Thrillist
Begyle Brewing

11. Begyle Brewing, 15 points

North Center
Founded in 2011 by supporters who bought subscriptions to this community-based brewery, Begyle raised another $19K the following year via a Kickstarter campaign for a counter-pressure growler filler. So clearly, this up-and-coming brewery in Chicago’s crowded North Center/Ravenswood brewer’s row has its backers. Aside from spinning the traditional brewery business model, they also put out satisfying beers that are as easy to like as they are.
Experts say: “They are passionate about what they do, they don’t take themselves too seriously, and have been putting out solid products one after another.” - Cleetus Friedman, Fountainhead
Key beers: Comb the Desert, Blonde Ale, Tough Guy Brown

SEAN COOLEY/THRILLIST

10. Off Color Brewing, 16 points

Logan Square
As one of the newest breweries to make its way onto this list, Off Color was founded in early 2013 as a partnership between former Goose Island barrel-age brewer John Laffler and Dave Bleitner, formerly of Warrenville’s Two Brothers. They thrive on making offbeat beers with a focus on brewing forgotten styles of ale, particularly those made in Germany before the late 15th century. Their experience and unorthodox approach to craft brewing has made them instant players in the local craft scene.
Experts say: “There is something about the obscure beers that I love, the label art, and [co-owner John] Laffler. It all goes so well together and I had no doubt they would jump right into the local beer scene.” - Cleetus Friedman, Fountainhead
Key beers: Scurry (on nitro), Troublesome

Marz Community Brewing

9. Marz Community Brewing, 17 points

Bridgeport
Helmed by Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar co-founder (and full-disclosure, expert for this article) Ed Marszewski, Marz is obsessive about its Bridgeport roots, with beers named after Chicago’s favorite rotting river area, Bubbly Creek, as well as Marszewski’s counterculture magazine Lumpen (he also publishes Mash Tun: A Craft Beer Journal). The Marz collective is comprised of home brewers, professional brewers, and artists who found each other while drinking beers at Maria’s, and is currently one of the most sought-after small-batch artisanal beers in town.
Experts say: “This upstart Bridgeport brewery has come out of nowhere to be an instant favorite. Their mainline beers like The Machine are great, but it is their ‘one-off’ beers that are winning new fans daily.” - Michael Roper, Hopleaf
Key beers: The Bubbly Creek, The Machine, Galaxy Buddy

Spiteful Brewing

8. Spiteful Brewing, 18 points

North Center
Founded in January 2010 by Brad Shaffer and Jason Klein, Spiteful Brewing's name was taken from a childhood friendship that started instantly following a spiteful incident during a game of pond hockey. Initially homebrewing in the kitchen on a stove, their goal became supplying Chicago with proper beer that they would hand-deliver to liquor stores and bars. As other breweries continue to grow and expand, Spiteful remains committed to its nanobrewery roots.
Experts say: “Nanobreweries are aplenty in Chicago, but Spiteful makes some of the best IPAs in the region.” - Ed Marszewski, Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar
Key beers: Bitter Biker Double IPA, Messenger IPA, Spiteful IPA

 

Penrose Brewing Company

7. Penrose Brewing Company, 19 points

Geneva, IL
Started by two former Goose Island employees in 2014 in the western suburb of Geneva, Penrose focuses on Belgian-inspired session ales, oak barrel-aging, and alternative fermentation. These guys are as well known for their food-centric beers as they are for their taproom, which fits right in with Geneva’s small, but bustling food and restaurant scene.
Experts say: “These guys are jerks. From the first dinner I did with them, to the second, third, and fourth. I love their beers and Belgian influence. I think they are going places.” - Cleetus Friedman, Fountainhead
Key beers: P2, Wild V, Navette

Flickr/edwin

6. 3 Floyds, 20 points

Munster, IN
Even with it being outside the state limits, 3 Floyds is ubiquitous in Chicago’s beer scene. Founded in 1996 with only a few hundred dollars, a five-barrel Frankenstein brew kettle, repurposed open Swiss cheese fermenters, and an old Canfield’s Cola tank, 3 Floyds is just as “not normal” today as it was back then. Its across-the-border south suburban command center is a must-visit for any self-respecting craft beer nerd, and the releases on Dark Lord Day rivals Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout release on the beer mania Richter scale.
Experts say: “They consistently turn out high-quality beers highlighted by their IPAs. Their entire portfolio is filled with winners.” - Kris Nagy, Scofflaw
Key beers: Alpha King, Zombie Dust, Gumballhead, Dark Lord Imperial Stout

Solemn Oath Brewery

5. Solemn Oath Brewery, 23 points

Naperville, IL
Having recently marked its three-year anniversary with the annual Oath Day celebration, this emerging west suburban powerhouse is all about the party. Focused on Belgian-inspired and barrel-aged beers, its plan is to quickly rotate through dozens of beers across a range of styles while continuing to experiment with offerings such as its 12% ABV Heavyweight Ticklefight Champion of the World whiskey barrel-aged barleywine.
Experts say: “Newer to the scene, they have a ton of energy and it shows in their beers... Great lineup of American-style IPAs as well as Belgian-inspired brews.” - Kris Nagy, Scofflaw
Key beers: Axe Scar Pig, Kidnapped By Vikings, Snaggletooth Bandana

