Route 66 quick update: Lagunitas-Chicago grand opening, tour hours


In case you don’t follow Lagunitas Brewing Company’s CEO, the Chicago born-and-bred Tony Magee on Twitter, tonight is the new Douglas Park brewery’s grand opening for its tap room & beer sanctuary at 1843 S. Washtenaw Ave. in Chicago.  The tap room entrance is through a cool high-tech, LED-lit tunnel that has programmable colors.  Yowza!  Should be quite a party — there’s a live band scheduled, but you never know:  Magee’s own garage band, Alice Drinks The KoolAid, may jam as well (the group played one of the side stages during the recent Chicago Blues Festival).  Tour hours for the new brewhouse, meanwhile, are Wednesdays through Sundays, 11am-9pm.  Mondays and Tuesdays will be reserved for private parties, charity events, etc.

Lagunitas-Chicago has the largest brewery in the state now, which has resulted in the creation of thousands of local jobs, says a very happy Gov. Pat Quinn, who was at the chain-cutting ceremony last week.  The brewery is over on the former Ryerson Steel campus, in a warehouse under long-term lease from Cinestage Chicago, a rentable film production facility that shares the campus.

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Route 66 update:  it’s Craft Beer Week, and Lagunitas Chicago is opening with a Beer Circus!


You think you’re heard everything, and then, whoa – a beer circus!??  Well, it appears to be an annual tradition for Lagunitas Brewing Company at its Petaluma, CA home base.  But now that founder and CEO Tony Magee, better known to Twitterati as @LagunitasT, has opened a Chicago brewhouse down in Douglas Park, Lagunitas has finally come home to the Windy City where it belongs.  And what better week for a grand opening than Craft Beer Week.  Hey, you north side Goose Island guys, look out for the near SW side!

So, even though the Tap Room & Beer Sanctuary (read: brewpub) won’t be ready until some time in June, the grand opening celebrations are beginning already.  The beer circus is this weekend, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m..  The $40 ticket price is because it’s a benefit for for Rock For Kids Chicago, which provides music education programs to poor public school children in underserved areas like Lawndale (which is right next door, though technically the park itself is in Lawndale).  In addition to the ‘freaktacular’ circus performances will be lots of live music.  All we need is cooperative weather. BTW, visitors are encouraged to come in costume (you always wanted to be the ringmaster or sword swallower, right?).

Lagunitas beer circus poster - large
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More craft beer follies on Route 66


So you thought we’d mentioned all the local summer events on Route 66 already, did you?  But wait – there’s more!  This very weekend, on Saturday, July 20 from 5:30pm to 9:00pm, there will be a craft beer tasting on the very lovely rooftop deck of the Joliet Area Historical Museum!  The Rooftop Terrace will host a vast array of premium and import beers and ciders from more than a dozen craft brewers.  And the view there is fantastic.  Imagine:  you could be watching the sun set over beautiful (?) downtown Joliet while sipping a handcrafted brewski and enjoying what little breeze there is likely to be, given the sweltering forecast.

Joliet Historical Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center  Photo copyright 2012 by Keith Yearman

Joliet Historical Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center   Photo copyright 2012 by Keith Yearman

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Lagunitas Brewing is coming home to Chicago – on Route 66!


Chicago craft-beer fans always hoped that one of their favorite beers with a Chicago heritage would finally come home from California.  Well, it’s happening:  Lagunitas Brewing Co., currently of Petaluma, CA, is coming to Chicago.  As you read this, the company, founded in the Bay Area by former Chicagoan Tony Magee, is building a new brewery and brewpub between 17th and 18th Street along the west side of Rockwell Avenue in Douglas Park.  And it’ll be right near historic Route 66.

Welcome to the Mother Road, Magee and company!!  Here’s hoping your arrival will mean the creation of a Route 66 Special brew – you’d have a better claim to it than most.

Magee may not realize it, but it’s highly fitting that Lagunitas Chicago should be rising where it is, barely three blocks off the route.  In the southern half of Chicago, you’re never far from a connection to either Route 66 or to Al Capone.  The intersection of Rockwell and Ogden has both.  Ogden Avenue is Route 66 between Jackson Boulevard on the Near West Side and Harlem Avenue in southwest suburban Berwyn.  And the south side of Ogden between Talman and Rockwell Avenues, near Douglas Park, is where Edward J. ‘Fast Eddie’ O’Hare was assassinated – allegedly by some of Capone’s minions – on November 8, 1939, just before the big man himself was due to be released from federal prison.

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