Archive for the ‘National IPA Challenge 2018’ Category

No, this is totally not a hint as to which brewery’s IPA advanced at the National IPA Challenge.

The Dandy Dozen was reduced to six at the National IPA Challenge this weekend, with one of the two remaining New Mexico entries advancing to the championship qualifier of its respective bracket. It probably was not the one most people expected.

Two-time past champion Scale Tipper from Bosque was ousted in the fifth round, while Canteen’s Hop Baller survived to fight another week. Scale Tipper lost to Triumvirate from Rueben’s Brews in a semifinal of the Bracket 2 championship qualifier, ending its bid to become the first three-time champion in the history of the event held annually by the Brewing News. Scale Tipper is still the only back-to-back winner (2015, 2016), and one of only two IPAs with multiple wins, the other being La Cumbre’s Project Dank (2014, 2017).

If New Mexico is to make it five titles in a row, it will be up to Hop Baller. Canteen head brewer Zach Guilmette told us this week that was surprised Hop Baller advanced further than his other entry, Tuttle IPA, but he was quite happy to make it as far as being one of the last 12 IPAs standing. Now, Hop Baller is one of the final six. It upended Barley Brown’s Pallet Jack, the 2013 champion that had previously eliminated Project Dank back in the second round and The 377’s El Cucuy in the first round. Hop Baller kept Pallet Jack from being a three-time NM killer.

Next up for Hop Baller is a showdown with Tricksters Brewing’s JuiceBox IPA. The winner of Bracket 3 will go head-to-head with the winners of Brackets 1 and 2 for the championship, though we are not quite sure of how the format will work as this year was the first time the main IPA bracket had to be split into three.

Results from the next round of the NIPAC should be posted next weekend. Good luck to Hop Baller!


— Stoutmeister

Who will harness the power of the hop to bring back NIPAC glory to New Mexico?

The many brackets of the National IPA Challenge are down to just a few remaining hop bombs, with only two New Mexico entries advancing to the fifth round. Bosque’s Scale Tipper, a two-time past champion, and Canteen’s Hop Baller are all that remains from the original list of 42 local beers that started the competition.

Scale Tipper topped a big challenger in Lynwood Brewing’s Hop Sauce in the fourth round. Next up is Reuben’s Brews’ Triumvirate. The winner of that matchup will move on to the championship qualifier at the end of bracket 2 of the regular IPA bracket (as a reminder, there are three separate brackets of 64 that make up the regular IPA overall bracket; yes, that is a lot of beer). Karl Strauss’ Boat Shoes and Melvin’s Hubert are the other IPAs still alive in bracket 2. Take note, Scale Tipper is back on tap at Bosque, so you can see how good this batch is for a limited time at the brewery.

Hop Baller moved on with a victory over Ipswich Ale Brewery’s Ipswich 1620. Canteen’s entry will now face the powerhouse Pallet Jack from Barley Brown’s Beer, which knocked out defending champion Project Dank from La Cumbre back in the second round (and The 377’s El Cucuy before that). The winner of that bracket 3 matchup will take on either Tricksters Brewing’s JuiceBox or Knee Deep Brewing’s Breaking Bud.

Bowing out of the competition in the fourth round was Boxing Bear’s Uppercut, which fell to Old First Ward’s The Streaker in bracket 1. The Streaker had also ousted Three Rivers’ IPAC Nugs back in the second round.

The final entry in the Session IPA bracket, Bosque’s Southwest Session, saw its run end in the semifinals. Fat Heads’ Sunshine Daydream, one of the best session IPAs in the country, proved victorious in the semifinals.

The final entry in the Specialty IPA bracket, Steel Bender’s Manana, was knocked out in the quarterfinals by El Segundo’s Cerveza Fresca Guava. It was still an impressive run for Steel Bender in its first NIPAC appearance.

When the fifth-round results are posted next weekend, we will share them here. Until then, hail the hop!

— Stoutmeister

Bosque’s Scale Tipper remains in contention for yet another National IPA Challenge championship.

The results of the third round of the National IPA Challenge popped up a little early online this weekend, with five New Mexico entries advancing in three brackets.

Bosque’s Scale Tipper, which claimed the title in 2015 and 2016, advanced to the fourth round at the expense of Quarter Celtic’s Mor-Buck. I actually had the chance to try the two beers side-by-side last week when I was visiting QC to talk about its medal haul from the New York International Beer Competition. Bosque brewmaster John Bullard dropped in with a bottle of the same batch of Scale Tipper that was sent to NIPAC.

The aroma was notably in Scale Tipper’s favor, while the flavor profiles of the two IPAs were quite different. Mor-Buck was sweeter, with a bit maltier mouthfeel. Scale Tipper was drier and had a higher bitterness, though some of that had dropped off a bit due to aging. In the end, both were complex, flavorful IPAs, but only one could advance.

