clock menu more-arrow no yes
Tanks and other brewing equipment sit in the middle of a large room.
Dovetail Brewery, like its neighbors along Malt Row, served beer made on the premises.
Marc Much/Eater Chicago

Where to Drink Along Ravenswood’s Malt Row

Chicago’s craft brew hub is the perfect place to get a taste of the city’s beer scene

View as Map
Dovetail Brewery, like its neighbors along Malt Row, served beer made on the premises.
| Marc Much/Eater Chicago

Chicago is one of the biggest craft brewing hubs in the nation, home to industry pioneers like Goose Island (now a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch) and fledgling operations sharing space in brewery incubators. For brew aficionados who want to spend a day getting a taste of the city’s beer scene, there’s no better place to go than Malt Row, the name given by the Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce to the stretch of breweries and taprooms along the Metra tracks in the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor. Running about a mile and a half through a residential North Side neighborhood, the zone from Irving Park Road to Balmoral Avenue is home to seven taprooms plus a distillery, all close enough together for one long, boozy stroll. Try a wide variety of beers ranging from traditional German-style lagers to funky saisons made with Midwestern fruit. Check out these eight Malt Row spots and then take home a six-pack or growler of a new favorite.

For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may still pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Half Acre Beer Co

Copy Link
2050 W Balmoral Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 754-8488
Visit Website

Half Acre’s 60,000-square-foot space provides plenty of room for production, plus a taproom and beer garden that serves the flagship Daisy Cutter pale ale along with specialty and seasonal brews like Broken Horn lager and Smoking Gull pale ale. Grab a seat indoors or under the shade of an umbrella on the tree-lined patio and order a pint paired with a beer brat with Pony pilsner-braised onions or a plate of pretzel bites served with zesty beer cheese. Half Acre also provides a residency to Keeping Together, the latest project from Averie Swanson of Jester King in Austin, Texas: it’s the only place in Chicago that sells their funky beers like The Illusion of Finality rye saison made with Michigan cherries and Dream of a Common Language dry-hopped saison.

2. Spiteful Brewing Tap Room

Copy Link
2024 W Balmoral Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 293-6600
Visit Website

Spiteful Brewing uses its taproom to test beers before larger rollouts, so every visit you’ll find new varieties you won’t be able to taste anywhere else, like Turnstyle Hopper, an experimental hazy IPA brewed with different hops each time. Spiteful added a heated patio last year that expanded the taproom’s capacity by 50 percent; it’s a perfect place to sip one of their refreshing brews like Bleacher Bum blonde ale with just a hint of peach or the crisp and hoppy Alley Time pale ale.

3. Empirical Brewery

Copy Link
1801 W Foster Ave
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 293-7896
Visit Website

Beer nerds can find a home at Empirical Brewery, where brewers are constantly experimenting with new recipes using a custom one-barrel pilot system and seeking customer feedback on the results. Try some of their geeky- and science-themed concoctions like Cold Fusion cream ale and Mangolorian mango pale ale in the dog-friendly taproom or beer garden. The brewery regularly hosts stand-up comedy shows, trivia, and bingo, all good reasons to stay for a few rounds.

4. Urban Brew Labs

Copy Link
5121 N Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 293-7612
Visit Website

Urban Brew Labs took over the former Metropolitan Brewing space and opened a taproom in 2021. The brewery hosts events almost every night, including trivia, live acoustic music, and knitting workshops that attendees can  enjoy while drinking the Soul Punch smoothie sour made with pineapple and pink guava or a dangerously drinkable beer slushy. There are also guest ciders on draft for those who don’t like beer, and seltzer infused with a variety of flavored syrups.

5. Cultivate by Forbidden Root

Copy Link
4710 N Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 961-7919
Visit Website

Try Forbidden Root’s botanical brews like Strawberry Basil hefeweizen and Blood Orange Backup Plan kveik pale ale in the tiny Tap Room, which features 16 lines to serve beer made on site and by guest breweries, or in the 135-seat Cultivate brewpub. Helmed by executive chef Carlos Cruz, the restaurant kitchen just launched brunch on May 22, serving up French toast with pineapple marmalade and vegetable hash with truffle vinaigrette. All pair nicely with a beermosa or michelada.

6. KOVAL Tasting Room

Copy Link
4241 N Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60613
(312) 878-7988
Visit Website

Koval Distillery opened a new loungy tasting room attached to its production distillery in October 2021, allowing visitors to take a weekly behind-the-scenes tour to learn how their small-batch gin and whiskey is made and then try the finished product straight and in a cocktail. Kick back on the new patio with a cranberry gin spritz or barrel-aged Manhattan and some light bites like hummus with pita chips or bread from Hewn Bakery served with honey butter and jam. Koval also hosts cocktail classes and dinners.

7. Dovetail Brewery

Copy Link
1800 W Belle Plaine Ave
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 683-1414
Visit Website

Dovetail Brewery uses traditional European brewing methods to make historical styles like Grodziskie, a Polish oak-smoked wheat beer, and Rauchbier, a German-style lager made with smoked malt. Taste them in the dog-friendly biergarten, which is outfitted with both umbrellas and heat lamps, or in the tap room, which serves cheese from Beautiful Rind and sweets from Amy’s Candy Bar.

