9 Craft Beer Experts Name The Best Beer Cities In The USA

To say that the beer world in the United States has absolutely exploded over the past twenty years is a ludicrous understatement. In 2000, fewer than 1,500 breweries were operating in the country. Today we have over 9,000. And while there are breweries scattered all over the place from Bangor to Bakersfield, there are also cities where the number of breweries is particularly dense and the overall quality is exceptional. high.

We think 2023 is the perfect time to travel to see them.

Road trips are great – even better when the long journey ends with a ton of amazing, high quality beer. Stouts, IPAs, lagers, sour ales, we all love them. But we don’t think randomly jumping in your car and driving to a random destination in search of beer is the best course of action. Instead, we asked a few of our favorite brewers, craft beer experts and beer pros to tell us the best beer towns to visit in 2023. Keep scrolling to see all of their must-see destinations centered on malt and hops.

Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay
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Tyler Adams, Florida and Georgia Territory Manager at Riverbend Malt House in Asheville, North Carolina

It’s a tough question because I get to see so many great beer towns. Atlanta, Athens, Birmingham, and even Orlando, with their strong growth over the past two years, are all fantastic cities in their own right. Although, if I were to plant my flag in a city that I currently consider to be the best beer city, I would have to say Tampa, Florida, and surrounding areas. I have fantastic beer all over the Southeast, but the reason I think Tampa is the best beer city is the collaborative spirit that’s ingrained in the beer culture there. Whenever I travel to this area, I encounter brewers who are constantly collaborating with other brewers from across the city, state, and even across the country. It’s amazing to see so many people coming to share their knowledge and create great unique beers. There’s no other typical example of this when Tampa Beer Week takes place, and you see brewers from all over the country come to participate in local brew parties and plan collaborations for the year ahead.

So, in short, the reason I give this city my stamp for best beer city is because I get to see all my favorite brewers come together and create great, innovative beers. It really shows why craft beer was born in the first place.

Other breweries include:

Green Bench Brewing, Cigar City Brewing, Magnanimous Brewing and Angry Chair Brewing.

San Diego

San Diego
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Peter Zien, owner of Alesmith Brewing Co. in San Diego

Trying not to show bias, I think San Diego is the best beer city for a variety of reasons: First, it’s home to over 150 breweries and breweries, including internationally known and respected award winners such as AleSmith, Ballast Dot, Lost Abby. , Pizza Port and Pierre. San Diego Beer Week is a 10-day celebration of brewing that draws visitors from far and near and surpasses the famous Comic-Con each year according to the San Diego Department of Tourism. The last reason can be summed up in one word: camaraderie.

San Diego’s brewing scene is well known for its unusual sense of camaraderie among its brewers and breweries – a rare and wonderful thing.

Other breweries include:

Burgeon Beer Co, Fall Brewing, Coronado Brewing and Pure Project.

Angels

Angels
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Dave Ziolkowski, head brewer at Arts District Brewing Company in Los Angeles

It’s hard for me not to say the greater Los Angeles area, mostly due to my inability to get out much. But look at the pedigree of the brewers we have here who continue to populate our county with more and more talented people throwing themselves into projects and sailing high from the start. There’s a fantastic balance and a welcome lightness, brightness and lightness here which I think can be described as our own drinking terroir versus the more resinous and IBU nature of San Diego or the earthy/musty aspects of the Denver scene. A very quick list of some of my personal favorites: Ogopogo, Arrow Lodge, Claremont Craft, Common Space, El Segundo, Beachwood, Highland Park, HopSaint, Mumford and Party Beer Co.

Other breweries include:

All Seasons Brewing, Monkish Brewing, Golden Road Brewing and Boomtown Brewery.

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina
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Zach Fowle, Advanced Cicerone and Head of Marketing at Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. in Phoenix, Arizona

I once spent a day walking around Asheville, North Carolina. Here is a list of breweries that I was able to visit on foot. Asheville Brewing Co. is a mainstay in the region and home to the World Beer Cup-winning Ninja Porter. New Belgium Brewing Co. has built a beautiful production facility overlooking the French Broad River (great for people-watching when the tubers float in the summer) and offers tours every half hour. Burial Beer Co. is in my top ten breweries in the country and has two locations in town (one of which is the must-see lumber camp, a repurposed facility built among the trees of Asheville for the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933). Bhramari Brewing Co. is a place with unique, ingredient-driven beers, high-end cuisine, and a funky aesthetic. And there are many, many more where my tired feet couldn’t take me.

