America is experiencing a new golden age of craft brewing and beer culture, with amazing taprooms and beer gardens springing up in almost every city. But what are some of the best beer cities in the nation?
If you’re considering moving to a new city – or recently have – you’re going to want to know where to find the best spots for a stellar craft beer, who gives the best brewery tours and trips, and the most beer-accessible cities for walkers and bike riders.
Portland was the urban epicenter of the modern-day craft beer boom, and some of America’s first microbreweries still exist today. With more than 100 breweries in the metro area, you can find clusters of breweries and taprooms within walking distance of each other in nearly every neighborhood.
Don’t Miss: Owner Art Larrance of Cascade Brewing is considered the father of American sour beer. Be sure to visit their brewpub and tasting room to try a sour brew.
Just up the road, Seattle was also an early entrant into the craft beer scene. Thanks to its notorious weather, the city has a broad selection of brewpubs with great indoor spaces to escape the rain. With a public transportation system often ranked among the nation’s best, you won’t have a problem getting around to explore Seattle’s great beer spots.
Don’t Miss: Pike Brewing near Pike Place Market houses the Microbrewery Museum, which is free to visit.
On the other side of the coin, the weather in San Diego is almost always sunny and 75 degrees. Because of this, the city is awash with amazing outdoor spaces and beer gardens from which to soak in the breeze with a brew. Greater San Diego has more than 150 breweries and is where the ubiquitous West Coast IPA originated thanks to pioneers like Stone, Green Flash and Ballast Point Brewing Companies.
Don’t Miss: Stone Brewing has a gigantic one-acre organic beer garden that includes a bocce court and outdoor cinema.
For a small college town, Fort Collins is overflowing with a ton of breweries – and still growing. It’s an extremely bicycle-friendly city that offers a variety of beer-and-bike tours that visit many of its two dozen breweries. And in such a tightknit community, don’t be surprised to see the same friendly faces patronizing a variety of establishments.
Don’t Miss: New Belgium Brewing, home of the famous Fat Tire Ale, was created after the then-husband-and-wife founders took an inspiring bike tour through Belgium.
Before anywhere else in the state, Brooklyn picked up on the craft beer trend and made it their own. The opening of Brooklyn Brewery in 1988 was the flashpoint to the revitalization of the trendy Williamsburg neighborhood. Thanks to the enormous concentration of beer bars in Brooklyn, there’s a spot on almost every corner you can walk or bike to.
Don’t Miss: The Well in East Williamsburg operates inside the former Hittleman Brewery, a facility that dates back to 1867 along what used to be known as Brewer’s Row.
Known for its wide array of available beer styles, Philadelphia is one of America’s most complete beer cities. Thanks to the city’s deep German immigrant roots, it’s also the nation’s best city for lager-style craft beer. Philly has several neighborhoods where patrons can walk and bike with ease to breweries and taprooms, such as Old City, Fishtown and Northern Liberties, home to Yards Brewing’s brand new 70,000-square-foot brewery and taproom.
Don’t Miss: Monk’s Café, with more than 300 bottles and 25 taps mostly from Belgium, it was named one of the Best Beer Bars in America and boasts several other awards.
Best known for the famous Magic Hat Brewing, Burlington is also alive with a myriad of small, experimental breweries. During the summer, Burlington is one of the most bike-accessible cities in New England, so be sure to take a ride on the Hotel Vermont’s five-mile guided bike and brew tour through Burlington’s best breweries before winter sets in.
Don’t Miss: The House of Fermentology, started by the co-founder of Burlington’s Foam Brewing, is a “beer blendery" brewing unfiltered wild ales fermented in slow aged oak barrels.
No longer just a college town populated by hipsters, Austin has become one of America’s fastest growing family cities, and its wonderful craft beer scene has grown along with it. An enclave in the heart of Texas Budweiser country, the state capital town is an eclectic mix of established breweries, experimental newcomers, Tex-Mex beer bars, outdoor beer gardens, family-friendly taprooms and even cheap beer-fueled UT college hangouts.
Don’t Miss: Jester King Brewery offers a well-reviewed selection of farm brewery beer (think farm-to-table for beer) in their tasting room that allows “supervised children and well-behaved dogs.”
Grand Rapids is where beer people in the know go. This sleeper city was first put on the beer map in 1997 when two locals opened Founders Brewing, which has since become one of the nation’s most well-known craft breweries. The success of Founders attracted investment in the very-walkable downtown, now populated by a bevy of beer bars and breweries.
Don’t Miss: Brewery Vivant, known for an outstanding selection of rustic farmhouse ales, is a local brewery built inside of an old funeral chapel.
A jewel in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville seems like an unlikely beer mecca. An outdoorsy town where mountain biking is king, you’ll find a wonderful trail of beer gardens and taprooms to explore. This Appalachian station is home to the eastern outposts of both Sierra Nevada and New Belgium, two of the most famous craft brewers in the nation.
Don’t Miss: You can find New Belgium’s tasting room in the Asheville Liquid Center along with a 90-minute brewery tour, storytellers, a food truck park and a riverfront beer tasting area.