It’s that time of year again so eloquently referred to as “March Madness”: three weekends of alma mater disappointments, busted office pool brackets, and Cinderella stories. For 2017 we are going all out with 64 breweries from the city and surrounding suburbs. We’ve divided the city into four regions: NorthSouthWest and Suburbs, and seeded them 1–16. Seeds are not-so-scientifically-based on size, reputation, years of operation, and current hype. With Round 1 already offering some intriguing matchups, will this year produce another underdog champion or will the 1 seeds steamroll the smaller guys all the way to the Final Four? 

Chicago’s North Side is an embarrassment of brewing riches, from traditional outfits–Metropolitan, Aquanaut and Dovetail–to cult faves–Half Acre, Spiteful, Hop Butcher. Toss in the state’s only certified organic brewer, some stellar brewpubs and the country’s first Michelin Star awarded brewery, and, well, Chicagoans have enough to realize how spoiled they truly are in the world of beer…

So, there ya have it, vote for your favorite breweries across Chicago, below, and we will tally the votes in order to select 32 winners for the next round. Voting for Round 1 concludes, Monday, 3/13 at 9pm.

Vote for the other regions here:  NORTH  |  SOUTH  |  WEST  |  SUBURBS

Half Acre Beer Co. (1) vs. Greenstar Brewing (16)

Northcenter’s favorite maker of all things pale ale has been brewing since 2008 and is constantly expanding (in size and offering). Here, Half Acre takes on Lakeview’s favorite Wrigleyville brunch-joint-meets-brewery, Uncommon Ground’s Greenstar (Illinois’ first certified organic brewery). A David vs. Goliath matchup on the North Side.


Voting is closed, stay tuned for results.


Spiteful Brewing (2) vs. Gino’s Brewing Co. (15)

Spiteful has been flying relatively under the radar as of late, as they await the move into their expanded Bowmanville facility (neighboring Half Acre). This 2 seed makes some of the best beer in the state, we think–and if awards are any confirmation (they are), many others agree. They’ll battle River North’s deep dish pizza brewpub, who might be one of the city’s most underrated brewers. Have you had their Pineapple Imposter? It’s tasty.


Voting is closed, stay tuned for results.


Metropolitan Brewing (3) vs. Old Irving Brewing Co. (14)

When Metropolitan opened in 2009, it was the first brewery to brew in the city in nearly a decade. Things’ve changed, but the craft behind Metro’s German-inspired brews have only gotten better. So much so, that they too are currently building out a second facility. Their rival: Old Irving Park’s aptly named brewpub who entered the scene early last year. Both bring an Old World meets modern craft approach.


Voting is closed, stay tuned for results.


Begyle Brewing Co. (4) vs. Empirical Brewery (13)

The Ravenswood Corridor is a bustle of pedestrian and industry, so it’s only fitting that you’d open a brewery along the same stretch. Both Begyle and Empirical serve loyal patrons along the avenue, albeit a couple miles apart. Begyle’s skill at brewing across the spectrum is as impressive as you’ll find anywhere in the city. They’ll line up against the analytic-focused brewery who incorporates customer feedback into its recipes.


Voting is closed, stay tuned for results.


Burnt City Brewing (5) vs. Rock Bottom Brewery (12)

The battle of the reborn. Lincoln Park’s Atlas Brewing found new life as Burnt City in 2016 after a trademark dispute. With their rebrand came new recipes and a more focused theme, along with more beer coming out of their massive South Side production facility. Meanwhile, often overlooked Rock Bottom has been sitting at the otherwise debauchery-riddled corner of State and Grand for over a decade. When brewer Hayley Shine joined their team in ’13, they found a refreshed perspective in River North, at one of the city’s original craft beer makers.


Voting is closed, stay tuned for results.

Hop Butcher for the World (6) vs. Corridor Brewery & Provisions (11)

Similar to the previously described matchup, this one is also of two re-focused breweries. Hop Butcher saw the hype machine at work when it released one of Chicago’s first iterations of the trendy ‘New England IPA’ with Galaxy Bowl. It flew off the shelves so quick and started such a social media buzz that everything they’ve released since has caught extra eyes. Southport’s Corridor saw a refreshed lineup recently when it began releasing its kettle sours to the Lakeview masses. These’re certainly two breweries to watch.


Voting is closed, stay tuned for results.

Aquanaut Brewing Co. (7) vs. Band of Bohemia (10)

Traditional versus culinary-inspired. Aquanaut credits many of its brews to European inspired influences, which is apparent with their porters and ESBs. A quick detour from their Bowmanville facility will land you at Ravenswood’s self-proclaimed ‘culinary brewhouse,’ Band of Bohemia. They were one of the city’s most highly anticipated openings as soon as it was told that two Alinea ex-pats would be opening a brewery. And with their Michelin Star brewpub (the first of its kind), they have not dissapointed.


Voting is closed, stay tuned for results.


Dovetail Brewery (8) vs. DryHop Brewers (9)

Two textbook neighborhood breweries battle it out here. Dovetail came onto the scene last year with ‘Continental Europe-inspired’ beers, and have already gotten plenty of buzz for their clean, true-to style lagers (including a USA Today ‘Best New Brewery’ nomination). They’ll battle it out against Lakeview East’s crown jewel, DryHop Brewers, who have one of the most changing and impressive beer menus in the city. And, they make killer pub grub. 


Voting is closed, stay tuned for results.


Best of luck to all 64 breweries. It’s hard to pick a favorite Chicago beer maker as we all know, but hey, here’s your chance. Stay tuned as we tally the votes in order to select a “Round of 32.” 

Vote for the other regions below: