The United States is in the middle of a beer renaissance.
The number of craft breweries in the U.S. has explodedin the past few years. According to the Brewer's Associated, there were 3,464 craft breweries in the country in 2014, while BreweryDB puts that number closer to 4,500. But it's not just volume: According to brewery review database RateBeer, 72 of the top 100 breweries in the world are in scattered across the country.
So what's the best way to sample the finest beers that America has to offer? There's nothing more American than a road trip.
To that end , Nathan Yau of data visualization blog Flowing Data put together the ultimate roadmap for an all-American brewery tour. Using data from Google Maps, Yau put together a map designed to minimize the amount of distance traveled between each brewery. Here's what he ended up with:
After excluding a few breweries — Denmark beer Evil Twin, which somehow doesn't have a physical location you can actually visit in the U.S., and Anchorage Brewing Company, because Alaska — Yau determined that this beer odyssey requires 197 hours in the car, traveling 12,299 miles through 40 states (although you only stop in 28 for some delicious beer). Here's more from Yau:
If your only goal is to sample the beers at each of the top breweries, it takes you about 20 days. This figures in a couple of hours at each stop to sample and metabolize (so you don't drive drunk), plus driving time in between each place. This assumes staying near one of the 70 breweries each night. You can of course drink what you want at the end of the day and sleep it off, nice and fresh in the morning.
When you take into account opening times and more importantly, when each brewery is closed, it likely takes a bit longer.
"Of course, road trips aren't all about the official stops," concludes Yau. "They're also about what happens along the way." So call up your best drinking buddies and pack up your car right now — America's finest beers are calling your name.