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Top 5 Beer Cities & America’s Best Beers

Men’s Journal yesterday released their annual lists of beer, both America’s Best Beers and The Top Five Beer Towns in the U.S.. Let’s look at the top five cities first.

  1. San Diego
  2. New York City
  3. Portland
  4. Philadelphia
  5. Chicago

It’s nice to see San Diego get some much-deserved love. While I think New York has improved in it’s beer scene over the last few years, I still have a hard time seeing it as being superior to Portland or Philly. Of course, Men’s Journal, like many periodicals, is published in New York and it’s been my experience (I lived there for several years once upon a time) that New Yorkers have an over-developed sense of their central position in the world. Naturally, I would have liked to see San Francisco on the list, but really it’s the Bay Area in total that’s most deserving, not that just the city’s scene isn’t good, too.

As for the beers they highlight this year, it’s a pretty good list, I’m happy to say. I especially love their introduction, where they reveal what many of us in the beer world have been saying for a few years now: “American craft brews now dominate” around the world. Finishing with “[n]ow there’s no reason to travel farther than your nearest specialty grocery store for a perfect beer.” If only the grocery chains would catch up and stock a wider range of good beer.

The list is divided into five broad categories; ales, lagers, dark beers, Belgian-style and cutting edge. Authors Christian DeBenedetti and Seth Fletcher then chose three beers of each kind to come up their top 25. As subjective at these lists can be, I have to say Men’s Journal is getting better at picking their top beers. While there are plenty of other beers I might have put on such a list — as any two people would undoubtedly choose different beers — I can’t really quibble with any of the beers they picked, save one or two, but not even enough to mention. I’ll have to do my own list one of these days.

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