The Battle

Battle of the Beers

2002: From The Saloon

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

"Sierra Nevada is an American classic. Its the Duke University of beer in this tourney."
- Darren Proctor

"Having moved from the great Northwest to to the barren beer wastelands of Southeast Florida, I dearly miss the 'standard for Amber quality' - Full Sail Amber. The good folks in Hood River should be proud."
- Jon Spath

"Black Butte Porter is unrivaled even at the sticker shock pricing that accompanies all microbrews. All and all, Deschutes has the best all around beer selection, the decatholon winner if you will."
- Matt Hider

"I think it would be a good idea to have a running total of all votes cast, then give us a final tally for each beer! There is no doubt - Smoked Porter is # 1 - just like Canada is #1 in WORLD HOCKEY! EH!"
- Richard (in Canada)

On the SNPA vs. Alaskan Smoked Porter championship

"You're killing me with this competition! Although Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a definite world classic, here on the east coast where bottles of it's opponent are about as plentiful as tea-totalers at the Great American Beer Festival, Alaskan Smoked Porter is considered the Holy Grail of American beers.

"After 8 years of constant whining about the scarcity of Alaskan Smoked Porter on the east coast, a friend once paid $234 (3 cases plus shipping) just to give me one bottle of Alaskan Smoked Porter for my birthday. Those of us who shared the bottle felt as though we'd died and gone to heaven."
- Joe Tafaro

"Difficult, very difficult! They are both truly stellar beers! Dark vs. Pale, Porter vs. APA, Smoke vs. Hops! Decisions, decisions..."
- Mark Rowland

"If I had the 'real' choice and could only drink one, I would have an Alaskan. If I had a choice between one Alaskan and six Sierra Nevada - it's the Pale Ale. Perhaps I should mix, no that's stupid. It's the Porter."
- Gary Frank

"(Smoked Porter) Hands down, the finest beer ever to grace my refrigerator. I have cases stacked in my basement just so I do not run out over the next months until I can get it again. Off to pour one since you got my taste buds watering."
- Jim Sterling

On the SNPA vs. Hop Ottin's pairing

"AV Hop Ottin' needs to go back in since it lost by 2 to a pioneer-classic-staple. It did great against a giant in the industry."
- Jeff Pettenati

"You have got to let Anderson Valley Hop Ottin have another day in the sun. That vote was to close not too."
- Thomas Saunders

"Recount!! I think you missed some hanging chads! What about the absentee ballots? As an enjoyer of both Sierra Nevada's and Anderson Valley's beers (mmmm Boont) I have to say that I had a hard time choosing between the two excellent beers - and by the results, so did everyone else. On to the next round!"
- John Arce

On the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale-Anchor Steam matchup

"An epic struggle!"
- Breck Tostevin

"Very difficult to pick a clear winner. Both unique classic American beer styles! I had to eenie, meenie, miney, moe it!"
- Joseph Geronimo

"SNPA vs. Anchor Steam. This is like the West-Coast championship of lighter, hoppy beers! Do you pick the distinguished and original Anchor Steam or the industry-standard pale ale SNPA? I can't decide!"
- Aaron Lyon in Ann Arbor, Mich.

"How cruel of you to make us choose between these two amazing beers! And the choices are only going to get more difficult.

"To make it a bit more fun, I think I will go to my local beer supplier and buy the brews competing in the Final Four and have an actual competition in my house. Maybe have a few friends over? This is sounding like a good excuse for a party.
- Jake Morrill

On the Anchor Steam-Black Butte Porter matchup

"Go Black Butte Porter! These are both great beers - Anchor does have that National Presence, but Deschutes makes America's Best Porter. The Saloon is a great bracket with fierce competitors. Take out the Coors, and I would happily drink them all!"
- Tim Tomlinson

"The Black Booty is one of the finest beers out there for those of us who enjoy the power of the dark side. If only I could get it in the midwest. Fortunately when returning from a recent trip to Portland, the airport security recognized my 12 pack as a fine piece of craftmanship rather a potential weapon, and let me carry it on board to enjoy at home."
- Russ Cocharn

"I had to vote for Anchor Steam. It may not be the flashiest beer in the tournament, but it is an 'old reliable' as I like to say."
- Ken Bugajski

"Anchor Steam vs Black Butte, man this is tough, but because the weather sucks in Maine - it's the Porter."
- Gary Frank

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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