3057 N. Rockwell St.
Most taprooms—including the others on this list—tend to be aesthetically interchangeable, all exposed brick and brash lighting. Metropolitan opted instead for floor-to-ceiling windows along its east-facing wall, which lets in plenty of light (especially if you start drinking early in the day) and affords a lovely vista of the river.
What to drink:Order the mild Kölsch-style Krankshaft by the half-liter ($6) while you bask in the sun.
1460 N. Kingsbury St.
Off Color Brewing will never brew a single IPA for its taproom. Called Mousetrap, it is devoted to pouring experimental, offbeat brews, which get rotated into the 16-tap lineup with refreshing frequency. Coming later this year: barrel-aged versions of some of Off Color ’s iconic beers.
What to drink:Little Friend ($5 for 13 ounces)—the peppery yet mild Belgian-style table beer is meant for easy sipping.
Open Outcry Brewing Company
10934 S. Western Ave.
There’s something to be said for a straight-up hop bomb, and that’s what this West Morgan Park brewery does best. Despite their powerful flavors, the beers don’t drown out the bar’s other specialty: wood-fired pizzas. A bright Margherita pie ($12) packs lots of flavor and lets the beverages sing.
What to drink:The New England–style IPAs, like Open Interest ($7 a pint), are loaded with citrus and pine.
2024 W. Balmoral Ave.
What this cult-favorite brewery’s industrial drinking spot lacks in cushy comforts, it makes up for in charm: impressively knowledgeable bartenders, a dog-friendly space, and a clientele of chatty beer fanatics.
What to drink:A knock-you-on-your-ass barley wine called Belligerent Bob ($8 for 10 ounces), which packs a surprising amount of sweet nuance into its muscular ABV: 12.3 percent.
Maplewood Brewery & Distillery
2717 N. Maplewood Ave.
This Avondale brewery has long dabbled in distilling but wasn’t bottling or selling its spirits. Now that it has an intimate, brick-walled taproom, Maplewood is making cocktails with its rum, gin, and whiskey, including a twist on a mudslide made with white whiskey and a dense, chocolaty milk stout ($11 for 12 ounces).
What to drink:If you’re here for the beer, go for the hazy, hoppy Juice Pants IPA ($7 per pint).
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