7 Must-Do Brewery Tours in Chicago
Hoppy, piney, light, malty—there are dozens and dozens and dozens of words you can use to describe beer. Why’s that? Because beer is actually pretty complex. Just ask Chicago, which has been named one of the top beer cities in the country and is home to some of the most ardent beer-lovers. To see its breweries at work, check out these awesome tours of Chicago’s brewery scene.

Beer and bacon: a match made in heaven.

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Peanut butter and jelly. Graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate. Wine and cheese. These are all dream team food combos, but what about beer and bacon? The unlikely yet delicious pairing is the feature of this brewery tour of three locations in the the North River area. Perfect for a low key night out with friends, this tour will have beer and bacon enthusiasts sampling some of the best of both in the region.

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Drink yourself hoarse (horse?) at the Argus Brewery.

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A free history lesson and a commemorative Argus Brewery glass? Heck yes. At the old Argus Brewery, you and your friends can tour the facilities and throw back a few of your favorite lagers and IPAs. If you’ve never been here before, try their popular Ironhorse, Holsteiner Lager and Pegasus IPA. Notice a theme in the names of the beers? The brewery is housed in a 1900s era distribution stable that was home to the Schlitz horse team and carriages, so trot on over for a lesson in Chicago’s historic brewing scene.

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Free tours at Lake Effect Brewing Company.

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You’re bound to see tours of Lake Effect Brewing Company advertised on many lists like this one. Why? Because it’s just that important in the Chicago brewing scene. This free (should we have mentioned that sooner?) tour lets you get up close and personal with the company’s perfected brewing process inside the working brewery, bottling area, barrel room and urban farm. After the tour, head on over to the local pub—The Phoenix Bar—for tastings of the beer you’ve just seen crafted. If you’re lucky, you may even get to sample one of their rare vintage beers. Ready to get your day drink on? These six-hour tours are not for the faint of heart, but they are the best way to drink in Chicago’s fantastic artisanal brewing scene.

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Drink the day away at Southwest Chicagoland’s breweries.

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Going on just one brewery tour is amateur hour. Visiting a number of Southwest Chicagoland’s breweries in six hours is a feat for professional tasters (or just those of us who love craft beer). With a knowledgeable tour guide, you and your drinking buddies will have the chance to slip behind the scenes of Chicagoland’s working breweries to taste some of their amazing, local craft beers. Hop on the bus and get ready for a hoppy, delicious day—starting at 10:15am!

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Brews cruise, anyone?

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Drinking culture in Chicago goes something like this: wake up, get dressed, drink until game, drink during game, drink after the game. It’s exhausting, especially when you factor in transportation and having to drink the same boring beer every week. If you want to sample a bit of everything all day while being chaperoned around the city, you have to participate in this mega tour of Chicago breweries. Stop at breweries like Lagunitas Brewery, Revolution Kedzie Brewery and Lake Effect Brewery to learn all about nuances of brewing beer firsthand.

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A marathon of brewery tours.

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Ram Brewery Wheeling. Tighthead Brewing. Lake Bluff Brewing. Over the next six hours, you’ll stop at these three breweries and more on your tour/tasting marathon. All beer lovers are welcome to join this bus-tour, which takes you through the heart of Chicago’s beer-making factories to taste and celebrate Chicago’s community of local crafts. With everything you’ll learn about the beer-brewing process, you may just be ready to whip up a batch of your own!

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Down the rabbit hole.

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Behind-the-scenes in Hollywood means drama. Behind-the-scenes in the brewery world means beer—and lots of it. What you see is what you get on this brewery tour of esteemed places like Lagunitas Brewing, Buckle Down Brewing and 5 Rabbit Brewing. With plenty of beer to go around, you and your friends are in for a long, smooth ride as you wind your way through Chicago’s premier beer scene.

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