Beer Brackets

Beer BracketWith the huge upsets in this year’s college basketball tournament, chances are your bracket’s busted. So why not focus on a beer bracket instead? Plenty of cities and breweries have created craft beer tasting tournaments with beer bracket lineups.

Washington Post’s Beer Madness

The Washington Post is sponsoring its eighth rendition of a beer tournament dubbed “Beer Madness.” For the second year in a row, this craft beer competition features beers local to the area, and they have plenty from which to choose. There are about 70 breweries in Virginia, roughly 30 in Maryland, and nine in D.C. The competition features a blind taste test with eight judges, four selected as experts and four selected from the paper’s readership. (It’s not surprising that the paper had over 300 applicants vying for one of the readership tasting positions.)

The brackets are divvied up into four categories: crisp, fruit and spice, malt, and hop. The taste test takes place over two sessions, and The Post reveals results weekly in conjunction with the NCAA basketball tournament.

Madison.com’s Beer Bracket

Halfway across the country in Wisconsin, The Wisconsin State Journal holds a similar competition, and this year The Beer Bracket is also focusing on local brews, with out-of-state competitors denied. Although neighboring Bell’s Two Hearted Ale (Michigan) won’t be a contender, the competition has always had a bit of a home-state bias anyway. In the first two years, Madison’s Ale Asylum took the championship with its Hopalicious and Ballistic, respectively. Champions are retired from competition after winning.

Unlike the beer bracket competition in the nation’s capital, anyone can vote in this one. Register, log in, and vote for your favorite Badger-state brew.

Pennsylvania Beer Brackets

In Harrisburg, The Patriot News runs a craft beer competition, as does CitizensVoice.com serving northeastern PA. Like the Wisconsin competition, the one in Harrisburg is open to online voting with the final winner announced this Friday at a live event at Federal Taphouse in Harrisburg. In Luzerne County, like D.C., the competition is limited to local brews, and its inaugural JumpStart! beer bracket limits competition to breweries in the eastern half of the state. Online voting will determine the readers’ champion in this contest.

DraftBeer.com’s Draft Beer Bracket

For the fifth year, Draft Magazine is holding its version of a beer competition. Besides bragging rights about your favorite beer, online voters can register to win prizes including tickets to the 2014 Great American Beer Festival or a dual-tap kegerator. In addition, the winning brewery will take home the Draft Cup and $1,000 will be donated to the charity of its choice.

No matter how your NCAA Tournament bracket may have held up, it seems like it will be hard to lose playing a beer bracket.