Something Good is Brewing
izusek / E+ / Getty Images CC
Something Good is Brewing
izusek / E+ / Getty Images CC

Something Good is Brewing

More than 7,000 craft breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs are operating across the country, according to the Brewers Association. With so many choices, finding the best cities for craft beer can be a daunting — if tasty — task, to say the least. To narrow down the options, we turned to travel site Wanderu, whose crack team of analysts cut through the froth, crunched the data, and identified the best cities for craft beer in the U.S. Rankings are based on the number of breweries and beer bars with average Yelp scores of 4.0 or higher, the average price of a 16-ounce pour, and the average Beer Advocate brewery rating. Still thirsty? Then check out these 17 Cheap American Beers That Locals Love.

25. St. Paul, Minnesota
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25. St. Paul, Minnesota

The Minnesota capital city is perhaps best known for Summit Brewing Co., which put St. Paul on the craft beer map back in 1986 when it first opened. Summit's lineup has expanded quite a bit since bottling their first pale ale, and they've won plenty of brewing awards to prove their mettle. Their Keller Pils took home a bronze medal at the 2018 World Beer Cup. If visiting Summit isn't enough to whet your whistle, there are more than three dozen other craft breweries in St. Paul.

24. St. Louis
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23. Santa Ana, California
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23. Santa Ana, California

With about 20 microbreweries within the city limits, it's beer (not juice) that flows through the heart of Orange County. The Good Beer Company's brewery and taproom (they've got a coworking space, too!) are housed in a 1880s-era former livery stable. They're known for their rotating tap list of small-batch farmhouse ales. Network Brewery is another beer-lover favorite, according to Yelpers, who make it one of the city's top-rated craft brewers.

22. Austin, Texas
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22. Austin, Texas

The Live Music Capital of the World is also a shining star for its thriving craft beer scene, known for its sour beers and Belgian brews. You can make a day of it in North Austin alone, biking from Austin Beerworks to Celis Brewery to 4th Tap Brewing Co-op (and cap it off with a show at Oskar Blues down the street). Or hit South Austin for pizza, beer, and live music at the Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company, a three-time winner of the best brewpub title at the Great American Beer Festival. Want more? There are nearly 40 other craft brewers in the Austin area.

21. Nashville, Tennessee
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21. Nashville, Tennessee

The Country Music Capital of the World loves its craft beer as much as its Texas sister city does. A pioneer of the modern craft beer movement, Nashville's Blackstone Brewing Co., first opened its taps in 1994. Their St. Charles Porter has racked up a record eight titles at the Great American Beer Festival. An entire generation of new craft brewers has sprung up in Blackstone's wake, among them Yazoo Brewing Company, and Jackalope Brewing Co. Or head about 5 miles south of downtown and contemplate the Belgian-style brews at Black Abbey Brewing Co.

Related:36 Bucket-List Destinations for Music Lovers

20. Raleigh, North Carolina
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20. Raleigh, North Carolina

With more than two dozen craft brewers in the greater Raleigh area and a half-dozen in downtown alone, beer lovers are sure to find something to suit any taste. Brewery Bhavana marries Laotian cuisine with custom-brewed farmhouse- and Belgian-style ales (plus a flower shop and bookseller). Raleigh Brewing Company embraces the homebrewer and beer drinker alike, sharing space with its sister store Atlantic Brew Supply.

19. Lexington, Kentucky
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19. Lexington, Kentucky

This city may be more closely associated with bourbon than beer, but it's also nurtured a small but thriving craft-brewing scene. You'll find about 18 places to find a quality beer in the area, Wanderu editors say, and the second-cheapest average price for a pint (just $5). West Sixth Brewing shares space in a century-old former bakery. Try the aptly named Pay It Forward Cocoa Porter; a portion of the proceeds of this beer's sales goes to local nonprofits.

Related:15 Drinking Pilgrimages You Have to Make

18. Indianapolis
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18. Indianapolis

There are more than 50 breweries in Indiana's capital city, according to Wanderu's data, and you'll find everything from traditional pilsners to far-out fruit brews. Get experimental at Central State Brewing with their farmhouse and sour brews, or pay homage to Indy's auto racing heritage at Flat12 Bierwerks with a Pace Lap Cream Ale or Half Cycle IPA.

17. Tampa, Florida
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17. Tampa, Florida

A few years ago, Serious Eats named Tampa the best beer city in the U.S., raising a few eyebrows. But Tampa and St. Petersburg do indeed boast a booming craft beer scene. Cigar City Brewing is perhaps Tampa's best-known brewer of craft beers; they've been at it for a decade brewing their award-winning pale ales and seasonal beers. Hidden Springs Ale Works, meanwhile, is an upstart brewer that specializes in fruit-infused Berliner weisse beers.

