Beervana Responds

Joel Stein has an article in Time Magazine that lauds Denver as the "best place for brewery-touring." By all accounts, Denver's a good beer town. As are Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. Normally, I could overlook an article putting Denver on top--what's a quibble between cities. But the Stein has to go and say something like this:
Sure, Portland, Ore., has more microbrew outlets, but many of its 46 brewhouses are brewpubs, which produce beer only for their own bars, and part of the fun of a beer tour is seeing where bottles you can buy at home are manufactured.
He qualifies what he thinks of as "best" this way:
The best place for brewery-touring is Denver, partly because of its water, partly because it's the home of Coors and partly because skier, mountain-biker and hiker dudes love them some beer.... [D]enver, dubbed the Napa of Beer, is the most tourist-friendly. It has 74 breweries within 100 miles (160 km) of downtown, restaurants that often offer beer-vs.-wine pairings, the yearly Great American Beer Festival and the country's first chief beer officer.
It's one thing to cite Denver as the best, and it might even be permissible to slag Portland in doing so (at least it demonstrates you realize what the competition is), but to go on and give Denver the nod because it is the home to Coors and is also the Napa of Beer--well, that's going too far. Stein has officially identified himself as a bonehead.

Normally, I would take the wood to him myself, but instead, I turn over the floor to Brian Butenschoen, Director of the Oregon Brewer's Guild, who quickly put out the stats (compressed slightly and re-formatted). Denver's the best beer town? You be the judge.
Within 120 miles from Portland you have:
  • 68 breweries producing about 660,000 BBL's of beer.
  • The largest all craft beer festival, attendance wise, in the U.S. at 60,000 people in Portland.
  • Portland currently has 32 breweries if you still count BJ's, and Deschutes - which opens May 2nd.
  • Portland has the Horse Brass.
  • Portland is the largest craft beer market in the United States.
  • Oregon breweries supply about 40% of the beer sold on draft in Oregon.
Denver has 10 breweries - could be less or more:
  • Craft breweries in Colorado lag about 100 to 200,000 BBL's behind Oregon in production.
  • Denver has the GABF, the North American beer fest with the most beers to try.
  • Denver has the Falling Rock.
  • Coloradoans cannot buy craft beer in the supermarket.
  • Colorado has probably 15-16 packaging breweries I've had out of the bottle.
Oregon has a very strong and very unique relationship to craft beer on draft. Craft beer by volume made in the US was 3.8% in 2007. In Oregon, about 40% of the draft beer sold in Oregon is made in Oregon.

I think it's pretty interesting that if Denver is the Napa Valley of beer that the author only names going to two Denver breweries, Wynkoop and Bull and Bush while in Denver.
A pretty fair rebuttal.

[Update: the estimable New Mexican Stan Hieronymus puts his vote in for the Rose City. ]