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Our Company

At Forbidden Root, Chicago’s first botanic brewery, we brew craft beer inspired by nature.

We love barley, water, hops, and yeast and use those as a base to explore a rich world of wild ingredients.

Forbidden Root Containers

Our Company

Forbidden Root, the first botanical brewery in Chicago, was founded as a passionately personal project by Robert Finkel after leaving the world of high-stakes entrepreneurship.

His idea to create a true-brewed root beer quickly grew to encompass the broader concept of botanic beers.

On February 18, 2016, our restaurant and brewery opened in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood.

More than just a brewpub, we offer fresh and seasonal dishes that highlight our craft beers and elevate the overall dining experience.

In addition to our passion for beer and food, Forbidden Root is passionate about giving back.

We are a benefit corporation, meaning goals other than shareholder value are built into our operating charter.

Our Process

We love malt and hops; they remain the foundation for any beer. But why should beer be limited to just two botanicals when a vast world of rich ingredients is out there waiting for us to discover?

Through our unique approach to brewing, we explore a rich world of ingredients, forgotten recipes, and creative flavors.

In our mission to brew botanic beer, we are dedicated to research, process, and innovation, working to evoke the natural world in new and unique ways.

Rather than just spiking a style with some new flavor ingredient, we brew beers that offer up a whole experience of flavor, texture, and aroma, designing the beer around the ingredient to showcase it in the best possible context.

Through modern processes and equipment like our “flavor torpedo” hop-back, we can extract deep flavor and bursting aromatics, creating combinations that are often totally new to beer.

Inspired by forgotten recipes, ingredients, and flavors, every beer starts with a big idea. Then we gather the appropriate botanicals, go as fresh and local as possible, and build the beer.

We always strive for an integrated whole that doesn’t try too hard to impress.

We love approachable and gloriously drinkable beers, whether brewing a juicy new-school IPA or a sensory bomb inspired by a legendary Italian liqueur.

Our Charity

We’re passionate about giving back. As a Benefit Corporation, Forbidden Root has built goals other than shareholder value into its operating charter. Here are some of the ways we’re meeting those goals:

  • We donate 100% of our non-consumable merchandise profits to charity. That means every time a Forbidden Root t-shirt, bottle opener, growler container, or other merchandise item is bought, the profit goes to a good cause. Our current beneficiary is Chicago’s Green City Market.
  • By donating a portion of our beer and participating in festivals where proceeds benefit charitable organizations, we’re able to put our good brews towards good causes. (There are so many good causes. We wish we could donate to all of them, but due to our limited beer, staff, and time, we cannot fulfill all requests.)
  • We feel the love! At our bar, tap 16 is our dedicated Love Handle. We partner with other breweries to get their beer on the Love Handle, and $1 from every glass sold goes to a mutually chosen organization.

For us, craft beer and delicious food is all about fostering community, which is why we give back.

Here are just a few of the organizations that inspire us and that we support. We encourage you to get to know them if you don’t already: ALS Therapy Development InstituteChicago Legal ClinicChicago Rowing FoundationCystic Fibrosis FoundationHoward Brown HealthInspiration CorporationLambs FarmMeals on WheelsNational Multiple Sclerosis SocietyProject Healing Waters Fly FishingSafe Humane ChicagoSemper Fi Foundation.