Why is there a picture of the Desert Darlings dancing at Tractor with this story? Um, why not?

Why is there a picture of the Desert Darlings dancing at Tractor with this story? Um, why not?

Greetings, all, hope you had fun on this past sunny weekend. It was a fun time, wasn’t it? I mean, aside from that whole rain of 3-point death by Wisconsin against my Arizona Wildcats (curse you, cheeseheads!), I think just about everyone I know had a pretty good couple of days. Of course good days do not necessarily equal productive days as far as beer writing goes, so as Monday began I realized we didn’t have any fresh content for all of you today. That is kinda dumb on our part since this past week marked the biggest story for page views, single day for page views (doubling our previous high and then some), and thus last week was our biggest week and March is now our biggest month. Phew. Got all that?

So let me say thank you, to all who read our site last week, to those who forwarded the links, or just told folks they had to check ‘em out. We appreciate it. None of us are doing this for the money, just for the love of the beer, so it’s gratifying to see you all are enjoying it, too.

But back to that story on the legislature and what it all means for the near future of brewing in New Mexico. During a chat with a couple of Albuquerque Journal reporters, I learned that one of the major breweries here in town is already scoping out the Northeast Heights for a third taproom. I won’t say who (some of you will probably guess), at least not until I get an official yay or nay from the boss over there, but that is one of my major homework assignments for this week. I do have interviews set up at two breweries (so far) to see how the bills will impact them and I hope to get more by week’s end.

Breaking down the bill-by-bill impact:

Hey, look, new Blue Corn tap handles. Hmm, could those be headed to places besides the brewery and Draft Station? Time will tell. (Courtesy of the Blue Corn Facebook page)

Hey, look, new Blue Corn tap handles. Hmm, could those be headed to places besides the brewery and Draft Station? Time will tell. (Courtesy of the Blue Corn Facebook page)

1. All the brewery-restaurants can now distribute their beers off-site. I know from past interviews that Nico Ortiz at Turtle Mountain was a major champion of this bill (ditto Rod Tweet at Second Street, who will be chatting with Luke this week). While Chama River and Blue Corn have been able to send their beers to the Draft Stations, those are also owned by their parent company, Santa Fe Dining. How long until we could see Sleeping Dog Stout and Oku Amber and Nexus Scotch Ale at places like Sister or Nob Hill Bar & Grill? I will see what the plans are.

2. Breweries can serve beer and wine at private events held on site. E-Rock has already gotten the Sandia HS Class of ’95 Reunion set for Tractor Wells Park this summer (I was Class of ’96, FYI; we’re both old now). So now if they want, Tractor can purchase local wine and sell that in addition to their beer and cider for the event. It could make those (weird) people who don’t like beer happy, I guess. This certainly opens up more places as being able to host parties like reunions or wedding receptions. I guess now when Brandon gets married he’ll have his pick of local places to host the reception. Ditto Shilling. Jeez, I have a lot of weddings to go to in the near future. And that’s not counting my cousins getting married at various locations around America.

3. The fabled third taprooms will soon be upon us! Well, maybe. It will probably be a little while before anyone hits the ground running, but we can think of a few joints. Marble, obviously, comes to mind after having Santa Fe and Westside already up and running. Based on the fact that Bosque just recently opened Nob Hill and Las Cruces, we might want to give Gabe Jensen and his staff a chance to catch their breath before they start looking around again. Similarly, Santa Fe Brewing is only in the process of building their second taproom here in ABQ. You have to wonder if under-served places, like the aforementioned far NE Heights in ABQ, or perhaps other towns around the state (Las Cruces, or cities that have no local breweries like Roswell, Clovis, Hobbs, or Carlsbad) could be targeted. This could also fire up locals like La Cumbre and Nexus to get to work on their first off-site taprooms, though that’s purely my speculation.

4. SB471 is for alternating proprietorship, a concept where small breweries can “rent” time and space at bigger breweries to brew up their beers. It won’t quite be a collaboration, but let’s say a smaller brewery wants to concoct a bigger batch, or perhaps a small place has an equipment issue or is working on expanding and just needs temporary help. We figure this could always lead to more collaborations and the like, as well. It might be neat to see what a small place like Back Alley or Lizard Tail or Kaktus could do with one of their recipes brewed to a big scale at a place like La Cumbre, Marble, or Tractor (assuming those places will ever have the time and space, they’re all kinda busy). But let’s say it gets hard for Blue Corn to keep up during their pending expansion, maybe James Warren can trek over to Santa Fe Brewing and make sure he does not run out of Roadrunner IPA. Brewers help brewers all the time around ABQ and SF, now maybe they can go the extra mile.

Luke and I will be running amok this week trying to get you all the news you need to know about the actual details, not just our speculation, as to what it all means going forward. Plus, we are still going to be churning out more articles in our NM Women in Beer series.

So yeah, we are kinda busy right now. And ABQ Beer Week is only about seven weeks away. No rest for the weary, right?

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

No, really, they're having another beer festival in Santa Fe without telling anyone in ABQ.

No, really, they’re having another beer festival in Santa Fe without telling anyone in ABQ.

A year ago the folks up at Buffalo Thunder Casino held a beer festival that almost no one outside of Santa Fe knew about. Guess what? They’re holding it again, and once again, they have done next to zero advertising/promoting down here in Albuquerque.

Hey, BTC staff, there’s an estimated 900,000 people down here in the metro area. That’s 10 times the number in Santa Fe. So, I guess it’s once again up to us to let everyone know that Marchfest is back this Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are still available online for $20, which is actually fairly cheap compared to most beer festivals. So, there’s that. You can probably buy them at the door as well, assuming they don’t sell out.

Beyond that, details are rather sparse on the event’s Facebook page. There is supposed to be food and entertainment of some sort (one would assume live music, but the bands are not listed). Luke, being our Santa Fe writer and all, did contact the folks running the show and got an email back. They promised to answer any questions we had. And … nada. In their defense, sorta, we didn’t know the festival was coming back until this week, so maybe they just ran out of time to get back to us. People get busy, it happens, but this also illustrates our complaint above about not advertising/promoting in the state’s largest city that’s an hour’s drive away.

So what we do know from the list they have on the FB page, La Cumbre and Marble will be up there representing ABQ. Marble will send their “classic styles” to be poured by volunteers, rather than having Marble employees (sorry, no smiling Leah Black for you, Santa Fe, we’re keeping her down here for a change) work the event. (UPDATE: La Cumbre is not attending this event. Jeff Erway says they were never even invited.) We do know that Santa Fe Brewing will be present, pouring Pale Ale, Nut Brown, and State Pen Porter from bottles; Happy Camper, Java Stout, Black IPA, and Freestyle Pilsner from cans; and specialty beers Single Barrel Sour, Barrel Aged Sour Porter, and Belgian Strong Ale. Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca will also be there, but their beer list is unknown.

The rest of the breweries present are your standard fare from our state’s distributors — Alaskan, Avery, Big Sky, Black Diamond, Boulder, Breckenridge, Bridgeport, Goose Island, Green Flash, Kannah Creek, Kona, Lagunitas, Magic Hat, Odell, Oskar Blues, Pyramid, Red Hook, Shiner, Sierra Nevada, Ska, Squatters, Stone, Wasatch. Hopefully some of them will bring some new or rare seasonal beers instead of just the usual suspects. Otherwise we say primarily drink local and stick with just your old favorites among the out-of-state breweries.

If, by some miracle, we get an actual update from BTC, I will revise this. Sorry to sound pithy, but sometimes you just have to question how some of these events are run. Sometimes festivals are how people are initially exposed to craft beer. Sometimes these are how tourists discover our beer scene. If they are poorly organized and/or promoted, that turns people away, and we want everyone to come around to craft beer in New Mexico.

New craft beer walking tour comes to Nob Hill

I sent AmyO to do a preview of this new tour, which is organized by the same people who used to do similar tours in Santa Fe. This is what she had to say.

The new walking tour of breweries in Nob Hill gets your some tasty samples.

The new walking tour of breweries in Nob Hill gets your some tasty samples.

Last Saturday, I was fortunate to be able to tag along with Food Tour New Mexico’s Nick Pena on a test run of a Nob Hill walking beer tour. The tour, called the “Route 66 Craft Beer Tour” included three stops: Bosque, Kelly’s, and Tractor. We met up at Bosque at 2:45 for a prompt start at 3 p.m. Surprisingly, everyone was on time! There were six of us total (besides Nick) and five of us were female. I don’t think “Joe” — the only other guy besides Nick — minded that at all, and it is an interesting tie-in to our current NM Women in Brewing series. Two of the women were “beeristas” (to use one of our editor’s favorite terms) from Tractor.

It was a fun couple of hours. We were at each stop for 30 to 45 minutes. The tour will cost $30 and there are three to four samples at each stop and a snack in the beginning. We were also able to ask for a smaller sample of another beer if there was one we were particularly interested in trying. The brewer at Kelly’s showed us the operation and answered many questions. Samples at Kelly’s were provided in the production area. Since the other two stops do not brew onsite, we were given reserved tables inside the tap room at those locations. We all received Food Tour New Mexico sampler glasses as souvenirs at the end.

Since I am already fairly familiar with these places, I was wishing I had a visitor in from out of town to give a fresh perspective on the tour. The tour should be available to the public soon. If anyone takes the tour in upcoming months, please let us know what you think!

— AmyO

Sampler tray

  • Based on the story that appeared in the Venue section of the Albuquerque Journal on Friday, Bosque is planning on a special re-release party on or around April 10 for Scale Tipper. In case you somehow forgot, that is the beer that just won the Brewing News National IPA Challenge, defeating Canteen’s Exodus in the final round. Now just don’t drink up all the Exodus so Franz Solo can have a taste test comparison of the two beers. Just in case, we’ll probably get him a Crowler of Exodus.
  • Speaking of giant IPAs, Father Nelson is coming back to La Cumbre soon. Exactly when even we don’t know. We’ll just bug Jeff until he relents. Or he hits us with the mash paddle.
  • Not to be left out of this giant IPA season, Tractor has unveiled Branding Iron DIPA. It will be released at both Tractor locations when they open today (Friday) at 1 p.m.
  • On the live music/events front, this weekend is packed. Tractor Wells Park has the amazing Desert Darlings performing their belly dance routine tonight (Friday) at 9. There will be live music Saturday at 7 and a DJ, Flo Fader, after 9. Over at Marble’s downtown pub, Brothers Gow will perform tonight at 7, followed by The Porter Draw on Saturday at 6. For those Marble fans who don’t want to leave the west side, head to the taproom for Squash Blossom Boys tonight at 6 and Youngsville on Saturday at 6. La Cumbre has Rudy Boy performing Saturday at 7. Oh, yeah, and Sunday is the season finale for “The Walking Dead,” so all the breweries that tend to show it (Back Alley, Broken Bottle, Nexus) will probably be pretty crowded.
  • And let us all welcome Mother Road Brewing from Flagstaff to our beer shelves here in New Mexico. Mother Road was one of my favorite stops when I went to Flagstaff last summer, so I think they will make a great addition around here. If you head over to Jubilation you can buy six-packs of Gold Road Kolsch Style Ale and Roadside American Pale Ale, or go big and get a four-pack of the delicious Lost Highway Imperial Black IPA. And then next time you’re heading west on I-40, make sure to stop at Mother Road and enjoy all of the other beers they have to offer.

