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Life on Marz Community Club
Photograph: Adi Goodrich Pecknold

The 39 best Chicago breweries and taprooms

Looking for creative sours, a strong stout or a reliable lager? Grab a draft at the best Chicago breweries and taprooms.

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long
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Chicago continues to be one of the best cities in the nation for drinking amazing, locally-brewed beers, with more than 160 breweries in the city and surrounding suburbs. You'll find craft brews on tap at some of our favorite dive bars in Chicago, but if you want to taste the freshest suds in town, you need to head to Chicago breweries and taprooms. Among some of the best bars in Chicago, these brewery-owned facilities boast everything from bare-bones tasting rooms to cozy brewpubs that serve delicious food—plus, some picturesque beer gardens. And the breweries without in-house kitchens will usually let you bring in grub from some of the best restaurants in Chicago. Not sure where to drink your next hazy IPA, barrel-aged stout or fruited sour? Snag a glass (or sample a flight) at these Chicago breweries and taprooms.

RECOMMENDED: Check out more of the best bars in Chicago

Best breweries in Chicago

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  • Lincoln Square

Half Acre outgrew its original brewery in Lincoln Park years ago, moving most of its production to a warehouse just west of Andersonville. It took a few more years for it to open up a taproom in the space, but it was worth the wait. The Balmoral location contains a large indoor bar with plenty of seating and a garden patio with picnic tables—perfect for sipping a fresh Daisy Cutter when it's warm outside. And if you're hungry, you'll find burger and sausages (including vegetarian-friendly Beyond varieties) as well as curly fries and cheese curds to enjoy while you decide what beer to order next.

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  • Logan Square

The long-awaited Chicago expansion of Naperville's Solemn Oath Brewing joins Logan Square's crowded brewery scene, offering a selection of drafts, cans and spritzes in a cozy, dive bar-inspired setting. Among the wood paneling, framed vintage paintings and assorted tchotchkes, you can enjoy 20 beverages on tap at Still Life, including hop-packed IPAs like Snaggletooth Bandana and crisp selections like the Lü kolsch. The bar also stocks cans of City Water (Solemn Oath's hard seltzer brand) and serves a couple of cocktail-like spritzes made with the effervescent liquids. If you're looking for the formiable menu of a well-stocked taproom infused with corner bar charm, you've come to the right place.

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  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • Logan Square

Building on the success of its Bridgeport outpost, Marz Community Brewing comes to Chicago's North Side, taking up residence in the same building that houses the Margie's Candies ice cream parlor and the Snakes & Lattes board game café. Dubbed the Life on Marz Community Club, the space is a bit smaller than the original Bridgeport taproom, but it's decor is as stylish as the art that graces the brewery's various beer cans. Dangling lights and multi-colored walls complement a cooler stocked with cans of Marz creations and taps pouring drafts (including a few exclusive brews). And if you need a snack while you knock back some hazy IPAs and Chug Life lagers, you'll find a menu of sausages featuring selections from Bridgeport's own Makowski's Real Sausage.

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  • River North

After years of requests, the folks making strange brews at Off Color opened a taproom in 2017, located just down the street from the now-defunct iO Theater, a strip club and a nightclub. The Mousetrap boasts 16 draft lines and an assortment of beers that are brewed in-house (Apex Predator, Scurry) as well as some guest drafts. There's also a selection of cocktails inspired by Off Color beers and an onsite bottle shop where you can pick up some souvenirs. Bring your own snacks, take a seat and sample some of the most creative beer being made in Chicago.

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  • Bars
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  • Logan Square

Following eight years of contract brewing, Middle Brow Beer Co. made a home of its own on a bustling stretch of Armitage Avenue in Logan Square. Sporting rustic brick walls, a trio of foeders (giant wooden barrels used to age beer) looming over the dining area and a spacious bar, Bungalow tries to create a welcoming environment for guests to sample Middle Brow's experimental brews. In the morning, toast topped with cream cheese, fruit and honey is the main attraction, served alongside coffee and beer. Thin crust pizzas piled with toppings fill tables in the evening, with the action spilling out onto the patio when the weather cooperates. Go ahead and order an extra pint, because 50 percent of all Middle Brow profits are donated to local social-justice organizations.

