Ah, yes, it’s that time of year when I have to cover a football game and not go to the Taos Brew Master’s Festival. Of course, the rest of you don’t have to write about the New Mexico Bowl to pay for future beers, so you might as well hit the road Saturday afternoon and go to the Taos Ski Valley for this annual event. It costs $25 and runs from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Tenderfoot Katie’s and the Martini Tree, which are located at the base of the Chair 1 lift.

Down there at the bottom of that ski lift is the Taos Ski Valley, where they will be holding the 19th annual Brew Master's Festival.

Down there at the bottom of that ski lift is the Taos Ski Valley, where they will be holding the 19th annual Brew Master’s Festival this Saturday.

Of course, the attraction of every beer festival is the beer on hand. This year’s TBMF has a lot of out-of-state breweries participating. Most are from Colorado, including heavyweights New Belgium, Odell, Oskar Blues, Boulder, Ska, and Left Hand, plus Durango’s Steamworks, which doesn’t distribute to our fair state. There’s also Alaskan and Sierra Nevada, which are available just about everywhere.

Local boys Eske’s and Taos Mesa will be on hand, plus seven breweries from further south including Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca. The rest we did our best to find out who’s bringing what for you to enjoy. Here’s what they all said.

Back Alley: Ladron’s Peak, California Common, Belgian Wit. For anyone that hasn’t had the rather unique Ladron’s before, here’s your chance.

Boxing Bear: We didn’t hear back, but if you get some Standing 8 Stout, you’ll be good.

Marble: Reserve Ale, Double IPA, White Out, Imperial Stout. This year’s Imperial Stout batch is quite wonderful, as is the Reserve.

Santa Fe: Happy Camper IPA, Java Stout, Scotch Ale, Dirty Blonde Ale, Double White IPA, Sour Porter. There will also be a “secret beer” that you can get by looking up the password via SFBC’s social media pages.

Tractor: Mustachio Milk Stout, Farmer’s Tan Red Ale, Farmer’s Almanac IPA. Basically the canned beers, but it’s hard to go wrong with Mustachio.

Turtle Mountain: Heidelberg Helles, Saison Du Soleil, India Stupid Shell (a 50/50 blend of Hopshell IPA and India Stupid Ale), Piedra Lisa Porter. The porter and helles are quality beers. Let us know how that hybrid IPA turns out.

If we hear back from Boxing Bear before Saturday we will update this list. Enjoy your beer weekend, folks, but if you can’t make it to Taos, visit Chama River for Obey the Darkside Stout or Canteen for Dark Side Baltic Porter or, heck, visit both!

(Shameless self-promotion points achieved)

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

In true Holiday party fashion, Blue Corn Brewery’s Thursday’s at the Brewer’s Table last week was filled with many moments to remember, outfits to forget, and plenty of embarrassing hookups. I’m kidding about that third one, unless I missed something. But the first two were certainly true. The big difference between this party and maybe your office’s Christmas party was that no one regretted what they allowed near their faces, as all of the food and beer was fun, festive, and on a new level of delicious.

The Food

Most holiday parties have a reasonable amount of food, but not food like this. As you can see below, for all of the dishes created by Chef D, beer was utilized as much in the inspiration as it was in the execution. Made from the beer taken at different stages in the brewing process, the food was made for and by the beer. In this case, the food and beer is not a mere pairing, but a domestic partnership, in which both roommates contribute video games, booze, and rent. And they just get each other, ya know? The dishes were diverse enough, from avant garde French inspirations and down-home traditional comfort food to game-day munchies (leveled up, of course). Each dish was a varied flavor burst of the sweet, the spicy, and the savory kind, tantalizing the taste buds at each turn. It’s been said in the food industry that the textures of creamy, crispy, and chewy are the most relished of the textures; well, Chef D seems to know that all too well. For me, the Brown Ale gravy on the Swedish Meatballs was the perfect mix of sweet meets savory, modern meets traditional, on a chewy medium that just makes your mouth water with each bite. And the crispy flakiness of the mini tacos combined with the Stout-mole dipping sauce certainly put that game-day favorite in the playoffs. Though I typically save my dessert calories for beer, these creamy, chewy, and crispy treats were like the first chocolate chip cookie or bowl of ice cream you ever had, an epiphany of infinite spoiled dinners. Amazing stuff.

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The menu from top right, clock-wise: NM Swedish meatballs in Brown Ale gravy; Malt-crusted fried green tomatoes with chile gremolata; Candied orange & winter spice mouse filo cups with hopped candy sugar; Chocolate & Russian Imperial Stout mini cupcakes with candy cane icing; Mini-fried Chicken tacos with Stout-mole dipping sauce; and smoked salmon pâté roulade with Honey-Wheat pickled onions on water crackers. Not pictured: Crudités platter with Amber Ale-onion dip.

These appetizer-style portions came from a man who is no stranger to catering big parties. The portions may appear small, but the platters came around several times, and no one left hungry, thus proving your uncle Bob right, that you really can build an entire meal out of appetizers.

The Beer!

As for the beer, I started with Snow Advisory, a Winter Warmer. For those unfamiliar with the style, a Winter Warmer is typically a sweeter, malt-forward strong ale, with low bitterness and often a bigger spice than hop presence in the American versions. My favorite ones have that good ‘ole alcohol warming quality to them, the nip that keeps the cold at bay. Though brewer James Warren may not love brewing beers with spices, he’s proven time and again that Team Blue Corn can make a beer outside of his preferences, and do it well — one which makes the most avid fan or rabid critic of the style ask for a second pint just to be sure.

For my second pint (included in the meal), I chose the Rakau IPA, because from my memories of the first taste of this single-hopped Super Power, I was blown away by what one little hop could do. It was no different on this tasting. This New Zealand hop, the Rakau, has a powerful punch, and is as big and ferocious as a Maori warrior. Fruity, piney, complex, the Rakau has a bitterness-bang on the level with any of our hop heroes out there. This particular hop makes a solid IPA recipe for a truly formidable brew. I think it says something that my favorite recent brew to come out of Blue Corn is their big bad Imperial Stout, but I haven’t ordered it once since the release of these two beers. I’ll take care of that soon, however. Not to worry. Up next for Team Blue Corn is a White IPA recently brewed with Cascade and Centennial hops. Can’t wait to see how that one turns out!

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1. Snow Advisory and 2. Rakau IPA, with a brewer photo bomb in the background

Ugly Sweater Contest

When Blue Corn publicly posted to their Facebook page to come in your ugliest sweater, it was as if they issued forth a challenge, and Santa Fe accepted. There were sweaters with nauseating notions of Noel, sweaters showing the shameless shenanigans of the garden variety (gnome pun intended), and sweaters that looked like Christmas had drank too much eggnog and tossed it’s cookies all over them. One sweater was even in the midst of the needlepoint process. It was a beautiful thing to behold. Only one lucky winner may have taken home a prize, but really, we all win with embarrassingly ugly sweaters and beer.

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Lady, your mesh canvass is showing!

White Elephant Exchange

And what is a holiday party without a little gift stealing? Assistant brewer Nick Richardson hosted this event. With a background in bartending, he had no trouble managing and exciting a crowd. It was a beer themed gift-off, and the gifts ranged from rare bottled brews, brew swag like pint glasses and hats, to the more interesting gifts, like a 30-pack of Miller High Life and green-chile wine. Mmm-mmm! There were tons of laughs, a few scoffs, one huge special secret gift from Blue Corn, and an unfortunate assistant brewer whom I won’t name who could not get rid of a certain New Mexico style grape-based beverage to save his life.

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What’s inside Blue Corn’s Big Surprise Gift?

At the end of the night, a merry time was had by all — families, brewers, Chef D, Blue Corn Brewery Staff, and one humble Brew Crew Bullpen writer. Even Jordy and Michelle from Santa Fe Cider Works came out to play. They may or may not have gone home with a 30-pack of the Champagne of Beers, which, I imagine they weren’t fighting anyone for it on their way out. Just saying. So thank you, Blue Corn, for letting us rock around your Christmas tree. See you next year, and I promise, my next ugly sweater will be bringing the heat.

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Happy Holidays from Brewer Nick, Chef D, and Brewer James!

Holiday Cheers!

— Luke

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.

If it wasn’t obvious that this is dark beer season, this week alone should blast you into an obsidian happy place of epic proportions. First up, in a little bit of self-promotion, Obey the Darkside Stout is now on tap at Chama River. Brandon and I helped Zach and David brew this burly foreign export stout, which clocks in at 6-percent ABV and 65 IBUs. It’s big and roasty, yet smooth and even a little sweet. As it warms, the coffee and chocolate flavors become even more pronounced. They named it in our honor and we are quite proud of this beer.

But wait, that’s not all this week. Tonight (Wednesday) will see a pair of special beer releases. Marble’s 2015 edition of Imperial Stout will debut tonight at all three locations. They will actually tap the beer at noon, but starting at 5 p.m. you can get it paired with M’Tucci’s Italian Market’s Bruschetta with onion marmalade, pancetta, arugula, and pecorino or mastarda guanciale and pine nuts. Your other beer option tonight is at Bosque Brewing, where Scotia Limited will debut in bottles with plenty more going on at the brewery, which we covered here in our Look Back/Look Ahead Series 2014-15 entry on Bosque.

If you’re too busy tonight, don’t worry, there’s more (yes, more) on Friday. Canteen Brewhouse’s annual Solstice Blackout returns with a certain Dark Side Baltic Porter in this year’s lineup. Yup, it’s the beer that Franz Solo, E-Rock, and I helped Brady brew. The recipe was conceived by Brandon, it should also be noted. Joining our beer in the lineup are Sasquatch Scotch, Panama Joe Coffee Stout (aged eight months in bourbon barrels), Schwarzbier, Black RYE PA, and Dark~N~Lusty Stout. You can also buy full pints of your favorite, so hurry over before we drink all of our porter out of stock. (We’re not kidding.)

And if that’s not enough Friday, there’s also the return of the Dark Brew Festival at Bird of Paradise. Hosted by the same folks responsible for the annual Dark Matters Film Festival at The Guild, this tasting fest starts at 6:30 p.m. The available beers will include Stone’s Xocoveza Mocha Stout on draft, plus bottled beers to sample from including Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, Old Rasputin XVII Anniversary Barrel-Aged Stout, Straffe Hendrik Heritage 2012 Oak-Aged Quad, Traquair 2020; Rogue XS Old Crustacean (2012, ’13 & ’14), XS Dead Guy and Morimoto Imperial Pils; Odell 180 Shilling and Trellis Garden Ale; Deschutes Black Butte Porter, New Belgium/3 Floyds Grätzer, Biira Montegioco Fumigant, and many more. They will be available in flights of six-ounce samples. The entry fee is just a suggested $5 donation to the Dark Matters Film Festival, which will take place at 4, 6, and 8 p.m. at The Guild on Saturday. You can also purchase rare 1.5-ounce samples of Sam Adams Utopias 11 for just $10.50.

So much dark beer, so little time. Good thing we’re here for all of you, isn’t it?

On the new beer front, it’s a fairly quiet week outside of the big beers listed above. Back Alley has brought back their Red Ale, Cali Common, and Wit. Bosque has Rio Grande Tortoise Black IPA, their collaboration beer with Turtle Mountain, on tap along with Whirlpool Lager and Old Man Jameson, a Scottish-style export. Ponderosa has Nikolaus Spiced Lager and Bavarian Belle Hefeweizen. Tractor has cooked up Barn Burner Pale Ale.

Up in Santa Fe, SFBC’s 12 Beers of Christmas continues this week (see more below). Second Street has International Style Steam, Huell Melon Pilsner, and Festivus Ale. Down south in Socorro, Twisted Chile has a new English Porter.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of Dec. 15.

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.

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

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

Beers: Pre-Prohibition Malt Tonic, Ladron’s Peak, Back Alley Red, Cali Common, Wit. In case you missed it, we recently interviewed BADH’s new brewer, Brandon Venaglia. There are some exciting times coming, including a possible expansion. The Pre-Prohibition Malt Tonic is a dark American lager that’s based on a 110-year-old recipe and will now become a regular beer at BADH. The Red, Cali Common, and Wit are all back after a short absence.

Events: Sundays will now be Service Nights at Back Alley, with $2 off all beers for service industry workers.

Bosque Brewing Company — (505) 750-7596

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun noon-8 p.m.)

UPDATED >>> Beers: PSA (Pumpkin Spice Ale), Rio Grande Tortoise Black IPA, IPA 65, Prospector Milk Stout, Old Man Jameson, Whirlpool Lager. The Old Man Jameson (5.2% ABV, 18 IBU) is a Scottish-style export while the Whirlpool Lager (5.9% ABV, 45 IBU) is a Mosaic-infused blast of happy. The Bosque Lager will now be on tap year round, replacing the Kindling, which moves to the seasonal list (this is much as Driftwood Oatmeal Stout replaced Olde Bosky earlier this year). The new IPA 65 (6% ABV, 75 IBU) is a slight variation on the IPA 57. I got to try the Prospector Milk Stout (6.5% ABV, 20 IBU) when it debuted recently. It’s smooth as silk and a little less sweet and more robust than most milk stouts. It still retains a lot of stout character, which is a nice change from the more Left Hand-influenced versions. The Rio Grande Tortoise (6.5% ABV, 80 IBU) was brewed in collaboration with Turtle Mountain and is available at both breweries. The PSA is nearly out, so hurry over to help finish it off so a new beer can be tapped. Next up are a special dry-hopped version of the award-winning Acequia Wet-Hop IPA and Jet Black Winter, a burly Russian imperial stout served on nitro.

