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Five New Breweries to Get on Your Radar This Year

From a huge Mag Mile brewpub to the first brewery in Englewood, there’s a lot to look forward to on the beer scene in 2020.

Englewood Brews co-founders Lesley Roth and Steve Marchese stand in the in-progress space at 63rd and Halsted. Photo: Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune

In the last decade, Chicagoland has gone from a handful of beermakers to more than 200 brewpubs, production breweries, and beer brands of all types. That number is going to grow a lot in 2020 – look out for new brewery locations from favorites 5 Rabbit Cervecería, Pipeworks Brewing Company, Alter Brewing Company, and Sketchbook Brewing Co., along with some new names looking to plant their flag in the beer landscape. Here are five to get on your radar.

Englewood Brews

Bringing craft beer to an underserved part of the South Side, Englewood Brews co-owner Lesley Roth just closed a successful round of crowdfunding (bringing in over $35K). The new project is under construction in a former bank building. When it opens — “Hopefully in the summer,” Roth says — it’ll be one of the few breweries in the city that doesn’t have a competing brewery for miles around. Drinkers will have plenty of options, as brewer Steve Marchese’s beers run the gamut from saisons and cream ales to helles lagers and schwarzbiers. 821 W. 63rd St., Englewood

Goldfinger Brewing Company

James Bond fans might think a Goldfinger Brewery would have a secret agent focus, while ’90s kids might immediately expect beers inspired by ska music and skateboarding. But the inspiration for this brewery goes back a whole lot further, to Markus Goldfinger, a Polish brewer in the 1870s — and great-great-grandfather of owner–brewer Tom Beckmann. Construction is underway in Downers Grove, and the brewery, which is aiming for a late May opening, has already dubbed themselves “suburban Chicago’s lager brewery.” Expect beers to include bright Czech pilsners, seasonal festbiers, and marzens, plus their Original Lager. 513 Rogers St., Downers Grove

Milk Money Brewing

When this suburban brewpub opens, likely this spring, it’ll have the benefit of a head brewer (or “beer architect,” per their website) with significant experience on the brewdeck. Back in 2013, Erik Pizer was one of the founders of 350 Brewing in nearby Tinley Park, and left to spend a few years at Warrenville’s Rock Bottom Brewery, pulling in a Great American Beer Festival medal while he was there. They’re focusing as much on food as they are on beer — per Pizer, they’re aiming for a “very seasonal, locally sourced” beer and food menu with an open kitchen and a “chef’s bar” with a special tasting menu. 75 S. La Grange Rd., La Grange

Brother Chimp Brewing

Photo: Jose M. Osorio

Even though they’re not open yet, Brother Chimp is already available at Logan Square incubator brewer Pilot Project. Owner Steve Newman is aiming for a March opening for his taproom, where he’ll focus on drinkable, sessionable English-style ales, German-style lagers, and maybe some Belgian recipes. “The idea is that I’m not going to be ‘the hoppy, fruity [beer] place,’” he says. “I like beers that taste like beer.” The North Aurora taproom looks like a neighborhood pub and will set aside a few taps for cider and other local breweries for those that prefer a hazy IPA or a sour. Based on the name, maybe a collaboration with nearby Metal Monkey Brewing is in order? 1059 W. Orchard Rd., North Aurora

Crushed By Giants

The idea of someone making craft beer on Michigan Avenue would have seemed ludicrous just a few years ago, but here we are, with the team behind DryHop Brewers and Corridor Brewing dropping big ol’ stainless steel brewing equipment into a building housing an AMC Theater and the Grand Lux Café. Crushed By Giants, which is aiming for a May opening, is focused on beer with bright, big flavors (think hazy IPAs and Mexican-style lagers) and boasts a taco menu. It’s airy, laidback fare, despite Crushed By Giants’ passive-aggressive name: Owner Greg Shuff described his Mag Mile neighbors — the aforementioned giants — to the Trib as “brutal” negotiators. 600 N. Michigan Ave., Near North

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