March Madness arrived big-time at Trickster’s today with the news of a major national award.
The Coeur d’Alene brewery’s Juice Box IPA has been named grand champion of the National IPA Championships sponsored by the Brewing News.
“We’re beyond excited here,” owner Matt Morrow said. “We went up against some of the best and won.
“We’re humbled to be in with everybody there. The pedigree of the competition speaks for itself.”
In its 11th year, the competition attracted 158 entries from across the country in the regular IPA category (there also were categories for imperial, session and specialty IPAs). They were divided into three brackets, NCAA basketball tournament style.
Trickster’s took top honors in the weekend’s final round over the winners of the other two brackets, second-place Hazer Beam from Barley Brown’s (Baker City, Oregon) and third-place Boat Shoes from Karl Strauss (San Diego).
Judging was conducted through a series of tastings over the past several weeks in New York, where The Brewing News is headquartered, by panels of “brewers and qualified hop lovers.”
It’s the second New York-based award in the past month for the fruity, Simcoe-focused Juice Box, which is available in 22-ounce bottles and accounts for 70 percent of Trickster’s overall production.
It took a silver medal in February’s New York International Beer Competition, judged by buyers for retailers, restaurants and distributors. Trickster’s American Stout also earned bronze in that competition.
Trickster’s is planning a party for Friday to celebrate the latest victory, though details haven’t been firmed up, Morrow said.
He said Trickster’s is talking with Barley Brown about doing a collaboration beer, and also plans to approach Karl Strauss.
Morrow founded Trickster’s in December 2012. He has since turned over brewing duties to head brewer Evan Ruud (formerly of Winthrop’s Old Schoolhouse Brewery), who arrived in 2014, and assistant Nathan Vesser.
They entered Juice Box, which debuted in 2015, in the National IPA Championships the previous two years but didn’t advance past the third round.
The competition has been dominated the past four years by two Albuquerque breweries: La Cumbre, whose Project Dank won in 2017 and 2014, and Bosque, the 2015-16 winner with Scale Tipper. Barley Brown’s Pallet Jack took top honors in 2013.
All again were part of this year’s field. Other Northwest entries included Aslan’s Simcoe Slice, Shook and Batch 15; Boneyard’s Bone-A-Fide, RPM and Enzymatic; Fremont’s Lush, Interurban and Mountain Daisy; GoodLife’s Descender; Laurelwood’s Workhorse; Odin’s Galactic Space Dragon; Old Schoolhouse’s Goat Peak; Reuben’s Crikey, Bits & Bobs and Triumvirate; and Two Beers’ Wonderland Trail and The Other Coast.
On its way to the championship round, Juice Box defeated Southern Tier IPA (Lakewood, New York), Revival You Thirsty? (Evergreen, Colorado), Shipyard Monkey Fist (Portland, Maine), Hop Dogma AlphaDankopotamus (Half Moon Bay, California), Knee Deep Breaking Bud (Auburn, California) and Canteen Hop Baller (Albuquerque, New Mexico).
The Brewing News produces a series of regional beer publications that are distributed through brewery taprooms, including the Northwest Brewing News and Rocky Mountain Brewing News.