That’s all the beer news and notes we have for today. Have fun this weekend wherever your beer travels take you!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Bosque Brewing general manager Jessica Myers now oversees three locations in two cities.

Bosque Brewing general manager Jessica Myers now oversees three locations in two cities.

The role of women in craft brewing has grown along with the industry in the last decade-plus. Whether across the country or here in New Mexico, women are taking more key positions than ever before, whether in positions of management, working atop the brewhouse, or holding down other important jobs that sometimes go unrecognized. Well, it is high time to recognize some of these women for the hard work they are doing in the Land of Enchantment. Luke has already introduced you to a pair of women holding down the role of general manager in Santa Fe’s Alana Jones and Second Street’s Colleen Sager. Well, before what I thought were my allergies actually revealed themselves to be a nasty cold, I was able to finally sit down with one of Albuquerque’s unsung heroines in Bosque Brewing’s Jessica Myers.

Co-owner Gabe Jensen and head brewer John Bullard immediately pointed me in Jessica’s direction when I asked them if anyone at Bosque should be interviewed for this series. She is someone who we have all probably seen before at one of the Bosque locations, though few people know of the jobs she does for the company. Gabe and John said the title of general manager is actually inadequate for how important Jessica is to Bosque. While they work on that new title, Jessica and I sat down at the San Mateo taproom.

NMDSBC: What is the job you do here?

Jessica: It’s evolved a lot over the last couple of months, definitely. I originally started as a bartender here when we opened from day one. And then pretty shortly after we opened there was a need for some sort of taproom manager position which was coined general manager. I was doing a combination of both, so serving and then also doing the day-to-day stuff here — scheduling, payroll, putting out small fires — and also just taking care of front-of-house so Gabe and Ryan (Jameson) at the time could focus on brewing.

It stayed that way for a while until we started looking into opening a Nob Hill taproom and Las Cruces, which opened before Nob Hill, and then it became clear that doing both (managing and serving) was going to be too much. So in October I transferred over to just full-time general manager. I would say I mostly just manage the three taprooms. We just brought on taproom managers at each location, so that’s helped. I was doing a combination of managing day-to-day of all three at first, which was definitely overwhelming. Especially since Las Cruces and Nob Hill had been (opened) in such close proximity to each other.

Now I help the three taproom managers make sure those places are running. Front-of-house is kind of my specialty here, making sure the guests are having the best experience possible when they come to any of our taprooms. Maintaining the Bosque culture for all three, it’s a lot. We had 12 to 15 employees six months ago and now we almost have 50. It’s grown quickly. Just trying to maintain consistency across all three locations is kind of my biggest priority right now. There’s a lot of day-to-day stuff, chairs falling apart, making sure we have signs for all the specialty beers on the wall, just little things that kind of take up the day, emails, payroll, a lot of managerial stuff, a lot of face-time with all the employees.

NMDSBC: Things can be fixed and stuff can be put back on the walls, but dealing with people can be another matter.

Jessica: That’s definitely happening a lot more now that there’s three times the amount of people. It’s definitely been eye-opening, I think, for everyone who’s been here since the beginning to see Bosque evolve so much. I’m just trying to facilitate the old and new as much as possible. Make sure that everyone is on the same page and understand what the expectations are. Every day there’s something; I can’t really be away from my phone for very long, which I’ve come to terms with and which is fine. I’m kind of the problem solver, which I’m happy to do. The more I can take off of Gabe’s plate so he can focus on future goals, the better. That’s what I’m doing right now, hopping around between all three locations.

NMDSBC: You must be putting some mileage in your car if you’re driving to Las Cruces often.

Jessica: Yeah, we usually try to make a (multi-person) trip out of it, so Gabe and I will go together and knock out things we have to do. I’ve gone a few times on my own. It’s a really easy drive. I’ve gotten used to it, I could do it in my sleep if I had to. (And) it’s nice to have that time in the car some times to process everything that’s happening, since it’s happened really fast.

NMDSBC: How did you know about the job in the first place? Did you know any of these guys beforehand?

Jessica: Yeah, I actually worked with Ryan Jameson at Burt’s Tiki Lounge, that was back in the day. I was working for a lawyer at the time this location opened. I was just kind of looking to get back into the service industry. I had bar-tended and served for a long time. It kind of got me through college, working multiple server jobs. I was just kind of feeling like I was in a rut at that job I had as a law clerk. I asked Ryan if he had anything open. I think it was just right place, right time. Most of the people that started here were related either to Jotham (Michnovicz) or Gabe or Ryan in some capacity or another. Dave (Eichorn), who is our taproom manager at Nob Hill now, and I were the only ones who weren’t family members. People just figured I was a Michnovicz for a long time, which is kind of funny. Really just right place, right time. I’m just really, really grateful that the opportunity presented itself when it did. It all just kind of evolved naturally.

NMDSBC: When people ask you what you do for a living, what kind of reaction do you get? Does it differ between men and women, between younger and older?

Jessica: Sometimes I don’t know what my job is, to be completely honest. (So) it’s never really frustrating when other people seem to maybe minimize what my job is here. That’s fine, I don’t need the recognition. I would say women definitely seem to understand more what it is to manage that many people and how much pressure it is. Not to say that men don’t, but it seems like when I’m talking to other women who are in the same field there’s that camaraderie.

I would say that the craft beer community is really, really growing in Albuquerque and a lot of people my age and younger seem to have a better handle on that, and seem to understand what an opportunity working for this company is, compared to maybe someone my parents’ age who don’t understand much about craft beer. I don’t want to say older people know less than younger people, it totally depends (on the person) and I hate to generalize like that. (But) it seems like people in my age range do kind of understand what this opportunity is.

NMDSBC: People tend to think of the brewing industry is just about the people who brew, but there’s so many different positions right now, do you find that it’s becoming more and more accessible for women to work in the field?

Jessica: I think this is a great industry to be a part of at this time. It’s also at a time where women are getting more valuable jobs and being seen as more than they have been in the past. I feel like the women in this industry, especially here in New Mexico, are getting more opportunities. I think it’s because of the industry. I have never felt like because I’m a woman that I’ve been minimized in this industry by the people who matter — by the other brewery owners or by Gabe and Jotham, I’ve never felt that way. The outsiders, yes, I can’t lie and say there hasn’t been times where I haven’t been taken seriously because of my age and my gender, which I’ve had to work through.

But at the end of the day, I can see women just continuing to become a bigger part of this industry and just in general having just as successful careers as men have had, which is exciting. I’m all about empowering women, it’s definitely something I think about all the time. I read a lot of books written by women that inspire me to continue to lead by example for people who are coming into this industry, women especially. But men, also, I think that men and women both need to recognize that positions should be given based off of merit, which I’ve always felt like I’ve had that opportunity here which is lucky. Because I know some women haven’t been so lucky.

NMDSBC: It’s kind of a double-edged sword, because you want to be seen as successful because of the job you do, not because you’re given some leniency as a woman. But at the same time where you want to be proud that you’re a woman in a position of authority in a certain and an example to others.

Jessica: I try to be really careful about giving that too much weight as well. I don’t want to add to that mindset. It’s really hard to find that balance. Yes, I am a woman, I am empowering myself, and I am in a position of authority. Those are all things I take really seriously. But also I don’t want to think too much about being a woman in this industry, because then I’d be adding to that misconception that women shouldn’t be treated the same way. It’s a really hard line to tiptoe and I don’t think people think about that. But that’s fine, I just want to continue prove myself based on the job I’m doing and not by which bathroom I go to and my age, too. I’m 27, I started doing this when I was 25, that’s a lot of it, too. Just questioning whether or not I have the experience to handle this position has come up a lot, too. I definitely feel like I have to prove myself.

* * * * *

Based on the high regard that Gabe and John and the rest of the Bosque staff have for Jessica, I would say she has more than proven herself. I thank her for taking some time out of her busy day to sit down, and for being a good sport when it came time to take the picture above. Also, her phone did not ring once (it could have been set on silent, though) while the interview took place, so hopefully I did not take her away from putting out one of those small fires during the day.

Let us all raise our glasses this weekend in honor of all the women in the New Mexico craft brewing scene. The Crew will be back with more entries in this series next week, at which point I will hopefully be healthy enough to drink again. Man, I miss beer.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

RoundHouse1

Wait, the people inside this building did something good for a change?!

The 2015 New Mexico Legislature has finally wrapped in Santa Fe, meaning I no longer get to play the 20 points for a senator game while driving to work. I’m totally kidding. No, what’s interesting to you craft beer fans, brewers, and purveyors, is that many alcohol, beer, wine, and cider bills went through this year’s regular session, bills that affect our breweries, cideries, and restaurants across New Mexico, which then of course directly affects us drinkers.

Well, the Dark Side Brew Crew knows that you’re all curious about what bills were passed, and what kind of impact they are going to have on our NM beer, wine, and cider scene. To find out, I conducted an interview with our Brewers Guild beer ambassador Chris Goblet, a man on the front lines, down in the trenches, with gas mask and bayonet. I sent him my questions early this week via email, because, as you know, the man has many places he needs to be, and sometimes all at once. However, he was kind enough to take a break from working on Bike & Brew to answer my questions, so that you know where our industry stands and where it’s going.

DSBC: The legislative session just wrapped. Overall, how do you feel about how everything went this year?

Goblet: I was truly impressed by the response we received at the Round House. The more time I spent there, the more I realized that New Mexico craft beer is really making progress both in the rural areas and in the metro (areas). There were very few people who did not have some connection to our industry, and many folks were truly rooting for us along the way. The nice thing about beer is that it is totally bipartisan. Folks like to root for a winner and the industry on the whole is making great strides forward. We were very pleased that all five of our key legislative items (mentioned below) were passed by the Senate and the House … unanimously.

