Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries

December 18, 2006


Midwest Brewery Power Rankings

The Beer Dorks’ very first power rankings find Three Floyds on top by a hair.
by Eddie Glick

I like my beer like my women: pale, strong, full-bodied, and extremely bitter.
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Welcome to the Beer Dorks’ very first Power Rankings for Midwest craft brewers! I've debated with many a fellow Dork about what brewery was the best in the Midwest, and I thought I'd make my arguments public. I can’t guarantee how often rankings will be released, but I do welcome comments and, yes, criticism. So let me have it, fellow Beer Dorks. Tell me why I’m an idiot. Or, more likely, a genius. And be a dear and let me know if I missed any glaringly awesome breweries in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan (the UP counts!), Indiana or Ohio. Now, on with the list!

1. Three Floyds Brewing
Munster, IN
Riding hops to the top.

2. Founders Brewing Co.
Grand Rapids, MI
Despite an embarassment of riches, just barely edged out by FFF.

3. New Glarus Brewing Company
New Glarus, WI
Limited distribution keeps Dan Carey and company out of the number-one spot.

4. Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
Galesburg, MI
Fourth only by a hair. A very thin hair.

5. Capital Brewery
Middleton, WI
Mystifies this Beer Dork why we don’t see their stuff everywhere.

6. Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Cleveland, OH
Ohio’s best brewery coming on strong.

7. Two Brothers Brewing Company
Warrenville, IL
Big, new beers show major promise.

8. Goose Island Beer Co.
Chicago, IL
Hurt by association with the devil. By proxy.

9. Sprecher Brewing Co.
Glendale, WI
More innovative beers needed.

10. Summit Brewing Company
St. Paul, MN
Edges out a bevy of others.

The Criteria
Innovation: The American craft brewing movement was built upon innovation, and it’s that quality that is keeping the industry dynamic and alive. Possibly the most important criteria.

Overall Quality: Not just the number of good beers a brewer produces, but the consistency of the entire line up.

Availability: The only criteria not direcly tied to the brewers’ art, but important nonetheless. You could brew the greatest beers on Earth, but what good would it do if no one had the chance to drink them?

Monsterism: Beer Dorks like big beers. You know what they like more than big beers? Monstrously big beers.

Integrity and Attitude: How does the brewer approach the business of beer-making? Is the beer always first? It should be.

Drinkin’ And Thinkin’

Beer Dorks News

Want to know how healthy the craft beer industry is? As always, look to Portland. Craft pioneer Bridgeport announces sudden closure, adding to a growing list of PDX casualties.
Did Anheuser-Busch Chicago offer their shit beer to Cody Parkey before his missed field goal? Because that may explain why he "accidentally" biffed it.
Chicago now has the most breweries of any city in the country. Other things Chicago has the most of: murders, mobsters, and Ditkas.
Trying to spin it positive, BA releases end of year graphic. Only 5% growth in the craft sector when nearly 1000 new breweries opened? That's a collapse waiting to happen.
R.I.P. Tallgrass... another casualty as the regional/national craft beer market continues to get squeezed.
Wait... Constellation Brands cut all of the Ballast Point and Funky Buddha sales staff? They merged it with their Corona/Modelo staff?? We're SHOCKED!!!
Pizza Beer founder crying about failure of company, blames everyone else. Reminder, the beer tasted like vomit. Try having better ideas or making better products so you're not a failure.
It's Bud Light so doesn't really matter, but we expect this beer to be sitting around for awhile.
Indiana brewery to open with controversial beer names to "get the conversation going". Translation: taking advantage of serious issues for free publicity.
Hundreds of amazing beers in Wisconsin and the Cubs took back the one everyone drinks just because it exists and people have heard of it. How fitting...