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Home » A Guide to Chicago’s Best Breweries and Taprooms

A Guide to Chicago’s Best Breweries and Taprooms

Chicago is an amazing city for craft beer lovers. There’s a huge range of breweries and taprooms with long histories and loads of new ones, too. Each one is unique; some offer tours or events like beer tasting and trivia nights.

The breweries and taprooms here use local ingredients and traditional brewing techniques to make quality beers that show off their creativity and skill. Plus, Chicago’s connection to the Prohibition era is fascinating. Some breweries had to close or switch to non-alcoholic drinks. But resourceful brewers stayed afloat by making near-beer or malt syrup for homebrewers. This era of resilience and creativity is still alive today.

The History of Craft Beer in Chicago

Chicago’s craft beer has a storied past. It began small but now it’s a booming industry. In recent years, craft breweries and taprooms have become commonplace in the city.

The mid-1980s saw the start of craft beer in Chicago. Entrepreneurs wanted to challenge the corporate breweries, and they created unique, flavorful beers for the sophisticated palates of Chicagoans.

More and more breweries cropped up around the city. They all had their own styles and flavors, from traditional lagers and ales to experimental brews infused with exotic ingredients.

Neighborhood breweries played a big role in their communities. They were gathering places for locals to meet and connect with each other. They showed off the character and pride of each Chicago neighborhood.

Top Breweries in Chicago

Chicago is known for its terrific breweries! Beer fans can find craft beers and taproom experiences that will make them smile. Here are the top breweries in Chicago:

  • Half Acre Beer Company – they serve up creative and yummy beverages.
  • Revolution Brewing – they focus on traditional brewing with top-notch ingredients.
  • Goose Island Brewery – established in 1988, their famous Goose IPA and Bourbon County Stout are must-tries.
  • Lagunitas Brewing Company – they bring a West Coast flair to their beers.
  • Pipeworks Brewing Co. – they experiment to make unique and limited-edition brews.
  • Off Color Brewing – offering unconventional styles and flavors.

Forbidden Root Brewery is special! They mix traditional brewing with botanicals to make one-of-a-kind brews.

Did you know Chicago’s brewing roots started in the mid-1800s? German immigrants brought their brewing knowledge to the city. This helped create today’s beer scene. From past to present, Chicago is a haven for beer lovers! So, cheers to the top breweries in Chicago!

Best Taprooms in Chicago

Chicago is known for its amazing taprooms, serving up craft beers with a unique drinking experience. Here’s six to check out:

  1. Revolution Brewing – famous for its beer styles and brewing techniques.
  2. Half Acre Beer Company – offers high-quality beers and tasty food.
  3. Dovetail Brewery – focuses on traditional methods and German-style beers.
  4. Maplewood Brewery & Distillery – has a cocktail bar with their own spirits.
  5. Off Color Brewing – known for offering unconventional beers.
  6. Hopewell Brewing Company – has simple yet flavorful beers.

As the Chicago Tribune reported, the city has over 200 breweries and counting. So, come see why Chicago is a paradise for beer lovers!

Insider Tips for Visiting Breweries and Taprooms in Chicago

Chicago is a great place to visit for beer-lovers! Here’s what you should know:

  1. Make a plan in advance. Check websites or make calls – many breweries and taprooms offer reservations for tours and tastings.
  2. Use public transport or a designated driver. Chicago has great public transport and it’s much safer than driving if you’re visiting multiple breweries in one day.
  3. Chat with the brewers and staff. They’re passionate and love to share knowledge about the brewing process. Also, explore the unique features of each brewery – some have beautiful rooftop patios and host music events or food trucks.

I have a story to share. Once I visited a local brewery and spoke to one of the brewers for hours. We discussed brewing techniques and exchanged stories with our pints. It was a great experience and highlighted the hospitality of Chicago’s breweries.

So if you’re planning a trip to Chicago to explore the beer scene, remember these tips. From making reservations to embracing public transportation and engaging with brewers, you’ll have an amazing time discovering the best breweries and taprooms the city has to offer. Cheers!


For a truly vibrant craft beer experience, visiting Chicago’s best breweries and taprooms is essential. There’s something for everyone in this city’s beer landscape – from iconic Revolution Brewing, known for their selection of diverse brews, to Half Acre Beer Company’s innovative flavors. Hopewell Brewing Co., a standout Logan Square taproom, crafts balanced beers for both casual and connoisseur drinkers. Its retro-style taproom and outdoor patio offer the perfect spot to relax and savor each sip.

These establishments also show their commitment to the local community. Many source ingredients from nearby farmers and suppliers. Plus, they host events and fundraisers to give back to their neighborhoods. Maplewood Brewery & Distillery is a prime example. Faced with the pandemic, they produced hand sanitizer instead of beer and spirits. That’s resilience and a strong spirit!

Exploring Chicago’s breweries is so much more than sampling craft beers. It’s an opportunity to join a passionate, creative, and collaborative community. Even if you’re new to the world of craft beer, you’ll walk away with memories that go beyond the last sip. So, grab a pint, enjoy the atmosphere, and raise a glass to this remarkable city’s rich brewing tradition.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which breweries in Chicago offer tours?

Several breweries in Chicago offer tours, including Revolution Brewing, Half Acre Beer Company, and Goose Island Beer Co. These tours provide a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process and often include beer tastings.

2. Can I bring my own food to Chicago taprooms?

Most taprooms in Chicago allow visitors to bring their own food or order from nearby restaurants. However, it’s always a good idea to check with the specific taproom beforehand as some may have their own food options available.

3. Are children allowed at Chicago breweries?

While many breweries in Chicago have family-friendly environments, some may have age restrictions. It is recommended to check the brewery’s website or call ahead to confirm their policy regarding children.

4. Do Chicago breweries offer non-alcoholic options?

Yes, many breweries in Chicago offer non-alcoholic options such as craft sodas, root beers, or alcohol-free beer. These options are often available on tap or in cans.

5. Can I purchase beer to take home from Chicago breweries?

Most breweries in Chicago have on-site retail areas where visitors can purchase beer to take home. Some even offer growlers or crowlers, which are larger containers filled with fresh beer directly from the tap.

6. Are reservations required for visiting Chicago breweries?

Reservations are typically not required to visit Chicago breweries. However, it is recommended to check with the brewery if they have any specific policies or restrictions, especially during peak hours or special events.

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