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Perennial_Abraxas_V04I’m such a schmuck, in the craziness of life, I totally forgot to announce the winner of the 2014 STL Hops St. Louis Beer Challenge. But that doesn’t make the win any less special, I’m happy to announce that this year’s winner is Perennial Artisan Ales Abraxas!

Abraxas had a hard fought battle in the final round beating last year’s champion 2nd Shift Brewing Art of Neurosis with a 62.3% to 37.7% win. What’s so cool about the win is that we’ve had three different champions in the past three years. We definitely have some power house beers and it’s fun to see them face off against each other.

Can’t wait to see what we have in store for next year. Congrats to Perennial, Abraxas is an awesome beer and deserved the win!

STLHops_ShadedDid I call it, or did I call it? While the four beers in the final four were absolutely fantastic, it was going to be difficult to take out last year’s champion and one of the most sought-after beers in the United States. (Click here for all the Round 5 results)

2nd Shift Art of Neurosis had its toughest match-up  to date in Round 5 beating 2nd Shift Katy 54.3% to 45.7%. While Perennial Abraxas gave a whooping to Schlafly Pumpkin winning 85.6% to 14.4%.

While I was quick to call the last match-ups, I think this one is too close to call. 2nd Shift Art of Neurosis did beat Abraxas in the final four of last year’s Beer Challenge, but does it have the magiv to pull it off twice? It’s up to you to decide.

Round Dates
Winner Announced – Thursday, Apr 10th

If you can’t see the poll below, click on this link to visit the website hosting it.


STLHops_ShadedWe’re getting down to the  nitty gritty, it’s time to check out the Round 4 match-ups. (Click here for all the Round 5 results)

2nd Shift Art of Neurosis continues its domination beating 4 Hands Centennial Red 88.1% to 11.9%. Schlafly Pumpkin had a tougher match-up facing off against (and beating) Urban Chestnut Zwickel 57.3% to 42.7%.  In the other match-ups 2nd Shift Katy ended the fantastic run by Charleville Box of Chocolates and Perennial Abraxas took out Schlafly Coffee Stout.

The final four consists of Art of Neurosis taking on Katy while Schlafly Pumpkin will take on Abraxas. If I were a betting man, I’m thinking we’re going to see Art of Neurosis take on Abraxas in the finals. But never say never.

These match-ups run through Monday, so go out and vote for your favorites.

Round Dates
Round 4 – Mon Mar 31
Round 5 – Thu Apr 3
Championship – Mon Apr 7

If you can’t see the poll below, click on this link to visit the website hosting it.


STLHops_ShadedRound 2 featured more than a few match-ups of breweries facing off against each other, let’s see how a few of these match-ups fared. (Click here for all the Round 2 results)

Last year’s champion 2nd Shift Art of Neurosis is still going strong and took down the 2011 & 2012 champion Schlafly AIPA.  Schlafly Pumpkin took out Urban Chestnut Schnickelfritz with a 62.5% to 37.5% win.  And because I always love to see a new challenger in the mix, I’m happy to report that Charleville Box of Chocolates moved on to round 4 with a 56.2% to 43.8% win against Perennial Hommelbier.

Round 4 provides some tough match-ups as 2nd Shift Katy goes up against up-start Charleville Box of Chocolates and Schlafly Pumpkin goes up against Urban Chestnut Zwickle.

These match-ups run through Thursday, so go out and vote for your favorites.

Round Dates
Round 4 – Mon Mar 31
Round 5 – Thu Apr 3
Championship – Mon Apr 7

If you can’t see the poll below, click on this link to visit the website hosting it.


STLHops_ShadedRound 2 featured more than a few match-ups of breweries facing off against each other, let’s see how a few of these match-ups fared. (Click here for all the Round 2 results)

Last year’s champion 2nd Shift Art of Neurosis handily took down its bigger brother  Brew Cocky 73.8% to 26.2%.  Schlafly Pumpkin had a more narrow victory over Schlafly Kolsch with a 55.5% to 44.5% win.  And lastly Charleville Ale Mucho Hoppo lost out to Charleville Hoptimistic IPA with a 39.8% to 60.2% drubbing.

