We had no idea what might happen when we kicked off the first Battle of the Beers last February. We picked 32 American beers, chosen to represent the diversity of styles available in the United States as well as various regions of the country.
The first match pitted Alaskan Smoked Porter and the slightly better known Coors Light. Smoked Porter won with 79% of the vote. We knew then that this was going to be an interesting tournament, though we didn't suspect that the Alaskan beer would go on to win the whole thing, edging RogueShakespeare Stout in the semifinals and Great Lakes Eliot Ness Lager in the finals.
The choices were seldom easy Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Anderson Valley Hop Ottin' met in the first round, for instance and Realbeer.com readers provided terrific commentary.
We fudged a little for the Battle of the Imports and included 42 beers, with some first round votes matching three and even four beers. During the American competition, readers asked that we match like styles, so the Imports were paired into Ale and Lager brackets.
Guinness Stout emerged from the Ale competition, while Spaten Ur-Märzen edged Pilsner Urquell for the Lager title. Guinness claimed 51.4% of the final vote to claim the championship.
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