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The Beer Friends write, review, and discuss Craft Beer as fans instead of experts.  They share their unique voice and affinity for craft beer through multiple platforms and offer a range of media to join their craft beer conversation.

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Filtering by Tag: BFF4

March Madness! 2013 Beer Friends Final 4

Beerfriend Paul

It’s that time of year again! It’s Monday after the first two rounds of March Madness and, unless you were a personal friend of Andy Enfield, your bracket is probably busted. So, since you didn’t have Florida Gulf Coast University beating Georgetown it’s time to move on to your next favorite bracket.

It’s time for the Fourth Annual Beer Friends Final 4!

This year we get our field of 64 from the depths of Beer Friends history.  We’ve gone back and selected some of our favorite beers that we have reviewed so that you can help us finally figure out what the best beer we’ve reviewed is. Though, much like our rating system in each video, this tournament is arbitrary and is just for fun.

We have broken up the field of 64 regionally into East, Midwest, West, and NYC/CA (that’s a region, right?). Today we start the voting in the East bracket.  If you need some help casting your vote you can click on the links to each video for our "expert" opinion.  If you'd like to tell us why one of these beers should win over the other you can tweet us @thebeerfriends, it won't help that beer win any but we'll enjoy it. 

#1 Cigar City Maduro Brown vs. #16 Harpoon Winter Warmer

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#2 Yards Poor Richard Tavern Spruce vs. #15 Red Hook Long Hammer IPA

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#3 Dogfish Head Festina Peche vs. #14 McNeill's Warlord Imperial IPA

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#4 Shipyard Prelude vs. #13 River Horse Hop Hazard

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#5 Troegs Brewing Company Troegenator vs. #12 Dogfish Head Burton Baton

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#6 Cape Ann Brewing Pumpkin Stout vs. #11 Victory Hop Devil

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#7 Smuttynose IPA vs. #10 Stouds Scarlet Lady ESB

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#8 Magic Hat Encore vs. #9 Flying Dog Gonzo Porter

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BFF4 Champion!

Beerfriend Paul

The 3rd Annual Beer Friends Final 4 winner is: Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout CBS survived a hard tournament with a lot of great beers to win the crown this year. In a year full of popular barrel aged brews, CBS still sets a new standard for this style. This beer is sought after by beer lovers all over the country and for good reason.  The maple syrup bourbon barrel is a game changers and sets this beer apart from the others.  Congratulations to Founders for winning the title of 2012 BFF4 Champion!

We here at The Beer Friends have never done an official review of Canadian Breakfast Stout, but we have done a review of Founders other maple syrup bourbon barrel aged beer.  If those videos don't whet your appetite, I don't know what will.

Beer Review 110: Cape Cod Beer Stargazer Stout

Brad

Hello Beer Friends Nation! This week, in the middle of our BFF4, we review last years runner up (and Beer Friend favorite) Cape Cod Beer.  Cape Cod Beer is located in Hyannis, MA and is a very local brewery (can't even get it in Boston).  One of the best things about Cape Cod Beer is you need to go to Cape Cod and enjoy their brews fresh - hopefully with a platter from Seafood Sam's on a warm summer day - sounds like paradise.

Over the next couple weeks we will have a series of videos about Cape Cod Beer.  Stay tuned for videos including interviews and another review.

PS - Sorry for the poor lighting, focus and camera angle - trying out new equipment and debating getting our money back!

Disclaimer: Beth's official title is "business manager" - sorry Beth!  You know we'd NEVER do anything to upset you!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjjQuEihlPU]

BFF4 Winner!

Brad

Hello Beer Friends Nation! Wow, what an exciting tournament it was.  64 beers entered from 60 different breweries, Stouts to Pilsners, West Coast vs East Coast.  Over 73,000 votes counted and (unfortunately) only one winner - Nebraska Brewing Co Brunette Nut Brown Ale.  Nebraska's Brunette Nut Brown Ale beat out solid competition in Cape Cod Beer Red - which received the most total votes over the span of the tournament.  Thanks to everyone who voted, everyone who drank, and most importantly everyone who Brews.  Beer!  March Madness!  Nebraska!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDzlRHdGJvc]

