So the day after we saw Stoutmeister hit 1000 distinct brews on Untappd with a bomber of 2009 vintage imperial stout from Stone, he and we (the Solos) headed up north for a few Taos-brewed ales. From the start it looked like a lovely Sunday drive, but as we neared Santa Fe we were greeted by a wall of black clouds. It rained like I’ve never seen in Santa Fe, nearly a foot of water rushing down Saint Francis Drive like an angry river.

The Solos make sure to check into Untappd while enjoying the sampler tray at Blue Heron.

The Solos make sure to check into Untappd while enjoying the sampler tray at Blue Heron.

The storm being successfully passed, we made it to Blue Heron Brewery just off of NM 68 (and right next to Santa Fe Brewing’s new Hop Farm) in the town of Embudo. If any brewery screams old New Mexico it is Blue Heron, an old house just on the side of the road with a ton of character and a very laid back atmosphere. We did a flight of samples and took them out to the patio, which was fenced with aspen logs and nestled under several large Cottonwoods.

Of our samples, the standouts were the Tarantula Trek Red Ale and the Prieta Real Imperial Stout. The red was done in the Irish style with a wonderful dry finish and plenty of malty flavor. Prieta Real had a great aroma and a strong, boozy finish with hints of chocolate. Being the strong beer lovers that we are, the Stoutmeister and I picked up a bomber each of La Llorona Scottish Ale, which is a particular favorite of ours from Blue Heron. (It was not on tap when we visited, and we can’t go there without getting some. — S)

The Mogul Imperial IPA was a fine choice at Taos Ale House.

The Mogul Imperial IPA was a fine choice at Taos Ale House.

We next drove on to the Taos Ale House, which is just north of the main plaza area in a lovely building that used to host one of the (many) art galleries in town. Both the patio section off the road and the interior of the Ale House are very rustic and full of charm. We were somewhat disappointed to find that of the three listed house-brewed beers there was but one remaining on tap. We settled on a round of Mogul Imperial IPAs, which are served in 10-ounce glasses only. This IPA was quite similar to the Ladybug IPA from Blue Heron in that both had a sweeter, more syrupy or resinous character than what we typically find in the Duke City. The food at the Ale House was quite excellent as well with damn good burgers and Taos-style pub fare.

From the Ale House we headed west towards the Rio Grande Gorge and Taos Mesa Brewing. Constructed from a converted airplane hanger, and with views of mountains and open sky to rival any location, we were in for a treat. The open patio is filled with interesting art that I would liken to a surrealist dream and very much in line with the culture of Taos. There is a really neat outdoor amphitheater in one section backed by the ever lovely Sangre de Cristo mountains, and there is also a horseshoe pit and frisbee golf course for those wanting a little recreation.

Our six-beer sampler from Taos Mesa featured five house beers and a guest beer.

Our six-beer sampler from Taos Mesa featured five house beers and a guest beer.

We ordered a flight and simply relaxed. Of the five house beers we tried, we all agreed that the Kolsch 45 was the standout. It had a nice, white-colored head, good aroma, and a clean finish. A beer utterly perfect for a July afternoon.

Our return trip home was relatively uneventful, winding through beautiful mountains and rivers until we got back to Santa Fe. We were greeted once more by some furious downpours and a spectacular lightning storm to rival any from this year so far.

I definitely recommend heading up north this time of year to escape the heat, catch some fish, go rafting or hiking, or just for a beautiful drive, and enjoy a few local pints from these excellent breweries.

Pröst!

— Franz Solo, Mrs. Solo, Stoutmeister

Boxing Bear Brewing Co. has opened to the general public today (Friday), marking the official debut of Albuquerque’s newest brewery on the west side. Being a bunch of well-connected beer writers, we got invites to a special “VIP party” on Thursday evening to try the beers and check out the renovated space near the intersection of Corrales and Alameda (it’s the old Elliott’s, in case anyone forgot).

The Black Bear Stout is just one of four excellent beers on tap at Boxing Bear.

The Black Bear Stout is just one of four excellent beers on tap at Boxing Bear.

With Franz Solo in tow, I arrived about an hour after escaping Isotopes Park. There was a small crowd already inside, one that pretty much quintupled during our time there. The new brewery staff was serving up four house beers in the main taproom area, which is located in the west side of the building. That and the brewery are operational. The Southwest Grape and Grain store, along the south/southeast side of the building, is still under construction. Brewer Justin Hamilton, formerly of Chama River, and his staff warmly greeted us as we and many other folks arrived for this special soft opening.

We snagged a table after some foolish thoughts about wandering around. Franz had been working since 7 a.m. and I just finished an eight-game homestand where the Isotopes scored a ton of runs and played some very, very long games throughout. (The day game Thursday was mercifully short despite an 8-7 score; the Topes won on Joc Pederson’s eighth-inning grand slam.)

I went with the Paw Swipe Pale Ale (5.2% ABV, 45 IBU) to start, while Franz dove right into the Bear Knuckle Double IPA (9.0% ABV, 100 IBU). The pale was a nice, comforting beer, perfect for the summer months. It has a good aroma that draws you in, then a malty backbone to avoid some of the light, dryness that you often get with the style. It has a slight bite, but not too much. Brewer Justin Hamilton stopped by a couple times, albeit briefly as he was a busy, busy man, and he said his future goal is to lower the Paw Swipe to about 4.5-percent ABV and make it a true session beer. Try the current version this weekend and let Justin know if you think it should stay as is or drop down a notch. (Personally, I’m good either way.)

There will be plenty of room for the full crowd at Boxing Bear's grand opening.

