Thursday, March 4, 2010

"The 24 greatest cities in the world for drinking beer"

So, earlier today I stumbled across an article of sorts about "the 24 greatest cities in the world for drinking beer" and of course I was interested!  I was curious to see how many I have been to (that would be 11) and how many I'd been drinking in!  Unfortunately, that would be only 8 as my visits to Asheville, San Diego and San Francisco were in my younger non-drinking days. 

So, here are my thoughts on the 8 that made the list!  (In no particular order because the list is in no particular order...)

Dublin, Ireland
I certainly can't fault anyone for putting Dublin on their list of greatest cities to drink a beer, but I feel it's really an honor bestowed on Dublin for virtue of being the biggest city in Ireland.  This could just as easily be Galway, or Westport, or Dingle, or any small town in Ireland.  The whole country is crazy about beer and crazy about their pubs, with even the smallest of towns featuring multiple watering holes.  Sure, Dublin has the St. James Gate Brewery (total tourist trap) and more pubs that I can count (believe me I tried) but I'd focus more on the 'Ireland' than the 'Dublin' up there.

Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Really?  Atlanta?  Here is what they say: "Two award-winning production breweries operate in the city, Atlanta Brewing Company and Sweetwater, and brewpubs and great beer bars are scattered throughout. But for a real treat? Head to Decatur, where you'll find one of the nation's premier beer bars, the Brick Store Pub."  So, two breweries and a premiere beer bar that isn't even in the city proper qualifies for one of the 24 greatest cities to drink a beer in the world?  Yeah... no.  I think they threw Atlanta in as a nod to the growing beer scene in the South, but still, quite a stretch in my opinion.

Munich, Germany
I completely agree with this one, with a plethora of beer gardens, rich culture of drinking, famous locales like the Hofbräuhaus, and a little thing called Oktoberfest, Munich should make any top 5, let alone a top 24.  Atlanta boasts 2 breweries, Munich has 14 in the region, 6 in Munich proper... not to mention the brewpubs and beer bars.

Boston, Massachusetts
Alright, I'm really not all that well equipped to comment on Boston.  I've been there, I've drank there, and I've heard great things.  A quick search gives me 3 breweries in Boston (including Sam Adams, which is mostly brewed elsewhere, but still, it counts) and 7 brewpubs.  Not to mention countless beer bars.  I think it's a safe bet that Boston belongs on the list.  Really, this means I need to go back and pack my drinking shoes.

San Antonio, Texas, USA
Here's what the article says: "With its pedestrian-friendly climate and the Tex-Mex cuisine that invites pairing with good beer, the Riverwalk of San Antonio is a great city for beer drinking."  So I really think this one is included because of the place, not the beer.  Which is okay, but I find a hard time justifying a city with zero breweries and two brewpubs on this list.  It might be a spectacular place to grab a margarita or two to go with some chips and queso, but this one seems like it doesn't really belong.

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
After seeing San Antonio on the list I figured New Orleans would have to get a mention for the same reasons.  It's on the list primarily because of cheap huge-ass beers to go, no rules about open containers, bars that never close, and an infamous drinking culture.  New Orleans does feature two local breweries plus two regional beers on the North-shore.  Yeah, Dixie doesn't brew in New Orleans anymore after Katrina, but they are still a New Orleans founded brewery.  I suppose I can't argue that New Orleans isn't a great place to drink a beer, but in a totally different way than a place like Portland, Oregon or Brussels, Belgium. 

Seattle, Washington, USA
Other than New Orleans, this is my most recently visited city on the list.  In fact, the title image for this blog comes from a beer bar in Seattle called the Tap House Grill that featured 160 beers on tap.  According to BeerAdvocate, Seattle boasts 11 breweries and 15 brewpubs!  Eusebio and I visited the Pyramid brewery while we were there (great stuff) and had beers from several of the other ones.  I'll be headed back in July with Jay for our cousin's wedding so more drinking is sure to ensue.  Definitely a great city for any beer lover.

Baltimore, Maryland, USA
This one's similar to Boston for me, I've been there, I've had a few beers, but I don't really know enough to comment fully.  My first thought is that Baltimore probably doesn't belong.  Not when cities like London and New York are left off, not to mention that there is nothing from South America, Africa, Asia, or Australia on the list.  Upon further review, Baltimore is listed as having two breweries and 6 brew-pubs.  While not the worst choice on the list, it seems like a marginal choice at best.

And those are the cities on the list that I have been to and had a beer... next goal, make it to the rest of them!


  1. I agree. This article is silly. How could NYC and Chicago not be ahead of San Antonio and Atlanta? How can Madison, WI be on the list but Milwaukee, WI is nowhere to be found? How can there not be any representatives of South America, Asia, or Pacific Islands/Australia? Silly I tell you. Silly.

  2. Atlanta deserves to be on that list. Brick Store, Twain's, Five Season's, Max Lagers, The Porter, Taco Mac, Leon's, The Vortex, etc. You're not going to find many towns with a better lineup of places to get GREAT beers. Add to that the fact that the largest brewery in the southeast US is located there and they have plenty of great beverage stores, it is very hard to beat.

    The beer scene is really the only redeeming quality of Atlanta. As far as NOLA on the list, that's absolutely ridiculous, same can be said for San Antonio.

  3. I don't really know Atlanta all that well, but it just seemed a little out of place if you're doing 'the 24 best cities in the world to drink a beer'.

    I've since learned that the original write-up was a few different writers writing about 10 great cities to drink a beer (not the BEST) and then an editor mixed them all up and claimed the 24 best... so I can forgive the writers, but that's just shitty editing.