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  • New City

Don't come to the Whiner Beer Company taproom expecting extremely bitter IPAs or hefty stouts—co-founders Brian Taylor and Ria Neri are more interested in sour and Belgian beers. Very few other brewers in Chicago are making an apple-infused Kölsch (Et La Tête) or a bière garde that uses experimental Hüll Melon hops (Rubrique a Brac). The small taproom is housed in the Plant, a nonprofit net-zero energy food production space situated in an old warehouse in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. If you wholeheartedly embrace funky and singular brews, go ahead and grab a flight.

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  • Bars
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  • North Center

With delicious European-style beers like hefeweizen, lagers and rauchbier, Dovetail Brewery is the best spot for beer geeks who want to learn a bit about old-school Munich brewing techniques. The space is large, with a revolving cast of food trucks parked outside and it’s dog-friendly, too, so don’t be afraid to bring your pooch. While you won't find pale ales, IPAs or anything extremely hop-forward here, your palette will be satisfied in different ways by the lineup of German-inspired suds. If you've already blown through the options on tap, ask for a refreshing radler for a change of pace.

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  • Avondale

Views of the Chicago River fill the floor-to-ceiling windows at Metropolitan Brewing's Avondale taproom, where there's room for nearly 100 people to sip beer and enjoy the scenery (plus a a riverfront patio that's a popular destination when the weather is warm). The brewery's output is focused on German-style lagers, including the Krankshaft Kölsch and Dynamo Vienna lager. While there's no food served at the taproom, guests are welcome to order grub from nearby restaurants like Honey Butter Fried Chicken, Kuma's Corner and DMen Tap.

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  • Bars
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  • River West/West Town

On Tour Brewing hadn't even been open for a year when it walked away with two medals at the prestigious Great American Beer Festival. The accolades have established the West Loop brewery as a destination for locals and tourists alike, who fill the elegant space to drink owner Mark Legenza's music-inspired IPAs, Belgian beers and pilsners. The bright, airy taproom also features regular live music, grub from local food trucks, brewery tours conducted by Legenza and a couple of TVs so you can keep up with the score of the game.

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  • Streeterville

Located just off the Magnificent Mile, Crushed By Giants brings a brewpub to one of the city's most glitzy shopping districts. Owned by the team behind DryHop Brewing and Corridor Brewing, this brewery offers a selection of approachable beers, including hazy IPAs and regularly rotating beers. The menu focuses on neo-neapolitan pizzas and sandwiches. It may seem out of place amid the steakhouses and chain restaurants of Streeterville, but Crushed By Giants offers an alternative to the neighborhood's usual fare, accompanied by solid local beer.

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  • Logan Square

Founded as an incubator where multiple breweries can share equipment and produce small batches of beer, Pilot Project is a great place to sit down and sample many wildly different types of beers in one sitting. In addition to mainstays like a house IPA and lager, the sterile but cozy taproom also serves creations from breweries (like Brewer's Kitchen and Azadi Brewing) that specialize in culinary-inspired beer, kombucha and mixed-culture barrel-aged beers. A patio lined with picnic tables provides plenty of room for outdoor drinking and an early-morning menu of coffee and pasties caters to freelancers, who post up with their laptops throughout the afternoon.

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  • Mckinley Park

Echoing the stylish designs of its bottles and cans, the home of Marz Community Brewing serves the brewery's latest creations in a transformed warehouse space. Founded by some of the same folks behind Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar in Bridgeport, the taproom boasts a circular bar and plenty of tables where you can sit back and enjoy Jungle Boogie pale wheat ale or a Bubbly Kriek Berliner Weisse. If you work up an appetite, order a katsu sando, a soba noodle salad or a basket of nori fries from Mom's, a Japanese comfort food concept that has taken up residence in the Marz kitchen.

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  • Bars
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  • Logan Square

The bright, modern space at Hopewell's taproom is a breath of fresh air in a city filled with quasi-industrial brewpubs. With wood-paneled walls and long, pristine tables, you can throw back a few pints in this Logan Square brewery and feel like you're a model in an Ikea catalog. It's not uncommon to see dogs lounging on the floor or happy beer sippers carrying in takeout (nearby restaurant Mini Mott will even deliver its burgers to Hopewell) to pair with a bright and citrusy Swift IPA before a rousing game of Connect Four.

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  • Avondale

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 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.

