Monday, 28 September 2009

Which state has the best beer?

There's an old joke about American beer being like doing the dirty in a boat - I'll let you figure out the punchline - but American beer does surprisingly well both in sales and in awards, when in international competitions. This is even more true when you consider American craft beer production was wiped out thanks to prohibition, and a lot of know-how was quickly lost.

Two beer journalists decided to find out which state in the US gathered the most medals in beer competitions. They plotted it out in a lovely map, which I'll repost here.

The answer to who was the best, unsurprisingly, was California. Actually, I was a little surprised, since Oregon and Washington are collectively referred to as "Beervaria" due to their large number of microbreweries. But these numbers don't take into account the fact that, say, there's many people in California, and no so many people in South Dakota. That's why Strangemaps - a neat little blog I just found - reshuffled things for medals per million people.

1. Colorado – 64.4
2. Oregon – 42.5
3. Wisconsin – 38.6
4. Washington – 16.2
5. Missouri – 15
6. Pennsylvania – 13.5
7. Massachusetts – 12.6
8. California – 12.8
9. Texas – 5.6
10. New York – 5.1
But! cried StrangeMaps' readers. You just reshuffled! You didn't see if anyone would make the top 10. A little math later, and Alaska quickly sits on the top of the heap with 78.68 medals per million people - heads above California and nearly double Oregon.

What really surprised me was that Alaskan Brewing Co. is such a winning brewery. If I'm reading their numbers right, they have the most medals for someone who wouldn't be considered a macro-brew. More than Deschutes, long one of the best craft beer producers in the US.

Definitely something to drink about.


flying fish said...

too much shuffling, Deschutes is way better than Juneau's finest. Alaskan Amber used to be great, but then they had to deal with shelf life so they could go big.

TwoYaks said...

I'd tend to agree. I'm not sure what Alaskan has beyond their very limited production brews that's really stellar. Whereas Deschutes has a lot of regular-run beers which both kick but and take names.

flying fish said...

yeah...Alaskan has seasonals that are mildly better than the 3 regulars, but they don't compare any more. The local brewery (Haines) does better with their Devil Made Me Do It IPA and the Black Fang Stout.