Every new brewer will always face a challenge when taking over an established brewery. Some, though, arrive in the shadow of a predecessor who just went out and put that brewery on the map. That is the challenge facing James Warren, the new brewer at Blue Corn, who succeeds John Bullard at the well-established Santa Fe institution. All John did in 2013 was take home the IPA Challenge trophy — the first non-Albuquerque-area brewery to do so — and then win a pair of silver medals at the Great American Beer Festival.

New brewer James Warren gives a thumbs up to his job at Blue Corn.

New brewer James Warren gives a thumbs up to his job at Blue Corn.

I ventured up to Santa Fe on Tuesday afternoon to meet with James and get his take on the challenge of assuming control at Blue Corn. And I would like to pause for a moment to thank my car for waiting until I got back to Albuquerque to have the alternator go out. That really would have sucked to be somewhere on I-25 outside the city. Instead it was on Osuna just off the frontage road as I returned from watching E-Rock’s band, Nexus Elementa, play down at Launchpad on Tuesday night. I’m not thankful for the $400-plus it’s going to cost me, but anyway, back to the interview.

A little background on James first. He’s from Beaumont, Texas, but his parents owned a summer home in Glorieta, so he’s spent a fair amount of time in New Mexico in his life. He comes to Blue Corn from New England Brewing Co. in Woodbridge, Connecticut (just outside of New Haven), where he worked for many years.

Q: Start at the beginning. What made you think I like beer, now I want to brew it?

A: I was down with a career in education. I got my teaching certification. I moved to Connecticut. During my time there I went on a brewery tour. I fell in love with it immediately. It was science, it was cooking, it was engineering. It was everything I enjoy, it was hands-on, it was creative. I kind of overheard they needed some help with packaging and I jumped on that and never looked back.

Q: That was at New England Brewing Company, right?

A: That’s where I went on the tour. Then I was an assistant brewer for a brewpub in New Haven called the Brew Room and Bar. They did all English-style beers. I stayed there for a little while and then went to the place I fell in love with, New England Brewing Company.

Q: How big of a staff did you work with there?

A: There was actually only five people there. But when I was leaving they were going through another big expansion. They had just hired a new packaging person full-time. We had been doing double shifts five days a week. Yeah. 60-barrel tanks don’t seem that big for a packaging brewery, but on a 15-barrel system that means double brewing two days in a row to fill one tank. So a lot of times I was there at 4 in the morning till about 1 o’clock. This is a nice little change of pace.

Q: What caught your attention about moving all the way across the country?

A: Growing up for a long time my parents had a home in Glorieta. I spent a lot of summers out here. I loved my job in Connecticut, I loved the people I worked with, but the climate and the culture were not for me. Last winter they got 52 inches of snow. I was done. I started looking around kind of casually. I saw this opportunity come up in a place I already knew I loved the environment, the climate, so I jumped on it.

Blue Corn's seven-barrel brewing system is a great way to perfect one's skills.

Blue Corn’s seven-barrel brewing system is a great way to perfect one’s skills.

Q: I move back here in 2008 and while I knew of Blue Corn, it wasn’t on the map like Santa Fe or Second Street. Then John Bullard came in here and the bar got raised. When you saw what he did and the medals he put on the wall, did you think this is a good challenge that I want to take on or did you think man, did I bite off more than I can chew?

A: It is scary, definitely. It is my first head brewer position and I knew I was coming in to somebody’s baby here. In the last two years, he really turned this place around. He left the place in great shape. My first intention is to get all these house beers and make sure they’re up to the same quality and standards that he brought. Then have some fun, explore, go with the double IPA. I’m definitely doing a Berliner Weisse, that’s one of my favorite styles for the summer. I still see John, probably once a week he stops in. It’s good, because he can try the beers and I can get his feedback. Even if I think the beers are up to the quality I want, he knows the beer culture here. He knows what people enjoy in an IPA. What they like on the East Coast is not necessarily what they enjoy on the West Coast or Colorado. It’s a little bit different take on things. It’s definitely a challenge, the first time running a brewhouse. It’s definitely a little bit of a scary thing.

Q: When I was talking to Zach (Guilmette) at Chama River, which has a fairly similar system but maybe a little smaller, he was saying it’s a great system to learn on and perfect your craft. Do you agree?

A: Oh, absolutely. The owner of New England Brewing Company said I hope everyone gets the chance to work at a brewpub. Because your formulation is going to get so much better. You get to try different things all the time. We have six house beers but 10 lines. Go have fun, go learn about formulation, try new things.

Q: That’s another advantage you get to have, playing around with beer-food combinations. Do you feel that food can be a great way to introduce people to different beer styles?

A: Absolutely. Chef David (Sundberg) every week he’s putting together a brew pairing. It’s a good way to get people to try a different beer than they would normally try. It’s a good way to get them to branch out. It’s great to have a kitchen right around the corner to get inspiration in there, too. The chef here is so excited about beer. About once a day he comes in here with some idea of what he wants to do. I’ve got to turn the (tables) on him some time and go to the kitchen. He’s always asking me what beer I have to pair with his dishes. I want him to make a dish that goes with one of my beers.

Q: We were recently talking to a new brewer from out-of-state and he was saying he was pleasantly surprised by the beer crowd here. He found them sophisticated but not overly snobby. What’s your early impression of New Mexico’s beer lovers?

A: I think most of it comes from my time delivering stuff to the Draft Station (in downtown Santa Fe), which is a great place to learn about people as well as beer, is that this is a town of foodies. It’s the same with beer and just drink in general. We’ve got that going for us. But people seem to be accepting. There’s all these new breweries opening up and I feel there’s room for all of them. They’re all bringing something different to the table. It’s all the advantage of the drinker.

Q: Santa Fe, even in New Mexico, is kind of unique. What’s your overall impression of the town, the lifestyle, all of it?

A: It’s a much slower pace than the Northeast. The weather is drier, I’m dealing with that. I keep drinking tea all day. It’s great. I wake up in the morning in my apartment and look out at the mountains. It’s just a reminder every morning that life’s a little slower, mornings are cool, afternoons are warmer. I just get a smile on my face every time I see a tumbleweed roll across the street.

Blue Corn's fermenters are full of house beers and two new seasonals, a Maibock and a Double IPA.

Blue Corn’s fermenters are full of house beers and two new seasonals, a Maibock and a Double IPA.

Q: You’re a beer lover yourself. What are some of your favorite styles that you like to drink and/or brew?

A: I’m excited with the Wee Heavy. I’m a malty beer person. I like Scotch ales. I came from a brewery that was very, very well-known for big, hoppy beers. That’s what they did and they did it very, very well. I was kind of considered the old soul at the brewery. I wanted to make the big, malty beers. We had an experimental tank. They went back and forth. The hoppy beers always sold, though. I definitely lean toward the malty side, stouts, porters, Scotch ales. I love to see the complexity that can be created from malt character.

Q: We all lean a little toward the malty, darker side, as our name might imply. But I think we’ve all broadened our palates by drinking a lot of different styles. I wouldn’t have touched a hefeweizen five years ago. The only thing I can’t get into are sours. I’ve tried, but it’s just not happening.

A: I remember the first time I opened a bottle of sour … my first reaction was I hated it, I hated it. It grew on me over time.

Q: Yeah, probably not happening for me. I think some of those random, experimental beers go too far sometimes.

A: My last experimental beer was a cilantro and lime saison. With brett, it was aged in tequila barrels, it was out there.

Q: One thing John did up here was start to age some of his beers in barrels. What’s your take on that? It’s become popular, but is it something that will continue or just start to fade out?

A: I think it’s something that’s here to stay, though I think bourbon barrels have come and gone. Everyone’s moving on to something else now. We’ve got all these great wineries around here. We’ve got distilleries doing (different) barrel-aging things right now other than whiskey. Rum barrels are awesome, if you ever get to try one do it.

Q: Going back to what you said about so many new breweries opening up in New Mexico, it sure seems like everyone is trying to find their own niche. But I still think there’s room for breweries who do lots of beer styles well. Do you think that some places are taking the specialization too far?

A: I do. I mean, there’s a brewer in the Northeast that only did Berliner Weisse. Breweries that only do English beers or only do beers over eight percent (ABV). It’s kind of about experimenting, having fun. Don’t paint yourself into a corner. I always love it when a brewery is known for something but then has something good out of left field. It’s always fun to see.

Blue Corn's bar area awaits the arrival of new beers and crowd favorites.

Blue Corn’s bar area awaits the arrival of new beers and crowd favorites.

Q: I know you’ve been working hard since you got here, but have you had much time to check out the other breweries around here and meet some of their staffs?

A: I try to. I’ve been to Duel. I’ve gotten down to Second Street. They were nice enough to let me borrow some (malt) the other day. That’s a great thing about craft beer, everyone is willing to help each other. I got to take a tour of Santa Fe, that’s a huge operation they have going on. Their canning line is amazing.

This state has done a good job of meeting the craft brewing idea. They seem pretty open and accepting. It’s good to see it’s working. It only creates more jobs and more tax dollars.

Q: We’re approaching festival season pretty soon. Are you looking forward to that and maybe seeing the breweries outside Santa Fe?

A: Festivals are always a lot of fun. It’s good to see people who love beer getting together. It’s a good time for brewers, too. We all get to see each other again, meet the new people. See what else people are doing in the state and learn a lot.

* * * *

A big thanks to James for taking time out of his busy schedule. He has a double IPA, the ACME Anvil (so named because the house beer is the Roadrunner IPA, and the Roadrunner’s arch enemy is of course the Coyote), fermenting now as well as a Maibock. The Scottish Wee Heavy will be up after that, brewed in collaboration with the Sangre de Cristo home brewers club. We look forward to all of his new creations.

And for the record on festivals, Blue Corn will be part of the Bike and Brew Festival happening all around Santa Fe from May 16 to 18, and will be part of The Yards Craft Beer Premier, a new event happening at the Albuquerque Railyard on June 21.

So unless anyone else around the state is changing brewers anytime soon, and we haven’t heard anything on or off the record, this wraps up our new brewer interview series. Don’t worry, though, the Crew still has plenty of beer news to cover.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Q: Do you know which is the next one you’re going to?

A: I know we’re part of the Bike and Brew Festival (May 16-18) up here. We’ve got the Yards Beer Festival (June 21).

Greetings New Mexico craft beer lovers, this is E-Rock, back to bring you this installment of The Week Ahead in Beer. This column is hand-crafted to keep you up to date on all of the seasonal beers, news, and events served up at breweries and taprooms in New Mexico.

E-Rock, left, has uncovered all the beers worth sneaking up on this week.

E-Rock, left, has uncovered all the beers worth sneaking up on this week.

When Turtle Mountain Brewing Company recently hired Tim Woodward as their head brewer, they did so with an eye toward revamping their recipe list. We are now starting to see Tim’s imprint on Rio Rancho’s oldest brewery. TMBC’s Oku Amber and Hopshell IPA are the first of their new house beers to come online. They are dialing in efficiency so alcohol and IBUs may drift around a little, but Oku and Hopshell will always be on tap from now on. So while you are eagerly awaiting the launch of all of the new breweries set to open in New Mexico this year, don’t forget that there is already something new brewing in Rio Rancho.

Right now in the Duke City, La Cumbre is now serving Father Nelson and Breaking Bread (Dopplebock). Turtle Mountain Brewing Company is has recently released Oku Amber (6.5% ABV, 30 IBU), Hopshell IPA (6.7% ABV, 100 IBU), McDay’s Cream Ale (5.6% ABV, 16 IBU), and Parasol White IPA (7.0% ABV, 50 IBU).

In the City Different, Santa Fe Brewing Company’s Small Batch Saturday features Aaron’s Black Saison. Second Street Brewery now has Trappist Pale Ale, Extra Special Bitter, Golden Ale, and Old Pecos Porter on tap.Up in Taos, the Taos Ale House should have Mosaic Lollipop, Mogul IPA, and Simple Porter on tap this week. While you are there, check out TAH’s new Burger Stand that opened last week.That is just a small sample of what is going on in the Land of Enchantment. Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of April 21.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.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: Berliner Weisse, IPA, Pale Ale, Red Ale, Belgian White. Back Alley Draft House has their full complement of house beers back on tap. Franz Solo and I both recommend the Berliner Weisse. In addition to their own brews, BADH is also serving Stone’s IRS on tap as well as Deschutes Hop Henge Imperial IPA and the Rogue XS Old Crustacean Barley Wine. There is still some of Stone’s Enjoy by 4.20 on tap.

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Locomotion California Commons, Zythos Pale Ale. Stoutmeister stopped by Blue Corn this week to interview new brewer James Warren. (The story should run Thursday.) While he was there, Stoutmeister of course sampled both of the new beers on tap. The Locomotion is brewed in the style of the popular steam beers of Northern California. It is a smooth, sessionable beer that goes well with the warming weather. The Zythos is a single-hop PA that offers up a unique mix of both tart and sweet.

Blue Heron Brewery — (505) 579-9188

(Sun-Tues noon–6 p.m., Wed-Sat 10 a.m.–8 p.m.)

Beers: Amber’s Folly Amber Ale, Lava Rock Pale Ale, La Llorona Scottish Ale, Tarantula Trek Red Ale, Prieta Real Imperial Stout. The lineup is unchanged from last week, but when it’s a lineup as good as this one, no one wants it to change. The Scottish is a longtime Brew Crew favorite. Blue Heron also has many of its beers for sale in bombers.

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: The Last Straw Hefe, Railyard Rust (California Commons), Citra SMASH (single malt and single hop pale ale), Bosque’s Burnin’ Red. New head brewer John Bullard’s first Bosque creation, SMASH (single malt and single hop) pale ale with Maris Otter and Citra, is now on tap. The Last Straw is John’s second beer, and is the latest release in the Adoption Ale Series. Bosque’s Burnin’ Red is back from last year, new and improved. Pale Ryder and Driftwood Oatmeal Stout have replaced Old Bosky Porter as year-round offerings. Not surprisingly, Stoutmeister gives thumbs up to the Driftwood, which he described as “big and bold, almost like a hybrid of a dry stout and an oatmeal. It’s not for wimps.”

Bosque has a happy hour running from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and all day on Sunday. Look for a revamped menu and get $1 off your favorite pints.

