April 7th, 2015 at 11:47 PM ^

I guess I can go ahead and do my part.  How many votes do you think will seal the deal?  It's apparent by the previous rounds that one or both of these brewerys are using bots.

(Well I gave them about 250k votes and all I could do is get it down to about .10%.  At around 11 PM they must have turned it up, because I couldn't keep up without using 4 or 5 servers.)

Doc Brown

April 8th, 2015 at 2:55 PM ^

surprise surprise we have differing opinions on beer as well. The only one I did not like was Mercury and I am a huge belgian fan. Venus you needed to try on draft or at least get a growler. It was much better on draft. Something must have went funky for the bottling. I think Saturn is up there with Mars. It is also the first of the planets they brewed. It has been sitting in oak barrells for about a year.

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April 7th, 2015 at 7:18 PM ^

Yeah, Four Peaks even sniffing the Finals is dumb. Beer rating sites are far from perfect, but they're very useful as a sort of smell test. Anyway, I just checked, and my smell test says Four Peaks is a solid but far from special brewery. Basically they're Arbor Brewing. And Arbor Brewing sure as shit doesn't deserve to be named "best brewery" of really anything outside of the city of Ypsilanti.

Frank Booth

April 7th, 2015 at 7:17 PM ^

Has anyone tried Founders Blushing Monk? It's a little expensive, but I thought it was really great. Reminded me of New Glarus Rasberry Tart.



Steve Bartman

April 7th, 2015 at 7:19 PM ^

I may be in the minority, but Founders beer is incredibly overrated. Seems like a typical product that is overhyped by the people of Grand Rapids for self validation purposes.


Still good, but not anywhere close to the hype. I voted for Four Peaks


April 7th, 2015 at 11:10 PM ^

Bell's Hopslam is the best beer I've ever tried(and I've had a ton, but admittedly only had all of the major west coast micros). There is nothing from Founders that comes remotely close to Hopslam. I'd say that Bells has three beers that are better than the best Founders.


April 7th, 2015 at 8:01 PM ^

Feel free to voice your opinion on the beer, but Founder's isn't successful becayse it's overhyped by the people of Grand Rapids.  In 2013, Founders was the 26th best selling craft brewery in the nation and it doesn't sell to much of the country (and sold to even less in 2013 when those numbers were tallied).  Grand Rapids is certainly not big enough or influential enough to achieve that.  

I was recently in Tulsa, OK on business.  I went to a bar that sold a couple Founder's varieties and the bartender said they were the best selling beers they had on top (the only sold microbrews).  i'm sure it wasn't all the Grand Rapidians in Tulsa buying it out.

Feel free to say you don't think it's as good as other people do, but to say that Founder's is nationally popular simply because of the opinions of Grand Rapidians is giving my hometown way more credit than it deserves.  But I appreciate it nonetheless.


April 7th, 2015 at 10:38 PM ^

the size, influence and enthusiasm of Grand Rapids and the state Michigan (and it's many transplants). Michigan is the 8th largest state (maybe 9th now after NC?) in the country, far bigger than Oregon and Colorado, which are two of the other comparable beer states along with California. Dogfish Head is in Delaware fergodsakes, Allagash is in Maine.  Those are not big local markets. Kent county alone has more residents than each of those states.

There's a reason that when Brewdogs filmed in GR, the hosts were blown away by attendence that dwarfed any other episode. People in MI are really whheeeeeeee! about MI beer right now,  and it's having a relatively large impact on sales that are relatively concentrated on it's top 2 breweries (Founder's and Bell's). And yes, many think Russian River, Lagunitas and Stone are overrated thanks to being in CA, but the MI breweries enjoy a population advantage over many of the other top breweries.


April 7th, 2015 at 11:48 PM ^

First of all - Kent County does not have more people than Maine or Delaware.  

Second of all - the success of Founder's is negligibly related to the population of Grand Rapids.    GR is not a big city.  I have many biases toward GR (I grew up there, my family still lives there) but give Founder's some credit.  They have experienced success by making good, unique beers.  

I know people in Michigan, West Michigan specifically, are very high on their local beer, as they should be.  But the poster above said that Founder's was success was due to GR folks overrating it, and that's just not true.  Amway didn't become successful by selling soap in GR and Steelcase didn't become successful selling chairs in only West Michigan.  You don't become a successful company in GR by selling to GR residents alone.  Founder's is successful because they make a good product.  


April 8th, 2015 at 2:46 AM ^

Yes, you're right about Kent county. What I meant was the GR metro area which is larger than Delaware and larger than Maine if you count the statistical area including Holland and Muskegon.  I'm from GR, and lived there until I left for Ann Arbor when I was 18 and my entire family still lives there so I go back all the time.