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  • Bars
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  • United Center

Goose Island's Fulton Street location opened long before Anheuser Busch bought the craft brewer, 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 from the Fulton & Wood program. The space is modern and provides tours regularly, including a peek into the Matilda room, separated from the rest of the brewery to keep the wild yeast from contaminating other beers. Stop by for a tour or a taste of one of the eight beers on tap, as well as bottles, cans and vintage selection (including sought-after Bourbon County Brand Stout).

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  • Humboldt Park

Scandinavian-inspired beer and cuisine are on the menu at this brewery and taproom inside the Kimball Art Center, just steps away from the 606. Founded by a pair of former Lagunitas Brewing employees, Ørkenoy serves approachable lagers and ales that incorporate ingredients like wild currant leaves and gooseberries. If you're feeling peckish, there's also a menu of smørrebrød open-faced sandwiches that are destined to take over your Instagram feed. Stop by Ørkenoy in the morning to grab a cup of joe from trendy Los Angeles coffee brand Dayglow, which is located directly next to the brewery.

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  • River West/West Town

Home of Burnt City Brewing, Around the Bend Beer Co., Bold Dog Beer Co. and and Casa Humilde Cervecería Artesanal, this former warehouse brings a multitude of craft beer options to West Town. Guests receive a card upon entering that allows them to pour their own beers (charged by the ounce) at four different stations throughout the bright and airy brewpub, one for each of the breweries housed in District Brew Yards. Make sure to check out the back of the brewery, where Lillie’s Q serves pulled pork, ribs, brisket and its famous tri-tip sandiwches.

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  • Irving Park

The first thing you'll notice upon entering Eris Brewery and Cider House is the historic structure you're inside of—a renovated church that dates back more than a century. Sleek booths, tables and a bar outfit the two-level space, offering no shortage of places to peruse the menu of house-made ciders and beers (five-ounce pours will allow you to taste more of the selection). If you're hungry, the kitchen serves bacon-wrapped sausages and steak frites, which should obviously be accompanied by even more beer and cider.

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  • North Park

Look for the sticks of dynamite on flags adorning a nondescript office park in Sauganash, and you'll know that you've stumbled upon the Alarmist Brewing taproom, which also happens to be the neighborhood's only bar. The industrial space houses a bar with two English beer engines which pour Alarmist's cask-conditioned beers. You won't find TVs on the walls and there's no kitchen serving food, though you're welcome to order in or bring your own. Make sure to try a pint of the award-winning Le Jus New England IPA, check out the special creations on tap and take home some cans.

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  • Lincoln Square

Situated on the same block as Half Acre's Balmoral brewery, the Spiteful Brewing taproom takes a more understated approach than its expansive neighbor while providing another good reason for beer lovers to flock to Bowmanville. Visitors can sit at a long wooden bar, grab a table or throw some darts while enjoying Spiteful staples such as the Working For the Weekend double IPA and the God Damn Pigeon Porter. When the weather is warm, the garage doors that line the front of the building go up and the quasi-outdoor drinking commences.

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  • Bars
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  • Logan Square

Don't come to Ravinia Brewing Company expecting picnics on a lawn and adult contemporary acts playing in the background—the brewpub may share a name with a certain summer music festival in suburban Highland Park (where Ravinia's original taproom is located), but that's pretty much where the similarities end. Located at the confluelnce of Logan Square, Roscoe Village and Avondale, the airy space is stocked with approachable lagers, IPAs and stouts, served alongside a menu of Mexican street food that includes tacos, burritos, salads and fried ice cream for dessert.

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  • Near South Side

After outgrowing its Pilsen digs, Moody Tongue moved west to a sprawling, 28,600-square-foot space (the former home of Baderbräu), giving the brewery more room to play. Housed inside the new headquarters is an on-site brewery and production facility as well as two unique dining experiences helmed by executive chef Jared Wentworth. Guests can choose to feast on a 12-course tasting menu in the upscale Dining Room or have a more casual experience in the Bar, where dishes are offered à la carte. Of course, Brewmaster Jared Rouben’s food-friendly beers will runneth over in both spaces, with popular pours like Sliced Nectarine IPA and Steeped Emperor’s Lemon Saison, as well as more experimental brews like the Scotch Barrel Aged Peated Scotch Ale.