Related:The Best Selling Craft Beer in Every State

16. Madison, Wisconsin
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16. Madison, Wisconsin

The average pint of beer in this town is a few pennies shy of $5 — the cheapest, according to Wanderu — making the Wisconsin capital a great place to get a brew and save a buck or two (something the city proudly touts). Capital Brewery has been in business since 1984, when many of today's hipster brewmeisters were still in diapers. Core brews like their Supper Club Lager pay homage to the region's proud Germanic tradition of easy-drinking pilsners and lagers. Got a problem with gluten? That's no problem at Alt Brew, which specializes in gluten-free beers like their award-winning Copperhead Copper Ale.

15. Charlotte, North Carolina
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15. Charlotte, North Carolina

Banking isn't the only big business in North Carolina's biggest city. Charlotte's homegrown beer scene has about three dozen craft brewers to brag about, something Conde Nast Traveler discovered earlier this year. Just a decade ago, when Olde Mecklenburg Brewery opened for business, there were just a few craft brewers in the city. Today, OMB still rules the roost with its German-inspired beers and food, but newer entrants like Bold Missy, the city's first woman-owned brewery, and Divine Barrel, which specializes in barrel-aged brews, are getting well-deserved attention, too.

14. Durham, North Carolina
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14. Durham, North Carolina

Wanderu's editors clearly had Carolina on their minds when they conducted their survey of the best craft brewers. Durham is the third North Carolina city on their list, thanks in no small part to it being the home of the annual World Beer Festival. And then there are breweries like Bull Durham Beer Co., the self-described "first brewery in the country owned by a Minor League team." If you want some food to pair with your brew, Bull City Burger and Brewery is a local favorite on Yelp, with more than 1,000 reviews.

13. Albuquerque, New Mexico
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13. Albuquerque, New Mexico

New Mexico's biggest city loves its local brewing community, home to more than 40 brewers in the area. Bow & Arrow Brewing Co., founded by two Native American women, has earned kudos from The New York Times and local beer-drinkers alike for their barrel-aged and sour beers. Or try Canteen Brewhouse, which is celebrating 25 years in business in 2019. Their award-winning Flashback IPA has been a tap favorite since 1996.

12. Boise, Idaho
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12. Boise, Idaho

Some of the finest hops and barley in the world are grown in Idaho, meaning they don't have far to travel to Boise's brewers and beer bars. The best way to experience Boise and its breweries may be to take a day-long bike ride along the city's 30-mile greenbelt, stopping occasionally to hit nearby tasting rooms, such as Cloud 9, the state's only certified organic "nanobrewery," or Boise Brewing, which got its start thanks in part to a Kickstarter campaign. Or plan a trip around one of the region's annual beer fests: Destination:Beer in February, Alefort in March, or the Beer+Friends Fest (part of Idaho Craft Beer Month) in April.

11. Pittsburgh
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11. Pittsburgh

This blue-collar town is home to a number of notable breweries, including one of the first to revive the art of craft-beer brewing in the 1980s. Since 1986, Penn Brewery has been turning out award-winner lagers, pilsners, wheat beers, and more — and they're headquartered in a restored 19th-century brewery complex. Or drop by Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh, which crafts its Bavarian-style beers according to Munich brewery standards and also dishes out authentic German favorites such as soft pretzels, potato soup, schnitzel, spätzle, and more. Want more? There are dozens more craft brewers in the region worth visiting.

10. St. Petersburg, Florida
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10. St. Petersburg, Florida

When it comes to beer, sunny St. Pete outshines its neighbor across Tampa Bay. One of the most popular breweries, according to enthusiastic Yelp reviewers, is 3 Daughters Brewing, whose namesake honors the co-founders' children. You'll find a rotating selection of ales, IPAs, ciders, and specialty brews like their Grapefruit Shandy that honor Florida's agricultural heritage. Another St. Pete brewery, Flying Boat Brewing Co., pays homage to the area's aviation past in its namesake, while beers like the Crescent Lake Lager are named after local neighborhoods.

9. Richmond, Virginia
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9. Richmond, Virginia

Best city for craft beer in the Northeast? Yeah, even the Wanderu editors admit this is a bit of a head-scratcher, but the way they divvied up the U.S. map for analysis puts Richmond at the top of their regional best-of list. IPA lovers will want to visit Triple Crossing Brewing to sample hopped-up brews like their Clever Girl IPA and the limited-release Green Dreams Double IPA. Or head to The Answer Brewpub, founded in 2015 by longtime Richmond resident An Bui, who first fell in love with craft beer while working at his family's restaurant, Mekong. Answer specializes in stouts and IPAs, which pair well with their Vietnamese-influenced menu.

8. Orlando, Florida
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8. Orlando, Florida

Yes, even Disney gets in on the craft brewing action here. But let's be honest: Serious beer fans come to Orlando for what lies beyond the Magic Kingdom. There are around 20 high-quality brewers — and a smidge fewer beer bars — at work in the metro area, according to Wanderu editors, and naturally there's a Beer Trail you can follow. Dead Lizard Brewing Company's name is a little unusual to be sure, but their beers have earned a small but dedicated following for beers like their 3-2-1 Liftoff Light Ale and the seasonal Anole Bourbon Nut Brown. Or visit the city's oldest craft brewer, Orlando Brewing, which since 2006 has been brewing its beers according to the German Purity Law of 1516 using all-organic ingredients.