DSBC: It looks like we had quite a few alcohol, beer, wine, and cider industry related bills that were proposed in this 2015 session. Can you tell us about the important bills that passed and were signed by Governor (Susana) Martinez?

Goblet: There were a significant number of alcohol-related bills that passed this session, and I believe that had something to do with the Liquor Control Act Task Force that was convened in 2014. Around 40 or 50 of us met over the summer to put together recommendations to enhance and improve the Liquor Control Act. Many of the ideas that came out of the Task Force were good enough to merit the legislation that was passed. We met at least a dozen times over the summer, so I know that many of us in the industry were motivated to pass our bills. It was nice to see our hard work paid off and our recommendations were taken seriously. I even heard a legislator complain about all the liquor bills.

Certainly we did not fix the Liquor Control Act (60-3A-1, NMSA 1978) with the legislation that was passed, but we did make an honest attempt to upgrade and evolve the document with the support of the Alcohol & Gaming Division. (It was) not a bad use of time, if you ask me.

DSBC: What will their impact be on our brewers, beer-serving establishments, and our NM beer, wine, and cider industry?

Goblet: Well, it is always hard to tell what the outcome will be from passing a bill, but here are a few of my thoughts:

1. More product choice. SB 238 will allow brewpubs with a restaurant license to now package their beer. This mean seeing Second St., Blue Corn, Chama River, Turtle Mountain and others can be served in bottle or can or on tap at your local restaurant. These breweries can now self-distribute.

2. Local cider and wine will now be readily available at your local brewery and brewpub. This offers a great alternative for the gluten-free or non-beer drinkers in your party and keeps promoting local manufacturing.

3. SB 440 will allow wineries and breweries to host private events and functions and offer both beer and wine. The best example I can think of is a wedding. Now if a couple wants a local brewery or winery to host their reception they can offer beer, wine and cider, which before was not possible. We think this could open up a number of opportunities for specialty events for our brewery members and the wine industry.

4. HB 243 makes growlers our God-given beer drinking right, and we don’t need to have any concern that they could be compromised. Growlers have been a point of controversy in some other states, but this bill ensures that breweries will always have the right to fill them for off-site consumption.

5. Breweries will now be able to open a third off-premise location. Formerly every brewery was allowed one tasting room directly adjacent their manufacturing facility and two off-site tap rooms. This third tap room means that Marble, Bosque, Blue Corn, Chama River and others can look to open an additional location. We hope to see more tap rooms popping up around the state with this legislation, and more jobs and more beer available.

6. SB 471 allows for Alternating Proprietorship, which is a cool mechanism that would allow a small brewery to rent a portion of a larger brewery to increase production. Let’s say a small brewpub has a very popular beer they want to brew a larger batch, they can now go over to a larger brewery and use their facility to brew a big batch of beer and keep the books separate and clean. A great example is when Avery was moving to their new facility the used some tanks at New Belgium to make sure their White Rascal was available on tap and in the can. It is a federal best practice that allows for this arrangement between brewers.

DSBC: If some of the bills have not yet been signed, do you foresee any problems?

Goblet: We will be working with Governor and her office to explain all the bills and sincerely ask for her support. At this time we are unaware of any opposition to our bills, but you never really know. The fact that most of our bills are about manufacturing, and not consumptions, we believe will help us in our request for final approval from the Round House.

DSBC: Can you tell us a little about some of the some of the people you worked with to get these bills proposed?

Goblet: To begin, the Guild Board of Directors was essential in setting the path for success and keeping the ship headed in the right direction. They are to be thanked. We also had some great support from the distributors in getting these bills through the many committees. Our lobbyist, Karin Foster, was a huge help in just showing us the ropes at the Round House and keeping us on track during the 60-day session. We probably could not have managed this without her.

Behind the scenes, the Legislature has a division called Legislative Council Services, and Monica Ewing was the lawyer assigned to help us draft our bills in the proper form. She did an amazing job of researching the history of the Liquor Control Act and helped us put together the strongest and simplest bills possible. Finally, it was our list of sponsoring Senators and Representatives who did their best to keep our bills top of mind with the leadership and who stood on our behalf in committee meetings and on the House and Senate floor to present our bills.

DSBC: With a lot of majority votes going our way, what do you think this sort of success in legislation means for the future of the NM beer industry on the whole?

Goblet: I think we were all very surprised how universal the support was for craft brewing in New Mexico, and that bodes well for the industry at large. There were so many supportive people at the Round House that were rooting for us. It kept our spirits high whenever we hit a bump in the road or got worried about the ticking clock. Republicans and Democrats, it really didn’t matter what party, they simply wanted to help us keep the momentum of the industry.

I also think we didn’t realize how many people are watching and keeping track of our success and expansion. The craft beer industry is one of the fastest growing manufacturing sectors in the state, and we’re going to see more breweries, more taprooms and more jobs … not to mention more taxes collected by the state. The fact that our booming beer industry can be a hallmark for the New Mexico economy and reputation is a great thing. We didn’t have to explain the impact our industry has, from taxes, to jobs, to tourism and for community pride, (as) it was already in the minds of those we were asking for support. I think it is a great sign.

As a person who comes to New Mexico having lived in many other places, I am always impressed by the way people support LOCAL in this state. We know we have problems and we know our state is imperfect, but at the end of the day there is an immense pride in the things we do have, in the products that we make that set our state apart from others. To be part of an award-winning industry that is bursting at the seams to grow so quickly, and to know New Mexicans have our back, that is what makes this process so exciting to be a part of.

* * * * *

No colorful commentary on my part. I’ll end with this: Much thanks to the Guild Board of Directors, the Liquor Control Task Force, the distributors, and those fighting for our industry. A special thanks to Chris Goblet for tirelessly doing what he does every day. And thanks to our NM craft brewing industry, for being something worth fighting for. I’m not political, I prefer Imperials to sessions of any kind, but this year, let’s raise our pints to all those that represent us in one way or another, and buy another round for the Round House. See you next Growler Day!

Cheers!

— Luke

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

If you have any further questions for Mr. Goblet about what it all means, please post them in the comments sections below, or email us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com and we’ll represent you.

Want a new way to get from brewery to brewery downtown? Here you go.

Want a new way to get from brewery to brewery downtown? Here you go.

Last week before I darted off to Arizona and picked up a cold (nope, not allergies, damn it), I hopped on a bike and went from one brewery to another. Well, not a traditional bicycle, but something new to ABQ, at least. The Duke City Pedaler, the newest creation of ABQ Trolley Company owners Mike Silva and Jesse Herron, was our means of conveyance from Marble to Tractor Wells Park to Back Alley. The party bike can transport up to 14 people, powered by 10 of those folks pedaling in unison on either side. The ride takes you down city streets, but fear not, no car nor truck ever got too close to us.

No, really, Stoutmeister helped power the Pedaler. He had the power of METAL on his side.

No, really, Stoutmeister helped power the Pedaler. He had the power of METAL on his side.

Guess what? Pedaling that thing is not as easy as it looks. There was a reason that all of us on this test run rarely sat down upon arriving at the breweries. We had to make sure our legs didn’t cramp up or anything. But it was good exercise and a fun ride, with the current cool-but-not-cold temperatures a godsend. Jesse and Mike said there are plans to make sure folks stay cool when the temp rises in the summer, though one suggestion (misters) was shot down quickly as those things cost a lot and tend to leak and could rust the Pedaler. We shall see what they come up with in the weeks ahead.

Anyway, here are the nitty gritty details you need to know, courtesy of Jesse:

1) The Beer Bike 5K will run Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m. 2) The course is Civic Plaza — Marble — Tractor Wells Park — Back Alley Draft House — Civic Plaza. Later this summer, we plan on a Beer Bike 3K that will be Boese Brothers Brewing, Back Alley Draft House, and Draft Station. Rio Bravo Brewing will also be in the mix once they are up and running. 3) Tickets are $30 and can be bought online at dukecitypedaler.com. You can also book the Beer Bike 5K for your group (14 passengers) with advance notice for $395.

Thanks to Jesse for all of that. So as noted there, our course took us to Marble (where I met the group, since I was at work til 6 and had to zip downtown), followed by taking 2nd St. down to Tractor WP, and from there we eventually made our way downtown via 3rd St. to Back Alley. Now, this being New Mexico and all, we could not drink while on the Pedaler. That would violate the state’s open container law. At each brewery we had about 45 minutes to drink, grab some food off a food truck (or the NYPD kitchen while at Back Alley), and in general just hang out.

Some of the cast of characters on the inaugural beer ride, including Stoutmeister, far left, and Dan Mayfield, second from left.

Some of the cast of characters on the inaugural beer ride, including Stoutmeister, far left, and Dan Mayfield, second from left.

Among those on this test run were Marble head brewer Josh Trujillo and two of his staff, plus reps from Tractor and Back Alley/NYPD, a radio station staffer and his girlfriend (I was not good at taking notes, apologies to all for not remembering your names), and finally Dan Mayfield, who writes for ABQ Business First and hosts “The Morning Brew” on Ch. 27. One of the Pedaler staffers, usually Mike or Jesse, would also hop on and help out (they took turns, lucky bastards). Another Pedaler staffer handled the steering and the brakes, all while jamming out to a lot of 80s and 90s tunes. We certainly got a lot of looks, mostly friendly and amused, some confounded, by folks in cars and on the sidewalks. It was certainly a unique site to behold.

One suggestion for the future, based on post-ride conversations I’ve had, is to work with the breweries to get at the very least a discount on your first pint. If the Pedaler staff and the breweries could swing it, even a ticket for a free pint would be nice if included in the cost of signing up to ride, though that could always end up violating another law about no free alcohol. But getting a dollar off or member/mug club prices (same thing, really) would be a nice bonus.

Overall, I enjoyed the experience, even if my out-of-shape quads did not. Certainly the group we had on board was a lot of fun to hang out with, so that certainly helped during the long, long ride from Tractor to Back Alley. Hey, you burn a lot of calories on this thing, and then replace them with delicious beer calories. That’s a win-win, as far as I’m concerned.

Marble's Leah Black snaps a photo of all of us as the food truck staff looks on in admiration. Or possibly thinking we're all nuts.

Marble’s Leah Black snaps a photo of all of us as the food truck staff looks on in admiration. Or possibly thinking we’re all nuts.

