There is no group of people on this planet more patriotic than Americans, plain and simple. They sport the star-spangled banner in every conceivable location and will never miss an opportunity to belt out the national anthem. That uncompromising passion is shared with big-time sports, and, of course, beer.
From the Pacific Northwest to the Florida Keys, the vast USA is dotted with cities who not only excel in brewing fresh, cold pints, but who absolutely live for it. Microbreweries are exploding in popularity across the nation while beer-themed festivals are gaining traction with each passing day. But out of all the beer-mad cities, which ones are truly worth the trip?
10 San Diego, CA
With the shimmering lights of Hollywood, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, and the Napa Valley wine region, people often forget that California has a pretty impressive beer scene as well. The state’s highlight is certainly down south San Diego, which sports over 100 licensed breweries dotted across the city. Combine a fresh, cold, beer with a beautiful Pacific sunset and a dip at Mission Beach, and there’s really no better combination to wind up an afternoon.
9 New York City, New York
No list of anything USA-related is complete with a stop it the concrete jungle that is the Big Apple. After wandering through the hustle and bustle of Times Square and strolling across the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset, there’s perhaps no better way to rest up the feet than by tasting a handful of the (countless) local beers.
In typical New York fashion, the New York Beer Company has a stock market theme running throughout its interior, while the Brooklyn Brewery across the river offers some unique craft beers and is great for tastings and tours.
If you’re having trouble deciding which beers to try first, there’s a definitive public-surveyed ranking of each local beer.
8 Seattle, Washington
There are close to 175 breweries within the city limits of Seattle, making it the top city across the entire USA for the number of beer-makers in a metropolitan area. Thankfully, a high quantity doesn’t equate to a dip in quality, with countless medium and micro-sized beerhouses offering plenty to satisfy any beer lover.
The award-winning Reuben’s Brews is one locale worth checking out, and if that hasn’t quite quenched your thirst, then Black Heron Lounge and Cloudburst Brewing should be the next destinations programmed in Google Maps.
While Seattle might sometimes sit in Portland’s shadow as a premier Pacific Northwest food and drink destination, it has every right to toot its own horn.
7 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
While beer certainly isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when someone says Philly (it’s usually something Rocky or cheesesteak related), the historic eastern Pennsylvanian city sure knows how to hold its own in the beer department.
Philadelphia in the summertime really knows how to put on a show, with hundreds of various events and festivals open to the public, many of which feature beer gardens as a way to relax and replenish the batteries after a couple of hours of exploring.
6 Portland, Oregon
The beer scene in Portland has been pumping since the 1980s, earning a justifiable association as one of the country’s best locales to wet your whistle.
Even though there’s a bit of a fascination with IPAs in the area, it should go without saying that there’s no style on the beer spectrum that goes unrepresented - Portland boasts everything from dark, heavy stouts, to hoppy or sour ales, and brings in brews from each corner of the world in addition to creating their own.
With way too many breweries to drink your way through Portland, you’ll be planning another visit not long after your first has come to an end.
5 Burlington, Vermont
Sitting on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain in northwestern Vermont, Burlington is a heavily student-oriented city. And what do university students love more than anything else these days? Craft beer!
The small city (although, still the most populous in Vermont) prides itself on its vibrance and its forward-thinking mentality. The Zero Gravity brewery is a perfect example of thinking outside of the box when it comes to beer, and the Burlington Beer Company is also rather popular.
After quenching your inner-city thirst, the Ben and Jerry’s factory and museum not too far away in Waterbury is a highlight for any sweet tooth.
4 Austin, Texas
The capital city of Texas might be ‘keeping it weird’, but Austin is also keeping is crisp and refreshing with its plethora of craft beers and microbreweries. Known for its pumping music scene, the main University of Texas campus, and some unique hipster vibes, Austin has plenty to write home about.
Just as wine snobs can’t go past Fredericksburg for a glass of Merlot when hopping through Texas, it would be remiss of any beer lovers to skip over Austin.
3 Grand Rapids, Michigan
When you’ve conjured up a nickname as ‘beer-city’, then it must be for good reason. Just outside of the freshwater Great Lakes area, Grand Rapids has earned its reputation as one of the most alluring cities across the country when it comes to beer. Pint-lovers can hop through the city along the Beer City Ale Trail, which comprises of over 80 breweries – described as “more incredible craft beer per square mile than just about anywhere else on earth” (Experience Grand Rapids).
One spot that comes highly recommended for beer enthusiasts as a top-notch local brewery is Brewery Vivant, which is located within an old funeral chapel.
2 Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Sliding into second spot on our list of brew-tastic USA cities is none other than the home of MillerCoors, Pabst, and the Milwaukee Brewing Company - Milwaukee!
At various stages throughout its decorated history, Milwaukee was often assigned the label as the "beer capital of the world" (according to BeerHistory.com). It makes a lot of sense too, considering that it has been the home of some of the country’s most well-known brands.
There are plenty of iconic beers for us to slam down across the city, including the Sproose IPA and the decorated Andeker.
1 Asheville, North Carolina
There’s a lot to love about the Carolina states as a whole but they don’t often get the attention the deserve, overshadowed by the behemoths that are New York, California, and Texas. Lead North Carolina’s charge is Asheville, North Carolina - the last, and most deserving city on our list.
Back in 2009, Asheville won its first title of ‘Beer City USA’ and has been dominating the competition almost every year since (according to Explore Asheville). Deserving so, when we consider that the vibrant, underrated city boasts more breweries per capita than any other in the US, with over 100 local beers for locals and travelers to knock back.