Chicago is well-known for a lot of things. It’s an underrated food destination, it’s got a great cocktail scene, and the music is superb. But don’t sleep on all the awesome breweries in the Windy City. One of the most beloved local brands in this beer-filled metropolis is Goose Island. Founded in 1988, the brewery famously produces Goose IPA, 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Honkers Ale, and its highly-acclaimed, eagerly-awaited line of Bourbon County beers.
Quinn Fuechsl is an R & D Brewer at Goose Island. Though he began his career in the world of finance, his love for brewing was too much to dismiss as a passing idea and he decided to attend the Master Brewer certification program at the Siebel Institute of Technology. In 2013, Fuechsl began his professional brewing career as an intern at Sun King Brewing in Indiana and joined Goose Island shortly after that. In his tenure, he’s become closely associated with the aforementioned Bourbon County line of beers — creating this year’s Mon Chéri Stout, a cherry-centric, malty love letter to his wife.
Fuechsl was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about his favorite beer-filled watering holes, breweries, brewpubs, and dive bars in the Chicagoland area. Check out his reccos below!
FAVORITE CLASSIC BREWERY/TAPROOM EXPERIENCE – ROCK BOTTOM
Rock Bottom (downtown). One of the few places that old in the city. Lots of rock bottoms exist but this one is still cranking out great beers.
FAVORITE EXPERIMENTAL BREWERY/TAPROOM – MOUSETRAP (OFF COLOR BREWING)
I love Mousetrap (Off Color Brewing). They brew a lot of wild fermented beer and they spend a lot of time recreating historical and old beer styles.
FAVORITE NEIGHBORHOOD BREWERY/TAPROOM – DOVETAIL BREWERY
My go-to neighborhood brewery is Dovetail Brewery. They make all sorts of classic German styles. Very homely feel and fantastic beers to go with pretzels and meat sticks.
FAVORITE BOTTLE/CAN SHOP – BEER TEMPLE
My favorite bottle shop is Beer Temple. They carry all sorts of hype beer and old school classics. There are hidden gems that can be found at any given time.
FAVORITE BEER BAR (THAT’S NOT A BREWERY) – HOPLEAF
My go-to beer bar is Hopleaf. This is up in my hood in Andersonville and has an extensive list of Belgian beers. It also carries some great hard to find beers.
FAVORITE DIVE BAR FOR BEER – CIGARS AND STRIPES
I’m a big fan of Cigars and Stripes. It’s a tiny spot that is out of the way (Berwyn), but has a cool horseshoe-shaped bar that is horror/sci-Fi themed. They make super-hot BBQ food as well.
FAVORITE HOTEL BAR FOR BEER – THE BAR AT HOTEL ZACHARY
My go-to hotel bar for beer is Hotel Zachary by Wrigley. Great ambiance overlooking Clark street right across from Wrigley Field. You can get a fancy bucket of two Budweiser 40s called ‘King Edwards 40 hands.’
FAVORITE FANCY RESTAURANT FOR BEER – THE PUBLICAN
The Publican. It has an old-world vibe with decor that exudes comfort. Everything on the menu is executed flawlessly from suckling pig to mussels made with Belgium Lambic. Draft list is always extensive — with everything from international beers to regional ciders made by Michigan’s Virtue Cider.
FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT PIZZA AND DRINK BEER – DIVERSEY RIVER BOWL
I love Diversey River Bowl. Seriously, don’t sleep on this pizza, and the beer list is legit. You can also get 100oz tubes of any beer you want. Classic.
FAVORITE BREWERY/TAPROOM RUN BY A FRIEND – WHINER BEER CO.
Whiner Beer Co. Brian Taylor worked at Goose for many years prior to opening this spot in Back of the Yards. Great beers with a lot of wild variations and barreled aged offerings. The brewery is part of the Plant, which is a group of businesses committed to reducing waste within the space. Composting spent grains and capturing Co2 are a couple of cool examples.