March Madness Bottle Share Tournament

Back in January of 2015, @BeerSnobProbs mentioned the idea of doing a beer tournament. I had seen publications that did voting focused tournaments for beers which was momentarily fun but it wasn’t really anything beyond that. At a bottle share, or possibly a beer event the idea grew into “why can’t we do a beer tournament, but like with actual beers,” not just theoretical votes. That idea began to develop to tie in an all day beer share, with the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

A curveball thrown into a typical beer share where everyone could submit competitors, act as judges, and enjoy the unpredictability so often seen in the actual basketball tournament. This would become the March Madness Bottle Share Tournament.

Entrant Rules

  • Individuals may provide up to 2 beer entrants to the tournament. If you choose, you may submit just 1.
  • Beer entrants are required to be a minimum of 22oz or greater. Entrants can submit larger format bottles or growlers but the minimum ounces must be met.
    • Multiple bottles/cans of same entrant may be provided. If the entrant is a 12oz bottle or 16oz can, at least 2 of the selection must be entered.
    • If you’re submitting two bottles/cans of the same smaller format beer, please come prepared to share and open both, even if your selection is eliminated early in the event.
    • If an entrant would like to open a fresh bottle/can/growler of the same beer entered, in each round, they are permitted to do so if they would like, but it is not common or expected.
  • All entrants are required to be submitted to the Tournament Entrant Google Doc by the required date and time (typically the Thursday before the tournament)
    • Entrants may be added, deleted, or changed up until the deadline. You may make changes to your selections at will.
  • Please no repeats of a beer already submitted. Different vintages of the same beer are of course permitted.
  • Entrants may only be beers. Meads, ciders, etc are not permitted as entrants but of course may be shared at the event
  • Homebrew is permitted.

Tournament Format

Prior to the tournament, the Tournament Committee will take all entrants and power rank them according to a composite score based on beer ratings from multiple sources. They will then be placed into a bracket. There is no sorting of divisions for beers based on style/ABV/etc. They are strictly placed into the bracket with seedings matching their power ranking. Care has been made to avoid placing an entrant into a matchup where they would have to face their own other beer entrant whenever possible.

In a perfect world there would be 16 participants contributing a perfect 32 beer field. Given life happens and some may have an unexpected obstacle to participate, we accept more than 16 people to ensure a full field. However, this means we generally have more than 32 beers and have to make some alterations to the traditional head to head, 32 beer field. This means a limited amount of 1st round, 3 way matchups, but it does allow for flexibility in case someone can’t make it at the last minute.

Matchup Rules

2 Bottle Head to Head Matchups

  • First round – 3 judges consist of 2 bottle submitters and 1 neutral judge selected at random
  • All subsequent rounds – 3 judges will be selected at random, but submitters are not eligible to judge their bottle again.
  • Judges will sample and vote on their favorite beer marking A or B for the selection they most enjoy. This is purely based on what you prefer most in the moment. This is not based on how true to style a beer is, how much it exceeded/lived up to/came up short of hype
  • The bottle with the majority of votes will be recapped and move on to the next round

3 Bottle triple threat Matchups (First round only)

  • All 3 bottle submitters are judges
  • Each judge will have a pool of 100 points to distribute via scoring of the beers tasted
  • They cannot score all 100 for 1 bottle. Points must be given to 2 or 3 of the 3 bottle submitted
    • Example 1: Judge 1: Beer A- 90 points, Beer C- 10 points.
    • Example 2: Judge 3: Beer A- 50 points, Beer B- 20 points, Beer C- 30 points.
  • Whichever beer totals the most points from the judges will be recapped and move on to the next round
    • In the event of a 2 way tie, judges will revote, head to head on the 2 highest scoring bottles
    • In the unlikely event of a 3 way tie, 1 revote will occur. If tie is still not broken, a 6 sided die will be rolled, with the highest roll advancing. Any ties will be broken by continual roll

Tournament Final Match

  • 3 neutral judges will be drawn. The submitter of the beer entrant is not eligible to participate in the final match
  • Entrant with the most votes wins the tournament
  • Submitter of the entrant will have the right of first refusal to drink the remainder of the entrant bottle

Judge Selection

  • Judges are randomly selected via individual names on playing cards
  • After selection, their card is discarded until all remaining individuals have been selected and the process starts over
  • Bottle submitter may not be a judge in a match with their bottle after Round 1
  • If a judge is selected but would not like to take part for any reason (style bias, submitter bias, allergy to adjuncts,) they may elect to pass. They will not be eligible to judge until that round through the deck is complete

Tasting Table Matchup Etiquette

  • Samples of entrants for judges will be 1.5oz. This is to ensure any beer entered will have enough beer to get through up to 5 rounds of the tournament.
  • Judges may not confer about their decision until after the winning beer is announced. Judges may discuss the bottle entrant they’re drinking. This may include discussing tasting notes, typical BJCP tasting elements, or off flavors. Do not try to influence or persuade any other judges.
  • Judges will mark in a provided notepad their result, which will be an A or B vote in a head to head matchup, or will be a numerical score in a 3 way matchup.
  • Judges may try the bottle entrants in whichever order they personally or collectively choose.
  • Losing bottles will move to the communal table for everyone to enjoy. Entrant submitter will be given first opportunity to sample their beer and pour it if they choose.
  • It is the responsibility of the submitter to have their beer at ideal serving temperature for their matchup. A 1 match advanced warning will be provided, typically giving a notice of 10-15 minutes.
  • It is the responsibility of the submitter to re-cap and refrigerate their advancing bottle.
  • If an advancing bottle is consumed early or damaged, the beer will be ineligible unless decided upon by the group.