2017 Chicago Beer Review

2017 Chicago Beer Review
Off Color's Mousetrap taproom is among many new beer makers open in Chicago.

I've wanted to paste together an outline of all the Chicago area brewery openings and closings in 2017. So here we go.

The year started with a concern that perhaps the "craft beer bubble" might finally be bursting, when Ale Syndicate lost its lease in December 2016, causing them, and their brewery partners Arcade Brewing to cease operations. So far, there is still a "For lease" sign on the property at W. Diversey Avenue.

The closing underscored a fact of life for any small business: that your balance sheet can't go negative for any length of time, or you could get a visit from the bank or the landlord. Ale Syndicate had not only fallen behind on the lease, but had not renewed its state brewer's license since the previous summer.

Despite this development, over two dozen brewers opened their doors in 2017, including taprooms for commercial brewers, or commercial production spaces for brewpubs.

Except for a few additional details, this listing condenses a much more comprehensive timeline from the Guys Drinking Beer 2017 Almanac.


Openings: On Tour Brewing Co.; Haymarket Pub & Brewery's Bridgman, MI taproom.

Goose Island's Clybourn Ave. brewpub closes for renovations.


Openings: Une Année/Hubbard's Cave taproom in Niles.


Openings: Mikerphone taproom in Elk Grove Village; ALULU Brewpub.


Openings: Alarmist Brewing taproom.

After an unsuccessful stint in the former Breakroom Brewery space, Finch Beer Co. takes over Like Minds' former brewery on the Near West Side, near Goose Island. Ravinia Brewing Co. later announced their plans to take over the Finch/Breakroom brewery on Montrose.


Openings: Flapjack Brewery in Berwyn

Lagunitas sold the other 50% of itself to Heineken.


Openings: Lo Rez Brewing taproom; Flesk Brewing Co.'s Barrington brewery and taproom; Short Fuse Brewing Co. in Schiller Park.

Closing: Mad Mouse Brewery and Moxee Restaurant

Three Floyds' WarPigs, a collaboration with Mikkeller, begins selling its beers in the Chicago market. The three beers are being brewed at contract locations, with Three Floyds' capacity full up. The WarPigs announcement re-ignites questions about Three Floyds' long-simmering plans for a Chicago brewpub.


Openings: Black Horizon Brewing Co. in Willowbrook, More Brewing Co. in Villa Park, Open Outcry Brewing Co. in Morgan Park; Soundgrowler Brewing Co. in Tinley Park


Openings: Wild Onion's Tied House in Oak Park; Contract brewer Great Central Brewing Co.'s Taproom; Roaring Table Brewery in Lake Zurich.


Openings: MyGrain Brewing Co., the first Joliet brewery since 1958; Half Acre's Balmoral Ave. taproom and beer garden; Metropolitan Brewing's Rockwell Avenue taproom. Werk Force Brewing opens their taproom in Plainfield.


Openings: Rabid Brewing in Homewood; Jolly Pumpkin's brewpub and distillery in Hyde Park relieves another area craft beer desert;  Goose Island's original Clybourn Ave. brewpub reopens as the Goose Island Brewhouse.

Ravinia Brewing Co. beers in cans go on sale.


Openings: Off Color's bar and taproom, the Mousetrap; Roselare Brewery & Tap Room, Pollyanna's Roselle facility for barrel-aged and funky beers; Elder Brewing in Joliet.


Openings: Maplewood Brewery & Distillery Lounge; Spiteful Brewing's Balmoral taproom, on the same block as Half Acre.

Nevin's Brewing Co.'s Plainfield brewpub introduces a line of their beers for retail distribution, rebranded as Midnight Pig. Chain O'Lakes Brewing closes temporarily after Christmas, to open in 2018 as McHenry Brewing Co. with owner and brewer Bobby Master.

For 2018:  Ravinia Brewing Co. plans to expand to the former BreakRoom/Finch Beer Co. space on Montrose. A Ballast Point brewpub in Fulton Market. Will County Brewing Co. in Shorewood is now mounting a Kickstarter campaign to get its brewing equipment after a supplier failed to deliver, forcing them to go to court.

Filed under: Beer News

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