The Battle

Battle of the Beers

2002: Cafe chatter

Here's what some readers had to say about competition in the Cafe Bracket:

"Because of it's limited distribution and it's very talented opponent, I'm guessing New Glarus might have a hard time getting out of the first round. But it has a bit of a cult following and the brewers make such fabulous beers there, I'm hoping New Glarus becomes the Cinderella team of the tournament! GO NEW GLARUS!"
- Dave Manley

"Wow, as a cyclist and homebrewer it was extremely difficult to pass on Fat Tire and cast my vote for the Wisconsin Red. Living in Chicago I got a chance to try New Glarus real early on and was impressed with their whole line. I'm not a huge fan of beers made with fruit, but New Glarus has really opened my eyes. It's so wonderfully bold without being overpowering. Also the Wisconsin Red has become a new Thanksgiving tradition as it goes so well with the turkey and stuffing!"
- John Wyziewicz

Also on Fat Tire vs. Wisconsin Red

"It just ain't fair - these are the two beers I would've voted for against everything else... Why did they have to face each so soon???? I need a beer... Oh. Okay. I feel better now..."
- Marty Power

"I know this exercise is subjective but how can a good session-style beer like New Belgian Fat Tire Ale beat out such a fabulous specialty beer like New Glarus Belgian Red? Distribution and availability? Popularity? Myth? Both beers are very good - the drinkability of Fat Tire is obvious but one taste of the complexity of New Glarus makes it a clear winner. In upsets this is like the Jets beating the Colts in the 1969 Super Bowl."
- Cheers, Joe Gold

On Hair of the Dog Adam vs. Widmer Hefeweizen

"What an absolutely opposite pairing, in my mind this is the toughest choice so far as these brews are completely different in style, yet two of my favorites! Now if it were Hair of the Dog 'Fred' it might be a different story. Guess I'll have to try a fresh bottle of each before I cast my vote, decisions, decisions."
- Darryl "Doody" Abrahamson

"Adam is a tasty beverage, but it's way too strong for everyday consumption. Nothing beats a cold Widmer Hefeweizen after a day of yardwork."
- Johnathan Taggart

On Brooklyn Blance de Brooklyn vs. Pyramid Apricot

"Thank you for sneaking a white ale in here - my favorite style. Unfortunately,it's butchered by many breweries, but not Brooklyn! Though I can't say I've ever had Pyramid's Apricot, the fact that I hate apricots eliminates them right there. Too bad, because Pyramid brews some other great beers. Go Red Sox!"
- Mike Donovan

"When I moved from Boston to San Francisco, I thought my days of good beer were over. Then I happened upon the Pyramid Brew Co in Berkeley, CA. My life has never been the same. Pyramid Apricot is my favorite beer ever. I'm so glad I got to vote for it!"
- Maria Lampasona

"Vote against Blanche de Brooklyn! I had thought Realbeer drinkers to be more chivalrous than that. O tempora. O mores."
- Walter Robinson

On Ommegang vs. Raison D'etre

"I knew from the second I saw the grid that this would be, for me, the hands-down toughest first-round matchup. These are both wonderful beers - the painful part is that I'm forced to vote against one of them. I think I'll have to have one of each tonight - to celebrate the victory of one and bemoan the loss of the other."
- Christine Quinn

"This note is a friendly 'Damn you.' Today's competition is the one I've been dreading since the first time I looked at the pairings and wanted to weep at having to make such a choice. A choice which is not helped by the fact that, along with being exceptional beers, both Ommegang and Dogfish Head are run by some of the nicest people in the whole industry (beer writers get to learn these things) and I'd desperately like to figure out some way no one is disappointed.

"But since that's impossible I did, finally, vote -- I'm just not ever going to let anyone know which one I picked when I went into what my fellow Virginian Thomas Jefferson, I think, called "the sacred privacy of the voting booth."
- Gregg Wiggins

"Should I ever reach Beer Heaven,
it will be with a glass of Ommegang
that I toast Ninkasi, our ancient Sumerian Goddess of Beer."
- Cliff Fulmer

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Great places
to try these beers

Monk's Cafe
263 S. 16th St.
Philadelphia, PA

Falling Rock
1919 Blake
Denver, CO.

547 Haight St.
San Francisco, CA.

Cafe Saint-Ex
1847 14th st NW
Washington, DC