Best Beer City (2021)


These 10 American cities were voted as having the best beer scenes in the nation – stellar selections of established and up-and-coming breweries, beer bars, brewpubs, beer festivals and even thriving homebrewing communities where novice brewers can get their foot in the door. 

  • Grand Rapids

    Grand Rapids

    Winner of two past Best Beer Scene titles, Michigan’s second-largest city sports the state’s strongest beer scene, thanks largely to the presence of the world-renowned Founders Brewing Co. Not to be outdone, there are several other brewing operations around town, most notably the Belgian-inspired Brewery Vivant. The city’s official “Beer City Ale Trail” lists more than 80 breweries in the surrounding area, and the local calendar is constantly filled with beer festivals, events, and promotions. Throw in exceptional beer stores such as Siciliano’s Market, and it’s easy to see why Grand Rapids proudly stakes its claim as “Beer City USA.”
    Photo courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

  • St. Louis

    St. Louis

    Large German and Irish populations, plenty of water and rail connections pretty much destined St. Louis to have a thriving beer scene. The city is not only home to Anheuser-Busch, the world's largest brewer, but a host of other craft breweries and pubs the likes of 4 Hands, Urban Chestnut and Schlafly. The 50 taps at 21st Street Brewer’s Bar give beer lovers a chance to sample many local brews in one spot, while the popular Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar boasts a beer list of more than 200 labels.
    Photo courtesy of Explore St. Louis

  • Asheville

    North Carolina

    The “Paris of the South” has more breweries per capita than just about any U.S. city. A plethora of friendly beer bars (Thirsty Monk, The Bywater) and bottle shops (Appalachian Vintner, Bruisin’ Ales) provide enthusiasts with easy access to more than 100 local beers. First-time visitors often start out at Wicked Weed’s comprehensive brewpub, and adventurous types make a beeline for the brewery’s “Funkatorium,” where a dozen sour and funky beers are served.
    Photo courtesy of

  • Philadelphia


    The City of Brotherly Love is a hard-drinking town – ask anyone who’s been on South Street during last call – and more and more Philadelphians are focusing their efforts on enjoying the area’s impressive craft brews. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of top-notch beer bars, from the much-lauded Monk’s Cafe to the equally impressive City Tap House. Yards Brewing Company is the city’s most popular craft brewery, and there are several smaller outfits that have popped up in recent years. Perhaps it’s the year-round event calendar that sets Philly’s beer scene apart. Spanning 10 days, Philly Beer Week is the country’s oldest and biggest event of its kind.
    Photo courtesy of VISIT PHILADELPHIA

  • Indianapolis


    The Indianapolis beer scene features everything from intimate taprooms to huge brewery warehouses. Options include the small-batch Black Acre Brewing Co., bookstore/brewpub Books & Brew, experimental brews from Guggman Haus Brewing Co. and a popular outdoor patio at Triton Brewing Company, to name just a few. The Indy Brew Bus takes beer lovers to four different breweries to sample more than 20 beers.
    Photo courtesy of Visit Indy

  • Denver


    As the home of the world-renowned Great American Beer Festival, Denver attracts tens of thousands of beer lovers annually; over time, many of those attendees decided to set up shop in the Mile High City. The local behemoth that is Coors once cast a shadow over the Denver beer scene, but that shadow has been cast aside by the roughly 100 craft breweries, brewpubs and tap rooms currently operating in the metro area. Denver’s first brewpub, the Wynkoop Brewing Company, was co-founded in 1988 by former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, and today there are a plethora of new-school breweries and brewpubs that dot the scenic landscape.
    Photo courtesy of Rebecca Todd / Visit Denver

  • Atlanta


    Atlanta's craft beer scene has been heating up in recent years, thanks in large part to numerous newcomers opening up their taps each year, like Halfway Crooks, Steady Hand and Monday Night Garage. Wrecking Bar, The Porter Beer Bar, The Brick Store and Argosy rank high among the dozens of hot spots for beer aficionados in this Southern city.
    Photo courtesy of James Duckworth, courtesy of ACVB &

  • Fort Collins

    Fort Collins

    Just over an hour’s drive north of Denver, the city of Fort Collins punches well above its weight when it comes to beer. This city of only 165,000 houses the nationally-renowned heavyweight New Belgium as well as smaller, award-winning breweries such as Odell, Funkwerks and Equinox. College kids and outdoorsy locals welcome the night by sampling the best of the area’s output at a host of beer-focused bars (Tap and Handle, The Mayor of Old Town and The Forge Publick House).
    Photo courtesy of iStock / Chris LaBasco

  • Milwaukee


    There’s good reason the Milwaukee baseball team is called the Brewers. Beer giant Miller Brewing put the city on the beer map, and a host of modern craft breweries and beer bars have maintained its legacy as an epic beer destination. Beer history is on display at places like the Original Pabst Headquarters and Miller Brewery Visitor Center. Those looking to try something new can to so at some of the city’s many beer gardens, pubs, beer bars and craft breweries.
    Photo courtesy of Visit Milwaukee

  • Charlotte

    North Carolina

    The Queen City enjoys easy access to dozens of breweries serving award-winning local beers, including the likes of Birdsong Brewing Co., Free Range Brewing, the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and Heist. The city hosts its own Queen City Brewers Festival each February.
    Photo courtesy of / Eric Gaddy Photography


The top 10 winners in the category Best Beer City are as follows:

  1. Grand Rapids, Michigan
  2. St. Louis, Missouri
  3. Asheville, North Carolina
  4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  5. Indianapolis, Indiana
  6. Denver, Colorado
  7. Atlanta, Georgia
  8. Fort Collins, Colorado
  9. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  10. Charlotte, North Carolina

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning destinations!

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