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: Sol Rosenberg Ale, Renamed Roasted Rye Brown, Knight Rider Black Wheat, Sickle and Hammer Imperial Red (8.0% ABV), Rosemary’s Baby (4.3% ABV, a rosemary porter).

News: B3 will have Java the Hutt, a coffee ale, and Broken Berry Brown, a chocolate strawberry ale, on tap in the near future.

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.

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

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

Beers: Cabrocito (Pale Ale), Papa Cabra (Double IPA), Acapulco Red, Panama Red, Acapulco Gold (Mexican Lager) (5.2% ABV), Hefe Weizen (5.5% ABV), Robusto Porter (5.9% ABV), Chupacabra IPA (7.2% ABV), Pastizal Oatmeal Stout (5.5% ABV), Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale (5.0% ABV), ESB (5.2%). First there was the Chupacabra IPA, then Papa Cabra Double IPA, and now Cazuela’s is pleased to announce the arrival of the newest addition to the Cabra family, the Cabrocito Pale Ale. Try them all. Stoutmeister and I had a chance to sample the Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale, 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.”

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.

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

Beers: Serenity Milk Stout (5.5% ABV, 20 IBU), Marzen (4.9% ABV, 25 IBU), Irish Red Ale (5.3% ABV, 25 IBU), Woodward SMASH Pale Ale. The Woodward SMASH is brewed with Amarillo hops and is a tribute to former assistant brewer Tim Woodward, who is now running the show at Turtle Mountain.

News: If there is anything you want to know about new head brewer Zach Guilmette, Stoutmeister interviewed him recently.

Comanche Creek Brewing Company — (575) 377-2337

(Wed-Sat noon–6 p.m.)

Beers: Touch-Me-Not IPA, Deadman Pale Ale, Homestead Amber Ale. According to Comanche Creek’s website: “Touch-Me-Not IPA is a tantalizing American style IPA flavored with Chinook, Centennial and Cascade hops. This bold IPA is named for the majestic mountain that overlooks our brewery!” Homestead Amber Ale was on hand when Stoutmeister and I visited Comanche Creek in 2012. The Homestead is often bottled and served at establishments in the Eagle Nest/Angel Fire area.

News: Comanche Creek is expanding their brewing operations to the benefit of all.

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: Ensor 14 (Flemish Brown Ale), Goya Stout (13.6% ABV), Manikin (Scottish ale, 3.9% ABV), Titian (Belgian golden strong ale, 8.2% ABV), Grunewald (imperial porter, 12% ABV), Dark Ryder (Belgian strong dark ale, 11% ABV), Bad Amber (Belgian amber, 6% ABV), Fiction IPA, Non-Fiction Pale Ale. Duel had this to say about their new Ensor 14: “Beginning with fine aromas of Raisin, Pecan and Apricot, this well-bodied beer transports you to the northern areas of Belgium. This well balanced sour style let’s you travel through the flavors of tart cherry and hints of chocolate. With the unbelievable ABV of 11%, you’ll find yourself wandering in thought and peering into the depths of this limited release beer.” Duel describes the Goya Stout (13.6% ABV) thusly: “Smokey pear on the nose. Ethereal mouth feel. A true journey for all the senses!”

News: This week, Duel will be hosting live music by J.Q. Whitcomb & What the What today (Wednesday) from 7-9 p.m., Drastic Andrew on Thursday from 7-9 p.m., Bill Palmer’s TV KILLERS on Friday from 7-9 p.m., and 50 Watt Whale on Saturday from 7-9 p.m.

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.

Eske’s Brew Pub — (575) 758-1517

(Mon–Thurs 4 p.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sun noon-10 p.m.)

Beers: Rio Red Ale, Naked Apricot Ale, Green Chile IPA, Chemist Ale, Seco Stout, Blonde Betty. The Green Chile IPA is popular with the tourist crowd. The Chemist Ale is one of the few gluten-free beers brewed in New Mexico.

High Desert Brewing Company — (575) 525-6752

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

Beers: Wheat Ale, Peach Wheat, Bohemian Pilsner, IPA, Rye Beer, Black IPA, Amber Ale, Scottish Ale, Barley Wine. The Black IPA and Amber Ale rejoin the lineup this week, which makes it a good week as any to head over and try all these fresh batches of beer. High Desert Brewing Company is located at 1201 W. Hadley Ave. in Las Cruces.

Il Vicino Brewing Canteen — (505) 881-2737

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

Beers: Spiced Belgian Golden (9.2% ABV, 10-ounce pours), Cascade Pale Ale (6.1% ABV, 60 IBU), Panama Joe Coffee Stout (2013 GABF Gold Medal Winner), Biere de Mars (5.8% ABV), Munich Dunkel (6.0% ABV), Irish Red Ale, Southern Hemisphere Pale Ale (SHAle), Sweet Sandarine Porter. The Irish Red won its second consecutive Irish Red Challenge, which half the Crew held on St. Patrick’s Day.

News: Panama Joe took home a silver medal at the World Beer Cup this month.

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

(Hours Mon-Thu 11:30-8, Fri-Sun 11:30-10)

Beers: Hexa IPA (brewed with six different hops), Belgian Blonde, Red Ale, Honk Ale, American Brown, Dark Abbey, Black Out Stout, Helles Lager. Located at 471 South Hill Road in Bernalillo, Kaktus is one of the state’s newest breweries. It is a small, casual place, similar to Blue Heron in appearance and comfort factor. Stoutmeister recommends the ESB and any and all of their lager-style beers. 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 hosts live music by original songwriters every Monday night from 6-8 p.m., and they are also offering $3 pints every Monday.

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: Father Nelson, Kaylynn’s Last Stand, Project Dank, Kettle Bell, Pogue Mahone (Irish-style Dry Stout), Breaking Bread (Doppelbock), VMO #2. Kaylynn’s Last Stand, a rye lager, is the last beer brewed by Kaylynn McKnight before she took over the head brewer position at Nexus Brewery. Jaramillo Strong, a British Strong Ale, has been renamed Kettle Bell. Stoutmeister recommends the Pogue Mahone, calling it the beer that Guinness should be. A late addition to the lineup this week is the VMO #2, a German-style lager that’s great when you need a break from all the hoppy beers on tap.

News: Father Nelson, a monstrous DIPA (10.6% ABV, IBUs listed as “irredeemable”), is now on tap and is also available for sale in bombers at both the brewery and local stores such as Jubilation. Other La Cumbre beers for sale in bombers include La Negra Imperial Russian Stout and Project Dank.

We congratulate La Cumbre Brewing Co. for becoming this year’s National IPA Champion. Project Dank scored the win by edging out 127 other IPAs from around the country, including the likes of the venerable Fat Head’s IBUsive.

Little Toad Creek Brewery & Distillery — (575) 956-6144

(Open Wednesday through Monday (closed Tuesday) from 11 a.m.-11 p.m., staying open late on Friday/Saturday.)

Beers: Helles Lager, IPA, Amber Ale, Robust Porter, Oatmeal Stout. These are all beers in the regular rotation. I will add seasonal brews as I learn about them.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

(Mon–Sat 1 p.m.–midnight, Sun 1 p.m.–10:30 p.m.)

Beers: Anniversary Triple, Anniversary Barley Wine, India Wheat, Paddy McNitro, Double White, Imperial Red, Imperial Stout, Marble Reserve Ale. India Wheat has the citrusy, tropical hop character of an IPA with the refreshing quench of a wheat ale. Paddy McNitro is a stout rich in chocolate and molasses balanced by cold lager fermentation. The special releases of the Triple and Barley Wine occurred during Marble’s Sixth Anniversary Party on Tuesday night. Both beers will be on tap and available in bombers for mug club members, new and old. Stoutmeister tried both beers. He highly recommends the Barley Wine, calling it “the barley wine of the elder gods.” He and Franz Solo might be hanging out too much.

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

News: This month Marble was presented the gold medal at the World Beer Cup for their Pilsner!

Events: Marble’s Downtown Pub will host music performances by Shawn James and the Shapeshifters on Wednesday, Cafe Bomba from 7-10 p.m. on Thursday, Diamond Down String Band from 8-11 p.m. on Friday, Boris McCutcheon and the Salt Licks from 8-11 p.m. on Saturday, and Cali Shaw from 3-6 p.m. on Sunday.

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

New Mexico Craft Brewing Co. — (505) 426-6079 (brewery), 203-521-7908 (pub)

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

Beers: Imperial Stout, RyePA, IPA, X Hop Pale, Brown. I am told that the Imperial Stout is well worth the trip to Las Vegas. Business has been nuts over at NMCBC, so beers are changing out rapidly on tap.

News: NMCBC’s new pub, The Old Town Draft House in Las Vegas, is open for business. They have 10 NMCBC taps and some cider. At least for a while, their hours are high noon until close, seven days a week.

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

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

Beers: Air Beer (Irish Red), Simcoe Session IPA (4.8% ABV), Barley Wine, Chocolate Porter, Imperial Cream. A dollar from every glass of Air Beer Irish Red is going to the local lung association. Imperial Cream is high in alcohol content and flavor. It is one of my favorite beers and pairs well with chicken and cornbread waffles when you are up for a decadent brunch.

Cask: Nexus will be featuring the Air Beer on cask this week.

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.

Roosevelt Brewing — (575) 226-2739

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

Beers: Eleanor’s Blonde Ale (5.5% ABV, 21 IBU), Portales Pale Ale (5.5% ABV, 45 IBU), Clovis Point IPA, Dirt Town Brown Ale (4.0% ABV, 23 IBU), Happy Heifer Hefeweizen (4.9% ABV, 17 IBU), Big Stick Stout, Cole Espresso Porter. Roosevelt Brewing is located at 201 S. Main Street in Portales. Our own Porter Pounder stopped by while working on a film crew that was shooting in Portales and reviewed several of Roosevelt’s beers.

Events: Wednesday night is Open Mic Night at Roosevelt Brewing.

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

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

Beers: Red, Rattlesnake IPA, Rio Negro Milk Stout (7.6% ABV), Barb’s Barrel Hefeweisen (5.5% ABV), Gold Rush Pilsen (6.8% ABV). The current batch of Rio Negro Milk Stout offers up a unique hybrid of the creamy milk stout and more of an Irish dry stout. And a big welcome back to the Gold Rush, a medal winner at the New Mexico Cup last year.

News: Sandia Chile Grill will be helping Desert Water Winery and Brewery open soon just outside Artesia.

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

(Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., closed on Sunday)

Beers: Aaron’s Black Saison, Irish Red, Black IPA, Saison ’88. This week, Small Batch Saturday features Aaron’s Black Saison. SFBC’S Irish Red Ale is officially on tap and on the shelf. The Saison ’88 was brewed in honor of SFBC’s 25th anniversary. It is also available for sale in cans just about everywhere you can find SFBC products.

Events: $1 Off Growler Refills in the Tasting Room on Mondays. $2 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 7 p.m. at the Tasting Room as well. On Thursday, there will be $1 Off Growler Refills at the Eldorado Taphouse.

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: Trappist Pale Ale, Extra Special Bitter, Golden Ale, Old Pecos Porter, Pivotal IPA, Civil Rye, St George IPA, Kolsch. Pivotal IPA (6.9% ABV, 68 IBU, 1.062 OG) is the newest addition to SSB’s stable of IPA recipes. This one showcases some of the latest-and-greatest of the new hops to come out of the Pacific NW – including the precious Citra and Mosaic, along with a couple of longtime brewer’s favorites. A full mouthful of floral, herbal, and fruity hop flavors followed by a clean and dry finish that disappears into thin air – only to leave you wanting more.

News: After 18 years of brewing beer, SSB has some exiting news for our patrons that are gluten sensitive.  After several months of experimentation they are happy to announce that two of their very popular flagships, the India Pale Ale and Kolsch, are now available as gluten-removed beers to their lineup. These beers are in fact made with barley malt, but are crafted in a way that de-natures the gluten during fermentation. Then to insure results, the finished beers are tested at a TTB and American Society of Brewing Chemists certified laboratory. The results are currently showing gluten levels of 10ppm, or less. This process has no discernable impact on the flavor or body of your beer. Stoutmeister will head up to Second Street this weekend to interview brewer Rod Tweet about this process and other new developments.

A note: The recently adopted FDA standard for “gluten free” products is 20ppm. While the IPA and Kolsch that SSB is serving is greatly reduced in gluten and below this threshold, results for diagnosed Celiac consumers can vary from person-to-person, and consumption should be approached cautiously.

Events: 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!

SSB’s Rail Yard location hosts the music of Ben Wright and Guest on Tuesday night; they will host Angels Night Out, a charitable event to raise money for the Kitchen Angels, on Thursday night; on Friday they will have the music Gregg Daigle; and the Rail Yard’s Saturday performance will feature Alex Culbreth.

At the Original location SSB will host the music of Hot Club of Santa Fe on Friday, and Alto Street Band on Saturday.

The Stumbling Steer — (505) 792-7805

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

Beers: Blonde, Pale, IPA, Red, Brown, Double IPA, Imperial Stout. 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 Crew has already made two separate visits to the Steer to review the beer and food. We enjoyed it all.

Taos Ale House — (575) 758-5522

(Mon–Fri 4 p.m.-10 p.m., Sat noon-10 p.m., Sunday noon-8 p.m.)

Beers: Mosaic Lollipop, Mogul IPA, Simple Porter. TAH also has a few guest beers on tap as well.

News: Taos Ale House recently partnered with The Burger Stand out of Lawrence and Topeka, Kan., to bring you the best burgers and fries you’ll ever eat. The Burger Stand is now open and is already booming with business.

Taos Mesa Brewing — (575) 758-1900

(Daily 11 a.m. – close)

Beers: Amarillo Rojo, Big Brown, Wheeler Peak Wheat, Fall Down Brown, Hopper IPA, Lunch Pale Ale, Notorious ESB, Superstitious Stout. The lineup is unchanged from last week. Stoutmeister recommends the Superstitious Stout (naturally) and Brandon enjoyed the Notorious ESB. There are also four guest taps featuring Marble’s IPA and Wildflower Wheat, plus Santa Fe’s Happy Camper IPA and Irish Red Ale.