Cask: We’re waiting to hear what will be on tap this Friday.

News: Bosque has opened a new 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. Construction continues on Bosque’s second taproom, the Bosque Public House, located on Girard just south of Central.

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: Paw Swipe Pale Ale, Hairy Mit Hefe, Standing 8 Stout, Ambear Ale, Uppercut IPA, Oso Otono, Chocolate Milk Stout. Last week Boxing Bear put the Chocolate Milk Stout on cask and it sold out by 7 p.m., the first time that has ever happened with a cask, one of the servers told us. Now that it’s on tap it should last longer than a few hours, but you can tell already how popular this beer is with folks. Oso Otono, an oatmeal lager, looks like a standard ale in color but tastes like a robust brown. Another recent addition is Punkelweizen, a pumpkin/dunkelweizen hybrid. Their Facebook page described it as “liquid banana bread.” Other recent additions to the lineup are the Standing 8 Stout (6.3% ABV, 45 IBU) and Ambear Ale (5.2% ABV, 35 IBU).

Cask: We’re waiting to hear what’s on for this Friday.

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: Every Wednesday is now Karaoke Night at Boxing Bear. It runs from 6 to 10 p.m.

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: Drunken Hobo Milk Stout, Tom Selleck Ale, Rip Van Winkle Vanilla Stout, Nacho Brau. The Drunken Hobo will soon replace the Mulligan Stout in the regular lineup, or so Franz Solo was told when he visited recently. The Nacho Brau is another of Franz’s favorite seasonals. Get over to BBB before he drinks it all up.

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

Canteen Brewhouse — (505) 881-2737

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

Beers: Fog Nozzle Smoked Marzen, Pils Pls, Irish Red, Wine Barrel-Aged Belgian Golden, White Shine (White Wine), Tequila IPA. The Tequila IPA (8.3% ABV, 100+ IBU) was aged in tequila barrels for eight months and is now ready for public consumption. A recent addition to the taps is Fog Nozzle (5.7% ABV, 22 IBU), a rauchbier, which has all the smoky goodness you need for this sudden drop in temperature. The White Shine (9.75% ABV, 50 IBU) is a big old wheat wine that has some unique flavors. The Pils Pls (6.5% ABV, 25 IBU) is a tasty pilsner, if you couldn’t guess from the name. The Solstice Blackout lineup is listed above in our introduction. It starts Friday and will run until the Dark Side Baltic Porter is completely consumed by the Crew. And, uh, the rest of you.

News: The other barrel-aged beers in the back, waiting to be tapped, are American Stock Ale in rum barrels and Panama Joe Coffee Stout in bourbon barrels, with the latter joining the Solstice Blackout lineup on Friday.

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). 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.

Events: Cazuela’s now features a live guitarist every Friday.

News: Cazuela’s Beer for My Horses won a bronze medal in the oatmeal stout category at the World Beer Cup in Denver and also captured a gold medal in the stout category at the 2014 State Fair Pro-Am.

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

Beers: Obey the Darkside Stout, Red River Ale, Radioactive IPA, Coney Pale Ale. The Red River (5.7% ABV, 33 IBU) is an ESB. The Coney Pale Ale (5.5% ABV, 45 IBU) is a recent addition to taps, made with Mosaic and Falconer’s Flight hops. Obey the Darkside (6% ABV, 65 IBU) is a delicious foreign export stout, or at least we’re biased enough to think so, but others we’ve talked to love it as well. The Radioactive (7.5% ABV, 100+ IBU) is back with a new recipe. I got to try a sample Tuesday and boy, does it have some serious hoppy bite to it. It should keep the hopheads happy amid all these malty monsters popping up across the state.

News: Head brewer Zach Guilmette has revamped the recipe for Chama’s Jackalope IPA to give it a stronger kick and tastier palate. Franz Solo and I also highly recommend you try the revamped Sleeping Dog Stout. It’s creamy and burly and sweet and roasted … it’s got everything you want in a stout.

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: Oatmeal Stout, Gunslinger Cherry Smoked Brown, Helles Lager, ESB, Red Ale, German Alt Lager, Jabberwocky IPA, London Porter, Holiday Peppermint Stout. Kaktus has seen a massive turnover in beers recently with the Oatmeal Stout, Helles Lager, ESB, Red Ale, and London Porter returning to taps. The newest beers to try are the Gunslinger Cherry Smoked Brown and the Holiday Peppermint Stout. Located at 471 South Hill Road in Bernalillo, Kaktus is one of the state’s newer breweries. It is a small, casual place, similar to Blue Heron in appearance and comfort factor. Kaktus owner Dana Koller said fans can expect the nanobrewery to go through its most popular styles quickly, though they will always have something new and exciting available as a replacement.

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

News: For the remainder of the year, all growler refills at Kaktus are just $8. Talk about happy holidays!

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: 4th Anniversary Barley Wine, Mind Phoq, C3-PA, Gracias Por Fumar. The Gracias Por Fumar was aged in wine barrels and is available on tap and in bombers. Mind Phoq, a coffee pale ale, is an experimental new beer. It uses an Ethiopian light roast from Prosum Roasters and is lightly hopped to showcase the coffee flavor. As LC said on their Facebook page, “It’s so good it will blow your mind!” Another recent addition is the C3-PA (6.2% ABV, 43 IBU), a pale ale brewed with Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook hops. The 4th Anniversary is an English-style barley wine aged in rum barrels. It’s delightfully sweet, enough to hide the huge 10.5-percent ABV. You can also buy it in bombers at the brewery and Jubilation. 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.

Lizard Tail Brewing — (505) 717-1301

(Sun–Weds 9 a.m.–11 p.m., Thurs–Sat 9 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: German Blonde Ale, Berliner Weisse, Belgian Abbey, IPA, Amber, Oatmeal Brown, India Black Ale, Rye Stout, Porter, Dubbel, Biscochito Brown, Belgian Strong Dark. Both Brandon and I have had chances to visit Lizard Tail, which is one of the newest breweries in town, located in the shopping center on the southeast corner of Eubank and Montgomery. They specialize in malt-forward beers. The German Blonde (5.5% ABV, 20 IBU) is a good place to start. The Berliner Weisse (4.3% ABV, 8 IBU) is not nearly as sour as most of its genre. The Belgian Abbey (6.8%, 25 IBU) is a good example of its style. The IPA (6.8% ABV, 70 IBU) has a good mix of Mosaic, Warrior, and Galaxy hops. The Rye Stout (5.5% ABV, 35 IBU) has a nice flavor but lacks body. The first batch of Oatmeal Brown (4.2% ABV, 25 IBU) needed some work, but I got to sample the second batch that will be on tap soon and it’s improved. The Honey Pale Ale (6.3% ABV, 35 IBU) has run out for a little while, but it will be back soon. The Porter (5.6% ABV, 35 IBU) is a semi-smoky, thick beer that goes perfectly with the cooler weather. The Biscochito Brown (8.5% ABV, 25 IBU) is not overly sweet. The Lizard Tail staff said the next batch will be a little maltier. The newest beer on tap is the Belgian Strong Dark (9.7% ABV, 30 IBU).

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.

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

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

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

Beers: Double White, Double IPA, Imperial Red, Nitro Pub Ale, Pumpkin Noir, Reserve Ale, White Out, Imperial Stout. A fairly recent addition is White Out (9% ABV), a burly Belgian-style ale. The popular Pumpkin Noir is nearing the end of its run. The Nitro Pub Ale is what Boddington’s was meant to taste like. It’s a creamy little delight. This year’s batch of Reserve Ale is a cacophony of flavors. Both it and the Brett IPA (which is not on tap) are available for sale in bombers at Marble and up at Jubilation. There is also the rotating “black handle,” which tends to feature some impressive “secret” beers. The Double White and Imperial Red brought home gold medals from GABF.

Cask: Check out Marble’s cask (a.k.a. “real” ale) selection on tap every Friday at the Downtown Pub.

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

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

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

UPDATED >>> Beers: Dry Stout, 2013 Barley Wine, Warp 10 Golden Strong. Brewer Kaylynn McKnight popped an aged keg or two of the Barley Wine. This year’s Equinox was best described as a Christmas cookie in a glass, which is probably why it ran out so quickly, because you all drank it up. Don’t worry, though, we’ve heard something Trekkie is coming next week. We’ve been able to get over there and try the Dry Stout and came away quite impressed. The Dry Stout is bold and thick, the kind of burly beer you want in the winter (or year-round if you’re like us). The most recent addition to taps is the Warp 10 Golden Strong, 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.

While “The Walking Dead” is done until early 2015, you can still play Walking Dead pinball in Nexus’ community room. It’s one of four pinball machines now available for some nostalgic fun.

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, Lost Grain English Summer Ale, Pre-Prohibition Pilsner. 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.

Ponderosa Brewing Co. — (505) 639-5941

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

Beers: Ghost Train IPA, Rip Saw Red, Crosscut Kolsch, Double IPA, Dunkelblitzen, Chocolate Pumpkin Porter, Breakfast Stout, Marbelous (Imperial Rice Lager), Nikolaus Spiced Lager, Bavarian Belle Hefeweizen. 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. The Marbelous (7% ABV) was brewed as a tribute to Marble’s Ted Rice, whose staff has helped Ponderosa in their early months of existence. The Nikolaus is a Weihnachtsbier, a traditional Bavarian dark lager brewed for the holidays. The new Hefeweizen just debuted this week.

News: The next batch of brews will include Dunkelweizen and Ella Single Hop Pale Ale.

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, Trapdoor Wheat. (Seasonal) Strong Scotch Ale. The first Red Door seasonal, Strong Scotch Ale, debuted recently. We stopped by and wrote up a quick review and we’ve been back since to enjoy it again. Brewer Wayne Martinez said he hopes to have more seasonals on tap before the end of the year.

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.

Red Door has three merchandise bundles for holiday shoppers. For $70 you can get a special new insulated growler, a $10 gift card, and a hat or T-shirt. For $90 you get the growler, gift card, and a hoodie.

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 going to dispatch E-Rock (he needs a new assignment) to re-establish our lines of communication with Sandia Chile Grill.

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. While the brewery is being built in the back of the Steer, all of their house beers are being brewed off-site, but still using brewer Kirk Roberts’ recipes. 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. We recently had their Bacon Bourbon Stout and Green Chile IPA on cask. Franz Solo loved the latter.

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 at Nob Hill: Little Red Rye-ding Hood, Turkey Drool, Mustachio Milk Stout, Javi Light Lager, Berry Cider, Winter Hop IPA, Chocolate Milk Stout.

UPDATED >>> Beers at Wells Park only: Jack the Sipper, Barn Burner Pale Ale, Apple Cider. All of the Nob Hill seasonals are also at Wells Park, which has 24 total taps (Tractor’s five regular beers have two taps apiece). We love us some Turkey Drool (8% ABV) this 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 Little Red (5.8% ABV) has a malty rye kick. Jack the Sipper (7% ABV) is Tractor’s take on a spiced pumpkin ale. The new Winter Hop IPA (6.4% ABV, 70 IBU) uses a blend of fragrant hops and caramel malts for a unique twist on the popular style. The Chocolate Milk Stout should tide over your sweet tooth. New to taps this week is the Barn Burner (6% ABV, 52 IBU), a bitter little pale ale that uses 40 pounds of El Dorado hops.

News: Congrats to Tractor and their Mustachio Milk Stout, which won in the Best of Albuquerque competition from ABQ the Magazine.

Mustachio’s bigger, meaner brother, Luna de los Muertos Russian Imperial Stout, is aging in the back, including some in a barrel. Oh, man, that could kill us … but we’d die happy.

Events: Today (Wednesday) at Wells Park, you can come met the band The Burning of Rome before they head over to Sunshine Theater to play a sold out show. The band will arrive at 3 p.m. and hang out with fans, and they’ll give away some free tickets and merchandise to a few lucky people.

Tonight (Wednesday) at Nob Hill, the Solos on the Hill series continues with Eryn Bent performing at 8:30 p.m.

The Thirsty Thursday series is back at Wells Park with Chad Barela performing at 8 p.m.

The In the Mix series is back Saturday at Wells Park as DJ Buddha Funk performs at 9 p.m.

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.

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, Piedra Lisa Porter, Heidelberg Helles. (Seasonal/specialty) Cascade Session Pale Ale, Uberaltbier, A Little Somethin’ Pumpkin, Rio Grande Tortoise Black IPA, Devil to Pay Double IPA, Wild Hunt Winter Warmer. 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 Porter 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. The new beers here are the Devil to Pay DIPA (7.7% ABV, 125+ IBU), a hop monster for the holidays brewed with Cascade and Chinook, and the Wild Hunt Winter Warmer (7% ABV, 31 IBU), which was brewed with orange peel, nutmeg, fresh ginger root, clove, and molasses.

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Snow Advisory, Monks Mesa (Belgian Blonde), Meltdown Chocolate Porter, Rakau Single Hop IPA. The Monks Mesa (4.5% ABV, 15 IBU) is a Belgian blonde table beer. The Meltdown used no less than 25 pounds of cocoa nibs. The Rakau, using a powerful New Zealand hop, is now on tap. New to the lineup is Snow Advisory (7.5% ABV, 17 IBU), a winter warmer.

News: Next up in the beer list is a White DIPA.

