By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Mar 09, 2023 at 11:01 AM

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Love burgers? How about beer? You get both during the Merriment Madness Burger Competition, which kicks off at Merriment Social, 240 E. Pittsburgh Ave., on March 15. 

Merriment Social has teamed up to raise big funds for eight local nonprofit organizations. To do so, they’ve partnered with eight local breweries, each of which has chosen a different organization to support. Every brewery has also designed a uniquely delicious burger, which will be available for one week only, along with one of their delicious brews. Each week for eight weeks, you eat delicious burgers, drink awesome beer and vote for your favorite. In the end, the winning brewery and their charitable partner are rewarded handsomely.

The contenders

Who’s competing for the big bucks? Here’s the list of participating breweries and their nonprofits of choice.


Sheer. Burger. Madness.

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

Each week, two delicious burgers designed by local breweries will "face off" against one another with the hope of making 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.

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

Each week, your job is to head to Merriment Merriment Social and order up one or both burgers. Then, before you leave, vote for your favorite. Every vote helps that brewery (and their charity) advance to the next round. 

In addition, a portion of the proceeds from every burger purchased will be set aside. All accumulated funds from every burger purchased throughout the competition will go to the selected charity chosen by the winning brewery.

Brewery burgers will be available at Merriment Social every day, Wednesday through Sunday for for $18 (includes fries).

However, Merriment Social is also bringing back their awesome happy hour just for the occasion! So fans can stop by Wednesday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. for special pre-dinner pricing on featured burgers ($14 with fries). Guests can also partake in half price slushies, wine or taps for $2 off.  

Additional happy hour food specials will include BBQ chips and poblano ranch ($4); Merriment's famous brussels sprouts ($10); fries and aioli ($6); cheese curds and ranch ($9) or Fast Cheetah Chicken sandwiches for $13.

Beer being pouredX

Bomb brews

Throughout the competition, each brewery will also showcase special beers on tap that can be paired up with their burgers.

Some will be familiar favorites. Others will be limited releases or rare brews. Some will even be brewed specifically for Merriment Madness. Even better, some breweries will be changing up their beers throughout the competition with the hope of raising additional funds for their charitable organization.

Unlike the burgers, a beer from each brewery will be available throughout the entire competition, allowing the intrepid brewers to raise funds for their charity of choice, even if their burger gets knocked out of the running.

Here’s the deal: Every time a beer is served, $1 from that beer goes directly to the associated charity. It’s that simple. 

In it to win it

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

On the burger side, the champion brewery’s non-profit will receive the entire pot of proceeds raised through the sale of all the burgers sold throughout the competition.  They will also receive a dedicated fundraising event at Merriment Social during which they can rustle up even more money to support their amazing work.

As for the winning brewery, they will not only have bragging rights for designing an award-winning burger, they will also be able to showcase their beer on a featured tap at Merriment Social for a full year.

Stay tuned for more!

Merriment Madness kicks off on March 15.  Head back to OnMilwaukee each Monday during Merriment Madness for a sneak peek at the week's competing burgers, as well as their accompanying brews!

Here's what we know so far:

First round

March 15-19:  Enlightened VS Central Waters
March 22-26: 1840 Brewing VS Black Husky
March 29-April 2: Gathering Place VS Eagle Park
April 5-9: Lakefront VS Indeed

Semifinals with the final four

April 12-16: Two winners from first round compete
April 19-23: Two winners from first round compete

Championship round

April 26-May 7: The two remaining finalists compete for the win
The winner will be announced at a special brewery charity event on Friday, May 12.

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.