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Märzen Madness

Innovation by | Feb 2016 | Issue #109

College football is over and the March Madness NCAA basketball tournament is still a month away. But beer fans who live for the “brackets” should not despair: Brew Bracket provides not only a competitive fix any time of the year, it’s also a fun way to taste a bunch of different beers—and get a group of friends talking about them.

Indianapolis friends Ryan Coyle and Mike Sale created Brew Bracket to be a “beer tasting party in a box.” The idea started in 2011, when they founded a 400-person beer-tasting tournament in Indiana. Since then, they’ve hosted close to a dozen tournaments. And with the help of a Kickstarter campaign that was funded last August, they brought Brew Bracket to the rest of the country.

“There’s so much variety in beer now, everyone needs a way to find out what they like best,” Sale says.

The kit contains everything necessary to host a tournament for up to eight people: glasses, pitchers, host guide, voting brackets, voting cards and even the pencils. Just add friends and eight different beers and the options are practically endless—hold a tournament based on style, region, hop variety or a single brewery’s beers, although a style-based competition is ideal.

In the bracket-style tournament, participants blindly taste two beers at a time and vote for a favorite. Orange- and gray-labeled pitchers and tasting glasses hide the beers’ identities. In the end, each beer is revealed and a winner is declared. Plus, the game is reusable; each kit is built to facilitate several bracket tastings.

Could you create a beer tasting tournament without Brew Bracket? Sure, but the kit provides an air of legitimacy that lets your friends know that beer tasting is serious business. Better yet, it lends an air of fun, too. Kits are available for $35 at BrewBracket.com. 

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