Travel Guides for Un-tourists


Sip On This Guide to Chicago’s Craft Beer Scene

by Ashley Wolfgang

posted on January 17, 2019

Photo Courtesy: revbrewchicago

While perhaps best known for brewing giants Old Style and Goose Island Brewing — the former falls under the Pabst umbrella, while the latter is owned by Anheuser-Busch — Chicago’s reputation as one of the country’s top cities for craft beer is well established. More than 200 brewers have set up shop transforming the city and adjacent suburbs into a beer-lover’s paradise. Whether you gravitate towards hoppy IPAs, experimental sour beers, or classic European-style ales, there’s the perfect Chicagoland brewery for you. Not sure where to start? Here are nine of our favorites, plus notes on what you’ve got to try once you’re there.

Photo Courtesy: br1anhuntley

Half Acre’s original Lincoln Square brewery is a must stop for every beer enthusiast, but plan ahead: this location is small, so be ready to wait for a table or cozy up next to the bar. Only a short walk away from the Brown Line, Half Acre offers up a variety of rotating seasonal beers and burritos.

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Double Daisy Cutter Capra, Tropical Witch, Pony Pilsner, Tuna Extra Pale Ale, GoneAway IPA, Plura

Photo Courtesy: begylebrewing

Begyle was one of the first breweries to open along Ravenswood’s Malt Row. A small and laidback taproom, Begyle has a dog-friendly sitting area and plenty of free board games to play while you taste your way through the taps. This community hub also hosts events like Sunday yoga and a skeeball league.

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Hophazardly IPA, Tripel Stamp, Free Bird, Begyle Blonde, Crash Landed

Photo Courtesy: Dovetail Brewery

If bitter, hoppy IPAs aren’t your favorite, and you’re looking for a more classic lager, Dovetail is the brewery for you. Specializing in traditional European-style beers, Dovetail offers up excellent examples of Rachbier, Pilsner, Hefeweizen, Belgian-style wheat beers, and more.

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Hefeweizen, X01 Flanders Rauch, Rauchbier, X02 Wild Table Beer, Grodziskie, Kriek

Photo Courtesy: bandofbohemia

The world’s first brewpub with a Michelin star, Band of Bohemia pairs beer with a seasonal tasting menu. Surrounded by Victorian-style decor and lush velvet seating, this is a multi-sensory dining experience that’s more appropriate for a special occasion than a casual night with friends and should be on the radar of any beer enthusiast visiting Chicago.

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Menu changes seasonally, The Noble Raven Ale

Photo Courtesy: SB

After brewing its classic porters and IPAs in a Ravenswood basement for years, this is Spiteful’s first taproom. Although there is no food service, there’s a collection of takeout menus on hand in case you work up an appetite.

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God Damn Pigeon Porter, Working for the Weekend Double IPA, Bitter Ben English Bitter, Alley Time Pale Ale

Photo Courtesy: metrobrewing

Metropolitan’s spacious taproom features expansive floor-to-ceiling windows that provide a stunning view of the Chicago River. While this location is hard to access via public transportation, a quick trip in a car or Uber is worth it for the view alone.

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Jet Stream Wheat Bier, Dynamo Lager, Afterburner Oktoberfest, Flywheel Pilsner

Photo Courtesy: revbrewchicago

You’ve likely tried one of Revolution’s classic beers before — it is, after all, Illinois’ largest craft brewery, but that doesn’t mean the brewery itself isn’t worth a stop. Located in the heart of Logan Square, this is the perfect spot for dinner and a beer tasting. Be sure to sample from the rotating list of seasonal, specialty, and Hero Series offerings.

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Fist City Chicago pale ale, Straightjacket barleywine ale, Deth's Tar stout, Rosa hibiscus ale, Eugene porter

Photo Courtesy: Hopewell Brewing

This dog- and family-friendly spot is the perfect lazy Sunday day-drinking destination. With a variety of board games available and large communal table, Hopewell is perfect for groups of all ages. Although food isn’t served here, you can always bring in takeout from any of the nearby restaurants along Milwaukee Ave; our personal favorites are Dante’s Pizza and Ryuu Asian BBQ.

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Swift IPA, Cold Brew Coffee Beer, All Hope Sour Beer, 24:37 Red IPA

Photo Courtesy: bumishnesss

Located in Lincoln Park, Off Color specializes in saisions, fruit beers, and sours, so if you’re looking to explore craft beers beyond IPAs and pale ales, this is the perfect place. If you get hungry, order pizza through Off Color’s pizza hotline or bring in food from the Whole Food next door. When you’re done, headover to iO across the street for an Improv show.

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Apex Predator Farmhouse Ale, Coffee Dino S'mores, 15 Feet Applewood Smoked Beer

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