24 Must-Visit Craft Beer Destinations Around the U.S.

With St. Patty's barely behind us and March Madness underway, the season for beer drinking is here. The craft beer scene has exploded in the last few years, and this week in each of our blog markets, we've rounded up the best craft beer destinations (be it bars, halls or breweries) in a town near you. Next up, you'll find the top three picks from each town in our slide show. What's your favorite craft beer go-to? Let us know in the comments.

59 comments:

  1. This collection is a joke, considering it lacks any mention of perhaps the best craft beer city/county in the U.S. -- San Diego.

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    1. My exact thoughts. 4 places from Philly? Are you kidding me?

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    2. This is the best of the craft beers. Three from Philly and ZERO from Milwaukee the city of beer. What gives in this city of Micros and Craft shops with everything from delish Hard Root Beer, to incredible lagers and ales. Everything but a little love from Zagat.

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    3. Absolutely a bad list, no Ballast Point, Stone or The Bruery, Nothing from Colorado, and Golden Road, yet no Blue Palms or Sunset Beer Company in Los Angeles? No Oregon spots no Cigar City from Tampa? Need to do some research or at least talk to some true beer geeks!

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  2. Terrible list. Totally incomplete. The individual that wrote that is clueless about the craft beer scene in the US.

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    1. Agreed. Whoever wrote this has no idea what their doing. How do you leave out the godfather of all brew towns and where it all started, Portland, with, at one time if not still, more microbreweries within the city than the rest of the country combined. And Vaughn below has it also, no SD, Seattle, nothing from Colorado? Are you kidding me?

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  3. Nothing from San Diego, Portland, Seattle, Denver? You're kidding me, right?

    Worst. List. Ever.

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  4. Just noticed it's only from blog cities. Fair enough. A shame you're missing those other cities though - they have AMAZING destinations.

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  5. You have covered the edges of the country but what about the center. The US is not like a doughnut!

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  6. You do know there are 62 brewers guild registered breweries in San Diego, right?! I'm surprised you didn't even give credit to the biggest of them all, Stone!

    Craft brew capital of the country not included, you may want to change the title to reflect "24 craft breweries to try in only a handful of cities...

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    1. Well, given that CO has something like 140, most of them in the Denver-Boulder-Fort Collins area, and that Denver has been hosting the GABF for over 30 years, I'd be careful about calling San Diego the craft-brew capital.

      And not one of these entries is from CO?!

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  7. Shouldn't have wasted the 5 minutes I spent on this - what a joke!

    BTW - I live in San Diego, arguably the finest craft beer center in the world.

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  8. Have you ever heard of Asheville, aka Beer City USA? Boasting more breweries per capita than any U.S. city

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  9. Yes, this list is lame. Boulder/Longmont, CO lead in terms of craft beer gallons produced per capita. There is a reason the Great American Beer Festival is held in CO.

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    1. Word! I understand how the middle of America is overlooked for the restaurant scene because in my opinion we have a long way to go, but just like the news outlets, the Weather Channel and ESPN, Zagat's is also biased toward the East Coast. Those of us in the know appreciate what we have. They'll figure it out eventually and then pretend that they knew it all along.

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  10. Have you ever been to Denver? Tons of microbrews!

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  11. I'm really surprised that San Diego, Seattle and Denver didn't get any love. I would think that Stone World Garden and Bistro would at least get a nod.

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  12. Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro, Vt, best brewery in the world not mentioned, sad.

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    1. Dislike! Tiny Vermont has *28* breweries within it's very small land area, but these breweries brew some of the very best beer in the world. We also have quite a few really great places to drink all of that beer. "Draft" magazine's "100" is a much better list (think Three Penny Taproom), simply because it covered the entire country... not just a few metros that Zagat wrongly considers "important". Maybe Zagat should stick to restaurants and keep it's snobby fingers out of my craft beer!!

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  13. Oh my! This list is SO typical of East Coast-centric ignorant (I mean that literally) media that thinks the US is only made up of NYC, Boston, Philly, Chicago, LA and San Fransisco. How tragic of you to expose your incompetence as expertise. Really do some actual research before you foist your tavern-crawl expense report off on us as "must see" when you clearly don't know your pilsner from your porter. Again, another Zagat triumph of laziness.

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  14. even within these cities this list is bad. it's titled beer "destinations". well, often i find myself go for a drive to leave Chicago to visit a certain brewery in Indiana. that is what i call a destination for craft beer. meanwhile, there is a certain place in chicago on this list that has continued to disappoint me especially with their beer and less so their food.

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    1. There is a new brewery in southern Indiana called the Tin Man, it's great check it out.

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  15. You need to get out more.

    A "craft beer destination" is not a hoity-toity bar in NYC or DC, it's a brewery or brewpub where the people who craft the beer serve it to you. For instance, the Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, Vermont, or Oskar Blues in Lyons, Colorado or the above mentioned Stone Brewery... (Though the article did find the Cambridge Brewery...)

    If you live for craft beer, you seek the source to find the truth.

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  16. These are just bars where yuppies go to be scene, there is nothing crafty about them

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  17. If you really like beer and you get the chance - drop in to the brewery at Abita Springs, Louisiana. Just north of New Orleans, they open the taps for free serve yourself samples, walk you through their operation, then let you drink more free beer! Many varieties, excellent taste, a must on the bucket list of any aficionado.

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  18. As usual you have completely ignored the West Coast and some of the best craft brewers and pubs in the world. Your East Coast bias is just plain ignorance.

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  19. What about the Denver/Boulder area? Dozens of craft breweries with more coming on all the time.

