Great Lake Brewing News (a publication of Brewing News – North American’s regional beer newspapers) is kicking off the 2nd annual National IPA Challenge (NIPAC) and Boundary Bay Brewery is getting in on the action! Here’s how the whole thing works: participating IPA’s from across the nation are randomly pitted against each other in a head to head elimination bracket tournament. At beer festivals across the nation, judging for each round will commence and the IPAs will be whittled down to one winner. All judges are brewers who will not know which beers they are tasting and simply have the chore of choosing the best between the two samples provided. Each winner will advance to the next round. In this first round, which will take place in Syracuse, NY on February 22nd, our IPA is going up against Hop Hog IPA from Lancaster Brewing Company. Lancaster claims their “…formidable India Pale Ale has a hop aroma that demands attention. The bold, citrus hop flavor is blanaced by a dry malt character that makes this refreshing ale a true classic.” Thier IPA is created with Fuggles and Cascade hops and 2-row Barley, Caramel 40 and Ashburn Mild malts. In contrast, our IPA has a good body, a fairly strong alcohol content and an agressive fresh-hop quality. It is a very interesting beer and can be enjoyed by itself for its many interesting flavor highlights. We use Simcoe, Amarillo, Centennial Cascade and Crystal hops with Pale 2-row, Carastan, Crystal and Vienna malts. Find out which IPA wins the hearts of the judges. You, at home, can play along as well! Head to the Great Lakes Brewing News National IPA Challenge website and read the full descriptions of each of the IPA competitors. Enter your picks for winners in each round…prizes will be awarded for readers with correct NIPAC brackets! The top prize will be a free case of the 2009 NIPAC championship IPA. You can only submit one entry per round and entries must be submitted by midnight on Saturday, February 21st. At the completion of each round, winners will be posted to the web site within 24 hours, but you can also sign up for the Beer Brackets email and get notified as soon as the results are posted. So, round 1 is Febrary 22nd in Syracuse, NY. Round 2 is in Grand Rapids, MI on February 28th and round 3 is on March 7th in Philadelphia, PA. Buffalo, NY will host round 4 on March 14th and the Final Round and Championship Rounds will be in New York City on March 21st. Come on and get hopped up with us…take on the National IPA challenge and aquaint yourself with some excellent examples of craft beer from across the nation!