Warm summer days are waning, and there’s no better time to get out of the house and grab a drink. The craft beer scene in Chicago seems to grow by the minute, so there’s no excuse for not being adventurous and trying something new. Not sure where to start? Here’s a handful of our current favorite breweries that you should stop by for a beer:
Baderbrau Brewing Company. Baderbräu Brewing Company isn’t exactly new to the Chicago craft-beer scene—its beers have been around the city since 2012. But now the brand has its own massive brewery and taproom space, with 10 beers in rotation at all times. Three of those beers are the brewery’s flagships—Chicago Pilsener, South Side Pride and High Noon—and most have an easy-drinking ABV. To top it off, the South Side taproom is ridiculously cool, boasting a huge mural of a psychedelic phoenix from local artist Brian Keller and a view overlooking the brewery floor. Order in from local restaurants, and throw a few back for a fun evening.
Dovetail Brewery. With delicious European-style beers like hefeweizen, lager and rauchbier, Dovetail Brewery is the new spot for beer geeks looking 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 expect more soon, its new grodziskie—a Polish oak smoked wheat beer—comes out on Friday), but what it has it does very well. Already blown through the three on tap? Grab a radler and feel refreshed.
Forbidden Root. Since Forbidden Root’s opening earlier this year, 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.
Hopewell Brewing Company. The bright, modern space at Hopewell's taproom is a breath of fresh air when it comes to the beer world. Yes, now there's a place where you can throw back a few pints and feel like you're a model in an Ikea catalog. In this vibrant Logan Square brewery, it's not uncommon to see kids running around or happy beer sippers carrying in takeout to pair with a bright and citrusy Swift IPA before a rousing game of Connect Four. But if you don’t want to do takeout, it’s okay. You’ll often find one of the city’s best food trucks parked outside.
Sketchbook. This tiny brewery in Evanston has been long-awaited by the community, starting out in late 2014 distributing kegs around the city before opening a storefront in April 2016. Branding itself as a community-supported brewery, Sketchbook offers a subscription service on growler fills. You’ll find 12 beers on tap, so there’s bound to be one you love. Our favorite is the Snowy Owl, a rye-amber ale clocking in at a healthy 5.6%, just enough for us to want more without pushing us over the edge. Find something you need more of? Check out the cooler, where you’ll find four-packs and bombers ripe for the drinking.