Over the holiday weekend, I ran my annual people's choice award, somehow oblivious to the fact that we live in a fully Facebook age. (And Twitter.) Last year, no breweries were able to funnel their fans to my site, and so it pretty accurately reflected the views of my regular readers. Because I sprang it over Christmas, that almost happened again. Almost!
As it turns out, both Upright and Ninkasi got announcements out before last night's deadline. As a result, Spring Reign squeaked out a win. What's interesting to me is that before Ninkasi discovered the poll, they were getting absolutely killed. Before Upright rang in, I had about 200 votes. Deschutes Fresh Hopped Mirror Pond was out in front, followed by Widmer Drifter and Upright (which had tied itself for third place). In the end, Deschutes only finished five votes out of the lead. So, while this poll was never scientific, I think it's safe to say that without lobbying, it would have been the clear fave. Still, we can't reward counterfactuals, so Ninkasi Spring Reign takes the gold cup.
A few interesting lessons did emerge. First, if Deschutes was thinking of not repeating the fresh hopped Mirror Pond experiment in 2010, I'd like to to offer this poll as an argument for its popularity. I was nonplussed by it, but clearly, a lot of you were mighty impressed. Similar note to Hair of the Dog regarding Michael. Despite a very, very limited run, it managed to get a solid 20 votes. Finally, my choice, Upright Four, got a respectable 24 votes. Twenty three of you out there are pretty smart! :-)
Lesson two is that the bigs are doing a good job making beers that appeal to the serious beer geeks. Widmer Drifter got an unaided 40 votes. Mac's Grifter got 18 votes as did Session Black. Given that these beers were pitched at a broader market, I'd say they hit the mark.
Lesson three? Somehow I'll have to figure out how to foil brewery promotion if I do this again. Meantime, congrats Ninkasi--they loves you.