Beer drinkers across the nation have strong opinions on which US city is the best place for craft beer and microbrewing. Craft beer has a reputation for being as layered and nuanced as fine wine. If you’re a fan of craft beer like us, you understand how complex a good glass of beer is. You also appreciate variety, quality, and ingenuity.
Luckily, the US is full of beer-making cities that support that passion and deliver incredible products. Keep reading to learn more about the best US cities for beer drinkers and the amazing beers they produce.
Portland, Oregon is one of the West Coast’s finest cities. Great coffee, bikes, and a collective unique spirit make it a delightful place to visit. It is also one of the best cities for beer lovers. There are over 70 breweries scattered throughout the city, many of which are known globally for their amazing craft beer.
The city, affectionately known as “Beervana,” is home to breweries like Breakside Brewery, Great Notion Brewing, and Wayfinder Beer. Whether you’re in the mood for a signature West Coast IPA or an innovative fruity stout, Portland is the place to try a pint of something new.
Cincinnati, Ohio is undoubtedly a beer town. Over 80 breweries, pubs, and taprooms exist in this bustling midwest metropolis. One of my favorite Cincinnati breweries is Esoteric Brewing Co, located in the recently revitalized Walnut Hills neighborhood. They craft organic, locally-sourced beer made with the purest ingredients and old-world brewing methods.
Esoteric Brewing Co. is also an inclusive spot that donates a portion of its profits to community causes that create positive social change. There are many beers to choose from at Esoteric. I highly recommend the Divine Matrix, a tart, dry Belgian Style Witbier with citrus flavors and pale golden-yellow color. A stronger Belgian beer to try is the Virtue. It is a Belgian Dubbel with hints of caramel apple, cherry, and clove.
Beer drinkers flock to Pittsburgh, PA to enjoy the city’s 40+ craft breweries. From traditional pubs in historic neighborhoods to breweries in renovated cathedrals, there is a beer and a brewery for everyone to enjoy. During my most recent visit to Pittsburgh, I was lucky enough to try a couple of high-quality breweries. One of my favorites is the Bourbon-aged Dunkel at The Church Brew Works. It is a dark, rich beer that pairs well with their Jubille Hilltop Ranch Meatloaf and the Oreo Cookie Brownie Sundae.
I also highly recommend Full Pint Brewing in North Versailles. This Pittsburgh brewery is known for amazing full pints and generous, freshly made appetizers. My go-to favorite at Full Pint Brewing is the Night of the Living Stout, a Western Pennsylvania-style stout.
Young craft beer enthusiasts love Austin, Texas. The city, known for its incredible barbecue and outstanding music scene, is the perfect spot to enjoy a quality craft brew. There are over 37 breweries in the city to choose from, but my personal favorite is the Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company.
This award-winning brewery has a fantastic set up, with long beerhaus-style tables, a lovely outdoor beer garden, and live music on the weekends. They serve an eclectic mix of sandwiches, freshly made pizza, charcuterie boards, and honey bbq wings. Their pre-prohibition-style Pilsner, Rocket 100, will make you question everything you thought you knew about pilsners. If you can get it, their crisp Heavy Metal Tailgate is also a must-try beer.
Denver is one of the best cities for beer lovers, particularly those that love craft beer. The city has 100 different breweries and taprooms to try, many of which are conveniently located in the downtown area. One of my favorite breweries is Rock Bottom Brewery, a small-batch beer-making establishment. Their citrusy Falcon IPA or the spicy Chili Kolsch are must-try beers.
Wynkoop Brewing Company is another fantastic Denver brewery with a rich history. The brewery is next door to Coors Field and Union Station in downtown Denver. There are a couple of dozen pool tables inside to entertain, as well as a plethora of unique beers. I recommend trying the Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, a beer made with roasted bull testicles.
Milwaukee has long held the title of “Beer Capital of the World.” With over 30 modern breweries in the city of Milwaukee, including historical beer companies like Schlitz, Pabst, and Miller, this midwestern mecca is a nod to traditional and unique styles of beer.
I’m partial to the Milwaukee Brewing Company on 9th Street. They have a mixture of seasonal and year-round brews, from Cream Ales like Outboard to the MKE IPA made with Citra and Mosaic hops. If you’re a fan of fruity, sour beers, you can’t go wrong with the Jim Gose Rogue, a prickly pear gose that tastes like summer in a glass.
Fort Collins, CO
Fort Collins, Colorado is home to 20+ craft breweries. Most of their breweries are well-known, award-winning establishments, helping give the city its title of Colorado’s Craft Beer Capital. The city’s longest-running brewpub is Coopersmith’s Pub & Brewing. The old brick building has a lovely outdoor patio where guests can enjoy tasty on-tap beers and a delicious lunch.
New Belgium Brewing Company is arguably the city’s most famous brewery. They are the makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and Abbey, as well as a host of mouthwatering sour beers. My favorite is the Le Folie with its hints of tart apple and vanilla.
