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Beer Madness 2016: 21st Amendment Toaster Pastry wins the public voting bracket

21st Amendment Toaster Pastry, representing the city of San Francisco, is the winner of the 2016 Beer Madness public voting bracket after beating Port City Optimal Wit 8,471-7,320. Port City looked like it might give the Washington area a local champion after briefly pulling ahead in the voting on Friday night, but a late surge put 21st Amendment over the top. Wait ’til next year.

[The Beer Madness blind-tasting panel picks a winner]

The malty Toaster Pastry, which won praise from the Beer Madness blind tasting panel for its “balanced hoppiness” and “bright, piquant flavor,” was named in honor of 21st Amendment’s new brewery in San Leandro, California, which once made Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts. A silver medal winner in the Double Red category at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival, it is available in 19.2-ounce tallboy cans, a size known as the royal pint.

[How the 2016 Beer Madness field was selected | A guide to this year’s beer styles

Fourth round voting results

There will be some local flavor in the final of the 2016 Beer Madness public bracket. Port City Optimal Wit, the winner of Beer Madness’s South region, ran away from Allagash Saison, 1623-1183. On the other side of the bracket, 21st Amendment Toaster Pastry, representing the West region, beat Schlafly Grapefruit IPA in a fiercely contested battle, 18,256-17,021. Schlafly won the public bracket last year with its Kolsch, and fell just short of becoming the first brewery to appear in back-to-back finals.

At this point, it’s worth noting again that none of these four beers wowed the blind-tasting panel as much as they impressed online voters, so we won’t have a consensus Beer Madness champion.

Third round voting results
We’re in the final stretch of Beer Madness, and this morning brings updates on three competitions:

Once again, the Final Four on the public voting bracket looks nothing like the Final Four chosen by our blind-tasting panel. (Last year, the two panels had only one beer in common at this stage.) In the public semi-finals, Allagash Saison takes on local entry Port City Optimal Wit, while early favorite Schlafly Grapefruit faces the surging 21st Amendment Toaster Pastry. Pick your favorite in the bracket below.

The panel of judges, meanwhile, have chosen their four regional champions: Maine Beer Company’s Another One IPA (Northeast), The Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout (South), Jester King Black Metal Imperial Stout (Midwest), and Avery Liliko’i Kepolo (West). Tasting notes and judges’ comments are on the updated blog post.

[Beer Madness 2016: The Final Four is set as Liliko’i Kepolo wins again]

Finally, thanks to everyone that came to the Beer Madness Taste-Off on Tuesday at the Washington Post HQ. Whole Foods chef Benjamin Nola prepared appetizers to be paired with four of our Beer Madness finalists, and we asked attendees to vote for their favorite beer. The winner: Epic’s Big Bad Baptist, an imperial stout flavored with coffee and cocoa nibs, and aged in used whiskey barrels. It’s strong (around 12 percent ABV) and not subtle, but it’s delicious.

Voting for the Final Four in the public bracket is open through Monday; voting for the Beer Madness champion begins Tuesday.

Second round round voting results:

The second round of Beer Madness voting is when the differences between our public bracket and blind-tasting panel become clear. The first-round vote saw judges and online voters agreeing on 11 of the beers that made it to the Sweet 16. But in the latest poll, voters and judges agreed on just three of the eight beers to advance: Dogfish Head’s Romantic Chemistry IPA, Cigar City Jai Alai IPA, and Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale.

The bigger story might be that the three most popular beers in the public bracket – Schlafly Grapefruit IPA (933 votes), 21 Amendment Toaster Pastry (573 votes) and Port City Optimal Wit (498 votes) – were all knocked out of the blind tasting in the second round. Schlafly, of course, won last year’s public bracket with its popular Kolsch. Could another upset be in the offing?

First round voting results:

Some big names bowed out in the first round of Beer Madness, including Maine Beer Company’s Another One IPA, Boulevard’s Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale and Diamonds, Fur Coat, Champagne by local favorite Right Proper.

The biggest fight occurred in the Midwest region — specifically, Missouri — with Schlafly’s Grapefruit IPA beating Boulevard’s Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale by a margin of “only” 870 votes, 2,911 to 2,041. (This was a stunning show of support from both ends of I-70, and a rematch of last year’s hotly contested Schlafly-Boulevard showdown, which Schlafly also won.)

Online voters agreed with our blind-tasting panel in 11 out of the 16 match-ups. The biggest disagreement: Avery’s Liliko’i Kepolo, a tart, passion fruit-spiked witbier, lost to Great Divide’s Titan IPA, 1454-1076, in online voting, despite trouncing Titan, 8-0, at the in-person tasting held earlier this month.