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Hustle Belt’s Malt Madness: Tournament of Brews 2019 - First Round

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We’ve narrowed it down to 64 of the beers in America...now it’s time to see which one is crowned champion!

March is a time for all things “madness” and brackets. And, with our love of sports and beer here at Hustle Belt, it’s time to bring back an old classic.

In 2014 we did our first Malt Madness tournament...and then forgot about it for the next five years. But no longer! This year we’ve resurrected the old Tournament of Brews in an effort to see just what beer is the best.

After long hours of debating and drinking, we have narrowed it down to just 64 beers divided into four regions: IPAs - West/Midwest, IPAs - South/East, Dark Beers, and Best of the Rest.

Here’s a look at the full bracket.

And because no March tournament is complete without printing out a few, here’s a PDF version of the bracket.

Every couple days we’ll close voting and move to the next round, so vote early and often (the Chicago way) to make sure your favorites make it through to the next round.

Round One will close on Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. EST, so make sure to vote by then and share this so all your friends can vote as well!

Now, on to the individual regions...and the voting!


IPAs - West/Midwest

The first region has 16 of the best IPAs from the Midwest and Western US. As a MAC blog, there is a lean towards breweries from the MAClands (with 9 of the 16 coming from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, or Ohio). But this is still chalked full of great brews!


IPAs - South/East

With New England IPAs dominating the craft beer community and the south’s massive explosion of great beers, this was a difficult bracket to complete. It took a while, but here are the top 16 beers, from 12 different states across the South and East Coast.


Dark Beers

Porters and stouts are (almost) as huge of a market as IPAs and there are so many great ones out there. Narrowing this down took quite some time...and, let’s be honest, quite a few samples too.


Best of the Rest

With so many other styles to chose from this was the most difficult region to create. We wanted to include beers from multiple styles and that a majority of people had access to (or at least had heard about). So, with those qualifications in mind, here are the 16 Best of the Rest beers.


Once again, voting will close at 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, March 24th so vote, vote, vote! Round 2 will begin Tuesday, March 26th, so look to see who advanced and who was upset then.