In 2018 Chicago became the U.S. city with the most breweries, but that fact hasn’t seemed to satisfy this rapacious metropolis. 2019 saw several more brewery openings across Chicagoland, and 2020 promises even more breweries in addition to expansion projects in existing spaces.
Andersonville Brewing (next to Hamburger Mary’s) called it quits at the end of 2019, but Urban Renewal Brewery’s first taproom is taking over the space as an add-on to its existing Ravenswood production facility. Marz Brewing in Bridgeport plans to open a second location in the same building as Margie’s Candies in Logan Square. In the suburbs, Une Annee is building out a much larger facility in Niles, and Noon Whistle is working on its second location in Naperville.
Of course, delayed openings and rumors run rampant in the brewing industry. Pipeworks has long teased us about its Logan Square taproom; Solemn Oath has similar ambitions; and Ravinia Brewing plans to take over a dormant brewing space on Diversey Avenue—but drinkers are still left staring at public notice stickers instead of full pint glasses.
Clearly, it’s an active time for craft beer, and many questions have been raised about not only the future of individual breweries but also the brewing industry as a whole. For now, beer is meant for drinking. Here are some recently opened Chicago-area breweries and a few with clear plans to open in the coming year.
Sew Hop’d Brewery
Far northwest suburban Huntley received its first craft brewery last April in the same facility as Union Special, a manufacturer of industrial sewing machines with a history that dates back to 1881. Here you’ll find a good variety of styles: blond ales, ambers, and hefeweizens, as well as some newfangled hazy IPAs.
Midwest Coast Brewing Company
It opened in August 2019 in not only the city with the most breweries, but also the most crowded neighborhood for breweries: the Chicago Brewing District on the west side near the United Center. But Midwest Coast hopes a balanced approach to traditional styles, like the rarely seen British Pale Ale and Brown Ale, will distinguish it in the market and create a following.
In 2019 brewmaster Jared Rouben moved his culinary-focused brewery from a taproom in Pilsen to a full fine dining restaurant and casual bar area in the South Loop. To aid in this expansion, Rouben brought on Michelin-starred chef Jared Wentworth to pair awe-inspiring dishes with the creative flavor-conscious beers.
Leaky Keg Brewing
It’s a tale as old as craft beer: Passionate home brewers take their successful hobby to the commercial sector by opening a brewery. After a few years of planning, Leaky Keg plans to open this summer and fill the local craft beer void in the northwest suburbs.
Englewood Brews plans to open in its eponymous neighborhood this year. Not only will it create eye-opening brews, it will strengthen the community by supporting its art and culture in an active event space. Donate to the brewery’s Indiegogo to help the buildout become a reality.
This Scandinavian-inspired brewery (think: farmhouse ales) will open this spring and bridge the divide between Humboldt Park and Logan Square by being located in the Kimball Arts Center next to the 606 elevated trail. For now, check it out at the recently opened brewery incubator–tasting room Pilot Project Brewing.
Crushed by Giants
This spring, the team that brought you DryHop Brewers and Corridor Brewery expands with a Mexico City–style gastropub with an emphasis on hazy IPAs and Mexican lagers that will titillate your taste buds and warm your hungry belly. It’s premiering at an AMC Theaters building on Michigan Avenue.