There will be plenty of room for the full crowd at Boxing Bear’s grand opening.

As I only had a sip of the Bear Knuckle, but Franz had to go to work so I couldn’t get his full review (yet, if he sends me one today during his lunch/dinner break, I’ll add it). I do know from talking to Justin that it’s loaded with a lot of “C” hops (Chinook, Cascade, Centennial). It’s big and burly and Franz declared that it would have cracked his top five at the IPA Challenge. UPDATE: Franz had this to say: “Strong pine notes, ridiculously smooth and powerful with a hint of fresh orange from some good old Galaxy hops.”

Our second round featured the Hairy Mit Hefe (5.4% ABV, 12 IBU) for Franz and the Black Bear Stout (6.3% ABV, 45 IBU) for me. Franz later felt compelled to also down a Black Bear, though he also snacked on some of the sandwich samples while we were there, whereas I had just a hot dog at the Topes game some time before.

The Hefe was definitely a banana bomb, very similar to the The Last Straw Hefe that Bosque has had most of the summer. It’s a smooth, flavorful beer. Again, if Franz has some additional thoughts on this beer, we’ll add it to this story later today. UPDATE: Franz had this to say: “Loads of banana nut bread with a very smooth, refreshing finish. Really damn flavorful and good.”

Now, as for the Black Bear Stout, this was my personal favorite. I know. You’re shocked. But remember, I hold stouts to a high standard, so for a first-batch beer, this was exceptional (as were the rest). It was lighter in mouthfeel than some stouts, but still had a burly, smoky tinge at the edges. It was creamy, but not overly sweet. This is a big, tough stout that you probably would not want to encounter in the wild. Justin said he plans to thicken this one up a bit, making it even darker and heavier. That will work well in the winter months, but the current version is fitting even in the hot, dry New Mexico summer.

The taps were flowing at a sneak preview of Boxing Bear on Thursday.

The taps were flowing at a sneak preview of Boxing Bear on Thursday.

All in all, the staff was friendly and helpful, the parking was plentiful, and so was the seating. Boxing Bear should have little trouble hosting a lot of people this weekend and in the weeks to come. There was an Amber and an IPA fermenting in the back, just waiting to join the regular lineup. We look forward to going back to try those as well.

For a brand-new brewery, Boxing Bear is off to a great start with its initial beers. We can’t wait to taste what they have in store for us in the future.

Enjoy yourselves over there this weekend. Maybe we’ll pop in again, or bring other Crew members, before the weekend ends.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Editor’s note: This makes the fourth debut story for a member of our Brew Crew Bullpen. This time around Reid tackles a preview of a beer festival right in his backyard of Los Alamos. Let him (and the rest of us) know how he did. And then head to Pajarito Mountain on Saturday afternoon! — Stoutmeister

Bosque, La Cumbre, Marble, Santa Fe, and Taos Mesa will be the featured breweries.

Bosque, La Cumbre, Marble, Santa Fe, and Taos Mesa will be the featured breweries.

We all know Albuquerque is a mile-high city. And you folks from Santa Fe reside at an impressive 7,200 feet. You’ve been doing a lot of high-altitude beer drinking, and you’re understandably proud of your training. Well, this weekend it’s time to really test yourself. The Los Alamos Beer Co-op is hosting its second annual Beer Fiesta at Pajarito Mountain, just outside of Los Alamos, where five breweries will be dispensing their wares at 9,200 feet! Add in a great band, great food, and the great outdoors, and you have some excellent reasons to make the trek up into the Jemez Mountains. Plus, tickets only cost $10.

The Los Alamos Beer Co-op (LABC) is looking to become the next great little brewery in New Mexico. It started as a dream a few years ago and has slowly progressed towards reality. Adopting the co-op business model (one of only a few brewery co-ops in the country), LABC is dedicated to bringing quality craft beers to Los Alamos. Known for its national laboratory, the town also has a knowledgeable community of homebrewers and beer aficionados. We’re all looking forward to having a place to get together over a good beer and get a growler filled. LABC is planning to start operations and open its taproom in early 2015.

In order to pull this off, LABC is in fund-raising mode, soliciting members and investors. One of the more fun ways to raise funds is to throw a Beer Fiesta. The inaugural event, also at the Pajarito ski lodge, was last summer and it was a huge success. This year’s event should be even bigger and better, with all proceeds again going to LABC. Five New Mexico breweries will be pouring their beers, and Felix y Los Gatos will be playing a great mix of blues, funk, zydeco, and rancheras. Thad Hahn, the coordinator of festival events at Pajarito, proudly said that the cafe at the lodge has the finest green chile cheeseburgers and first-rate Frito pies. And, being a mountain and all, there is excellent hiking and mountain biking available. (Nothing better than burning a ton of calories and kicking back with a beer on the deck!) The ski lifts will be running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the beer-pouring/band-performing will take place from noon to 6. To spare attendees the several-miles drive up to the mountain, free buses will be running every half hour from 10 to 7 from Sullivan Field across the street from Los Alamos High School.

One of the themes for the event is “Keep it Co-op,” emphasizing the community-oriented nature of the co-ops in Los Alamos. Representatives from several of them will be on hand to explain the benefits of the cooperative business model.

At this point, you’re probably salivating for details about the breweries. Attending will be La Cumbre, Marble, Santa Fe Brewing, Taos Mesa, and Bosque. All of them make excellent beers, but of particular note is that Bosque happens to be the winner of the 2014 IPA Challenge, and they hope to bring some of their winning brew, Scale Tipper. As of this writing, we know a few of the lineups.

