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10 Best Beer States of 2011

1. California
Number of breweries: 245
Capita per brewery: 152,057
Production in 2010: 22.2 million barrels
Consumed per capita in 2010: 18.4 gallons
For beer lovers, it doesn't get any bigger than California.

Though it ranks only 21st in capita per brewery, its 245 breweries and 22.2 million barrels of production are No. 1 in the U.S. Much like Colorado, though, California has enough love for brewers big and small.

MillerCoors has a home in Irwindale, Anheuser-Busch Inbev has a brewery in Fairfield and North American Brewing's Pyramid Brewers maintain a presence here as well. California's vaunted craft brewing community is no slouch either, with Sierra Nevada taking the lead by producing 786,000 barrels in its Chico headquarters alone last year. Brewers that have been household names to craft fans for years are finding bigger followings as well, with Escondido's Stone Brewing increasing production from 49,000 barrels in 2006 to 115,000 last year and Lagunitas-based Lagunitas Brewing jumping from 39,000 to 106,000 during the same span.

But shouldn't a state with this much beer love its beer a little more? The amount of beer Californians consumed per capita last year was the seventh-lowest in the country, but California seems to have no problem pouring a few rounds while everyone else picks up the tab.

-- Written by Jason Notte in Boston.



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Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, the Boston Phoenix, the Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent. He previously served as the political and global affairs editor for Metro U.S., layout editor for Boston Now, assistant news editor for the Herald News of West Paterson, N.J., editor of Go Out! Magazine in Hoboken, N.J., and copy editor and lifestyle editor at the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J.
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