Nob Hill Bar & Grill manager Thomas Demarco has been bringing all sorts of rare craft beer goodness to Albuquerque.

Nob Hill Bar & Grill manager Thomas Demarco has been bringing all sorts of rare craft beer goodness to Albuquerque.

Big things have been happening in Nob Hill in the last six months. Sitting between Kelly’s and Bistronomy B2B on the beer map of Albuquerque, Nob Hill Bar & Grill has been around since 2008 offering upscale, but casual, American dining and cocktail bar experience. Just before Halloween last year it was brought under new ownership who put a new bar manager in place.

Since then they have focussed heavily on their American craft beer offerings, with 27 taps lining their bar (soon to be 28, with the addition of a nitro line) and craft beer events filling their calendar. I sat down with Thomas Decaro, the bar manager overseeing this new focus, to find out how these changes came about and what the future holds.

NMDSBC: It’s been six months now since the ownership change. Did they bring you on board straight away?

Thomas: I was bartending here at the time, almost two years before that. I took on that role as I wanted to get into a buyer’s role for future career prospects as I was graduating at the end of the year. Then it kind of stuck.

NMDSBC: Did the new owners bring in the focus on craft beer?

Thomas: No, that was me. Nicole (Kapnison, the owner of Nob Hil Bar & Grill) is great, she lets me do whatever I want. Whenever I bring in a super expensive keg like Uncle Jacob’s she doesn’t bat an eye. I’m allowed to bring in that stuff that we weren’t able to before. It actually started with John over at Premier (Distributing), he gave me a call and said “Hey, we’ve got an extra (Goose Island) Bourbon County keg, do you want it?” and that sort of kicked it off and we saw how successful that could be. I decided to get rid of all the not-so-good beer on draft and focus primarily on American craft.

Thomas’s relationships with the distributors has lead to him participating in meetings with breweries coming into the state. He’s planning launch parties for Upslope and Ballast Point in the next month and sitting in on talks with other breweries not yet under distribution contract.

Thomas: We need this beer. It will pave the way for Firestone Walker, Founders, and others to come to New Mexico. I’ve tried to focus on out-of-town craft, but I do have the Marble Brett IPA, Choice Blanc, and a few others. I have a partnership set up with Marble now where I can bring on fun beers, for example we have the Brett Stout coming on this week. For a while I neglected the local market a little too much, but if I can get fun beers which are one-offs that you’re only going to find here or at the brewery, then they compete with all of our beers on tap. Beers like Elevated and Slice of Heaven we have because they’re so in demand, but we try to have a rotating DIPA handle, a rotating IPA handle. Everything rotates.

NMDSBC: It seems like you all have been experimenting with a few different kinds of events. Beer dinners, beer launches, and so on. What’s been working well for you, what do you see doing more of down the road?

Thomas: Beer dinners, for sure, I want to set up a few of those. Tap invasions — I’m working on one in June is a Belgian invasion. Since we do American craft we can do country invasions, just take over seven taps and make them all rare Belgian beers. Also, we might do a Christmas in July thing, bring some darker beers in, do that around Summerfest time. There’s a lot.

NMDSBC: What have you got going on for ABQ Beer Week? Seems like it’s quite the list!

Thomas: Ok, here’s what I have in my calendar:

  • Thursday (May 21), we have an Oak Aged Wake Up Dead keg and then New Belgium are supposed to be doing something that evening.
  • Friday night (May 22) is going to be the craziest night of Beer Week by far. Goose Island are going to be bringing their DIPA, The Illinois, The Ogden, and a keg of Bourbon County Coffee Stout. I’m from Chicago so I’m going to bring down my Chicago flag for that tap invasion.
  • Saturday (May 23) we have a Mother Road cask coming from Arizona, then Mirror Mirror from Deschutes, their barleywine, (and) then Ska is going to do something, not sure what yet.
  • Sunday (May 24)/Monday (May 25) we’re off for Blues & Brews and Memorial Day.
  • Tuesday (May 26), Lagunitas is giving us a cask, don’t know what it is yet, but they told us they’d filled one up for us.
  • Wednesday (May 27), Santa Fe is bringing us a cask, maybe a lemongrass sour or some Java Stout, not sure.
  • Thursday (May 28) will be Odell’s Barrel Thief Oak-aged IPA.
  • Friday (May 29) we’re doing an Alpine, Green Flash, Avery night. I think I have another Uncle Jacob’s keg stashed which should have aged so nicely.
  • Saturday (May 30), Stone is sending us two barrel-aged beers, Reason Be Damned and Cali-belgique aged in Red Wine barrels. Super excited about those.
  • Sunday (May 31) is Boulder Breakfast/Brunch, so we’ll have a bunch of brunch items with their beer in it and they’ll have a barrel-aged keg for us as well, then that night is a Narwhal keg from 2014.

In addition, once we get room next week we should be getting The French {Hop} Connection, an Odell/Alamo Draft House collaboration. It’s a saison which is dry-hopped, it’s a little spicy. It was supposed to be a Beer Week keg, but we were pretty much full on events.

It’s cool, the distributors take care of me with cool beers. When I do orders through them I’m able to ask for specific beers and they’ll get it for me. That’s how we got the Green Flash Hop Head Red and the Double Stout, which nobody else in the state has on tap. Green Flash doesn’t have much of a market here, but their styles are really great for Albuquerque, balanced but super hoppy beers.

NMDSBC: It seems those sort of breweries have become passé for some people, they just think ‘I’ve had that’ and walk on by.

Thomas: Yeah, another is Bridgeport Pale Ale, (a) great porch-sitting pale ale, but nobody else has it. That’s what I want from a pale ale, just tasty but super-easy drinking.

I try to get them to bring in beers not yet in this market, harass them to send me some! Literally my Ballast Point order was this keg, this keg, this keg, this size, this size. We’ll have the regular and Grapefruit Sculpin (IPA) for sure, hoping on some of the other ones. I’m so excited for those.

NMDSBC: I will be camping out here on that day!

Thomas: I can’t wait. We’re going to do a kick-off party with a tap takeover and just have all the beers available on tap. At first it was all about Nob Hill, obviously it’s my job to build that up, but you have to look at the bigger picture, too. We have to build up Albuquerque’s beer scene in general. If Ballast Point comes in here and tanks then we’re not going to get any good beer. You’re going to take one of the hottest beer brands in America and it tanks in Albuquerque, do you think Firestone or Founders are going to want to come here? No way. So, I want to do an industry night where everyone can come in and try all the beers without having to front the cost, because it is expensive beer, so that Albuquerque can have it on tap in more places. The more places with Sculpin, the better.

We need to make it so that Union Jack or Wookey Jack can come here, and this is the start. We need to take care of the whole scene, not just Nob Hill. If we can get more people doing what I do — my ideas aren’t original, you go to bars out of state and see beers from all over the country, that’s what I want. If I want to go and get a local beer I’ll go to the brewery to get it.

NMDSBC: The thing which needs the originality, I think, is making that work in this market. Especially when you’re talking about the more expensive beers, are people willing to spend the money?

Thomas: That’s the thing. All of my beers are affordably priced. My most expensive beer is the Brett IPA right now, $7 a pint, which was set by the brewery. Most 10-ounce pours are $6 max, and that’s about where I stop at. I want the consumer to drink it, I don’t want to sit on it. My profit margin may be lower, but I get to have more cool beer on all the time, it’s way more fun.

I don’t want to go to a bar where they have the same taps over and over. What’s going to make you go? They have Marble Red, they have Stone IPA. They’re great beers, but they’re all the same beers, all the time. I don’t want to go to that place. I’ll bring in the rare beers, the ones which are sought after, you’ll want to have dinner with that beer, have some dinner and a have a Choice Blanc, have some dinner and have a Brett IPA.

NMDSBC: So, beyond beer week, what does the next six months hold?

Thomas: I’ve to got start doing more beer dinners, the Christmas in July thing. I have a Fernet Aged Porter keg for that, I think. I’ve got to do more rotations because I got bored with my taps for a second. When I get bored I have the worst ADD, that’s why they’re always changing. I made a joke to the boss that we should put on our tap list ‘Don’t get attached,’ because our beers change so much.

But it’s been good. With one of our distributors we are up 27 percent in the year, just on beer. For March, year-on-year, we’re up 70 percent, that’s without Guinness, Dos Equis, Blue Moon, or Stella (Artois) on draft. They freaked out at first when we said we wanted to pull them, were like, “Are you joking? Your sales are going to go down,” and I told them, “Just watch,” and we replaced them. We’re way better off without them, so nice not having Blue Moon on tap. Those are all available in bottles, but when you’ve got 27 beers on tap, why are you going to order something in bottles?

The beer community here is sweet and they’re just dying for good beer. I’m really lucky to have a good kitchen. Where else in Albuquerque can you get really great food and really great beer? It’s too much to keep up with all different kinds of beer from all over, but we have American food and pair it with American beer, and that’s sort of our focus.

* * * * *

With an amazing line up for beer week and plenty more besides you’d be wise to keep a close eye on the goings on in this corner of Nob Hill. Even when they’re not running special events their draft lineup is most worthy of exploration.

Cheers!

