The West Coast-style IPAs roar back in 2nd round of NMIPAC at Beer Creek

The voting totals in the second round were much more in favor of West Coast-style IPAs.

If the first round of the 2021 New Mexico IPA Challenge seemed to indicate that the first hazy champion was inevitable, the second round told a very different story.

The 16 finalists competed again with a new crop of customers at Beer Creek Brewing on Highway 14 south of Santa Fe on Saturday afternoon. This time around, the five West Coast-style IPA entries all saw their voting totals increase, while nine of the 11 hazy entries saw their totals decrease from the first round.

It will all set up an unpredictable final round on Saturday, November 20 at Boxing Bear’s Firestone Taproom. Buy your tickets online ASAP, as the final round has often sold out in past years.

The leading breweries this time around were Boxing Bear and Hidden Mountain, a pair of past champions whose Bear Knuckle and Gatekeeper IPAs each picked up 13 votes. Three Rivers, which also entered a clear IPA, Sky’s the Limit, and Second Street, which has a hazy named Zombie Star, tied for third with 11 votes apiece.

It was a near-perfect day for a round on a patio.

Boxing Bear only had one vote in the first round and Hidden Mountain had only two. Three Rivers fared the best of the West Coast entries in the first round with six. The other clear entries were Quarter Celtic, which went from one vote to seven for eight total, and Ex Novo, which went from two votes to five for seven total.

In contrast, only the hazies from Second Street (from nine to 11 for 20 total) and Palmer (from two to three for five total) saw their voting totals go up. Big drop-offs were felt by Icebox (from 15 to six), Nexus (from 16 to four), and Tumbleroot (from 16 to one).

The new voting total leaders are as follows.

  1. Icebox Brewing 15 + 6 = 21
  2. Nexus Brewery 16 + 4 = 20
  3. Second Street Brewery 9 + 11 = 20
  4. Three Rivers Brewery 6 + 11 = 17
  5. Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery 16 + 1 = 17
  6. Hidden Mountain Brewing 2 + 13 = 15
  7. Boxing Bear Brewing 1 + 13 = 14
  8. Thirsty Eye Brewing 6 + 5 = 11
  9. Quarter Celtic Brewpub 1 + 7 = 8
  10. Canteen Brewhouse 4 + 3 = 7
  11. Ex Novo Brewing 2 + 5 = 7
  12. Red Door Brewing 3 + 3 = 6
  13. Palmer Brewery 2 + 3 = 5
  14. Sobremesa 4 + 1 = 5
  15. Lava Rock Brewing 3 + 1 = 4
  16. Turtle Mountain Brewing 1 + 1 = 2

Luke and Andrew were in attendance Saturday, and they may share their additional thoughts on how the round went early this week.

The rest of us will see you all at Boxing Bear Firestone next weekend.

Keep supporting local!

— Stoutmeister

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Something went wrong here. Several beers with over a dozen votes the first round and a single vote the second round? (and visa-versa). I’ve gone to almost every year’s IPA challenge and my friends and I have always been able to tell which ones were going to get the most votes. I was at Beer Creek and the votes make zero sense both from what the beers tasted like and from what I overheard from people talking.

    1. Stoutmeister says:

      Folks in Las Cruces have very different palates than those in the Burque/Santa Fe areas. They’re much more like Texans, preferring lighter and sweeter beers, as opposed to the big, hoppy, resinous IPAs that are popular up here. Traditionally, the beers that lead after the round in Southern NM do not hold up well in subsequent rounds. I wouldn’t read too much into it beyond that. There’s no conspiracy to promote one brewery over another.

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