Bosque: Farmhouse Pale Ale, Pale Ryder, Brewer’s Boot Amber Ale, Kindling Golden Ale and maybe, just maybe a 1/6 BBL of Scale Tipper IPA

La Cumbre: Saison d’Hommel, What’s the ALTernative, Jenny’s Cream Ale, plus you can purchase cans of Elevated IPA, A Slice of Hefen, Malpais Stout, and bombers of the Saison and Project Dank IPA

Marble: Pilsner, Double White, Challenge IPA, and a new seasonal, Saisonette

Taos Mesa: Lunch Pale Ale, Hopper IPA, Wheeler Peak Wheat, and a new seasonal, Hopricot

They all sound like great summer beers. The beers sometimes run out, so be sure to arrive early!

A team of volunteers is working hard to bring you this Fiesta. For all of you skiers out there, a great way to thank them for the use of the mountain and lodge would be to invest in a season pass, available for discounted sale on the day of the Fiesta. For further information, visit skipajarito.com.

We hope to see you at the Fiesta!

Cheers!

— Reid

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with the second half of the now-divided Week Ahead in Beer. This edition covers all the breweries outside of Bernalillo and Sandoval Counties. From Taos to Santa Fe to Farmington to Las Vegas in the north, to Portales, Artesia, Silver City, and Las Cruces in the south, this edition will keep you up to date every week with as many breweries as we can reach. I’ll be handling both editions for now.

It's time for the Crew's annual Taos Trek, with another trip to TMBC high on our list.

It’s time for the Crew’s annual Taos Trek, with another trip to TMBC high on our list.

Well, it’s been kinda stupid hot of late. And with the IPA Challenge in the rear view mirror and Hopfest a long ways away (Sept. 20 at Isleta Casino, just in case you missed the announcement), the Crew is kinda bored. And you know what happens when we get bored and more than a two of us have a day off at the same time. Road trip! Franz and Mrs. Solo and yours truly are trekking north to the Taos area this weekend. I have only made two trips up there with E-Rock (in 2012) and Shilling (in 2013, before we lost him to the graveyard shift), while the Solos have not been up that way for the purposes of beer adventures. We don’t have an exact plan of attack yet, but we hope to hit Blue Heron on the way up (either the new Espanola taproom or the original location or, heck, both) and then visit Taos Ale House and Taos Mesa for sure while we’re there. The renovations at TAH and TMBC are done, so it will be nice to see what they look like now. Oh, yeah, and we’re looking forward to all the beers as well. Keep an eye out for our recap next week.

In the meantime, there are new beers around the state to try. Blue Corn has unleashed HALT!-bier, a new Alt. Desert Water has Amber Ale on tap and hopes to have a Porter ready this weekend. Duel tapped a new batch of their popular Dark Ryder. High Desert brings back their IPA and Extra Special Bitter. Second Street has fresh batches of Railyard Red and Boneshaker Bitter.

To further help people organize any brewing adventures, rather than list the breweries alphabetically here as we do in the Metro Edition, they’re grouped by geographic region: Northwest (Farmington), Santa Fe area, Taos area, Northeast (Las Vegas), East (Portales), Southeast (Artesia), Southwest (Las Cruces, Silver City).

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of July 21.

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

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Lunch Meeting (Session IPA), Training Wheels Light Lager, Pound for Pound IPA, HALT!-bier. The Pound for Pound IPA (7.5% ABV, 100+ IBU) was Blue Corn’s entry into the IPA Challenge. It boasts 7.5 pounds of hops per barrel, utilizing a mixture of Amarillo, Chinook, Eldorado, and Simcoe. The Lunch Meeting (4.7% ABV, 50 IBU) was made with Citra, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops. There is a lot of Vienna malt to balance out the hops. For craft beer beginners, Blue Corn has an American light lager called Training Wheels (4.5% ABV, 15 IBU). It’s made with flaked maize, rice, and pilsner malt. HALT!-bier (6% ABV, 40 IBU) is an Altbier made with two types of German color malts and a mix of Warrior and Crystal hops that give it a crisp, dry finish. It comes out today (Thursday) and will be paired with a special German-style dinner.

News: When I interviewed brewer James Warren a few months ago he talked about how much he wanted to make a Berliner Weiss. Well, he has one in the fermenter right now and it should be ready July 29.

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: Study Series: Brown (Belgian-style Sour Brown Ale), Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Non-Fiction (Pale Ale), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Oaked Grunewald (Imperial Porter), Dark Ryder (Strong 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.”

News: Duel Brewing has just started bottling Tableaux, Titian, and Fiction in 22-ounce bottles.

Coming soon are Whistler (Belgian Blonde) and Marcel (Belgian Witbier).

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: Freestyle Pilsner. We did not hear back on what’s coming up for Small Batch Saturday this week. Head up to the brewery for a surprise!

Events: $1 Off Growler Refills in the Tasting Room on Mondays. $2 Tuesdays at the Eldorado Taphouse. On Wednesday, there is a $2 Pint Special in the SFBC Tasting Room, and the Sangre de Cristo Craft Brewers’ Meeting will be held at 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.

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: International Pale Steam, Cream Stout, Kolsch, IPA, Rod’s Best Bitter, Boneshaker Bitter, Railyard Red Ale. The International Pale Steam and Rod’s Best Bitter joined the lineup last week, while Boneshaker and Railyard went back on this week. July is IPA Month at Second Street, so expect lots of varieties of the most popular style of beer to hit taps in the weeks ahead. In addition to the Original IPA and Pivotal IPA, look for St. George IPA and Fulcrum. As it turns out, Fulcrum was Second Street’s entry into the IPA Challenge.