Three Rivers Brewery — (505) 325-6605

Beers: India Pale Ale, SHIPA Falconer’s, Papa Bear’s Golden Honey Ale, Animas Pale Ale, Red Apple Flyer Cider, Strawberry Wheat, German Pilsner, Chaco Nut Brown, Double Barrel Amber Ale, Longshot Light, La Plata Pale Ale, 3 Rivers Scottish Ale, Arroyo Amber Ale, Main St. Irish Stout. The Falconer’s is a single-hop IPA made with Falconer’s Flight. It’s available only at the taproom. The Arroyo Amber Ale (5.0% ABV) is the local favorite. It is copper-red in color, medium bodied, and is brewed with caramel malt with a nice hop balance. The Chaco Nut Brown and Main St. Irish Stout are the other recent additions to tap.

Cask: There is nothing on cask at present.

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 1:00 p.m.)

Beers at Nob Hill: Dry Hard Berry Cider (8.3% ABV), Berry Cider (7.6% ABV), Et Tu Brute Cider (8.2% ABV), C+C IPA (7.0% ABV), Cortijo Farmhouse Ale (6.7% ABV), L4 IPL (6.2% ABV), Luna de los Muertos Stout (9.2% ABV), Barley Wine (9.5% ABV).

Beers at Wells Park only: IBL (6.0% ABV), Apple Cider (7.2% ABV), Jack The Sipper (8.5% ABV), Javi Lager (5.0% ABV), Maibock Lager (6.2% ABV), Easy Rider IPA (6.0% ABV), ESB (6.0% ABV), Sticky Fingers Brown Ale (7.6% ABV), Adebisi Black Lager (5.2% ABV), Dopplebock (8.0% ABV). 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). The Crew highly recommends the Luna De Los Muertos, it’s one of our favorite imperial stouts in town. It’s not barrel-aged, but it still packs a punch. There are so many beers on tap at both Tractor locations that they will cover all types of beer lovers.

Events: Every second and fourth Thursday of the month, Tractor welcomes a band to their Wells Park Tap Room for a music series they call pLoud music. This week, Tractor will feature April Barreiro starting at 8 p.m.

Every Wednesday night starting at 7 p.m. Tractor hosts a Cards Against Humanity night. You can borrow a Tractor deck from the bar or buy your own!

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: Oku Amber (6.5% ABV, 30 IBU), Hopshell IPA (6.7% ABV, 100 IBU), McDay’s Cream Ale (5.6% ABV, 16 IBU), Parasol White IPA (7.0% ABV, 50 IBU), Hop Duster (5.2% ABV, 50 IBU), Anniversary Brown Ale (8.7% ABV, 45 IBU), Irish Red (4.9% ABV, 25 IBUs), Irish Stout (4.5% ABV, 40 IBUs on nitrogen), Turbo Pilz (4.7%, 25 IBU), Hybrid IPA (6.3% ABV, 70 IBU), Red Rye (4.8% ABV, 20 IBU). The Anniversary Brown Ale is the first beer created by head brewer Tim Woodward for TMBC, and it was brewed to celebrate TMBC’s 15th anniversary. Naturally, TMBC’s Irish Red (4.8% ABV, 25 IBUs) and Irish Stout (4.5%, 40 IBUs on nitrogen) were tapped to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day last month. Get them before they run out.

News: The Oku Amber and Hopshell IPA are the first of TMBC’s new house beers to come online. They are dialing in efficiency so alcohol and IBUs may drift around a little, but Oku and Hopshell will always be on tap from now on.

Cask: TMBC is currently featuring the Triple Play Pale Ale on cask.

The Wellhead — (575) 746-0640

Beers: Wellhead Pale Ale (5.3% ABV), Roughneck Red Ale (4.8% ABV), Roustabout Porter (4.8% ABV), Cisco Canyon Blonde, Indian Basin Wheat. The Wellhead is located in Artesia. The Roustabout Porter is available in the summer months replacing the stout. The brown-colored porter was originally developed in the 18th Century for the working class or ‘porters’ of London. The malt and hop ingredients are simple and well-balanced. The Roughneck Red is as sweet malty Irish Red ale. The Chinook, Cascade, and Mount Hood hops create a wonderful aroma and flavor combination. Try this microbrew with spicy dishes or steak and the turtle cheesecake dessert.

* * * *

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

Cheers!

— E-Rock

Amid all the recent news and rumors about new breweries springing up around Albuquerque, all of us in the Crew were surprised when one place we had never heard about suddenly sent us a message on Facebook. That was all by design, as Franz Solo and I found out when we trekked over to the as-yet-unopened Pi Brewing Company. Located on Coors Blvd. just north of Irving on the east side of the street, Pi Brewing is the brainchild of the folks at Nicky V’s Pizzeria, which just happens to be located right next door. And when we say brainchild, we’re not just using a figure of speech. Though small in size, Pi Brewing befits its name in that it might be the most high-tech small brewery we have ever visited.

These stainless steel beauties just await the first batches of Pi Brewing's beers.

These stainless steel beauties just wait to be filled with the first batches of Pi Brewing’s beers.

Franz and I were greeted by Nicole Villarreal, her husband Greg, and their friend Charlie Sandoval. While Nicole runs the business, Greg is the resident engineer and construction expert, and Charlie handles the actual brewing and recipe creation. They have kept a lid on Pi’s opening until now, when they’re actually getting close to opening, in part because no brewery likes to announce itself and then find out it is going to take a lot longer to open than anyone planned.

Pi Brewing will use a 3.5-barrel system, but it’s not quite like any system we have seen before. While Pi’s technology is awesome, the Crew’s is not. Specifically, my wonderful digital recorder actually recorded over itself, so we lost about 15 minutes of interview. Much of that portion of the interview dealt with the technical specifics of the brewhouse, which left two liberal arts majors just nodding along, wondering how many terms we would have to Google later.

From what we did save on the recorder, plus memory (fuzzed out somewhat by Franz Solo and E-Rock’s Friday recording session, plus my being at a friend’s wedding until the wee hours of Saturday-into-Sunday), we can say that an engineering degree/background would have been useful to understand the specifics of Pi’s system. It is a steam-powered system, which lends itself to some very specific temperature control. As anyone who brews knows, temperature control is huge when it comes to getting your beer just right. Greg used his background as an engineer and contractor to design the system. Let’s just say he’s a really, really smart person and this is a really smart system.

How smart? “We found out this weekend that 202.2 (degrees) is our number,” Greg said. “We go to 202.4 it slowly starts to build bubbles. If we get to 202 even it starts to lose that rolling boil.”

Yes, this is some high-tech stuff if two-tenths of a degree can make all the difference in the world. It will require Greg and Charlie to both be present during the initial brewing attempts, but they both said once they start to get a firm grasp of everything, eventually the process will become faster and easier.

Here’s some more on the high-tech nature of Pi’s system.

The temperature control system looks like it could work to cool the warp core on the Enterprise.

The temperature control system looks like it could work to cool the warp core on the U.S.S. Enterprise. Right, Scotty?

“We’ve got this heat exchanger here,” Greg said. “It’s a three-square-meter heat exchanger. I’d done some water testing outside of Charlie just to make sure that our stuff was going to be ready for brew day. It was really impressive that we could crash a hundred-gallon batch at a rate of six gallons per minute down to 65 degrees through here. We can get through this whole thing in 15 minutes.”

Charlie said the faster the better when it comes to cooling the beer down.

“The beauty of that is now you get that nice cold crash to get protein separation,” Charlie said. “That’s where you get clarity in your beers. If it takes too long, you run the risk of hot-side iteration and you don’t get that nice cold break, so you end up with a lot of chill haze that small brewers suffer from.”

The secret behind the ability to crash cool the beer comes from the system Greg assembled inside the walk-in cooler. Pi will be using a two-ton compressor that sits up on the roof — so the heat is not packed into the brewery — that works with a 50-gallon glycol chiller.

“Another novel thing we have in here that most small guys don’t have is that glycol chillers for small brewers are very expensive,” Greg said. “With my background in contracting, I was like you know what, we can’t spend 15 grand on a two-ton chiller. We just can’t do it. I got to thinking, a chiller is nothing more than a condenser that sits on a roof and an evaporator like this.

“So what I did was I got in touch with my used equipment guy. I put a two-ton compressor on the roof for the freezer. I had him get me a heat exchanger. I brought the heat exchanger in here with this 50-gallon batch of glycol and we did our own internal control system on it. It’s beautiful. It holds it down to 25 degrees. Most small guys like us don’t have two tons of glycol capacity. I put maybe 2,000 bucks in it.”

It’s this kind of innovative thinking that will help Pi put its money into the beer, rather than always worrying about the equipment and the space. With a strong, efficient system Pi will be able to quickly establish consistency in their brewing, which tends to be the biggest issue for new breweries when they open.

So of course that leads to what is often the biggest question for a new brewery: What will they have on tap? The plan is to have five or six beers on tap regularly. They will be sold at the brewery itself, plus at Nicky V’s right next door, and then in Rio Rancho at Fat Squirrel, which Nicole and Greg also own.

Looking deep inside one of the tanks at Pi Brewing. Like we said, it's high tech.

Looking deep inside one of the tanks at Pi Brewing. Like we said, it’s high tech.

Charlie’s initial lineup will include a golden ale, an English-style ale, a robust porter, a West Coast-style red ale, and of course an IPA.

“We’re going to start with like a golden ale,” Charlie said. “It’s not going to be Belgian style. We just don’t dare put any Belgian yeast in this house yet. We just don’t have the capacity to dedicate a fermenter and then controlling the (yeast). Cleaning is going to be a nightmare to try to do the Belgians, try to keep the wild yeast under control. It doesn’t make sense for us. A nice golden ale will be kind of be the startup (beer).”

The English-style, he said, will either be a pale ale, special bitter, or an ESB. They probably will not call it a bitter, just due to the bias that some people have towards the name without understanding that traditional English-style bitters are actually more sweet than bitter.

“Third in that lineup will probably be the robust porter,” Charlie said. “English-style yeast again in that one. Some English-style malts. We’re hoping to get that nice, robust taste. I’ve been known to brew a bourbon vanilla porter with that base. I’ll have that as a special offering. Here’s your Friday special guys, our bourbon vanilla porter is coming out. We introduce vanilla and Maker’s Mark and of course we’re going to soak it an a barrel. It goes great at Thanksgiving, at Christmas time.”

The Crew, not surprisingly, will be by to try that special version of the porter whenever it is released. As for the red ale, Charlie compared it to Pizza Port’s Red Ale, which lies somewhere in between Marble’s regular Red and Imperial Red in terms of its potency and strength of flavor.

“And of course, what brewhouse would be without a competitive IPA? We can’t be in the IPA game where we’re going to fall short,” Charlie said. “We’re becoming San Diego of the southwest. If you can’t take command of a good IPA, you’ll suffer.

“The beauty is, as Greg was saying, we’re not constrained by (distribution). We’re not trying to sell anything on the wholesale level. We can afford maybe to make a special IPA and hold it. I love a good, bitter strike, but there’s nothing better than to have the flavor and aroma in a nice concert.”

The Pi staff has done their homework, hitting up a number of breweries in California, Utah, and Oregon, big and small, in addition to visiting breweries throughout New Mexico. They have checked off what works and what does not work at breweries both big and small.

They have a solid business plan, a great combination of talent, a ridiculously efficient and high-tech system. Add it all up and if the beers come out as they hope, Pi will quickly establish itself as one of the best small breweries in the state.

But there was still one question that we had: Why Pi? Why not Pie, considering it will open next to a popular pizza/Italian restaurant? That all lies in the licensing, Nicole told us. Essentially the City of Albuquerque said Pi cannot brew any more than 100 gallons per batch. So what does 99 gallons of beer equal? Try 3.1415 barrels. Hence, Pi Brewing! (Oh, come on, you at least smirked at that story. It’s OK to smile at something so wonderfully silly and fun.)

While an exact opening date has not been set — a smart thing in the world of brewing and having to deal with state and federal licensing and permitting — they do know what time the doors to Pi Brewing will open every day.

“We’re going to open at 3:14,” Nicole said with a smile.

Thanks to Nicole, Greg, and Charlie for the tour, the beer, and the good times. We’ll see you all at your grand opening.

* * * *

A few programming notes before I trek over to cover the Lobo baseball game versus Texas Tech …

  • Today (Monday) is the Father Nelson Triple IPA release party at La Cumbre. Head on over this afternoon/evening to drink it on tap, buy a bomber (or two), listen to some music, and have a great time. C’mon, hopheads, you know you want to go.
  • Tuesday is Marble’s Sixth Anniversary Party at the downtown pub. Le Chat Lunatique will be playing on the outdoor stage starting at 6 p.m. There will be lots of deals for mug club members, including the special release of the Triple and Barleywine.
  • Prior to that on Tuesday, I will be heading up to Santa Fe to interview Blue Corn’s new brewer, James Warren. Look for the story either late Tuesday afternoon or later in the week.
  • We still hope to have a story on the Los Alamos Beer Co-op later in the week, plus plans are still afoot to visit Second Street for a sit-down with brewer Rod Tweet on Saturday afternoon.
  • The Crew did not brew this weekend (we blame Easter, and a lack of sleep), but we still plan to brew with Porter Pounder’s collection of wild hops that his boss brought him while they were filming up around Glorietta last week.
  • Many have asked when we will be rolling out stories on ABQ Beer Week. Be patient, everyone. It’s still a month away, and things could always change between now and then. We would rather do stories with the most up-to-date information possible.
  • If anyone has panicked because the “coming soon” sign for Bosque’s second location in Nob Hill has disappeared, calm down. The sign was stolen, probably by some drunk idiot, over the weekend. Nothing has changed; you will still be able to enjoy Bosque beers at the taproom later this year.

That’s all for now (I hope). It’s a busy beer time in New Mexico, that’s for sure. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Such a magical place...

Such a magical place…

Greetings faithful readers and beer connoisseurs, the NMDSBC is here to bring you another installment in the Brewology series!  With a few amateur home brewers in our collective, these articles are dedicated to the craft of making beer right out of our homes from scratch. We attempt to document the process as much as possible and always enjoy questions and feedback from everyone. As always, keep in mind that we are not professionals at this by any means, but we enjoy sharing our experiences with our readers!

If you happen to know any of us then you know that the gentleman of the NMDSBC are busy individuals. Between work, school, musical gigs, covering sporting events, and whatever the hell it is that Porter Pounder does (I kid, but seriously … what does he do?), it is pretty challenging to get all of us in the same room for any period of time, let alone a few of us. But we always do our best to get together in the name of beer, especially when it comes to getting our hands dirty and creating a home brew of our own!

