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Top 20 Places to Drink Beer in Chicago

Chicago is a city where everything is done with the whole heart. It is home to some of the most diehard sports fans you’ll find in the country, and how the city’s iconic foods are prepared – pizza, Italian beef sandwiches, and hot dogs – is a topic that is not taken lightly, and everyone in the room has a strong opinion.

The same is true for the craft beer scene. Breweries and beer proprietors here aren’t limping in, and the beer drinkers here have high expectations of their favorite drink. They are doing things with the same intensity as you’ll find with their sports teams and culinary scene. The Brewers Association recently reported that Chicago is the nation’s brewing capital, with 167 breweries across the city (as well as its suburbs), outnumbering the beer meccas of Denver and San Diego. Need more proof? The Windy City is home to the first ever Michelin-starred brewpub and to one of the most sought after beers created – Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. Not to mention, the city is helping mold the future of beer movers and shakers being home to Siebel Institute and the Cicerone Certification Program.

With a solid line-up of breweries, beer bars, restaurants with strong beer lists, and even beer events, it’s hard to navigate what are the essential places to drink a beer when visiting this amazing city. While the list doesn’t detail all of the must-see beer destinations when in Chicago, it’s a great jumping-off point. Here are twenty places to drink beer in Chicago:


Piece Brewery and Pizzeria 

Since opening in 2001, Piece Brewery’s beers, such as the Dark and Curvy Dunkelweizen and Golden Arm, have won 28 medals at the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup. And while Chicago may be best known for deep dish pizza, this Wicker Park spot cranks out thick New-Haven Style pies to go along with house-made beers.


Revolution Brewing

This Logan Square brewery may be the largest independent brewery in Illinois, but the taproom still has that welcoming, neighborhood feel. Mainstays include Anti-Hero IPA, Eugene Porter and Rev Pils, a Chicago Pilsner with statues by famous Chicago architect Frank Lloyd Wright adorning the can. Don’t miss creative beers such as Spirit of Revolt, an Imperial IPA with oats, Under Protest Imperial IPA brewed with mango and blood orange, or Deth’s Tar, an Imperial Oatmeal Stout aged in oak bourbon barrels.


Haymarket Pub & Brewery

Haymarket specializes in classic Belgian and contemporary American beer styles, landing the West Loop brewery more than 75 brewing awards. There is always something new to try, such as the Front Porch Light Schwarzbier, Black Betsy Imperial Black Belgian IPA, and Call Me A Fool Belgian Rye Stout. Besides rotating beer, there is a menu of 40 different rotating house-made sausages from smoked kielbasa and smoked andouille to gouda brats and jalapeno cheddarwurst.


Half Acre Beer Company

Half Acre’s WYLD series features brews from the mixed fermentation cellar while their small-batch beers are constantly changing. The solid year-round line up consists of Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, Bodem IPA, Pony Pilsner, and Tuna Session India Pale Ale. The Lincoln taproom serves burritos and sandwiches, such as hoisin BBQ pork shoulder and crispy buttermilk spicy chicken. The Balmoral taproom has an outdoor beer garden and churns out Roman-style pizza and Sunday brunch.


First Draft 

South Loop’s First Draft has 64 rotating craft beers to choose from across the globe. Burnt City Brewing, On Tour Brewing, Maplewood Brewing Company and Twisted Hippo are amongst local breweries on tap. Traditional pub grub is served alongside the beer – pretzel bites with beer cheese, tacos, chicken wings, chili cheese fries, nachos and burgers.


The Map Room

Beers from Austria, Canada, Germany and Belgium, among others, fit in perfectly at this travel-inspired Bucktown bar, which is replete with map-lined walls, various country flags dangling from the ceiling and travel books for browsing. There are more than 100 bottles of beer and 26 taps, as well as cider, mead and wine selections. The Map Room also hosts Beer School for those who want to learn more about their favorite drink – from malt and yeast characteristics to cultural traditions.


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