What the Hell is Beer City USA ?

Posted on May 28, 2010


Beer City USA is officially Asheville North Carolina. Never heard of it? Well neither had I until last Christmas when Asheville was mentioned by many people while in Oregon. Nobody seemed to know anything about it, or even what beer they were famous for? but they termed it a Beer City.

The list of possible Cities this year in the Papazian survey was diverse, though missing a few cities that should have been shown. The results were the following;

1. Asheville, NC 7389 38.8%
2. Portland, OR 6565 34.5%
3. San Diego, CA 884 4.6%
4. Philadelphia, PA 600 3.2%
5. Missoula, MT 515 2.7%
6.  St. Louis, MO 421 2.2%
7. Seattle, WA 362 1.9%
8. Denver, CO 234 1.2%
9. Milwaukee, WI 227 1.2%
10 Fort Collins, CO 210 1.1%
(All Figures are from the Results on Charlies article here) 

It appeared to be a survey that was for fun, in jest as part of American Beer week that has just passed. This very unscientific survey appeared to be taken serious by some, but not many. I voted a few times for Denver, Seattle, Portland Oregon.

SO what is Beer City according to Papazian? who is famous for creating the Great American Beer Festival every September in Denver and writing many books on beer. He’s one of the bigger beer Author names in the US.

BeerCity USA 2010 is a chance for local beer communities to express their enthusiasm and support for their local breweries and local better beer bars, restaurants, stores and distributors.  Let’s have some fun.”

In promoting new communities and cities/towns in the US that are growing their craft beer industry is important. Though I travel frequently and seek out beer bars in major cities, they are sometimes hard to find, or getting a decent beer is difficult. Major hotel chain restaurants always carry bud/coors/usual suspects such as the obligatory Guinness. So towns supporting craft beer such as Asheville are likely deserved winners, especially as people who have traveled there were impressed by the culture.

Instead of having 1 bar with 160 taps, there are 9 breweries in Asheville and only 75,000 people. Give credit where its due. I’m not going to bag it out, due to loving Portland or Denver more, but say congrats in this fun survey.

IN terms of good beer cities, the West Coast still has the wood on other parts of the US, with Denver, San Fran, San Diego, Portland, Seattle and even Eugene.

The biggest Best events annually are held in respected beer cities such as Philly – Beer Week, Denver – GABF, San Fran – Beer Week, Portland – Brewers Festival. They may not be considered BEER CITY USA, but their events are some of the most respected in the beer communities on both sides of the coast.