Ale Trail Road Trip: The 10 Best Beer Cities In America

Fill up the gas tank. You've got some drinking to do!

road trip
Photo by Flickr user Allagash Brewing

As the grip of winter loosens and the chilly months move into the brightness of spring, there’s one thing on many people’s minds: ROAD TRIP!

But where to go? They say life is a journey, not a destination, and while that’s, like, technically true, it’s also about totally great destinations — like stunning microbreweries and places to get a delicious pint. Here, a compilation of the best beer cities for a thirsty traveler.

The ten best beer cities in America, in no particular order:

Portland, ME

Great day to be out on Casco Bay!

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Ah, the other Portland. Not what you were expecting, huh? Portland, Maine, boasts a total of 17 microbreweries in the city’s area – the most per capita. Not bad for a hippie town on the northern tip of the country known for brutal winters and small liberal arts colleges.

Portland, OR

Clocks in at #1 in total number of microbreweries, with a staggering 68. If you had asked if there were 68 total bars and restaurants in the city, we maybe would have said there’s less. But Oregon’s most beloved city is doing the damn thing by offering great beers from places like the strong ale loving Hair of the Dog Brewing Company.

San Francisco, CA

Photo by @kanecandrade #sanfrancisco #mysanfrancisco #downtown #citylights

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One of the most historic beer drinking cities, the wise old brewery known as Anchor Brewing began in S.F. in the 60’s and hasn’t looked back.

Their IPA helped set the standard for American hoppy, floral versions. And has spawned many others in the city, including 21st Amendment’s Brew Free of Die IPA.

San Diego, CA

Photo by @thesocalexplorer #california #sandiego #views #photography

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With more than thirty breweries in the county, San Diego might be the overall best beer destination on the planet, especially when you consider all the sunlight available for nice, easy patio pint drinking. Check out Ballast Point first.

Boston, MA

Home of Sam Adams and the Irish. WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED? Also, there’s about a bajillion universities in Boston, making it that much more sudsy.

Denver + Boulder, CO

Normally, we don’t like to lump cities together, but since Boulder is only about 30 minutes from Denver, we thought it was okay. Colorado is fourth among all fifty states in the number of breweries, and while it’s also home to Coors, they also love their hops. Boulder itself has 23 microbreweries in the city limits.

Asheville, NC

Offering 19 microbreweries, the up-and-coming town of Asheville, NC is also the new home of Sierra Nevada, which recently opened up a new east coast brewery in this Carolina bohemian mecca. Now, people thirsty for the beloved pale ale don’t need it shipped across the country to quaff.

Bend, OR

With 12 microbreweries to choose from —some of which, like Deschutes, are world class — Bend is no slouch, even when compared to its Oregon big brother, Portland. This is another town benefiting from all the college students with disposable income.

Seattle, WA

Photo by @immortalsimaging #seattle #nightlife #beautiful #views

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The Emerald City benefits from its proximity to Yakima, the world’s leading producer of hops. It seems like every week a new brewery pops up offering your choice of five new IPA’s. Oh, don’t worry. We aren’t complaining! Some of the best include: Georgetown, Fremont and Stoup Brewing.

Missoula, MT

Beautiful day in #Missoula. #VisitMissoula #TheresThisPlace #Montana #MontanaMoment #GlacierMT #VisitMontana

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Montana is oft forgotten when it comes to shining some light onto an American area. Most often, the state is thought of as wide-open plains and a home for buffalo. But the state is also growing rapidly in terms of beer production and Missoula itself offers six choice microbreweries, including Big Sky Brewing, famous for their Moose Drool Brown Ale.

Honorable mentions: Kalamazoo, MI; Philadelphia, PA; Milwaukee, WI;  New York, NY; Austin, TX. These places have some of the most breweries per capita and/or drunkest cities. We’ll let you figure out which is which. Either way, the city will be your friend and/or loving companion once you hit a taproom or three.

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