(8) Shiner Bock
(1) Heavy Seas Siren Noire
Heavy Seas snuck out of the first round by the skin of their teeth, but can their luck continue against the pride of Texas? I believe this is where the alarms will go off for the Siren. However, a vote for Shiner is a vote for Texas… is that something you are comfortable with?
(4) Founders Breakfast Stout
(5) Bells Hopslam
It’s a shame these beers had to meet so early in the tournament, because both really had a chance to go all the way and cut down the nets at the end – match-ups like this is what March Madness is all about though. The rich, heavenly perimeter shooting hoppiness of the Hopslam will really be pushed by the delicious dark coffee and inside game from the Founders. If the Bell’s can get hot, it’s their game to loose, but the longer the match-up stays close, the better chance for Founders.
(13) Rogue Dead Guy
(5) Brooklyn Brown
There are few beers that pair better with a some nice red meat than the Brooklyn Brown, and there are few beers that are made with proprietary hops like the Dead Guy. The hops are PROPRIETARY. They don’t just own the recipe, they own the ingredients. I’m not sure if I should be impressed or disgusted: maybe a little bit of both. The Rogue pulled a first round upset, but it’s time to take the dancing shoes off. The rich taste in the Brooklyn is simply too impressive and dominant, Rogue might manage to hang in their a little bit, but you’ll want to flip the channel by the 4th quarter.
(14) Bells Expedition Stout
(11) Duck Rabbit Milk Stout
These two heavy hitting stouts are coming off surprising upsets and just brimming with self confidence. And when I say heavy hitting, I mean heavy hitting. These are both heavy stouts with a ton of roasted grain. Your real choice is whether you’d prefer the milky smoothness of the Duck Rabbit or the ridiculous maltiness of the Bells. There’s technically no wrong answer here, but the Duck Rabbit would be the less wrong answer.
(3) Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
(6) Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold
Overrated Racer 5 limps into this contest at less than full strength while Dortmunder comes in hot and rested from Thursday’s blowout. Some analysts have Racer 5 going deep into the tournament, but I think the rugged Great Lakes brew is going to slow down Racer 5. Sorry Bear Republic, this is not your one shining moment.
(2) 21st Amendment Back in Black IPA
(10) Butternuts Moo Thunder
An ode to the Back in Black
To be or not to be (an IPA), that is the question,
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind (liver) to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (sobriety),
Or to take arms (beer) against a sea of troubles (probably women),
And by opposing (drinking) end them?
And you probably thought the only use for Shakespeare after 11th grade English was wooing women. You were just proved to be an idiot.
Also F*ck the Butternuts. You defeated BLUE PAW and crushed the hopes and dreams of so many.
(10) Dogfish Head Chicory Stout
(2) Great Lakes Eliot Ness
Chicory Stout took down the Brew Free or Die, which (based on its name) should have held up better than it did. So Chicory Stout took advantage of a competitor that was obviously having a bad game and was quite possibly overrated in the standings. Eliot Ness so easily handled Arrogant Bastard that it just seems logical for it to take out the Chicory Stout. However, the styles of these two are so varied that it’s really anyone’s game.
(4) Weihenstephan Hefeweizen
(12) Goose Island Honkers
Remember the scene from Notting Hill where Julie Roberts says she doesn’t get the obsession with breasts so Hugh Grant lifts up the covers to check them out? No? Really? Anyway, I was going to use it to make a very witty and cerebral point that while the “a vote for Honkers is a vote for breasts” campaign might originally seem simple and childish, but we are talking about breasts here, so it’s actually quite a compelling argument. That said, the Honkers is going up against probably the finest Hefeweizen in the bracket – and one of the best out there – and there’s always a chance people will actually pick a beer on taste. Based on the beer selections I witnessed last night during St. Patrick’s day, I think that’s unlikely, but if it happens, Weihenstephan wins in a landslide.
(9) Smuttynose Big A IPA
(1) Troegs Troegenator
You hear that sound? It sounds like a freight train doesn’t it? It’s the Troegenator Train, baby, and it’s barreling down the tracks! You better get out of the way Big A.
(5) Butternuts Pork Slap
(4) Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
After a couple big wins, both of these competitors are carrying some momentum into this match. The Pork Slap took down a tough beer in the Pennant, but I think their luck has run out. The 60 Minute has a well-known track record and that kind of experience will easily get them into the Sweet 16. Sorry Butternuts, better luck next year.
The Breakfast Stout blew out the AVBC Oatmeal Stout and now moves on to the Hopslam. The Hopslam already took out one big stout and is looking at crushing another.
(4) Founders Breakfast Stout (5) Bells Hopslam
Shiner snuck by Kona, but the Siren Noire nearly lost to Schlitz! So, look out Siren Noire.
(8) Shiner Bock (1) Heavy Seas Siren Noire (tie-break win)
Two angry sounding beer/men battle it out in this round. It’s going to be a close one.
(2) Speakeasy Big Daddy IPA (10) Founders Dirty Bastard
Abita Amber lucked out in their win over the Whale’s Tale. Look for the Two Hearted to continue its dominance.
(8) Abita Amber (tie-break win) (1) Bells Two Hearted
Yards looks like it got an easy run. Natty Light first, now Red Stripe?
(1) Yards IPA (9) Red Stripe
Dale’s shutout Sam Adams and is now looking to carry that momentum to take out a big competitor in the Raging Bitch, who manage to push through the St. Paddy’s Day favorite: Guinness.
(2) Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale (7) Flying Dog Raging Bitch
The Marzen barely made it past the Otter Creek Copper and is now against a beer who comfortably destroyed the Allagash White. Gonna be a close one.
