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Best cities for Beer Runners

CATEGORIES: Beer Editor   Beer Runner  

Each year, Money magazine is known for releasing its “best places to live” list. But nowhere in its complex algorithm do I see consideration for beer and running.

That’s about to change. Consider this the first ever Best Places for Beer Runners list (in no particular order), as voted on by you.

What's the best city for Beer Runners? photo by Epic Beer

New Jersey Beer Runner John says Denver is a mile high above the rest for its “great local beers and huge population of runners.” Denver is also home of the granddaddy of all beer fests, GABF.

Benjamin cast his vote for New York due to a simple math: “Five boroughs, five times the beer.” This weekend’s New York City Marathon is also one of the largest 26.2 races in the world, with more than 40,000 finishers.

Trey picks Austin for runner friendly trails around Town/Ladybird Lake, its Rogue Trail Series and ample craft brews at The Draught House, Real Ale, and Jesterking Beer. Next year Austin also celebrates 20 years of their famed downtown Austin Marathon.

“Boulder and San Diego in a dead heat!” says Bay Area Beer Runner Derrick. “My home town San Francisco is a close second.” Diana partially agreed: “I’d say San Diego in a heartbeat.”

South Korea resident Zuleika went with her own city: “Seoul!!!!” she said. “Free beer after the majority of the races, and if you have an empty bottle of water they will fill that one up too!”

Desiree, who just finished the Dublin Marathon, picked the Irish capital city. “Drank in all locals: Mulligan’s, Palace, Grogan’s, Kehoe’s, Dawson, Sackville – great Guinness. Dublin running: marathon, immense love of the sport, and people running to work each morning. So cool to see. Nice parks for it.”

Desiree currently lives in Chicago, and she praised the windy city for Guthries, Hopleaf, Goose Island, The Map Room, The Grafton (“best Guinness pour”), Charleston, and Sheffields Bar for beer. On Twitter somewildbee agreed. “Hands down! Great craft beer, training partners, competitive races and the lakefront path.”

“In Atlanta,” said Kate, “one can hash for many consecutive days. Or one can simply enjoy a tasty beverage post run, sans hashing. There are multiple hash clubs here.”

Portland, Maine, is the place to be, says Jamie. “We have beer checks (for drinking beer) all the time on the streets during hash runs! Plus we have a ton of great microbrews!”

Rob says the other Portland in Oregon is tops. “Milder weather means you can run 12 months of the year, and their microbrewing scene is incredible. For the past few years the officially sanctioned nickname for the city is, Beertown. And it’s loaded with green spaces and beautiful waterways.” I bet Portland resident and non-conformist Chris Guillebeau would agree.

Sticking with the northwest outdoors theme, Joe of Big Sky Brewing picked several area cities including Missoula, Boise, Spokane, Seattle and Portland.

And how could you not include the Brew City? Renee picked Milwaukee, “home of the Brewers and rich history of German masterbrewers,” and Dan agreed, saying “with more park space per person (many with exceptional trails and paved paths), how can anyone deny it’s The Brew City?” Let me also add that we have a running and biking trail named after beer.

With all these people making strong cases for their own cities — and many more were named — it seems like Beer Running is a state of mind. If you want to do it, it almost doesn’t matter where you are. Though great local races, trails and craft breweries certainly helps.

But what other cities did we miss? What would you add?


Tim Cigelske is DRAFT's Beer Runner. (Beer Run•ner [noun]: Someone equally devoted to fine beer appreciation and an active, healthy lifestyle. Ex. "John downed four microbrews at the triathlon finish line. He's a total beer runner.”) Follow Tim on Twitter @TheBeerRunner, and email him at beerrunner [at] draftmag.com.


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  • Matt G says:

    I think Desiree neglected to add a great one in Chicago – The Bad Apple. They know their beers, give healthy pours, and have a phenomenal selection.

  • IPA man says:

    I agree with San Diego but once altitude acclimated, Denver is it.

  • Mike B says:

    Hello? How come no one’s mentioned Beantown! Home of the Boston Marathon, home of Sam Adams and Harpoon, home of some of the best, most successful craft brewers out there.

    Nothing beats running down Comm Ave or the Freedom Trail. Boston is hands down the most historic city in America.

    And the pub scene is amazing. One of my favorites, Sunset Bar & Grill has over 100 beers on tap.

    So yeah, I’d say Boston deserves at least top 10. But that’s just me…

  • Jake Legcramp says:

    Hey, how come nobody mentioned home of the King of Beers? St. Louis, baby!

  • Neil T says:

    I’m with Mike B. This article is obviously remiss in omitting Boston.

    Nowhere have I ever seen so many runners every day, both amateur and professional. You can see people out running along the Charles river even past 11:00pm at night, every single night. Boston and New England as a whole is one of the nation’s most prominent beer regions, second only to Colorado in my opinion, or possibly northern California. Boston hosts the American Craft Beer Festival (ACBF), the largest celebration of craft beer on the east coast, and one of the largest in the whole U.S. As mentioned by Mike B above, Boston is home to some of the earliest examples of the resurgence of American craft brewing: Harpoon and the Boston Beer Company. It’s home to the founders of the Beer Advocate website. It’s home to the Boston Marathon. Massachusetts was named the 3rd healthiest state by Forbes Magazine in 2009 and Boston was named the 3rd healthiest city by the United Health Foundation in 2006.

    People stay fit here. People know their beer here. It’s severely disappointing that no one from Boston was paying attention when @TheBeerRunner asked about people’s favorite cities… maybe it’s because they were all out running and drinking!

  • Neil T says:

    … And I myself would be remiss if I failed to tip my hat to D.C. as well! I mean, c’mon, that place has like, what, FIVE Hash House Harrier kennels? And in a fairly small city! Not to mention it has the beautiful National Mall to run by (if you don’t mind dodging tourists), and it’s home to some real gems like Church Key pub. Give it up for D.C.

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