Chain O' Lakes Brewing Company

About Us

Step one foot into Chain-O-Lakes Brewing in McHenry, Illinois and there is no doubt that the owner is a veteran and proud Marine.  Abbreviated COL, the tap room at the brewery is adorned with flags, photos and Marine Corps memorabilia everywhere.  So, proud is he that on Friday night anyone wearing a red shirt gets a dollar off their beers.

Owner Curt Ames retired as a Colonel from the Marine Corp after 30 years of service.  His passion for brewing quality beer started back in 1987 with small batch home brews.  After 15 or so years in the Corp and home brewing he started thinking that brewing may be what he wanted to do after retirement.  Constantly threatening his friends with opening a brewery they finally put him up to it and he delivered.

About Us

In 2012 Curt & Linda secured the historic McHenry Brewery, bought some used brewing equipment from a closed brewery in California and had it shipped to its present home in Illinois.  And Chain O’Lakes Brewing came to life.  The site for the brewery was formerly the McHenry Brewing Company that operated from 1868 until closing the doors in the 1940s.

While Curt and his wife Linda love their lives as brewers and entrepreneurs it is hard to completely walk away from a life they lived for 30 years.  That is why the Marines and all the Veterans have a special place in the taproom. Join us for local Craft Beer in McHenry.


Chain O'Lakes offers five beers brewed on site  and usually have a couple of guest beers from local breweries on tap.  The barrel aged double bock is fantastic and their most popular draft is the Fox River Scotch Ale.  We don’t bottle ourbeer as of now so everything is draft and available to go in growlers.   We also do seasonal brews as the calendar dictates.

If you want something to go they offer 32 oz. grumblers, $7 for the bottle and $7 for the fill and also half gallon growlers that run $9 for the bottle and $13 for the fill.

Stop at the tap room and sample everything they have.  From the Colonel’s WIPA, at 7.1% ABV to the Scotch Ale at 5% ABV we have lots of flavors with enough punch to make sure you leave feeling good.

Weekly events


Vinyl Night

Bring your favorite album or just come in and enjoy some  real music to go with our real beer


B.E.E.R Mug & Game Night

Join the Brewery Enlightened Erudite Revivalists for games in the tap room


Red Shirt Friday 

We wear Red Proudly on Fridays to say we Remember Everyone Deployed who is fighting for our Freedoms


Local Live Band

Local live bands featured the first Friday of every month.

Vendors & Parties

Confirmed Vendors

-  Johnny & Elles Creole Italian Kitchen 

- Your Sister’s Tomato

- MJ’s Coffee

Visit us in Veterans Memorial Park on select Thursdays for the City of McHenry City Concert Series from June - September

Plus more dates, bands and vendors to come.....

Having a Party?

Share the Taproom and Chain O’Lakes Beer by hosting your event in the Taproom. Want to set yourself up in the tap room for your next event? Come talk to us during regular business hours to get it squared away. It is only $100 as a deposit, which we waive if your group does $400 in sales. Happiness is Beer Again…..

B.E.E.R. Club

When you enter a brewery, you are the kind of person that wants to be involved more, be on the inside, know what is what. Well, we are the same way, so we had to do something about it for our own taproom. 

No, we aren't a mug club, or a can club, or anything like that. We know what it is that brought you here, or to any brewery, so that is why we here at Chain O'Lakes Brewing Company call it the BEER Club, which stands for Brewery Enlightened and Erudite Revivalists. You appreciate the culture, the product, and the people behind it, and we want to reward that. 

Membership Includes:

Growler bag & Growler with fill

$1 off Beers (in your glass on Thursdays)

$1 off Growler/Grumbler Fills (in you BEER Growler/Grumbler on Saturdays)

Growler fill card

10% off Brewery Swag

Seasonal Release Parties

Existing Member Renewal $30 

Existing Members who want to guarantee their place as a Revivalist receive the $30 re-activation fee.