The Brewers Association released exciting news this month: There are now more than 3,000 breweries in the nation—cheers to that!
Not only do connoisseurs have a more varied selection of local craft beers to enjoy, but these quality-driven brews—and their accompanying trendy scenes—have a way of converting nonbelievers, too. Now, former beer skeptics and beer snobs alike can clink pint glasses and talk hops over a beer flight at their local brewpub or taproom.
While some cities throughout the country are known for having a well-established craft-brew scene, keep an eye on the following emerging beer cities.
St. Petersburg, Florida
A movement is underway in Florida, and this time it’s not the snowbirds flocking to its warmer climes. The Sunshine State’s St. Pete area is seeing a boom in the craft-brew movement, and it has established a handy guide to its craft-beer trail.
Look out for the up-and-comer Cycle Brewing from St. Pete, whose Rare D.O.S. brew, a bourbon-barrel-aged stout, was ranked in the top 100 by the analytical pros at BeerAdvocate and is considered the 27th-best beer in the world by reviewers at RateBeer.
Another medal winner to check out in the region is Rapp Brewing Company in Seminole, Florida. Rapp’s brews are earning awards right and left: gold medals in statewide competitions for its Munich Dunkel, Lichtenhainer, and Gose (all German-style beers); and RateBeer’s number-one-ranked Gose in the world.
You don’t have to be a craft-beer connoisseur to be familiar with the popular, nationally distributed Samuel Adams Brewery, but there’s much more master-brewing talent in the Boston area than the largest craft brewer in the U.S. Now taking the helm are lots of microbrewers throughout the city’s metro area.
Among the exiting new additions are several fun, young breweries, like the eclectic Night Shift Brewing. At two years old, Night Shift outgrew its previous space and moved to fresh digs that feature a chic taproom where the company’s Viva Habanera, Bee Tea, and other colorful barrel-aged brews go down smoothly. Among the other beers that might be on offer are Harborside, a Gose ale made with Island Creek oysters and infused with coriander, and Havana, a refreshing mint-mojito-inspired beer.
Slated to open this summer in Assembly Row is Somerville Brewing Company‘s outdoor beer garden, American Fresh Taproom, offering food service in shipping containers.
Taking the pretentious element out of the craft-brew biz are the awesome brewers at Clown Shoes Brewing. Imagine the hilarity that ensues when they toss out beer names like Hoppy Feet, Muffin Top, and Tramp Stamp in their boardroom meetings. But don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a tactic the three-year-old company uses to mask lame brews. Clown Shoes produces good beer with hops that will make you happy in bottles that will put a smile on your face.
Nashville is known for a great many things: launching many musicians’ careers, its BBQ, and even another trend, moonshine. What it hasn’t been on the map for is its beer. That is, until now.
According to NashvilleLifestyles.com, most readers enjoy a cold one at brewpubs Flying Saucer Draught Emporium and Jonathan’s Grille. However, it’s the new breweries popping up everywhere that are the shining stars, as demonstrated by the annual Nashville Craft Beer Week and the Nashville Predator’s Craft Beer Festival, in its second year running and with 65 breweries participating.
Based on research provided by the Brewers Association and neatly compiled into a cool interactive map by The New Yorker, the fastest-growing craft brewery in the nation is Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery. And Nashville’s craft-brewery trend is as strong today as it was more than a decade ago when one of the city’s first, Yazoo Brewing Company, threw open its doors in 2003.
New kids on the block in Music City include the Jackalope Brewing Company and Fat Bottom Brewing. (A note of caution: Fat Bottom’s intoxicating site is SFW but you’ll find yourself entranced by either the images of its full-bodied stouts or its beer labels’ full-bodied pinup girls.)
Compare Other Beer Cities Based on Value
Want to find more places to drink beer at a great value? We turned to FinancesOnline.com’s thorough infographic, The Price of Beer Around the World. We’re both dismayed and shocked at (1) the absolute cheapest place to sit and have a brew, and (2) how much more we’re paying for our bubbly here in the States.
The beer infographic, like its Big Mac Index counterpart, puts in perspective what you stand to spend on a destination’s everyday products, e.g. Big Macs, brews, etc., which is why it’s a helpful resource when planning a vacation. Or should we say beercation?
What’s your favorite craft-brew city?
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(Photo credits in order of appearance: Shutterstock, Rapp Brewing Company, and Patricia MagaÃ±a)