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Drinking the NCAA Tournament: Midwest Regional voting

Can Kansas beer keep up with Kansas basketball?

NCAA Basketball: Texas A&M at Kansas Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

As mentioned earlier, we’re changing up our annual “Drinking the NCAA Tournament” feature this year to give the voting power to our Syracuse Orange fan community (and other likely visitors).

To refresh everyone: We provide selections for every NCAA Tournament team’s best brewery (in the actual city they play in) and keep them in the corresponding seeds. Voting will last three days per round. So after round one, we’ll be behind the real bracket, but catch up early next week. You’ll get it pretty quickly, trust me.

The bracket is below. Additionally, we’re honing in on the Midwest region here, with posts for the South, East, and West as well.

(1) Free State Old Backus Barleywine (Kansas) vs. (16) Second District Huy (Penn)

Old Backus Barleywine is a malty, hoppy accomplishment, and as the brewery will tell you themselves, one of the best barleywines in the world. Huy, a Vietnamese coffee stout, brings sweetness and heat together to form an interesting combination that tastes bigger than its actual gravity.

Poll

Which beer advances to the round of 32?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    Free State Old Backus Barleywine
    (12 votes)
  • 52%
    Second District Huy
    (13 votes)
25 votes total Vote Now

(8) Gaslight Bulldog Blonde (Seton Hall) vs. (9) Brewery Bhavana Bounty (NC State)

Gaslight’s Bulldog Blonde is a basic representation of the style: light, crisp and refreshing. At Brewery Bhavana, one of Raleigh’s many excellent brewery options, Bounty is a recent addition but a favorite; a wild ale with peaches and melon, aged in red and white wine barrels.

Poll

Which beer advances to the round of 32?

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    Gaslight Bulldog Blonde
    (12 votes)
  • 47%
    Brewery Bhavana Bounty
    (11 votes)
23 votes total Vote Now

(5) Carolina Bauernhaus Whiskey Sour (Clemson) vs. (12) High Desert IPA (New Mexico State)

A golden sour, plus limes and lemons and oak? Intriguing, but it works for the closest brewery to Clemson’s campus. High Desert’s flagship IPA is both dank and tropical all at once, doing the style well in Las Cruces.

Poll

Which beer advances to the round of 32?

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    Carolina Bauernhaus Whiskey Sour
    (13 votes)
  • 43%
    High Desert IPA
    (10 votes)
23 votes total Vote Now

(4) Red Clay Alabama Snakes Coffee IPA (Auburn) vs. (13) Westbrook Mexican Cake (Charleston)

I’m a sucker for coffee IPAs, given the unique combination of differing bitterness and flavors that should not work together in any way at all (yet do). Westbrook should need no introduction here, as South Carolina’s finest breweries and one of the best in the Southeast. Their staples are IPAs and their signature Gose, but the habanero/chocolate/cinnamon/vanilla imperial stout is among the best you can find anywhere.

Poll

Which beer advances to the round of 32?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Red Clay Alabama Snakes Coffee IPA
    (11 votes)
  • 50%
    Westbrook Mexican Cake
    (11 votes)
22 votes total Vote Now

(6) Rahr & Sons BA Winter Warmer (TCU) vs. (11) Willow Rock BRUNCH (Syracuse)

A bourbon barrel-aged winter warmer is not a typical approach, yet it works for the Fort Worth brewery that dares to can the 10 percent ABV beer as well. Its opponent? Syracuse’s own Willow Rock and its BRUNCH, a coffee and maple syrup oatmeal stout that I’d assume at least most of this group is familiar with already.

Poll

Which beer advances to the round of 32?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Rahr & Sons BA Winter Warmer
    (2 votes)
  • 92%
    Willow Rock BRUNCH
    (23 votes)
25 votes total Vote Now

(3) Ellison You Can Get With That... JUICE (Michigan State) vs. (14) Selin’s Grove Phoenix Kriek (Bucknell)

Ellison’s double dry-hopped DIPA packs a juicy and bitter punch. Meanwhile, Selin’s Grove tries its hand at a Belgian kriek-style beer, to much success. the cherry sour is a balanced yet tart explosion of flavor.

Poll

Which beer advances to the round of 32?

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    Ellison You Can Get With That... JUICE
    (15 votes)
  • 28%
    Selin’s Grove Phoenix Kriek
    (6 votes)
21 votes total Vote Now

(7) Whalers Prometheus (Rhode Island) vs. (10) 405 FDR (Oklahoma)

Rather than seaside easy drinkers, Whalers usually has heftier fare on the mind. Prometheus is a barrel-aged imperial Russian Stout that delivers bourbon and fruity notes from the oak. FDR is 405’s annual imperial coffee stout release, this year made with Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee.

Poll

Which beer advances to the round of 32?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Whalers Prometheus
    (12 votes)
  • 33%
    405 FDR
    (6 votes)
18 votes total Vote Now

(2) Ponysaurus Biere de Garde Ale (Duke) vs. (15) Broken Bow Broken Heart Stout (Iona)

Ponysaurus’s Biere de Garde is an homage to original farmhouse-style saisons, a ligher but complex drink combining handcrafted notes of fruit. Broken Bow’s Broken Heart Stout is a dry and bitter coffee stout that delivers an appropriate finish, versus the sweet one you’ll typically see elsewhere.

Poll

Which beer advances to the round of 32?

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    Ponysaurus Biere de Garde Ale
    (8 votes)
  • 55%
    Broken Bow Broken Heart Stout
    (10 votes)
18 votes total Vote Now

Polls close for these first round matchups at midnight on Sunday evening, while the East and South regions end on Saturday night.