Beer. Oh, how I wish I could ramble on about beer. I wouldn't even know where to begin if you asked me about the brewing process or acidity, or what differentiates one fancy beer from another—all in due time I guess. I think Benjamin Franklin said it best, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
Call it intuition, or a sixth sense maybe, but I at least know a good beer when I taste one. There is one thing I definitely know for sure—Chicagoans love their booze and we have some amazing, award-winning local beer.
Chicago is a lovely town, but sometimes you just need to get the heck out of here. Why not take a beer trip, tour a brewery, chat with a brewmaster, and bring home some great craft beer? Sounds good to me.
So long Chicago! Hell-o beer country.
Crown Brewing Company
211 South East Street
Crown Point, IN 46307-4058
The "Special Forces" IPA is a must try and get this, the Crown Point Jail that John Dillinger escaped from in 1934 is right next door. Tours of the brewery are free by request—usually Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays between 11am-3pm.
Tours at the Old Sheriff's House and Jail run Saturdays 9am-1pm or Thursdays 6pm-8pm $5
105 South 2nd Street
Mount Horeb, WI 53572-2105
Jalapeno Beer. Yes, jalapeno. (aka "Slow Eddie") If the brewmaster is present, he may tour you through, but tours are generally not available.
You might also be interested to know that Mount Horeb is the self proclaimed "Troll Capital of the World."
Two Brothers Brewing Company
30 W315 Calumet Avenue
Warrenville, IL 60555
Go for their famous "Bitter End" pale ale, stay for their Brewer's Reuben at the Tap House.
Watch their calendar wisely—due to construction, their brewery tours are limited this summer.
New Glarus Brewing Company
2400 State Hwy 69
New Glarus, WI 53574
Don't have the dough to head to Switzerland? Welcome to the Promised Land folks—where Spotted Cow flows freely and rolling hills guide you through cheese-head paradise. "Little Switzerland" here you come!
Self guided brewery tours run daily from 10am-4pm
FYI this brewery is very close to the Grumpy Troll—I highly recommend you do both in one day.
Bell's Brewery & The Wuerfel Park Microbrew & Wine Festival
355 E Kalamazoo Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49007-3807
Gas up the Caravan kiddies. It's time to get sauced. (Make sure you have a sober Caravan driver of course.)
Bell's Brewery tours are Saturdays at 11:30am & 1:30pm, and at 2:30pm on Sundays and generally run 30-45 minutes in length, and will not require advance reservations.
July 8th marks the Wuerfel Park Microbrew & Wine Festival. Sample some excellent beer and wine from Northern Michigan!
When: Friday, July 8th 3-8 pm and Saturday, July 9th 12-6 pm
333 Stadium Drive
Traverse City, Michigan
The Lucky Monk
105 Hollywood Blvd
South Barrington, IL 60010-7121
Hold onto your robes. This small, 10 barrel brew house will make for a great new holy ground. The Lucky Monk offers private event tours by request. Their menu, ahem, truffled deviled eggs with chili oil, fried pickles, and mouth-watering burgers, will make you undo that belt a few notches. Don't get full before you try the "Fallen Angel Amber." It's superb.
The Onion Pub & Brewery
22221 N Pepper Rd
Lake Barrington, IL 60010-2473
Rule #1 Go on a day Pete is working. He's the man and will take great care of you.
Rule #2 Try every beer they make.
Rule #3 Go to Barrington Brew Fest on July 9th.
Check out the star studded participants here.
Barrington Brew Fest
Where: Downtown Barrington in the Metra Station
Date: July 9, 2011
Time: 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Admission: $35 in Advance / $40 at the door
Entry fee includes all brew tastings, souvenir glass, T-shirts (while supplies last) and live music!
Must be 21 or over.
Limestone Brewing Company
12337 South Route 59
Plainfield, IL 60585-4625
Now I'm partial here. LBC is very close to Joliet, my hometown, but I'm telling you, there's something downright victorious about this spot. The "Flying Pig Imperial IPA" alone is worth the excursion. Who doesn't love a cold beer in the summer?
Side note: If you are going to drive to Plainfield, you may as well go to Rich & Creamy (920 North Broadway Street-Joliet, IL) and get the best turtle sundae of your life. I'm not kidding. This sundae is magical. Yes, little wizards make these sundaes.
9750 Indiana Pkwy
Munster, Indiana 46321
Sure, you've had beer, but have you had Three Floyds beer? Now's your chance to eat and drink yourself into a coma. Tell the doctor you were at Three Floyds. He'll understand.
Brewery tours happen most Saturdays at 1:00pm, 2:30 or 4:00pm
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