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Here Are Our Picks from The Sovereign’s 68 Half-Price March Madness Bottles

March Madness, the NCAA men’s division I basketball tournament, starts today. Depending on how you feel about the play-in round, this is either the first or the second round, but either way today and tomorrow will be two of the best days in American sports this year. Georgetown’s The Sovereign wants to help you celebrate by putting 68 Belgian and Belgian-style bottles on at half price between now and Sunday.

The Sovereign opens early today at 11:30am in time for the first tip-off. There is no admission fee for the event. Bottles will be 50 percent off the regular menu price. Specials will be available all day on both floors.

The list of overwhelming and impressive (the full version of it appears below). If you’re not someone who typically goes in for either Belgian beer or large format bottles, it might be a little daunting to know what to pick. There are a couple of schools of thought here. Obviously the more expensive the bottle the bigger the savings you’re getting, but there are some value picks to be found in here (just like in the NCAA bracket). Here are a few that I’d be ordering.

Allagash Emile (Pineau des Charantes BA Sour Brown Ale) – $12.5 – 375mL- Allagash has a ton of these smaller format oddball bottles that are worth your time, but Emile isn’t one you’ll often see on menus. Wikipedia tells me that Pineau de Charantes is “a fortified wine made from either fresh, unfermented grape juice or a blend of lightly fermented grape must, to which a Cognac eau-de-vie is added and then matured.” I have no idea how that would taste on a sour brown ale, but $12.50 is the right price for me to find out.

Anchorage Anadromous (Whiskey & Red Wine BA Sour Brown Ale) – $16 – 750mL – Anchorage flies under the radar for these styles way too often. The Tide and Its Takers, their Brett ale that was in market a few years ago, was underrated. This is a brewery that knows barreling, and for them to take a sour offering and give it treatments in both whiskey and red wine barrels is intriguing. This would be a Cinderella in my bracket, I think.

Blaugies La Monuese (Saison) – $11 – 750mL – Blaugies’ Saison is classic. No frills, just a wonderful encapsulation of the style, and you’re getting a great, drinkable, thirst-quenching value here.

Bruery Terreux Tonnellerie Rue 2015 (Oak Saison w/ Rye) – $10 – 750mL – There’s a lot on this list for people who like sour ales, but if that’s not your bag I’d urge you to consider The Bruery’s rye saison here. It’s a spicy, more malt-forward take on the style.

De Leite Fils A Papa IV (Wine BA Sour Brown Ale) – $7.5 – 330mL – De Leite doesn’t have the name recognition of a lot of its Belgian counterparts, but you’re not often going to find a Bordeaux barrel-aged beer at less than $10 and yet this what we have here.

De Ranke Cuvée De Ranke 2016 (Strong Blond Ale & Lambic) – $16 – 750mL – This is hardly a sleeper pick. Probably a #1 or #2 seed, but the value is just incredible. If you haven’t had Cuvee De Ranke before, I’m sorry to recommend it to you because having had it you might not be able to turn down ordering it when you see it on a bottle list from here on out. There aren’t a lot of beers that deserve the adjective “beautiful,” but this is one of them.

Dunham Assemblage #1 (Red Wine BA Saison) – $12.5 – 750mL – I know nothing about Dunham, but I’m a sucker for wine barrel-aging of saisons, and to get 750mL of this for $12.50 I’m absolutely taking a leap and going for it. The description from The Sovereign says, ” blend of propolis & pale ale refermented with brettanomyces & aged in zinfandel barrels.”

Fantome Vertignasse (Saison w/ Spinach & Spices) – $12.5 – 750mL – This is an oddball and maybe one of the riskier picks on this list. I’ve found Fantome’s quality to be inconsistent over the years, which makes me shy away from them in general. When they’re on, the quality is unbelievable, but I’ve had as many middling bottles as great ones. Despite that, this description is weird enough to have caught my eye: “finished with spinach juice & Indian spices. brewed for the 9th rencontre des brasseries du luxembourg belge.” I don’t know which “Indian spices” these are, but the idea of blending them with saison yeast’s estery spiciness is intriguing. How often are you going to get to try a beer finished with spinach juice? Live a little.

