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28 Chicago Craft Beer Destinations, 2017 Edition

Chicago's quality beer options keep getting better

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Beer bars are a dime a dozen in Chicago — but where does a thirsty beer lover go when they want something special? There's no need to drive to the suburbs (or drive at all) to enjoy unique offerings at these great Chicago beer destinations. They use state-of-the-art equipment to ensure drinkers get fresh and clean-tasting beer. Some offer hard-to-find selections, while others offer unique experiences beer lovers can't find anywhere else.

Keep this list handy the next time a friend wants to meet up for a few brews. This list is presented alphabetically.

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Baderbrau

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Armed with an arsenal of low-ABV crushable beer, Baderbrau is where beer lovers near McCormick Place need to flock to during their boring conferences. South Side Pride, which comes in White Sox-inspired cans, is an example of the smooth lagers this brewery produces. They also have inventive food, including a Buffalo mac and cheese waffle that might be the ultimate bar food.

Baderbrau Courtesy of Baderbrau

Band of Bohemia

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The world's only Michelin-starred brewpub resides in Ravenswood. The sessional brews are crisp and feature cheffy ingredients. The beautiful Victorian-influenced space sports a lovely bar to cozy up and grab a snack and a pint. It's one of the most-unique venues in Chicago and will wow any beer fan.

Marc Much

Bangers & Lace

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The draft list balances domestic options — such as Marz and Evil Twin — with imported brews displayed on an ever-changing chalkboard menu. On the sausage side of things, pair any craft beer with a garlic duck sausage “BLT” or venison sausage with blueberry jam and bacon.

Beermiscuous

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One of Chicago's most unique venues, dubbed a "beer cafe," caters to the craft beer fan with several drafts as well as a well-stocked cooler. BYOF (that's bring your own food) is encouraged, however, the space regularly welcomes food trucks to park out front.

Centennial Crafted Beer & Eatery

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There aren't too many spots of craft beer around River North, and the owner of Centennial wanted to fill the void. There's a Midwest focus on the tap list and food from a former chef at Hopleaf. Spend sometime at the main bar or grab a full meal inside the two-level space.

Nick Fochtman

Crown Liquors

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Crown Liquors has become one of Logan Square's premiere beer destinations. Stop in for a pint of Pipeworks Imperial End of Days at the bar and then grab a one of 500 bottles available to-go.

Cruz Blanca Cervecería & Taqueria

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Rick Bayless plays tribute to Mexico City's under-the-radar brewing culture with a 10-barrel brewing system specializing in the Alsatian technique of bottle-conditioning (a French immigrant brought the technique to Mexico) as well as a style of beer known as Bière de Garde. Try La Guardia Rubia, a blonde ale made with Illinois honey, or La Guardia Ambar, a medium-bodied amber ale made with Mexican hominy.

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DryHop Brewers

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This Lakeview beer oasis specializes in IPAs and Pale Ales brewed on-site. Try one of its signature brews, a light bodied American Wheat Ale featuring Galaxy hops, called Shark Meets Hipster with the brewpub's equally famous burger. If near the Southport Corridor, try their sister venue, Corridor Brewery & Provisions.

Marc Much

Fountainhead

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North Center's Fountainhead keeps on rolling, as the gastropub is haven for good food, craft beer, and whisky. It's a charming spot — preferred seating are the stools by the back wall, behind the bar. That way the bartender can give customers personalized recs without as much commotion.

Goose Island Beer Co. Tap Deck

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It only took 20 years after Goose Island opened its Fulton and Wood facility to open this gem of a tasting room. And, if you're lucky, you'll find some Bourbon County varietals on tap. If you're less lucky, its Four Star pilsner and Goose IPA are always availible.

Half Acre Bowmanville

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After three years of anticipation, Half Acre Brewing has a debuted a new North Side taproom featuring 22 taps and a beer garden. The new spot is in the same building as its Bowmanville production facility, and features experimental brews and European-style breads and roasted meats. The founders feel this opening, the brewery's second taproom, is a major step for the company.

Half Acre Bowmanville Marc Much

Haymarket Pub & Brewery

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While Randolph Street keeps getting trendier, this longstanding brewpub remains true to its ethos of serving creative beers in a laid-back setting. Here, two bars serve up Banana Hammock Hefeweizen, I'm Not Lonely Belgian Single, and Colsch Kream Ale as well as some of the best sweet potato tots in the city.

Hopleaf Bar

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Despite a recent cold call from the "Bar Rescue" crew, there's little that needs fixing up at this Andersonville gem. An extensive beer and cider list pairs well with its brew-friendly food.Try the Temperance Restless Years with the house specialty mussels.

Howells & Hood

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With over 100 beers on draft, even the pickiest beer snob can find something to sip on at this Mag Mile hotspot. Popular with the after-work crowd, the spacious bar is divided between a restaurant, bar, and patio complete with multiple fire pits. Be forewarned: The bar is slated to closed in 2018, as new ownership has taken over the Tribune Tower.

Lagunitas Taproom

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The midwest headquarters to Lagunitas is not only the city's largest breweries, but also boasts an equally spacious brewpub. Here, enjoy Little Sumpin' Sumpin' and spent grain brownies as well as live music, before taking a tour of the facility.

Marc Much

Links Taproom

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Giving Bangers & Lace a run for its money in terms of the craft beer and sausage destination of Wicker Park, what sets this beer bar apart is its high tech menu that displays the amount of beer left in its kegs. This means when you see the keg icon turns red next to Off Color’s coffee-infused Hyper Predator, it’s best to order it before it’s gone.

Local Option

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Not many folks remember what the Local Option used to be — a seafood-centric bar for the post college crowd. But they've wiped those memories away, and even brew their own beer made with an extra dose of heavy metal.

