Milwaukee is the official winner – Best Beer City

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I just wanted to declare that Milwaukee is now officially the best beer city. My declaration is based on a scientific measure that took years to develop. This is in no way a measure that I came up with in 10 minutes over lunch. Margin for error: .000123% Here are the measurement criteria:

*5 points for having a giant brewery (St. Louis has to be the only 5 point score for this one, but Mil and Den can get 4 and other cities with large craft breweries can get a couple)
*5 points for having quality micro-brews
*5 points for having a strong beer history
*5 points for having a strong current beer identity
*5 points for # of award winning beers at the Great American Beer Festival
*5 points for # of bars per capita

I started by comparing 9 major cities I think of when I think of beer drinking:
Milwaukee (26 – 4,3,5,5,4,5), Denver area (24 – 4,5,3,4,4,4), Chicago (assuming theft of Pabst legit – 23 – 3,3,4,4,4,5), St. Louis (23-5,3,5,4,2,3), Philly (21 – 2,4,5,4,4,4), St. Paul/Minneapolis (21 – 2,4,5,3,3,4), Portland (20), Seattle (20), Boston (20). Places like Detroit were left out because their present culture is weak (used to be decent), and places like Las Vegas and New Orleans were left out because they really only have high marks for beer culture and maybe # of bars. I thought of some college towns too, but in trial phases of the testing, none could score over 19.

Please feel free to send in any other candidates that may be worthy of consideration. Or, feel free to apply this incredible scientific measure to figure out where your recommended city would fall.

UPDATE: Steve writes: We may have to include San Antonio now, as it is the oddly-out-of-place home of Pabst.

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4 Responses to “Milwaukee is the official winner – Best Beer City”

  1. Rich Says:

    I am originally from Wisconsin and I would not have believed it until I moved here but Columbus, Ohio is a pretty big beer drinking town. They have a major Budweiser brewery here on the north side of town. Columbus is now ranked the 15th largest city in the US at over 700,000 in population. If you include the metro region that goes up to about 1.7 million population. Most people don’t even realize that Columbus is the largest city in Ohio let alone the the 15th largest in the nation. OSU can put down some beer dude. German Village also has many fine micro brews. I would bet you probably never even considered Columbus in your post.

  2. awhayes Says:

    Great comment Rich. I did think of Columbus but only in passing as I tried to think of major University towns that party hard (Madison, Columbus, Gainesville, East Lansing, Austin). But I did not realize Columbus is the largest city in Ohio. You also raise a good point: there are some cities that have major satellite breweries for the big beer companies like Bud and Miller – and in the rating system, they should probably get at least a couple points under the “major brewery” category. How would you score Columbus according to the fool-proof, scientific measure?

  3. Rich Says:

    I think I would give it a 20 for total. Their Budweiser brewery now runs in the top third of the 12 Budweiser breweries turning out about 10 million barrels a year. 4s across the board with 2s for beer history and awards. Historically they were pretty good early but died out in the 50s. After that was when Budweiser moved in.

  4. Garratt Says:

    This article puts major emphasis on mega brewery cities. A refined and educated beer drinker knows mega breweries are for the ignorant. If you like watered down flavorless lagers (i.e. the great american lager/no such thing) then Miller puts Milwaukee over the top. Now, I know they have great beer there as well, but I put Portland, Boston, and San Francisco far ahead of Milwaukee and St. Louis

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