Posts Tagged ‘New Mexico Brewers Guild’

Senate Bill 413 passed the Roundhouse and obtained the Governor’s signature.

The good news broke Wednesday night at the top of the page listing bills signed into law by Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham. Senate Bill 413, which we profiled just recently, got the signature that craft breweries were hoping for and will become effective on July 1.

To sum up the benefits of the bill, breweries will now be able to sell beer at 11 a.m. on Sundays (no more waiting until almost halftime of NFL games); they can have private celebration permits for events like weddings, graduation parties, and so on; there will be minimum standards (50 barrels a year or 50 percent of all sales coming from beer brewed on site) for businesses to hold a small brewer license; and the excise tax has been ironed out, with breweries paying $.08 per gallon on the first 30,000 barrels produced. There are also benefits for cider producers and craft distillers.

In a legislative session crammed with so many bills, and an uncertain environment with the change in governors, no one was quite sure if the bill would pass. Thanks to State Rep. Javier Martinez and Senator Mimi Stewart, Guild lobbyists Al Park and Jason Weaks, and the tireless work of Tractor Brewing co-owner/president Skye Devore (who publicly spearheaded the Brewers Guild’s efforts), this bill not only passed both houses, but it reached the governor’s desk. At that point, all everyone could do was wait and hope it would not come down to Friday’s final deadline.

Thankfully, that wait ended Wednesday night, as Rep. Martinez tweeted out the news of the bill being signed, and a whole lot of online congratulations followed throughout the New Mexico craft beer community.

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All supporters of craft beer owe a huge thank you to SB413 sponsors Rep. Javier Martinez and Senator Mimi Stewart.

Senate Bill 413 is one of many sitting on the desk of New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham after the completion of the 2019 Legislative Session. It is, however, the one that will specifically affect our craft breweries, in a very good way, if it obtains her signature.

I sat down with Tractor Brewing co-owner/president Skye Devore, who spearheaded the effort on behalf of the New Mexico Brewers Guild, on Friday morning to go over what SB413 will mean to breweries if it is passed into law. The bill is pretty much as originally described by outgoing executive director John Gozigian, combining everything our breweries had hoped for into one bill in this legislative session. It passed the Senate by a 36-2 margin and the House by a 54-10 margin.

“I’m really proud of this because I feel like it has something in there for everyone in our membership,” Skye said. “It’s not a bill for the big breweries, or something that will just benefit the small ones. It had widespread support throughout our organization. I don’t think I got a single person saying I have a problem with any piece of this bill. And, that’s true across beer, cider, and spirits. We really all came together.”

Here is everything in the bill, summed up:

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The New Mexico Brewers Guild Board of Directors has selected Marble’s Leah Black as its next executive director.

The next step in the evolution of the New Mexico Brewers Guild will come with the appointment of its new executive director, who just happens to be someone familiar to most people involved in the local craft beer community.

Marble Brewery public relations and social media director Leah Black will officially succeed John Gozigian on March 25. The Board of Directors chose Leah based on her connections throughout the industry, her marketing background, and her enthusiasm for, well, just about everything.

“Social media is my passion, but the beer industry (as a whole) is my passion,” Leah said. “It’s really hard, because I have a big chunk of my heart here (at Marble). But, I also am a firm believer in paying attention to what the universe brings to you.”

Initially, Leah did not apply for the job. The Board eventually reached out to her and others who seemed like good candidates.

“We advertised that the position was available, we advertised through our newsletter, on Indeed, and also on Brewbound dot com,” John said. “A lot of the resumés we were getting through employment websites, nobody really had relevant experience. We did get a handful of resumés from the local beer community and we actually had several good candidates. It was a tough decision, actually.

“When we weighed each candidates’ skills and personality, reputation within the community, everything gelled around Leah. We didn’t get much through our traditional sources. What the Board decided to do was reach out to people in the community that they thought would be good candidates.”

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The fourth annual Stout Invitational at Bathtub Row Brewing was a smash hit.

For the first time in four years, Stoutmeister made it to the Stout Invitational up at Bathtub Row Brewing in Los Alamos this Saturday. This annual New Mexico Brewers Guild event brings stout lovers together from across the state in a unique setting atop the mountain in a perfect stout weather kind of day.

The winner of the public vote for this fun competition was El Choco by Lost Hiker Brewing from Ruidoso. It earned 24 votes, beating out Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Imperial Stout (18) and Blue Corn’s Whiteout Stout (16). The best performance by an Albuquerque brewery was Tractor’s Chocolate Milk Stout, which was fourth with 13 votes (it was my choice out of the group, FYI).

