The first year was a tie, the second year a duel. At the end of voting last night, however, there was no doubt: Asheville retained its title in the annual Beer City USA poll by a wide margin, starting with a commanding lead and never relinquishing it. Barley’s Taproom will host a victory toast at 6 p.m. this evening.
When polling closed in the weeklong contest at 2 a.m. this morning, Asheville had 46.68 percent of the vote, defeating its closest rival, San Diego, Calif. with 15.83 percent. Portland, Ore., which tied Asheville the first year and was only narrowly defeated last time (with much grousing), slid to a distant third.
The annual online poll, conducted by microbrew guru Charlie Papazian, is intended to measure support for local beer in various cities around the country. Papazian hasn’t yet revealed how many votes were cast in this year’s poll, but last year saw over 19,000.