Chicago Brewery Tour: Part 3, The Southside

Part 3 of 3, The Southside

A few years ago no one would believe the south side of Chicago would host this many microbreweries or taprooms. From the late 90s until 2010, most of the city’s best craft beer bars and the only breweries in town were located north of Roosevelt Road, my personal dividing line between the North and South sides of the city.

 

The very first southside craft brewery was Argus, opening in 2009. Then in 2012-2013 a new generation of breweries popped up all over Chicago including the second to be located in the southside: Horse Thief Hollow. In the following years many more incubated brewery projects came to life. Including one founded by myself, a few family members, and friends called Marz Community Brewing Co. Today there are sixty five breweries in Chicago proper and at least a dozen of them are located below the Eisenhower expressway.

 

This Southside tour might not be possible for most people to do in one day, but I think it is! Just don’t drink as much as you want to and eat lunch dinner and dessert when I suggest while on this tour. One other caveat: I didn’t include Argus because it doesn’t have regular hours and tours are by appointment. So take a train to that joint when ya have a minute.

So let’s get on with it!

– By EdMar

 

Horse Thief Hollow

 

Our first stop in our South Side brewery tour is a brewpub located in the neighborhood of Beverly and its where we suggest you have lunch at 11:30am.

When Illinois competes at the Great American Beer Festival in Colorado each year, Horse Thief always brings home a medal. Last year they won a Bronze for their Prunkle’s Dunkle, a European-Style Dark Lager that kicks ass. One of the first breweries to open in the very South Side of Chicago, Horse Thief Hollow defied expectations and has become a must visit brewpub for any visitor to the windy city.

 

They have earned this reputation by making tasty suds. Brewmaster, David Williams, was a graduate of the legendary C.H.A.O.S Homebrew club and is the definition of the weird turning pro. We expect him to keep making the award winning brews which complement his solid pale ales, kolschs and IPAs.

 

 

Whiner Brewing

 

Whiner Brewery opened up in the ecologically minded manufacturing complex called The Plant, located in The Back of The Yards, a hardscrabble working class neighborhood. A few years back I saw the area in which the new brewery would be situated and it was an abandoned shit hole of a space. Today, after the Whiner construction team of Heizler Group did their magic it’s an industrial palace. The completely utilized facility has equipment in places that you make wonder what engineering feat they used to install the system and tanks ( I think they blew a huge hole in the wall to get all the stuff in). The lighting is sexy and the overall concrete vibe delightfully urban decay chic. And the beer is fantastic too. Besides their solid saison and brettanomyces beers try some of the barrel aged experiments they have on draft.

 

Whiner is the anchor tenant for The Plant, a vertical farm and food business incubator. Try to visit them on a Saturday when their market is happening and enjoy some tasty bread and treats from Pleasant House Bakery, coffee from a Whiner brewery Sister project, Four Letter Word, and check out Bike A Bee honey.

 

 

Marz Community Brewing

 

The experience of writing for, editing, and publishing Mash Tun Journal is one of the reasons Marz Community Brewing Co came into existence. We were inspired by craft beer and the culture that surrounds it. And somehow our love of beer and the brewers we interviewed talked us into it!

 

So it’s been almost three years since we started our own contribution to brewing in Chicago and we are pleased to announce that our new facility will be open in late spring. The new brewery is located in the first organized manufacturing district in Chicago right off Bubbly Creek.

 

Marz will have a tasting room, a bottle/merch shop and more. Since our tap room most likely won’t be open soon due to licensing, permitting and construction delays (the uholy trinity of the brewing biz), we will be open for tours. If yer in the hood, just stop by and knock on the side door. If we hear it we will let ya in and show ya around. Or just email or call us and we will hook ya up.

 

 

Baderbräu

 

After contracting beer for a few years with the recipe from the original craft pilsner revered by old-timers in Chicagoland, Baderbrau has opened their new plant a stone’s throw from Mc Cormack Place. The spacious brewing floor is complemented by a second floor tap room featuring local street art. Their beers have massively improved since they opened up the new joint.

 

I love the Gunsmoke, a lightly smoked hefeweizen and their Pilsners and Lagers are top notch. Grab a taste of each of these and get ready to check out a few more nearby joints.

