By Chris Wright
on 6.28.13
Selecting our favorite domestic craft beer was rather like selecting a favorite child: really not that hard, but bound to incite debate. Discussion of beer, like children, brings about a certain sentimentality — nostalgia, even — for the dogged unsophistication and everyman appeal of the malted beverage. Pitting our favorite beers against one another in mortal combat (kombat?) was just the opportunity we needed to get drunk on the job breach one of our favorite subjects — and, ultimately, crown the very best. Check out the full series here.

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malted-madness-gear-patrol Introducing Malted Madness
Name your favorite domestic beer. Not so easy, eh?
With Malted Madness, Gear Patrol takes on that challenge: blind tasting the best craft brews across America. We’re not talking about your “go-to” choice, the quick pick you can find at any supermarket or Jiffy Mart across America; this is about the beer with a starring role in your dreams, a taste that conjures the trumpets of heaven with each sip and invokes tears of joy as it traipses across your palate. We pick the best craft beer in the United States out of a field of 64 in a grand single-elimination tournament. Join us for Malted Madness. Read the Story »
malted-madness-round-3-gear-patrol-lead Round Three: The Sudsy Sixteen
Ah, the round of sixteen. Narrowed down to a quarter of our original beers, the Malted Madness field (see the whole bracket here) has been cleared of those excellent beers with even a muted set of flaws. What remains is a clash of subtle differences, muddied everywhere by the trouble of putting slightly different (sometimes, vastly different) styles head-to-head. The process wasn’t pretty — but how can tasting 16 of the best beers we’ve ever imbibed not be beautiful? Read the Update»
malted-madness-round-six-gear-patrol-lead Round Six: Sipping a Champion
It felt good to finish a successful 64-beer tournament. Partly because our bladders were feeling the pressure after lots of beer samples, but mostly because we got to crown a winner. 64 beers — Vienna-style lagers, IPAs, imperial stouts, wheat ales, barleywines, pale ales — under one bar’s roof is chaos (delicious, delicious chaos). But picking one as the absolute best is as singularly satisfying as the tick-hiss of popped bottle cap. Read the Conclusion»
malted-madness-everyman-beer-gear-patrol In Defense of the Everyman Beer
By now, just a few short days into Malted Madness, you’ve taken in about as much as you can when it comes to beer. You’ve studied the bracket — our curated list of 64 of the best craft beers in the country — and you’re drunk with emotion. And in this boozy, passion-soaked attempt to find the best of the best, we’ve forgotten what “the best” truly means. We’ve begun a coronation while the king still lives. Read the Essay »
best-beer-i-ever-had-gear-patrol The Best Beer I’ve Ever Had
Malted Madness is a celebration of beer. Largely, we’ve glorified suds through our favorite medium: bloodthirsty head-to-head competition. Now, though, we pay homage to the most foundational of beer’s values… enjoyment. We asked our staff to remember the most memorable water, malt and hops they’d ever had and recorded their misty-eyed reminiscences. What we found — unsurprisingly — was that the true measure of beer is often when and where it’s enjoyed, and who with. Read the Story»
malted-madness-how-a-64-beer-tournament-comes-to-be Method to the Madness: How a 64-Beer Tournament Comes to Be
This tournament is about gathering 64 of the best beers in America together, matching them up, tasting them blindly (removing the pretense that so often surrounds our entrenched beery beliefs), and crowning a champion. It’s GP’s swing at a new way to enjoy, explore and appreciate damn good beer. It’s about one of the biggest movements in our country. It’s about a shared passion. It’s also about personal taste, the barroom argument you’ve had with your buddies many times: which beer is better? Read the Article»

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