Events: SSB Thursday’s Patio series will feature Joe West all month long. Busy & the 88s are playing Friday, followed by Barb Wire on Saturday. There is never a cover. Shows at the Railyard include Hot Club on Friday, Bill Hearne on Saturday and Alex Maryol with Sunday brunch.

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!

Taos-area breweries

Blue Heron Brewery — (505) 579-9188 (original location), (505) 747-4506 (Espanola taproom)

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

(Espanola taproom, 100 Los Alamos Hwy: Wes-Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.–8 p.m., happy hour Weds-Fri 4 p.m.–6 p.m.)

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

News: Blue Heron’s new taproom in Espanola is now open for business. Stop by on your next time up north and check out all they have to offer (and yes, we’ll head up there before the summer is out, time permitting).

Comanche Creek Brewing Company — (575) 377-2337

(Wed-Sat noon–6 p.m.)

Beers: Scully Mountain IPA, Deadman Pale Ale, Homestead Amber Ale, Iron Mountain Porter, Belgian Blond. Homestead Amber Ale was on hand when E-Rock and I visited Comanche Creek in 2012. The Homestead is often bottled and served at establishments in the Eagle Nest/Angel Fire area. We also had the Iron Man back then. It’s a burly beer worthy of Tony Stark.

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

Eske’s Brew Pub — (575) 758-1517

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

Beers: We haven’t gotten an update from Eske’s in a long time. If anyone out there is planning on visiting, snap a photo of their beer listings and email it over.

Taos Ale House — (575) 758-5522

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

Beers: Mosaic Lollipop, Mogul IPA, Simple Porter, Landscaper Session IPA. TAH also has a few guest beers on tap as well. The Simple Porter was a personal favorite from a while back. Looking forward to finally trying the rest this weekend.

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

Taos Mesa Brewing — (575) 758-1900

(Daily 11 a.m. – close)

Beers: Cold Gold, Cross Eye Rye, Great Scot Scottish, Rainy Day IPA, Fall Down Brown, Lunch Pale Ale, Sessions (IPA), Superstitious Stout, White Feather IPA. Recent additions to the taps are the Cold Gold (5.0% ABV, 20 IBU), a golden ale, and Sessions (5.0% ABV, 60 IBU), a session IPA. The popular Rainy Day IPA (7.2% ABV, 90 IBU) and Lunch Pale Ale are also back in the regular lineup. For a darker beer, I recommend the Superstitious Stout (naturally), though I enjoyed the Sessions when I tried it at SummerFest. A second version debuted at The Beer Premier. There are also three guest taps featuring Marble’s Wildflower Wheat and Pilsner, plus the Marble Beers’ IPA from Great Britain (not ABQ).

Northeast breweries

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

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

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

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

Northwest breweries

Three Rivers Brewery — (505) 325-6605

Beers: India Pale Ale, Sandstone Wheat, Afternoon D’light IPL, Papa Bear’s Golden Honey Ale, Red Mountain Wheat, Red Apple Flyer Cider, Peachy Keen Wheat, Chaco Nut Brown, Schnitzengiggle, Longshot Light, 3 Rivers Scottish Ale, Arroyo Amber Ale, Powerplant Porter. The lineup at Three Rivers has seen some changes recently. Red Mountain Wheat (4.5% ABV), Peachy Keen Wheat (4.9% ABV), Schnitzengiggle (7% ABV), and Longshot Light (3.5% ABV) are all new. The snicker-worthy name Schnitzengiggle (shout out to the movie “Beerfest”) is a German-style dunkelweizen. Some of the more interesting older beers on tap include the Afternoon D’light IPL (5.0% ABV), an India pale lager made with just Pilsner malt and Citra hops. The Sandstone (4.7% ABV) is a Bavarian-style hefeweizen. The Arroyo Amber Ale (5.0% ABV) is the local favorite. It is copper-red in color, medium bodied, and is brewed with caramel malt with a nice hop balance.

Eastern breweries

Roosevelt Brewing — (575) 226-2739

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

Beers: Eleanor’s Blonde Ale (5.5% ABV, 21 IBU), Portales Pale Ale (5.5% ABV, 45 IBU), Clovis Point IPA (6.1% ABV, 69 IBU), Dirt Town Brown Ale (4.0% ABV, 23 IBU), Happy Heifer Hefeweizen (4.9% ABV, 17 IBU), Big Stick Stout (10% ABV, 75 IBU), Black Water Draught Porter (8.5% ABV, 30 IBU), Green Chile Lager (5% ABV, 18 IBU), Wild Cherry Stout (4% ABV, 15 IBU), Roosevelt Golden Lager (4.8% ABV, 21 IBU), Wagon Wheel Wheat (4% ABV, 15 IBU). Roosevelt Brewing is located at 201 S. Main Street in Portales. Our own Porter Pounder stopped by while working on a film crew that was shooting in Portales and reviewed several of Roosevelt’s beers.

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

Southeast breweries

Desert Water Brewing — (888) 959-9342

(Tues-Sat noon-9 p.m.)

Beers: Amber, Rice Beer, Hard Cider, Hoppy, Wheat. Desert Water, located at 1 E. Cottonwood Road in Artesia, brews in small batches, so the lineup is constantly changing. They sell the beer in 4-ounce samples ($1, $2 for cider) or 12-ounce glasses ($3.50 beer, $5 cider). You can also purchase the beer in growlers.

News: A fresh batch of Porter will hopefully be on tap this weekend.

