Welcome back to the Best B1G Brewery Challenge! If you're new here (and judging by the Twitter response we got this weekend, there are plenty of first-time voters joining us), here's a quick refresher:
- Through a combination of distribution maps, Beer Advocate ratings, suggestions from the commentariat, and executive decisions by me, we narrowed each state down to the best 4-6 breweries. Since then, we've been voting on best brewery across the Big Ten footprint.
- That awesome brewery in your town doesn't can/bottle? Sorry, it's probably not up for voting. We, various football fans from various states, want to find beer we can bring to a tailgate quickly and easily.
This vote will only feature the remaining two states from the...
Don't Read the Comments Bracket
I feel like I should mention why we named the brackets the way we did. This one should be relatively self-explanatory. At Off Tackle Empire, our most-clicked and most-commented-on articles, perhaps save for Penn State, usually come from writing something about Michigan, Iowa, or Maryland. Hell, Creighton M's satirical piece on Iowa ending its rivalry with Iowa State is still receiving over a thousand clicks a day, far out-pacing anything else we write.
These states are just really, really passionate about...things.
It wasn't even close in the Great Lakes State, as the Big Two crushed all takers, easily seeing off Dark Horse and New Holland.
#1 Bell's Brewery vs. #2 Founders Brewing Co.
MNW's Hot Taek: I'm torn, as no doubt you all will be, too. The Kalamazoo Stout and Cherry Stout are two of my favorites from Bell's, to say nothing of Two-Hearted. In the end, though, it's the fruit over at Founders that has me repping the GRR, as Rubaeus is one of my favorite beers, bar none. The experience at their taproom is one of the best out there, and if you can get your hands on some Kentucky Breakfast Stout...man. Founders all the way.
[I feel like I've lost the remaining good will I had with at least half the Michigan/Michigan State OTE contingent.]
Heavy Seas actually trailed Stillwater for most of the first day of voting, but a late push by the Brewery Formerly Known as Clipper City eased it past the Artisanal folks across town.
#1 Flying Dog Brewery vs. #2 Heavy Seas Beer
MNW's Hot Taek: This is a tough one, and I wouldn't be surprised if the loser was voted back in onto the Second Chance line by its Maryland supporters (think the MLB Fan Vote -- stay tuned). Mostly in terms of my ability to get them but also because I am not a huge Belgian IPA guy but really, really like Raging Bitch, I'm giving the ever so slight nod to Flying Dog.
Just four states (MN, OH, WI, and IL) to go in the voting, and there are upsets galore across that quarter of brewing powerhouses! Stay tuned, and be sure to vote in the other states in the meantime:
Thanks as always for reading and voting! Be sure to let us know your vote and your favorites in the comments.