IMPORTANT UPDATE: Voting on the initial field is closed. No more e-mails are being accepted. You can cast your votes in the Sudsy Sixteen round here until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22.
It's that time of the year. We're all thinking about brackets, taking really, really long lunch breaks and employers are losing $1.3 billion due to the lack of productivity because everyone's heads are exploding from March Madness. I know. $1.3 billion. It's almost enough to make you feel guilty. Almost.
Well, while everyone else is busy crowning their college basketball winners and then crumpling up their sheet of dreams after the first two days of games, we're working on another kind of bracket – the scientifically perfect Ultimate Beer Bracket that will forever end all arguments about WHICH BREWERY IS MINNESOTA'S BEST.***
Seriously, beer is almost as great as basketball, right? And also less likely to break your heart this spring.
Here's the best part: While you'd probably get arrested and massively fined if you tried to hop on the court and contribute to your favorite team's journey through the tourney, this bracket's destiny is totally in your hands.
***Just kidding: this is not at all scientific, and you can definitely argue with us (and we know you will).
Here's what you do:
PHASE ONE: DETERMINE THE FIELD:
1. Check out our list of all the state's breweries, below. If we've missed one, send me a nasty email with lots of exclamation points and angry emoticons and I'll add it.
2. Pick your favorite five breweries. I know, you probably have like 86 favorite breweries because you so do that brew thing hard, but you're going to have to keep it to five for the purposes of this bracket. Even we have SOME fan boundaries, OK?
3. Reverse rank these three breweries giving...
*FIVE POINTS to your TOP CHOICE,
*FOUR POINTS to your SECOND CHOICE,
*THREE POINTS to your THIRD CHOICE,
*TWO POINTS to your FOURTH CHOICE and
*ONE POINT to your FIFTH CHOICE
Reverse rankings, see? Your votes will determine our field of the 16 breweries with the most votes.
4. Send those rankings to me at email@example.com with the subject line BREWERY BRACKET. Don't forget that subject line! If you do, your tallies might be lost forever, and that's basically like a last-second review pulling back a buzzer-beating three-pointer that sends your team to the title game. Yeah, gut punch.
*THERE IS A DEADLINE. Send me those rankings by this Sunday, March 19 at noon or your shot won't matter. Just like your basketball brackets, if they're anything like mine, starting Friday.
*Vote only once! OK, you can try to vote as many times as you like but you risk me figuring it out and drawing my ire. As my friends would tell you, that's a scary thing.
PHASE TWO: CROWN THE CHAMP
1. After you all enthusiastically email me and we get our field in place, we'll randomly seed all of the brewery "teams" (this will happen scientifically, with a hand and a hat) and it will be time to vote for the winner of each matchup, starting with the Sweet Sixteen round and advancing all the way to the title bout.
2. Voting for the Sweet Sixteen round begins Wednesday, March 22, so check back at StarTribune.com for more updates!
Three ….two… one… TIPOFF:
Breweries in Minnesota