PORTLAND, Ore. ( TheStreet) -- It's March Madness, and you know what that means: Pretending beer doesn't exist. At all. Whatsoever. And certainly not around colleges.
Last year, we launched The Beer Dance, our craft beer March Madness bracket, just as a friendly reminder that beer plays a big role in the NCAA Men's Division 1 Basketball Tournament whether the NCAA wants to admit it or not. The NCAA's broadcast partners at CBS (CBS) and Time Warner's (TWX) Turner Sports have no problem letting Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) and SABMiller- MolsonCoors (TAP) joint venture MillerCoors into the big dance. The networks have taken more than $50 million in combined ad money from the brewers each year since 2011, according to Kantar Media.
The NCAA bans alcohol sales during all its championships except football's postseason and bowls -- which it doesn't run -- and limits alcohol ads to malt beverages, beer and wine products with a sessionable 6% alcohol by volume or less. Even at that, beer ads made up less than 6% of all advertising during last year's Final Four.
That doesn't mean there isn't plenty of beer to go around come tournament time. With the NCAA's bracket broken up into convenient little regional stops, the tournament provides a great opportunity for college basketball fans to not only burn some frequent-flier miles, but to sample some of the nation's best craft beers while doing so.While we're not running our Beer Dance this year, here's just a sampling of the best beers available to basketball fans making their way through the host cities during the next few weeks. Though your on-court allegiances might lie elsewhere, don't be afraid to support the home team when it comes to tournament beers: