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

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

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

The whole “let’s give thanks” bit that writers pull out every year is a bit trite, but heck, why not do that here? Thank you to all of our local breweries for all that they do for us. Sometimes New Mexico is a frustrating place to live. The job market is terrible, our educational system is useless, the politicians are corrupt, the Lobo football team can’t ever seem to win, and dear lord, don’t even get us all started on either the whacked-out weather or the dreadful drivers on our streets and highways. In many ways, our craft beer scene is our escape from all the bad around here. Our brewers work hard, create great beers (they have the GABF medals to prove it, too), and help us get through our dark days and nights. So make sure the next time you’re at a brewery to thank the folks that work there. It’s not always glamorous — trust us, we know after brewing two beers in the last two weeks at Canteen and Chama River — but it is a great profession and we are all lucky to have these folks in our lives.

On the new beer front, it’s a little quiet, but that’s to be expected considering this is a holiday week and all. Boxing Bear’s first non-beer, Apple Bear Cider, is now available. Canteen’s barrel-aged Tequila IPA is now on tap for the general public. Chama River’s Face Time Porter is a beer worthy of assistant brewer David Facey’s name. Kaktus has the new Gunslinger Cherry Smoked Brown available, plus several other classic favorites are back for another run. La Cumbre’s C3-PA was not brewed in a galaxy far, far away, but right here. Tractor’s annual holiday awesomeness, Turkey Drool, is back on tap just in time for Thanksgiving.

Up in Santa Fe, Duel is busting out the big guns with Titian, Dark Ryder, and Grunewald all back on tap, along with Whistler on Wood (see below), plus Goya Stout will return soon. Down in Socorro, a new German-style pilsner is on tap at Twisted Chile.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of Nov. 24.

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

Albuquerque metro area breweries

ABQ Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

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

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

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

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

Beers: Soroche IPA, Pre-Prohibition Malt Tonic, Ladron’s Peak. In case you missed it, we recently interviewed BADH’s new brewer, Brandon Venaglia. There are some exciting times coming, including a possible expansion. In the meantime, the new Pre-Prohibition Malt Tonic will debut Friday at 6 p.m. This dark American lager was based on a 110-year-old recipe and will now become a regular beer at BADH.

Events: Sundays will now be Service Nights at Back Alley, with $2 off all beers for service industry workers. There will also be a “Walking Dead” viewing party at 7 p.m. They will have “The Walker” Pizza Special.

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: Feral IPA, PSA (Pumpkin Spice Ale), Kindling Golden Ale, AdoptEx English Pale Ale, Olde Bosky Porter, Cottonwood Anniversary Ale. The Cottonwood is a big old double red ale, similar to but still different than Marble’s Imperial Red; there’s more malt backbone here, a little less hop bite, but it’s still excellent. Also back on tap is an old favorite in the Olde Bosky Porter. The Bosque Lager will now be on tap year round, replacing the Kindling, which moves to the seasonal list (this is much as Driftwood Oatmeal Stout replaced Olde Bosky earlier this year). The Feral IPA should quench your need for hops. For every pint of AdoptEx English PA sold, $1 will be donated to the Adoption Exchange of Albuqueqrue.

Cask: Bosque is taking a short break from doing a cask.

News: Construction continues on Bosque’s new taproom, the Bosque Public House, located on Girard just south of Central. Bosque has also signed a lease on a new taproom in Las Cruces, located in the former Mimbres Valley space across from New Mexico State at the corner of University Ave. and Espina St.

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

Boxing Bear Brewing Company — (505) 897-2327

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

Beers: Paw Swipe Pale Ale, Hairy Mit Hefe, Standing 8 Stout, Ambear Ale, Uppercut IPA, Punkelweizen, Oso Otono, Apple Bear Cider. The new kid here is Apple Bear Cider. Oso Otono, an oatmeal lager, looks like a standard ale in color but tastes like a robust brown. Another recent addition is Punkelweizen, a pumpkin/dunkelweizen hybrid. Their Facebook page described it as “liquid banana bread.” Other recent additions to the lineup are the Standing 8 Stout (6.3% ABV, 45 IBU) and Ambear Ale (5.2% ABV, 35 IBU).

UPDATED >>> Cask: Yup, Boxing Bear is doing a cask. This Friday is Standing 8 Stout aged with French Oak. Oh, BBBC, you shouldn’t have. But we’re glad you did.

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

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

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: Stray Dog IPA, Cactus Juice, Peculiar Pumpkin Porter, Drunken Hobo Milk Stout, Debacle Pumpkin Ale. Cactus Juice is made with actual prickly pears. The most recent additions to the taps are the Drunken Hobo Milk Stout and the Debacle Pumpkin Ale. Compare that to the Peculiar Pumpkin Porter and see which is the better style.

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

Canteen Brewhouse — (505) 881-2737

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

Beers: Fog Nozzle Smoked Marzen, The Highlander Scottish Ale, Bender IPA, Irish Red, Rye PA, American Stout, The Good Stuff, White Shine (White Wine), Tequila IPA. The Tequila IPA (8.3% ABV, 100+ IBU) was aged in tequila barrels for eight months and is now ready for public consumption. A recent addition to the taps is Fog Nozzle (5.7% ABV, 22 IBU), a rauchbier, which has all the smoky goodness you need for this sudden drop in temperature. The Highlander (5.2% ABV, 25 IBU) is a tasty Scottish ale, and yes, you can shout “there can be only one!” when you drink it. Just not too loud, don’t want to startle the wait staff and have them drop a beer or anything. Bender IPA (6.7% ABV, 85 IBU) was created when they mixed some of The Good Stuff and a Double IPA. The White Shine (9.75% ABV, 50 IBU) is a big old wheat wine that has some unique flavors. Another recent addition to the lineup is The Good Stuff (5.7% ABV, 70 IBU), a session IPA. The Rye PA (7% ABV, 50 IBU) and the American Stout (7.4% ABV, 60 IBU) are fairly recent additions. I got to try the American Stout while interviewing brewer Brady McKeown about the name change to Canteen Brewhouse. It’s a big, bold, thick, mean-as-hell-yet-totally-lovable stout. It’s my kind of stout, and that’s saying something.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

Beers: Face Time Porter, Red River Ale, Old Town Oat Brown, Chamahawk Xtra Pale Ale. The Red River (5.7% ABV, 33 IBU) is an ESB. The Old Town (5.6% ABV, 25 IBU) and Chamahawk (6% ABV, 60 IBU) just went on tap. The Face Time (6% ABV, 40 IBU) is a smooth, delectable porter. Let it open up a bit and taste even more flavors.

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

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

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

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

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

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

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

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: Peek-a-Boob Porter, Lazy Sunday, Ahh Helles Yes, C3-PA. New to taps is the C3-PA, a new pale ale. The Ahh Helles Yes is, as you might guess, a Helles-style lager. The Lazy Sunday, a session IPA, is back on tap for the first time since April. The Peek-a-Boob Porter was made for charity, as $1 from every pint sold will go to the local YWCA to benefit early breast cancer awareness. Oh, and don’t panic about Project Dank and Red Ryeot no longer appearing here as seasonals. They are now part of La Cumbre’s regular lineup.

Lizard Tail Brewing — (505) 717-1301

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

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

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

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

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

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

Beers: Double White, Double IPA, Imperial Red, Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Noir, Reserve Ale, White Out. New to taps is White Out (9% ABV), a burly Belgian-style ale. The popular Pumpkin Noir is back along with its cousin, the regular Pumpkin Ale. Otherwise it’s a relatively light seasonal list as Marble is at capacity brewing the regular beers for distribution. There is the rotating “black handle,” which tends to feature some impressive “secret” beers. The Double White and Imperial Red brought home gold medals from GABF.

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

Events: Brewery tours occur at the Downtown Pub every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. There won’t be one this week due to the holiday.

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

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

Beers: Saisons Change, Dry Stout, Equinox Spiced Brown Ale, 2013 Barley Wine. Brewer Kaylynn McKnight cranked out one returning seasonal in the Equinox, which is back by popular demand, and popped an aged keg or two of the Barley Wine. We’ve been able to get over there and try the Saisons and Dry Stout and came away quite impressed. The Dry Stout is bold and thick, the kind of burly beer you want in the winter (or year-round if you’re like us). The Saisons Change packs a ton of flavor in every sip. It’s not spicy hot, but it will leave your tongue tingling with a strong Belgian yeast backbone behind the initial bite.

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.

All throughout November, Nexus is having an Ugly Sweater Contest. Post a photo of yourself in the ugliest sweater you can find on Nexus’ Facebook or Twitter feeds and you will have a chance to win a $25 gift card. There are weekly draws.

Nexus is hosting “The Walking Dead” viewing parties every Sunday in the community room at 6 p.m. If you need a break from zombies, they’ve installed four pinball machines in the community room as well.

