By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Mar 25, 2024 at 3:02 PM

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Love burgers? How about beer? You get both during the Merriment Madness Burger Competition, a charitable event which kicks off on March 25 and runs through May 19.

During the March Madness-esque competition, Merriment Social, 240 E. Pittsburgh Ave., has partnered up with eight local breweries, each of which has designed a burger that will face off in a series of weekly competitions. Burger fans (like you) will vote on their favorites and decide who comes out on top. 

Even better, each brewery is paired up with a nonprofit of their choice. So the winning brewery will win a hefty sum of money for their charitable partner as well.

Sheer. Burger. Madness.

If you’re familiar with the bracket that rules the March Madness college basketball tournament, then you already know how this is going to work.

Each week, two burgers designed by local breweries will "face off" against one another, hoping to make it to the next round. Each week, one brewery is eliminated. The winner moves forward in the game with the hope of making it through to the final round. In the end, one brewery will prevail and their charitable partner will be rewarded.


Gathering Place Brewing Company
Nonprofit: The Gathering, Community Meal Progam
Beer: Roma Italian Pils
Burger: South In Your Mouth (5-ounce brisket smash patty, pimento cheese, fried pickles and ranch, shredded iceberg lettuce, bacon jam, potato bun)

Pilot Project
Nonprofit: Street Angels MKE, assistance for the homeless
Beer: Two Falls Hazy IPA
Burger: Spice World (5-ounce brisket smash patty, tangerine chermoula, Calabrian chilies, five-peppercorn cheddar, cilantro and red onion, fresh lime, potato bun)


Lakefront Brewery
Nonprofit: Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, fighting hunger
Beer: Dive Beer
Burger: Nacho Mama (Sazon 5-ounce brisket smash patty, chihuahua cheese, pickled jalapenos, chive sour cream, adobo drizzle, tortilla strips, potato bun; served with nacho cheese dipping sauce)

Eagle Park Brewing Company
Nonprofit: EasterSeals Southeast Wisconsin, care and intervention for individuals with disabilities
Beer: Cabo Cooler
Burger: Baja Blastoff (5-ounce brisket smash patty, nacho cheese, tortilla fried jalapenos, pico de gallo, chipotle aioli, potato bun)


1840 Brewing Company
Nonprofit: Project Bubaloo, fighting congenital heart disease
Beer: Encore IPA
Burger: 1840 Smashburger (Oklahoma 5-ounce smash brisket patty, sliced onions, spicy pickles, American cheese, potato bun)

Enlightened Brewing Company
Nonprofit: Girls Rock, empowering girls through music
Beer: Cream City Brix
Burger: Brix on Bricks (5-ounce brisket smash patty, mild brick cheese, Brix battered onions, sliced pickles, ketchup smear, potato bun)


Central Waters Brewing Company (2023 Champion)
Nonprofit: Milwaukee Riverkeeper, keeping waterways clean
Beer: After Slice Lime Lager
Burger: The El Chingon (5-ounce brisket smash patty, poblano peppers, onions, chorizo, agave jalepenos, smoked gouda queso, chipotle adobo sauce, avocado, pico de gallo, potato bun)

MobCraft Beer
Nonprofit: Walker’s Point Youth & Family Center, services for homeless youth
Beer: Amber
Burger: Hot Hottie (5-ounce brisket smash patty, garlic-Sriracha aioli, jalapenos, pepperjack cheese, bacon, fried onions, whole grain mustard, potato bun with garlic herb butter)

Merriment Madness BracketX

Your job

Who will move forward? That’s up to you.

Each week, your job is to head to Merriment Merriment Social and order one or (ideally) both burgers. You can do even more good by ordering a beer or two ($1 from each beer sold goes to the brewery’s non-profit partner).

Before you leave, be sure to vote for your favorite. Every vote helps that brewery (and their charity) advance to the next round. 

In addition, $1 from every burger purchased will be set aside. At the end of the competition, the non-profit organization associated with the winning brewery burger will receive all the funds in the pot.

Each week the competing brewery burgers will be available at Merriment Social Wednesday through Monday for $18 (includes fries). But fans can also stop down during happy hour on Monday or Wednesday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. for special burger pricing ($14 with fries).

In it to win it

At the end of the competition, every participating charity will receive all funds raised from the purchase of their partner brewery’s beer.

The champion brewery’s non-profit will also receive the entire pot of proceeds raised through the sale of all the burgers sold throughout the competition. The nonprofit will also be rewarded with the opportunity to host a fundraising event at Merriment Social, allowing them to raise even more dollars to support their work.

Meanwhile, the winning brewery will not only have bragging rights for designing the champion burger their beer will also be showcased on tap at Merriment Social for a full year.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.