Joining Scale Tipper in the fourth round of the regular IPA brackets are Boxing Bear’s Uppercut, which knocked out Madison Brewing’s DownTown, and Canteen’s Hop Baller, which bounced past Oskar Blues’ IPA. Next up in the fourth round for each:

  • Scale Tipper vs. Lynwood’s Hop Sauce (which eliminated Quarter Celtic’s Clark)
  • Uppercut vs. Old First Ward’s The Streaker
  • Hop Baller vs. Ipswich’s 1620

The fallen in the third round, in addition to Clark, were Canteen’s Tuttle at the hands of Melvin’s Hubert MPA, and Blue Corn’s Witty Hop Pun, which was really and truly knocked out this time by Hops & Grain’s Lupulin Rodeo (initial results had Witty Hop Pun eliminated way back in the first round before a correction was issued).

As for the other three brackets, Bosque’s Southwest Session reached the semifinals of the Session IPA bracket. Southwest Session ousted Saranac’s Gen IV and will now face Fat Heads’ Sunshine Daydream.

Over in the Specialty IPA bracket, Steel Bender’s Manana moved on to the quarterfinals by defeating Boneyard’s Incredible Pulp. Next up will be a showdown with El Segundo’s Cerveza Fresca Guava. Steel Bender’s other entry, Red Iron Red, saw its run come to an end at the hands of Coronado’s North Island IPA.

UPDATE: The results have been posted for the Imperial IPA bracket. The results are not good. The last two New Mexico entries, Quarter Celtic’s Test Batch #1 and Tractor’s Acreage, were eliminated by Lynwood’s El Hombre Enojado and Melvin’s Citradamus.

Congrats to all the New Mexico winners and good luck in the next round!

— Stoutmeister

The hops floated to the top in the second round of the National IPA Challenge.

There will be a new champion in 2018 at the National IPA Challenge. The annual event, hosted by the Brewing News, saw La Cumbre’s Project Dank, the reigning champion, ousted in the second round by past champion Pallet Jack from Barley Brown’s Brewing.

While Dank went down, it was mostly good news for the other 10 remaining entries from New Mexico. In an apparent scoring change from what was originally reported, Blue Corn’s Witty Hop Pun not only advanced out of the first round (it was previously listed as having lost to Red Brick’s Hoplanta), it went on to defeat national heavyweight Samuel Adams and its Rebel IPA in the second round.

Here are the full results for New Mexico entries in the main IPA bracket.

  • Blue Corn’s Witty Hop Pun advanced to face Hops & Grain Brewing’s Lupulin Rodeo in the third round.
  • Bosque’s Scale Tipper (2015 and 2016 champion) defeated Pinthouse Pizza’s Electric Jellyfish and will now face …
  • Quarter Celtic’s Mor-Buck defeated Fremont Mountain’s Daisy IPA to set up an all-NM showdown with Scale Tipper in the third round.
  • Boxing Bear’s Uppercut knocked out Foolproof’s Backyahd and will next face Madison Brewing’s DownTown IPA.
  • Canteen’s Hop Baller defeated Big Dog’s Peace, Love & Hoppiness and will next face Oskar Blues IPA.
  • Canteen’s Tuttle ousted Big Ditch’s Hayburner and will next face Melvin’s Hubert MPA.
  • Quarter Celtic’s Clark upended Southern Tier’s Nu Skool and will next face Lynwood’s Hop Sauce.
  • Eliminated in the second round: Boxing Bear’s Bear Knuckle by Berryessa’s Separation Anxiety; Three Rivers’ IPAC Nugs by Old First Ward’s The Streaker.

Things were tough in the other three brackets for New Mexico entries. The Imperial IPA bracket now has just two remaining as Bosque’s Moon Cannon was silenced by Locavore’s 2 Fingers, Boxing Bear’s Sucker Punch failed to land against Good City’s Reward DIPA, and Rio Bravo’s Level 3 IPA fell to Sunriver’s Resin Nation.

Moving on in the Imperial bracket were Quarter Celtic’s Test Batch #1 over Lakefront’s Strange Neighbor, and Tractor’s Acreage topped Laurelwood’s Megafauna. Next up are Lynwood’s El Hombre Enojado and Melvin’s Citradamus.

Only one NM entry made it out of the first round in the Session bracket, and Bosque’s Southwest Session kept rolling, beating Berryessa’s Mini Separation Anxiety. Next up will be a third-round showdown with Saranac’s Gen IV.

It was a good day for Steel Bender in the Specialty IPA bracket. Both Manana and Red Iron Red advanced by beating Three Creeks’ Raptor and Midland’s Lime Rock, respectively. Manana will face Boneyard’s Incredible Pulp and Red Iron Red takes on Coronado’s North Island IPA in the third round.

