Houston Beer Guide Bracket 2017

Contributions by Nathan Miller, Jose Luis Cubria, Kenneth KrampotaJosh Frink and HBG Staff

(Click here to for a zoomable version)

Yo that IPA Region is stacked! Mostly Harmless got screwed, though. Pumpkinator vs. Rocket Fuel in the Sweet 16 is gonna be brutal. I’ve got EZ7 as my Cinderella. Think Yellow Rose can win it all again?

Welcome to the 2017 edition of the Houston Beer Guide Bracket. Last year’s bracket was a blast, with some nail-biters, a ballot-stuffing scandal, a handful of upsets, and Lone Pint Yellow Rose ultimately cruising to the title.

We’ve made some changes compared to last year, when we used weighted Untappd rankings to fill out the field from 1 to 64. This year, we still leaned on ratings, but we also opened up the selection process to the HBG staff, our own version of the NCAA’s selection committee. We awarded “automatic bids” to breweries that wouldn’t have qualified based solely on rankings. We eliminated one-time releases (no Divine Reserves, Bishop’s Barrels, etc.). And we limited the field to independent craft breweries — you know what that means.

Enough with the pregame analysis. Let’s get to the #HBGBracket. Voting for the first round ends Monday night, March 20th. The second round will begin Tuesday, March 21st. We’ll update results on Facebook and Twitter.

Update #1 – Round of 64 recap:
The first round has wrapped up and there were quite a few surprises. 12-seed SpindleTap Hop Gusher took down 5-seed Saint Arnold Endeavour, with a respectable win of 56%. In our far north vs. far south matchup, 14-seed B-52 Double IPA beat 3-seed Galveston Island Citra Mellow. Copperhead King of Terrors managed to eke out a win against Buffalo Bayou Vanilla Mocha Sunset, in a match decided by just 13 votes. In the battle of Clear Lake, Texas Beer Refinery’s Gulf Coast Gose held its ground against BAKFISH I Tell You Wit. Unfortunately, Texas Beer Refinery Catalyst wasn’t able to repeat last year’s Cinderella run. Yellow Rose continued last year’s tradition of dominating the competition, knocking out newcomer Running Walker Texas Reserve. Check out the rest of the results at the bottom of the page.

Update #2 – Round of 32 recap:
Well that was certainly interesting. The majority of this round went to chalk, with the 1-seeds doing especially well. Dig into the middle of the field a little bit, and you’ll see some very surprising results. 12-seed SpindleTap Hop Gusher continued its Cinderella run, leading 4-seed Brash Pussy Wagon the entire round. At the 24-hour mark, Brash Vulgar Display of Power vs Brash Cortado was exactly 50/50, but lower-seeded VDoP eventually won out. 11-seed Copperhead King of Terrors managed another narrow victory, this time over 3-seed No Label Nightmare on 1st Street. There were no upsets in the Easy Drinking region, dashing the chances of a Pilsner head-to-head between Back Pew and Saint Arnold. How will old-standard Buried Hatchet fare against new-hotness Raspberry AF in the next round? Last year’s champion, Lone Pint Yellow Rose, faces Cinderella; is there a stunning upset on the horizon? Will King of Terrors be able to sneak past Brash EZ-7 and into the Elite 8? It’s all up to you.

Update #3 – Sweet 16 recap:
Let’s start with the fun parts: Almost every one of the match up in the Sweet 16 ended within 100 votes. For nearly 1,500 votes, that’s pretty impressive. Brazos Valley 7 Spanish Angels overcame Saint Arnold 5 O’Clock Pils by 107 votes, 4-seed Lone Pint The Jabberwocky upset 1-seed Brash Abide with 92 votes, Saloon Door Tasty AF beat Brash Vulgar Display of Power by 39 votes, and Pumpkinator vs Rocket Fuel was decided by just 32 votes. Every beer included in the Sweet 16 deserved it’s place this far into the tournament. SpindleTap found a post in one of the beer groups by someone bragging to have voted for Hop Gusher several hundred times in a short period Monday afternoon. Unfortunately, there is no way for us to undo the damage that was done. After a discussion with the team at SpindleTap, they offered to forfeit the game to Yellow Rose. At the T-11 hour mark, SpindleTap had the lead, and they appeared to gain more ground in the morning. As stated earlier, we believe that every beer that made it to the sweet 16 deserved to be there. Hop Gusher beat Endeavour and Pussy Wagon without any intervention, and there is a very strong likelihood that it would have beat Yellow Rose as well. Yellow Rose faces some stiff competition in the next round with Saint Arnold Art Car, as do all of the beers in the Elite 8.

