Thursday, July 21, 2011

New England; A beer lover’s destination paradise?

A recently published survey in Travel and Leisure magazine, ‘America’s Best Beer Cities’ (re-published and tweeted by blog.seattletweeted) reveals the Top 20 Beer cities in America.

Surprisingly, 3 New England cities rank in the top 20 (actually 3 in the top 10). Boston rolled in at #7, Portland, Maine came in at #5, and Providence, Rhode Island ranked #4 (Is the Trinity Brewhouse really that wonderful?).

But, that’s not the surprising news. What is, is that true Beer Cities like Portsmouth, New Hampshire (check out the Old Seaport Downtown area), Bar Harbor, Maine, New Haven, Connecticut, or Burlington/Stowe, Vermont didn’t make the cut, while cities such as Nashville, Phoenix (Strip Mall Capital of the US), Houston (HOUSTON??!!!??) and Savanna (a nice town, though) did.

Now it might make more sense when we understand that Portsmouth, New Haven and Burlington weren’t even choices on the survey form, but when we see New York, NY, Asheville, North Carolina and Grand Rapids, Michigan miss the top 20, that’s mystifying. San Diego is #18? Huh? Consider the breweries of Green Flash, Stones, Lost Abbey, Ale Smith and Pizza Port. Along with tons of Pubs and Beer Bars, that city belongs in Top 5…at least!

All in all, The ‘America’s Best Beer Cities’ survey should be celebrated, not criticized, because while America’s Mass mega breweries continue to show continuous decline in sales and interest, despite the billions they waste in the mindless bombardment of idiotic advertising, the “Craft” beer industry enjoyed a 12% profit increase in 2010. And that’s not a new trend. The craft market continues to grow each and every year. That the editors of Travel and Leisure chose to include a beer destination survey article tells us clearly that the craft beer and pub scene is very popular in the US of A. That’s good news for us!

As with any survey, there are faults to be found. Anyone can list their favorite beer cities or towns, so here goes…New England represented in Bold

1. Portland, Oregon

2. Seattle, Washington

3. Boston/Cambridge, Massachusetts

4. Denver, Colorado

5. San Diego, California (distance between beer is vast)

6. Portland, Maine

7. Grand Rapids, Michigan

8. Portsmouth, New Hampshire

9. Austin, Texas

10. Burlington/Stowe, Vermont (close enough when you’re in Vermont)

11. Asheville, North Carolina

12. New York, New York

13. San Francisco, California

14. Amherst/Northampton, Massachusetts

15. Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

16. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

17. Bar Harbor, Maine (there are lots of beer options in one small area…YA!)

18. New Haven, Connecticut

19. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

20. Providence, Rhode Island

There was/still is a lot of self-debate going on while making this Top 20 up. My friend Bob who lives in Tucson, Arizona is quite happy with the beer options in that ol’ town. The folks of St. Louis or Kansas City, Missouri probably feel their cities should be included in any top 20, and maybe they’re right. If that’s how they feel, they should make up their own damn top 20 list. What are your favorite beer destinations?

Drink up fellow New Englanders! There’s plenty of great beer nearby!


Quote: “Come, my lad, and drink some beer.” – Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

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