2015 NC March Beer Madness

2015 NC March Beer Madness - Best NC Brewery
Posted by: Mike  /   Category: Just for Fun   /   38 Comments

It’s that time of the year again. Forget filling out your NCAA bracket…this is the bracket that matters. We’ve switched things up a little bit this year. (See last year’s blog post) Instead of voting for your favorite Triangle beer… it’s time to find out who our readers’ favorite North Carolina brewery is. There are well over 100 breweries in this glorious state, so I’ve picked out some of the most popular/my favorites and set them up bracket style to determine the grand champion. Obviously, there are some good breweries left off the list, so I apologize if I didn’t include your favorite. There was a big list of criteria I used, so trust me, it wasn’t an easy decision.

A couple of things I want to point out about this year’s competition. First, there is no limit on voting this year… vote for your favorites as many times as you like. If you are that dedicated to one particular brewery… they deserve as many votes as you’ll take the time to give them. Second, I had a hard time figuring out how to divide the regions. At first I wanted place each brewery in its region (ie Charlotte area, Raleigh area, Asheville area and the coast), but I quickly realized that wasn’t feasible based on the number of breweries concentrated in particular areas. Instead, the “regions” this year are titled after the four main components of beer: water, malt, hops and yeast. However, there is no rhyme or reason as to why each brewery is in its particular region. Lastly there were a couple breweries that I went back and forth on whether to include… mainly Sierra Nevada, Oskar Blues and New Belgium since their NC breweries are “2nd” locations. In the end I decided that since Sierra Nevada brewed Rain Check, which is focused mainly on NC ingredients, and since Oskar Blues has been brewing beers only released here in NC, the two of them warranted a spot on the bracket. On the other hand, since New Belgium hasn’t opened yet and isn’t brewing anything specific to NC, they were not included.

With all that said… let’s get it started! Feel free to print your own bracket (DOWNLOAD A BLANK BRACKET HERE), fill in your favorites, and see if you can pick who will win “Best NC Brewery.” Make sure to keep voting throughout the competition to keep your favorites advancing (Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for reminders). Although there will ultimately be only one winner… we are all the winners here in NC, because we get to enjoy what these amazing places are brewing on a regular basis.

Voting Tournament Schedule

  • First Round Voting: March 13 – 17   CLOSED
  • Second Round Voting: March 18 – 22   CLOSED
  • Regional Semifinals Voting: March 23 – 26   CLOSED
  • Regional Finals Voting: March 27 – 30   CLOSED
  • Final Four Voting: March 31 – April 2   CLOSED
  • Finals Voting: April 3 – 5   CLOSED
  • Finals Voting OVERTIME: April 6   CLOSED
  • NC Champion Announced: April 7


2015 NC March Beer Madness Bracket Winner

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Best NC Brewery Champion


About the Author

They say good people drink good beer... I must be a saint.


  1. Josh Newton March 13, 2015 at 4:31 pm  /  Comment Reply

    Fonta Flora vs Unknown in the First Round? Huge matchup

  2. Matt Robinson March 14, 2015 at 9:43 am  /  Comment Reply

    I cry foul…where is Appalachian Mountain Brewery?

    • Heather G March 14, 2015 at 6:00 pm  /  Comment Reply

      I was wondering the same thing!!!!

  3. Kevin March 14, 2015 at 12:33 pm  /  Comment Reply

    We want BCBB!!! Best beer in the Triangle!

  4. Bryon March 14, 2015 at 3:34 pm  /  Comment Reply

    March Madness just got even better!

  5. Sim Galazka March 14, 2015 at 4:20 pm  /  Comment Reply

    Where’s Howard Brewing in Lenore???

    • Heather G March 14, 2015 at 5:59 pm  /  Comment Reply

      Howard Brewing is located on Boundary St in Lenoir. If you are familiar with the area, it’s right off of West Ave, bellow Piccolo’s pizza. The tasting room is open Thurs-Sat from 5pm-10pm. You can park at the county offices or nest to the farmers market.

  6. Knox March 14, 2015 at 11:51 pm  /  Comment Reply

    Howard Brewing makes great stuff!

  7. gthomas March 15, 2015 at 1:13 pm  /  Comment Reply

    smooth tasting beer(action man)

  8. Tim March 16, 2015 at 3:09 pm  /  Comment Reply

    You left us out. Smooth moove…

  9. Dave March 16, 2015 at 4:38 pm  /  Comment Reply

    that Fullsteam vs Asheville is a brutal decision! Both should be 1 or 2 seeds. Noda is going to run away with this!

  10. Nathan March 17, 2015 at 8:55 am  /  Comment Reply

    White Street should be in the NIT.

  11. James March 17, 2015 at 10:05 am  /  Comment Reply

    oooo….Fullsteam vs Asheville? Fonta Flora vs Unknown? cant decide!!!
    Also, didnt know there was a Carolina Brewery and a Carolina Brewing Co.

    • Ernie March 21, 2016 at 6:59 am  /  Comment Reply

      CBC is one of the oldest breweries in the Triangle!! Over 20 years now!! Located in Holly Springs.

  12. Mark March 17, 2015 at 9:27 pm  /  Comment Reply

    Burial and Noda in the same bracket? Bold move cotton!

  13. Keith March 17, 2015 at 11:08 pm  /  Comment Reply

    pig pounder great English style ale, my favorite is boar brown

  14. Matt March 17, 2015 at 11:15 pm  /  Comment Reply

    where is Dirtbag Ales?

