An industrial stretch of Ravenswood has experienced a brewing renaissance in recent years. The corridor, which earned the nickname Malt Row, is home to a diverse array of craft breweries, from an experimental microbrewer to the world’s first Michelin-starred brewpub. The best part? They’re all within walking distance of each other, perfect for a DIY brewery crawl.
Stop 1: Half Acre Beer Company
Half Acre Beer Company opened in 2007, but the release of their classic Daisy Cutter pale ale cemented their spot on the Chicago beer scene. The popular brewery has two locations in the area — one on North Lincoln Avenue, near the southern end of Malt Row, and one on West Balmoral Avenue, near the northern end. Their original location on Lincoln Avenue has a taproom and kitchen, plus to-go bottles. The Balmoral location has all that, and a bustling beer garden. Either are the perfect spot to start or end your Malt Row journey. 4257 N. Lincoln Ave. & 2050 W. Balmoral Ave.
Stop 2: Band of Bohemia
The funky-chic Band of Bohemia is the first brewpub in the world to get a prestigious Michelin star. The eclectic beer list is selected to perfectly compliment the seasonal menu. Get the tasting menu with beer pairing for the full experience, or snack on gourmet small plates with a pint of whatever’s on tap. The only beer brewed year-round is The Noble Raven Ale, a crisp German and Belgian malt ale with a healthy dose of hops. 4710 N. Ravenswood Ave.
Stop 3: Begyle Brewing Company
The first brewery to open a taproom on the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor, Begyle Brewing Company quickly became a neighborhood favorite. The laid-back space always has something going on, from a Sunday morning yoga class to weeknight skeeball tournaments. Expect food trucks, dogs, and locals sipping on classic brews like the Begyle Blonde of Free Bird APA. 1800 W. Cuyler Ave.
Stop 4: Dovetail Brewing
Right next door to Begyle, you’ll find the cozy Dovetail Brewing taproom. The brewers specialize in crafting continental European beer styles using old-world brewing methods. That includes unique equipment like open-top containers that lets the brewers introduce wild yeast and a 100-year-old piece of antique brewing equipment that they found on a farm outside Munich. All this results in a batch of one-of-a-kind beers, including a Vienna lager, pilsner, and rauchbier. 1800 W. Belle Plaine Ave.
Stop 5: Empirical Brewing Company
The team at Empirical Brewing Company are part brewers, part mad scientists. The constantly changing beer lineup includes regular experimental brews, using a one-barrel system that allows them to craft cool new things in small batches. Don’t be surprised if your bartender wants to hear your opinion — they use feedback from the taproom to tweak their creations. Regular releases include the Infinity IPA, Heliotropic Pale Ale, and Cold Fusion Cream Ale. Take a tour to see the brewers in action and meet the resident brewery cats. 1801 W. Foster Ave.
Stop 6: Urban Renewal
One of the newest additions to Malt Row, Urban Renewal began production in 2018. Their locally inspired beers are all about attention to detail, using traditional ingredients and processes for brews that appeal to new and seasoned beer drinkers alike. The core line up of beers is always changing based off what their regular customers like to drink most, so expect to find some greatest hits on draft. 5121 N. Ravenswood Ave.
Stop 7: Spiteful Brewing
One of the area’s smaller breweries happens to be right next door to it’s largest. Spiteful Brewing is right next door to Half Acre’s Balmoral taproom, and what they lack in size they make up for in attitude. The nano-brewery churns out unique brews with aggressive flavors, like their classic Spiteful IPA, God Damn Pigeon Porter, and Working for the Weekend IPA. Despite the assertive branding, the taproom is super welcoming — it’s dog friendly and you can bring your own food. 2024 W Balmoral Ave.