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

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

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

Ponderosa Brewing Co. — (505) 639-5941

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

Beers: Ghost Train IPA, Rip Saw Red, Crosscut Kolsch, Sawmill Stout, XPA1 Pale Ale, Helles Lager, Double IPA, Oktoberfest, Chocolate Pumpkin Porter, Schwarzbier, Breakfast Stout. Porter Pounder and I went over for the grand opening recently. Ponderosa is located at 1761 Bellamah NW, which is just east of Rio Grande and due north of the NM Natural History Museum, in the bottom floor of a swanky-looking apartment/retail complex. As for the beers, they are all the initial batches, so expect some modifications/changes going forward. Needless to say we both liked the Stout (5.2% ABV, 22 IBU) the best, but we’re dark beer guys (then again, you could also call us dark beer snobs, so consider that). Porter Pounder liked the XPA1 Pale Ale (5% ABV, 35 IBU), which will always be a rotating single-hop pale ale. The Crosscut Kolsch (4.9% ABV, 25 IBU) is almost like a Kolsch/hefeweizen hybrid. The Ghost Train (6.2% ABV, 75 IBU) needs some work, but the brewer has already identified what went wrong in the first batch and is working on correcting that for the next run. The Double IPA (7.7% ABV, 90 IBU) provides plenty of hops; it was briefly out, but it’s going to be back on tap soon. The Oktoberfest (5.7% ABV, 17 IBU) is an interesting variation on the traditional style; we tasted wheat malts in the mix. The Schwarzbier (4.7% ABV, 24 IBU) debuted recently. It’s smooth and flavorful. The new Breakfast Stout (7.3% ABV, 40 IBU) is a smoky, malty, yet smooth beast of a beer. It’s another sign that Ponderosa’s beers are getting better with each batch.

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

Red Door Brewing — (505) 633-6675

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

Beers: (Regular) Gateway Blonde Ale, Roamer Red, Threshold IPA, Paint it Black Milk Stout, Unhinged Cider, Trapdoor Wheat. (Seasonal) Strong Scotch Ale. We were excited to try Red Door ever since they first invited us to visit many months ago. They are now open and their initial batches of beer are all quite good. The Roamer Red (6% ABV) was a favorite for Porter Pounder, sitting midway between hoppy reds like Marble and sweeter reds like the standard Irish variety. The Paint it Black (5.5%) is served on nitro, so it’s criminally smooth. The potent Threshold IPA (6.6% ABV) should appeal to local hopheads. Beware the Unhinged Cider as it checks in at 7.9 percent, but you don’t taste the alcohol. The first Red Door seasonal, Strong Scotch Ale, debuted over the weekend. Don’t worry, we already stopped by and wrote up a quick review. You’re welcome, Albuquerque!

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

Today (Wednesday) and Friday, Red Door will fill your 64-ounce growler for just $6.50 and 32-ounce growlers for $3.50.

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

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

Beers: Irish Red, Rattlesnake IPA, Smoked Stout. We’re going to dispatch E-Rock (he needs a new assignment) to re-establish our lines of communication with Sandia Chile Grill.

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

The Stumbling Steer — (505) 792-7805

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

Beers: Bang Up Blonde, Hefferweizen, Pig Sticker Pale, Iron Horse IPA, Rawhide Red, Boneyard Brown, Hop Trough (Double IPA), Soiled Dove (Imperial Stout), Black IPA. While the brewery is being built in the back of the Steer, all of their house beers are being brewed off-site, but still using brewer Kirk Roberts’ recipes. The DIPA and the Stout are limited to two per customer, due to their high alcohol content (10% and 9.5% ABV, respectively). The Crew has already made two separate visits to the Steer to review the beer and food. We enjoyed it all. The Black IPA is the current seasonal beer, plus there are often one or two cask beers. We recently had their Bacon Bourbon Stout and Green Chile IPA on cask. Franz Solo loved the latter.

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

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

UPDATED >>> Beers at Nob Hill: Berry Cider, Barnstorm Ale, Little Red Rye-ding Hood, Bulls-Eye PA, Javi Light Lager, Jack the Sipper.

Beers at Wells Park only: La Llorona Dry Hop Amber, Pilsner #15, Mustachio Milk Stout, Pilsner #15, 4 Seasons 1 Week Cider, Turkey Drool. All of the Nob Hill seasonals are also at Wells Park, which has 24 total taps (Tractor’s five regular beers have two taps apiece). We love us some Turkey Drool this time of year. It’s a brown ale with all sorts of holiday-themed spices and other added ingredients. Fill your growlers for Thanksgiving. Two of the beers on tap were brewed up for Tractor’s 15th anniversary. The Little Red has a malty rye kick. The Bulls-Eye is a solid IPA. Jack the Sipper (7% ABV) is Tractor’s take on a spiced pumpkin ale.

News: The Luna de los Muertos Russian Imperial Stout is aging in the back, including some in a barrel. Oh, man, that could kill us … but we’d die happy.

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

Tuesday will see the return of Music for What ALES You — 80’s Night at Wells Park as Casey Mraz performs at 8 p.m.

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

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

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

Beers: (House) McDay’s Cream Ale, Oku Amber, Parasol White IPA, Hopshell IPA, Piedra Lisa Porter, Heidelberg Helles. (Seasonal/specialty) Cascade Session Pale Ale, Uberaltbier, A Little Somethin’ Pumpkin, Rio Grande Tortoise Black IPA. To help us out for now and the future, brewer Tim Woodward broke down what will be the regular beers on tap (under House) and the current list of seasonals. That’s a pretty solid regular lineup. I personally really enjoyed the Porter and Amber, the latter of which trumps most of its genre in terms of flavor. The Heidelberg Helles (5.1% ABV, 25 IBU) has rejoined the regular lineup for good, or so Tim hopes. A Little Somethin’ Pumpkin is served on nitro. The most recent addition to the lineup is the Rio Grande Tortoise Black IPA, a collaboration brew with Bosque that was created for a recent beer dinner. Now it’s on tap for everyone to enjoy.

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Russian Imperial Stout, Monks Mesa (Belgian Blonde), Meltdown Chocolate Porter, Rakau Single Hop IPA. The Monks Mesa (4.5% ABV, 15 IBU) is a Belgian blonde table beer. The Imperial Stout is a behemoth of a beer that our Santa Fe writer Luke got to enjoy at a recent release party. The Meltdown used no less than 25 pounds of cocoa nibs. The Rakau, using a powerful New Zealand hop, will debut this Friday.

News: Don’t forget, Draft Station ABQ has the Russian Imperial Stout on tap. A few of us went down this past weekend to get some pints. It was just as good as Luke and James promised.

Next up in the beer list are a Winter Warmer, likely due out around Dec. 8, and a White DIPA, which will be brewed next week.

Events: Blue Corn’s holiday party is set for December. We’ll have more info as we get close to the date.

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: Danae (Golden Sour Ale), Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Marcel (Witbier), Whistler (Blonde), Whistler on Wood (Oak-aged Blonde), Titian (Golden Strong), Dark Ryder (Dark Strong), Grunewald (Imperial Porter). The lineup got a shakeup with some big beers joining the rotation. Titian, Dark Ryder, and Grunewald all check in at 11-percent ABV. The Whistler on Wood is a oak barrel-aged version of the blonde ale. It’s only slightly higher (4.2% ABV) than the regular Whistler (4% ABV).

News: The Goya Stout (15.9% ABV) is due out around the first week of December. No, that ABV is not a typo. It’s that big. Please, oh please, bottle that and send it down to us via Jubilation.

Events: The life drawing session is $25 and is held each Sunday morning from 11-1 (although they are not open to the drinking public till 1 p.m. on Sun). You get the beverage of your choice, a Brussels-style waffle made with their own yeast and beer and then served with a Grunewald Syrup. Everyone then draws from a nude model. People can sign up through the website or call the brewery to reserve a spot.

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

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

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

Events: $1 Off Growler Refills in the Tasting Room on Mondays. $2 pint Tuesdays at the Eldorado Taphouse. On Wednesday, there is a $2 Pint Special in the SFBC Tasting Room, and the Sangre de Cristo Craft Brewers’ Meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Tasting Room as well on the third Wednesday of every month. On Thursday, there will be $1 Off Growler Refills at the Eldorado Taphouse.

News: SFBC will soon be opening a taproom in Albuquerque. Here are all the details that Luke, our Santa Fe correspondent, could find. It sounds promising.

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

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

Beers: Kolsch, Cream Stout, IPA, Boneshaker Bitter, Rod’s Best Bitter, Red Comet, Old Pecos Porter, Berliner Weisse. The Old Pecos Porter helps kick off Porter Month at Second Street. Red Comet is the other recent addition to taps. The Rod’s Best Bitter is back by popular demand.

Events: Busy & The Crazy 88’s is playing Friday at the original location. Eryn Bent plays Saturday.

Shows at the Railyard include The Shiners Club Jazz Band on Friday and E. Christina Herr & The Wild Frontier on Saturday.

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

Other breweries you need to visit

Twisted Chile Brewing — (575) 835-2949

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

Beers: Pilabo Pale Ale, 790 IPA, Quebradas Sunrise Amber, German Pilsner. Twisted Chile has been open for a while as a restaurant, but as the name might imply, they are also brewing their own beer on site. Located in Socorro at 115 Abeyta St. W, they are the first brewery there to brew on site since Socorro Springs outsourced their brewing to Eddyline in Colorado. I got to head down there recently and enjoyed all the beers I sampled. Kudos to Twisted Chile for bring quality craft beers back to a town that needed ‘em. The newest beer on tap, as in literally it went on tap today (Wednesday) is the pilsner. They haven’t come up with a catchy name yet, but the staff seems to already be in love with this new style.

