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Alpha King Challenge

Congratulations to Kirk McHale of Melvin Brewing
The 2013 Alpha King!

Click to watch the 2013 Alpha King Challenge Champion Video.

To receive e-mail updates regarding the Alpha King Challenge, click here.

Registration for the 2014 Alpha King Challenge is OPEN!
Click here to register.

Only the first 150 entries will be accepted, so plan to register early.

Grand Prize: $500 cash, an official Alpha King crown, bragging rights,
AND a spot in our featured brewery video series

1st runner-up: $300 cash
2nd runner-up: $200 cash

Alpha King 2014 will be held Friday, October 3 at Rock Bottom Denver Downtown.
Judging begins at 1 pm. The King will be crowned between 3 and 4 pm. Join us anytime!

Since 1999, Hopunion LLC, Brewing News Publications and Three Floyds Brewing Company, have been scouring the country for the best hop-laden beers. Each year, a team of brewers and veteran beer writers test the vigor of their hoppy findings and crown an Alpha King, deeming his (or her) beer to be the holy grail of well-balanced and drinkable, yet highly-hopped ales. The Alpha King Challenge is a battle of the brews!

Congratulations to Kirk McHale of Melvin Brewing Company/Thai Me Up Restaurant for claiming the 2013 Alpha King Crown! 

In 2012, as a first time Alpha King entrant, Thai Me Up Restaurant and Brewery took the competition by storm and captured the crown with 2x4, a self-proclaimed quadruple pale ale (Imperial IPA). 2013 was no exception. In a field of 136 hop forward entries, representing more than 90 commercial craft breweries, 2x4 dominated the competition, earning top honors and taking home the crown.

When asked about their winning beer, owner Jeremy Tofte touted it's clarity, smoothness and refreshing citrus taste. Tofte praised his team for their creativity in the brew house claiming "nothing like it has been done in Wyoming before."

The entries in this year's Alpha King Challenge represented many of the most notable, hop-forward breweries in the nation. With entries from Beachwood BBQ, Bear Republic, Berryessa, Boneyard, Equinox, Il Vicino, Rip Current, La Cumbre, Melvin, Pizza Port Ocean Beach and Pizza Port San Clemente advancing to the final round, the stage was set for a truly epic, battle of the brews.

While the road to victory was steep and filled with many worthy contenders, the judges had no problem picking the top entry. For the second year in a row, Kirk McHale of Melvin Brewing Company in Jackson, Wyoming ascended to the throne with 2x4, an Imperial IPA. Second place was awarded to Il Vicino Brewing Company of Albuquerque, New Mexico for Exodus IPA, from brewer Brady McKeown, and third place, Rip Current Brewing Company of San Marcos, California with In the Curl Imperial IPA from brewer Paul Sangster.

Named in honor of Three Floyd’s Alpha King Pale Ale, the Alpha King Challenge is an annual competition held during the Great American Beer Festival® and is open to commercially licensed breweries throughout the United States. Entries are judged on overall quality and balance of flavor, and must have a minimum 60 IBUs (no barley wines allowed).

Questions regarding the Alpha King Challenge can be directed to

The King's Court

2013 - Kirk McHale

2 x 4

Melvin Brewing / Thai Me Up Restaurant
Jackson Hole, WY


2012 - Kirk McHale
2 x 4

Thai Me Up Brewery
Jackson Hole, Wyoming


2011  - Jeff Bagby
Poor Man's Double IPA

Pizza Port Carlsbad
Carlsbad, California


2010 - Jeff Bagby
Poor Man's Double IPA

Pizza Port Carlsbad
Carlsbad, California


2009  - Brian Hutchinson
Hop Vivant Imperial IPA

Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery
Boulder, Colorado


2008 - Tomme Arthur
Hop 15 Double IPA

Port Brewing Company
San Marcos, California


2007 - Vinne Cilurzo
Pliny the Elder Double IPA

Russian River Brewing Company
Santa Rosa, California


2006 - Ed Bennett
Boundary Bay Imperial IPA

Boundary Bay Brewing
Bellingham, Washington


2005 - Jeff Bagby
Torrey Pines IPA

Oggi’s Pizza and Brewery
Vista, California


2004 - Tomme Arthur
Hop 15 Double IPA

Pizza Port
Solana Beach, California


2003 - Geno Acevedo
Deuce Imperial IPA

El Toro Brewing
Morgan Hill, California


2002 - Brendan Moylan
Moylander Double IPA

Moylan’s Brewing
Novato, California


2001 - Brendan Moylan
Moylander Double IPA

Moylan’s Brewing
Novato, California


2000 - Gabe Fletcher
Sockeye Red IPA

Midnight Sun Brewing
Anchorage, Alaska


1999 - Larry Bell
Two Hearted Ale

Bell’s Brewing
Galesburg, Michigan