31 Mar What brewery most closely mirrors this year’s Final Four?
Ahh, spring is upon us. To some it may mean warmer weather, more outdoor activities, and the exit of snow. To others it means something completely different: college basketball and great beer (although there’s no wrong time for great beer). This weekend brings us the Final Four of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Like many years prior to now, the Final Four brings us a “Cinderella” team mixed with a few powerhouse squads. I thought it would be a good idea to compare the teams we have in this weeks Final Four to great Indiana Breweries to maybe give you a better understanding of not only the teams in the Playoffs but also some great breweries in the state.
- SYRACUSE (Bare Hands Brewery) – A true Cinderella indeed. Syracuse came into the tournament as a 10 seed, and according to my bracket, they should have gone home after the first round. However, they defied the odds and came back from a double digit deficit in the Elite Eight to cruise to a 6 point win to find themselves in the Final Four. I believe Bare Hands Brewery in Granger, Indiana poses a number of similarities with the Syracuse Orange. Bare Hands is still an upcoming brewery known mostly to the Michiana residents; however they are full of potential and can make a large craft beer impact in the near future. Bare Hands has already started to tap in the Indianapolis area and I have seen their Thai PA being available for sale in cans in the Elkhart and St. Joseph counties.
- OKLAHOMA (MashCraft Brewing Company) – Oklahoma brings a team to the Final Four that’s rich in talent, with one of the best seniors in the nation, Buddy Hield, leading the way. Buddy’s four years of experience to go along with a sweet long distance stroke is one of the main factors explaining why Oklahoma is in the Big Dance. When I think of a team like Oklahoma, I think of MashCraft. MashCraft has a solid lineup of beer, but their take on the American IPA is what carries their name, in my opinion. Similar to the likes of Buddy Hield, MashCraft’s American IPA is a perfect blend of hops and aroma, which is sure to light up your taste buds like Hield lights up the scoreboard.
- NORTH CAROLINA (Three Floyds Brewing Company) – If anybody has been keeping tabs with the tournament, they know that UNC is without a doubt the team to beat. (I hate admitting this considering I consider myself an obsessive Duke fan. Hell my dog’s name is Duke.) These guys are experienced, and with Brice Thompson, Kennedy Meeks, and Marcus Paige leading the way, I expect UNC’s powerful roster to be cutting the nets down in April. And what better brewery to compare them to than 3 Floyds. Look me dead in the eyes and tell me there is a beer from 3 Floyds that you genuinely don’t like and I will show you a liar. From War Mullet to Space Station Middle Finger, 3 Floyds is a powerhouse, and they are nationally known for a reason; great beer in small batches.
- VILLANOVA (Indiana City Brewing Company) – Villanova has been a great team from the preseason, and they can score from anywhere on the court, whether it’s in the paint or from beyond the arc. They offer up a balanced attack, and they have become known for postseason success. When I think of Villanova I think of Indiana City Brewing. Indiana City is known for their pre-prohibition style brewing which has lead to them becoming extremely successful, similar to the post season success of Villanova. Indiana City also offers up a balanced attack when it comes to the beer lineup. Having brewed over 30 different styles of small batch beer, from their IPAPI double IPA to their Black Lantern Black IPA (my favorite), Indiana City is known for holding its own in the battle-tested Indianapolis Craft Beer market.