Esquire digs into the best beer cities in America. It’s hard to argue with the seven cities they’ve selected: Chicago, Denver, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, St. Louis and San Diego.
What could be worth arguing, and what they don’t make explicit, is if the cities and order of selection are ranked, ergo Chicago is the best and so on. If that is the case, then I have problems with the list as Portland and Denver are head and shoulders above every other city in America when it comes to beer culture.It’s not even close. Sorry.
Chicago has a lot of great bars and some decent breweries popping up, with access to Three Floyd’s in Indiana and Bell’s in Michigan, but again it’s a long way to go before they can touch Portland — a city who’s economy is driven by breweries, music and strip clubs. Portland has two or three breweries for every neighborhood in the city, most of them world class breweries aside from the big boys like Rogue, Deschutes, Full Sail and Widmer Bros. Most cities would kill to have four exceptional breweries, but those four are just the tip of the iceberg in Portland.
So let’s rattle off some names: BridgePort, Hopworks, Tug Boat, Lucky Labrador, Alameda, Amnesia, Hair of the Dog, Cascade, Laurelwood, New Old Lompoc, Migration, Upright Brewing, MacTarnahan’s, McMenamins, Coalition, Roots Brewing… and that’s just off the top of my head. That’s 20 breweries that would wipe the floor or hold their own with any breweries around the country.
On top of that, the city supports all of these breweries and more are popping up each week.