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Unique perspectives on the city from the people who live here.

Tag - Chicago breweries

Like much of pre-19th Century Chicago, Ravenswood (once part of Lakeview Township) was inhabited by various Native American tribes. Modern day Clark street was once an important trail, named Green Bay Trail, that led to Green Bay, Wisconsin.  By the mid-1800s, Chicago was growing and the population was booming. Real estate planners sought ways to make a buck while offering residents an escape fro the hustle and bustle of the city.  Many of our city’s neighborhoods developed in this fashion, and Ravenswood—which was to become the home to Chicago brewery Band of Bohemia—was a first of its kind. 

In recent years, the West Loop has been one of the hottest tickets in town. Restaurateurs and real estate developers have transformed the area into a vibrant space where local and tourist foodies alike descend for a delectable bite. But the area has always had a rich culinary history. And while this particular community is new, the concept of community in the neighborhood is one that is strongly rooted in the past.

Drinking in the Vice

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 5:00 PM by Liz Garibay

In the late 1800s, all of Chicago was booming. The city was re-building and growing in ways that were unthinkable. No matter the industry, opportunity was available for any and all. And as much as the good was thriving, the bad did too. 

Vice districts flourished in all major urban centers, and Chicago had her fair share. The most infamous of them all, The Levee, was located in modern day South Loop. It was here that Chicago would come to gamble, drink, and visit an assortment of brothels. Aldermen Hinky Dink Kenna and Bathhouse John Coughlin ran the successful First Ward and advocated for its existence. Thanks to Karen Abbott’s insightful book, Sin In The Second City, you can read all about the unique cast of characters that once were. And if you want to throw back a few where some of this history sultry history happened, head on over to Vice District Brewing (1454 S Michigan Ave). 

As Chicagoans, we are often inspired by our city. The people and places of both the past and present seem to influence much of what we do. From fires to fairs, our history is varied, and complicated. And perhaps one tale from our rich past is the one that has affected us the most. The Great Chicago Fire was such a pivotal moment for us that we honor it with a star on our beloved flag. It was a time of tragedy, yet it was a time for a rebirth. When I first encountered Burnt City Brewing in Lincoln Park, I was singed with curiosity. And then I got it. And I appreciated it. Not just because of a fire, but because beer. And history.

Beer lovers, rejoice! It’s a great time to be alive!  This could have been a headline in 1890s Chicago when our town was one of the biggest producers of beer during the late 19th Century.  And lucky for us, history repeats itself.  Today we are in the midst of the greatest beer producing period in American history.  Walk in any direction and you’ll undoubtedly find a brewery within half a mile.  As a historian, it’s fun to think about how the past influences our present.  And as a beer historian, it’s pretty special to reflect on recent beer history.

In thinking about the modern era of Chicago beer, there are certain breweries that were true pioneers.  Piece Pizzeria & Brewery (1927 W. North Avenue) opened in Wicker Park in 2001, at a time when the city of Chicago had only one other brewery (waves at Goose Island).  A brewery in Wicker Park may have seemed novel 16 years ago, but 116 years ago, not so much.

On a quiet corner of Belle Plaine Avenue in Chicago's North Center neighborhood, beside the Metra tracks, wild, Chicago-born yeast blows in through the third floor window of the acclaimed Dovetail Brewery, magically turning water into some of the best Lambic-style beers in Chicago and beyond.

Without a doubt, Moody Tongue is one of the most unique Chicago breweries to open since the craft brewing craze hit the city. Lucky for us, Moody Tongue Brewery just unveiled their new tasting room. As expected, their tasting room is just as quirky and lovely as their beers, and brewery tours are also on tap.

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.

In the past decade or so, the Ravenswood neighborhood has seen a number of new businesses pop up in former industrial spaces along the Metra right of way. It is now truly a destination in its own right with a range of artist studios, small tech firms, gyms, and perhaps most importantly, a number of places crafting spirits and fine brews.

Chicago Craft Beer: From Revolution to Evolution

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 12:00 AM by Liz Garibay

Okay, here’s the deal: I love Chicago. I love history. I love beer. And all in that order. I love them so much that I have made a career of pulling all three together. I’ve always said that if I could live in Chicago during a specific time period, I would choose the late 1870s. We were a thriving beer town with nothing but hope for both beer makers and beer consumers. A thirsty and creative city full of promise. A population that pulled together to build community for a greater sudsy good. Greatness was our destiny — our only destiny.

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