Beer Madness 2013: The Riesling Curse

I’m a little late with my post this week, but my recent free time and marital capital were spent on Beer Madness 2013. This year, dangermenparenting and I wrapped up the annual Beer Madness Tournament much faster than the 6 months it took last year. We even doubled the field to 16 (20 if you count the 4 play-in match-ups). How did we do this? More man-power. We enlisted the help of the Sports-Glutton and two other non-blogging friends. It was a good time.

I have a couple bones to pick beneath the pics, but I’ll leave the full rundown to dangermenparenting. You can take a looksie-peepsie at the final bracket here. And here is the lineup:2013-03-22 12.43.54

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First of all, somehow Schlafly Kölsch beat He’Brew Schmaltz Lenny’s RIPA by a vote of 4-1. Inconceivable. The only reasonable explanation is rampant anti-semitism. The Schlafly is a well-made beer, but you could fall asleep drinking it. The RIPA, on the other hand, exemplifies the transcendence of the rye and hop union.

Second, Thomas Hooker Brewing’s Connecticut Barrel Series Saison made it to the finals. This overly sweet and under-carbonated saison (aged in wine barrels) never should have made it past the first round match-up with Ommegang Hennepin. I hadn’t had a Hennepin in awhile, but I was reminded how great a beer it is, particularly its yeast character. Conversely, the common compliment about the Hooker Saison was that it tasted remarkably like a Riesling. Actually, everyone else repeatedly gushed over this characteristic.

When has “tastes like a Riesling” ever been a positive beer characteristic, particularly at an event called Beer Madness (hosted in a basement in front of 92 total inches of flat-screen college basketball coverage)? Wait. Actually, I do know someone else who would like a beer that tasted like Riesling…this lady:

She's laughing AT you.

She’s laughing AT you.

My mother-in-law. In fact, her Facebook timeline reminds me that she drinks Riesling while enjoying Dancing With The Stars…followed-up with a spot of chocovine. Now, I had to duck out of Beer Madness right after the final tasting, but I can only assume this is also what happened in my absence with this Riesling-sipping crowd.

Here’s to a Riesling-free Beer Madness 2014.

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August/September Madness?! NCAA Beer Brackets finally completed

Finally: The completion to NCAA Beer Madness from back in March. I’m sure everyone was waiting with baited breath. In any case, this clearly illustrates why I’m not fit to be in charge of anything.

Dangermenparenting hunted down the finalist beers and brought them over one evening after our daughters spent the afternoon terrorizing the neighborhood pool. So much time had passed from the first round of the tournament that, due to beer emergency, or mere thirst, all of the original beers had long been consumed.  So, without further adieu, we have:

Port City Porter vs. Uinta Hop Notch
Port City Porter got here by trouncing Abita Save Our Shores Pilsner in the first round. And Uinta Hop Notch had an easy first round draw against one of my only Lagunitas disappointments: Cappuccino Stout.

Port City Porter is not too sweet, not too dry. And it’s subtle, with chocolate, light notes of coffee, cream, and a light kiss of hops. One of my favorite porters. It flops its big hairy toe into the Stout category in some ways, but I don’t think enough so to book it (if I were the type of style-Nazi who was so inclined to do so).

I have given Uinta Hop Notch chance-after-chance. Each time I am cautiously optimistic from the tropical hop aroma. Then I taste it and it’s a little creamy, which I like in IPAs, but the hop flavor has never fully delivered for me.

Beerbecue: Port City 60, Uinta Hop Notch 40.
Dangermenparenting: Port City 60, Uinta Hop Notch 40.

Southern Tier 2X Stout vs. Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald
Southern Tier came out of the first round with a surprise victory against Nugget Nectar. This still has me bitter. And Edmund Fitzgerald soundly defeated Sixpoint Bengali Tiger.

The 2X Stout smells like double chocolate milk. It’s sweet, but not nearly as sweet as the nose lets on. Chocolate with a little coffee come out to play. There’s some roasty, smoky business up in there, and some nice hop character, too. It’s surprisingly complex.

I don’t get as jacked-up about Edmund Fitzgerald as some (namely people from Ohio). I think it’s a good, drinkable porter.

Now, I clearly prefer the 2X Stout (especially for breakfast), but I am not going to beer bong it or haul off and drain a couple on a hot day. Edmund Fitzgerald might be better suited to those purposes. But since I’m too old for beer bonging anymore…

Beerbecue: Southern Tier 51, Great Lakes 49.
Dangermenparenting: Southern Tier 53, Great Lakes 47.

FINAL: Port City Porter vs. Southern Tier 2X Stout

Beerbecue: Port City 55, Southern Tier 45.
Dangermenparenting: Port City 51, Southern Tier 49.

Blatant homerism, people. Plus, I have said it a million times: Port City Porter is better than a Benihana chef on the SP-12.

And in the consolation match for third place, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald took out Uinta Hop Notch, by a wide margin. Although this mismatch demonstrated the weakness in our scoring system (percentage of time you would get one vs. the other). Although, unless you only matchup like styles in a shootout like this, you are going to run into this problem.

Maybe we’ll try this again next year. And we’ll shoot to finish before August/September.

You can see dangermenparenting’s March Madness finale post here.