Beer Culture in Chicago
Beer was first introduced to Chicago in 1833 by German immigrants making and selling English style ales. Next to New York, Chicago was America’s Beer making powerhouse. Over the next century and a half, breweries open and shut due to political and cultural changes. Today, large-scale industrial breweries in Chicago have been replaced by microbreweries and brewpubs that keep the city's beer-making tradition alive.
Chicago boasts of nearly 200 breweries making and selling some of the country's best authentic craft beers. With 10 gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival, Windy City Chicago is the best place to start your beer adventure. So whether you’re a beer novice or a seasoned professional with years of beer drinking under your belt, here is a list of the best Chicago Breweries and Craft beers to forget the night!
10 Best Breweries in Chicago To Pick From!
1. Half Acre Brewery Balmoral
Half Acre Brewery is spread over 60,000 sq feet with a huge patio, retail shop, and an outdoor beer garden. With various beers for all palates, their most popular beers include Fyra Double IPA, Original Reaper, and Big Hugs. You can also reserve a spot for a beer tasting tour of their brewery and taproom.
Address: 2050 W Balmoral Ave, Chicago, IL 60625, United States
2. Dovetail Brewery
Dovetail Brewery uses traditional methods and brews continental European beers like Hefeweizen, Vienna, Lager, and Dovetail Kriek. With affordable prices, and easy to read the menu, and delicious pickled eggs, Kabanos, and Crostini for snacks, Dovetail is the perfect place to spend the evening. Famous for their german-brews and rustic beers, Dovetail is a mix of American and European flavours creating unique beers.
Address: 1800 W Belle Plaine Ave, Chicago, IL 60613, United States
3. Corridor Brewery & Provisions
Located in the West Lakeview neighbourhood in Chicago, Corridor Brewery & Provisions has some of the best craft beers and cider. Eat and drink a range of beers, wines, cocktails, and snacks. Try classic radlers like American IPA with Grapefruit Juice and german malts like Henchbock with pizzas and sandwiches.
Address: 3446 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60657, United States
4. Metropolitan Brewery
True to Chicago’s german roots, Metropolitan Brewery is a craft microbrewery focussing on german malts. Founded in 2008 by a husband and wife pair, it is the only place in Chicago to produce only malts. Try their flagship beers Krankshaft, a Kölsch style beer, and Dynamo a Copper Vienna lager. With stunning views of the Chicago river, sip on a beer in this warehouse-style location.
Address: 3057 N Rockwell St, Chicago, IL 60618, United States
5. Moody Tongue Brewing Company
Located in the South Loop, Moody Tongue Brewing Company is Brewmaster Jared Rouben’s creation and brainchild. Along with nine-time Michelin start chef Jared Wentworth, Rouben created a 12-course tasting menu after travelling extensively to France and Belgium. Enjoy exquisite beers and an upscale fine dining experience at Moody Tongue Brewing Company. Do not miss their signature Sliced Nectarine IPA, Steeped and Scotch Barrel Aged Peated Scotch Ale.
Address: 2515 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60616, United States
6. Maplewood Brewery & Distillery
A neighbourhood bar, taproom, distillery, and cocktail parlour all mashed in one, the Maplewood Brewery & Distillery is a one of a kind brewery. Try year-round flagship beers like IPA, stout, and Pilsner, seasonal ales such as Wheat ale and Helles Lager, experimental favours, and limited edition small-batch beer. Not in the mood for beer? Check out their malt whiskey and brunch items!
Address: 2717 N Maplewood Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, United States
7. Old Irving Brewery
From Raspberry flavoured hard seltzers, Citra and Mosaic double dry-hopped IPA to Imperial milk stout, explore varieties of experimental beers in this funky warehouse-style brewery. With delicious brunch and dinner options ranging from Avocado toast to Nashville Chicken enjoy a quiet night out in this rustic bar located on the corner of Montrose Avenue.
Address: 4419 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60641, United States
8. Whiner Beer Company
With a focus on Belgian and french beer-making techniques, Whiner Beer Company pioneered the wine barrel-ageing program. Experiment with your palate! Try their craft beers like Le Tub, Miaou, and Bleu Tub. Relax in the taproom and munch on finger-licking pizza with friends or family in this Chicago brewery.
Address: 1400 W 46th St #104, Chicago, IL 60609, United States
9. Pipeworks Brewing Company
Founded by two friends Beejay Oslon and Gerrit Lewis, the Pipeworks Brewing Company for beer connoisseurs. With the popular one-off beer series, they expanded to Wisconsin, New York, and Connecticut. Check out their Ninja vs Unicorn IPA, Blood of the Unicorn, Lil Citra and S'more Money, S'more Problems.
