The 32 beers that made the cut for Beer Madness judging. (Deb Lindsey/FOR THE WASHINGTON…)
Here are the 32 American craft beers featured in this year’s Beer Madness competition, separated into four flavor brackets and listed alphabetically. They are all available year-round in the Washington area, in either bottles or cans.
Last year’s Malt category has been replaced with Crisp, to level the playing field a bit for (pale) lagers and lower ABV (alcohol by volume) brews.
Fordham Helles Lager
Fordham Brewing Co., Dover, Del.
This golden, malt-accented lager is patterned after the everyday brews that lederhosen-clad Bavarians quaff out of their liter steins.
Bell’s Lager Beer
Bell’s Brewery, Galesburg, Mich.
Noted for its cult favorite Hopslam and its panoply of stouts, Bell’s Brewery also offers this well-balanced pale lager mellowed by a six-week maturation in the tanks.
Eliot Ness Amber Lager
Great Lakes Brewing Co., Cleveland, Ohio
The lawman of Untouchables fame served for seven years as Cleveland’s safety director; hence the brewery honored him with this ruddy amber lager in the Vienna style.
Festie Amber Lager
Starr Hill Brewing Co. Crozet, Va.
Originally brewed for the Oktoberfest season, this malty, slightly grainy Marzen-style lager has been promoted to a year-around brew and now comes in cans.
Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, Pa.
Back by invitation for a second crack at the title, this unusually hoppy and complex Pilsener derives its bite from German and Czech whole-flower hops.
Joe’s Premium American Pilsner
Avery Brewing Co., Boulder, Colo.
That’s brewery owner Adam Avery’s grandfather on the label of this well-hopped pale Pilsener, which is packaged in cans only.
Small Craft Warning Uber Pils
Clipper City Brewing Co., Baltimore
Hoppy and strong (about 7 percent alcohol by volume), this pungent pils from Clipper City’s Pyrate Fleet series returns for another engagement.
Coney Island Sword Swallower
Shmaltz Brewing Co., San Francisco and New York)
The company is best known for its He’Brew the Chosen Beer label, but it also markets a Coney Island series of offbeat lagers, including this IPA-influenced Pilsener.
FRUIT AND SPICE
Port City Brewing Co., Alexandria
Port City’s first-ever offering was this traditional Belgian-style wheat beer, made with unmalted wheat and oats and spiced with coriander, orange peel and grains of paradise.
DreamWeaver Wheat Beer
Troegs Brewing Co., Hershey, Pa.
Now ensconced in a new state-of-the-art brewery in Hershey, Troegs continues to offer this unfiltered, German-style wheat beer, with characteristic banana and clove notes.
Green Flash Brewing Co., San Diego, Calif.
After touring Belgium for “hands-on inspiration,” the Green Flash brew crew came up with this refreshing pale ale bottle-conditioned with the wild yeast Brettanomyces.
The Bruery, Placentia, Calif.
Brewer Patrick Rue’s take on a rustic Franco-Belgian farmhouse ale incorporates rye for an extra spicy character and a wild yeast to add “notes of leather and earth” over time.
Flying Fish Brewing Co., Cherry Hill, N.J.
Last year’s Beer Madness champion is an Americanized version of a Belgian tripel (a strong golden ale), melding citrusy American hops with a clove-like spiciness. Will it become the first repeat winner?
Brooklyn Sorachi Ace
Brooklyn Brewery, New York, N.Y.
Another Belgian-style farmhouse ale, Sorachi Ace takes its name from a Japanese-bred hybrid hop variety noted for its distinctive lemony flavor.
Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, N.Y.
This blend of a Belgian-style quadrupel and the fruit ale Liefmans Kriek combines notes of chocolate and cherry. At 9.8 percent alcohol, it’s among our strongest contenders.
Uncommon Brewers, Santa Cruz, Calif.
Belgian brewing takes a detour through Southeast Asia with this category-bending brew, a Belgian-style dubbel spiced with lemon grass and kaffir lime.
DC Brau, Washington
This assertively hopped, copper-colored ale was the first beer to be brewed and canned in the District since the Christian Heurich brewery folded its tent back in 1956.
New River Pale Ale
Lost Rhino Brewing Co., Ashburn
Three additions of hops in the brew kettle and a dry-hopping in the fermenter lend a citrusy/piney aroma to this pale ale, originally brewed a few miles away at the defunct Old Dominion brewery.
Wildeman Farmhouse IPA
Flying Dog Brewery, Frederick
This IPA/saison hybrid was originally brewed to mark the 25th anniversary of In de Wildeman, an Amsterdam beer bar. It won so many plaudits that the brewery has promoted it to year-round offering.
Belgo Belgian Style India Pale Ale
New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, Colo.
Four varieties of American hops liven up this cross-cultural beer, which is fermented with a Trappist yeast strain.
Red’s Rye PA
Founders Brewing Co. Grand Rapids, Mich.