It’s not just the University of Virginia Cavaliers who are busting brackets this March, the Roanoke Region has a Cinderella story of its own. Salem’s Parkway Brewing rode a wave of community support to propel its way into the final four of Blue Ridge Outdoors’ MicroBrew Madness tournament.
The BRO bracket pitted the top 32 microbrews in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic against each other in a March Madness style tournament. At just over a year old, Parkway was one of the youngest breweries in the bracket, but this diaper dandy went on quite the run, making it all the way to the semifinals with several upsets along the way. Parkway’s flagship brew, Get Bent IPA, was chosen to represent the brewery in the IPA regional of the bracket, which was based on online reader votes.
“We were pleasantly surprised to be included in the bracket and humbled to make the final four with such distinguished breweries,” said Parkway Brewing Owner Mike “Keno” Snyder. “We appreciate our passionate supporters and look forward to providing great beer for years to come.”
In the opening round, Parkway took down Black Mountain, North Carolina’s Pisgah Brewing Company IPA. Pisgah IPA was named the best beer in NC by the Daily Meal last year, so this opening round victory set the tone for the rest of the tournament. In the round of 16, Get Bent went up against the Hoptimization IPA from 3 Brothers Brewing out of Harrisonburg, Va. Previously in BRO, Harrisonburg was voted as the “Best Beer Town” in the Blue Ridge, mainly based on the popularity of 3 Brothers, so this was another tough matchup for Get Bent, especially given the in-state rivalry. Parkway again came out on top, a testament to the community support behind the brewery and its craft beer.
Now, in the round of eight, Parkway faced another upstart Virginia brewery; Three Notch’d 40 Mile IPA out of Charlottesville. Although 40 Mile gave Get Bent a run for its money, Parkway was able to outlast the competition to win the IPA Regional and advance to the Final Four, taking on the winner of the Lager regional.
Alas, this is where the Cinderella Story ended for Get Bent. Going head to head with one of the most award-winning breweries and award-winning beers on the East Coast was too much for the little brewery that could. Parkway went down to Devils Backbone Vienna Lager, who had run rampant through the Lager Regional, taking down Hi-Wire in the opening round, then a couple of major craft breweries in Oskar Blues and Heavy Seas. A fierce round of voting ended with Devils Backbone advancing to the finals. In a bit of a moral victory, DB did go on to take the title, topping Highland Brewing Gaelic Ale in the finals.
Congrats to Parkway Brewing on their fine performance and to all the Roanoke Region’s craft brew enthusiasts who voted in the tournament.