On a cold Friday night, Binny’s in Downers Grove wanted to know- Which Craft Beer will reign supreme and be called the champion of the 2011 Beer Bowl?
Our Beer Manager, Matt Bentley, had separated the sixteen contenders into four categories. Bracket #1 featured Pilsners and Lagers. Capital Brewing Supperclub went up against Great Lakes Brewing Dortmunder Gold and Lagunitas Pils took on Victory’s Prima Pils. Bracket #2 had Pale Ales and IPA’s going against each other. These match-ups featured Smuttynose Pale Ale against Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Stone Brewing IPA versus Bells Two Hearted Ale. Bracket #3 had Amber and Red beers. The pairings there were Green Flash Hop Head Red against New Belgium’s Fat Tire and Flosmoor Station’s Pullman Brown versus Avery Ellie’s Brown.
The final bracket had Porters and Stouts. Great Divide’s Yeti Stout and North Coast’s Old Rasputin went head to head and Founder Porter took on Emmet’s Robust Porter.
When Matt announced the Beer Bowl was beginning, we threw an interesting twist in to mix. First round match ups were tasted blind. The 100+ participants knew what beers were being tasted but the beers were poured in glasses behind a screen. The tasters were given a sample labeled A or B and then given a ticket to vote for their favorite sample. This made for some interesting comments from the tasters, and we had some surprise winners come out of the brackets.
Round 1 Winners:
Lager/Pils- Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold and Lagunitas Pils.
Pale Ales/IPA’s- Smuttynose Pale Ale and Bells Two Hearted
Ambers/Reds- Green Flash Hop Head Red and Flosmoor Station Pullman Brown
Porters/ Stouts- North Coast Old Rasputin and Founders Porter.
Round 2 Winners:
Lager/Pils- Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold
Pale Ales/IPA’s- Bells Two Hearted
Ambers/Reds- Flossmoor Station Pullman Brown
Porters/Stouts- North Coast Old Rasputin
So with the Final Four set, the crowd had definitely seen some favorites go down and some had even found their new favorite beers. Voting continued until the Finals were set with Bells Two Hearted taking on Flossmoor Station Pullman Brown. In the end, it was the Brewery from Michigan coming out on top over the local Chicagoland Brewery.
Here’s to the 2011 Craft Beer Bowl Champion:
BELLS TWO HEARTED ALE
Special thanks go out to our vendors for providing us with the beer samples and to Firehouse Subs of Wheaton, IL for the sandwich trays and cookies.
**Compiled by Dave Wieser, Wine Manager at Binny’s in Downers Grove