Events: Thursday at the Brewer’s Table Holiday Party is this week starting at 6 p.m. It costs $20 and reservations are required. For more info click the Facebook link here.

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: Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Marcel (Witbier), Whistler (Blonde), Dark Ryder (Dark Strong), Grunewald (Imperial Porter), Goya (Imperial Stout). The lineup got a shakeup with some big beers joining the rotation. Dark Ryder and Grunewald check in at 11-percent ABV, while Goya (15.9% ABV) is a monster of a beer. It will be available on tap and in bombers at the brewery this Friday.

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., closed on Sunday)

Beers: Double White IPA, Black IPA. The first beer in the new Ever Changing Series is a Double White IPA, which Luke of the Brew Crew bullpen recently reviewed. The Kriek, which won a bronze medal at GABF this year, is on sale around the state in bombers, though it is no longer on tap. The 12 Beers of Christmas continues this week. Click that link for a full schedule of what’s on tap; beers go online at 5 p.m. on weekdays.

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 SFBC 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, our Santa Fe correspondent, 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, Chinook Imperial Porter, Huell Melon Pilsner, Fulcrum IPA, International Style Steam, Festivus Ale, Anniversary Ale. The new International Style Steam and Festivus Ale make their debuts this week, while the Huell Melon Pilsner is back after a short absence. The Anniversary Ale will see its recipe tweaked and will now feature a blend of Millennium, Columbus, Chinook, Citra, and Comet hops. Coming soon will be Trebuchet Imperial IPA, which completes a “trilogy” with Pivotal and Fulcrum IPAs.

Events: This month’s Cask-n-Curry Night is Thursday, featuring Festivus Ale.

Also this weekend, Alpha Cats perform Friday night at the original location and Bill Hearne performs Saturday. Shows at the Railyard will feature Alex Culbreth on Friday and the Kodama Trio on Saturday, performing the entirety of “It’s a Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Every Wednesday night, both SSB locations host Game Night. SSB has game boards and dominoes or bring your own … oh yeah, they also have discounted pitchers!

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: Pilabo Pale Ale, Venom IPA, English Porter, Zia Pilsner. Twisted Chile has been open for a while as a restaurant, but as the name might imply, they are also brewing their own beer on site. Located in Socorro at 115 Abeyta St. W, they are the first brewery there to brew on site since Socorro Springs outsourced their brewing to Eddyline in Colorado. 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 English Porter, which will get a more formal name soon. The Zia Pilsner is done in the German style.

Events: Twisted Chile has specials running during Monday and Thursday Night Football every week.

Tonight (Wednesday) is Open Mic Night from 6 to 9 p.m. It will be the final one until 2015.

Celtic Sessions will perform Sunday starting at 2:30 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

Greetings everyone, Stoutmeister here with the third post in the Look Back/Look Ahead Series for 2014-15. Our La Cumbre story ran last week and our Kaktus story debuted Monday. As the year draws to a close, rather than just write up a single summary review of the last 12 months in beer, I decided to take what free time I have and go talk in person to breweries in the ABQ area to get their thoughts on both the year that was and the year to come. I’m not going to put up any sort of schedule for this series, and it will likely extend beyond December and into January with other Crew members chipping in as well.

It has been a big year for Bosque Brewing and they are only just getting started.

It has been a big year for Bosque Brewing and they are only just getting started.

To say that it has been a busy year over at Bosque Brewing Co. would be an understatement. The little brewery on Albuquerque’s north side has expanded in more ways than one. They hired award-winning brewer John Bullard from Blue Corn, bought a whole new set of brewing equipment that was installed in the space next door to their taproom, began selling their beer at bars and restaurants, and oh, yeah, they opened two new taprooms. Well, technically only the Las Cruces taproom is open right now, but Nob Hill, through fits and starts, is closer than ever to opening as well.

In order to recap all of this madness, during which they have produced some amazing beers and picked up a certain IPA trophy and their first GABF medal, I sat down with co-owner Gabe Jensen and John Bullard.

Bosque's first bottle release is set for Wednesday at the brewery and at Jubilation. (Photo courtesy of Bosque's Facebook page)

Bosque’s first bottle release is set for Wednesday at the brewery and at Jubilation. (Photo courtesy of Bosque’s Facebook page)

First up, there will be a little party Wednesday night. Bosque is releasing their first bottled beer, Scotia Limited, which is their uber-popular Scotia Scotch Ale aged in bourbon barrels provided by Jubilation Wine & Spirits. Bottle sales will commence at 5 p.m. and then at 5:30 there will be live music by The Real Matt Jones. You can also take tours of the brewery and potentially snag some additional samples of some unreleased and rare specialty beers. While not confirmed, it could be the first opportunity to try Jet Black Winter, a Russian imperial stout on nitro (!), as well as Whirlpool Lager, an American pale ale with 55 pounds of Mosaic hops added at the whirlpool phase of brewing and using a lager yeast to create both a hoppy and malty flavor combination with an amazing aroma, John said. Bottles of Scotia Limited will also be on sale at Jubilation, but there are not many available, so get them quick.

This release party caps a banner year for Bosque, though it was hard work to get to this point.

Bosque's brewing staff poses with the IPA Challenge trophy back in July. From left, head brewer John Bullard, assistant brewers Ira Strain-Bey and Ryan Jameson, and founding brewer Gabe Jensen.

Bosque’s brewing staff poses with the IPA Challenge trophy back in July. From left, head brewer John Bullard, assistant brewers Ira Strain-Bey and Ryan Jameson, and founding brewer Gabe Jensen.

“Is it over yet?” Gabe asked with a tired smile. “It’s stretched me as a person, as a owner, as an operator … but it’s been good, it’s definitely been good. Just when you think that you understand delays and hopes and dreams dashed, then you see them in another light. Oh, man, it can get worse. Awesome. But then at the same time as we see Las Cruces is actually open. It really does happen eventually. That’s encouragement for the Nob Hill site.”

Gabe and the rest of the Bosque staff have tried to focus on the positives.

“The ups have been really high — Las Cruces (and) a bronze medal at GABF is probably the highlight of our year, I would say,” Gabe added. “(Winning) the IPA Challenge was awesome. Both of those were pretty big.

“The downs, man, the delays. It’s a weird thing to be so high and also have this thing just out of your grasp. It’s kind of like, have you ever dropped a piece of paper out of your car and the wind catches it as you’re running after it? That’s what it reminds me of.”

The still unopened Bosque Taproom in Nob Hill, located near Central and Girard.

The still unopened Bosque Taproom in Nob Hill, located near Central and Girard.

The most common delays breweries can face in opening new locations are usually tied to issues with government or even just the neighborhoods they operate in. That has not been the case in Nob Hill.

“I wish I could explain it,” Gabe said. “There’s no way to even explain what has happened over there so I’m not going to try. I will say it was not the neighborhood association and it was not licensing. It was all having more to do with the building and construction and things falling through and changing. Any time you have to start over it takes longer.”

While Nob Hill has been a point of frustration, Bosque’s Las Cruces taproom came together fairly quickly and is now open for business.

“Las Cruces, though, we opened on Friday,” Gabe said. “We had a nice, nice crowd for opening day. All we did was post on Facebook saying we’re open tomorrow. We sold a little over 500 pints on our first day. The next couple of days have been solid. You know us, we don’t do a lot of craziness. That’s what we’ll do in Nob Hill, too. One day we’ll be like, hey, we’re open.”

John Bullard atop his throne, also known as a brewhouse.

John Bullard atop his throne, also known as a brewhouse.

All of this expansion would not have been possible without luring John down from Blue Corn, where he had already claimed the IPA Challenge trophy in 2013, followed by two silver medals at the Great American Beer Festival that fall.

“The cool thing about John is not only is he an amazing brewer, we know that and a young one at that so what upside does he have? Oh, man, I’m excited. He fits in here at Bosque. He’s already oozing Bosque culture and assimilating him in as a person was not hard.

“It’s kind of a weird thing, Bosque 2.0 as we called it, it feels like he’s been here forever. There’s been so much change back there that it’s hard to even remember where we came from, where we were at. This is us now and I’ve been looking forward so much it’s hard to look back. I did a little bit when we were helping the (Los Alamos Beer) Co-op load the (old brewing equipment) up. They picked it up a month ago. We had to get it out of the empty space over there because we’re taking it over.”

John agreed that it has been a rewarding experience moving from Blue Corn to Bosque.

Gabe Jensen rocks the awesome Scotia Scotch X-Men-style shirt in the brewery.

Gabe Jensen rocks the awesome Scotia Scotch X-Men-style shirt in the brewery.

“It’s been awesome, amazing,” John said. “We’ve come a long ways just since I’ve been here. We’ve got our first bottled offering and that’s my very first bottle, that’s awesome. It feels really, really good. We’ve got Las Cruces open and Nob Hill right around the corner.

“It’s been so easy to get along with these guys and work side-by-side with all of them. It’s really easy for all of us to understand what Bosque is and what Bosque’s about. It’s such a straight-forward image and feeling for all of us. It’s a good thing.”

The positive buzz around Bosque beers has only continued to increase, which is always music to a brewer’s ears.

“Sales have continued to climb,” John said. “All of the internet reviews keep going up. Everything keeps increasing. I think people are happier and happier with the beers.”

All of that has come despite the adjustments that John and his assistant brewers have had to deal with on their massive new brewhouse and setup.

“With this new system, we’ve had kinks,” John said. “That’s just part of building a bigger brewery and learning how things work, dealing with equipment malfunctions and stuff. We’re understanding the entire brewery setup.”

The Bosque staff poses with their bronze medal at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival. (Photo courtesy of Bosque)

The Bosque staff poses with their bronze medal at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival. (Photo courtesy of Bosque)

Working around those kinks, John was able to win the IPA Challenge again this year while also snagging Bosque’s first GABF medal, a bronze in the Fresh or Wet Hop Style for Acequia IPA.

“We were up there with some really good names (at GABF),” John said. “To be up there with (Barley Brown’s Brew Pub’s) Pallet Jack, that means a lot. That guy has in multiple competitions has beaten me out. To be in the top three with him feels really good.”

As for the IPA Challenge trophy, which sits prominently on the bar top at Bosque, John said keeping it for another year will be quite the, ahem, challenge.

“We’re going to lose that sooner or later,” he said. “There’s so many breweries coming in and really making great beers, too. That’s a really fun competition. I enjoy that competition. Chama got close this year. Marble really made a presence. (La Cumbre’s Jeff) Erway makes something specific, that will always be trouble.”

Bosque's Las Cruces taproom is open and already filled with thirsty patrons. (Photo courtesy of Bosque)

Bosque’s Las Cruces taproom is open and already filled with thirsty patrons. (Photo courtesy of Bosque)

Slow it down and then rev it back up again in 2015

The biggest initial challenge in 2015 for the entire Bosque staff will be adjusting to now having to produce enough beer to keep the two new taprooms humming.

“We hope to have Nob Hill open before 2015,” Gabe said. “We’re doing everything we can to do that. We’re just trying, trying, trying. We’re getting up against the holidays.

“I hope to take a break from expansion for at least a month and then go at it again. We’re going to get our bottling machine, not a line, but a little four-headed bomber. We’ve still got plans on canning but we’ve got to see what these taprooms are going to do. Our capacity is what, 90 to 100 barrels a week right now. That’s about 5,200 barrels a year. All of a sudden we go from this taproom, which is not in the greatest location in the world, to having two taprooms across from universities. I’m guessing we’re going to sell more beer there than here.”

John said he has been prepping for that for a while now.

Awesome brews like Prospect Milk Stout have us in the Crew excited about else John Bullard has planned for 2015.

Awesome brews like Prospector Milk Stout have us in the Crew excited about else John Bullard has planned for 2015.

“We’ve planned to more than double production to keep up with everything that’s opening with Las Cruces and Nob Hill,” John said. “So that’s huge. With the new sales guy on our team, he’s going to start moving in January, really start to push our distribution. Really keeping up with production is going to be the focus for the next couple months.”

In addition to a new sales rep for Bosque, John said they may add a fourth member to the brewing team.

“With production doubling we’ll probably have to add someone,” he said. “Just to clean and fill kegs alone is nearly going to be a full-time position, I think.”

While bracing for the production increase is at the top of the to-do list, John is still planning on keeping things fun and innovative with the seasonal/specialty beer list.

“I can’t wait to start playing with some different yeast strains,” he said. “That’s something Bosque hasn’t done a whole lot of, that’s something I haven’t done a whole lot of. That’s going to be a good opportunity to offer more unique beers, different twists on some traditional beers. We’re really hoping to push some more barrel aging. We’re just going to do everything.”

Two new beers due out in January will be a white pilsner and a black pilsner, two extremely rare styles that should keep beer lovers on their toes.

Bosque has come a long way since the Crew took a tour even before the first pint was brewed.

Bosque has come a long way since the Crew took a tour even before the first pint was brewed.

All of that beer love is showing not only among locals but from around the country. John said he could not be happier to see Albuquerque ranking among the top beer cities nationally, but it is a ranking the city’s breweries will have to fight to maintain.

“It excites me to think we’re getting national recognition that’s being produced out of this city,” he said. “But on top of that, the new places that are opening I hope that they can maintain this quality that so many of the brewers in New Mexico have worked to establish. There’s a lot of places opening. We just hope that they can open with good beers.

“I think that’s going to continue with the more breweries we have, the more craft beer that’s being consumed, that’s more education for the consumer. They’re becoming more and more educated with what good beer is.”

