These Are the 15 Best Cities for Beer Lovers

Best Places

These Are the 15 Best Cities for Beer Lovers

Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Milwaukee top off the list

To get in gear for warmer months ahead, Redfin researched which cities have the attributes beer lovers need to thrive. We teamed with the Beer Institute to craft a list of the best cities for beer lovers. We ranked cities by:

  • The number of breweries in their state per 100,000 adults aged 21+
  • The number of active brewery permits in each state
  • State beer taxes (lower ranked better)
  • The median home sale price
  • The city’s Walk Score (don’t drink and drive!)

To top it off, Redfin real estate agents weighed in on their cities’ local beer scenes.

At the head of the list of the best cities for beer lovers were Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Milwaukee, and the majority were Rust Belt cities, powered by their relative affordability, low tax on beer and plenitude of breweries. The old guard of beer cities was well represented by the hometowns of Miller (Milwaukee), Budweiser (St. Louis) and Coors (Denver) placing in the top 10. On the West Coast, stalwarts like Seattle, Portland and San Francisco all placed highly, however the growing price of homes along the West Coast kept them from the top spots.

Here’s the full list.

BeerLovers_1280x960

1. Pittsburgh, PA

Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 3
Active Brewery Permits: 256
State Beer Tax: $.08 per gallon
Walk Score: 61
Median Home Sale Price: $150,200

“Pittsburgh has always been what I’d call ‘a beer and a shot town,’ with our blue collar roots. Back in the day, all the steel workers would meet at the bar for an Iron City beer and a shot of whiskey. Today, those roots are alive and well. You’ll still find Iron City in most bars, but we’re also seeing a boom in craft brewing. There are lots of microbreweries, particularly in the Southside.” – Keith Jimenez, Pittsburgh Redfin real estate agent

2. Buffalo, NY

Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 2
Active Brewery Permits: 294
State Beer Tax: $.14 per gallon
Walk Score: 67
Median Home Sale Price: $125,500

“Beer brings people together and that’s increasingly true in Buffalo. As Buffalo experiences a revival, so does our beer scene, with new breweries opening up all around the city. From the shadow of the Peace Bridge on Niagara Street, to Downtown, the Old First Ward and Larkinville, brewing activity is thriving. At least 20 local breweries participated in the recent Buffalo Brewers Festival at its new Outer Harbor location. There are so many events that take place in western New York throughout the summer months, bringing thousands of people from across the area and the globe to enjoy beer, music and our wonderful laid-back culture.” – Lesley Lannan, Buffalo Redfin real estate agent

3. Milwaukee, WI

Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 4
Active Brewery Permits: 177
State Beer Tax: $.06 per gallon
Walk Score: 61
Median Home Sale Price: $190,000

“Milwaukee is known as the home of Miller, Blatz and Pabst, but our beer scene has grown into so much more thanks to breweries like Lakefront and Company Brewing. Summerfest is a great time of year to experience the summer fun Wisconsin has to offer while enjoying live music during the two week festival. Miller Park is also a pretty quintessential beer drinking experience for fans of tailgating and baseball.” – Ashley Lamb, Milwaukee Redfin real estate agent

4. Grand Rapids, MI

Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 4
Active Brewery Permits: 291
State Beer Tax: $.20 per gallon
Walk Score: 61
Median Home Sale Price: $190,000

“Often referred to as ‘Beer City,’ Grand Rapids has a strong tradition of brewing. Founders Brewery is perhaps the most well-known across the country, but we also have HopCat, voted the best brewpub in the country. We have places like Brewery Vivant, the first LEED-certified microbrewery, Harmony Brewing, B.O.B.’s Brewery – the list goes on and on. It’s a true beer lover’s paradise!” – Kent Selders, Grand Rapids Redfin real estate agent

5. Philadelphia, PA

Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 3
Active Brewery Permits: 256
State Beer Tax: $.08 per gallon
Walk Score: 78
Median Home Sale Price: $240,000

“Craft beer is huge in Philadelphia and the microbrewing scene has been growing here for at least a decade if not longer. There are many local breweries: Yards, Philadelphia Brewing, Manayunk Brewing Co. and Conshocken Brewing Co. to name a few popular ones. Redfin actually hosts monthly homebuying classes at Yards Brewing. By Pennsylvania law, you can only buy beer from licensed distribution stores. You’re seeing more of these stores specialize in craft beer. They’ll have hundreds of options and you can mix your own six-pack.”  – Jimmy Caraway, Philadelphia Redfin real estate agent

6. Portland, OR

Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 9
Active Brewery Permits: 265
State Beer Tax: $.08 per gallon
Walk Score: 64
Median Home Sale Price: $340,000

“Portland is a no-brainer when it comes to beer. Boasting more breweries than any city in the world, it is easy to find craft beer around almost any corner. Our grocery stores host a wide variety of different craft beers and when you can’t find what you fancy, our bottle shops will do the trick! Belmont station located on SE Stark and 45th is a personal favorite, as they have a great selection in both their tasting room and bottle shop. Regardless of weather, there is likely an Oregon-brewed beer that fits your taste and style for the day.” – Matthew Brennan, Portland Redfin real estate agent

7. Denver, CO

Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 8
Active Brewery Permits: 330
State Beer Tax: $.08 per gallon
Walk Score: 60
Median Home Sale Price: $355,000

“First off, Denver is home to the Great American Beer Festival, an annual competition and celebration of all things beer. It draws attendees from across the country – and they chose Denver for a reason. In the greater metro, there are well in excess of 50 breweries, my favorites being Avery and Left Hand. And then, of course, there’s Coors, which is in Golden, CO, and the world’s largest single-site brewery. Go for a tour to see just how enormous it is.” – Corey Keach, Denver Redfin real estate agent

