Spotlight on Burning Bush Brewery: The creation of a former pastor, this newer brewery in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood offers a beautiful riverfront patio, tasty beers and a perfect stop-off on the way to Wrigley
Burning Bush Brewery
4014 N. Rockwell St.
Monday-Thursday: 4-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 12-11 p.m.
Sunday: 12-8 p.m.
History in short: Brent Raska was a Presbyterian pastor in the southwest suburbs who saw his church close down in January of 2018, all while he had a 2-year-old at home and another baby on the way. Luckily for him, he was home brewing at the time and used the extra freedom in his schedule to ramp up his brewing project. A couple years of planning followed before the venture was almost derailed right after the grand opening due to the Covid shutdown. Thankfully, they were able to stay afloat selling growlers and cans to go and utilizing the back patio until things began opening up again.
The space: Burning Bush is tucked in away just off Irving Park Road on Rockwell Street in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood. The beautiful, expansive taproom (which is dog and kid friendly) is highlighted by an eye-catching bow-truss ceiling. Behind the brewery equipment lies the Community Room, an event space that seats up to 30 and can be rented for free.
A back patio that overlooks the north branch of the Chicago River is a great place to spend an afternoon or evening, and the deck of the new River Room event space is also open on the weekends. If you’re looking for a hike or green space to walk the dog before or after a beer, Horner Park is just across the river.
A remote Cubs parking lot is located just across the street, making Burning Bush an ideal spot for a little pre-gaming before hopping on the bus and avoiding the stress of driving and parking in Wrigleyville.
Interesting notes: The name Burning Bush and a lot of the names of their brews have Biblical themes, but that’s where the religious ties stop. … A remote Cubs parking lot is located just across Irving Park Road in Revere Park, making Burning Bush an ideal spot for a little pre-gaming before hopping on the bus and avoiding the stress of driving and parking in Wrigleyville.
“I pinch myself every day thinking about this thing we’ve turned into a family and have brought it to life.” — Owner Brent Raska
What we’re drinking: There are 12 taps ready to tempt your palate, and really something for everyone, including wine, cider, root beer and several non-alcoholic options. Lion’s Den hazy IPA is a perennial favorite, as are their kettle sours (try the pineapple mango or huckleberry).
An easy-drinking Mexican lager called Rio de Vida was released in late June, and Raska is always working on some experimental options like the chocolate churro stout they made last winter that was served with a cinnamon sugar rim.
On the horizon: Keep an eye on the brewery’s social media accounts for news on special events like comedy nights, concerts and Oktoberfest celebrations.
From the brewery: “The perseverance of my family, my wife who’s stood by me on this crazy journey, the friends and staff who’ve been so great, it’s all overwhelming. And then this past spring, to lease 5,000 more square feet with the River Room, we thought, ‘Oh wow, we’re way further ahead than we thought we’d be.’ I pinch myself every day thinking about this thing we’ve turned into a family and have brought it to life. The neighborhood has been amazing too, so supportive during Covid and through our growth. I wouldn’t take anything back.” — Owner Brent Raska