With a little luck and a lot of hard work, Bosque should continue to be at the forefront of the local beer scene. Even if they slow it down for a moment, do not expect that to last for long.

“We’re not going to take a break, but we’re going to take our foot off the gas a little bit at the beginning of the year,” Gabe said. “But I get bored really quick so don’t be surprised if we make more announcements soon.”

Thanks to Gabe and John for taking time out of their days to chat, and thanks to every member of the Bosque staff for all of their hard work and hospitality this year. All of us in the Crew are looking forward to what 2015 has in store.

And yeah, we plan to be among the first to enjoy a pint at Nob Hill. It will open. We have faith.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Greetings everyone, Stoutmeister here with the second post in the Look Back/Look Ahead Series for 2014-15. Our La Cumbre story ran last week. As the year draws to a close, rather than just write up a single summary review of the last 12 months in beer, I decided to take what free time I have and go talk in person to breweries in the ABQ area to get their thoughts on both the year that was and the year to come. I’m not going to put up any sort of schedule for this series, and it will likely extend beyond December and into January with other Crew members chipping in as well.

Kaktus' patio is one of the most popular spots around New Mexico to drink beer in the summer.

Kaktus’ patio is one of the most popular spots around New Mexico to drink beer in the summer.

Kaktus Brewing Co. just wrapped up their first full year up the road in Bernalillo. Despite being one of the smallest breweries in the state in terms of production, Kaktus managed to crank out a lot of unique and popular beers while keeping everyone cozy in their one-of-a-kind taproom.

“We’ve been open for one year and two or three months, roughly,” owner Dana Koller said. “2014 was our first full year and it was fantastic, better than what we expected. We’ve been obviously refining recipes, getting our equipment down pat, everything was running smoothly. Now we’re looking forward to adding some nice additions to our menu, like our food menu as well as our beer menu. So we’re pretty excited about that.”

Opening and operating a successful brewery can always be a challenge, but it is one that Dana, brewer Mike Waddy, and brewing mentor Mark Matheson have been able to navigate in year one.

Kaktus' beers pulled in four medals, one gold and three silvers, at the annual State Fair Pro-Am.

Kaktus’ beers pulled in four medals, one gold and three silvers, at the annual State Fair Pro-Am.

“I think really if there was any challenges it was more internal than external,” Dana said. “Just figuring out things with the equipment or the layout of our floor plan as we get more and more busy. Just kind of being inventive about that. Everything is going kind of the way we planned.”

Those plans included Kaktus entering its first beer competition, the annual State Fair Pro-Am, and coming away with a gold medal in the German Wheat and Rye Beer category for Bannaweizen, plus silver medals for ESB in English Pale Ale, London Porter in Porter, and Cream Stout in Stout.

“We submitted our first beers to the State Fair, won four awards there, so those were our first award-winning beers,” Dana said. “We’re just going to keep moving from there, because we’re not a bottling brewery. The majority of breweries that are opening now immediately are competing in distribution. We looked to not do that. We just wanted to be your classic community brewery and really just focus on making Bernalillo a proud place to have one of the best beers in the state.”

That approach, combined with Kaktus’ location and overall ambiance, have given the brewery a different crowd than what is seen around Albuquerque.

Any brewery that employs the lovely Desert Darlings, plus our own E-Rock (far left) and our buddy Frank is a good place to hang out.

Any brewery that employs the lovely Desert Darlings, plus our own E-Rock (far left) and our buddy Frank is a good place to hang out.

“Our crowd I would say is typically going to be 35 years of age and older, and families,” Dana said. “For the most part, I think we do harness a completely different clientele than a lot of the other breweries. It’s families or couples, not a lot of single people. It’s kind of a little bit of an older crowd. Which is great for us. But again, during the summer, we pull in people from Santa Fe and Albuquerque because of our location, we’re kind of a center point. We pull in people from both sides. At that point, if we’re doing music especially, we pull in a little bit of everybody.”

Keeping the entertainment as varied as possible has helped as well.

“When we’re thinking entertainment we’re thinking culturally,” Dana said. “And so we did bring in the (Desert Darlings) belly dancers every Sunday. Then we also the first Saturday of every month we host flamenco dancing. Along with the flamenco we usually invite the Guava Tree, which is Cuban-style sandwiches. They come down and do their grill and offer a different set of food, which is really fun. So that kind of switches things up a little bit.

“Where we’re trying to focus our entertainment is definitely a little more performance-driven than it is music-driven. Granted, people play music as a performance, but a little more activity is what we like. We are looking to expand our back patio and do an outdoor concert series in the future, something different like country music to change it up a little bit.”

Another photo of the Desert Darlings, because why not?

Another photo of the Desert Darlings, because why not?

Subtle improvements on tap for 2015

As much as the beers themselves can be considered seasonal, so can an entire brewery.

“It seems to be that Kaktus is going to be definitely more of a summer place than a winter place, because of our patio, the KOA Kampground being next door, things like that,” Dana said. “We’re planning on pulling in some business from Placitas by being a little inventive in how we do that. We actually just made our first batch of cider. We’re doing it the traditional way which considers it a wine. So we went ahead and got our wine license, which was just approved a couple weeks ago. So we should be hanging that license before the end of December, I’m hoping. Definitely by the end of January. That will allow us to serve ciders as well as beers.

“To complement the ciders we decided to bring in pizza as well. So you can see just got our new pizza oven. So we’re going to be doing some nice gourmet, definitely not your traditional pepperoni and sausage. It will be more gourmet-style with duck and elk and some vegetarian options, eggplant and green olive, things like that.”

Kaktus always wins the award for the most unique chairs of any brewery.

Kaktus always wins the award for the most unique chairs of any brewery.

Due to their small brewing output, Kaktus largely stayed away from the beer festival circuit, though that will change somewhat in the coming year.

“We’re definitely going to try to get involved where we can,” Dana said. “The thing for us is because we’re not bottling, it’s really in our best interest because we’re a nano-brewery, the festivals where people are just giving away tastings is a little bit more difficult for us. We will get there eventually, but we’re just not there yet. The festivals we’re goign to be focusing on are the ones where we can get full pints in people’s hands and let them enjoy a full pint versus just a small tasting.”

One big plan for Kaktus involves a certain Irish holiday in the early spring.

“We just rented the Rail Yards, so we’re going to sponsor the largest St. Patty’s Day event in Albuquerque,” Dana said. “It’s going to be March 17 on St. Patty’s Day. We’re hoping to fill the place with 900 people. We’ll be obviously the main focus as far as beer goes. But we’re going to create some community events on our own to get the word out about our brewery.”

Beyond that, Kaktus just hopes to continue to grow organically, getting the word out that there is good craft beer in a small town like Bernalillo just like Albuquerque to the south and Santa Fe to the north.

You can still hang out on Kaktus' patio, even in the winter months.

You can still hang out on Kaktus’ patio, even in the winter months.

“I’m most excited for 2015 where we’re going to grow our business,” Dana said. “It’s definitely the cider, offering a little bit more food kind of encourages people to come down this way, (and) the St. Patty’s Day event. And after that if everything goes well, we are kind of throwing around the idea of a (second) small taproom. But we’re kind of just taking our time with that. We want to make sure we do more here than open another place. It’s all good. We felt like we’ve grown 25 to 50 percent, which is our goal (again) next year.”

Thanks to Dana for taking some time to sit down and chat, and for the beer samples (it was an early interview, so I wasn’t ready for pints yet). I do recommend the Peppermint Stout, which has a nice balance between the peppermint and roasted malt flavors; Gunslinger Cherry Wood Smoked Brown, a rather unique beer that has some spicy hints around the edges; and the newly refined Red Ale, which sits about midway between Marble’s hoppy Red and Il Vicino’s malty Irish Red.

If everything actually goes to plan this week, we will have additional stories in this series from Bosque, Tractor, Ponderosa, and possibly more. Enjoy this wonderful week of good beer!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Santa Fe Comes to ABQ 2

T’was 12 days before Christmas, when all through the brewhouse.

Beer fans were stirring over some nicely brewed stouts.

The kegs were filled by the brewers with care,

In hopes that there’d be enough carbonation there…

Every year around the holidays, Santa Fe Brewing Company gets into the giving and sharing spirit with a festive little tradition they call the Twelve Beers of Christmas. Starting on the 12th of December, for 12 days they give the local brewing community the opportunity to show off their brewing prowess, which they then share with you, the brew-loving public.

Beginning as early as October, homebrewers, brewery employees, and any brewing enthusiasts jazzed enough to brew head over to the brewery on a Small Batch Saturday. There, on SFBC’s dime and gear, they make a special batch of holiday beer. Then, for those 12 days and 12 nights, it’s buzzes, warm fuzzies, and Christmas tree lights. Sorry, I got a little carried away there.

BrewBound.com posted SFBC’s [Press Release] to their site, detailing the event. But, for our local, loco-cervezaphiles — because it’s Christmas, and because we care — The Crew is bringing you a full list of the beers and their tap dates, so take a look below and mark your calendars, folks! Synchronize your watches, if people still do that sort of thing, and make it out to either of Santa Fe’s taprooms for some special batches of Yule fuel.

Dec. 12 — John, Paul, and Chantal’s Smoke ‘Em If You’ve Got ‘Em

Dec. 13 — Sweet Ginger Brown

Dec. 14 — Bill’s Dreaming of a Double White Christmas

Dec. 15 — Catz Pajamaz Chai Porter by Dave!

Dec. 16 — The Jive Turkey by Leif

Dec. 17 — Luke and Panda’s Piñon Roasting on an Open Fire

Dec. 18 — Carnie’s Coal in Your Stocking Stout

Dec. 19 — Orange Chocolate Cream Stout by Jason Kirkman

Dec. 20 — Biscochito Stout by Miggs and Jerome

Dec. 21 — Minty Fat Man Stout (SF Tasting Room), Wassail (Eldorado Tap House)

Dec. 22 — Flaming Reindeer

Dec. 23 — Saffron Tripel

According to social alchemist, Max Otwell of SFBC, “the beers will be tapped at 5 p.m. sharp on the weekdays and 2 p.m. on the weekends.” So get there early because they can (and will) go fast! Just ask the folks who didn’t get to try the Biscochito Stout last year. That’s right, I still haven’t gotten over that. Bah-h*mb*g, indeed! I was, however, there for the Small-Batch Saturday when the now famous Zymurgic duo Miggs and Jerome brewed a tweaked version of that big biscochito beauty for this year’s 12 Beers, and I’ll tell you, both were in excellent form that day, and they’ve brought down the Christmas hammer hard with an assortment of quality ingredients and perhaps utilizing a little Stone Xocoveza Mocha Stout for inspiration.

Miggs shared a little info with me about his and Jerome’s beer: “This is our third generation Biscochito Stout, and it’s the second time we had it included in the 12 Beers of Christmas. The first gen was made for our friends and family. We’re fortunate we can share this version with more people.”

So, Merry Christmas, stout fans! He went on to say, “We try to make the batches different every year. This year is different because we got our cinnamon from a local spice shop. In this batch, we included two sticks of Ceylon (True) Cinnamon. It’s not as spicy as the traditional one, so we think it’ll give the beer a nice taste.” Miggs definitely plans to get out there earlier this time to try his finished brew. Last year it had sold out quickly at the brewery, and he had to drive out to the Eldorado taproom just to get a taste! True story.

12Beers2014Pics

Homebrewers Jerome and Miggs, just finishing up the Biscochito Stout. Can’t wait to try it!

Discounted beer for a good cause

Also, happening during this holiday event, the Sangre De Cristo Craft Brewers Club and Santa Fe Brewing Co. are pairing hand-crafted brews with good holiday feelings, by holding their annual canned food drive.

President of the club, John Rowley, said, “For each can of food you bring in to either SFBC location, you get a dollar off a pint (limit two discounted pints).” It should be noted, however, that there’s no limit to donations and good karma. “All of the cans will be donated to various local food banks depending on availability and accessibility. Any cat or dog food brought in will be taken directly to the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, as it happens to be the preferred charity of the club.”

Regarding this special holiday event, Rowley explained, “12 Beers of Christmas is a long standing tradition, as the club has been collaborating with the brewery for many years now. It’s a fun way to showcase the club’s creativity and brewing skills, as brewery employees and club members get to place their holiday themed beers on tap for the 12 consecutive days leading up to Christmas. Many fun and tasty beers come out of this collaboration, and it’s a great way to bring people out and to get them in the holiday spirit. This year’s events look to be pretty good, so, I encourage people to come out, bring some canned food, and enjoy a pint brewed by local enthusiasts.”

12Beers2014Pics2

Mashing in for the Pinon Roasting on an Open Fire Winter Warmer

‘Now I have an excuse to be at the brewery every day,’ is what I’m going to tell my girlfriend. But seriously, I hope you guys can make it out to share in this fun holiday tradition. Some of these beers are brewed by award-winning brewers. And then there’s the one I made, too. But don’t worry; Max already assured me there would be batches on standby just in case something goes awry. So come on out, and get your merry on! It’s all for a good cause — the brewery and the beer community, coming together to spread holiday cheer with holiday beer, and helping out the less fortunate in one nice little package. Is there a better way to wash away the humbugs? I think not. Sure beats 12 drummers drumming, anyhow.

