"We pick our top 64 beers by sales, put them up against each other, and then have everyone vote on taste," says store manager Caroline Doyle.
The first half of the bracket — 32 beers — will be competing tonight. The votes are tallied and the winners are announced at the end of the evening. The second half of the competition is Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Brew Madness continues next Thursday, March 22, and Saturday, March 24, with the ultimate winner being crowned next weekend.
"This is a chance to come out and try some things you wouldn't typically buy," Doyle says.
The perennial number one seed is Xingu Black Beer — it took home the championship last year — and its first-round opponent is Stevens Point 2012 Black Ale. Doyle has high hopes that Founders Dirty Bastard may go farther in the tournament this year and believes that some of the fruit beers, Shipyard Apple Head among them, could surprise some people.
"People enjoy rooting for their favorite beers, and there's always upsets," Doyle says.
The tasting is $10 (free for Cellar & Loft wine club members). You don't need to call ahead; you can just show up for the madness.