My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, March 26th.
It’s that time of the year when men’s (and women’s) fancies turn to thoughts of Spring and all of the attention and excitement that can bring. I’m talking about basketball, of course… what were you thinking? The NCAA basketball tournament is in full swing and I have to admit, while my final pick is still in the running, my “bracket” is a little worse for wear at this point. Another sign of the season is a tournament of a different sort run by the Brewing News magazine; an intense competition between 128 IPA-style beers, called NIPAC – National IPA Competition – to see who would be this year’s best IPA beer.
The judges for this event are all brewers and beer connoisseurs, from all over the US, which meet during the tournament to grade each IPA pairing. These judges are organized in panels of 3 and are served the pair of beers to be judged without knowing what the beers are (blind tasting). Within the 3-member panel, the majority vote determines which of the beers in the judged pair wins. I don’t have any idea who you have to know (or?) to get to be one of these judges, but as a professed and acknowledged hop head, I would want/need/love to be a part of the judging for this event (hint, hint)!