The poster of your response did not say that Founder's "success" (your words) was due to Grand Rapidians, just that it is overhyped by Grand Rapidians, and there's probably some truth to that.  To my point, people in MI are crazy about their local craft beer to the point where they vote GR beer city USA, and they vote Founder's number one in polls like the one the OP posted.  Founders makes a good product, but it is probably not the best brewery in America as it was voted by the voters of this poll. I definitely don't think they're "incredibly overhyped" as the poster stated, but they do end up rated too highly when volume of clicks and ratio of people willing to give 5 stars out of 5 is the criteria.

And commercial success isn't a very good measure of beer quality either, obviously.  If it was, we'd just conclude that Sam Adam's, Sierra Nevada, and Shock Top are the best craft breweries and call it a day.  Distibution (which is a weird game) has a lot to do with it. The great thing is, all that matters is what each individual drinker appreciates.


April 8th, 2015 at 2:27 PM ^

Delaware is tiny, GR and MI are not. GR metro area is the 43rd largest in the country. That is not small or insignificant at all. That's larger than the largest metro area in about half the states. It's the same size as New Orleans, bigger than Oklahoma City and Buffalo which have pro sports teams and certainly feel bigger. MI is a top 10 population state. So no, GR isn't getting too much credit for it's ability to be "influential", which in this context is only about it's ability to come out in droves to vote on beer polls, which is driven by a sizable population and a relatively high percentage of us getting on board to vote for anything we can be proud of about our state so the rest of the country doesn't just think of MI as being the state with Detroit: murder capital of the country.

This isn't a knock, it's a great thing.  We love our state and like to support things about it (as evidenced by this post on a completely unrelated blog), and there is an undeniable tendency amongst us Michiganders to hype (possibly overhype) the good things about this state in an effort to offset all the overly publicized bad things about the state.


April 8th, 2015 at 11:46 AM ^

Founders isn't just popular based on popular vote though. Look at the ratings of their beers on Beer Advocate, and look at essentially every top ten list of breweries which is not determined by a popular vote. I bet you'll see Founders on there. 


April 8th, 2015 at 3:06 PM ^

are popular vote. It's the yelp of beer. It's interesting that since Founders has become more widely distributed, it's beers have come down on the beer advocate list, which might indicate the non-MI drinkers are rating them with less bias. I aslo think there are just a lot more great breweries now than there were even 5 years ago so some newer beers have shot up the list.

I think Founders could be argued as a top 10 US brewery, and its 4 seed on this bracket is arguably well deserved.  But to win the whole thing as the top brewery in the country, that's overrated.

I incidently just looked up a top ten list on Men's Health (first one in a google search) and Founder's was not ranked by the article author.  I hate to discount every measure of quality but top ten lists that are trying to get clicks will tend to rank breweries more likely to get clicks and shares over more obscure breweries. Kind of like football recruiting rankings tend to bias towards the kids that commit to the big schools whose fanbases will obsess about the rankings that the services are selling so top lists by a publication selling clicks come with a grain of salt too.

All that matters is our own opinions though, and everyone is entitled to his/her own.  That's what's fun about beer right now (like sports), these kinds of arguments. 


April 8th, 2015 at 11:08 AM ^

Founders was the first Michigan beer to really tap into (literally and figuratively) the local market here. I was just ecstatic to see a Michigan beer at first, but then I tried them and like them almost more than the beers that Left Hand Brewery (out of Colorado) puts out. The local bars even started carrying Founders on tap. One even has a "rotating handle" of Founders (the only other rotating handle was Great Divide) and I was lucky to be able to try the Blushing Monk last time I went to the bar.

It's popular, and for good reason. I haven't tried a Founders that I don't like yet.


April 7th, 2015 at 7:19 PM ^

... I appreciate this tournament in that in promotes craft breweries, but with the recent boom in the art, it is an impossible task to find the best 64.   Guess these are the best 64 that have a national distribution.   


April 7th, 2015 at 11:51 PM ^

I agree with you that a microbrew bracket is a near impossible thing to do well. How did they determine which breweries made it in, and where they were seeded? Seems really arbitrary to me. Plus once the voting opens up, it gets even more ridiculous because I'm guessing around 5% of voters have had multiple beers from each brewery they are voting on.

Obviously, I'm taking this thing way too seriously, but it does seem like someone put in a lot of work on something that provides no meaningful information to us beer drinkers.

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April 7th, 2015 at 7:21 PM ^

I only see a couple Oregon and Washington breweries in the bracket. Something about that seems a little off. Not that there aren't great micro breweries everywhere, but I feel like Beervana could be better represented.

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