Courtesy of Goose Island

4. Goose Island Brewery, 26 points

West Loop
What is there left to say about the brewery that basically started the craft beer craze in Chicago? Even though it was famously sold to Anheuser-Busch and many of its employees have left to start their own breweries, it remains a powerhouse while continuing to innovate and make beers like Bourbon County Stout that fans will scour liquor stores for. And if you don’t see them at a Chicago festival this summer, you’re obviously not paying attention.
Experts say: “Lots of people have dropped them like a stone since the A-B purchase, but they are still making extraordinary beers... Blindfold test Sophie, Madame Rose, or Lolita and I doubt that anyone would call them anything but great.” - Michael Roper, Hopleaf
Key beers: Matilda, Sofie, Fulton Street Blend Coffee Ale, Bourbon County Stout

Revolution Brewing

3. Revolution, 37 points

Logan Square, Avondale
Revolution may not be quite as famous as Goose Island, but it was famous enough to star in the indie beer-centric film Drinking Buddies. And as the surrounding Logan Square neighborhood has blown up in terms of drinking signfigance, so has this Chicago institution founded by former Goose Island employee/Handlebar founder Josh Deth. With more aggressive flavor profiles than most Midwestern beers, a huge grassroots following, and plans to triple its brewing capacity, it's clearly on the cusp of something big.
Experts say: “Rev seems to be making all the right moves at all the right times, and makes a lot of damn good beer to boot... If you had to pick one brewery to serve for the world as Chicago’s face of a truly independent, large-scale brewery, you could do far worse.” - Karl Klockars, Guys Drinking Beer
Key beers: Anti-Hero, Jukebox Hero, Working Woman

Metropolitan Brewing

2. Metropolitan Brewing, 38 points

Ravenswood
In 2009, Metropolitan Brewing was the first brewery to open in Chicago in 10 years. Specializing in German-style beers and lagers, Metro can be counted on to deliver solid, easy-drinking beers that are clean, flavorful, and always on-point. Making a bold move to focus on Vienna-style lagers in a sea of craft ales and IPAs helps set it apart, as does its affable geek humor and devotion to community.
Experts say: “A lager brewery doing traditional styles the hard way. Crisp, clean, and infinitely drinkable can describe their everyday lineup.” - Kyle Fornek, Binny’s Beverage Depot
Key beers: Krankshaft, Afterburner, Dynamo

Flickr/Bobbi Bowers

1. Half Acre, 41 points

North Center
Sans flash or in-your-face marketing, Half Acre is content to sit back and let its beer do the talking with expertly crafted brews like the flagship Daisy Cutter that has blossomed into a staple beer in every corner of the city. Founded in 2006, the brewery sponsors a local bicycle club and makes efforts to reduce its carbon footprint even as it eyes a new, larger brewery that has the local beer community salivating.
Experts say: “Half Acre has been doing everything right since their founding in 2006. Their model of creating a kick-ass brewery, store, and taproom has been the blueprint for all the great breweries in the city.” - Ed Marszewski, Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar
Key beers: Daisy Cutter, Akari Shogun, Big Hugs

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Where to Watch the FIFA World Cup in Chicago

Updated On 06/21/2018 at 03:53PM EST
O ne of the finest tournaments in all of sports is back: The World Cup goes down from June 14 to July 15, when perennial powerhouses like Germany and Brazil will square off against upstart squads from Saudi Arabia to Panama. And while the US men’s national team may not be playing this year, that doesn’t mean you should sleep in on the action. Literally, don’t sleep in -- the games are in Russia, so matches will run in the morning and early afternoon hours here, but plenty of bars in Chicago will be open and catering to diehard soccer fans and noobs alike. Here are the most fun spots to watch the World Cup, and check back later for updates on drink specials and watch parties as the games heat up. Just leave the vuvuzelas at home.
The Globe

The Globe Pub

North Center

Local soccer institution set to reopen with new menu and TV system
You can’t talk about soccer in Chicago without talking about The Globe Pub, the city’s most iconic spot for international sports like footy. Despite currently being closed for renovations, pub owners assure Thrillist they will be open for the World Cup... with a June 8 soft launch date and grand reopening planned for after the World Cup. In the meantime, stop in for all World Cup games as well as a new food menu designed specifically for the World Cup which includes their famous traditional breakfast to pair with Krombacher pilsner specials throughout the tourney. The World Cup will also give The Globe a chance to unveil its brand new TV system with 21 HD 4K TVs of 55 inches or larger, plus an additional 20 beer lines to handle to increased demand.

Cleos

Ukrainian Village

The coolest soccer bar in the city, plus brick-oven pizza
Calling itself “Chicago’s #1 Location for International Soccer,” this cool neighborhood favorite has been rising in the ranks amongst local football fanatics in recent years thanks to 16 HDTVs and a bevy of DirecTV sports packages. Get there early to watch the World Cup from a coveted barstool in front or wander out back to take in some fresh air on the delightful 1,200-square-foot patio. The Cleos menu features more than 50 beers and bar favorites like country fried chicken sandwiches and a “carnivore” pizza made in a brick oven and topped with bacon, Canadian bacon, chorizo, meatballs, pepperoni, and sausage.

Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant (Chicago)

Fado

River North

Popular international hangout looks to be buzzing for the Cup
One of the most famously international bars in Chicago is billing itself as a "headquarters" for this year's World Cup, and it plans to screen each and every game live as well as the offer the option to book group events for private watch parties. They promise to serve plenty of Irish coffee, shepherd’s pie, fish & chips, and Irish ales on tap (Guinness, Harp, Smithwicks, etc). They also have food and drink specials on sale during every game and have helpfully posted a schedule of all the matches online in PDF form.

The Atlantic Bar & Grill

Lincoln Square

Soccer-loving traditional Irish bar for BLTs and bangers and mash
One of Chicago’s premier soccer bars will be screening all of the World Cup games on five flat-screen TVs in front, plus three in the back, and a large projector screen. Fans of major teams like England and Germany are expected to come out in force for the action, aided in no small part by a bar menu of Irish pub classics like bangers and mash and Irish nachos topped with shepherd’s pie filling, plus more traditional fare like burgers and BLTs. Ireland may not be in this year’s tourney, but you can still expect the crowd to be amped. You should swing by or check the website if you want to know about their daily and weekly specials, but they run the gamut from all-you-can-eat fish and chips to $6 Tullamore Dew + PBR deals and the like.

The Scout

The Scout

South Loop

The spot to order a foot-long grilled cheese with short rib
One of Chicago’s leading sports bars may not be a “soccer bar” per se, but it will keep all eyes on World Cup action by screening all games via approximately 25 TVs which line the walls in between exposed-brick columns. The bar is famous for its foot-long grilled cheese (which comes in short rib and Cuban varieties), but that doesn’t mean you should overlook additional items like 12-hour pot roast and cedar plank salmon. Show your team colors by downing an array of international ales from Kronenbourg to Peroni. Try something off their game-day brunch menu too, perhaps the pulled chicken breakfast burrito, made with cheddar and pepper jack cheese, scrambled eggs, black beans, and corn.

Galway Arms

Lincoln Park

A relaxed patio atmosphere for your World Cup fun
This friendly neighborhood hang will be screening most World Cup games, including all of the major matches. It may not be the most raucous soccer bar in the city, but it more than makes up for it with one of the most in-demand outdoor day-drinking patios in the city (which, yes, will have TVs showing World Cup action). Dive into some Guinness beef stew or a platter of baby back ribs paired with Irish whiskeys and a range of ales from the Irish big boys to more small-scale locals like Alarmist and Two Brothers.

DANK Haus German American Cultural Center

DANK Haus

Lincoln Square

Where fans of Germany have a home
Fans of reigning World Cup champion Germany can watch the perennial powerhouse go for a repeat of its 2014 triumph at the German-American cultural center in Lincoln Square. It's showing all Germany matches on multiple screens on the second floor of the Brandenburg Room. They'll be serving beer and pretzels, and the suggested door donation is $5. So far, watch events are scheduled for Germany’s first three games on June 17, 23, and 27, but no one thinks the party is going to stop there.

A.J. Hudson's Public House

Lakeview

Neighborhood British pub with a serious soccer obsession
This neighborhood corner bar isn’t kidding around when it comes to soccer, and will be screening all World Cup games with 110 beers to choose from, including Carlsberg specials during the World Cup. The bar will open early for the games, which should allow you plenty of time to explore the beer list alongside more traditional British pub offerings like British BLTs and fish and chips. Grab a Hudson burger with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and watch the games alongside fans of major teams like England and Spain.

Theory Sports Bar and Grill

Theory

River North

An upscale take on the Cup with craft beer and avocado toast
This Downtown sports bar with an upscale twist will be screening all World Cup games on more than 35 TVs, with VIP option for 25 people to watch on a 133-inch screen if you’re too sophisticated to mingle with the general population. Grab buckets of domestic brew or craft offerings from the likes of Cigar City and 5 Rabbit to pair with menu entrees including avocado toast and beef sandwiches. This is a fancier spot than some of the other bars on this list, and hooliganism is discouraged, but they also helpfully post all their daily specials for the week ahead of time on their website to help folks plan ahead.

Courtesy of Angela Luzzo

Timothy O'Toole's

Streeterville

The best wings in the city, wild boar meatloaf, and a "Big Timmy"
With 72 TVs and 48 beers on tap, plus billiards and some of the finest wings in the city, Timothy O’Toole’s has everything you need to settle in for the World Cup long haul, including DirecTV and screenings of all the World Cup games. There’s also wild boar meatloaf and tater tot poutine and, for those who want to get in on some sporting action themselves, try to finish the “Big Timmy Challenge” (two half-pound burger patties with four types of cheese, bacon, and BBQ sauce plus Irish nachos and onion straws) for a free T-shirt. Plan ahead by taking a look at all their specials on the website a week in advance.