2021 Chicago Craft Beer Scene
The city of Chicago may have been slow to the micro-brew game, but she’s certainly catching up. Chicago now has five breweries/brewpubs operating in the city limits…well, six if you count chain Rock Bottom (which offers a great rooftop bar in the summer). Here’s the skinny on the beer and bar grub served at each.
Goose Island Brewhouse
Chicago’s original brewery, Goose Island operates two locations in the city. The first to open up (in 1998) was the North and Clybourn location. Over 20 varieties of beer are produced here, including the breweries signature drafts like Honker’s Ale and 312, plus more unique brews such as the Night Stalker Stout and Standard Ordinary Bitter. The brewery also hosts guest taps of nearby breweries including the Lost Abbey, Half Acre, and Great Lakes.
The Wrigleyville location is equally well-stocked with delicious beers, though on days when the Cubs play it can be a bit of a madhouse. Both locations have full kitchens that turn out hearty pub fare like nachos, burgers, and heaping salads. Both locations open at 11am daily and offer beer to-go.
Goose Island Brewhouse, 1800 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60614; Phone: (312) 915-0071
Piece is a pizza restaurant and brewpub, because what goes better with a cold craft beer than some piping hot, cheesy, doughy pizza? Of course, salads, appetizers, sandwiches, and dessert are also available. Piece’s brews have won awards at several beer competitions. Styles brewed include the Full Frontal Pale Ale, Fornicator Bock, and the Worryin’ Ale rye beer. The piece offers daily discounts Sunday through Thursday, with live-band karaoke on Saturday nights.
Piece Brewery, 1927 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60622; Phone: (773) 772-4422
The newest spot on the brewery scene in Chicago is Revolution Brewing, which opened in February of 2010 to rave reviews. The brewer is an alum of Goose Island and plans on brewing 25 different styles each year, including lagers, ales, Belgian wits, IPAs, and stouts. The menu has elevated a step above pub food and features mouth-watering creations like bacon fat popcorn with bacon, crispy sage, and parmesan; mussels with hard cider and bleu cheese; burgers, salads, and pizzas; and entrees like pork chops with sage stuffing.
Revolution Brewing, 2323 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647; Phone: (773) 227-2739
Half Acre Beer Co Balmoral Tap Room & Garden
The story of Half Acre Beer is the story of passionate people doing what they love and finding success. In 2006 a few friends decided to open a brewery and now their beers, like Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, Half Acre Over Ale, and Big Hugs Imperial Stout, are available at Chicago’s best bars and beer stores. There’s no onsite bar or restaurant, but the brewery does hold the occasional tour or special event.
Half Acre Beer Co, 2050 W Balmoral Ave, Chicago, IL 60625; Phone: (773) 754-8488
Metropolitan Brewing doesn’t have a pub, or a restaurant, or even a phone number. What it does have are delicious beers, like Kolsch, lagers, and alt-styles, available at bars and stores in the Chicago area. Though you can’t come to sit and sip here like you can at some of the other breweries, you can come to see how a small brewery operates. Metropolitan offers brewery tours Saturdays at 1pm and 3pm.
Metropolitan Brewing, 3057 N Rockwell St, Chicago, IL 60618; Phone: (773) 754-0494