Being the Dark Side Brew Crew, it seems only appropriate to whip up a batch of something deep, dark, bold, and well, metal (cue the Pantera). Various ideas and recipes for things such as stout variations and even a black IPA were thrown around; ultimately the porter idea won. Originally a chocolate coffee porter was in the mix, but due to a combination of my busy schedule and laziness when I wasn’t busy, the coffee was phased out of the recipe. In anticipating that this may be the case, you’ll see I did pick some of the traditional bold malts that one might expect in a porter, and basically upped the quantities of the malts that would impart more coffee characteristics. Although there will definitely be a coffee beer in the cards at some point soon, I think the bold malt bill makes up for the loss enough to still make this a good beer.

Blacker than the blackest black: transferring to secondary fermentation

Blacker than the blackest black: transferring to secondary fermentation

About four weeks ago Porter Pounder and I, along with our good friend Daniel Hicks in tow to see what this whole homebrewing thing is all about, spent an afternoon putting it all together and making beer happen! The recipe was solidified prior, minus a few tweaks that occurred in the grain room of Southwest Grape & Grain, and consisted of Vienna malt for the base, 120L caramel, crisp chocolate, CaraAroma, 80L crystal, black malt, roasted barley and flaked barley. Now if you are familiar with porters, you can see that I went against the grain (pun intended, heh) in using Vienna for a base malt. The thought here was the Vienna malt, being sweeter than a tradition porter base such as a pale malt, would add a good amount of sweetness to the beer. Having measurements of the other bolder grains that were more substantial than I’d used in my previous attempt at a porter, it was important to me to try to balance everything out as much as possible. The crisp chocolate malt was picked due to the rich coffee hints, which was meant to augment any additional coffee flavors put into the brew. We should also be looking at a slightly roasted, but rich and possibly creamy body. Quite simply, we wanted enough sugars to be converted by the yeast during fermentation, but still wanted residuals to give that flavor in the end. In terms of hops we kept it fairly straightforward, using small amounts of Cascade and Fuggles. This was an interesting combination, but after taking into account things like aromatics, alpha/beta acids, and malt bill, I settled on the Cascade for aroma and Fuggles for bittering and finish.

Now comes a confession that I’m not terribly happy with: I used an adjunct. Unsweetened cocoa powder to be specific. Why did I do this and why is it a bad thing, you ask? To answer the first question, I wanted to get an extra hit of chocolate into the mix. Chocolate beers that I’ve enjoyed always have an added element of richness and the same was to be had in this beer, dammit! Now as for the second question: well, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing … depending on who you ask. Some might argue that using adjuncts spoils an all-grain homebrew, some feel the flavors that are derived from these are not very brewer-friendly, or that they just impart very processed flavors in the final product. So it really isn’t a matter of right or wrong, only a matter of preference. I utilized whole vanilla beans in a porter previously and that worked quite well; in retrospect, I should have used the same process on cocoa nibs to get that something extra which I was looking for.

Brandon finally got a new bottling hat!

Brandon finally got a new bottling hat!

Oh, well, sue me.

The brew itself went surprisingly well, especially considering a few extenuating circumstances such as not having everything I needed for my turkey fryer burner and having to boil on an electric burner. Remember when I said “sue me”? Anyway, fermentation started after almost a 24-hour lag, but the English Brown Ale yeast took effect and did its job nicely. Primary only took about six days before transferring to secondary fermentation to let it age for a bit longer. Secondary fermentation lasted about three weeks before racking and bottling this past Sunday evening. A preliminary reading on the ol’ hydrometer has it clocking in at about 1.060 and a little over 6-percent ABV. There is plenty of chocolate aroma present, with roasted barley and subtle coffee notes as well. Of course all of this means nothing if the taste is not there, but all things considered this should be a pretty solid porter … only time will tell. How much time? Since the beer is bottle conditioned using priming sugars we are looking at another three weeks. A few bottles have already been set aside for aging just for fun.

Oh, and as for the name of the beer? Well as an homage to one of my favorite albums by one of my favorite bands … I have dubbed thee: Porter in The Yard! After the album “Prowler in The Yard” by Pig Destroyer. What can I say? My love for all things beer and metal runs deep.

All in all, another round of fun with friends concocting batches of delicious homebrew. As soon as the porter is ready to enjoy you can expect a review article, and keep an eye out for another installment of Brewology very soon when we get together for a batch that Porter Pounder will be doing. Spoiler alert: it’s a black IPA. Until next time …

Prost!

— Brandon Daniel

We’re all a bunch of Untappd badge whores

Posted: April 17, 2014 by cjax33 in News, Random Stuff
Tags:

We, the great beer-loving human collective, spend way too much time buried in our smart phones. Look around the next time you’re at a brewery or taproom, especially during quieter times, and count the number of people texting, emailing, or playing with their various apps. Once upon a time, some very smart people noticed this, and thus they created an app for beer lovers. And now? We’re all a bunch of stinking addicts to Untappd.

The collection of truly random beers for our latest Untappd badge whore night.

The collection of truly random beers for our latest Untappd badge whore night.

Yes, I know, you’re downright shocked that seven people who have a website about beer would be addicted to an app that deals with beer. If you have somehow avoided the whole Untappd phenomenon, here’s the basic primer. Untappd allows you to check in to the beers you drink. It then stores this information. In that respect, it can invaluable for a beer writer. “Hey, did you ever try this imperial stout?” “Let me see … oh, yeah, I had it before. I gave it four stars. You should definitely order that.”

But Untappd is not just a reference guide to the beers you have consumed over the years. Oh, no, it’s something far more nefarious. It’s about the badges. Yes, we need stinkin’ badges. Badges are how Untappd “rewards” you for your (hopefully) responsible drinking. The badges generally work where if you drink a certain beer so many times, you get a badge. Or if you drink at a certain establishment, you can get a badge. Or on a holiday, you can get a badge. There’s badges galore. And because we’re human, which means we’re competitive about the silliest things, we now compete for badge accumulation.

I know, it’s childish and potentially dangerous if you go out and overdo it at a taproom. Thus, in our genius, we’ve created badge whore nights. Badge whore nights basically involve everyone going to a beer store like Jubilation or Total Wine, making a bunch of mixed sixers, and bringing them to someone’s house while putting our car keys away. That’s exactly what Franz Solo, Mrs. Solo, and I did on Wednesday night after I finished up with the Isotopes game. During the day we loaded up on random beers and late at night, with Beerfest playing in the background, we went badge hunting. For the record, I picked up four badges (Das Boot Level 3, Rising Sun, Lager Jack Level 10, Heffenista Level 2).

So to get into these crazy badges a little more, they are generally divided into three categories. Under “Beer” are 57 separate badges. Most are counting badges, as in once you get to five beers defined under a single category, you get a badge, like I Believe in IPA. You can level these badges up to 10, which means 50 distinct beers in that category. Other badges under beer are a little easier to get, requiring sometimes only one or three beers. These badges cannot be leveled up, so we generally call them “one and done” badges. The final major type under this category are the badges that deal with your overall accumulation of distinct beers. You get badges at one beer, 50 beers, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 2500.

Be forewarned, if you do an Untappd badge whore night and you want to get those pesky foreign beer badges, it can get expensive.

Be forewarned, if you do an Untappd badge whore night and you want to get those pesky foreign beer badges like Das Boot (German beers, obviously), it can get expensive.

Under the “Location” category are badges that generally deal with where you’re drinking. Some are easy to get, requiring just a single beer of any type. Franz Solo and Mrs. Solo, for instance, picked up the Here Comes the Brew and Ahoy, Matey! badges while at a cousin’s wedding in Hawaii. There are some other badges that require multiple beers and/or multiple visits to a place. Last Call requires three beers after 1 a.m. at a bar or taproom. Brew Crew requires three check-ins at different bars in the same night. Tough ones include The Regular, where you need 15 check-ins at the same place in a calendar month (yes, you can get a sampler tray and check into each beer, which will add up). There are also badges in this category that level up, like Brew Traveler (different states/countries), Find the Source (breweries themselves), Taste the Music (venues categorized as music, like Launchpad and Low Spirits here in ABQ), and Tailgater (sports arenas/stadiums).

The final category is “Special.” These badges are for holidays, where say you drink any beer on St. Patrick’s Day or Halloween or 4th of July, you get a badge. There are also some badges promoted by various breweries, like “drink our new IPA between the following days and you’ll get a badge.” Supposedly, there will even be a badge for ABQ Beer Week in May. Which would be unbelievably awesome, of course.

Now, as with anything involving beer, there are some debates over proper Untappd etiquette. If someone creates an Untappd and suddenly checks into the last 100 beers they remember having over the previous few months, that’s considered a major faux pas. You are sometimes granted a 24-hour window in which to check in, but generally you’re not allowed to check into a specific place unless you are still there. For instance, let’s say you go out and do a pub crawl on your birthday. Stopping to check in to every beer you drink throughout the night will slow you down. This can also work for beer festivals. One downside of Untappd is that it is a battery-draining app, so if you go to a beer festival and have 30-40 samples and want to check them all off, it’s generally considered OK to wait until you get home.

Then there is the great debate over what constitutes a check-in-worthy consumption. Some say you have to drink a full pint/bottle. Others say a standard sample from a brewery/bar works. Some will even take a small sip and say that counts. It is generally up to the individual, with plenty of influence from your friends who are on Untappd. The Brew Crew usually goes with the 24-hour rule and the samplers-count rule. Let’s face it, most of us do not like Sours, not enough to drink a full pint. But a swallow or two counts in our book.

We expect a large number of you who follow us regularly probably already have Untappd on your phones. For those who don’t, you should get it if the app sounds like fun. If it sounds like too much work, or you’re worried it might push you to drink too much when you’re out and about, then it’s OK if you don’t sign up. Among the Crew, I would say that Franz Solo, Mrs. Solo, and I tend to be the most active on Untappd. Brandon checks in a fair amount. Shilling (who’s currently working the graveyard shift) and E-Rock (who’s forgetful) check in less frequently. We’ve tried, and failed, to get Porter Pounder to join. He’s just weird like that.

Anyway, here are our Untappd names, plus I’m including our current (as of Thursday afternoon) numbers on distinct beers and badges. You can “friend” us on Untappd (not unlike Facebook, but with no whiny posts about boy/girl trouble, cat videos, or stupid game invitations). Several readers already have, and we can compare notes on the beers we drink and the breweries we visit. Heck, oftentimes you can use it to find out where we are drinking on a given day. We never mind interacting with our readers when it comes to talking about beer.

Without further adieu, here’s us:

  • Stoutmeister 688 distinct beers, 144 badges
  • Ffsturm (Franz Solo) 607 distinct beers, 141 badges
  • JSturm (Mrs. Solo) 410 distinct beers, 110 badges
  • Cryptogrind (Brandon) 218 distinct beers, 76 badges
  • Jmkidd (Shilling) 133 distinct beers, 45 badges
  • Erocktheorchestra (E-Rock) 51 distinct beers, 30 badges (I told you he forgets to check in all the time)

If any of you have some Untappd stories you’d like to share, email them to us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com. Or just tell us in person if you see us out and about.

* * * *

Some updates on our upcoming stories. Brandon will have the full recap of brewing his latest beer, a coffee chocolate porter, in a Brewology post that should be ready Friday. Also on Friday, Franz Solo and I will be meeting with the folks over at the new Pi Brewing Co. We should have the story up Monday. This coming Tuesday I will trek up to Santa Fe to interview new Blue Corn brewer James Warren. That story will run either that day or Wednesday afternoon. By the end of next week I hope to talk to the folks at the Los Alamos Beer Co-op and get their story out there. And if all goes well with our schedules, the Crew will be interviewing Second Street brewer Rod Tweet on April 26. The beer news never stops, and thankfully, neither do we.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The Week Ahead in Beer: So much news!

Posted: April 16, 2014 by erockslab in Uncategorized

Editor’s note: If you’re seeing this, be happy, for you are now reading the edited version. E-Rock hit “publish” instead of “save” this morning while he was hustling out the door to go to work. I was busy running in the Bosque (yes, really, I am trying to get in shape; better shape = more beer can be consumed, or so I hope) while this happened, so now I have finally gotten around to fixing things here. You’re welcome, Burquenos (and folks from points beyond). — Stoutmeister

Greetings New Mexico craft beer lovers, this is E-Rock, back to bring you this installment of The Week Ahead in Beer. This column is hand-crafted to keep you up to date on all of the seasonal beers, news, and events served up at breweries and taprooms in New Mexico.

E-Rock is always there for New Mexico when its citizens need to know what new craft beer is on tap.

E-Rock is always there for New Mexico when its citizens need to know what new craft beer is on tap.

This is the part of the column where I normally relate some big event or new trend that is going on in New Mexico’s highly regarded brewery scene. There was so much news and new beers to keep track of that I am already an hour late for work, and I still haven’t finished this column. In short, Marble won a gold medal for their Pilsner at the World Beer Cup, Second Street Brewery is now serving gluten-removed varieties of some of their most popular beers, and Tractor has a whole lot of new seasonals at both of their locations. For more news, continue reading while I run to work and procede to kiss my boss’ butt with reckless abandon. Cheers!

Right now in the Duke City, Chama River has new batches of Serenity Milk Stout (5.5% ABV, 20 IBU) and Marzen (4.9% ABV, 25 IBU) on tap. The Il Vicino Canteen is now serving Spiced Belgian Golden (9.2%, 10-ounce pours) and Cascade Pale Ale (6.1% ABV, 60 IBU). La Cumbre has released Kaylynn’s Last Stand, a rye lager. Marble has their India Wheat and Paddy McNitro on tap this week. Tractor’s Nob Hill Location is now serving Dry Hard Berry Cider (8.3% ABV), Berry Cider (7.6% ABV), Et Tu Brute Cider (8.2% ABV), C+C IPA (7.0% ABV), Cortijo Farmhouse Ale (6.7% ABV), L4 IPL (6.2% ABV), and Luna de los Muertos Stout (9.2% ABV). Tractor’s Wells Park Location is now serving IBL (6.0% ABV), Apple Cider (7.2% ABV), Jack The Sipper (8.5% ABV), and Javi Lager (5.0% ABV).

