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Best B1G Brewery Challenge, State Finals: Wisconsin and Illinois

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Lakefront or New Glarus? Half Acre or Revolution? HELP.

BigRedTwice

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.
Fully updated bracket (spoilers on the other state finals found there) can be found here, and be sure to vote on the best breweries in the other state finals:

To the voting!

Speth's Liver Memorial Bracket

This one's self-explanatory, right? The only difference is we're honoring good beer in this tournament, not the $4 pitchers of PBR you slam at a bar in Oshkosh to...well...forget you're in Oshkosh.

Wisconsin

I'm going to have to head down to the river for some Ale Asylum tonight, because their supporters are a feisty lot...maybe there's something I've been missing the last couple times I've had it. A strong showing from the #6 seed. Meanwhile, New Glarus' reputation was just far too much for Central Waters to handle. Pick up some Satin Solitude and pour a little out for enjoy the Amherst brewing titan -- you won't be sorry.

#1 New Glarus Brewing Co. vs. #2 Lakefront Brewery

MNW's Hot Taek: This is tough. It's either taking New Glarus for their higher end stuff, especially their fruit offerings, or Lakefront for their flagships and the amazing time you'll have at their Riverwest brewery tour. (Seriously, when you're in Milwaukee, go. Unless you don't like dick jokes while you're drinking beer samples in a beautiful brewery. You know what? Go anyways. The dick jokes are that funny.)

Either way, try Lakefront's amazing My Turn series, which is somewhere around their 20th small batch and should be continuing out for a couple more years.

I honestly don't know who to pick here. I've thought about this since I knew these two would be in the finals, and...I just don't know. Vote your conscience, folks.

Chicago's Big Ten Bracket

Another self-explanatory bracket. Though I missed a chance to make a good tarp joke here...damn.

Illinois

Now that we had the #6 seed from Ohio make it to the finals with a rout of Rhinegeist, how about something even bigger? Awash in controversy over its status as a craft brewer now that it's been bought out by the big boys, Goose Island went down to the rising Chicago powerhouse from Logan Square, Revolution Brewing.

Revolution will square off against Half Acre, which rides to the finals with a convincing win over Pipeworks.

#2 Half Acre Beer Co. vs. #4 Revolution Brewery

MNW's Hot Taek: Damn, Daisy Cutter is a good beer, isn't it? And with Lead Feather on the darker side...Half Acre does amazing work with their selection of ales. But there's just something about Revolution...it's turned into a community hub for good beer and good drinking, and the wide range of styles and flavors (get the Rosa Hibiscus Ale) means I'm giving Revolution the nod.

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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:

Iowa, Indiana, and New Jersey

Nebraska and Pennsylvania

Maryland and Michigan

Minnesota and Ohio

Thanks as always for reading and voting! Be sure to let us know your vote and your favorites in the comments.

MNW