After 48* hours of voting on each state, it's time to find out the winners from Iowa, Indiana, and New Jersey and vote on the best brewery in each state!
Dilly Bar Dan Bracket
It's also come to my attention that I was remiss enough to have missed the excellent series on beer in Nebraska and the Missouri Valley that Ty Peteranetz had done earlier this summer over at Corn Nation. Give him a read!
#1 Nebraska Brewing Co. vs. #3 Zipline Brewing Co.
Nebraska Brewing Co. has proven to be a pretty controversial #1 seed, though their distribution footprint had most at least understanding their high seeding. With news that Zipline has moved into the Kansas City market (thanks, revbranmuffin!) I expect the Lincoln-based brewery to continue to grow across the Plains.
Try the Copper Alt if you've never tried an altbier. The finish is different than what you'd expect if you've had a copper ale before. The NZ IPA has a great hops balance, but not an overwhelming finish, making it a great intro to people who don't like hops, but can enjoy the balance of a good IPA. Their Oatmeal Porter has been, from my experience, their most renowned beer. Their Brave New Brew line combines and experiments with flavors, producing beers that are hard to find, and hard to forget.
Nebraska Brewing Company's Cardinal Pale Ale is probably one of the most ubiquitous of their beers. If a bar or store has just one of their beers, it's likely this one. Cardinal is an American pale ale, so the hops is more subdued than you'll find in an IPA. In the case of Cardinal, it's well-balanced and slightly citrusy, making a refreshing flavor with just a hint of bitter finish. The company's India Pale Ale is a great example of this style, hoppier than some, but still tasty, and it doesn't kick you in the face. I am, by and large, not a fan of brown ales (thus the reason that I'm less critical of beers in this series, and more into profiling the brewery! Everyone's palette is different!), but I'd drink their Brunette again. It's malty, but doesn't leave the finish that can stick in your throat.
Chicago's Big Ten Bracket
#1 Troegs Brewing Co. vs. #3 Voodoo Brewery
What They're Saying
Had Big Black Voodoo Daddy a year ago. Tastes great, but can wreck you in no time quick.
MNW's Hot Taek: It's tough to vote against a good barleywine, but Big Black Voodoo Daddy has enough muscle to carry Voodoo through in my Pennsylvania bracket. Leave your thoughts in the comments, though; we need to know what to drink when we visit Happy Valley!
Thanks for reading and voting! Stay tuned for the state finals of Michigan, Maryland, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, and Illinois, coming as soon as I get my life in order and turn out those articles!