America's Best Beer Cities, As Chosen by Beer Experts

by Amy Plitt, Condé Nast Traveler

Photo courtesy Platform Beer Co.

1. Cleveland, Ohio
“The Midwest–American beer’s ancestral seat–is finally stealing the spotlight back from the craft brew-sodden coasts. The freshest flavors and most creative styles pour in places like Cleveland, home to super-small-batch start-ups such as Platform (try their Anathema series, aged in local cider barrels), Nano, and Market Garden.–William Bostwick, author, The Brewer’s Tale: A History of the World According to Beer

Photo courtesy Platform Beer Co.

2. Asheville, NC
“Over the holidays, I spent several pleasantly buzzed days in Asheville, North Carolina, which has a dense, walkable collection of world-class breweries. I ditched the car and strolled from Wicked Weed, which specializes in hoppy IPAs, to Burial Beer for an a.m.-friendly Skillet Donut Stout and Twin Leaf for its deceptively potent Luminosity Belgian-style tripel. Finally, I plopped down at Wicked Weed’s brand-new Funkatorium offshoot to overdose on sour brews. Now my liver needs a vacation.”–Joshua M. Bernstein, author, The Complete Beer Course

Photo courtesy Platform Beer Co.

3. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
“With the majority of Americans living within ten miles of a brewery and 1.5 breweries opening every day, the need to travel very far to find a brewery isn’t as difficult as it was ten years ago. Aside from the Bay Area, my favorite beer cites are Portland [OR], Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Southern California. Portland, Oregon has been a mature market for craft beer for some time and the Minneapolis-St. Paul area is exploding with great new breweries like Fulton Brewery and Dangerous Man Brewing and great beer eateries like The Happy Gnome in St. Paul. It’s a top-notch beer culture.”–Shaun O’Sullivan, brewmaster and co-founder, 21st Amendment Brewery

Photo courtesy Platform Beer Co.

4. Grand Rapids, MI
“I moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, nine months ago from Los Angeles, and before that New York City. Although I had been in very large cities before and explored their bizarre beer scenes, I came back to Grand Rapids very specifically to get involved in the craft beer scene. Grand Rapids is a novice beer city in many respects, but the community is fiercely loyal to its local breweries and extraordinarily excited to play a major role in the constantly evolving world of craft beer. Grand Rapids seems to have an attitude of, ‘We have a vibrant scene here and plenty of beer to go around. Why should we look elsewhere? Support Michigan and support local!'”–Angela Steil, certified cicerone

Photo courtesy Platform Beer Co.

5. San Diego, CA
“Laid-back beach towns are my favorite getaways, so San Diego is a no-brainer when it comes to combining flip-flop casual with seriously excellent craft beer. It’s a mecca for hoppy, West Coast IPAs (found on tap just about everywhere), and there are so many spots around SD that should be on every beer lover’s itinerary (old favorites…

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