Well, I just filled out my bracket.

As with every year, I picked mostly at random, only letting myself justify a decision when I really, really wanted a friend’s favorite team to lose.

Even though I’m not quite as into sports as I know I’m supposed to be (I write a damned beer blog, after all! Manly things! Tim Allen!), I do love March Madness. It’s a time for people to get irrationally competitive, distracted from other facets of their lives, and generally hilarious to be around. Watching a good friend get exceedingly upset over something entirely unimportant is surely the eighth wonder of the world.

All this being said, I get caught up in the competition myself because… well, there’s just something about brackets that makes everything more exciting!

So imagine my ecstatic yelps of joy when I discovered The Washington Post’s…

Beer Madness.

For the sixth year in a row, The Washington Post is holding their blind taste test to determine the best craft beer available in the D.C. Metropolitan area (I knew I was proud of my DC Metro roots, but I just wasn’t sure what for).

Already into their first round, the beers- starting with 32 brews divided into the styles Crisp, Hops, Roast, and Fruit & Spice- have been whittled down to 16.

Out of the Sweet 16 match-ups, I’m most interested to see how two California powerhouses match up when Stone’s Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale takes on Sierra Nevada’s Stout. It’s also worth noting that last year’s victor, Flying Fish Brewing Co.’s Exit 4 (an Americanized Belgian tripel) is one of the few returning brews and has made it past the first round.

And since brackets are only fun if we pick ‘em, here are my (mostly arbitrary) picks for the rest of the tournament:

Elite 8

Elliot Ness Amber Lager (beats Fordham Helles Lager)
Coney Island Sword Swallower (upsets Victory Prima Pils)
The Bruery’s Saison Rue (beats Troeg’s Dreamweaver Wheat)
Siamese Twin (upsets returning champ, Exit #4)
D.C. Brau’s The Public (upsets New Belgium’s Belgo; home court advantage)
Founder’s Red’s Rye PA (beats Dogfish Head’s Burton Baton)
Allagash Black (beats Maui CoConut Porter)
Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale (beats Sierra Nevada Stout)

Final 4

Coney Island Sword Swallower (beats Elliott Ness Amber Lager)
Saison Rue (bests Siamese Twin)
The Public (upsets Red’s Rye PA)
Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale (beats Allagash Black)

The Championship

Coney Island Sword Swallower (beats Saison Rue)
Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale (finally unseats The Public, which I honestly kept around because it’s a newbie and from DC)


Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale – Stone

I’d love to rep the East Coast, but I just have a feeling Stone has put forth the strongest contender in this race.

What do you think? Anyone tried enough of these beers to have a legitimately informed opinion? (Of course, if you have, I wouldn’t hear a thing you said since that goes against all that is holy in the world of brackets.)

~Don Julian

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