Craft beer is a culture in Chicago, but the city was left off a new list of the best craft breweries in the country.
Chicago takes pride in its craft beer scene. From mainstays like Revolution Brewing, Half Acre Beer Company and Metropolitan Brewing, to solid up-and-comers like 5 Rabbit Cervecería and Finch's Beer Company (among many others), it's not a stretch to call this city a beer town.
So we had to look twice at The Daily Meal's new list of the 50 Best Craft Breweries in America: Though the Midwest is represented, Chicago doesn't make the list.
Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, leads the pack at No. 1, followed by Stone Brewing Company in California, Russian River Brewing Company in California and Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware.
Michigan gets another nod at the top with Bell's Brewery ranking fifth. Other Midwest mentions -- all well-known in Chicago, though not produced here -- include Three Floyds Brewing Company in Indiana, New Glarus Brewing in Wisconsin and Surly Brewing Company in Minneapolis.
How was the list created, and how exactly was Chicago left off?
The Daily Meal's methodology started with asking a panel of craft beer experts to nominate breweries they believed in.
"They chose from among new breweries that have really started to make a name for themselves, as well as older standbys that continue to brew excellent, consistent beer year after year," the publication explains. "In the end, we tried to focus on craft breweries that offer a range of great brews, rather than those that offer one particularly stand-out beer."
Jess Novak, drink editor at The Daily Meal and admitted lover of Revolution Brewing, seemed a little surprised too.
"Revolution has some great beers," she said. "I don't know why that one didn't make it on the initial list, because, again, that was decided by our panel. But Revolution is definitely a top brewery."
The Daily Meal certainly has been kind to Chicago in the past, giving us spots on best burrito, best cupcake and best tacos list. It even named a local burger and Mexican eatery the best in the country.
As for our breweries?
"That's just this year," Novak said. "I think Chicago is an amazing beer town with a lot of strong candidates for next year's list. We love Chicago."
Here are the top 20 best craft breweries. For the full list, click here.
1. Founders Brewing — Grand Rapids, Michigan
2. Stone Brewing Company — Escondido, California
3. Russian River Brewing Company — Santa Rosa, California
4. Dogfish Head Brewery — Milton, Delaware
5. Bell's Brewery — Kalamazoo, Michigan
6. Lagunitas Brewing Company — Petaluma, California
7. New Belgium Brewing — Fort Collins, Colorado
8. Cigar City Brewing — Tampa, Florida
9. Oskar Blues Brewery — Longmont, Colorado
10. Three Floyds Brewing Company — Munster, Indiana
11. Firestone Walker Brewing Company — Paso Robles and Buelton, California
12. Avery Brewing Company — Boulder, Colorado
13. Deschutes Brewery — Bend, Oregon
14. Southern Tier Brewing Company — Lakewood, New York
15. Prairie Artisan Ales — Tulsa, Oklahoma
16. Epic Brewing Company — Salt Lake City, Utah; Denver, Colorado
17. Victory Brewing Company — Downingtown, Pennsylvania
18. Great Divide Brewing Company — Denver, Colorado
19. Allagash Brewing Company — Portland, Maine
20. Brewery Ommegang — Cooperstown, New York