In the City Different, Santa Fe Brewing Company’s Small Batch Saturday features Leif’s Pomelo Plunge. Second Street Brewery has unveiled their newest creation, Pivotal IPA. They are now offering their India Pale Ale and Kolsch gluten-removed.

That is just a small sample of what is going on in the Land of Enchantment. Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of April 14.

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.

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: Berliner Weisse, IPA, Pale Ale, Red Ale, Belgian White. Back Alley Draft House has their full complement of house beers back on tap. Franz Solo and I both recommend the Berliner Weisse. In addition to their own brews, BADH is also serving Stone’s IRS on tap as well as Deschutes Hop Henge Imperial IPA and the Rogue XS Old Crustacean Barley Wine. There is still some of Stone’s Enjoy by 4.20 on tap.

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Milk Stout, Lakeside Summer Ale, Bankrupt Brown (Imperial Brown), Plaza Porter.

News: Blue Corn is currently serving a rotating Nitro beer.

Stoutmeister will be interviewing BC’s new brewer James Warren this coming week.

Blue Heron Brewery — (505) 579-9188

(Sun-Tues noon–6 p.m., Wed-Sat 10 a.m.–8 p.m.)

Beers: Amber’s Folly Amber Ale, Lava Rock Pale Ale, La Llorona Scottish Ale, Tarantula Trek Red Ale, Prieta Real Imperial Stout. The lineup is unchanged from last week, but when it’s a lineup as good as this one, no one wants it to change. The Scottish is a longtime Brew Crew favorite. Blue Heron also has many of its beers for sale in bombers.

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: The Last Straw Hefe, California Commons, Citra SMASH (single malt and single hop pale ale), Bosque’s Burnin’ Red. New head brewer John Bullard’s first Bosque creation, SMASH (single malt and single hop) pale ale with Maris Otter and Citra, is now on tap. The Last Straw is John’s second beer, and is the latest release in the Adoption Ale Series. Bosque’s Burnin’ Red is back from last year, new and improved. Pale Ryder and Driftwood Oatmeal Stout have replaced Old Bosky Porter as year-round offerings. Not surprisingly, Stoutmeister gives thumbs up to the Driftwood, which he described as “big and bold, almost like a hybrid of a dry stout and an oatmeal. It’s not for wimps.”

Bosque has a happy hour running from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and all day on Sunday. Look for a revamped menu and get $1 off your favorite pints.

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: Sol Rosenberg Ale, Renamed Roasted Rye Brown, Knight Rider Black Wheat, Sickle and Hammer Imperial Red (8.0% ABV), Rosemary’s Baby (4.3% ABV, a rosemary porter).

News: B3 will have Java the Hutt, a coffee ale, and Broken Berry Brown, a chocolate strawberry ale, on tap in the near future.

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

B3 will celebrate its second anniversary on Saturday from 5 p.m. until close. There will be live music, special giveaways, and four small-batch seasonals available that day only.

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

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

Beers: Cabrocito (Pale Ale), Papa Cabra (Double IPA), Acapulco Red, Panama Red, Acapulco Gold (Mexican Lager) (5.2% ABV), Hefe Weizen (5.5% ABV), Robusto Porter (5.9% ABV), Chupacabra IPA (7.2% ABV), Pastizal Oatmeal Stout (5.5% ABV), Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale (5.0% ABV), ESB (5.2%). First there was the Chupacabra IPA, then Papa Cabra Double IPA, and now Cazuela’s is pleased to announce the arrival of the newest addition to the Cabra family, the Cabrocito Pale Ale. Try them all. Stoutmeister and I had a chance to sample the Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale, 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.”

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.

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

Beers: Serenity Milk Stout (5.5% ABV, 20 IBU), Marzen (4.9% ABV, 25 IBU), Irish Red Ale (5.3% ABV, 25 IBU), Woodward SMASH Pale Ale. The Woodward SMASH is brewed with Amarillo hops and is a tribute to former assistant brewer Tim Woodward, who is now running the show at Turtle Mountain.

News: If there is anything you want to know about new head brewer Zach Guilmette, Stoutmeister interviewed him recently.

Comanche Creek Brewing Company — (575) 377-2337

(Wed-Sat noon–6 p.m.)

Beers: Touch-Me-Not IPA, Deadman Pale Ale, Homestead Amber Ale. According to Comanche Creek’s website: “Touch-Me-Not IPA is a tantalizing American style IPA flavored with Chinook, Centennial and Cascade hops. This bold IPA is named for the majestic mountain that overlooks our brewery!” Homestead Amber Ale was on hand when Stoutmeister and I visited Comanche Creek in 2012. The Homestead is often bottled and served at establishments in the Eagle Nest/Angel Fire area.

News: Comanche Creek is expanding their brewing operations to the benefit of all.

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: Ensor 14 (Flemish Brown Ale), Goya Stout (13.6% ABV), Manikin (Scottish ale, 3.9% ABV), Titian (Belgian golden strong ale, 8.2% ABV), Grunewald (imperial porter, 12% ABV), Dark Ryder (Belgian strong dark ale, 11% ABV), Bad Amber (Belgian amber, 6% ABV), Fiction IPA, Non-Fiction Pale Ale. Duel had this to say about their new Ensor 14: “Beginning with fine aromas of Raisin, Pecan and Apricot, this well-bodied beer transports you to the northern areas of Belgium. This well balanced sour style let’s you travel through the flavors of tart cherry and hints of chocolate. With the unbelievable ABV of 11%, you’ll find yourself wandering in thought and peering into the depths of this limited release beer.” Duel describes the Goya Stout (13.6% ABV) thusly: “Smokey pear on the nose. Ethereal mouth feel. A true journey for all the senses!”

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.

Eske’s Brew Pub — (575) 758-1517

(Mon–Thurs 4 p.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sun noon-10 p.m.)

Beers: Rio Red Ale, Naked Apricot Ale, Green Chile IPA, Chemist Ale, Seco Stout, Blonde Betty. The Green Chile IPA is popular with the tourist crowd. The Chemist Ale is one of the few gluten-free beers brewed in New Mexico.

High Desert Brewing Company — (575) 525-6752

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

Beers: Wheat Ale, Peach Wheat, Bohemian Pilsner, ESB, IPA, Rye Beer, Porter, Scottish Ale, Steam Beer, Barley Wine. The Pilsner, Rye Beer, and Scottish Ale rejoin the lineup this week, which makes it a good week as any to head over and try all these fresh batches of beer. High Desert Brewing Company is located at 1201 W. Hadley Ave. in Las Cruces.

Il Vicino Brewing Canteen — (505) 881-2737

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

Beers: Spiced Belgian Golden (9.2% ABV, 10-ounce pours), Cascade Pale Ale (6.1% ABV, 60 IBU), Panama Joe Coffee Stout (2013 GABF Gold Medal Winner), Biere de Mars (5.8% ABV), Munich Dunkel (6.0% ABV), Irish Red Ale, Southern Hemisphere Pale Ale (SHAle), Sweet Sandarine Porter. The Irish Red won its second consecutive Irish Red Challenge, which half the Crew held on St. Patrick’s Day.

News: Panama Joe took home a silver medal at the World Beer Cup last week.

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

(Hours Mon-Thu 11:30-8, Fri-Sun 11:30-10)

Beers: Hexa IPA (brewed with six different hops), Belgian Blonde, Red Ale, Honk Ale, American Brown, Dark Abbey, Black Out Stout, Helles Lager. Located at 471 South Hill Road in Bernalillo, Kaktus is one of the state’s newest breweries. It is a small, casual place, similar to Blue Heron in appearance and comfort factor. Stoutmeister recommends the ESB and any and all of their lager-style beers. 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 hosts live music by original songwriters every Monday night from 6-8 p.m., and they are also offering $3 pints every Monday.

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: Kaylynn’s Last Stand, Project Dank, Kettle Bell, Pogue Mahone (Irish-style Dry Stout), Breaking Bread (Doppelbock), Pecos Porter. Kaylynn’s Last Stand, a rye lager, is the last beer brewed by Kaylynn McKnight before she took over the head brewer position at Nexus Brewery. Jaramillo Strong, a British Strong Ale, has been renamed Kettle Bell. Stoutmeister recommends the Pogue Mahone, calling it the beer that Guinness should be.

News: Father Nelson should be on tap on Monday. There will be a little party at the brewery to celebrate and bottles will be on sale for those who can handle this hop bomb and want to take it home.

We congratulate La Cumbre Brewing Co. for becoming this year’s National IPA Champion. Project Dank scored the win by edging out 127 other IPAs from around the country, including the likes of the venerable Fat Head’s IBUsive.

La Cumbre’s next bottled release will be Father Nelson, a Triple IPA that Jeff Erway described as “monstrous.” They have a picture of the label on their Facebook page. Look for the new Red Ryeot, Project Dank, and Cafe Con Leche bottles at your local stores. A Slice of Hefen and Malpais Stout 16-ounce cans are also on store shelves.

Little Toad Creek Brewery & Distillery — (575) 956-6144

(Open Wednesday through Monday (closed Tuesday) from 11 a.m.-11 p.m., staying open late on Friday/Saturday.)

Beers: Helles Lager, IPA, Amber Ale, Robust Porter, Oatmeal Stout. These are all beers in the regular rotation. I will add seasonal brews as I learn about them.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

(Mon–Sat 1 p.m.–midnight, Sun 1 p.m.–10:30 p.m.)

Beers: India Wheat, Paddy McNitro, Double White, Imperial Red, Imperial Stout, Marble Reserve Ale. India Wheat has the citrusy, tropical hop character of an IPA with the refreshing quench of a wheat ale. Paddy McNitro is a stout rich in chocolate and molasses balanced by cold lager fermentation. This year’s batch of Imperial Stout finds a nice balance between the bourbon flavors from the barrels and the strong stout base, or so says Stoutmeister, who has already gone by multiple times to enjoy this powerful elixir. He also recommends the Imperial Red, which is not as overly hopped as years past.

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

News: This week Marble was presented the gold medal at the World Beer Cup for their Pilsner!

Events: Marble’s Downtown Pub will host music performances by Shawn James and the Shapeshifters on Wednesday, Cafe Bomba from 7-10 p.m. on Thursday, Diamond Down String Band from 8-11 p.m. on Friday, Boris McCutcheon and the Salt Licks from 8-11 p.m. on Saturday, and Cali Shaw from 3-6 p.m. on Sunday.

Marble will host their Sixth-Anniversary Party on Tuesday. They will be tapping the two specialty brewed brew club beers including a Belgo-American Style Triple enhanced with Brettanomyces and a Barrel Aged Barley Wine. This is going to be a very fun event that will also feature the music of Le Chat Lunatique from 6-9 p.m.

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

Mimbres Valley Brewing Company — (575) 544-2739 (Deming)

(Deming Brewery has already closed)

(Las Cruces Taproom Hours: Mon–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–9 p.m.)

Beers: Pancho Villa Stout, Silver Spike IPA, Beer Goggles, Light Lager. Sad news from Southern NM as Deming’s Mimbres Valley is closing its doors. The taproom in Las Cruces will stay open till they run out of beer. Make sure to raise your pints in honor of a fallen brother.

New Mexico Craft Brewing Co. — (505) 426-6079 (brewery), 203-521-7908 (pub)

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

Beers: Imperial Stout, RyePA, IPA, X Hop Pale, Brown. I am told that the Imperial Stout is well worth the trip to Las Vegas. Business has been nuts over at NMCBC, so beers are changing out rapidly on tap.

News: NMCBC’s new pub, The Old Town Draft House in Las Vegas, is open for business. They have 10 NMCBC taps and some cider. At least for a while, their hours are high noon until close, seven days a week.

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

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

Beers: Air Beer (Irish Red), Simcoe Session IPA (4.8% ABV), Barley Wine, Chocolate Porter, Imperial Cream. A dollar from every glass of Air Beer Irish Red is going to the local lung association. Imperial Cream is high in alcohol content and flavor. It is one of my favorite beers and pairs well with chicken and cornbread waffles when you are up for a decadent brunch.

Cask: Nexus will be featuring the Air Beer on cask this week.

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.

Roosevelt Brewing — (575) 226-2739

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

Beers: Eleanor’s Blonde Ale (5.5% ABV, 21 IBU), Portales Pale Ale (5.5% ABV, 45 IBU), Clovis Point IPA, Dirt Town Brown Ale (4.0% ABV, 23 IBU), Happy Heifer Hefeweizen (4.9% ABV, 17 IBU), Big Stick Stout, Cole Espresso Porter. Roosevelt Brewing is located at 201 S. Main Street in Portales. Our own Porter Pounder stopped by while working on a film crew that was shooting in Portales and reviewed several of Roosevelt’s beers.

Events: Wednesday night is Open Mic Night at Roosevelt Brewing.

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

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

Beers: Red, Rattlesnake IPA, Rio Negro Milk Stout (7.6% ABV), Barb’s Barrel Hefeweisen (5.5% ABV), Gold Rush Pilsen (6.8% ABV). The current batch of Rio Negro Milk Stout offers up a unique hybrid of the creamy milk stout and more of an Irish dry stout. And a big welcome back to the Gold Rush, a medal winner at the New Mexico Cup last year.

News: Sandia Chile Grill will be helping Desert Water Winery and Brewery open soon just outside Artesia.

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

(Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., closed on Sunday)

Beers: Leif’s Pomelo Plunge, Irish Red, Black IPA, Saison ’88. This week, Small Batch Saturday features Leif’s Pomelo Plunge. SFBC’S Irish Red Ale is officially on tap and on the shelf. The Saison ’88 was brewed in honor of SFBC’s 25th anniversary. It is also available for sale in cans just about everywhere you can find SFBC products.

Events: $1 Off Growler Refills in the Tasting Room on Mondays. $2 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 7 p.m. at the Tasting Room as well. On Thursday, there will be $1 Off Growler Refills at the Eldorado Taphouse.

Events: On Saturday SFBC wil be hosting the Gypsy Bazaar at their tasting room with lots of vendors, food by Dr. Fieldgoods, and music performances including one of my bands, Sadaqah. I hop to see you there.

