Five Things to Know About BuckleDown Brewing
Founded in 2013, BuckleDown Brewing is helping bring Chicago’s craft-beer boom to the suburbs. Read on to learn more about this small-batch brewery:
Being here is almost like taking a brewery tour. The taproom’s open floor plan lets you see the tanks and aging barrels. Brewmaster Ike Orcutt can probably tell you what batch you’re drinking.
It used to be an auto shop. Ike and co-owner Sean Mahoney converted the space into a brewery and a sleek seating area with exposed wooden beams, a metal-paneled bar, and bright-yellow barstools.
The names are just as creative as the beers. Two of the most popular pours are Belt & Suspenders American IPA and Painted Turtle extra pale ale.
You can get beer to go. Select beers come in cans, and anything on tap is available in growlers.
It’s BYO food. There’s no kitchen, but local food trucks sometimes park outside.
Five Things to Know About Horse Thief Hollow
Horse Thief Hollow is a relative newcomer to both Beverly and the ongoing, on-growing conversation about beer in Chicago, but its reputation and staff have grown quickly. Founded in 2013 by Neil Byers, the company has created many jobs and delicious evenings of drinking for local residents. It’s also created a stir in national and international competitions. Read on to learn more about this South Side establishment:
This a full craft brewery: Horse Thief Hollow’s line of craft beers includes three staple beverages, along with a rotation of limited-edition beers. One of their flagship brews, 18th Rebellion, is a German Kölsch-style wheat ale. Unlike some other wheat ales, this still features plenty of hops for a bright, peppery finish, a nice followup to the citrusy body.
It’s also a restaurant: This far South Side brewery puts a lot of craft into everything it does, including its food menu. A great example of this: the housemade spent-grain pretzels. These salty, malty bites come from the brewery’s own spent grain and are served warm and soft with a side of roasted-poblano queso.
You should check out the walls. The owner partners with the Beverly Arts Alliance to find and showcase works from local artists.
You don’t have to take their word on the quality. Beer, like so much in life, can be a subjective experience, but there are objective measures of quality. Just ask the judges from the 2014 World Beer Cup, who awarded Horse Thief’s Cheval Deux a silver medal in the Field Beer category. The limited-edition beverage infused sugary sweet potato into a French brown ale, a combination that beat out more than 50 other entries from all over the world.
Good beer is good business. Founder Neil Byers won the 2015 James Tyree Award, given to especially fast-growing business that are good for the local economy. It comes with a $25,000 grant, which Tyree plans to use to expand his operation. He’s already created 40 new jobs, and now seeks to expand his facilities even further.
Six Things to Know About Begyle Brewing
Called “one of Chicago's best craft breweries” by Eater Chicago, Begyle Brewing brews and pours its sudsy wares in the idyllic Ravenswood neighborhood. Read on to learn more about what makes this brewery so special:
Choose from a variety of beers. Signature beers, such as the Begyle Blonde ale or Crash Landed american-pale-wheat ale, can be found on tap or bottled year-round, but Begyle also rotates between seasonal selections and experimental brews, such as its peach-and-honey saison.
There’s a taproom. The intimate tippling area seats 40 and rests right alongside the brewing facility. Customers can choose between 10 rotating taps and 5-, 13-, and 16-ounce pours.
Take a tour. On Saturday at noon, Begyle invites imbibers on a tour to hear about its process and sample various beers. It costs $10 and comes with a 13-ounce tulip glass that’s yours to fill.
Be part of a community. Begyle hosts a community-supported brewery membership, a service which the brewery models after the produce shares sold by local farms. Memberships run in 6- and 12-month increments and include growler fills, discounts, and the warm fuzzies that come with being part of the Begyle family.
Learn about environmentally conscious brewing. Begyle aspires to be a net-zero-waste company, meaning the brewers find a use for every ingredient they come across. Even the construction of the building incorporated a “slow architecture” philosophy that emphasizes efficiency and low-impact construction.
The brewery is named after socks. Sorta. Begyle was originally called "Argyle," a name inspired by co-founder Kevin Cary’s love for argyle socks. When a winery in Oregon claimed the name first, Cary changed the name to Begyle.
DryHop Brewers: A User’s Guide
Hoppy Craft Ales | Kegs and Eggs Brunch | Growler Fills and Sampler Flights | Late-Night Snack Menu
Brunch: strawberry-rhubarb challah french toast with orange mascarpone, fresh fruit, and Vermont maple syrup
Lunch: The Burger, which comes with ancho-chili-tomato jam, pickled sweet onions, and raw-milk cheddar
Dinner: new york strip-steak frites with chimichurri sauce
Beer: Shark Meets Hipster, a refreshing wheat IPA made with Galaxy hops and passion fruit
Not Sure Which Beer to Get? Take a Flight
DryHop offers sampler flights with six craft beers of your choosing. Its draft choices change regularly, but you can expect a variety of IPAs, stouts, and unorthodox brews, like chocolate-milk porters and saisons made with ghost peppers.
Take Your Beer to Go
Digging a particular beer from your sampler when it’s time to go? You can get it bottled in a 64-ounce glass growler or a 32-ounce aluminum can. Not only does this let you enjoy brewery-fresh beer at home, but it’s also good for the environment.
Best Meal Masquerading as an Appetizer
A giant pile of fries, applewood-smoked bacon, aged cheddar, scallions, and sausage gravy (you can get a fried egg on top, too)—DryHop’s poutine can serve as a seriously filling and delicious entree.
Most Philanthropic, Punniest Beer
DryHop collaborated with the nearby Lincoln Park Zoo to brew Take Me To Your Lemur, its cantaloupe-and-clementine Belgian wit. The brewery donates $1 from every pint to the Crowned Lemur Wish List Fund.
Robert Birnecker and Sonat Birnecker-Hart are devoted to the art of distilling. For Robert, it’s a family tradition: he still treasures memories of his grandparents’ award-winning Austrian distillery, where he often helped out as a child. A graduate of Oxford and the University of London, Robert's wife, Sonat, gave up a tenured academic position to pursue the couple’s dream of making their own spirits from scratch. Today, Robert and Sonat’s award-winning Koval Distillery is the first to open in Chicago’s city limits since Prohibition. There, they blend classic, mainstream techniques with contemporary, indie methods, ensuring quality by using only certified organic and kosher ingredients grown in the Midwest.
Using a Kothe potstill custom-made and hand-built in Germany, the husband-and-wife team produces small-batch spirits, including five original white whiskeys made from rye, oat, wheat, millet, and spelt mash. They also distill Lion’s Pride aged whiskeys, plus a selection of liqueurs and brandies, such as bierbrand made with Dynamo Copper Lager from neighbor Metropolitan Brewing. These spirits have won multiple local and national awards, from Whisky Magazine’s 100 Greatest Distilleries to Visit to the Chicago Reader’s Best Local Distillery.
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.