Explore The Ale Trail On Route 66

5 Craft Beer Destinations Located Along The First Hundred Miles

Craft beer lovers can rejoice now that the Heritage Corridor Ale Trail has returned for its 2022 season. The convenient web app connects you to more than a dozen breweries, bars and tasting rooms across The First Hundred Miles of Route 66 and beyond, giving you deep discounts and a shot at some exclusive merchandise. Here’s everything you need to know.

The Ale Trail Passport web app showcases the best locations to grab a locally brewed beverage, from the southwestern suburbs to Starved Rock Country to the west. The platform allows you to earn prizes by visiting popular establishments like Joliet’s MyGrain Brewing and Wilmington’s Route 66 Old School Brewing, and even gets you exclusive discounts on pours and other specials at these terrific breweries, bars and tasting rooms.

If you visit 12 locations on the trail, make a purchase and “check in” with the app, before the season closes on Dec. 31, 2022, you’ll receive a free 2022 Heritage Corridor “Raise A Glass Tour” Ale Trail T-shirt, featuring info on each of the participating locations.

But you’re not just earning exclusive merch, you’re also supporting small businesses and helping to strengthen Illinois’ exciting and diverse craft beer community. Taking part in the convenient and fun passport program is a great way to show your support, and explore more taprooms along The First Hundred Miles and in neighboring communities.

To start your Ale Trail Passport journey, simply head over to heritagecorridoraletrail.com and click on the 2022 Ale Trail Passport button to start your quick registration process.

Once you’re in the web app, you’ll see that it features brewery bios, hours, maps and website links for the more than 20 participating establishments in the Ale Trail program. Make sure to follow the Heritage Corridor Ale Trail on Facebook for new developments in the program, and to see details on upcoming craft brew events.

When you arrive at a participating location, simply check in on the app. Your phone’s GPS will confirm you’re at the location, and you’ll check one brewery off your list. All participants must be at least 21 years of age.

Here’s a look at some of the participating Ale Trail stops near The First Hundred Miles of Route 66.

Skeleton Key Brewery

8102 Lemont Road, #300, Woodridge

You’ll discover the venue’s focus on education, when you drop in and sample some of the craft brews that Skeleton Key Brewery has to offer. Courses are presented for the home enthusiast, as well as a full-immersion, 12-week course for the more serious crafters, including the business side of brewing. High marks from reviewers include “great selection of beers” and “(a) very cool place … look forward to going back.” Bartenders get rave reviews too, and the relaxing interior provides “tons of room.” Patio seating is on a first-come basis, weather permitting. Follow them online for the latest offerings and educational events.

Will County Brewing Company

1142 W. Jefferson St., Shorewood

With over 16 craft beers on tap, including cider, the Will County Brewing Company is easy to find from Route 66. Since its opening in 2016, the spot has been the top pick in local Readers Choice Awards, as well as earning top craft awards at several Midwest beer festivals. You’ll find friendly service and a wide selection of revolving beers, along with a large bar, tasting room and a visible production area. Will County Brewing Company’s motto is “Craft. Community. Charity.” So, contribute to the communities along Route 66 by visiting this comfortable brewery.

MyGrain Brewing Company

50 E. Jefferson St., #106, Joliet

It is nestled in Joliet’s historic downtown, where you can’t miss the train turned brewpub, featuring a breathtaking, turn-of-the-last-century facade. You’ll be just as struck by MyGrain’s taproom ambiance as the fantastic line of house beers and elevated bar fare. Staple beers named Iron & Steel American IPA and City of Stone Farmhouse Saison show MyGrain’s dedication to preserving the history of the historic community. You’ll also find a full menu featuring starters, salads, burgers and more, alongside a selection of craft cocktails and wines for the non-beer drinkers on your road trip. MyGrain’s local favorite Sunday brunch serves up everything from eggs Benedict to generously cut bacon. On the expansive menu, you’ll even find some gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options too. Don’t miss this full-service brewery and gastropub located directly on Historic Route 66.

Elder Brewing Company

218 E. Cass St., Joliet

Featuring over 14 on-tap selections, as well as some excellent canned beer options, Joliet’s Elder Brewing Company is a comfortable and hip, indoor-outdoor taproom space perfect for taking a break on your travels. Popcorn is always free at Elder, and local food delivery is available from several nearby restaurants, giving this space a casual, family-friendly atmosphere. An 1,100-foot space, which opened in 2018 directly adjacent to the building, hosts concerts and events.

Route 66 Old School Brewing

110 Bridge St., Wilmington

What better way to celebrate a trip along the Mother Road than a stop at the aptly named Route 66 Old School Brewing in Wilmington. Overseen by a silver medal master brewer, this 12-tap tasting room offers something for everyone’s palate. You’ll find a line of thoughtfully crafted and delicious beers, concocted by Pauly Bidne, founding member of the Joliet Brewers Guild. Beyond a great selection of highly drinkable beers, Route 66 Old School Brewing sports a nostalgic, vanilla-colored facade and a comfortable taproom interior. Be sure to pick up a crowler or growler to take home as a souvenir of the popular Route 66-themed brewery.