Archive for the ‘National IPA Challenge’ Category

The reddish lettering in the upper left amounted to the totality of the initial announcement that the NIPAC was canceled for 2019.

The NIPAC is dead.

Over the weekend, in the quietest way possible, the Brewing News left a small note on the front page of the National IPA Challenge website that the annual competition was canceled for 2019. It was perhaps the final, inevitable outcome after last week’s national furor over a story by publisher/owner Bill Metzger that ran in the Great Lakes edition of Brewing News, a national publication with multiple regional editions that comes out every two months.

Metzger chose to resign over the controversy following the publication of his blatantly sexist/misogynistic story. He later claimed it was satire in a futile effort to save himself, but few in the national brewing community saw it that way. A number of New Mexico breweries withdrew from the NIPAC in protest, making public statements condemning Metzger.

From Bosque Brewing: “Hey, Bosque Family. It is with serious disappointment that, in light of a recent article published by Brewing News, we are writing to let you know that we are pulling our beers from the National IPA Challenge effective immediately.

“The sexist and racist remarks made by editor Bill Metzger were deeply upsetting and do not reflect our sincere belief that the brewing industry should be an inclusive community free of misogyny, racism, or any behavior of the like.

“This decision was a very obvious one to make, and we appreciate your understanding.”


The National IPA Challenge has been sullied after the publisher of the Brewing News, which organizes the competition, wrote a sexist and offensive article this month.

Late Monday night, during a final perusal of Beer Twitter posts, I stumbled upon something truly horrific. Bill Metzger, the publisher for the Brewing News — that little once-every-two-months, regional mini-newspaper that you see scattered around breweries — had published an article in the Great Lakes edition (UPDATE: link now disabled) that could be best described as … well, horrific. It’s the one titled “Scottish Hopping to Real Ale.” (See below for a link responding to the original article.)

You only need to read the part on the front page to get the gist of how wholly inappropriate, and downright offensive, that the article is, and why it never should have been written in the first place. Heck, even just as an article about cask beers in Scotland, it is quite terrible, and deeply insulting to anyone with even an ounce of Scottish DNA in their bones.

Though Bill has since attempted to claim it was just satire in one of those non-apology-apologies, the damage has been done. Other beer writers are tackling this misogynistic catastrophe far beer than us, so we will let them do the primary talking here. So why bring it up? The National IPA Challenge, that’s why.

Originally, we were going to write a post today that breaks down the NIPAC for all the New Mexico entries. For those who need a refresher, the NIPAC is an annual competition for breweries around the country to have their IPAs compete in a bracket-style format. It is organized by, you guessed it, the Brewing News. Even as multiple breweries are pulling their advertising from the publication and demanding that it no longer be distributed in their taprooms, the beers for the NIPAC have already been shipped out.

We would not expect, nor demand, that any New Mexico brewery is suddenly going to pull its entries from the competition. It does have to give all the participants pause, however, not merely for this year, but certainly next year.

In our humble opinion, no brewery that claims to support equality can ever again associate itself with the Brewing News as long as Bill Metzger is publisher.

It is truly a shame that one man has undone the good work of many people, from the writers and editors who contribute to the publication, to everyone who has helped organize and judge at the NIPAC.

The craft brewing industry, and those industries associated with it such as the “beer media,” have taken major steps to address a lack of diversity and equality in what was traditionally a white male-dominated scene. It is clear we still have a ways to go, however.

Brandon wanted to add this: The craft beer community should be based on one thing: love and appreciation for craft beer. That has no room for racism, sexism, misogyny, or any other discriminatory behaviors.

We welcome all of your comments and input on this issue, but please, keep it civil. This is not a red-blue political issue, so let’s not make it one.

No cheers today, folks.

— Stoutmeister

Remember, you can still take home a local beer that keeps racking up award after award!

Remember, you can still take home a local beer that keeps racking up award after award!

