This past week, I wrote up the first four stops on the Dixie Highway Brewery Trail — Horse Thief Hollow Brewing, Open Outcry Brewing, Blue Island Brewing and One Trick Pony Brewing.
I don’t usually do back-to-back articles on any topic, but this project warrants the attention. The reason I chose to take two weeks to write up this whole thing is because the Dixie Highway Brewery Trail includes eight breweries in order to finish — too many to recommend all at once, and the organizers of the project feel the same way.
Inside the official Dixie Highway Brewery Trail passport, they wrote that they highly recommend you do not try to do all eight in one day. I did four and went back up there to do four more in short order, but four I find is right near the top of what I can do in one trip.
The first stop on the back half of the trail and newest brewery — Rabid Brewing — is 36 miles from Kankakee and the farthest north on this leg. Rabid launched operations in late 2017.
Rabid Brewing is inside the same shopping area as Home Depot in Homewood. It features a high fantasy aesthetic with beer names such as Crye Havoc DIPA and Dwarves of Doom Imperial Stout. The taproom has food options available.
Among the breweries with taprooms in nondescript, industrial sort of spaces, the folks at Rabid have done the most to really exude its personality in this space. There are dragons, centaurs, manticores and other horned beasts layered throughout to represent the aesthetic in in a cozy, homespun sort of way.
Beer to Try: Dwarves of Doom Imperial Stout.
The second stop and second in Homewood along the trail is Vice District Brewing — 1.9 miles from Rabid. Vice District Homewood is the second location for these guys, who started their operations in the South Loop on South Michigan Avenue.
True to form for its South Loop location, the Homewood spot is pet friendly and easy to fill up. The parking here was only street parking, which was plentiful on a Saturday evening on a warm night in April.
Beer to Try: South Town Small Porter.
The third stop on the list — Flossmoor Station Brewing, 1035 Sterling Ave., Flossmoor, — is 2.2 miles from Vice District. Flossmoor Station is one of my favorite south suburbs breweries for its classic craft beer feel and award-winning, excellent beers such as Zephyr Lager and Wooden Hell barrel-aged barleywine.
This is one of the most kid-friendly craft breweries in Chicagoland, with a kids’ coloring mat and kids’ menu. My little family had a blast being able to see the train from the windows and exploring outside.
Before Flossmoor Station, the only fruit beer my wife, Sam, would drink is Cherry Bomb from Brickstone. Flossmoor Station has Chessie, which features a rotating cast of fruit they brew it with seasonally.
If we’re counting GABF medals, Flossmoor Station has won 23 medals (5 Gold Medals) dating back to 1997.
Beer to Try: Zephyr Golden Lager.
The fourth and final stop here is Evil Horse Brewing — 1338 Main St., Crete — 8 miles from Flossmoor Station. Amy Kamp, vice president of marketing at Evil Horse Brewing, is the one who put this whole thing together and emailed me to let me know it was happening.
Evil Horse taproom is one of my favorite beer spaces in all of Chicago with a fireplace, long communal tables and some fantastic, chill vibes emanating from this place. Evil Horse Brewing makes perfectly executed beers that feel like home in a classic craft beer way.
Again, Evil Horse is a fantastically kid-friendly spot with fruit juice boxes for kiddos if you ask. When we were there, there were quite a few kids inside playing with board games and listening to live music. My daughter had a blast and asked to go back.
Beer to try: Edgy Milkmaid Coffee Stout.
That does it for the Dixie Highway Brewery Trail. If you complete the whole thing, you are rewarded with a tin tacker of the Dixie Highway Brewery Trail logo, which was the main motivating factor for me to complete this trip. I acquired all the stamps and signatures, although I already had been to six of the eight breweries before this trail began.
It was a blast actually getting to revisit some places I am very rarely able to go to, with the exception of Brickstone or Steam Hollow for proximity reasons.
Edgy Milkmaid from Evil Horse Brewing
ABV: 5.7 percent
Style: Coffee stout
Notes: Chocolate and coffee , with milk sugar. Notes of roasted grain and a moderate coffee flavor.
Where to Buy: You can find this one at the Evil Horse taproom in Crete in a 12-ounce pour for $5.