The Wellhead — (575) 746-0640

Beers: Cisco Canyon Blonde, Indian Basin Wheat, Wellhead Pale Ale, Crude Oil Stout, Roughneck Red, Wildcat IPA. Brew Crew Bullpen member Amy O visited The Wellhead recently and snapped a photo of their beer board. Her review of Artesia’s original brewery just ran on our site. The Wildcat IPA (7% ABV) is the biggest beer in the lineup, though personally I’d love to try the Crude Oil Stout (4.7% ABV) one of these days.

Southwest breweries

High Desert Brewing Company — (575) 525-6752

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

Beers: Wheat Ale, Peach Wheat, Extra Special Bitter, IPA, American Pale Ale, Black IPA, Brown Ale, Porter, Irish Red, Barley Wine. The ESB and IPA rejoined the lineup this week, replacing the Bohemian Pilsner, Rye Beer, and Hefeweizen. Lots of fresh beer is ready for you, Las Cruces! High Desert Brewing Company is located at 1201 W. Hadley Ave.

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

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

Beers: Helles Lager, IPA, Amber Ale, Robust Porter, Oatmeal Stout. These are all beers in the regular rotation. I will add seasonal brews as I learn about them. I got to try the Amber and Porter at SummerFest. Both hit all the right notes for their respective styles. LTC’s beers are getting better and better.

* * * *

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with the Metro Edition of The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, giving you a list of their current beers on tap as well as any special events going on in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and Bernalillo. Look for the State Edition, which will include everywhere from Taos and Santa Fe up north to Las Cruces and Silver City down south, this Thursday.

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 IPA Challenge has come and gone, leaving us all exhausted but happy. A record 361 fans came out to vote at Tractor Wells Park on Sunday, handing this year’s crown to Bosque Brewing. The good news is that many of the Challenge entries are still on tap around town, so you can still go enjoy your favorites or just go try them if you were unable to attend. Among the best of the bunch on tap are Bosque’s Scale Tipper, Marble’s Challenge IPA (second), Chama River’s Radioactive IPA (third), and Turtle Mountain’s India Stupid Ale (fourth).

There are several new beers on tap this week worth highlighting. Back Alley has Soroche IPA and Pale Ale in the lineup. Il Vicino has brought back their Irish Red and Hefeweizen. La Cumbre has Saison d’Hommel back on tap. Tractor went a little different with its new Berliner Weisse Sour.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of July 21.

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

ABQ Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

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

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

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

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

Beers: Soroche IPA, Red Ale, Imperial IPA, Pale Ale. The Soroche IPA and Pale Ale rejoin the lineup this week. In addition to the house beers and brews from other local breweries, Back Alley currently has Stone’s Collective Distortion IPA, Rogue Farms 7 Hop IPA, New Belgium’s Lips of Faith Gruit, and Green Flash’s Le Freak. 

Bosque Brewing Company — (505) 750-7596

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

Beers: The Last Straw Hefeweizen, Close to Clever Saison, Farmhouse Pale Ale, Scale Tipper: Batch 3, Ember IPA. Ember IPA is going to become a seasonal as Bosque will rotate various IPAs for the rest of the year. Once Bosque’s new hop contracts kick in next year they will decide on whether to reinstate Ember to the regular lineup or go with a different IPA. Speaking of IPAs, Scale Tipper just won the IPA Challenge. Congratulations to John Bullard and his entire brewing staff on their victory. The Last Straw is one of the best American hefes I’ve ever had. The Close to Clever debuted at The Beer Premier. It’s got that farmhouse funk aroma, but if you get past that it’s got a solid saison flavor.

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

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

Broken Bottle Brewery — (505) 890-8777

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

Beers: Stinky Pinky, Vienna Saaz-age, DADU Honey Wheat Ale, Triad IPA, Barely Legal Bourbon Oak Stout. The Stinky Pinky (5.3% ABV) is a hefeweizen infused with grapefruit. The Vienna Saaz-age (5.5% ABV) is a single-hop (Saaz) and single-malt (Vienna) beer. The DADU (8.2% ABV) is almost like a beer/mead hybrid. The Triad (6.6% ABV) uses a mix of three hops for a bigger, bolder flavor, plus additional dry hopping has given it a stronger aroma.

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.

News: The next round of seasonals in the works includes Cheeky Cherry Wheat, 12 Step Apricot Ale, and Wise Ass Watermelon Wheat.

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, Robusto Porter, Chupacabra IPA, Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale, ESB, Beer for My Horses (Oatmeal Stout). E-Rock and I had a chance to sample the Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale, which we both recommend. According to Cazuela’s menu: “This cream ale uses red-hot stones to super caramelize the sugars, creating a nutty, toffee-like flavor.”

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

News: Cazuela’s Beer for My Horses won a bronze medal in the oatmeal stout category at the World Beer Cup in Denver.

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

Beers: 505-2014 Collaboration, Apricot Hefeweizen, Summer Smoke, Cascading River, Radioactive IPA, Hop the Pond ESB. Summer Smoke is a smoked rauchbier, one that I finally got to try last week. It’s got the right balance between the smoky opening and a sweet, smooth, malty finish. The Cascading River (5% ABV, 50 IBU) is a single-hop Cascade pale ale. The new Apricot Hefe (4.5% ABV, 15 IBU) makes its debut as another summer-themed beer.

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 a damn contradiction of a beer, but it’s wonderful.