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

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

* * * *

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Editor’s note: By popular request, the Crew is compiling all the info you will need on all the non-beer gifts you can purchase for others (or yourself) from our local breweries this holiday season. Luke, our Santa Fe-based writer, handled the breweries up there. We had hoped to get more of these stories ready before Black Friday, but heck, you’d all probably rather be hanging out at a brewery that day than the mall. Don’t worry, we’ll get the rest to you soon, as well as our annual story on brewery memberships, since those often make a great gift as well. You’re welcome. And don’t forget, breweries count for Small Business Saturday coming up this weekend. (Hint) — Stoutmeister

It’s already holiday shopping season. Okay, let’s face it, it’s been shopping season ever since Halloween was over and the stores traded in the ghouls and witches for elves and reindeer. Seriously, not even a day after. Well, based on a request from a reader who thought Hey! Beer geeks probably want beer stuff for Christmas, we decided to head out to the breweries, or really just look up from the barstools (in some of our cases) to find out exactly what they’ll be offering for the holiday season in terms of gifts, events, and specials. So get your re-usable shopping bags ready folks. Wait, is that just a Santa Fe thing? ::hangs head:: Anyway, coming at you hard is a torrent of Holiday beer merchandise from your favorite breweries. So, yes, grown-up (no doubt) craft beer fan, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as ABV and zymurgy and carbonation exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest gravity and hoppiness. On to the brew swag!

Blue Corn Brewery

HolidayMerch14.2

Hello, Blue Corn gift basket.

Merchandise: Blue Corn is really swinging for the fences this holiday season, offering gift baskets of various size, price-points, and Blue Corn(y) names. I’ve never before been so excited to receive anything wrapped in cellophane, but behold the power of BEER! These fun-filled cellophane-wrapped goodie baskets include such wonderful things as Blue Corn’s new Tap Three aluminum growlers; Roadrunner IPA pint glasses; Craft-Beer Cookbooks, with an entry by Blue Corn’s own Chef D, as well as a crunchy snacks prepared by him. One even comes with a bottle of that crazy Mountain Black Berry Jalapeno Ambrosia sauce by Prairie Thyme to drizzle over any of your holiday foodstuffs. Others include growler fills and brew club memberships.

For your shopping convenience, head brewer James Warren has broken it all down for us:

“Blue Corn Brewery has some different gift baskets than the Cafe, but at the Brewery, these will be available:

1) “Blue Corn Beer Me”: Metal growler, one glass, and a 64-ounce refill. $38

2) “The Incredible Edible”: Cookbook, sauce, snacks, chocolate, and a T-shirt. $45

3) “A Book & Beer”: Metal growler, 64-ounce refill, one glass, cookbook, snacks and brew club membership. $70

4) “The True Believer”: Metal growler, two glasses, 64-ounce fill, brew club membership, snack, and chocolate. $60

Holidaymerch14.3

Looks like Luke bought himself a gift basket. Can’t blame him.

“The baskets sold at both Blue Corn locations are as follows: $38 — includes one metal growler and two pint glasses; $45 includes one metal growler and four pint glasses. If purchased as a gift, we are also offering a fill ticket for $10. Normal fills are $12. The metal 64-ounce growler alone is $28.”

Brew club membership: “The brew club membership is universal with Chama River, Blue Corn Brewery, Blue Corn Café, and both Draft Stations. During the holidays, they are on sale for $10, for the year membership. The membership includes: $1.50 off 22-ounce beers, $1 off pints, $0.50 off 10-ounce beers, $1 off 64-ounce growler fills, $0.50 off 32-ounce growler fills, 10 percent off keg fills.”

Special events: On Thursday, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m., Blue Corn is hosting a very special Thursday at the Brewer’s Table Holiday Party! For this event, Brewer James and Chef D “invite beer lovers to celebrate all things beer!” For $20 per guest, you get two pints of your choice as well as delicious, specially chosen family-style bites. That’s not all! To get in the spirit, they’re doing a White Elephant Exchange where you bring in a beer-related gift worth at least $15 to participate and play by the traditional White Elephant gift-stealing rules. Blue Corn Brewery also has a very special secret gift, so make your reservations and come in your ugliest holiday sweater! See you there, and if you want to know what the last brewers table was like, check out this article.

For reservations, call (505) 438-1800.

Photo courtesy of Duel Brewing

Photo courtesy of Duel Brewing

Duel Brewing

Note: Special thanks to fellow Bullpen member Reid Rivenburgh for stopping in and asking a few questions. I’m sure they had to twist his arm to do a little sampling while he was there, too.

Merchandise: “Duel Brewing is selling their usual array of merchandise, including a growler with logo and a variety of nice shirts for men and women. If interested in the clothes, your best bet is to order online, since the inventory at the taproom is getting low. Of note, they will be selling their Goya Imperial Stout in 750-ml bottles. It’s supposed to be around a hefty 16-percent ABV, so it no doubt has a kick like a mule. We haven’t been able to test it, but it would certainly make a welcome stocking stuffer.”

Editor’s note: Brewer Todd Yocham said Goya is 15.9-percent ABV and will be on tap at Duel the “first week of December or so.”

Santa Fe Brewing Company

Merchandise: This year SFBC is offering their usual T-shirts, growlers, and pint glasses, etc. But they finally have those slick hoodies available and just in time for Christmas. If you missed your chance to grab a sweet Oktoberfest mug, there are still a few left. And with no date, use it for every Oktoberfiesta! Also available are the uber cool, black, stainless steel, insulated SFBC growlers, which I bought and reviewed one (see below). And Albuquerque beer lovers, come on up to the brewery and grab some cool SFBC swag and look like an old friend before the taproom hits your town!

Regular’s club membership: Club membership information courtesy of Josh at SFBC.

Cost: $50

Duration: 1 year from date of purchase

What it includes:

  • Membership club card accepted at all SFBC locations (Highway 14 tasting room, Eldorado Tap House, and coming soon: ABQ Tap House)
  • Exclusive “Regular’s Club” T-shirt
  • Happy Hour pints prices at all times
  • $5 discount on cases of packaged beer (excludes Chicken Killer)
  • 10 percent discount on keg purchases
  • Invitation to our Company Holiday Party

Special events: 12 Beers of Christmas — For 12 days in December, you can come out to the brewery to sample 12 different holiday-themed beers (each day) brewed by the Sangre De Cristo Craft Brewers Club, on the small batch system. Also, as far as shameless plugs go — I get one, don’t I? — my beer, “Piñon Roasting on an Open Fire,” is scheduled to be tapped on Dec. 17 at the brewery. With cinnamon, nutmeg, and piñon, it may just be a cookie with foam, or it might be a pretty decent Winter Warmer. Who knows? Come and find out! Get there early for each beer, because 10 gallons fly when you’re having fun.

Second Street Brewery

Merchandise: Second Street has various (and delicious) gift choices this year. According to the ever amazing Colleen, these great items will be available to deck your friends’ and families’ halls.

  • Hydroflask growlers and glass growlers, both large (64 ounces) and half growlers (32 ounces)
  • Both the Boneshaker Special Bitter and Pivotal IPA will be in cans (four-packs), which you can buy at either location.
  • Men’s and women’s long-sleeve shirts. There will also be some T-shirts at a discounted rate as well.
  • Don’t forget to keep your head warm, or keep the head of someone you love warm with one of Second Street’s stylish beanies.

    HolidayMerch14.5

    Take your pick of how to bring your favorite Second Street beers home.

Special Events: On Dec. 12 and 13 SSB will be celebrating their 18-year anniversary at the original location. They will have a prix-fixe menu (menu pending) and have live music both nights. Pollo Frito will be playing Friday and Cloacas will be performing on Saturday. Both shows start at 6 p.m.

Also, on Dec. 20, at the Railyard location, Kodama Trio will be playing the music of Charlie Brown Christmas and other holiday classics. That show starts at 7 p.m.

On Dec. 26, at the Original Location, Swing Soleil will be wrapping up the holiday season with holiday tunes starting at 6 p.m.

* * * * *

That’s it for Santa Fe’s merchandise and special holiday events. It looks like there’s a ton of great swag to fill those stockings and stuff under the tree. From canned and bottled beer to clothes and craft-beer cookbooks, there’s something sure to bring a smile to your favorite hophead. And seriously, what better way is there to shop, than with a cold brew or two?

But before I go, I wanted to add this.

Dear mom and dad, if either of you are reading this article … (Hint, hint.)

This nifty little growler makes for a great gift.

This nifty little growler makes for a great gift.

Review of the black Santa Fe Brewing Co. stainless steel growler

Description from the website: “Our new INSULATED, eco-friendly stainless steel growler keeps liquids hot or cold for hours as well as carbonated for days! This baby holds the same as our regular growlers — 64 ounces of pure beer-drinking bliss! Our Zia bottle cap logo is etched on one side of the growler.”

For this review, I came up with a few criteria for what makes a growler useful to me. 1) How long does beer last in the growler, i.e. stay fresh, carbonated, and keep a consistent taste? 2) How many times can you open it before that situation changes? 3) What is the whole beer experience like?

First off, I opened the beer after a weekend of sitting in my car through pretty inconsistent temperatures, due to … life. The growler had been filled to the brim, making the first pour a bit of a chore, but being served too much beer is seriously a non-issue. I think the shape of the mouth, which is more thermos-like than growler-like made the first few pours messy and inconsistent, but as with most beer issues, drink more and the problem goes away. It did. After several pours, the beer was coming out nice with a decent head. And the beer stayed cold all night, despite keeping it on the table and out of the fridge. Trying to catch up with “Sons of Anarchy,” a guy doesn’t have time for several return trips to the fridge. I can already tell that the double-walled insulation will make it an essential piece of camping equipment in the spring. Happy Camper jokes aside, even a week later the same beer tasted like it had the day it was tapped, with consistent carbonation and the clean distinctive flavors of the beer style. Stylish and effective, I highly recommend the stainless steel growler with four cute bartenders out of five. The growler retails for $50.

Cheers!

