19 Key US Cities To Visit In The Craft Beer Revolution

If you're someone who loves a cold beer on a hot day, you know nothing else hits quite like it. There are so many styles of beer that almost anyone can find one they like. If you're into more interesting flavors, you probably have enjoyed beers made by craft breweries. Craft beers are specialty beers that are more unique than traditional pilsners or lagers. They may be harder to find and are more limited in their release — but craft breweries are independently owned and not produced by a mass production company. 

This is what makes a craft beer: It has to be made with real malt. Because of that, these beers tend to be full of flavor, and they have more depth. Craft beers can be found all over the world. The United States has a ton of great options — and there are some cities, in particular, known for their craft breweries and beers. If you're looking to venture out and search for the best craft beers, here are our picks for the key U.S. cities to visit. 

Burlington, VT

If you're looking to drink some craft beers as well as ski and snowboard in the winter, Burlington, Vermont is a smart choice for a destination. It's an area of the country that offers everything an outdoorsy person would want, plus plenty of delicious craft beers to take on those journeys. There are 67 craft breweries in Vermont, so for a state that isn't large, the craft beer scene is top-notch. Burlington is home to a number of those, including Zero Gravity Brewing, which features six always-available beers plus numerous specialty options at its brewery. You can also take a tour of Switchback Brewery, which is 100% employee-owned, and enjoy one of their double IPA Cat-line beers. 

Enjoy a Burlington craft beer journey with a City Brew Tour that lets you taste up to 16 local craft beers. Burlington is also great because it's only 43 minutes away from another one of Vermont's gem breweries, The Alchemist, in Stowe. It is the second highest-rated regional brewery on Untappd. If you want to visit Burlington in the summer rather than winter, check out the Vermont Brewers Festival in July. 

San Diego, CA

Known for beautiful weather and relaxation, San Diego is packed with plenty to do. This city is where a ton of big-name craft breweries got their start and continue to operate, giving beer lovers lots of options to enjoy. There are more than 130 breweries or micropubs, offering a multitude of choices and styles to taste. You may have enjoyed some Ballast Point – they brewed their first beer in 1996 in the city. Other well-known offerings include Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Modern Times Beer, AleSmith, and more.

These breweries are well-known locally and internationally, so you can find some of your favorite flavors or try new ones. AleSmith was awarded the 2008 Small Brewing Company and Brewer of the Year awards at the Great American Beer Festival. Walking through the Gaslamp District delivers a lively nightlife and lots of beer-tasting options. If you're looking for a time of year to target visiting, San Diego Beer Week takes place each November and is a 10-day festival celebrating the best the city has to offer. 

Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee, Wisconsin is synonymous with beer. It has been dubbed "the beer capital of the world" because of all the large beer companies that have had homes there, including Miller, Pabst, Blatz, Gettelman, and Schlitz. The city's baseball team is called the Brewers, after all. While Milwaukee still has plenty of recognizable breweries, the ever-evolving craft beer scene is also something to take in. This offers visitors the ability to enjoy classic or craft beers at every turn. For instance, you can enjoy crowdsourced beers at MobCraft Beer or help pick the next one they make or you can visit the Pabst Mansion to learn some history about the city's brewing. 

Milwaukee Brewing Co, Eagle Park Brewing Company, and Company Brewing all offer unique flavors and locales to boost the city's craft beer credibility. Eagle Park is in the garage of an old tannery. There are also craft beer festivals each year all over Milwaukee, including the Milwaukee Brewfest in July and the Firkin Fest, which lets you drink, dance, and enjoy time outside in the city. Don't miss a trip to "Milwaukee's Original Biergarten" at Old Heidelberg Park while you're walking around town too.

Grand Rapids, MI

While Milwaukee may be known as the "beer capital of the world," Grand Rapids, Michigan is "Beer City USA." The city has won the title in national polls multiple times, mostly because there are more than 40 craft breweries within a 30-minute drive. Beer tourism is one of the backbones of the economy, as there are many beer-forward tourist attractions and packages available, including the Beer City Hotel packages. You can also become an Ultimate Brewsader with a Beer City Passport. The city relied on brewing in the pre-Prohibition days and the craft beer scene has built up over the past 60 years. 

Founders Brewing Company is the most well-known craft brewery in the area, as the All Day IPA can be found almost anywhere. Sit outside at Greyline Brewing Co. or sit inside in a chapel at Brewery Vivant. Plus, if you want to venture outside the city, Grand Rapids is less than an hour away from Comstock, MI, home of Bell's Brewery

Portland, ME

A city right on the Northeast coast, Portland, Maine is known for lobsters, scenic views, and of course, craft beers. It is one of the largest cities in the state and takes advantage of cramming in a ton in that area. It's a city for foodies, as it has a vibrant food scene, and also for beer lovers, thanks to the fact that it has more breweries per capita than any other city in the United States. Allagash is the biggest pull in the city, as the Allagash White may be the most known witbier in America.