Yeah, yeah, we are a couple days late with getting the reaction from Bosque Brewing about winning their second straight National IPA Challenge, a feat never accomplished before by any brewery. Well, thanks to my dad forgetting something important when traveling, I could not sit down with the staff Monday. Then on Tuesday, after doing the interview, I ended up sharing beers with the staff and Turtle Mountain brewer Tim Woodward, who had stopped by to say hello and congratulations to everyone. By the time I left, it was dinnertime for me and a certain four-legged friend I am taking care of, thus all of this was delayed (also, see how long The Week Ahead in Beer was this week, to know what I spent a good part of last night typing up). So, now that I have made my excuses, let us all get back to enjoying a remarkable accomplishment.

Bosque co-owner Jotham Michnovicz took me through the Monday madness, in part because brewer John Bullard was a little busy making more beer since the rest of you keep trying to drink it all up. The folks over at the Brewing News were the ones in charge of releasing the info. They first said that the Session IPA Bracket result, where Bosque’s Southwest Session IPA was going up against Lawson’s Finest Liquids’ Super Session #2, would be unveiled at 1 p.m., followed by the main IPA Bracket at 1:30.

“We were all kind of waiting in anticipation to see what was going to happen because we had two in the finals,” Jotham said. “And so the Session IPA was announced right at 1 p.m. I just kept hitting refresh on my browser probably every 10 seconds for the next half hour. So, here we are, getting super excited about what’s going to happen.”

And then this happened.

“I’m hitting refresh and one of our customers comes in for some half barrels,” Jotham said. “I’d already been set up to help him. I ran into the cooler to grab those half barrels and this is like 1:28 and it’s supposed to be released at 1:30. As soon as I get out of the cooler I hear people saying, ‘We got it! We got it!’ I check my (phone) notifications and everyone is saying, ‘We won, we won!’ There was all this anticipation built up and I got called away at the last second and missed it.”

While Jotham did not get to see it pop up on his computer at the exact moment it was announced, he and the rest of the staff certainly did plenty of celebrating. Multiple staff members shared congratulatory posts all over social media.

“I think our whole crew is just stoked about this,” Jotham said. “It creates a lot of good morale when you win an award like that. It reaches to every employee.”

It was just carrying on the good news from last Thursday.

“I think everybody was kind of riding high this week because of the Jackalope redevelopment, our Bernalillo production facility,” Jotham added. “To have Scale Tipper take the title, piggyback off that, it was a great week.”

As noted in that story, I was the one who got to tell everyone that Bosque had reached the semifinals. When John and I talked after the announcement, he said he had not yet been revved up for the competition as much as 2015 when Bosque first won. Jotham said that was pretty much the sentiment of everyone until it got down to the real possibility of a repeat on Monday.

“I think the anticipation ramped up much more quickly over a short period of time,” Jotham said. “Like you said, it wasn’t like we were in it for the first time this year. We were about 10 minutes out from the announcement and everyone was like getting shaky. ‘Oh, my gosh, we could win this.’”

Bosque defeated Comrade Brewing’s Superpower IPA in the final, as opposed to beating nearby Canteen’s Exodus in 2015. Still, New Mexico as a whole had three entries (Scale Tipper, Boxing Bear’s Bear Knuckle IPA, Turtle Mountain’s Adrift IPA) in the quarterfinals for the second year in a row (La Cumbre’s Project Dank was the third last year). There were two semifinalists again, though Bear Knuckle lost to Superpower. Throw in two Second Street entries — 4 Hour Lunch and Fulcrum — in the final 16, and New Mexico has truly cemented its place among the best IPA-producing states in the country.

“I don’t think we could be more proud about being part of New Mexico’s IPA culture,” Jotham said. “This competition was so heavily stacked and it’s so heavily stacked with awesome Albuquerque and New Mexico IPAs, it’s amazing. It’s amazing to be a part of that. It’s amazing to put our little city on the map, going up against these towns like San Diego, Portland, and Denver, and here’s little Albuquerque.”

Next up on the competition front for Bosque is the World Beer Cup, followed by the New Mexico IPA Challenge this summer (where they are two-time defending champions), and the Great American Beer Festival in the fall. We cannot wait to see how those turn out for Bosque and all of our local breweries as well.

Hurry over to any Bosque location for a pint of Scale Tipper while it lasts, or grab a bomber to take home (you can also buy them at Jubilation).

All in all, 2016 is off to a great start for our craft beer scene.


— Stoutmeister