In Chicago, Randolph Street might be Restaurant Row and Michigan Avenue may be the Magnificent Mile shopping mecca, but in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, Ravenswood is steadily transforming into quite the brewery corridor. In the past couple years alone, Ravenswood has filled in with a myriad of places to sate a variety of beer cravings, from German lagers to "culinary"-inspired beers infused with apple and thyme.[more]
Here are four places to find craft beer in Chicago's Ravenswood corridor:
Dovetail Brewery // 1800 W. Belle Plaine Ave.
The newest entry to Ravenswood's burgeoning beer scene is Dovetail Brewery, a 22,000 square foot facility operated by master brewers Hagen Dost and Bill Wesselink. Together, their focus is Belgian-style beer and German lagers, available at an on-site taproom for customers. Additionally, Dovetail is currently distributing to the likes of Fountainhead, Hopleaf, Kaiser Tiger, and Long Room. They're also working on lambic-style sour beers, though they're still a ways out (they won't be ready until spring 2018). True to their roots, brewing equipment comes from Germany, including open fermentation vessels.
Begyle Brewing Company // 1800 W. Cuyler Ave.
While Dovetail skews European with its wares, Begyle is more all-American. This micro-brewery features things like coffee beer made with locally roasted Ipsento coffee. They also have IPAs, pale ales, blonde ales, and other unique collaborations like their Begyle Koval Barrel-aged Imperial Pajamas with vanilla and raspberry, which incidentally is stored in barrels from Koval Distillery up the street in Ravenswood. Begyle offer tours of their facilities as well, and the taproom itself has the feel of a fun garage party. Another cool aspect of Begyle is their Community Supported Brewery memberships, which are similar to CSA packages that farmers' markets offer, although these ones are growler subscriptions, which is a fantastic idea for craft beer-lovers looking for a steady supply.
Band of Bohemia // 4710 N. Ravenswood Ave.
One of the most exciting openings in recent memory in terms of beer is Band of Bohemia (pictured at top), an ambitious and strikingly beautiful restaurant/bar/brewpub in Ravenswood manned by a team of industry vets specializing in everything from cocktails to beer. Billed as a "culinary brewhouse," every aspect of the property fuses together nicely, with inventive flavors echoing one another from glass to plate. For instance, the micro brewing facility that you can see directly behind the bar area, churns out a rotating roster of beers brewed with ingredients you'd typically expect to find in a dish. Like the guava-pink peppercorn beer, or a cocoa nib-fig-rum black ale, or yet another with fennel, coriander, and coconut. Each one is wholly novel and exciting, available ordered as is or as part of a pairing menu with food.
Empirical Brewery // 1801 W. Foster Ave
While Band of Bohemia skews opulent in design, Empirical Brewery up the street at Foster and Ravenswood is a drastic departure. The space feels like a massive warehouse, with a long bar spanning the south side of the room. Brewers adopt a scientific approach to techniques and beer names, saying they apply empirical observations to determine their beer lineup. They rotate throughout the year, with examples including Gamma-Ray Ginger Wheat, Heliotropic Hoppy Pale Ale, Electric Blue Cream Ale, and Double Helix Imperial IPA.
Learn more about Chicago's craft beer scene, from the local breweries to the biggest beer festivals, or just follow beer master Mike's itinerary — he leads the Goose Island team as their Innovations Manager — on a tour of his Chicago.
Photos courtesy of Band of Bohemia, Dovetail Brewery, Begyle Brewing Company & Empirical Brewery