— Luke

Brew Day 2: Swimming with stouts at Chama River

Posted: November 24, 2014 by cjax33 in Brew Day
Tags:

As advertised Friday, the Crew got another opportunity to make a beer at a local brewery this weekend. On the heels of our trip to Canteen to create Dark Side Baltic Porter, this time around we went to Chama River to join Zach and David and create Obey the Darkside, a foreign export stout for the ages. Only Brandon and I (Stoutmeister) were able to participate this time, but Bullpen members Luke and AmyO did stop by later to observe, learn, and of course share in some of the beer and food our hosts provided.

It was a good day to brew with two good guys who have done a great job since taking over at Chama. As we did last time, we’ll let the pictures we took tell the story. We’ll just print ‘em a little bigger this time so you can see what’s going on.

Your brewing day team, from left to right, Zach, Brandon, Stoutmeister, David.

Your brewing day team, from left to right, Zach, Brandon, Stoutmeister, David.

Stoutmeister adds some specialty malts to the mill.

Stoutmeister adds some specialty malts to the mill.

Brandon mashes in some pretty thick stuff. How thick? See next photo.

Brandon mashes in some pretty thick stuff. How thick? See next photo.

We would say we discovered max capacity in Chama's mash tun.

We would say we discovered max capacity in Chama’s mash tun.

After transferring to the boil kettle, the stout looked glorious.

After transferring to the boil kettle, the stout looked glorious.

Of course, after you're done with the mash tun you've got to clean it out.

Of course, after you’re done with the mash tun you’ve got to clean it out.

Don't forget to count the yeast! Stoutmeister uses a microscope for the first time since high school.

Don’t forget to count the yeast! Stoutmeister uses a microscope for the first time since high school.

And when the brew day is done, grab a pint, but beware Stoutmeister photo bombs.

And when the brew day is done, grab a pint, but beware Stoutmeister photo bombs.

See you soon, friend!

See you soon, friend!

Greetings, everyone. May this dark and dreary Friday nonetheless be filled with the promise of a good weekend filled with quality beer. All of us in the Brew Crew are looking forward to it, even though we have to get up awfully early (by our mostly nocturnal standards) on Saturday. Why would we be getting up early? To brew another beer at a brewery, of course.

The Crew gets to brew another big, dark beer, this time at Chama River.

The Crew gets to brew another big, dark beer, this time at Chama River.

Yes, we’re humble-bragging again. Let the hate flow, if necessary. This time around the Crew will brew with Zach Guilmette and David Facey over at Chama River. Zach has concocted a recipe for a foreign export stout called Obey the Darkside (natch). We get to help out at the early hour of 8 a.m. Anyone who has had Sleeping Dog Stout lately, or had the first incarnation of Panama Joe at Il Vicino in 2013 (which won a GABF gold medal), knows that Zach is really, really good at brewing big, malty stouts. We expect Obey the Darkside to be another epic addition to Chama’s lineup. As for what we’re doing this time around — besides cracking jokes, making obscure pop culture references, and trying to convince everyone to crank up “The Number of the Beast” to 11 on the Chama sound system — we’ll probably just be assisting in whatever capacity Zach wants. This is his show, we’re just the supporting cast.

If we’re lucky, our MIA members (Brandon, Porter Pounder) from the last brew session at Canteen will be able to attend. Who knows, maybe we’ll even do a little filming of the process instead of just taking still photos this time. Just wish us luck again. And yes, we’ll be drinking our body weight in coffee again, too.

Boxing Bear celebrates Friday with a new cask offering. (Photo courtesy of Boxing Bear)

Boxing Bear celebrates Friday with a new cask offering. (Photo courtesy of Boxing Bear)

Weekend beer wonders

There are a bunch of random tastings, special tappings, casks, live events, and more this weekend. Here’s a quick roundup.

And if there is anything we’ve missed, please let us know and we will update this list. Don’t want to leave anyone out!

  • Back Alley is tapping its Pre-Prohibition Malt Tonic tonight (Friday). It’s a brown ale based on a 110-year-old recipe.
  • Boxing Bear’s cask is Uppercut IPA dry-hopped with Falconer’s Flight 7 C’s. It’s on tap today.
  • Canteen doesn’t believe the weekend ends Sunday. They have a special event for mug club members Monday from 5 to 8 p.m. Head over and try two of the barrel-aged beers, the Tequila Barrel IPA (8.3% ABV, 125 IBU) and Wine Barrel Spiced Belgian (9.2% ABV). You get a 10-ounce glass of each with your card.
  • La Cumbre’s cask for today features Elevated IPA dry-hopped with New Zealand Green Bullet. Adoughbe Pizza will be parked out front for all your culinary needs.
  • Lizard Tail has live music Saturday at 8 p.m. Solo guitarist Robert Otero will perform.
  • Nexus is having a Walking Dead Pinball party Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. Wait, what? They have a Walking Dead pinball machine now, and for three canned foods as a donation, you can participate in a tournament on the machine prior to the viewing party for this week’s episode.
  • Prior to that at Nexus, brewer Kaylynn McKnight will be hosting “ugly sweater” tours of the brewery Saturday at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. The tours cost $12 for non-members and $10 for members, but if you wear an ugly sweater, you get $2 off. The tour comes with an ugly sweater souvenir pint glass.
  • Avery Brewing is not just for sale at Jubilation, it’s also on tap at The Stumbling Steer. White Rascal and Czar Imperial Stout are both available. Dear lord, Steer, first your own Soiled Dove Imperial Stout and now the Czar? Are you trying to kill us … with love?
  • Don’t forget, the Desert Darlings will be performing at Tractor Wells Park tonight at 7. The Darling Old West: A Belly Dance Saloon Show is something you can’t miss. Unless you’re covering the Onate-La Cueva game for the Las Cruces Sun-News. Hey, I gotta pay for all these beers.
  • Jodie Herrera’s art show, The Shape I’m In, is still set for Saturday night at Wells Park.
  • There are also rumors that Turkey Drool may go on tap this weekend at Wells Park. If so, stay out of the Crew’s way. We got first dibs. Speaking of first dibs …
  • Blue Corn’s Russian Imperial Stout will be arriving at Draft Station ABQ some time this weekend. We’re so happy.
  • Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn will debut Rakau Single Hop IPA today. The cask over at the Santa Fe Draft Station will be dry-hopped Amber Ale.
  • For take-home beers, in addition to recent recommendations like Avery’s Tweak, Jubilation now has (deep breath) Stone Stochasticity Project Master of Disguise Imperial Golden Stout. Yes, it’s a golden stout. Yes, we’re very intrigued. Yes, Brandon and Franz Solo are planning a collaboration review of this one. I’ll add my two cents as well.
Awesome gear like this new Canteen growler will be in our holiday guide. (Photo courtesy of Canteen)

Awesome gear like this new Canteen growler will be in our holiday guide. (Photo courtesy of Canteen)

Lending a helping holiday hand

The Crew is always here for all of you when it comes to holiday shopping that goes beyond just the beer itself. We’re working on a series of articles highlighting all the best beer-related merchandise you can get from New Mexico breweries. From clothing to growlers and more, we’ll run down all the items you need this winter, how much they cost, and how to best acquire them.

On top of that, we’ll have our annual guide to brewery memberships right after Thanksgiving. Whether you’re renewing, adding more cards for your wallet, or signing up for the first time, we’ll have all the details on what membership provides at our many breweries.

We’ll see all of you around Chama River, Draft Station ABQ, Tractor, Back Alley, and more this weekend. It’s going to be a wonderful few days before we all overeat and watch bad football on Thanksgiving. Stay warm and stay safe, folks.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Czech-ing out a beer spa in Prague

Posted: November 20, 2014 by amyotravel in Beercation Destinations

I love beer so much that I could swim in it. I have, on occasion, washed my hair with beer; it makes for a good clarifying shampoo to remove product build up. So I was completely surprised and totally intrigued when I found out (after booking) that my hotel in Prague last month was attached to a beer spa. The next morning after we checked in I took my significant other and his brother next door to check it out.

Beer taps next to hot tubs. Genius.

Beer taps next to hot tubs. Genius.

The spa was really nice, but the prices were very high. At the front desk I explained my affiliation with the Dark Side Brew Crew, provided a business card, and asked if I could have a tour. They had just opened for the day so the staff asked if we could wait a few minutes while they made sure everything was properly set up. I perused the gift shop area and marveled at all the beer products (gels, lotions, shampoos, crazy bottle openers, etc.) while we waited.

A lovely young woman named Yulianna took us on the tour and carefully explained the entire process. Of course, the main appeal for me was that you get to use your own mug and taps in your private room and you can drink as much beer as you want during your session. In fact, while you are sitting in a hot tub of “beer,” the pour-your-own taps are located within reach. The jetted tubs are set at about 37 degrees Celsius, which basically translates to your body temperature, around 98 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is a rather rustic setting, isn't it?

This is a rather rustic setting, isn’t it?

As the tour continued, I became less enamored with the process. Czech beer is extremely reasonably priced in bars. You will pay between the equivalent of $1 to $3 (on the high end) USD for draft beers. It is cheaper than water since you have to ask for bottled water at a fairly substantial charge. You won’t be served tap water. The bargain hunter in me started to do the math and it wasn’t pretty. And, you don’t actually sit in beer. You sit in water with beer ingredients. We got to see the beautiful wooden containers and ladles where they scoop out hops, brewer’s yeast, malt, etc., and add them to the hot water. The water is not actually carbonated or fermented.

