops and malt. Enjoy a craft brew flight while marveling at the equipment from the brewery’s taproom, or fill an empty growler and bring it back to the comfort of your apartment. Either way, Solemn Oath’s splendidly handcrafted beer is unlikely to disappoint.
Temperance Beer Company
Prohibition was bad for the economy, terrible for restaurant owners, a disaster for the government, and a boon for the mob. While it’s a good thing it didn’t last long, the temperance movement left a legacy that will forever be fun to make fun of. At least for those of us who didn’t have to live through it.
At Temperance Beer Co. in Evanston, Ill., you can enjoy tasty craft brew without having to worry you could be arrested or Al Capone might profit from your activity. IPAs, black ales, porters, and red ales are among the beers you will find. The brewery’s tap room is a short ride from AMLI Evanston. Open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays, the tap room serves pastries and snacks made by local food artisans. It’s also home to a beer garden that’s lovely…when the weather is right.
Two Brothers Brewing Company
After years of visionary planning, Jason and Jim Ebel founded Two Brothers Brewing Company in 1996. The brothers sold their first keg in the spring of 1997, and their venture has flourished ever since. Today, Two Brothers’ is sold in ten states.
While the brewing company may enjoy national success, the heart of its craft brewing operation is still in Naperville, Ill. Fans of the Ebel Brothers’ craft brew come from throughout Chicagoland and beyond to tour the brewing facility and taste beer fresh from the tap. Free guided tours are offered on Saturdays, Sundays, and most holidays. The tap house, open seven days a week, serves lunch and the freshest beer in all the land. Growlers aren’t the largest container you can have filled here. The pouring experts will gladly fill that half-barrel keg for you. Two Brothers Brewery is more or less equidistant to AMLI at St. Charles and AMLI Seven Bridges.
Vice District Brewing Co.
The Vice District Brewing tale is another success story of two entrepreneurial spirits bound by a fondness for high-quality, handcrafted beer. In contrast to the Two Brothers history, the guys who started Vice District were complete strangers until shortly before starting to brew together. This goes to show that bonds established over a love for beer and the beer brewing process can be as thick as blood.
Vice District uses hops and malt from throughout the country, and brews blond ales, chocolate stouts, double IPAs, and more. The brewery has an excellent Michigan Avenue location in the South Loop, especially convenient for residents of AMLI Lofts and AMLI 900. The tap room, designed to facilitate interaction between friends, acquaintances, and strangers, is open every day of the week except Monday.
More of Our Favorite Chicago Craft Brewers
- Half Acre Beer Company: Small, but popular, this beloved North Center craft brewery is known for its diverse flavor offerings, fascinating tours, and energetic tap room.
- Illuminated Brew Works: An up-and-coming brewery in River West, Illuminated Brew Works’ fanciful craft brews can be scored at popular North Side gastropub Fountainhead and DryHop Brewers, another great Chicago craft brewery.
- Lake Bluff Brewing Company: This craft brewery in the northern burbs has a lively tap room, a rotating beer menu, and a U.S. Open Beer Championship gold medal for its Kosmonaut Russian Imperial Stout.
- Lagunitas: Open for less than a year, Lagunitas’ giant North Lawndale brewery and tap room has already become a favorite watering hole among craft beer fanatics in Chicago. Free tours are accompanied by generous samples, and Lagunitas loyalists can enjoy specialty craft brews previously available only in California.
The next time you want to get out of your Chicago apartment and enjoy some craft brew, visit one of these breweries. Even better (for some), plan a craft beer crawl. Just remember the delicious taste of many craft brews sometimes masks their deceptively high alcohol content. Be safe and have fun.
Do you have a favorite Chicago craft brew?
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