2015 99 Best Beers in 99 Best Beer Cities

It’s no coincidence that the rise of the craft beer movement has coincided with the revitalization of many of our nation’s downtowns. Breweries have proven to be great draws capable of anchoring a nighttime economy that can help a Main Street development grow and thrive. This, then, is Livability’s inaugural list of Best Beers in the Best Cities, or as we like to call it: 99 Beers in 99 Cities. How did we create our ranking of best beer cities?

We wanted places that fit three criteria: They are good places to live, they are consumers of craft beer and they are producers of the best beer around. As always, data guided our selections. The “good places to live” criteria was met by our own LivScore methodology. The consumer data came from Esri, which helped us find cities that spend well on quality beer, spend less on domestic macro beers and overall support dining and drinking both in the home and out on the town. And for the “best beer,” we turned to the experts: beer drinkers, reviewers and the editors at RateBeer.com. Using their “overall” and “style” scores, we found a highly-rated beer to represent the town. As with brewing, there is some craft that goes into our list-making process alongside the science. We had a couple of additional requirements: A town had to have at least two breweries, and we chose no more than three cities per state to give us the best nationwide coverage for hop-heads. We also tried to have as many beers as possible be available (at least in-season) in a well-stocked liquor store near you, but some require an in-person visit. Trust us (and RateBeer) – it’ll be worth the trip.

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LIV SCORE
674

The Top Craft Beers in the Top Beer Towns

1
Waterbury, VT
Population: 1,815
2
Freeport, ME
Population: 1,507
3
Coopers, NY
Population: 2,185
4
Ardmore, PA
Population: 12,698
5
New Glarus, WI
Population: 2,128
6
Boulder, CO
Population: 103,919
7
Redmond, WA
Population: 57,959
8
Ipswich, MA
Population: 4,235
9
Bend, OR
Population: 81,780
10
Healdsburg, CA
Population: 11,539
11
Decatur, GA
Population: 20,605
12
Hampton, NH
Population: 9,338
13
Williamsburg, VA
Population: 14,754
14
Astoria, OR
Population: 9,537
15
Jackson, WY
Population: 10,152
16
Athens, OH
Population: 24,220
17
Stillwater, MN
Population: 18,677

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Best places to live ranking