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Welcome to the 2019 Beer Baron's Beer Bracket Contest!


Beer Baron

You are about to embark on the eighth edition of the Beer Bracket, the no-hops-barred suds smackdown where it's up to you to crown Wisconsin’s favorite beer. The selection committee (it me) has chosen the beers in the field, but it’s up to you to determine which ones advance through each round. Just for playing, you'll be entered to win prizes.

Each brewery in the field is represented by only one beer, ensuring as broad as possible cross-section of the state's beer. This was the hardest year yet to select the field, with exclusions numerous and egregious – including the most recent crop of Madison-area brewers. Full Mile, Right Bauer and Delta Beer Lab, I've got a feeling you're a lock for the 2020 bracket.
 
Nevertheless, the 2019 bracket retains a Madison focus. And as always there are a handful of attention-worthy breweries from other corners of the state that don't widely distribute their beer to Madison or even Milwaukee. This year the committee chose another black-and-white (mostly) metric to divide the field into its four regions: the brewery's total production (as reported to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue) for 2018.
 
The breweries selected are not quite the 64 biggest producers; the smallest, Madison's Giant Jones Brewing, sold about 60 barrels in its first, partial year of business, the 168th-highest production total of entities reporting to DOR. As in previous years, past champions have their banners hoisted in the Beer Bracket arena and are retired from future brackets. That's why you'll find no Ale Asylum Hopalicious (the inaugural champion, in 2012) and Ballistic (2013), New Glarus Spotted Cow (2014), Karben4 Fantasy Factory (2015), New Glarus Moon Man (2016) or Ale Asylum Bedlam (2017). Last year's champion was the first first-time winner since 2015: Central Waters, which took the crown for its Brewers Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout.
 
When you vote, make sure you click to each of the four regions. And use your preferred social media platform to rally the vote for your favorite beer. You can use Twitter to rally the cause for your favorite beer and predict your champion using #WIBeerBracket -- and while you’re there give me a follow: @WIbeerbaron.

Cheers,
Chris Drosner,
aka The Beer Baron

Chris Drosner has the enviable task of writing beer columns for the Wisconsin State Journal. You can catch up on recent columns at go.madison.com/beerbaron. Questions about the Beer Bracket? Email chrisdrosner@gmail.com.

Voting cutoff dates:

First round ends 3/18

Second round ends (32 to 16) 3/21

Third round ends (16 to 8) 3/25

Fourth round ends (8 to 4) 3/27

Fifth round (4 to 2) ends 3/29

Championship ends 4/2

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