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The best Chicago breweries

There's plenty of Chicago breweries with great beer—we've rounded up the best ones you can grab a drink at in the city

Photograph: Jason Little
Beer Flight at Band of Bohemia in Ravenswood

Chicago is a city filled to the brim with beer. From great beer bars to brewpubs to beer stores and fantastic brewery tours, there's plenty to learn and try in the city. Whether you're looking for a new brewery to school you on some interesting brewing methods or want to try some of Chicago's iconic breweries in person, Chicago's breweries have a beer or three for you.

 

Best breweries in Chicago

1

Goose Island Clybourn

Since 1988, Goose Island has been turning out a wide array of beers from its Clybourn location, where many of the mainstream Goose Island beers we know today were originally brewed (including the coveted Bourbon County Stout). Now, it’s home to it’s own lineup of beers (along with a few of the Goose Island originals), like the summer farmer’s market series—brewed with whatever the brewery can get its hands on at the farmer’s market. The brewery pumps out plenty of its own small batch blends, plus comes up with some great barrel-aged beers, so head on down—you might even walk in on an event, like a rare bottle release or Beer Academy. —Elizabeth Atkinson

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Lincoln Park
2

Revolution Brewing Tap Room

Meshing with its depiction in the 2013 film Drinking Buddies, Revolution Brewery is a place with plenty of space for enjoying beers with friends (and maybe, just maybe, falling in love with one of them). The Avondale warehouse space usually has some of the freshest Revolution beer on tap and also offers cans and growlers to go, if you want to bring some crisp Anti-Hero IPA home. If you're hungry, you'll need to head to Revolution's brewpub in Logan Square, where you can chow down on burgers and pizza in the building where the brewery started and subsequently became a citywide favorite. —Zach Long

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Avondale
3

Half Acre Brewery

In 2009, Half Acre started brewing beer at its Lincoln Avenue brewery to distribute beers around the city, opening a taproom next door in 2012. Daisy Cutter, a West Coast pale ale, is the one you’ll most often find around the city, but the brewery is more than just a one trick pony. We’re suckers for the Pony Pilsner and Space IPA. Beyond that, just drink whatever floats your boat—it’s hard to make a bad choice at Half Acre. Belly up to the bar or squeeze yourself into one of the booths and make yourself at home. —EA

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North Center
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4

5 Rabbit Cerveceria

This Bedford Park brewery is the first U.S.-based Latin American-inspired brewery, with a lineup of beers that point at specific days in the Aztec calendar (5 Flower, 5 Grass, 5 Lizard and 5 Vulture). You can find 5 Rabbit beers at bars and bottle shops throughout the city, but if you’re willing to make the trek just past Midway Airport, you absolutely should. The taproom serves up a variety of beers to try in a colorful space attached to the brewery, filled with Latin tunes and board games to keep yourself occupied. Not enough? Take a tours of the brewery or stop by on Thursdays for a taco. What’s not to love? —EA

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Suburbs
5

Dovetail Brewery

With delicious European-style beers like hefeweizen, lagers and rauchbier, Dovetail Brewery is the new spot for beer geeks who want to learn a bit about old-school Munich brewing techniques. The space is large, with revolving cast of food trucks parked outside. It’s dog-friendly, too, so don’t be afraid to bring your pooch. The brewery may not have a ton of beers, but what it has it very good. Already blown through the three on tap? Grab a radler and feel refreshed. —EA

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North Center
6

Band of Bohemia

No lie—this spot is a treat for the senses. From the moment you walk in the door and see the decor—choose from plush high-back chairs, deep circular booths or sit at the bar and ogle the old books—you’ll feel a little like royalty. Royalty, but in a super chill, friendly brewpub. It’s kind of like a dream come true. Oh, and then there’s the beer. You can’t go wrong with the Golden Lemongrass Belgian, a 6.4-percent ABV rye ale with subtle floral notes, as it’s brewed with lemongrass, cardamom and lavender. Or go all in with the beer flight so you can try a bit of each of the five beers on tap at the time. You won’t go hungry here, either. You might not be surprised to find that this place also outdoes itself when it comes to bar food, and by that we mean you won’t be ordering a hot dog; you’ll be ordering the Parisian Hot Dog. —Laura Rote

