Saturday, July 28, 2018

NM IPA Challenge Final Round

The Bear had a good run, but a strong showing in round 2 and the most votes in the final round sealed the victory for Blue Corn in the 2018 NM IPA Challenge. Their grapefruit bomb of a beer was the fan favorite, somehow even beating out Red River's "liquid yuck". Red River did manage to get 26 votes in the final someone affiliated with their brewery a politician or something? Wait, the answer is yes?? Ahhhh, I'm starting to see the bigger picture now...And ok, maybe I'm being harsh. But do you really think that Red River's IPA is a better beer than La Cumbre's National IPA Championship winning Project Dank, which it placed ahead of? Really? Would you bring a growler of it to friends or brewers in another state and proudly say, "This beer was the best out of 40+ IPAs at the New Mexico IPA Challenge."? Merit-based voting. Honest voting.
Marble and Boxing Bear both got 40 votes in the final round, though Marble's dismal 3 votes in round 1 really hurt and left them in 3rd place.
Biggest surprise this year? Probably that the majority of the breweries went for the dank IPAs rather than juicy or hazy. I thought this year would be much heavier on the haze. Only Boxing Bear and Bow and Arrow really had what I would classify as a true New England style IPA, though Santa Fe's was close and definitely more on the juicy side. And might again have been the one I voted for, had I voted. Either that or Second Street. They know IPAs. How about you guys take over the space Monks' left in Albuquerque?
Bosque had a mediocre showing to kick off the opening-ish of their new digs. I liked the beer on its own at the tasting room but it didn't stand out from the crowd. They finished near the bottom with Bow and Arrow and Taos Mesa, though nowhere near as low as Duel. The mighty have fallen a bit, but not that low. Nice new spot. Definitely has a production brewery feel, but that view of the Sandias from the second floor are killer.
Many IPAs I had noted as "good", which is nice when you're paying to taste a tray of beer. There were plenty of years where you knew that 4 or 5 beers on the tray were a big NO!after one sip, but that was not the case this year. And that's the way it should be. So many locals boast about how great NM IPAs are; let's not have any infected ones in a "best of the best" challenge.
Good job by the Guild this year on not running out of plastic cups like last year. I did note that a Walmart was only a 3 minute drive away...was this the reason Bosque was chosen for the final and busiest round? We'll see if that trend continues next year.

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