After I kick this cold, I’ll see about hopping back on the Pedaler one of these days. This time I’m supposed to bring Franz Solo and Mrs. Solo, since they’re friends with Mike’s wife, and Leah Black, who was talking up the Pedaler long ago, but had to stay at Marble and serve people beer last week.

If anyone out there has any questions about the Pedaler, send them our way and at the very least we’ll pass them along to Mike and Jesse.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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.

Let us all officially welcome Albuquerque Brewing Co. to the local lineup. ABC held their grand opening Tuesday night (I was unable to attend due to an onslaught of allergies) with four beers on regular taps and one on nitro, plus three guest beers (see below). They will hardly be the last brewery to open this year. Rio Bravo Brewing is still aiming for an early May opening. We have also heard of at least two breweries opening in the heart of downtown, another near 12th St. and I-40, plus possibly another near 2nd St. and Paseo del Notre. Oh, and there is the strong possibility of an Abbey Brewing taproom in ABQ in the near future. We’ll do our best to keep tabs on all of them and their progress amid all of the other beer-related news going on right now.

On the new beer front, it’s a quiet week. Canteen brought back Exodus IPA, the national runner-up, at the end of last week, while adding Oaked Cascade Pale and Citrus Saison for this week. Chama River tapped Sun Dog Kolsch and Wee Bit Loco, a Scottish wee heavy, late last week as well. Kaktus brought back James Blonde and also added Wheat Wood Mac. La Cumbre’s VMO #2 will be on tap again soon.

Up in Santa Fe, Duel has brought back Whistler, a Petit Blonde. Second Street has Cascade Pilzner, plus fresh batches of Rod’s Best Bitter and Boneshaker Bitter on tap.

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 March 23.

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: 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.

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

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

Beers: California Common, Belgian Dark, Belgian Wit, Latir Pale Ale. In case you missed it, we interviewed BADH’s new brewer, Brandon Venaglia. There are some exciting times coming, including a possible expansion. I ran into Brandon recently while beer shopping and learned that the new Latir Pale Ale was made with Latir hops given to him by the monks from Abbey Brewing in Abiquiu. Gotta love it when one brewery helps another. Look for another batch of Ladron’s Peak in the near future, too.

Events: Sundays will now be 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: Golden Amber. The third beer in the Grasshopper’s short history, the Amber just went on tap recently. They sold out of their previous beers, 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 are Cherry Bomb and Maibock.

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: Riverbank Brown, Crystal Single Hop Pale Ale, Loyle’s Choice Irish Red, Dry Irish Stout, Tandem Ryder Double Pale Ale, Wake Up and Smell the Stout (Nob Hill only), Old School Session IPA (San Mateo only), It’s Spelt Centennial (Las Cruces only). All beers listed are on tap at all three locations, unless noted. The Loyle’s Choice (5.4% ABV) is a not-too-sweet, not-too-dry style of red. The Dry Irish Stout (5% ABV) is available on nitro at San Mateo and Nob Hill; it’s a creamy delight. Wake Up (5.6% ABV, 16 IBU) is a wonderful coffee stout that does not overpower. The Old School (4.7% ABV, 60 IBU) is a mild little delight. The Crystal Single Hop (5.6% ABV, 30 IBU) offers up a nice hop kick. Riverwalker IPA (6.5% ABV, 90 IBU) is now the permanent IPA on tap at all Bosque locations.

Cask: From now on, Bosque will have their firkin filled every Wednesday, available only at Nob Hill. This week’s beer is Riverwalker.

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) Sucker Punch DIPA, Iron Lung Smoked Porter, Black Eye-PA, Body Czech Bohemian Pilsner, Bearzen, Red Knuckle Irish Red, Barnburner IPA. The Red Knuckle (4.7% ABV, 25 IBU) is available only nitro. The Barnburner (6.8% ABV, 80 IBU) is listed as a “specialty IPA.” 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 Iron Lung Smoked Porter (6.1% ABV, 40 IBU) and Apple Bear Hard Cider (5% ABV) offer up treats at different ends of the flavor spectrum. The Black Eye-PA (6.2% ABV, 80 IBU) is a hoppy yet malty black IPA. The Sucker Punch (8.5% ABV, 125+ IBU), which as the name might imply, could leave you on the floor if you’re careful.

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.

B3 shows The Walking Dead every Sunday at 7 p.m. and Better Call Saul every Monday 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, Exodus IPA, Oaked Cascade Pale, Citrus Saison. Exodus, the runner-up to Bosque’s Scale Tipper in the final of the National IPA Challenge, is back on tap. New are the Oaked Cascade Pale and Citrus Saison. 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: The 2015 edition of Malt Madness is now underway. Head to Canteen and get two samples of the day’s competing beers, then vote for your favorite. They won’t tell you which is which, but that just makes it more fun. Then wait and see who comes out on top April 2.

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.

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), Hefeweizen, 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: O’Houlihan’s Irish Stout, Irish Red, Hank (Nut Brown), Kissy Face Chocolate Cherry Wheat, Ha-Za! DIPA. The Kissy Face (6% ABV, 22 IBU) was made for Valentine’s Day. It has a healthy amount of dark cherry puree and cocoa nibs in the mix. All of you Better Call Saul fans drank up the Saul-utations IPL. To kick off March, Chama’s delicious Irish Red is on tap again. This is always a seasonal standout. The new O’Houlihan’s (4.5% ABV, 20 IBU) will also help get you in the Irish frame of mind. Just don’t go throwing any wrenches at dodgeball players after drinking it. We were tipped off, via our friends’ Untappd checkins, that Ha-Za! is now available. It’s listed at 8.8 percent ABV, so you just know it’s a beast of a beer.

Events: Chama’s Irish Beer Spring Social is March 26 from 5 to 8 p.m. It costs $26 and reservations are required. We’ll have more details next week.

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: Helles Lager, Honk If You’re …, James Blonde, Wheat Wood Mac, Amber, IPA, I’m a Little Teapot Short and Stout, Brunette. The James Blonde made its return recently, while the Wheat Wood Mac is new. The regular IPA is back and has been joined by Honk If You’re …, a British-style mild ale. I’m a Little Teapot Short and Stout is Kaktus’ first barrel-aged beer. A bunch of the Crew gathered at Kaktus recently and the Brunette, a sweet, nutty brown ale, was a big hit with all of us. We gotta say, Kaktus is getting pretty good at naming their beers. 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: Azacca Pale Ale, Simcoe Pale Ale, Hell Froze Over, Imperial Red Ryeot, No, You’re a Dort. The Imperial Red Ryeot (9% ABV, 100 IBU) is on tap and for sale in bombers at the brewery and places like Jubilation. The Simcoe (5.5% ABV, 37 IBU) and Azacca (5.5% ABV, 38 IBU) pale ales are still hanging around, though the Simcoe is nearly out. Hell Froze Over (5.5% ABV, 30 IBU), La Cumbre’s take on a brown ale, is back for 2015. Also back is No, You’re a Dort (5.7% ABV, 26 IBU), a bold, Bavarian-style lager. Though it is not on tap, you can buy bombers of Tres Padres, La Cumbre’s first Belgian-style Tripel, at the brewery. 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.

When Simcoe runs out VMO #2 will replace it. Father Nelson and a Cream Ale are also coming soon.

Events: Rudy Boy 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, Belgian Abbey, ESB, Belgian Tripel, Gratzer, White. Brace yourselves for the hefty new Belgian Tripel (9.2% ABV, 30 IBU). The new Gratzer (3.8% ABV, 30 IBU) is an oak-smoked wheat beer, while the White (4.7% ABV, 18 IBU) has hints of citrus, banana, Noble hops, and chamomile. The ESB (6% ABV, 40 IBU), Belgian Abbey (7.1% ABV, 25 IBU) and the Belgian Dark Strong (9.7% ABV, 30 IBU) are other recent additions, as one can probably tell since they have yet to be given lizard-themed names like the rest of the lineup. 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: Nitro Sesh, Reserve Ale, Double IPA, Imperial Stout, Paddy McNitro, Choice Blanc, Imperial Red. Since the renovated taproom was reopened, the silky smooth little Sesh (4.4% ABV) was the only seasonal on tap, but not anymore. The full seasonal lineup is back, featuring old favorites like the Imperial Stout (11% ABV), Reserve (9% ABV), and DIPA (8% ABV) all guaranteed to pack a wallop. The Choice Blanc (5.6% ABV) is a single-hop pale ale. The Paddy McNitro (4.7% ABV) got a twist this year in that it was barrel-aged before being put on nitro. So that’s where that little kick of bourbon-y vanilla you get in the middle comes from. It’s quite wonderful.

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.

Bottom Dollar String Band performs tonight (Wednesday) at the downtown pub. The Giving Tree Band takes the stage Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m., while Brothers Gow Band will play Friday from 7 to 10 p.m. and The Porter Draw performs Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. There will also be a special Songwriters Showcase from 6 to 10 p.m. on Monday.

Squash Blossom Boys perform at the Westside Taproom on Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. Youngsville 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: Warp 10 Golden Strong, Blackberry Hefeweizen, Make It So, Marzen, Irish Red. The Irish Red is really quite excellent this year. Anyway, Make It So, Marzen might seem out of season, but in my personal opinion, quality German beers are year-round treats. The Blackberry Hefeweizen should have you pining for summer in no time. The Warp 10 Golden Strong is an English-style golden ale.

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.

Nexus has always hosted viewing parties for The Walking Dead in the community room, where you can also play Walking Dead pinball. The show is back this Sunday at 7 p.m. We’re guessing they will keep the TV on AMC for Better Call Saul on Mondays, too.

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. The scrumptious Bourbon Vanilla Porter is back, replacing the Robust Porter. Recent additions to tap are the Peppermint Porter and Pumpkin Abbey Ale, while a fresh batch of ESB is on tap as well.

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, Nikolaus Spiced Lager, Imperial Sawmill Stout, The Dark Demon ICDA, The Brauny Bavarian, Smoky the Beer, Ella Single Hop Pale Ale. 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 most recent addition to taps is Smoky the Beer (6.2% ABV, 40 IBU), a smoked porter. It should go well with that new meat smoker they have in the kitchen. The Dark Demon (8% ABV, 110 IBU) is an imperial Cascadian dark ale (basically a black IPA), and it is a devilish delight. The Nikolaus (5.2% ABV, 30 IBU) is a Weihnachtsbier, a traditional Bavarian dark lager brewed for the holidays. Brace yourselves for the Imperial Sawmill Stout (8.2% ABV, 65 IBU). The Brauny Bavarian (5.2% ABV, 15 IBU), a dunkelweizen, sticks with the German theme. New to taps is the Ella (5% ABV, 35 IBU), made with a special Australian hop, the latest in their single-hop series.

