North Carolina Sweet Sixteen IPA Beer Bracket

North Carolina Beer.jpg

By Dathan Kazsuk

Sure the NCAA Final Four is over, and our very own UNC Tar Heels are now the champs.Yay! And in honor of the trophy coming back to North Carolina, and being that April is NC Beer Month, we at Triangle Around Town decided to do our own tourney! A beer tourney!

We called this one our NC IPA Sweet Sixteen! It's easy to figure out. We pitted 16 North Carolina IPAs, from the mountains to the coast to compete in this challenge to the road to our own Final Four.

Since Jen doesn't like IPAs we put her in charge of the bracket. She compiled the bracket to this blind tasting by pairing one brewery against another. But unlike the NCAA our bracket is totally a toss up. Those heavy hitters, such as Wicked Weed or Burial could be ranked anywhere from No. 1 to 16 – so this is a true tasters challenge.

Each of the five participants in judging, including Dathan, were all responsible for getting IPAs from different NC breweries (bottles or cans – no growlers or crowlers allowed). All beer was purchased from local Raleigh bottle shops. Other than Dathan, no other participant knows what the other 12 beers were for this challenge. Jen poured the two breweries squaring off into small Dixie cups. The five judges then picked a winner, and that winner moved to the next round. Unlike the Final Four, we decided our winner in one evening. 

The judges for the challenge were Dathan Kazsuk, John and Charnell Trembeczki, Jason Emory and Matt Lill. With a little over 9,600 unique beers under our belts in terms of unique check-ins on Untappd, we decided to have some fun with this tournament.

Round 1:

  • Trophy Brewing's Cloud Surfer vs Fullsteam's Rocket Science

    Winner: Trophy (5-0) 

  • Greenman's Trickster vs Lonerider's Hoppy Yi-Yay

    Winner: Greenman (5-0)

  • Deep River Brewing's Mango Tango Foxtrot vs Southern Pines' Suit and Thai

    Winner: Southern Pines (3-2)

  • Wicked Weed's Hop Burglar vs Foothills' Terrain IPA

    Winner: Wicked Weed (4-1)

  • Burial's Surf Wax vs Catawba's CLT

    Winner: Burial (3-2)

  • Ass Clown's Brewer's IPA vs Appalachian Mountain Brewery's Long Leaf

    Winner: Appalachian Mountain Brewery (4-1)

  • Hi-Wire's Maneater IPA vs Weeping Radish IPA

    Winner: Hi-Wire (3-2)

  • Triple C's 3C IPA vs Big Boss High Roller with Blood Orange

    Winner: Big Boss (5-0)

Round 2: 

  • Trophy Brewing's Cloud Surfer vs Greenman's Trickster

    Winner: Trophy (4-1)

  • Southern Pines' Suit and Thai vs Wicked Weed's Hop Burglar

      Winner: Wicked Weed (4-1)

  • Burial's Surf Wax vs Appalachian Mountain Brewery's Long Leaf

    Winner: Burial (4-1)

  • Hi-Wire's Maneater IPA vs Big Boss High Roller with Blood Orange

    Winner: Big Boss (4-1) 

Round 3 (Final Four):

  • Trophy Brewing's Cloud Surfer vs Wicked Weed's Hop Burglar

    Winner: Trophy (4-1)

  • Burial's Surf Wax vs Big Boss High Roller with Blood Orange

    Winner: Big Boss (3-2)

Round 4 (Championship Battle):

  • Trophy Brewing's Cloud Surfer vs Big Boss High Roller with Blood Orange

    Winner: Trophy (5-0)

Congrats to Raleigh's Trophy Brewing for its Cloud Surfer IPA. Sorry we don't have any trophy to hand out to Trophy, but we'll celebrate by drinking some of its beer this weekend! 

Editor's Note: We already discussed our next battle will be an Elite 8 of some of our favorite barrel-aged stouts from our cellars.