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