The Grown Up Art of Craft Beer: Fall Brews 2014

fall brews headerFall is the time of robust colors, chunky sweaters, and most importantly… rich brewed beer.

Here are some of Lake County’s fall brews from breweries and beer pubs around the county.

( Psst!  Before the weather gets too cold, check out some of Lake County’s Beer Gardens!)


Breweries in Lake County

Mickey Finn’s Brewery in Libertyville BeerNothing can make a craft beer lover’s eyes light up faster than the iconic brown jug of Mickey Finn’s craft beer.  Try some samples, commit to a pint of one of their seasonal brews, and even take home a jug for later.

  • Try – Oktoberfest Lager German-style lager, copper in color and put on tap in mid-September to commemorate the Oktoberfest celebration in Germany. The Oktoberfest is medium-bodied, malty, crisp, clean and very easy to drink.

Light the Lamp Brewery in Grayslake You don’t have to love sports to appreciate a good beer, but Light the Lamp Brewery in Grayslake has plenty of both.  Started by a group of local dads that wanted to combine their two favorite things… craft beer and hockey… Light the Lamp finds their beer-spiration from their favorite sport.  When you visit, start with the Red Line Ale, and then work your way through to the Bench Minor Blonde, and don’t forget my favorite…The Hattrick Hefeweizen. Interested in home brewing?  Check out their home brew nights where fellow beer brewers can meet up and discuss tips, ask questions and have a good time!

  • Try – Sin Bin Stout – Sweet and Roasty with subtle coffee and light caramel notes
  • Upcoming Must Try:  Drop the Puck Oktoberfest

Lake Bluff Brewing CompanyThis place is an absolute MUST for anyone who loves a good craft beer!  Enjoy a constantly changing selection of craft brews that even started including home brewers to help bring you the best local beer out around!

  • Try: Velvet Sledgehammer  – A Vanilla porter, rich and extra dark with a balanced flavor of roast vanilla and caramel sweetness, with undertones of whiskey (remnants of the Koval Whiskey barrel it’s brewed in!)

onion pubThe Onion Pub and Brewery in Barrington  Not only just a great place to grab a bite to eat, the Onion Pub runs a full scale production brewery with a 17 barrel brew house and a canning line.  Plus their Wild Onion brew was just names one of the top 10 Chicago Craft Brews and their cozy atmosphere makes it the perfect winter retreat.

  • Try – Vienna Lager Oktoberfest:  a local favorite and often referenced as their best brew of all!

Tighthead Brewing Company in Mundelein Brewing is the main focus of Tighthead and it really shows.  You can tour their brewery to see how all the magic happens, or you can just sample some of their many… many… many delicious beers, to find your own favorite.

  • Try – Oktoberfest (Marzen): ABV – 5.5%, IBU – 27.3 SRM – 11.9 A Bavarian Marzen style lager, this Oktoberfest is malty, complex and perfectly balanced with traditional German Noble hops.


Craft Brew Pubs

We also have plenty of pubs around town that feature regional craft beers from nearby breweries. Check out these local spots and their winter brews:

Rugan’s Pub in AntiochExplore the unique streets of Downtown Antioch and stop in Rugan’s pub for an impressive collection of craft beers including more than 30 featured seasonally inspired options.  With names like Firestone Walker’s Oaktoberfest, Ciders and Pumpkin flavors, Rugan’s is a great place to get into the fall spirit.

  • Try on Tap: Revolution’s Oktoberfest and Three Flloyd’s Gumballfest 

The Beer Market in Vernon Hills This is the real deal. They do beer and they do it right.  The Beer Market is a craft beer lover’s paradise and features over 500 microbrews as well as gluten free options, seasonal brews and more. With Halloween sneaking up on us, you can find pumpkin themed flavors in beer and tasty ciders.  The Beer Market always stays up to date, giving visitors a unique experience.  You can look for some Halloween themed brews toward the end of the month and into November, including Great Lakes’ Nos Speratus and Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale just to name a few.

  • Try the Beer of the Month: Founder’s All Day An all-day IPA naturally brewed with a complex array of malts, grains and hops. Balanced for optimal aromatics and a clean finish. The perfect reward for an honest day’s work and the ultimate companion to celebrate life’s simple pleasures.
    • ABV: 4.7%
    • IBUs: 42

Greentown Tavern in Waukegan honors the author Ray Bradbury with its inspirational and electric atmosphere.  And they also pride themselves as “a beer aficionado’s paradise”.  In Dec. 2013, they were awarded the Excellence in Downtown Revitalization award by Illinois Main Street for their positive influence in Waukegan. So whether you prefer Beifall!Santé, or boring old “Cheers”, it’s all about celebrating the grown up arts and craft of local brewing.

Timothy O’Toole’s in Gurnee An Irish inspired sports bar? What more do you need to know. With $3 craft beer nights, big screen TVs surrounding the bar, and plenty of fall brews to choose from, O’Toole’s has everything you can want in a good brew pub.

  • Try their Beer of the Month:  Sam Adam’s Oktoberfest

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