My 'Top picks' are the outstanding beer places in Chicago at any given moment. Here you will normally find something exceptional or out of the ordinary - so a larger than average beer range; top quality service and a good ambience and/or surroundings. In short, these pubs will all be offering the best that can be found in the Chicago beer scene at the moment.
David lives in Chicago..
This are pubs that you should make an effort to visit if you have the time.
Just a short ride outside of Chicago in NW Indiana is 18th Street Brewery. Super talented brewers with a kitchen to match.
Close to 50 breweries in Chicago proper but if you choose just outside the number almost triples. Next door is their distillery. I believe Sour Note Brewing, also in Hammond Indiana is related to 18 St. Make the trip, you'll not be disappointed. Can also combine with a stop at Three Floyds in Munster, Indiana. Fairly close by.
One of the best breweries to visit during the pandemic(and summer). They have engineered outdoor drinking and eating to adapt to Chicago winters. Enormous, expansive outdoor seating area, reasonable safe protocol, and a large menu of beer and food. As they share the area with a sushi restaurant, the food choices double.
Make the trip, it's well worth it. Small two storied brewpub in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. They make their beer onsite on the second floor and for a small operation they make some great lagers, saisons, IPAs and others. Food is very good with daily specials. As with many breweries, time has made Alulu a great brewery as they have gotten beer brewing down to an art.
Excellent sandwiches, burgers, salads with tasty vegan and veggie options.
25 taps which change with good consistency.
Brewpub from celebrity chef (Rick Bayless). great beer, great food
Larger facility than Lincoln Avenue with extensive menu and great beer. Address is for the front of the building but entrance is around the back. Big outdoor garden for the summer months (dog friendly)and comfy child friendly inside for all year round(not dog friendly). Right around the corner from Spiteful. A favorite brewery of mine.
Before you could get a selection at most places Hopleaf was the place to go. Started off as one the best beer centric bars in Chicago way before the craft beer thing. Specializing in Belgian beer they then opened a Belgian restaurant which ultimately expanded to another open storefront. Good food, great beers. Belgian beers rule here. Do not bring the kids because they do not not allow them at anytime. Still as good as ever,,,,
Taproom/Gallery/Event Space. Great beer no IPA's
Brewpub with creative brews and a great space well worth the extra effort to visit. Lots and lots of creative beers with an emphasis on combining interesting ingredients. In the vicinity of White Sox Park in the Bridgeport neighborhood. Good light menu as well. In the process of opening a Bucktown location.
Taproom with really nice space, specializing in German style beers.
Since Pilot Project has opened they have upped their game considerably. Great and unique brews, successfully have dealt with the pandemic so far, and retained a great staff. Support local beers and make sure Pilot Project is on your list. Can't make it? Find their brands in stores. Pilot Project, Brewer's Kitchen, Dutchbag Brew Co., Lunas Bay, plus collabs and more.
From Pilot Project Brewing
"Pilot Project Brewing is a brewery incubator and tasting room based in Logan Square, Chicago. With a bright, west coast, french industrial inspired tasting room to compliment a meticulously designed brewing space, our brewery fosters experimental, small-batch brews and acts as a collaborative brewing incubator to the beer industry. Stop by any day of the week for a brew, locally roasted coffee, and small bites."
Taproom with great beers and around the corner from Half Acre. Always worth the trip. Not so sure how to find their tap list but I will.
Great Brewery, actually two in one. Une Année captures the essence of what Belgium beer is as good or better than anywhere I have been.
Hubbard's Cave includes IPA's and Stouts to name but a couple. Always worth the journey and the journey from Chicago is about to get a bit shorter as the move to a new
facility is imminent. This is the first brewery/taptroom included in this Chicago guide because it is worth the effort.
In addition to the taproom there will now be barbecue centric food. Huge list of beers to go. Make the effort. You will be glad you did.