Boston Magazine Presents: Malt Madness 2019
Get ready to pour yourself a cold one, Boston—Malt Madness is back, and it’s beerier than ever.
With more than 500 craft breweries now in operation throughout New England, we’ve expanded this edition of our bracket-style tournament to include favorites from not only Massachusetts, but also Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, too.
That’s right: We’re daring to ask, which New England brewery is the mightiest? Which suds do drinkers thirst for? What beer is the best?
To narrow it down to 64 contenders, we used Brewers Association data on the economic impact of each state’s brewing industry to decide how many entrants that state would get. This means our Bay State bias remains: Based on the most recent data available, Massachusetts has 30 percent of the six-state region’s breweries. Maine comes next with 24 percent, New Hampshire and Connecticut each have 14 percent, Vermont offers a strong 13 percent, and Rhode Island is home to four percent.
Based on research, ratings, and our own beer-loving knowledge, we then selected 64 breweries from Stratford, Conn. to Newcastle, Maine. We plotted each one on a map, then divided them into four conferences—North, South, East, and West. Then, we seeded the conferences from 1-16, based on the average of the publicly available, drinker-submitted ratings from beer databases Untappd and BeerAdvocate.
We know some brewers and drinkers will scoff at pitting beloved brands against each other. Fiddlehead versus Wormtown? Backlash versus Turtle Swamp? Notch versus the Alchemist? It will be tough to see some heavy hitters bow out, but that’s the game. We hope breweries and beer lovers alike have fun with this friendly, people’s-choice competition, and that folks discover beer halls they haven’t visited and even brews they haven’t tried yet.
There will be only one Malt Madness Champion, but truly, the healthy and exciting beer scene bubbling up around the region makes us all winners.
Oh, and speaking of winners, our friends at Craft Beer Cellar-Fenway are once again offering up a $25 gift card for one Malt Madness voter. This year, we’re requiring an email address to cast a vote (don’t worry—we won’t send you anything, unless you want us to!), but there’s no limit on the number of times you can vote each day.
Vote with the tool below. To see the matchups, click on the image of the bracket above.