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. The Broken Arrow (5.4% ABV) is the newest addition, 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. Sadly, the Stormtrooper DIPA and O.D.B. have run out.

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

Events: Marcus Scott will perform at Red Door tonight (Wednesday) from 9 to 11.

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.

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

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: Goat Head Hador Doppelbock, Berry Cider, C&C IPA, Double Sickle DIPA, Turkey Drool, Luna de los Muertos Russian Imperial Stout (Wells Park only), Ebony & Ivory (Wells Park only), Wonder Weisse (Nob Hill only), Half Acre Hefe (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 2015 batch of Luna (8% ABV) is a dark delight, loaded with flavor and decadently smooth. We love us some Turkey Drool (8% ABV) any time of year. It’s a brown ale with all sorts of holiday-themed spices and other added ingredients. This year’s batch is arguably the best yet. The wonderful Lauren Poole also showed us that if you mix the Drool with Mustachio to create Turkey Milk, it’s absolutely stupendous. The Double Sickle DIPA (7.6% ABV, 110 IBU) is not an overwhelming hop bomb, but has a nice malty backbone to balance itself out. 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.

News: There are a slew of new beers set to debut in the coming weeks. While we were brewing at Tractor recently, brewer David Hargis shared a wonderful new IPA and a dry cider with us. And those are just the tip of the iceberg. Oh, yeah, and he has a whole bunch of beers aging in barrels in the brewery. Good beer times are coming!

Events: Kamikaze Karaoke is back at Wells Park tonight (Wednesday) at 7. They are working on having a set schedule for karaoke going forward.

The pLOUD Music Series is back at Wells Park as The Chemical West performs on Thursday at 8 p.m.

Friday is Hops & Dreams: A Night With Desert Darlings Belly Dance at 9 p.m. at Wells Park. Seriously, if you have never seen the Desert Darlings live, you need to go to this event.

This Saturday features the In the Mix series with Flo Fader spinning at 9 p.m. at Wells Park. Prior to that at 7 p.m., there will be a Zia Sun 16 Bars Listening Party.

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.

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) Mr. Hoover’s Steam, Phantom Sun Pale Ale, Marzen, Timber! Oaked IPA. 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 to taps this week is Timber! Oaked IPA. The other recent beers here are the Marzen and the special guest tap, Second Street’s Berliner Weisse. The Phantom Sun (4.8% ABV) is a tart little sucker. The Mr. Hoover’s Steam is an old recipe that’s being brought back for the upcoming 16th anniversary celebration. Tim said one or more classics will also be making a brief return soon.

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Irish Red, Friar Bacon’s Mild, Imperial Gose, Wrinkled Kilt. The Irish Red has arrived, ending the run of the Toro Blanco White IPA. The Friar Bacon’s Mild is a modest dark ale. The Wrinkled Kilt (5.6% ABV) is a Scottish export that debuted recently. The new Imperial Gose is on tap at Blue Corn in Santa Fe and at the ABQ Draft Station.

Events: The next Thursday at the Brewer’s Table is set for April 23. It will feature a collaboration with Duel! We love collaborations.

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

(Sun 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Mon–Tues 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Wed–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Whistler (Petit Blonde), Fiction (IPA), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Titian (Golden Strong), Dark Ryder (Dark Strong), Grunewald (Imperial Porter), Goya (Imperial Stout), Stille of the Night (Belgian Dark Sour). The Stille of the Night debuted at WinterBrew to plenty of acclaim from the folks in attendance. If you like your beers big, Duel has you covered. Dark Ryder and Tititan check in at 11-percent ABV, while Goya (15.9% ABV) is an absolute monster of a beer. You can buy Goya in bottles at the brewery or down in ABQ at Jubilation.

Events: The life drawing session is $25 and is held each Sunday morning from 11-1 (although they are not open to the drinking public till 1 p.m. on Sun). You get the beverage of your choice, a Brussels-style waffle made with their own yeast and beer and then served with a Grunewald Syrup. Everyone then draws from a nude model. People can sign up through the website or 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 Strong Ale, Black IPA, Hefeweizen, Chicken Killer Barley Wine, Irish Red Ale. The second beer in the new Ever Changing Series is Belgian Strong Ale (9.6% ABV), which debuted recently to much acclaim from Luke, our Santa Fe writer. 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 Irish Red is 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. Here are all the details that Luke could find. It sounds promising.

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, Cascade Pilzner, Jordy’s Irish Red, Imperial Stout, U2 Dry Stout, Halifax Strong Pale Ale, Boneshaker Bitter, Rod’s Best Bitter. The Cascade Pilzner is the new kid here. It’s also still Irish Month at Second Street. Jordy’s Irish Red, Imperial Stout, and U2 Dry Stout are all on tap. The Pivotal IPA 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, Busy and The Crazy 88’s play Friday and Drastic Andrew performs Saturday. MVIII Unplugged will be at the Railyard location Friday and Mystic Lizard performs 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.

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

Sabinal Sisters will perform Saturday at 7 p.m.

* * * *

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

WIBColleenSager1 (1)

Second Street general manager Colleen Sager enjoys those quiet moments where she can sit down with one of their beers.

Women have always been on the frontier of beer. Before hops, words like “craft,” and before there was an industry, women kept their households stocked with the ancient ales. Traditionally they were the brewers, or “brewsters.” Now, from the “front of house” to the fermenters, women are excelling in every aspect of the craft beer industry. In New Mexico, many women have made solid careers for themselves, bartending, serving, hostessing, managing, quality control, marketing … the list goes on. With nothing less than their intelligence, tenacity, and take-no-prisoners attitudes, women are earning their rightful places in this business. And of course they should. It’s about time that history repeated itself.

This article marks my second in the Dark Side Brew Crew’s New Mexico Women in Brewing series, and this time I sat down with Colleen Sager, general manager and front of house manager at both Second Street locations in Santa Fe.

DSBC: How long have you been in the beer industry, Colleen?

Sager: I’ve been at Second Street for about 3½ years now. But, when I was living in upstate New York, I was working at a bar called the Ale House. They didn’t brew their own beer, but they had 15 rotating taps, so when I moved back to Santa Fe, I decided I wanted to get a job somewhere in the beer industry because I had so much fun working at the Ale House. It took me a while, because the turnover for this place is pretty low. So I started in Second Street in October (2012), about 3½ years ago.

DSBC: How did you become General Manager and Front of House Manager?

Sager: When I started off here, I was the hostess. And then you kind of go through the ranks then, where you serve for a little bit, then you bartend. So I learned how to do pretty much everything, as far as every position here. And that summer, this was when Josh Johns (currently the co-owner of Fire and Hops) was still manager. That summer Josh didn’t really have any shifts that he could give me, permanently, because he did have such a good crew on it at that time. So instead, he offered me an Assistant Manager position to help him out, so he could go between both locations and have somebody here, in the meantime. So I was the Assistant Manager for a while and then when Josh left, Carrie and I kind of took over running things. She, for the most part, did the scheduling and all that at the original location, and I was here. Then we hired Sean Ewy, and I was his assistant manager for a while. And then when Sean left, Rod (Tweet) asked if I was interested in the job, and at that point, I figured I had kind of been doing the job for a while now, so I might as well get paid for it. (Laughs)

DSBC: And you gotta get the title!

Sager: Yeah, exactly!

DSBC: As a manager, you have a lot of responsibilities at both locations. What does a typical work week/weekend look like for you at the Brewery and at the Railyard?

Sager: Oh my gosh. (Laughs)

DSBC: I imagine there’s a lot of driving back and forth, right?

Sager: A lot of driving back and forth, or riding my bike, if I can make it. There’s a lot of back and forth. It’s funny, people constantly ask me, “Which one do you work at?” And I tell them, “It totally depends on who needs me more.” I don’t know. A typical week is hard, because there’s no such thing as a typical week in the restaurant world. But essentially, I guess my mornings start off answering e-mails, helping with daily specials, if I need to, but now we’ve got a pretty good system so that the staff can handle that really well. On Wednesdays, every single Wednesday, I have a meeting with Rod, and that’s when we go over merchandise. We go over any sort of ads we need to do; if I’m having any staff problems, all of the good and bad we talk about at that meeting. So that’s how Wednesday always starts off. And then you just sort of hit the ground running. If we have a busy lunch and I need to jump on the floor and help ‘em, I do. A lot of meetings, especially when it comes to our marketing; I probably have meetings once a week with Monsoon Design, talking about new T-shirt ideas, or posters. If I want to work on new artwork for T-shirts, and for growlers, and for things like that. Then I usually get a sales rep or two a week, but I’ve done a pretty good job at scaring them away, for the most part. But, sometimes I am interested and I will listen to their spiel.

James Bell now does all of our music booking, and I try to meet with him at least once a week, especially now that we have to start booking, or not booking, depending on the summer concert series. He and I have to have really good communication about that, and about what bands I like, like what bands do I not have to tell, multiple times, to turn their music down. Who doesn’t argue about turning the music down?

It’s weird. My days, my mornings, and my early afternoons will consist of a lot of meetings and a lot of computer time, and then I’ll have a have a couple of hours to work on schedules, or if I’m hiring new people, trying to work that out. Then, the afternoon kind of shifts to me on the floor.

DSBC: And dealing with whatever needs dealing with, crowd control, etc.

Sager: Exactly. I’m just an extension of whatever they need me to be. If the bartender needs help, I pour beers. If the host needs help, I talk to customers. Even if they need help in the kitchen, not necessarily cooking, but getting stuff out of the window quickly, things like that. It’s the good thing about having started here, as a host, and then a float, and then a server, and then a bartender … It’s a great thing for me, and the staff, and a bad thing, also, because it’s good that I can help anybody in any situation and know how to handle it. It’s a bad thing for them, because I know the job, and sometimes I’m like, you can do this. You could do a little more, but I also understand when they’re overwhelmed, too.

DSBC: What’s one aspect of the Second Street experience that you try to focus on the most in your job? What’s most important to you?