But there are a lot of other options to check out, including The Shipyard, which sponsors concerts all spring and summer. Oxbow Blending and Bottling is known for aging and blending its beers, such as farmhouse ales. Bissell Brothers offers cornhole and trivia, if you're looking for a more local night out. Mast Landing's Wavy Days Beer Fest is a way to celebrate the summer, as breweries from all over the country come to show off their wares.

Portland, OR

Heading to the completely opposite side of the country from the other Portland, Portland, Oregon has one of the most famous craft beer scenes in the United States. There are more than 70 craft breweries in the city and Portland has been highlighting craft beers since 1985. There is something for every beer lover, as it's a city you can walk around and stumble into hundreds of styles of beers. If you love IPAs, Portland is known for them. There are more than 70 IPAs made in Portland.

Widmer Brothers is one of the oldest breweries in town, but that doesn't mean it's outdated. It just won the 2023 Large Size Brewery of the Year at the Best of Craft Beer Awards. Perhaps you love hazy IPAs. You can thank Great Notion Brewing in Portland, as they started brewing them in 2016. If you're more of a lager fan, Wayfinder Beer hones in on them. For sours, head over to Cascade Brewing. There's something for every beer lover in Portland.

Asheville, NC

There's so much to do in Asheville, North Carolina, no wonder it is a top destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties. There are breweries, bar tours, and beers to be consumed all throughout this city. The Blue Ridge Mountains are off in the distance, giving the city a great mix of rural and urban feels. There are more than 100 local beers from the city that you can enjoy in bottles or on tap. If you want to see a lot of the city in one afternoon, jump on a Pubcycle tour that allows you to make your way to each brewery and bar on a large bike that you and your friends pedal. You can also opt for a Brews Cruise bus tour if you don't want to exert too much energy before drinking.

The city is also using beer in interesting ways, incorporating it into mustard at Highland Brewing, ice cream at Ultimate Ice Cream, and even IPA soap from Asheville Brewing Company. For a city this obsessed with beer, it's no surprise it was named the original Beer City USA back in 2009. 

Boulder, CO

When people think of brewing in Colorado, most people will think of Coors. But there is so much more to the Centennial State than that, and Boulder shows just why. Not only is it a college town (University of Colorado) but it offers an urban feel with majestically scenic mountain views. When it comes to craft breweries, Boulder has around 20 options for you to hop to and there are even tours built in that allow you to enjoy the craft beer scene as well as the outdoors. There are multiple taprooms you can tour, if you're curious how the beer is made in the foothills. 

Sanitas Brewing is a top option for unique tastes and the tacos from McDevitt Taco Supply are a can't miss. If you're looking for some fun and games to go along with delicious beer, Finkel and Garf has an entertainment-based taproom and you shouldn't miss the 2017 Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal Winner Oatmeal Milk Stout. Twisted Pine Brewing Company offers up numerous German Helles, pilsners, and Kolsch-style beers that are light and crisp. With all that's going on here, it's easy to see why (in 2023-2024) it was named the #4 best city to live in the U.S. 

Fort Collins, CO

Another offering from the Mountain Time Zone is Fort Collins, Colorado, which has a more concentrated craft beer scene than some of the other sprawling cities on this list. Fort Collins has nearly 30 breweries, so there's likely something for everybody. Not only are there craft breweries, but craft cideries have also become popular in the city, giving visitors plenty to enjoy. The most well-known offering from Fort Collins is New Belgium Brewing, whose Fat Tire can be found all over. Head over for a Voodoo Ranger, do some yoga on the lawn, and immerse yourself in a food truck scene that's out of this world.

If you're interested in Belgian beers, Funkwerks is where you need to go. With multiple Saison ales on their menu as well as barrel-aged beers or fruited sours, there's a lot to like and take home with you. If you like German-style beers, Zwei Brewing is the place to visit. Their lagers and Weissbiers will bring you to Bavaria. Use some of the beer you bought at one of these stops at home, with the "Cooking with Beer in Colorado" cookbook. 

Houston, TX

As the fourth most populous city in America, Houston has a lot going for it. The food, sports, and business scene are all well-known and you're in the city of NASA. So for out-of-this-world craft beers, this city has something to say about it. There's a unique way to hop around the city to check out craft breweries, and that's with the Houston Brew Pass. You can choose a one-day pass that lets you go to four breweries, a three-day pass that allows you to visit 15 breweries, or a 90-day pass that lets you keep visiting your favorite spots for three months.

