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Chicago, Illinois: Brewery Tour

Chicago is FULL of amazing breweries located all over the city. It has more breweries than any other city in the US as of 2018, actually, with 167. Although the numbers have changed since, it is definitely worth exploring some spots while you're in town, if you're a beer lover. Full disclosure, I am actually allergic to beer. But my sister is a brewery expert, traveling around the country (and world) trying beers and allowing me to often tag along. She (like me) grew up in Chicago, but lived there after college for another 6 years while completing her doctorate at University of Chicago. And although I have taken some tastes of beer at each of these spots, I am mostly here to comment on the aesthetic and vibe of each location. She helped me whittle down this list for all you brew lovers out there though!

Let’s brew this.

Best Beer: Half Acre Beer Company

4257 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

A great open space to bring dogs and enjoy games, Half Acre is the perfect watering hole for those in the area. They consistently have rave-worthy beers, and a great atmosphere to enjoy get togethers with large groups of friends. This is a great location if you want to spend the afternoon sitting at picnic tables outside, or celebrating a birthday with a group. Since their beers have recently been gaining some press and growing in popularity, I imagine it will expand locations (and maybe sell nationwide?) in the future. My sister nominates this spot “best beer” in the city. And trust me, she has tasted around.

P.S. their soft pretzels are to die for! I got multiple (yes, multiple) last time I was there.

Best Friends & Family Spot: Begyle Brewing Company

1800 W Cuyler Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

If you have an afternoon to relax with a couple friends and play some cards, this should be your go-to spot. It is great for relaxing and enjoying a flight, any time of the year. Expect the tables to be full of friends and family enjoying conversation. FYI the space is a little bit smaller, so it might be harder to find seats for a big group (I’d come with 4-5 people max). Although they don't sell food here, tons of people order delivery from nearby to enjoy while drinking; don't hesitate to order out!

Best Collaborative Brewery: Brews at the Field Museum

1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605

Recently, the famous Field Museum started to do a beer collaboration with Off Color Brewery. Upon entering the museum, turn left to the open cafe and make your way back to the bar, where you can enjoy a few signature brews with Sue (the famous Chicago T-Rex!). Then make your way through the awesome exhibits--some of the best the city has to offer!

Best Suburban Brewery: Tighthead Brewing Company

161 N Archer Ave, Mundelein, IL 60060

Driving to this location, you may wonder if you’re lost. But as you pull into the vast parking lot, you will see groups of kids throwing footballs and dogs being walked around as people enjoy this suburban brewery in Mundelein. This spot is great for families on a nice afternoon, and feels local. Upon entering, you can immediately tell that this is a beloved local spot, with tons of pets and people knowing everyone's names. A great place to grab a beer or two on a free afternoon.

Best German Beer: Dovetail Brewery

1800 W Belle Plaine Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

A creative and fresh brewery in Ravenswood (basically next door to Begyle), Dovetail is a sunny, welcoming space where you can grab a seat at the bar and spend some time chatting with a friend. There are booths and tables in this aesthetically pleasing and creative interior, with flights poured into beakers, and an open atmosphere.

Best Taste and Go Spot: Pipeworks Brewing Company

3912 W McLean Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Pipeworks Brewing Company hosts delicious, local beers, but is a taste-and-go spot, rather than a sit-down. That’s right, no place to sit. Simply an entrance into a warehouse where you can see all of their amazing graphic designs of past beers they have made, taste test as many current beers as you want, and maybe pet a wandering cat or two. If you love beer and need to pick some up, definitely stop by this place. I would avoid coming here with a large group, as the tasting space is small!

Best Beer You Can Buy Anywhere: Revolution Brewing

2323 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

If you are looking for a good beer at a local wooden bar, look no further. As a foodie, this may be my favorite brewery in town. It is a full restaurant with delicious food and an awesome classically-Chicago atmosphere. We grabbed burgers, cheese curds, fries, and wings, while we looked at the full menu of different beer options. Highly recommend this spot if you are looking for a fun family get together location, or a big afternoon lunch with friends.

So you can plan your food filled trip

Any other suggestions? Let us know!

Writing and Photography by Emi Lungmus & Jac Lungmus

Editing by Anna McCarthy


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