Natalie Walser

Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar

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The recent addition of Kimski, and its Korean-Polish cuisine, is a just another reason to love this Bridgeport beer destination. A quintessential Chicago slashie — it features a retail store in the front, specializing in large-format brews, and a bar in the back. Here, sip on over 200 options, including Desthil wild sours, Short’s blond ale, as well as their own Marz beers.

Moody Tongue Brewery

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Brewmaster Jared Rouben has opened a modern taproom at his Pilsen brewery with a fireplace and shelves decorated with books Rouben used while studying the culinary arts. Rouben takes a chef's approach to brewing with beers like Steeped Emperor's Lemon Saison and Caramelized Chocolate Churro. This small space is one the most-dazzling tasting rooms in the city.

moody tongue Marc Much

Old Irving Brewing Co.

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This North Side brewery comes from Folkart Restaurant Management and Matthias Merges, the celebrated restaurateur/chef behind A10, Yusho, and Billy Sunday. The food is top notch inside a space where customers can play bags and relax under high ceilings. The cheffy beers use unusual ingredients, and macrobrew drinkers may be skeptical. But after one sip their feelings will be replaced by a sense of refreshment.

Old Irving Brewing Co. Sarah Joyce

Open Outcry Brewing

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The Beverly/Morgan Park area isn't known for watering holes, but Open Outcry took the area by storm when it opened over the summer. Neapolitan pizzas complement the breweries fresh beer inside a modern space that's family friendly.

Nick Fochtman

Piece Brewery and Pizzeria

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The thin-crust New Haven, Connecticut pizzas often overshadow the beer at Piece, a Wicker Park stalwart since 2001. But avoiding the brewery's offerings would be a mistake. A perennial contender at competitions like the Great American Beer Festival, beer lovers would be so wise to try a Golden Arm or Worryin' Ale.

Piece Pizza Facebook

Revolution Brewing

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One of Chicago's largest craft breweries serve up its good stuff in a cozy Logan Square brewpub. Grab a seat at the large, wood bar for fresh Fist City alongside a brew-friendly food menu. If you would rather get closer to the action, its Avondale brewery also features a large tasting room and hosts tours.

Tapster

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Chicago's first pour-your-own beer beer opened in early 2017 in Wicker Park. Tapster allows customers to use plastic cards which log how much they drink, to select exactly how much beer they want. Mix and match; adventurous mixologists may even pour coffee into their beer to spike their offerings. It's about customer choice at Tapster.

Tapster Nick Fochtman

The Map Room

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200 beers span the draft and bottle menu, with one always earning the title and a deep discount as the beer of the month. Since 1992, the travelers’ tavern has offered its wide assortment of brews in a comfortably worn setting — back-issues of National Geographic fill shelves and vintage beer posters grace the walls. It is good to know that they open at 6:30 a.m. for coffee with craft beer flowing by 11 a.m.

The Publican

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This Fulton Market game changer is the best example of a traditional beer hall in Chicago. The staff has deep ties to the industry and can procure rare beers for their customers to try. The Pub bacon and oysters aren't bad, either.

Publican Marc Much

Vice District Brewing

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A rare Black-owned brewery, Vice District has been part of the South Loop's renaissance. The taproom features 14 brews on tap. House favorites include the "Cluster? Damn Near Killed Her!" That's an imperial IPA weighing in at 8 percent ABV.

Villain's Black Market Craft

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Like the Phoenix, Villain's has risen, but it's not the same bird. They're more crafty than dive by tapping rare brews and offering one truly gourmet burger, topped with North Counrty bacon, Hooks four-year aged cheddar, pickles, smoked red onion, and beef fat mayo.

Villains Chicago

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Baderbrau

Armed with an arsenal of low-ABV crushable beer, Baderbrau is where beer lovers near McCormick Place need to flock to during their boring conferences. South Side Pride, which comes in White Sox-inspired cans, is an example of the smooth lagers this brewery produces. They also have inventive food, including a Buffalo mac and cheese waffle that might be the ultimate bar food.

Baderbrau Courtesy of Baderbrau

Band of Bohemia

The world's only Michelin-starred brewpub resides in Ravenswood. The sessional brews are crisp and feature cheffy ingredients. The beautiful Victorian-influenced space sports a lovely bar to cozy up and grab a snack and a pint. It's one of the most-unique venues in Chicago and will wow any beer fan.

Marc Much

Bangers & Lace

The draft list balances domestic options — such as Marz and Evil Twin — with imported brews displayed on an ever-changing chalkboard menu. On the sausage side of things, pair any craft beer with a garlic duck sausage “BLT” or venison sausage with blueberry jam and bacon.

Beermiscuous

One of Chicago's most unique venues, dubbed a "beer cafe," caters to the craft beer fan with several drafts as well as a well-stocked cooler. BYOF (that's bring your own food) is encouraged, however, the space regularly welcomes food trucks to park out front.

Centennial Crafted Beer & Eatery

There aren't too many spots of craft beer around River North, and the owner of Centennial wanted to fill the void. There's a Midwest focus on the tap list and food from a former chef at Hopleaf. Spend sometime at the main bar or grab a full meal inside the two-level space.

Nick Fochtman

Crown Liquors

Crown Liquors has become one of Logan Square's premiere beer destinations. Stop in for a pint of Pipeworks Imperial End of Days at the bar and then grab a one of 500 bottles available to-go.

Cruz Blanca Cervecería & Taqueria

Rick Bayless plays tribute to Mexico City's under-the-radar brewing culture with a 10-barrel brewing system specializing in the Alsatian technique of bottle-conditioning (a French immigrant brought the technique to Mexico) as well as a style of beer known as Bière de Garde. Try La Guardia Rubia, a blonde ale made w