The results from the Great American Beer Bars contest are in, and the winner will absolutely surprise you. The champions are voted on by CraftBeer readers, so take it with a dash of hops. I trust their readers, but I've seen far too many all-star game voting debacles to lend much credence to random voters.
Odds are your favorite bar didn't make the cut, so feel free to vent in the comments if you're actually really upset about it. No one will read them, but I just want you to know that Guyism is here for you.
5/4 Falling Rock Tap House - Denver, CO
Forth & Fifth place are comprised of regional winners not in the top three, so it's tough to say who falls in which position. Falling Rock Tap House doesn't need your silly ranking to know they're a great beer bar though. The 75+ beers on tap are all the numbers they need. Frequent tapping parties and collaborating to create custom beers helps set them apart. They also price all their beers so that they come out to even dollars and quarters once tax is factored in. Score one for simplicity.
5/4 The Bier Stein - Eugene, OR
The Bier Stein is unique in that it's part bar and part beer store. They have 25 beers on tap and 1000 bottles. I mean that literally, not as a way of saying "a lot." 1000+ different bottles of beer. If you don't like what's pouring that day, simply find a bottle from the coolers, and they'll be happy to pop it open for you. It's one beer bar where you will never reach the (non-existent) Hall of Fame no matter hard you try.
Cloverleaf doesn't have the biggest selection in the game, but with 23 beers on tap and 45 more in bottles, there are always plenty of new beers to try on their ever-changing menu. You can even earn your MBA, Master of Beer Appreciation, by drinking your way through the various styles of beer. They have over over 1550 graduates from the program (45 beers), each of whom receives a bonus four ounces with ever draft pint ordered.
Grand Rapids was voted Beer City USA for the second straight year, so it's no surprise that one of their beer bars would make the list. Hopcat not only carries an huge list of Michigan beers, they also brew their own. It's tough not to vote for your local bar when they have that much dedication to craft beer. Beer Advocate has gone as far as to rather them the "#3 Beer Bar on Planet Earth."
Who would have expected a Vietnamese restaurant to take first place in a beer bar competition? Anyone who has been paying attention, that's who. This is the second straight year Mekong Restaurant has taken top prize, and they're not afraid to remind you of it. It just goes to show you that bars don't have to just serve fried food to attract a beer loving crowd. Great beer and fun people will always get the job done. Having monthly homebrewer meetups certainly didn't hurt their cause either.
Check out who the runners up were in each of the five regions on CraftBeer.com, and remember to vote for your favorite next time around.