Chicago

Chicago is known for many things, from world-renowned architecture and a thriving culinary scene to our multiple nicknames for the city. But did you know that Chicago has become one of the biggest brew-house cities in the country? There are new craft breweries popping up seemingly every other day — more than 65 breweries in the immediate city limits alone. Which is why we put together this Chicago beer guide, to help you navigate this growing scene.

First of all, how does a brewery stand out in such a crowded space? The good news is you’re the winner when all of the businesses are competing to create the best hops around and provide additional programming to attract customers. Some breweries do this via offering guests an educational tour of their brewing process; others develop a stellar restaurant and menu to offer fully immersive beer tasting experience.

Beer conventions and festivals are now held across the city year-round, and these events are a great starting point for anyone new to the beer scene since they give you ample opportunity to discover what you like. Personally, I love visiting an authentic Tap Room and taking a brewery tour so I can learn what makes a particular brew so popular, hearing it all from the Head Brew Masters themselves.

On that note, here’s more on my favorite brewery to check out the next time you find yourself in Chicago craving some hops…

Revolution Brewing – A Personal Favorite and an Exclusive ETA Restaurant + Bar Partner

 

Revolution Brewing is an innovator in the beer scene and is the largest independently owned brewery in the state of Illinois. The brewery’s history dates back almost 22 years to its initial inception by founder Josh Deth — who was at the time working at a different brewery learning how to outfit kegs and other aspects of the beer biz. Here is the Revolution story in the brand’s own words… it’s quite an inspiring tale of a guy and his dream; said dream being squashed a few times; and the tenacity to get right back up to eventually develop one of the most well-known beers in the country!

“In the summer of 1995, Josh Deth landed a job at Golden Prairie Brewing. At this now-defunct brewery, Josh was just a novice, where he started learning the beer business by dutifully cleaning kegs and scrubbing tanks. 

A few years later, Josh dreamt up the idea for Revolution while working at Goose Island as a cellarman and brewpub brewer. After the first few tries at opening a brewery didn’t work out, Josh opened Handlebar in 2003 with his wife Krista and a few friends. Always taking on more, he also held the role of Executive Director of Logan Square Chamber of Commerce, working to promote local businesses and simultaneously managing the Logan Square Farmers Market. In 2008, while working at the Chamber, he found a cool old building on Milwaukee Avenue with a nice tin ceiling. The brewery idea bubbled up again.

After a few years of raising funds, planning construction, and dealing with the zoning department, Revolution Brewing opened up in February 2010. We added our 2nd floor Brewers’ Lounge in July 2011. Our production brewery and tap room opened in spring 2012. Since then, our brewing capacity has been continuously growing. Revolution currently distributes in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York City, and Wisconsin. In 2015, Revolution Brewing cracked into the Brewers Association’s list of the top 50 craft brewing companies in the United States.”  Revolution Brewing Website

Now, if you’ve read my blog posts before, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of the different neighborhoods of Chicago that offer a more authentic local experience. Neighborhoods like Logan Square — where Revolution Brewing resides. Over the last 3 ½ years, I’ve watched this brewery develop a sort of cult following. Not only for their massive list of delicious brews, but because of their super-clever marketing, local beer events, beautiful Revolution Brewing Restaurant on Milwaukee Ave, and their amazing crew of brewmasters and team members, who all seem like the coolest people in the world, the kind you want as your best friends.

If you walk into their brewery on Kedzie in Logan Square (separate from their restaurant), you can immediately see that this is a labor of love for every single person in the company. I recommend taking a brewery tour and playing some darts while you wait to belly up to their massive bar. It’s linked directly to the freshly kegged beers that were made just steps away from your bar stool. I also love the artwork that accompanies their lineup. As for the cans? Revolution sells their retail beers exclusively in cans because beer in a glass bottle is in danger of being exposed to light — which can affect the taste.

(Photo Credit: Revolution Brewing Website)

Now if you find yourself in Chicago on March 15th, you’re in luck because ETA Restaurant + Bar at Loews Chicago Hotel is hosting our first ever Beer Dinner exclusively with Revolution Brewing.

Here are the details:

It’s a March Uprising at ETA Restaurant + Bar!

Hop on the Loews Zephyr to Fist City and get A Little Crazy with a Galaxy-Hero while you get your Jamo-nilla on.

(Photo Credit: Loews Chicago Hotel)

Join us on March 15 for an evening of elevated bites and brews at ETA Restaurant + Bar. Restaurant Chef Matt Lange is at it again, creating a five-course tasting menu inspired by some of Revolution’s fan favorite brews in addition to Zephyr, Loews Chicago Hotel’s exclusive Revolution Brewing beer.

Each course will be paired with a different Revolution Brewing beer. Revolution Brewing’s very own Marty Scott, Brewery Quality & Innovation Lead, will be in attendance to chat tasting notes for each beer and to hang out with all of you fine folks.

Tickets are $55 per person and available for purchase on Eventbrite here. Or by searching March Uprising: Revolution @ ETA on Eventbrite.

Join the uprising at #ETAChicago this March!

More Chicago Breweries

For those who want to take a self-guided tour of the city’s breweries, here is a list of other popular spots. These are all within city limits and accessible via public transit or taxi. If you’re looking for a big beer challenge, there are an additional 100+ breweries across Illinois should you want to venture out to the surrounding suburbs.

Revolution Brewing – Taproom 3340 N. Kedzie Ave. | Neighborhood:  Avondale

Revolution Brewing – Brewpub 2323 N. Milwaukee Ave. | Neighborhood:  Logan Square

Begyle Brewing Co. 1800 W. Cuyler St. | Neighborhood: Northcenter

DryHop Brewers 3155 N. Broadway Ave. |Neighborhood: Lakeview

Goose Island Beer Co. 1800 W. Fulton St. | Neighborhood: Near West Side

Half Acre Beer Co. Taproom 4257 N. Lincoln Ave. | Neighborhood: Northcenter

Hopewell Brewing 2760 N. Milwaukee Ave. | Neighborhood: Logan Square

Lagunitas Brewing Co. 1843 S. Washtenaw Ave. | Neighborhood: Douglas Park

Lake Effect Brewing Co. 4727 W. Montrose Ave. | Neighborhood: Irving Park

Metropolitan Brewing 3057 N. Rockwell St. | Neighborhood: Avondale

Piece Brewery & Pizzeria 1927 W. North Ave. | Neighborhood Wicker Park

 

Cheers to your next hoppy Chicago Brewery experience!

Kelly