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The blessed season of March Madness is upon us. It was hard to have Sunday Scaries this past weekend when I realized how great the next few weeks will be. The first two days of the tourney are bliss for any office worker as you toggle between spreadsheets and watching Penn chuck up 30 threes against Kansas.
As a Badgers fan, I’ve been lucky enough to watch my team in 19 straight tournaments. Except for this year. This year, I won’t have the opportunity to open myself up to the inevitable heartbreak that hits me like a bus every time. Watching will be extremely bittersweet – like biting into an under-fried cheese curd. Yeah, it’s still good, but I know it could be so much better.
For those alums lucky enough to watch their team partake in the madness, I have some beer recommendations for when your team finally does break your spirit.
Loses in the First Round
Your team lucked into a 9-seed. You don’t expect much so you’ve been hedging your bets by sticking to a controlled amount of your regional-favorite IPA and responsibly asking your waitress for a separate tab so you can leave promptly after. After the loss, you’re probably sick of the high-octane stuff but still want to keep things going as your friends cash out. I’d recommend ordering a Founders All Day IPA. It has the solid hoppy flavor you seek but with half the ABV of a regular IPA.
Gets Upset by a 12-Seed
It happens every year — an overachieving mid-major takes down a floundering Big 10 or Big 12 team going through the motions. Early on, you might be in denial that this upset can happen to your beloved OSU or WVU. But it’s coming. Ohhh, it’s coming. When it finally happens, your standard lager won’t cut it. You’re angry at the missed calls and back-breaking turnovers that scourged your team down the stretch. To aid the coming rants in your designated college group chat, I recommend switching to a barrel-aged stout. Head to your local beer store and pick up some tallboys of Oskar Blues’ Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy – at 12.5% ABV, you won’t regret it. But you may regret some of your group chats.
Loses on a Buzzer Beater
There’s no recovering from this. All ideas of going out to the bars afterward get promptly thrown out the window as that clock hits zero. At this point, your goal is to mitigate the pain as quickly as possible. You’ve run through your allotment of light beer stadium cups but you’re nowhere near drunk enough to push out the bad memory. To deal with the bitterness, I recommend opting for a Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing, it’s an NE-style IPA that’s more sweet than bitter. Maybe next year.
Chokes against Duke
From personal experience, following the 2015 Championship game, I remember double fisting Miller Lite tall boys and cursing Grayson Allen (this still applies). I do not recommend this course of action, but the pain did eventually subside… a few months later. If you find yourself in this sorry situation in the next weeks, I recommend heading to your comfort beer. The beer, unlike your team, that will never let you down. For me, that was (and is) New Glarus Moon Man. Knowing that one is only available in Wisconsin, a feasible alternative would be Sweetwater’s 420 Pale Ale.
Wins It All
I wouldn’t know what to do here. My team has never made it this far. At this point, I presume you’ve already switched to hard liquor so maybe mix in a water every once in a while during your upcoming bender? Then again, what do I know. .