Lost Hiker brewmaster Dan Carey holds his first major beer award.

For Lost Hiker, it was the first major award for the young brewery.

“It’s just unbelievable, I’m blown away,” brewmaster Dan Carey said. “We’re so excited. There’s so much good beer in New Mexico for us to come out on top, I drank 16 different beers, and they were all fantastic. This was a great honor.”

Here are the final public voting totals:

  1. Lost Hiker El Choco 24 votes
  2. Roosevelt Bull Moose 18
  3. Blue Corn Whiteout Stout 16
  4. Tractor Chocolate Milk Stout 13
  5. Bombs Away Fat Man Stout 11
  6. Truth or Consequences Dark Skies 11
  7. Bathtub Row Imperial Stout 7
  8. Flix Brewhouse Rubus Nucifera 6
  9. Red River Midnight Meadows 5
  10. The 377 Mimosa Delight 5
  11. Blue Heron Prieto Real 2
  12. Chili Line New Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout 2
  13. Nexus Hot Chocolate Milk Stout 2
  14. Steel Bender Brickie American Stout 2
  15. Red Door Paint it Black Nitro Milk Stout 1
  16. Rio Bravo Barrel-Aged Grab ‘Em By the Putin 1

Unlike the Stout Challenge that the Brew Crew holds, the Invitational features all sorts of stouts, from imperials to coffee stouts to others with special adjuncts. The format is similar, though, with the beers numbered as a blind taste test. It lacks the competitive ferocity of the IPA Challenge, but still manages to be an entertaining event, as it shows the variety in what people want in a stout. Whiteout Stout, for instance, is a pale stout, and it truly stood out on the tray (not unlike that one year someone put a black IPA in the NMIPAC).

Blue Corn’s Whiteout Stout was the visual standout on the tray of 16 stouts.

It was pretty packed inside the ‘Tub, but the staff kept things flowing well, with the Brewers Guild volunteers running the show in an efficient manner between the three separate judging shifts (noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m.) due to the limited seating. It was also more than a bit cold outside, so unless you could find a spot along the fire pit, stays on the patio were short.

In the end, it was a good day atop the hill. Enjoy some additional photos of the event!

A huge thank you to John Gozigian and the Guild volunteers, the staff at Bathtub Row, and all the patrons. Raise those dark elixirs high in celebration of winter!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The new project from outgoing Brewers Guild executive director John Gozigian.

The news that New Mexico Brewers Guild executive director John Gozigian was stepping down at the end of March did not catch us by complete surprise when it was announced last week. We were aware of John being involved in a new project coming to replace the Bosque San Mateo taproom/brewery, and seeing as how the Guild bylaws prohibit the director from having a financial stake in any brewery, that meant his time would eventually be up.

That time is almost here, so I sat down with John over lunch on Monday to talk about his new project, La Reforma, as well as his time with the Guild and what is coming down the line.

“It’s been in the works for a little while,” he said. “When Bosque announced that they were going to developing the Open Space (location), and I learned that they were basically going to leave the space on San Mateo, it got me to thinking. I never intended to get back into the brewing industry. Even less so, was I interested in getting back into the restaurant business.

“But, from an entrepreneurial point of view, you look at a second generation restaurant/brewery space becomes available, and you can potentially cut in half the cost of developing it for that use. The infrastructure is already there.”

John said he talked to managing director Gabe Jensen and ended up “shocked” that no one had approached Bosque about taking over the space. That led to John making a call to an old friend.

“I ran the idea by my former Marble and Santa Fe Dining partner Jeff (Jinnett) about his level of interest in getting back into the brewery/restaurant business,” John said. “Jeff was kind of the same mind I was after we left Marble, don’t need to do (another) brewery, don’t need to do a restaurant. It’s like the Mob, you know, every time you try to get out, they pull you back in. We tend to gravitate back to what we know and what our area of expertise is.”

Our first photo of John Gozigian as Guild executive director was snapped at Starr Brothers three years ago. My, how time flies.

It was Jeff who came up with the idea for La Reforma, which will bring a new theme and approach to a brewery in a town loaded with options.

“Over the years, Jeff had always talked about the restaurants he went to when he was a kid in Mexico City, because he grew up there,” John said. “He would go to these carnitas restaurants, these huge places that specialized in carnitas and tacos, and it was a real family (friendly) thing. There was beer, too. We had talked over the years that if we ever did a brewery again, we would do a Mexico City-style culinary experience, and do some Mexico-style beers, lagers, obviously.”

