Is it just me or does it seem like the whole microbrew thing has become really popular? Maybe it's because I grew up in Minnesota, where's there's now a microbrewery every 6 blocks or so, but I had never actually been to a brewery until I moved to Wisconsin. Living in Lake Geneva put me within 45 minutes to an hour from some of the most visited breweries in the country.

Now that I'm living in Rockford, I've realized that I have even better access to some pretty great breweries; a few of them right here in town. Zach at Olympic Tavern, who is a beer aficionado, told me about some other great breweries that are only a 30 minute drive from the Forest City; all in which I plan to visit.

From the closest to the furthest, here are 7 breweries within 30 minute of Rockford that you need to visit.



  • kschulze, ThinkStock
    kschulze, ThinkStock

    Rockford Brewing Company

    200 Prairie St, Rockford, IL 61107- Great atmosphere in a beautiful builiding, amazing food and the Vanilla Kolsch is my favorite.

  • MSPhotographic, ThinkStock
    MSPhotographic, ThinkStock

    Carlyle Brewing Company

    215 E State St, Rockford, IL 61104- Laid back atmosphere with an amazing grilled ham & cheese that comes with Mrs. Fishers chips. Get the Imperial Red.

  • pyzata, ThinkStock
    pyzata, ThinkStock

    Pig's Mind Brewing Company

    4080 Steele Dr., Machesney Park, IL 61115- I'm a huge fan of beer glasses, they have the best, and those garlic fries are on point. Also a great place for vegans.

  • Robert Marrott, ThinkStock
    Robert Marrott, ThinkStock

    Granite City Food & Brewery

    7140 Harrison Ave, Rockford, IL 61112- I was lucky enough to try their chocolate cherry stout at the Chocoholic Frolic; it was amazing, just like the rest of the beers and don't forget Sunday brunch.

  • Janet Koelling, ThinkStock
    Janet Koelling, ThinkStock

    Generations Brewing Company

    1400 S Adams Ave, Freeport, IL 61032- This is officially on my list of places to visit; I hear a crowd favorite, the Tawny Ale is back. Facebook describes it as "Nice and chocolaty this year with differently toasted oak spirals! 6.5% abv"

  • blizzard_77, ThinkStock
    blizzard_77, ThinkStock

    Cademon Brewing Company

    217 W Main St, Genoa, IL 60135-  People who've been to Cademon say they love the atmosphere and unique beers like the Bloodshot and Raspberry Coffee Stout. Sounds like an interesting combo.

  • Maksymowicz, ThinkStock
    Maksymowicz, ThinkStock

    Lena Brewing Company

    9416 W Wagner Rd, Lena, IL 61048- They have a fun brewery tour, tap room games and great craft beers. Other visitors loved the relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff.

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