I don’t know how this particular brewery tour escaped me, but I looked through my previous articles and saw I never had written about Spiteful Brewing or Half Acre’s Big North location.
So, for this latest Brew Dude On Tour, I stopped at three high-quality brewing outfits and sampled some excellent beer with Derek Yarno, of Kankakee, who has accompanied me on many adventures.
We met up at our first spot, Twisted Hippo Brewing, 2925 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago, which is the newest brewery in this triad of excellent craft beer purveyors. Twisted Hippo has had several different iterations, with this most recent the most successful go at being a brewery.
Twisted Hippo focuses on a plethora of unconventional ingredients in their beer that pair well with their upscale food options at their brewpub. I had a pretty outstanding burger and sipped through a wide range of their beers. The taproom is decked out in enormous pink hippos painted throughout the space.
Twisted Hippo is a well-crafted, sparkling space and hits all the marks of quality food and beer, which is tough to beat.
Next, we drove to Spiteful Brewing on Balmoral Avenue.
I might be willing to say Spiteful Brewing is one of the most underrated breweries in Chicago, at least outside of Chicago. Spiteful puts out one of the most solid lineups of beer in the city, and I feel as though they don’t receive the attention they deserve.
Spiteful Brewing’s taproom faces Balmoral Avenue on Chicago’s North side. Spiteful has two large garage doors that open to a beautiful, cozy taproom that has a large wraparound bar, which comfortably seats a number of patrons and dogs.
They offer pale ale and traditional beer styles that often are forgotten. I had a dark lager while I was there. Josh Noel recently had written up a list of the best dark lagers in the city, and I was lucky enough to get to try Spiteful’s that weekend.
I would stop into Spiteful every week if I lived anywhere near the place, so I feel a bit grateful I don’t live too close.
The last stop on this quick trip is Half Acre’s Balmoral taproom, or, as it is affectionately named, The Big North. It is several blocks north of their original Lincoln Avenue taproom.
Half Acre is one of my favorite breweries in Chicago. I was asked to rate the top 15 breweries in Illinois for a piece for Forbes magazine in December, and Half Acre easily was inside the Top 5 in the state without a doubt. I love everything Half Acre makes and this trip was just an excuse to get a mention for this location.
It has been open for a little while now, but it still feels new to me. It is an incredible, sprawling space with handcrafted details throughout.
Half Acre opened a woodworking shop inside of this space, where they make tap handles and other handmade accents for other breweries, too. The creative folks at Half Acre are a treasure to the Chicago craft beer scene. I didn’t realize they had gotten into the hazy beer game until friend and fellow beer writer Nik White told me about it.
Their hazy cans are low key and only available at their taprooms. Derek and I ended our night there and had some beers we couldn’t get anywhere else, and I was glad we made the trip.
So, with Revolution’s summer barleywine in tow, and some cans Derek picked up along the way, we drove back to Kankakee better off than when we started. It was a quick and easy trip to the city’s North side, and I’m glad we went.
Bee’S Sleaze from Twisted Hippo Brewing
ABV: 6.5 percent
Style: California Common
Where to Buy: The taproom on Montrose Avenue.
Coffee G.F.Y. From Spiteful Brewing
ABV: 8 percent
Style: Stout — American
Notes: Cold-brewed coffee roasted by Metropolis Coffee Company.
Where to Buy: Liquor World in Kankakee in four packs of 12-ounce cans for $14.99.
Bodem from Half Acre Brewing
ABV: 10 percent
Style: IPA – Imperial/Double
Notes: Falconer’s Flight and Citra hops.
Where to Buy: Liquor World in Kankakee in four parcks of 16-ounce cans for $15.99.