Speaking of NASA, True Anomaly is run by former NASA employees — and their beers are incredibly unique, including the Rocket Park Pale Ale and Sky Lab American IPA. Other local joints include Spindletap Brewery, which has great indoor and outdoor facilities as well as hazy IPAs, which they are known for. Eureka Heights has different offerings throughout the year, including its L.A.B.S. (limited awesome beer series), which delivers some wild flavors. Visit Houston and you're bound to find a beer you've never seen before.

Boston, MA

Boston is one of the most populous cities in the country and is home to colleges, iconic landmarks, and hundreds of bars and pubs. Some of the most well-known craft breweries started in Boston — and still call it home. The offerings from Samuel Adams is at the top of the list when it comes to most widely available beers from the area. A Boston lager goes a long way, but that isn't all that Sam Adams has. It recently won the silver medal at the Best of Craft Beer Awards in the Fruit & Field Brews category for Epic Squeeze. Harpoon Brewery is another very popular option, as the Harpoon IPA claims to be New England's original IPA. You can find lighter and heavier beers in its portfolio.

Aeronaut Brewing Company is in Somerville, MA, just outside the city. On top of unique can designs and a great lineup of IPAs and double IPAs, you can enjoy open mic and trivia night routinely, adding to the far out vibe of the taproom.. On the other side of town, Dorchester Brewing Company has multiple New England IPAs on tap if that's your preferred taste. Boston is also where Trillium Brewing began, and the Canton, MA-based brewery is the 3rd ranked regional brewery on Untappd. You can find so much in the surrounding areas that craft beer fans have endless options to try.

Greater Los Angeles, CA

The glitz and glamour of Hollywood pale in comparison to the craft beer scene in Greater Los Angeles. Okay, so we're just kidding, of course, but the area has staked a claim as to one of the best in the country for microbreweries and nanopubs. There's always something to do anywhere in this city — and that certainly includes finding craft beer. If you have eclectic tastes, similar to the very diverse population of the city, Angel City Brewing is the spot for you. You can find an Angel City IPA or Pilsner to enjoy, or you can try more unique options like the Little Tokyo "Super Dry" Japanese rice lager or the Avocado Ale made from avocados. 

Beer Thug Brewing aims to introduce craft brewing to Latin American culture with beers like Los Dos Amigos and Mole Michelada. Because L.A. is sprawling, you can find craft breweries all over. The Greater Eastside, in particular, has built up a strong portfolio, which includes Beer Thug as well as Alosta Brewing Company, which has ales and hard seltzers. Just down the street from Alosta is Arrow Lodge, which has completely different styles, like Berliner Weiss, IPAs, and hazy IPAs. On another side of town, Claremont Craft Brewing has 25 different beers on tap. While you're likely to get snared in traffic if you try and go from one side of the city to the other, you'll be able to get good beer no matter where you end up.

Bend, OR

In the part of the country where it resides, Bend, Oregon is soaked in sunshine and natural beauty. There are plenty of outdoor activities to partake in, as there are quality hiking trails and fantastic fishing to be had. But it's also a haven for world-renowned craft brewing. Multiple breweries in the area recently won awards at the 2023 World Beer Cup. And 10 Barrel Brewing, in particular, took home four awards, including gold medals in Field Beer and Honey Beer. 

When you're visiting Bend, head over to Sunriver Brewing Company, which was just named Best Medium Sized Brewery at the Best of Craft Beer Awards. The brewery is committed to the mountains, forests, lakes, and rivers that surround the area, and using the ingredients from the land to experiment with fun styles. If you want to take a look at how fun and funky beers are made, stop by Deschutes Brewing Company and sample some of the large array of beers, ranging from pilsners to sours to ales. For nature and brewing, Bend has it all.

Tampa, FL

The weather in Tampa is something to marvel at, which means it's always a good time to sit outside and enjoy a beer. There are more than 400 breweries in Florida, and about 100 of them are a short drive from Tampa. Whether you're in Tampa proper or St. Petersburg, you have plenty of options to find locally brewed beers that will excite you. One of the most popular offerings in the area was Cigar City Brewing, which was purchased in 2022. But if you're looking for craft breweries, there are still plenty. Zydeco Brew Werks is a New Orleans-inspired brewery with a beer collection of different styles, including Russian, German, American, and New Zealand.

Tampa Bay Brewing Company utilizes some of Florida's best produce with strawberry, orange, and more fruit-forward beers. Enjoy sours, IPAs, APAs, and more. Woven Water Brewing Company has a bunch of sours and blurry IPAs on tap, so it's a great spot for all kinds of palates. If you want to visit Tampa at a specific time to enjoy beers, Tampa Bay Beer Week takes place every March. 

