Cincinnati Craft Madness 2018: Bracket Release

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Get ready; voting starts Thursday!

As with 2017, I have put together an NCAA-style bracket to coincide with this year’s March Madness. Starting the third week of March, 64 local beers will go head-to-head in single-elimination match-ups as we collectively decide which Cincinnati beer reigns supreme—lord knows there are a lot of great ones!

Round of 64 voting will begin on Thursday. Keep your eye out, tell your friends, and be sure to vote for your favorites!

Here are the complete instructions and rationale behind selection and seeding.

How the game works:

1) In the Round of 64 (first round), there are four regions—Westside, OTR, NKY, Eastside (as with regions in the NCAA tournament, they’re not at all geographically accurate by “team”)—with 16 beers in each region.

2) There will be a second round, Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four, and Championship match-up.

3) Each round will last 24 hours (active from 8am–7:59am).

Please note that instructions are subject to change, and you will be notified of any changes made to the game.

Selection and seeding:

1) All currently open breweries with taprooms in greater Cincinnati (within about 30 miles from the city center—the only exception being Sons of Toil) were listed and given a certain number of “berths” depending on the number of beers they’ve had in production (according to Untappd). In the case of breweries with multiple locations (e.g. Braxton and Taft’s), they were combined.

2) Listed in order from most beers to least, the top eight breweries were given three berths; the next ten were given two berths; the remaining 20 got one berth.
Examples: Rhinegeist, with 538 total beers produced*, gets three births; Urban Artifact—coming in at number 9 with 203 total beers—will get a two-berth appearance; Fretboard, being new to the brew scene with 29 total beers produced, gets one Cincinnati Craft Madness tournament berth.

3) Beers were selected based on popularity (according to Untappd check-ins). Most beers are core offerings and not seasonal releases. (An exception would be Christian Moerlein Blood Orange IPA, with FC Cincinnati’s season starting back up on March 17.)

4) All beers were then numbered, seeded, and divided into four regions at random. (Very scientific ;))

Please do not drink and drive!

Check out Tour de Cincinnnati’s Brewery Guide for a map, more information about local breweries, food offerings, and recommended beers, plus the Craft Beer Guide for recommendations by style.

*As of March 5, 2018

[Editor’s Note: There were a few changes made to the original bracket to ensure a “team” (brewery) didn’t have multiple matchups in one region. Switches were made, but seeding was not affected. Also, it was brought to my attention that a Paradise and Rivertown beer are no longer in production despite saying otherwise on Untappd. Thus, Paradise Flat Amber and Listermann Lil SIPA were updated to Luck o’ the Irish stout and IPA in the OTR Region.]

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