Craft beer lovers, rejoice: the Heritage Corridor Ale Trail has returned.
A 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 digital Ale Trail Passport showcases the best locations to grab a locally brewed beverage, from the southwestern suburbs to Starved Rock Country to the west. The platform allows you to earn prizes by visiting popular establishments like Joliet’s MyGrain Brewing and Wilmington’s RT66 Old School Brewing.
If you visit 16 locations on the trail, make a purchase and “check in” with the app, before the season closes on Dec. 31, 2023, you’ll receive a free 2023 Heritage Corridor Ale Trail print glass.
But you’re not just earning exclusive merch, you’re also supporting small businesses and helping to 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 HeritageCorridorAleTrail.com 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 more than a dozen 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.
MYGRAIN BREWING CO. - JOLIET
50 E. Jefferson St., 106, Joliet
Located in Joliet’s historic Downtown, you can’t miss this train station turned brewpub, featuring a breathtaking turn-of-the-century facade. You’ll be just as struck by MyGrain’s taproom ambiance as their fantastic line of house beers and elevated bar fare. Staple beers named Iron & Steel American IPA and City of Stone Farmhouse Saison show MyGrain’s dedication to preserving the history of this historic community. You’ll also find a full menu featuring starters, salads, burgers and more, alongside a selection of craft cocktails and wines for the non-beer drinkers on your roadtrip. MyGrain’s local favorite Sunday brunch serves up everything from eggs Benedict to generously cut bacon. On this expansive menu, you’ll even find some gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options too. Don’t miss this full-service brewery and gastropub located directly on Historic Route 66.
RT66 OLD SCHOOL BREWING
110 Bridge St., Wilmington
What better way to celebrate a trip along the Mother Road than a stop at the aptly named RT66 Old School Brewing in Wilmington. Overseen by a silver medal Master Brewer, this twelve-tap tasting room offers something for everyone’s palate. You’ll find a line of thoughtfully crafted and delicious beers, concocted by Pauly Bidne, founding member of the Joliet Brewers Guild. Beyond a great selection of highly drinkable beers, RT66 Old School Brewing sports a nostalgic vanilla colored façade 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.
MAD HATCHET BREWING
913 Brook Forest Ave., Shorewood
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’s sure to have something on tap to please every craft beer fan. Family owned and operated, they offer a friendly taproom-style atmosphere to complement their tasty beers and great service. Looking for a bite to pair with your beer? Mad Hatchet features regular food truck events outside the brewery.
ELDER BREWING COMPANY - JOLIET
218 E. Cass St., Joliet
Featuring over fourteen 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. A recently added 1,100 ft event space opened in 2018 directly adjacent to the building, which hosts concerts and events.