Sager: One thing that Rod and I had talked a lot about this year that we want to do is make Second Street the place where people “experience beer.” And what I mean by that is, I want people who are beer aficionados and who aren’t beer aficionados, people who know they love hops and people who have no idea what they like because they drink Bud Light all the time. I want them to come here and learn about beer. So we’ve taken a few steps to get to that, which is, a lot of beer classes for our servers and bartenders. And telling them this is what you guys absolutely need to know about beer. I need them to at least know the basics. I want them to know certain things about our system, like that we have a 10-barrel system, and things like that. I need them to be able to describe the beer, at least a little bit.

DSBC: At least to where the customer knows what they’re about to experience.

Sager: Exactly. I want my staff to understand things as simple as what’s the difference between a Pale Ale and an IPA, so when we have Mosaic Month, and we have the Mosaic Pale Ale and the Mosaic IPA, they can describe what the difference is between the two, instead of saying that there’s just an extra word in there. So that’s one thing that’s super important to me this year is that I want people, especially beer drinkers, to come in and be able to experience beer drinking.

DSBC: What’s the toughest part of your job?

Sager: Well, for me it’s different having two restaurants than it is for most managers. You know, (I would assume) when you have one restaurant to run, it’s a little easier to kind of keep on track of what needs to be done and how to do it. For me, it’s been really tricky to know which restaurant I need to be at and when. My staff does a really good job, especially my bartenders. When I’m not here, technically the bartender is the manager on duty, and they do a really good job of handling that, but other than that, until recently in the last couple of weeks, I haven’t had an assistant manager, really. So, knowing who needs my help, when and how, but then also finding a good balance between that, so that if it seems like I’m at the Railyard a lot, it’s not necessarily that I’m ignoring the original location, but I know that they are not as busy right now. So that’s been really tricky, but I’m hoping — I did hire someone in the last couple of weeks — I’m hoping that works out well, and that’ll be all the help I need right now, and that will kind of eliminate that part of the process.

DSBC: What would you say is the most rewarding part of your job?

Sager: There’s a lot. Number one, I love working with Rod. He’s the reason I’m in Santa Fe. I had one foot out the door, ready to be in Denver, or somewhere else. And I realized that working with him was awesome. And once I took on the job as GM, I realized that he’s the best boss I’m ever gonna have. So, that, for me, is the most rewarding part of it, is being able to work so close with him. The other thing, too, is that I love my staff. We all get along really well. We all joke around a lot. We all understand that, yes we have a job to do, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun. And I think that’s important. I just feel like life is too short to not have fun, and we have to work. So you might as well have fun while you’re at work, otherwise what’s the point? And this job can be super stressful, for everybody, from the hostess, to me, to the dishwasher. You know everybody’s job here can be super stressful, and the only way to alleviate that, is by finding a way to have fun with it. So yeah, I love my staff. I love my boss. I think that everybody right now is getting along really well. We’re all really excited about summer, which is good, as opposed to dreading it.

Before Second Street, Colleen had moved to Upstate New York to get her Master’s Degree in Sports Psychology. During this time, she was working as a server. Later, she moved back to Santa Fe due to some family obligations where she began working at Second Street. She hadn’t been there a year and the East Coast called. She had loved it there and wasn’t ready to give up the culture. So, she left Second Street and moved to Manhattan where she was there for nearly four months. She loved Manhattan, but soon realized that living there was quite a different experience. It was soon apparent to her that Second Street was where she belonged. So she came back, worked at another restaurant, biding her time, until something opened up at Second Street. After working at the Ale House in Ithaca, she knew she was going to work in the beer industry.

DSBC: Now that you’re here, what is it like working in a male-dominated industry?

Sager: Oh, it’s fun! Dirty jokes and plenty of beer to go around, there’s never a dull moment. No, it’s great! Every now and then it’ll dawn on me that it is very male-dominated and kind of like a boys club, but I’ve never been in a situation where anybody has made me feel like I was somewhere I shouldn’t be, or I was in on a conversation that I shouldn’t be in on. And I’m not just talking about people at Second Street either. The more that I’m at places like GABF or even the more beer shows I get to go to, and I’m getting to meet other brewers and other owners from around the state, you know, I’ve never felt out of place. I’ve never felt like I was the outsider in the boy’s club. And so that’s been nice. But, yeah, it will seriously take sitting down at a table full of a bunch of guys, when we’re talking about brewfests or things like that, before I realize that I could be the only girl here.

DSBC: Do you ever think that people in the business don’t take you seriously?

Sager: I think if they don’t, they learn pretty quickly that that’s a big problem. (Laughs) No, I mean, I guess even with customers here, when we were in that transitional phase, between Josh Johns and Sean Ewy, and I was the acting manager, there were a couple of issues that we had with regulars. And all it took was one conversation with them, for them to realize OK, A. Don’t screw with Colleen, and B. Don’t screw with her staff. Because I will find you. I will threaten you. And I will tell you, “If you ever do that at my bar again, you will be gone.” So, I think that people for the most part learned pretty quickly, dude, don’t mess with me. (Laughs) And I mean that in the best way possible.

On her first day Colleen had watched as Josh Johns dealt with an unruly regular. He had said, “You know bro, we’re friends, and I appreciate that. And you’re a really good regular, but if you ever pull anything like that in my bar again, you’re gone.” From that moment on Colleen knew that Josh meant business, and saw that that was how people handled each other at Second Street. “If we’re gonna do adult things, like drink beer, than you need to act like an adult,” she added.

DSBC: So as a woman, then, do you think you’ve had to be more assertive?

Sager: I’ve never felt that way, no.

DSBC: How about with staff? Have you ever felt like they didn’t respect your authority at one time or another?

Sager: No, I think that my staff knows me well enough, because we have worked together for so long. I think what freaks them out is they know that I’m being serious when I’m all of a sudden serious. I’m not joking around. I’m not making jokes. I think my voice kind of changes a little bit.

DSBC: I’ve seen your face change to “Serious Colleen” on a busy Friday night before. What challenges do you face, specifically, as a woman?

Sager: My staff knows when it changes from “Fun Colleen,” who is constantly joking around and making the dirtiest joke I can possibly make to keep the mood light, to no, I’m talking to you RIGHT now. In this voice. And I’m being stern. And they’re like, OK, she’s being serious.

DSBC: Yeah, I can see the change, now. Don’t mess with Colleen.

Sager: But then three seconds later we’re joking around again. I made my point. No need to dwell on it.

DSBC: Life’s too short. What’s something you feel women add to the beer industry, or something you’ve added to the industry, as a woman?

Sager: At least for us, I can say merchandise has been a big one. Before I got here, it was just the guys, and they did a great job. And Jason Walker, and everyone at Monsoon know the industry and where it is, but when I took on the GM position and was in charge of doing more merchandise, I had women coming up to me and say, “We love the stuff you have for women.” And that’s something that Jason and I talk about all the time, “Is our female clientele going to like this? Is it going to flatter them the way it needs to?”

DSBC: Women are not just an afterthought in beer merchandising anymore.

Sager: Right. And that’s one thing I think I’ve helped to change around here. We also work with Nichole Breihan, who helps with our social media and stuff like that. Nichole and I will have conversations, too, about are there certain things that we need to do differently with our social media to reach out to women? Or even just in general, ‘like should we have a beer class that we put on for women only?’ I know that there’s a totally different social way that men and women see beer. I feel like it’s only been recently, like maybe in the last five-to-ten years, that it’s become a thing where women don’t want to just go and drink cocktails, like Cosmopolitans. They want to come to a brewery and have beer. And they can have that conversation about beer with whoever’s behind the bar.

DSBC: But you don’t see a lot of women sitting by themselves at the rail. Why do you think that is?

Sager: I have two theories. One, I think that if a single woman sits by herself at a bar full of dudes, she’s going to get hit on nonstop. Two, goes back to the social dynamic of it. Either, I want to be alone, so I’ll sit at a table and be left alone, or I can come with my girlfriend or a friend or whoever, and that’s when they sit at the bar.

DSBC: Do you have any female role models or anyone that inspires you to be a strong woman?

Sager: I don’t know if I’ve ever thought about that before. This might sound awkward, but in order to be a “woman in power,” if I am in charge of this bar, I feel like there is a certain statute of, I’m not going to take any crap off of you because I need you to take me seriously. I know that I’ve just had to be tough enough to tell people, ‘You need to knock it off,’ whether it’s my staff, or people that walk in the door, even sometimes with sales reps. That’s part of this job; you have to be that confident person.

DSBC: And so for you, it’s more like finding inner inspiration. You have to tell yourself to be confident and strong, because it’s in the job description.

Sager: Yeah.

DSBC: What advice would you give to other women who have a passion for craft beer and might want to get into the industry?

Sager: I think in anything, because the beer industry is booming right now, it’s good for anybody to know that it’s gonna take work. Not to say that it didn’t take work 10 or 15 years ago, before it was what it is. I think now, people need to understand that because craft beer is such a popular thing right now. There are a lot of people going to brewing school right now. There are maybe more people in HRTM (Hotel Restaurant and Tourism Management) programs, or in business programs, where their goal is to end up in a brewery or to end up brewing beer. And you can’t just come up to any brewery and say, ‘Hey, I brew some beer at home,’ you have to work hard for it. And if you’re willing to work hard for it, I think that’s fine, but have to prove that other part of it, too, now.

DSBC: You have to earn it and you can’t be afraid to start at the bottom.

Sager: No, definitely, and I think that sometimes that’s important, because, like I said, for me, multiple times, starting at the bottom has worked out really well for me and everybody else here. Whatever goals you have, you need to understand the commitment that it takes, as I guess you could say to anybody starting off a new career. And I guess, to the ladies out there, who are thinking about the beer industry, don’t take any sh*t.

DSBC: Well put. Finally, what is your favorite beer style to relax with after having to kick so much ass all day?

Sager: I am a huge IPA person. Yeah, I love our house IPA. The St. George IPA is probably my favorite beer that Rod brews.

DSBC: Really? Nice.

Sager: I love that beer, always have. And then you can’t go wrong with the Fulcrum, Pivotal, Trebuchet. So, anytime those are on, I’m a pretty happy person. The more hops the better. I was at Marble last week, and I had both their Double IPA and their regular IPA, and both were really good. If it’s a hoppy beer, I’m happy.

* * * * *

The beer industry is like many other industries in that an inequality remains, and because it has been male-dominated for so long, women oftentimes have to work harder to earn their stripes, be more stern to be taken seriously, and prove themselves when sometimes just a beard will do. But what makes the beer industry different, I believe, is that there is more support now, from other women and from men. I think men really want women to succeed in this industry. But, from the women I’ve spoken to, all of whom I admire greatly, it’s clear that they need no one’s approval. They’ve earned their place. And for that, and much more, the Dark Side Brew Crew salutes you.

