Over the weekend, members of The Indie Beer Show podcast held an event at The Rabbit Hole in Normal Heights to announce the winning beer from this year’s Sore Eye Cup competition. An annual tradition dating back to 2013, this contest includes local beers nominated by fans on social media. The top ten vote-getting entries are then passed on to a blind-tasting round, with the highest-scoring beer from that session being named champion. This year’s winner was Juice Maze IPA from The Original 40 brewpub in North Park.
That 7% alcohol-by-volume hazy IPA beat out beers from nine other San Diego breweries. That field included three other IPAs from Escondido Brewing, Pariah Brewing and Thr3e Punk Ales Brewing, of which only one other was Northeastern in style. Others in the top ten included 2kids Brewing (helles lager), 13 Point Brewing (pale ale), Burgeon Beer Co. (Kellerpils), Burning Beard Brewing (pilsner), Deft Brewing (porter) and Wild Barrel Brewing (guava Berliner weisse).
Winners were decided by a panel of judges that included members of the podcast, members of homebrew club QUAFF, industry members and other personalities in the local beer scene. Though The Original 40 has only been open around two months, its head brewer, Chris Gillogly, is no stranger to winning awards, having been the only local beermaker to bring home multiple medals at last year’s Great American Beer Festival. Former winners of the Sore Eye Cup include Burgeon’s Treevana IPA (2018), Benchmark Brewing’s Oatmeal Stout (2017), Second Chance Beer Co.’s Tabula Rasa (2016), AleSmith Brewing’s Speedway Stout (2015 and 2014) and Alpine Beer Co.‘s Nelson (2013).
In addition to creating a fun spectacle for breweries and beer fans alike, the Sore Eye Cup event also benefited the work of Mama’s Kitchen, a local non-profit providing meals to San Diegans in need. Attendees were asked to bring 25 pounds of non-perishable food to qualify for prizes donated by breweries and industry-appurtenant interests.
Editor’s Note: While Brandon Hernández is a co-host of The Indie Beer Show, he was prohibited from participating in the competition due to being employed by Societe Brewing Company.