The beer scene in Asheville is truly one of a kind, with more breweries per capita than any other city. This makes Asheville one of the best cities for beer-lovers to congregate. If you’re looking for a creative, out-of-the-box brewery, I recommend stopping by Archetype. They have a small list of core beers that are available year-round, such as the Unruly Mystic Coffee Porter. They also make False Antagonist, a brilliant traditional gose with a lovely hue.
Asheville Brewing Company is also a great place to enjoy craft beer. The brewery has been operating since 1998, making it the third-oldest brewery in the city. Their Big Red Llama and Bold Rock Blackberry Cider are sweet and tart with dry finishes. I insist that you enjoy whatever beer you order with a slice or two of their freshly made pizza.
Thirsty Seattle patrons have over 70 breweries to choose from. The Ballard Brewery District in particular is a special place to enjoy a glass or two of suds. There are over 10 craft breweries in a 1-mile stretch, including Lagunitas Brewing, Lucky Envelope Brewing, and Wheelie Pop Brewing.
Holy Mountain Brewing is one of my favorites. They are a microbrewery on Elliott Bay that makes a mean Double IPA called Spirit Crusher. When the weather is good, you can also bring your dog to hang out with you in their outdoor beer garden. Other excellent Seattle craft breweries I recommend include Stoup Brewing, Maritime Pacific Brewing Company, and Rueben’s Brews.
A less well-known beer lover’s paradise is Bend, Oregon. It is most commonly thought of as an outdoor sports locale. However, there are around 30 breweries in the city proper, which guests can tour on the Bend Ale Trail. My favorite brewery in Bend is 10 Barrel Brewing Company, an industrial spot where you can enjoy the best pub food and sip a unique Mountain IPA in front of a roaring bonfire.
Boneyard Beer Pub is also one of Bend’s top breweries, with a junkyard theme and a range of hazy IPAs and sour beers. My favorites are the Diablo Rojo and the Lime Gose. They also make a delicious cheeseburger and fries to enjoy alongside your sudsy brew.
New Orleans, LA
Most people associate the Big Easy with its Creole cuisine, music festivals, and incredible Bourbon Street nightlife. However, it is also one of the best cities for beer lovers. The city has more than a dozen high-quality breweries that provide live music, outdoor seating areas, and the freshest, crispest beer in the state. One of the best breweries in the city is Courtyard Brewery. They create hazy beers and serve Rahm Haus ice cream onsite. Brieux Carre off Frenchman Street is a small but mighty taproom with a courtyard out back where you can sit with friends.
NOLA Brewing is the city’s oldest brewery and my personal favorite. I prefer sour beers, and NOLA Brewing crafts the best in town. The views out of this brewery are also fantastic. You can see the Mississippi River and the Tchoupitoulas from the upstairs balcony while you sip your beer. They also offer live music and access to slices of pizza downstairs.
The local brewery scene in Madison is hopping – no pun intended. Home to the original Schlitz brewing, Madison has a reputation for unique craft beer made by passionate people. For a funky vibe and beer made by delightfully weird people, I recommend trying out Karben4. They make a S’mores Stout that will kick your butt if you’re not careful, as well as their signature Fantasy Factory IPA.
During my most recent visit to Madison, I went to One Barrel Brewing Company. Located at the corner of Atwood Ave and Winnebago, this brewery is a great place if you like hoppy beers. Their Breakfast Beer, an imperial coffee stout, is a rich, tasty brew I highly recommend.
Craft beer lovers have 19 different breweries to try during their visit to Portland, Maine. The state is one of the Top Beer Destinations in the country, but Portland itself is one of the nation’s top beer cities. Goodfire and Battery Steele are some of the city’s newest craft breweries, each with a plethora of unique and classic beers on tap.
If you are into hop-forward beers, you must check out Lone Pine Brewing Company. Purists will also love Allagash Brewing Company for its year-round selection of fine craft beers. Allagash White and Allagash Black are two of the most popular beers they offer.
Contrary to popular belief, Reno is one of the best cities for beer lovers. There are over a dozen craft breweries, pubs, and taprooms. My favorite Reno brewery is Revision Brewing. Their Blonde NV and Revision IPA are top-notch craft beer selections you don’t want to miss. Lead Dog Brewing is another popular Reno brewery that epitomizes Reno’s creative beer culture.
There are more than 28 amazing breweries in Spokane, all of which are accessible on the Spokane Ale Trail. Walking tours are a great way to hit up all of the breweries. Four-Eyed Guys Brewing Company is one of my favorite Spokane breweries. The warm, greenhouse-like craft brewery is known for its small-batch beers and incredible house-made hard seltzers. Their flagship beer is the refreshing Watermelon Gose, although their hazy double IPA Double Hubble is a solid contender for top beer. I also recommend going for a walk and trying out Brick West Brewing on 1st Ave, Iron Goat Brewing on 2nd Ave, and Lumberb.