My plea yesterday for someone to explain merits of the Washington Post‘s Beer Madness tournament got a number of you chiming in, in the comments and on Twitter. Most tweets were in the “skip it” category, such as @TylerGreenDC, who said, “it is the beer equivalent of their hockey coverage, which is to say: Doh.” @BeltwayBeer brought up a great point, however, noting that the Post does qualify it as an everyman’s tournament:

“Clue here ‘Beer Madness, our annual quest for Everyman’s favorite brew’ not much use in including stuff ‘Everyman’ hasn’t tried”

But I was pleased to get a full comment from Raul Arroyo-Mendoza, one of the tourney’s actual participants. Here’s what he had to say:

I took part in this year’s competition, and I was similarly confused by Chimay Premiere’s inclusion in the “pale ale” category. What was also confusing was the “lager” and “dark beer” category, as if the two are mutually exclusive. In fact, the dark beer category included a few lagers like Kostritzer Schwarzbier and Xingu.

In defense of the competition, however, I must point out that one of the biggest complaints in past years has been the exclusion of foreign beers. It’s a zero sum game. Including foreign beers means excluding American craft beers, and the point of this year’s competition (as mentioned in the first article) was to include beers from all over the world (20+ countries, in fact). Why macro beers? I believe the point was to include beers that are wildly available, which explains beers like Stella Artois, Dos Equis, and Tsingtao.

In the end, and unfortunately, Greg Kitsock is going to be criticized for his beer picks no matter which beers he includes and how he organizes the tournament. The same thing happens every year when sports writers criticize the NCAA for its seeding and inclusion (or exclusion) of certain teams.