Il Vicino Brewing Canteen — (505) 881-2737

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

Beers: Fest Beer, American Stock Ale, Vienna Lager, Irish Red, Hefeweizen, Cerveza-rita, Sabbatic-ale IPA. In the wake of their awesome 20-year anniversary party, the Canteen staff will be rolling out the kegs of the beers from that event. The lineup figures to change almost daily, so you never really know what you’re going to get when you visit the Canteen. I guess you’ll have to visit them frequently to try as many great beers as possible. Hmm, they may have thought out this strategy. Sabbatic-ale (7.7% ABV, 100+ IBU) was Il Vicino’s IPA Challenge entry. The Irish Red is a classic, loved by many (especially my mom, who I think loves that beer more than me).

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

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

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

Beers: Red, Cream Stout, Banty Rooster (Hefe IPA), London Porter, Choice ESB, Basil Lager, Banaweizen, Jabba Wocky IPA. Located at 471 South Hill Road in Bernalillo, Kaktus is one of the state’s newest breweries. It is a small, casual place, similar to Blue Heron in appearance and comfort factor. 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.

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: Grange’s Red Card 4ALS, What’s the ALTernative, Jenny’s Cream Ale, Like Mother Like Daughter, Saison d’Hommel. The Red Card (8.4% ABV, 100 IBU) is a beer brewed in honor of former UNM soccer player Pat Grange, who died of ALS. Proceeds from this beer will go to ALS research. I got to try this beer with the Solos; it’s a wonderful, bold red ale, with strong hop and malt flavors that make it one of the burliest, yet tastiest beers you’ll get to have this summer. Kudos to Jeff Erway and his staff on creating this beer and doing it for a great cause. Like Mother Like Daughter (5.9% ABV, 45 IBU) is a pale ale brewed with a “mother hop” (Simcoe) and a “daughter hop” (Mosaic). Jenny’s Cream Ale (5.4% ABV, 15 IBU) is named for La Cumbre’s taproom manager as it’s her preferred style of beer.

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.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

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

Beers: Double White, Iron Horse Extra IPA, Extra Special Bitter, Heidi’s Raspberry Tart. We didn’t get an update from Marble this week, so the lineup could be completely different than what we have here. The Iron Horse (8.0% ABV) uses a blend of experimental hops for a one-of-a-kind taste. In addition, $1 from every pint sold of Iron Horse goes to the Ales for ALS campaign. Pints cost $5.50, add $6 extra for a growler. The ESB (4.7% ABV) uses West Yorkshire yeast and English malts for a, well, very English beer.

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

News: In April, Marble was presented the gold medal at the World Beer Cup for their Pilsner!

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

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

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

Beers: 505-2014 Collaboration, Shepard’s Session IPA (5.3% ABV, 41 IBU), Beam Me Up Scotty II (9.6% ABV, 37 IBU), Honey Chamomile Wheat. The Shepard’s is a little sweeter and creamier than you might expect from a session IPA. There’s nothing wrong with being different. The Beam Me Up is back, ready to brawl with your palate like Celtic and Rangers fans in Glasgow. It puts the heavy back into the Scottish Wee Heavy style. The Honey Chamomile Wheat is a unique little beer that made its debut at The Beer Premier. Get a sample and let us know what you think.

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.

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

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

Beers: Irish Red, American IPA. The American IPA was a new version of the Rattlesnake IPA brewed especially for the 4th of July. The Irish Red was also back on tap.

The Stumbling Steer — (505) 792-7805

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

Beers: Blonde, Pale, IPA, Red, Brown, Double IPA, Imperial Stout. While the brewery is being built in the back of the Steer, all of their house beers are being brewed off-site, but still using brewer Kirk Roberts’ recipes. The DIPA and the Stout are limited to two per customer, due to their high alcohol content (10% and 9.5% ABV, respectively). The Crew has already made two separate visits to the Steer to review the beer and food. We enjoyed it all.

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

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

Beers at Nob Hill: Hard Apple Cider, Trekker Red Belgian Ale, Maibock Lager, Pilsner Roja, Hard Berry Cider, Berliner Weisse Sour.

Beers at Wells Park only: L4 IPL, C&C IPA, F.Y.F.A. IPA, Barley Wine, Juniper Xtra Pale Ale, Pilsner #15, Scotch Ale, Javi Lager. 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 Pilsner Roja is a crisp, Marzen-style beer that tastes good in the hot summer months. If you need a hop punch to the face, the F.Y.F.A. (F— Yeah Friday Ale) is a much more hop-forward IPA than what Tractor usually creates. The Berliner Weisse Sour takes a traditional German-style weiss beer and twists it into a sour. It’s an acquired taste.

Events: On Wednesday, Tractor will be hosting another Cards Against Humanity night at Wells Park. This is a free event starting at 7 p.m. Food will by served by Nomad’s BBQ.

Geeks Who Drink is now setting up shop at the Wells Park Tap Room every Monday at 8 p.m. Bar cash for winners and bonus questions all night. Wanna see what GWD at Tractor has been up to? Check out the blog! Food will be served by Mystique.

Tractor’s pLOUD Music Series returns Thursday at 8 p.m. with Next Three Miles performing. Kimo’s BBQ will provide the food.

I’ll Drink to That is back Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. Irrational Pie will be parked outside for all your food needs.

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. (Seasonal/specialty) Stars & Stripes American Lager, Blackberry Tart Cherry Wheat, The Fitzgerald Session IPA, N.B. SMaSH Pale Ale, Pork ‘n’ Brew Brown Ale, India Stupid Ale. 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 newest beers on tap are the Blackberry Tart Cherry Wheat and the India Stupid Ale, which was TMBC’s excellent entry in the IPA Challenge.

