The real work of Beer Madness is the tasting: It’s blind, meaning the judges don’t know which beer they’re sipping, and for each round of the two-night tasting, they vote for their favorite of each matchup set before them — and write comments to support that choice.

This year’s panel includes four “experts,” all of whom make a living to some extent by tasting; and four readers, who were chosen from among hundreds of applicants. Post staff writer Fritz Hahn served as the tie-breaker.

The professionals

Brittney Roberson. (Deb Lindsey /For The Washington Post)

Brittney Roberson, 27, Jack Rose Dining Saloon whiskey manager.

Tim Liu. (Deb Lindsey /For The Washington Post)

Tim Liu, 32, Neighborhood Restaurant Group assistant beer director.

Tammy Tuck. (Deb Lindsey /For The Washington Post)

Tammy Tuck, 37, Washington City Paper “Brew in Town” columnist.

Greg Kitsock. (Deb Lindsey /For The Washington Post)

Greg Kitsock, 59, Mid-Atlantic Brewing News editor and former Post beer columnist.

The readers

Debra Crerie. (Deb Lindsey /For The Washington Post)

Debra Crerie, 63, of South Arlington, a teacher, artist and freelance properties designer.

Andrew Yu. (Deb Lindsey /For The Washington Post)

Andrew Yu, 22, of Bethesda, a biomedical researcher.

Shelley Cazares. (Deb Lindsey /For The Washington Post)

Shelley Cazares, 39, of Chinatown, a research scientist.

Quintin Jefferson, 39, of Silver Spring, a printing plant worker. (Jefferson had to drop out of the panel because of health problems after the first night of tastings, so we recorded his votes for the first night only and proceeded with the remaining three reader judges on the second night.)