According to the spa employees, these ingredients are very beneficial to your skin, and I don’t doubt that. Disappointingly, though, you only get 25 minutes of actual tub time. Then, you are supposed to lie down on a large, round hay bed (at first I thought OUCH, but you get sheets and blankets) and allow the nutrients to seep into your skin as you relax. Also included in the room is a fireplace while you relax, and that is a very soothing touch, indeed. There is a sauna in there, too, but I hate saunas. I get easily overheated as it is, so don’t stick me in a blazing hot box! And there is a cool water shower where you pull a rope and a wooden bucket releases cool water that flows down over you. I guess that is supposed to simulate rain water as it washes the ingredients off at the end.

All the ingredients that go in your "beer bath."

All the ingredients that go in your “beer bath.”

I liked the tour and the spa room very much and I am still intrigued. But at the equivalent of $90 USD for an hour stay for one person, or $75 each for two people, I just couldn’t make myself do it. In an hour, I could maybe drink five mugs of beer if I really pushed myself (remember, there’s not much alcohol in Czech beer compared to American craft beer). So, at the most, in a bar that would be $15 USD. If the hour had included a 20- or 30-minute massage while you relax on the hay bed, I would have been sold. What better way to really get those nutrients into your skin, right? I may be somewhat frugal, but I will splurge a little if it seems like a decent value. A small part of me is disappointed I didn’t do it just to say I did. And, if you check out their website at www.pivnilaznespabeerland.cz, you will see they are looking for franchisees. Tempting!

Na zdraví!

— AmyO

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

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

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

Big beer season continues with Marble’s Reserve Ale Release Party tonight (Wednesday) at all three Marble locations. The Reserve is a strong ale aged in bourbon barrels for a massive cacophony of flavors. This year’s batch “showcases American oak and vanilla, as well as coffee, caramel, and bourbon.” We’d say something clever like “it will do a tap dance on your palate,” but let’s face it, this is going to be more like a circle pit while Slayer blasts “Hate Worldwide” down to the marrow of your bones. Anyway, this all kicks off at 5 p.m., with Joe S. Sausage providing complimentary sausages at the Downtown Pub, while Pastians Bakery will have gingerbread men at the Westside and Santa Fe taprooms. It’s a little too chilly out for live music to be on the stage, but don’t worry, this beer will warm you up.

On the new beer front, it’s a little lighter this week than last for new releases. Back Alley is unveiling its Pre-Prohibition Malt Tonic, plus the original version of Ladron’s Peak is back. Bosque switched things up, moving Bosque Lager to the year-round list while Kindling Golden Ale switches to the seasonal rotation. Canteen’s Bender IPA and The Highlander Scottish Ale went on tap recently. Chama River’s Old Town Oat Brown and Chamahawk Xtra Pale Ale are both out. Red Door’s first seasonal, Strong Scotch Ale, has debuted. Turtle Mountain has their collaboration brew with Bosque, Rio Grande Tortoise Black IPA, now on tap for everyone to try after it debuted during a recent beer dinner.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn is feeling festive with Meltdown Chocolate Porter, plus Rakau Single Hop IPA will be on tap Friday. Second Street has unleashed some new creations in the Red Comet, Old Pecos Porter, and Steam Power, an India Pale Steam. Down in Socorro, Twisted Chile has Pilabo Pale Ale on tap plus Venom XL IPA will soon return along with an as-yet-unnamed pilsner.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of Nov. 17.

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

Albuquerque metro area breweries

ABQ Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

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

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

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

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

Beers: Soroche IPA, Pre-Prohibition Malt Tonic, Ladron’s Peak. In case you missed it, we recently interviewed BADH’s new brewer, Brandon Venaglia. There are some exciting times coming, including a possible expansion. In the meantime, the new Pre-Prohibition Malt Tonic will debut Friday at 6 p.m. This dark American lager was based on a 110-year-old recipe and will now become a regular beer at BADH.

Events: Sundays will now be Service Nights at Back Alley, with $2 off all beers for service industry workers. There will also be a “Walking Dead” viewing party at 7 p.m. They will have “The Walker” Pizza Special.

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: Feral IPA, PSA (Pumpkin Spice Ale), Kindling Golden Ale, AdoptEx English Pale Ale, Olde Bosky Porter, Cottonwood Anniversary Ale. The Cottonwood is a big old double red ale, similar to but still different than Marble’s Imperial Red; there’s more malt backbone here, a little less hop bite, but it’s still excellent. Also back on tap is an old favorite in the Olde Bosky Porter. The Bosque Lager will now be on tap year round, replacing the Kindling, which moves to the seasonal list (this is much as Driftwood Oatmeal Stout replaced Olde Bosky earlier this year). The Feral IPA should quench your need for hops. For every pint of AdoptEx English PA sold, $1 will be donated to the Adoption Exchange of Albuqueqrue.

Cask: Bosque is taking a short break from doing a cask.

News: Construction continues on Bosque’s new taproom, the Bosque Public House, located on Girard just south of Central. Bosque has also signed a lease on a new taproom in Las Cruces, located in the former Mimbres Valley space across from New Mexico State at the corner of University Ave. and Espina St.

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

Boxing Bear Brewing Company — (505) 897-2327

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

Beers: Glass Jaw Double IPA, Paw Swipe Pale Ale, Hairy Mit Hefe, Standing 8 Stout, Ambear Ale, Uppercut IPA, Punkelweizen, Oso Otono. The new kid here is Oso Otono, an oatmeal lager. Another recent addition is Punkelweizen, a pumpkin/dunkelweizen hybrid. Their Facebook page described it as “liquid banana bread.” Other recent additions to the lineup are the Standing 8 Stout (6.3% ABV, 45 IBU) and Ambear Ale (5.2% ABV, 35 IBU). The Glass Jaw is now out in full force.

Cask: Yup, Boxing Bear is doing a cask. We’re waiting to hear what’s up for this Friday.

Events: In advance of the holidays, Boxing Bear is offering a 10-percent discount on all merchandise this Friday.

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: Stray Dog IPA, Cactus Juice, Peculiar Pumpkin Porter, Drunken Hobo Milk Stout, Debacle Pumpkin Ale. Cactus Juice is made with actual prickly pears. The most recent additions to the taps are the Drunken Hobo Milk Stout and the Debacle Pumpkin Ale. Compare that to the Peculiar Pumpkin Porter and see which is the better style.

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

Canteen Brewhouse — (505) 881-2737

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

Beers: Fog Nozzle Smoked Marzen, The Highlander Scottish Ale, Bender IPA, Irish Red, Rye PA, American Stout, The Good Stuff, White Shine (White Wine). A recent addition to the taps is Fog Nozzle (5.7% ABV, 22 IBU), a rauchbier, which has all the smoky goodness you need for this sudden drop in temperature. The Highlander (5.2% ABV, 25 IBU) is a tasty Scottish ale, and yes, you can shout “there can be only one!” when you drink it. Just not too loud, don’t want to startle the wait staff and have them drop a beer or anything. Bender IPA (6.7% ABV, 85 IBU) was created when they mixed some of The Good Stuff and a Double IPA. The White Shine (9.75% ABV, 50 IBU) is a big old wheat wine that has some unique flavors. Another recent addition to the lineup is The Good Stuff (5.7% ABV, 70 IBU), a session IPA. The Rye PA (7% ABV, 50 IBU) and the American Stout (7.4% ABV, 60 IBU) are fairly recent additions. I got to try the American Stout while interviewing brewer Brady McKeown about the name change to Canteen Brewhouse. It’s a big, bold, thick, mean-as-hell-yet-totally-lovable stout. It’s my kind of stout, and that’s saying something.

News: Canteen posted some pics on Facebook of the beers they are currently barrel-aging in the back. They’ve got Double IPA in tequila barrels, American Stock Ale in rum barrels, Belgian Strong Golden in wine barrels, and Panama Joe Coffee Stout in bourbon barrels.

Events: Mug Club members, get on over to Canteen this Monday from 5 to 8 p.m. and you can sample two of those barrel-aged beers. The Tequila DIPA and Belgian Strong Golden will both be available.

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

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

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

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

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

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

Beers: Otono Fall Lager, Red River Ale, Old Town Oat Brown, Chamahawk Xtra Pale Ale. The Red River (5.7% ABV, 33 IBU) is an ESB. The Old Town (5.6% ABV, 25 IBU) and Chamahawk (6% ABV, 60 IBU) just went on tap. The Otono Fall Lager is a VMO-style lager, similar to an Oktoberfest.

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

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

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

Beers: James Blonde, Oyster Stout, Gunslinger Smoked Porter, Harvest Amber, Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Alt German Lager, Jabberwocky IPA, Oktoberfest. The Gunslinger is fairly new and screaming for us to come try it. The Harvest Amber, Oktoberfest, and the popular James Blonde are recent entries, while the Jabberwocky came back recently after a brief absence. Located at 471 South Hill Road in Bernalillo, Kaktus is one of the state’s newer breweries. It is a small, casual place, similar to Blue Heron in appearance and comfort factor. Kaktus owner Dana Koller said fans can expect the nanobrewery to go through its most popular styles quickly, though they will always have something new and exciting available as a replacement.

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

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

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

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: Peek-a-Boob Porter, Lazy Sunday, Ahh Helles Yes. The Ahh Helles Yes is, as you might guess, a Helles-style lager. The Lazy Sunday, a session IPA, is back on tap for the first time since April. The Peek-a-Boob Porter was made for charity, as $1 from every pint sold will go to the local YWCA to benefit early breast cancer awareness. Oh, and don’t panic about Project Dank and Red Ryeot no longer appearing here as seasonals. They are now part of La Cumbre’s regular lineup.

News: 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.