Update #4 – Elite 8 recap:
The giants have fallen. Saloon Door rounded up their supporters to knock out 1-seed Saint Arnold Pumpkinator. Brazos Valley had a late surge of support: 7 Spanish Angels rallied from being down 49/51 at the 24 hour mark to come out ahead 54/46 and take out 1-seed Southern Star Buried Hatchet. 1-seed Yellow Rose clobbered 2-seed Art Car in a round that was expected to be more of a challenge for last year’s champion. Brash’s 7-seed EZ-7 avenged 1-seed Abide’s earlier elimination and trounced Lone Pint The Jabberwocky. Lone Pint Yellow Rose is the only 1-seed that remains in the tournament – how will it fare against the Saloon Door posse, which has already overcome some quite impressive opponents? Will EZ-7 or 7 Spanish Angels be the lucky one to advance to the finals?

Update #5 – Final Four recap:
Yellow Rose, our last 1-seed and last year’s champion was bested by the chocolate & peanut butter stout from Clear Lake, Tasty AF. 7 Spanish Angels, the coffee brown ale from Brenham, rallied its supporters to eliminate Brash EZ-7. It’s all come down to this: Saloon Door Tasty AF versus Brazos Valley 7 Spanish Angels. Peanut butter & chocolate vs coffee. Both beers eliminated some very impressive challengers along the way. Which beer will be crowned the best beer in Houston by the readers of Houston Beer Guide?

Update #6 – Championship recap:
Wow, that was a surprisingly close match. Saloon Door’s Tasty AF is now the reigning ‘Best Beer in Houston’ as chosen by the readers of Houston Beer Guide. If you haven’t tried it or any of the other 63 beers included in this year’s bracket, I highly recommend that you seek them out.

The changes we made to the beer selection process this year were a direct result of the conversations we had with our readers last year. If you have suggestions for ways we can make it even better next year, shoot us an email, we’d love to hear your ideas:

Championship Results:

Saloon Door v Brazos Valley (1,800 votes)
Tasty AF – 51.3%
7 Spanish Angels – 48.7%

The Final Four Results:

Game 1: Lone Pint v Saloon Door (1,280 votes)
Yellow Rose – 45.9%
Tasty AF – 54.1%
Game 2: Brash v Brazos Valley (910 votes)
EZ-7 – 47.8%
7 Spanish Angels – 52.2%

Elite 8 Results:

Game 1: Lone Pint v Saint Arnold (1,205 votes)
Yellow Rose – 65.9%
Art Car – 34.1%
Game 2: Saint Arnold v Saloon Door (1,450 votes)
Pumpkinator – 46.8%
Tasty AF – 53.2%
Game 3: Lone Pint v Brash (1,128 votes)
The Jabberwocky – 35.1%
EZ-7 – 64.9%
Game 4: Southern Star v Brazos Valley (1,275 votes)
Buried Hatchet – 45.6%
7 Spanish Angels – 54.4%


Sweet 16 Results:

Game 1: Lone Pint v SpindleTap
(1) Yellow Rose
(12) Hop Gusher
Game 2: Buffalo Bayou v Saint Arnold (1,584 votes)
(6) More Cowbell – 31.1%
(2) Art Car – 68.9%
Game 3: Saint Arnold v 8th Wonder (1,542 votes)
(1) Pumpkinator – 51.0%
(4) Rocket Fuel – 49.0%
Game 4: Saloon Door v Brash (1,651 votes)
(6) Tasty AF – 51.2%
(10) Vulgar Display of Power – 48.8%
Game 5: Brash v Lone Pint(1,444 votes)
(1) Abide – 46.8%
(4) The Jabberwocky – 53.2%
Game 6: Copperhead v Brash (1,402 votes)
(11) King of Terrors – 40.8%
(7) EZ-7 -59.2%
Game 7: Southern Star v Saint Arnold (1,473 votes)
(1) Buried Hatchet – 58.3%
(4) Raspberry AF – 41.7%
Game 8: Brazos Valley v Saint Arnold (1,749 votes)
(3) 7 Spanish Angels – 53.1%
(2) 5 O’Clock Pils – 46.9%


