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Taste-testing sample brews at Baderbräu Tap and Kitchen

Illinois

Chicago Neighborhood Tour: Brewery Hopping in McCormick Square

By: Idoia Gkikas

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  • States:
    Illinois

From the renaissance of historic Uptown, to the vibrant culture of Chinatown and the edgy creativity of Wicker Park, Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods offer visitors a vast array of experiences and attractions.

The city’s newest neighborhood is McCormick Square, located near the South Loop’s world-class attractions, such as Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium and Soldier Field, and anchored by McCormick Place, North America’s largest convention center. After sightseeing excursions or a day’s work at a conference, make time to unwind at these five craft breweries, all within walking distance or a short transit ride of the convention center.

Vice District Brewing Co.

This friendly neighborhood brewery offers classic beers like IPAs, ales, porters and bitters with a rotating menu of creative, limited-batch brews – perhaps an espresso-infused stout, a German hefeweizen or fruity pale ale. Play one of the board games and order a flight to sample five brews. Vice is dog-friendly, child-friendly and BYOF (bring your own food), making it perfect for a casual lunch or a post-event drink.

A sampling of pale to dark lagers at Vice District Brewing Company

A sampling of pale to dark lagers at Vice District Brewing Company
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Motor Row Brewing

Chicago’s Motor Row once boasted car company showrooms with over 115 makes of automobiles along Michigan Avenue in the early 1900s. Today, this slice of Chicago’s past is a Historic Landmark District; former sales floors now house eateries, shops, nightclubs and, of course, Motor Row Brewing. The careful restoration of this historic building earned Motor Row a Chicago Landmark Preservation Award; consider arranging a private tour. Try one of the microbrewery’s seasonal beers on tap and catch live blues music on Thursday nights.

A mural displays the neighborhood's history at Motor Row Brewing

A mural displays the neighborhood's history at Motor Row Brewing
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Baderbräu Tap and Kitchen

Baderbräu brings back a Czech-style Pilsener once popular in Chicago. Its flagship Baderbräu Chicago Pilsener is made with the recipe and yeast strain of the original. The focus at the brewery and taproom is on wheats, lagers and yeast brews – easy-to-drink beers that go great with their popular food menu. Try the macaroni and cheese waffle with bacon and wash it down with a cold pint.

Gathering for craft beer and savory appetizers

Gathering for craft beer and savory appetizers
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Moody Tongue Brewing Company

What do you get when you cross a chef with a brewer? Moody Tongue Brewing, which takes a chef’s approach to crafting beer. The ingredients are thoughtfully sourced and specifically brewed to pair perfectly with their only two menu items: a fresh oyster of the day (salty) and its 12-layer chocolate cake (sweet). Take a guided tour to hear about the philosophy and see how the beer is made and aged.

Chef-crafted ale at the Moody Tongue Brewing Company

Chef-crafted ale at the Moody Tongue Brewing Company
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Lagunitas Chicago Brewery

This California-based brewery opened its Chicago location in 2014 and is the largest craft brewery in the city. The tap room is huge, with seating for 300 people, and the beer lineup is exceptional: 12 year-round beers, 10 seasonal and a handful of single-batch brews. Lagunitas offers free daily tours and tastings, a full menu of bar-style food and a great gift shop. It’s a can’t-miss for beer fanatics. 

Kicking back at the colorful and festive Lagunitas Chicago Brewery

Kicking back at the colorful and festive Lagunitas Chicago Brewery
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Getting There

Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Chicago Midway (MDW) international airports both offer plenty of flights from destinations around the world. Rental cars are available, but Chicago has a convenient network of public transit options that makes it easy to get around.

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