Take that IPA Challenge


IPA is nearly always my go to beer. In light of recent events, getting my favorite Farmer’s Almanac IPA has become much easier. Getting to the meat of the matter; I noticed New Mexico Brewers Guild was holding an IPA Challenge in August. I was bent on going to taste a little from all over New Mexico. So naturally I checked the Facebook news for details about the event. New Mexico Brewers Guild was holding a contest for free tickets to the IPA Challenge at the Santa Fe Brewery. To my amazement I won!

Now I am fully aware that in a blind challenge such as this you are supposed to taste and test your palette for what you really like, vote for your favorite and call it a day. I took a different approach. I wanted to vote for Tractor and miscalculating my palette was not an option.

  • First: I needed to find a buddy (extra free ticket would not go to waste) to head up to Santa Fe with me, called my pops that was an easy sell. He’s in
  • Second: to prepare I drank the Farmer’s Almanac IPA everyday that week coming up to the event
  • Third: I panicked thinking about 14 different beers I would have to choose from
  • Fourth: I collected myself and decided to do a mock blind taste test the night before the challenge. Hit the store and bought 8 single IPA beers, local if possible. Gathered a few friends, we each poured each other’s beers so to not give the mystery away. We took a sample of the “control” just to taste and view the color. Even though we had 8 beer samples the Almanac was quite easy to spot by color – nonetheless we could not waste beer so we trudged on.
  • Fifth: Take one last sample day of the challenge and we are off!

Pops and I arrived just after 4pm and it was already quite busy. We snagged a bench outside with other challengers and begin. We were able to narrow down to 3 possibilities. We squabbled for a bit but in the end I trusted my Pops and he was right; 2 solid votes for my very favorite Almanac. By the time we sampled everything we just did not have room for our prize pint of beer.

My personal challenge was a huge success! Yes I hunted, picked and chose my favorite beer but I also learned…sort of. The mock blind taste test was actually where my palette really bloomed (the pressure was too high at the event itself). The Farmer’s Almanac by itself is wonderful but when compared to other IPAs I was able to detect more subtle notes and flavors undetected alone. I also found a lovely back up just in case my beloved Almanac is nowhere to be found. So there, I did in fact accomplish what the New Mexico Brewers Guild wanted me to do.  Sort of.

-Nicole Duke, Brew Princess