Beer Notes: IPA Challenge returns, new brewery updates, brewer shuffle

Is anyone going to dethrone of the King of Hops? The race to take the throne begins this Saturday.

Catching up on all the things we missed, and we are still probably forgetting a few, seemed like a prudent thing to do this week.

Also, the feature I planned will have to wait until next week. These things still happen from time to time.

NM IPA Challenge is back with a couple of changes

The annual IPA Challenge kicks off this Saturday with the brewers-only preliminary round, this time at Boxing Bear Firestone. It is up to the pros to narrow down a field of 39 to a final tray of 16 hoppy ales for the public to then vote upon. I will be on hand for the announcement, and then some of you can begin gnashing your teeth when your favorite IPA brewery does not make it through. Well, in 2021 no one really freaked out, but I do recall all the La Cumbre fans piling up the complaints on our proverbial doorstep in 2019.

If the Brewers Guild sends us a list of the 39 (it was just finalized earlier this week), we will share it, otherwise you will have to wait until Saturday.

As for those public rounds (links to the tickets for all rounds are here), there are only three this year. Sorry, Southern New Mexico hopheads, you will have to travel north this year. Round One is at Second Street Rufina on Saturday, August 6 from 1 to 5 p.m.

Round Two is at Lauter Haus Brewing in Farmington on Wednesday, August 10 from 5 to 8 p.m. That was supposed to be a host brewery last year, but due to a combination of low ticket sales and high COVID cases, it was canceled. Things are looking better this year, and it should be a great venue with plenty of space inside. If you have never been to Lauter Haus, this is a good time to check it out. It’s like a giant arcade playground for adults, with some really flavorful beers on tap.

Oh, and if anyone who is planning on going to this round would like to be our official “correspondent,” contact us via social media or email (

The final round will be held at the Santa Fe Brewing taproom inside Tin Can Alley. Due to space limitations, it has been broken into three separate sessions. You can choose 1 p.m., 2 p.m., or 3 p.m., with the winners expected to be announced by 5 p.m.

Boxing Bear has been dominating this competition of late, winning the title in 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2021. Can anyone dethrone Justin Hamilton? Can a hazy IPA finally conquer the West Coast style? We shall find out.

Quick updates on forthcoming breweries

There are still a fair number of new places in the works around the state, plus some offsite taprooms. We are only listing those with pending small brewer (or small brewer offsite) licenses.

  • Baca House Brewery is back in the works in Socorro. It was in planning before the COVID lockdown of 2020, and then its license expired and we figured it was a dead project. Instead, it looks like the small town will get a second brewery (alongside Capitol Bar) in the future. Baca House is located in the same space as the former Twisted Chile Brewing.
  • Bosque Brewing now has a pending license for its takeover of the Toltec Brewing space on the Westside. Other than changing the signage out front, and maybe a quick polish of the interior, this should be a fairly quick transition.
  • Echoes, the small brewery going into the former Burt’s Tiki Lounge space on Gold between Third and Fourth Streets, has stated on social media that an August opening is the goal. We will be aiming to sit down with the owner(s) soon.
  • Flock of Moons now has a pending license. We have already met the owners of this brewery going into the old Winning Coffee space in the Bricklight District south of Central and UNM.
  • Hall of Flame Brewery is still in the works down in Ruidoso.
  • Unhinged Brewing and Vision City Brewstillery are still listed as pending. We know little about the former, while the latter is aiming for a probable 2023 opening in Rio Rancho for its main location, with an offsite taproom inside the indoor soccer facility in Albuquerque’s North Valley (one of the owners also owns said facility).
  • The most recent new pending license is for something called Sunday Service Motor Company. We have no idea if it is some sort of error, or an actual name for a real brewery. It lists the 87107 zip code, which is the North Valley/Los Ranchos. If anyone out there knows more about this place, please contact us. We are very, very curious.
  • Offsite taprooms in the works still include Las Cruces’ Icebox Brewing opening a spot in Hatch, Albuquerque’s JUNO in Edgewood and Lava Rock in Moriarty, and Tumbleroot is looking to open a second offsite taproom (and third overall) in Northern Santa Fe.

Those darn brewers keep moving about

There is not too much new to report on the Great Brewer Shuffle of 2022. As we noted last week, Ponderosa is looking for a head brewer as Antonio Fernandez is moving to take over the CNM brewing program.

We also have yet to hear if head brewers have been hired at Cloudcroft, JUNO, Red Door, or The 377. We do know the identity of the brewer who will succeed the departing David Kimbell at Sidetrack. He has plenty of local experience and should be a tremendous fit after being overdue for a head brewing job for some time. Hopefully we will sit down with both David and the new guy next week, once the former’s schedule clears up a bit.

Got any info on brewer movement? Or any other beer news? Email us or send us a DM on any of our social media accounts.

Oh, and we missed this for Week Ahead, but there is another Metal Monday coming up next week (August 1) at Tumbleroot. Fields of Elysium, Astingency, Suspended, and Desecrated Humanity will be performing, starting at 8 p.m., and tickets are just $10. Hails!

Keep supporting local!

— Stoutmeister

One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s