Chicagoland’s thriving craft beer scene proves there’s plenty of fun to be had with your dog outside the city. In addition to cutting-edge craft brews, these spots are all dog-friendly inside with one exception—Lake Bluff Brewing Company. What’s better, they all boast both ample parking as well as close proximity to hiking trails, and they’re just a quick car ride away (yes, canine readers, you get to ride in the car!).
Unpretentious and highly regarded by locals, Blue Island Beer Co. is described by reviewers as “a great place for a pup to relax” and enjoy art and live music. Lost Weekend (Rye Barleywine/ liquid time machine) packs a full-bodied punch at 10% ABV, so make sure your dog is game to be DD again. Hop in for live acoustic bluegrass the first Wednesday of the month.
Blue noses are some of the most loving dogs in the world, so it’s no surprise that this cool spot in Hodgkins has thoughtfully included it all: darts, pool, foosball, and of course, a big, cute dog on the wall. With plentiful USB ports and beers featuring notes of everything from Tootsie Rolls and peanut brittle to cereal and bananas foster, Blue Nose is a great place to recharge after hiking the Cook County Forest Preserve with your pup.
Itasca’s Church Street Brewery boasts a welcoming, intimate atmosphere with a kind staff and delicious brews. Throw on your matching flannels and throw back a Paint it Plaid, the brewery’s robust and complex Scotch Style Ale with notes of toffee and fruit. Plan ahead and catch some live music or a Saturday visit from a local food truck.
Chill and inviting, Barrington’s Flesk Brewing is a great place to bring both dogs and beer skeptics (their program includes Vandermill Cider and wine from Lynfred in Roselle). Get your paws on a Running Man if you can–this sweet, roasty milk stout is the talk of the town. And for the dog with tons of useless pop culture knowledge, trivia starts at 7:30 every Thursday.
One reviewer describes Metal Monkey’s patrons as exuding “the soft glow of pure bliss” (you might also catch this on your dog’s face once she sees all the plush monkeys). The popular Romeoville brewery posts its weekend food truck schedule inside and online and has to be among the most generous brew crew in all of Chicagoland: teachers get 20% on Fridays from 3-7, and military, law enforcement, first responders, and K9s get 20% off on Mondays.
Galvanized by beer glitches and decked out in street art (and dartboards), Darien’s Miskatonic is a top pick for experimental, unexpected brews. Stop in for a Chapter 7 IPA or a Gardener Witbier after bringing your dog to explore nearby Waterfall Glen, which is absolutely every bit as lovely as it sounds. Heads up: there’s a no cash policy, so bring your card.
Highwood’s Kings & Convicts has reviewers driving in regularly from Wisconsin, and for good reason: their juicy King’s Bitch IPA has both a buxom nose and a cute but *very tough* bulldog on the can. Luckily for the bike-loving dog, the brewery is a few minutes down the road from the Robert McClory Bike Path, a pretty trail that is part of the Rails to Trails program which converts old railroads for recreational use.
Lake Bluff Brewing Company | NOT DOG-FRIENDLY INSIDE
Also reasonably close to the Robert McClory trail is destination beer hall and defacto community center Lake Bluff Brewing. Sandwiches and bar snacks from swanky neighbor Maevery Public House round out their program, and the Velvet Hammer Imperial Robust Vanilla Porter, an award-winning jet black malty coffee and dusty chocolate porter with Madagascar vanilla beans, is not to be missed.
Grayslake brew house Light the Lamp offers gutsy roster of hockey-themed brews like their signature 1980 Miracle American Ale and full-bodied Power Play IPA. If your dog is a Blackhawks fan, it’s a great place to catch a game; if he’s more of an academic, bring him in for Thursday trivia.
We know there’s a story to Old Kaya Dog, Tighthead’s seasonal barrel-aged 9.7 ABV Barleywine, but we think it might make us tear up. Treat yourselves to a day pass for nearby Independence Grove Dog Park, 30 lush acres of fenced in wonderland just down the road in Libertyville, and make some memories with your pup.