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Lincoln Square
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7

Begyle Brewing Company

I’m not sure if you can find much friendlier service than that of the small taproom at Begyle Brewing Company in North Center. When I was there, I got a little too excited and spilled part of my flight (a rousing game of Old Maid will do that to you), only to have another pour offered right up (though we recommend you try hard not to spill yours). This spot is laid-back to say the least—it’s not the kind of place you go to get hammered—it closes at 9pm Monday through Thursday, 10pm Friday and Saturday, and 8pm Sunday. Instead, this brewery feels like a place to meet up with friends over beers and board games, or even to just throw a few rounds of Skee ball in the small back room. It’s also a chance to try some truly great beers, and maybe even some concoctions that use hops you’ve not had elsewhere, like the New Zealand Motueka hops in the Maybe Next Summer, a delicious late summer ale. While you’re there, you can also almost always pick up a growler of an easy drinking brew like Birds of Paradise, an American pale ale that clocks in at a healthy 5.5 percent, or go a little wild with the Quagmire, a 9-percent double IPA with mosaic and galaxy hops. Oh, and don’t be surprised if you run into Fido. This taproom is dog-friendly. —LR

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North Center
8

Forbidden Root

Since Forbidden Root’s opening earlier in early 2016, we've been fascinated with the beers perpetually switching out on the menu, and the crazy elixirs you can add to them. All of the beers have a botanical element and use local ingredients, from sarsaparilla to sassafras. It’s Chicago’s first “botanic brewery,” and it’s making beers like no one else. But intriguing brews aren’t the only reason we love Forbidden Root—the West Town brewery also has a delightful front room with stools by large windows that open onto Chicago Avenue for prime people-watching on a nice day. —LR

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East Village
9

Goose Island Brewery

This location opened up long before Anheuser Busch bought Goose Island, and features a list of the brewery's most well-known offerings (Four Star Pils, Goose IPA, 312 and the like) as well as a few taproom-only releases out of the Fulton & Wood program and other experiments. The space is modern and provides tours regularly, including a peek into the Matilda room separated from the rest of the brewery for optimum brewing. Stop by for a tour or a taste of one of the eight beers on tap, cask, bottles, cans and vintage selection. —EA

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United Center
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10

Lagunitas Brewing Company

You won't find a brewery on this list that's larger than Lagunitas' Midwest stronghold near Douglas Park, which pumps out 600,000 barrels of beer each year. Seriously, it's gigantic. Upon entering, guests are treated to a psychdelic light show (soundtracked by Gene Wilder's classic "Pure Imagination") before ascending to the taproom which is suspended above the brewery floor. You'll find nearly every Lagunitas beer on tap, accompanied by a small food menu, free baskets of peanuts and pretzels and some occasional live music. Free tours are offered everyday, winding across the catwalks which overlook the bottling line, fermentation tanks and other beer-making implements. —ZL

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North Lawndale
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Comments

4 comments
Greg M

Why is 3 Floyds listed when they are in Indiana?

Patrick .

Yeah, and the first brewery on the Chicago brewery tour list is not even in Illinois. Complete fail all around.

Alex F

You have the Three Floyds review backwards. Three Floyds won't let you into the bar/restaurant without a seat/table. The wait on weekends to get into the bar/restaurant can exceed 2 hours, so people sometimes sign-up for a tour to kill time. Be forwarned, no beer is provided along the tour, and it's almost as boring as waiting in the parking lot. Either way, you won't get any beer until your name is called.

Melanie C

I totally agree. We actually waited 3.5 hours for the 3 Floyds tour and we're completely disappointed. We even stayed 2 hours after we were done eating. It lasted all of 10 minutes. They handed us safety glasses and we stood inside the doorway, while getting a 10 minute non informative speech. 3 Floyds tour is the worst of the 50+ brewery tours I've done.