Cheers!

— Luke

It's time to get rid of some useless calories by running, and then replace them with better, beer-flavored calories!

It’s time to get rid of some useless calories by running, and then replace them with better, beer-flavored calories!

At some point we have all joked about running to get a beer. And at some point we have probably heard about insane people doing those “beer mile” races (drink a beer per lap around a regulation track, so it’s four for a mile; got to see the Cal-Berkeley cross country team do it once, the term “debacle” is far too light for the horror show that I saw). Somewhere between joking and pure insanity, some good people decided to combine beer and running in a safe, manageable, but still fun way. Thus, the ABQ Brew Dash has been created and will take place May 9 at Balloon Fiesta Park. Click here for ticket info.

So how does one safely combine drinking and running?

“Well, we’re runners ourselves, so it was an easy leap of faith, so to speak,” said the event’s co-founder and organizer, Josh Rogers. “I work for a non-profit here in town called Run Fit. We put on 15 races a year and I think last year we remembered that Bosque Brewing did a run for beer. … It was my first kind of step into this idea of running for beer.”

So Josh and his co-founder Jeff Galindo came up with the idea of an organized, safe event.

“We were just like, we should do this, we should really go out and figure out how to do this,” Josh said. “There were some models across the country that were doing this, but none were huge or anything. But we thought this could work. We started with Bosque Brewing and said hey, we have this idea. They were pretty excited about it. We just started getting the process going last year.”

Part of that process was finding the right location. Originally the idea was for a road race right in the Brewery District by Canteen and La Cumbre. Not everyone was a big fan of that idea, however.

“We were in a planning meeting with the City and they said just move it to Balloon Fiesta Park,” Josh said. “It was simpler that way. APD was much more unconcerned than they would have been with people running on public streets. They had a bunch of stipulations about how will you control this. It was complicated.”

In the end, containing things to the Fiesta grounds was much easier. Having covered a national cross country youth race there once (the things I do for beer money), it is a good course for people to run. It’s nice and flat, and the grass field is a lot more forgiving on knees and shins than most asphalt and concrete.

“We’ve found that a lot of craft beer drinkers are into cycling or running or whatever it may be, so the idea just kind of spiraled and it kept growing,” Josh said. “The interest has been tremendous. We hope it’s a really successful event. We have all the experience in the world running road races.”

Smartly, Josh and his staff are letting the breweries share in the planning of the beer garden area where the three sponsors will set up shop.

“They’ve provided excellent advice for doing it right so we don’t run into the same mistakes as some beer fests,” Josh said. “One of the best things is the breweries are active partners with us. They’re excited about the event. They want to see it succeed because it’s their success, too.”

It's like a badge of honor. Or a way of convincing your relatives you actually are doing something healthy while also drinking beer.

It’s like a badge of honor. Or a way of convincing your relatives you actually are doing something healthy while also drinking good craft beer.

The event will take place starting at 5:30 p.m. on May 9. The plan is to hold two races, a mile and a 5-kilometer, with prizes for the top three finishers by gender and age group. Of course, people of all sizes and skill level are welcome. Heck, a lot of us in the Brew Crew are running in the 5K, and none of us are about to be confused with some of the athletes I cover.

“Most of our races are half runners and half walkers, so the mile is a run/walk,” Josh said. “We also have a designated driver pass for people who want one. Uber is a sponsor of the race so they will also be providing rides.

“You have to be 21 and up to drink, but we have a 15-year-old signed up to run. If you want to bring your kids you can.”

People can sign up as an individual or a team, Josh said, with teams of six or more people receiving a $5 discount per person (so $30 instead of $35 for the 5K, $25 instead of $30 for the mile). The prices will start to go up beginning April 3, so register ASAP. All participants get an ABQ Brew Dash T-shirt and a beer glass. You do get one free pint of the beer of your choice after the race (though maybe not right after; post-race hydrating may be in order if you’re not in the best shape or it’s hot outside). Josh said the three breweries will bring anywhere from four beers up to seven or eight, if the total number of people attending surges forward. We’ll get those lists when we get closer to race day. Beer sales will commence at 5:45, so I guess we all know the time to beat for the 5K if you want to be first in line.

There will be live music throughout the night (bands TBA), plus four food trucks on site to fill your bellies with something besides beer.

Oh, those prizes for the overall winners in the mile and 5K, both male and female, will be custom growlers. Yes, they will be filled for you to take home, you crazy in-shape-people. The top finishers will all get special medals. When Josh has those in hand, he’ll send us a picture and we can share them with the rest of you.

So there you go, an event combining good fitness with good beer. What more could we all need in New Mexico before summer rolls around?

As Franz Solo once said, paraphrasing Dean Wormer, “Fit, drunk, and stupid is the way to go through life, son.” We couldn’t agree more. Though we leave the “stupid” part for others to judge.

Cheers! And see you all on those running trails leading up to the Dash!

— Stoutmeister

Oof, nothing like getting home at midnight after seven-plus hours of driving, struggling to fall asleep due to copious amounts of caffeine, and then you wake up the next morning and have 20 things to do in little to no time. So as much as I would like to crank out a story on the ABQ Brew Dash or the Duke City Pedaler, I would also like to give those stories a more proper treatment. So instead you all get a quick recap of the breweries I visited in Arizona over the weekend. A total lazy cop-out on my part? You better believe it.

The flight at Oak Creek. Loved the mini-mug glasses, but not the lemon on the hefe. Fruit does not belong in beer!

The flight at Oak Creek. Loved the mini-mug glasses, but not the lemon on the hefe. Fruit does not belong in beer!

Oak Creek Brewery, Sedona

Rather than stop in Flagstaff, I took Highway 89 south into Oak Creek Canyon and hit the tourist trap, er, lovely town of Sedona. With the help of Google Maps, I finally found Oak Creek’s brewery and grill in the midst of enough gaudiness to make Santa Fe blush. Located on the top floor of an art deco retail/business complex, Oak Creek was packed with lots of hungry/thirsty people. Luckily, traveling solo I was able to snag a spot on the patio bar top in between two couples who figured I was probably sad and lonely or something. Eh, whatever, I’m used to that. I could focus on my sampler tray of beers and a rack of ribs. Viva being single!

So the beers on tap, save for some Mandarin Ale that was off limits due to allergies, were Micro Light, Gold Lager, Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, Amber Ale, Nut Brown Ale, and Pullman Porter. The Micro Light (hard to miss in the photo, isn’t it?) was a beer that wasn’t really there. No flavor, no body, no idea why they would make such a thing except tourists. I guess. The lager was fine and should suffice for an introductory beer for non-craft beer drinkers. The pale was a surprise, actually packing a little bit of a hop kick. Most Arizona breweries go for drinkability over hopiness, so this was a pretty good outlier. The hefe and amber were average. I had the nut brown before in cans, kinda liked that batch better. The nutty bite wasn’t there as much, nor the overall strength in the body. The porter was similar in the lack of mouthfeel, though the roasted flavor was prominent up front. It just disappeared quickly.

I skipped getting a pint (had to resume driving, plus $5.95 for an average beer was a tad steep). The food was good and the setting was nice, though I would recommend not taking a big group down on a weekend. It was packed. Overall it was worth the one visit, but I doubt I will ever go back.

There was a rustic quality to the flight at Arizona Wilderness.

There was a rustic quality to the flight at Arizona Wilderness.

Arizona Wilderness Brewing, Gilbert

A couple years ago this brewery was all the buzz, snagging some national awards for best new brewery and even best brewery overall. It was still jammed with people on a Saturday afternoon, though by arriving right at the 11 a.m. opening, I was able to snag a good seat at the bar. Located in a strip mall along Arizona Blvd. (Highway 87) and Guadalupe, it’s essentially in a weird stretch where the suburb of Gilbert juts westward in between the suburbs of Mesa to the north and Chandler to the south. Gilbert is normally the southeastern-most suburb, but Wilderness is not the easternmost brewery in the Phoenix metro area.

Anyway, while noshing on some Bavarian pretzel sticks and later a pulled pork sandwich, I got a flight of eight beers, though two I was unable to drink as their wit was made with orange peel and their saison was infused with lime. Ah, well, still had six beers to try: Bear Wallow Berliner Weisse, Refuge IPA (their only regular beer on tap at all times), DC Mountain DIPA, Aravaipa Abbey Dubbel, Rincon Red, American Presidential (Imperial) Stout.

You all know I am not a sour fan, but their Berliner was drinkable for the style. Noted sour fan Phil Lopez has had it in the past and loved it, so you can take his review better than mine. The Refuge rivaled Tucson’s Dragoon Brewing’s IPA as the best of the style in the state. It packed a good hop wallop with a solid mouthfeel behind that. The DIPA was trying to have a malty backbone to balance out a big hop profile, but instead the hops came off a little muted and the malts were more dry than sweet. The Rincon was a middle-of-the-road red, not sweet like an Irish or hoppy like Marble. It was a bit dry, kind of mild, with a flavor that disappears fairly quickly. The Aravaipa was an average dubbel, fairly smooth without too much Belgian yeast flavor. The imperial stout was nicely barrel-aged, with a fair amount of vanilla prominent from the bourbon barrel. It was nearly out when I went, but I could see why. It was good, maybe just a tick below Marble’s Imperial Stout. As per usual, the mouthfeel came up a tad short of the thickness you would normally expect from the style.

Overall, I would not call Wilderness the best brewery in the country, but it is one of the best I’ve had in Arizona. If you are in the Phoenix metro area, it is a brewery you need to visit.

Late-night brewery find at Dubina in Glendale. The monster (14.2%) Barley Wine is on the far right.

Late-night brewery find at Dubina in Glendale. The monster (14.2%) Barley Wine is on the far right.

Dubina Brewing, Glendale

Driving back from the Penguins-Coyotes game, I stumbled upon this new brewery near the corner of Bell Rd. and N. 67th St. Another shopping mall location, it has a spacious interior and a nice bar area. There was food on the menu, but it was late and I just wanted a quick flight before calling it a night.