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: Pivotal IPA, Civil Rye, Jordy’s Irish Red, St George IPA, Rod’s Best Bitter, Kidder Special Bitter, Centennial Pale Ale, Kolsch, IPA. Pivotal IPA (6.9% ABV, 68 IBU, 1.062 OG) is the newest addition to SSB’s stable of IPA recipes. This one showcases some of the latest-and-greatest of the new hops to come out of the Pacific NW – including the precious Citra and Mosaic, along with a couple of longtime brewer’s favorites. A full mouthful of floral, herbal, and fruity hop flavors followed by a clean and dry finish that disappears into thin air – only to leave you wanting more.

News: After 18 years of brewing beer, SSB has some exiting news for our patrons that are gluten sensitive.  After several months of experimentation they are happy to announce that two of their very popular flagships, the India Pale Ale and Kolsch, are now available as gluten-removed beers to their lineup. These beers are in fact made with barley malt, but are crafted in a way that de-natures the gluten during fermentation. Then to insure results, the finished beers are tested at a TTB and American Society of Brewing Chemists certified laboratory. The results are currently showing gluten levels of 10ppm, or less. This process has no discernable impact on the flavor or body of your beer.

A note: The recently adopted FDA standard for “gluten free” products is 20ppm. While the IPA and Kolsch that SSB is serving is greatly reduced in gluten and below this threshold, results for diagnosed Celiac consumers can vary from person-to-person, and consumption should be approached cautiously.

Events: 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!

The Stumbling Steer — (505) 792-7805

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

Beers: Blonde, Pale, IPA, Red, Brown, Double IPA, Imperial Stout. 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 Crew has already made two separate visits to the Steer to review the beer and food. We enjoyed it all.

Taos Ale House — (575) 758-5522

(Mon–Fri 4 p.m.-10 p.m., Sat noon-10 p.m., Sunday noon-8 p.m.)

Beers: Mogul IPA, Ale House Dirty Brown, Simple Porter. TAH also has a few guest beers on tap as well.

News: Mogul IPA will be back on tap next week.

Construction continues at TAH. They are partnering with The Burger Stand out of Lawrence and Topeka, Kan., to bring you the best burgers and fries you’ll ever eat. They are putting together a pretty sweet bottle and tap list for when they open with the restaurant.

Taos Mesa Brewing — (575) 758-1900

(Daily 11 a.m. – close)

Beers: Amarillo Rojo, Big Brown, Wheeler Peak Wheat, Fall Down Brown, Hopper IPA, Lunch Pale Ale, Notorious ESB, Superstitious Stout. The lineup is unchanged from last week. Stoutmeister recommends the Superstitious Stout (naturally) and Brandon enjoyed the Notorious ESB. There are also four guest taps featuring Marble’s IPA and Wildflower Wheat, plus Santa Fe’s Happy Camper IPA and Irish Red Ale.

Three Rivers Brewery — (505) 325-6605

Beers: India Pale Ale, SHIPA Falconer’s, Papa Bear’s Golden Honey Ale, Animas Pale Ale, Red Apple Flyer Cider, Strawberry Wheat, German Pilsner, Chaco Nut Brown, Double Barrel Amber Ale, Longshot Light, La Plata Pale Ale, 3 Rivers Scottish Ale, Arroyo Amber Ale, Main St. Irish Stout. The Falconer’s is a single-hop IPA made with Falconer’s Flight. It’s available only at the taproom. The Arroyo Amber Ale (5.0% ABV) is the local favorite. It is copper-red in color, medium bodied, and is brewed with caramel malt with a nice hop balance. The Chaco Nut Brown and Main St. Irish Stout are the other recent additions to tap.

Cask: There is nothing on cask at present.

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 1:00 p.m.)

Beers at Nob Hill: Dry Hard Berry Cider (8.3% ABV), Berry Cider (7.6% ABV), Et Tu Brute Cider (8.2% ABV), C+C IPA (7.0% ABV), Cortijo Farmhouse Ale (6.7% ABV), L4 IPL (6.2% ABV), Luna de los Muertos Stout (9.2% ABV), Barley Wine (9.5% ABV).

Beers at Wells Park only: IBL (6.0% ABV), Apple Cider (7.2% ABV), Jack The Sipper (8.5% ABV), Javi Lager (5.0% ABV), Maibach Lager (6.2% ABV), Easy Rider IPA (6.0% ABV), ESB (6.0% ABV), Sticky Fingers Brown Ale (7.6% ABV), Adebisi Black Lager (5.2% ABV). 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). The Crew highly recommends the Luna De Los Muertos, it’s one of our favorite imperial stouts in town. It’s not barrel-aged, but it still packs a punch. There are so many beers on tap at both Tractor locations that they will cover all types of beer lovers.

Events: Every second and fourth Thursday of the month, Tractor welcomes a band to their Wells Park Tap Room for a music series they call pLoud music. This week, Tractor will feature April Barreiro starting at 8 p.m.

Every Wednesday night starting at 7 p.m. Tractor hosts a Cards Against Humanity night. You can borrow a Tractor deck from the bar or buy your own!

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: Hop Duster (5.2% ABV, 50 IBU), Anniversary Brown Ale (8.7% ABV, 45 IBU), Irish Red (4.8% ABV, 25 IBUs), Irish Stout (4.5% ABV, 40 IBUs on nitrogen), Turbo Pilz, Belgian Dubbel, Steam, Red Rye, Triple Play Pale Ale, Cabo Lager, Low-Gluten Amber, Hybrid IPA. The Anniversary Brown Ale is the first beer created by head brewer Tim Woodward for TMBC, and it was brewed to celebrate TMBC’s 15th anniversary. Naturally, TMBC’s Irish Red (4.8% ABV, 25 IBUs) and Irish Stout (4.5%, 40 IBUs on nitrogen) were tapped to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day last month. Get them before they run out.

Cask: TMBC is currently featuring the Triple Play Pale Ale on cask.

The Wellhead — (575) 746-0640

Beers: Wellhead Pale Ale (5.3% ABV), Roughneck Red Ale (4.8% ABV), Roustabout Porter (4.8% ABV), Cisco Canyon Blonde, Indian Basin Wheat. The Wellhead is located in Artesia. The Roustabout Porter is available in the summer months replacing the stout. The brown-colored porter was originally developed in the 18th Century for the working class or ‘porters’ of London. The malt and hop ingredients are simple and well-balanced. The Roughneck Red is as sweet malty Irish Red ale. The Chinook, Cascade, and Mount Hood hops create a wonderful aroma and flavor combination. Try this microbrew with spicy dishes or steak and the turtle cheesecake dessert.

* * * *

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

Cheers!

— E-Rock

This edition of Beer Notes might count as the most random grab-bag of stuff ever. The news has started to pile up on our doorstep again, now it’s just a matter of finding that precious thing — time — in which to go more in-depth. Until then, well, here’s a summary of all the fun stuff.

We totally borrowed this photo of Panama Joe coffee stout from Il Vicino's Facebook page. We hope they don't mind, but if they do, we'll make it up to them by coming by and purchasing lots of pints of this wonderful beer.

We totally borrowed this photo of Panama Joe coffee stout from Il Vicino’s Facebook page. We hope they don’t mind, but if they do, we’ll make it up to them by coming by and purchasing lots of pints of this wonderful beer.

Kickin’ it at the World (Beer) Cup

A good chunk of New Mexico’s brewers and other staffers were in Denver last week for the annual Craft Brewers Conference. While they posted lots of pretty pictures (OK, mostly goofy) on Facebook, showing us all the awesome time they were having and all the great beers they got to try, there was a beer competition underway.

The World Beer Cup handed out its hardware late Saturday night and three New Mexico breweries brought medals home. It wasn’t quite the haul compared to the Great American Beer Festival back in October, when eight medals were earned. Still, the WBC is nothing to sneeze at, especially since unlike GABF it has beer entries from around the world, not just the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Marble’s Pilsner took home gold in the Kellerbier or Zwickelbier category, beating out Viamelia from Italy and Wilderer Dunkel from Germany. Anytime you can top the Germans in what is essentially a German beer category, it’s a cause for celebration.

Il Vicino’s Panama Joe coffee stout, a gold-medal winner at GABF, took home silver in the Coffee Beer category, which had a whopping 109 entries. The gold went to Big Shot Espresso Stout from Twisted Pine Brewing in Boulder, Colo., while the bronze went home with Mocha Machine from Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, Calif.

If there was a surprise medalist it was probably Cazuelas’ Beer for My Horses, which took home the bronze in the Oatmeal Stout category out of 57 entrants. Gold went to Sless’ Oatmeal Stout from Iron Springs Pub and Brewery in Fairfax, Calif., while Pure Imagination from Verboten Brewing in Loveland, Colo., earned silver.

Congrats to all the winners. We will come by and drink them all up soon.

If anyone needs us next week, we'll be on the patio at Second Street in Santa Fe.

If anyone needs us next week, we’ll be on the patio at Second Street in Santa Fe.

Brewery interviews in 3 … 2 … 1 …

I have personally been on a roll lately with all of these new brewery and new brewer interviews. I thought it was about to all slow down, but silly me, the beer news never really stops.

First up will either be the new brewer at Blue Corn, James Warren, or the members of the board of directors at the Los Alamos Beer Co-op. James has taken the reins at Blue Corn from John Bullard (now at Bosque, in case you forgot). Hopefully we will be able to meet up this week during the daytime (still have to cover those wily Isotopes at night) or early next week. The LABC members were of course proud to announce their new brewing system, purchased from Bosque, as they continue their quest to open the first brewery in Los Alamos hopefully by this fall. I will be getting the full story on just what is a beer co-op and their plans for the future.

Next week will also take the Crew to Santa Fe to meet with Second Street brewer Rod Tweet and his staff. They have sent us some exciting news about some future brews and other endeavors. We never pass up a chance to go to Second Street and sample some beers out on their awesome patio.

Oh, yeah, and we teased another new brewery opening here in Albuquerque. West side residents will have a new option with the opening of Pi Brewing Co., which will be owned and operated by the same folks at Nicky V’s Pizzeria, which is located on the east side of Coors just north of Irving. The brewery will be next door to the pizzeria. We will always approve the union of pizza and beer. Hopefully we can set up an interview time next week and try some of their beers, talk about the operation, and more.

In addition to all that we have (finally) touched base with the guys over at Boxing Bear Brewing, which will be opening in the near future in the old Elliott’s Bar location near Alameda and Corrales. We don’t have a specific interview time set up yet, as we want them to get to a point where they can take a breather from all the hard work they are doing to set up their operation.

If there are any other future breweries who want to get in touch, email us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com or contact us via Facebook or Twitter.

And now the random stuff

  • Good luck to the Babes in Brewland, who will be having their brewing session at Tractor Wells Park tonight (Monday). We look forward to seeing what the ladies create on the pilot system for the upcoming Battle of the Beer Geeks event that kicks off ABQ Beer Week on Thursday, May 22 at Wells Park.
  • Speaking of ABQ Beer Week, if you are not following it on Facebook, you’re missing out on all the event announcements that are popping up every day. We’re a little over a month away from 10 of the best days of the year. Don’t worry, even though I’ll miss part of it while attending a wedding in Chicago, the Crew will still have full daily coverage, including daily previews of all the events, and recaps and live coverage from all seven of us. And I’ll drink plenty of beer in Chicago to make up for all that I’m gonna miss here.
  • There’s no party like a beer party, part one: La Cumbre is having a release party for its monstrous Father Nelson triple IPA on April 21. There will be bombers available for purchase and they will have it on tap as well. It’s like a hophead’s happy day. Cali Shaw will provide the music, and there will be special mug club discounts all night.
  • There’s no party like a beer party, part two: If all the fun at La Cumbre wasn’t enough, the following day at Marble you can celebrate their sixth anniversary. Le Chat Lunatique will be taking the stage while both Barley Wine and Triple will be released. It will also be time for Marble mug club membership renewals.
  • The Crew is having another brewing session this weekend, though it will be at Porter Pounder’s place instead of at a brewery. He has managed to get a hold of some wild hops and we want to brew with them while they’re still relatively fresh. Our plan (for now) is a black IPA, but we’ll see how things transpire.
  • Speaking of brews, Brandon has bottled his Coffee Chocolate Porter. In a few months we will be popping those open during a grill session. Brandon will have a full story about his latest brew this week.
  • And yes, I know that the beer guide to Isotopes Park did not happen before last Friday’s opener. Sorry about that, but I wasn’t able to get in touch with their concessions director. If I have time before a game this week, I will wander the concourse and write down all the beers I see there. There are a few hidden gems I have already spotted amid the usual suspects from the macrobreweries.

Well, that’s all for now. At least I hope it is. I always feel like I forgot a story or two while writing these notebooks. Until next time, enjoy your pints. I’ve got baseball to cover, so no beer till late at night for me. Don’t worry, I’ll survive.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Editor’s note: Franz Solo actually meant to release this review to coincide with GoT’s season premier last weekend. His work and mine got in the way. These things happen. Enjoy it before episode two debuts this Saturday. — Stoutmeister

Amid the ludicrous and interminable weather changes that are called “spring” in the Land of Enchantment, comes something to keep us all happily indoors — the return of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Brewery Ommegang of Cooperstown, N.Y., has continued their series of ales brewed in honor of this empire of awesome, and I had the chance to taste their latest offering: Fire and Blood.

Brewery Ommegang's latest entry in their Game of Thrones series of beers is Fire and Blood.

Brewery Ommegang’s latest entry in their Game of Thrones series of beers is the aptly-named Fire and Blood.

The inclusion of three distinct labels is excellent in my opinion. How can one not appreciate a fire-breathing dragon? The aroma on this beer is sweet and spicy, with definite Belgian characteristics. The head remains superb from start to finish, glorious and creamy all round. The flavor is warm and dry, with a crisp middle offering hints like green apple and banana walnut, with a bit of dried, bitter plum at the end.

As the beer warms, more IPA-style qualities and bite come through, but in the end, there is just a slight hint of fire in the beer, which is my one main gripe. Honestly, if you’re going to use dragons on your label, I expect, nay, I DEMAND more fire! That being said, the flavor and balance of this ale is very good indeed. I count four main styles represented in this one ale: strong red and Belgian qualities, crispness like a good pilsner, and a bit of chile to round it out.

