For the second year in a row, the Queen City tops an annual list of the 50 best cities in the U.S. for beer enthusiasts compiled by SmartAsset.

By Jelisa Castrodale
December 15, 2020
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Hey, remember when we didn't think twice about going out for a beer, about grabbing a sticky drinks menu that had already been handled by who knows how many people, or even about taking a spontaneous day trip to visit a brewery or three? Hopefully we'll be back to that kind of thing before too long—although we might be slightly more likely to wipe that menu down. The number-crunchers at SmartAsset have published their annual list of the best U.S. cities for beer drinkers, and it's a helpful way to plan where we'd like to go when, you know, all of this is over.

SmartAsset ranked 50 of the most beer-friendly cities based on five different criteria: the total number of breweries, the number of breweries per every 100,000 residents, the average number of beers available at each brewery, the number of bars for every 100,000 residents, and the average cost of one pint of domestic brew. So if you love a cold one and are already trying to decide where you'll go after, you know, all of this, their list could be a big help.

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After they analyzed all of the data, Cincinnati, Ohio claimed the No. 1 spot for the second-straight year. The Queen City has 31 breweries, which each have an average of 112 different beers available. And, perhaps the best news, the average cost of a pint is around $4. The runner-up is Asheville, North Carolina, which jumped two spots compared to last year. In addition to beautiful mountain scenery, Asheville also boasts 26 breweries that serve an average of 96.3 different beers, and a pint in western North Carolina costs $4 too.

The rest of the top 10 are, in order: St. Louis; Portland, Oregon; Pittsburgh; Denver; Bend, Oregon; Madison, Wisconsin; Missoula, Montana; and Cleveland. (The Top 10 is also unchanged from 2019, although the top three cities have swapped places.)

Overall, cities in 25 different states were recommended for beer lovers, while Colorado and Ohio each had five cities that made the Top 50. California had four cities on the list, while New York, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin each had three. Colorado and Ohio were both tops last year too, and the only state that dropped off the list between 2019 and 2020 was Idaho. (Sorry, Boise beer-lovers.)

SmartAsset said that it analyzed data on 384 cities for this year's study, and it learned that the average cost of a pint of beer is $4.59. The priciest city is San Leandro, California, a Bay Area-suburb where the average pint is a painful-sounding $10.

Honestly, even a $10 beer won't be enough to keep us away when it's safer to go to breweries again. Not even close.