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National IPA Competition | Hops not Hoops

Posted by Tapped Life on

For the last 8 years, the fine folks over at the Brewing News have done what we have all wanted to do, but lack the time and resources to complete in an orderly fashion: drink a lot of IPAs from around the country until finding the best one.

Sounds fun, but logistically, let’s be honest, it’s challenging. So hats off to the Brewing News for making this happen each and every year. Beer Sofa loves filling out brackets and trying to find the beers that are in each bracket so we can feel like maybe we were a part of something important. Because no one’s knocked on our door asking us to be judges. But, we digress…

National IPA competition | hops not hoops

 How BN makes this whole thing work: There are 3 judges to a panel. Each judge is given 2 beers. The judges do not know which beers they receive. The majority rules on which beer is best, wins the round, and advances on to the next bracket.

To keep things honest, a steward is responsible for serving beers to the judges. The beers are served in clean, small cylindrical glasses without identifying information. Each sample is a 3 ounce pour. No panel is allowed to judge more than six pairs of beer. At the end of the judging session, beer names are revealed to judges and winners are posted to the website.

It’s fascinating to watch the rounds advance and the brews that get chosen. This year, many IPAs from New Mexico made serious progress in the brackets, with Bosque Brewing’s Scale Tipper beating out Canteen Brew House’s Exodus IPA in the final round. Both breweries are in Albuquerque, NM. Which appears to be up and coming in the world of craft beer, and IPAs in particular. If no one is doing this yet, we recommend guided tours of the best IPAs in Albuquerque. Just sayin’…

National IPA competition | hops not hoops.

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