Great NM Beer Festival holds a first competition between local breweries

Brew Lab 101 head brewer Tevin Gray shows off his silver and bronze medals.

For the first time in a long while, an all-New Mexico breweries competition was held in advance of Saturday’s Great New Mexico Beer Festival. Local breweries competed for three medals in each of four categories, with a different brewery claiming gold in each category.

Well, almost, since no gold medal was awarded by the judging panel in the American Wheat category. The 11 total medals awarded were split between nine breweries in total, as announced on Friday afternoon at Balloon Fiesta Park at the conclusion of the New Mexico Brewers Conference, which was cut short by rain and lightning.

The gold medal winners were Lizard Tail for German Pilsner (11 total entries), Thirsty Eye for Hazy IPA (12 entries), and Tractor for West Coast IPA (13 entries). American Wheat had 11 entries.

Steel Bender claimed silver in the German Pilsner category.
Tractor snagged gold in West Coast IPA.
Downshift was the lone brewery outside the Albuquerque metro area to win, taking silver in West Coast IPA.
Thirsty Eye claimed gold in Hazy IPA and bronze in American Wheat.

“The judges had a hard time deciding,” said former NM Brewers Guild executive director Leah Black, who volunteered to organize the small-scale competition held on Thursday.

Brew Lab 101 took silver in American Wheat, while Thirsty Eye took bronze. The specific beer names were not listed Friday, but for all breweries pouring at Saturday’s festival, the winning beers will be noted at their respective booths.

For German Pilsner, Steel Bender took silver and Nexus claimed bronze. For Hazy IPA, Marble won silver and Brew Lab 101 took its second medal, a bronze. For West Coast IPA, Ruidoso’s Downshift Brewing won silver and Late Shift Lager House took bronze.

Despite the rainy, windy finish, the conference was a success. We will have more on how the rest of it went next week.

But hey, it rained, and on that note, we were all happy as we scrambled back to our cars.

Keep supporting local!

— Stoutmeister

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