6 Rounds of beer-chugging action.
A wise man once said “It’s a long way to the top, if you wanna rock n roll,” and though he may not have had a beer-chugging bracket in mind when he wrote that, I think the idea still holds true. Anderson Valley’s Heelch O’Hops had a long journey to the top, but is now forever embedded in beer-chugging history after taking down a long list of worthy adversaries en route to becoming the 2014 Chug Madness Super Elite Champion.
First and foremost we want to give a huge shoutout to Anderson Valley Brewing for their supreme wisdom in brewing this beer and also for the social media shoutouts throughout the tournament. Heelch O’Hops is a phenomenal beer and here at Team Chug, we highly recommend that you get your thirsty little hands on some immediately.
Though there can only be one winner, let’s not forget the other great beers that took part in this year’s tourney. Here’s a quick look back at the biggest matchups throughout the tourney and a rundown of how each participating brewary fared.
We’ll start with Dogfish Head, which only had one horse in the race, but rode 90-Minute IPA to four wins and a 2nd-Place finish. They were this year’s Florida in the NCAA bracket. Number one overall seed and the favorite going into the tournament, but in the end it lost to a beer that was on a roll and seemed to have a date with destiny.
Cambridge Brewing also had just one beer in the field, but The Audacity of Hops went 3-1 on it’s way to a Final Four finish. It took down the number one and two seeds in the Gentle Giants region before it ran into the buzzsaw that was 90-Minute IPA.
Stone had the most beers in the field with five, and they managed an overall .500 record, but they were unable to push any of them past the Elite Eight. It was a disappointing finish for a brewery with such great beers and I think if there was a bracket re-shuffle that any of the five would have a chance at the final four. They did manage to get the 7-seed Ruination IPA through two rounds, which was the furthest of any lower seed. I expect them to come back strong next year.
Oskar Blues had the next most with 4 beers and totalled 5 wins while advancing Dale’s Pale Ale into the Final Four. They had one of the biggest upsets of the first round as well, with underseeded Ten Fidy taking out the 2-seed Odell IPA. Oskar Blues also boasted the highest winning percentage among breweries with more than one beer in the bracket.
Odell and Lagunitas each had 3 beers participating. Odell accumulated 3 total wins and got Myrcenary into the Elite Eight, while Lagunitas finished at 2-3 and didn’t get any beers past the round of 16. Both of these breweries put out a lot of great seasonal and specialty beers so I’m expecting bia lot of fridge time for them during the upcoming year.
Avery and Victory each recorded two wins, with Avery’s Ellie’s Brown Ale making it to the last eight before being upset by Audacity of Hops. Weyerbacher’s two beers totalled one win with Merry Monks making an appearance in the second round. Left Hand, Uinta and Great Divide each had one beer and one victory to their name before being bounced from the tournament. See how the rest fared in the grid below.
There were three matchups in the tournament featuring beers from the same brewery. Oskar Blues had Dale’s Pale Ale defeat the bigger, darker Ten Fidy in the second round. Stone Brewing had Ruination IPA beat out Oaked Arrogant bastard to make it to the round of right. Finally, Odell had Myrcenary IPA take care of Mountain Standard Black IPA in the opening round.
7 out of final 8 beers featured hop-centric beers with Ellie’s Brown Ale being the lone standout. The brackets were admittedly a little hop-heavy, but the only beers to advanced that weren’t some sort of IPA, black IPA or pale ale were Ellie’s, Milk Stout Nitro, Merry Monks and Golden Monkey.
We sincerely hope that you had as much fun reading and voting throughout this tournament as we had writing and chugging. We only do it because we’re having fun and if other people get something out it as well, then that’s a huge bonus. Really big thanks to everyone who voted and/or visited the site during the last month (or ever). We can’t wait to do it again next year and we’ll gladly take any suggestions you may have on beers or tournament format or anything else. Let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, it’s back to business for us.
The quest for Chug Madness 2015 begins now…