National IPA Challenge: Only 2 New Mexico entries remain

Who will harness the power of the hop to bring back NIPAC glory to New Mexico?

The many brackets of the National IPA Challenge are down to just a few remaining hop bombs, with only two New Mexico entries advancing to the fifth round. Bosque’s Scale Tipper, a two-time past champion, and Canteen’s Hop Baller are all that remains from the original list of 42 local beers that started the competition.

Scale Tipper topped a big challenger in Lynwood Brewing’s Hop Sauce in the fourth round. Next up is Reuben’s Brews’ Triumvirate. The winner of that matchup will move on to the championship qualifier at the end of bracket 2 of the regular IPA bracket (as a reminder, there are three separate brackets of 64 that make up the regular IPA overall bracket; yes, that is a lot of beer). Karl Strauss’ Boat Shoes and Melvin’s Hubert are the other IPAs still alive in bracket 2. Take note, Scale Tipper is back on tap at Bosque, so you can see how good this batch is for a limited time at the brewery.

Hop Baller moved on with a victory over Ipswich Ale Brewery’s Ipswich 1620. Canteen’s entry will now face the powerhouse Pallet Jack from Barley Brown’s Beer, which knocked out defending champion Project Dank from La Cumbre back in the second round (and The 377’s El Cucuy before that). The winner of that bracket 3 matchup will take on either Tricksters Brewing’s JuiceBox or Knee Deep Brewing’s Breaking Bud.

Bowing out of the competition in the fourth round was Boxing Bear’s Uppercut, which fell to Old First Ward’s The Streaker in bracket 1. The Streaker had also ousted Three Rivers’ IPAC Nugs back in the second round.

The final entry in the Session IPA bracket, Bosque’s Southwest Session, saw its run end in the semifinals. Fat Heads’ Sunshine Daydream, one of the best session IPAs in the country, proved victorious in the semifinals.

The final entry in the Specialty IPA bracket, Steel Bender’s Manana, was knocked out in the quarterfinals by El Segundo’s Cerveza Fresca Guava. It was still an impressive run for Steel Bender in its first NIPAC appearance.

When the fifth-round results are posted next weekend, we will share them here. Until then, hail the hop!

— Stoutmeister

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