Of the two beers in this series I have tried (Take the Black Stout and this), I definitely enjoyed this one more than the former, which left me a bit wanting (Untappd rating aside). In terms of beers, this is a wonderful experiment which just happens to bear the name of one of my absolute favorite series of novels and television adaptations. I rated this a 4.5 on Untappd, wanting only a bit more fire either from spice or alcohol content to put it in the upper echelon of beers. This is not one for everyone — there will be those who do not appreciate the complexity of multiple levels of flavor — but I for one say drink and be merry for as they say: “Winter is Coming!”

Prost!

— Franz Solo

It has been a while since the Crew got a chance to visit a new brewery in its construction phase. E-Rock and I toured Tractor’s Wells Park location a few months back before it was all up and running, but there is always something a little different about touring a brand-new operation. Fortunately, after a few weeks of constantly noting that new breweries were coming without finding out much beyond their names and (if lucky) their addresses, I managed to make contact with the owners of the new Red Door Brewing Co.

The Red Door Brewing owners got Stoutmeister (in the Bayern jersey at center) into the group photo. From left, Frank, Wayne, Jeff, and Matt.

The Red Door Brewing owners got Stoutmeister (in the Bayern jersey at center) into the group photo. From left, Frank, Wayne, Jeff, and Matt.

With the rest of the Crew either working (E-Rock, Porter Pounder, Brandon, Mrs. Solo) or on vacation (Shilling, he earned it, even if he tortured us all with photos from Left Hand’s taproom) or too sick to drink (poor, poor Franz Solo), I had to trek over to Red Door by myself. With my trusty digital recorder in hand and the old cell phone camera ready to go, I met up with four of the five owners of Red Door and got the full tour of the still under-construction space.

I will say right off the bat that if the space comes together like they hope, this will be an impressive brewery operation. They have considerable space for the brewing equipment in one part of the building, a taproom that is bigger than anyone else in the back, and even a patio area outside. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the team of Wayne Martinez (brewer), Frank Holloway (taproom manager), Matt Biggs (business manager), Jeff Hart (sales manager), and Rob Stroud (brewer) are all bringing different skills to bear that should help keep the process on track.

“It’s very compartmentalized right now,” Matt said. “Though right now everybody is doing whatever they can to get us toward opening. But once we are up and fully running, everyone will branch out into their specific role.”

The brewing equipment was all purchased from COOP Ale Works in Oklahoma City, which recently upgraded to a larger system to keep the thirsty denizens of Oklahoma’s capital satiated. It may not be new and shiny, but it is battle-tested equpiment that has been used to brew quality beers for many years. Wayne said the eventual goal is to produce about 2,500 barrels a year.

“(We have) 15-barrel fermenters, 15-barrel servers, three seven-barrel grundies, and then the two 40-barrel (fermenters) … we don’t have a need for the capacity initially, so we’ll use them as hot and cold liquor tanks to start,” Wayne said. “On this, if we get the 40s in as fermenters, we could probably do something around 2,500. We definitely won’t do that this first half-year. If we can do 600, 800, somewhere around in there, that would be really good.”

As for Red Door’s brewing philosophy, Wayne said they plan to keep six regular beers on tap covering all ends of the spectrum, lighter, hoppier, darker, and the like. They do not plan to focus on overly hoppy or overly malty beers, nor go overboard with any trendy styles like Belgian Sours or anything of the sort. The goal is to make a place where all beer lovers can find a pint to enjoy.

Right now the focus is on getting the brewery itself ready to go. The building at 1001 Candelaria NE can currently be broken down into three parts, from south to north. The south end that faces the street is office space. Some of it will be kept for the staff, but some of it will be transformed to become a part of the brewhouse that occupies the center portion, taking up about 4,800 square feet. That will require some ceilings to be raise and some walls to be knocked out. There will also be a beer lab, with Red Door working on even harvesting and propagating its own yeast.

Eventually this unused parking lot on the west side will become the outdoor patio.

Eventually this unused parking lot on the west side will become the outdoor patio.

As for the north end of the building, that will be the taproom. The bar will dominate the south wall, with bathrooms on the north end (four of the Red Door owners are married, so they have already promised a large and comfortable women’s restroom; you can thank them when it opens, ladies). In between will be plenty of tables, possibly with a couple of pool tables along the east wall, and the west wall will open to what is currently a fenced-off parking lot. This will be transformed into a patio that, come the late afternoon, should offer up beautiful views of those New Mexico sunsets we all know and love.

“Now this is what I’m really excited for, personally,” “We’re going to do an oversized patio out here. Over there in that corner (southeast), we’re going to have a little place for a band to set up. We’re not going to go too crazy with loud music.

“At sunset it’s actually perfect right here, the view (of the west mesa).”

There is also a drive-in area on the north side of the building where food trucks will be encouraged to park, continuing the wonderful symbiotic relationship between breweries, food trucks, and thirsty/hungry customers.

The rest of the smaller parking lot on the west side will serve as employee parking, freeing up the larger lot on the east side for customers. Parking can and always will be an issue at a number of Albuquerque-area breweries, but the hope is that the lot, when redrawn, will accommodate a full crowd for the taproom.

“Well, luckily here, we think we’ll be able to get, after he redraws it, upwards of 60 to 70 parking spaces,” Frank said.

The origins of Red Door were born out of friendship and a mutual desire to turn brewing from a hobby into an actual business.

“I’ve known Matt for years,” Wayne said. “I got into home brewing, like most people, maybe four or five years ago. I started taking it really seriously, built a (home brew) system, got really into that. That’s when I realized I didn’t want to do my job anymore. So I quit, got a job serving at Marble on the west side, then got into the back (at Marble downtown). It was pretty much late last year, beginning of this year, that I met Frank.”

Frank, who had plenty of experience managing bars and spent time working for a distribution company, had been carefully watching the growth of the local brewing scene.

“For like the past four years solidly I’ve really wanted to open a brewery, that’s been my dream,” Frank said. “I’ve talked to a couple people about opening it, things fell apart, but then I heard that these guys wanted to open a brewery.

“So Matt was in the process of running for City Council and he said, ‘We’ll talk about it right after my wedding. I’m interested, but after my wedding.’ So the day after his wedding I called him. I’m like, ‘So, you want to open a brewery?’ “

Matt shook his head while the others laughed. “I’d hoped you’d wait a a little bit,” he said.

“You said right after your wedding,” Frank countered with a smile. “You could have been more specific, said give me a week.”

The high ceilings at Red Door will eventually give the brew staff room to add even bigger fermenters.

The high ceilings at Red Door will eventually give the brew staff room to add even bigger fermenters.

The project moved forward from there, with each member helping to fulfill a specific need for the brewery. Wayne and Rob will handle the brewing, Frank will manage the taproom, and Matt and Jeff will handle the business side.

The Red Door staff is not going to commit to a certain date for when they want to open, but they hope it will be sometime this summer. They are fully aware that even when the construction is done and the brewhouse is ready, there are still all the processes a brewery has to go through as far as state and city regulations and permits.

“Our opening day is like, uh, we want this (date), but we don’t really know,” Frank said. “It’s not all in our hands.”

In the end, beer is not something to be rushed, and thus neither should a brewery be rushed into opening. Red Door is taking a deliberate, methodical approach and that should benefit everyone in the long run. They have a building with plenty of space and potential. They have their brewing equipment. Now it’s just a matter of getting it all ready to go and getting all the licensing and permits in place. If it all comes together like they plan, Albuquerque will have another top-notch option to quench its thirst for quality craft beer.

Welcome to the NM brewing community, Red Door. I speak on behalf of the entire Crew when I say we look forward to the day in the near future when we unwind with a pint on the patio while watching one of those epic New Mexico sunsets.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Greetings New Mexico craft beer lovers, this is E-Rock, back to bring you this installment of The Week Ahead in Beer. This column is hand-crafted to keep you up to date on all of the seasonal beers, news, and events served up at breweries and taprooms in New Mexico. (The lateness with which this appears online is my fault. Sorry. — Stoutmeister)

E-Rock is always there for New Mexico when its citizens need to know what new craft beer is on tap.

E-Rock is always there for New Mexico when its citizens need to know what new craft beer is on tap.

Preparations for ABQ Beer Week 2014 have already begun in the Albuquerque metro area. It seems only a few new seasonals are making their way to breweries and taprooms around the city this week. Instead, creative energies are being spent on wowing craft beer aficionados for Beer Week next month. This does not mean that we have a lack of great beers on tap in Burque. In fact, multiple award-winning beers are being served around town, including La Cumbre’s nationally recognized Project Dank and Il Vicino Canteen’s GABF gold medal-winner, Panama Joe Coffee Stout. Victory has never tasted so good.

Right now in the Duke City, Bosque Brewing Company has The Last Straw Hefe as well as a new California Commons on tap this week. The Il Vicino Canteen is now serving Summer Pale Ale (almost gone, get it while it’s pouring!) and Panama Joe Coffee Stout (2013 GABF Gold Medal Winner). Project Dank is back on tap and in bottles at La Cumbre. Tractor is now serving their C+C IPA (7.0% ABV) and Maibach Lager (6.2% ABV) at their Wells Park location, and they are pouring the Chocolate Milk Stout at their Nob Hill taproom.

In the City Different, Santa Fe Brewing Company’s Small Batch Saturday features Duskin’s Maibock this week. Second Street Brewery is now pouring Civil Rye.

That is just a small sample of what is going on in the Land of Enchantment. Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of April 7.

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.

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: Berliner Weisse, IPA, Pale Ale, Red Ale, Belgian White. Back Alley Draft House has their full complement of house beers back on tap. Franz Solo and I both recommend the Berliner Weisse. In addition to their own brews, BADH is also serving Stone’s IRS on tap as well Deschutes Hop Henge Imperial IPA and the Rogue XS Old Crustacean Barley Wine. There is still some of Stone’s Enjoy by 4.20 on tap.

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Milk Stout, Lakeside Summer Ale, Bankrupt Brown (Imperial Brown), Plaza Porter.

News: Blue Corn is currently serving a rotating Nitro beer.

Blue Heron Brewery — (505) 579-9188

(Sun-Tues noon–6 p.m., Wed-Sat 10 a.m.–8 p.m.)

Beers: Amber’s Folly Amber Ale, Lava Rock Pale Ale, La Llorona Scottish Ale, Tarantula Trek Red Ale, Prieta Real Imperial Stout. The lineup is unchanged from last week, but when it’s a lineup as good as this one, no one wants it to change. The Scottish is a longtime Brew Crew favorite. Blue Heron also has many of its beers for sale in bombers.

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: The Last Straw Hefe, California Commons, Citra SMASH (single malt and single hop pale ale), Bosque’s Burnin’ Red. New head brewer John Bullard’s first Bosque creation, SMASH (single malt and single hop) pale ale with Maris Otter and Citra, is now on tap. The Last Straw is John’s second beer, and is the latest release in the Adoption Ale Series. Bosque’s Burnin’ Red is back from last year, new and improved. Pale Ryder and Driftwood Oatmeal Stout have replaced Old Bosky Porter as year-round offerings. Not surprisingly, Stoutmeister gives thumbs up to the Driftwood, which he described as “big and bold, almost like a hybrid of a dry stout and an oatmeal. It’s not for wimps.”

News: Each of Bosque’s staple offerings are available except for Brewer’s Boot Amber Ale, which will be back on tap late next week.

Bosque has a happy hour running from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and all day on Sunday. Look for a revamped menu and get $1 off your favorite pints.

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: Sol Rosenberg Ale, Renamed Roasted Rye Brown, Knight Rider Black Wheat, Sickle and Hammer Imperial Red (8.0% ABV), Rosemary’s Baby (4.3% ABV, a rosemary porter).

News: B3 will have Java the Hutt, a coffee ale, and Broken Berry Brown, a chocolate strawberry ale, on tap in the near future.

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.

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

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

Beers: Cabrocito (Pale Ale), Papa Cabra (Double IPA), Acapulco Red, Panama Red, Acapulco Gold (Mexican Lager) (5.2% ABV), Hefe Weizen (5.5% ABV), Robusto Porter (5.9% ABV), Chupacabra IPA (7.2% ABV), Pastizal Oatmeal Stout (5.5% ABV), Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale (5.0% ABV), ESB (5.2%). First there was the Chupacabra IPA, then Papa Cabra Double IPA, and now Cazuela’s is pleased to announce the arrival of the newest addition to the Cabra family, the Cabrocito Pale Ale. Try them all. Stoutmeister and I had a chance to sample the Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale, 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.”

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

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

Beers: Irish Red Ale (5.3% ABV, 25 IBU), Big Head Red (7.3% ABV, 120 IBU, $5.50 Pints), India White Elephant (7.2% ABV, 70 IBU), Cacao Stout (5.5% ABV, 20 IBU), Woodward SMASH Pale Ale. Chama had this to say about Big Head Red: “Named after the head brewer’s 100 lb. canine and its massive cranium, both the dog and the beer are big, bold and one of a kind. This hoppy red ale has dominant pine and tropical hop flavors with a sharp yet satisfying bitterness.” Chama also had this to say about India White Elephant: “Our India White-style ale, produced with big additions of aromatic hops and malted wheat, has a hazy golden hue and a tongue-coating hop tang that creates the perfect pre-spring drinking experience.” The Woodward SMASH is brewed with Amarillo hops and is a tribute to former assistant brewer Tim Woodward, who is now running the show at Turtle Mountain.

News: If there is anything you want to know about new head brewer Zach Guilmette, Stoutmeister interviewed him last week.

The Cacao Stout back on tap for a limited time. When that empties, Chama River will be tapping a Marzen (4.9% ABV, 25 IBU).

Comanche Creek Brewing Company — (575) 377-2337

(Wed-Sat noon–6 p.m.)

Beers: Touch-Me-Not IPA, Deadman Pale Ale, Homestead Amber Ale. According to Comanche Creek’s website: “Touch-Me-Not IPA is a tantalizing American style IPA flavored with Chinook, Centennial and Cascade hops. This bold IPA is named for the majestic mountain that overlooks our brewery!” Homestead Amber Ale was on hand when Stoutmeister and I visited Comanche Creek in 2012. The Homestead is often bottled and served at establishments in the Eagle Nest/Angel Fire area.

News: Comanche Creek is expanding their brewing operations to the benefit of all.

