We said it would be a battle to decide the best IPA of 2015. Some scoffed. Some were bewildered. Some guffawed, whatever that means. In the end, though, we were right.
This was really, really hard to pick the best out of 15 samples. On a warm, crowded (but not too crowded) day at Boxing Bear, the true IPA fans in the ABQ metro area and beyond gathered to determine once and for all who should take that coveted trophy home.
The result? Well, I have dragged it out this long … Bosque Brewing has repeated as NMIPAC champion!
Here are the top 15 IPAs in New Mexico, with their competition numbers for the final round in parentheses:
- Bosque (13) 146 votes
- Blue Corn (8) 78 votes
- Canteen (7) 57 votes
- Marble (5) 55 votes
- Second Street (10) 52 votes
- Chama River (14) 45 votes
- Boxing Bear (2) 39 votes
- Three Rivers (1) 30 votes
- Back Alley (15) 28 votes
- Spotted Dog (12) 18 votes
- Turtle Mountain (4) 14 votes
- Ponderosa (3) 11 votes
- La Cumbre (6) 9 votes
- (tie) Pi (11) and Taos Mesa (9) 8 votes
In the end it wasn’t very close. Bosque tallied 104 votes on Saturday, followed by Second Street (33), Canteen (32), Chama River (31), and Blue Corn (30).
“It’s the most expensive beer we’ve made since last year,” Bosque brewer John Bullard said of the current edition of Scale Tipper, which won for the second year in a row.
“It’s always different when it comes to Albuquerque,” John added. “You’ve seen it before, when beers really come from behind in Albuquerque. We’re making an IPA that’s dedicated for Albuquerque, really. That’s all we’re really trying to do. Las Cruces is catching on to that, but that’s really what it is.”
John has actually won three straight IPA Challenges, having captured his first title while still with Blue Corn back in 2013. He moved to Bosque and has not let up in his domination of the category.
“I would say it’s different for me; last year was his second,” Bosque co-owner Gabe Jensen said. “Really, I was thinking now we’ll sell the rest of the bombers.”
While Gabe was joking on that last point (somewhat, anyway), John stayed focused on the best way to handle the NMIPAC.
“It’s definitely exciting,” he said. “I wish more people would have more fun with this competition. That’s easy for me to say, (since) we’ve won it (twice). A lot of people were quite serious about this competition this year. But this competition was based on fun.”
It was a fun competition this year. Congrats to all the brewers who entered, it was a much tougher call for most of us than the final votes indicated.
A huge thank you to Boxing Bear for being an outstanding host. Kudos to your staff for their patience and timely service; we know it can get overwhelming at times with so many people on site.
Thank you to Chris Goblet and the NM Brewers Guild for putting on this competition, year after year, as it gets bigger and bigger.
And thank you to everyone who attended. We hope you all enjoyed yourselves as much as we did.
Until 2016, the Crew will see you all around the breweries and festivals.