Lizard Tail Brewing — (505) 717-1301

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

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

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

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

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

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

Beers: Double White, Double IPA, Imperial Red, Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Noir, Reserve Ale. The popular Pumpkin Noir is back along with its cousin, the regular Pumpkin Ale. Otherwise it’s a relatively light seasonal list as Marble is at capacity brewing the regular beers for distribution. There is the rotating “black handle,” which tends to feature some impressive “secret” beers. The Double White and Imperial Red brought home gold medals from GABF.

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

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

The Reserve Ale Release Party is set for today starting at 5 p.m. (for more, see the intro above).

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

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

Beers: Saisons Change, Dry Stout, Equinox Spiced Brown Ale, 2013 Barley Wine. Brewer Kaylynn McKnight cranked out one returning seasonal in the Equinox, which is back by popular demand, and popped an aged keg or two of the Barley Wine. We’ve been able to get over there and try the Saisons and Dry Stout and came away quite impressed. The Dry Stout is bold and thick, the kind of burly beer you want in the winter (or year-round if you’re like us). The Saisons Change packs a ton of flavor in every sip. It’s not spicy hot, but it will leave your tongue tingling with a strong Belgian yeast backbone behind the initial bite.

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.

All throughout November, Nexus is having an Ugly Sweater Contest. Post a photo of yourself in the ugliest sweater you can find on Nexus’ Facebook or Twitter feeds and you will have a chance to win a $25 gift card. There are weekly draws.

Nexus is hosting “The Walking Dead” viewing parties every Sunday in the community room at 6 p.m. If you need a break from zombies, they’ve installed four pinball machines in the community room as well.

There will be special brewery tours coming up Nov. 22. We’ll have more info as we get closer to the date.

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

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

Beers: Unchallenged IPA, West Coast Red, Robust Porter, Lost Grain English Summer Ale, Pre-Prohibition Pilsner. While Pi Brewing is not open to the public yet, they are able to brew and serve their beers next door at Nicky V’s. The IPA and West Coast Red are both good hoppy beers. We’ll keep tabs on when Pi itself opens. For now, grab a pint and some tasty Italian food. The new pilsner went on tap last week, replacing the Apricot Wheat.

Ponderosa Brewing Co. — (505) 639-5941

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

Beers: Ghost Train IPA, Rip Saw Red, Crosscut Kolsch, Sawmill Stout, XPA1 Pale Ale, Helles Lager, Double IPA, Oktoberfest, Chocolate Pumpkin Porter, Schwarzbier, Breakfast Stout. Porter Pounder and I went over for the grand opening recently. Ponderosa is located at 1761 Bellamah NW, which is just east of Rio Grande and due north of the NM Natural History Museum, in the bottom floor of a swanky-looking apartment/retail complex. As for the beers, they are all the initial batches, so expect some modifications/changes going forward. Needless to say we both liked the Stout (5.2% ABV, 22 IBU) the best, but we’re dark beer guys (then again, you could also call us dark beer snobs, so consider that). Porter Pounder liked the XPA1 Pale Ale (5% ABV, 35 IBU), which will always be a rotating single-hop pale ale. The Crosscut Kolsch (4.9% ABV, 25 IBU) is almost like a Kolsch/hefeweizen hybrid. The Ghost Train (6.2% ABV, 75 IBU) needs some work, but the brewer has already identified what went wrong in the first batch and is working on correcting that for the next run. The Double IPA (7.7% ABV, 90 IBU) provides plenty of hops; it was briefly out, but it’s going to be back on tap soon. The Oktoberfest (5.7% ABV, 17 IBU) is an interesting variation on the traditional style; we tasted wheat malts in the mix. The Schwarzbier (4.7% ABV, 24 IBU) debuted recently. It’s smooth and flavorful. The new Breakfast Stout (7.3% ABV, 40 IBU) is a smoky, malty, yet smooth beast of a beer. It’s another sign that Ponderosa’s beers are getting better with each batch.

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

Red Door Brewing — (505) 633-6675

(Noon to midnight all week)

Beers: (Regular) Gateway Blonde Ale, Roamer Red, Threshold IPA, Paint it Black Milk Stout, Unhinged Cider, Trapdoor Wheat. (Seasonal) Strong Scotch Ale. We were excited to try Red Door ever since they first invited us to visit many months ago. They are now open and their initial batches of beer are all quite good. The Roamer Red (6% ABV) was a favorite for Porter Pounder, sitting midway between hoppy reds like Marble and sweeter reds like the standard Irish variety. The Paint it Black (5.5%) is served on nitro, so it’s criminally smooth. The potent Threshold IPA (6.6% ABV) should appeal to local hopheads. Beware the Unhinged Cider as it checks in at 7.9 percent, but you don’t taste the alcohol. The first Red Door seasonal, Strong Scotch Ale, debuted over the weekend. Don’t worry, we already stopped by and wrote up a quick review. You’re welcome, Albuquerque!

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

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

Beers: Irish Red, Rattlesnake IPA, Smoked Stout. We’re going to dispatch E-Rock (he needs a new assignment) to re-establish our lines of communication with Sandia Chile Grill.

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

The Stumbling Steer — (505) 792-7805

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

Beers: Bang Up Blonde, Hefferweizen, Pig Sticker Pale, Iron Horse IPA, Rawhide Red, Boneyard Brown, Hop Trough (Double IPA), Soiled Dove (Imperial Stout), Black IPA. While the brewery is being built in the back of the Steer, all of their house beers are being brewed off-site, but still using brewer Kirk Roberts’ recipes. The DIPA and the Stout are limited to two per customer, due to their high alcohol content (10% and 9.5% ABV, respectively). The Crew has already made two separate visits to the Steer to review the beer and food. We enjoyed it all. The Black IPA is the current seasonal beer, plus there are often one or two cask beers. We recently had their Bacon Bourbon Stout and Green Chile IPA on cask. Franz Solo loved the latter.

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

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

UPDATED >>> Beers at Nob Hill: Berry Cider, Barnstorm Ale, Little Red Rye-ding Hood, Bulls-Eye PA, La Llorona Dry Hop Amber, Javi Light Lager, Jack the Sipper.

Beers at Wells Park only: Ruby Red Wheat, Pilsner #15, Tractoberfest, Mustachio Milk Stout, Pilsner #15. 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 Tractoberfest is back and this year’s batch is one of the best yet. It’s just a malt blast of happiness. The newest beers on tap were brewed up for Tractor’s 15th anniversary. The Ruby Red Wheat is loaded with grapefruit. The Little Red has a malty rye kick. The Bulls-Eye is a solid IPA. Jack the Sipper (7% ABV) is Tractor’s take on a spiced pumpkin ale.

News: Turkey Drool, an annual NMDSBC seasonal favorite, is in the bright tank and will soon be on tap. The Luna de los Muertos Russian Imperial Stout is also aging in the back, including some in a barrel. Oh, man, that could kill us … but we’d die happy.

Events: The Solos on the Hill series returns at Nob Hill tonight (Wednesday) as Keith Sanchez performs from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Joanie and Art’s BBQ will be outside to handle your culinary needs.

The Thirsty Thursday Music Series is back at Wells Park with Leah Leyva and The Band performing at 8 p.m. Kimo’s Hawaiian BBQ will be on site.

This Friday, prepare yourselves for The Darling Old West: A Belly Dance Saloon Show! The lovely and talented Desert Darlings will perform at Wells Park from 7 to 10 p.m. Irrational Pie and Street Food Boulevard will provide sustenance.

A special art opening will be held Saturday at Wells Park. Jodie Herrera’s The Shape I’m In will debut at 6 p.m. Kimo’s will be outside again.

After you check out the art show, head over to the Tricklock Theater Space on Gold and 2nd St. for The Reptilian Lounge — The Early Night. This is a one-night only event in advance of the Revolutions Theater Festival in January. Tractor will pour its beers on site from 8 to 11 p.m. If you’ve never been to a Reptilian Lounge (Sociable!), you’re missing out. Oh, Target Girl …

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

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

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

Beers: (House) McDay’s Cream Ale, Oku Amber, Parasol White IPA, Hopshell IPA, Piedra Lisa Porter, Heidelberg Helles. (Seasonal/specialty) Cascade Session Pale Ale, Uberaltbier, A Little Somethin’ Pumpkin, Rio Grande Tortoise Black IPA. To help us out for now and the future, brewer Tim Woodward broke down what will be the regular beers on tap (under House) and the current list of seasonals. That’s a pretty solid regular lineup. I personally really enjoyed the Porter and Amber, the latter of which trumps most of its genre in terms of flavor. The Heidelberg Helles (5.1% ABV, 25 IBU) has rejoined the regular lineup for good, or so Tim hopes. A Little Somethin’ Pumpkin is served on nitro. New to the lineup is the Rio Grande Tortoise Black IPA, a collaboration brew with Bosque that was created for a recent beer dinner. Now it’s on tap for everyone to enjoy.

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Russian Imperial Stout, Monks Mesa (Belgian Blonde), Meltdown Chocolate Porter, Rakau Single Hop IPA. The Monks Mesa (4.5% ABV, 15 IBU) is a Belgian blonde table beer. The Imperial Stout is a behemoth of a beer that our Santa Fe writer Luke got to enjoy at a recent release party. The Meltdown used no less than 25 pounds of cocoa nibs. The Rakau, using a powerful New Zealand hop, will debut this Friday.

News: Don’t worry, ABQ, Blue Corn is sending kegs of the Imperial Stout to the Draft Station down here this weekend. Just watch out for the black-clad bearded men storming down the doors. We get first dibs.

Events: Blue Corn’s holiday party is set for December. We’ll have more info as we get close to the date.