— Adam

Las Cruces' biggest beer festival is back. (Image courtesy of the NM Brewers Guild)

Las Cruces’ biggest beer festival is back. (Image courtesy of the NM Brewers Guild)

The third annual Blazin’ Brewfest will hit Las Cruces this Saturday from 4 to 9 p.m., officially kicking off festival season in New Mexico. The event will be held again on Main Street, with plenty of food trucks and live music to go with the offerings from 15 different breweries, including the event’s four host breweries — Bosque, High Desert, Pecan Grill & Brewery, and Spotted Dog. It will mark the second New Mexico Brewers Guild event of the year, following WinterBrew in Santa Fe back in January. You can buy tickets online or at the breweries/taprooms in Las Cruces, or they will be $20 at the gate. The ticket gets you a souvenir glass and sample tickets.

As we try to do for every major festival, especially those supported by the Guild, we put out the call for beer lists so those attending have advance notice of what they are in for this weekend. Unfortunately, we have not gotten many lists yet, but we will keep updating this post and letting you know when it is updated via social media right up until the event starts. None of the Crew can make the trek southward again this year (it falls on a double birthday weekend, for one thing), but keep an eye out for friend of the Crew and possible future Las Cruces correspondent Eric Dust, who hopefully (HINT) will write up something on the event.

The beer lists, as provided by the breweries.

Bosque: Pale Ryder, Brewer’s Boot Amber Ale, Scotia Scotch Ale, Bosque Pale Lager, Equinox SMASH, Bosque Lager. That’s four quality house beers, plus two seasonals in the Pale Lager (had it Wednesday, should be perfect in the afternoon heat) and the new Equinox SMASH, a single-hop and single-malt ale.

High Desert: IPA, Peach Wheat, Hefeweizen, Bohemian Pilsner, ESB, Brown Ale, Stout, Oktoberfest. Those beers will be there for sure, plus they teased that there may be some surprise beers there as well.

La Cumbre: unknown

Little Toad Creek: unknown

Marble: unknown

Monks’ Ale: unknown

Pecan Grill & Brewery: They dropped the “De La Vega’s” portion of their name, plus they are brewing on site now. All they told us was that they will be bringing a number of specialty beers created at their brewer, not contract-brewed up at Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca in Moriarty.

Ponderosa: unknown

Red Door: Gateway Blonde Ale, Unhinged Cider, Threshold IPA, Roamer Red. Seriously, Las Cruces, for those of you who love ciders, Unhinged may be the best in the state. And because it’s there, you can take your gluten-free friend(s) to the event.

Santa Fe: Happy Camper IPA, Java Stout, Black IPA, Freestyle Pilsner, Pale Ale, State Pen Porter, Nut Brown. All the crowd favorites.

Second Street: unknown

Spotted Dog: Much like Pecan, they are promising to bring some unique beers to the festival, but would not name them. So think of it all as a big surprise. Part two.

Taos Mesa: unknown

Tractor: Farmer’s Tan Red Ale and Mustachio Milk Stout in cans; Apple Cider, Branding Iron DIPA, and Cowboy Blend Coffee Pale Stout on tap. Three staples and two seasonals from opposite ends of the spectrum.

Turtle Mountain: Brohemian Pilsner, Oku Amber, Hopshell IPA, Stauffenberg Stout. In addition to those, there will be limited samples of Wilde Jagd, TMBC’s first bottled beer, plus some bombers for sale.

Sorry we could not get all the breweries’ lists this time around. Hopefully we will have better luck when Bearfest and Blues & Brews go head-to-head in late May. Oh, and for the Outside Bike & Brew Festival in Santa Fe before that. Good lord May is going to be busy.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

One last ride at the Steer

Posted: May 1, 2015 by amyotravel in Brewery Obit
Tags:
You don't gotta go home, but you can't drink here anymore.

You don’t gotta go home, but you can’t drink here anymore.

Editor’s note: None of the rest of us in the Crew could make it to the Steer before it closed, but AmyO from the Bullpen was able to file one last story from the west side establishment. It will close for good at the end of business today (Friday). If anyone else has anything you would like to share of your memories at the Steer, words or pictures or both, send it to us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

My boyfriend and I stopped by The Stumbling Steer last night (Wednesday) because I couldn’t let them ride off into the sunset without stopping by for one last Bacon Bourbon Stout (on cask, no less). Just rub it in, why don’t you? Of course, it was a madhouse and service was slow and difficult. What did surprise me, though, was the attitude of the staff. They were extremely pleasant and accommodating. In so many ways it did not seem like the end at all. They were out of some items, but I still saw many steaks and fish and chips coming out of the kitchen. Everyone was enjoying the oh-so-cheap beer like they were their last beers on Earth, not just at the Steer.

The beer and food was going fast.

The beer and food was going fast.

There’s nothing like sitting down with your sweetheart, ordering a cocktail, three beers, an appetizer (yes, we had one of the last available orders of the pork bites) and a turkey Reuben, and walking away with a bill that is less than 20 bucks. (The rest of us will really miss the BAG OF MEAT. — Stoutmeister)

Good-bye little pork bite. We will miss your deliciousness.

Good-bye little pork bite. We will miss your deliciousness.

While I’m not a fan of country music, I can respect this man and his fitting message: “Oh the last goodbye’s the hardest one to say. This is where the cowboy rides away.” – George Strait

I will miss you, Stumbling Steer.

A Final Cheers to The Steer!

— AmyO

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We hope more breweries will collaborate on future beers like this one.

You never quite know what to expect from a Thursday at the Brewer’s Table at Blue Corn Brewery, except that there will always be good beer, good food, and good company. For April’s TATBT, it was a special collaboration between Duel Brewing and Blue Corn, two of Santa Fe’s breweries known for pushing the envelope when it comes to brewing with and against the grain.

If you’re new to the concept, every Thursday at the Brewer’s Table is a special pairing between a new or tweaked version of a beer (or beers) and a specialty food item (or healthy slew of food items), specifically created to play well together in such a way that food and drink cease to remain mere means of fuel, and become something altogether transcendental.

The beer of the evening was a Belgian-style Black Ale, known as …

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I’m not even going to try to spell that. But as always, over a pint of the new brew, I spoke with Blue Corn head brewer James Warren about the beer and what it was like working with Duel on a style he’s not traditionally used to brewing.

NMDSBC: This beer was brewed here, correct?

Warren: Absolutely!

NMDSBC: Who came up with the recipe, or was it more of a joint effort?

Warren: It was a joint effort. We went back and forth on this for a while. It was probably the hardest part of the whole thing.

NMDSBC: How long did that process take?

Warren: It was a couple of weeks. We had this idea that we wanted to do a collaboration, but it just took setting a date that we were going to do it. And then once we had that date, and it started to get closer, we were like, ‘oh, we should probably do something.’ (Laughs)

NMDSBC: So how did you decide on a Black Ale, a Cascadian Dark, or a Black IPA?

Warren: Well, we just kinda settled on this idea. And we thought — well, what do we have at Duel? We have this Trappist yeast strain available that they use. And so that’s the characteristic of what they do. Over here, with Roadrunner (IPA) and some other stuff, we use a lot more American hops. They have next to no American hops in what they do. So we realized that I’ve got this huge stock of American hops over here, and we started getting an idea together. And we began to think, how do you differentiate between the two ideas (of hops and Trappist yeast)? And what’s kind of the third counterpoint? And it was making this dark beer, but making a dark beer that doesn’t taste too dark. It’s kind of got this light profile to it. It’s like we had these ideas of what we both do. And the third point was kind of something that would be challenging to both of us.

NMDSBC: Were there any obstacles to brewing this one?

Warren: Honestly, finding the time, finding a day. (Duel brewer Todd Yocham and I) are both so busy as brewers, you know? Me, working by myself, and them having to do three brews to fill their tanks. It’s overwhelming. So, just finding that time, and like I said, we went back and forth on that recipe, but it wasn’t that hard after that. It took a lot of going back and forth, sure, but we were always headed towards the same point at the beginning.

NMDSBC: What was brew day like? Did you guys come together? Was he here in the brewhouse?

Warren: Yeah, we had Todd here in the morning —

Side Note: At this point James’ friend Kathryn, who had joined James, my friends, and I at the table, had sneezed, bringing the interview to a screeching halt. I’d threatened to put that sneeze in the article, because, when I’m “On the record,” I’m on the record. You’ve all been warned.

Warren: He’s going to put that in the article, you know. So, Todd got here early in the morning with me, we got goin’, and we got to talk a lot about the differences between how this stuff works for both breweries, and later on Michael (Karr, Duel’s other talented brewer) was able to show up, once he finished. They’re so busy finishing his brew day over there; he came and joined us at the end. So yeah, it was a lot of fun.

NMDSBC: So tell us a little bit about the beer, what’s in this guy?

Warren: I think the defining thing of it was the Carafa III that we used to darken it up. Not adding too much of that dark beer character to it, and then the rye. The rye was definitely Duel. You know, I don’t use a lot of rye in my beer. They do. And I thought, wonderful, it’s a chance for me to use it, and I didn’t have to order a whole bag of it, although, I think it was a whole bag of rye that we used to brew on our scale, in the end. (Laughs)

NMDSBC: Would you ever consider brewing this again?

Warren: I think it would be fun to brew this on their system next time, just to see how things would turn out differently. If I was to do it again, I’d love to do it there.

NMDSBC: Would you ever consider just doing another Black IPA here?

Warren: Yeah, I think the idea of things that look different than they taste is a fun idea.

NMDSBC: Absolutely.

Warren: So, I love the idea of a Black IPA, but you see a lot of deviation in the style. I have an idea in my head of how I think a Black IPA should taste like. If I ever think I’m capable of executing that idea, you might see it happen.

NMDSBC: And so this will be available here (Blue Corn), Duel, and at both Draft Stations for how long?

Warren: However long it lasts. Both Draft Stations are picking it up.