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Whether in Denver at the Great American Beer Festival, or in Santa Fe at the State Legislature, or in Albuquerque at multiple events, Brewers Guild executive director John Gozigian is one of the hardest working people in our local scene.

New Mexico Brewers Guild executive director John Gozigian and the board of directors had a busy, but fairly by-the-numbers year in 2018. That figures to change a lot in 2019, both in terms of events and at the legislative session in Santa Fe.

I sat down with John over lunch at Nexus last week to recap how the past year went and what is to come when the calendar flips in a few weeks for our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series. While the more immediate changes with events will affect the beer-loving crowd more right away, the more lasting changes for the entire industry will come when the state legislature meets in January.

“It’s going to be a busy session for us,” John said. “We’ve had an economic turnaround in the state, where our state government is not starved for funding. (That) means that we can go after some of the issues that have been in our back pocket for many years that it just had not been an opportune time to address.”

The first change the breweries hope to make is in the state excise tax. New Mexico breweries currently pay more than their counterparts in any other neighboring state, save for Utah. The current excise tax setup will end in 2023, but the Guild hopes to negotiate new terms now.

“We’d like to make that permanent so our small breweries can continue to benefit from a lower excise tax rate that allows them to grow,” John said, “And, it’s also a tax rate that’s in line with our surrounding states, as opposed to being double, or triple, or quadruple what our counterparts pay. So that’s on the agenda.”

A lower tax will allow the breweries to continue to grow, add more staff, and continue to make what is currently a sizable, positive economic impact upon the state. There are no guarantees, however, that it will pass in this session, even with state revenues in the black for the first time in a long time.

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Brewer Paul Mallory hoists the NM IPA Challenge trophy after pulling off the victory.

BERNALILLO — What has happened before will happen again.

It is not just a line from the last version of Battlestar Galactica, but it is a summation of the 2018 New Mexico IPA Challenge. Blue Corn, the 2013 winner, has recaptured the title in a stunning upset of the biggest breweries in the state. The little brewpub that could has done it again.

“I think it’s kind of cool to bring the trophy back to Santa Fe,” said BC head brewer Paul Mallory, who had trouble forming words after his brewery took its second-round lead and carried that over to a commanding victory.

Blue Corn racked up 83 total votes, including a round-best 45 on Saturday. The final round was a resounding success at Bosque North, with short lines, plenty of space, and a general sense of positive camaraderie in all corners of the new location.

Two-time defending champion Boxing Bear finished second with 69 votes for its AlbuMurky Hazy IPA, while Marble was third with 68 votes for Safeword IPA. Red River (57), La Cumbre (55), Kellys (39), Rio Bravo (39), Quarter Celtic (38), Second Street (38) and Kaktus (33) rounded out the top 10.

This is only the second time that a brewery outside of Albuquerque has won the NMIPAC. The last time? Well, it was Blue Corn in 2013, then featuring current Bosque director of brewing operations John Bullard in the command seat.

The final voting tally for the 2018 NMIPAC.

“I think that Blue Corn has been around for so long that everybody has made up their mind about it,” Paul said. “In a way, this will make people pay attention to Blue Corn (again).”

Paul said the key to victory was hitting all the right spots with hopheads in this state.

“I think it was nice and clean, it had that really nice bitterness,” Paul said.

Paul came to Blue Corn from a brewery, Black Diamond, in Northern California, but he was born and raised in New Mexico.

“New Mexico has taught me more about IPAs than California, they try to dry them out,” he said. “I think New Mexico taught me more about it than anyone else.”

Congratulations to Paul, Blue Corn, and everyone in New Mexico. This has been another great IPA Challenge, and we look forward to everyone raising their game for the 2019 edition.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Here we go again, hopheads!

Every year as a public service, the Crew likes to provide a sort of survival guide for those who are new to the NM IPA Challenge. Of course, this year will also be a new experience for many at Bosque North, the new brewery/taproom facility off Highway 550 in Bernalillo. Think of this as a giant FAQ to help get you through Saturday with the best experience possible (well, unless your favorite brewery fails to win, but we can’t control that).

How do we get to Bosque North?

The facility is located just west of the Rio Grande along 550. The hope was to have the main paved entrance way done in time for Saturday, but as of Wednesday’s sneak preview, it was not ready yet. Cross your fingers on that one. The building is impossible to miss, at least, but for those coming from Rio Rancho east on 550, for safety’s sake you might need to cross the bridge and flip a U-turn at the first red light.

