Looking for the best breweries in Chicago? Look no further! Welcome to our Exploring Chicago Series where we cover the best places around Chi-Town to enjoy and bask in the culture of the Windy City—follow this series to stay up to date on the hottest spots in our magnificent city. New to Chicago? Check out our list of favorite spots to tour like a local.
We’ve outlined the best breweries to check out in Chicago by asking our team of locals their opinions and researching their rankings in reviews, ambiance, price, food, and variety of drinks. Let’s take a look at the five that topped the list.
Lagunitas Brewing Company
With daily live music from local bands, event space and delicious food, Lagunitas topped our list. They close on Mondays and Tuesdays so nonprofits “can use the space to turn beer into money for their cause.” Lagunitas provides customers with both Limited and Unlimited Releases, as well as a full menu of shareable snacks, burgers, salads and desserts.
Ellery R. thoroughly enjoyed her visit and is definitely coming back for a tour of the brewery—she said her most notable memory was walking down the catwalk while sipping her limited release. She also noted that “security at the entrance and the bartender were very friendly.”
Emily W. agreed that the atmosphere and the catwalk tour were highlights of her time at Lagunitas. “Lagunitas is definitely my favorite simply because of the atmosphere. It’s so fun and cool from the catwalk tour of the brewery, the gift shop, the Willy Wonka tunnel and live music. It’s a little out of the way but always worth the hike. I prefer their IPA, but I always get the sample flight when I’m there.” They also infuse their food with their beer—YUM.
Revolution hosts private events and brewery tours perfect for get togethers or work outings. They offer a full menu including brunch and have a large selection of vegetarian options. A Chicago native expressed his love for the food at Revolution, and the knowledgeable bartender who helped him find the perfect cider—“I was worried that they would only have beer, but there is a full bar.”
Emily W. also weighed in on her brewery comparison, saying that Rev is on her list of best breweries in Chicago because “they constantly change their menu to keep it fresh and have beers that you can only get there.” They also have local art up for display and for sale, which is great if you’re looking for new decorations for your living space. Their taproom is super fun and a great place for people to meet after work or hang with your friends on the weekends!
The 45-minute brewery tour at Goose Island is a must-do. During the tour, guests are able to drink three Goose Island beer samples, get educated on the production process and history and of course, see the “inner depths” of the brewery. Guests also receive a custom pint glass at the end of the tour! Goose Island started its barrel program in 1992 with six bourbon barrels from Jim Beam which the beer was then aged in the crawlspace under the original Clybourn Brewpub.
Tarun M. said that he loved the wide range of selections of the beers, and highly recommends the tour, which includes the history of the company and information about the ingredients. “The tour guide and everyone else who worked there looked passionate about their work. You get to taste different beers on the tour, and we got a souvenir at the end of the tour, which made the experience even better.”
John J. loves the conversationally-friendly bartenders and service whom are knowledgeable and passionate about their beer at Goose Island. “I’ve had the Bourbon County Stout and the Bourbon County Stout Coffee and loved them. So much flavor and nuances, they draw me back for more. High ABV is a plus too! All are clocking in at that 13-15% ABV. Heaven I tell ya.”
The Half Acre website notes that “With equipment purchased second hand and driven home from Colorado, we built one of the first production breweries Chicago had seen in a long time.” This location includes a retail shop that sells beer, apparel, and goods.
A Chicago local, Carrie D., said that she and her husband did the brewery tour and stuck around after to get some tasty lunch in the taproom—she’s definitely eager to visit again! We recommend the maple ginger wings with scallions and apple coleslaw—it’ll change your life.
Emily W. said that Half Acre truly knows how to run a brewery and taproom, and it’s hands-down her favorite beer. The brewery tour at the Lincoln location is open every Saturday except major holidays at 11 a.m. and is $10 cash only. This gets you the tour AND three samples as well as a branded pint glass to take home—what a steal!
Empirical Brewing is one of the most unique taprooms in Chicago; brewery cats wander the premises and bingo is offered on the weekdays! Every third Saturday of the month they do brewery tours. For just $10 you get the tour, a full flight of beer, and an Empirical glass to take home!
Empirical Brewing has food trucks to satisfy the drunk munchies, but outside food is welcome as well. Feel free to bring Fido, this location is very dog-friendly! One resident commented that there was a great selection of beer, all reasonably priced. It’s great to see people relaxing with their friends (two-legged and four-legged) while having a beer!
There you have it, the best of the best breweries in Chicago. We hope this has guided your next brewery visit, and you have a great experience at these establishments. If you’re looking to find an apartment closer to these breweries or in a certain neighborhood, reach out to AptAmigo. We’ll do the hard work for you!