The 5 Best New Taprooms for Thirsty Chicagoans
The five best new taprooms for thirsty Chicagoans
With more than 200 breweries and counting, Chicago isn’t hurting for great beer.
And if a recent plenitude of on-site taproom openings is any indication, we love it even more straight from the source.
So we rounded up the five best new taprooms for brewery-fresh suds, from the city’s first dedicated cider taps to exclusive, taproom-only experiments from Chicago’s most respected brewers.
Photo: Marz Facebook
From the same folks that brought you Bridgeport slashie Maria’s and its annexed Korean-Polish street food mashup eatery Kimski, Marz Community Brewing has finally open the doors of its taproom right above its brewery. If you’re familiar with Marz’s stylish beer labels, expect the same from the taproom — an artwork-filled space to relax and enjoy mainstays like Jungle Boogie and Ruby’s Tears. In the kitchen: Kimski vet chef Tony Balestreri heads the food program, where he’s plating up elevated bar grub like french onion grilled cheese and tandoori chicken wraps.
At Off Color Brewing’s spiffy new taproom expect 16 brews on tap, including perennial faves like the Apex Predator farmhouse ale. Mousetrap’s exclusive brewing arm is dedicated to experimental projects and small-batch brews made with wild yeasts — a project Off Color had put on hold while it ramped up production (get the full story from our friends at the Reader). Here for a daytime visit? There’s coffee. Feeling a cocktail instead? Consider the Extra Fancy, a dill aquavit and fino sherry martini complete with a spoonful of caviar. There’s no food, but fear not: excellent blistered pies from Pizzeria Bebu are half a block away, for pickup or delivery.
Eris Brewery and Cider House
Old Irving Park
Occupying a former Masonic Temple on Chicago’s Northwest Side, Eris claims fame as the city’s first taproom dedicated to cider. Even more notable? Eris is led by an all-woman team. The sprawling space offers a number of guest taps, plus six house ciders and six house beers, all spearheaded by head brewer Hayley Shine. The food menu, meanwhile, is meant to complement your cider adventure, ranging from small bites (get the candied bacon) to full-blown entrees (you can’t go wrong with the steak frites).
Looking for the city’s most picturesque taprooms? Look no further, because Metropolitan debuted its riverfront taproom at its 20,000-sq.-ft. Brewery late last year, and it’s a beaut. Floor-to-ceiling windows surround the central bar and long wooden tables, overlooking the Chicago River’s north branch. Watch the river go by as you throw back one or two of a dozen available draft beers, from core brews like Krankshaft Kolsch to special releases like Grindamo Dynamo Copper Lager or the autumnal Arc Welder Dunkel Rye — all brewed some 30 feet away. This slashie also hawks growlers and six packs, if you can’t stay.
Maplewood Brewery and Distillery
At Maplewood’s production facility, lit by a lone sign above the door, you’ll also find the brewery and distillery’s first taproom offering. Billed as “lounge,” Maplewood’s new space aims serve its beers in a polished setting. Expect 14 beers on tap, from classics like Fat Pug and the Son of Juice IPA, alongside a better-than-average cocktail program. As for food, all you need to know is its serving up The Publican’s famed Freedom Sausage as corn dog, served with beer cheese. We’ll take two, thanks.
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