After five heated rounds of voting, our “Craft Madness” bracket has come to a close. To say that competition was fierce would be an understatement. In each round of the competition, we forced you to choose between some of the top, hoppy names in the Hudson Valley brew scene during our epic showdown between new breweries and classic contenders.
During last year’s inaugural competition in 2018, local favorite Newburgh Brewing Company took home the crown in a close call with rival Keegan Ales. This year, we began the competition with a battle of 32 breweries, all of which had ample claim to the throne. From tap rotation to atmosphere to — most importantly — quality of product, local breweries have a lot going on, and that’s what made this bracket as challenging as it was.
So who took the title this year?
In a landslide victory, Cousins Ale Works crushed the final bracket, taking more than 85 percent of the votes from Newburgh Brewing Company. Cousins, the Revolutionary War-themed brewery in Wappingers Falls, is beloved in the Hudson Valley not just for its ales and stouts, but also for its local collaborations (like this one with Sweetbakes Café) and its presence in the community.
As always, we’d like to thank all the breweries on this year’s bracket for their sportsmanship and, of course, for their delightful beers. We raise a glass to them!
P.S. Since we could only include 32 breweries, we tried not to repeat too many from last year – and chances are we missed some of your favorites. Never fear! They may still make it onto our list of finalists on our 2019 Best of Hudson Valley ballot. Follow along here as new Best of Hudson Valley elimination round voting opens each week from March 25 to May 5.