Round of 32 Results:

Game 1: Lone Pint v. 11 Below (1,451 Votes)
(1) Yellow Rose – 80.6%
(9) Color Blind – 19.4%
Game 2: SpindleTap v Brash (2,093 Votes)
(12) Hop Gusher – 52.7%
(4) Pussy Wagon – 47.3%
Game 3: Buffalo Bayou v B-52 (1,441 Votes)
(6) More Cowbell – 52.2%
(14) Double IPA – 47.8%
Game 4: Brash v Saint Arnold (1,530 Votes)
(7) Cali Green – 40.1%
(2) Art Car – 59.9%
Game 5: Saint Arnold v Lone Pint (1,427 Votes)
(1) Pumpkinator – 64.1%
(8) Knecht Ruprecht – 35.9%
Game 6: Eureka Heights v 8th Wonder (1,433 Votes)
(5) Moo Caliente – 43.4%
(4) Rocket Fuel – 56.6%
Game 7: Saloon Door v Buffalo Bayou (1,466 Votes)
(6) Tasty AF – 59.0%
(3) Gingerbread Stout – 41.0%
Game 8: Brash v Brash (1,305 Votes)
(10) Vulgar Display of Power – 51.1%
(2) Cortado – 48.9%
Game 9: Brash v Copperhead (1,339 Votes)
(1) Abide – 64.5%
(9) Medusa – 35.5%
Game 10: Southern Star v Lone Pint (1,269 Votes)
(5) Blood Belt – 44.1%
(4) The Jabberwocky – 55.9%
Game 11: Copperhead v No Label (1,244 Votes)
(11) King of Terrors – 51.6%
(3) Nightmare on 1st Street – 48.4%
Game 12: Brash v Galveston Island (1,339 Votes)
(7) EZ-7 – 62.1%
(2) Double Citra – 37.9%
Game 13: Southern Star v Texas Beer Refinery (1,290 Votes)
(1) Buried Hatchet – 73.9%
(8) Gulf Coast Gose – 26.1%
Game 14: 8th Wonder v Saint Arnold (1,292 Votes)
(5) Haterade – 39.8%
(4) Raspberry AF – 60.2%
Game 15: Back Pew v Brazos Valley (1,192 Votes)
(11) Blue Testament – 41.3%
(3) 7 Spanish Angels – 58.7%
Game 16: B-52 v Saint Arnold (1,325 Votes)
(7) Imperial Watermelon Berliner – 39.2%
(2) 5 O’Clock Pils – 60.8%


Round of 64 Results:

