Reuben’s Brews Imperial Rye IPA has advanced to the 5th round of the National Imperial IPA Championships. In the fourth round, Reuben’s won a heated battle against itself. What does that mean? Exactly what it sounds like. Two beers from Reuben’s Brews advanced to the fourth round and found themselves pitted against each other. Now, one has moved on to the fifth round.
The Brewing News organizes these tournaments each year and breweries from across the country submit their IPAs and Imperial IPAs for the competition. The beers are organized into brackets, tournament style, and there are officially judged tasting events at select locations around the country. Beers compete in head to head competition and the winners of each round advance to the next. Eventually, a champion is crowned. Links to this year’s brackets are below.
What troubles me about the tournament is that it involves so many beers that I’ve never tasted. When I see that Sky Hag from Airways Brewing (blog sponsor) lost to Grand Canyon Brewing’s Hop Bomb IPA, I have no idea what the really means. And, of course, that only makes me want to drink all those beers, the ones about which I’ve never even heard.
But, alas, my personal frustration does not invalidate of the tournament.
Anyway, this year’s tournaments are now in round five (the elite eight). Of the eight beers remaining in the IPA bracket, you will find no Washington-brewed beers. However, in the Imperial IPA bracket, Reuben’s Brews has advanced. To move on to the final four, Reuben’s Brews Imperial Rye IPA will need to defeat the defending champion: Hop Juju from Fat Heads Brewery.
What is particularly impressive about Reuben’s run in the tournament is that in the last round (sweet 16), Reuben’s Brews defeated itself. That’s right, in the fourth round of the Imperial IPA Championship, Reuben’s Imperial Rye IPA defeated Reuben’s Imperial IPA.
Congratulations to Reuben’s Brews for doing so well. Cheers to you as you battle your way towards the final four and beyond! Go get ’em! In the words of Russell Wilson’s dad, “Why not you?”
Honorable mention: Barryessa Brewery from California also advanced on to the elite eight of the Imperial IPA Championship. The Brewmaster at Berryessa Brewing is Chris Miller, formerly the brewer at Snipes Mountain Brewing in Sunnyside, Washington. His success makes me happy: I didn’t nickname him “Hop Yoda” for nothing. Good IPA, he makes.
It should be noted that not every brewery and not every IPA is represented in these tournaments. It is a judged competition between the beers in the tournament, and that is all. Winning the NIPAC or the NIIPAC is an honor and an impressive feat, but consider the reality. Just about every one of America’s nearly 3,000 breweries makes at least one IPA. To say, “This is the best IPA,” assumes that you’ve tried them all. And you haven’t.
Here are links to the complete brackets so you can see who was involved and how they fared in the competition.