Chicago's Homebrewing Scene
Updated June 19, 2017
CHAOS Community Brew House and Home Brew Club is a non-profit organization that supports Chicago’s home brewing scene. The Brew House is a space that members can reserve to brew in a commercial grade area, using its brewing equipment, dry and cold storage, and a plethora of knowledge from fellow members. In addition, CHAOS holds workshops, seminars and events in this ‘beer lab’ covering topics such as barrel aging, all grain, and dry hopping methods. Members get discounts from industry partners and have access to member-only events, road trips, and pop-up Gastro pubs.
Based out of Lincoln Square's historical DANK Haus, the Square Kegs club focuses on sharing beers and creating a community of homebrewers on the North Side. Regular meetings are held on the last Thursday of the month and all brewers are welcome.
Atlas Brewing hosts the Atlas Homebrew Workshop from time to time, where homebrewers have the opportunity to have their beer reviewed by commercial brewers. See the Facebook Group for more information.
Chicago Home Brew Society is one of the oldest homebrew clubs in the country, dating back to 1977. They are a terrific source for meetups, events, and information. CBS arranges industry speakers, competitions, outings, and ongoing events such as First Thursdays and other social events. The Map Room is not only a great place to drink delicious beer, eat meats and cheeses, and to and play chess, they also host meet-ups for the Chicago Home Brew Society.
Brew and Grow has locations in both Andersonville and 6 more locations beyond Chicago. This retail brewing supply store holds classes and also has hydroponic equipment for your budding indoor hop farm. Brew and Grow’s supplies are also available for order online, but it’s worth the visit to learn a few things from their knowledgeable staff and try their latest experiment! Brew and Grow formerly had a West Loop location, where we purchased supplies for this Imperial IPA:
If you’re ready to take your skills to a commercial level, The Siebel Institute has a variety of professional programs to prepare you for opening your own brewery or becoming Revolution’s next head brewmaster.
Brew Camp is the best Chicago destination for groups wanting to brew as a team. Customize a homebrewing beer or wine party for up to 12 people, brew 1-4 batches of beer and/or wine, and consider your options to have it bottled, labeled, and delivered for you. Brewers who prefer to go it alone can use the handy recipe builder tool to order supplies for either delivery or pickup.
Think of Bucket List Brewing as a mobile brewery and idea board for beer adventures. All of their beers are designed around "bucket list" destinations or activities. In addition to developing recipes and concocting dream beers, BLB arranges social activities such as brewery tours, golf outings, canoe trips and more.
Bev Art specializes in both beer and winemaking supplies, and teaches weekly courses in both. They also lead by example and produce their own label, Wild Blossom Meadery & Winery, a line of award-winning meads available at wine retailers throughout Chicago.
Chicago Brew Werks (located in Plainfield) is a homebrew supply shop that also offers classes and an annual membership. Members receive discounts, access to their annual homebrew competition and other perks.
The NFC Company carries Nitrogen and CO2 cylinders, refrigerator conversion kits and replacement kegerator parts.
Online Supply Stores:
- Farmhouse Brewing Supply (Janesville, WI)
- Midwest Supply (St. Louis Park, MN)
- Northern Brewer (Minnepolis, MN)
- Twin City Homebrewing (Normal, IL)
- Somethings Brewn' (Galesburg, IL)
- Happy Hop Homebrew & Gourmet (Belleville, IL)
Grog Tag helps you create professional level branding for your home brew. Browse their designs or create your own with their simple mock up tool. Bonus: Use promo code BEVV and get 10% your order of custom bottle labels, bottle caps and signs!
Carbon and Hydrogen are the key elements in alcohol, and the namesake of Chicago’s first distillery and cocktail bar. CH Distillery is a great place to try inventive cocktails made from local ingredients, and the venue hosts events such as Mixology 101 for curious connoisseurs to learn about spirits and the ways to enjoy them. Lab coat not required.
Counter Culture Coffee's Chicago Training Center has handy coffee brewing guides available to the public. Public coffee cuppings are also held every Friday at 10am, and this is the place to go when you want to take your training to a professional level. Familiarize yourself with coffee's history, the industry, and brewing techniques at the training center's educational facility. Local coffee roasters and cafes also a great resource for learning to brew at home. Intelligentsia holds an in-depth barista training class to fine tune your skills. Check out this free training video series from Metropolis, or Ipsento’s Coffee 101: History, Selection, and Brewing Perfection. La Colombe also holds classes such as Latte Art and How to Brew with the Dragon. Finally, check Dabble for coffee roasting classes.
Homebrew Supply Stores, Classes, and Meetups