It’s Selection Sunday and the only thing that can make college basketball and the NCAA Tournament more exciting is epic portions of beer. So it’s time to break out the top 64 beers and let them battle it out over the next three weeks. I have broken the selections down into four subgroups, I will do my best to explain my logic and any bias I may have.
Group 1: American Macrobrew
These are (for the most part) the best selling beers in the U.S. They will battle amongst themselves to determine who makes the final four but the winner will be considered a decided underdog.
Group 2: European
As Europe is home to so many wonderful beers, I felt they deserved their own representation, Ryder Cup style. This was one of the most difficult categories to seed and select. Many great beers were left off the list, and I would like to note that the reason beers like Chimay are not on the list is that I had to narrow criteria down to what can be purchased locally in a 12 oz. bottle. Chimay is an amazing drinking experience, but is sold only in 22 oz. bottles and usually for $11. I’m keeping this list accessible to the working man, or woman!
Group 3: American Microbrew
A couple things to point out here. I live in Michigan, and Michigan microbrew means BELL’S!!!!! If you think my list is heavy on Bell’s you are observant. I grant you that regionally I am probably missing many quality beers, but I will argue that the Bell’s beer included is top notch and I dare anyone to argue otherwise. Other regionals are included as my travels have introduced me to the likes of Big Sky. Also, is Sam Adams a microbrew? Perhaps not, but including them in the American Macrobrew category would have made a mockery of that group. Considering overall beer sales, Sam Adams is a tweener and fits better in this group. If you don’t like it you may make your own list.
Group 4: International Macrobrew
I will admit right away that this list skews North American. I would have loved to expand this list, but I can only go by what is relatively accessible in the area. I mean, whose crocodile do I have to wrestle to get Victoria Bitter in the U.S.?
If I’m excluding a favorite of yours, it is probably because I have never had the good fortune to try it before. I would love to be enlightened so please leave a comment and let me know. In the meantime, enjoy the competition, I certainly will. Winners will be announced every couple days as we count down to the final four. Happy drinking, and my condolences to Todd for the exclusion of the Illini and the Tar Heels from the real tourney.
(1) Blue Moon vs. (16) Miller High Life
(8) Miller Genuine Draft vs. (9) Bud Light
(5) Budweiser vs. (12) Miller Lite
(4) Coors Banquet vs. (13) Pabst Blue Ribbon
(3) Budweiser American Ale vs. (14) Old Style
(6) Land Shark Lager vs. (11) Coors Light
(7) Michelob Light vs. (10) Rolling Rock
(2) Killian’s Red vs. (15) Natural Light
The top matchup of the first round, in my opinion, is the 8 vs. 9. Having to blind taste test MGD and Bud Light is not only unenviable but could go either way. The Mich. Light/Rolling Rock battle will also be interesting. I haven’t had a Rolling Rock in ten years…
(1) Newcastle Brown Ale vs. (16) Amstel Light
(8) Harp vs. (9) Heineken
(5) Hoegaarden vs. (12) Carlsberg
(4) Stella Artois vs. (13) St. Pauli Girl
(3) Guiness vs. (14) Peroni
(6) Bass Ale vs. (11) Beck’s Dark
(7) Boddingtons Pub Ale vs. (10) Grolsch
(2) Pilsner Urquell vs. (15) Beck’s Pilsner
After enduring the American Macrobrew category, this will be a treat. Boddingtons vs. Grolsch is an early matchup of heavyweights, the best of the lot. Also, could St. Pauli send Stella to an early exit?
(1) Samuel Adams Boston Lager vs. (16) Edmond Fitzgerald Porter
(8) Bell’s Pale Ale vs. (9) Red Hook Long Hammer IPA
(5) Samuel Adams Winter Lager vs. (12) Samuel Adams Octoberfest
(4) Bell’s Oberon vs. (13) Bell’s Winter White
(3) Anchor Steam vs. (14) Big Sky Moose Drool Brown Ale
(6) Goose Island Honkers Ale vs. (11) Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat
(7) Bell’s Amber Ale vs. (10) Samuel Adams Summer Ale
(2) Sierra Nevada Pale Ale vs. (15) Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat
They are all great, there are honestly no losers here. From a Michigander’s perspective, you’ve got to love the Oberon vs. Winter White battle. But the toughest call will be Goose Island vs. Sam Adams Cherry Wheat. Goose Island is amazing and Sam Adams Cherry Wheat (distinguished by being the only fruit beer) is a slice of heaven. I might have to let that battle rage well into the morning…
(1) Red Stripe vs. (16) Tecate
(8) Sapporo vs. (9) Dos Equis Amber
(5) Foster’s Lager vs. (12) Molson Canadian
(4) Negra Modelo vs. (13) Labatt Blue
(3) Asahi Super Dry vs. (14) Tsingtao
(6) Dos Equis vs. (11) Corona
(7) Moosehead Lager vs. (10) Kingfisher Lager
(2) Modelo Especial vs. (15) Hite
Not to cause an international incident, but pitting Asahi vs. Tsingtao is like Michigan vs. Ohio State, or Duke/UNC. Other than that Corona vs. Dos Equis should certainly be interesting. If advertising campaigns were a determining factor, Dos Equis would win hands down.
Good night from Michigan, and stay thirsty indeed. I’ll be back with the first round winners in a couple days.