Chicago, IL

The Windy City may be known for a lot of things, such as Italian beef sandwiches, the Chicago River, and sports championships — but it's also known for craft beers. This is a fine dining town with a bustling food scene and craft brewery agenda that's just as bountiful. Chicago breweries can be found in neighborhoods throughout the city — so rest assured, you're always near some craft brews. Goose Island is one of the most well-known craft breweries in the country, and it's housed right in West Town. 

Check out Malt Row, also known as Ravenswood Corridor, for a great cluster of breweries. Half Acre Beer is here and it comes with a beautiful tap room and beer garden that hosts local events. Plus, there's a great lineup of ales to imbibe. Spiteful Brewing is also in that area and you can get draughts, cans, and even seltzers and ciders from guest breweries. If you're looking for a more low key night, go over to the Pilsen and Bridgeport neighborhood and get some eats at Alulu Brewery and Pub. Small-batch brews are all made in-house and there are two dozen options. Enjoy American and Eastern European cuisine. Chicago has the food and drinks you want.

New York, NY

People may not believe that a city as big as New York would pay enough attention to something like craft beers, but that's far from the truth. While people may think of New York City for many other things — tall buildings, crowds of people, and loads of entertainment come to mind — it also has a great craft beer scene. There are five boroughs in the city and there are highlights in each borough that will make craft beer lovers swoon. In Brooklyn, Other Half Brewing features a list of IPAs of all kinds of flavors and styles. It's also #4 on the best regional brewery Untappd list. 

The Harlem Brewing Company is serving up historical-inspired brews that celebrate the history of the borough. The Bronx Brewery brews not too far from Yankee Stadium and then sells its beer in a few spots across the city, including on E 136th St. In Sunnyside, Queens, Alewife Brewing is a relatively new brewery, having opened in 2021. It is an all-immigrant run brewery, the only one in NYC, and its lineup of beers are mostly related to its surrounding Queens neighborhood. 

Torch & Crown Brewing Company labels itself as "Manhattan's Brewery." You'll find hazy IPAs, citra IPAs, and even fruited sours here. A bonus pick that covers all the boroughs is Five Boroughs Brewing Company, which has seasonal and staple beers available all over the Tri-State area.

Pittsburgh, PA

The Steel City is a mindset of toughness and hard work. It's also an ideal place to find some delicious beer, with more than 40 breweries in the area. Take a trip through the city with the help of the Pittsburgh Brewery Trail, which allows you to map out a route to as many breweries as you want. If you'd like to get the best of the city without having to travel from brewery to brewery, Pittsburgh is known for its beer festivals that are held at different times of the year.

Beers of the Burgh festival takes place in June and celebrates local breweries. The Pittsburgh Beerfest is in July and offers more than 150 local beers as well as drinks from craft wineries and distilleries. The Barrel & Flow Fest is in August and is "America's Best Black Arts and Craft Beer Festival." For crazy flavors, Strange Roots brewery mixes a farmhouse brewing process with experimental ales to deliver some wild flavors like PB&J and Tartburst Guava Coconut. 

Lexington, KY

You may think of bourbon when you think of Lexington and the surrounding areas of Kentucky. But there is a burgeoning craft brewery scene that's up and coming. Forget the Bourbon Trail and take a look at the Brewgrass Trail. You sign up for a free pass on your phone, and when you visit a participating brewery, you can show a code for special discounts. Many of the breweries are dog-friendly, so your pup can earn a Brewgrass Pup Club membership as well. It's Lexington's way of trying to bring visitors to the breweries like Ethereal Brewing, which has a wide variety of styles and flavors but highlights sours above all. 

West Sixth Brewing has a long list of draught beers ranging from gose to black IPAs. Country Boy Brewing has beers you can enjoy every day, like Cougar Bait, or ones that you'll want to save for special occasions. For a more advanced beer drinker, Goodwood Brewing is known for its barrel aged brews. Lexington is no longer just known for spirits and the University of Kentucky.

Cincinnati, OH

Just a stone's throw from Kentucky is another city with a rich history in brewing and distilling: Cincinnati. There are more than 80 breweries in the region and you can see so many of them on the Cincy Brew Bus tour. You can go on beer tours, wine and bourbon tours, or specialty tours, and drive safely around the city, trying local favorites. Another must-do in the Queen City is choosing a Brewing Heritage Tour that lets you see breweries as well as other landmarks you're interested in — for example, you can visit every place in the city the Cincinnati Reds have played. You'll get a flavor for all the historic distilling and brewing in the city and Over-the-Rhine.

Rhinegeist is an award-winning brewery that just won the best American-style cream ale at Beer World Cup. The rooftop taproom is perfect for a sunny day. MadTree Brewing uses 1% of its sales to help environmental non-profits, so you can feel good about drinking their beers. They also offer craft canned vodka sodas. Urban Artifact offers many fruit-forward tart beers that are ideal for the spring and summer. You can also get married at the brewery's main hall, The Reliquary.