The first time I popped into Hopewell Brewing for a pint, the year was 2016, and it was the taproom’s first month of operation.
Fast forward three years, and a return trip finally materialized. The vast time gap between visits makes zero sense — Hopewell makes a fine beer, and I love me some Logan Square. I guess it’s just easy to get distracted when you find yourself on that stimulating strip of Milwaukee Avenue, where an interesting restaurant, an inviting dive bar or a quirky specialty shop beckons around every corner.
The brewery sits near the northernmost edge of this popular district, a few steps from the Logan Square Blue Line stop, which makes it an easy trip for West Siders like us.
The high-ceilinged, well-lit taproom was near capacity late on this Saturday afternoon, and our friends — who consider themselves semi-regulars — remarked that they’d never seen it so crowded. Then again, they usually stop in on weeknights.
Either way, the family friendliness of the space was readily apparent, with plenty of dogs and babies and toddlers riding out the daylight hours as the sun blended into the rooftops. As far as entertainment for the little ones is concerned, a shelf on the far wall lined with board and card games addresses that need; and if you’ve ever spent time in a dog-friendly taproom, you know how content most canines are with lapping up the inevitable bounty of attention they’re sure to receive there. Such was the case at Hopewell.
Atmosphere and Staff
While my preference aligns more with a rustic, revamped-former-meatpacking-plant type of environment, there’s a lot to love about this taproom’s upbeat, contemporary vibe: an old-school, scoreboard-style beer menu behind the bar, tons of natural light, and a community-oriented atmosphere that encourages mingling with those in your immediate vicinity.
Despite a congregation that hovered around two rows deep near the bar, squeezing in to grab a couple beers periodically was pretty painless. My primary gripe with checking out breweries during primo hours (i.e. Saturday afternoon) is a lack of access to the staff — ideally, we’ll return some day soon to chat about specific beers and attempt to pry away some spicy info regarding the brewery’s future plans.
Styles Available: The selection was solid: not overwhelmingly diverse, but enough variation to partake in a nice variety of styles. Our first six-sample flight featured a traditional lager, pale ale, imperial IPA, hoppy lager, wild ale, and a sour — to go with the red IPA and a Czech-style pilsner that filled out the menu.
For the Hop Heads: The description for the There There IIPA reads “juicy and dank,” which I can only partially agree with. Fruity undertones in strong IPAs don’t agree with me, so I limited my consumption to a taster.
For the Dark Beer Folks: By process of elimination, the 24:37 Red IPA was the only available option in the ballpark of this category. Dark, it was not — but it does strike a palatable malt-hop balance. Very good.
For the Serious Snobs: Easy: The Crudités – Wakatu American Wild Ale. Dry-hopped and aged in oak barrels, this sour pops with interesting flavors.
For the People Who Are Going to Ask “What Tastes the Most like Bud Light?”: First Lager. If you haven’t seen it on a beer menu near you, keep an eye out. You will.
My Favorite: I absolutely adored the Party Sub India Pale Lager. Moderate bitterness, courtesy of Styrian Dragon and Motueka hops (no, I was not previously familiar with those), and the crisp, refreshing taste of a lager. It’s what the kids call “crushable.”
When you plan a visit to Hopewell (and you should), do yourself a favor and make a day of it: after beers, grab some wings a couple doors over at Harding Tavern, get your dive bar fix a few blocks down at The Owl, and pop into Revolution Brewpub if it’s not too slammed.
And if it’s Emo Night at Logan Bar, you’ll know where to find me.
- People marvel at the “cuteness” of the Chicago brewery scene’s first eight-ounce beer can: Lil Buddy from Hopewell.
- Last year, seven Chicago-area breweries collaborated in support of the ACLU’s People Power voting rights initiative, brewing beers with a percentage of sales going to the campaign.