NMDSBC: And so Albuquerque, too?

Warren: Yep, Santa Fe’s getting their kegs (last Friday), and Albuquerque’s getting theirs (this) week, probably on Tuesday.

Note: It should now be available in ABQ.

* * * * *

And now for the food, because it was a pairing after all. On the menu that evening was an item which was straight-facedly referred to as the Midnight Slider. The portion size was quite deceptive, because although it seemed small, it was more filling than anything you’d ever get for $10 with a beer included. The slider consisted of a succulent cut of New York strip loin, cooked in a Black Ale demi-glace, with Swiss cheese melted on top and onions caramelized with the Black Ale, all inside a cushiony Kaiser Slider-bun.

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After eating this, Luke ran 10 miles just to work it off.

Duel Chef Jeff Smith told me about how they came up with the idea. He said, “You know, we had a strip loin in house, and we were gonna do a special at Duel, but then this came up, so it was perfect timing.” He and the other chefs had wondered how they could pair the strip loin in the simplest way and get the most out of that product. And thus, the Midnight Slider was born.

The slider was accompanied by a hefty helping of Chef David Sundberg of Blue Corn Brewery’s own recipe for Poutine. Traditionally Poutine is a Canadian dish of French fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. Chef D’s, however, somehow lost its Eh-Card and was deported south, way south, all the way to New Mexico. Chef D’s Poutine would of course be his own creation if experience has taught us anything. Piled menacingly high next to the slider, this smattering of Sundberg’s own Southwest saveur were fries, topped with beer-braised carnitas and Queso Fresco, which is a Mexican fresh cheese, traditionally made from raw cow milk or a combination of cow and goat milk. It was crunchy. It was salty. It was chunky. It was cheesy. And it was oh so good.

The Slider matched very well with the beer, perhaps so well because so much of the Black Ale was used in the preparation — in the demi-glace, and when caramelizing the onions. It matched so well they could have been cousins — quite enjoyable, if slightly incestuous. However, in my opinion, it was the Poutine that really danced with the light and darkness of the Black IPA. The flavors of the Black Ale and Poutine just mixed and matched better, pushing and pulling, comparing and contrasting, giving and taking with the flavors of savory and sweet. The lightness of the cheese met the lighter breadiness of the malt, the saltiness of the fries cut through the fruity, almost wine character of the Trappist yeast, and the slightly spicy red chile of the carnitas was right at home with the cocoa notes of the dark ale. It just worked, and I think we all came away believing that sometimes you have to veer way south of traditional to find more interesting locales. It was a pairing done well, another lesson in taste, and everyone learned a little something more about food and beer and themselves. And by the way, totally got a fun dinner out of it in the process. Until next Month, my friends, love what you eat, love what you drink, and you just may like yourself in the morning.

Cheers!

— Luke

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For more #CraftBeer info and more @nmdarksidebc news, follow me on Twitter @SantaFeCraftBro.

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It’s just a wee bit more spacious.

Just when you thought there was no place for 20-somethings/Millennials to play in Santa Fe, Draft Station has expanded, adding a large gaming space to their quite lucrative taproom. This new hall includes such games as ping pong, darts, foosball, air hockey, a giant Connect Four, and the possibility of more to come. I stopped into the popular pour house the day they officially opened to snap some shots to show you, beer readers, what you can expect from the remodel. Of course, if you’ve been following Draft Station’s page on Facebook, you’ve already received a couple of nice teasers of what’s in store. But, as a dedicated beer journalist, I also had to get the skinny on how they plan to run things in the new space.

Draftstation5

Oh, foosball, the bane of table games according to Stoutmeister.

For those of us worried that this will change the quality of the serious suds-slinging establishment that we’ve all come to know and love, we can all relax. It won’t.

Draftstation1

Things are still the same in the bar area of Draft Station.

Piping hot pies from Rooftop Pizzeria can also be ordered from within the new gaming space, and will still be delivered right to your seats and tables, of which there are now many more. Some of the best beer from around New Mexico will still be available for your palate’s pleasure, and you can now sip on those pints between dart-throws, ping-pong volleys, or while watching sports on the new flat-screens sporadically spaced along the wall. The only folks that may take some time adjusting to the new space, it seems, are the bartenders, as they now have to watch the beer walk out the front door toward the game space. Stay left!

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Draftstation6 There it is, a giant Connect Four (top) and an air hockey table (bottom). Sheesh, we need this in ABQ now.

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It wouldn’t be a proper pub without darts.

As for operation, it’s going to be somewhat of an experiment with much more room to cover and potentially many more people, as the remodel nearly doubled occupancy. “For now, we’re kind of seeing how it goes,” said Jamie Durfee of Draft Station. She assures me that if they find that they need to hire more staff to handle the change, they’ll absolutely do so.

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Ping pong! The Beerfest jokes are gonna fly.

As far as pricing goes, we’re looking at a $5-an-hour-system similar to the pool tables at Cowgirl. Ping-pong balls, pucks, paddles, foosballs, and darts can all be rented at the bar for a mere Lincoln, and I was told that all the Connect Four costs is a smile. And don’t forget that their Geeks Who Drink event happens every Monday at 8 p.m. With all that activity in one place, and, dare I say, the best beer list of any bar in the City Different, Draft Station makes a solid last stop for Santa Fe’s entertainment needs. As for the foosball table, I got next.

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It just keeps getting better.

Cheers!

— Luke

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For more #CraftBeer news and @nmdarksidebc follow me on Twitter @SantaFeCraftBro.

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with the reunified edition of The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s four breweries and one newcomer down in Socorro also joining the party. We tried hard to keep the state edition going, but without participation from the breweries outside the I-25 corridor, it was futile.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

The news broke earlier this week that The Stumbling Steer, after being open for just over a year, was shutting their doors for good this Friday. We had known for a while that the Steer was in trouble. Brewer Kirk Roberts had left the operation a while ago amid rumors that there was a power play between the many ownership partners. This came after the departures of Chef T last year and general manager Sonny Jensen not long after that. Many of the people who were fans of the Steer said that after the first six months, everything dropped off, from the quality of the food to the service and more. As for the beer, it got mixed reviews, but there were times that Kirk and his staff were among the most creative in town when it came to special casks and Randalls. The problem was that it was never brewed on site. For all the money the Steer spent on buying their brewing system, it was never put to use. Maybe that was the biggest sign of all that the ambitious project was never well thought out. Somewhere along the line it all went off the rails; then again, maybe it was just never a concept that would work here. Albuquerque is not a wealthy town. There are only a few, much smaller restaurants around town that regularly charge $20 or more per plate. In the end the Steer as a concept might have worked better in a city like Portland or Austin, where the younger working class has more disposable income. Maybe it should have been built on the east side of town instead of the west, as most of the higher per capita incomes are in the Northeast Heights. The Steer will go down as a cautionary tale. Reach for the stars and you are not always guaranteed to get there. The owners of Vernon’s/Wise Pies will take over the building and split it into several storefronts, including a new brewery which they will use to supply their many restaurants. Once we get through the insanity of May, the Crew will look into the new development. Until then, maybe we will try to find the time to go have one last bag of Pork Bites and a pint of Black IPA. A toast to what was, and what could have been.

On the new beer front, things have picked up this week. Back Alley has a new batch of Cali Common, plus Ladron’s Peak will be back on this weekend (they swear this time). The new Bosque Pale Lager is available at all three locations. Boxing Bear is feeling a tad British this week with Regal Squabble English IPA. Chama River will release the first in their line of summer saisons this week with Lemon Jester. La Cumbre has an unnamed pale ale due out soon. Night at the Roggenbury is officially on tap at Nexus. Red Door finally went down the lager path with Baby Got Bock. Turtle Mountain preps for summer with Brohemian Pilsner.

Up in Santa Fe, it’s a quiet week save for a fresh batch of Boneshaker Bitter and the new Civil Rye on tap at Second Street.

And on the subject of cask beers, rather than listing them brewery by brewery in here, we’re doing something a little different. Since oftentimes breweries don’t know what they’re putting on cask until the day of (usually Friday), rather than just put “TBD” down below, instead we’re offering updates via our Facebook page and Twitter feed. Look for the “Firkin Friday” post every week on those social media sites. One of these days when we get around to upgrading the main website we will make it a permanent feature on there, but for now we’ll provide live updates as the breweries get us the information.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of April 27.

To break down each “capsule,” I listed the brewery (with Web page linked), its phone number and hours of operation. Under “Beers” are the new or seasonal beers on tap for this week.

Albuquerque metro area breweries

ABQ Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–midnight, Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–2 a.m., Sunday 10 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Petrus Aged Ale, Petrus Aged Red. Petrus Aged Ale and Red are high alcohol barrel-aged sours from a family-owned brewery in Flanders. Several times a year, ABP serves up the latest creation by local brewing hero and winner of the Samuel Adams Longshot competition, Ben Miller, or seasonal releases by Monks Brewing.

Albuquerque Brewing Co. — no phone (yet)

(Mon–Fri 3-10 p.m., Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun noon-10 p.m.)

Beers: Blonde, Pale Ale, IPA, Imperial Red, Dry Stout. Located at 8620 Pan American Blvd., on the east side of I-25 and between Paseo del Norte and Alameda, ABC is now open and ready for business. In addition to the house beers, there are three guest taps from Bosque and Boxing Bear, plus the plan is to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. Brewer Mike Marsh said they’re in the process of installing a phone line and, for now, the website link is to their Facebook page. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview.