Holiday brews will be available at both Santa Fe Brewing Co. locations, releasing at 5 p.m. on the weekdays, and 2 p.m. on the weekends. The event kicks off today (Friday) with a recipe Rowley designed, “Smoke Em If You’ve Got ‘Em,” a smoked rye Brown Ale, brewed with Santa Fe Spirits Colkegan Mesquite-Smoked Malt, a touch of Weyermann rye, and some Indian Jaggery sugar.

Cheers!

— Luke

Greetings everyone, Stoutmeister here with the first post in the Look Back/Look Ahead Series for 2014-15. As the year draws to a close, rather than just write up a single summary review of the last 12 months in beer, I decided to take what free time I have and go talk in person to breweries in the ABQ area to get their thoughts on both the year that was and the year to come. I’m not going to put up any sort of schedule for this series, and it will likely extend beyond December and into January with other Crew members chipping in as well.

Though he was not wearing the awesome red suspenders this time around, Jeff Erway was happy to give our fearless editor another behind-the-scenes look at La Cumbre.

Though he was not wearing the awesome red suspenders this time around, Jeff Erway was happy to give our fearless editor another behind-the-scenes look at La Cumbre.

So with all that out of the way, I know a lot of you have been wondering about that construction photo we posted on Facebook the other day about La Cumbre Brewing. That was taken during my interview with owner/brewer Jeff Erway where we discussed all the good his brewery has done in 2014 and what’s to come in 2015.

First up, La Cumbre is celebrating their fourth anniversary this Saturday, starting when the brewery opens at noon and going all the way to closing at midnight. Art’s BBQ and Rustic Food Truck will be parked outside. The Watermelon Mountain Jug Band will perform from 3 to 6 p.m. Oh, yeah, and there will be some special beers, too.

“Starting at noon we’ll be tapping our anniversary beer,” Jeff said. “We’ll also be selling bottles of that. The anniversary beer is a beer I’m really proud of, it’s a British-in-style barley wine with a maybe a touch of an American hop approach, just trying to balance out the enormous sweetness of the malt. It’s been aged for four months in rum barrels.

“The rum barrels were at one point Jack Daniels barrels and then Bacardi got them and filled them three separate times with 151. So the barrel actual character is real subtle. It comes across much more as a butterscotch-y character, so I love it.”

Oh, but wait, there are more.

The taproom at La Cumbre should be jumping for the fourth anniversary party this Saturday.

The taproom at La Cumbre should be jumping for the fourth anniversary party this Saturday.

“We’ll also be tapping a cask of our La Negra,” Jeff said. “And we’ll be tapping a keg of our third anniversary beer (a Belgian quad). Everything else has a yet-to-be decided. Daniel (Jaramillo) and I today will be going up to our proverbial cellar to figure out what other kegs we want to bring out. You can be sure there will be several other beers that have not been released in quite some time.

“We’ll also be re-releasing a few bottled offerings that are quite old, that have been sitting around in our cellar for quite some time. There won’t be any price gouging, we’re pricing them the same price they’ve been at.”

OK, so lots of awesome beers, many beautifully aged, and bottles of vintage styles for sale at original prices.

“You’re going to kill us with all of these,” I said.

“They won’t kill you, just bring you one step closer,” Jeff replied with a smile.

One of the many awards picked up by La Cumbre in 2014.

One of the many awards picked up by La Cumbre in 2014.

The anniversary party will cap another big year for La Cumbre. Project Dank won the National IPA Challenge, run by the Brewing News, and it later brought home the Michael Jackson Award for Best American Cask Ale at the Great British Beer Festival. Those two trophies aside, the year also saw the debut of Malpais Stout in cans and multiple new beers released in bottles.

When I asked Jeff to recap all of the ups and downs of the year that was, he had a good answer.

“Honestly I can’t say there’s been too much down,” Jeff said. “I remember in November of last year I called a meeting of our managers at 7 a.m. on a Monday. Something hit me on the behind. Daniel, just the week prior, had said what are we doing, it feels like we’re just sitting here in limbo and not doing anything to grab people.

“And I sat down and said look, here’s a rough sketch. I gave them a list of eight different beers I wanted to try to bottle and release. I’ve still got that list. We released six of the eight of them, plus several others. From that list of beers we’ve decided on our next new can which (has) actually been sent over to the Tax and Trade Bureau for review.”

The goal for any established brewery these days is to remain prominent even in the face of all the new, yet welcomed, competition.

“I feel like we’ve done a very good job of doing exactly what I set out to do, which was to make sure that as this brewing industry grows, as the brewing industry in this town grows — and I’m all for it, I’m all for competition, I’m all for the growth of the industry, I love craft beer — that La Cumbre firmly maintains as itself as on the cutting edge locally as well as being relevant,” Jeff said. “I want to make sure that when people both in town and around the country think of Albuquerque beer, La Cumbre is right on the top of their list.”

Good lord do you people love this hyper-hopped beer.

Good lord do you people love this hyper-hopped beer.

La Cumbre has certainly maintained that place with local beer lovers. Elevated IPA won the first Beer Madness competition held online by ABQ Business First. It beat Project Dank along the way, but Dank remains one of the most popular beers that La Cumbre has ever brewed.

“We’ve established Project Dank as a year-round beer, which will actually continue to stay in bottles,” Jeff said. “We’ve decided we’re not going to put it into cans. We can’t source that much hops. We were able to get the National IPA Championship with that beer, which I was very pleased with.”

The thirsty public has also enabled La Cumbre to increase the size of their staff.

“We’ve added four new brewing positions in the back,” Jeff said. “We’ve added a salesman. I feel that, beyond the new beers, I feel our standard lineup has gotten even — and I know this isn’t what the beer geeks crave — but it’s gotten more consistent and more consistently right on the money, exactly where we want them. I’d say the majority of that credit goes to Daniel Jaramillo. He’s done a great job of training our staff and making sure everyone knows what they’re doing at any given time.”

That consistency is huge, especially for a brewer that packages and distributes.

“There’s always that five percent (of beer lovers) that wants to know exactly how much alcohol is in this, how many pounds of hops,” Jeff said. “Ninety-five percent of people, they want to come in, they want to have their IPA, they want to have their pilsner, they want to have their hefeweizen, and they want to know it’s going to taste the same every time. There is honor in brewing (consistently). If you can’t do that, time to find a new job.”

La Cumbre has removed the roof from the northern building in order to raise the height of the walls, put on a new roof, and then install the new brewhouse and fermenters.

La Cumbre has removed the roof from the northern building in order to raise the height of the walls, put on a new roof, and then install the new brewhouse and fermenters.

The dawn of a new brewhouse tops what is to come in 2015

Anyone stopping by La Cumbre during the daytime has probably heard sounds of construction coming from behind the north building. It is hard, though, to see what is really going on back there as the brewery offices in the front block your view. Jeff took me to the back and lo and behold, a lot of construction has already gotten underway. The point of it all is to make room for a new brewhouse, fermenters, and a silo, all of which will help La Cumbre continue to expand and continue to improve the quality of their beers.

“So we’ve ordered our 30-barrel brewhouse that’s in production right now,” Jeff said. “It’s actually being built for us right now in Portland, Oregon. With that will come two 120-barrel fermenters (and) a new boiler for the brewhouse. We’re moving from a direct-fire to a steam-fire system. Which will inevitably have inherent differences in character, but it will enable us to make beer more consistently. Steam is more controllable.”

To fit those new fermenters and the brewhouse, the entire roof has been removed from the back (west) part of the northern building. The construction crew was preparing to put in new support beams before beginning to raise the walls in the next three weeks. The roof will then go on, making the northern building at least as tall as the current brewery operations room.

“Right there’s going to be sitting a 120-horsepower, high-pressure steam boiler,” Jeff said, pointing to the back left area as we walked into the now open-air space. “Right here will be the 30-barrel brewhouse. Out here will be a silo. And over the next several years we’ll be filling this space with five 240-barrel fermenters.”

The grain silo will be external, much like at other ABQ area breweries.

The foundation is ready for La Cumbre's new external grain silo.

The foundation is ready for La Cumbre’s new external grain silo, which will sit north of the existing building.

“This is where the silo is going to sit, (an) 80,000-pound silo,” Jeff said. “It’s going to be a little shorter than Marble’s and a little fatter than Marble’s, because I’m shorter and fatter than Ted (Rice).”

To help power all of this, La Cumbre had a new transformer installed outside that will quadruple their current power. The existing roof is already covered in solar panels, with the hope to add more atop the new roof once that is completed.

“You can see the solar panels from here,” Jeff said as we stood outside. “They literally cover that entire roof. That’s about 43 KBA, so that’s approximately a third of our current usage is being produced by solar now which makes us the biggest solar producer of any brewery in the state. Not for long, though, I think Santa Fe is doing a huge solar expansion.”

A new 50-horsepower glycol chiller will also be installed outside to keep everything inside nice and cool.

“That’s how our expansion is going,” Jeff said. “I’m hoping to have the new brewhouse up and running by late February, early March. And then the new brewhouse, but more particularly the 120-barrel fermenters will allow us to start distributing around the rest of Colorado, hopefully, fingers crossed.”

There may be some additional distribution expansion, which will come as good news to my many beer-loving friends in the state where I went to college.

Popular bottle releases like Full Nelson have neighboring states screaming for La Cumbre beers to be distributed there.

Popular bottle releases like Full Nelson have neighboring states screaming for La Cumbre beers to be distributed there.

“Arizona will probably be next on the list, (but) I don’t want to be nationwide,” Jeff said. “I absolutely adore what New Glarus has been able to do. You can only be in this business so long before you stop just thinking about the beer and think about the business itself. Honestly, the thing I’ve found that’s been really interesting over the last four years is I’ve fallen in love with the business, not just the beer. I’ve fallen in love with the growth of craft brewing as an industry. I’ve fallen in love with the characters that fill up the craft-brewing industry.

“From the beer side, I see what New Glarus has done and it brings a tear to my eye. 120,000 barrels of beer in one state alone. Who would ever want to leave the state? Why would you ever want to distribute outside your state? I love the fact that people from all over the country want to trade for La Cumbre, but I want you have to come at least in our general vicinity.

“What Sierra Nevada has done is truly inspirational. It’s great (but) I don’t think you’re going to see anybody else come along that’s going to do that much.”

With news that breweries in California, like Sierra Nevada, are facing issues with that state’s terrible drought conditions, Jeff said La Cumbre is already making plans to reduce their own water consumption here in parched New Mexico.

Using less water for cleaning in a big brewery like this is a good thing for the environment.

Using less water for cleaning in a big brewery like this is a good thing for the environment.

“We’re going to spend about 25 grand this year on a CIP cart that will reduce our water usage during cleaning by about 90 percent,” Jeff said. “We’ll be able to reuse that water we use for cleaning over and over again. For sanitizing cycles, we’re going to stop using chemical as a sanitizer. We’re going to create this loop from our hot liquor tank that allows us to push water in from the hot liquor into a tank and then it goes back into the hot liquor tank. It’s a better way to sanitize. Hopefully with the next year or two we’ll have added solar panels up on this new building that will mean the water we’re using to sanitize the tanks is heated by the sun. We’re not going to be using any energy and we’re not going to be using any water to sanitize our tanks, which is pretty awesome.”

While Jeff is certainly happy with all of the new technology that is due in the coming months, he and his staff remain focused on all of the little things as well that keep the brewery humming and customers happy.

“I want to get this new brewhouse completely dialed in before I start trying to say what we’re going to be able to brew and what we’re not going to be able to brew,” Jeff said. “I sat down last week with my managers and said we’ve accomplished what we were setting out to accomplish (in 2014), now we’ve got to get more organized. We’re going to have a new website that’s going to come out in the next few months. We need to get a lot better about promoting the releases we have. We’ve got to get a lot better about getting our faces out there and be sure that amongst all the clatter around the new breweries that people don’t forget about the breweries that are well established. But as I said, the more the merrier.”

Don't forget to buy some La Cumbre merch while you're there this weekend.

Don’t forget to buy some La Cumbre merch while you’re there this weekend.

So what will that new can release be that Jeff mentioned earlier?

“As far as beer releases go, we’re going to be getting Red Ryeot out in cans,” Jeff said. “(Then) my goal and Daniel’s goal is to do a lot of research in what we need to do to get our South Peak Pilsner in cans and make sure it’s shelf stable. I refuse to have a pilsner out in the market that’s not going to taste like I want it to just a month or two out. It’s a very delicate style. We’re probably going to be looking into getting a centrifuge to help us along with that and playing with some different hopping techniques to make sure we get it there.”

Part of that process with the hopping techniques will come with the new brewhouse and it will affect more than just South Peak Pilsner.

“Our new brewhouse is going to have a hop back on it,” Jeff said. “A hop back is basically between the brewhouse and the fermenter, which will allow our hop wort to pass directly through whole wheat hops on its way to the the fermenter. Our Elevated IPA will immediately start getting that treatment once that brewhouse is up and running. Hopefully that will create a much more stable hop aroma over the months. Something I find really good about Odell’s IPAs is I can get them three months out and they still taste great, they still have a big hop aroma. I think that’s really commendable and I think a lot of it has to do with them using hop back.”

The old, hard-working brewhouse will be phased out in late February/early March. It has done all it could and will be retired with full state honors.

The old, hard-working brewhouse will be phased out in late February/early March. It has done all it could and will be retired with full state honors.

The hop back and other elements of the new brewhouse will lead to some new brews and the continued refinement of existing brews.

“You’ll definitely see some type of harvest ale out of us this year, which I haven’t done in the past just because of what it would take to do it,” Jeff said. “I don’t want to put my hop wort back through the mash lager tun, it’s not sanitary.