* * * *

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: This is the debut story for the third member of our new six-person Brew Crew Bullpen. Amy O visited the Artesia-Roswell area recently, but we had to hold her story due to the IPA Challenge and other events. She graciously waited until we had a day to run it, and that day is today. Let her know what you think! — Stoutmeister

I very rarely get to the southeastern part of the state. The last two times I was anywhere near Artesia, it was during the days the Wellhead Restaurant & Brewpub was closed. I finally made it there as a side trip during my visit to the 2014 UFO Festival in Roswell over the Fourth of July weekend.

Amy's boyfriend Dave enjoys his sample of Black IPA at The Wellhead in Artesia.

Amy’s boyfriend Dave enjoys his sample of Black IPA at The Wellhead in Artesia.

Because their website is down (more on that later), I called ahead before making the extra 40 minute drive. When the employee answered the phone, I asked, “What are your hours today?” Apparently, they don’t get that question very often and it confused her because she gave me her personal work schedule for the day. I ended the call, laughed, and decided to take that as a sign that they were at least open. So off we headed to try them out.

The brewery is easy to find in the quaint downtown area of Artesia. When my other half and I arrived about 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon the place was nearly empty despite having a very pleasant atmosphere. They have a patio that is open for music on Friday evenings.

We sat at the bar and the bartender asked us what we wanted. We wanted a sampler of all their beers, but she said they only do a sampler of three. According to the white board, there were six beers on tap that day, so the two of us figured we would just split it up and do three of each.

Unfortunately, they were out of the Wildcat IPA (7% ABV), and it sounded like it didn’t just run out that morning. They also had a couple of seasonals, including a Black IPA, not written on the board. (A tip to the brewery staff, if you have something as easy to edit as a white board, please cross out the ones you don’t have that day and write “out” next to it so that we at least know it’s a beer you normally serve but we just can’t order it today. It makes your beer look popular! It is also nice to peruse a list of seasonals.)

We ordered our three samples each. The bartender placed two samples in front of each of us and said they are not allowed to serve us more than two drinks at a time. I pointed out that these are sample size, not full drinks, but what do I know about liquor rules in Artesia? Although suspicious, I let it slide because I knew I would get the third one eventually. Doing a three-beer sampler and then only serving two of those at a time does not allow for any creative sampler presentations for sure.

The beers were better than I expected. The Cisco Canyon Blonde (4.8% ABV), although typically mellow, fit the season and was a good start. The seasonal Black IPA (ABV unknown) was less sweet than most. Although not overly bold, it was my favorite of their beers. The Roughneck Red (4.8 ABV) had a slight caramel flavor but did not linger on the palate.

We shared a decent but somewhat unremarkable Reuben sandwich with curly fries that was served very promptly. This paired best with the Roughneck Red, as the Red was not strong enough to overpower it, but was a good cleanser for the richness of the meat, the grilled rye, and the sauerkraut.

Before we left, I asked the bartender about why the website was down. She said she didn’t know it was, although it was at least down for the entirety of the prior week that I was checking to find out their hours and location. I also noticed a small display of T-shirts in a window when we entered, so I asked if we could get one. It took us so many years to actually get to The Wellhead that we thought we should get a shirt. One of the other servers went to check on the shirts, but returned to tell us they were “locked up upstairs” and they could not get to them. It seemed to be indicative of an overall unconcerned attitude. Some very easy fixes could really improve this place that has so much potential.

There's a nice little brewery tucked away inside this building.

There’s a nice little brewery tucked away inside this building.

Cottonwood Wine and Brewing (Desert Water Brewery)

Artesia’s new brewery is actually located six miles north of downtown on the main highway between Artesia and Roswell (Highway 285 at Cottonwood Road). It is a winery that recently added a brewery. The exterior of the building looks like a nicer, larger version of a portable classroom building, but don’t let that fool you. The inside is spotless and well-appointed with rustic charm and a small bar.

“Tending bar” that day was a nice couple who were friends of the owners, because the owners were in Ruidoso for the Spencer 2014 New Mexico Wine and Beer Festival. Because they were the owner’s friends and not staff members, they did not have much information to share with us, but were happy to pour the sampler. The three beers available (two others went to the festival but were not on tap) and the cider were all very light in color and body.

The first, a rice beer (5.2% ABV) was interesting, but not very subtle on the rice. It lacked balance. The El Hefe Hefeweisen (5% ABV) was better. It was slightly spicy with a light, clean finish. If we were not driving back to Roswell I would have ordered this as my choice of a full pint.

The rustic interior of Desert Water Brewery.

The rustic interior of Desert Water Brewery.

The Wild Oat (5.2% ABV) was probably the first oat beer I have had that was not a darker beer. It was as light as the rice beer, but with a totally different flavor. I preferred it to the rice beer but it would take a little getting used to. Finally, the Hard Cider (8.2% ABV) was a surprise. At 8.2-percent I expected it to be much sweeter. Yet it was on the tart side for a cider — not a bad thing — and did not have a strong alcohol taste.

This is a small batch brewery with one brewer and no assistants. We were told that the brewer is having a hard time keeping up with demand. This explains the limited selections and the lack of styles. But kudos to the brewer for experimenting with some interesting styles of beer.

As we were finishing our sampler, a local came in wearing a Guinness T-shirt. She was sad that there was no longer any stout available. Since all the beers were very light, I wish I could have tried something on the darker side as well. Hopefully I will see them bring some dark beers to a cool weather festival sometime. I would like to keep an eye on this brewery to see how it develops.

Roswell may not have its own brewery, but at least it has a bar that serves beers from around the state.

Roswell may not have its own brewery, but at least it has a bar that serves beers from around the state.

