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Best Brewery in B1G Country: A Competition

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You read that right, folks. With football season rapidly approaching, I’m shamelessly stealing from The Daily Gopher’s Food Bracket tournament and repurposing it...for beer!

Based on your suggestions, those of the OTE staff, distribution stats from SeekABrew, and beer ratings from BeerAdvocate, I’ve put together a bracket to determine the best brewery from the Big Ten footprint. When there was some controversy or too many breweries, I went George W. Bush on it.

For my purposes, because there’s limited time until the season starts, and because there are a metric fuckton of breweries in the Midwest and beyond, the ground rules:

  • Breweries should distribute. Your local brewery may send you home with the best growlers, but that doesn’t really help all of us across the Empire.
  • I tried to avoid breweries owned by the big boys...but Goose Island snuck through because their "craft" isn’t "dump a different fruit into the lager this time and call it a new shandy!" Sorry.
  • The Beer Bracket will consist of 4 breweries from each state.

Yes, you’re right, that last point does create a lot of problems for brewery-rich states! What we’re going to do this week is have play-in voting to get each state to 4 breweries. Those 4 breweries will enter the bracket.

From there, we’ll vote until we’ve got a winner from each state. You’ll notice, of course, that 11 does not lend itself well to a bracket-style challenge. We’ve decided to handle this two-fold:

  1. Because of the brewing reputations of each state, the runners-up from Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois will be re-entered into the bracket for the Round of 16.
  2. The 16th and final spot will be determined by a vote from the remaining runners-up.

Enough talk. The bracket:

click to embiggen

Don’t like it? Too damn bad. Be the vote you wish to see in the world. Feel free to lobby for your state's brewery of choice in the comments, too!

Tweet your friends! Tweet the breweries! But be ready to rep your state, because on Monday the play-in voting begins!