Cruz Blanca & Taqueria (photo: Chris Cassidy)

 

Koval Distillery

Chicago's 10 best local brewery and distillery tours

By Samantha Nelson

If you're serious about craft beer and spirits, you owe it to yourself to try them directly from the source. And in Chicago, plenty of the city’s breweries and distilleries appeal to curious drinkers by offering tours and tastings where you can learn all about your favorite booze and try varieties you won't find anywhere else.

Cruz Blanca Brewery & Taqueria
If your knowledge of Mexican beer ends at Corona, get ready to broaden your horizons at 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays, when $10 will get you a tour of Rick Bayless' brewery, a souvenir glass, and a brewer's choice of beer ranging from Mexican-style lagers to IPA's and sours. Stick around after to try some more brews paired with tacos.
Neighborhood: West Loop MAP

Goose Island Tap Room
The grandfather of Chicago's craft brewing scene, Goose Island remains one of the city's biggest and best known, sending its beers around the world. Learn about its heritage and operations Thursdays through Sundays on a $12 tour where you can see brewers at work and the spaces used for fermentation, barrel aging, and packing. Three samples and a glass are included.
Neighborhood: Near West Side MAP

Greenstar Brewing
The state's first organic brewery will pour you a pint of one of their rotating beers that you can enjoy while you take a tour with the brewmaster at 1 p.m. Saturdays. Tickets are $10 and include a glass to take home. Have brunch at Greenstar’s sibling spot, Uncommon Ground, beforehand so you're not drinking on an empty stomach.
Neighborhood: Lakeview MAP

Half Acre Beer Co.
Half Acre just began offering tours at its second location, which opened in September. Offered at 11 a.m. Saturdays, the $10 tours will take you through the production facility, taproom and restaurant, covering their barrel-aging program, canning system, bakery, and coolers. You'll also get three pints of beer, so make sure to have a big breakfast beforehand.
Neighborhood: Bowmanville MAP

Koval Distillery
Chicago's first distillery has moved its production to a bigger facility down the block, but uses its original space for $10 tours, which run at 7 p.m. Wednesday and hourly from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday. You'll get to try about 10 different organic spirits, including gin, whiskey, and liqueurs, and can taste anything you didn't get on the tour afterwards in the retail shop.
Neighborhood: Ravenswood MAP

Revolution Brewing

Revolution Brewing
Stroll through the 90,000-square foot production brewery and cannery while learning about the company's history, brewing process, packaging, and Bourbon-barrel aging. The free tours are offered at 6 and 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and on the hour 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday and 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Show up to the taproom early to reserve a spot and have a pint.
Neighborhood: Avondale MAP

Lagunitas Brewing Company
Chicago's largest brewery offers free tours at 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and every hour from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Stroll through the facility listening to stories about the business, and if you can make it out at 1 or 3 p.m. on a weekday, you'll get to start your tour with a free tasting of four to five beers and learn a little about each brew.
Neighborhood: Douglas Park MAP

Moody Tongue
Peeled Grapefruit Pilsner, Sliced Nectarine IPA, and Caramelized Chocolate Churro Baltic Porter are among the food-focused beers you can taste as part of the tours offered at 1:30, 3 and 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays at Moody Tongue. Visit the production areas and barrel-aging room and learn about the brewery's culinary philosophy followed by a full beer of your choice. Tickets are $20 and include a Moody Tongue-branded glass. Additionally, another tour option is offered for $38, which includes a guided walkthrough and tasting of the six Perennial beers, as well as the glass to take home.
Neighborhood: Pilsen MAP

Off Color Brewing
Off Color's opened its Mousetrap taproom in November and uses the space to host free tours at 2 and 6 p.m. Sundays. Capped at 12 to 15 people, the tours cover that brewery's history and style and include a few samples.
Neighborhood: Lincoln Park MAP

Rhine Hall
Rhine Hall’s $10 half-hour tours—offered at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday and at 3 and 4:45 p.m. on Saturday—will take you through every step of the distillery's production process, ending with a taste of their flagship apple brandy along with other spirits you'd like to try.
Neighborhood: Near West Side MAP

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