Game 1: Lone Pint v Running Walker (995 Votes)
(1) Yellow Rose – 86.0%
(16) Texas Reserve – 14.0%
Game 2: Whole Foods Market v 11 Below (866 Votes)
(8) DL Double IPA – 40.2%
(9) Color Blind – 59.8%
Game 3: Saint Arnold v SpindleTap (1394 Votes)
(5) Endeavour – 44.0%
(12) Hop Gusher – 56.0%
Game 4: Brash v Eureka Heights (942 Votes)
(4) Pussy Wagon – 72.0%
(13) Space Train – 28.0%
Game 5: Buffalo Bayou v Texas Beer Refinery (923 Votes)
(6) More Cowbell – 62.5%
(11) Catalyst – 37.5%
Game 6: Galveston Island v B-52 (907 Votes)
(3) Citra Mellow – 41.3%
(14) Double IPA – 58.7%
Game 7: Brash v Southern Star (907 Votes)
(7) Cali Green – 59.9%
(10) Half Nelson – 40.1%
Game 8: Saint Arnold v Copperhead (987 Votes)
(2) Art Car – 74.0%
(15) Striker – 26.0%
Game 9: Saint Arnold v Fetching Lab (940 Votes)
(1) Pumpkinator – 72.3%
(16) Bound & Determined – 27.7%
Game 10: Lone Pint v City Acre (825 Votes)
(8) Knecht Ruprecht – 64.2%
(9) Raven Hill Pumpkin – 35.8%
Game 11: Eureka Heights v Cycler’s (845 Votes)
(5) Moo Caliente – 63.0%
(12) Bourbon Barrel Palmares – 37.0%
Game 12: 8th Wonder v Platypus (897 Votes)
(4) Rocket Fuel – 75.3%
(13) Stars at Night – 24.7%
Game 13: Saloon Door v Brazos Valley (872 Votes)
(6) Tasty AF – 56.2%
(11) Big Spoon – 43.8%
Game 14: Buffalo Bayou v No Label (844 Votes)
(3) Gingerbread Stout – 54.3%
(14) Peanut Butter Chocolate Time – 45.7%
Game 15: 11 Below v Brash (857 Votes)
(7) Negative Space – 39.3%
(10) Vulgar Display of Power – 60.7%
Game 16: Brash v Holler (831 Votes)
(2) Brash Cortado – 72.8%
(15) Looyah Tooyah – 27.2%
Game 17: Brash v Back Pew (815 Votes)
(1) Abide – 66.0%
(16) 9th Circle – 34.0%
Game 18: Town in City v Copperhead (807 Votes)
(8) City Porter – 41.9%
(9) Medusa – 58.1%
Game 19: Southern Star v Sigma (789 Votes)
(5) Blood Belt – 67.6%
(12) Murry Chrimmus – 32.4%
Game 20: Lone Pint v Eureka Heights (819 Votes)
(4) The Jabberwocky – 54.1%
(13) Mostly Harmless – 45.9%
Game 21: Buffalo Bayou v Copperhead (793 Votes)
(6) Vanilla Mocha Sunset – 49.2%
(11) King of Terrors – 50.8%
Game 22: No Label v Under the Radar (760 Votes)
(3) Nightmare on 1st Street – 69.9%
(14) Porter Authority – 30.1%
Game 23: Brash v Huff (792 Votes)
(7) EZ-7 – 75.0%
(10) French Oak Pale Ale – 25.0%
Game 24: Galveston Island v Platypus (743 Votes)
(2) Double Citra – 71.2%
(15) Ruck ’n Maul – 28.8%
Game 25: Southern Star v 8th Wonder (815 Votes)
(1) Buried Hatchet – 73.6%
(16) Mission Control – 26.4%
Game 26: Texas Beer Refinery v BAKFISH (736 Votes)
(8) Gulf Coast Gose – 55.6%
(9) I Tell You Wit – 44.4%
Game 27: 8th Wonder v Texian (740 Votes)
(5) 8th Wonder Haterade – 67.2%
(12) Texian Aurora – 32.8%
Game 28: Saint Arnold v Huff (779 Votes)
(4) Raspberry AF – 72.8%

(13) Orange Blossom Saison – 27.2%
Game 29: Town in City v Back Pew (730 Votes)
(6) White Oak Wit – 37.8%
(11) Blue Testament – 62.2%
Game 30: Brazos Valley v Whole Foods Market (736 Votes)
(3) 7 Spanish Angels – 59.9%
(14) Post Oak Pale Ale – 40.1%
Game 31: B-52 v Under the Radar (733 Votes)
(7) Imperial Watermelon Berliner – 67.7%
(10) Radar Love – 32.3%
Game 32: Saint Arnold v Galveston Bay (812 Votes)
(2) 5 O’Clock Pils – 76.4%
(15) Ghostship Gose – 23.6%



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  1. Norma DeVault

    Saloon Doors Tasty AF is the best ever. If you haven’t tried it, you should. Go visit Saloon Door Brewery

  2. Southern Drinker

    I am betting that a Brash beer will take it all. My money is on EZ-7 but maybe that’s just what I drink the most. Would also like to Blood Belt go far, that beer rocked!

  3. Stephanie

    how is yellow rose still in the bracket when Hop Gusher beat them? Houston beer guide has this bracket rigged! HopGusher was up 56% less than an hour before end of voting and even under the winning there are no stats to prove they actually won….

    • Josh F.

      Please read Update #3. SpindleTap’s forfeiture was not an easy decision, but both SpindleTap and Houston Beer Guide believe it was the right decision. Personally, I think it shows a ton of integrity for SpindleTap to bring the fraudulent votes to our attention and offer to forfeit, given the massive amount of effort they put into every round.

