RewardExpert Picks The Top 10 Craft Beer Destinations

RewardExpert an online service created to help users maximize their credit card programs, has come up with a list of the Top 10 places in the US for beer. And we’ve some opinions about their rankings both good and bad.

Here’s the deal…

To arrive at this ranking the credit card/travel service analyzed a total of 4,510,386 reviews of 110,419 beers, drawn from data sets using web-crawling techniques which sounds kind of ominous…but whatever.

They identified reviews for one or more beers produced by a total of 5,760 breweries out of the 8,798 breweries included in POI Factory’s geocoded North American Breweries and they also tapped into reviews at both BeerAdvocate and RateBeer and came up with a list that we’ve some opinions  about both good and bad.

Two Harbors, MN / Arrowhead Region

  • Breweries Per 100,000 Residents: 37.36
  • Top Brewery: Castle Danger Brewery – Rating: 4.0
The fact that a region north of Duluth was deemed the number one craft beer location in the United States points to the kinds of problems inherent in these crowd-sourced algorithm-driven rankings. Hey we’re sure there’s good craft beer there…But the nation’s #1 craft beer destination?   We’re not buying it.

City and County of Boulder, CO

  • Breweries Per 100,000 Residents: 25.28
  • Top Brewery: Southern Sun Pub and Brewery
  • Brewery Rating: 4.06

Boulder Colorado is a  beautiful town in a solid and savvy beer region….Whether it’s the second best beer place in the US is certainly open to debate…but we do like Avery Brewing and drinking beer there.

Jackson, WY

  • Breweries Per 100,000 Residents: 27.29
  • Top Brewery: – Melvin Brewing – Rating: 3.63

Jackson Wyoming home to only 21,989 people and six breweries is an exciting tourist destination by anyone’s standards…But the fact that Melvin Brewing’s there is both the good news and the bad news.

Uncompahgre Region / Southwest Colorado

  • Cities: Montrose, Delta, Cedar Ridge, Durango, and Gunnison, CO
  • Breweries Per 100,000 Residents: 16.47
  • Top Brewery: Pagosa Brewing – Rating: 4.12
Ska’s in Durango and we’re big fans of what they do… RewardExperts explains Pagosa Brewing as “among the top-rated breweries in the nation” according to this ranking but they are entirely new to us., so who knows?

Asheville, NC

  • Breweries Per 100,000 Residents: 23.23
  • Top Brewery: Wedge Brewing – Rating: 3.97

Asheville North Carolina, home to majors like Sierra Nevada and New Belgium and exciting progressives like Green Man  is the East Coast’s premier beer destination. If it hadn’t made their list we’d have been concerned.

The Colorado High Rockies

  • Cities: Evergreen, Leadville, Fort Collins, and Greely, CO
  • Breweries Per 100,000 Residents: 14.99
  • Top Brewery: Hops Grillhouse & Brewery – Rating: 4.17

You won’t find us complaining about any region in Colorado, especially a region that includes Fort Collins in the mix. New Belgium offers the best series of diversified beer tours in the country and we love the things that Odell does. But don’t overlook Funkwerks’ Saisons and Sours when you visit.

Juneau, AK

  • Breweries Per 100,000 Residents: 15.52
  • Top Brewery: Alaskan Brewing – Rating: 3.91

Juneau, Alaska a spectacular travel destination, the Mendenhall glacier just outside of the capital city is worth the trip alone. But beyond Alaskan Brewing (which does offer one of the best brewery tours in the country) there is just not the same level of brewing activity to make our Top 10 list.

Portland, ME

  • Breweries Per 100,000 Residents: 19.13
  • Top Brewery: Maine Beer – Rating: 4.22

Set on a scenic peninsula extending into Casco Bay, Portland Maine is an evocative New England location and home to great breweries like Allagash….A Top 10 brewing location? It’s definitely a trip we like to make.

Boston, MA–NH–RI Metropolitan Area

  • Breweries Per 100,000 Residents: 14.66
  • Top Brewery: Backlash Beer
  • Brewery Rating: 4.07

Boston’s home to great heritage brewers like Boston Beer, the 100% employee-owned Harpoon and hotties like Trillium are not to be missed. And New Hampshire is a nice drive with some decent breweries. But as much as we enjoy the Rhode Island coastal region, we’d suggest you stay north if your goal is serious beer.

Bend, OR / Central Oregon

  • Breweries Per 100,000 Residents: 18.08
  • Top Brewery: Deschutes Brewery – Rating: 4.14

There are a total of 40 breweries and brewpubs in and around Bend, Oregon, including the highly rated Deschutes Brewery, and 221,000 resident humanoids, or one brewery for every 5,000 residents in a beautiful Pacific Northwest region that’s primed for outdoor adventures. Bottom line Bend, Oregon is one of the nation’s best beer destinations and an essential addition to anyone’s beer travel list. And be sure to visit Crux Fermentation Project when you’re there.



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