Should anyone drive out there?

Truthfully, no, you should rely on a designated driver, or a ride share service. Another option is to book a room at the new hotel at the Santa Ana Star Casino and walk over. Just watch out for all the construction. Train #704 of the Rail Runner would drop you off at approximately 1:53 p.m. at Bernalillo Station, but that is a long walk to the brewery. Even from there, you would probably need an Uber/Lyft, and we honestly have no idea how many drivers will really be in the Bernalillo area. The event runs from noon to 4 p.m., so you would still have time to get there, but walking would be limiting your sampling time. Also, take note that while there is a lot of parking, there is not enough for every expected person (last year it was around 300) to drive separately.

How much space is at Bosque North?

This is just part of the floor space at Bosque North on the ground floor portion of the taproom, prior to the addition of tables and chairs.

There should be enough space, but this round is always the most crowded. For those who think, “Oh, it’s OK, people will leave after they make their selections,” um, no. Just about everyone stays until the end to find out the results. Take note that arriving early is always your best bet to ensure you have a table space inside, where your IPAs will not warm up too quickly. Yes, the outside patio is covered, but it still projects to be pretty warm Saturday (93 degrees, per the weather app on my phone). The upstairs patio does not have as much cover, but it is on the east side of the building, at least. Still, inside is better.

Is there food?

We always recommend you eat something hearty before you head up, but UPDATE: the kitchen will not be up and running, but Bosque has acquired the services of The Supper Truck to be on site.

Can we tour the brewery?

That will be up to the folks at Bosque if there will be any brewery tours. Without knowing their full plan, they might even open up the brewery area for additional seating, though we cannot confirm that (yet).

The next set of FAQs are for folks who are new to the NMIPAC, so for all you veterans, you can skip out and we will see you Saturday.

Are there any tickets left?

No, the event has sold out. There’s always the chance you can find one unlucky person selling a ticket or two if he/she cannot attend, but there are no guarantees.

How should we go about sampling all these IPAs?

Use your other senses before taste. Start with the appearance, which is more important this year than in the past. There are New England-style hazy IPAs on the tray alongside the more traditional West Coast-style hop bombs. They will be pretty easy to tell apart; what you do with that information is up to you, depending on how you like the two styles. After the visual inspection, smell all 16 samples. IPAs are meant to be enjoyed in terms of their aroma, too. Think of this as your way of discerning which ones might be in the style that you prefer.

Won’t people just vote for their favorite brewery instead of the best IPA?

The beers are numbered randomly. The numbers change every round, so I do not have an advantage even after participating in the first round in Taos, nor does Luke after being at the second round at Second Street Rufina. If you can pick out your favorite brewery’s entry, first, that is impressive (brewers often cannot figure out their own beer), and second, it is totally up to you how to vote.

The updated standings after the second round at Second Street Rufina.

Once we start tasting, do we drink them all? Do we go in order?

The order you drink them in is completely up to you. There is also no rule that you have to finish every sample cup. If you do not like one, or it just comes off as “meh,” set it aside. We always recommend you try every beer twice, unless it is so obviously bad to your palate, in which case dump that one and move along. You will be provided paper to take notes, so take advantage of that to help you remember what you’re tasting and smelling.

How should we judge what’s good and what’s bad?

That is entirely up to you. You can go for whatever you think is the best IPA to hit the points of what you consider true to style, or you can just pick the one you most want to drink. Remember, your vote gets you a full pint, so if you think the most bitter one on the tray is the most deserving, you’re going to have to drink 16 ounces of it. This is your chance to vote, so you do not have to go with the crowd unless you want to; this is as subjective as it gets.

But don’t the breweries really take this seriously? Shouldn’t we treat this like a Cicerone exam?

The breweries love getting bragging rights, but the purpose of the NMIPAC is to be both fun and a fundraiser. This is the single largest event where the NM Brewers Guild raises the money it needs to represent all of its members in Santa Fe. The next legislative session could see a lot of bills that could benefit breweries, and likely some that will be coming after breweries, if for nothing else than to raise their excise taxes to pay for the State’s budgetary woes (or pork projects, depending on who’s the bill’s sponsor). Just enjoy this chance to gather with your fellow beer geeks, engage in some friendly banter, and support the Guild and all the breweries.

If there are any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask the Crew, the Guild, or the participating breweries.

See you all Saturday afternoon!

— Stoutmeister

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Shout out to my man Jason Soto, for the great picture and for keeping the lines of New Mexico clean with Prime Lines. A huge thank you from all of us! Cheers, brother.

