What are the Must-Visit US Cities for Beer Lovers?

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You can grab a cold beer anywhere in the U.S., but few of them make an icy brew on a night out with friends a little sweeter. Thanks to the craft beer boom in the United States, the country has become a haven for beer lovers from around the world. The U.S. is home to a growing number of craft breweries that are sure to impress your tastebuds. Breweries have popped up everywhere, offering quality and accessibility without the need for vast vineyards or cellars. While you may have great options nearby, there are unique beers that can only be found by planning a trip.

If you love beer, these are the cities you don’t want to miss!

Chicago, Illinois 

Chicago Riverwalk and skyscrapers

With a staggering 106 bars, 50 breweries, and thriving bar scenes, Chicago has it all. The nightlife in Chicago is incredibly diverse, offering something for everyone. It’s the perfect city to indulge in a warm and hearty Chicago-style deep-dish pizza with a refreshing craft beer. The city boasts a wide range of beer establishments, from newly established breweries to renowned taprooms, including its own charming “Malt Row.”

If you’re up for some bar hopping, make sure to explore Wicker Park, Logan Square, and Wrigleyville. Don’t miss out on the Hopewell Brewing Co., a small but highly regarded brewery and taproom known for exceptional beers like the Ride or Die pale ale and Clover Club raspberry sour. And be sure to carve out some time for Revolution Brewing, the largest independent brewer in Illinois, celebrated for their inventive and diverse brews, including the sought-after Deep Wood Series of barrel-aged creations, like the robust Thundertaker imperial rye stout boasting a whopping 16.2% ABV.

Portland, Oregon 

Iconic Portland sign with pink skyscraper rising next to it

Portland, Oregon, also known as Beervana, has built a strong reputation for its fantastic brews, making it one of the top cities for beer enthusiasts in the U.S. With over 70 breweries and a variety of themed bar venues, Portland offers something for every type of beer lover, including speakeasies and rooftop bars. Many of those breweries specialize in crafting exclusive small-batch beers available only in Portland. The city offers beers that are hidden gems for travelers, boasting an eclectic and satisfying bar scene.  

Hopworks Urban Brewery, Alameda Brewing Company, and Cascade Brewing are among the notable breweries in Portland, recognized nationwide for their attention to detail and innovation. The city also hosts exciting events like Biketobeerfest, combining two beloved local passions: bikes and beer. Additionally, festivals such as the Oregon Brewer’s Festival, the Portland International Beer Festival, and Portland Beer Week, the country’s first organic beer festival, ensure that the beer spirit remains high throughout the year.

Oregon is also one of the places that holds extreme beer festivals. Learn more about this in our article about the most unusual and extreme beer festivals in the world.

Denver, Colorado 

Larimer street in Denver, Colorado

Nestled in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, Denver, also known as the Mile High City, is famous for its beer culture. It even has its own Denver Beer Trail. With over 150 brewpubs, taprooms, breweries, and microbreweries, it’s no wonder why this Colorado metropolis is considered one of the best cities in the U.S. for beer lovers. Wherever you go in Denver, you’ll always find a great beer to enjoy. Even if you’re not downtown, there are plenty of bars, lounges, and hidden speakeasies to discover and grab a draft.

When it comes to beer culture, Denver holds a special place in American history. It has influenced the industry’s growth and is a must-visit for beer enthusiasts. Don’t miss the opportunity to attend the renowned Great American Beer Festival (GABF) and immerse yourself in brewery tours, beer tastings, and even hands-on workshops to make your own brew.

Asheville, North Carolina 

display of beers in a downtown old town street in Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina – also known as “Beer City” – is a true haven for beer enthusiasts, with over 50 breweries to choose from and an annual Beer Week celebration. They offer a wide range of restaurants and bars that will keep travelers busy for days. It ranks first in the country for the number of breweries per 100,000 residents and offers a wide variety of beer-related events and scenes, including nano-breweries, taprooms, festivals, and brewery tours. While the average pint of beer may cost around $5.00, the exceptional quality and abundance of brews make it well worth it.

Take a tour of Highland Brewing, Asheville’s first post-Prohibition brewery, and discover why they have been a key player in the city’s craft beer scene for nearly three decades. If you’re up for something unique, visit Burial Beer Co., a quirky and successful brewery that draws inspiration from New Orleans’ festive mourning traditions. For breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, head to Green Man’s Green Mansion rooftop and enjoy a tasting from their selection of 18 tap options.

Portland, Maine 

Bunker brewing beer in Portland, Maine

Despite its small size, Portland, Maine, has gained quite a reputation. With its thriving art scene and booming culinary offerings, this New England city has become a popular destination for visitors. But one thing that has always been true about Portland is its unwavering love for beer. You’ll find nationally acclaimed breweries that have been around for decades alongside exciting new ventures in the beer world.