News: Please take note that ABC said on their Facebook page recently they would be closed for “a couple days” due to a plumbing problem. The days are starting to stretch on. Keep an eye on their FB page to see when they reopen.

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

(Hours 4 p.m.-11 p.m. daily)

Beers: Malt Tonic, Cali Common, Belgian Wit, Ameriweiss. In case you missed it, we interviewed BADH’s new brewer, Brandon Venaglia. There are some exciting times coming, including a possible expansion. The Pre-Prohibition American IPA is out, but the Cali Common is back on this week. The Ameriweiss is a Pre-Prohibition American sour wheat.

News: A fan favorite, Ladron’s Peak, will be back this weekend. It was originally announced as being ready last weekend, but there was a slight delay (this happens sometimes with beer, we know).

Events: Sundays are Service Nights at Back Alley, with $2 off all beers for service industry workers. Bring your server’s ID and you will be rewarded.

The Blue Grasshopper — (505) 896-8579

(Noon to 11 p.m. most days, call for more info)

Beers: Maibock. The fourth beer in the Grasshopper’s short history, the Maibock (5.6% ABV, 39 IBU) went on tap last week. They sold out of their previous beers, Sunset Amber, Dubbel Dunkel, and Beach Bum Pale Ale, in a hurry, so head over to try this one before it runs out. If you have not made it out there yet, the Grasshopper is located at 4500 Arrowhead Ridge Road in Rio Rancho, just off Highway 528.

News: Next up on the beer list is Cherry Bomb.

Click the link above to check out the new Blue Grasshopper website, with updated lists of guest beers, a full menu, and a full music listing.

Events: The Grasshopper has live music from 6 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday through Saturday.

Bosque Brewing Company — (505) 750-7596 (main brewery), (505) 508-5967 (Nob Hill Public House), (575) 571-4626 (Las Cruces Taproom)

(Main brewery on San Mateo: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-midnight, Sun noon-8 p.m.; Nob Hill: Mon–Weds 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Thurs 11 a.m.-midnight, Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Sun noon-11 p.m.; Las Cruces: Sun–Thurs noon-11 p.m., Fri–Sat noon-midnight)

Beers: Team COOP Golden Ale, Bosque Pale Lager, Oak-A-Scotia, Dry Irish Stout (Nob Hill and Las Cruces), It’s Spelt Centennial (Nob Hill and Las Cruces), Marzen March Lager (Las Cruces only). All beers listed are on tap at all three locations, unless noted. The new Pale Lager (5.4% ABV, 45 IBU) debuts this week. They took a lager and then went with whirlpool and dry hop additions of El Dorado, Centennial, Citra, and 7C’s. The Team COOP Golden Ale (5% ABV, 20 IBU) comes with the added bonus of where $1 from each pint sold will go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It’s Spelt (5.7% ABV, 50 IBU) is a red ale of a sort with a healthy dose of, well, Centennial hops. The Dry Irish Stout (5% ABV) is a creamy delight. Riverwalker IPA (6.5% ABV, 90 IBU) is now the permanent IPA on tap at all Bosque locations. The nitro beers this week are Oak-A-Scotia at Nob Hill and TBA at San Mateo.

Cask: From now on, Bosque will have their firkin filled every Wednesday, available only at Nob Hill. This week’s beer is … Scale Tipper! That’s right, the National IPA champion is back and it is available for a very limited time. As in it may be out before the sun sets today (HINT).

News: Congratulations to Bosque for winning the Brewing News National IPA Challenge with Scale Tipper. This comes on the heels of last year’s victory in the NM IPA Challenge. It marks the second year in a row a New Mexico brewery won the NIPAC, following La Cumbre’s Project Dank taking the title last year.

The Bosque Public House is now open, located on Girard just south of Central. Bosque has also opened a taproom in Las Cruces, located in the former Mimbres Valley space across from New Mexico State at the corner of University Ave. and Espina St.

Bosque has a happy hour running from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and all day on Sunday. Look for special menu items and get $1 off your favorite pints.

Boxing Bear Brewing Company — (505) 897-2327

(Sun-Thurs 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-11 p.m.)

Beers: (Regular) Paw Swipe Pale Ale, Hairy Mit Hefe, Standing 8 Stout, Ambear Ale, Uppercut IPA, Apple Bear Hard Cider; (Seasonal) Body Czech Bohemian Pilsner, Bearzen, Red Knuckle Irish Red, Salute Your Schwarz, Wiener Munchner, Regal Squabble English IPA. New to taps this week is Regal Squabble. The newest before that was the Wiener Munchner, another German-style beer as the name might imply. The Red Knuckle (4.7% ABV, 25 IBU) is still kicking. Bearzen (4.8% ABV, 25 IBU) is Boxing Bear’s take on a traditional German marzen. The Body Czech (4.3% ABV, 40 IBU) is a great way to start your flight. The Standing 8 Stout (6.3% ABV, 45 IBU), which is on tap at all times, claimed the 2015 Stout Challenge, held by the Crew before the last Super Bowl. Head on over to indulge in this beast of a beer. The Apple Bear Hard Cider (5% ABV) is now permanently on tap.

News: Boxing Bear now has a happy hour. 10-, 16-, and 22-ounce beers are all discounted from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Growler Happy Hour then runs from 6 p.m. to close on those nights. Get $2 off a growler fill and $1 off a half-growler (they call ’em “squealers”).

Also, every day at lunchtime (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), for just $10 you can get a pint and a panini of your choice.

Events: Geeks Who Drink will now be held every Wednesday from 8 to 10 p.m. at Boxing Bear.

Broken Bottle Brewery — (505) 890-8777

(Mon–Weds 4-11 p.m., Thurs-Fri 4 p.m.–midnight, Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: Cracked Cork Barley Wine, End of Days Tripel, Twig and Berries Sahti, Tom Selleck Ale, Rip Van Winkle Vanilla Stout, Nacho Brau, Coco-Cabana Coconut Porter, Honey Pot Sour Ale, Stinky Pinky. The Stinky Pinky, a grapefruit hefeweizen, is back for another run by popular demand. The Coco-Cabana and Honey Pot are recent additions. Curious about Twig and Berries? A Sahti is a Finnish style of beer using some unique grains as well as juniper berries. If you’re one of the lucky few to not be allergic to junipers, have at it! The Drunken Hobo Milk Stout has replaced the Mulligan Stout in the regular lineup. Also joining the regular lineup now is the Elixir Vanilla Cream Ale.

Events: B3 has $3 beers every Tuesday from open to close. On Wednesday, B3 will be hosting their open mic from 8-10 p.m., with signups starting at 7:30 p.m. Check out B3’s karaoke night every Thursday starting at 8 p.m.

Canteen Brewhouse — (505) 881-2737

(Sun–Thurs noon–10 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–midnight)

UPDATED >>> Beers: Irish Red, Opal Esteem, The Other Red, Edel Helles, Belgian Blonde, El Dorado Extra Pale Ale, S.A.W.-Wheat White IPA, Hefeweizen. The most recent additions are the Hefeweizen (6.2% ABV, 14 IBU), which just went on today, and the Belgian Blonde (6% ABV, 15 IBU). Other more recent beers added to the lineup include the El Dorado (6.5% ABV, 45 IBU), a mild little delight, and S.A.W. (8% ABV, 65 IBU), which offers up a heck of a double kick of hops and Belgian yeast. The Opal Esteem (5.7% ABV, 40 IBU) is a traditional steam-style beer brewed with German Opal hops. The Other Red (5.6% ABV, 26 IBU) is a fairly new addition and quite tasty, just a tad different then the Irish Red. The Edel Helles (5% ABV, 18 IBU) is a light, sweet little beer to start off your day or night just right.

News: Canteen has begun filling Crowlers, 32-ounce aluminum cans that can be filled with any beer on tap. They get sealed up and can last for a lot longer than a regular growler. Then you bring back the Crowlers to be recycled and get some fresh ones.

Events: Live music is back at Canteen. This Sunday the Green Billies will perform from 3 to 6 p.m.

Cazuela’s Seafood & Mexican Grill — (505) 994-9364

(Open daily 8 a.m.-10 p.m.)

Beers: Papacabra (Double IPA), Panama Red, Acapulco Gold (Mexican Lager), Chupacabra IPA, Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale, Beer for My Horses (Oatmeal Stout), Inebriator (Doppelbock), Primo (Brown Ale). E-Rock and I had a chance to sample the Piedra del Fuego (5% ABV), which we both recommend. According to Cazuela’s menu: “This cream ale uses red-hot stones to super caramelize the sugars, creating a nutty, toffee-like flavor.” The Inebriator (8% ABV) and the Papacabra (9.7% ABV) are the biggest beers in the lineup.

News: Cazuela’s is looking to potentially open a taproom on the east side of ABQ near Canteen and La Cumbre in the Brewery District.

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Smoke Em Out, Lemon Jester, Connect with MS Pale Ale, Munich Helles. New to taps this week is the light-but-flavorful Helles (5.2% ABV, 20 IBU). For the Connect, $1 from each pint sold will go to benefit the MS Society. Smoke Em Out (6.3% ABV, 33 IBU), as the name might imply, is a smoked porter. It is delicious, with a lot of sweet chocolate elements mixed in amid the smokiness. New this week is the Lemon Jester (4.9% ABV, 28 IBU), the first in a line of four seasonal saisons that Chama will be releasing in the coming weeks/months.

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

(Hours Mon-Thu 2-9 p.m., Fri-Sat 11:30-10 p.m., Sun 11:30-9 p.m.)

