Our man Luke was at the second round of the New Mexico IPA Challenge on Saturday afternoon, but we will cut him some slack and let him enjoy all those hop-forward ales while we do a quick recap of the competition.
Boxing Bear, which edged out Icebox 17 votes to 16 in the first round in Las Cruces on Wednesday, added another 32 votes at Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery to take a commanding 19-vote lead into next Saturday’s final round at Bow & Arrow (get those tickets ASAP!).
Bosque added 23 votes to its total to move into second place with 30 overall. Last year’s winner, Blue Corn, tallied 19 votes for 20 overall, good enough for a fourth-place tie. Between them, Blue Corn (2013, 2018), Boxing Bear (2016, 2017), and Bosque (2014, 2015) have won the last six trophies.
Sneaking into the mix are Ex Novo, which added 14 votes to get to 22 overall, good enough for third place, and the aforementioned Icebox, which now has 20 votes. Bow & Arrow sits in sixth after adding 11 votes Saturday to get to 19 overall.
A total of 163 voters took part Saturday, well up from the 65 on a weekday at Picacho Peak in Las Cruces. There is a good chance that the final round will more than double the Tumbleroot total, so nothing has been decided yet.
At the very least, every brewery shut out in Las Cruces picked up anywhere from two (Enchanted Circle) to 12 (Toltec) votes on Saturday. Bombs Away (10), La Reforma (seven), and Marble (three) also managed to avoid a second straight shutout.
Luke will share more thoughts about this round on Monday, and we will preview the final round later in the week to make sure everyone is prepared, whether you are a veteran or a first-time participant.