Beer Review 59: Founders Red Rye PA

Brad

Hello Beer Friends Nation! We are down to the final two.  The Second Annual Beer Friends Final Four Tournament is coming to a close.  While Cape Cod Beer Red and Nebraska Brunette Nut Brown Ale are delicious beers, this week we visit another Final Four brewery, Founders [twitter] - from Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Founders has always impressed the Beer Friends, not once, not twice, but thrice!  So let's see if they bring their A-game with Red's Rye PA.  Enjoy!  Vote here! Watch below! Beer!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHs4uBu-D80]

BFF4 Elite 8 - Graham and Phil's Brackets

Graham

As the East Coast v. West Coast Final Four Matchup quickly approaches we reflect on the Sweet Sixteen in amazement.  This has been by far the craziest BFF4 in the history of this storied tournament. Northeast Region - Elite Eight

There was one major upset in the Northeast - although at this point it's hard to call a Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold victory an upset as they have been dominating the Northeast side of this tournament and continued to do so against Sixpoint's Bengali Tiger IPA defeating the Brooklyn #1 seeded favorite by an 80% - 20% vote margin.

The Cape Cod Red vs. Long Trail Hibernator matchup was topsy turvy with a come from behind win.  Hibernator took an early and decisive lead that had many Beer Friends commentators and spectators alike betting the farm that Hibernator would be coasting to the Elite Eight...we couldn't have been more wrong.  Cape Cod Red staged a last minute voting campaign in the fourth quarter that devastated Hibernators once vibrant offense - winning by the same margin as Game One:  Cape Cod Red - 80%, Long Trail Hibernator - 20%.

We move into the Elite Eight with a truly monumental craft beer matchup:  #2 Cape Cod Red versus #12 Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold.  Can Cape Cod defend their high ranking with their late in the game offense?  Will Captain Lawrence continue to power through these Northeast breweries as if they were all just light beer?

This is your moment Captain Lawrence and Cape Cod!  Mobilize your troops!  Tweet the crap out of this round (Shortlink: http://wp.me/pOAC9-Gn)!  Facebook everyone you know!  Let's make this a matchup to remember!  Good luck to all!

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Western Region - Elite Eight

What a set of Matches this was!!!  Both competitions ended in the underdogs coming from behind to take out the favorites and continue on!

First up we had the #11 Stone Brewing's Arrogant Bastard take on the #7 Rogue Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout and win by 28%!  The second match was no small feat either: We had the #5 Speakeasy Big Daddy IPA overcoming the #1 seed Sierra Nevada's Torpedo by 16%!!!

Well done both of the you!  Now we come to the real game: Who will be crowned King of the West and take on the other 3 regions in the Final Four?  Can Speakeasy take on and overcome the Arrogant Bastard, or will Stone's remaining brew pull through to the end.

Both are worth contenders but only one can survive.  Your Votes are the key to the game!

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New York City Craft Beer Events for the Week of April 3rd

Graham

I don't like starting the NYC Craft Beer Events post without an original theme, but this week I'm stealing ideas...from us.  I don't know if you've all been keeping tabs on the Beer Friend Final Four Beer-March-Madness tournament but this year has been the craziest ever.  A #12 seed in the Northeast bracket is currently poised to take it all.  Anyone thinking VCU?  Except this VCU could actually do it.  If you haven't voted yet then you should vote now here: http://thebeerfriends.com  I'll come back with an original theme next week, but this week I'm plugging the Beer Friends Final Four all over the place. In the mean time let's see what, and where you're drinking while you're voting this week. (Vote here, again: http://thebeerfriends.com)

Tuesday, April 5 - Lagunitas Night @ The Cloverleaf Tavern, NEW JERSEY:

New Jersey? NEW JERSEY? Yep.  This will be the second time that the craft beer events of the week will cross the Hudson River to the great state of New Jersey.  Now it's not that we don't like New Jersey...there are several amazing beer bars and beer drinking groups that call the Garden State home.  Jersey just doesn't show up on our radar that often (hint, hint: New Jersey, show up on our radar more often already).  Having a Lagunitas night catches the Beer Friends attention.  We don't have an official beer list released yet, but you should expect awesomeness.  Because Lagunitas (and Jersey!) is awesomeness.

The Cloverleaf Tavern is located at 395 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell New Jersey.

