When you think of beer tours, you typically envision yourself in a brewery, listening to a dude with a dope beard explain the difference between hops and barley. You're vaguely paying attention because your taste buds are going crazy from sipping on a craft brew you typically wouldn't know to order. Now with Chicago Beer Experience Beer Tours, yes — you're learning how beer is made. But — you're also learning about Chicago history and exploring local neighborhoods, beer in hand.
Chicago Beer Experience is the city's original beer tasting tour company. They offer three tours based on Chicago neighborhoods:
I went on the Lakeview & Lincoln Park tour for an afternoon of beer tasting and bar tours (and bacon!).
STOP 1: Irish Charms
Our first stop was Harrigan's Pub, an Irish bar in Lincoln Park. We learned about the 1893 World's Fair and Prohibition. With four craft brews to sample, this spot was just as charming as its Irish bartender.
STOP 2: A Perfect Pairing
We then moved on to Paddy Long's, AKA the beer and bacon bar. With different cuts of bacon (ever had jowl cut?) to pair with each craft beer, this neighborhood staple fills you up. Be sure to leave room for the 8.0% abv Scotch Ale!
STOP 3: Beer Education
The fun and education continued to a local beer and wine store called Bodega Ramos. Here is where we really learned the process of making beer. Did you know that it's 90% water?! Cheers to hydrating!
STOP 4: New Name, New Brews
Formerly Atlas Brewing, Burnt City Brewing in Lakeview is hip and modern, which makes for a fun comparison while hearing the stories of Al Capone from our guide Emma.
STOP 5: Whiskey and Beer, Punk Rock and Metal
A beer tour wouldn't be complete without a dive bar. The last stop, Delilah's, is just that, complete with dark lighting and surprisingly an impressive list of bourbons.
After exploring Lincoln Park and Lakeview, I'm thirsty for more. Our guide Emma shared that the beer menus change seasonally, and the menus vary for each neighborhood tour. You'll even learn different parts of Chicago history at each tour, so why not go on all three?
Book your Chicago Beer Experience tour at chicagobeerexperience.com. Tickets are $59.90 per person ($33.90 for non-beer tickets). Tour dates and times vary. If you're looking for a fun group outing, they also do private tours!