By Elizabeth SanFilippo
Just as Chicago has become a land of locally sourced food, local beers are growing in popularity now too. With the surge in specialty brews, pubs all over the city and beyond are creating small-batch brews that sometimes aren’t distributed past the walls of their restaurant. Bigger pubs like Goose Island may distribute far and wide throughout Chicago, but they too focus on seasonal beers that are only available for a limited time.
3535 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60657
Perhaps one of the most well-known local brewers and brewpubs in Chicago, Goose Island is all about pairing good food with good brews. This includes both its year-round beers like Sofie and Pepe Nero as well as its seasonal beers. To celebrate Oktoberfest this year, grab a Paulina brat for $12 (topped with local cheese, Duseldorf mustard, sauerkraut and caramelized onions) and pair it with Goose Island’s Harvest Ale which offers a fruity American-hop aroma. Other upcoming seasonal beer offerings include a Mild Winter, a toffee brown mild ale available November through February, and Goose Island’s Christmas Ale, a complex brown ale running from October to December.
Haymarket Pub & Brewery
737 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60661
Haymarket Brewery in the Randolph Corridor may be inspired by the infamous Chicago Haymarket riot, but it’s truly all about beer. Check out the fermentation room before dining on such dishes as the Amish Rotisserie Chicken and the Riot sandwich (an Italian sausage). Seasonal beers this year include a malty Oktoberfest Marzen lager and a Hefeweiss in late September. This winter, Haymarket will also be releasing its Templeton Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged Belgian Quadruple as well as its Angel’s Envy Portuguese Port Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout. Sixteen-ounce brews run about $5-9, depending on alcohol content.
Related: Best Beer Gardens in Chicago
Piece Brewery & Pizzeria
1927 W. North Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
Since 2001, Piece Brewery & Pizzeria has been all about small-batch brews and thin-crust, New Haven-style pizza. Enjoy one of its red or white crispy pizzas this fall along with Piece’s seasonal brew. Oktoberfest Märzen is a medium-bodied lager with a slight caramel finish that costs about $5 a pint. The Festivus beer, usually about nine-percent ABV, will also make an appearance later this fall. As in previous years, expect it to be a Belgian Ale.
2323 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
One of the newest breweries and pubs in Chicago (it opened in the spring of 2012), Revolution is already making its mark on the craft beer scene. The brewery on Chicago’s northside includes 45 barrels of beer and a large part of that includes seasonal beers. This fall, look for a classic German Oktoberbest beer with a 5.7-percent ABV, as well as some darker brews like a Mad Cow Milk Stout. Revolution will also be offering its popular Straight Jacket beer, a strong urban barrel-aged barley wine sure to keep you warm in the winter months. Since it is barrel aged and contains a higher alcohol content, around 13 percent, it runs up to $9.
Two Brothers Tap House
30w315 Calumet Ave.
Warrenville, IL 60555
This year marks Two Brothers’ 15th anniversary. In celebration, it is re-releasing 14 beers in the suburban tap house, four of which will return to the beer menu this fall. Look for Two Brothers’ Atom Smasher, a hefty oak-aged Oktoberfest-style lager, as well as its popular Heavy Handed IPA, which is produced using wet hops. Heavier Handed also comes out in October. Since it is brewed using last-day-of-harvest hops, it has a much higher alcohol content. To celebrate all of these fall releases, be sure to check out the events on the website. The seasonal beers are a reasonable $4-6 based on alcohol content.
Related: Best Chicago Beer Trips
Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she’s scribbling novels, and TV show reviews and recaps. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.