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The Definitive Breweries List from the Lake County Libation Trail

“I get no kick from champagne. Mere alcohol doesn’t thrill me at all. So tell me, why shouldn’t it be true? I get a kick out of brew.” – the late libation lover Daniel Dumile otherwise known as MF DOOM.

The Lake County Libation Trail/Check-in Challenge has officially kicked off. The brew, spirit and vino fest runs today through April 18.

 

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The Lake County Libation Trail is home to 16 sudseries, and nine of them serve exceptional eats. Surely irresistible Lake County breweries can’t account for all of the bountiful treats these makers create and distribute. Still, it gives you a fantastic overview of the plethora of flavors to quench your thirst.

To join in on the Check-in Challenge, adult beverage drinkers will arrive at a participating winery, distillery or brewery, check-in using their mobile pass via indoor, outdoor visit or via carryout order, and you’ll be entered into a sweepstakes throughout the 10 days. To enter, patrons will text “CHEERS” to 224.706.1133. Note your attendance at two breweries, distilleries or wineries, and you could win an overnight stay at Lincolnshire Marriott Resort or other exclusive prizes TBA. Give a toastess to the hostess with the mostess yeast in their breweries.

Bottoms up as we take a look at the definitive breweries list on the Lake County Libation Trail.

Bosacki’s Brewery in Mundelein

 

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Bosacki’s Brewery (formerly known as Bosacki’s Home Brew/Microbrewery) is a local microbrewery serving traditional and historic ales and lagers. Fresh liquified hops are available in growlers to take home and share with the family and friends. Since 2013, brewer and owner Greg Bosacki opened his establishment, but not before over a decade of prep work as he was given a basic homebrew kit by his wife, Brigitte. The mission of Bosacki’s is the importance of sharing with family and friends. It is really a family affair at the Mundelein brewhouse. Bosacki features 12 libations on tap. You can take home 32 and 64-ounce growlers for later consumption. Bosacki’s also hosts a plethora of food trucks throughout the year. Their Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy was the land of lakes’ libation of the month in October 2020.

Bosacki’s Brewery, 610 E. Hawley St., Mundelein.

Buffalo Creek Brewing Co. in Long Grove


Buffalo Creek Brewing in Historic Downtown Long Grove has something extra brewing every weekend.  The Lake County destination brewery, well-known for its Bavarian-style brew, features a tasting room, deck and gazebo. Brewmeister and owner Mike Marr puts a little bit of magic in his libations as he produces 10 unique beers. The award-winning brewery is known for its 42K Belgian Strong Ale, Marrvelous German-Style Kölsch, Xerxes Chocolate Bacon Stout and more. The Long Grove brew lodge just opened their Alpine Biergarten, the outdoor area that not only follows the Illinois mitigation process but is full of games. The picturesque backyard boasts an authentic German tradition with fire pits, bags, plenty of outdoor furniture and most importantly, a socially distant environment.

Buffalo Creek Brewing Co., 360 Historical Ln., Long Grove.

Half Day Brewing Co. in Lincolnshire

 

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Savor the flavor of an extensive beer list at the Lincolnshire Brewery. The brewery commemorates the town’s real name, Halfda, contrary to popular belief of a half day’s journey from Chicago. The chief of the village, Chief Aptakisic of the Potawatomi tribe, was a Native American leader known for making the Treaty of Chicago in 1833 surrounding the Black Hawk War. And now we move to the present. The five-year-old Lincolnshire brewpub frequently swaps out and adds new delicious craft flavors. Some of their lauded beers include Chieftain Session IPA, the Meridian Wit and their marquee beverage, the Barrel-Aged Warrior Paint Imperial Coffee Stout. Their eats menus are highlighted by award-winning wings, wood-fired pizza, tacos, burgers, sandwiches and a host of other delectable bites. While we endure more mitigations to fight the ongoing coronavirus, Half Day Brewing Co. is open for indoor and outdoor drinks and dining, but you can also order carryout.

Half Day Brewing Company, 200 Village Green, Lincolnshire.

Harbor Brewing Co. in Winthrop Harbor

 

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The Winthrop Harbor microbrewery produces adventurous ales. The Lake County suds maker is also highlighted by a taproom, beercade and live music. Since 2018, Habor Brewing has taken innovative flavors and created exceptional libations. The Lake Michigan bordering brewhouse offers 12 different potables on tap. Over the summer of 2020, Harbor Brewing Co., in partnership with North Point Marina, opened the land of lakes’ first beer garden. The Lakefront Biergarten will reopen on April 30 highlighted by, scenic views of Lake Michigan, outdoor live tunes and their renowned adult beverages. Harbor also serves to carry out four packs and sixers to brew lovers.

