Best Places to Live

Evanston, IL

Population: 75,603
Courtesy of Temperance Beer Co.

Evanston, Ill., was the cradle of prohibition. The Chicago suburb was home to long-time Women’s Christian Temperance Union president Frances Willard, who was instrumental in getting the 18th amendment passed. Ironically, it also has a fine tradition as a supporter of microbrewing. Evanston 1st Liquors has carried craft beers and home brewing supplies for decades. And back in the ‘90s, residents of the Northwestern dorm that bears Willard’s name brewed Frances Willard Select Ale, a homebrew so amazing that the late Michael Jackson once wrote that he wished he included it in his seminal “Ultimate Beer.” And while “wrote” really means he inscribed that for a fan while drinking at a bar/book-signing, that shouldn’t diminish Evanston’s newfound role in brewing that which it used to prohibit. Lead by Temperance Beer Co.’s IPA, Gatecrasher, which a reviewer at RateBeer.com describes as “Super drinkable,” the town, one of our Top 10 Best Downtowns, now hosts several breweries and an ever-growing lineup of bars that serve and support them.