First Round Matchups
(1) Westmalle Trappist Tripel v. (16) Dos Equis Special Lager
Winner: Westmalle Trappist Tripel
Comments: This was an expected blowout. Dos Equis was just fizzy and wet, and that was the good qualities about it. It just couldn’t stand up to a tasty Belgian brew.
(8) Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel Solstice D’hiver v. (9) Baird Rising Sun Pale Ale
Winner: (8) Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel Solstice D’hiver
Comments: Talk about a close one. Baird came with some complex flavors making for a very unique pale ale. But, they just couldn’t stand up to the dark fruit and spicy hops of Solstice D’hiver.
(5) Fuller’s ESB v. (12) Ridgeway Criminally Bad Elf
Winner: Fuller’s ESB
Comments: I would say that Fuller’s came into the game underranked. It’s probably the best ESB I’ve ever had and had no trouble beating out a less than impressive barleywine that was all too thin and missed the mark.
(4) Fuller’s Vintage Ale (2009) v. (13) Morland The Tanner’s Jack
Winner: Fuller’s Vintage Ale (2009)
Comments: Another matchup that wasn’t close. Fuller’s just had much more flavor and left me wanting for another sip immediately.
(6) Samuel Smith’s Yorkshire Stingo v. (11) St. Peter’s Fruit Beer (Grapefruit)
Winner: Samuel Smith’s Yorkshire Stingo
Comments: It’s really not that hard to win against a beer that was a drainpour. Just saying.
(4) Southern Tier Krampus Imperial Helles Lager v. (13) Bell’s Winter White Ale
Winner: Southern Tier Krampus Imperial Helles Lager
Comments: Another easy decision. Bell’s was an easy drinker, but Southern Tier brought more to the table.
(6) Bell’s Amber Ale v. (11) Samuel Adams Alpine Spring
Winner: Samuel Adams Alpine Spring
Comments: Although Alpine Spring didn’t wow me, I could drink that one over and over. I couldn’t really see doing that with the Bell’s brew.
(3) Terrapin Reunion Beer 2011 v. (14) Flying Fish ESB Amber Ale
Winner: Terrapin Reunion Beer 2011
Comments: This was another blowout. I loved the Terrapin beer and the Flying Fish offering was just okay.
(5) Kane Head High v. (12) Tommyknocker Hop Strike Black IPA
Winner: Kane Head High
Comments: Tommyknocker lost this one more than Kane won it. Tommyknocker missed the mark on this brew for me and I really enjoyed the Head High.
(4) Founders Centennial IPA v. (13) Boulder Mojo Risin’ Double IPA
Winner: Founders Centennial IPA
Comments: I really did not like the Boulder Mojo Risin’ Double IPA, so almost anything I put against this would win. Luckily, it was a brew that I really enjoyed.
(7) Sixpoint Spice of Life – Warrior v. (10) Magic Hat Encore
Winner: Magic Hat Encore
Comments: Although Magic Hat Encore wasn’t an amazing beer by any standard, it came from behind to knock out Sixpoint’s offering.
(2) Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA v. (15) Mikkeller Willamette Single Hop IPA
Winner: Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA
Comments: Stone 15th made me have new respect for the style. This brew won by a large margin.