NOTE: Voting is now closed. The Ultimate Minnesota Beer Bracket field will be announced and voting in the Sudsy Sixteen round will begin Wednesday, March 20, at startribune.com/beerbracket.
Minnesotans: It’s time to stop playing nice and start getting sudsy.
The Ultimate Minnesota Beer Bracket is back, and there’s no room for passive-aggressive, “oh, no, you go first,” “everyone’s a winner” pleasantries. This is a cutthroat competition, and your hard-earned opinions on beer are all that matter. Unleash them.
For the third year, we are inviting you, Star Tribune readers, to vote for your favorite Minnesota brewery. You’ll select the field out of the state’s 166 breweries and keep voting as they go head-to-head until only one ice-cold brewski is left standing.
And what better time to pit Minnesota’s best breweries against one another in a progressive popularity contest than during the bracket of all brackets, March Madness. It just so happens the Final Four will compete right here in Minneapolis, at U.S. Bank Stadium. We expect the winners will toast to victory with a cold one. We’ll let Star Tribune readers be their guide.
Last year, No. 2 seed Castle Danger trounced the competition, including the heavily favored Surly, in the finals. Can the North Shore destination brewery defend its championship?
How about Schell’s, which made a fast break in the inaugural Beer Bracket in 2017? Will a rookie to the scene rise to the occasion? Or will powerhouses Surly, Fulton or Summit show the rest of the contenders the door? You get to decide.
Consider last year’s notable contenders hoping to make the cut, take a sip or three, and most important, vote. More on how to vote below.
The Reigning Champ: Castle Danger
No one saw it coming, but the modest Two Harbors-based operation proved its worthiness by weaving its way through the Twin Cities brewing scene’s full court press and claiming the crown for the North Shore in 2018. Who will challenge?
The Favorite Who Came Up Short: Surly
The oddsmakers thought this was a slam-dunk last year. The Twin Cities giant earned the No. 1 seed and has become nationally known. But then … an upset!
The Cinderella: Bad Weather Brewing
The St. Paul brewmasters edged out Minneapolis’ Modist to squeak into the 16th and final spot. Can they do it again?
The Surprise Contender: Junkyard
This “nanobrewery” in Moorhead made a late push into the field at No. 13 last year.
How to vote
Choose your favorite breweries — up to five — from the drop-down fields, in order of preference. Vote for each brewery only once. Entries that include a brewery in more than one field will be disqualified. The top 16 vote-getters will form our Ultimate Minnesota Beer Bracket field, which we’ll announce in print on March 20.
Amelia Rayno contributed to this.