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: Danae (Golden Sour Ale), Study Series: Brown (Belgian-style Sour Brown Ale), Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Synne (Pale Ale), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Marcel (Witbier), Whistler (Blonde), Manikin Small Scottish-style Dark Ale. Duel brewer Todd Yocham described the latest Study Series entry (5% ABV) like this, “A very malt forward light bodied brown ale, soured with Lactobacillus and accentuated by the fruity esters from our Trappist yeast.” The Fantin (7.5% ABV), which I tried and liked at Pajarito Summerfest, gets this summary, “Aromas of strawberry and pineapple accentuated by our Trappist yeast will keep you wanting more.” The Danae is the newest entry.

Events: The life drawing session is $25 and is held each Sunday morning from 11-1 (although they are not open to the drinking public till 1 p.m. on Sun). You get the beverage of your choice, a Brussels-style waffle made with their own yeast and beer and then served with a Grunewald Syrup. Everyone then draws from a nude model. People can sign up through the website or call the brewery to reserve a spot.

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

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

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

Events: $1 Off Growler Refills in the Tasting Room on Mondays. $2 pint Tuesdays at the Eldorado Taphouse. On Wednesday, there is a $2 Pint Special in the SFBC Tasting Room, and the Sangre de Cristo Craft Brewers’ Meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Tasting Room as well on the third Wednesday of every month. On Thursday, there will be $1 Off Growler Refills at the Eldorado Taphouse.

News: SFBC will soon be opening a taproom in Albuquerque. Here are all the details that Luke, our Santa Fe correspondent, could find. It sounds promising.

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

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

Beers: Kolsch, Cream Stout, IPA, Boneshaker Bitter, Rod’s Best Bitter, Red Comet, Old Pecos Porter, Berliner Weisse. The Old Pecos Porter helps kick off Porter Month at Second Street. Red Comet is the other recent addition to taps. The Rod’s Best Bitter returns by popular demand.

Events: Bill Hearne Trio is playing Friday at the original location. The Alpha Cats play Saturday.

Shows at the Railyard include The Santa Fe Revue on Friday and Swing Soleil on Saturday.

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

Other breweries you need to visit

Twisted Chile Brewing — (575) 835-2949

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

Beers: Pilabo Pale Ale, 790 IPA, Quebradas Sunrise Amber. Twisted Chile has been open for a while as a restaurant, but as the name might imply, they will be brewing their own beer on site. Located in Socorro at 115 Abeyta St. W, they will be the first brewery there to brew on site since Socorro Springs outsourced their brewing to Eddyline in Colorado. I got to head down there recently and enjoyed all the beers I sampled. Kudos to Twisted Chile for bring quality craft beers back to a town that needed ‘em.

News: The popular Venom XL IPA will be back soon, along with an as-yet-unnamed pilsner.

Events: Twisted Chile has specials running during Monday and Thursday Night Football every week. Tonight (Wednesday) is open mic night from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

* * * *

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Editor’s note: AmyO got back from Europe recently and shared some pictures and tales of her travels. She wrote this on Sunday (see below), but it was delayed until today due to work schedules and the like. We’ll have more from her trip this Thursday (hopefully). — Stoutmeister

Czech beer doesn't quite measure up to the varieties here in the USA.

Czech beer doesn’t quite measure up to the varieties here in the USA.

I just spent a couple of wonderful weeks in Europe. Since I am a self-professed alco-traveler, I was looking forward to all the beer that I could come home and lovingly describe to readers. Now I feel a little stuck because I am trying to figure out how to write a non-story. It’s not that we didn’t drink our share of beer. We did, and often in large liter mugs. But, particularly on the first part of the trip, there wasn’t much to “write home about.”

For the most part in the Czech Republic there is always a choice of light or dark lager. Pilsners abound and they are very proud of them! People in the Czech Republic drink a LOT of beer. But to be honest, I really couldn’t tell one from the next. Granted, we only had a couple of days in each city and we probably could have found better beers if we had more time. We found a brewery that claimed to have craft beers so we were excited. They were actually flavored beers that were quite possibly the worst beers I have ever had. The one called “caramel” smelled and tasted like cake frosting. Coming from the western United States, where we enjoy the riches of excellent craft beer in many varieties, combined with the extremely low alcohol content and (let’s just say delicate) flavor of most Czech beer made for some pretty bored beer travelers.

German beer halls are an experience beyond just what's in your glass.

German beer halls are an experience beyond just what’s in your glass.

We had hoped to visit Pilsner Urquell because the train from Prague to Munich stops in Pilsen. But the train schedule did not allow for a short stop; you had to spend a half day and then we would get in to Munich later than we wanted. So instead, we walked across the Vltava River in Prague and toured Staropramen Brewery — the second largest Czech brewery. It is an impressive operation and in the tasting room they did have their “special” beer which was a very light wheat. It was better than the classic or dark lager, in my opinion, so that’s what I got for the pint that comes with paying for the tour.

Germany brought some much needed relief from the flavor drought. I drank many dunkels, weizens, and dunkelweizens. The beer halls in Munich are so much fun. However, a couple of days of sweet, cloudy beers made me even thirstier for hops. Our trip ended in Amsterdam, so at least the beers continued to get a little stronger. We went to Delirium Café in Amsterdam because they have over 500 beers. Unfortunately, the service was so horrendously bad, and we had to catch a boat back to the area of town where we were staying, that we were only able to have one beer there. We toured Heineken, and just like at Staropramen, we “learned” all about bottom fermentation and how they perfected their own famous strain of yeast. And of course it’s the best in the world! OK, sure …

When in Holland, you pretty much have to stop here.

When in Holland, you pretty much have to stop here.

I do love to travel and I had an amazing time. Prague is an outstanding city. Munich feels sort of familiar, and Amsterdam is complete sensory overload. But I am already always impressed with the number and quality of beers available here at home and I have never missed them quite so much. Speaking of, today is Sunday. That means there is football (not soccer! — not that there’s anything wrong with that) on TV and a Santa Fe Black IPA currently calling my name in the fridge.

Oh, and coming up soon, one very interesting beer (related) find in Prague …

Prost!

— AmyO

Okay, so this isn’t JUST for Stoutmeister and Brandon … but this is a new regular series to highlight those special new beers that only make seasonal, yearly, or one-off appearances in our local breweries and fine beer stores. Whether local or from some of the far reaches of the country or even world, we’ll drink it! Read on for the latest on those special beers. This week, the spotlight is on Tweak from Avery Brewing Company. Snootchie Bootchies!

WHO: Tweak Barrel Aged Stout from Avery Brewing Company, 17.81% ABV

Not for the timid: No, really.  Tweak from Avery Brewing is likely to assault you with flavors.

Not for the timid: No, really. Tweak from Avery Brewing is likely to assault you with flavors.

WHAT: A double/imperial stout brewed with coffee and aged in bourbon barrels.

WHY YOU SHOULD DRINK IT: Because it’s like being in a circle pit with 100 other bearded guys with tattoos while Pantera plays “F***in’ Hostile” in beer form. You will be hard pressed to find another beer that gives you the massive flavors that Tweak will. Proceed with caution, though.

If you are a regular reader of our site (or just one of those who tolerates the barrage of posts from us on Facebook … we still love you either way), you probably read the recent news that beers from Avery Brewing Company have made their way back to retailers here in the Land of Enchantment. If you didn’t, go read it … I’ll wait … caught up? Good. Because Avery Brewing has been a staple of the Colorado craft beer scene since 1993. Up until about five years ago you could wander into you local fine beer retailer and find their offerings waiting for you on the shelves. However, things went dark and our supply here in New Mexico was cut. Thankfully a new distribution deal was reached and Avery was able to supply their brews (you can currently find them at Jubilation Wine & Spirits for those in the ABQ area). This was great news to many; it got even better with the fact that Avery recently sent a supply of Tweak here to New Mexico!

Tweak is part of Avery’s barrel-aged series, an extremely limited, one-off series of beers that appear, kick your ass, and vanish into the night. This imperial stout is brewed with copious amounts of coffee and put into bourbon barrels for a four-month nap; what emerges could be described as the beer equivalent of a sleeping giant. Pouring a jet black with a tan/mocha-colored head that laces beautifully, the aromas are almost overwhelming at first: slight roasted malt, plenty of fresh-brewed coffee, vanilla, and oak notes from aging. The mouthfeel on Tweak is smooth, but punchy. In terms of flavor this is an onslaught: more vanilla, tons of dark chocolate and bakers chocolate, caramelized sugars, vanilla notes, slight licorice, and slightly smokey malts. The coffee isn’t quite as prominent, but with everything else going on I couldn’t really ask for any more. Definitely boozy in the middle and finish, but not as bad as I would have imagined from an 17.81-percent ABV (HOLY !$#@) beer.

Times before I have stated that beers were not for the weak at heart, but this one almost made me tap out. It kicked my ass, took my lunch money, and gave me an atomic wedgie. That much chocolate, oak, coffee, and vanilla has not been seen in a single beer for some time. A few times between sips I found myself saying “this is almost too much,” but I was quickly slapped in the face by another burst of flavor from the next sip. Now, I do have to give a disclaimer: THIS BEER IS RIDICULOUSLY LIMITED! Jubilation Wine & Spirits was lucky enough to get some in stock; as of this writing on Tuesday night, they were getting dangerously close to the end of the line with their supply, so run and pick it up while it you can. Tweak hurts in the best way possible.

Until next time …

Prost!

— Brandon Daniel

Russian Imperial Stout Release Pic 2

Head brewer James Warren and Chef D, the wizards behind the curtain.