Jester King Deimos’ Companion (Oak BA Papalo & Lime) – $12.5 – 750mL – One of two Jester King picks on my list here. Jester King has a deft hand with these saisons brewed with weird ingredients. Papalo is a plant that is reminiscent of arugula and cilantro, and the papalo and limes included in this beer are both Texas-grown. I hope this will actually be quite refreshing with the herbaceous notes adding some zip.

Jester King Kollaborationsbier (Oak BA Pale Lager) – $12.5 – 750mL – Maybe I’m a sucker for Taras Boulba (okay, I’m a sucker for Taras Boulba), but if I see two great breweries (this is a collaboration with Live Oak) trying to do an American take on the Belgian classic, I’m going for it. Go ahead and order a draft De La Senne Taras Boulba, too, and do a side-by-side.

Jolly Pumpkin La Roja 2016 (Oak BA Sour Red Ale) – $17.5 – 750mL – There was a time around 2011-2013 when La Roja really had its moment in the sun in the DC beer scene. Jolly Pumpkin’s presence in DC is greatly reduced since then, but La Roja with a couple of years of age on it is a great value here. This is a sour amber ale that retains plenty of its malt and caramel notes while also eliciting a very deft, delicate funk underneath. It’s a joy to drink this beer, and it’s a good time to either discover or rediscover it.

Perennial Foeder Saison (Oak BA Saison) – $22.5 – 750mL – Another beer that is a pure value pick. Perennial is making some wonderful yeast-forward beers and getting their foeder version at this price is a steal.

Saint Somewhere Bouteille Vert (Saison w/ Brett, Honey & Citrus Fruit) – $14 – 750mL – This is a collaboration with Jester King, and The Sov’s description says “open fermented with a blend of saison yeast & brettanomyces; finished & conditioned with local honey from Cee Bee Heirloom Citrus groves & packaged in green bottles.” I don’t know about this green bottle thing, but there’s enough here between the honey, which should make this super dry, and the open fermentation to grab my attention. Saint Somewhere is also fairly underrated generally and little seen up here so this could be a good introduction.

Struise Tsjeeses Reserva: Bourbon (Bourbon BA Strong Pale Ale) – $9 – 330mL – Did you bring a friend to The Sovereign who is grousing about all the fancy beers and who just wants a whiskey-ginger? Go ahead and grab this bottle. For the cost of a whiskey highball, you’ll be getting plenty of value in terms of ABV and flavor.

Those are my picks. Interested to see yours in the comments. Anyway, here’s The Sovereign’s half-priced bottle list. I included the 50% price of the current bottle list menu (price and availability subject to change) and the bottle format. No guarantees this is what the pricing/formats are when you show up, but it should be close.

Beer Name50%
Price
Format
Allagash Emile (Pineau des Charantes BA Sour Brown Ale)12.5375mL
Allagash Evora (Brandy BA Strong Blond Ale)12.5375mL
Allagash FV 13 (Sour Brown Ale)12.5375mL
Allagash James & Julie (Sour Brown Ale)12.5375mL
American Solera Amber Canyon Magik (Pinot Noir BA Saison)12500mL
American Solera Cranbarrel (Oak BA Sour Red Ale w/ Cranberry)12.5375mL
Anchorage Anadromous (Whiskey & Red Wine BA Sour Brown Ale)16750mL
Anchorage Mosaic Saison (Oak BA Saison)12.5750mL
Anchorage Love Buzz (Red Wine BA Saison w/ Rose Hips, Peppercorns & Orange Peels)7.5750mL
Blaugies La Monuese (Saison)11750mL
Boon Oude Geuze Black Label 2015 (Gueuze)17.5750mL
Bruery Terreux Tonnellerie Rue 2015 (Oak Saison w/ Rye)10750mL
Cantillon Classic Gueuze 2017 (Gueuze)12.5375mL
Cascade Cranberry Ale (Sour Red Ale w/ Cranberries, Cinnamon & Hibiscus)22.5750mL
Casey Cherry Fruit Stand: Bing (Oak BA Saison w/ Cherry)20750mL
Casey Saison (Oak BA Saison)20750mL
Crooked Stave L’Brett d’Cherry 2015 (Oak BA Sour Red Ale w/ Cherry)11375mL
Crooked Stave Serenata Notturna Reserva: Blueberry (Sour Red Ale w/ Blueberries)11375mL
De Dolle Dulle Teve 2016 (Strong Pale Ale)7330mL
De Dolle Oerbier Special Reserva 2015 (Red Wine BA Sour Brown Ale)11330mL
De Leite Fils A Papa IV (Wine BA Sour Brown Ale)7.5330mL
De Leite Merci Maman (Blond Ale)4.5330mL
De Ranke Cuvée De Ranke 2016 (Strong Blond Ale & Lambic)16750mL
Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze 2016 (Gueuze)12375mL
Drie Fonteinen Doesjel 2015 (Gueuze)12.5375mL
Drie Fonteinen Oude Kriek 2016 (Kriek Lambic)13.5375mL
Drie Fonteinen Zwet.Be (Porter)6330mL
Dunham Assemblage #1 (Red Wine BA Saison)12.5750mL
Dunham Propolis (Witbier)
E9 Du Vieux Monde (Oak BA Saison)12750mL
E9 Catharsis (Oak BA Saison)12750mL
Eric Bordelet Sidre Brut (Cider)12.5750mL
Fantome Pissenlit (Saison w/ Dandelion)12.5750mL
Fantome Vertignasse (Saison w/ Spinach & Spices)12.5750mL
Girardin Black Label 2017 (Gueuze)13.5375mL
Girardin Kriek (Kriek)12.5375mL
Grimm Psychokinesis (Oak BA Sour Blond Ale)12.5650mL
Hanssens Oudbeitje (Oak BA Lambic w/ Strawberry)13.5375mL
Hof Ten Dormaal Kriek 2017 (Kriek)8.5330mL
Jackie O’s Distant Corners (Saison w/ Rice & Oolong Tea)15500mL
Jester King Biere de Blanc du Bois (Oak BA Sour Blond Ale w/ Wine Grapes)17.5500mL
Jester King Deimos’ Companion (Oak BA Papalo & Lime)12.5750mL
Jester King Kollaborationsbier (Oak BA Pale Lager)12.5750mL
Jester King Snorkel (Saison w/ Smoked Sea Salt & Oyster Mushrooms)12.5750mL
Jolly Pumpkin Bam Di Castagna (Oak BA Saison w/ Chestnut)6375mL
Jolly Pumpkin IO Saison (Oak BA Saison w/ Rose & Hibiscus)17.5750mL
Jolly Pumpkin La Roja 2016 (Oak BA Sour Red Ale)17.5750mL
Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza: Grand Reserva #1 (Oak BA Strong Blond Ale)12.5375mL
Oxbow Crossfade (Saison w/ Brettanomyces)17.5500mL
Oxbow Barrel-Aged Farmhouse Pale Ale #10 (Oak BA Saison w/ Brett)25500mL
Perennial Foeder Saison (Oak BA Saison)22.5750mL
Perennial Funky Wit (Oak BA Witbier)22.5750mL
Rulles Saison (Saison)12.5750mL
Rulles Triple (Tripel)12.5750mL
Saint Somewhere Lectio Divina (Dubbel w/ Brett)11750mL
Saint Somewhere Bouteille Vert (Saison w/ Brett, Honey & Citrus Fruit)14750mL
Struise Pannepot Reserva 2018 (Oak BA Strong Dark Ale)9330mL
Struise Rio Reserva: St. Emilion & Bourbon (Wine & Bourbon BA Strong Dark Ale)7.5330mL
Struise Tsjeeses Reserva: Bourbon (Bourbon BA Strong Pale Ale)9330mL
Thiriez Blond (Blond Ale)10750mL
Thiriez Vielle Brune (Oak BA Sour Brown Ale)11750mL
Tilquin Gueuze 2016/2017 (Gueuze)15375mL
Tilquin Quetsche 17/18 (Lambic w/ Plums)18375mL
Tilquin Rullquin 16/17 (Lambic & Stout)25750mL
The Veil No More Sleep (Oak BA Saison)20750mL
Verzet Oud Bruin Vineyard (Oak BA Sour Brown Ale w/ Grapes)22.5750mL

Anyway, good look out there today finding value and deals no matter where you’re watching the games. Best wishes if your team made the tournament. Given that your bracket will almost certainly be wrecked after today when all four number one seeds lose, your time is really probably better spent working through these beer deals. Check out our calendar for other great events today as well!

(P.S. I’ll save my takes about the NCAA’s financial exploitation of student-athletes for another day, but I couldn’t hit publish on this piece without a nod to it.)

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