Serious Eats: "Which is the Best Beer City?"

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by ONovoMexicano, Feb 27, 2014.

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  1. chcfan

    chcfan Zealot (569) Oct 29, 2008 California
    Trader

    Also, Philly > SF, NYC, Chicago and I'm not even sure those are close. I live in SF now and it's probably my favorite place in the world, but I can name 30 bars in the Philly area that are as good as if not better than anything in SF. Brewpubs in SF are better if we're talking about in the city proper, but NoCal definitely get's the nod if you branch out in the bordering areas.
     
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  2. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Disciple (312) Aug 17, 2005 Oregon

    What? The oldest home brew store in America is in PDX, and there are 3 breweries in town celebrating their 30th anniversaries this year.

    edit: I forgot that the Oregon Brewers Fest has been going on for 25 years, making it one of the longest running beer fests other than GABF.
     
    #42 maltmaster420, Feb 28, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014
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  3. tylerstravis

    tylerstravis Meyvn (1,051) Feb 14, 2014 Colorado

    Portland has had brewing legally since 1979 and I know Widmer has been around since 1984, but the beer bars and beer scene are what really make Portland shine.

    SD has the Mexican food and weather in spades, but to claim that they can even compete in the food scene with Portland is a drastic oversight :slight_smile:
     
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  4. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,826) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    No comments about Bend? I really liked it, and it may be my favorite city/town. Just to say, I have spent time in Seattle, PDX, SF and the N Bay Area, San Diego, Philly, Chicago, and Denver Ft. Collins. All good in their own way.

    Bamberg is my favorite in Euroland, and I have many favorites there.
     
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  5. sisterthelonious

    sisterthelonious Initiate (0) Aug 3, 2013 Wisconsin

    San Diego has the highest concentration of quality breweries in the country. 80+ many of whom put out world class beers. Stone, Green Flash, Ballast Point, Coronado, Port/Lost Abbey and Alpine all grew out of the a core of homebrewers over the past 20 years. Societe, Helm's, Acoustic, Modern Times, Nickel, etc have been continuing the trend over the past five.

    If I had to chose one county to drink from for the rest of my days, it would be San Diego.
     
  6. sisterthelonious

    sisterthelonious Initiate (0) Aug 3, 2013 Wisconsin

    San Diego's food scene has grown exponentially in the past three years. Before then you had a handful of decent places buoyed by the Mexican food. But there is some culinary magic happening there now- don't pass up a chance to visit for a week or weekend.
     
  7. TheeWalrusHunter

    TheeWalrusHunter Initiate (0) Aug 23, 2013 Oregon

    Do you even read what you write down? Do you even know what highest concentration means? And to say that Coronado and Green Flash are world class is laughable.

    Edit: Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world. thats not per capita, or per square mile. Thats total.

    Portland, Or = 145.1 sq miles
    San Diego, Ca = 372.4 sq miles.

    San Diego has the highest concentration of breweries my dick.
     
    #47 TheeWalrusHunter, Feb 28, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014
  8. miggy96

    miggy96 Initiate (0) Sep 7, 2013 California

    SAN DIEGO PLAIN AND SIMPLE
     
  9. vurt

    vurt Meyvn (1,221) Apr 11, 2004 Oregon
    Society

    You could make a compelling case that Asheville is, indeed, better than Portland, ME.
     
  10. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Disciple (312) Aug 17, 2005 Oregon

    Portland: 52 breweries in a city of 600k people = 1 brewery per 11,538 residents

    San Diego: 80 breweries in a city of 2.9 million = 1 brewery per 36,250 residents

    I'll counter your list with: Hair of the Dog, Upright, Cascade, Commons, Deschutes, and Gigantic, all of whom are making beer on par with anything coming out of SD. Oh, and we get distribution from Stone, Green Flash, Ballast Point, and Coronado, so we get to enjoy most of your city's best offerings without the hassle of driving everywhere.

