Is there anything more refreshing than a cold craft beer after experiencing the beauty of nature? McHenry County is home to many great things but these two complement each other. Whether you are a local looking to experience your community and the beauty that surrounds it, or a visitor looking for the best kept-secrets of McHenry County, this is a list to get you started. 

  • Cary Ale House & Brewing | Fel-Pro RRR Conservation Area 
    3.4 miles / 7 min

    Fel-Pro RRR Conservation Area is an example of protecting natural areas while providing diverse outdoor recreation opportunities. This location offers visitors activities like hiking, fishing, picnicking, sand volleyball, and disk golf. Hiking at Fel-Pro RRR is perfect for beginners. There are two options for paved paths, which both connect to further hiking opportunities. Don’t miss the portion of the hike where you will find the most instagrammable spot in the park at the bridge connecting the northern ponds. 
    After your scenic adventures through Fel-Pro RRR make your way to downtown Cary and grab a beer and burger from Cary Ale House & Brewing Company. Cary Ale House is a gastropub focusing on serving high-quality chef-created pub food and craft beer in a fun pub environment. Not only will you find a variety of Cary Ale House’s craft brews, but they have a great variety of tap beers, bottles, and cans available for your drinking pleasure. 
  • Crystal Lake Brewing | Veteran Acres/ Sterne’s Woods 
    0.7 miles / 3 min

    Veteran Acres is one of the crown jewels of the Crystal Lake Park District. This park boasts a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities like picnic shelters, a playground, a splash pad, and multiple miles of hiking trails varying in difficulty. The Prairie Trail also meanders through Veteran Acres park so if you choose to extend your adventures. Just a 15-minute walk from Veteran Acres is a local favorite, Crystal Lake Brewing. Crystal Lake Brewing is known for creating beer that is easy to drink and hard to put down. With as many as 12 different offerings on tap regularly, you will find something you’ll love. This is a BYOF (Bring Your Own Food) place, and you’re encouraged to bring your own grub or have a local restaurant deliver right to your table. 
  • Scorched Earth Brewing | Prairie Trail 
    0.3 miles / 2 min

    Whether it’s a morning trek, a family weekend ride, or part of your weekly fitness regime, hike, pedal, or roll along over 45 miles of trails offered throughout McHenry County on the Prairie Trail. There are several scenic and recreational stopping points along the Prairie Trail, including the Fox River and Larsen Prairie. Main access points to the trail are located north of Algonquin, along Main Street in Crystal Lake, at Petersen Park, and in McHenry and Glacial Park north of Ringwood. Not far from the Algonquin access point is Scorched Earth Brewing. Using local ingredients, old-world brewing techniques, and a whimsical sense for exploration, Scorched Earth Brewing hopes to challenge your notion of what beer is and inspire you to share our passion with others. Scorched Earth is also a BYOF (Bring Your Own Food) place, and they will have plenty of local menus to help you decide.

Here are a few more ideas if you’re looking to continue your Hiking & Hops excursions: 

Holzlager Brewing | Emricson Park (1.9 miles / 6 min)

Kishwaukee Brewing | Kishwaukee Headwaters (4.4 miles / 9 min)

McHenry Brewing Company | Moraine Hills (4.0 miles / 8 min)

Sew Hop’d Brewery | Marengo Ridge (9.6 miles / 15 min)

Shadowview Brewing | Pleasant Valley Conservation Area (6.6 miles / 12 min)