For three hours Saturday afternoon, beer lovers came to the Pour House in Fort Worth for a live tasting of the Final Four contenders in our first-ever DFW.com Craft Beer Bracket. They ordered flights with samples of each of the distinct local brews — Lakewood The Temptress, Peticolas Velvet Hammer, Revolver Blood & Honey and Community Public Ale.
And then they thought long and hard before picking their favorite.
Each person who sampled a flight was given a ticket to drop in one of four ballot boxes. Eavesdropping on the banter during the tasting, you could tell the beer IQ was high here. But there were also some folks who were wowed and surprised by the complex flavors among the Final Four.
In fact, we consider all of these beers champions. Our bracket was split into four specific regions – Dark and Malty, Hops, Specialty and Easy Drinking – and these four emerged as the best from the 32 local craft beers included in the tournament.
But after a month of drinking our way through the bracket, we weren’t quite prepared for what happened next.
A tie? Seriously?
We tallied the votes, and looked at each other incredulously.
We counted again. And again.
Two votes separated three beers.
Temptress and Blood & Honey were tied. Velvet Hammer was painfully close, only two votes back.
We polled our DFW.com judges, who had also dropped their votes in the boxes at the Pour House, and they were split as well.
So pucker up, sis, because we are declaring a tie in the first-ever DFW.com Beer Battle.
Lakewood Temptress, an oh-so silky imperial milk stout, and Revolver Blood & Honey, an unfiltered wheat beer that blows people’s minds with its blend of crystallized honey and blood orange zest flavors, will share the title of Best Beer in DFW.
Velvet Hammer, we wish our incessant counting would have turned up two more votes, because we know you had your share of passionate supporters.
But the voters and judges have spoken.
Of the 201 votes cast at the Pour House, Temptress and Blood & Honey tied with 62. Velvet Hammer got 60, and Community’s Public Ale had 17. (As one of the judges noted later, Public Ale recently won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, so it’s not lacking for accolades.)
Congratulations to Lakewood, the year-old Garland brewing company started by Belgian native Wim Bens, and Revolver, the Granbury brewery that has taken the North Texas craft beer scene by storm in only two years.
You are deserving champions, and great representatives of a DFW craft beer landscape that is bursting with creativity and can-do spirit.
Cheers to everyone who voted along the way, and to the beer lovers who came to the Pour House on Saturday to help us crown the champions.