    Last but not least, you can walk from Cascade to Hair of the Dog to Upright in less than 45 minutes.

    don't get me wrong, I'm not disputing that there's a ton of kick ass breweries in SD, but that's only one piece of the puzzle.
     
  11. chcfan

    chcfan Zealot (569) Oct 29, 2008 California
    Trader

    Google say's SD's population is 1.3 million.
     
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  12. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Disciple (312) Aug 17, 2005 Oregon

    You're right, I accidentally pulled the "urban" population figure from wikipedia rather than the city itself. That's still 1 brewery for every 16k people though, so my point about density still holds. :wink:
     
  13. TheeWalrusHunter

    TheeWalrusHunter Initiate (0) Aug 23, 2013 Oregon

    My guess is that he pulled County numbers, not city. Because there is no way that San Diego city has 80 breweries.
     
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  14. TaborTime

    TaborTime Disciple (320) Dec 10, 2013 Oregon
    Trader

    Born and lived on the east coast for 20+ years, lived in the San Fran area for quite some time, traveled to So Cal and San Diego plenty of times, but after living in Portland for a little over a year, the correct answer is Portland.

    Besides the whole 'most breweries in a city in the world thing'...beer is totally ingrained in the culture here. Hard to describe or appreciate it until you've lived in Portland for an extended period of time.
     
  15. chcfan

    chcfan Zealot (569) Oct 29, 2008 California
    Trader

    The thing about Asheville is that the only people who say it's the best beer town are people who live there. To me, that says something. I know people who've referred to it as something like "the little town with a heavy concentration of local breweries and bars serving crappy local beer." :wink: I actually would like to check it out someday, but I can really only judge the beers that I've had from NC and while that's a relatively small sample (less than 20), I can't say I've been impressed. Heard good things about that place making German beers, though.
     
  16. miggy96

    miggy96 Initiate (0) Sep 7, 2013 California

    So what your saying is that Portland beats San Diego? That's funny. You must still drink miller high life because I know anybody who knows about beer wouldn't say that. Lol
     
  17. pinyin

    pinyin Disciple (369) Sep 19, 2013 New York

    Although NYC does have quite a few gastropubs, I've found that 90% have no idea whatsoever about in craft brews.

    This is for the most part in Manhttan.

    Now Brooklyn is a completely different story, as smaller neighborhoods like Greenpoint and Williamsburg tend to cater to the hipster beer enthusiasts.

    But for the overall size and populace of NYC, it is still very lacking in craftbrew availibility.

    I find that North Eastern Pennsylvania actually has better access to domestic and import rarities.
     
  18. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,826) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    But aren't the 80 breweries county wide? Long drive to some of them.
     
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  19. Barhoppin13

    Barhoppin13 Aspirant (231) Oct 6, 2013 Florida
    Trader

    Asheville and/or Tampa along with both of their respected surrounding cities/breweries
     
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  20. TheeWalrusHunter

    TheeWalrusHunter Initiate (0) Aug 23, 2013 Oregon

    In fact I do drink Miller High Life :wink: at one of the best beer/bottle shops in Portland.

    After living 4 years of my craft beer drinking life in San Diego and then moving directly to PDX for the last 2 years, I can firmly say that Portland is the better beer town. Its hard to pin down exactly what makes it better but ill be honest, its not even that close.
     
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  21. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,878) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Society

    I agree 100% with your assessment of San Diego. Great beer city, but too spread out. And while your statement about breweries might be true of NYC and SF, I believe PDX has more breweries than any other city IN THE WORLD. That fact, combined with the ease of getting around and relatively dense concentration of every kind of beer-centric establishment you could hope for, makes Portland the best beer city in America, if not the world.

    If Portland wasn't up here in the remote PNW, more people would know that it's at the top of the heap.
     