Portland is the perfect place for a beer-themed vacation. There’s just something special about the fresh Maine air and the incredible beers served here. And when it comes to bar hopping, the city knows how to deliver a good time. While it may have a few bars, it more than makes up for it, with more than 20 breweries scattered throughout Portland. If you’re in the mood for a fantastic IPA or a flavorful malt, be sure to check out local favorites like Regards, Allagash, Woodford Food & Beverage, Novare Res Bier Cafe, Lone Pine Brewing, Maine Beer Company, and Crisp Gai.

Indianapolis, Indiana 

Indianapolis skyline at sunset

As the capital of Indiana and home to nearly 200 breweries statewide, Indianapolis offers a prime destination for experiencing the best of Hoosier State’s craft beers. Whether you prefer a cozy taproom, a traditional brewery, or something more unique, this city has a wide range of options to satisfy every beer lover.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Daredevil Brewing Co., where you can relax on their expansive 8,000-square-foot patio, enjoy live music, and indulge in a variety of beers. Don’t miss their Lift Off IPA, bursting with citrus and pine flavors. For a taste of Belgian dubbels and German hefeweizens, head to Bier Brewery, a family-run establishment known for its award-winning small-batch brews.

Tampa, Florida

a street in Tampa, florida

Tampa, Florida, the largest city on Florida’s Gulf Coast, has made a name for itself in the beer world. The constant sunshine and warm weather have created a strong demand for Tampa’s breweries, both the new and the well-established ones. Cigar City, known for its approachable IPAs and unique brews, stands out as one of the major players. Another notable brewery, Tampa Bay Brewing Company, impresses with its barrel-aged beers alongside crowd-pleasing favorites.

For those willing to take a short drive, neighboring St. Petersburg also offers a fantastic beer scene. You can discover award-winning operations like Green Bench Brewing, 3 Daughters Brewing, and Cycle Brewing, making it a worthwhile excursion from Tampa.

San Diego, California

a Blue Moon Beer ad on a truck in a road in San Diego, California

San Diego offers a vibrant and eclectic nightlife scene that is definitely worth experiencing if you find yourself on the West Coast. The city is teeming with options for beer lovers, and its restaurants come alive after dark. San Diego’s passion for beer can be traced back to 1896 when the city’s first commercial brewery, San Diego Brewery, opened its doors. Fast forward to today, and San Diego County is now home to over 150 local breweries and counting.

When it comes to nightlife and bars, Gaslamp Quarter is the place to be in San Diego. Spanning 16 blocks, Gaslamp Quarter boasts 180 restaurants, ten nightclubs, and over 40 bars for you to explore. If you’re in search of craft beer, be sure to visit popular spots like the Blind Lady Ale House, Neighborhood, AleSmith Brewing Compan, and Urge Gastropub.

Seattle, Washington

Neon Lights at Pikes Place Market in Seattle

Dressing up and grabbing a beer in the vibrant Emerald City is a must-do experience. Seattle’s beauty extends to its captivating bar scene, with more than 80 bars sprinkled throughout the city. On top of that, you’ll find 50 breweries and a multitude of neighborhoods where you can enjoy cold, refreshing beers.

Despite being somewhat overshadowed by its counterparts like Portland, Denver, and San Diego, Seattle’s beer scene is thriving with independent breweries that can easily become the focal point of your trip. What’s great about Seattle is its walkability and the concentration of breweries, making it ideal for self-guided beer crawls. When it comes to bar hopping, Capitol Hill, Belltown, and downtown Seattle are the top-notch neighborhoods to explore.

Bend, Oregon 

renovated old industrial buildings at sunset along the river in Bend, Oregon

In the picturesque town of Bend, nestled in the Cascade Mountains, you’ll find a beer lover’s paradise with over 30 breweries. Considered the cool rural cousin of Portland, Bend is easily one of the best beer cities in the U.S., sharing the title for most breweries per capita with Asheville and Portland.

With the highest microbrewery per capita in the U.S. and a reputation as one of the best beer cities in the country, Bend offers something for everyone. Its laidback mountain atmosphere, friendly people, breathtaking views, and endless outdoor activities create the perfect backdrop for enjoying a fantastic beer. If you’re planning a visit to Bend, make sure to allocate enough time to fully experience its beer scene. Consider following the Ale Trail to visit as many breweries as possible during your stay. Additionally, Bend hosts beer festivals throughout the year, providing ample opportunities to savor the freshest local brews.

New York, New York

New York city skyline

Unsurprisingly, New York is among the favorite cities for beer lovers. With more than a hundred bars, more than any other city on the list, the Big Apple knows how to keep the party going. New York’s bars serve up some of the most tantalizing beers in the state. It brims with iconic taverns, craft hangouts, industrial breweries, and quirky taprooms that cater to all tastes.