Address: 3912 W McLean Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, United States
10. Revolution Brewing
Revolution Brewing is Chicago’s largest independent brewery, and host of the famous Oktoberfest. They produce dozens of different, beer styles such as IPAs, porters, pilsners, and Belgian-style ales. Try some of their deep wood series and Hero IPA series beers for a mind-blowing experience. With a bar and taproom, this brewpub is a pioneer in the Chicago brewery movement.
Address: 3340 N. Kedzie Ave Chicago, Illinois 60618
5 Best Craft Beers in Chicago
Beer LingoBefore we get into the best craft beers in Chicago, here are two terms you must know to choose the right beer for you.
ABV (Alcohol by volume) is the standard measurement to assess the strength of a particular beer. It ranges from 4% (light) to 20% (strong)
IBU (International Bitterness Unit) measures the bitterness level of the beer on a scale of 1 to 100.
11. Bourbon County Brand Stout
Bourbon County Brand Stout is a Goose Island craft beer with a sharp aroma of bourbon, brown sugar, molasses, and maple. With a slick and smooth taste, it is the perfect blend of caramel, almond, blueberries, and dark chocolate leaving a metallic taste in your mouth (mark of a good bourbon stout) and a touch of acidity. This dark black beer is a Chicago special and definitely worth a taste. If you are still new to the beer scene, choose something lighter and sweeter.
Price: USD 13.99 per bottle
12. Zombie Dust Pale Ale
Courtesy of the famous 3 Floyds Brewing, the Zombie Dust Pale Ale is an American Indian Pale Ale single hop beer. This amber-orange coloured beer has a citrus orange taste with undertones of tangerine, tea, and herbals. Zombie Dust Pale Ale rolls off your tongue with a creamy flavour and has a piney bitter finish. The sweetness of the malt is balanced out by the bitterness of the hop making for a flavourful cup of beer.
Price: USD 11.99 for a 6 pack
13. Anti-Hero IPAThe Anti-Hero IPA, a translucent yellow-amber beer, is the flagship IPA of Revolution Brewery. With a mild aroma of wood, pine, and fruit, the Anti-Hero tastes slightly bitter and cedar, grapefruit, lemon, and pine. Surprisingly sweet for an IPA, Anti-Hero has a smooth buttery finish and is the perfect blend of floral hops and citrus aromas.
Price: USD 10.99 for a 6 pack
14. Top Heavy Hefeweizen
Made by Piece Brewery and Pizza, Top Heavy Hefeweizen is a light beer with the aroma of sweet esters, banana, and clove. A similar taste of Banana, clove, bread, citrus, yeast, and light sugar makes it a perfect example of a Hefeweizen. This hazy yellow beer is smooth with a hint of spice and leaves you wanting for more.
15. Daisy Cutter Pale Ale
Daisy Cutter Pale Ale is one of the first brews to emerge from Half Acre Beer. The taste of blended pine, citrus, papaya, and mango will have you hooked. This golden-orange coloured, medium body beer, has a floral, earthy aroma with a hint of biscuits and hops.
Daisy Cutter Pale Ale tastes refreshing, very dry, moderately bitter, and has a piney finish. If you want a simple yet classic American pale ale, Daisy Cutter is the beer for you!
Price: USD 2.99 for a can.
Beer Festivals in Chicago
The city has a packed calendar of year-round beer fests. Sample local brews as well as international brews at these festivals for the ultimate beer experience.
Whether you’re a hard-core aficionado or a novice, Chicago has beers for everyone. Be sure to check out these breweries and brewpubs next time you’re in the Windy City!Winter FestivalYour holiday season is covered with Christmas & Winter Beer Tasting, Chicago Ale Fest – Winter Edition, and The Chicago Beer Festival. Stay warm drinking some fantastic beers and ciders from all across the globe.Summer & Spring FestivalsFill your summer schedule with Chicago Friday Night Flights, Craft Beer Festival at the Morton Arboretum, and Hornerfest Craft Brew Festival.Autumn FestivalsEnjoy Chicago’s fall season with Oktoberfest organized by Revolution and St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church and spend the evening with friends, food trucks, and music. Finally, the Festival of Barrel Aged Beers is for the most exclusive beers and most seasoned professionals. It is the country’s largest celebration of wood and barrel-aged beers and one of the best beer festivals in Chicago.