From the Pacific Northwest and it’s conglomeration of hop-infused residents to Michigan and its blankets of high-alcohol brews perfect for cold winter nights, there are aspects of life just as much as there can be hops and barley. Ultimately, as we all happily look inward with our eat/drink local movements, the assumption should be that our home towns and states act as a means to offer a glimpse into the soul of our pint.
In a roundabout way, that’s what I hope to achieve over a series of posts this week.
I recently collected data from Beer Advocate’s “top beers” rankings of each of the 50 states in the U.S. as well as the District of Columbia. What does it all mean? Well, as I roll out my findings piece-by-piece, I hope we’re able to better understand the habits and behaviors of beer drinkers and what that means on a state and national level.
But first, we’ve got to get a broad idea of where we’re going.
To make my process a little more transparent, here’s an explanation about how I derived my findings.
The TL;DR version: I’ve taken the top-10 ranked beers from each state (or in North Dakota’s case, top-seven, and Mississippi, top-nine) and worked with the data to try and draw conclusions about our preferences and regional biases. There are 506 beers in total and again, if you want to know more about why I did it this way, read this.
But, to start, here’s a pie chart of the styles of beers we’ll be analyzing this week, as determined by the classifications provided on Beer Advocate. Numbers placed by each section represent the total tally on the list of 507:
Are you surprised? Probably not. As you might have expected, 49.1 percent of all ranked beers are imperial stouts (Russian or otherwise) or IPAs (double/imperial or otherwise). Both styles are widely lauded and sought after, especially since these are the styles most often associated with rarity and hype.
I’d think 24 pale ales makes sense as a natural step down from America’s beloved IPAs. About a quarter of the wild ales included in this list came from one brewery – Texas’ Jester King.
With all this in mind, the next post will offer the full list of beers by state – any guesses what you’ll see? I’ll also share a map I created that highlights the “best” brewery each state has to offer, according to the Beer Advocate ratings.
(Editor’s note: It came to my attention after this was originally posted that a piece of my data entry in Excel was incorrect. I apologize for the error, which has been corrected. As a result, the pie chart and it’s numbers changed slightly)
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac