While microbreweries are a big trend in Chicago right now, the city actually once had breweries galore. A few of these buildings still remain, and here are three that you can view in Chicago neighborhoods today, with special thanks to Forgotten Chicago for digging up some of the information presented here.
In Pilsen, at 26th Street and Whipple, the Pilsen Brewing Company building still stands as a discount mall and health clinic. The building has an oddly asymmetrical shape as it was built around the railroad tracks that bend here. Pilsen Brewing was most known locally for its Yusay Pilsen beer. While it looks somewhat nondescript as a two-story brick-box-shaped building, arched windows show a clue that it actually once had a different use. It was built in the early 1900s.
The Carl Corper Brewing and Malting Company building (below), built in the 1890s, is in Bridgeport on Union at Pershing. Like many breweries of the time, it features arched windows as Romanesque-influenced architecture was in vogue. While part of the building is four stories high, an adjoining structure is just two stories. This mix of sizes, shapes and ornamentation reflects the varied functions of areas of a brewery - there would be a malt house, a cold storage area, offices, bottling space and delivery area.
In the Lakeview neighborhood, an old brewery building has been made into an apartment building. Chicago architect Oscar Beyer designed the building, and made a living in brewery architecture with buildings in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Michigan. While today the building has many more windows than it originally would have, it has retained its overall style. Beer was made here for eight decades starting in the 1880s for a few different brewing companies over its history, among them Klockgeter and Co. and the Best Brewing Company (at top).
While the building is mostly brick, limestone signs indicate the various functions that had taken place in this complex of nine buildings. Today, one can see where the Brew House, the Cannery, or the Machinery House once were. Today the residents take advance of a courtyard that had been originally the exit area for the stables, and it is on the National Register of Historic Places.