The beer run is among the most sacred of shopping experiences. Whether you’re stocking up for a barbecue or just jonesing for something new, the right beer store can make the difference between buying a fresh hop bomb or a sad, dusty sixer of a stale ale. To the latter, we say, never again.
To compile this list of the best beer stores in each state, we considered any store with a healthy stock and reputation for championing craft beer. Then, we looked at selection, service, events, outreach, and even how beer is stored (cold and out of UV light is best). One state, however, didn’t make the list. Due to its ridiculously restrictive beer laws, Utah and its state-run beer stores are out of contention (some stock just a handful of beers). Instead, we gave its spot to Washington, D.C., which is enjoying a blossoming brew scene.