New Mexico Brewers Guild IPA Challenge

I was excited to participate in the IPA challenge because IPA is such a good summertime, mountain beer. In Texas, where it’s hot, you’re pretty much stuck with hefe, witbier, Tecate and Lone Star, but there’s something about this high mountain air that just makes a summertime IPA taste so good.
I love New Mexico beer. The first time I stepped foot in to the Marble on a wintry afternoon, I knew I was in love. I widely proclaim to my Portlandia friends, that our lil Marble can hang with the best breweries in Beervana. And not only am I blessed with Marble within pedaling distance, now there’s La Cumbres, Il Vicino and Nexus just up the road.
Last week I headed up to a favorite Santa Fe pub, the “old” 2nd Street Brewery (not the one at the railyard!) to sample 18 of New Mexico’s finest IPAs in a blind tasting. Parking was a nightmare, and the patio was crowded, but the beers were delicious. I consider myself to have a pretty good palate, having come of age in Iowa with the dude that wrote the book for beer tasting … (check out before your next fest adventure) so I set to work on my epic tray of generous pours, and guess what? They all tasted like IPA. No Way!

After a jumble of highly scientific testing reports … “this one tastes like Waldorf Salad”… “ew, holy sh!t, I think it’s made with green chile!” and “I’ve definitely had a hangover from this one.” I cast my vote for #11. And I’m pretty sure I was a winner. No, actually, my new favorite tap room, Il Vicino took the top IPA trophy for yet another year. I drank well and ate well, and enjoyed the tasting, but was kind of disappointed that after months and months of drinking IPA all about town, I wasn’t given the blind tasting key to assure my own personal IPA-pertise. “This one has GOT to be from Marbs!” Well, I guess there’s more research to be done, it’s noon on Wednesday, which means I’ve got to run, after all, it’s cask-tappin’ time at Il Vicino! Cheers!


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