America’s Best Beer Cities

Published 18 July 2016

Jim Cheney

Jim Cheney

If you’ve never visited America, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s not a beer Mecca. However, while beers like Budweiser, Miller, and Coors may dominate the American beer exports, they are far from the only options available in the U.S. In fact, with over 2,500 breweries throughout the country, there are great brews in nearly every city.

However, some American cities really separate themselves as great beer cities. Here are my choices for the top five beer cities in the United States.

Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon, located in the American northwest, might be the best city in the world for beer. With more breweries in Portland than any other city in the world (over 50 at last count), you’d be hard pressed to not find a few beers to tempt your palate.

Many of Portland’s best breweries operate brewpubs in the city’s Pearl district, meaning you can do a brewery crawl and sample a variety of different beers.

Autumnal trees along a rise in Portland, Oregon

When visiting, make sure to try beers from Bridgeport Brewing, Hopworks Urban Brewery, and Hair of the Dog. It’s also worth sampling Deschutes Brewery and Rogue Brewery, both of which brew their beer in other parts of the state but have brewpubs in downtown Portland.

Denver, Colorado

Internationally, Colorado may be associated with Coors Brewing Company, but that doesn’t mean the capital city of Colorado isn’t a great beer city.

The city skyline in Denver, Colorado

Denver might not have as many breweries as Portland, but the ones that call the city home are quite good. Even better, Denver is home to the biggest American beer festival of them all: the Great American Beer Festival. Thousands flocks to the city each year to try over 2,000 different beers and many breweries compete to earn top honors in the festival’s beer contest.

If you do visit the city, make sure to check out Great Divide Brewery and Wynkoop Brewery, the first craft brewery to open in the city in 1988.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

No city on this list has a longer beer history than Philadelphia. In fact, famous Americans such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin were known to make their own beers while living in America’s first capital city. You can try modern versions of their recipes at Yards Brewing Company. Also worthy of a visit are Flying Fish and Victory Brewing Company in nearby Downington.

Independence Hall, Philadelphia

Philadelphia is also home to not one, but two amazing beer festivals each year that host both regional and national brews. If that’s not enough, the city also has some of the best bars in the country, including McGillin’s Olde Ale House, which has been in operation since the mid-19th century, and Monk’s Cafe.

Asheville, North Carolina

There’s a good chance that your travel plans don’t include this small Appalachian city, but if you’re a beer lover, you might want to consider visiting.

Beer taps in a bar

Asheville is relatively new to the craft beer scene, but they have taken the region by storm, producing some amazing beers. And, with 14 breweries in the city and growing, Asheville has more breweries than any other city in America per capita.

Local favorites include Highland Brewing Company, The Wedge, and Wicked Weed.

San Diego, California

San Diego might be more well-known for its surfing, but the city has a seriously great beer scene. With more than 30 breweries in the city and surrounding community, working your way through them all will take a while.

The harbour and illuminated city skyline in San Diego

If you’re looking for somewhere to start, try Stone Brewing Company, which has been called the “All-Time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by Beer Advocate Magazine.

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