Yeah, yeah, we are a couple days late with getting the reaction from Bosque Brewing about winning their second straight National IPA Challenge, a feat never accomplished before by any brewery. Well, thanks to my dad forgetting something important when traveling, I could not sit down with the staff Monday. Then on Tuesday, after doing the interview, I ended up sharing beers with the staff and Turtle Mountain brewer Tim Woodward, who had stopped by to say hello and congratulations to everyone. By the time I left, it was dinnertime for me and a certain four-legged friend I am taking care of, thus all of this was delayed (also, see how long The Week Ahead in Beer was this week, to know what I spent a good part of last night typing up). So, now that I have made my excuses, let us all get back to enjoying a remarkable accomplishment.
Bosque co-owner Jotham Michnovicz took me through the Monday madness, in part because brewer John Bullard was a little busy making more beer since the rest of you keep trying to drink it all up. The folks over at the Brewing News were the ones in charge of releasing the info. They first said that the Session IPA Bracket result, where Bosque’s Southwest Session IPA was going up against Lawson’s Finest Liquids’ Super Session #2, would be unveiled at 1 p.m., followed by the main IPA Bracket at 1:30.
“We were all kind of waiting in anticipation to see what was going to happen because we had two in the finals,” Jotham said. “And so the Session IPA was announced right at 1 p.m. I just kept hitting refresh on my browser probably every 10 seconds for the next half hour. So, here we are, getting super excited about what’s going to happen.”
And then this happened.
“I’m hitting refresh and one of our customers comes in for some half barrels,” Jotham said. “I’d already been set up to help him. I ran into the cooler to grab those half barrels and this is like 1:28 and it’s supposed to be released at 1:30. As soon as I get out of the cooler I hear people saying, ‘We got it! We got it!’ I check my (phone) notifications and everyone is saying, ‘We won, we won!’ There was all this anticipation built up and I got called away at the last second and missed it.”
While Jotham did not get to see it pop up on his computer at the exact moment it was announced, he and the rest of the staff certainly did plenty of celebrating. Multiple staff members shared congratulatory posts all over social media.
“I think our whole crew is just stoked about this,” Jotham said. “It creates a lot of good morale when you win an award like that. It reaches to every employee.”
It was just carrying on the good news from last Thursday.
“I think everybody was kind of riding high this week because of the Jackalope redevelopment, our Bernalillo production facility,” Jotham added. “To have Scale Tipper take the title, piggyback off that, it was a great week.”
As noted in that story, I was the one who got to tell everyone that Bosque had reached the semifinals. When John and I talked after the announcement, he said he had not yet been revved up for the competition as much as 2015 when Bosque first won. Jotham said that was pretty much the sentiment of everyone until it got down to the real possibility of a repeat on Monday.
“I think the anticipation ramped up much more quickly over a short period of time,” Jotham said. “Like you said, it wasn’t like we were in it for the first time this year. We were about 10 minutes out from the announcement and everyone was like getting shaky. ‘Oh, my gosh, we could win this.’”
Bosque defeated Comrade Brewing’s Superpower IPA in the final, as opposed to beating nearby Canteen’s Exodus in 2015. Still, New Mexico as a whole had three entries (Scale Tipper, Boxing Bear’s Bear Knuckle IPA, Turtle Mountain’s Adrift IPA) in the quarterfinals for the second year in a row (La Cumbre’s Project Dank was the third last year). There were two semifinalists again, though Bear Knuckle lost to Superpower. Throw in two Second Street entries — 4 Hour Lunch and Fulcrum — in the final 16, and New Mexico has truly cemented its place among the best IPA-producing states in the country.
“I don’t think we could be more proud about being part of New Mexico’s IPA culture,” Jotham said. “This competition was so heavily stacked and it’s so heavily stacked with awesome Albuquerque and New Mexico IPAs, it’s amazing. It’s amazing to be a part of that. It’s amazing to put our little city on the map, going up against these towns like San Diego, Portland, and Denver, and here’s little Albuquerque.”
Next up on the competition front for Bosque is the World Beer Cup, followed by the New Mexico IPA Challenge this summer (where they are two-time defending champions), and the Great American Beer Festival in the fall. We cannot wait to see how those turn out for Bosque and all of our local breweries as well.
Hurry over to any Bosque location for a pint of Scale Tipper while it lasts, or grab a bomber to take home (you can also buy them at Jubilation).
All in all, 2016 is off to a great start for our craft beer scene.