Quarter Celtic’s Just Peachy Clark lost to Bron Yr Aur Brewi’s Black Mountain Side.

The third round in all four brackets will be held this coming weekend. Good luck to the remaining competitors!


— Stoutmeister

The 2018 edition of the National IPA Challenge is underway, with New Mexico breweries having won the last four titles, including these two by Bosque.

The National IPA Challenge, hosted by the Brewing News, gets harder and harder every year. Want proof? Look no further than the fact that of the 18 entries from New Mexico, nine were knocked out in the first round this year, the results of which were announced today.

Add to that some tough sledding in the Imperial IPA bracket (five of 10 eliminated), Specialty IPA bracket (four of seven eliminated), and a virtual bloodbath in the Session IPA bracket (six of seven eliminated), and if any New Mexico brewery comes out on top, it will be an epic achievement.

The main IPA category is actually now three brackets, which will eventually converge to produce a single winner (as we understand it, the site does not explain much). Anyway, of the 18 New Mexico entries, here is what advanced and what each IPA will face in the second round.

  • Bosque’s Scale Tipper (2015 and 2016 champion) defeated Storm Breaker’s Handful of Hops; will next face Pinthouse Pizza’s Electric Jellyfish
  • Boxing Bear’s Bear Knuckle (2016 and 2017 NMIPAC winner) defeated Asian Brewing’s Shook; will next face Berryessa’s Separation Anxiety
  • Boxing Bear’s Uppercut defeated Gizmo Brew Works’ The Assist; will next face Foolproof’s Backyahd
  • Canteen’s Tuttle defeated Standard’s West Coast IPA; will next face Big Ditch’s Hayburner
  • Canteen’s Hop Baller defeated Morgan Territory’s Motorboatin’; will next face Big Dog’s Peace, Love & Hoppiness
  • La Cumbre’s Project Dank (2014 and 2017 champion) defeated Locavore Beerk Works’ Lilly Hammer; will next face Barley Brown’s Pallet Jack (2013 champion)
  • Quarter Celtic’s Clark defeated Oak Highlands’ Derelict; will next face Southern Tier’s Nu Skool
  • Quarter Celtic’s Mor-Buck defeated Rio Bravo’s Snakebite in an all-New Mexico matchup; will next face Fremont’s Mountain Daisy
  • Three Rivers’ IPAC Nugs had a bye and will next face Old First Ward’s The Streaker

That second-round matchup between Project Dank and Pallet Jack is unfair. That should be held much, much later in this competition. But, hey, we didn’t make the brackets, nor do we know how the brackets are decided.

Those NM beers that bowed out early, along with Snakebite, were as follows: Blue Corn Witty Hop Pun, Boxing Bear Strong Arm, Ponderosa Hop-Mosa, Santa Fe 7K and Happy Camper, Sierra Blanca Single Hop IPA, Steel Bender Skull Bucket, The 377 El Cucuy (which lost to Pallet Jack).

The Imperial category, which was divided into two brackets, saw half the NM entries advance, though two had byes.

  • Bosque’s Moon Cannon had a bye and will next face Locavore’s 2 Fingers
  • Boxing Bear’s Sucker Punch defeated Pressure Drop’s Panic Attacks; will next face Good City’s Reward
  • Quarter Celtic’s Test Batch #1 defeated Gizmo’s Trojan Horse; will next face Lakefront’s Strange Neighbor
  • Rio Bravo’s Level 3 had a bye and will next face Sunriver’s Resin Nation
  • Tractor’s Acreage defeated Wolf’s Ridge’s Howling Moon; will next face Laurelwood’s Megafauna

The Session IPA bracket was rough, with only one of seven NM entries advancing, and in the cruelest way possible. Bosque’s Southwest Session defeated Three Rivers’ R & T in another all-local showdown. The eliminated included Boxing Bear’s Featherweight, a bronze-medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival, as well as Dialogue’s Micro Hands, Kellys Session IPA, Quarter Celtic’s Beag, and Rio Bravo’s DRB.

As for the Specialty IPA bracket, where the beers get really wacky, three of the seven entries lived to see another day.

  • Quarter Celtic’s Just Peachy Clark defeated Six Rivers’ Rosemary Thyme; will next face Bron Yr Aur Brewi’s Black Mountain
  • Steel Bender’s Manana defeated Gizmo’s Black Hop Down; will next face Three Creeks’ Raptor
  • Steel Bender’s Red Iron Red defeated Brew Kettle’s F.N. Awesome; will next face Midland’s Lime Rock

The fallen in the category included Boxing Bear’s Tropic Thunder, Dialogue’s Belgian Citrus, Ponderosa’s Hop-Mosa, and Rio Bravo’s Graepfruit Launcher.

Round Two will be held over this coming weekend. We will post the results as soon as we can find them on the labyrinthine website!


— Stoutmeister