Harbor Brewing Co., 811 Sheridan Rd., Winthrop Harbor.
Harbor Brewing Co.’s Lakefront Biergarten, 701 North Point Dr., Winthrop Harbor.

Light the Lamp Brewery in Grayslake 

 

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This downtown Grayslake pub serves innovative brews, modern American cuisine, locally sourced craft spirits and top-notch draft wines all handcrafted in-house. Light the Lamp has 14 craft suds drafts created internally. For those who aren’t beer lovers, the seven-year-old Grayslake brewpub also offers tap wine. Besides libations, the hockey-themed also offers unique meals, including burgers, sandwiches, flatbreads, shared plates, bowls and desserts. Some of Light the Lamp’s signature suds include the Red Line Ale (amber ale), Sin Bout Stout (oatmeal stout) and the 1980 Miracle American Pale Ale Kick back, relax and let that lettuce down. Order their brews, eats or both with their outdoor patio service, carryout or delivery.

Light the Lamp Brewery, 2 S. Lake St., Grayslake.

Mickey Finn’s Brewery in Libertyville


The first craft brewery in the land of lakes is Mickey Finn’s Brewery in Libertyville. Illinois’s oldest brewpub serves up a ton of house-made ales and lagers as well as eats. The 1994-established suds haven has served over six million pints in that period and sits in their industrial/renovated home on MainStreet Libertyville. Currently, Mickey Finn has 18 of their homemade brews on tap. The Libertyville business is known for its Santa’s Magic Belgian Strong Golden Ale, Can I Kick It IPA, Pineapple Express and an array of other rotating sips. Mickey Finn’s serves brunch (weekends only), lunch and dinner, including salads, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, seafood, tacos and thin crust pizza. Have a seat for dinner and drinks indoor, alfresco-style or via carryout.

Mickey Finn’s Brewery, 345 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville.

Nightshade and Dark’s Pandemonium Brewing Co. in Waukegan


“Beer’s intellectual. What a shame so many idiots drink it.” The Ray Bradbury-themed Waukegan brewhouse is a part of the Lake County Libation Trail. The Waukegan suds factory boasts 20 traditional and experimental brews and creating the drink of choice on site. The Waukegan brewing company also shares a co-location with another Lake County Libation Trail partner, Oppidan Spirits Distillery. The Waukegan brewer will offer 32-ounce crowlers and packs of bottles for curbside pickup and are also open for indoor and outdoor sips. Eventually, they will provide 64-ounce growlers for lighter beers.

Nightshade & Dark’s Pandemonium Brewing Co. in Waukegan, 216 W. Clayton St., Waukegan.

Only Child Brewing Co. in Gurnee

 

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The small-batch, family-run brew company creates premier, artisanal drinks with fresh ingredients. The dog-friendly company has been filling the bellies of satisfied customers since 2013. As of 2021, the Gurnee brewery has 13 unique brews on draft. Last year, the Gurnee speakeasy introduced a series of homemade hard seltzers perfect for spring and summertime sipping. Libation drinkers can also take home 32-ounce howlers as well as 16-ounce, four-packs. Feel free to bring your doggo in when taking down a few beers.

Only Child Brewing Co., 130 Tri-State Pkwy., Suite 124, Gurnee.

Phase Three Brewing Co. in Lake Zurich

 

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Lake Zurich is home to a slew of stops on the libation trail, including Roaring Table Brewery and Copper Fiddle Distillery. The Lake County brewpub was founded in March 2019 by Evan Morris along with husband and wife duet head brewers Shaun and Britanny Berns. The three ran the decade-long Ram Brewery in Schaumburg that has since closed, but the three had some unfinished business. As of early April, Phase Three offers six brews on tap in addition to a and fruity hard seltzer. The wife-husband team is constantly concocting small-batch releases as well. Make sure you grab a bite with foodie partner Kooker’s.

Phase Three Brewing Company, 932 Donata Ct., Lake Zurich.

