The Land of Lincoln is a great place to find craft breweries. The tasty craft beer those breweries produce will make your mouth water and your taste buds sing! We know because we’ve tried some of them. While we have to admit, all of the craft beer we have tried is pretty darn great, the interesting flavors and textures coming out of Illinois are hard to beat.
Whether you’re tasting a flight in Chicago, Peoria, Itasca, or Lyons you are sure to find at least one tasty craft beer that really strikes you as perfect. We’ve put together a short list of beers that we think are outstanding in case you decide to take a road trip through this lovely state. After all, what better way to find the perfect beer than to take a road trip and try them all right?
We’ll start our journey in Chicago, the windy city that is so well-known for its breweries, hot dogs (who hasn’t heard of a Chicago dog?) and, of course, its interesting history! DryHop Brewers is our choice for lunch on the first day and boy do they know how to brew! Taking traditional brews and putting a new spin on them is an artform and they’ve learned how to balance the spin quite well. Their amazing brew, Protect Ya Neck, is an American Pilsner that will definitely shock you. Sitting at 6.5% ABV, you wouldn’t think this brew would have such an outstanding flavor, but you’d be wrong! It has a double mix of Equinox and Nelson Sauvin hops that leaves way for a great fruit and earth finish.
Don’t forget to grab some of their delicious food while you’re there, because the reviews are nearly as glowing as the reviews of their beer! That is a tough combination to combat, but we aim to try as we head south through the state to Springfield where we make a stop at Engrained Brewing Company.
These guys have reviews that not only complement their brews, but their food as well. Why? Locally sourced foods of course! Talk about taking part in keeping a community strong! Our hats are off to these guys just on that note alone! To top it off, they have some outstanding craft beer! We recommend the Blackberry Lager, which has an interesting taste and the finish is perfect.
Down in Edwardsville, we found Recess Brewing, a company that has been gaining popularity since their opening. As they work on filling all of their taps with house brews, they are also creating some pretty interesting beers! Their Cat’s Meow is exactly that, the cat’s meow. This pale cream ale has a flavor that we had trouble pinning down at first. The interesting blend of midnight wheat and Hallertau hops creates a very crisp and refreshing brew that is perfect for fall and winter.
Big Muddy Brewing in Murphysboro is a great brewery. Their brews are interesting and tasty, with a smooth finish that really leaves us with a smile on our faces. Pumpkin Smasher is a great blend of malts, pale, and of course, pumpkin and spice! However, we’d suggest a flight, because you’re going to want to try BlueBerry Blonde, Pumpkin Smasher, and Vanilla Stout too.
All of their brews are excellent and they offer tours and tastings as well. Remember to talk to the brewmaster if you get a chance, because you’ll definitely learn some interesting things about the craft!
That’s our short trip through the state of Illinois, and we hope you get a chance to visit each of these amazing breweries. Their tasty craft beer helps to keep a smile on many patrons’ faces and we’re sure they will for you too!