ChicagoLAND, IL

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: North, South, West 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? 

The Chicagoland suburbs pack a mighty punch, brewing some beer as good as any you can find in the U.S. With formidable players like Two Brothers, Solemn Oath, 5 Rabbit and Penrose, the area outside the city limits is no slouch. Pair these fan favorites against up-and-comers like Une Année, Mikerphone, and Hailstorm or against old standbys like Flossmoor Station and Wild Onion, and things could get interesting…

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

Two Brothers Artisan Brewing (1) vs. Flossmoor Station Brewery (16)

This looks to be the battle of the railroad breweries, with each being housed in locomotive outposts. Two Brothers has been brewing in Warrenville since 1996, and expanded into the historic railroad roundhouse in Aurora in 2011 (and also into Arizona in 2015). Meanwhile, Flossmoor Station has also been slinging pints since ’96, in the still active Flossmoor Metra Station on the southeast side. Two stalwarts, but only one will reign…


Voting is closed, stay tuned for results.


Solemn Oath Brewery (2) vs. Wild Onion Brewery (15)

Naperville vs. Barrington. Solemn Oath calls one of the Chicagoland’s largest ‘burbs home, while Wild Onion rests in Barrington’s farm country. ‘SO’ has been serving up (and most recently canning) unapologetic pale and Belgian-inspired beers since 2012. And ‘WO’ adopted its native moniker back in 1996 (inspired by the native Potawatomi nickname for the area) and has been brewing its staple Paddy Wagon Pale, Hop Slayer & Pumpkin Ale to loyal customers ever since.


Voting is closed, stay tuned for results.


Temperance Beer Co. (3) vs. Tighthead Brewing Co. (14)

Temperance took its name as an effort to poke fun at Evanston’s notable Temperance Movement. Since opening its doors on the North Shore, they’ve gone on to win medals for their English-inspired offerings, as well as create some of the area’s best barrel-aged beers like Might Meets Right. Head a bit further northwest and you’ll find the rugby-themed brewery, Tighthead, whose pale ales are as fantastic as any.


Voting is closed, stay tuned for results.


5 Rabbit Cervecería (4) vs. Miskatonic Brewing Co. (13)

Look close enough in the shadows of Midway Airport, and you’ll encounter 5 Rabbit, Chicago’s Latin-inspired brewery. They’ve garnered buzz for their culinary recipes, paleta beers and most recently, disdain for the goofy-haired 45th POTUS. They’ll matchup against our 13th seeded Miskatonic Brewing Co., of Darien due west of their rivals. ‘MBC’ finds solace in playful ‘riffs’ on classic styles, like their popular Catchpenny Rye.


Voting is closed, stay tuned for results.


Pollyanna Brewing Co. (5) vs. Noon Whistle Brewing (12)

Lemont’s canal-adjacent pride and joy, Pollyanna, pits it out against Lombard’s favorite lunchtime brewery, Noon Whistle. Both of these outfits have been recently making their presence known in Chicagoland with expanded packaged offerings and just all-around approachable beers. This is the battle of the balanced brews.


Voting is closed, stay tuned for results.


Penrose Brewing Co. (6) vs. Scorched Earth Brewing Co. (11)

As far west as could still be considered the Chicago ‘burbs lies Geneva’s Penrose Brewing Co. Our number 6 seed is no stranger to barrel-aging, funk and Belgian yeast. They’ll line up against Algonquin’s Scorched Earth, their Route 31 neighbors to the north. Scorched Earth took a little time to get the attention of the city drinker, but that all changed after a well-deserved FoBAB medal in 2016 for their Strong Pale, Exiled Angel.


Voting is closed, stay tuned for results.


Une Année (7) vs. Hailstorm Brewing Co. (10)

In an interesting 7 vs. 10 seed matchup, we have former West Town city dwellers, Une Année battle it out against growing cult-favorite, Hailstorm. Une Année’s recent move to a strip mall in Niles hasn’t slowed their French-Belgo inspired output, nor their accolades (their side project Hubbard’s Cave was recently named RateBeer’s Ilinois Best New Brewer). They’ll duel with South Side Tinley Park’s makers of many an intriguing BA beer and plenty of the trendy NE IPAs.


Voting is closed, stay tuned for results.


Mikerphone Brewing (8) vs. BuckleDown Brewing (9)

2015 saw Mikerphone’s Mike Pallen finally end his employment tour with several area breweries, as he was awarded Illinois’ ‘Best New Brewer’ title by RateBeer and began work on his own taproom. Say what you will about the brand’s names and logo, they’re making some of the state’s most sought after beer. Their opponent is Lyons’ staple BuckleDown Brewing. With their focus on balanced pale ales, this is set to be the battle between the experiemntal and the tried-and-true.


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: