National IPA Championship Coming to Seattle
December 28, 2011 - 12:04 PMEnrollment is now open for the National IPA Championship (NIPAC). Each year the Brewing News invites brewers from across the country to enter a competition pitting beers against beers in a tournament-style elimination taste-off. Five locations across the country host tasting events throughout February. This year the tournament makes its first stop on the West Coast when the NIPAC comes to Seattle on February 18th (no details yet). The final round takes place in New York City on March 3rd.
The Brewing News invites spectators to fill out brackets (once available) and follow the competition. The top brackets—the ones that most accurately predict winners—take home prizes, though we have yet to see a list of prizes. If you want to play along, get on the NIPAC brackets email list, which advises you when the “Locker Room” is open and also provides weekly updates as the competition unfolds. (Get on the mailing list.)
Six Washington breweries signed up for the competition thus far: Silver City Brewery, Black Raven Brewing, Diamond Knot Brewing, Ice Harbor Brewing, Fremont Brewing, and Boundary Bay Brewery. Enrollment is still open. California boasts the most entrants with 12 breweries signed up already.
As of today 64 breweries are signed up , which means there is room for another 64. See the list of breweries currently enrolled.
Breweries can enter the competition online.
How It Works
The Brewing News describes NIPAC like this, “Participating IPAs from across the nation will be randomly chosen for a 1:1 single elimination bracket tournament. Winners of the first round will advance to the next. The complete IPA tournament bracket is posted on-line. The judgings will be held in several locations, including a West Coast site (new for 2012) beginning February 5, 2012…
“All judges will be brewers. They will be organized into panels of 3, and given the task of choosing the best IPA between two beers. The judges will not know what beers they are being served. The majority rules on the voting.
“A steward will serve the panel the two beers (Sample "Alpha" and Sample "Beta"). The beers will be served in clean, small cylindrical glasses. Each sample will be a 3 ounce pour. Once the preferred IPA is chosen, the panel will move to the next sample. No panel will judge more than six pairs.
“At the completion of the judging session, the names of the beers will be revealed to the panels and audience at large.”
In 2010 Fat Heads’ HeadHunter IPA defeated Firestone Walker’s Union Jack IPA in the final match. In 2009 Laurelwood’s Workhorse IPA took home top honors. In 2008, well, things were weird back then: a Red Ale took home the National IPA Championship trophy, defeating a Hefeweizen in the final match. Don't expect to see any Hefeweizen in this year's competition.
Round 1- February 5th @ Buffalo, NY
Round 2 - February 11th @ Syracuse, NY
Round 3 - February 18th @ Seattle, WA
Round 4 -February 25th @ Cleveland, OH
Final Round - March 3 @ New York, NY