Where America's Cultural (and beer?) Boundaries Lie

I have long been fascinated by American culture.  I grew up in the Mountain West, a flinty, hardscrabble region where life is as spare as the high desert, and the people are as tenacious as sagebrush.  When people say the "Pacific Northwest," they often include Idaho, my birthplace.  It's absurd--Boise is five hundred miles from the sea.  You can drive from Munich to the Czech Republic and then to Austria, detouring into Slovakia and then drop into Budapest, Hungary in the same distance.  What would the cultural Pacific Northwest look like?  How about this:

What you're looking at is the result of some very interesting research.  A physicist named Dirk Brockmann was looking for sources of data to show mobility within the US.
[H]e stopped by the home of his old friend Dennis Derryberry in the green mountains of Vermont. Over a beer on the porch, he told Derryberry about his research. Derryberry asked: "Do you know about WheresGeorge.com?" You can think of WheresGeorge.com as a primitive FourSquare for $1 bills. "Georgers"--as users call themselves--"check in" their bills by entering the zip codes and serial numbers, then write or stamp "wheresgeorge.com" on the bill. If someone finds the bill and enters it again, they get a "hit."
What he deduced from those data were a theory he calls "effective boundaries"--those natural regions defined by affinity, not lines on a map.  The Northwest, you'll note, looks exactly like you'd expect it to.  It captures Northern California, as Jefferson Staters always knew it should.  That chunk of Malheur County where most of my family comes from in Eastern Oregon is properly aligned with Idaho--as I experienced the region in my youth.  Northern Idaho--Sandpoint, Coeur d'Alene--are part of the Spokane region, not the Boise region. Behold the rest of the country:

I have a strong suspicion that if you could map beer affinities, you'd find a map very similar to this one--at least here out west.  To the rest of the world, it's West Coast whatever (pale, IPA, red).  But everyone north of California sort of hates the Golden State (recall the Henry's ads?), which in turn thinks of Oregon roughly as often as it thinks of British Columbia.   Colorado roughly stands alone--as it does in the beer world, too.  California is part of a giant sunbelt.  I'm surprised to see a bright line separating Wisconsin and Minnesota, but not at all surprised to see that New England is one unified Red Soxistan.  That's exactly what it feels like there.

At the end of the day, it's all culture.