March is upon us. Along with trivial things like early spring, Lent and St. Patrick's Day, March brings the most perfect sporting event known to humankind. I am of course talking about the NCAA Tournament. Cougar fans have unfortunately grown accustomed to not seeing WSU among the 68 participants, but that does little to dampen our enthusiasm, as March Madness (at least the first couple days) captivates even casual fans.
One thing that helps us get through many a losing season is a delicious craft beer or two. Despite the fact that many of you will be filling out an actual tournament bracket, or possibly several, we figured we'd conduct a little tournament of our own. Unlike the basketball tournament, this one carries far greater implications. It's time to find out, once and for all, which craft beer is the greatest in the land.
Over the course of the next week or two, we will be running the tournament in the same fashion that Michael Preston conducted the "Pullman's greatest restaurant" bracket. In an effort to get max participation, we are largely keeping the bracket western-based. There will be four regions, with eight beers in each: Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho), Pacific (California, Alaska, Hawaii, Arizona), Mountain (Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Montana, New Mexico), and the Rest of America. I've always harbored the belief that the further west one travels, the better the beer gets.
Since no tournament would be complete without a gambling angle, we also plan to present odds on each matchup. College football may have its playoff rankings, and college basketball may have its RPI, BPI, KenPom and the like, but you won't find a better rankings system than the one we've devised for craft beers. Known as PBOA (Powers-adjusted Bitterness Over Average), it will quickly become the standard by which we can all judge the quality of thousands of beers.
In addition to craft beer, and since this is WSU, Kyle Sherwood and Brian Anderson came up with the great idea. Each region will feature bad college beers/malt liqours. Unlike the craft beers, these will not be region-specific, as crappy beer does not recognize borders. However, they will be the lowest seeds on the board, because obviously.
Here is where you, our dear readers come in. As much as the authors love craft beer, we want this tournament and, more specifically, the tournament entrants to be determined by you. We'd love to read any and all nominations you have for the tournament, both good and bad. We have a fair amount of candidates ourselves, but reader-nominated brews will take precedent. State your case in the Comments section, and each nominee will be taken under consideration.
Finally, no craft beer post would be complete with those perfectly-terrible brew-inspired puns that every craft beer producer seems to think is catchy (Hint: None of them are). So far I've come up with Malt Madness, Hops & Hoops and Beercketology. I have every belief that you folks can come up with other names that are just as not funny. Go Cougs.