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Best Beer City (2022)

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These 10 cities from across the United States offer 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
    Michigan

    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

  • Madison

    Madison
    Wisconsin

    Madison, Wisconsin has a college town vibe with hundreds of bars ready to pour you a pint. Local favorites among the town’s 18 or so breweries and taprooms include Ale Asylum, the Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company and Capital Brewery. Many restaurants serve local brews on tap, and you can pick up a nice selection of cans and bottles at the Wine & Hop Shop.
    Photo courtesy of Visit Madison

  • Indianapolis

    Indianapolis
    Indiana

    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 Cliff Ritchey

  • Milwaukee

    Milwaukee
    Wisconsin

    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

  • Philadelphia

    Philadelphia
    Pennsylvania

    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

  • Asheville

    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 ExploreAsheville.com

  • Portland, Maine

    Portland, Maine

    First-time visitors to Maine’s largest city are often flabbergasted by the exceptional food and drink, leaving some to wonder if they’re in the wrong Portland. Several area breweries – Maine Beer Co., Allagash, Shipyard and Peak Organic – have each cultivated a strong following throughout New England and beyond. Novare Res Bier Café and the Great Lost Bear are just two of the beer bars that wouldn’t be out of place in cities ten times Portland’s size.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / DenisTangneyJr

  • Portland, Oregon

    Portland, Oregon

    Portland’s official tourism office bills the city as “Beervana,” and given the incredible diversity among the city’s 75-plus breweries, it’s easy to see why. One of the country’s oldest craft beer scenes kicked off in the mid-80s, when the likes of BridgePort, Widmer Brothers and McMenamins all got their start. Since then, Oregon brewing stalwarts such as Rogue and Deschutes planted their flag in the Rose City as well. Statistics show that the city drinks a higher percentage of craft (vs. mass-produced) beer than just about any other city in America.
    Photo courtesy of Justin Katigbak, Travel Portland

  • Seattle

    Seattle
    Washington

    While coffee might be Seattle’s best-known liquid export, beer is a clear number two. Seattleites of all stripes love their craft brews – what better way to escape the ubiquitous rain? Popular local breweries include Fremont, Georgetown and Reuben’s, all of whom benefit from having the country’s largest supply of hops within a short drive. Aficionados taste the best of the Pacific Northwest’s offerings at stellar beer bars such as The Pine Box, Chuck’s Hop Shop, Beveridge Place Pub and Brouwer’s Cafe, to name just a few.
    Photo courtesy of iStock photo

  • Denver

    Denver
    Colorado

    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

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

  1. Grand Rapids - Michigan
  2. Madison - Wisconsin
  3. Indianapolis - Indiana
  4. Milwaukee - Wisconsin
  5. Philadelphia - Pennsylvania
  6. Asheville - North Carolina
  7. Portland, Maine
  8. Portland, Oregon
  9. Seattle - Washington
  10. Denver - Colorado

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 cities!

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AlertThe Experts

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

Dennis Malcolm "Ale" Sharpton

Dennis Malcolm "Ale" Sharpton

Dennis Malcolm "Ale" Sharpton

Gary Monterosso

Gary Monterosso

Gary Monterosso

Latiesha Cook

Latiesha Cook

Latiesha Cook
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