Attention all craft beer lovers: You have two months left to complete this year’s Heritage Corridor Ale Trail! This 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 merch. 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 the Starved Rock Country region in the west. The platform allows you to earn prizes by visiting popular establishments like Elder Brewing Co. 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 all 16 locations on the trail, make a purchase and “check in” with the app, before the season closes Dec. 31, 2023, you’ll receive free limited edition 2023 Ale Trail swag.
But you’re not just earning exclusive merch, you’re also supporting small businesses and helping 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 HCDestinations.com/Ale-Trail and click on the 2023 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 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 Route 66:
Miskatonic Brewing Co.
1000 N. Frontage Road C, Darien, Illinois
This H.P. Lovecraft-inspired brewery is perfect for fans of horror or the macabre, or any small-batch craft beer enthusiasts. Hidden in an industrial area just off Route 66, Miskatonic Brewing Company offers up some of the finest brews along the Mother Road. The taproom features up to 13 craft beers at one time, alongside a line of cider and hard seltzer selections. You’ll also find dog-friendly outdoor seating and in-depth brewery tours, which include tastings and souvenirs. Growlers and cans are available to go, so you can take a liquid souvenir with you along your Route 66 trip.
Elder Brewing Company
218 E. Cass St., Joliet, IL
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 added 1,100-foot event space opened in 2018 directly adjacent to the building, which hosts concerts and events.
Garage Band Brewing
15025 S. Des Plaines St., 1B, Plainfield, IL
Started by two friends who shared a love of beer, Plainfield’s Garage Band Brewing is dedicated to crafting high quality beer using locally sourced ingredients. With just one taste, you’ll understand why Garage Band invests so much time and care into sourcing and developing each one of their brews. These fan-favorite cold tap beers are supplemented by a small snack selection and cans to-go. Located in downtown Plainfield, you’re within walking distance of a wide variety of boutique shopping and dining options, making Garage Band a great place to pull over and stretch your legs.
Mad Hatchet Brewing
913 Brook Forest Ave., Shorewood, IL
Come enjoy the experimental brews being concocted at Shorewood’s Mad Hatchet Brewing. Offering a wide selection of IPAs, stouts and everything in between, Mad Hatchet is sure to have something on tap to please every craft beer fan. Family owned and operated, it offers a friendly taproom-style atmosphere to complement the tasty beers and great service. Looking for a bite to pair with your beer? Mad Hatchet features regular food truck events outside the brewery.
Route 66 Old School Brewing
110 Bridge St., Wilmington, IL
What better way to celebrate a trip along the Mother Road than a stop at 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, a 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 this popular 66-themed brewery.