The 15 Best Cities for Beer Lovers in the U.S.
What makes a great beer city? The criteria surely changes from person to person. Quality craft breweries may be a priority for some, while prevalence of bars and cheap beer close to home are must-haves for others. The real estate site Redfin and the Beer Institute have combined forces to hone in on what elements need to come together to make a great beer city and what those cities might be.
To create their list, they've identified five criteria that form the essential ingredients of the best towns for brew. Those include the number of breweries per 100,000 21+ adults in the state, number of active brewery permits, state beer taxes (lower is better), median home price, and the city's Walk Score, because you don't want to drink and drive, obviously.
With the inclusion of home prices and Walk Score, it's definitely not giving the best cities for craft beer, but provides a window to where living and loving beer might be easiest. Under those criteria, it's not surprising that the classic beer cities that play home to some of the country's biggest brewers rank well. Milwaukee (home of Miller), St. Louis (home of Budweiser), and Denver (home of Coors) all rank in the top 10.
But taking top billing is Pittsburgh, home of a whole lot of microbreweries, a low beer tax, reasonably priced homes, and a pretty solid Walk Score. Pittsburgh is followed by Buffalo, New York; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; Denver, Colorado; Detroit, Michigan; Cleveland, Ohio; St. Louis, Missouri; Madison, Wisconsin; Long Island, New York (come on, that's not a city); Seattle, Washington; Cincinnati, Ohio; and San Francisco, California. Don't worry, we still love you and know your not-so-secret beer prowess Raleigh and San Diego.
As always with any list that is beer related, the upper midwest held its own.
The most interesting part of the survey may actually be the raw numbers that went into creating the list. Portland tops the charts with nine breweries per 100,000 21+ adults in the state. They're followed by Denver (8) and Seattle (7).
Meanwhile, Seattle and San Francisco topped the list of most active brewery permits with 352 apiece. They're followed closely by Denver (330), Long Island and Buffalo (294 each, though Long Island is still not a city), and Detroit and Grand Rapids with 291 each. That's a whole lot of breweries for residents to get out and appreciate over the Fourth of July weekend.
Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. He holds a Guinness World Record, but has never met the fingernail lady. He’s written for Sports Illustrated, Men’s Journal, The Rumpus, and other digital wonderlands. Follow him @dlukenelson.