We've officially entered the final round of the Food section's annual Beer Madness contest, with two of the region's finest brews pitted against each other in the championship round of our first ever all-local competition.
Its come down to Crisp vs. Hops, as Legend Brewing's Legend Pilsner, from Richmond, takes on the Double Dog Double Pale Ale from Frederick's Flying Dog Brewery.
But if readers were steering the competition, the final field would look a lot different. There has been a wide discrepancy between user favorites and judges' picks this year. From our opening round, nearly half the matchups had varying judge vs. user selections.
Devils Backbone's Vienna Lager was one of the most notable controversies. If there had been a top seed in Beer Madness, beer columnist Greg Kitsock said after round three that the Virginia brew would likely have had the honor.
"Head brewer Jason Oliver boasts a chestful of hardware, including eight medals alone from last year’s Great American Beer Festival. His Vienna Lager took gold in its category," Kitsock noted.
Readers favored the Vienna Lager, giving it a heavy margin all the way to the third round, where they would have pushed it to the final four with a 402 to 122 vote over Legend Pilsner. Though the judges struck it down in favor of Legend Pilsner by a vote of 6 to 3.
In the Fruit & Spice category, Port City's Optimal Wit and DC Brau's the Citizen were likewise far ahead in the first round of competition. Optimal Wit racked up 1,484 to 382 votes against Rock Bottom's White Ale, though it failed to pass the judges' test. Similarly, the Citizen scored 1,551 to 430 votes against Gordon Biersch's Belgian Pale Ale, but needed one more vote from the judges in order to move on.
The Hops and Roast categories were more evenly divided, though there were a few deviations. Blue Mountain's Dark Hollow beat out District ChopHouse's Bourbon Stout 1,236 to 515, but claimed only one vote from the judges.
In the final four, readers selected Dominion's Oak Barrel Stout over Double Dog by a margin of 339 to 194.
So which beer should win it all? Vote for your favorite, and make your case in the comments section if your favorite was knocked out too soon.
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