  15. Dan Burke March 18, 2015 at 9:26 am  /  Comment Reply

    Ouch, Twin Leaf going out in the first round? That’s a travesty. I know they’re only a year old, but people are missing out if they haven’t tried their stuff! I love this bracket, though. Keep up the great work!

  16. B March 18, 2015 at 10:42 am  /  Comment Reply

    Unknown over Fonta Flora is a downright travesty. It’s a shame FF’s production is so low — what bottles they do produce sell out quickly (rightfully so), while Unknown’s overpriced shelf turds are readily available in most Triangle area bottle shops.

  17. Ryne March 18, 2015 at 11:51 am  /  Comment Reply

    The yeast bracket is pretty weak. The hops bracket is overloaded.

  18. Brewits March 18, 2015 at 8:59 pm  /  Comment Reply

    Can’ t vote for my favorite brewery because White Rabbit isn’t in the mix. If you haven’t picked them as one of your favorites for the lineup, maybe you need to check them out!

  19. R March 18, 2015 at 9:05 pm  /  Comment Reply

    How do Sierra Nevada and Oskar Blues get in but not New Belgium? Also, it’s a shame more people don’t know Flora Fonta. they should have won

  20. Jeremy March 19, 2015 at 9:09 am  /  Comment Reply

    What about nantahala brewing company? Shout out to Bryson City.

  21. ErnieB March 19, 2015 at 3:37 pm  /  Comment Reply

    I’m a huge Carolina Brewing Co fan only because of them I was weaned off of “cheap” beer… however, think it’s going to be hard to beat Wicked Weed.

  22. Noelle March 19, 2015 at 11:27 pm  /  Comment Reply

    What about Lynnwood Brewing Concern out of Raleigh? They just got 2nd place in the National Imperial IPA championship. Sierra Nevada is included? Really? Where’s the local love bro?

  23. ErnieB March 20, 2015 at 7:57 am  /  Comment Reply

    Noelle..Lynnwood was in the first round and didn’t make it. I agree..great beers but unless you go to Lynnwood, no one knows who they are.

  24. NCisbeermecca March 23, 2015 at 4:35 pm  /  Comment Reply

    Sierra Nevada should not be on this list just like UCLA should have not been in the big dance.

  25. Shaluka Perera March 25, 2015 at 3:28 pm  /  Comment Reply

    We somehow missed the opportunity to get on this. Not sure how and why but that’s water under the bridge. How can we be on your radar for next year and future such events?

    Nickelpoint Brewing Co.

    • Mike
      Mike March 25, 2015 at 4:10 pm  /  Comment Reply

      With there being so many breweries in NC…there were a lot left off the list that could make a case to be in. It wasn’t anything personal as to why I didn’t include you guys, but due to the fact that you guys are relatively new and there are so many Raleigh breweries in the field to begin with…I needed to be able to bring in some other smaller breweries from other parts of the state. You don’t need to “get” on my radar…I’ve been to your guys’ place a couple of times, including the grand opening. Keep doing what you’re doing and whatever type of beer bracket I decide to do next year…I will seriously consider including you guys.

  26. B March 25, 2015 at 3:46 pm  /  Comment Reply

    One way to mitigate the “why don’t I see ________ brewery?” comments next year would be to create a poll allowing people to vote breweries into the field , before starting the tournament. Vote totals could even be used to help set the seeding. You could also still give “automatic bids” to some of the breweries with top sales/annual % growth/whatever metric you like.

  27. Shaluka Perera March 26, 2015 at 9:46 am  /  Comment Reply

    Mike – Thanks a looking forward to next year.


  28. Alan March 26, 2015 at 10:37 am  /  Comment Reply

    Ryne, strange you say the yeast bracket is weak when last year’s winner is in it.

    • Ryne March 31, 2015 at 1:10 pm  /  Comment Reply

      Alan, I didn’t keep up it with this last year so I don’t know who won. However, winning doesn’t mean you are the best brewery, it’s essentially a popularity contest. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just what it is. That’s why fabtastic smaller breweries like Pisgah and Flora Fonta didn’t survive. Their lack of widespread brand recognizability is not a reflection on their beer. Btw, I happen to like quite a few of the breweries from the yeast bracket, I just didn’t thing it was as strong from top to bottom.

  29. ErnieB March 31, 2015 at 6:24 pm  /  Comment Reply

    Ryne..in total agreement with you..Also, the fact that anyone can sit here and vote as many times as they wish until they get blisters on their fingers, just negates some of the validity of this poll. It should have a maximum numbers of votes per day per IP address to make it a little more valid. Personally. I was shocked to see Wicked Weed loose the last round. Talking about some really good beers. The Flying Saucer here in Raleigh had so many people ask for their beers that they now have a permanent spot on the tap wall.

  30. RJ April 3, 2015 at 9:44 am  /  Comment Reply

    who won the Cbc vs crank arm? I think you have the wrong finalists.

  31. Allan R April 4, 2015 at 3:31 pm  /  Comment Reply


    Only my second year here, but enjoyed it both years. Thanks for handling this. Good, fun job. And it’s appreciated. Now I think I’ll go pop open a CBC and relax.

  32. DC April 10, 2015 at 11:21 pm  /  Comment Reply

    Very fair and balanced poll unlike the Charlotte Business Journals best Beer in the Carolinas which was stacked in Charlottes favor and not surprisingly all 4 semi-finalists were from Charlotte.

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