The Washington Post has an interesting little diversion along the lines of the 32-team bracket for the NCAA basketball tournament more commonly known as March Madness. The Post is calling it Beer Madness, though I think Marzën Madness is more clever, entirely on the flimsy basis that I thought of it. Essentially they chose 32 American beers from 19 states and then seeded them to go head to head at random. A panel of five then tasted each and declared a winner for each pairing. And although they chose one worthy colleague, Greg Kitsock, and a waitress from the world famous Brickskeller in D.C., the majority of the panel were chosen “entirely for their good looks.” Now I know this is just for fun, but for me it would have been more fun to have five reasonably beer-savvy panelists tasting the beers, but perhaps this will prompt me to try doing it myself next year.
Since the pairings were chosen at random, there were some unllikely beers going head to head, such as Allagash White vs. New Grist (a gluten-free beer) and Anchor Steam vs. Widmer Hefeweizen. There were few upsets, with the notable exception of Budweiser besting Victory Lager (though Victory’s Prima Pils would have been a better contest). The first round was completed yesterday and round 2 will take place this Sunday, March 18 with the finals two weeks after that on April 1. It’s certainly a fun idea, and will be interesting to see how it all turns out, even if I continue to wish the panelists all had some prior beer knowledge.
The bracket through round one.