Dr. Nathan Yau put his grasp of mathematics to good use for the website Flowing Data when he determined the most efficient route for taking a beer-tasting road trip around the continental U.S.
Yau took RateBeer’s list of the world’s top 100 breweries, pulled the 70 that have home bases to visit in the 48 contiguous states, then applied researcher Randal Olson’s now famous road-trip algorithm to map out the best way to get to all of them.
In Maine, Yau’s ultimate craft brew road trip stops at Portland’s acclaimed Allagash Brewing Co., winner of two medals in this fall’s prestigious Great American Beer Festival in Colorado, and Freeport-based Maine Beer Co., which has two brews on BeerAdvocate’s list of the world’s best beers.
“Taking the route … to 70 breweries, you get about 197 hours of drive time across 12,299 miles. You stop in 28 states and pass through a total of 40. …
If your only goal is to sample the beers at each of the top breweries, it takes you about 20 days. This figures in a couple of hours at each stop to sample and metabolize (so you don’t drive drunk), plus driving time in between each place. This assumes staying near one of the 70 breweries each night.”
The statistician then suggests using the app BreweryMap — which finds the closest brewery to wherever you are, as well as where to find all breweries between any two points on a map — to flesh out the road trip with additional worthwhile beer-tasting stops.
Using that app adds another 30-50 Maine breweries — depending on how far off the main route you’re willing to deviate in search of suds — to the trip.
If that number surprises you, it shouldn’t. Maine’s craft beer industry has been exploding for a number of years now. The BDN’s Kathleen Pierce reported that the number of breweries in the state has grown from 43 to 64 — an increase of about 50 percent — just in the past two years.