The days of consumers only having mass-produced beer and spirit choices are over. Craft choices are plentiful and are often very local.
Two Brothers Barrel House
Two Brothers Brewing, established in Warrenville in 1996, was a pioneer in the world of Illinois craft brewing. Today it has breweries, a coffee distillery, an alcohol distillery and restaurants in Warrenville and Aurora and a restaurant that serves food, as well as its signature brews and liquors, at 16 W. Jefferson in Naperville. Two Brothers has been part of the Naperville scene for three years.
“We produce approximately 50 different beers each year, brewing 12 to 15 at a time,” said Jim Ebel, owner. “We also distill spirits including vodka, rum, gin, coffee liqueur and bourbon. But the bourbon is still barrel aging and is not yet available.
“Two Brothers expanded into Naperville for the great urban experience,” he added. “We serve our beers and spirits there, with flights and tastings available, and also offer a full-service southern comfort food menu consisting of burgers, sandwiches, meatloaf, fried chicken, grits and salads. A highlight of the Naperville location is The Third Floor, a speakeasy with a great rooftop deck – just find the entrance!”
Solemn Oath Brewery
Solemn Oath Brewery at 1661 Quincy Ave., #179, opened in 2012 and has since grown to be one of the 10 largest independent breweries in Illinois, said John Barley, founder/owner.
It has a tasting tap room at the brewery, but no food is served. They also have an upcoming retail location in Chicago’s Logan Square.
“Sixty-five percent of what we brew are three core beers that we also sell in Chicago, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Massachusetts,” he said, “and then we regularly brew between five and eight others throughout the year, focusing on traditional beers and hop-focused ones. Our Koelsch lite beer is award-winning.”
This summer Solemn Oath collaborated with the Adler Planetarium to produce a beer to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, using hops, grain and yeast that were sent up in a high-altitude balloon before they were used for brewing.
For hours, visit Solemn Oath www.solemnoathbrewery.com.
Red Arrow Tap Room
When it comes to beverages, The Red Arrow Tap Room at 216 S. Washington St. has been allowing patrons to enjoy beer and cider from 48 rotating taps, as well as mixed drinks and craft sodas, since August of 2018. The family-friendly establishment also serves an American menu with an emphasis on smoked meats, prepared in their in-house smoker. Food orders are placed on table tablets for speed and accuracy.
Their niche is making it easy for beer-lovers to sample a wide variety of craft brews using the self-service taps, said Joseph Tota, owner. Patrons receive a card and are then able to move independently, taking small tastes or filling an entire cup once they find their favorite.
“We have the largest tap selection in downtown Naperville. Self-pouring empowers our guests to sample many different beer styles by the ounce from many local independent Chicagoland breweries,” Tota said.
The Red Arrow offers dining both indoors and on an outside patio behind the restaurant. There is also lots of space for private parties.
Granite City Brewery and Restaurant
Approximately five years ago Minnesota-based Granite City Brewery and Restaurant, a publicly-traded firm, saw fit to open one of its popular breweries/restaurants in Naperville, at 1828 Abriter Ct., and it has been a popular local gathering place ever since.
Each location regularly brews the Granite City craft beer staples, as well as rotating seasonal beers, and serves guest beers from other regional breweries. They are also offering a new American dining menu featuring small plates, sandwiches and steaks and often feature food and beer pairings, said Mike Bohlken, general manager.
The Naperville location also features two private dining spaces that are available for private parties ranging in size from 40 to 70. Brunches, buffets and plated meals can all be accommodated.
Granite City celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2019 using the theme: “Born in 1999; Reborn in 2019.”