Mashcraft Brewing’s ‘Mr. Wicked’s Hop Bonanza’ Offers Ideal Platform for Competitive Tasting

Mashcraft Brewing’s ‘Mr. Wicked’s Hop Bonanza’ Offers Ideal Platform for Competitive Tasting

thomas-jeschkeBy Thomas Jeschke for Indiana On Tap

There’s no better dream scenario for an IPA enthusiast than an IPA competition.  My personal affinity for this genre has developed over the past couple of years so when I heard that MashCraft Brewery in Greenwood was hosting Mr. Wicked’s Hop Bonanza, I knew it would be the perfect vehicle for testing my tongue.

Upon my arrival, I quickly learned that this wasn’t the first time that MashCraft has had a competitive tasting event; they’ve done Hop Bonanza at least twice and Stout Bonanza at least once.  The system and the platform were just fantastic.  I recommend it to anyone who likes to spend a few hours tasting a lot of good beer.  Here’s the quick rundown of how the event works:

4 Judges

Jordan – a volunteer bartender and Mashcraft beer lover.  6 years of craft beer drinking experience, drawn to the citrusy taste of IPAs.

Adam – a regular at MashCraft Brewery and a big fan of IPAs.  Happy to be here and a really nice guy.

Andrew – 10 years as a nationally accredited beer tasting judge, home-brewer of 18 years. You think he knows what he’s doing?

Sandy – 9 years as a nationally accredited beer tasting judge.  Has been in the craft beer game for close to 30 years and is looking for a “surgical bitterness” in her IPAs.  May or may not know more than Andrew…


16 IPAs.  Judges take a taste of each one and must eliminate 6 in Round One at which time the owner of MashCraft brewery will stand on the bar and pull tap handles for the losing beers out of an official barley bag and announce them to a thirsty crowd.  This thirsty crowd now gets to drink all of those out of their handy dandy tiny snifter tasting glasses.  6 more must be eliminated in the same manner in Round Two so before the Final Four beers are announced guests are enjoying 12 different styles of IPAs.  The judges now try each of the Final Four beers, the hype builds, and the barley bag disappears.  The owner now has official recycled cardboard boxes to pull the tap handles out of.  He announces them from 4th to 1st place.


1st – Daredevil Brewing – NEx IPA

2nd – MashCraft – MashCraft IPA

3rd – Fat Head’s – Head Hunter IPA (2014, 2015 Hop Bonanza Winner)

4th – Fat Head’s – Hop Stalker Fresh Hop IPA

What an incredible event. Congrats to all of the winners and thank you to Mashcraft for creating something that is truly one of a kind!

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