For the Ambience Seeker

Metropolitan Brewing

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.

For the Fan of Funk


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.

For the Hungry Hophead

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.

For the No-Frills Imbiber

Spiteful Brewing

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.

Beer from Maplewood Brewery & Distillery
Maplewood Brewery & Distillery
For the Beer Ambivalent

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).