Ravinia Brewing Co. in Highland Park


The Highland Park brewery features a variety of beers and Mexican street fare like tacos, burritos, salads and more. Your tasty Tuesday is now paired with brew and southwest cuisine. The brewpub was recognized for the “Best Beer Garden” by the North Shore Choice Awards. A collection of their trademark libations includes the Flight of the Rooster Saison, the Steep Ravine IPA and the Baldwin Porter. As springtime comes along, the Ravinia brewhouse offers their Food Truck Pilsner, which is the April 2021 Libation of the Month. Periodically the Ravinia District will shut down the street so you can eat and drink locally on Roger Williams Avenue.

Ravinia Brewing Company, 582 Roger Williams Ave., Highland Park.

Roaring Table Brewing Co. in Lake Zurich


Roaring Table brings a cozy taproom and an eclectic menu of fresh, hand-made craft beers to the land of lakes. The USA Today 10Best winner for Best New Brewery is a small batch brewhouse showcasing options ranging from dry and expressive farmhouse ales to simple and refreshing lagers. Roaring Table also offers several ciders, hard seltzers, sodas and snacks. They sell snacks in-house, but you can also take in with the eats in Lake Zurich’s foodie scene.

Roaring Table Brewing Co., 739 Illinois Route 22, Lake Zurich.

Side Lot Brewery in Wauconda

 

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This sleek and savvy brewery knows what’s up with a stellar selection of beers on tap. The Wauconda brewhouse is a rustic, reclaimed and lounge. Cool, welcoming color palettes and friendly faces. Whether it’s craft beer, microbrews, craft spirits, boutique wine or even locally-roasted coffee, the Side Lot Brewery has something for your taste buds. Established in 2015, the Wauconda suds staple is highlighted by 11 brews on tap. The Wauconda brewpub provides a slew of snacks and small bites. During this public health crisis, Side Lot provides indoor dining, carry out orders and has an outdoor area for libation-ers. Chill in one of their igloo bubbles.

Side Lot Brewery, 110 Slocum Lake Rd., Wauconda.

Tighthead Brewing Co. in Mundelein

 

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The Mundelein brewhouse is dedicated to crafting exceptional suds for all seasons. Sample first-class drinkables like the Scarlet > Fire Irish-Style Red Ale, the Boxcar Porter and the Irie IPA, just to name a few.  The decade-old neighborhood institution poured their heart and soul into each glass. The theme of the brewpub is behind Tighthead Master Brewer Bruce Dir. The name derives from rugby, as Dir played 13 years as a Tighthead Prop, which involves being in the front row of the scrum supporting the hooker. They’ve also unveiled a brand new heated patio area for you winter drinkers to support your makers in rain, snow and shine.

Wild Onion Brewery in Lake Barrington


This local favorite has been a staple in southwestern Lake County since 2003. The brewhouse creates handcrafted beers and hearty comfort food. The Lake Barrington brewery’s philosophy is being firmly grounded with a passion and respect for many of the world-class beer styles that exist in today’s brewing renaissance. The Onion Pub’s signature brews include the Misfit American IPA, the Hop Slayer Double IPA and Beggar’s Brown (English-style). The brewpub’s menu is highlighted by soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, seafoods and more. They also have a patio overlooking a pond that provides a pretty dope setting.

Wild Onion Brewery & Banquets, 22221 N. Pepper Rd., Lake Barrington.

Wright’s Brew & Bistro inside Lincolnshire Marriott Resort


Offering an exceptional casual dining experience is Wright’s Brew and Bistro, located inside the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort. The Lincolnshire bar and restaurant provides the honey to Five Eyes Honey Ale that other Lake County Libation Trail partner, Tighthead Brewery in Mundelein brews. The award-winning brew house utilizes the honey that is produced in the beehives on-site at the Lincolnshire resort. One sip, and you will see what all the buzz is about. In the eats department, Wright’s serves traditional Midwest comfort food with a modern twist of spices.

Wright’s Brew & Bistro, 10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire.

Zümbier Brewery in Waukegan

 

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The Waukegan brewery created an innovation bier along with traditional to-style bier. The city brewhouse concocts tons of beers and has a changing lineup on 13 rotating taps. Zümbier is a family-run business and Larry Bloom, Founder, and Biermeister, wants your journey in beer exploration to be inspirational. Zümbier shares fascinating brews with their customers like Citra-Tasm double Pale Ale, Bloomin’ Apple Ale, SRMX2 Double Red Irish Ale and more.

Zümbier Brewery, 3232 W. Monroe St., Waukegan.


To learn more about the definitive breweries list from the Lake County Libation Trail, continue here. To see with these master makers have up their sleeve for the spring season, click here.

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