The New Mexico IPA Challenge is well underway, and the question of fairness has come up a bit, to say the least. Well, at least from a technical standpoint, rest assured, our IPA Challenge is as fair as it can be because the Brewers Guild and its volunteers have taken steps to ensure that each beer gets the proper treatment, such as the proper cleaning of draft lines before and during the competition.

Draft beer line cleaning is a little known and often overlooked aspect of the craft brewing scene. But, it is much more important than we think. It’s far more important than the temperature of our beer and what sort of glassware it arrives in. (Although our friend Karim may argue with me on that.) Have you ever sat down at a new bar or establishment, and, having seen it on the list, ordered up your favorite IPA? And, upon first taste, you say to yourself, “Is this the same beer? I know this beer. This tastes weird. This isn’t my beer.” But, it is.

We all have, my friends. Aside from other small variables, like how old a keg is, when it comes to taste issues with a well-brewed beer at a bar, pub, or even (to a much lesser extent) brewery, the problem is usually dirty draft lines. Dirty draft lines cause all sorts of disgusting and unsanitary health issues, but often most noticeably to the public, the issue is taste. And, if we’re not in the tasting business, why are we even talking about beer? Without clean draft lines, the beer that your favorite brewers worked so hard to create won’t be the same beer you find in your glass. Can you see why this would be an issue in a competition based on taste?

So, I put it to the folks at Prime Lines, the company responsible for cleaning the lines prior to the preliminary round and then the first leg of the NMIPAC. I wanted to get down and dirty to clear up why it’s so important that someone properly maintains beer lines for this competition as well as for all beer drinking, ever. Amen. Enter Prime Lines co-founder Angelo Oroña.

DSBC: So, tell me a little bit about Prime Lines, who you are and what you do?

Oroña: Prime Lines Inc. is New Mexico’s first and only third-party draft beer system maintenance and installation company. We clean nearly 1,000 lines statewide for New Mexico’s breweries and wholesalers. We adhere to the Brewers Association guidelines for draft system maintenance, as set out in the Draught Beer Quality Manual. This means we clean all lines under contract on a bi-weekly basis to ensure the beer gets from keg to glass as the brewer intended.

Additionally, we design and install draft beer systems for bars, restaurants, breweries and taprooms, including the forthcoming LOBO Taproom on UNM’s Campus!

DSBC: For a new LOBO Taproom on campus? That’s some big news! We’ll be sure to cover that as more news is forthcoming.

Prime Lines has been an associate member of the New Mexico Brewer’s Guild since they founded the company in November 2016.

DSBC: How did you guys get involved with the New Mexico IPA Challenge (NMIPAC) this year? Was this Prime Lines first major involvement?

Oroña: For the last two years, Prime Lines has cleaned and serviced the lines for the elimination round of NMIPAC, held at Duel ABQ. All faucets, keg couplers, and lines were professionally cleaned by our team to ensure the integrity of the beer and the competition. John Gozigian (executive director of the NM Brewers Guild) asked that we clean all the lines prior to competition.

DSBC: So on a technical level, what does Prime Lines do to “level the playing field?”

Oroña: Prime Lines helps to level the playing field by giving each beer a chance to be presented the way the brewer intended. The lines are cleaned with a special caustic solution that is designed to eliminate any organic compounds that may have been left behind from a previous beer that was poured through the line. The beer faucets are scrubbed clean and the keg couplers are serviced to perform as intended.

DSBC: Are you folks cleaning ALL the lines for the duration of the competition?

Oroña: Prime Lines was asked by the NMBG to clean lines for the elimination round of the NMIPAC.  We routinely service and clean the Taos Mesa Taproom, so we made sure to service that account before the first round. I have no doubt the other host breweries will present the beer at top quality! For Bosque’s Bernalillo facility, these IPAs may be the first beers ever to flow through the lines!

For the Second Street Brewery Rufina second leg of the NMIPAC, brewers Tom and Kevin will be cleaning the lines late Friday night after the close of business.“That way they can make sure everything is clean, and flushed, and cold before (Saturday) morning,” front-of-house manager Mariah Scee informed me.

DSBC: What other variables is the Guild controlling to keep this a fair competition from a technical standpoint? Temp? Pressure? Etc.?

Oroña: Each of the beers for this competition is preserved in a chilled environment prior to competition. The beers are served under ideal conditions by volunteers that have experience in beer dispense. Many volunteers work very hard to ensure that the NMIPAC is a great event and fair competition.

