Burrito chain Chipotle is about to earn even more indie cred as several locations begin adding craft beer to their drinks lineups.

The burrito chain has long offered Mexican and Latin American imports like Corona and Pacifico at select eateries, as well as American standards like Miller Lite, but now 15 of Chipotle's restaurants in Chicago will serve two beers by 5 Rabbit Cerveceria, a Chicago-area microbrewery.

Here's what's on the menu: a simple golden ale called 5 Rabbit, similar to Corona, and 5 Vulture, a dark ale brewed with chiles and spices not unlike Negra Modelo.

The Chicago Tribune writes that if sales are favorable, Chipotle may consider expanding the offerings to about 75 stores in and around Chicago plus other craft brands.

The publication spoke with Darren Tristano, executive vice president with research firm Technomic, Inc., who explained that Chipotle's embracement of craft beer is a no-brainer:

"Craft beer has become a pretty big driver, and especially for a more affluent crowd," he said. "It's very well in their customer base to add these beverages."

Moreover, 5 Rabbit Cerveceria is a Latin-themed operation -- a natural fit. Its web site explains that its name "embodies the mysticism, color, and playfulness of this rich Latin heritage." It's also growing at an impressive rate, having already snatched up six contracts to produce its beer at breweries in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Chipotle isn't the first fast food chain to be interested in craft beer. Earlier this year, Denver-based burger chain Smashburger teamed with several craft breweries in a handful of markets to introduce beer and burger pairings at several of its eateries.

It's no surprise, either. Even as overall beer sales decline nationwide, craft beer sales were up by 12 percent in the first half of 2012. As of August of this year, there were 2,126 craft breweries in the U.S. -- the highest number since 1890.

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  • #20 - Great Lakes Brewing Company

    <strong>Location:</strong> Cleveland, Ohio <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 120,000 -- 31.9 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Dortmunder Gold

  • #19 - Long Trail Brewing Company

    <strong>Location:</strong> Bridgewater Corners, Vt. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 120,000 -- 10.1 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Double Bag Ale

  • #18 - Abita Brewing Company

    <strong>Location:</strong> Abita Springs, La. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 125,000 -- 14.7 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Abita Jockamo IPA

  • #17 - Shipyard Brewing Company

    <strong>Location:</strong> Portland, Maine <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 129,000 -- 31.6 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Shipyard Export Ale

  • #16 - Alaskan Brewing Company

    <strong>Location:</strong> Juneau, Alaska <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 130,000 -- 11.1 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Alaskan Amber

  • #15 - Brooklyn Brewery

    <strong>Location:</strong> Brooklyn, N.Y. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 140,000 -- 29.6 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Brooklyn Lager

  • #14 - Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

    <strong>Location:</strong> Milton, Del. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 144,000 -- 19 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> 60 Minute IPA

  • #13 - Stone Brewing Company

    <strong>Location:</strong> Escondido, Calif. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 149,000 -- 29.6 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Stone IPA, Arrogant Bastard Ale

  • #12 - Boulevard Brewing Company

    <strong>Location:</strong> Kansas City, Mo. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 157,000 -- 5.4 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Single-Wide IPA, Chocolate Ale

  • #11 - Lagunitas Brewing Company

    <strong>Location:</strong> Petaluma, Calif. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 165,000 -- 55.7 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Lagunitas IPA

  • #10 - Harpoon Brewery

    <strong>Location:</strong> Boston, Mass. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 173,000 -- 15.3 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Harpoon IPA, UFO Hefeweizen

  • #9 - Bell's Brewery

    <strong>Location:</strong> Galesburg, Mich. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 180,000 -- 16.9 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Bell's Lager, Java Stout

  • #8 - Matt Brewing Company

    <strong>Location:</strong> Utica, N.Y. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 196,000 -- 7.7 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Saranac

  • #7 - Deschutes Brewery

    <strong>Location:</strong> Bend, Ore. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 223,000 -- 9.9 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Red Chair NWPA, Mirror Pond Pale Ale

  • #6 - Magic Hat Brewing Company

    <strong>Location:</strong> South Burlington, Vt. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 336,000 -- 4.3 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> #9, Single Chair

  • #5 - Spoetzl Brewery

    <strong>Location:</strong> Shiner, Texas <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 487,000 -- 13 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Shiner Bock

  • #4 - Craft Brew Alliance

    <strong>Location:</strong> Portland, Ore. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 635,000 -- 8.5 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Widmer Brothers, Red Hook, Kona

  • #3 - New Belgium Brewing

    <strong>Location:</strong> Fort Collins, Colo. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 713,000 -- 7.9 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands: </strong> Fat Tire, Lips of Faith

  • #2 - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

    <strong>Location:</strong> Chico, Calif. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 858,000 -- 9.2 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Ovila Abbey Ales

  • #1 - The Boston Beer Company

    Location: Jamaica Plain, Mass. Barrels Sold in 2011: 2,440,000 -- 8 percent increase since 2010 Popular brands: Samuel Adams, Twisted Tea