Beers: Bier De Garde, ESB, James Blonde, Amber, Chinook IPA, I’m a Little Teapot Short and Stout, Irish Red, London Porter. The most recent additions are the Bier De Garde, plus fresh batches of fan favorites like the ESB, Irish Red, and London Porter. I’m a Little Teapot Short and Stout is Kaktus’ first barrel-aged beer. Kaktus is located at 471 South Hill Road in Bernalillo, for those who have still not made the trek.

Events: Kaktus has several new weekday specials including $3 pints on Monday, $9 growlers on Tuesday, $6 bison nachos on Wednesday, and $8 Frito pie and beer on Thursday.

The Desert Darlings belly dancers perform from 6 to 8 p.m. on almost every Sunday. If you’ve never seen the Desert Darlings in person, you’re missing out.

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: The Angry Belgian, VMO #2, Jenny’s Cream Ale, Father Nelson. A new, unnamed pale ale will be on tap before the end of the week. The blast of hoppy goodness known as Father Nelson (10.6% ABV, 100+ IBU) is back on tap and for sale in bombers at the brewery and other locations. Trust us when we say you need to get yours as fast as possible, it ran out in a hurry last year. The other recent additions to tap are old favorite VMO #2 (5.8% ABV, 29 IBU), a German-style marzen lager, and Jenny’s Cream Ale (5% ABV, 23 IBU). The Imperial Red Ryeot (9% ABV, 100 IBU) may still be available in bombers at LC and other locations, such as Jubilation, but hurry before the last of it runs out. Oh, and don’t panic about Project Dank and Red Ryeot no longer appearing here as seasonals. They are now part of La Cumbre’s regular lineup. Red Ryeot cans are now for sale around town and at the brewery.

News: La Cumbre’s new and improved website is now up and running. Check it out by clicking the link here. Their online calendar now includes what food trucks will be serving, plus live music and a current draft list.

Next up on the beer list is a Gose.

Events: Element37 performs Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m.

Yoga is back at the taproom every Sunday at 10:45 a.m.

Lizard Tail Brewing — (505) 717-1301

(Mon–Weds noon-9 p.m., Thurs–Sat noon-midnight, Sun noon-7 p.m.)

Beers: Whiptail Weisse, Bluetail Blonde, Horned Honey Pale, Reptilian IPA, Chameleon Amber, Basilisk Brown, Sanddigger Dubbel, Desert Night India Black Ale, Black Bearded Rye Stout, Smoot-tailed Oatmeal Stout, Prairie Lizard Porter, Biscochito Brown, Belgian Strong Dark, Chuckwalla Abbey, ESB, Long Nosed Tripel, Gecko Gratzer, Whiptail White, Legless Double IPA. Brace yourselves for the hefty Legless Double IPA (9.2% ABV, 100 IBU) and Long Nosed Tripel (9.2% ABV, 30 IBU). The Gecko Gratzer (3.8% ABV, 30 IBU) is an oak-smoked wheat beer, while the Whiptail White (4.7% ABV, 18 IBU) has hints of citrus, banana, Noble hops, and chamomile. The ESB (6% ABV, 40 IBU), Chuckwalla Abbey (7.1% ABV, 25 IBU) and the Belgian Dark Strong (9.7% ABV, 30 IBU) are other recent additions. So far Lizard Tail has shown themselves to be more malt-forward than hop-centric. The oatmeal stout and porter are solid, while the IBA has shown improvement since its debut.

News: Lizard Tail’s happy hour runs seven days a week from 3 to 6 p.m. You get $1 off food, flights, and pints.

Take note that Lizard Tail now opens at noon every day.

Events: Lizard Tail will host Geeks Who Drink every Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Every Thursday will now feature karaoke from 8 to 11 p.m.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

(Mon–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10:30 p.m.)

Beers: Brett IPA, White Out, Double IPA, Nitro Sesh (Downtown and Westside), Choice Blanc (Downtown and Westside), Imperial Red (Downtown and Westside), Rauchbier (Downtown only), Jarrylo IPA (Downtown only), Imperial Stout (Santa Fe only), Quad (Santa Fe only). We now have a breakdown of which seasonals are available at the three Marble locations, Downtown, Westside, and Santa Fe. If not otherwise noted, all beers on are on tap at all three locations. The most recent additions are the Brett IPA (6.8% ABV, 93 IBU) and White Out (9% ABV, 40 IBU), Marble’s anniversary ale, and both are also available in bombers. The next most recent additions, at the Downtown pub only so far, are the Rauchbier (5.2% ABV) and Jarrylo IPA (6.8% ABV). The Choice Blanc (5.6% ABV) is a single-hop pale ale.

News: Marble has revamped their website. It kinda really kicks ass now. Click the link above to see what we mean.

Events: Brewery tours occur at the Downtown Pub every Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

In events this week at the downtown pub, Kevin Herig & Kyle Ruggles perform tonight (Wednesday) from 5 to 8 p.m. Cali Shaw takes the stage Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday will feature a “music battle” as ‘Merican Slang takes on Mondo Vibrations starting around 7 p.m. Saturday features a doubleheader with Port Alice at 8 p.m. and The Lymbs at 9:45 p.m. Reviva! is back Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m.

Garry Blackchild performs at the Westside Taproom on Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. Last Call will be out west Saturday from 6 to 9.

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Make It So, Marzen, Irish Red, T.N.G. Porter, Night at the Roggenbury. A recent addition is the T.N.G. (6% ABV, 30 IBU), a smoked porter. The Irish Red is really quite excellent this year. Make It So, Marzen might seem out of season, but in my personal opinion, quality German beers are year-round treats. Night at the Roggenbury, a collaboration beer with Turtle Mountain, is now available

Events: Nexus serves up Happy Hour All Day on Tuesday featuring $3 pints. Also on Tuesday, Nexus will be hosting their comedy open mic, Young Dumb and Full of Comedy, starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Sun Room.

Pi Brewing at Nicky V’s Neighborhood Pizzeria — (505) 890-9463

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: PiPA, West Coast Red, Bourbon Vanilla Porter, Pre-Prohibition Pilsner, ESB, Peppermint Porter, Pumpkin Abbey Ale. While Pi Brewing is not open to the public yet, they are able to brew and serve their beers next door at Nicky V’s. The IPA and West Coast Red are both good hoppy beers. We’ll keep tabs on when Pi itself opens. For now, grab a pint and some tasty Italian food. The PiPA will now be a regular beer, replacing the Unchallenged IPA.

Ponderosa Brewing Co. — (505) 639-5941

(Sun 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m.)

Beers: (Regular) Ghost Train IPA, Rip Saw Red, Crosscut Kolsch; (Seasonal) Dunkelblitzen, Weizendoppelbock, Smoky the Beer, The Phantom Conductor DIPA, The Bavarian Belle, Ella Single Hop Pale Ale, Marzen Madness, Brunch Stout, Gose. Ponderosa is located at 1761 Bellamah NW, which is just east of Rio Grande and due north of the NM Natural History Museum, in the bottom floor of a swanky-looking apartment/retail complex (they have a sign atop the building now that you cannot miss). The newest beers on tap are the Brunch Stout and the Gose. Other recent additions are the Weizendoppelbock (6.8% ABV, 18 IBU), Marzen (5% ABV, 24 IBU), and the Conductor (8.2% ABV, 110 IBU). The Belle (4.8% ABV, 15 IBU), a hefeweizen, is back for a second go-around. Smoky the Beer (6.2% ABV, 40 IBU) is a smoked porter, as the name might imply. It should go well with that new meat smoker they have in the kitchen. A recent addition to taps is the Ella (5% ABV, 35 IBU), made with a special Australian hop, the latest in their single-hop series.

News: Next up on the beer front are Rauchweizen and Midnight Kolsch.

Events: Keith Sanchez performs Thursday at 6 p.m. The Bus Tapes will perform Saturday at 3 p.m.

Red Door Brewing — (505) 633-6675

(Mon–Thurs 2 p.m. to midnight, Fri–Sun noon to midnight)

Beers: (Regular) Gateway Blonde Ale, Roamer Red, Threshold IPA, Paint it Black Milk Stout, Unhinged Cider, Trappe Door Wheat. (Seasonal) Watership Brown, Broken Arrow Pale Ale, Baby Got Bock. For the first time, Red Door tapped a lager and it is excellent. The Baby Got Bock (7.5% ABV, 18 IBU) hits all the right maibock notes. The Broken Arrow (5.4% ABV) was made with just Equinox hops for a rather unique, yet multi-faceted, flavor profile. To the rescue for all malt lovers comes Watership Brown (4.9% ABV, 19 IBU), which won ABQ Beer’s holiday brewing competition. It’s a tasty delight, the kind of beer you can just enjoy slowly over the course of a lazy afternoon or evening.

News: Take note of Red Door’s new weekday schedule as they open at 2 p.m. instead of noon. Weekend hours remain the same.

Events: Saturday morning will mark another round of Beer and Breakfast. From 7 to 10 a.m. you can gather with friends for some food truck-supplied goodies with a pint of beer and a bit of English football on the telly. The relegation battle will rage in the early game Saturday as Leicester City takes on my poor, hapless Newcastle United.

There is also yoga at the brewery every Sunday at 11 a.m.

There will be a new musical feature on a weekly basis at Red Door. Monday Blues with Mike Hogan will be every week from 5 to 7 p.m.

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

(Mon–Sat 8 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun 8 a.m.–6 p.m.)

Beers: Irish Red, Rattlesnake IPA, Smoked Stout. We’re still trying to get a current beer list from SCG. If we get one, we’ll update this.