(3) Heavy Seas Marzen (11) Ommegang Abbey Ale
Both of these teams blew out their opponents last round. It’s going to be a barn burner!
(11) Heavy Seas Loose Cannon (3) Lagunitas Little Sumpin Sumpin
(3) Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’
(14) Stella Artois
Stella Artois – a mostly European team – was lucky to make it into this bracket, but I don’t see them staying very long. There is a little something special about the Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ and I see them dominating this matchup, unless there is an influx of douche.
(6) Allagash White
(11) Ommegang Abbey Ale
This could be a tough one for the Allagash White as the Ommegang Abbey Ale is a very solid and underrated beer. Allagash is solid is does everything right for its style, but the Ommegang is based off the beer of Belgium Trappist monks, so clearly they have God on their side – tough to bet against God. There is something special about the Ommegang Abbey where I could see them going on a Cinderella run in this tournament and that’s why this is my upset special! Go Ommegang Abbey!
(9) Red Stripe
This game has the feel of a duel between two teams that have seen better days. Just like this year’s Michigan State/UCLA first round matchup, these programs have known glory, but seem to be on the downward trend. Clinging to the glory of it’s 1893 title, PBR is an early favorite to edge out its short, stubby Jamaican counterpart.
(11) Heavy Seas Loose Cannon
Dear Selection Committee, it’s looking like you gave America’s oldest brewery the raw deal. Sure, everyone likes Yuengling. Hell, when you’re at a bar and you’re stuck picking between Bud, Miller, Coors, and Yuengling; the obvious choice is Yuengling. But, Loose Cannon is no macro-brew. Loose Cannon remains a favorite around these parts because of its sweet, citrusy hop flavor. A flavor that Yuengling sorely lacks. Looking to be a blowout of epic proportions. Aaargh!
(3) Heavy Seas Marzen
(14) Otter Creek Copper Ale
Nothing says March Madness like a battle royal between a German style Marzen and German style Altbier. Both beers come in pretty tame at under 6% ABV so I expect a low scoring affair. While their pedigrees are impressive I expect their German pedigree to reign supreme – obsessive deference to the rules, socks & sandals, and of course arrogance. Normally you could cite arrogance as a potential downfall for a top seed, but what happens when the underdog is just as arrogant? The Marzen wins, but we all lose.
(2) Dale’s Pale Ale
(15) Sam Adams Boston Lager
Perennial fan (read: uneducated bum) favourite Sam Adams has got the whole city of Boston drunkenly cheering them on, while Dale’s supporters are too busy standing in the snack bar queue due to a massive craving of the munchies, but they will totally defend the awesomeness of the beer if they need to, man. In all honesty, neither beer brings a strong game to the table, and both have some weaknesses that could prove costly. Ultimately, the team that wins will be the one that manages to convince everyone that even when actually playing the game, it’s how you talk the talk that matters.
(1) Yards IPA
(16) Natural Light
Weighing in at a respectable 7% ABV, Yards is a clear favorite to advance easily from the first round. Despite playing in the Southwest, far from it’s Pennsylvania home, Yards simply offers too much for the watery not-quite-beer taste of Natty Light. If this were a frat party the results might be different, but fortunately for the viewing population, Natural Light is unlikely to hang around very long.
(1) Bells Two-Hearted
(16) Miller Lite
Well, this match up should be a cake-walk. Miller Lite survived the play in game against Bud Light only to go against one of the stronger beers. That said, it all comes down to who shows up at game time: George W* (Beer Drinkers) or John Kerry (Beer Lovers) Fans.
Miller Lite comes from the old-beer-school North, has family connections with foreigners, but has appeal in most places, especially at sporting venues.
Also from the North, Bells Two-Hearted is substance over style and appeals to those who are more versed in the field of beer. People note that while it seems highfalutin, it actually has some very solid points that Miller Lite never seems to address. Unlike Miller Lite, Two-Hearted has worked pretty hard to build a solid reputation in the field and doesn’t rely on gimmicks to win over new fans, just a simple taste. Those that support Bells Two-Hearted are often blinded to the fact that Miller Lite is highly favored in the large Southern States, where Two-Hearted is seen as aloof. Two-Hearted backers claim that it’d have broader appeal if people would just give it a try.
Out of this, I gotta go with the higher seed, Bells Two-Hearted, and pray that NASCAR dads do not show up to the polls this time.
*Yes, Bush Jr was a reformed alcoholic and doesn’t drink beer. Also, he’s from Connecticut.
(7) Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat
(10) Founders Dirty Bastard
This match-up looks lopsided from the start. I imagine it playing out like this:
Sunset Wheat, nice and relaxing, calm and quiet, sits quietly on the dock overlooking the lake watching the sun slowly dissolve into the water at the horizon. Dirty Bastard runs up, kicks Sunset Wheat in the crotch and then throws him off into the lake. I got Dirty Bastard by 20.
(1) Heavy Seas Siren Noire
A classic David vs. Goliath matchup. Heavy Seas brings with it a strong reputation of high-caliber players, known to rarely disappoint in big moments. Schlitz, however, has the popular appeal to offer some resistance to the heavy favorite. On name alone, many casual viewers will be tempted by the allure of Schlitz, but most will find that pick barely defensible once the Siren Noire makes itself known.
(8) Abita Amber
(9) Cisco Whale’s Tale Pale Ale
My feelings about Abita Amber are the same as Dick Vitale’s feelings about Duke. As the old saying goes, Coach K likes to tickle Dickie V’s grundle with a peacock feather on a bearskin rug at his secluded ski chalet near Squaw Valley. That is how I feel about Abita Amber. That, or love. It’s the exact same thing. Whale’s Tale is nice, as a friend, but I would rather put my mouth around an Abita and swallow.