Top 10 states for beer lovers

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Beer tourism is as much about sipping on something exotic as it is exploring new places, meeting the brewers and learning how the whole operation works. And while beer lovers can tour a brewery or pick up a growler of their favorite label any time, the start of football season and Oktoberfest celebrations make this an especially good time of year to enjoy a cold one.

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The number of U.S. brewery permits has climbed from under 1,000 in 1995 to more than 4,500 in the first half of 2014, according to the National Beer Wholesalers Association. Here at Bankrate, we decided to turn our money goggles on the world of beer to figure out which waypoints are worth the airfare.

We built our “Best States for Beer” list by tallying up breweries and retail locations, beer prices and how much beer the locals drink. To do that, we gathered statistics from the Brewers Association trade group, the Council for Community and Economic Research, and the National Institutes of Health. This should be a given, but we’ll say it anyway: Please drink responsibly.