 

 

Motor Row Brewing

 

Motor Row is part of the burgeoning development of the South Loop and is also close to the Mc Cormack Convention Center Complex. If yer planing a trip to Millenial park or the Art Institute, this is a great place to get yourself sorted. Motor Row is in a landmark South Loop building and the warehouse-like space has a retail/tasting room and an upstairs taproom for enjoying a few. You can order food in our bring your own. We dig their seasonal IPAs and the Schwarzbier. If you are continuing on, don’t eat yet!

 

 

Vice District Brewing Company

 

Just a mile up the block from Motor Row is Vice District. This south loop brewery nods to the roaring gangster days of Chicago. This part of Chicago was the notorious hunting ground for Capone. And you can see the Ganster tour busses buzzing down the street often in the summer. The cozy tasting room has reclaimed wood tables and bartops, complementing the industrial interior of this former Buick Automobile showroom. Vice makes a wider range than most of the standard brewpub style beers. We especially like their IPAs, especially Habitual, their Cascading Dark Ale.

 

Vice is constantly fighting to keep up with production on their small brewpub system and sometimes they are out of their flagship beers. So partners Quintin Cole and Curtis Tarver II hope to begin brewing at a new 15-barrel brewhouse in Homewood this year. The new 15 BBL system will increase production, feature a 75 person tap room and allow more beer to be distributed throughout the state. We are looking forward to their cans!

 

 

Moxee Restaurant & Mad Mouse Brewery

 

Ok if you are still on the tour this is where you are going to get dinner.

Mad Mouse Brewery is the first Chicago brewery to open up in a restaurant. Situated in the historic zone that was once the Maxwell Street Market, the spot is close to the University of Illinois Chicago and is the gateway to the Southside. The petite 3BBL system makes super small batch brews that complement the wide range of southern style food offered on the menu. Since they are technically a brewpub, Mad Mouse also serves a range of local craft beers from breweries that don’t have tasting rooms as well as whiskey and cocktails. All of which makes it a nice place to chill before heading out. remember to not order dessert because it’s coming up next.

 
Moody Tongue Brewing Company

 

This is dessert.

 

For a brewery known for making culinary beers it’s odd that Moody Tongue only offers chocolate cake and oysters to pair with their beer in their tasting room. But somehow all makes sense. The non descript entrance to this former glass factory hides a meticulously designed tasting room which casts a mid-century vibe in contrast to the brewing facility beyond it’s confines. It’s a wonderful surprise to walk into the elegant tasting room while in this old industrial segment of the Pilsen neighborhood.

 

The menu choices seem weird but they work. I will suggest you order their lager and saison go with your dessert, the chocolate cake. And if yer like me you’ll also want to eat oysters while chilling in such sexy environs.

 

My guess is that the limited menu for both beer and food is designed to make sure you don’t miss out on anything Moody Tongue makes. And brewer, Jaroud Rouben, has made sure you won’t.

 

Lo-Rez Brewing

 

Lo-Rez just opened their tanks in late 2016 and are the newest members of the Chicago brewing scene. Veteran home brewers and partners Dave Dahl and Kevin Lilly took the leap and joined the craft beer movement after three years of research, brewing at local breweries, and securing this Pilsen spot. Their love of Belgian-style and malt-forward beers like saisons, golden ales, scotch ales, stouts is represented in their line up. However, since the brewery has just opened we haven’t figured out what our favorite beers are yet. You can’t go wrong with the Position Zero Pale Ale and we look forward to more of what they have to offer to Chicago.

 

Lo-Rez are are putting the finishing touches on their taproom in Pilsen and will be open for business in a couple months. Keeping our fingers crossed because they are dealing with the aforementioned Unholy Trinity. Drive by anyway and see if the lights are on. If so knock on the door and tell them we said hello.

 

 

Lagunitas Brewing Company

 

Perhaps best for your last stop, Lagunitas’s Chicago plant will astound you. First off it is the largest craft brewery in the city, and perhaps the midwest. When it opened in 2014, the 300,000 sq ft brewery cemented the city’s place as one of the worlds best craft beer destinations.

 

After a long walk to the tap room you will find yourself two floors above the brewing facility. The spacious room gives you great views of the plant and it’s thousands of tons of stainless steel. The food is top notch, there is live music on the weekends and the tours are free. What else do you want? Oh there will be more.

 

Lagunitas has been planning on building a concert venue and rooftop bar since the opened. We noticed they just got their permit for the rooftop patio. So keep your eyes peeled for the opening in the next few months.

 

 

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