Spotlight on Mickey Finn’s Brewery: Expect great grub, award-winning beers, a stylish space and beer garden, live music and more at this long-time Libertyville favorite
Mickey Finn’s Brewery
345 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Libertyville, IL 60048
Tuesday-Wednesday: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
Thursday: 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-midnight
Sunday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
History in short: Mickey Finn’s just happens to be the oldest continuously operated microbrewery in Illinois. The original owners, Pat Elmquest and Bill Sugars, added one of the first craft breweries in Illinois adjacent to Mickey Finn’s Tavern in 1994.
Current owner Brian Grano, who lived a block away and was looking for a career change, purchased it in 2004. In 2012 he purchased a 15,000-square-foot, century-old, bow-truss wood and brick building that stood abandoned less than 100 yards away from the existing brewery. After two years of renovations, the new Mickey Finn’s opened in April of 2014.
The space: Featuring a 57-foot bar, beautiful beer garden, private event space, a stage for live music and — perhaps the most impressive aspect — original bow-truss ceilings with new skylights that let in plenty of natural light, Mickey Finn’s is an aesthetically-pleasing destination for sure.
“The building kind of designed itself,” Grano tells us of his full-service brewpub that offers full lunch and dinner menus, a full bar, live music Friday-Sunday and plenty of big screens to catch the game. “We like to say we’re not a sports bar, but we’re a great place to watch sports,” Grano adds.
We’ve been doing great things for almost 30 years. We’re kind of like Wrigley Field in that we offer something for everyone and every age.” — Owner Brian Grano
Interesting note: One of the original brewers at Mickey Finn’s, Ryan Ashley, who put them on the map with his hefeweizens, went on to Four Roses Bourbon in Kentucky. They also had a great 15-year run with Greg Brown, who’s now at Art History Brewing in Geneva.
But Grano believes the bar has definitely been raised with the addition of current head brewer Jason Martens, who is Libertyville born and raised and came over from Tighthead Brewing three years ago. All he’s done is win silver medals at the World Beer Cup in 2022 (Moon Rocks session IPA) and Great American Beer Festival in 2021 (Dark and Down schwarzbier).
The bar has definitely been raised with the addition of head brewer Jason Martens. All he’s done is win silver medals at the World Beer Cup in 2022 (Moon Rocks session IPA) and Great American Beer Festival in 2021 (Dark and Down schwarzbier).
What we’re drinking and eating: If you can still get your hands on it, their Belgian strong golden ale called Santa’s Magic is a popular December-January staple that doesn’t stay in kegs for long. The Pineapple Express double IPA is all kinds of tasty with intense flavors and citrus aromas, while the Helles Belles is a traditional Munich-style helles lager that is malt forward and refreshing.
The food menu is so loaded with tempting options it’s difficult to narrow down, but check out the avocado pesto chicken sandwich, Irish egg rolls, house-smoked BBQ ribs or fan favorite Pat E. Melt burger.
On the horizon: Anticipated new beers on the way this winter include Pinky Ring (Italian lager), Finn’s Cold IPA and Can I Kick It (hazy IPA). Check out the website, too, for a full schedule of live music and events.
From the brewery: “So many places come and go, but we’ve been doing great things for almost 30 years. We’re kind of like Wrigley Field in that we offer something for everyone and every age. Great comfort food and craft beer, live music, sports, spacious patio. We are very family friendly, but also a late-night destination with the live music, karaoke and private-party possibilities. … We introduce a lot of people to craft beer — more than other taprooms might because everything else we offer gets them in the door, and then they realize how good our beer is.” — Owner Brian Grano