The little bio about the brewery online said the owners wanted to nail the Czech styles as they are of Czech descent. Their Zizkov Kolsch tasted like a hybrid between a German kolsch and a Czech pilsner. It was sweet, smooth, and a good way to start. Next up was Wee Little Pale, which was a wee bit too light in all aspects. There was no mouthfeel and the hops were barely tangible. The bartender working that night was recently allowed to brew a beer in the back, but in an “oops” moment he used the wrong yeast on their regular brown ale. Thus, New Kid on the Block was tapped, a brown ale base with Belgian yeast. The yeast flavor overpowers any nutty notes. It came out like a dark strong that wasn’t very strong. Dubina also had a Sahti, a Scandinavian style made with juniper. The flavor profile was all over the place. There was not much juniper, but a little bit of a piney hint on the edges. A sort of nutty flavor was there. The beer was thick, with a strong mouthfeel. If I had more time I would have gotten a second sample just to figure it out. The final beer was a Barley Wine that check in at a stunning 14.2 percent ABV. This beer was big, super sweet, boozy, and kind of mean. It earned me two badges (Sky’s the Limit, Hopped Up) on Untappd that were my 499th and 500th. I would have loved a pint (or at least a 10-ounce) of this, but I had to drive back to the motel and not be dead.

Dubina is a young brewery, but they are definitely trying to be a little different and fill a creative niche in the metro area. It does not hurt that the west side of Phoenix is pretty much vacant of breweries, so they have a chance to build a loyal fan base.

The Fate flight featured a hefe (top left), session IPA (center), stout (bottom left), a guest IPA (bottom right), and one weird saison (top right).

The Fate flight featured a hefe (top left), session IPA (center), stout (bottom left), a guest IPA (bottom right), and one weird saison (top right).

Fate Brewing, Scottsdale

Located on Shea Blvd. north of downtown, Fate is another place in a nondescript location. Like their brethren in Wilderness and Dubina, Fate has shined despite the mediocre exterior. On the advice of beer lover Tony Calder, I stopped in when they opened Sunday at 11 a.m. and snagged a flight of four house beers and one guest beer (Dragoon IPA, woots!).

The interior features a long bar running north-south, with a pizza oven in the back, the brewery to the side, and some communal tables that reminded me of Marble’s renovated taproom, only smaller and more brightly lit. On tap while I was there were Bamberg Hefeweizen, Shift Pint Session IPA, Droppin’ Beetz Saison, and American Stout. The Bamberg was definitely true to the German style, as in it was not cloudy. Yes, that’s right, hefes in Germany can typically be seen through. The flavor here was solid, not too much wheat or anything. The Shift was a pretty hopped-up session, with a good bite and flavor profile that most sessions lack. The American Stout was a rarity for Arizona, at least in terms of its hefty mouthfeel as a proper stout should have. The roasted, smoky profile was there, with a lot of smoothness and a creamy finish. Stouts aren’t common in Arizona, but Fate hit it out of the park with this one.

Then there’s the Beetz. So yeah, it’s a saison infused with beets, then aged in a Chardonnay barrel. The result was … weird. Not just the Kool-Aid color, but the whole flavor. It was kind of a veggie-peppery-wine sweet weird mishmash on my palate. I really could not figure the darned thing out. Kudos to Fate for trying something different, but next time I’ll stick with the stout or the session.

Fate is worth the visit and it is nice to not be in the parking/driving hell that is downtown Scottsdale (especially on the days the Giants are playing in March).

Lumberyard Brewing, Flagstaff

On my way home I stopped in for a quick meal (the mac’n’cheese was solid) and snagged a pint and a sample. The sample was Dark Sky Vanilla Porter, a barrel-aged, vanilla-infused version of their standard Pumphouse Porter. Basically it was an amped-up Breckenridge Vanilla Porter. If not for the four-hours-plus of driving ahead of me, I might have gotten a 13-ounce goblet. Afterwards I might have needed to brush my teeth from all the sweetness. So with Dark Sky too heavy, I grabbed a regular Pumphouse. It was a little bolder, smokier than I remembered. It was not a sweet porter, but it did have a nice mouthfeel. It’s colder in Flagstaff, so they’re not as afraid of thicker beers as Phoenix and Tucson. Or something like that.

All right, that wraps up my AZ visit. The Penguins beat the Coyotes, the Wildcats beat Ohio State, and overall, no one was able to kill me on the 101/17/10/202/60 or any of the other bonkers freeways out there. Successful trip!

We’ll get back to the hard news Tuesday. Stories this week should include a look at Albuquerque Brewing Company’s grand opening, a recap of our Irish Red Challenge, the aforementioned Duke City Pedaler and ABQ Brew Dash, plus new entries in our NM Women in Beer series.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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Local homebrewers show their support. Chris Goblet keeps his promise. And the Santa Fe Dining folks come out to salute their brewer.

Last Thursday, Blue Corn celebrated James Warren’s anniversary at a special Thursday at the Brewer’s Table. It’s been one year since young James has taken the reins at Blue Corn Brewery. When a friend commented that he had pretty big shoes to fill, but filled them well, James joked, “Yeah, but they feel like clown shoes.” If you’ve read Blue Corn’s Look Back/Look Ahead article, you’ll know that it wasn’t always easy. He came into a lot of responsibility taking over at Blue Corn. And even if the batch sizes are substantially smaller than the ones he worked on at New England Brewing Co., the challenges have been much greater at times. Yet, after his transitioning period, it’s clear that he’s more comfortable in the brewhouse. You can taste it in the beer. Even if a beer is not something he’s 100-percent happy with, his sound techniques, and sometimes contingency plans in the face of equipment failure, always produce something enjoyable.

In Santa Fe, James has done a tremendous job as a brewer to really get people excited about craft beer. Aside from brewing the solid lineup of core beers — which locals have come to love, but more importantly to expect — he’s certainly done his part, fighting the good fight by encouraging people to expand their flavor profiles, pushing people to try new things, and even inspiring folks to have new ideas of what a beer can be. In the year that he’s been here, he’s been good for Santa Fe’s glacially growing beer scene. We can only hope we’ve been just as good to him.

James gave a speech that night, recalling one of his first nights in Santa Fe.

“It wasn’t but a week or two into being here, that I was at a home with some home brewers. We were drinking all their homebrews, trying new beers, talking brewing and beer philosophy. At the end of the night, a prediction was made about me by one of the guys there. He either thought I would have a long and successful career here, or they were gonna fire me in two months. So, a year later, I’m still standing here, and I think this year has been pretty successful.”

We would have to agree. With five medals at the State Fair Pro-Am, a great showing at the Santa Fe Open Brewing Competition, and of course the gold medal at the Great American Festival, bringing back credence to the name Gold Medal Oatmeal Stout, he’s had a great first year. Not bad for the new ‘kid’ in town. All that aside, James has demonstrated that, though his looks may deceive, he is certainly no kid. His understanding of the business shows years of maturity and wisdom. When James thanked Jim Hargrove, President of Santa Fe Dining, for “taking a risk on a kid from Connecticut,” the President joked, “I got lucky, didn’t I?” But he wasn’t kidding. That’s exactly how Blue Corn Brewery feels, and so does its patrons.

Every time there’s a change in the guard at a brewery, the patrons worry that the beer won’t be the same. I’m one of them. And it usually isn’t. Bosque was quite lucky to get John Bullard, but in my humble opinion, his shoes have been sufficiently filled. And at the rate that this “kid” is growing, he might need some room for expansion very soon.

Cheers, James, to another year just like your first!

* * * * *

Tasting notes:

The Imperial Gose was paired with the pork belly spring rolls. The saltiness of the beer and the slight sweet character of the spring rolls, with sour ale Gastrique, blended nicely together into one umami (pleasant savory taste) experience that was perfect for a warm-up. The duck torteloni with mascarpone and chile dipping sauce, on the other hand, matched the saltiness in the beer savory for savory. It was then the coriander in the Gose that came through as a refreshing, slightly tangy fruit finish.

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Clockwise from top left: Imperial Gose, Cask Roadrunner IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, and Barley Wine.

The Roadrunner IPA was on cask that night with plenty of Sorachi Ace making the beer almost sweeter and citrusier, lemonier, and it poured cool with low effervescence, like foamy IPA Kombucha, but better in practice than on paper. This beer was paired with the clams and curry dish. This was an amazing combination. The IPA was the perfect counterbalance to the spiciness of the curry, which Chef D dialed in just right between heat and holy shish kebab. Bravo, Chef. IPA and curry, never forget. It was a match made in Mumbai, and we all went home Millionaires for it.

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Clockwise from top left: Pork Belly Spring Rolls, Clams and Curry, Malt-encrusted Petit Tender, Tangerine Torte, and Duck-torteloni.

Chef’s pairing of the malt encrusted petit tender, with James’s Russian Imperial Stout, was the closest thing to a religious experience that I’ve had in a LONG time. Tender, juicy red meat and the sweet roastiness of the Imperial Stout were just excellent together. But then, the sweet starchiness of the sweet potato, which I normally do not love in any iteration, went so well with the chocolate roast of the Imperial Stout, that I dare say, the Stout elevated sweet potatoes to a religion I could convert to. For those already into sweet potatoes, I need say nothing more, for that would be preaching to the choir.

Finally, the night came around to Chef’s famous and always surprising desserts. A tangerine torte with a puff of cream on top was paired up with Blue Corn’s Barley Wine. At this point, with all this beer and food, one might wonder if anyone was still coherent enough to really taste anything. Well, no one had slipped into their food comas just yet. The orange, acidic, sweet flavor from the torte brought out a bouquet of complexities in the Barley Wine that you might not have otherwise known were there. Plum, fig, raisin, and blood orange emerged from the slow-churning sea of alcoholic malt.

And that, my friends, is the power of a successful beer pairing — when one flavor opens up another, causing a whole new experience than if it had been experienced by itself. A successful food pairing is like Dr. Phil, Game Genie, and the ESPY Awards for your taste buds. How? Well, you can’t understand it, but the right combination is like using a Texas Wisdom, a simple phrase that unlocks a whole new understanding that was there all the time. Pairing is like the cheat code that enhances your experience, making the mundane magical, exciting, and fresh. And in some cases, food and beer pairing causes you to experience the meal more deeply, in an emotional way, one that might just make a grown man cry. Damn you, ESPY Awards. That also could be all the beer talking. But remember folks, Chuck Norris doesn’t cry. He sweats through his eyes. So, take my advice, be like Chuck Norris, obey the Dark Side, drink craft beer, pair your food, tip your servers, and you’ll live long and prosper.

Cheers!

— Luke

For more #CraftBeer News and @NMDarkSideBC info, follow me on Twitter @SantaFeCraftBro.