  4. Yellow Rose of Texas

    I had a funny feeling yesterday when I was watching the Yellow Rose results. It had been 50/50 all day, then suddenly the numbers started to shift rapidly favoring Hop Gusher. My husband, a computer software guru, said that someone was probably generating votes with a bot.

  5. Bobby

    If you look at every round hop gusher was in, there were hundreds of more votes then the rest….this had been happening from the beginning….it just becomes an issue whenever a beer gets knocked out that the writers of this website prefer (and have not hidden their feelings about)……happened last year too……you really think hop gusher would beat pussy wagon….this whole thing is a crock…..

    • Josh F.

      I understand the sentiment, and when we saw the vote totals were significantly higher for the Hop Gusher rounds, we investigated. SpindleTap boosted their posts on Facebook so more of their fans would see the posts, they told everyone in the taproom to vote, and they had staff and friends literally calling people to vote for their beer. Saint Arnold and Brash were basically silent in comparison. There’s no way to know 100% that they (or any other brewery) cheated. But given the information we found, that does not appear to be the case. And I’m the one that made the decision along with SpindleTap, and I haven’t had a Yellow Rose in over 2 years, so your point there is moot.

  6. Bobby

    What happens when the votes are tampered with again? And if you haven’t had yellow rose in 2 years, how the hell can you be a writer for the HOUSTON beer guide…..smh

    • Josh F.

      It’s a tragedy of the commons, unfortunately. We upgraded to more secure polls this year, maybe next year we’ll have he budget for the next level or we’ll change the format.

      I drink a lot of Houston beer. Everyone has their preferences.

  7. Terry Rutt

    I’m really suspicious of Tasty AF totals. Zero reviews on beer advocate, reviews on untapped show a lot of folks think it is really mediocre. Peanut butter and chocolate milk stout sounds like a beer for people who don’t actually like beer. Yellow Rose has a national reputation as a great IPA, a style that has a lot more fans. Not trying to throw shade, but I go to the local craft breweries and honestly have never heard of saloon door. Yellow Rose has 32x as many reviews on untapped, with a higher score, so this is just not adding up (literally). I’m pulling for 7SA which is a really good beer, and that little brewery in a Brenham deserves more attention as they are making some really good beers. I will make the trip out to a Webster someday and check it out I guess.

    • Josh F.

      The biggest factor we’ve come to find for winning matchups is promotion by the breweries, especially in the later rounds as general interest fades. In almost every “how did X beer beat Y beer” case, when you look back at the brewery’s social media pages, you’ll see the brewery that wins or does better than expected pushed it a lot and the other was completely silent. Get-out-the-vote was basically SpindleTap’s entire playbook, and it worked well. Tasty AF has a near-cult following around the Clear Lake area, especially among those that frequently visit the brewery.


      Thanks, Josh! Cult followings come from people who have actually tried the beer and make an educated opinion based on their experience… Not sit on their couch like and come up with conspiracy theories as to why the only beer they’ve tried in the final is not winning. I made an effort to go find a 7SA on Saturday so I could make an educated decision with my vote. Terry – I highly suggest going to Saloon Door and trying a sampler. I will personally buy you it. Just let me know.

      • Terry Rutt

        I was looking at the process from a statistical probability view (to summarize, it was the lone Pint result I questioned, given that at face value 32x more people have tried their beer, and like it better on average). It’s funny how you are acting all sanctimonious with your ham-handed attempt throw doubt on my input by cracterizing me as sitting on a couch, and about how you sought out a 7SA in attempt to build your own credibility and objectivity. . I might buy it…if you didn’t actually live about 15 minutes from SD and if you didn’t have A LINK TO THEIR WEBPAGE ON YOUR TWITTER (hahahahahah!….yeah you sound really fair minded and objective…are they also one of your accounts as well?)

        I think the moderator is probably correct in that they just pushed their customers more to get out the vote…which is fine, nothing says they can’t be the “Tracy Flick” of some beer popularity contest if it is really that important to them. I do hope to get out there one day and if that beer is a life changing experience I will gladly come back here and eat crow,.

        • MIKHAIL KNIS

          If you want to talk statistical probability, I got a good one… I bet there’s about a 100% chance that you take life too seriously. Chill out and have a beer.


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