25 quintessential Midwest beers

These aren’t the Midwest’s 25 best beers. Or the 25 most important. They are simply 25 beers essential to understanding the broad palette that is Midwest brewing.

Such a list comes, of course, with ample bias, fueled mostly by location. Chicago, Cleveland, the Twin Cities and Kansas City are all vibrant corners of the Midwest, but locals will assemble significantly different lists. This one was assembled through a pair of Chicago goggles.

Amid an ever-growing stable of breweries — the nation is up to nearly 6,500 of them — it is also impossible to be a completist, to have tasted every beer the Midwest has to offer. But our ride, dating to the mid 1980s, has been long, and it has been thorough, spanning dozens of styles in cities and towns, suburbs and farms.

Here are 25 beers any Midwesterner should be proud to call their own, with the added benefit of being ranked. (Surely this won’t lead to any arguments.) Breweries are represented once each, otherwise Bell’s, Three Floyds, Goose Island and New Glarus would comprise half the list. Speaking of New Glarus …

— Josh Noel

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