If you’re on the lookout for fun things to do in Chicago, we’ve got you! We’re certifiable craft beer nerds and we’ve rounded up our favorite taprooms, breweries, and pubs for you! The Chicago brewery scene is a pretty impressive one and we love checking them out when we have free time over weekends.
Ryan and I had a really epic 4th date that included a multi-craft brewery crawl in and around our town. We both enjoy tasting, exploring, and trying different beers and breweries so we hit up 4 in one day (uber of course) and enjoyed chatting and comparing our likes and dislikes. I love sour beer. He was not a huge fan. He liked the stronger barrel-aged beer… I wasn’t too keen on them. But we both loved juicy IPAs and stouts. Over time, I’ve come around (a bit) to barrel-aged beer and he even finds himself suggesting sours and berliners for me to try!
1. Solemn Oath Brewery – Logan Square – Solemn Oath Brewery, located in Naperville, opened their Logan Square taproom, Still Life, recently and it’s a classic Chicago tavern. The Naperville location is tucked inside an industrial park and can be tricky to find, but it’s worth it! On one of our dates there, we sipped on ‘My favorite Aunt’: a Black Forest Cake Bourbon Barrel Aged Blend and ‘Unholy Water’: a Tart Milkshake IPA…slushee! YUM! The beer names are just as good as the beer! There’s also a taproom in Chicago.
2. Whiner Beer Co. – Back of the Yards – Whiner Beer Company focuses on barrel-aged beers and is dedicated to the Belgian tradition of bacteria and alternative yeast fermentations. The brewery is housed in The Plant, a collaborative community of food businesses focusing on material reuse and closed loop systems in Chicago’s historic Back of the Yards neighborhood.
3. Off Color Brewing – Goose Island – Founded by former Metropolitan Brewing interns, Off Color Brewing has its own tap room, Mousetrap. The beers are amazing, the space is great, and the staff is super cool! Mousetrap has a dog-friendly patio, too! Some of their most popular brews are Apex Predator, Waddle, and Beer for Tacos.
4. Dovetail Brewery – North Center – Dovetail specializes in brewing authentic German beer using traditional methods. The space is beautiful and dogs are allowed in the Biergarten. Their Festbier is very popular during Oktoberfest! “Brewed in the early spring, and matured through the summer, we make this double-decocted lager for our annual Oktoberfestiversary party (Oct 8-9). Expect fall-like flavors of light toast, bread crust, and of course, pretzel.”
5. Maplewood Brewery & Distillery – Logan Square – We love Maplewood Brewery’s sleek and cheeky cans! Visit The Lounge, their taproom and cocktail bar, to check out their fun series like Juice Pants India Pale Ale, Fruited Sours, Pastry Cakes Ale, and Imperial Stouts. Maplewood also offers public tours for $15 on select days – check their website for events!
6. Marz Community Brewing Co. – McKinley Park – Marz Community Brewing has two locations – The Iron Street Taproom and Life on Marz Community Club. The Iron Street Taproom is located on the near south side of the city, has 24 brews on draft, tons of bottle and can beer, and rotating food pop-ups. And as their name suggests, Marz directly supports the community of Chicago through non-profits and social advocacy. Life on Marz location is a new nano-brewery (mini Marz) in Logan Square featuring their own brews, plus non-alcoholic beverages and locally made snacks.
7. Revolution Brewing – Avondale & Logan Square – Revolution Brewing may be one of Chicago’s best-known craft breweries. We love it for delicious beer, great food (vegan options, too!), and excellent service! This is such a fun place to hang out with friends. Double date anyone?
8. Half Acre Beer Co. – Lincoln Square – Home of the classic Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, Half Acre has a Taproom and (weather permitting) a dog-friendly Beer Garden. They also have a weekly flight, non-alcoholic options, and a food small menu!
10. Mikerphone Brewing – Elk Grove Village – Mikerphone Brewing is one of our favorites that we just don’t get to visit often enough. Their music studio-inspired taproom and beer named after popular songs is just one reason we love to visit. But the beer is SOLID. Between the two of us, we tried a ton of yummy beer with flavors all over the spectrum. My favorite was Sundae Kind of Love – because who could pass up a stout that tastes like chocolate hot fudge, strawberries, peanuts, and sprinkles?!
11. Une Année & Hubbard’s Cave – Niles – Une Annee specializes in Belgian-inspired ales, American Wild Ales (sours), imperial stouts, and IPAs. They offer online ordering for pickup and in-house ordering! Their kitchen is open Wednesdays through Mondays with a BBQ-inspired menu. The taproom and patio are spacious!
12. Liquid Love Brewing Company – Buffalo Grove – Liquid Love has tasty beer in a groovy, quaint space. They specialize in sours, have board games to borrow, and the bartenders are knowledgeable and friendly!
13. Penrose Brewing Company – Geneva – Penrose Brewing is a small, locally owned Brewery and Taproom that specializes in small batch brewing, fresh hoppy flavors, and wild/sour fermentations. They offer brewery tours on Saturdays, Trivia Night on Wednesdays, and special events like food trucks and pop-up food options!
14. Noon Whistle – Lombard & Naperville – This is where we came for one of our first dates! Noon Whistle brews the majority of its beer at the Naperville location and small batches at the original Lombard brewery. Originally they focused on lower ABV ales but have since included hazy, hoppy, sours, and everything in between. The Lombard Taproom has a kitchen with a full menu and a weekend brunch Bloody Mary station where you can build your own with all your favorite mixes and toppings!
15. Whiskey Hill Brewing Co. – Westmont – This was (for a very long time), my favorite local brewery. The variety of innovative and delicious pours you see here is unimaginable. They’ve since changed head brewers but you’ll still find incredible options ranging from fun sours to solid traditional IPAs. There’s also a small taproom located inside the Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge.
16. Alter Brewing Co. – St. Charles, Downers Grove, Oakbrook (coming soon) – Alter Brewing is all about the social experience. They make beer that people love to drink! Whether it’s a date night, drinks with friends, or even a wedding, Alter Brewing is ready to help you make memories. They also host trivia nights, live music, pop-ups, and even yoga!
18. Ike & Oak Brewing Co. – Woodridge – great beer and the best pizzas! We love the outdoor patio, fun atmosphere, and friendly service. Thursdays are trivia nights and they have live music on the weekends.
19. Imperial Oak Brewing – Willow Springs & Brookfield – the last time we visited Imperial Oak I had the Udderly Black Nitro Stout and Ryan had the Crank it Hype NEIPA. Both were amazing! 🍻 .
20. Black Horizon Brewing – Willowbrook – This fun taproom is the ONLY Black-owned brewery with a permanent location in Chicagoland. Black Horizon has great craft beer, board games, classic arcade video games, friendly staff, and a dog-friendly patio. They don’t serve food but have some snack options and special event food trucks.
21. Miskatonic Brewing Company – Darien – Miskatonic’s taproom is spacious, clean, dog-friendly, and has a great patio! Everything we tried was amazing. They always have different options, seasonal brews, and special events like food trucks, live music, and game nights.
I hope you found a new brewery to check out from this list. When you visit them, make sure to tag us on Instagram so we can see what you got and get your review!!
Side note: Did you know Grand Rapids has 80+ breweries and was voted Best Beer Town & Best Beer Scene by USA Today? Ryan and I bonded over our love for craft beer when we were first dating. And visiting Grand Rapids was the first trip we ever took together. Stay tuned for our post to get all our Grand Rapids recommendations for your next beercation!