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A Data Genius Has Figured Out the ­ltimate Beer-Drinking Road Trip


Mapping the locations of the top breweries in the U.S., and determining the most efficient route for visiting them all.

A data scientist has created a map of the top breweries in the U.S., and used the genetic algorithms technique to determine the most efficient route for visiting them all.

Credit: The Washington Post

Data scientist Nathan Yau, who runs the Flowing Data blog, has created a map of the top breweries in the U.S., based on a list of the top 100 breweries in the world from RateBeer, a beer and brewery review site. Although RateBeer says 72 breweries are in the U.S., Yau eliminated one because it does not have an official place to visit and another, Anchorage Brewery, because Alaska is too far to drive.

Yau then used the "genetic algorithms" technique to determine the most efficient route between the 70 breweries. The algorithm starts with a handful of solutions, takes the best one, and then compares the result to other solutions until it cannot find a better one. The route covers 12,299 miles, stops in 28 states, and passes through 40. Yau calculates the road trip would take about 20 days, including stops at night, time to sample some beers at each place, and then wait to sober up.

The researcher also collected more information about outstanding breweries and brewpubs that are on or close to the route, comprising more than 1,400 within a five-mile radius of the route he planned.

From The Washington Post
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