The United States of Beer
You asked for it, we delivered.
Illustration by Monica Fuentes Full-size image below.
Last week, while many of you were enjoying our map of the United States of Soft Drinks, just as many of you
alcoholics were demanding a United States of Beer map instead. And so we hunkered down all weekend, doing the kind of brutal and difficult work that it takes to determine a fitting beer for every last one of our 50 states.
Texas, naturally, belongs to Shiner. Our rationale for this? Lone Star and Pearl are now brewed by Pabst (even though they're still brewed in Texas), so they're out. Saint Arnold, Real Ale, Independence, Southern Star and other Texas brews are all wonderful -- each and every one of them -- but none have the reach and recognition that Shiner has on a national scale. Plus, it tastes great with Gulf Coast oysters.
That logic applies to most of the other choices on the map, as well. Budweiser? Born in Missouri, known worldwide. Miller? Sorry, Leinenkugel, but it's arguably Wisconsin's biggest invention to date. Yuengling? You're awesome, Victory, but no other beer can compete with Yuengling's longevity.
Other states were more difficult to choose beers for, however.
Florida? South Dakota? Kentucky? These aren't places that one naturally associates with beer, as the map and our choices demonstrate. We finally settled on Bud Light for Kentucky as it's traditionally the most favored beer in beer cheese, a regional favorite. Florida gets saddled with MGD Light 64 because it's the beer we imagine bikini-clad Miami Beach babes drinking to stay slim.
And still other states have frustratingly outdated liquor laws, like Alabama and West Virginia. Those states were penalized by being "awarded" awful, low-ABV brews like Keystone Light and Natural Light, as these are some of the only beers that can lawfully be sold in these pitiful states. Mississippi, however, was rewarded for its persistence in fighting the man with breweries like Lazy Magnolia.
Did we leave off your favorite beer? Probably. With only 50 beers, it was bound to happen. But is the United States of Beer still our favorite food infographic to date? You bet your Venn diagram it is.