As the craft beer industry is on the rise, so too is home brewing. But with so many products, supplies, hops, yeasts and equipments available, how does one get started? Or, if you’ve already made beer from a kit, how do you make a custom brew? Take those questions and more to these five stores/breweries, which are awesome resources if you want to brew beer at home like a champ.
4639 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
Often described as the “general store for beer,” this Lincoln Square brew shop has shelves packed to the brim with everything from grains to supplies. But that’s only half of the business. The other half is devoted to teach home brewers just how to brew. Head on down to the store for a variety of hands-on classes as well as demos, including an introduction class, all-grain brewing, hands on with kegs and how to brew in a bag. Just have a question? The staff, including owner Jared Saunders, can help with that too.
3625 N. Kedzie Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
Just getting started with home brewing? Take a beginner’s class at the Irving Park neighborhood store. The shop also sells all sorts of supplies, not only for brewers of beer, but also for brewers of wine and soda pop. Supplies for sale include everything from ingredients like hops and grains to equipment for brewing and fermenting. Ingredient kits are also for sale. As a natural extension of the supplies offered in store, Brew & Grow also sells indoor gardening, or hydroponic, equipment. The store has multiple locations, both in Chicago and Wisconsin.
Chicago Brew Werks
14903 S. Center St., Unit 107
Plainfield, IL 60544
Chicago Brew Werks may be a newcomer to the scene of home-brewing shops, but it’s a locally owned place that has a wealth of supplies and information. That’s because owner Brandon Wright has long been passionate about craft brewing, and as such, he loves sharing that knowledge with anyone who visits his store. Self-described as a community-based shop, Wright focuses on helping clients take their brew to the next level by selling supplies and his own craft beers, as well as offering plenty of advice and tips for making a custom brew.
Related: Best Craft Beer Bars in Chicago
Half Acre Beer Company
4257 N. Lincoln Ave.
You may not be able to buy home-brewing supplies at this West Lakeview brewery, but the craft brewery offers a wonderful look at the making of craft beers. Tour the facility – where it has 19 fermentation vessels, three-vessel 15bbl brewhouse, liquor tanks and other equipment – every Saturday (except holidays) at 11 a.m. for only 10 bucks cash. Wrap up the tour in the tap room where you can sample some of the popular local brews, such as Daisy Cutter.
BevArt Brewer and Winemaker Supply
10033 S. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60643
In addition to selling a wide range of beer and wine-making supplies, including White Labs liquid yeasts, the Beverly neighborhood shop also offers weekly beer classes that includes two sessions, which gives the beer a chance to ferment. During the second session, you’ll return to the shop to bottle and take home your beer. The price for the class, $99, includes a batch of five gallons of beer for you and one other person. (Price of ingredients not included).
Related: Best Chicago Beer Trips