My New Favorite City

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It's Tavares, Florida, which has declared itself "America's Seaplane City."

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No, wait, maybe it's Bend, Oregon -- which in more innocent days I had associated with interesting, innovative aircraft (plus very nice inland-Pacific NW scenery.) Now I learn:
While places like Seattle and Denver and Brooklyn and Delaware can claim impressive craft brewing scenes, and a weirdly large number of people nationwide now speak of hop fetishes and beer crushes, Bend is a per capita powerhouse. With 80,000 people surrounded by not much of anything -- with no Interstate, no university, and the closest major city 160 miles away across steep and snowy mountains -- beer has had room to make a difference.

Or maybe again it should be Mills River, North Carolina, based on a news release from the wonderful Sierra Nevada brewing company:

CHICO, Calif. -- Jan. 25, 2012 --Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is pleased to announce that it has chosen a site in western North Carolina for the future home of an East Coast brewery. The site, approximately 90 acres in the Henderson County Town of Mills River-- along the French Broad River, 12 miles south of Asheville -- will be home to the new production facility, as well as a proposed restaurant and gift shop. "We are thrilled to have found an ideal location in western North Carolina for our second brewery," says Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada. "The beer culture, water quality and quality of life are excellent. We feel lucky to be a part of this community."
And just to round things off, it is exciting to see that Sierra Nevada is throwing its weight behind the "great beer comes in cans" movement.

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You will recognize the beer that made Sierra Nevada famous on the right, and the "I can't believe I can buy beer this good in the local Kwik-E-Mart" Torpedo Extra IPA on the left.

I wonder if I would have my overall optimistic outlook if we still lived in the pre-craft-brew era.

Housekeeping note: tons of messages came in on the cans-v-bottles debate, and nominees for the Beer Mt. Rushmore. I will eventually get to them.
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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