The champ is still here: Boxing Bear retains NM IPA Challenge title

Posted: July 29, 2017 by cjax33 in IPA Challenge 2017
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The Boxing Bear team, triumphant again!

In another close vote, Boxing Bear claimed its second straight NM IPA Challenge championship on Saturday afternoon at Steel Bender Brewyard.

Justin Hamilton and his staff claimed 104 votes, with Bosque running a very close second at 101. Quarter Celtic (82), Canteen (76), Starr Brothers (59), Marble (49), Tractor (43) and Bow & Arrow (40) were closed behind.

“It means a whole lot for us, honestly,” Justin said. “With each competition with put forth we support the (New Mexico Brewers) Guild. But the fact that it’s blind and that people are really judging as to what they like the best means a lot. It means a whole lot. We honestly had some of the best beers in the world as far as New Mexico goes.”

Yes, Justin, you get to keep it another year!

Bear Knuckle became just the latest repeat champion. Exodus won three years in a row for Canteen from 2010-12 (a different IPA had started it off in 2009), followed by repeat wins for Scale Tipper from Bosque in 2014 and 2015.

“It’s obviously a super competition,” Justin said. “We have the National IPA Challenge winners from the last four years (here). It means so much. It’s really cool to be a part of it. Obviously the last two years the competition has been the closest it’s ever been. We have so many amazing breweries coming up, Starr Brothers, Quarter Celtic. They obviously put up some amazing entries.”

For the record, La Cumbre won the Brewing News IPA Challenge in 2014 and 2017, sandwiched around Bosque winning in 2015 and 2016.

“Bear Knuckle is one of those things where we try to keep improving it,” Justin said. “Hop varieties change a little bit. The recipe is pretty solid. We’ve got a good base for it, it’s doing well for us.”

Another super-close vote this year.

Ultimately, Steel Bender was able to run a smooth ship Saturday afternoon. The weather cooperated (hooray!) and overall it was a well-run event. So far, at least, the complaints have not piled up about the final round, as they did with the preliminary rounds.

For Boxing Bear, the staff never lost sight of the ultimate goal of the NMIPAC.

“The main thing is it’s a big supporter for the Guild, for the community,” Justin said. “IPA is the most popular style in the country right now. It’s cool to see on a national level New Mexico doing well. Locally, it’s good to support the Guild with some awesome IPAs.”

Justin said he does not expect the reign to last much longer for Boxing Bear.

“There were a lot of beers that were out there that I could recognize,” he said. “That’s amazing, that you have things that are just really good beers in this city. It seems to be about another year, maybe two … people get the idea of what you’re doing as far as local IPAs go. Then three or four years, everything flip flops. They’re not catching up yet, but they will.”

Congrats to Boxing Bear on its back-to-back victories! We look forward to the next NM IPA Challenge next year.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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Comments
  1. Desert Chaos says:

    A very worthy repeat – I had a growler last weekend. The runners up are of course no slouches either (had a growler from QC yesterday!). Damn, we’re so lucky around here to have so many top-notch breweries.

  2. Jerry R says:

    It would be a great addition if the brew houses would let’s uo all know which formula they entered. For instance did Bosque enter the Bosque IPA or Scale Tipper.

    • cjax33 says:

      I know the breweries don’t ID the beers at the Challenge, but many have their entries on tap right now. Boxing Bear entered Bear Knuckle, Bosque entered Don’t Call it a Comeback, La Cumbre entered El Jugo, Quarter Celtic entered Clark Juiced, The 377 entered El CuCuy, Bow & Arrow entered Hazillionaire, Ponderosa entered IPL, Steel Bender entered Skull Crusher, Starr Brothers entered Starrgazm, Second Street entered one it just called IPA Challenge, Blue Corn entered Gatekeeper IPA, and I think Canteen entered Hop Baller. Not sure about the others. Hope that helps!

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