News: Congrats to SCG on sweeping all three medals in the mead category at the 2014 State Fair Pro-Am, while also claiming a silver medal for Barb’s Barrel Hefeweizen.

The Stumbling Steer — (505) 792-7805

(Sunday-Wednesday 11 a.m.-midnight, Thursday-Saturday 11 a.m.-2 a.m.)

Beers: Bang Up Blonde, Hefferweizen, Pig Sticker Pale, Iron Horse IPA, Rawhide Red, Boneyard Brown, Hop Trough (Double IPA), Soiled Dove (Imperial Stout), Black IPA, Bacon Bourbon Stout, Amber Coffee. The DIPA and the Stout are limited to two per customer, due to their high alcohol content (10% and 9.5% ABV, respectively). The Black IPA is the current seasonal beer, plus there are often one or two cask beers. The two specials we saw a friend check into Tuesday night on Untappd were the Bacon Bourbon Stout and Amber Coffee.

News: In case you skipped the intro and the headline, this is the last week of the Steer. They close Friday.

Tractor Brewing Company — (505) 433-5654 (Nob Hill Tap Room), TBA (Wells Park)

(Nob Hill is open Monday-Wednesday 3 p.m. to midnight, Thursday 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., Friday-Saturday 1 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to midnight; Wells Park is open Monday-Thursday 3 p.m. to close, Friday-Sunday 1 p.m. to midnight.
 Last call 30 minutes before close. 
No package after midnight.
 Brewery tours Saturday at 1 p.m.)

Beers: Barleywine, Barnstorm Ale, Branding Iron DIPA, Goat Head Hador Doppelbock, C&C IPA, Ebony & Ivory, Billy’s Basil IPA, Cowboy Blend Pale Coffee Stout (Wells Park only), Berry Cider (Nob Hill only). Tractor has revamped their beer list and pricing system. All of the Tractor Classics — Farmer’s Tan Red, Double Plow Oatmeal Stout, Almanac IPA, Sodbuster Pale Ale, Haymaker Honey What, plus now Pilsner #15, Mustachio Milk Stout, and Apple Hard Cider — are priced at $4 apiece ($3 for Beer Farmer’s Co-op members). All seasonal/specialty beers will now be $5 ($4 for members). Just about everyone in town has slightly increased prices in the past four months, but an extra 50 cents or a dollar shouldn’t bankrupt anyone, right? Anyway, on the seasonal front, the Ebony & Ivory (5.5% ABV, 25 IBU) is a “pale stout,” made with pale malt, pale chocolate malt, and caramel malt. It smells like a stout, but tastes like something a little different. A newer addition to the menu is the Cowboy Blend (5.5% ABV, 25 IBU), a coffee-infused variation on the Ebony. The Branding Iron (7.6% ABV, 110 IBU) is just a wonderful blast of Nelson Sauvin hops. The popular Barnstorm Ale (5.8% ABV, 41 IBU), a maibock, is back. The 2015 edition of the Barley Wine (9.5% ABV, 65 IBU) is a giant malt monster, not too boozy but just enough to remind you that a few of these will leave you babbling alone in the corner.

Events: Kamikaze Karaoke is back at Wells Park tonight (Wednesday) at 7 p.m.

The Summer MERCH Release! party is Thursday at 3 p.m. at Nob Hill. Get all the gear you need for the warm months (hey, it’s supposed to hit 80 degrees that day, so it will truly feel summery).

The Thirsty Thursday Music Series is back at Wells Park as Leah Levya and The Band perform at 8 p.m.

This Saturday, In the Mix is back at Wells Park with Cloudface spinning at 9 p.m. Prior to that up in Nob Hill, a new music series begins. Setting the Tone will prepare your evening every Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. Felix y los Gatos will kick it off this weekend.

The Guild of Ethical Tattooists meets this Monday at 4:30 p.m. at Wells Park.

Also, every first Monday of the month at both Tractor locations is Beer for a Better Burque night. For every pint you buy $1 can go to one of four charities that have partnered with Tractor. You can also opt to purchase a special growler with the logo of your favorite charity. So yes, that is this Monday.

You can grab your own musical instrument and head to Nob Hill for the ultimate jam session. Tractor Tune Up, hosted by the Virginia Creepers, is now an official event happening every Monday starting at 7:30 p.m.

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

(Kitchen hours: Mon–Tues 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Wed–Thurs 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Sun 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Reminder: TMBC closes early when business dictates. Please call.)

Beers: (House) McDay’s Cream Ale, Oku Amber, Parasol White IPA, Hopshell IPA, Heidelberg Helles, Stauffenberg Stout. (Seasonal/specialty) Aphelion Double Stout, Adrift IPA, Night at the Roggenbury, Brohemian Pilsner. To help us out for now and the future, brewer Tim Woodward broke down what will be the regular beers on tap (under House) and the current list of seasonals. That’s a pretty solid regular lineup. I personally really enjoyed the new Stauffenberg Stout (it replaced the Piedra Lisa Porter in the regular lineup) and Amber, the latter of which trumps most of its genre in terms of flavor. The Heidelberg Helles (5.1% ABV, 25 IBU) has rejoined the regular lineup for good, or so Tim hopes. New this week is the Brohemian Pilsner. The other recent additions to tap are the Aphelion, Adrift, and the Roggenbury, which was a collaboration beer brewed with Nexus.

News: 22-ounce bombers of Wilde Jagd, Turtle Mountain’s first bottled beer, are still for sale at the brewery.

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Keenendrem, Friar Bacon’s Mild, Imperial Gose, Barleywine. The Friar Bacon’s Mild is a modest dark ale. The Imperial Gose is on tap at Blue Corn in Santa Fe and at the ABQ Draft Station. The Keenendrem is a Belgian black ale brewed in collaboration with Duel.

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

(Mon–Sat open at 11 a.m., Sun open at 1 p.m.)

Beers: Whistler (Petit Blonde), Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Titian (Golden Strong), Grunewald (Imperial Porter), Stille of the Night (Belgian Dark Sour), Cezanne Printemps (Imperial Saison), Keenendrem. The Stille of the Night debuted at WinterBrew to plenty of acclaim from the folks in attendance. The new Cezanne promises to keep up the tradition of big, big beers from Duel. Fiction is back after a short absence.

Events: Happy-hour Monday through Friday 4-6 p.m. (discounts for all draft beer), Growler Saturdays ($3 off growler fills).

Life Drawing every other Sunday beginning on April 19 (11 a.m.-1 p.m.) $22 includes a drink and a waffle. $15 for students (with ID), or if you don’t want a drink & waffle. Everyone draws from a nude model. People can call the brewery to reserve a spot.

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

(Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 2-8 p.m.)

Beers: Belgian Stout, Black IPA, Chicken Killer Barley Wine, Freestyle Pilsner. The Belgian Strong is out and the Belgian Stout has replaced it. The Kriek, which won a bronze medal at GABF this year, is on sale around the state in bombers, but supplies are low. A new Single Barrel Sour can also be purchased in bombers. A fresh batch of Chicken Killer is now available, too. The Freestyle is now available on tap and in cans across the state.

Events: $1 off growler refills in the tasting room on Mondays. $2 pint Tuesdays at the Eldorado Taphouse. On Wednesday, there is a $2 pint special in the tasting room, and the Sangre de Cristo Craft Brewers’ Meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the tasting room as well on the third Wednesday of every month. On Thursday, there will be $1 off growler refills at the Eldorado Taphouse.

News: SFBC will soon be opening a taproom in Albuquerque. We got to check out the new digs, with lots of pictures to show for it.

Second Street Brewery — (505) 989-3278 (Railyard), (505) 982-3030 (original location)

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Sunday noon-9 p.m.)

Beers: Kolsch, IPA, Cream Stout, Imperial Stout, Barrel-Aged Belgian Stout, Boneshaker Bitter, Rod’s Best Bitter, Civil Rye. Well, you all did it. You drank up all the special IPAs (St. George, Fulcrum, Mosaic) at Second Street. You will have to settle for malty beers in their place as Boneshaker and Rod’s Best return. New this week is the Civil Rye, which was dry-hopped with Mandariva Bavaria. The Pivotal and Boneshaker Bitter are often available for purchase in four-packs of cans.

Events: Live music is back this week at both locations. At the original location, Alex Maryol plays Friday and Alex Culbreth performs Saturday. Jono Mason will be at the Railyard location Friday followed by Swing Soleil on Saturday.

Every Tuesday night, the Railyard location will have Open Mic Night hosted by Ben Wright.

Every Thursday night, Geeks Who Drink will be at the Railyard at 8 p.m.

Other breweries you need to visit

Twisted Chile Brewing — (575) 835-2949

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sun 11 a.m.–11 p.m.)

Beers: Venom IPA, English Porter, Zia Pilsner, 790 IPA, Hellesmarzen, KC’s Traditional Irish Stout, Swartzbar Black Lager, Hose Company 1 Red Lager. Located in Socorro at 115 Abeyta St. W, Twisted Chile is the first brewery there to brew on site since Socorro Springs outsourced their brewing to Eddyline in Colorado several years ago. I got to head down there recently and enjoyed all the beers I sampled. Kudos to Twisted Chile for bring quality craft beers back to a town that needed ’em. The newest beer on tap is the Red Lager. Other recent additions are the Irish Stout, which came in third in our Stout Challenge, and Black Lager. Also of note are the 790 IPA (7% ABV), while the Zia Pilsner (5.25% ABV) is done in the German style. The Venom IPA (8.2% ABV) is the biggest beer on tap, as the name might imply. The Hellesmarzen is another recent addition. The Swartzbar is almost out.