Asheville has more breweries per capita than almost any city in the country, and almost every one of them is exceptional. No other beer town can compare to its combination of market and caliber.

Other breweries include:

Wicked Weed Brewing, Ben’s Tune-Up, Hi-Wire Brewing and One World Brewing.

denver

denver
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Wes Burbank, head brewer at Flix Brewhouse in San Antonio

I haven’t traveled much in the past few years, but my absolute favorite beer town is Denver. There are world-class examples of almost every type of beer imaginable made at the city’s breweries. I particularly enjoyed Comrade, Crooked Stave, Cohesion, Bierstadt and Little Machine.

My favorite brasserie is Live Slow, which also has a bowling alley. That’s not cool ?

Other breweries include:

Great Divide Brewing, Call to Arms Brewing, Wynkoop Brewing and TRVE Brewing.

Portland, OR

Portland, OR
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Kaylen Gibbens, Assistant Brewmaster at Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, Oregon

I’m definitely biased, but I think Portland is the best beer city. We have plenty of talented brewers making strong beer. Steeplejack and Breakside are two breweries that I really like and don’t work at because they both have good beer and good food. Currently, there are over seventy breweries in and around Portland. There is definitely something for every beer drinker. It’s a city where you’ll never run out of exciting new brews to try.

Other breweries include:

Wayfinder Beer, Occidental Brewing, Cascade Brewing and Culmination Brewing.

Fort Collins, Colorado

Fort Collins, Colorado
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Ryan Joy, head brewer at Green Flash Brewery in San Diego

It’s a draw between San Diego and Fort Collins, Colorado. But I’m going with my original hometown, Fort Collins. You can throw a rock in just about any direction and hit a brewery. There are concentrated pockets throughout the city, making it easy to visit several breweries in a short time.

With nearly 30 to choose from, there’s something for everyone, but my go-to breweries are Funkwerks and Zwei Brewing. Funkwerks makes some of the best Belgian-inspired beers in the country. Their season is the style standard bearer, but my favorite is the strong season known as Tropic King. Zwei Brewing in the south end of town may be Colorado’s most underrated brewery, but people in the know know that because this place is busy seven days a week. Order from the left side of the menu for a perfectly crafted German-style lager and Weissbier (their specialties) or look to the right side of the menu for good examples of IPA, fruity sour and the occasional Belgian-style offering.

Other breweries include:

Odell Brewing, New Belgium Brewing, Snowbank Brewing, Equinox Brewing and Intersect Brewing.

Milwaukee

Milwaukee
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Garth E. Beyer, Cicerone® Certified and Owner and Founder of Garth’s Brew Bar in Madison, Wisconsin

Every day of my life, I oscillate between thinking that Denver is the best beer town and Milwaukee, (essentially my backyard) is the best beer town. In my eyes, Denver wins because of the close proximity of so many breweries to each other. Then Milwaukee wins because of the sheer volume of innovation that’s happening — you’ve got AI-inspired beers, others reviving pre-prohibition beers, wild beers that are sent across the country. The list continues. In Denver, check out Woods Boss. In Milwaukee, discover Amorphic. If I had to pick one, it would be Milwaukee because of its mix of historical and contemporary brewing.

Other breweries include:

Eagle Park Brewing, Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee Brewing Co and MobCraft Beer.

Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine
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Kyle Warren, Senior Brewer at Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Company in Framingham, Massachusetts

I’ve been traveling to Portland, Maine looking for great beer for years and have never been disappointed. Portland has a wide variety of breweries to explore that specialize in everything from old-world Belgian-inspired beers to all the new-school hype you could want. Taprooms like Oxbow’s Blending and Bottling are plentiful. Complete with seasonal outdoor spaces, food trucks, if not full food programs, and they all tend to be complete with various events showcasing the music, art, and culture of Portland and beyond. If taprooms aren’t your thing, places like Novare Res have curated draft lists that rival most craft beer bars around the world. What’s most impressive is that the service industry as a whole in Portland celebrates its local offerings. I have yet to walk into a bar or restaurant that doesn’t serve several tasty beer offerings from a brewery in their town. My advice, bundle up and go in the winter. Hotels are cheap, restaurants are slowing down a bit, you’re much less likely to encounter bachelor or bachelorette parties, and beer is always very, very plentiful.

Other breweries include:

Allagash Brewing, Bissell Brothers Brewing, Lone Pine Brewing and The Shipyard Brewing Company.

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