I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said “beer is proof there is a God, and that he wants us to be happy.” Or maybe it was Moe the bartender. Either way that’s a theology we can all believe in. And while most of us usually worship in the church of Anheuser-Busch or the temple of Miller Brewing, the Chicago area is host to some terrific, smaller breweries worth searching out. Cheers!

Gumball Head

Three Floyds Brewery
9750 Indiana Pkwy., Munster, IN.
(219) 922-3565

This American Wheat Ale is refreshing and tangy with a hint of lemon in the finish. Three Floyds is an increasingly popular stop for beer enthusiasts in the south suburbs and Northwest Indiana. You can find six packs of Three Floyds at area liquor stores, but when you spot the Gumball Head- stock up, it doesn’t last long on the shelves.

Honker’s Ale

Goose Island
Headquarters: 1800 W. Fulton St., Chicago, IL
Brewpubs: 1800 N. Clybourn Ave. and 3535 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL
(312) 226-1119

The Goose Island Brewpub started the micro-brew trend in Chicago and they are still going strong. Recently they’ve branched off into smaller batch brews like Matilda and Sofia, but for my money the first beer I ever had there is still the best. Honker’s is a classic English Bitter full of robust flavors which will have you lingering long after your dinner is done.

Golden Arm

Piece Pizzeria
1927 W. North Ave., Chicago, IL
(773) 772-4422

Beer and Pizza is a no-brainer, but how about a fabulous pizzeria that brews their own collection of excellent craft beers? That’s called heaven my friends. It’s tough to pick, but more often than not I go for their German-style Kolsch. Insider tip: for $16 you can buy a refillable growler to take your favorite beer home.

credit: flossmoorstation.com

Chessie Cherry Wheat Ale

Flossmoor Station
1035 Sterling Ave., Flossmoor, IL
(708) 957-BREW

The sweet kiss of cherries makes this wheat ale irresistible. Pair it with one of the brewpub’s mammoth pulled pork sandwiches and you’re in for a treat. Flossmoor station brews are popping up at some liquor stores and they also offer take-out growlers.

Domaine DuPage

Two Brothers Brewing Company
30-W-315 Calumet Ave., Warrenville, IL
(630) 393-BEER

These brothers are putting the Western Suburbs on the brewing map. While their beers are still new acquaintances of mine I know we will soon become good friends. So far, my favorite is this French-inspired Amber Ale.

Dan Blom, cbschicago.com