Craft beer is growing in Chicago, which is awesome for people like me who are used to living in “beer city USA” (Grand Rapids, MI). There’s great big players like Revolution and Goose Island, but some of these smaller/newer breweries are definitely worth checking out!
Hopewell Brewing (Logan Square, Chicago)
The youngest on this list in terms of taproom is Hopewell Brewing in Logan Square, Chicago. That being said, it already seems pretty clear that Hopewell is making a mark on the Chicago beer scene. Although they haven’t seemed to play around too much with flavors or additives so far, the lager, saison, and IPA I’ve had from them are all true to style and taste great. I’m looking forward to see Hopewell grow!
Breakroom Brewery (Albany Park, Chicago)
Also a newbie for Chicago taprooms, Breakroom has potential. Their space’s atmosphere is already on target, and definitely feels like an easy place to relax after a work day in an office or in the shop. I really liked their Belgian styles (typical for me) and I’m interested to see where they go from here.
Empirical Brewery (Ravenswood, Chicago)
I had never heard of Empirical Brewing, but when my family was in town we stumbled upon this and went in to try a flight (ok, two). This has a local hangout feel to it and is supplying some pretty good beer! My favorite was the Belgian Table Beer, while my husband enjoyed Infinity IPA.
Half Acre (North Center/Lincoln Square, Chicago)
A more well known brewery, Half Acre is known for it’s amazing artwork in the taproom and on its distributed cans, and it’s interesting flavor combinations. Beers like Daisy Cutter are consistently restocked at most supermarkets, but the taproom also includes beers like Taco Day (literally tastes like jalapeno) or Little Donkey (a delightful English Brown) and some super tasty nachos.
Begyle Brewing Company (North Center/Lakeview, Chicago)
I have to admit, I underestimated this brewery. It’s interior sort of looks like your friend’s basement; cement floors, glass block windows, and a simple seating area that looks in to the brew-room in all its fermentor/bucket glory. Do not be dismayed, however, because this hidden gem is now one of my favorites in Chicago! Their beer was fantastic in its quality and its flavor. Both my husband (the true beer geek) and me were thoroughly impressed.
There are more, look for part 2 in the future! What should I try?
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