The National IPA Challenge, hosted by the Brewing News, gets harder and harder every year. Want proof? Look no further than the fact that of the 18 entries from New Mexico, nine were knocked out in the first round this year, the results of which were announced today.
Add to that some tough sledding in the Imperial IPA bracket (five of 10 eliminated), Specialty IPA bracket (four of seven eliminated), and a virtual bloodbath in the Session IPA bracket (six of seven eliminated), and if any New Mexico brewery comes out on top, it will be an epic achievement.
The main IPA category is actually now three brackets, which will eventually converge to produce a single winner (as we understand it, the site does not explain much). Anyway, of the 18 New Mexico entries, here is what advanced and what each IPA will face in the second round.
- Bosque’s Scale Tipper (2015 and 2016 champion) defeated Storm Breaker’s Handful of Hops; will next face Pinthouse Pizza’s Electric Jellyfish
- Boxing Bear’s Bear Knuckle (2016 and 2017 NMIPAC winner) defeated Asian Brewing’s Shook; will next face Berryessa’s Separation Anxiety
- Boxing Bear’s Uppercut defeated Gizmo Brew Works’ The Assist; will next face Foolproof’s Backyahd
- Canteen’s Tuttle defeated Standard’s West Coast IPA; will next face Big Ditch’s Hayburner
- Canteen’s Hop Baller defeated Morgan Territory’s Motorboatin’; will next face Big Dog’s Peace, Love & Hoppiness
- La Cumbre’s Project Dank (2014 and 2017 champion) defeated Locavore Beerk Works’ Lilly Hammer; will next face Barley Brown’s Pallet Jack (2013 champion)
- Quarter Celtic’s Clark defeated Oak Highlands’ Derelict; will next face Southern Tier’s Nu Skool
- Quarter Celtic’s Mor-Buck defeated Rio Bravo’s Snakebite in an all-New Mexico matchup; will next face Fremont’s Mountain Daisy
- Three Rivers’ IPAC Nugs had a bye and will next face Old First Ward’s The Streaker
That second-round matchup between Project Dank and Pallet Jack is unfair. That should be held much, much later in this competition. But, hey, we didn’t make the brackets, nor do we know how the brackets are decided.
Those NM beers that bowed out early, along with Snakebite, were as follows: Blue Corn Witty Hop Pun, Boxing Bear Strong Arm, Ponderosa Hop-Mosa, Santa Fe 7K and Happy Camper, Sierra Blanca Single Hop IPA, Steel Bender Skull Bucket, The 377 El Cucuy (which lost to Pallet Jack).
The Imperial category, which was divided into two brackets, saw half the NM entries advance, though two had byes.
- Bosque’s Moon Cannon had a bye and will next face Locavore’s 2 Fingers
- Boxing Bear’s Sucker Punch defeated Pressure Drop’s Panic Attacks; will next face Good City’s Reward
- Quarter Celtic’s Test Batch #1 defeated Gizmo’s Trojan Horse; will next face Lakefront’s Strange Neighbor
- Rio Bravo’s Level 3 had a bye and will next face Sunriver’s Resin Nation
- Tractor’s Acreage defeated Wolf’s Ridge’s Howling Moon; will next face Laurelwood’s Megafauna
The Session IPA bracket was rough, with only one of seven NM entries advancing, and in the cruelest way possible. Bosque’s Southwest Session defeated Three Rivers’ R & T in another all-local showdown. The eliminated included Boxing Bear’s Featherweight, a bronze-medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival, as well as Dialogue’s Micro Hands, Kellys Session IPA, Quarter Celtic’s Beag, and Rio Bravo’s DRB.
As for the Specialty IPA bracket, where the beers get really wacky, three of the seven entries lived to see another day.
- Quarter Celtic’s Just Peachy Clark defeated Six Rivers’ Rosemary Thyme; will next face Bron Yr Aur Brewi’s Black Mountain
- Steel Bender’s Manana defeated Gizmo’s Black Hop Down; will next face Three Creeks’ Raptor
- Steel Bender’s Red Iron Red defeated Brew Kettle’s F.N. Awesome; will next face Midland’s Lime Rock
The fallen in the category included Boxing Bear’s Tropic Thunder, Dialogue’s Belgian Citrus, Ponderosa’s Hop-Mosa, and Rio Bravo’s Graepfruit Launcher.
Round Two will be held over this coming weekend. We will post the results as soon as we can find them on the labyrinthine website!