7. Atlanta
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7. Atlanta

The biggest city in the Southeast is also Wanderu's pick as the best craft beer city in this part of the country. That's pretty impressive considering that Atlanta outlawed taproom beer sales until 2017, and many of the city's microbrewers and craft breweries are less than a decade old. Start your visit with a trip to Atlanta Brewing Co., which has been around since 1993, and order a pint of their signature Homestand Pilsner. Or stop by Monday Night Brewing (open daily, actually), which Atlanta Magazine described as "arguably the best tasting room inside the city of Atlanta." And if Atlanta itself leaves you dry, there are plenty more brewers in Georgia worth trying.

6. Denver
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6. Denver

No surprise here. Denver has long been a regional powerhouse when it comes to craft brewing, and Wanderu editors agree, naming it the top city in the Southwest. Sure, you could just visit the Coors brewery up the road in Golden, but with more than 90 high-quality regional craft brewers in the Mile High City, why limit yourself? Head downtown to the Wynkoop Brewing Co., which more or less invented the concept of a modern brewpub when it opened in 1988. Sip on a Mile High Pale Ale or spice things up with their Patty's Chile Beer golden ale. Or support the next generation of brewers by visiting one of Denver's newest, Novel Strand, which opened in July 2018 in the city's Baker neighborhood.

5. Seattle
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5. Seattle

Another great beer city, Seattleites can argue all day over who brews the best beer. Georgetown Brewing Company on the city's far south side may be best known for Manny's Pale Ale, which they've been brewing for the better part of two decades, but their other year-round offerings and seasonal brews are just as tasty. Up in Ballard, cyclists flock to the aptly named Peddler Brewing Company, which offers discounts on pints to bikers and plenty of bike parking, too. Nearby, the Maritime Pacific Brewing Co., which got its start in 1990, pours pints of its brews in the Jolly Roger Taproom. Still thirsty? There are dozens more breweries waiting for you.

Related:19 of the Oldest Breweries in America

4. Cincinnati
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4. Cincinnati

Like St. Louis, the Cincinnati area has a strong German heritage, so it's little surprise the Queen City is recognized for its craft-brewing scene. There are about 60 breweries operating today, according to one estimate. Start your beer tour with a visit to Christian Moerlein Brewing Company, which originally opened in 1853 and operated until Prohibition. The brand was revived in 1981, and the brewery's modern iteration began in 2004 when the current owner took over. Today, you can sample their lagers, ales, and seasonal brews at their taproom on the riverfront. Wiedemann's Fine Beer opened their tasting room just last year, but its namesake was a Cincinnati mainstay from the 1870s to the early 1980s.

3. Portland, Oregon
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3. Portland, Oregon

Food, coffee, beer. Is there anything Portland doesn't do well? There are some 75 craft beer brewers in the Rose City, according to Travel Portland. Family-owned Hair of the Dog Brewing Company has been keeping Southeast Portland's beer lovers sated since 1993 with their bottle-conditioned and barrel-aged brews, while Cascade Brewing has been turning out award-winning sour beers for nearly as long on the southwest side of the city. Breakside Brewery isn't quite as old, but they've made quite a name for brews like their Breakside IPA at competitions, and they are the Oregon Beer Awards' 2019 Brewery of the Year.

2. Minneapolis
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2. Minneapolis

No slight to sister city St. Paul, but when it comes to the best craft beer city in the Midwest, editors at Wanderu say Minneapolis is a pint above the rest. There are nearly three dozen brewers active in the city, In a city where most of its microbreweries have opened in the past decade, Fulton Beer is a pioneer of sorts, having opened way back in ... 2009. Their lineup ranges from barleywines to IPAs, and they're even brewing hard seltzer these days. Or take a walk on the wild side at Dangerous Man Brewing Co., which is known for small-batch brews with rather unexpected flavors. Try the Guava Milkshake IPA or the German Chocolate Cake Pastry Stout.

1. San Diego
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1. San Diego

The best city in the U.S for craft beer is also (not surprisingly) the best city on the West Coast for microbreweries as well, Wanderu editors say. With about 150 brewers in the region, San Diego is a mecca for all things beer, especially West Coast IPAs, which were born here. There are the established brewers with a regional or national presence, like Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Stone Brewing and Ballast Point Brewing Company, as well as young upstarts like North Park Brewing Co., best known for its award-winning Hop Fu! IPA, and Burning Beard Brewing Co., whose Get Thee to a Monastery Belgian Dubbel won a silver medal at the 2019 U.S Open Beer Championships.

Related:Best Cheap Beers for Fall: 10 Craft Brews to Toast the Season