Whether it’s a hot day, cold day, long day or frankly any day, it’s always the perfect day to enjoy a nice cool beer with a friend or two. And whether you enjoy a place that’s off the beaten path or more of a mainstream locale, the North Shore is brimming with plenty of great breweries to choose from. And just like their beer, each has its own distinct personality.
Kings & Convicts Brewing Co.
523 Bank Lane, Highwood
King’s & Convicts Brewing Co. is a small craft brewery purposely located in Highwood, a town that Teddy Roosevelt (the toughest President in America) once called the “Toughest Town in America”. In addition to their love of all things Teddy, the owners also pay homage to their roots by naming their beers after English royalty and the convicts who were sent to Australia. Each of their craft ales and pilsners utilizes hops and malts from the U.S., Australia, New Zealand or England and comes with a back story usually involving a character that stood up to authority. Their beers are brewed “with a sense of freedom, freedom from the shackles of normalcy or the sneer of an Overlord, the love of travel, great experiences and the brotherhood of beer.” They usually have 6 standard brews on tap with additional seasonal beers mixed in. It’s a great place to enjoy a pint or two in an intimate, friendly atmosphere complete with board games. Outside food welcomed. Outdoor seating available weather permitting.
Half Day Brewing
200 Village Green, Lincolnshire
Half Day Brewing is a large, full scale restaurant and brew pub. It’s a great place to catch a game, gather with a group and when weather permits, enjoy their large outdoor patio. In addition to their unique selection of hand-crafted in-house brews (usually around 8 on tap); they also feature a rather extensive list of 40+ premium craft and standard beers on tap, in addition to another 40+ bottles and cans. So, regardless of personal preference, you are bound to find something you’ll enjoy here. While the food does not get as high of a rating as the beer, the menu is varied and certainly tasty enough to wash down your brews with!
Sketchbook Brewing Company
821 Chicago Ave., Evanston
A true neighborhood gem, Sketchbook Brewing Co. runs a 7-barrel brewhouse; small by most standards, but the size also gives them flexibility. Their taproom features a rotating selection of up to 16 core, seasonal and one-off brews with a variety of tastes sure to please every beer drinker. Sketchbook is a community supported brewery with over 400 active members. Membership is not required but offers savings on beer, merchandise, and invitations to exclusive member parties. The taproom features several sizes to encourage sampling, growler and howler fills, cold cans to go, a light snack menu with a friendly bring your own food policy, craft sodas, lazy lunch happy hours, free wi-fi but no TV’s just conversation, an eclectic décor, and live acoustic music most Tuesdays. Coaster doodling is encouraged. Kid friendly but no pets. The staff is very welcoming and knowledgeable, the environment is warm and cozy. You seriously can’t go wrong!
2000 Dempster St., Evanston
Although a bit hard to find, once you find it, you’ll be happy you did. The atmosphere is industrial yet friendly – think picnic table style seating both inside and out – so be prepared to share space; although there are ample tables available. Boards games, shuffle board and corn hole make it kid friendly (until 8:30 pm.) Limited food menu but outside food is welcomed and food trucks sometimes make a guest appearance. They offer tours and a yoga & beer class. And, now for the beer specifics. The tap room features approximately 15 beers on tap. Some are available year-round, while others only on an occasional or limited basis. The beer is available in flights of 5-ounce tasters, half pints, and pints. They also sell 64-ounce and 32-ounce growlers. You can bring growlers & howlers back into the tap room to be refilled if they are cleaned thoroughly. Simply put, it’s a fun place to chill and sample some delicious ales!
Macushla Brewing Company
1516 E. Lake Ave., Glenview
Irish for “my pulse, my lifeblood," and "my darling", Macushla is definitely a relatively new darling to the North Shore brewery scene. Located next to the legendary Hackney’s on Lake, where you can order food from, this brewery offers a wide variety of unique, fresh staple and seasonal brews – usually around a dozen to choose from. All the beers are brewed on the premises. The decor is simplistic, a tad rustic with a great outdoor space. A small snack menu and pizza slices are also available. Not sure what to get? They offer free samples before you commit!
They may not brew their own, but if beer is what you want, a great selection of beers is what they’ve got, plus friendly knowledgeable staff to help you make the best selections for your palette.
The Humble Pub
336 Green Bay Rd., Highwood
A great, local hangout with the friendliest staff in town and fun events to boot.
The Art of Beer
552 Sheridan Rd., Highwood
An unpretentious place to buy and drink beer with an ever-evolving list of 24 artisanal beers on draft as well as hundreds of bottles and cans. Drafts are delivered via a custom built premium draft system that provides an unmatched level of quality and authenticity. Friendly, knowledgeable staff.