(Recommendation: It's a bit of a hike from NYC so make friends with someone you work with who lives in Jersey and get them to DD for you.  Work fast in the friend-making department, getting to the DD part of a friendship is a serious step)

Wednesday, April 6 - Smutty Part Deux @ The Stag's Head, Manhattan:

Do you love New Hampshire?  Yes, of course.  And cause you're hear already we know you already love craft beer.  So a Smuttynose Brewery night should be a sure thing right?  Right.  Except this one is more than a sure thing.  The Stag's Head will be grabbing as many Smuttynose kegs as they can and their head chef will be brewing up some delectable quantities of New England clam chowder.  Smuttynose rep Pat Fondiller will be on hand to explain why Smuttynose  beer is so delicious.  Probably has to do with the mountains.

The Stag's Head is located at 252 East 51st between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, Upper East Side, Manhattan.

Wednesday, April 6 - Barleywine Ale, Strong Ale and Old Ale Style of the Month Kickoff @ The Blind Tiger Ale House, Manhattan:

The Beer Friends are devoted to innovation.  We've been trying to get into barleywines for a while.  Mission - Success. We love Strong Ales too.  And have since gotten into Old Ales.  Despite our love and expertise we need some more practice.  Lucky for us, the Blind Tiger is featuring barleywines, strong ales and old style ales this month in their Style of the Month series.  Head to the Blind Tiger Ale House this month of a continuous, recycling sample of these styles of brews. We're talking the best brews from the best breweries.

Head there a few times each week to achieve maximum expertise.

The Blind Tiger Ale House is located at 281 Bleecker Street between Jones Street and 6th Avenue, West Village, Manhattan.

Thursday, April 7 - Two Brothers Tap Takeover @ Bierkraft, Brooklyn:

The Fighting Illini' fought hard in the March Madness tournament this year, the Cubs are not yet mathematically eliminated from the MLB season, the Blackhawks still have a chance to grab that last playoff spot and the Bulls, well screw the Bulls, they're actually playing pretty damn well right now.  Anyways our love for Illinois goes beyond the pity we occasionally feel for their professional sports teams - we also truly love their beer.  Two Brothers Brewing Co. is one of Illinois most treasured and creative breweries and Jim Ebel, the brewmaster, will be bringing his finest pours alongside his extensive knowledge of brewing.  The list hasn't been released yet, but we expect it to be a pretty solid showing.

Bierkraft is located at 191 5th Avenue between Union and Berkeley Streets, Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Thursday, April 7 - Cisco Brewery Night @ The Pony Bar, Manhattan:

Continuing their tradition of featuring the country's best and most creative breweries, the Pony Bar will be hosting Cisco Brewery this Thursday night.  Cisco Brewery out of Nantucket will be pouring 10 lines and a cask of their seafaring brews.  Catch a Whale's Tale pale ale, close your eyes and imagine your on a trawler name Downeastern Alexa fishing for your pay or playing the piano with Billy Joel.  After a couple brews my daydreams tend to get a bit jumbled...

The Pony Bar is located on the northwest corner of 45th Street and 10th Avenues, Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan.

Thursday, April 7 - Bronx Brewery Event @ The Bronx Ale House, Manhattan:

Recrafting a brewing tradition, recrafting a bourough.  That's the slogan for New York City's newest brewery located in the borough you'd least expect to open a brewery.  The Bronx Ale House will be hosting the Bronx Brewery's grand opening event - featuring their first, and for the time being only, brew.

The Bronx Pale Ale is an amber, American style pale ale that is brewed with 5 different malts and a healthy addition of Cascade and Centennial Hops that provide a delicious floral and citrus flavor.  The malts come from Britain, Germany and American and add a nutty, bready taste and feel to the brew.  Take all that, don't filter or pasteurize it and you have the Bronx Pale Ale. A spicy, gritty, unfettered offering from a spicy, gritty, unfettered borough of New York City that we hope becomes famous for its craft beer.

The Bronx's best beer bar presenting the Bronx's best brewery, The Bronx Ale House is located at 216 West 238th Street between Broadway and Putnam Avenue West, Riverdale, The Bronx.

A lot of people make a habit of steering clear of the Bronx.  It's not what'd you expect.  They have subways that take you right to their beer bars.  Take the 1 Train up to the 238th Street stop and walk half a block West towards Putnam Ave W.  We'll see ya there.

