Monday, August 15, 2011

2011 NM IPA Challenge, Day One

So who's bright idea was it to have the first leg of the NM IPA Challenge on a Sunday?? Don't they know Saturday is my all-out drinking night? I had to nurse Pilsners all night to keep from sleeping through the noon start time. It worked, and I even got there early early enough to get a few pictures of the pre-challenge setup. Remind me to invest in Reddy Ice.

My arrival time came just before the crowd swarmed upon La Cumbre, thankfully. With 16 IPAs to pour for each tray, the volunteers had a hard time keeping up with the initial crush of patrons. I felt bad walking back through the crowd with all my IPA goodness as those still waiting ogled my tray. One eager-eyed guy commented in a Barry White tone, "Yeahhh...that's the stuff...".

It is indeed the stuff. But 16 different IPAs threw my palate for a loop. This was by far the hardest time I've had judging thew entries in the seven years I have been attending. After over two hours, I had narrowed it down to four (1, 6, 8, and 12). Unfortunately, there were a couple of beers that just didn't belong (Green Chile beer is NOT an IPA whether we live in New Mexico or not!).

It's great to see that people who attend the IPA Challenge every year are there as fans of IPA first and the effects of beer second, unlike many of the major national beer fests. I don't even think anyone threw up, at least not while at La Cumbre. This Cowboys fan may be feeling nauseous once football season starts, but I'll try to save the cheap shots till then. The beers were under intense scrutiny all day, and by the end it turned out that the majority of the crowd had the same top picks as I did.

At 4 pm, La Cumbre owner/brewmaster Jeff Erway stood above the crowd and announced the results. It seems that Jeff has as much of a future in auctioneering as he does in brewing because he read so fast that I could barely keep up while writing down the results. Could all those IPAs I drank have affected my motor skills? I'll never admit it, but I was able to decipher which beer was which:
1. La Cumbre 2. Nexus 3. Three Rivers
4. Santa Fe 5. Mimbres Valley 6. Il Vicino
7. Tractor 8. Chama River 9. Second Street
10. Sierra Blanca 11. Turtle Mountain 12. Marble
13. Eske's 14. High Desert 15. Hallenbrick 16. Blue Corn

And with the best view possible of the tireless pourers, I give you the voting results of the first stop of this year's IPA Challenge. Remember, there are still three more events and votes from all four will decide the final winner. Here ya go:

16.Eske's 15. Sierra Blanca 13. Tie- High Desert/Three Rivers
11. Tie- Santa Fe/Second Street 9. Tie- Mimbres Valley/Turtle Mountain 8. Hallenbrick
6. Tie- Nexus/Tractor 5. Blue Corn 4. Chama River

The top three:
3. (35 votes) Marble
2. (50 votes) La Cumbre
1. (79 votes) Il Vicino


HopHed said...

Interesting. My top 3 were 6,8, and 12, with Marble getting my final vote. Can't complain with that. I love my Marble IPA. Poor Eskes.

corrwin said...

surprised I actually voted for Marble as well. I love Elevated and Exodus, hadn't had a Marble in awhile, but I kept coming back to #12...and I thought that was Elevated so that got my vote. #6 got my pint tho since I could have an Elevated just by walking to the bar. Surprise, surprise