“As far as beer releases, I’m not going to try to spend too much (time) on what we’ll be doing. There will be some new beers in bottle, but as much as anything I want to focus on honing in on the recipes in bottles we’ve already done and adding a couple more. And then honing in this brewhouse, because I think this brewhouse for us is going to be a huge game changer as far as overall beer quality and consistency.”

So to sum it all up, La Cumbre’s outstanding beer lineup is about to get bigger and better and even more consistent in flavor and aroma.

2015 is going to be a very good year.

Thank you to Jeff, once again, for taking the time out of his incredibly busy schedule to keep us all informed on all the awesomeness to come at La Cumbre.

All of us in the Crew cannot wait to indulge in those many great beers this Saturday. Even if we don’t make it out alive, we will die with smiles on our faces.

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.

IPA Day and International Stout Day are just a couple of the big beer celebration holidays that have emerged in recent years. Today (Wednesday) is National Lager Day, celebrating an underrated beer style. Part of the reason that lagers are not as honored as their ale counterparts is an issue of time. Lagers take longer to ferment than ales, so it can be tough for smaller breweries constantly cycling through their beers to reserve a fermenter for extra time. Nonetheless, a lot of breweries around the ABQ and Santa Fe areas have still managed to keep at least one or more lagers on tap. Bosque Lager has joined the regular rotation there, replacing Kindling Golden Ale. Kaktus’ brewing system was actually a German lager system, so they almost always tend to have one or more lagers on tap. Among the new kids, Ponderosa currently has three lagers on tap, including a Schwarzbier, a Dunkel, and a new Imperial Rice Lager (see more below in their entry). It’s the middle of the week, so take a moment, slow it all down, and enjoy a nice lager to mellow out.

And for everyone wondering why we’re not leading with La Cumbre’s fourth anniversary party (this Saturday!), I will have a separate story on not just that event but a full review of 2014 and a preview of 2015 for one of ABQ’s most iconic breweries. Barring anything unexpected, look for that story Thursday.

On the new beer front, there is a wide variety of styles popping up. Bosque has replaced IPA 57 with IPA 65, while also adding the Prospector Milk Stout. Boxing Bear is jumping on the sweet stout train with their Chocolate Milk Stout. Canteen has busted out a new pilsner, PLZ PLZ. Kaktus is feeling festive with Holiday Peppermint Stout. La Cumbre’s Mind Phoq, a coffee pale ale, is one of the more unique beers you can try. Nexus is channeling their inner Trekkie with Warp 10 Golden Strong. Tractor has hopheads covered with Winter Hop IPA and malt lovers covered with Chocolate Milk Stout.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn has Snow Advisory, a winter warmer. Duel’s monstrous Goya Imperial Stout will debut Friday on tap and in bombers at the brewery (we hope they’ll send some bottles down to Jubilation, too, but no word on that yet). Second Street’s Anniversary Ale should be on tap for their 18th anniversary dinner this weekend.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of Dec. 8.

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.

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

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

Beers: Soroche IPA, Pre-Prohibition Malt Tonic, Ladron’s Peak. In case you missed it, we recently interviewed BADH’s new brewer, Brandon Venaglia. There are some exciting times coming, including a possible expansion. The Pre-Prohibition Malt Tonic is a dark American lager that’s based on a 110-year-old recipe and will now become a regular beer at BADH.

Events: Sundays will now be Service Nights at Back Alley, with $2 off all beers for service industry workers.

Bosque Brewing Company — (505) 750-7596

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun noon-8 p.m.)

Beers: PSA (Pumpkin Spice Ale), Kindling Golden Ale, Olde Bosky Porter, Cottonwood Anniversary Ale, IPA 65, Prospector Milk Stout. The Cottonwood is a big old double red ale, similar to but still different than Marble’s Imperial Red; there’s more malt backbone here, a little less hop bite, but it’s still excellent. Also back on tap is an old favorite in the Olde Bosky Porter. The Bosque Lager will now be on tap year round, replacing the Kindling, which moves to the seasonal list (this is much as Driftwood Oatmeal Stout replaced Olde Bosky earlier this year). The new IPA 65 is a slight variation on the IPA 57. I got to try the Prospector Milk Stout when it debuted last Friday. It’s smooth as silk and a little less sweet and more robust than most milk stouts. It still retains a lot of stout character, which is a nice change from the more Left Hand-influenced versions.

Cask: The IPA 65 will be on cask this Friday.

News: Construction continues on Bosque’s new taproom, the Bosque Public House, located on Girard just south of Central. Bosque has also signed a lease on a new 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: Paw Swipe Pale Ale, Hairy Mit Hefe, Standing 8 Stout, Ambear Ale, Uppercut IPA, Oso Otono, Chocolate Milk Stout. Last week Boxing Bear put the Chocolate Milk Stout on cask and it sold out by 7 p.m., the first time that has ever happened with a cask, one of the servers told us. Now that it’s on tap it should last longer than a few hours, but you can tell already how popular this beer is with folks. Oso Otono, an oatmeal lager, looks like a standard ale in color but tastes like a robust brown. Another recent addition is Punkelweizen, a pumpkin/dunkelweizen hybrid. Their Facebook page described it as “liquid banana bread.” Other recent additions to the lineup are the Standing 8 Stout (6.3% ABV, 45 IBU) and Ambear Ale (5.2% ABV, 35 IBU).

Cask: Paw Swipe Pale Ale dry-hopped with Galaxy will be the featured firkin this Friday.

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: Every Wednesday is now Karaoke Night at Boxing Bear. It runs from 6 to 10 p.m.

The Cali Shaw Duo will perform Friday from 6 to 9 p.m.

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: Drunken Hobo Milk Stout, Tom Selleck Ale, Rip Van Winkle Vanilla Stout, Nacho Brau. The Drunken Hobo will soon replace the Mulligan Stout in the regular lineup, or so Franz Solo was told when he visited recently. The Nacho Brau is another of Franz’s favorite seasonals. Get over to BBB before he drinks it all up.

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

Canteen Brewhouse — (505) 881-2737

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

Beers: Fog Nozzle Smoked Marzen, The Highlander Scottish Ale, PLZ PLZ, Irish Red, Rye PA, American Stout, Wine Barrel-Aged Belgian Golden, White Shine (White Wine), Tequila IPA. The Tequila IPA (8.3% ABV, 100+ IBU) was aged in tequila barrels for eight months and is now ready for public consumption. A recent addition to the taps is Fog Nozzle (5.7% ABV, 22 IBU), a rauchbier, which has all the smoky goodness you need for this sudden drop in temperature. The Highlander (5.2% ABV, 25 IBU) is a tasty Scottish ale, and yes, you can shout “there can be only one!” when you drink it. Just not too loud, don’t want to startle the wait staff and have them drop a beer or anything.  The White Shine (9.75% ABV, 50 IBU) is a big old wheat wine that has some unique flavors. The Rye PA (7% ABV, 50 IBU) and the American Stout (7.4% ABV, 60 IBU) have been around a while, so get them while you can before they run out. I got to try the American Stout while interviewing brewer Brady McKeown about the name change to Canteen Brewhouse. It’s a big, bold, thick, mean-as-hell-yet-totally-lovable stout. It’s my kind of stout, and that’s saying something. The PLZ PLZ (6.5% ABV, 25 IBU) is a new pilsner.

News: The other barrel-aged beers in the back, waiting to be tapped, are American Stock Ale in rum barrels and Panama Joe Coffee Stout in bourbon barrels.

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). 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.

Events: Cazuela’s now features a live guitarist every Friday.

News: Cazuela’s Beer for My Horses won a bronze medal in the oatmeal stout category at the World Beer Cup in Denver and also captured a gold medal in the stout category at the 2014 State Fair Pro-Am.

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

Beers: Face Time Porter, Red River Ale, Old Town Oat Brown, Coney Pale Ale. The Red River (5.7% ABV, 33 IBU) is an ESB. The Old Town (5.6% ABV, 25 IBU) looks light in color but not in its dry, roasted flavor. The Face Time (6% ABV, 40 IBU) is a smooth, delectable porter. Let it open up a bit and taste even more flavors. The Coney Pale Ale (5.5% ABV, 45 IBU) is the most recent addition to taps, made with Mosaic and Falconer’s Flight hops.

News: Head brewer Zach Guilmette has revamped the recipe for Chama’s Jackalope IPA to give it a stronger kick and tastier palate. Franz Solo and I also highly recommend you try the revamped Sleeping Dog Stout. It’s creamy and burly and sweet and roasted … it’s got everything you want in a stout.

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: Oatmeal Stout, Gunslinger Cherry Smoked Brown, Helles Lager, ESB, Red Ale, German Alt Lager, Jabberwocky IPA, London Porter, Holiday Peppermint Stout. Kaktus has seen a massive turnover in beers recently with the Oatmeal Stout, Helles Lager, ESB, Red Ale, and London Porter returning to taps. The newest beers to try are the Gunslinger Cherry Smoked Brown and the Holiday Peppermint Stout. Located at 471 South Hill Road in Bernalillo, Kaktus is one of the state’s newer breweries. It is a small, casual place, similar to Blue Heron in appearance and comfort factor. Kaktus owner Dana Koller said fans can expect the nanobrewery to go through its most popular styles quickly, though they will always have something new and exciting available as a replacement.

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

News: For the remainder of the year, all growler refills at Kaktus are just $8. Talk about happy holidays!

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: Lazy Sunday, Mind Phoq, C3-PA, Gracias Por Fumar. The Gracias Por Fumar was aged in wine barrels and is available on tap and in bombers. Mind Phoq, a coffee pale ale, is an experimental new beer. It uses an Ethiopian light roast from Prosum Roasters and is lightly hopped to showcase the coffee flavor. As LC said on their Facebook page, “It’s so good it will blow your mind!” Another recent addition is the C3-PA (6.2% ABV, 43 IBU), a pale ale brewed with Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook hops. The Lazy Sunday, a session IPA, is back on tap for the first time since April. 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.

Events: La Cumbre’s fourth anniversary party will run all day Saturday. We’ll have a full preview Thursday as well as news about what’s to come for La Cumbre in 2015.

Lizard Tail Brewing — (505) 717-1301

(Sun–Weds 9 a.m.–11 p.m., Thurs–Sat 9 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: German Blonde Ale, Berliner Weisse, Belgian Abbey, IPA, Amber, Oatmeal Brown, India Black Ale, Rye Stout, Porter, Dubbel, Biscochito Brown. Both Brandon and I have had chances to visit Lizard Tail, which is one of the newest breweries in town, located in the shopping center on the southeast corner of Eubank and Montgomery. They specialize in malt-forward beers. The German Blonde (5.5% ABV, 20 IBU) is a good place to start. The Berliner Weisse (4.3% ABV, 8 IBU) is not nearly as sour as most of its genre. The Belgian Abbey (6.8%, 25 IBU) is a good example of its style. The IPA (6.8% ABV, 70 IBU) has a good mix of Mosaic, Warrior, and Galaxy hops. The Rye Stout (5.5% ABV, 35 IBU) has a nice flavor but lacks body. The first batch of Oatmeal Brown (4.2% ABV, 25 IBU) needed some work, but I got to sample the second batch that will be on tap soon and it’s improved. The Honey Pale Ale (6.3% ABV, 35 IBU) has run out for a little while, but it will be back soon. The Porter (5.6% ABV, 35 IBU) is a semi-smoky, thick beer that goes perfectly with the cooler weather. The Biscochito Brown (8.5% ABV, 25 IBU) is not overly sweet. The Lizard Tail staff said the next batch will be a little maltier.

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.

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

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

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

Beers: Double White, Double IPA, Imperial Red, Nitro Pub Ale, Pumpkin Noir, Reserve Ale, White Out. A fairly recent addition is White Out (9% ABV), a burly Belgian-style ale. The popular Pumpkin Noir is nearing the end of its run. The Nitro Pub Ale is what Boddington’s was meant to taste like. It’s a creamy little delight. This year’s batch of Reserve Ale is a cacophony of flavors. Both it and the Brett IPA (which is not on tap) are available for sale in bombers at Marble and up at Jubilation. There is also the rotating “black handle,” which tends to feature some impressive “secret” beers. The Double White and Imperial Red brought home gold medals from GABF.

Cask: Check out Marble’s cask (a.k.a. “real” ale) selection on tap every Friday at the Downtown Pub.

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

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

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

Beers: Dry Stout, Equinox Spiced Brown Ale, 2013 Barley Wine, Warp 10 Golden Strong. Brewer Kaylynn McKnight cranked out one returning seasonal in the Equinox, which is back by popular demand, and popped an aged keg or two of the Barley Wine. We’ve been able to get over there and try the Dry Stout and came away quite impressed. The Dry Stout is bold and thick, the kind of burly beer you want in the winter (or year-round if you’re like us). New to taps is the Warp 10 Golden Strong, 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.

While “The Walking Dead” is done until early 2015, you can still play Walking Dead pinball in Nexus’ community room. It’s one of four pinball machines now available for some nostalgic fun.

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, Lost Grain English Summer Ale, Pre-Prohibition Pilsner. 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.

Ponderosa Brewing Co. — (505) 639-5941

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

Beers: Ghost Train IPA, Rip Saw Red, Crosscut Kolsch, Sawmill Stout, XPA1 Pale Ale, Helles Lager, Double IPA, Dunkel, Chocolate Pumpkin Porter, Schwarzbier, Breakfast Stout, Imperial Rice Lager. 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. The Imperial Rice Lager (7% ABV) was brewed as a tribute to Marble’s Ted Rice, whose staff has helped Ponderosa in their early months of existence.

