I have to admit, I'm a sucker for these "what's the best state" pissing-match threads. It's like a train wreck and I can't look away. Anyway, a lot of people seem to be convinced that places like Vermont, Michigan, and Illinois are "hands down" better beer destinations than Oregon, Washington, and certain parts of Alaska... and while these places certainly have a lot going on, I have a difficult time believing the beer culture just about anywhere else is as ubiquitous and pervasive as what we enjoy out here. California and Colorado, sure, I can see that. But just about anywhere else? Not so sure. Compare the Portland-Bend-Hood River triangle to Vermont (an area of approximately the same size) for example. I'd guess there are two or three times the number of breweries (and good ones) in the former than in the latter. Compare the wide availability of good beer just about everywhere, at least within a 50-mile-wide swath along the I-5 corridor and maybe farther than that. Look at how certain towns (e.g., Bend) are embracing beer as an economic engine for local, sustainable growth. I admit it, I'm totally biased. I moved here from the Midwest 20+ years ago and haven't looked back. So I ask those of you who have been to a lot of the other big beer-centric regions of the country: level with me. Is it really as good I think it is out here? Do other places really compare favorably, and if so, how? And as a follow-up, what do you think are the main differences between beer culture in the Pacific NW and what's going on in other places? Hopefully this thread spurs a thoughtful dialogue about where we are and where we're going. Cheers!