It has been a few years and many of beers since we have seen another Brew Bracket, but it is hard to forget this genius style of beer tasting event.
As a refresher, Brew Bracket is a blind taste testing – March Madness Bracket style. The coined phrase “Two Hand Pour” comes to mind when one thinks of Brew Bracket because that is what volunteers do. They come up to your table with an orange and a gray pitcher of unmarked beer, fill up your cups and it is up to you to sniff, look, drink and vote what beer you think will win it all.
Readers from the past know I am a big fan of Brew Bracket. I kicked off some of my blogging back almost 5 years ago at Brew Bracket II – Stouts. Back then it was a big 16 breweries, trapping around the agriculture building of the state fair grounds, tasting all the beer and building bonds. Many of the brewers were small, Bier Brewery for example, some were already big names, but the whole camaraderie of the event brought everyone together and it was there I fell in love with this event.
Several years later and events later we met up again. This time at Tomlison Tap Room in City Market. It was a beautiful hot June day, Perfect for light beers, friends and blowing up a Twitter wall. (side note – for those who haven’t gone to Brew Bracket — you must play in the tweeting hashtag fun)
BBX – Brew Bracket Ten – Returning with Experimental Wheats. This gave the 8 brewers free reign as long it was what could be considered a wheat beer. Those who drink regularly know a few different styles of wheat, there is Gose, a Weizen, a Wit, or just a Wheat Ale. IB friend, and all around beer super expert, Ron Smith, provided BBX goers with some awesome information to help identify different styles of wheat ales, which was helpful to those who didn’t know what to look for in different styles but to help identify the names of styles if they liked it and could later on go out and buy a bottle.
The event had a good turn out of participants and the brewers were a mix of seasoned Brew Bracket contenders and some newbies.
I felt this time was fun because the brewers all sat together and did the blind tasting with all of the participants. Obviously if they did something crazy like had a pink beer or made a sour then they knew which one was theirs but otherwise it was all blind to them too which made it fun to see them try to vote and guess as well.
Most of the beers were pretty even keel on taste. There was a pink beer as mentioned, from Towyard Brewing Co. I remember it tasting like grapefruit but I think the coloring came from hibiscus. There were also two Gose beers in the competition. That tartness came out strong and noticeable and seemed to be a crowd favorite.
Such a crowd favorite that at the end of the bracket it came down to Gose vs. Gose. or Flix Brewhouse vs. Triton. Flix Brewhouse was one of the newbies. There were very subtle differences in the ales, but Flix Brewhouse took the win with it’s addition of a key lime in the brew.
I love that Brew Bracket is back and it gives brewers the ability to have fun, be creative and it all benefits a good cause. I also love the blind tasting and trying something that is stripped of our bias in regards to brewing company, cool name, bottle graphic, or because it is a style one wouldn’t normally drink. It pushes us beyond our normal beer preferences.
Lastly, one of these day… I hope Brew Bracket does a porter round.. It’s been 5 years guys.. let’s make it happen! 🙂