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  • Bars
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  • United Center

A relatively new addition to the burgeoning Chicago Brewing District, Midwest Coast Brewing Company isn't trying to reinvent the witbier. Instead, the spacious, family-friendly (and dog-friendly) taproom seeks to straddle the line between the styles of beer favored on the East and West Coasts, serving taste bud-tingling double IPAs alongside hazy New England-style brews. Those without a taste for hop-forward beers also have options, like solid brown ales and ciders provided by local cidermakers. The parking lot hosts a rotating lineup of local food trucks if you're feeling peckish and a calendar of events that range from comedy shows to live music will keep you entertained while you decide what your next pint will be.

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  • Logan Square

Located in a section of the brewery's Logan Square production facility, Maplewood's taproom is clearly inspired by the corner bars that are scattered throughout Chicago's neighborhoods. The unassuming lounge is stocked with candlelit tables, a bar with views of the brewery's equipment and a fridge where you can grab bottles and cans to take home. Aside from lots of beer, the menu includes cocktails (made with Maplewood's own spirits) and a selection of food, such as corn dogs, poutine and a cheeseburger.

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  • Lower West Side

Enter through a narrow alleyway and you'll find yourself inside this rustic Pilsen brewpub, where the taplines are surrounded by a wall of green moss and guests sit at wooden benches. Alulu's beer list is all over the place (in a good way), with dark lagers and IPAs presented alongside more adventurous creations like a farmhouse ale brewed with green peppercorns and smoke-forward rauchbiers. If you're having trouble choosing, a five-beer flight makes it easy to sample a range of options. Don't sleep on the in-house food menu either, which features charcuterie, small plates, beer bread and more substantial entrees like burgers, wings and poutine.

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  • Portage Park

Easily accessible from the Montrose Blue Line stop, Old Irving Brewing provides a place on the far North Side to grab a beer and a delicious bite to eat. The gastropub's menu comes from Matthias Merges (Billy Sunday), who serves house-made beer cheese brats and waffle fries covered in sausage gravy. The beer nearly plays second fiddle to the cuisine, but you'll want to save room to try the Della Kölsch and the Cushy Blood Orange fruited sour ale (or at least take home some cans from the cooler).

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  • Bars
  • Gastropubs
  • West Loop
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Named for the Haymarket Affair of 1886—a violent confrontation between workers and police in Chicago that lead to the establishment of the eight-hour work day—this brewpub has been serving cold beers and hot grub in the West Loop for more than a decade. The cavernous space houses a couple of bars and a kitchen that churns out standard brewery fare (think burgers, tavern-style pizzas, fried cheese curds and the obligatory giant pretzel). Adventerous drinkers will love digging into Haymarket's stylistically diverse beer list, which runs the gamut from blonde ales to barrel-aged barleywines (and even a couple of hard seltzers). It's a reliable spot for a couple of beers while you wait for a table at restaurants that line Randolph Street and Fulton Market.

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  • Irving Park

"Embrace your strange," reads the gigantic mural that graces the side of the Twisted Hippo Taproom and Eatery in Albany Park. It's a fitting motto for a brewery that's clearly trying to find its own place among Chicago's crowded brewing scene and establish itself as a destination for beer fiends in an area of the city devoid of taprooms. Twisted Hippo's menu tries to appeal to drinkers who might be turned off by conventional IPAs and lagers, offering a stout brewed with peanut butter and an Italian plum saison. There's a menu of standard brewpub fare (wings, burgers, pretzels and fried cheese curds) if you're hungry, and you don't need to worry about tax or tip—Twisted Hippo's prices are "all-inclusive," with gratuity and fees factored in. Save your singles for the 10-player Killer Queen arcade machine located on the brewery's second level.

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  • Bars
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  • North Center

When Rev. Brent Raska's church in North Riverside closed several years ago, the pastor decided to turn his attention to craft brewing and the fellowship that can be created through sharing a beer. Bearing a Biblical name, the North Center brewery serves beers based on Raska's homebrew recipes, with a focus on kettle sours and IPAs. The spacious taproom is open to families and community groups looking for a meeting space (it's also dog-friendly, in case you want to bring your four-legged friend along). A portion of all proceeds are donated to a variety of local nonprofits and Burning River frequently organizes community service activities as well as community fundrasiers.

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  • Lincoln Square

Beer nerds, science nerds and regular old nerds will appreciate the thoroughly-researched beers offered by Empirical Brewery, which names its creations after subatomic particles and sci-fi space warriors. Order a Symbiotic Kettle Sour or a Proton No Coast IPA in Empirical's Ravenswood taproom, decorated with Star Wars spaceships hanging from the ceiling and Lego bricks on its wall—and when the weather is warm, you can take your drinks outside to a small patio.