Looking forward to Round 3 we have some real intense match-ups on our hands.  Last year’s first runner-up 2nd Shift Katy takes on a real tough challenger with Perennial Saison de Lis. In the battle of lighter beers, Schlafly Summer Lager takes on Urban Chestnut Zwickle.

These match-ups run through Monday, so go out and vote for your favorites.

Round Dates
Round 3 – Thu Mar 27
Round 4 – Mon Mar 31
Round 5 – Thu Apr 3
Championship – Mon Apr 7

If you can’t see the poll below, click on this link to visit the website hosting it.


STLHops_ShadedWell, Round 1 finished without many surprises. A few interesting matchups, though, are worth talking about. (Click here for all the Round 1 results)

The most glaring match-up final from Round 1 was Augusta Hyde Park Stout which eked out a win over Six Row Porter with a 50-50% split. Crazy.

Another close finish was Six Row Whale edging out Square One Bavarian Weizen, 55.1% to 44.9%. This is Six Row’s first appearance in the 2nd round since 2012.

As each round goes by, the choices get tougher and tougher. Some of the interesting matches in Round 2 include 2nd Shift Art of Neurosis going up against 2nd Shift Brew Cocky. One time champion O’Fallon 5 Day against 4 Hands Centennial Red and Schlafly Kolsch facing off against Schlafly Pumpkin.

Round Dates
Round 2 – Mon Mar 24
Round 3 – Thu Mar 27
Round 4 – Mon Mar 31
Round 5 – Thu Apr 3
Championship – Mon Apr 7

If you can’t see the poll below, click on this link to visit the website hosting it.


Welcome back to the STL Hops 2014 St. Louis Beer Challenge! With March Madness starting today, I thought it would be fun to have a contest to see how local beers would do in a tournament. Thanks to an influx of new breweries, we now have a tournament featuring beers from within 75 miles of downtown St. Louis.

Now, a few things. First, this is the first year we had some semblance of a ranking.  I looked back at the past years round winners and pitted them against beers that may have gone out in earlier rounds.  I also did a bit of sorting so a brewery didn’t face off against itself in the first round. New beers that weren’t in last year’s competition were seeded in the last few seeds. Second, as we have a bunch of new breweries and new beers, there might be something I missed. I’m sorry if I missed you, it wasn’t on purpose.

If you’re curious how I picked the beers, here’s the method behind my madness. We’re continuing what we did last year and there are four distinct brackets again: Black/Brown, Hoppy, Belgian, and Wildcard.  I tried my best to make sure each brewery in the area was represented in each of these brackets.

I heard a couple of people say it was difficult to pit a stout vs an IPA.  I can understand that, so by grouping things a little bit, maybe it will make you decision easier (or harder.) Wildcard is exactly as it sounds, if a beer didn’t fit into one of the other brackets, it went into here.

If I did this right, you won’t have to mix styles too much until you hit the final four.  (This is a big if, I set this up on very little sleep.)

You may also notice that some of your favorite seasonal and one-off beers aren’t on the list. For the most part, I tried to stick with two year-round beer from each brewery and one season. As not everyone gets a chance to try a lot of the one-off or seasonal beers, thought it would be more fair with the year round releases.

Now, for the serious stuff. Even after the unpleasantness from a couple of years ago, I’m sticking with the Bracketeers website. It’s still the best website I can find to make this process easy for me and you, so we’ll stick with it.

Please, I remind everyone again not to take this too seriously, it’s just for fun.
Round Dates:
Round 1 – Thu Mar 20
Round 2 – Mon Mar 24
Round 3 – Thu Mar 27
Round 4 – Mon Mar 31
Round 5 – Thu Apr 3
Championship – Mon Apr 7

So, good luck to everyone and have fun! (If you can’t see the poll below, click on this link to visit the website hosting it.)