5 Kickass… Local Breweries

local chicago breweries

Chicago has always been a beer kind of town. But following the Chicago fire and prohibition, many of Chicago’s beer making traditions were lost. Now, with a craft beer revolution sweeping the nation, the Chicagoland area is fast becoming home to some of the best brews in the country. Here are our picks for five kickass local breweries.

Three Floyds Brewing Co. | Learn more

9750 Indiana Parkway, Munster, IN
219.922.4425

Three Floyds deserves mentioning because of its domination of the Chicago beer world at the moment. Sadly, the beer is not made in Chicago; the makers of this small brewery have remained in Northern Indiana, delighting the patrons of bustling Munster with a place that doesn’t suck. I will insist on calling this a Chicago Beer however, as the shadows of Chi-town loom large and this is the only major city in the country you can get the stuff.

If I was a betting man and had to put money on a Chicago microbrewery growing exponentially over the next few years, it would be Three Floyds. Their ambitions might keep their operation small, but the demand for their craft beer is getting immense. So next time you see Three Floyds on the menu, grab a pint — or head to Munster, IN to their brewpub for a delicious day of tasting.

Half Acre Brewery | Learn more

4257 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Square
773.248.4038

Though the Half Acre Beer Company started out in Bucktown, it’s probably best known by residents of Lincoln Square, where it’s currently based. You mustn’t trek to the North Side for these tasty brews, though; Half Acre Lager, Daisy Cutter, and Over Ale are all found across the city, as more and more beer snobbery driven establishments serve up their seasonal brews.

Whether it’s a stop at their brewery or a simple twist of one of their taps, I say embrace Half Acre and support the growing brewery portfolio of Chicago. You won’t regret it.

Revolution Brewing | Learn more

2323 N. Milwaukee Ave., Logan Square
773.227.2739

Clearly these Logan Square bicyclists-turned-brewers knew what they were doing when they released their tamer classic ales to build their initial reputation, only to then delve into the more loco libations to please the taste adventurers. I have a feeling the best is yet to come with this brew house dynamo, as they’ve just begun to release their cask strength ales. Wine barrels, bourbon barrels, a fermenting batch of Michigan cherries, and a few collaborative beers with the Three Floyds boys all promise for some crazy concoctions.

We recommend heading for dinner and staying for the evening. The menu consists of upscale bar eats that will have you returning time after time for more than just the beer.

Goose Island Brewery | Learn more

1800 W. Fulton Street (Main Brewery)
312.226.1119

Goose Island Brewery is the first and largest micro-brewery to dominate Chicago’s beer scene, brewing locally since since 1988. But perhaps more importantly, they also represent a handful of breweries across the country that proved in the late 90’s and early 2000’s that they could distribute craft beer regionally and still compete with the massive corporate swill that’s being dolled out one football commercial at a time.

They were one of the first breweries to bottle their beer from a bourbon barrel, and the concept has done nothing but explode since then. They operate two brewpubs, one in Lincoln Park and one in Wrigleyville, so head out and experience the beer that has captivated Chicagoans for years. It’s truly our first love.

Two Brothers Brewery | Learn more

30w315 Calumet Avenue, Warrenville, IL
630.393.4800

Sometimes simple is best, as illustrated by Two Brothers Brewery. What they lack in pizazz they make up for with consistent, quality brews that never seem to fail. It’s owned by two Chicago brothers, Jim and Jason Ebel, who have been supplying craft beers to the Chicagoland area for over a decade. They also run a sizable brew pub, serving organic, delicious and very ordinary food in a bar setting that looks like it was designed from a template. They have every current beer on tap with a variety of serving glasses, so if you have a free day head out to Warrenville for a visit.

Don’t think a trip to the ‘burbs is worth it? Taste their beer and you’re tune may change. They might be small, but these brewers aren’t screwing around. With 17,000 barrels of fermentation capacity, they bottle 150 beers a minute in an expanded space of 40,000 square feet. Our favorites are Domaine Dupage and Cane & Ebel, and you should be able to find them at bars around town.

Check out our full local brewery series here.





Photo Credit

David Frankel McLean

About David Frankel McLean

I’ve been thinking philosophically about Chicago since I was jaywalking the streets at the age of 10. I don’t root for both baseball teams and I don’t put Ketchup on my hot dogs. When someone says they’re a Chicagoan they are speaking of a heritage and a doctrine, not just a location. What that doctrine is I’m not entirely sure, it’s constantly changing with the growth of the city and I’ll spend my entire life trying to figure it out.

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