8. Begyle Brewing

Copy Link
1800 W Cuyler Ave
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 661-6963
Visit Website

Launched in 2012, Begyle was the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor’s first taproom and created the city’s first Community Supported Brewing program, which lets members subscribe to receive monthly growler or crowler (that is, a growler in a can) fill-ups plus discounts on additional beers. Even if you’re not ready for that kind of commitment, you can still drop in for a pint on the dog-friendly patio or come inside for craft beer trivia or bingo.

1. Half Acre Beer Co

2050 W Balmoral Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

Half Acre’s 60,000-square-foot space provides plenty of room for production, plus a taproom and beer garden that serves the flagship Daisy Cutter pale ale along with specialty and seasonal brews like Broken Horn lager and Smoking Gull pale ale. Grab a seat indoors or under the shade of an umbrella on the tree-lined patio and order a pint paired with a beer brat with Pony pilsner-braised onions or a plate of pretzel bites served with zesty beer cheese. Half Acre also provides a residency to Keeping Together, the latest project from Averie Swanson of Jester King in Austin, Texas: it’s the only place in Chicago that sells their funky beers like The Illusion of Finality rye saison made with Michigan cherries and Dream of a Common Language dry-hopped saison.

2050 W Balmoral Ave
Chicago, IL 60625

2. Spiteful Brewing Tap Room

2024 W Balmoral Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

Spiteful Brewing uses its taproom to test beers before larger rollouts, so every visit you’ll find new varieties you won’t be able to taste anywhere else, like Turnstyle Hopper, an experimental hazy IPA brewed with different hops each time. Spiteful added a heated patio last year that expanded the taproom’s capacity by 50 percent; it’s a perfect place to sip one of their refreshing brews like Bleacher Bum blonde ale with just a hint of peach or the crisp and hoppy Alley Time pale ale.

2024 W Balmoral Ave
Chicago, IL 60625

3. Empirical Brewery

1801 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

Beer nerds can find a home at Empirical Brewery, where brewers are constantly experimenting with new recipes using a custom one-barrel pilot system and seeking customer feedback on the results. Try some of their geeky- and science-themed concoctions like Cold Fusion cream ale and Mangolorian mango pale ale in the dog-friendly taproom or beer garden. The brewery regularly hosts stand-up comedy shows, trivia, and bingo, all good reasons to stay for a few rounds.

1801 W Foster Ave
Chicago, IL 60640

4. Urban Brew Labs

5121 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

Urban Brew Labs took over the former Metropolitan Brewing space and opened a taproom in 2021. The brewery hosts events almost every night, including trivia, live acoustic music, and knitting workshops that attendees can  enjoy while drinking the Soul Punch smoothie sour made with pineapple and pink guava or a dangerously drinkable beer slushy. There are also guest ciders on draft for those who don’t like beer, and seltzer infused with a variety of flavored syrups.

5121 N Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60640

5. Cultivate by Forbidden Root

4710 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

Try Forbidden Root’s botanical brews like Strawberry Basil hefeweizen and Blood Orange Backup Plan kveik pale ale in the tiny Tap Room, which features 16 lines to serve beer made on site and by guest breweries, or in the 135-seat Cultivate brewpub. Helmed by executive chef Carlos Cruz, the restaurant kitchen just launched brunch on May 22, serving up French toast with pineapple marmalade and vegetable hash with truffle vinaigrette. All pair nicely with a beermosa or michelada.

4710 N Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60640

6. KOVAL Tasting Room

4241 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

Koval Distillery opened a new loungy tasting room attached to its production distillery in October 2021, allowing visitors to take a weekly behind-the-scenes tour to learn how their small-batch gin and whiskey is made and then try the finished product straight and in a cocktail. Kick back on the new patio with a cranberry gin spritz or barrel-aged Manhattan and some light bites like hummus with pita chips or bread from Hewn Bakery served with honey butter and jam. Koval also hosts cocktail classes and dinners.

4241 N Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60613

7. Dovetail Brewery

1800 W Belle Plaine Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

Dovetail Brewery uses traditional European brewing methods to make historical styles like Grodziskie, a Polish oak-smoked wheat beer, and Rauchbier, a German-style lager made with smoked malt. Taste them in the dog-friendly biergarten, which is outfitted with both umbrellas and heat lamps, or in the tap room, which serves cheese from Beautiful Rind and sweets from Amy’s Candy Bar.

1800 W Belle Plaine Ave
Chicago, IL 60613

8. Begyle Brewing

1800 W Cuyler Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

Launched in 2012, Begyle was the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor’s first taproom and created the city’s first Community Supported Brewing program, which lets members subscribe to receive monthly growler or crowler (that is, a growler in a can) fill-ups plus discounts on additional beers. Even if you’re not ready for that kind of commitment, you can still drop in for a pint on the dog-friendly patio or come inside for craft beer trivia or bingo.

1800 W Cuyler Ave
Chicago, IL 60613

Related Maps