Cincinnati Craft Madness 2017

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About six months ago I dove back into blogging and I had this wild idea to create a “March Madness” for Cincinnati beer. What started as a pipe dream turned into hours of prep — local brewery research, Untappd digging, and crunching numbers, plus logo and bracket design work. 40,000 votes later, we have a champion. I am pretty proud of this endeavor, but mostly I am thankful to everyone who shared and participated in the inaugural Cincinnati Craft Madness. It was so much better than I ever envisioned! Thank you!

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Congrats to Brink Fashionably Late for winning Tour de Cincinnati’s inaugural Cincinnati Craft Madness. Brink Brewing Co., located in College Hill, is one of Cincinnati’s newest breweries, having opened in February (not quite two months ago). I visited Brink during its grand opening celebration and I have to say that I really liked the place. The beer was good, too! 

Fashionably Late is described as a Session IPA, a style of beer known for its easy, “sessionable” drinking, yet bold flavor. “This beer is everything a hop head wants in a crushable IPA: grapefruit and melon from the Citra hops and tangerine and papaya from the Mosaic, balanced with moderate bitterness and some sweet malts.” It really is a great beer and, if you haven’t had it, get to Brink and try it soon.

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Congratulations are also in order to the other 63 local beers in the tournament, but especially The Woodburn Brewery’s Chocolate Cherry Stout. Also newer to the Cincinnati beer scene is The Woodburn (August 2016), featuring one of their flagship recipes, a “sweet, milky luxury” in stout form. Not sure how a chocolate cherry stout could advance to the championship? Get to East Walnut Hills and give it a try. Then you’ll see why it’s so popular.

Of the 64 beers in the tournament, I’ve had 55 of them, and I can assure you that they are all good. I’ve had more than 500 local beers and fancy myself a local craft beer connoisseur, so I really can’t wait to try the rest. Cincinnati has hundreds of delicious beers, and I am so proud of its storied brewing history and recent craft beer success.

There are a lot of reasons why I wanted to do this tournament. First, it would be a fun alternative to your typical March Madness — something I’d never really seen done before in the area. Secondly, it would be a fun way to engage the readers, implement my design expertise, and learn even more about local beer. But really, this quote is precisely why I’m so happy I decided to do it:

“Your beer bracket made me realize I have to try a lot of beer. Maybe that’s what I’ll do in 2017 — try more beer.”

My work here is done, guys. Thanks again and cheers!

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