The Run Down

A while back we took advantage of the Metra train's $8 all-you-can ride weekend pass and visited a forest preserve on Chicago's far North side. We're following that up with another trip, but this time we're taking the Metra the opposite way to drink mead, wine, and beer on this drinking tour.

1. Mead and wine making @ Wild Blossom Meadery

2. Beer @ Hailstorm Brewing Co.

3. Beer, tacos, and elotes @ Soundgrowler Brewing

1. Wild Blossom Meadery

Before we get going with this guide. Here are some logistics tips.

– We’re taking the Rock Island Metra line to get to each of these places. Here’s a link to the train schedule.

– This train line starts at Metra’s Lasalle Street Station in downtown Chicago. Don’t get it confused with the other 5 stations downtown.

– On the weekend, you can purchase an all-you-can ride Metra pass for $8.

Once you hop on the Rock Island Metra line, we’re only about 25 – 30 minutes to our first stop, Wild Blossom Meadery. It’s located in Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood on the far South side. Here’s a fun fact about Beverly: this historically working class Irish neighborhood is home to the South Side Irish parade (which happens a week before St. Paddy’s Day) and has more Irish style pubs than any other neighborhood in Chicago.

Hop off the train at the 91st Street – Beverley Hills station, and you’ll be a two minute walk to Wild Blossom. They have a large tasting room split into two sections. On one half you’ll have a bar and a few table tops. This is where you can order drinks/food. On the other half of the room is where they hold beer and wine making classes.

For those of you interested in a more interactive experience, here are some notes about their classes.

– Classes are offered through BevArt who hold classes at Wild Blossom.
– They offer either a beer brewing or wine making class.
– The classes are $125 (for two ppl) + cost of ingredients.
– Cost of ingredients for beer brewing classes are $45 – $65, depending on the type of beer. Makes about 5 gallons or 48 bottles.
– Cost of ingredients for wine making classes are $120 – $189, depending on the type of wine. Makes 6 gallons of wine.

If you want to just stop for drinks and a bite, you can do that too. This is the only meadery in Chicago, so if this is new to you, rest assured that it’s also new to most people. You make mead by fermenting honey with water and then adding whatever you want to it — a lot of times that means various fruits or flowers. This place has all sorts of concoctions on tap so get a flight and try out a variety of mead.

They also have a small food menu to pair with their drinks. You can’t go wrong with their crackers and cheese spread. 

The train runs about every two hours so make your way back to the Metra station, because we’re going to keep the party going by taking the train Tinley Park — home to a number of craft breweries that we’ll be visiting.

2. Hailstorm Brewing

Tinley Park is one of the bigger Chicago suburbs and it’s about a 40 minute train ride from Beverly. There are two Metra stations in Tinley Park. One on the East side going by the name of the city itself (Tinley Park), and the other on the West side (Tinley Park – 80th Street).

We’re getting off at the Tinley Park – 80th Metra Station. Our first stop in Tinley Park is to Hailstorm Brewing. From the train station, it’s a little over a mile away, so the best bet is to grab an Uber/Lyft which will get you there in 5 minutes.

As you make your way here, you’ll be winding through a suburban corporate office/warehouse complex. It doesn’t seem like a place where you’d find a brewery, but as you get closer, the brewery starts to stand out because it’s the only place with any sign of activity in this sprawling complex. While it’s quiet on the outside, the space inside tells a different story. There’s a small bar area right when you enter. There’s a few long tables and places for you to stand. Keep moving towards the back and you’ll enter the rest of the brewery where loads plastic tables and chairs allow you to space yourself out a bit.  The place is bring-your-own-food. There were lots of folks who brought in snacks, playing cards, and just hanging out like you’d do with your friends in a giant garage.

3. Soundgrowler Brewing Co.

From Hailstorm, we’re going just a few blocks away to Soundgrowler Brewing. To get here, we’re cutting through to the other side of this corporate building complex and visiting another one of Tinley Park’s fast growing craft breweries. This time, however, there’s a kitchen onsite serving Mexican street food.

Soundgrowler has a sizeable taproom with a punk rock vibe to it. Seating is first come first served. You order food and drink at the bar and they’ll bring it out to you. By now, you’re stomach is rumbling if you haven’t had a proper meal yet. Your in luck, because they’ve got the kind of menu you’re looking for when it’s late, you’ve been drinking, and you’re hungry. Below are two things we got that hit all those spots.

Elote wouldn’t be elote if it didn’t come in a styrofoam cup. This mix of corn, cheese, and mayonaise is an excellent primer to coat that beer stomach. 

This is Soundgrowler’s ‘California Burrito.’ It’s steak, french fries, cheese, sour cream, and lettuce all wrapped up in a tortilla. Is this a super authentic burrito you’d find on the streets of Mexico? No, but this dish, that actually originated on the beaches of San Diego, is late night goodness all wrapped up in a neat package.

That about ends our day drinking trip on the Metra. From here, head back to the Tinley Park – 80th Street Station, and sleep comfortably on the train ride back home.