Amidst its vibrant culture, arts scene, and diverse culinary offerings, the concrete jungle is also home to 24 breweries within its boundaries. Travelers rave about The Grand Delancey, Harlem Hops, and Milks & Hops Chelsea as their go-to spots for the best beer in NYC, even though it comes with a higher price tag, averaging around $8.

Austin, Texas

a woman having a glass of beer in Austin, Texas

Texas is a paradise for beer enthusiasts, and Austin has secured its spot among one of the best cities for beer lovers. This vibrant city is bursting with energy and excitement, making it a perfect fit for the list. Its downtown area is a hub of musical watering holes, speakeasies, and rooftop bars, where you can enjoy a cold draft or sip on a refreshing Budweiser. Austin is also renowned for its year-round festivals, including the famous SXSW, providing beer lovers with ample opportunities to party and indulge in their favorite brews.

As the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World and the capital of the Lone Star State, Austin is not only home to thriving breweries and taprooms but also boasts a sensational food scene. Picture this: relishing a hot bowl of queso with crispy chips while savoring an icy pint on a sun-drenched summer day. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Boston, Massachusetts

Famous pubs in Boston Harbor and South Market

Before Boston became a beloved destination for beer enthusiasts, the founding fathers were already enjoying beer in this historic city. It is the birthplace of Samuel Adams (both the founding father and the beer), Boston Beer Company, Dogfish Head, and Harpoon. But beyond the big names, the city is teeming with vibrant beer halls, lively taprooms, and historic pubs. You may also read our post about the history of Samuel Adams Beer for more information.

A visit to Democracy Brewing is a must. This unique craft brewery is entirely owned by its workforce and strives to bring the community together through beer in a classic pub house setting. Don’t miss their 1916 Rising, an Irish stout inspired by the armed Irish uprising against the English on Easter Day 1916.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

a man sampling beer at a microbrewery at Milwaukee

While it may have fewer bars compared to some cities, don’t let that fool you—the bar scene in Milwaukee is buzzing with high-energy excitement, making it a favorite among beer enthusiasts. With around 30 breweries to explore, the city become a favorite area for enjoying a cold brew.

Milwaukee’s brewing legacy dates back to 1840, when Welsh settlers established the city’s first brewery. Over the past two centuries, it has solidified its reputation as one of the top beer destinations in the United States, producing iconic brands like Pabst Blue Ribbon, Miller, and Old Milwaukee, along with a thriving craft beer scene that keeps the city’s beer culture vibrant and diverse. Keep the party going and the beer flowing all night long at popular bars like Palomino, Sugar Maple, and Tonic Tavern.

Missoula, Montana

Missoula Club, Burgers and Beer.

Situated at the halfway point between Yellowstone and Glacier National Park, Missoula in Big Sky Country is a picturesque destination for both adventure and craft beer lovers. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, this charming city boasts some of America’s finest craft beers.

If you find yourself in this beer epicenter, locals recommend trying Moose Drool brown ale or the Summer Honey wheat ale from Big Sky Brewing for a true taste of Missoula’s craft beer scene. You may also want to try the flavors of Bavaria at Bayern Brewing, a unique German microbrewery that transports you back to medieval Germany with its Dragon’s Breath Dark Hefeweizen.

Charleston, South Carolina 

the entrance of a liquor store downtown a university town in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, known for its historic quarter, mouthwatering cuisine, and picturesque architecture, is quickly establishing itself as a go-to destination for beer enthusiasts. Although Charleston may have a few bars, don’t let that fool you. This charming city is home to an abundance of craft breweries that produce some of the most delectable beer in the South. And the best part? You can grab a beer for just five bucks!

When it comes to finding a bottle, downtown Charleston is where it’s at. Popular bars among beer-loving travelers in Charleston include the Recovery Room Tavern, Mynt, and the Roof Top at the Vendue Inn. If you want to enjoy the combination of nature and artisanal ales, take a trip to the Firehouse Brewery, which is located along the banks of the Ashley River. For a more traditional brewery experience with a stunning rooftop view, Revelry Brewing is a must-visit.

Birmingham, Alabama

Historic Alabama Theater sign in downtown Birmingham

Like Charleston, Birmingham doesn’t have a ton of bars, but beer lovers can still find solace in a good, refreshing brew in this Alabama city. For the best nightlife and bar options, downtown Birmingham is the place to be. The city boasts numerous craft beer pubs and microbreweries, making it a haven for beer enthusiasts.

Birmingham, Alabama, offers a vibrant beer scene with four main production breweries: Good People Brewing Co., Avondale Brewing, Cahaba Brewing, Hop City Birmingham, and Trim Tab Brewing. Make your way to Avondale Brewing for a delightful combination of live music and cold pints, such as their flavorful Spring Street Saison farmhouse ale, packed with citrus and spice notes.

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