Malt Madness 2020: Eight Elite Ales (and Lagers) Remain in Round 4

Breweries are an essential business in these challenging times, so take a virtual beer crawl and vote for your favorites to make it to the Final Pour.

Malden’s Idle Hands Craft Ales is among the Elite Ales (and Lagers) in Boston magazine’s 2020 Malt Madness—and they offer curbside pickup during the coronavirus pandemic. / Photo courtesy of Idle Hands Craft Ales

As taprooms close to on-site service amid the coronavirus pandemic, the scrappy craft beer industry has adapted along with the rest of us during these challenging times: Local breweries are now offering curbside pickup and in some cases, even delivery to continue serving us beer lovers.

This happy happening will continue even under Gov. Charlie Baker’s more-strict stay-at-home advisory, issued on March 23. Beverage production facilities are considered an essential business, and takeout is permissible with the proper social distancing protocols in place. Cheers to that! Plus, there is no need to leave the comfort of your self-isolation to vote in Boston magazine’s third annual Malt Madness tournament—which is now down to the eight Elite Ales (and Lagers).

This friendly, people’s-choice competition celebrates the New England beer scene—think of it as a virtual beer crawl. In the fourth round, you can (mentally) visit Cambridge’s own Lamplighter Brewing Co. (or order curbside pickup)—it bested Vermont favorite the Alchemist and now faces Definitive Brewing out of Portland. Malden local Idle Hands Craft Ales, another local curbside pickup option, now faces the mighty Tree House Brewing Co. ahead of the finals. Hazy Maine favorite Bissell Brothers beat out beloved locals Trillium (but Bay Staters can get at-home delivery of the latter), and now faces the excellent OGs at Allagash. And finally, (mentally) take a scenic drive up to Vermont to vote for the elusive Hill Farmstead Brewery or Fiddlehead Brewing Co., makers of a reliably delicious namesake New England IPA.

Our region is home to some of the absolute best beer in the world, and like all small businesses right now now, the brewing industry faces an uncertain future. In that light, it seems a little frivolous to pick favorites when it comes to craft beer. But we could all use a quick mental break this week—and some fresh four-packs in the fridge. Shop local when you can, and click the link below then scroll down to click on the first matchup of Round 4. Voting for the Elite Ales (and Lagers) continues until midnight on Monday, March 30, with Final Pour announced Tuesday, March 31.

Click bracket to go to the voting portal. Click here to view bracket larger

Click here to vote in Malt Madness Round 4