This year March Madness is not only about basketball–it’s also about IPAs.
Smoked Bar and Grill started their IPA March Madness this week to crown a champion out of 24 different IPAs from four different local distributors.
For the next month, Smoked will tap six different IPAs every week with the winner of each week moving on the second round. Points are awarded for which kegs kick the fastest along with an overall customer vote.
Here’s the official bracket
There will be a winner represented from each distributor, who will then move on to the second round where they will face off against another distributor.
You have the option of trying all six, or just taking half the field by picking your top three. All are real half pours. No tasters. So, if you want to try all six, I would highly recommend bringing a teammate to help make your decision.
On my trip, I took the best three out of the first round. My flight consisted of Ballast Point Sculpin, Stone IPA and Oskar Blues IPA, which ended up being my choice for the best of the round.
If you’re in the mood for food I would recommend their pulled pork sliders. Ask for their bbq sauce caddy to try any combination of their six different sauces.
There’s no surprise that my favorite was the Sweet and Tangy Tequila with the Mango Habanero right on its heels. You get three sandwiches total, I just got too excited and ate one before taking the picture.
Beer-ket-ology (like bracketology, get it?)
When I look at the field, a few beers really stand out to me.
Home favorite: Troegs Perpetual
Many people seemed to have forgotten about this beer. I certainly have not, but it could face a big challenge from the west coast challenger in Deschutes Fresh Squeezed.
The old stand-by: Ithaca Flower Power
It’s a damn good beer that gets lost in the shuffle of the growing list of taps through out the region. Once people try it again, I think they will remember why they flocked to it in the first place.
The underdog: Free Will Kragle
To avid craft beer drinkers this would not be considered an underdog. The people who have never had or even heard of Kragle will see why it has such a following in our area.
My overall winner: Oskar Blues IPA
I picked as my favorite of the flight, and I think it has what it takes to go all the way. The triple threat of being delicious, very drinkable and possibly newer to a lot of people give it the perfect chance of raising the final glass in the championship round.