Allagash Brewing

A 12,299-mile journey through 70 of the best breweries in the U.S.

There are many ways to do the great American road trip. You could, for instance, follow in the footsteps of your literary heroes. Or track the temperate path of 70-degree weather. Or—and this is one I’ve been meaning to do—you could drive cross-country hitting up every city mentioned in your favorite songs.

After watching the movie Chef, though, I’ve tweaked my road trip dream. Now I want to travel across America in search of hole-in-the-wall restaurants that offer the country’s most delicious food and drink—like Guy Fiery, but romantic. To help nudge my epicurean hopes along, the kind folks at FlowingData just released a road trip map based on the best breweries in the country.

In the blog post accompanying the map, FlowingData’s Nathan Lau offers some food—nay—beer for thought:

I suppose I could just order bottles through mail, but there's no fun in that. You need to taste beer fresh from the source to fully appreciate it.

Using an algorithm, Lau computes the shortest route through 70 of the best breweries in America and came up with the order below:

The accompanying map marks the optimal route through the best breweries across the land. But for those who like to venture of the beaten path, Lau also highlights where you’ll find other breweries in a 10-mile radius by thickening the path in those regions:

You mission, should you choose to accept it, entails driving 12,299 miles for about 197 hours through 40 states to complete the trip, according to Lau’s calculations. You’d be stopping for one or more drinks in 28 of the states. If you’re staying near each brewery for the night so you don’t drink and drive, the whole trip can take you roughly 20 days. But if you’re planning to explore some of the other breweries and brewpubs along the way (like in Vista, California), you might want to carve out a larger chunk of time.

Either way, this is a good road map to sample the choicest of the 3,000 breweries in America. Cheers.

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