News: The next batch of brews will include Dunkelweizen, Helles Hefeweizen, and Ella Single Hop Pale Ale.

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, Trapdoor Wheat. (Seasonal) Strong Scotch Ale. The first Red Door seasonal, Strong Scotch Ale, debuted recently. We stopped by and wrote up a quick review and we’ve been back since to enjoy it again. Brewer Wayne Martinez said he hopes to have more seasonals on tap before the end of the year. After a short absence, the powerful Unhinged Cider (7.9% ABV) is back on tap as well.

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.

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 going to dispatch E-Rock (he needs a new assignment) to re-establish our lines of communication with Sandia Chile Grill.

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. While the brewery is being built in the back of the Steer, all of their house beers are being brewed off-site, but still using brewer Kirk Roberts’ recipes. 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. We recently had their Bacon Bourbon Stout and Green Chile IPA on cask. Franz Solo loved the latter.

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.)

UPDATED >>> Beers at Nob Hill: Little Red Rye-ding Hood, Turkey Drool, Mustachio Milk Stout, Javi Light Lager, Jack the Sipper, Winter Hop IPA, Chocolate Milk Stout.

Beers at Wells Park only: Berry Cider. All of the Nob Hill seasonals are also at Wells Park, which has 24 total taps (Tractor’s five regular beers have two taps apiece). We love us some Turkey Drool (8% ABV) this 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 Little Red (5.8% ABV) has a malty rye kick. Jack the Sipper (7% ABV) is Tractor’s take on a spiced pumpkin ale. The new Winter Hop IPA (6.4% ABV, 70 IBU) uses a blend of fragrant hops and caramel malts for a unique twist on the popular style. The Chocolate Milk Stout should tide over your sweet tooth.

News: Congrats to Tractor and their Mustachio Milk Stout, which won in the Best of Albuquerque competition from ABQ the Magazine.

Mustachio’s bigger, meaner brother, Luna de los Muertos Russian Imperial Stout, is aging in the back, including some in a barrel. Oh, man, that could kill us … but we’d die happy.

Events: Art Fusion for a Cause returns to Wells Park tonight (Wednesday) at 8 p.m. There will be live music, poetry, art, and more. For $5 you can enter a raffle to take home some sweet prizes.

Tonight (Wednesday) at Nob Hill, the Solos on the Hill series resumes with Eryn Bent performing at 8:30 p.m. If you miss Eryn Bent tonight, she is the featured performer in the pLOUD music series Thursday at 8 p.m. at Wells Park.

The In the Mix series is back Saturday at Wells Park as Cloudface performs at 9 p.m.

I’ll Drink to That returns to Wells Park on Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. with a dozen vendors for a holiday market and a dozen performers to entertain you while you shop and drink.

Both Tractor locations will be closed Monday for the staff holiday party.

Tuesday will see the return of Beer & Bellies Community Belly Dance Show at 7 p.m. at Wells Park.

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

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, Piedra Lisa Porter, Heidelberg Helles. (Seasonal/specialty) Cascade Session Pale Ale, Uberaltbier, A Little Somethin’ Pumpkin, Rio Grande Tortoise Black 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 Porter 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. A Little Somethin’ Pumpkin is served on nitro. The most recent addition to the lineup is the Rio Grande Tortoise Black IPA, a collaboration brew with Bosque that was created for a recent beer dinner. Now it’s on tap for everyone to enjoy.

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Snow Advisory, Monks Mesa (Belgian Blonde), Meltdown Chocolate Porter, Rakau Single Hop IPA. The Monks Mesa (4.5% ABV, 15 IBU) is a Belgian blonde table beer. The Meltdown used no less than 25 pounds of cocoa nibs. The Rakau, using a powerful New Zealand hop, is now on tap. New to the lineup is Snow Advisory (7.5% ABV, 17 IBU), a winter warmer.

News: Next up in the beer list is a White DIPA.

Events: Thursday at the Brewer’s Table Holiday Party is this week starting at 6 p.m. It costs $20 and reservations are required. For more info click the Facebook link here.

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: Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Marcel (Witbier), Whistler (Blonde), Dark Ryder (Dark Strong), Grunewald (Imperial Porter), Goya (Imperial Stout). The lineup got a shakeup with some big beers joining the rotation. Dark Ryder and Grunewald check in at 11-percent ABV, while Goya (15.9% ABV) is a monster of a beer. It will be available on tap and in bombers at the brewery this Friday.

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., closed on Sunday)

Beers: Double White IPA, Deviator Doppelbock, Full Mast Kilt Scotch Ale, Black IPA. The first beer in the new Ever Changing Series is a Double White IPA, which Luke of the Brew Crew bullpen recently reviewed. The Kriek, which won a bronze medal at GABF this year, is on sale around the state in bombers, though it is no longer on tap.

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 SFBC 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, our Santa Fe correspondent, 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, International Pale Ale, Cream Stout, Imperial Porter, Boneshaker Bitter, Fulcrum IPA, Berliner Weisse, Anniversary Ale. The new International Pale Ale and Imperial Porter make their debuts this week, while the Pivotal IPA is back after a short absence. With the shift to December, some holiday beers are also on the way. The Anniversary Ale will see its recipe tweaked and will now feature a blend of Millennium, Columbus, Chinook, Citra, and Comet hops. The Festivus Ale will be due out around Dec. 18 in time for the next Cask-n-Curry Night. Also coming soon will be Trebuchet Imperial IPA, which completes a “trilogy” with Pivotal and Fulcrum IPAs. The Hull Melon Pilsner will also return for those who need a break from big hops. The Anniversary Ale should be on tap this weekend.

Events: Second Street’s 18th anniversary party is this Friday and Saturday. For $55 you get a prix fixe dinner with four courses. You also get a commemorative glass filled with the beer of your choice.

Also this weekend, Pollo Frito performs Friday night at the original location and Cloacas performs Saturday. Shows at the Railyard will feature Watermelon Mountain Jug Band on Friday and Greg Daigle on Saturday.

Every Wednesday night, both SSB locations host Game Night. SSB has game boards and dominoes or bring your own … oh yeah, they also have discounted pitchers!

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: Pilabo Pale Ale, 790 IPA, Quebradas Sunrise Amber, German Pilsner. Twisted Chile has been open for a while as a restaurant, but as the name might imply, they are also brewing their own beer on site. Located in Socorro at 115 Abeyta St. W, they are the first brewery there to brew on site since Socorro Springs outsourced their brewing to Eddyline in Colorado. 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 pilsner. They haven’t come up with a catchy name yet, but the staff seems to already be in love with this new style.

News: The popular Venom XL IPA will be back soon.

Events: Twisted Chile has specials running during Monday and Thursday Night Football every week.

* * * *

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

As we did last year, the Crew has gathered all the information we could on brewery memberships for 2015 to give you a one-stop shopping spot to compare and contrast which ones you might want to purchase.

That little orange card gets you big benefits at Tractor.

That little orange card gets you big benefits at both Tractor locations.

Different Crew members have various memberships. As the photo shows, I (Stoutmeister) renewed my Tractor membership already. Still gotta get to La Cumbre and maybe add one or two more. Franz Solo has a Boxing Bear membership now and plans to add others. These are a great way to experience even more fun at various breweries around town.

For any brewery not listed, it means that they did not respond to us and have nothing on their websites. If they choose to send us info, we’ll update this story and give you a heads up via social media. In some cases, they may not have memberships yet.

As for the Santa Fe-area breweries, membership info was included in Luke’s story on their merchandise.

So what is a brewery membership? Often also known as a mug club, you basically play a flat fee for one year, after which you get discounts on pints, growlers, special merchandise offers, and more. If you have one particular brewery you spend a lot of time at, it makes a lot of sense to sign up. If you wander constantly between breweries like we do, it might not, but it’s up to you and your annual budget for beer. And yes, in many cases you can purchase a membership for a friend or family member as a gift, so long as he or she is over 21, of course.

If there are any questions we do not answer here, please contact us via social media (or in person if you recognize any Crew members at breweries around town) or contact the breweries directly.

Without further adieu …

Bosque Brewing Co.
Cost: $30 New, $25 Renewal
Start date (if any): good for one year from date of sign-up
Discounts: $1 off pints or upgrade to 20-ounce glass (most pours), $1 off growler refills
Swag: pint glass (new only), $5 discount on hat or T-shirt
Loyalty: $5 food voucher for every $50 spent.

Boxing Bear “Champions Club”
Cost: $25
Start date: Time of purchase, good for 1 year
Discounts: $1 off pints and 22s, 10% off growler fills and kegs.
Swag: choice of tshirt/filled 64 oz glass grolwer/ filled 32 oz glass growler and logo pint glass.
Plus invites to special members only events and promotions.

Broken Bottle (this is last year’s info, contact the brewery to see if it’s changed)
Cost: $25
Start date (if any): unknown
Discounts: 20-ounce pour for $4, $1 off pints, $1 off growlers, $.50 off Boston growler refills
Swag: 10% off merchandise

Canteen Brewhouse
Cost: $35, purchased at brewery; if giving as a gift, you get a voucher and recipient must bring in proof of age to get club card
Start date (if any): Starting with 2015, we will be moving to a January 1 to December 31 membership calendar. Can be purchased anytime, and will pro-rated to the end of the year
Discounts: $.50 off every pint, $.75 off all 22-ounce glasses
Swag: New/Renewed membership gets a 64oz growler, filled
Special events: four-to-six members only gatherings throughout year including first tappings, preliminary tastings of beers for GABF and World Cup, burger & a beer night

Chama River
Cost: $10
Start date (if any): starts Jan. 1, effective for all of 2015, can be purchased now
Discounts: $1 off 16-ounce pours, $1.50 off 22-ounce pours
Swag: None
Notable: Your discount will also be honored at Blue Corn’s two locations in Santa Fe and both the ABQ and Santa Fe Draft Stations.

La Cumbre Brewing Co.
Cost: $25
Start date (if any): good for all of 2015. Start-up is as early as Wednesday.
Discounts: upgrade to 22-ounce mug (all standard priced beers), $1 off growler refills, 10% off kegs.
Swag: new mug club Belgian Snifter logo glass.

Lizard Tail
Cost: $25
Start date (if any): good for all of 2015
Discounts: $1.50 off pints at brewery or at any special events where Lizard Tail is present
Swag: logo pint glass and sticker

Marble
Cost: $25 or $35
Start date (if any): good for one year from time of purchase
Discounts: 22-ounce pint for price of 16-ounce pint; discount on regular pints, growler refills; 10-percent off kegs
Swag: special, limited edition 22-ounce beer with sign-up for $25, two of these for $35 sign-up; alternately offering 32-ounce growlers filled with a classic style of your choice
Notable: special discount days for members occur during the year with up to 30-percent off merchandise, excluding glassware; 2015 versions of Brew Crew Barley Wine and Triple will be released during anniversary party in April

Nexus “Nexus Neighbor”
Cost: $35, $50 for couples
Start date (if any): good for one year from time of purchase
Discounts: 20-ounce beer for cost of regular pint, $1 off growler refills, 10% off keg purchases
Swag: Nexus Loyalty card — for every $100 you spend, you get $10 off your next ticket (excludes alcohol); free Nexus logo T-shirt or hat; invitations to exclusive Nexus Neighbor events
Notable: $5 from every membership fund goes to community fund for non-profits

Ponderosa
Cost: $25
Start date: good for one year from sign-up
Discounts: $1 off pints and growlers, 10 percent off kegs
Swag: for signing up you get a filled half-growler
Notable: you will receive emails for members-only events during year

Red Door “Speakeasy Crew”
Cost: $25
Start date: Anytime, good for one year
Discounts: $1 off pints, growlers, $10 off kegs
Swag: 64-ounce growler (empty), logo pint glass

Tractor Brewing Company “Beer Farmers Co-Op”
Cost $35
Start date: Can buy 2015 now, good through December 2015
Discounts: $1 off pints, $1 off growler fills, receive weekly newsletter, discount on keg purchases Unless they opt into our non-profit giving program, info below.
Swag: Pill Bottle of selected brew
Notable: If folks opt into the “Beer for a Better Burque” program – they opt to give the $1 they would’ve saved, to one of our non-profit partners, those partners are: Health Action NM, Animal Humane NM, Blackout Theatre Company, and Harwood Art Center.

Turtle Mountain (this is last year’s info, contact the brewery to see if it’s changed)
Cost: $50
Start date (if any): renewals must occur between Dec. 1-31; after Jan. 1 any spots vacated by existing members become open on a first-come, first-serve basis
Discounts: $1 off pints and growlers
Swag: at the Mug Club Party every April there will be a prize; this coming year’s is secret, but past swag has included growler coozies, custom-designed shirts, stainless steel growlers
Other stuff: members are allowed to bring in a vessel to display on shelves and drink from when visiting TMBC; this will be the 16th year of the mug club

* * * *

We hope that helps with your holiday shopping for 2014-15. Again, if you have questions, contact us or the individual breweries. There are direct links to all the breweries here on our site.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

As we did for Santa Fe a couple weeks ago, we do now for the ABQ metro area. The Crew, and for once this is a multi-person endeavor, has set forth and compiled a list of breweries’ merchandise to give you a handy guide for your holiday shopping. Hey, you can’t always just buy people beer. I mean, you could, but sometimes you want a gift that lasts longer than it takes to down a growler of Turkey Drool. So to help out everyone, rather than force you to go to multiple breweries or skip from website to website to Facebook page to Twitter feed, we have put everyone’s beer merch lists together in this one place.