In years past, the IPAs of the Challenge have been poured through jockey boxes — the cooler and hose set ups you often see at festivals — due to the sheer number of beers, and the inability of most taprooms to pour all of them (often alongside their own beers). Not every brewery has 24-plus taps.

DSBC: In your expert opinion, what are some of the drawbacks to pouring IPAs through various jockey boxes?

Oroña: Jockey boxes are never an ideal beer dispense option. Maintaining beer keg temperature in the middle of a New Mexican summer with bags of ice is challenging. Variations in jockey box design can also lead to technical issues arising during the competition. Variables such as consistent temperature, CO2 pressure and line restriction all play into pouring a proper beer.

Prime Lines was established to protect the integrity of beer. Our partnership with the New Mexico Brewers Guild on the NMIPAC was a natural fit. We deeply care about draft beer quality and hope to continue to support NM’s burgeoning craft beer scene. We are proud to be on the forefront of clean draft lines and draft beer dispense education in New Mexico.

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With clean lines, we have beer as the brewers intended. Gone, hopefully, are the days of pouring issues mucking up a clear-cut victory. Of course, that leaves the rest of the competition in the hands of those who come out to these events. As with all democratic processes, you can’t complain if you don’t come out and vote. And no, it’s not a perfect system, but it is well run by people who really care about beer. Now it’s at least a fairer fight without pouring issues to worry about.

As for the rest of the competition, I’ll leave you with a quote from a friend of the Guild and the Crew, Boxing Bear co-owner Kevin Davis. Via Facebook, he commented, “This friendly competition is about raising money for the Guild, celebrating NM’s great breweries and having a few laughs along the way. Everyone works hard to put on this event… not the easiest job to organize. Kudos to Duel and Taos Mesa for hosting the first two rounds, and thanks to John G and the Guild volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes making it fun. Cheers!”

The IPA Challenge continues tomorrow from noon to 4 p.m. at Second Street Rufina, locatd at 2920 Rufina Street, Santa Fe, NM, 87507. Tickets available here!

— Luke

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This is Luke’s fifth time covering the Santa Fe NM IPA Challenge, and his fifth year with the Crew.

The final results from the preliminary round. The number on the left is what the brewery was on the tray. The circled number on the right is the voting total. Any brewery with a star advanced, plus Kaktus later got a star to also advance.

The results of the NM IPA Challenge preliminary round are in and the breweries which will continue on to the next round are as follows (votes in parentheses): Marble (29), Boxing Bear (26), Bow & Arrow (16), Blue Corn (15), La Cumbre (15), Quarter Celtic (15), Rio Bravo (14), Kellys (13), Santa Fe (12), Red River (11), Red Door (11), Kaktus (11).

They will join the host breweries — Duel, Taos Mesa, Second Street, Bosque — which all had byes.

UPDATE: Kaktus did advance, so there will be 16 total IPAs on the trays at the next three rounds. It would be bad journalism if we neglected to disclose that Kaktus also received 11 votes. We don’t know, at this juncture, how the tiebreaker was decided since this was a three-way tie with Red River and Red Door.

Some of the notable breweries to not advance included Bombs Away, Canteen, Nexus, Starr Brothers, Steel Bender, Three Rivers, Tractor, and Turtle Mountain.

Things ran relatively smoothly at this event hosted by Duel in downtown ABQ. The event ran from noon to 4 p.m. with a short line existing around 12:15 and results announced around 4:15. The flow of people/beer was slow, yet steady and efficient.

Because all beers were served from the same tap system, and all lines were cleaned in advance, we have no doubt this was another great NM IPA Challenge event from a quality standpoint. All 43 beers (down from 46) were poured with the same conditions with equal representation. Out of consideration for safety, the samplings were broken down onto three trays, with each individual selecting his/her favorite from his/her respective tray of beers.

The Crew had a nice showing with myself and Luke arriving around 12:15, and then running into Jerrad and Shawna inside. At that point, the inside of Duel was already packed with people. We were resourceful enough to move tables around on the roof deck in such a way that our beers were kept in the shade throughout tasting, while our bodies were burned to a crisp in the sun. Two pieces of constructive criticism: (1) offer additional tables indoors since there seemed to be enough extra space, and (2) set up some cover on the rooftop to keep the IPAs out of the sun.

The next leg of the NM IPA Challenge happens Wednesday at Taos Mesa Brewing Taproom (right off Main Street in Taos). We hope to see you out there to support the NM Brewers Guild. May the best IPA win!

Cheers!

— Andrew and Luke