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: Ensor 14 (Flemish Brown Ale), Goya Stout (13.6% ABV), Manikin (Scottish ale, 3.9% ABV), Titian (Belgian golden strong ale, 8.2% ABV), Grunewald (imperial porter, 12% ABV), Dark Ryder (Belgian strong dark ale, 11% ABV), Bad Amber (Belgian amber, 6% ABV), Fiction IPA, Non-Fiction Pale Ale. Duel had this to say about their new Ensor 14: “Beginning with fine aromas of Raisin, Pecan and Apricot, this well-bodied beer transports you to the northern areas of Belgium. This well balanced sour style let’s you travel through the flavors of tart cherry and hints of chocolate. With the unbelievable ABV of 11%, you’ll find yourself wandering in thought and peering into the depths of this limited release beer.” Duel describes the Goya Stout (13.6% ABV) thusly: “Smokey pear on the nose. Ethereal mouth feel. A true journey for all the senses!”

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.

Eske’s Brew Pub — (575) 758-1517

(Mon–Thurs 4 p.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sun noon-10 p.m.)

Beers: Rio Red Ale, Naked Apricot Ale, Green Chile IPA, Chemist Ale, Seco Stout, Blonde Betty. The Green Chile IPA is popular with the tourist crowd. The Chemist Ale is one of the few gluten-free beers brewed in New Mexico.

High Desert Brewing Company — (575) 525-6752

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

Beers: Wheat Ale, Peach Wheat, Octoberfest, Anniversary IPA, ESB, American Pale Ale, IPA, Hefeweizen, Steam Beer, Porter, Barley Wine. The Porter rejoins the lineup this week, which makes it a good week as any to head over and try all these fresh batches of beer. High Desert Brewing Company is located at 1201 W. Hadley Ave. in Las Cruces.

Il Vicino Brewing Canteen — (505) 881-2737

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

Beers: Summer Pale Ale (almost gone, get it while it’s pouring!), Panama Joe Coffee Stout (2013 GABF Gold Medal Winner), Biere de Garde (10% ABV, $5 10-oz), Biere de Mars (5.8% ABV), Munich Dunkel (6.0% ABV), Irish Red Ale, Southern Hemisphere Pale Ale (SHAle), Black Hops IPA, Rye PA, Sweet Sandarine Porter. The Irish Red won its second consecutive Irish Red Challenge, which half the Crew held on St. Patrick’s Day.

Cask: The Canteen will have their Irish Red on cask on Thursday.

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

(Hours Mon-Thu 11:30-8, Fri-Sun 11:30-10)

Beers: Hexa IPA (brewed with six different hops), Belgian Blonde, Red Ale, Honk Ale, American Brown, Dark Abbey, Black Out Stout, Helles Lager. Located at 471 South Hill Road in Bernalillo, Kaktus is one of the state’s newest breweries. It is a small, casual place, similar to Blue Heron in appearance and comfort factor. Stoutmeister recommends the ESB and any and all of their lager-style beers. 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 hosts live music by original songwriters every Monday night from 6-8 p.m., and they are also offering $3 pints every Monday.

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: Project Dank, Kettle Bell, Lazy Sunday, Pogue Mahone (Irish-style Dry Stout), Breaking Bread (Doppelbock), Pecos Porter, Southern Cross Pale Ale. Lazy Sunday is a sessionable IPA. Jaramillo Strong, a British Strong Ale, has been renamed Kettle Bell. The Southern Cross is made entirely with hops from the Southern Hemisphere, giving it a very unique flavor that was a big hit upon its release. Stoutmeister recommends the Pogue Mahone, calling it the beer that Guinness should be.

News: Project Dank is back on tap and in bottles at La Cumbre. This popular beer won’t be available long, so get some while you can.

We congratulate La Cumbre Brewing Co. for becoming this year’s National IPA Champion. Project Dank scored the win by edging out 127 other IPAs from around the country, including the likes of the venerable Fat Head’s IBUsive.

La Cumbre’s next bottled release will be Father Nelson, a Triple IPA that Jeff Erway described as “monstrous.” They have a picture of the label on their Facebook page. Look for the new Red Ryeot, Project Dank, and Cafe Con Leche bottles at your local stores. A Slice of Hefen and Malpais Stout 16-ounce cans are also on store shelves.

Little Toad Creek Brewery & Distillery — (575) 956-6144

(Open Wednesday through Monday (closed Tuesday) from 11 a.m.-11 p.m., staying open late on Friday/Saturday.)

Beers: Helles Lager, IPA, Amber Ale, Robust Porter, Oatmeal Stout. These are all beers in the regular rotation. I will add seasonal brews as I learn about them.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

(Mon–Sat 1 p.m.–midnight, Sun 1 p.m.–10:30 p.m.)

Beers: India White Ale, 111 Farmhouse Ale, Stout Americano, Azacca Pale Ale, Abbey Darkness, Tripel, Double White, Imperial Red, Imperial Stout, Reserve Ale. 111 Farmhouse is a Saison-style ale spiked with brettanomyces.  It has a light tartness accompanied by the horse blanket and barnyard aromas desirable in this style. Azacca is an experimental hop that imparts the Azacca Pale Ale citrus notes balanced by a subtle earthiness. Abbey Darkness is a Belgian-inspired strong, dark ale featuring fruity aromatics with a dried fruit and caramelized sugar palate.

 (8.7% ABV, $5.50 16oz Goblet) This year’s batch of Imperial Stout finds a nice balance between the bourbon flavors from the barrels and the strong stout base, or so says Stoutmeister, who has already gone by multiple times to enjoy this powerful elixir. He also recommends the Imperial Red, which is not as overly hopped as years past. Franz Solo wrote up his thoughts on the Stout Americano.

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

Events: Music season officially starts today (Wednesday) at Marble’s Downtown Pub.

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

Mimbres Valley Brewing Company — (575) 544-2739 (Deming)

(Deming Brewery has already closed)

(Las Cruces Taproom Hours: Mon–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–9 p.m.)

Beers: Pancho Villa Stout, Silver Spike IPA, Beer Goggles, Light Lager. Sad news from Southern NM as Deming’s Mimbres Valley is closing its doors. The taproom in Las Cruces will stay open till they run out of beer. Make sure to raise your pints in honor of a fallen brother.

New Mexico Craft Brewing Co. — (505) 426-6079 (brewery), 203-521-7908 (pub)

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

Beers: Imperial Stout, RyePA, IPA, X Hop Pale, Brown. I am told that the Imperial Stout is well worth the trip to Las Vegas. Business has been nuts over at NMCBC, so beers are changing out rapidly on tap.

News: NMCBC’s new pub, The Old Town Draft House in Las Vegas, is open for business. They have 10 NMCBC taps and some cider. At least for a while, their hours are high noon until close, seven days a week.

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

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

Beers: Air Beer (Irish Red), Simcoe Session IPA (4.8% ABV), Barley Wine, Chocolate Porter, Imperial Cream. A dollar from every glass of Air Beer Irish Red is going to the local lung association. Imperial Cream is high in alcohol content and flavor. It is one of my favorite beers and pairs well with chicken and cornbread waffles when you are up for a decadent brunch.

Cask: Nexus will be featuring the Air Beer on cask this week.

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.

Roosevelt Brewing — (575) 226-2739

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

Beers: Eleanor’s Blonde Ale (5.5% ABV, 21 IBU), Portales Pale Ale (5.5% ABV, 45 IBU), Clovis Point IPA, Dirt Town Brown Ale (4.0% ABV, 23 IBU), Happy Heifer Hefeweizen (4.9% ABV, 17 IBU), Big Stick Stout, Cole Espresso Porter. Roosevelt Brewing is located at 201 S. Main Street in Portales. Our own Porter Pounder stopped by while working on a film crew that was shooting in Portales and reviewed several of Roosevelt’s beers.

Events: Wednesday night is Open Mic Night at Roosevelt Brewing.

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

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

Beers: Red, Rattlesnake IPA, Rio Negro Milk Stout (7.6% ABV), Barb’s Barrel Hefeweisen (5.5% ABV), Gold Rush Pilsen (6.8% ABV). The current batch of Rio Negro Milk Stout offers up a unique hybrid of the creamy milk stout and more of an Irish dry stout. And a big welcome back to the Gold Rush, a medal winner at the New Mexico Cup last year.

News: Sandia Chile Grill will be helping Desert Water Winery and Brewery open soon just outside Artesia.

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

(Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., closed on Sunday)

Beers: Duskin’s Maibock, Irish Red, Black IPA, Saison ’88. This week, Small Batch Saturday features Duskin’s Maibock. SFBC’S Irish Red Ale is officially on tap and on the shelf. The Saison ’88 was brewed in honor of SFBC’s 25th anniversary. It is also available for sale in cans just about everywhere you can find SFBC products.

Events: $1 Off Growler Refills in the Tasting Room on Mondays. $2 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 7 p.m. at the Tasting Room as well. On Thursday, there will be $1 Off Growler Refills at the Eldorado Taphouse.

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: Civil Rye, Jordy’s Irish Red, St George IPA, Rod’s Best Bitter, Kidder Special Bitter, Centennial Pale Ale, Kolsch, IPA.

Events: This week at the Railyard location, SSB will feature the music of Bus Tapes on Friday. At the Second Street location, SSB will feature the music of Tumbleweeds on Friday and Hot Honey 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!

The Stumbling Steer — (505) 792-7805

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

Beers: Blonde, Pale, IPA, Red, Brown, Double IPA, Imperial Stout. 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 Crew has already made two separate visits to the Steer to review the beer and food. We enjoyed it all.

Taos Ale House — (575) 758-5522

(Mon–Fri 4 p.m.-10 p.m., Sat noon-10 p.m., Sunday noon-8 p.m.)

Beers: Mogul IPA, Ale House Dirty Brown, Simple Porter. TAH also has a few guest beers on tap as well.

News: Mogul IPA will be back on tap next week.

Construction continues at TAH. They are partnering with The Burger Stand out of Lawrence and Topeka, Kan., to bring you the best burgers and fries you’ll ever eat. They are putting together a pretty sweet bottle and tap list for when they open with the restaurant.

Taos Mesa Brewing — (575) 758-1900

(Daily 11 a.m. – close)

Beers: Amarillo Rojo, Big Brown, Wheeler Peak Wheat, Fall Down Brown, Hopper IPA, Lunch Pale Ale, Notorious ESB, Superstitious Stout. The Amarillo Rojo (7.3% ABV), Wheeler Peak Wheat (5.5% ABV), Fall Down Brown (4.6% ABV), and Hopper IPA (6.2% ABV) all returned last week. There are also four guest taps featuring Marble’s IPA and Wildflower Wheat, plus Santa Fe’s Happy Camper IPA and Irish Red Ale.

Three Rivers Brewery — (505) 325-6605

Beers: India Pale Ale, SHIPA Falconer’s, Papa Bear’s Golden Honey Ale, Animas Pale Ale, Red Apple Flyer Cider, Strawberry Wheat, German Pilsner, Chaco Nut Brown, Double Amber Ale, Longshot Light, La Plata Pale Ale, 3 Rivers Scottish Ale, Arroyo Amber Ale, Main St. Irish Stout. The Falconer’s is a single-hop IPA made with Falconer’s Flight. It’s available only at the taproom. The Arroyo Amber Ale (5.0% ABV) is the local favorite. It is copper-red in color, medium bodied, and is brewed with caramel malt with a nice hop balance. The Chaco Nut Brown and Main St. Irish Stout are the other new beers on tap.

Cask: There is nothing on cask at present.

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 1:00 p.m.)

Beers at Nob Hill: Chocolate Milk Stout (5.5% ABV), Cherry Blonde (6.5% ABV), Barn Storm Amber Ale (6.2% ABV), Barley Wine (9.5% ABV), Apple Cider (7.2% ABV), Black Eye’d PA (6.0% ABV), Javi Light Lager (5.0% ABV).

Beers at Wells Park only: C+C IPA (7.0% ABV), Maibach Lager (6.2% ABV), Luna De Los Muertos Imperial Stout (9.2% ABV), Easy Rider IPA (6.0% ABV), ESB (6.0% ABV), Sticky Fingers Brown Ale (7.6% ABV), Adebisi Black Lager (5.2% ABV), L4 IPL (6.6% ABV), Et Tu Brute 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). The Crew highly recommends the Luna De Los Muertos, it’s one of our favorite imperial stouts in town. It’s not barrel-aged, but it still packs a punch. There are so many beers on tap at both Tractor locations that they will cover all types of beer lovers.

Events: Every second and fourth Thursday of the month, Tractor welcomes a band to their Wells Park Tap Room for a music series we call pLoud music. This week, Tractor will feature Ha’aheo O Hawai’i starting at 7 p.m.

Every Wednesday night starting at 7 p.m. Tractor hosts a Cards Against Humanity night. You can borrow a Tractor deck from the bar or buy your own!

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: Hop Duster (5.2% ABV, 50 IBU), Anniversary Brown Ale (8.7% ABV, 45 IBU), Irish Red (4.8% ABV, 25 IBUs), Irish Stout (4.5% ABV, 40 IBUs on nitrogen), Turbo Pilz, Belgian Dubbel, Steam, Red Rye, Triple Play Pale Ale, Cabo Lager, Low-Gluten Amber, Hybrid IPA. The Anniversary Brown Ale is the first beer created by head brewer Tim Woodward for TMBC, and it was brewed to celebrate TMBC’s 15th anniversary. Naturally, TMBC’s Irish Red (4.8% ABV, 25 IBUs) and Irish Stout (4.5%, 40 IBUs on nitrogen) were tapped to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day last month. Get them before they run out.

Cask: TMBC is currently featuring the Triple Play Pale Ale on cask.

The Wellhead — (575) 746-0640

Beers: Wellhead Pale Ale (5.3% ABV), Roughneck Red Ale (4.8% ABV), Roustabout Porter (4.8% ABV), Cisco Canyon Blonde, Indian Basin Wheat. The Wellhead is located in Artesia. The Roustabout Porter is available in the summer months replacing the stout. The brown-colored porter was originally developed in the 18th Century for the working class or ‘porters’ of London. The malt and hop ingredients are simple and well-balanced. The Roughneck Red is as sweet malty Irish Red ale. The Chinook, Cascade, and Mount Hood hops create a wonderful aroma and flavor combination. Try this microbrew with spicy dishes or steak and the turtle cheesecake dessert.

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

Cheers!

— E-Rock