Breweries & Wineries in Sycamore IL
Looking for a fine wine, a handcrafted local beer or an exceptional whiskey? Those and more are sure to be found in Sycamore and the surrounding area where you can enjoy a variety of locally-produced, handcrafted or simply the best of the best spirits.
Purveyors of fine wines and spirits harvest grapes from the vine or grains from the earth to create beverages that are truly unique to this part of northern Illinois. Take a behind-the-scenes tour for a look at how these unique quality spirits go from farm or winery to table.
216 N. 6th St. | DeKalb
(815) 517‑0237 | forgebrewhouse.com
Craft beer lovers will find no better place to satisfy their thirst than at Forge Brewhouse, a production and distribution brewery with an onsite taproom. The brewhouse features four core beers – a pale ale, an IPA, a Hefeweizen and an Irish Red Ale, and four and rotating seasonal and specialty selections. The establishment is owned by J.D. and Lisa Heinrich who take pride in offering the best in locally-made beers. The brewhouse spun off The Forge of Sycamore, a new restaurant where the same high-quality beers are served and the emphasis is on fresh and natural cuisine.
Whiskey Acres Distilling Co.
11504 Keslinger Rd. | DeKalb
(844) 4-WHISKEY | whiskeyacres.com
The motto “From Seed to Spirit” guides the philosophy of everything at Whiskey Acres Distilling Co., an estate distiller of bourbon, rye, vodka and their Artisan Series of bourbons. The operation is co-owned by Jim and Jamie Walter and Nick Nagele who turn only the best grain grown on the family-owned 2,000 acre farm into whiskey. They introduced their first whiskey in 2015 and opened a tasting room the same year. In 2018, they opened a new Visitors Center, just steps away from where the grain is grown and harvested, fermented and distilled, barreled and bottled. Whiskey aficionados will revel in the interesting details and transparent processes, and whiskey newbies will find a comfortable atmosphere to begin their whiskey journey.
Taxco Restaurant Too
223 W. State St. | Sycamore
(815) 895‑2545 | taxcorestaurant.com
Taxco Restaurant Too, a family-owned and operated restaurant boasts a collection of 400 bottles of Tequila, one of the largest in Illinois. It includes top names like Jose Cuervo de la Familia, Casa Dragones, Donjuolis Real and Clase Azul. The cost ranges from $5 an ounce to about $150 an ounce and the tequilas offer hints of many flavors from vanilla to peppermint or clove. Some of the bottles are hand-painted and numbered and are purchased as collectors’ items.
Prairie on State Wine Cellars
322 W. State St. | Sycamore
(815) 991‑5266 | prairiestatewinery.com
The philosophy at Prairie On State Winery is to Think Local, Shop Local, Drink Local. It was established in nearby Genoa in 1998 by former high school teachers Rick and Maria Mamoser who had a goal of crafting the highest quality wines and having the friendliest, most knowledgeable tasting staff anywhere. The Sycamore tasting room opened six years ago and carries all the same 35 varieties of wine as in Genoa. The wines are produced with 90 percent Illinois-grown grapes and with natural ingredients such as ginger, key lime, elderberries, orange oil and local honey.
The Sycamore tasting room is designed to be an intimate and cozy place where people can gather to enjoy a glass of wine, socialize or enjoy music. The third Friday of the month is the Wine Down that features music from local artists. During these events, guests are invited to bring food from home as they enjoy a glass of wine or two. The winery offers a wine club that offers members many benefits including complimentary five sample tastings each time a member visits, 10 percent off wine by the bottle and 20 percent off a purchase of a case of wines.
219 W. State St. | Sycamore
(815) 899‑4444 | Acquavivawinery.com
Red, white, sweet or dry, Acquaviva Winery offers award-winning wines that are made from grapes grown at its 35-acre vineyard that’s only about a 12 minute drive from Sycamore. The family-owned business was founded by Vito Brandonisio who planted the vineyard with hearty vines bred to withstand the Midwest cold and named it in honor of his home country of Bari, Italy. Vito’s son, Joe, said the wines it produces are unique.
“All of the grapes are grown on our estate,” he said. “They are hand-picked and the wine is produced in our facility.”
Acquaviva produces a dozen types of wine. The Frontenac wine is one of Joe Brandonisio’s favorites. He describes it as a fuller wine with blackberry notes and a dry oaky, nice finish. The rustic and welcoming feeling of the Sycamore restaurant echoes the tradition in Italy of gathering round a table to enjoy quality wines and cuisine crafted from authentic ingredients.
Bars and Taverns in Sycamore
MVP Sports Bar
112 S. California St.
PJ’s Courthouse Tavern
202 W. State St.
Elwood Steak House
2219 Sycamore Rd.
Hobnobbers Food & Spirits
2030 Baron Dr., #1
332 W. State St.
Cub & Spanks, Inc.
113 N. Maple St.
Nat’s on Maple
112 S. Maple St.