It will probably come as no surprise to anyone that IPA is not my favorite beer style. Over the years I have come to appreciate them and actually drink them quite often as a matter of market research, but when it comes to ordering something to drink, with no ulterior motives, I always go a different direction. That’s right, I am IPA Challenged.
And there is no time that I am more IPA Challenged than in July. This is the month New Mexico breweries come together for a little friendly competition and to support our Guild in its largest fundraiser for the year, the New Mexico IPA Challenge. It is also a time that makes me anxious and panicked. You see, not only do I have a hard time enjoying an IPA, I have an even harder time enjoying 15 of them while trying to desperately decipher which one is ours and what is even worse: which one(s) I hope and pray are not ours.
As I sat down to write this, I realized that this year is the 7th IPA Challenge in a row that I have attended. Every year I plan. I pregame. I take pictures of our beer and try to match the color. And every year I get it wrong. Some years, I not only get it wrong and vote for a beer that is not Tractor, but I also convince my poor friends and family to vote not for their favorite but for the beer that I think is mine. Heart is racing. The list is posted. Sigh, twelve of my closest friends just voted for La Cumbre because I said I just knew it was ours.
Some people call it cheating to try and figure out which beer is yours and vote for that one. Cheating usually involves benefiting from your actions, which I have never done.
And so as I prepare for the finale of the 2017 IPA Challenge I offer this one piece of advice: Don’t try to guess who brewed what. Just go with the IPA that you enjoy the most on the tray. Doing so saves you a ton of stress and ensures that you get a pint of tasty beverage at the end that you will love. It is going to be my strategy come Saturday.