You’re welcome. We’re always up for pints as thank yous if you see any of us out and about.

Without further adieu, here’s what we all compiled. For the record, it went like this so you know who to ask for if something below is inaccurate or missing in action: Adam (Bosque and Lizard Tail), AmyO (Blue Grasshopper, Cazuela’s, Turtle Mountain), Brandon (Ponderosa), Franz Solo (Boxing Bear, Broken Bottle, Stumbling Steer), and Stoutmeister (Canteen, Chama River, La Cumbre, Marble, Nexus, Red Door, Tractor). Back Alley Draft House and Sandia Chile Grill do not have any merch, though both hope to get some in 2015.

The breweries are listed in alphabetical order.

Blue Grasshopper

Rio Rancho’s newest brewpub is still awaiting their first batches of beer. Right now they have one T-shirt, white with the logo on it, and some growlers, though those are plain and do not yet have the logo. They hope to have more merchandise, and beer, in the near future. You can only buy the shirts at the pub.

All the Bosque merch you can view in a single photo. (Courtesy of Bosque's Facebook page)

All the Bosque merch you can view in a single photo. (Courtesy of Bosque’s Facebook page)

Bosque

Bosque has a range of T-shirts branded with their regular beers available for $20, military and trucker hats also for $20, women’s fit work shirts for $35, growlers, stickers and patches all for $5, and a range of gift cards. We were told they have just added beanies, pullover hoodies, and thermal shirts, prices TBA. All of this is available for purchase on their website or at the taproom, though the newest items are not yet online. We’re definitely fans of the X-Men-like Scotia Scotch Ale logo and the new hoodies.

All the glassware you need this holiday season.

All the glassware you need this holiday season.

Boxing Bear

The west side’s newest brewery has plenty of gear hanging above the bar. They have black, white, and gray T-shirts for $18 ($20 for 2XL, $21 for 3XL), black hats for $14 or $30, and black hoodies for $35 ($40 for 2XL). There are growlers ($5), half-growlers ($3.50), and pint glasses ($5) for sale as well. The ultra-popular stainless steel mini-keg growlers ($40) are available for purchase. They don’t have a way to buy the merch off their website (yet), but you can take a look at it all here. And in the spirit of the holiday season, Boxing Bear is having a coat and blanket drive. The coats will be donated to Joy Junction while the blankets are for animals and will be donated to Animal Humane. Drop them off today (Friday) and grab a pint of the Chocolate Milk Stout with vanilla bean and cocoa nibs on cask. Dear lord that sounds ridiculously decadent.

Feel rustic with these ceramic mugs from Broken Bottle.

Feel rustic with these ceramic mugs from Broken Bottle.

Broken Bottle

The folks at BBB have quite the array of merchandise. In addition to T-shirts ($15) in various colors — plus long-sleeve shirts for $20 — they have hats ($20), logo pint glasses ($4), and of course growlers. If you need help carrying your half-growlers, you can get a Boston carrier for $10. It holds two half-growlers and is perfect for getting your beer home from the brewery when you don’t have a passenger in your car to hold on to them. BBB also has swanky ceramic mugs for when you’re feeling rather medieval when drinking at home. Blast some Amon Amarth and toast to the Norse gods.

Canteen's new growler is one of the best of its genre.

Canteen’s new growler is one of the best of its genre.

Canteen

They’re still bringing in new gear to replace the old Il Vicino stuff. They have special fleece sweatshirts ($45) for the winter months with sizes from XS to XL. T-shirts are available in both black (unisex) and gray (both men’s and women’s) for $25 in sizes from XS to XXL. Canteen has two styles of hats for $20 in both pre-washed denim and “trucker” style. There are three varieties of growlers available. The standard glass 64-ounce growler is $8.50, with $5.50 beer refills. Pella flip-top growlers cost $16 with $9 refills. Then there’s the new “fire extinguisher” custom powder-coated, double-walled stainless steel, vacuum insulated growlers. Those cost $66 and come with an optional Co2-driven keg attachment for $25.

For more on these special growlers, Bullpen member Reid (who purchased one) sent us this mini-review: “I would say that it’s nearly a perfect growler. It’s insulated (should keep it cold many hours), light, blocks any sunlight, and is pretty easy to open and close. I also have a few other insulated growlers, but they have twist-off caps and can be a pain to open when the pressure inside builds up. This one has a pop-top and shouldn’t have that problem. My only quibble is that once the latches are lifted up, the cap is free to just lift off on its own. If the cap was more permanently affixed to one of the latches, it would be more convenient, plus you wouldn’t have to worry about lining the cap up with the latches in order to close it. But these are minor complaints. I’d say it’s head and shoulders above any other growler I’ve seen.”

Cazuela’s

They hope to have T-shirts in soon, but you’ll have to go to the restaurant to buy them. They do have growlers ($5 empty, $10 filled) with their logo on them. You can also purchase gift cards that can be used for beer and/or food.

Chama River

All right, the info has been tracked down. So Chama has a special holiday gift pack for $45. In it you get four logo glasses with either the Chama logo or Tap the Source or both. In the middle of those glasses is the Tap 3 growler, a metal, insulated growler of goodness. If your cabinets have too many beer glasses already, you can get just a Tap 3 for $28. This is the same special growler sold at Blue Corn in Santa Fe and both Draft Stations. Beyond that, Chama has T-shirts for $12.95, long-sleeve shirts for $28, trucker-style hats for $13 with the Tap the Source logo, and work shirts for $35 that will make you look like Zach and David (but probably not brew like them; it’s not magic).

Kaktus

Right now they only have growlers, unless we’re told otherwise. You can buy a filled growler for $12. We’d assume it’s just $8 or so for the unfilled growler, but really, who buys someone an empty growler? I guess maybe if you’re shipping it out of state or something, otherwise that’s just silly.

We need that Malpais Stout shirt in our lives.

We need that Malpais Stout shirt in our lives.

La Cumbre

All of La Cumbre’s merch is available at the brewery only. Oh, darn, you might have to grab a pint or two when you stop by to pick up a gift. Their T-shirts come in a variety of styles and range from $20 to $25. The Malpais Stout shirt was my personal favorite (natch). Long-sleeve shirts cost $28. La Cumbre has multiple logo glasses. The standard pint glasses cost $5, while the imperial stout glasses are $6, and those tall, lanky hefe glasses are $8. You can buy glass growlers for $10 and mini-growlers for $5. La Cumbre will have special holiday growlers due in next week just in time for the fourth anniversary party (Dec. 13). These stainless steel hydro-flask growlers are insulated to keep your beer cold and fresh for longer than a glass growler. They will cost $50. Oh, and after Gracias Por Fumar became available in bombers this week, next up will be a Belgian-style Tripel in bombers. Jeff is trying to kill us all with these big, beautifully monstrous beers.

A comprehensive look at Lizard Tail's merchandise. (Courtesy of their Facebook page)

A comprehensive look at Lizard Tail’s merchandise. (Courtesy of their Facebook page)

Lizard Tail

Lizard Tail Brewing have the usual range of brewery merchandise available for your holiday shopping needs. T-shirts ($20), hats ($30), growlers ($6 for the growler, +$10 to fill it) and pint glasses ($5), as well as gift cards. Additionally they have recently introduced their Mug Club. Good from purchase until the end of 2015 the membership is $25 for the year and includes $1.50 off pints at the brewery or if you catch them out at any special events. You also receive a pint glass and sticker for signing up. All of this is available at the brewery for purchase.

Marble's merch will put you in the holiday spirit.

Marble’s merch will put you in the holiday spirit.

Marble

In the spirit of the season, Marble has created special holiday gift packs. For $25 you get a bomber of Reserve Ale with Joliesse Chocolate bars. If that’s not enough, their new stainless steel holiday growlers check in at $40 and have a nifty little holiday-themed image on the outside. The new winter hoodies check in at $30 and ladies’ pullovers will be available at the downtown pub next week. Marble has one of the best online merch sites around for all of their year-round gear. Marble has both men’s and women’s T-shirts for $20. They have two varieties of hats for $20, plus Marble sunglasses for $10. Stainless steel 20-ounce tumblers ($10) and leather koozies ($12) will help keep your beer cold. You can also snag a Marble messenger bag for $25. Hey, what better way to carry everything else home? Oh, and don’t forget to mark your calendars, the Imperial Stout Release Party is Dec. 17.

You gotta admit, bravery is required to wear this in public.

You gotta admit, bravery is required to wear this in public.

Nexus

Got the info for here at last. Nexus is taking this whole “ugly sweater” thing to a new level. After having an ugly sweater contest all November, the brewery has created its own ugly sweater. See that picture? Wow. That’s just plain epic. And a little 80’s retro, don’t you think? It almost needs a Pac-Man trying to eat a pint glass. Anyway, the hostess told me that it may be an eye-opener, but it’s also super warm on cold winter nights. If a fashionable young woman like her can buy one, anybody can, right? So it’s got that going for it and it retails for $20. Beyond the ugly sweater itself, there’s also an ugly sweater pint glass for $5 (patrons who went on the “ugly sweater brewery tour” last month got to take one home, now they’re available for everyone). All of Nexus’ gear is available at the brewery only; they do have plans to eventually start selling “swag” through the website, but it’s not ready online just yet. Other year-round merchandise includes hats ($14), V-neck T-shirts ($22), regular T-shirts in power blue, gray, and dark blue ($18), and brewery work shirts ($35). Full growlers cost $5, while the special blue half-growlers are $8.

The merch cabinet at Ponderosa is filling up. (Courtesy of their Facebook page)

The merch cabinet at Ponderosa is filling up. (Courtesy of their Facebook page)

Ponderosa

One of the city’s newest breweries has some merchandise available, though only at the brewery. They have T-shirts in several colors for $20. There are Ponderosa logo pint glasses for $6. And, like most places, they have growlers with their logo on them. In addition to selling items, Ponderosa is also holding a Holiday Toy and Food Drive with Montezuma Elementary School. Bring in toys and/or non-perishable food items to Ponderosa from today through Dec. 16 and you will receive a free order of hand-cut french fries.

Red Door

The new guys on the east side of town were happy to share what’s available. Right now they don’t have any specific holiday-themed merchandise, but they hope to get their stainless steel holiday growlers in for sale in the near future (exact dates are TBA). Red Door does have a gray, zippered sweatshirt for $40 to help keep you warm while you drink cold beer on cold days. There are also men’s and women’s T-shirts for $15. A special red shirt for women only costs $15 as well. New hats are coming in on Tuesday that will retail for $20. Both 64- and 32-ounce growlers sell for $4. Red Door also has gift cards for sale. Expect more gear to arrive in the future. They’re a pretty young brewery to already have as much as they do.

Stumbling Steer

In addition to all the great food, the Steer has gear you can take home. T-shirts cost $18 ($22 for long sleeves). You can get a logo pint glass for $5, or have them fill with beer first and then take the glass home afterward for $7. It’s $5 for a Tullup glass and $8 for a beer fill plus the glass. The Steer has growlers as well. Unfortunately, you have to go to the restaurant to buy everything as there’s nothing online. Wait, did we just say unfortunately? There’s nothing unfortunate about going to the Steer and being tempted by all of their great food and beer.

Tractor's extensive gear selection is visible inside Wells Park.

Tractor’s extensive gear selection is visible inside Wells Park.

Tractor

Tractor is one of the most internet-savvy breweries, so it’s no surprise they have a detailed online store. The winter collection features black zipper front hoodies for $35, special new orange hoodies for $35, ladies’ 3/4 sleeve Get Plowed retro shirts for $17, Sh*t Burquenos Drink long-sleeve shirts for $17, Brian Everett Design shirts for $20, ladies’ long sleeve Real Girls Drink Beer shirts for $17, navy long-sleeve logo shirts for $17, and two other T-shirts for $12. Just about every style of shirt is available for women and men. On the glassware front, you can get logo sample glasses, half-pint glasses, and full pint glasses for just $4 apiece. Full growlers are available at $4 and half-growlers are $5. You can also purchase $25 gift cards. They have reusable Tractor bags for $8 and two styles of hats for $10. And if you’re looking for a little literature, you can buy Carlos Contreras’ book Time Served for $12.95. He’s the gentleman behind the weekly Tractor newsletter and our main contact for all Tractor-related news.

Turtle Mountain

It’s business as usual at Rio Rancho’s favorite hangout. They have growlers and T-shirts (they were out of women’s shirts when AmyO went, but they said they’re getting new ones soon) that you can only buy in person. You can buy gift certificates online here.

* * * * *

And because Brandon is about to become a father for the first time, we asked him to check and see if any in-state breweries have baby/children’s clothing. What do you know, Santa Fe Brewing has “Half Pint” onesies for infants and T-shirts for infants and toddlers. They all cost $16 and are available online. Little Bannon will be dressed well once he arrives in January. Now we just need a brewery around town to make a little black hoodie for the kid so he fits in with all of his new “uncles” in the Crew. (We don’t think Mrs. Solo or AmyO have any hoodies, but we could be wrong on that.)

Got any additional merchandise info? Send it to us via direct message on Facebook, tweet at us @nmdarksidebc, or email us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

Happy holiday shopping, beer lovers!

— Stoutmeister