You’ll have no problem finding Baderbräu, the signage for the brewery spans the whole block. But when I walked in, I felt like I had been duped—the signs deposited me in what looked like an office building, leading me up a staircase that doesn’t feel like a brewery entrance. Once upstairs, visitors are greeted by a hallway filled with barrel slats and a huge taproom with a brightly colored phoenix mural from local artist Brian Keller and windows overseeing the brewery reaffirming that you are, indeed, in the right place.
Baderbräu’s not new to the brewing scene—they’ve had beers distributed around the city since 2012, but the taproom is a welcome addition. The space is filled with picnic tables and a large wrap-around bar, serving a rotating selection of 10 beers—no small feat. The brewery’s flagships—Chicago Pilsner, South Side Pride (labeled “beer-flavored beer,” a light helles lager) and High Noon (a hefeweizen)—are always on tap, but the rest of the list tends to clock in at lower ABVs, making for easy drinking.
Not all of Baderbräu’s beers are hits: The Lawnmower Lager, a hoppy lager falls flat when it comes to taste, with a grassy single-hop note instead of its promised fruity complexity. As for the flagships, they’re generally fine but lack complexity and didn’t make us eager to reach for another glass. You can order beers by the glass or sample flights of five or ten beers to choose your own adventure and drink through all of the brewery’s offerings. Our favorite was the Velociradler, a South Side Pride mixed with kumquat juice—it’s the perfect summer drink, with fruity notes and a noticeable amount of carbonation.
While not all of the beer is worth making the trip back for on its own, there are things we love about Baderbräu. The space is incredible, an inviting room that you could definitely hang out for a while (or even get married in—weddings have already been held in the brewery space). It’s also a great spot for events, such as regular board game nights, happy hours and even yoga, all hosted at the brewery, which seems serious about building a community around its beer. This neighborly vibe is reminder that it sometimes doesn’t matter what you’re drinking, as long as you’re among friends.
Atmosphere: The space is big and comfortable—it feels like you’ll always be able to find a seat, whether you’re sitting at a picnic table with a big group or cozying up to the bar for a chat with a friend.
What to eat: You can order in from nearby restaurants (feel free to ask the bartenders for a few menus), like Ricobene’s.
What to drink: Try the Velociradler if it’s on tap and grab a flight if you’re looking for a sampling of what’s available before committing.
Where to sit: Our favorite spot to sit will always be at the bar, but you could also bring a few friends and play a board game at one of the picnic tables (BYO board game if it’s not game night).