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  20. Funny how everything from Zagat is always from the same places, Boston, DC, NY, LA, SF, and Austin. These people suck.

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  21. While these are great places to visit. I must concede: THIS LIST IS HORRIBLY INCOMPLETE. San Diego? Delaware? Denver? Portland? SEATTLE <<my hometown! (And that's just naming a few off the top of my head!)
    To leave these cities out of ANY list, paying hommage to the craft beer "destinations" is...well...sacrilege. :(

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  22. This list is a joke. I live in New England (Boston) The only one that I have been to that deserves to be on the list is Monks in Philly. We have many better bars in Boston. One place that deserves to be on this list is Novare Res Bier Café in Portland Maine.

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  23. This list is taking quite a beating, and I find it lacking myself, but hey, its only a list of 24, and to cover the breadth of the craft beer world in the US, the list would have to be much longer. I picked out a couple of names that I knew nothing about and plan to visit, so thanks, but seriously... check out Portland Maine any time you want a great pub experience. So many great breweries and great brew pubs.

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  24. Very incomplete list. How about Sweetwater in Atlanta? Rather than putting multiple breweries per city, try just one good one each in more cities!

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    1. Sweetwater sucks! If ATL is a beer destination, it's for the beer bars and brewpubs, not the frat boy hangout. No mention of Brick Store Pub or the Porter, the top beer bars in the country! Visit Atlanta!

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  25. I live in Boston and I'm shocked at how bad this list is. It's quite possibly the worst list I've ever seen. And Williamstown is not anywhere near the Boston area by the way.

    You forgot a ton of cities and some world-class spots in Boston like the Publick House and Sunset.

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  26. Crap list. Not one place from the Great Beer State of Michigan.

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  27. Vermont has the most breweries per capita in the country and it's not on this list?!

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  28. This is a lame list. Boulder, CO has some of the best breweries in the country. Avery Brewing should be on the list.

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  29. Hmmm, a "Must-Visit" craft-beer destination list that doesn't include San Diego, Portland, Seattle, and Denver/Boulder? Just lost credibility, Zagat; do not mess with the craft beer crowd...

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  30. At the risk of beating a dead horse, this list loses credibility by claiming breadth ("around the US") while actually having an extremely narrow viewpoint. It focuses on gastropubs that are on the beaten path in large cities. I'm sure these places are great to visit (and I've been to a few), but I would fall short of calling them "must-visits."

    The fact that Seattle, Portland, and Denver/Boulder are left off of this list is evidence of its large-metropolis focus. These cities are commonly thought of as the best in the nation at supplying craft beer. The fact that Jester King and the Whip In (both in the Austin area) are omitted is evidence of a lack of research. They're off the beaten path, but widely known by beer nerds in that city (one that was included on the list).

    I can think of five places within three miles of my house in Seattle that are better craft beer destinations than the ones I've been to on this list.

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    1. I can think of sewage drains that are far more palatable than all of Seattle.

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  31. San Diego metropolitan area has 65 craft breweries and counting. Don't you think that maybe there are a few good craft beer bars there? As well as major craft brewing centers like Portland, Asheville, Seattle, Denver?

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  32. What can one say about a list that does not include Portland and Seattle? I tried the beer in Austin and can only say it's nice warm weather beer. C'mon already!

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  33. What about Portland ME and OR and Seattle? You could expand the list to at least 100!!

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  34. I agree with Jill B. To leave Asheville, NC off any list of Craft Beer destinations shows the author is completely out of touch. Their daily newspaper even has a "Beer Guy" columnist.
    http://www.facebook.com/Ashevillebeerguy

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  35. I would like to say, without hyperbole, that this is the worst craft beer article I have ever read. This list is so laughably naive, that had it been posted anywhere but ZAGAT I would have ignored it, assuming it to be the work of trolls or at least some doe-eyed newbie who just discovered that there are beers on the market beside Bud Light.
    Portland (OR, as if I had to say) is called Beervana for a reason. In addition to being the cradle of the modern craft and home brewing movements, it is the home of the most craft breweries in the world, as well as some of the best. To leave it without mention in any modern brewing article is to be totally ignorant of American craft brewing culture, and good beer.
    Leaving Seattle, San Diego, and Denver/Boulder further proves how tone deaf and uninformed this list really is. That the list is largely populated by upscale gastropubs that are easily accessible in large, East Coast metro areas drives home how very, very lazy ZAGAT's contributors are and speaks to a much greater institutional stupidity. Ignorant, East Coast-centric drivel, F+

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    1. Classic Portland hipster whining. Oregon is the center of all things pedantic. How dare anyone mention beer and not bow before the world's most arrogant brewing "culture."

      Get over yourself, girlfriend.

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  36. Another title for the article: "24 Random Choices from the best 3,586 Craft Beer Desitinations in the US." Any top 20 list should include Max's in Baltimore -- they not only have over 100 taps, but the beer is almost always in top condition.

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  37. I am so disappointed by the lack of geographical diversity in this article I've unsubscribed as I feel I can only longer trust Zagat's opinion on anything.

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  38. Every single commentator so far is right, and every single one of you missed the point. The title of the article is "24 Must-Visit Craft Beer Destinations Around the U.S." It is NOT "The Best 24..." or "The Only 24..." or anything like it. It's just a list of 24 places that the writer and editor have been kind enough to pass along to the rest of us. And the fact that there are multiple establishments per city included is great for the target audience here: visitors. Going to Philly? Great. Here are some places to check out. New York coming up? Try these. That's all the article is purporting to do.

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  39. How they missed the capital of craft beer, Portland, I have no idea!

    Tim

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