Chicago is full of great breweries, but they’re often packed on weekends. Want to grab a brew without the entire neighborhood joining you?
Consider traveling outside of the city to one of the lesser-known, but still delicious brew pubs the suburbs has to offer. Here are a few faves worth checking out for a girls’ night out or date night, but some are also really family friendly. Chances are, you’ll find a new favorite spot to hang this fall.
Top Brew Pick: Honeybird Pale Ale, which is brewed with honey and basil.
Tucked away in an alley in Evanston, Sketchbook is unassuming, but don’t let the facade fool you. Enjoy the brewery’s rotating list of 16 brews while hanging out in its hip and artsy taproom, which is decorated using recycled materials. Need a midday break?
Sketchbook hosts a Lazy Lunch Happy Hour noon-3 p.m. Monday-Thursday where pints are just $5. And don’t worry about leaving the little ones at home while you grab a drink—this brewery is family-friendly and they even have card games available for kids to play.
821 Chicago Ave., Evanston
Top Brew Pick: Full Mallow Jacket, a Bourbon Barrel Aged Double Stout.
Solemn Oath says on its website that it does things “a little differently,” but don’t let that deter you from visiting this unique spot in Naperville. The brewery has a three serving limit, meaning you won’t be able to try every beer you want in one trip, but you’ll also feel safer knowing patrons aren’t overindulging. They also don’t accept tips, but you’re allowed to buy your server a beer, which makes the interaction feel less formal and more friendly.
Although the brewery does not serve food, it does have food trucks that often park outside and you’re always welcome to bring your own grub, too.
1661 Quincy Ave., Naperville
Top Brew Pick: Heavenly Helles, a Munich-style lager.
Church Street’s slogan is “righteously good beer,” but the owners may want to add “extremely fun place to hang out” to their motto as well (too much?). The Itasca brewery has free tours, free live music every Saturday and, oh yeah, a large selection of award-winning brews that will please even the biggest beer snob.
Make sure to check out the on-site shop for stylish Church Street merch while you’re visiting.
1480 Industrial Drive, Unit C, Itasca
Top Brew Pick: M-Punk Mosaic Hopped Red Ale, featuring Mosaic hops and oats.
Hanging at the Noon Whistle taproom in Lombard gives you a firsthand peek into the brewing process, since there’s no wall separating patrons from the equipment. If you’re a dog owner, you’ll be happy to know Noon Whistle welcomes furry friends, as long as they’re leashed. Bring your pup on a Friday night and grab one of the brewery’s session beers, along with a bite from a rotating list of food trucks.
If you like what they have to offer, Noon Whistle has crowlers (32 ounce can) and growlers (64 ounce glass bottle) to go, so you can share the tasty brews with friends.
800 E. Roosevelt Rd., Suite C, Lombard
Top Brew Pick: Nothing says fall quite like Hailstorm’s Oktoberfest.
Hailstorm in Tinley Park likes to focus on beers that have big flavor, and that’s evidenced by its unique ingredient list, which relies heavily on fruits.
Check out the Hopsecco IPA if you’re more of a wine fan who wants to like beer, since it features Sauvignon Blanc grape juice as a main ingredient. Hailstorm regularly hosts live music, food trucks and events on the weekends, so there’s always something to do while you enjoy the brews.
Top Brew Pick: Vida y Muerte, an Oktoberfest lager.
The taproom or cerveceria—5 Rabbit brews beers with flavors based in Latin America—is in the same warehouse in Bedford Park as the brewing barrels. Owned by a family with kids, the brewery is kid-friendly and will serve on tables outside the bar area if little ones are in tow. 5 Lizard was the first packaged beer, a passionfruit wit found in supermarkets across Chicago. Tours on Saturdays are $12 and come with a glass and they’ll fill it with beer.
Their beer slushies pair well with tacos served at the cerveceria on Thursdays and tamales on Saturdays.
6398 74th St., Bedford Park