Chicago’s South Side Is Home to Some Excellent Breweries, Which You Should Visit

Order the pineapple Berliner Weisse at Whiner, but beware the pickle beer at Marz

June 10, 2022 7:57 am
A black and white photo of the inside of Horse Thief Hollow, a brewery on Chicago's south side that you need to visit.
At Horse Thief, the beer is almost (almost!) outshone by the food menu.
Horse Thief Hollow

Whether you’re looking for a barrel-aged wild ale with plums or a tea-tinged beer with bubble-gum notes, there’s a brewery on Chicago’s South Side waiting to hand you a menu for a meal and a (beer) flight. Below, a few highlights from an extensive, uh, research trip through the neighborhood. Consider it a shortlist for beer nerds who enjoy quirky beers, good food and vibrant characters.

Exterior of Horse Thief Hollow
Horse Thief Hollow
Horse Thief Hollow

Horse Thief Hollow

If you’re killing time near Midway, do yourself a favor and head to Horse Thief Hollow, which offers a full menu of not-just-traditional brewery food (think: gulf shrimp and blue crab gumbo and panzanella salad) to pair with a delicious selection of beers. I visited during brunch, when it was fairly busy with hipsters and even a few non-hipsters. I sat and people-watched as I got myself some biscuits and gravy that I paired with a glass of a Brett saison called Oddments. It was so tasty that I had to get a growler to go.

Their beer selection is diverse, ranging from pilsners to IPAs, Hefes, stouts and more, with seasonally rotated brews joining the mainstays. Spring and summer months mean radlers, red ales and wheat beers, while autumn brings dunkels and stouts.

Whiner Brewery

Are you a fan of sours? I certainly am — so when I got wind of this brewery offering sours, pizza and Thursday bingo nights, I jumped on the Red Line and made a beeline for Whiner. They have a Bee Sting pizza with pepperoni and habanero honey that pairs exceedingly well with their brews, including sours, farmhouse ales, saisons and loads more. While there are several beers on tap to choose from, bottles and cans are also available for purchase. I brought home a sixer of their Monsieur Monster pineapple Berliner Weisse and a large format bottle of Candy Darling, a barrel-aged wild ale with plums, which I was told was one of head brewer Brian Taylor’s personal favorites.

As if the beer and food weren’t enough, the brewery is situated in a 1925 building called The Plant, which was once a meatpacking building. On Sunday afternoons, you can extend your beer date by booking a free afternoon tour of it through Whiner.

Marz Brewery

Marz Community Brewing Co. is a gift to the community not just for its beer but also for its wifi: This is an ideal work spot for the modern beer nerd. Their space is home base for an eclectic community of beer enthusiasts who come to drink beers, grub out on pizza and watch retro commercials. 

The flavors here at Marz are as eclectic as the art on the walls. We’re talking several kinds of beers with tea, like this one with bubble-gum notes, and most types of brews across the spectrum such as goses, milkshake IPAs, pale ales, double IPAs, saisons, stouts, barrel-aged sours and even a lager with a Chinatown spin. The curious and the brave may also enjoy their Dilliner Weisse pickle beer — beware, though, as it’s not for the faint of heart. While the other cans from Marz were wildly enjoyed, the pickle beer had mixed reviews from folks at my local hometown gaming night. Consider drinking it paired with, per Marz’s recommendation, “some perfectly sliced pastrami.”


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