Breweries in Illinois

Select Local Merchants

If you've ever raised a glass of Belgian-style Sofie or gotten lost in the oaky, chocolatey flavors of Bourbon County Stout, you may think that you know Goose Island's beers. But you haven't tasted the whole story unless you've visited one of Goose Island's two Chicago brewpubs.

That's because the brewpubs?both of which are independently owned by Goose Island founder John Hall, despite Anheuser-Busch's 2011 acquisition of the larger company?specialize in small-batch beers that showcase the creativity and prowess of its brewers. Most of these beers are produced only once and can't be found in any beer store, corner shop, or on your roommate's side of the refrigerator. When guests visit the pubs, they have the chance to sip artful ales, imperial stouts, and IPAs that might never again be tasted once the keg runs dry.

Brewmaster Nicholas Barron talked to us about the creative brews he's currently working on and what to expect during a tour of the brewpub.

On the Exclusive Brews You'll Taste:

"We?re able to create new batches very frequently?we have at least one new beer a week, if not two. We do a lot of small batches, one-off beers, exploring different flavors?99% of everything we make here is just for the pub [not the mass market]."

On His Summery Farmers' Market Beers:

"Once a week, we go to Green City Market, buy fresh local produce, and incorporate that into our new beers. . . you can follow how things ripen as the season goes on. We just did a strawberry imperial wheatwine. Next week, a hopfenweizen with sweet basil, mint and lemon balm."

On the Double Life of the Brewpub's Tour Guides

Typically, tour groups stand on the brewery platform so they can get a view of the brewpub's inner workings. The tour guides also provide a glimpse behind-the-scenes. "A lot of our tour guides are brewers and are excited about sharing. Bring questions.?

Scroll through the slideshow at the top of the page to watch a video interview with one of Goose Island's passionate tour guides.

3535 N Clark St
Chicago,
IL
US

If you've ever raised a glass of Belgian-style Sofie or gotten lost in the oaky, chocolatey flavors of Bourbon County Stout, you may think that you know Goose Island's beers. But you haven't tasted the whole story unless you've visited one of Goose Island's two Chicago brewpubs.

That's because the brewpubs?both of which are independently owned by Goose Island founder John Hall, despite Anheuser-Busch's 2011 acquisition of the larger company?specialize in small-batch beers that showcase the creativity and prowess of its brewers. Most of these beers are produced only once and can't be found in any beer store, corner shop, or on your roommate's side of the refrigerator. When guests visit the pubs, they have the chance to sip artful ales, imperial stouts, and IPAs that might never again be tasted once the keg runs dry.

Brewmaster Nicholas Barron talked to us about the creative brews he's currently working on and what to expect during a tour of the brewpub.

On the Exclusive Brews You'll Taste:

"We?re able to create new batches very frequently?we have at least one new beer a week, if not two. We do a lot of small batches, one-off beers, exploring different flavors?99% of everything we make here is just for the pub [not the mass market]."

On His Summery Farmers' Market Beers:

"Once a week, we go to Green City Market, buy fresh local produce, and incorporate that into our new beers. . . you can follow how things ripen as the season goes on. We just did a strawberry imperial wheatwine. Next week, a hopfenweizen with sweet basil, mint and lemon balm."

On the Double Life of the Brewpub's Tour Guides

Typically, tour groups stand on the brewery platform so they can get a view of the brewpub's inner workings. The tour guides also provide a glimpse behind-the-scenes. "A lot of our tour guides are brewers and are excited about sharing. Bring questions.?

Scroll through the slideshow at the top of the page to watch a video interview with one of Goose Island's passionate tour guides.

1800 W Fulton St
Chicago,
IL
US

Haymarket Pub & Brewery houses two prominent culinary figures. Chef Christopher McCoy ensures everything on the menu is prepared in-house, whether the four rotating seasonal sausages, the Amish-style rotisserie chicken, or the sustainable seafood; and brewer Peter Crowley ensures the same home-made mentality applies to the beer program. Peter makes more than 100 batches of fresh craft beer each year, focusing on classic Belgian and contemporary American styles. He was won medals at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival, the 2012 World Beer Cup, and the 2011 and 2012 Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer.

These creators merge their passions in the kitchen and brewery of their 100-year-old building, which was named as one of Zagat's 24 Must-Visit Craft Beer Destinations Around the U.S. A corridor connects the two main bars and dining rooms, which both feature exposed-brick walls and mosaic-tiled floors. Visitors traveling between the rooms are treated to views of the brewhouse, fermentation tanks, and serving vessels, where the brewing team creates fresh hand-crafted beers. Servers navigate between tables clutching locally-sourced pork ribs, vegan soups and sandwiches, and half-pound burgers dressed with chile-infused chocolate sauce, olive mayo, or house-cured bacon. At the bar, staff pours current house brews alongside guest craft beers from 32 taps. On special nights, this space also hosts international beer dinners, live music, and the Drinking and Writing Theater—a showcase of original works inspired by Oscar Wilde’s tendency to chug juice boxes while he wrote.

737 W Randolph St
Chicago,
IL
US

Each member of the duo behind Lake Effect Brewing Company has a similar story, as both developed a new appreciation for handcrafted beers while traveling through Europe. With their respective beer passions ignited, Clint Bautz and Lynn Ford embarked on their journeys as homebrewers. Their hobby gained momentum faster than a cheetah driving a Formula 1 car, so much so that it outgrew its brewing space. So, the two joined forces as Lake Effect Brewing Company. The result is a roster of handcrafted beers, many of which are inspired by the European styles they first tried abroad.


Groupon Guide to Chicago

In an interview with the Guide, Lake Effect Brewing Company's owner and founder, Clint Bautz, talks about the brewery's "insanely hopped" Falcon Dive IPA, its local ingredients, and how it stands out from the brewery's other creations.

4727 West Montrose Avenue
Chicago,
IL
US

Reservations: Required

Pro Tip: Eat before you go on a tour so you have a great base for all the great beers you will sample.

Beer samples, a day zipping around to breweries, and beer knowledge for miles. That's some of what's in store on half-day tours with Brews Cruise Chicago, where guides unveil what goes into the craft behind craft beers. In the span of a few hours, you'll get a chance to meet brewers and learn how beer is made all the way though the bottling stage. Along the way, observe every step of the process in a working brewery and ask brew-specific questions, like how come there are no beer-based drinking fountains anywhere. Guides also take pains to highlight the unusual and special elements of production that make American craft beers unique.

4906 North Springfield Avenue
Chicago,
IL
US

Nestled inside its window-laden storefront is Fox Valley Homebrew & Winery Supplies, a cozy, personable shop for home brewers and winemakers. Here, DIY brewers and vintners of all levels can snag equipment and ingredients for their projects in the form of fermenters, wine yeast, and winemaking books that, if stomped on hard enough, produce a floral bouquet with balanced tannins.

14 W Downer Pl
Aurora,
IL
US

Illinois Scene