NM IPA Challenge – Elimination Round 2017

This year’s (2017) New Mexico IPA Challenge was one for the record books. A total number of 39 entries from breweries spanning the entire state. The beers were randomly numbered and assigned into 3 separate flights. Beers 1-13 in the first flight beers 14-26 in the second flight, and beers 27-39in the third flight (3 beers were missing so only 35 IPAs were judged) . I was personally given the first flight of NM IPAs consisting of beers 1-13 (Only 12 beers were on the flight, 1-12).

Despite being a very large venue Duel Brewing was absolutely packed with very little bar space or seating available. I found an empty spot with one of the guys from NM Darkside Brewcrew. There wasn’t a chair but I was just happy to have a spot to put my beer down. Also he was nice enough to let me sit for a while as I judged my flight. So thanks and shout out to Brandon for that!


I started with aroma and quickly sniffed and wrote notes on each as aroma tend to dissipate quickly. I then noted appearance such as color, clarity, head size, etc. Then the final test the taste which included a small sip from each. After I had judged all of the previous factors I sipped again and scored them on my overall impression. I then added the scores together and began my first round of elimination based on the lowest scores.

After my initial elimination leaving only 6 IPAs left on my tray, I put the scores to the side and finish my choice based simply on flavor, drink-ability and repeat-ability.  It should be noted that all of the beers were good and none of the entries I tasted were un-worthy of the challenge, while there were a few beers slightly out of style. The beers I had as my top 6 from flight 1 (1-13) are as follows in order starting with my favorite. #10, #11, #9, #3, #8, #2 and #6 almost making my cut.

MrHoppy’s Picks from Flight 1, Beers 1-13

#10 – Sidetrack Brewing
#11 – Santa Fe Brewing
#9 – Sierra Blanca
#3 – Spotted Dog Brewery
#8 – The 377 Brewery
#2 – Rowley Farmhouse Ales

Now for what you actually want to know, who actually won this thing. Yeah, yeah, no one cares what MrHoppy thinks… j/k I hope!

The Breweries that made the cut and will advance to the next round of the challenge are as follows.




NM IPA Challenge 2017 – Elimination Round Winners

The 377:  27
Bosque: 21
Boxing Bear: 17
Starr Bros: 17
Blue Corn: 16
Tractor: 15
La Cumbre: 14
Bow & Arrow: 12
Marble: 12
Second St: 12*
Quarter Celtic: 11
Ponderosa: 10
Canteen: 10
Steel Bender: 6*
Picacho Peak: NA*

(*Hosting breweries auto advance to next round.)

Not Moving On
Sierra Blanca: 9
Bathtub Row: 7
Rowley: 7
The Wellhead: 7
Santa Fe: 6
Duel: 6
Dialogue: 6
Palmer: 6
Rio Bravo: 6
Chama: 5
Drafty Kilt: 5
Kellys: 5
Spotted Dog: 5
Desert Valley: 3
Nexus: 3
Sidetrack: 3
Turtle Mountain: 3
Cazuela’s: 2
Red Door: 2
Enchanted Circle: 1
Three Rivers: 1

There are some really great beers represented in the NM IPA Challenge this year and we look forward the the ABQ leg of the competition!



About the author

ABQ Beer

ABQBeer.com is Albuquerque NM's #1 source for craft beer information, news, beer reviews, contests and much more! http://abqbeer.com/

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