Food & Drink

15 Essential Midwest Brewpubs

The Midwest does it right when it comes to drinking…beers. And most likely you’ll be traveling to or through these states so you may as well get a taste of what some of the best brewpubs in the Midwest have to offer.

1.  3 Floyds Brewing Co. (Munster, Indiana)

These guys consistently win award after award for their brews. Most notably their super limited annual run of “Dark Lord”, a 15% Russian Imperial Stout, which, if you’re fortunate enough to secure a ticket to “Dark Lord Day” at the brewery, you’re in for a real treat. However, you’re in luck because they have several year-round brews like Zombie Dust, Gumball Head, and Dreadnaught that are ridiculous and available in the brewpub and for sale to go. Go on a Saturday tour at 3 Floyds Brewing Co. for a good time, but just know that it is first come, first serve so expect a little bit of a wait!  Go hungry because the food is stellar too – Anson Mills Grits, the good ol’ cheese curds, and the pizza.

2.  Revolution Brewing (Chicago)

Revolution Brewing has become the meeting place for so many beer lovers in Chicago and beyond.  It is one of Chicago’s largest independently-owned production breweries and it was named the “Best Brewpub” by Best of Chicago: Readers’ Choice. They have their staple brews like Anti-Hero, Cross of Gold and Fist City as well as ever-changing seasonal brews.  The pub menu is a little overwhelming in a good way and is not your standard bar fare by any means. Try the bacon fat popcorn, and you can’t go wrong with any of the massive burgers or sandwiches.

3.  Piece Brewery & Pizzeria (Chicago)

Head on over to Wicker Park for some award-winning beers and amazing thin-crusted pizza.  At the moment there are 7 beers on tap including the Camel Toe, a double IPA, and the Golden Arm. You’ll probably want to try all seven, honestly.  Oh, and every Saturday there is live band karaoke! This place rocks. Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters is often spotted at this hip hang out.

4.  Lagunitas (Chicago)

Prepare yourself for the largest craft brewery in Chicago.  Recently, Lagunitas also opened a 300-person tap room with live music, views of the brewing operations, and good eats.  Here is a list of things you must consume there: a couple Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’s, Spent Grain Brownies, Beer Mussels, Beer-Soaked Brats, Beer-Flavored Ice Cream Sandwiches, and more.  Do you notice a theme? Definitely, go for a facility tour while you’re there too, it’s like a grown up’s Willy Wonka Beer Factory, literally.

5.  Pipeworks (Chicago)

Pipeworks is known for their Double IPAs, so like they say, “When in Rome…” You’ve got to give one a shot.  This place is a Kickstarter’s success story and just keeps growing.  Their selection is amazing!

6.  Half Acre Brewing (Chicago)

Choose from the two locations on the north side of Chicago.  You will have a good experience at either, but the Lincoln brewery is the OG one. They brew “classic American micro styles, weighted barrel offerings, and wild beers.”  Food-wise, the Nachos and rotating burritos are flame.

7.  Dark Horse (Marshall, Michigan)

It seems right to start off by mentioning the Crooked Tree IPA, Boffo Brown Ale, and Black Ale.  These are three of Dark Horse’s “Full Timers.”  They also have a great selection of “Part Timers,” “Stout Series,” and “Some Timers.”  Saturday and Sunday you can go on a tour for $10 which includes a tour of the production facility, a pint glass, and a tasting experience in the VIP Loft.

8.  Greenbush Brewing (Sawyer, Michigan)

So many ales: Amber, Citrus, Rasberry, Blonde, and more.  They’ve got their staple brews and then a bunch of seasonal and specialty choices too.  Add some of the amazing BBQ into the mix and you’ll be done for.  The Pulled Pork is the way to go.

9.  Bell’s (Kalamazoo, Michigan)

Bell’s was one of the brewing pioneers in the nation.  It started in the 80s as home-brew supply shop and just continued to grow and grow. If you taste the Kalamazoo Stout, you will never forget it.  The Two-Hearted Ale is also so worthy. Just be adventurous and try as many brews as your body can take. Go on a free tour at either the Comstock or Kalamazoo locations.

10.  Founders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids, Michigan)

Founders offers both year-round and seasonal varieties to try there or buy and bring to the party. The taproom is always busy but still manages a comfortable and intimate atmosphere.  Order one of their giant sandwiches with a glass of All Day IPA.

11.  Lakefront Brewery (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

Guess what $7 gets you at Lakefront Brewery?  Let us tell you!  You’ll get 4 beer tokens, a pint, and an awesome tour of the brewery.  The tours are also family friendly, so feel free to bring the whole clan.  Just for your own knowledge, Friday’s are famous for the fish fry. This place is fun and affordable.

12.  Central Waters (Amherst, Wisconsin)

They live by the motto of  “ale, sun, earth, and sky,” meaning that is all you need for a good beer.  Central Waters is low-key and has a simple approach, but pays special attention to the sustainability of their brewing processes.  All the hops are locally sourced and they make incredibly tasty ales, lagers, and IPAs.

13.  New Glarus (New Glarus, Wisconsin)

This quaint little brewery is run by a local couple and they are known for their Fruit Beer. You’ve got to order the Rasberry Tart, Wisconsin Belgian Red, or Serendipity.  Their most famous and sought after brew is “Spotted Cow”, a cream ale, which has fellow midwesterners drooling over it as New Glarus only distributes in Wisconsin, so make sure when visiting you buy plenty to take home because you won’t find it anywhere else -legally, that is. Yes, small businesses have been caught selling their brews over state lines – their beer is that good.

14.  Silver Creek Brewing Company (Cedarburg, Wisconsin)

Silver Creek was established in 1999 by a local home-brewers’ club.  They currently brew four year-round beers and four seasonal ones, not to forget the classic blonde root beer too.  Hang out and listen to live music, enjoy happy hour until 6 pm, and get a pitcher of IPA for $10 on Friday!

15.  The Green Dragon Brewpub (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin)

A European tavern style dining experience with over 130 craft beers to choose from. The Mango Chicken Nachos are something to try as well as the Green Dragon Chili and Dragon Wings. The menu goes on and on—it is all good.

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