Events: Tonight (Wednesday) is Open Mic Night hosted by Johnny Dean starting at 6 p.m. There will be food and drink specials.

* * * *

That’s all for this week! If you have any questions or comments, leave them below or contact us on our Facebook page.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

La Cumbre's certified Cicerone, brewer Bob Haggerty, was attacked by some hefeweizen out of the fermenter earlier in the day. Hey, we're all human.

La Cumbre’s certified Cicerone, brewer Bob Haggerty, was attacked by some hefeweizen out of the fermenter earlier in the day. Hey, we’re all human. Beer can sometimes be messy for all of us.

The word Cicerone gets thrown around a lot these days at local breweries. It is one of those terms that people have likely heard, but not necessarily understood. Even those of us in the Crew only had a somewhat vague idea of what it meant. To learn a lot more about this type of special certification, La Cumbre’s Geraldine Lucero tipped me off to the fact that one of their assistant brewers, Bob Haggerty, was one of the three people in New Mexico to recently become a certified Cicerone. It is a title not bestowed upon many — there were only two others in the state prior this latest group — so it made sense to sit down with Bob and find out just what it means to be a Cicerone, as well as what he had to do to earn his certification.

NMDSBC: So explain to us, what is a Cicerone?

Bob: So most people know about sommelier and sommelier program, but they most commonly associate that with wine. A sommelier is actually expected to know about wine, spirits, coffee, and beer, along with some other things as well. Beer was commonly overlooked in the sommelier program. And so Ray Daniels set up this Cicerone program to address that issue. The Cicerone program is a program designed to educate folks in beer in all aspects. The serving of, the keeping of, the history, the cultural significance, all things beer.

The Cicerone program has three levels. You go first you become a certified server. After that you become a certified Cicerone, which is the certification that I just attained. The third and final level is Master Cicerone. There are only a handful of Master Cicerones in the world. I think the last count was under 20. There are some hundreds of certified Cicerones in the country.

It was by no means an easy test. I have been sort of studying about beer for years. And so having sort of a knowledge base coming into this was a definite help to me. Also working here at La Cumbre and learning from Jeff (Erway) and Daniel (Jaramillo) was a huge help as well. We set up a study group. There were between eight and 12, depending on the week. We would get together, and we would taste different styles, discuss the styles. We would do a lot of off-flavor testing. We had some spike kits so we were able to spike samples of beers with common off-flavors. We learned to identify those. But most importantly it was the tasting and discussion of different styles. Every week we would pick a category from the BJCP guidelines and we would go down through that category and taste the styles and sub-styles.

You can’t really call it work, but there was a lot of studying going on. So the Cicerone program is designed to teach and … it’s not just about tasting and evaluating beer. That’s a large part of it. But equally important is to know how to keep and serve beer. The Cicerone certification is I think predominantly for people who serve beer. I happen to be a brewer. It was something that came up that I thought might be fun to do, so I did it. I think it’s mostly for people who serve beer to have a greater understanding of what they’re serving and the proper way to serve it.

Another very important aspect of the Cicerone program is pairing. Beer is equally and is infinitely parable as wine with food. So learning how and with which beers to pair with which foods was a big part of the study. It was very eye-opening, in fact. I’ve never really done that. I was a chef and I learned about some very basic wine and food pairings when I was a chef, but never really understood the mechanics of it. This really sort of taught me more the mechanics of pairings. How to pair intensities, what alcohol does, how it tempers fatty foods, how sweet beers can temper spicy, and different aspects of it.

NMDSBC: Now that you’ve accumulated all of this knowledge, do you find it changes your approach to work? To when you’re just hanging out and drinking beer with friends?

Bob: Oh, I’ve been intolerable to drink beer with for years. (Laughs) No, I usually keep my mouth shut unless I’m asked. A lot of what it did was it gave me an opportunity to branch out and to sort of taste styles that I don’t necessarily gravitate toward. Going toward, say, an American light lager. When was the last time you analyzed an American light lager? You don’t really do it. You grab it out of the ice and chug it down as fast as you can on a hot day. It’s not something you analyze. But really, you pick it apart and you analyze it. That was enlightening. You can extrapolate other styles as well.

One of the things for me that was the most fun was learning the history of styles. Learning how the history and geography lent to the creation of styles. In America, we have such a creative approach, where we have everything at our fingertips. If we want to make something, we can mix a pilsner with American hops and call it an India Pale Lager or whatever we want to do, it’s right there for us. Learning about water, the particular hops that grow in particular regions before there was transport, all of these different things that led to the creation of these styles, I really enjoyed that.

NMDSBC: You talked about the amount of studying you did. How much time would you say you spent?

Bob: So we met for generally about two hours for eight weeks. I tried to study for about four to five hours (on my own). So it was a good 40 to 50 hours of studying to get it done. And I have to continue to say how appreciative I am. La Cumbre has sponsored a lot of this. La Cumbre bought the spike kit, the off-flavor kit (and) most of the beer that we were evaluating. So they were just a huge help. If someone was to do it on their own, as a single person, I would schedule a lot more time. I would plan on six months.

We had sort of a more intensive study time because we had the luxury of La Cumbre sponsoring us. If you’re on your own, plan on more time.

NMDSBC: So how many people from your study group took the test and passed it?

Bob: From our study group, you can say there were roughly 10 of us. It would change depending on the week, but usually eight to 10 of us. There were three of us from our group who took the test. I was the only one that passed. The test itself, I believe there were 14 people taking the test. Three of us passed the test. That’s about average, about one in three to one in four pass it.

For the record, the others to pass the test were Santa Fe Brewing general manager Alana Jones and sales guru Angelo Orona, who we believe at this point is repping Santa Sidra and Abbey Brewing and possibly others because he is quite good at his job. All of you who enjoyed the recent Tart at Heart event he put on at Sister Bar can attest to this. Congrats to both of them! Oh, and for the record the other two people who were previously certified as Cicerones in New Mexico were Angela McMaster and Steven Anderson.

NMDSBC: Anything you’re planning to do with your certification now?

Bob: I’m thinking about the Master (certification). Just because I’ve come this far and you know, why not? It’s certainly a nice ring to reach for. It’s a two-day test. From what I hear, it’s pretty difficult. But that’s what makes me want to do it even more.

The only thing I plan to do with it (right now) is to continue to drink and love beer.

NMDSBC: While we’re here, let’s get a little background on you. How long have you been working at La Cumbre?

Bob: Almost two-and-a-half years now. Before that I was at Oxbow Brewing Company in Maine.

NMDSBC: So are you originally from Maine?

Bob: I’m originally from there. I was a chef for a long time and then I started a family. I realized having a family was no life for a chef. So I looked for another way to be creative with my palate and all. I had been home-brewing for a while. So I started volunteering at Oxbow. I worked my way into a job there. Then when we moved to New Mexico led to employment here at La Cumbre, which has been by far the most fun job in my brewing career. I can’t say (too much) about how awesome Jeff and Daniel are and how much they have taught me.

* * * * *

A big thanks to Bob for taking the time out of his day, which included a temperamental fermenter of hefeweizen, to chat about his experience becoming a Cicerone. As he said, it is not an easy test to pass. A friend of the Crew whose palate easily surpasses all of ours (combined) took the test for the first time with Bob and was among those who did not pass. It is an incredible challenge to undertake and we should all be proud there are now five New Mexico residents who have achieved this certification.

If anyone else out there wants to chat with us about his or her own Cicerone experience, pass or fail, or even if you are just planning on taking the test down the line, send us a message at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The band of merry brewers. From left, starting at bottom, Robbie from Canteen, Matt from Ponderosa. Middle row, Zach from Chama, Justin from Boxing Bear, Josh from Marble, Daniel from La Cumbre, Andrew from Marble, Kaylynn from Nexus. Back row, Tim from Turtle Mountain and David from Chama.

The band of merry brewers. From left, starting at bottom, Robbie from Canteen, Matt from Ponderosa. Middle row, Zach from Chama, Justin from Boxing Bear, Josh from Marble, Daniel from La Cumbre, Andrew from Marble, Kaylynn from Nexus. Back row, Tim from Turtle Mountain and David from Chama.

One of the perks of this job, if you can really call it a job, is to go behind the scenes at the breweries and hang out with the many characters who brew for a living. Well, imagine taking many of your favorite people from breweries all over town and then jamming them into a single space for one afternoon. That was what happened this Saturday at Chama River as reps from eight breweries gathered together to brew up the annual 505 Collaboration beer for the upcoming ABQ Beer Week. Well, 10 brewery employees plus one beer writer. Drinks were consumed, jokes were told, pranks were pulled, food was eaten, and most importantly beer was brewed.

The 505 this year was supposed to be a session IPA, but lord knows after that egregious amount of hops dropped in there it will probably scale up a bit higher than most sessions. Using Chama’s system, only 10 barrels were brewed, so be prepared to call this year’s batch the most exclusive one yet. If the flavor is even half as good as the amazing aroma was Saturday, then we are all in for a merry Beer Week indeed.

This one of those stories that is better seen than told, so here are a slew of pictures taken by myself and the participants. There was a lot more craziness than is shown here, but I am sworn to secrecy about a lot of it. Hey, I want to get invited back for next year, hopefully without missing any time due to late-starting high school baseball games that I had to cover.

Without further adieu, 505 Brew Day in pictures.

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Justin doing his best to have fun clearing out the mash tun after the first batch.

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Tim, left, and David, bottom, confer while Josh just keeps adding more hops.

