The recent explosion of Chicago breweries — 83 at last count — makes the city a great destination if you and your sweetheart are connoisseurs of the sudsy stuff. Chicago is also quite flat, so cycling is the perfect way to go on a beer tour. Grab a tandem bicycle (or just rent a pair of the regular kind), and sign up for one of Bobby’s Bike Hike’s Bites and Brews tours. For a grand total of four hours and 13 miles, you’ll wend your way through Wrigleyville, the Gold Coast, Old Town, Lakeview, and Lincoln Park, alternating between (small, responsible) sips and cycling as you go.
Your tour begins on Lakeshore Drive downtown, and you scrape your kickstand on the pavement at the 80-year-old Murphy’s Bleachers sports bar in Wrigleyville. This place’s warm, Irish hospitality, sunny rooftop bar, and shaded beer garden encourages you to try at least one of the craft beers on tap, like the delicious Bell’s Oberon.
After learning a fair share of history and local lore from your bartenders, restaurateurs, and your smarty-pants tour guide at the Gold Coast, Old Town, and Lakeview, you wind up at the quirky RJ Grunts in Lincoln Park. Here, you can sample unusual delicacies such as chocolate chip ice cream cheese (yes, really) from RJ Grunt’s piece d’resistance, a salad bar almost as vast as Lake Michigan. Take advantage of the chance to put your feet up while you sip a Goose Island “Sophie” and giggle over the goofy ’60s and ’70s decor that will stick in your brain even as you get on your bikes to head home.
When you finally dismount from your bicycles, Chicago’s nightlife will just be starting to stretch its limbs — it’s ready for more fun if you are. Or, if you just want one more beer and a shower, that should be no problem — it’s very likely that three new small-batch breweries will have popped up while you were out.