No surprise, the Huffington Post gets craft beer wrong, again.
I don't know why people even read their stuff, especially when they talk about beer. They really, really just don't get it. Their most recent one is something about the 7 Best Cities for Beer. An admirable pursuit, to be sure.
As one tries to anticipate some of the top cities for beer, as a challenge to be correct before reading, a few cities probably pop into ones head. Portland, the Oregon one not Maine (you probably need to know J. Geils to get that reference, c'mon, No Anchovies, Please?), will often be the first to most knowledgeable craft beer people. Then what, San Fransisco? Denver? In this area, most of us would also immediately throw Asheville in there. I mean, they've only been voted the Beer Capitol of the country for about five years in a row, until Grand Rapids, Mich. finally ended that run.
So let's look at their list. First is Portland, Ore. Way to go! Then, in order, Denver, San Diego (so far so good), Boston (?), Philly (?), Austin, Tex. (?), finally San Fransisco. Great start but it completely fell apart after that. Hell, the Nashville area has more breweries than Boston and Philly combined.
So, what is the criteria? Boston has the largest selling craft brewer in Boston Beer Company. So what? Great beer, but I'd rather go to Yazoo, or something along that scale. And if production is a key attribute, why is Chico, Cal. not on the list. The country's number two brewer by volume is Sierra Nevada, in little Chico. Nicknamed the City of Roses with a booming population of about 85,000. How about Kalamazoo, Mich? Home of Bell's Brewery (#7 craft brewer), K-Zoo (to those in the know) is also the home of Western Michigan University. Tim Allen went there until he was busted for selling pot. Oops. Should have gone to U of M ($10 fine, at the time). Hey, Petaluma, home of the number four brewery Lagunitas (formerly of Lagunitas). The World Wrist Wrestling Championship was held there from 1952-2003, so losing that is kinda tough, but they do still have the Butter and Egg Days Parade.
Okay, so that is not it. But that precludes Boston from the list. There are only nine breweries in Boston, and only three in Philadelphia (but, to be fair, eighteen in the area), but that includes the Small Brewery of the Year, twice I think, in Iron Hill Brewery.
To me, the number, and therefore variety, is pretty important. So let's consider some beer cities that didn't make the list, somehow. North Carolina has very much become a craft beer destination. Asheville, with about fifteen breweries, is the best know. But Charlotte is coming on fast. A beautiful, and fun, city, they have twelve breweries open, several new this year, with many more in the works (like most craft beer cities). The big craft beer area of North Carolina will probably surprise many, that being the Research Triangle of Raleigh/Durham, with 25 breweries. Including Fullsteam, Triangle, Carolina, Lonerider, Crankarm, and Gizmo.
Florida is turning into a craft beer destination state as well. The renowned Cigar City joins fourteen other craft brewers in the Tamba Bay area. Also, the great Mile Marker Brewery and Intuition Ale Works join ten others in the Jacksonville area.
Michigan, number five in the country for craft beer, has been a destination for years, thanks to favorable laws (unlike, say, Tennessee, for instance). Bells of Kalamazoo joins six others, Grand Rapids, the new Beer City, has eight, including the great Founders, and Traverse City features seven including the great Shorts Brewery and Jolly Pumpkin. Metro Detroit has 25 including Atwater Block Brewery. Ohio is coming on strong with nine in Cleveland and Cincinatti, and ten in Columbus, including the great Four String Brewery. Wisconsin has the beautiful Madison, featuring New Glarus Brewing Co., and five others.
So what cities really, really should have been included. How about Los Angeles, with fifty percent more breweries than both San Diego and San Fransisco? Why Austin (outside of Jester King, of course), when San Antonio has 25 and Houston has 21 breweries?
But there are two that are glaring omissions. The first being Chicago. Chicago has turned into a major craft beer destination as Lagunitas has discovered. They put their east production facility in the Chicago area, and are along with 55 other breweries. I think Seattle is the number one omission, though. A long time travel and craft beer destination, the area in home to 62 breweries featuring Emerald City and Pyramid.
Phew. Okay, how about checking the author. Well, she thinks there is a brewery called Anchor Steam. Wrong! There is a great beer named Anchor Steam, made by the Anchor Brewing Company, America's first craft brewer (Anchor Steam was first made in 1896). She also thinks “the number of local craft brewers is at an all time high.” Not even close. She missed that one by about 1,400. So, clearly she doesn't really know craft beer. So, why is this highly inaccurate, poorly written, ill-advised, and just plain wrong article being reposted and making the social media rounds? Hmmm, is this written for the HuffPost? Sort of. Apparently it was originally written for oyster dot com, the “hotel tell all.” What? The hotel tell all? What does that have to do with beer? Nothing, obviously! Nevermind. Oh, and in case you were wondering? Portland, Maine, 29.
Time for a pint. Cheers!