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Everyone pauses to compare photos on their phones. Probably the photos we can’t show.

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Tim, Zach, and David in between batches.

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Justin, Daniel, Josh, and David take a quick break.

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Kaylynn versus Justin in cornhole. Hey, only so many brewers can be inside at the same time, it’s a small space.

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David’s skills go beyond the brewhouse.

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All the food a hungry brewer (and beer writer) needs.

So ... many ... hops ...

So … many … hops …

David keeps an eye on the clock while Josh is on the platform.

David keeps an eye on the clock while Josh is on the platform.

Oh, glorious IPA, thou art of such good color and aroma.

Oh, glorious IPA, thou art of such grand color and aroma.

Thanks to David and Zach for inviting me over, and for everyone else being OK with it, too. This was one of the more fun Saturdays I have been a part of in quite a while. I am definitely looking forward to drinking the 505 when it becomes available May 21 to kick off ABQ Beer Week 2015.

Until then …

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Bathtub Row Brewing in Los Alamos has opened their doors at last! Wednesday’s opening was of the “soft” variety, meaning that the the actual grand opening will be in May. In addition, until the brewing equipment is fully up and running, they will be serving a variety of New Mexico beers from esteemed establishments such as La Cumbre and Bosque. Expect the house beers to start coming online in about three weeks. For now, check out the photos from opening day, and head on in. The location is conveniently next to El Rigoberto’s (food is allowed to be brought in to BRB) and the hours are:

Monday—Thursday: 2–10 p.m.
Friday—Saturday: noon–11 p.m.
Sunday: noon–10 p.m.

Further information can be found at the BRB home page.

We plan on publishing additional posts covering the “hard” opening in May and interviews with the brewer and general manager of BRB. Stay tuned!

Cheers!

— Reid

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The guest beer lineup at Bathtub Row Brewing.

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Amusing tidbit about this photo: Barbie said it was the only time all week she didn't have a Marble shirt on, so she moved my beer glass into the shot, because the giant logo behind her just wasn't enough.

Amusing tidbit about this photo: Barbie said it was the only time all week she didn’t have a Marble shirt on, so she moved my beer glass into the shot, because the giant logo behind her just wasn’t enough.

After a little lull, otherwise known as “I had to cover the Isotopes’ opening homestand,” the Crew is restarting our series on NM Women in Brewing. At long last, we are delving into the (many) women working in key positions down at Marble Brewery. Being a tad busy right now with their Anniversary Week, rather than interview everyone at once it will be one at a time for these stories. As it turns out, that is just fine considering they each have quite a story to tell.

Stepping up to the plate first was Barbie Gonzalez, Marble’s Director of Taproom Operations, who met me downtown Wednesday afternoon to chat about her new position, what she loves about the craft beer industry, and a whole lot more. And though she came to Albuquerque from New York, I never once asked if she is a Rangers fan. Gotta keep these interviews nice and civil and not complaining about terrible NHL officiating and missed scoring opportunities and what the hell is the matter with Malkin and … (Deep breath, Jackson, deep breath; Bayern made the UCL semifinals, you’ve got that to hang onto for now.)

OK, on with the interview.

NMDSBC: To kick things off, let’s get a little background on you. How did you end up working here at Marble?

Barbie: OK, so I came to New Mexico in 2002. I came from New York City after the (World Trade Center) towers went down. I went on the road and I was just kind of looking for a new place, a new experience, something was untouched, something that was opposite of New York City. I found Albuquerque and it was like a gem to me. … I went from professional business jobs where I was in offices and I just decided, you know what, I’m going to do something completely opposite, I’m going to go into the service industry. I had a bunch of jobs here in the state at various bars. And one day my (sales) rep from Marble came in and said you should check out our taproom one of these days. I fell in love with everything. I fell in love with the beer. I fell in love with the experience. I fell in love with Marble. I told him, hey, if there is ever an opportunity just think about me.

So I was general managing a little place called Doc & Eddy’s. I knew immediately that I wanted to go with Marble and become a part of Marble and so I started bartending (in March 2013). So a couple months after that I became the assistant pub manager. A couple of months after that I became the pub manager. And then this past December I became Director of Taproom Operations, which pretty much means I manage all (three) taprooms. I’ve been home ever since. I couldn’t be more proud of where I work and more happy and that’s honest.

NMDSBC: We’ve all been here on the weekends. We’ve all seen what it can get like in this space. So what kind of a challenge is that for you when you’re managing your staff and they’re trying to deal with all of the people, how do you keep everyone calm, cool, and collected in the face of the chaos?

Barbie: So you need to always be, somebody that’s leading people always needs to be an example of what they want. So if I’m not calm, cool, and collected, no one else is going to be. I’ve been used to dealing with high volume for a really, really long time. But the other thing is, the scene here is so strong, so we have to be really careful, delicate, and selective with who we bring on (staff) here at Marble. I’m looking for people that are passionate about beer, but are also going to fit with the current team I have here. That has to do maintaining your cool under pressure and also continue to provide an experience that come in here. When I interview people, I always tell them this is not about your average bar-tending job. You’re not making a drink or pouring a beer and sliding it across the bar. What you’re doing is you’re creating an experience for the people that come in here. You’re talking about the beer. You’re talking about our events. You’re able to educate them about not just our product, but things that are going on, things that are happening with Marble.

And just to make another little point, I really frown down upon anyone that is giving a first-time craft beer person any sort of negative experience. We want people that know everything about the craft beer industry and know nothing about the craft beer industry to have the same experience.

NMDSBC: At one point in your life did you jump into craft beer?

Barbie: It was here at Marble. I had very little craft beer knowledge and experience before Marble.

NMDSBC: Now that you do know about it, what is your impression of this industry?

Barbie: I love the industry, I love how passionate people are about making craft beer, drinking craft beer, and the community that the craft beer industry has kind of created. It’s very warm, it’s very welcoming, it’s a fantastic experience all around. Specifically at Marble, the way we’re involved with the community, the local arts scene, how much we support and believe in the Albuquerque landscape, is something that I am just very proud of. I’ve seen that at other craft breweries across the U.S. I know we’re trying to continue this certain vibe that’s been set. I think we’re doing it very well. It’s great to be a part of that. I definitely feel like I am at home. I was kind of lost there for a little while in my life. When I walked through the doors here and after I was working here for a little bit, I knew I was home.

NMDSBC: Getting into the specifics of your job, what does a general day entail for you? What are you trying to get done from start to finish?

Barbie: Well, I’m trying to make sure at this point, especially with all the renovations and the way our business has picked up, I’m definitely trying to make sure all of the locations are staffed properly. I’m in charge of scheduling for two of the three locations (downtown and Westside). I’m always touching base with my managers. I’m always touching base with my staff. I work with Amberley (Rice) on events, coordinating festivals. This week is really insane. I’m going to be running the event on Saturday in Santa Fe.

It’s just kind of like where I’m the most needed. It changes every day. One day I might be sitting at a couple meetings in the morning. That afternoon I’m doing orientation for all the new hires. Or it might be … it’s such an open-ended question. There’s so much that I do, I can’t really put it into a little bubble for you. It’s wonderful, I love my job because of this.

NMDSBC: Amberley mentioned that before the renovations there was the major reorganization here at Marble, and the result of that was that many of the jobs previously held by men are now held by women. Is that kind a little mini-statement about where the industry is headed right now? We’re seeing a lot more women moving into key positions in the back, in the front, in the office.

Barbie: I don’t think it has to do with the fact that we’re women as much as it has to do with the fact that we’re good, hard-working people. I don’t think it matters if you’re a man or a woman, if you do a good job, and you’re committed, and you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you’re going to grow in your company. I think that at this point in time that there are a lot of women in upper management, and also we’re seeing a lot of women in brewing, I think that doesn’t have to do with the fact that we’re women, but that just each individual person is hard working.

NMDSBC: I think the reason a lot of people have taken notice is that 10 years ago a lot of these opportunities weren’t there. Now they aren’t looking at gender, they’re looking at who’s the best person for the job.

Barbie: It’s hard for me to think like that, because I’ve never felt that way, but I can see what you’re saying. I’ve never been limited by anything as far as gender goes.

NMDSBC: A few years ago, you would see the crowd in the taprooms be about 75 percent guys. Now it’s closer to 50-50, sometimes women are even the majority of the crowds at breweries. You talked about the overall cultural impact, building community and the like, creating a welcoming environment. Do you think that’s part of the reason we’re getting more women into craft beer?

Barbie: I think there are a lot of elements that contribute to why you’re seeing more women getting into craft beer. I think the direction that we’re all heading into is becoming a lot more knowledgeable into what we put into our bodies. We’re also about supporting local businesses now a lot more than we were in the ’80s. So I think that that has a lot to do with what’s going on. In general, as people become more educated, as people want to learn more, as people want to support local business more, it’s going to draw more people. For us specifically, again we’ve got great beer, but we provide a great experience overall.

* * * * *

A huge thanks to Barbie for taking the time to chat on one of Marble’s busiest weeks of the year (maybe of all time). It was good to finally get to know someone I have seen working there many times. Next up on the docket will be Marble’s Director of Marketing, Amberley Rice, who is also the wife of owner/founding brewer Ted Rice, followed by brewer Anna Kornke. Look for those stories next week.

And as always, if anyone out there feels there is someone we have missed, you can email us the suggestion at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com. We are hoping to talk to the key staffers at La Cumbre and a certain brewer at Nexus before too long.

Until then, enjoy the festivities at Marble and all of our other fine breweries.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister