Top 10 Local Breweries to Visit in Chicago12/03/2019
Did you know Chicago was recently named the biggest beer city in America? It’s true. The Windy City is home to 167 breweries, and that number gets bigger each year. With so many options, it’s safe to say that figuring out where to get a good beer in Chicago is easy — but how do you know which brewery does it best?
Keep reading to learn which ten Chicago breweries serve the best Chicago beer and what makes each place so great.
1. Blue Island Beer Company
Although the Blue Island Beer Company taproom is located in the Historical District of Blue Island, you can find their classically-influenced beer on menus throughout Chicago, including at South Side Social Neighborhood Kitchen & Tap. At South Side Social, Blue Island Beer is paired with dishes that accentuate everything you love about beer, like brisket nachos with beer cheese.
Blue Island Beer Company’s taproom menu features a variety of styles, including IPA, sour ale, imperial stout and more. One popular brew at Blue Island is their Imperial IPA brew called Mojo is my Co-Pilot. The brew pays tribute to Mojo Nixon with fruity, cotton-candy flavors and Mosaic hops.
The taproom features some special, taproom-only beer selections and operates on a bring-your-own-food policy. Blue Island Beer Company also offers beer to go in cans, bottles or growlers.
2. Midwest Coast Brewing Company
Midwest Coast Brewing Company was founded by a brother and sister who use the face of their childhood dog, Maverick, as their brand logo. Midwest Coast Brewing Company has 12 taps, including rotating featured brews, like Friendsgiving. Friendsgiving is a British brown ale loaded with cinnamon, nutmeg and orange peel that shows up on their menu during the fall season.
Midwest Coast Brewing Company also hosts several events throughout the year, including a lot of dog-related benefit events.
3. Hopewell Brewing Co.
The Hopewell Brewing Co. brews, sells and self-distributes all their own beer. In doing so, they can connect with beer drinkers on a more personal level than some brewing companies. This fuels their mission to provide accessible, high-quality beer for all.
The beer menu in their welcoming, minimalist taproom hosts the familiar classics you know and love, but with a few experimental brews if you feel like being adventurous. Close Enough, one of Hopewell’s canned pilsners, is made up entirely of regional and local ingredients, like Illinois barely and hops from Michigan.
4. Forbidden Root
Forbidden Root Restaurant & Brewery is Chicago’s first botanical brewery. In addition to the traditional yeast, hops and grains, Forbidden Root uses a combination of bark, spices, stems, roots and leaves — and modern brewing technology — to craft beer that provides guests with a multisensory experience. Some of their unique brews include Sparkling Rosé Ale — a limited release brew — that uses botanicals like Niagara grapes and hibiscus.
Forbidden Root is also an active part of the community, partnering with several charities throughout the Chicago area and beyond.
5. Revolution Brewing
Revolution Brewing opened its doors in 2010. In 2017, they became the 40th largest craft brewery and 50th largest overall brewery in the United States. They distribute beer all over the Midwest.
In addition to IPAs and seasonal brews, Revolution is home to Straight Jacket — a part of the Deep Woods beer series — which won the bronze award for wood or barrel-aged strong beer at the Great American Beer Festival. Straight Jacket is a barleywine ale that spends 12 months in bourbon barrels.
6. Old Irving Brewing Co.
Old Irving Brewing is a craft beer brewery and kitchen located in the Old Irving Park neighborhood of Chicago. In addition to a large menu of house brews, they also feature several guest ciders and an extensive selection of bourbon and other whiskeys. Old Irving also offers beer-inspired cocktails, like the Hoplama cocktail, which uses Beezer IPA.
Old Irving offers complimentary brewery tours with a free taster included.
7. Half Acre Beer Company
If you are trying to figure out where to get craft beer in Chicago, Half Acre Beer Company has two brewery locations — one in Lincoln and one in Balmoral — and each is equipped with a taproom and kitchen. The Balmoral location has an outdoor beer garden, while the Lincoln location is where it all began.
Their dedication to both time-honored classics and exciting special releases — all offered in colorful, aesthetically pleasing cans — makes Half Acre one of Chicago’s favorite local beers.
8. Temperance Beer Co.
Temperance Beer Co. prides itself on doing things differently. That includes offering Temperance Trikonasana, a yoga series that takes place in the brewery that gives 100% of its proceeds to a different nonprofit organization each month.
Temperance’s taproom offers flights of five-ounce tasters, half and full pints, 64-ounce growlers and 32-ounce howlers. One popular brew is Stroop Dreams, a pastry stout that is made with malted milk powder, cinnamon, vanilla and caramel.
9. Goose Island Beer Company
Goose Island Beer Company may have multiple locations in the U.S., but John Hall opened the first brewery in Chicago after returning home from a trip to Europe that inspired him to bring good beer to the states. The brewery has separate rooms for innovation programs and yeast propagation units. Barrel-aged beers have a 143,00 square foot barrel warehouse and dedicated stockroom.
One popular year-round beer selection at Goose Island is Sofie, a Belgian-style farmhouse ale. Sofie is aged in wine-barrels with zested orange peels.
10. Metropolitan Brewing
Since 2009, Metropolitan Brewing has specialized in bringing Chicago German-style lager, like their flagship brew, Krankshaft. Krankshaft is a Kölsch style beer and uses lemon flavor to pay homage to the characteristics of beer brewed in Cologne. Krankshaft can be found year-round. The brewery is located on North Rockwell in a 125-year-old building.
Start Your Craft Beer Journey at South Side Social
What is the best brewery in Chicago? That is up for you to decide. Chicago is home to over 160 breweries and each one has a different story to tell and a different interpretation of what beer made in Chicago should taste like.
Begin your quest for the best Chicago beer at South Side Social Neighborhood Kitchen & Tap. We are proud to feature Blue Island Brewery on tap, in addition to our own South Side crafted lemon and ginger ale, “S Cubed.” Happy hour at South Side Social includes $4 specials in a laid back environment that lets you unwind after a busy day or come together with friends and enjoy shareables.