Sunday, July 15, 2018

NM IPA Challenge: The Three Trays

Duel Brewing had their finest tap selection since opening as they hosted the elimination round of the NM IPA Challenge. The format was simple: the 38 IPAs were broken up into three trays to be distributed equally to the participants. Apparently some event-goers didn't get the memo, as there were complaints about not getting a tray with all 38 entries. Don't you have to wait long enough to get your tray of 12-14 samples?? Just do what the pros do and show up with three people and get to try from all three trays. Then come up and yack to me about stupid shit for an hour. I was not a pro, as I have only one friend and so only got to try from 1-27, though did sneak a sample of 29 and 31. I found tray 1 to be superior to the second, with 5 good IPAs, 4 bad, and 3 ok. This may not seem like a great ratio, but five out of 12 will get you in the baseball hall of fame. Tray 2 was a bit closer to the Mendoza line, with 8 bad, 1 good, and 3 ok.
Of interest to me:

I think the hazy beers got some votes based purely on looks: Boxing Bear's 26 votes were second only to Marble's 29, though I didn't think that beer was in the top 5.
Marble's beer stood out as I tried it with a "Huh!" which means good, but I was surprised to see it get the most votes as it wasn't HAZY.
Bow and Arrow's had a great NE IPA look, but it lacked in taste. This is where I think the look helped, as they gathered 16 votes.
Santa Fe Dining had a good showing, with concepts Blue Corn and Kelly's both making the finals. You remember Kelly's: the place where everyone used to go and pack the patio when the beer was bad. Now they have good beer and the place is empty.
Red Door had an interesting beer that finished like a lager. They're going on to the finals as well.
Rio Bravo wasn't one I'd put money on to make the next round, but their beer stood out. Nice job.
La Cumbre surprised me by NOT doing something hazy, and their beer was really good.
Kaktus' 11 votes may have been more than their previous entries combined.
Santa Fe stood out to me above the rest with a variant of Reluctant, their hazy IPA. Not quite in the murky category, more wheaty looking. But what a great beer. Only 12 of us had the good taste to vote for this one.

The way the Guild tallies votes is effective but antiquated. How about grabbing an Ipad and entering the data as you receive the votes. Then, 30 seconds after the last vote is in, boom, you can announce the results and we can get out of that hot and humid atmosphere. Those big windows at the front of Duel combined with the high ceilings make for an overstretched air conditioning system. That charcuterie board might be worth hanging around for though.
Duel, Second Street, Taos Mesa, and Bosque all received a bye as they are all hosts this year. Excited to see what Second Street and Bosque bring to the finals. You know Bosque wants to bring home the trophy to their new billion dollar baby.

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