Creating a Pour Your Own Beer Experience at Chicago’s Navigator Taproom

beer on tap


“What’ll it be?” takes on new meaning at Navigator Taproom in Chicago, where patrons are able to pour their own beer – straight from the tap. Pour your own beer (PYOB) is a concept that’s been popping up around the country, allowing customers to skip the lines at the bar and serve themselves, using the taps that are usually out of reach behind the bar.

“It’s like a European beer festival every day of the week where customers can try new styles of beer and wine without breaking the bank,” says Tim Enarson, co-owner of Navigator Taproom. “Customers don’t even have to pay for a full pint if they’re not even sure they’ll like it. Drinks are paid for by the ounce.”

Navigator Taproom opened in 2017 in Chicago’s trendy Logan Square neighborhood, boasting a sprawling wall with 48 taps to offer something for everyone. For beer drinkers, there are lagers, sours, pilsners, IPAs, brown ales, porters, and stouts. For those that prefer wine, whites, reds, and rosés are offered. Ciders, seltzers, and kombucha are also available.

“The beauty of PYOB is that you can get a great selection of beers and wines from around the city, country, and world without spending a lot of time or a lot of money,” Enarson says. “In anhour, you could try 20 different beers for not much cost. At its heart, it’s a tasting room with no wait. You just set up a tab, walk up to the tap wall, and start pouring.”

If a customer is frozen in their tracks by the slew of choices, digital screens above each tap provide a brief description of where the drink was made, tasting notes, alcohol content, and bitterness units. Customers can even sign up for a service that alerts them when new beer kegs are tapped.

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