San Diego is the Greatest Beer City. San Diego is Not the Greatest Beer City.

I might have been inclined to call pitting San Diego against Portland a fool’s errand, since both of them are clearly so awesome. But my editor Ezra Johnson-Greenough gave me explicit instructions: “don’t pull your punches (and) at least take off your gloves and slap someone with them.” Hence the above-linked blog from March 2014 in The New School.

So as a solid to him, rather than bring up, and then put on par, places like Boulder/Denver/Ft. Collins, the Bay Area, Asheville, Grand Rapids, Philly, Austin, Vermont, and others that all make reasonable claims, I will do what Portlanders are too polite (or dismissive) to do during Charlie Papazian’s annual BeerTown USA poll. Bottom line: in terms of volume and global awe and respect, it comes down to Portland, Oregon, and San Diego, California. And as everyone who’s seen The Highlander knows, there can be only one!

It’s a debate I didn’t start. And one I didn’t finish. It’s blazing ever brighter today. A half pint for your thoughts on the matter in the comments.

Beer Destination: San Francisco

BeerAdvcoate, the online forum turned magazine, doesn’t republish the print zine’s content online, but if you have #73, there’s my beer travel story on one of the best beer towns in the world: San Francisco. After the lede, below, I devised an itinerary that stops at musts like the legendary Toronado as well as more intimate nooks like Fat Angel.

Anchor Brewing Co., established in 1896, transformed into America’s original craft brewery in 1965 when Fritz rescued and renovated it, thereby making the SF Bay Area the epicenter of the beer renaissance. Maytag was even ahead of the real food movement, pioneered by Alice Waters who opened groundbreaking Chez Panisse across the bay in Berkeley in 1971.Today, the Bay Area is home to over sixty breweries, and The City itself boasts nine beyond Anchor…and growing. In fact, the SF Brewers Guild decided to bring the contract and gypsy breweries into the fold so now membership stands at fifteen.