Your Fantasy Beer Teams

Eno Sarris, February 12, 2014

It looks like the inaugral Fantasy Beer League is off and running. Thank you so much for your interest. This will be fun, and we're obviously open for suggestions about how to make it more fun. With 122 entrants (69 in the pay league), we'll have good competition, and enough cache for multiple prizes and a little help for the paying the BeerGraphs bills. Everyone wins!

Only a few bumps along the way so far.

For one, I'd like to represent all our teams here... but I didn't ask for a team name. And it seems like a bad idea to use email addresses or names to list your teams, even if I take measures to hide your full identities. Right? Maybe it'll still happen in a while. After all, I have to email all of you to remind you about the utility deadline anyway -- I could get a team name from you at that time. Or you could submit a team name to now!

A few of you can expect an email asking you to clarify your submissions! It happens.

In any case, let's see what people chose!

Tier One Total
Stone 34
Cigar City 13
The Bruery 13
Hill Farmstead 11
Mikkeller 10
Dogfish Head 9
Three Floyds 8
Founders 7
Firestone Walker 6
Avery 3
Goose Island 3
Russian River 3

Well, Stone is a beast, so we had to know this would happen. The good news is that, though we still have to clear up a few ballots to get the full 122, there are no duplicates so far. Cigar City! That's exciting. Mikkeller is probably a play on Style+ and number of styles -- they are a prolific brewery, even if people don't love all their beers -- or at least that was my thinking when I picked them. Russian River sours are great. Who knows if they'll do something new this year, sometimes they just hang out with their excellent beers and enjoy themselves, it seems. Goose Island! They have so much power behind them. But our game ends before the Bourbon County suite comes out. The winter version of this game may have a different result.

Tier Two Total
Lagunitas 27
Pipeworks 12
Tired Hands 11
Crooked Stave 9
Bell's 8
Revolution Brewing 6
Allagash 5
Boulevard 5
Sierra Nevada 5
Southern Tier 5
Troegs 5
New Glarus 4
Short's 4
Deschutes 3
Surly 3
Alesmith 2
Cascade 2
Oskar Blues 2
The Kernal 2

We've got another clear favorite, but this tier is more spread out. I went with Boulevard, hoping that maybe they get a little boost in distribution fairly quickly after being purchased. Perhaps that was excitable. It is Lagunitas that's opening the Chicago brewpub. And pipeworks has a lot of excitement behind it. Crooked Stave has some great brett beers. They are worth your time. We'll have to see what they come up with next.

Let's limit the tier three entrants to a more manageable number.

Tier Three Total
Jack's Abby 15
Ballast Point 14
Evil Twin 14
New Belgium 14
Victory 12
Toppling Goliath 11
Sante Adairius 10
Great Lakes 9
Green Flash 9
Ommegang 8
Epic 7
Jester King 7
Pizza Port 7
Wicked Weed 7
Alpine 6
Half Acre 6
Rogue 6
Central Waters 5
Odell 5
Perennial 5
Prairie Artisan 5
Solemn Oath 5

Now we're talking. The battle may be won here in the secondary tiers. There are some great breweries here that could break it open, really. Ballast Point is a classic, Victory has been doing some great things recently and had a candidate for BeerGraphs Rookie of the Year last year. Jack's Abby gets great reviews despite no distribution, really, same for Alpine. Could be a good late Style+ play with those picks. I needed a little BAR boost, so I took Victory, but then I just threw a dart at Hoppin Frog because I've really enjoyed everything I've had from them. Good enough reason for me! Even if Alpine blew me away and Ballast Point was once my favorite brewery. Fantasy does weird things to you.

It's late now, and you've seen a lot of lists, and there's still more cleaning up to do, so no final tier breakdown for now. Watch your emails for something from us at BeerGraphs about this -- payment, team names, utility write-ins and ballot cleanups are on the bill.

And watch the leaderboards for a surprise soon, too.