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The new rooftop space can seat around 250 people. Credit: Provided

NEAR WEST SIDE — Midwest Coast Brewing's taproom is set to debut a major expansion just in time for summer.

Tucked away in an industrial neighborhood between the West Loop, West Town and West Side, the brewery at 2137 W. Walnut St. has been serving up a wide range of beer styles since it opened in 2019.

Midwest Coast tries to make “beer for everybody” — ales and lagers but also sours and more experimental variations, General Manager Ryan McKinley said. In 2022, that included launching a Ukrainian Golden Ale in partnership with a Kyiv-based brewery.

During the pandemic, the brewery opened a makeshift patio in their parking lot, an arrangement that continued through 2022 and part of last year.

Now, Midwest Coast is opening a more permanent outdoor area: an expansive rooftop that will seat around 250 people. Depending on permits, the parking lot patio could return this summer, too.

The addition has been in the works for years, McKinley said. It offers views of the Downtown skyline and passing Green Line “L” trains through a massive retractable roof.

The outdoor area will open to the public next month, with management still nailing down an exact date.

“One of our main priorities is making sure that we're servicing and creating a cool space for the community to come hang out,” McKinley said. “There's a lot of people at any given point that just feel like, ‘I need a beer,' and we're kind of the space for them for that.”

Midwest Coast Brewing's new rooftop taproom space includes a retractable roof and views of Downtown and the passing “L” train. Credit: Provided

The new rooftop can be used as one continuous space or sectioned off for events, McKinley said. It will feature 12 tap lines at the bar, including Midwest Coast's regular and seasonal beers, plus seltzer and cider options.

The downstairs taproom space will remain in operation as usual.

McKinley said he's particularly excited for people to gather on the rooftop in the winter, when the retractable roof will be closed but views of Downtown will be unobstructed by any foliage.

“It's like a glass atrium up here. It's almost like a greenhouse,” he said. “I'm honestly more stoked for the snow globe effect of winter up here. We had a meeting a couple months ago and snow was coming down and you can see the whole skyline, you've got the train line coming in.”

The part of the Near West Side that Midwest Coast calls home is somewhat isolated from major commercial streets and public transportation. But that will soon change when the now-under construction Damen Green Line station opens — which is supposed to open before this summer's Democratic National Convention.

McKinley is optimistic the massive event, which will partly take place at the nearby United Center, will bring new attention — and customers — to the neighborhood and brewery.

“I think one of our biggest uphill battles here is this neighborhood doesn't really have a true identity to it. It's just kind of this older manufacturing district,” he said. [But] “it's a cool vibe here. People just don't know about it. So I'm really hopeful that the DNC is going to put us on the map.”

Part of the indoor taproom space part of Midwest Coast Brewing's new rooftop addition. Credit: Provided
Midwest Coast Brewing's new rooftop taproom space, which will open to the public June 18. Credit: Provided

Midwest Coast is hosting a series of events around the rooftop's opening next month, which McKinley hopes will lead to additional ones year-round — especially with dogs.

“As we grow, and our footprint is bigger, we're definitely going to do more dog-forward events and more partnerships with rescues, because that's a main topic that we all like here,” he said. “We'll also do more family friendly events, too. ... So we'll just have more real estate to do fun stuff like that.”

Midwest Coast Brewing is open 2-9 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday, 2-10 p.m. Thursday-Friday, noon-10 p.m. Saturdays and noon-7 p.m. Sundays.


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