(1) Westmalle Trappist Tripel v. (8) Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel Solstice D’hiver
Winner: Westmalle Trappist Tripel
Comments: Although Solstice D’hiver was a solid and enjoyable beer, it couldn’t stand up to the Belgian-y goodness of Westmalle’s offering.
(5) Fuller’s ESB v. (4) Fuller’s Vintage Ale (2009)
Winner: Fuller’s ESB
Comments: Man, this was a close one. I loved both beers and they had very different flavors. What it came down to for me is that Fuller’s ESB was the best ESB that I’ve ever had. I couldn’t say that about Fuller’s Vintage Ale (2009), even though it was a fantastic beer. It came down to the wire on this one.
(6) Samuel Smith’s Yorkshire Stingo v. (3) Unibroue Trois Pistoles
Winner: Unibroue Trois Pistoles
Comments: It’s been awhile since I tasted the Unibroue offering and honestly, I had a little trouble recalling the flavors. When I went back and read the review, it was obvious that this was a beer I enjoyed and didn’t have a problem beating out Yorkshire Stingo.
(7) Fuller’s London Pride v. (2) Fuller’s London Porter
Winner: Fuller’s London Porter
Comments: It’s another matchup between two offerings from the same brewery. Nice! This one wasn’t really a close matchup for me either. I fell in love with the London Porter, which Katie picked up a sixer of for me. The London Pride was a decent beer, but not nearly as satisfying as the porter.
(1) Founders Red’s Rye v. (9) Schlafly Christmas Ale
Winner: Founders Red’s Rye
Comments: Red’s was the best rye beer I’ve ever had. Schlafly’s was a decent holiday brew. This was a blowout.
(5) Carton Boat v. (4) Southern Tier Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager)
Winner: Southern Tier Krampus Imperial Helles Lager
Comments: This was a close one, but that was because neither brew wowed me. Boat was a decent pale ale and Krampus was middle of the road for me too. Krampus won because it pushed the envelope a little more and I could see grabbing for one of these in the fridge before Carton’s brew.
(11) Samuel Adams Alpine Spring v. (3) Terrapin Reunion Beer 2011
Winner: Terrapin Reunion Beer 2011
Comments: No surprise here. I loved the Terrapin beer. Give me almost anything with a chili pepper and I’ll probably enjoy it. Alpine Spring was a solid beer, but couldn’t match Terrapin. Easy win.
(7) Lagunitas Censored v. (2) Southern Tier Pumking
Winner: Lagunitas Censored
Comments: This was another tough one. Both were solid beers that I really enjoyed. But, I used the same mindset as with the Unibroue matchup. Pumking isn’t my favorite pumpkin beer and Censored is probably one of my favorite ambers in a style that tends to bore me. Censored brought serious flavor to the party, so it eked out the win.
(1) Anchorage Bitter Monk v. (9) Saranac White IPA
Winner: Anchorage Bitter Monk
Comments: This was another blow out. Bitter Monk brought hops, balance and brett. Saranac White IPA was a good, refreshing beer, but got overwhelmed in the flavor department.
(5) Kane Head High v. (4) Founders Centennial IPA
Winner: Kane Head High
Comments: Upset alert! This was a close one, but Head High was a little brighter and the flavors worked for me a little more than the Founders offering. I think it’s because I’m not the biggest fan of Centennial hops. But, the local brew won this one by a hair.
(6) Sierra Nevada Estate Homegrown Wet Hop Ale v. (3) Port Mongo IPA
Winner: Port Mongo IPA
Comments: I think I remember enjoying Sierra Nevada’s brew more than I did, but regardless, Mongo had lots of different flavors and was way more complex than the Estate. They won by a mile.
(10) Magic Hat Encore v. (2) Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA
Winner: Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA
Comments: Yeah, no comments really needed on this one. Stone 15 was one of the best beers that I had during this time, period.
(1) Avery Out of Bounds Stout v. (9) 21st Amendment Allies Win The War!
Winner: Avery Out of Bounds Stout
Comments: Another matchup that was a blow out. 21st was a borderline drainpour for me and Out of Bounds was a real treat. Avery takes it.
(12) Samuel Adams Holiday Porter v. (4) Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter
Winner: Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter
Comments: This impressive brew from Flying Dog easily won this contest. I enjoyed the Holiday Porter, but Flying Dog brought more roasted malts and bold flavors.
(6) Left Hand Fade To Black Volume 3 – Pepper Porter v. (3) Green Flash Double Stout
Winner: Green Flash Double Stout
Comments: This entire region had pretty clear cut winners for me during this round, well except for the next matchup. I found a lot of issues with Fade To Black and found almost none with Double Stout. It was everything the style should be.
(10) Victory Storm King v. (2) Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout (2011)
Winner: Victory Storm King
Comments: Many people will not agree with my opinion on this major upset. I loved both beers, but there were a few reasons that I picked the Victory brew. First, I didn’t have huge expectations for Storm King but I had huge ones for BCS. Storm King threw my expectations out the window and delivered a great brew. BCS was solid and enjoyable, but for all of the hype I heard about it, I expected it to be a little bit better. Also, I tried Brooklyn Black OPS before BCS…and I loved it. Trying BCS without the aging was a bit of a letdown.
You can see the updated bracket here Round 3.