Beer is having a resurgence these days, and maybe it’s arrogance or self-importance, but I think parents have something to do with it. Gone are the days of pub crawls through Wrigleyville or Booze Cruises on the lake. We have kids that are going to wake us up and ask for water at 2 a.m. But we still like a night out with friends or our spouse and we want it to be fun, short and worth the headache in the morning.
These Lake County breweries fit the bill, serving up fine craft beer with a side of fun and maybe a great meal. Check them out the next time you need a date night that doesn’t feel cliche.
If you need dinner, try:
345 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville
Mickey Finn’s is Lake County’s first brewpub and has been serving up interesting handcrafted beer since 1984. All of their beers are made in house and are all natural with no preservatives. The current location is brand new and boasts large open windows and a great patio. The food is pub food elevated with interesting flavors. We frequently meet for lunch and just order appetizers.
If you go, try the Pineapple Express Double IPA.
16 E. Scranton Ave., Lake Bluff
Located in gorgeous downtown Lake Bluff this is the perfect date night brewery. Enjoy their quality craft beer with pub fare provided by the Mavery House. And it’s not your average eats, think Fried Duck Wings and Kale Salad. After dinner, walk the lovely streets of downtown Lake Forest and window show.
If you go, try the Honey Badger Golden Ale.
22221 N. Pepper Road, Lake Barrington
Not just a pretty face, The Onion Pub & Brewery has a 17 barrel brewhouse and canning line in their basement. Their goal is to provide a quality dining and beer-drinking experience. From the freshest beer you can get (brewed in the basement!) to choosing quality local foods to give you the freshest meals. Pub’s patio overlooks two acres of former quarry that they have worked with conservation groups to restore, making it a perfect place for an alfresco dinner and drink while the sun sets.
If you go, try the Wild Onion Hop Slayer.
If it’s all about the beer, try:
161 N. Archer Ave., Mundelein
Tighthead is Lake County’s best beer. Brewing since 2010, they have won awards and can be found at many local restaurants and festivals. The tap room where they serve their current beers in a relaxed atmosphere is the perfect place for a date. They have board games for people to play but no kitchen. They occasionally have events with food trucks present and they encourage everyone to order from local Mundelein businesses and have it delivered to the tap room.
If you go, try the Chilly Water.
1350 Tri State Pkwy, Suite 124, Gurnee
Only Child Brewing is the new kid on the block having recently opened their taproom in Gurnee. They also don’t have a kitchen but a lively fun atmosphere and frequent events with food trucks. They’ve even held a Hopped up Yoga event.
3232 West Monroe Street in Waukegan
Zumbier really started with a grass roots effort. I have friends that helped them as volunteers (or for beer) so it’s been fun to watch the tap room evolve. They have frequent comedy nights and free movie nights. My neighbors have even taken the kids (when the show is appropriate) and says it’s a family-friendly atmosphere.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to great beer in Lake County. So book that sitter and grab your spouse or your girlfriends and plan a night out that you won’t regret in the morning.