Lagunitas Brewing Company

Top choice


in Chicago

Enter this jovial brewery – the city’s largest – via a blue glowing hallway with trippy art painted on the walls and the Willy Wonka theme song playing overhead. The beer-hall-esque taproom is a bit far flung, but fans make the trek for the free tours, hoppy suds and live music. IPAs and pale ales are the specialty.

Many of the brews have a high alcohol content that’ll knock you on your butt if you're not careful. Grab a glass and settle in at the communal wood tables, maybe with a novel from the book exchange. Or walk out on the catwalks overlooking the production area (yes, you're allowed).

The schedule is quirky: tours happen daily, but the taproom is only open Wednesday through Sunday. Also, not all tours offer samples. The 1pm and 3pm jaunts on weekdays do; tours on weekends do not. If possible, take a tasting tour. The samples are generous and you get to hang out drinking in a weird purple room with video games, a piano and a giant blow-up eyeball.

The brewery is located in Douglas Park, west of Pilsen. It’s about a half-mile walk from the L station through a pretty desolate industrial area. At night you’re better off taking a taxi or rideshare.