The lighting is low, all is quiet, all is calm. Dozens of empty tables stare back at us, as if in anticipation of something big. The dining area of Blue Corn Brewery is empty for a Thursday night … for the moment, but that’s soon about to change. We’re the first to arrive, and all I can think about is getting my frozen mitts on a big dark beer, because baby, it’s cold outside!

This past week Blue Corn hosted their small, monthly event, “Thursday’s at the Brewer’s Table,” and from my experience, it was as big a hit as the beer that was unleashed upon Santa Fe that evening. Once a month, folks can make reservations to come in, sample a pairing of something Chef D has specially crafted for the occasion and a beer, or beers, which the brewers have handpicked, all while getting to step behind the curtain to meet the wizards of Blue Corn Brewery.

Last Thursday also happened to be the release party for James and Nick’s Russian Imperial Stout. And whether it was the interesting mini menu or the monster stout, from the team that brought back gold to Blue Corn, something drew a huge crowd out of the comforts of their homes to brave the cold weather. There were reservations for over 90 people, and most of them, if not all, were fulfilled. It was a Santa Fe beer crowd if I’ve ever seen one, mixed in age, shape, and style, but all were thirsty for the next new brew — and with several award-winning brewers in attendance, we were definitely in good company.

On the menu for the evening was an interesting assortment of the sweet and the savory including Doughnut Sliders, Elk Satays, and Cheesecake Bites, which ranged on the flavor meter from umami all the way to “Aye Mamí!” Though all different, the tastes were chosen because they had some element that mixed and mingled well with the new Czar of Santa Fe beers, and the cost was not bad at all for only $10 per person.

The Elk Satays were a fun choice, as the elk’s natural gaminess was played upon by the blackberry sauce, which I likened to the practice of using mint jelly on lamb. But instead of using it to mask the gaminess of the meat like mint might, the blackberry is boldly used to bring out the richness of the meat, and to a much, much better effect, I might add. Aptly named Ambrosia, the jalapeno blackberry sauce encouraged “gastronauts” to launch themselves from a platform of sweetness to floating somewhere out in spice amongst the food gods. The sweet tartness of the blackberry sauce pulled out the chocolate and currant notes of the stout, and the spiciness of the jalapeno remained nice and present, but was tuned to a lower octave by the chocolate roastiness and the creamy mouthfeel of the brew.

The tender red meat of the doughnut burger slider went as well with the stout as a steak might go with a red wine, but the sweet dark chocolate of the stout wort used by Whoo’s Donuts to make the donut ‘buns’ complimented the stout as if they had never been separated at boil. The savoriness of the cheese was a nice counterweight to keep that flavor scale from tipping too far from the dark sweetness and losing the burger to the high gravity of the beer.

The cheesecake was a nice choice of pairing, because the dark bitter chocolates of the stout began to unravel, yielding more complex flavors, which then easily interweaved with the lightness of vanilla custard. They did well to balance each other, rounding out a nice complimentary flavor version of yin and yang. An interesting thing about pairing beer with desserts, for me, is that you’re also pairing mouthfeel. Something with high carbonation might go better with a fruit pie or something similar, but for cheesecake, chocolate cake, and flan, as I pair with on my tours, I say you need that full-bodied, creaminess of mouthfeel that you can certainly attain with a well done Russian Imperial Stout.

And Blue Corn’s Russian Imperial Stout was really well done. Quick note on the history for those that haven’t heard it, this was another traditional beer changed to survive the harsh conditions of transport at the time. Russian Czar Peter the Great had really enjoyed the dark, strong porters that he had sampled while visiting England in 1698, and he requested that a few batches be sent to the Russian Imperial Court. Well, due to cold temperatures and the length of voyage, the first batches spoiled. Wanting to remedy this, the Barclay Brewery of London significantly increased the alcohol and hops of the beer and shipped out another batch. The result was a black, malty, and complex beer with a warming to it, which was favored by the Russian Court for years to come. It was the first “imperial” version of a beer. And now, the term “imperial” applies to any stronger, higher alcohol, higher gravity, higher hopped versions of a given beer.

This was one delicious monster of a brew!

This was one delicious monster of a brew!

In the middle of the event, GABF gold medal-winning brewer James Warren was kind enough to talk to me a little about his beer.

DSBC: What can you tell us about this monster of a Russian Imperial Stout?

Warren: So we have the oatmeal stout. We’ve got the porters that have come out here. And it’s trying to find something in between everything that’s happening. And this isn’t double oatmeal stout. There’s no oats involved in this at all. I’m new here. And I know there’s been several imperial stouts that have come out. And to separate it a little bit from them, there’s no flaked anything in this beer. Instead, there’s 900 pounds of malt. I guess it’s also less hoppy than other ones that have come out.

DSBC: I’m getting a very sweet, rich, warming alcohol … and a little smoke.

Warren: Absolutely. And there’s one-percent peated malt in it, too. And I don’t know if it actually picks up for everyone, but it’s something I enjoy in my beers, to separate it a little bit.

DSBC: What made you want to make this beer?

Warren: You have to make this beer! You have to make one and you love to drink it. I think imperial stouts are one of those beers like barley wines, or some of those other big beers that kind of help set breweries apart from each other. I think an imperial stout and a barley wine really let the brewers show what it is they like to make.

DSBC: Any big plans for the future of Blue Corn’s bigger brews?

Warren: We gotta do something bigger with the Barley Wine. This Russian Imperial Stout was just a test of the equipment.

* * * * *

And on that note, my palate is going to need some Eye-of-the-Tiger-Rocky-Style-training montage if I’m going to handle something bigger than this Russian Imperial Stout.

Cheers to big beers!

— Luke

For reservations for the next “Thursday’s at the Brewers Table,” call 505-438-1800. Or go to: Blue Corn Brewery

Happy Sunday, everyone. I know we rarely post anything on Sundays, but those silly guys over at Red Door decided that today was a good day to tap their first seasonal beer. After making it through the first couple months with their six mainstays, the Red Door brewers were finally able to catch their breath and find the time to create something new.

Red Door's Strong Scotch Ale is on the left. Starting today you can get a full pint of it just like the Paint it Black Milk Stout on the right.

Red Door’s Strong Scotch Ale is on the left. Starting today you can get a full pint of it just like the Paint it Black Milk Stout on the right.

The result is the Strong Scotch Ale, a malty, peaty little delight of a beer. Frank, one of Red Door’s owners, said the brewers were worried it would have too much of a peat flavor (which tends to be smoky, for those not familiar with the style), but I found it to exist in balance with the sweetness from the malts. It gave it a little kick, a bit of tangy flavor that would otherwise be absent. Even with that, it is still a smooth, almost decadent type of beer. Though no ABV was listed, Porter Pounder and I guessed it was at least 7 percent or higher, yet you do not get an overwhelming taste of alcohol. I found it just different enough to separate it from the Scottish ales at Bosque, Canteen, and Nexus, but still reach the standard of quality that those breweries have already set for the style in ABQ.

So head on over to Red Door today and grab a pint while you watch some football. Europa Roaming Kitchen will be providing the food (fitting, since it’s a Scotch ale and all).

* * * * *

Prior to heading over to Red Door, I joined the Professor Emeritus of Beer (my dad) and my dear mother at Heimat House for dinner. It was rather welcome after spending 30 minutes-plus in a dreadful traffic jam on the 550 bridge in Bernalillo on my way back from covering the state volleyball championships in Rio Rancho.

A pint of Andechser Helles is a good start at Heimat House. Just don't get lost in that bottled beer list.

A pint of Andechser Helles is a good start at Heimat House. Just don’t get lost in that bottled beer list.

A few things jumped out at me right away. Heimat House is busy, really busy, so if you expect to get in there and have your beer and food appear almost instantaneously, you’re going to be disappointed. Patience, grasshopper. As Carri and Blayne said back in our preview, the beers will be changing out pretty often, so some on the initial menu are already gone (I was personally saddened by the fact Odell Oktoberfest, which I have seen nowhere else in town, was out). The wait staff is up to date on what is available on tap, so they’ll guide you through it if the beer you want is tapped out.

The bottled beer list is now available, and it’s 61 beers long. That’s just ridiculous. The Crew is already planning a bottle share gathering, since many of those beers are not available at Jubilation or even Total Wine. Heimat House was not kidding when they said they would be getting some rare styles.

I followed in the Professor’s footsteps and had an Andechser Helles and a Hofbrau Marzen. The former is brewed by monks in Germany and I have vague memories of waiting in a line of cars as the Professor just had to get some of their renowned beers. It was certainly a quality helles, offering up a good balance of sweetness and some pilsner-like aromatic effects from the German hops. The Hofbrau Marzen was a milder version of what has become an almost too-sweet style in America. It was ultra smooth and a good beer with which to finish the evening.

On the food side, I grabbed something basic to start with in a wiener schnitzel with a side of french fries (it also comes with German noodles and red cabbage). The fries weren’t quite cooked long enough, but in the end they just reminded me more of some of the potato sides you get in Germany. The pork in the schnitzel was pounded down almost too thin. Mrs. Professor was not as keen on it, though I think her schnitzel was pounded down thinner than mine. The Professor grabbed some rouladen and enjoyed it, though he wanted a little less paprika in the sauce.

Overall for a place that has been open less than a month, I was impressed enough to certainly come back to eat and not just drink. Good work so far, Heimat House, we know you’ll only be getting better as time goes on.

But you absolutely, positively have to let us know when The Abyss goes on tap. We are not missing that one, no sir, we are not.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister