NM IPA Challenge heads to Beer Creek Brewing Co. for Round 2

Beer Creek has a great patio for these events.

The second round of the New Mexico IPA Challenge is heading out to Beer Creek Brewing Co. on Saturday afternoon, and despite the abundance of easy atmosphere and delicious pizza, this one’s going to be a nail-bitter for the participating breweries and IPA fans.

In case you missed it, this past week the good people of Las Cruces picked their favorite IPAs for the first round of the 2021 NMIPAC. And, with a few surprising results, they also weighed in on whether this year’s in-person IPA Challenge will crown an IPA of the East Coast hazy or West Coast clear variety. The top three entries came from Nexus, Tumbleroot, and (host) Icebox, which each submitted New England-style hazy IPAs. For round one, the people of Las Cruces have spoken, and spoken clearly in favor of haze.

To recap Wednesday’s results, below are the voting totals heading into the second round:

  1. Nexus Brewery 16
  2. Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery 16
  3. Icebox Brewing 15
  4. Second Street Brewery 9
  5. Thirsty Eye Brewing 6
  6. Three Rivers Brewery 6
  7. Canteen Brewhouse 4
  8. Sobremesa 4
  9. Lava Rock Brewing 3
  10. Red Door Brewing 3
  11. Ex Novo Brewing 2
  12. Hidden Mountain Brewing 2
  13. Palmer Brewery 2
  14. Boxing Bear Brewing 1
  15. Quarter Celtic Brewpub 1
  16. Turtle Mountain Brewing 1

The results tell of an interesting trend toward the Hazy challengers’ favor, with four out of five West Coast-style IPAs in the lower half of the results. Only time will tell what will happen out there on Highway 14 tomorrow, and then in Albuquerque for the challenge finish on November 20.

Of course this brings up the question for many of whether there should be two separate challenges, but that’s for another time, and down another scenic road. Right now, the NMIPAC is a great fund- raiser for the New Mexico Brewers Guild, supported and decided by the people, and in the end, the brewers decide what they want to make, and the people decide what they want to drink regardless of coast or hop content.

While I’m more of a traditionalist, personally preferring the West Coast style, I’ve decided to stamp out my hard line in the sand this year, and if a hazy IPA tastes better at the time, then I’ll vote for it. But, as for you all, remember you get to choose the winner. And, as my mother always told me, if you don’t get out and vote, you can’t complain.

So get out there to Beer Creek tomorrow, enjoy the beautiful patio, pick your favorite IPA and support the NM Brewers Guild in this longstanding tradition. May the best IPA win. To all the brewers and IPA fans! To your luck and to your health, cheers!

— Luke

The IPA Challenge is Saturday from 1-4 p.m. Beer Creek is located just south of Santa Fe on Highway 14 at 3810 NM-14, Santa Fe, NM 87508. Tickets are still available.

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