Best Local: Chicago’s Best Breweries

 Thirst Quenching Craft Brews Paired with Mouthwatering Cuisine

You’ve already been to Navy Pier – twice. You’ve spent an alarming amount of money on the Magnificent Mile, and taken pictures in front of the famous Bean in Millennium Park. You’ve had Pizzeria Uno, Giordano’s and Lou Malnati’s. You’ve even been to Mr. Beef. It’s time to go deeper. Follow us to icy cold glory. Come with us to where the locals go for some of the best craft beers and pub food in Chicago.

If You’re Staying Downtown

The Wise Older Brother: Goose Island Brewpub Clybourn (1800 N. Clybourn) –As one of the first and best-known brewpubs in Chicago, the Goose has paved the way for other craft breweries and brewpubs alike. Clybourn is the original location and brews over 50 varieties of craft beer, the best of which are bottle at the Fulton Street brewery (Think 312 and Honkers). Brewmaster Jared Rouben and chef Andrew Horza work together to create delicious pairings of seasonal food and beer. Try the…famous Fish and Chips with the Midway IPA.

The Cool Middle Child: Haymarket Pub and Brewery (737 W. Randolph) – Named after the 1886 Riot, Haymarket is the brainchild of highly decorated brewer Pete Crowley. With 32 tap handles behind the bar, Haymarket specializes in Belgian and contemporary American beer styles. The food is high-class pub cuisine, with the Smokin’ Hot Legs chicken legs and The Riot sandwich (spicy Italian pork, pulled pork, giardinera and mozzarella) as two standout menu items. Try the… Cherry-Jalapeno Glazed Ribs with the Speakerswagon Pilsner.

The Fresh, Hip Youngster: Revolution Brewing Company (2323 N. Milwaukee) – This Logan Square brewery is the first in the neighborhood since the mid-90s.  Headed by Josh Deth, former Goose Island Brewer, and brewmaster Jim Ciback, Revolution brews 35 different styles of beer throughout the year.  Their food is contemporary comfort food, with Bacon Fat Popcorn and Twice Baked Potato Pizza. They also offer many vegan dishes, like the Tempeh Reuben and Chicago Style Tofu. Try the…Artisinel Cheese Plate with the Diggity Dunkleweizen.

If You’re in the Suburbs

Small but Fierce: Lunar Brewing Company (54 E. St. Charles Road, Villa Park) – This tiny brewing company looks like a dive bar on the outside, but carries some serious punch on the inside. The Lunar theme extendes throughout the brewery, with half-moon shaped tap handles and beers with names like Moondance IPA and Jumping Cow Cream Ale. They also have lots of guest microbreweries in bottle. Try the…Lunar doesn’t serve food, but grab the Space Cadet Stout to go and pair it with some takeout barbecue.

Quite the Character: Limestone Brewing Company (12337 S. Rte. 59, Plainfield) – Located on desolate Route 59, Limestone adds a little character to the a dull stretch of road. Limestone is a self-proclaimed community conscious, guest-driven establishment. With 10 house beers on tap, several guest drafts and a crazy long bottle list, Limestone brings all sorts of brews to the southwest suburbs. They also have great food and all sorts of entertainment, including live music. Try the…Bottle Caps (fried red and green jalapenos) with the Electric Park Golden Ale.

A Piece of History: Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery (1035 Sterling Ave., Flossmoor) – What do you do with that pesky old train station taking up space in town? Turn it into a brewery of course.  Only steps from the Metra station, this place is perfect if you’re train-hopping. These guys were recently just named Best Small Brewpub and Best Small Brewpub Brewer in America at the Great American Beer Festival. With brews ranging from Golden Ales to Reds and Stouts, their beers are fresh and all-natural. Try the…Hot Roast Beef with Panama Limited Red Ale

How to Taste A Craft Beer:
(1) Place the palm of your hand over the glass and swirl the beer, releasing the flavors. (2) Take a whiff. The aroma of a beer is one of it’s key factors. (3) Take a sip and see what flavors jump out first. Grapefruit? Bread? Banana? (3) On the next sip, pay attention to how the beer finishes. Bitter? Sweet? Acidic? (4) Finish the taste and consider how it all comes together. If you like an overall bitter taste, hoppy beers like an IPA are for you. If you like sweeter, more breadlike tastes, malty beers like a Scottish ale would fit you best.