A 12,299 Mile Bar Crawl

Powered by algorithms and microbrews

By The Editors
October 26, 2015 9:00 am

What’s the quickest way to get from Smuttynose to Hair of the Dog?

That, uh, doesn’t involve a liquor store?

Hire a statistician.

Nathan Yau, the founder of FlowingData — a Nate Silver-esque data visualization site — loves good beer. The latest fruit of his labor: the ideal American brewery road trip, as demonstrated by an algorithm Yau wrote that took RateBeer’s “Top 100 Breweries in the World,” narrowed the list down to the 70 based in the conterminous United States, and then co-opted Google Maps API to map out the shortest path between all of them.

In total, he theorized you could visit all 70 breweries in 28 states with just 197 hours of drive time across 12,299 miles. You’d start with, say, a cup of #Merica! Lager at Surly Brewing in Minneapolis and end with a glass of Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale at New Belgium in Fort Collins, Colorado.

That 197 is misleading, however. Yau contends it would take closer to 20 days to actually sample the brews, “metabolize” them (so you wouldn’t drive drunk) and sleep off the rest every night. He also calculated what would happen if you stopped at breweries and brewpubs along the way that were not in the top 100 but were five miles or less from his ideal route: an additional 1,400 stops.

As Yau wisely notes:

“Worth it.”


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