Saturday, July 29, 2017

2017 NM IPA Challenge

One brewer told me, while commenting on the 2017 NM IPA Challenge, "I thought there were a lot of solid beers this year, unlike last year." Funny, I thought the same thing, only I thought that last year. This year, I thought there were mostly middle of the road IPAs along with some roadkill IPAs. But first:

The location- Steelbender. Plenty of room to sit, at least at the late time I arrived. However, waited over 20 minutes for a tray when there were only 8 people ahead of me. The delay? Not enough plastic cups. They were waiting for servers to collect finished trays so they could wash the plastic cups and reuse them. Hey Brewers Guild, up everyone's dues by 5 cents and stockpile enough for the next 10 IPA Challenges, ok? Those things aren't going to go bad.

The pours: I was lucky(?) enough to get a generous tray but I saw another tray just before mine that had half of what I got. I would have been a little miffed had I been that customer if they had seen me with my Big Gulp tray.

The beers: Started out very promising. Number 1, which turned out to be Quarter Celtic's, was very solid. Then it went onto a bunch of meh: 2, Ponderosa was bitter, 3, Boxing Bear, was ok, 4, Second Street, was decent, 5, Starr Bros, sucked, 6, well, turned out I got 2 of number 5, so I got double suck. Tried someone else's number 6, Bow and Arrow, and got a Belgian beer instead of an IPA. Yeah, that'll win. 7, Marble, didn't stand out. 8, Steelbender, wasn't very good. 9, Blue Corn, and 10, Tractor, got a "Nah" and a "No" in my notes, respectively. 11, Picacho Peak, wasn't bad but I got butter out of it. 12, Canteen, was finally another good one. 13, La Cumbre, was my favorite but had a poor showing overall. 14, 377's first IPA Challenge beer, was surprisingly decent. It got an "Ok!" in my notes. You can see I take intricate notes in my judging process. I can now understand why 377 got a lot of votes at the first event at Duel. I initially figured it was ballot stuffing but no. 15, perennial favorite Bosque, had a good entry, but...

Boxing Bear repeats with a 104-101 victory over Bosque. I'll be honest, that Boxing Bear entry wouldn't have placed in my top 5. And I picked Boxing Bear last year, so it's not like I dislike their beer. Just not my choice this year. On my choice of La Cumbre as the winner, a prominent brewery owner said, "Finally, someone with half a brain!" There may have been only 30 of us half-brains who voted for them, but exceptional people are never part of the masses. That's why we're exceptional.

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