When you think about the microbrew capital of the USA, cities like Austin, San Diego, Portland, Asheville, and even Virginia Beach probably come to mind. Battling out for the number one title, any of the inhabitants will easily claim their city as the best. The truth, however, may surprise you. In a comparison of quality brews versus quantity, The Pudding did a few calculations and found that Santa Rosa, California is number one.
Santa Rosa? I know that many of you are probably instantly outraged and doing a massive Google search on America's top beer city, but according to the their research "when you boil it down to a weighted blend of quality (beer ratings) and quantity (breweries in proximity), Santa Rosa tops the list."
It certainly is not the first city to come to mind. But, when you hear Santa Rosa, you immediately think Russian River Brewing. And with that comes highly sought-after brews like Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger, Supplication, and Consecration. With one of the top breweries in the nation like this located in Santa Rosa, it does start to put things into perspective.
If you were to mess with the data, though, increasing quantity versus quality, you would find that Santa Rosa no longer tops the list. At 100 percent quantity - and zero quality - Denver tops the list, with Santa Rosa coming in at number twelve. And watch what happens to Austin as quantity increases, it climbs its way from fourteenth place to eighth place.
Which is not to say that Denver and Austin don't have some damn good beers - along with all the other cities on the list - but you need to remember it is a computer equation figuring it all out, so it can't really test what it's judging.
For now, Santa Rosa can be number one, but that may not last long. With more cities becoming beer-centric as people go crazy over their local suds, Santa Rosa will have a run for its money. Just take a look at the breweries per capita.
According to this info, if you consider the most breweries per capita to be the biggest beer loving city, Vermont takes the cake, with Montana and Wyoming not far behind. Tell people in cities like Austin or San Diego that, and they may challenge you to a brewery crawl to prove their city as number one.
While all us beer lovers will claim our hometown as the best beer city in America, the one thing we can all agree on is that we love quality beer.
If you're curious to see what happens when you adjust the quality and quantity, mess with the data here.