Gluttony might be one of the seven deadly sins, but all is forgiven when you’re at Church Street Brewing. Over the last ten years, owner Lisa Gregor has shaped Church Street into a popular local spot for house-made craft brews, live music, and events all year long. And today, I’m here to help celebrate this Chicago favorite’s 10-year anniversary.
What started as a one-office-suite setup has evolved into a community hangout place taking over a huge building. The moment you step into Church Street Brewing, you’re greeted with a warm handshake and the million-dollar question: “What can we pour for you today?”.
Opened in February of 2012 in the quaint Itasca suburb, Church Street got its namesake from a street in Addison. When the original building plan fell through, Lisa took the opportunity to mold their new venture into the brewery they wanted, and there came Church Street.
While growth was limited in the small space at the beginning, Church Street dreamed of big plans and wild ideas. Fast forward ten years later, you can now come in to enjoy beers brewed about 100 feet from your seat, hang out with friends and the Church Street team who treats you like family and throw away your stress at the shows and performances happening almost every week.
As we know, brewing has been a male-dominated industry. But Lisa has made her mark on the field by Church Street’s unique brews, expansion, and philanthropic efforts. As a member of the Pink Boots Society, Lisa dedicates herself to empowering other women in the industry. She also supports many other organizations, such as schools and community groups, and mental health awareness groups including Hope for a Day.
Additionally, Church Street is also one of the few breweries offering spirit-free options to create a safe space for those not comfortable with alcohol yet still want to enjoy social gatherings.
To start my day, the team greeted me and took me on a tour (shout out to my tour guides, Jace Rhea and Amanda Steinbraker!) and everyone felt like old friends I’d known for years. Through the good laughs and insightful conversations, I saw the team’s unfaltering loyalty and passion for the brewery. I mean, Jace was literally running through walls in 2020 to help with their huge renovation plans!
We walked through the tasting room, barrel rooms, and the place where the magic happens — the brewing room with the kettles! Then, we’re back to the dining area. I was seriously amazed at the amount of space this place has got, and how it’s grown from a small suite to a 20,000 square-foot full-service brewery with a patio. Honestly, if you need a space to host a party, shower, or any event, check out Church Street!
Next comes tasting. Since I had been sipping on Church Street’s signature Heavenly Helles throughout the tour, I was ready to try something different. Jace started my tasting with a Strawberry-Rhubarb sour and it couldn’t be more perfect for spring and summer. I see myself sipping on this fruity beer on a long, hot July day, and I sure will when the time comes.
Next, I sampled the traditional German maibock. It’s a crisp, golden brew perfect for kicking off Summer with a smooth berry finish (and thanks to Jace for the language lesson on that one). If you want something different, try the Righteous Red, featuring a nice creamy, caramel-y taste but still light enough for the upcoming warm weather. Meanwhile, seltzer fans have to try Church Street’s Holy Water. I know we’re all at the point where seltzer brands that rhyme with Right Paw and Try Soon are getting to be a little bland. But the Holy Water was a pleasant surprise. With notes of strawberry, blueberry, and lemonade, I wasn’t left thinking “wow, here’s another seltzer that tastes like..water”.
For its 10-year anniversary, Church Street will have a big celebration on April 30th called Fruhlingfest, featuring the best of Church Street but also Elmhurst Brewing, Half Day Brewing, and many other local breweries. In true Church Street fashion, Fruhlingsfest is also a charitable event, raising money for the Boy Scouts of America. Food options include the brewery kitchen and some local food trucks.
Also, for the first time in history, Church Street will create its own beer garden, “Camp Church Street” in Itasca’s Hamilton Lakes Park where the brewery takes its iconic shipping container outside. Your favorite brews will be available Thursday through Sunday with events, live music, and food trucks all summer! For more information, check out their website https://www.churchstreetbrew.com/, or follow them on Instagram at @churchstbrew.
Featured Image: Church Street Brewing on Facebook