Spotlight on Hailstorm Brewing: An award-winning brewing team, spacious patio, expanding barrel-aging program and delicious smoked wings in south suburban Tinley Park
8060 186th Street
Tinley Park, IL 60487
Tuesday-Wednesday: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Thursday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
History in short: Chris Schiller, a former consultant and software engineer, always anticipated scaling up to a commercial level while home brewing for better than five years. He and former co-owner Brandon Banbury, the original head brewer, got things off the ground with a 15-barrel brewhouse that opened in 2014. With three medals at the Great American Beer Festival under their belts, substantial expansion happened in 2019, as Hailstorm took over the space next door, increased taproom seating and the beer garden, and added a kitchen.
Hailstorm has a growing barrel-aging program, a fun fact that is not lost on award-winning brewer Will Turner, formerly of Goose Island, Revolution and Open Outcry.
The space: Located in an industrial area of Tinley Park, Hailstorm has plenty of room for their growing barrel-aging program, a fun fact that is not lost on award-winning brewer Will Turner, formerly of Goose Island, Revolution and Open Outcry. The expanded venue has garnered plenty of praise. “It always surprises people who haven’t stopped in a while,” he says. “It’s been a big expansion, and we have lots of storage capability, which is fun.”
The modern, cavernous taproom has long communal tables perfect for groups of friends — or meeting new ones, as well as stools positioned around oak barrels. The spacious patio includes disc golf, bags and plenty of seating, and pinball, bubble hockey and slot machines add to the entertainment value.
Interesting note: With to-go beer ordering available online through their website, Hailstorm offers a $10 discount for full cases of cans — feel free to mix and match, too. … Game nights happen on Tuesdays (with $2 off drafts), trivia and yoga are monthly occurrences, and live music hits the stage every Friday and Saturday.
Hailstorm boasts 17 beers on draft, including Prairie Madness IPA, which won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Fest. … Feeling snacky? Try the barrel stave-smoked wings tossed in cherry buffalo sauce.
What we’re eating and drinking: Hailstorm boasts 17 beers on draft, including the easy-drinking lager called Hotel Life, and Prairie Madness IPA, which won a gold medal at the 2017 Great American Beer Fest. Even if you haven’t been to the brewery, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of their cloud-themed hazy IPA series (Silver Lining, Stratus, Nimbus, Cumulus, etc.) or their Vlad series of standout Russian imperial stouts. The Southside Irish red is now a year-round offering, the strawberry vanilla cheesecake ale is tasty and surprisingly light, and check out a unique weizenbock called Weizen So Serious?
Hailstorm’s menu of primarily appetizers and sandwiches adds a lot. The barrel stave-smoked wings are a good way to start (especially when tossed in cherry buffalo sauce), and the flight of dips and BLT flatbread are perfectly sharable.
On the horizon: Hailstorm hosts regular brewery tours and tastings (check social media for upcoming schedule). … They hosted their first five-course beer dinner for Valentine’s Day, and will be doing more of that going forward, complete with themes and beer pairings.
From the brewery: “We are a great place to stop, right off the highway, and there are a few breweries nearby — like Soundgrowler and Flipside — so you can make a day of it in the area. We enjoy producing a wide variety of beer styles. I lean more toward the classics, and I’m hoping to come out with an ESB soon, but we aren’t afraid of doing some fun experimental brews either.” — Head brewer Wil Turner