There’s never been a better time to be a beer lover in the western suburbs
For those who grew up in the western suburbs years ago when the sidewalks were said to roll up at nightfall, the fact that this area has begun to make a true name for itself in the national craft beer scene is nothing short of amazing.
But it’s true. Nearly 30 breweries have opened in the western suburbs over the past three years including seven last year alone. The rise of local craft brewers is reflective of a broader national trend — The Brewers Association recently reported the number of U.S. craft breweries recently eclipsed 5,000, which is especially impressive considering that less than 100 such brewers existed in the late 1980s.
But it’s not just the quantity of the breweries that have sprung up in the western suburbs that is impressive, it’s the quality. Breweries such as Nevin’s in Plainfield, Naperville’s Solemn Oath and Lemont’s Pollyanna recently won bronze medals at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, while Two Brothers Brewing took home the Gold for its French-style Biere de Garde. That same Two Brothers brew also won the bronze at the World Beer Cup. Indeed, seven of its beers are medal winners so that Two Brothers can claim five golds, three silvers, seven bronzes and countless “certificates.”
Such recognition is not surprising to local beer aficionados, since Two Brothers — which will celebrate its 20th anniversary this March — is considered by many to be the patriarch of the local beer scene.
From its modest beginnings in Warrenville, Two Brothers now has three full service brewpub/restaurants in the area — the Tap House in Warrenville, the Roundhouse in Aurora and the new Craftsman in Naperville. It also has an additional locations in Scottsdale, Arizona for local snow birds.
But Two Brothers has begat a wide variety of other great local breweries. The beer, too, is incredibly diverse — ales, lagers and Latin-inspired brews.
One characteristic that virtually all local breweries have in common, however, is a true commitment to “community.” This can manifest itself in a variety of ways, from the tap rooms themselves serving as social gathering places, to the breweries giving back to local charities. At Werk Force Brewing in Plainfield, for example, “100% of the money in our tip jars go directly to charities,” says owner Brandon Wright.
The proliferation of breweries may be good for local non-profits. But it’s even better for beer lovers, where it’s never been a better time to live in or visit the western suburbs.Edit Module