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  22. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (453) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Greensboro, VT

    [​IMG]
     
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  23. Boverhof3

    Boverhof3 Aspirant (270) Dec 25, 2006 Michigan

    If you google "beer city usa" you get Grand Rapids Michigan.
     
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  24. TheeWalrusHunter

    TheeWalrusHunter Initiate (0) Aug 23, 2013 Oregon

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  25. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,801) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I thought that the quote by Jeff Alworth in the Serious Eats piece really nailed it:
    That's pretty much why I tend to think of Portland as being really special- and you probably don't notice it until you live there as a local.

    I also think Philadelphia belongs at the top of the heap. Any discussion that doesn't mention quality lagers or access to the world's greatest beers isn't really one worth having.
     
  26. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,484) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Trader

    Dear pissing contestants,
    Should I bring my 5000 mL flask, or a tape measure? Not sure if this is about volume or distance.
    Thanks.
     
  27. dar482

    dar482 Poo-Bah (3,873) Mar 9, 2007 New York
    Society Trader

    Even as a New Yorker, I must agree. Philly is the best East Coast beer city.
     
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  28. TheeWalrusHunter

    TheeWalrusHunter Initiate (0) Aug 23, 2013 Oregon

    Yes.
     
  29. victory4me

    victory4me Devotee (479) Oct 16, 2004 Pennsylvania

    Portland, home of 52 breweries pretty much all serving the same styles of ale.

    Not impressed.
     
  30. willbm3

    willbm3 Initiate (0) Feb 19, 2010 Massachusetts

    You win. But seriously, a 5000mL flask? That's quite the honker we're talking about
     
  31. TheeWalrusHunter

    TheeWalrusHunter Initiate (0) Aug 23, 2013 Oregon

    Oh yeah what style is that? Have you ever been to Portland?
     
  32. TheeWalrusHunter

    TheeWalrusHunter Initiate (0) Aug 23, 2013 Oregon

    Sorry old pissing habits die hard... What i meant to say was:

    "Yeah they all brew the same style, and its not very good. it rains here too, and the scenery is ugly. All around, a horrible experience."
     
  33. vince4953529

    vince4953529 Disciple (309) Sep 28, 2006 California

    SD is too spread out because many people think San Diego county = City of San Diego. There are many breweries in OC but people won't say Santa Ana is a great beer city with good breweries like Bruery, Noble, Bootleggers etc.
     
  34. victory4me

    victory4me Devotee (479) Oct 16, 2004 Pennsylvania

    You mad, bro?
     
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  35. TheeWalrusHunter

    TheeWalrusHunter Initiate (0) Aug 23, 2013 Oregon

    DO you even lift?
     
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  36. tylerstravis

    tylerstravis Meyvn (1,051) Feb 14, 2014 Colorado

    I haven't been down for a few years, but my wife is there right now for business... Sounds like I need to plan a trip to revisit :slight_smile:
     
  37. vinny21bal

    vinny21bal Disciple (383) Feb 24, 2011 Illinois

    Portland Oregon is hands down the top of this mountain. Think of the breweries there? The food is outstanding and the culture itself screams beer. There isn't a whole block in Portland that doesn't have at least one home brewer. Second to none!
     
  38. jmw

    jmw Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2009 North Carolina

    I'm sorry, but do you not feel the great sucking void of beer availability to your west?
    MD is doing OK. Keep it in perspective.
     
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  39. NiceBeerCans

    NiceBeerCans Aspirant (249) Mar 16, 2013 New York
    Trader

    Agreed, Philly is a great beer drinking town. Philly Beer Week is well organized and not to be missed. Growlers are great but when it comes to bottle beer selections to-go, they suck. Stupid Philly bottle laws limit number of shops selling great craft beers to-go and many times force case only sales, even for bombers. NYC is getting better but still too many people still go into craft beer bars and order a bud light or ask for wine menu. True story bro.
     
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  40. black13

    black13 Aspirant (251) Apr 11, 2010 Oregon

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