Friday, April 8 - Hill Farmstead Brewery Night @ Rattle n' Hum, Manhattan:

Do you love the refreshing creativity that newcomers to the scene bring to an industry that is creative as hell already?  We do.  We also love hops.  Hill Farmstead Brewery represents all these things.

Hill Farmstead Brewery is a creative, small batch focused brewery out of Vermont.  They put the art in artisan ales as they rarely brew any of their beers more than once a year, they always dry hop their brews (plentifully we might add - with most of their beers being 85 ibus or higher) and have a thing for aging just about anything in oak barrels (French Oak, Napa Valley and Russian River).

You'll definitely get to experience Edward, their IPA, and the only beer the brew year round (just what you'd expect from a bunch of hop-heads) but bring an open mind and an extra pint glass cause it'll probably get pretty wild after that.  Napa Valley Oak barrel-aged, dry-hopped, espresso porter?  We hope so.

Rattle n' Hum is located at 14 East 33rd Street between 5th and Madison Avenues, Midtown, Manhattan.

Don't forget to vote in the Beer Friends Final Four!

BFF4 - Graham and Phil's Sweet Sixteen Brackets

Graham

Here it is.  This tournament just got serious - East vs. West style.  The best of the Northeast's breweries are taking on their arch-rivals on the West Coast for total beer supremacy in the Sweet 16 of this years Beer Friends Final Four Tournament.  Click on through to Vote!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northeast Region - Sweet 16 (Graham's Brackets)

To say that the Northeast Brackets have been topsy-turvy is an understatement.  It's been a whirlwind of ups and downs, upsets and close calls.  Sixpoint's Bengali Tiger, the Northeast favorite for the tournament with the #1 seed has continued their winning streak onto the 3rd round but is now facing their toughest opponent:  Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold.  Liquid Gold has played far better than anyone else in the tournament so far with decisive victories over #5 ranked Sam Adams Noble Pils and #4 ranked Smuttynose IPA, two other favorite East Coast contenders.  Can Captain Lawrence take to another round with what would be the biggest upset on their road to the championship?

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Game 2 of the Northeast Sweet 16 round is an all out New England battle.  These two brews are looking to tip the scales on the New York domination on this branch of the bracket and they are gunning for each other with the chance to do it.  Will the Green Mountains of Vermont be celebrating after this weekend as Long Trail's Hibernator rolls into the Elite 8 or will the beaches of Cape Cod be Red...not with sunburns but with their own 'hoods Cape Cod Red.  Massachusetts or Vermont?  It's a #2 vs. #3 matchup and the choice couldn't be tougher.  Throw in your say below and help your favorite beer with a New England accent get to the next round.

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West Region - Sweet 16 (Phil's Brackets)

Time for the West to show it's stuff!!!  These are the crucial times where we decide which beer is our best bet to take on the rest of the country!  what?  too Braveheart?  should i put blue makeup and a kilt on?  anyway....We have four contenders up for the righteous honor of carrying the West into the Beer Friends Final Four!  We've had a pretty regular season so far, but now we're down to the wire, the next two games are shaping the fate of the Western region:

First up we have the 1 vs 5 pitting Sierra Nevada Torpedo against Speakeasy's Big Daddy IPA!  Both have been strong showings in the previous rounds, Sierra Nevada defeating Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale and Lagunitas Hop Stoopid and Speakeasy taking out Rogue's Mocha Porter and Stone's Collaboration Saison!  But you, YOU decide the fate of these two great brews, vote below to make sure your favorite takes it to the next round:

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Next up we have the 7 vs 11 round!  Two of my favorite contenders going head to head, only one to come out on top:  We have Rogue Brewery's Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout verses Stone Brewing's Arrogant Bastard!  Two absolute power houses taking each other to the mats to determine who will continue on to the next round.  Neither of these brews is a surprise being here: Rogue Shakespeare taking out Green Flash IPA and Kona's Pipeline Porter to be here while Stone's Arrogant Bastard bested Anchor Brewing's Christmas ale and Sierra Nevada's home grown Estate Ale to place their flag in this the pivotal third round of competition.  Who's the best?  Who will continue on for Western dominance to represent in the Final Four?  it's up to you....Vote Now!!!

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Vote now or forever hold your peace!