8. Detroit, MI

Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 4
Active Brewery Permits: 291
State Beer Tax: $.20 per gallon
Walk Score: 55
Median Home Sale Price: $162,000

“Detroit is chock-full of microbreweries. In addition to the first microbrewery in Michigan, Traffic Jam and Snug, there’s Motor City Brewing Works, the Detroit Beer Company and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. And there are plenty of tasting rooms, like those at Atwater Brewery, Batch Brewing and Brew Detroit. Particularly downtown, you can easily spend an evening enjoying some well-crafted suds.” – Terry Kaltsas, Detroit Redfin real estate agent

9. Cleveland, OH

Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 2
Active Brewery Permits: 167
State Beer Tax: $.18 per gallon
Walk Score: 59
Median Home Sale Price: $134,000

“Clevelanders like to drink with the seasons. Hoppy IPAs in the spring like Chillwave by Great Lakes Brewing Company, crisp Hefeweizens and blondes in the summer time, pumpkin beers in the fall. Cap it off with a heavy stout or porter to stay keeping warm during the long cold winter. The year ends with a battle between Great Lakes Christmas Ale and Thirsty Dog’s ’12 Dogs of Christmas.'” – Joe Rath, Cleveland Redfin real estate agent

10. St. Louis, MO

Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 2
Active Brewery Permits: 81
State Beer Tax: $.06 per gallon
Walk Score: 64
Median Home Sale Price: $170,500

“Of course St. Louis is home to Anheuser-Busch, makers of Budweiser. That’s a big deal around here–and I’d recommend going on a tour of their brewery. But we also have our share of smaller craft breweries. Places like 4 Hands Brewery and Earthbound Beer make unique, high-quality beers to reach every palate. And if you want to just chill at a brewpub, Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood is the place to go.” – Tamika Evans, St. Louis Redfin real estate agent

11. Madison, WI

Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 4
Active Brewery Permits: 177
State Beer Tax: $.06 per gallon
Walk Score: 48
Median Home Sale Price: $225,000

“I’m not sure if there’s a better city for beer enthusiasts than Madison because of the city’s relative affordability and breweries like Karben4, Ale Asylum and Capital Brewery producing some of the best beers around. Drinking at the Union Terrace is a favorite pastime of students and locals alike, and our tailgating season is second to none when it comes to beer consumption and gameday fun.” – Brian Callahan, Madison Redfin real estate agent

12. Long Island, NY

Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 2
Active Brewery Permits: 294
State Beer Tax: $.14 per gallon
Walk Score: 95
Median Home Sale Price: $390,000

“While not technically a city, Long Island has certainly earned its place among the best cities for beer lovers. There are at least 30 breweries and beer gardens on Long Island from Oceanside to Montauk. It’s not uncommon for residents and visitors to make a whole weekend out of visiting breweries for tours and tastings. And it’s not just beer that attracts people to Long Island’s breweries. Many are restaurants, highly rated for their food too. Popular and new breweries in the area include the Blue Point Brewing Company in Patchogue and the Great South Bay brewery in Bay Shore.” – Mario Urrutia, Long Island Redfin real estate agent

13. Seattle, WA

Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 7
Active Brewery Permits: 352
State Beer Tax: $.26 per gallon
Walk Score: 73
Median Home Sale Price: $440,000

“Seattle has an amazing array of great breweries, beer bars and bottle shops, making it a premier destination for craft beer lovers. Seattleites are lucky that even our local grocery stores are stocked with a wide variety of outstanding local brews. The fresh hop season is the best time of year because Washington has access to some of the best hops in the United States, which is why Seattle is known for its IPAs!” – Kyle Moss, Seattle Redfin real estate agent

14. Cincinnati, OH

Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 2
Active Brewery Permits: 167
State Beer Tax: $.18 per gallon
Walk Score: 50
Median Home Sale Price: $159,900

“Cincinnati has a rich beer history stemming from the German immigrants that came to the city in the 1850s. Over-the-Rhine continues to be a great, German-influenced neighborhood with a Brewery District that offers tours of pre-prohibition breweries. Today, we celebrate all things beer during Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, and we still have great beers available from breweries such as Listermann Brewing Company, Madtree and Rhinegeist.” – Trina Walton, Cincinnati Redfin real estate agent

15. San Francisco, CA

Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 3
Active Brewery Permits: 352
State Beer Tax: $.20 per gallon
Walk Score: 86
Median Home Sale Price: $1,200,000

“San Francisco has dozens of fantastic local craft breweries. One of the most famous is Anchor Brewing, famous for its delicious amber Anchor Steam that was first brewed back in 1896. If you prefer to find lesser-known brews, there are plenty of other options. San Francisco also has a couple of great beer festivals across the city, including San Francisco Beer Week, which involves a host of activities, events and even classes on brewing.” – Mark Bigggins, San Francisco Redfin real estate agent

Methodology

Data on active brewery permits per state and breweries per adults aged 21+ per state was provided by the Beer Institute and the figures are from 2015. The beer tax per state was found from the Tax Foundation study conducted on March 17, 2016. Walk Score and median home sale prices as of May 2016 were taken from Redfin.com. The final ranking was determined by ranking 50 cities according to each metric, and then taking the average of all those rankings to rank order the top 15 best cities for beer lovers. Our real estate agents then weighed in on the list. The Redfin team consumed many beers from all around the country in order to ensure the accuracy of the list.

Ask an Agent

We're here to help seven days a week.

Name

Email

Phone

What can we help you with?

Show Comments

Real estate redefined