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  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Wicker Park

The cripsy New Haven-style slices slathered in red sauce and parmesean cheese are undoubtedly the main attraction at this Wicker Park pizzeria, but there's also a brewery contained within this house of pies. Piece's seven-barrel brewhouse creates award-winning beers like the Golden Arm kolsch and the Swingin’ Single Belgian ale—both of which act as a great companion to your fourth or fifth slice of Hot Doug's Atomic Sausage Pizza.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • West Loop

While chef Rick Bayless is no longer involved with this brewery and taqueria, Cruz Blanca Cerveceria has kept its menu of Mexican cuisine and flavorful cerveza intact. Fill up on tacos piled with pork belly al pastor and crispy shrimp as well as more interesting options like the Oaxcan-style tlayudas, which are giant, shareable tostadas topped with beans, cheese, salsa and your choice of protein. If you're ordering a beer, you'll find solid lagers and pale ales as well as more experimental wild ales and rich, chocolate porters inspired by Mexican ingredients and flavors. If you like to have a great meal while knocking back a few brews, you can't go wrong here.

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  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • Lower West Side

If hop-forward beers aren't something you enjoy imbibing, Lo Rez should be on your list of places to grab a drink. The Pilsen brewery is run by a couple of former tech-industry workers who avoid overly bitter styles, focusing instead on Belgian ales, stouts and lagers. The results are served in a sparse, 19th-century building that welcomes visitors to sample approachable beers among friends.

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  • Lake View

An offshoot of DryHop Brewers, Corridor Brewery & Provisions has quickly established itself as a destination for drinkers on the bustling Southport Corridor. Recently, the brewery started amassing an impressive haul of awards from the prestigious Great American Beer Festival, including medals for its Belgian-style creations and a hazy double IPA. We recommend ordering a flight of any beers that catch your eye and digging into a pizza, topped with roasted Brussels sprouts or barbecue pork. Much like DryHop, Corridor is typically crowded, so plan accordingly—especially if you're showing up for brunch.

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  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • East Village

Since Forbidden Root opened 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.

  • Bars
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  • Lincoln Park
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This is where it all started for Goose Island back in 1988, when founder John Hall opened a brewpub and began making beer inspired by what he drank while traveling through Europe. While Goose Island has grown considerably over the past three decades, it hasn't outgrown its home on Clybourn Avenue, where guests can still have a pint and enjoy a meal. An extensive makeover in 2017 added additional taps to the brewpub's main bar, filled the space with dark wooden accents and added a stack of barrels to the decor—a reminder that this was the place in which the first keg of Goose Island's famous Bourbon County Brand Stout was tapped.

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  • Bars
  • Gastropubs
  • Lake View

This hopping brewery is just what East Lakeview needed. The rotating selection of house beers includes IPAs, wheats and pale ales, and a flight of each draft offering is an easy way to find a favorite (but don't get too attached, as brews are frequently replaced). The food menu encourages sharing with dishes like the bacon poutine with sausage gravy, sweet and sour beer battered Brussels sprouts and honey sriracha wings, while the tomato jam-topped burger is a new classic. Get there early and keep your eyes peeled for bar seats—DryHop gets crowded and the wait for a table only makes it feel more like the place to be.

Begyle Brewing Company
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  • North Center

Located just down the street from Dovetail, Begyle's taproom is filled with board games, a couple of Skee-Ball machines and plenty of beer to drink on site or take home. The most interesting feature of this bar is its Community Supported Brewery membership program, which allows visitors to purchase a subscription that entitles them to one or two growlers of beer each month (and some additional perks).

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  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • Hermosa

The beginnings of this Hermosa cider house can be traced back to a sweet story: shortly after Charlie Davis met Katie Morgan, he made a hard cider for her and just six months after their wedding, the couple founded Right Bee Cider. The cidery's simple taproom is attached to its production facility, meaning that guests will usually find some of the freshest pours of Right Bee's dry and semi-dry varieties. The no-frill approach means that you're welcome to bring your own food (there are Mexican restaurants and a sandwich shop nearby) and you can purchase bottles, howlers and growlers of cider to enjoy at home.

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