Roswell’s best bet for New Mexico beers

There are no breweries in Roswell, which is strange enough in itself. Come on, Sierra Blanca, no Alien tap room here? I find that so strange. Well, their loss is definitely someone else’s gain. While attending the events at the 2014 UFO Festival in Roswell over Fourth of July weekend, we stopped in to Pecos Flavors Winery on Main Street. They proudly pour a big selection of New Mexico beer and wine.

The staff is a really hardworking, friendly bunch of folks that have a palpable synergy. Although it was completely packed, they were eager to help and in control. All the tables were full and we had to wait for a seat at the bar. They had the World Cup on TV and the crowd was happy and festive. Some donned their alien-themed gear while sipping pints of Sierra Blanca Brewing Company’s Alien Wheat or Alien Amber.

They also pour Marble Brewery beers. We heard they may get some Tractor Brewing offerings soon. I asked a staff member about the addition of New Mexico beer taps. He said it has been great for business (and it showed), and that it’s now about a 50/50 split between beer and wine by the glass orders. A local man who sat next to us said it’s his go-to place in town since they are the only ones who pour multiple New Mexico beers on a regular basis. Cheers to them!

— Amy O

The people have spoken and there is a new/old king of the IPA in New Mexico.

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

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

The 2014 IPA Challenge came to a close Sunday evening at Tractor Wells Park with Bosque Brewing taking home the trophy for the first time. It was the second straight victory for brewer John Bullard, who won his first Challenge last year when he was with Blue Corn.

“It feels good, man, it feels really good,” John said Sunday. “It’s way more rewarding this time with a brewery that supports me entirely. It’s really good.”

Bosque co-owner and founding brewer Gabe Jensen was all smiles after the final votes were announced. John and his assistant brewers, Ryan Jameson and Ira Strain-Bey gathered to hold the trophy aloft.

“I don’t even know what to say,” Gabe said. “I’m so proud of John and Ryan and Ira. Those guys, oh man.”

Bosque racked up 65 votes in the final round 106 total. Marble made it closer in the end, piling up 61 votes (including mine, the rest of the Crew who attended — Franz Solo, Mrs. Solo, Brandon — went with Bosque) to finish second overall with 77 votes. Chama River (72), Turtle Mountain (56), La Cumbre (55), and host Tractor (36) followed. Add it all up and no one at Bosque ever felt like they were going to run away with the trophy.

The very first tray of all 16 IPA Challenge beers was served to Stoutmeister. We know how shocked you all are at this news.

The very first tray of all 16 IPA Challenge beers was served to Stoutmeister. We know how shocked you all are at this news.

“No, I never thought that once,” John said. “I was pretty nervous today. This was the best Challenge I’ve seen yet. There was a huge amount of great beers in this lineup. It was tough competition. It was a lot of fun, though.”

Gabe said he felt the closer competition made for a more exciting, and nerve-wracking, finish to this year.

“Compared to last year, not that there weren’t a lot of good beers, but John ran away with it,” Gabe said. “This year, I didn’t know which one to vote for. There were several really good beers, even some that didn’t get that many votes, I thought they were right there. It’s obvious the level (of talent) is coming up.”

A total of 361 people voted at Tractor, which by most accounts was an all-time high for the final round. Despite starting a few minutes late, the entire process went smoothly and efficiently. The Tractor staff did a great job keeping the line moving and helping people throughout the day. Kudos to Skye Devore and all of her employees, they made this one of the best finales to date.

The Crew tackles the Challenge. Clockwise from bottom left, Stoutmeister, Brandon, honorary Crew member Lea, Franz Solo, and Mrs. Solo.

The Crew tackles the Challenge. Clockwise from bottom left, Stoutmeister, Brandon, honorary Crew member Lea, Franz Solo, and Mrs. Solo.

As for the beers, the field of 16 was outstanding this year. There was no undrinkable beer among them, though the gap between the favorites and the also-rans did emerge. Bosque’s Scale Tipper, Marble’s Challenge IPA, Chama River’s Radioactive, Turtle Mountain’s India Stupid Ale, and La Cumbre’s Project Dank were clearly the crowd’s choices, but the gap between them was not that high. (And yes, it was a very tough decision for all of us, too.)

The key to Scale Tipper’s victory? A big old dose of quality hops balanced with a malty backbone that made it a heavyweight masterpiece.

“This year was a lot bigger,” John said. “This was a way bigger beer than last year. I think that had a lot do with the flavor impact. Massive hopping rates, man.

“We even mashed higher to keep more of that malt presence in there.”

Many people that the Crew talked to felt that #8 (which was Scale Tipper) was the biggest and burliest beer of the bunch.

“I heard word of ours being over-the-top,” Gabe said. “I think by itself it was. Yes, we did that on purpose and I’m OK with it.”

The huge turnout of beer lovers included plenty of folks from other breweries. Among those we crossed paths with were Kaylynn McKnight and Ken Carson from Nexus, Zach Guilmette and David Facey from Chama River, James Warren from Blue Corn, and Nico Ortiz and Tim Woodward from Turtle Mountain. Add it all up and craft brewing is doing great throughout New Mexico.

“It’s growing fast, it’s strong, it’s alive, and we all support each other, that’s the best part of this whole thing,” John said.

Thanks to everyone who set up the IPA Challenge — a special shout-out to Christopher Goblet of the Brewers Guild for his tireless work — and to everyone who attended the event. We think a good time was had by all. This was one of the most fun events we have been to in all our years of covering and participating in the Challenge. Next year should be even more fun.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister and the rest of the NMDSBC

The final round of the New Mexico IPA Challenge is nearly upon us! Out of the 16 entries to the tasters’ choice competition there are currently five available for tasting in the Duke City. My mission over the past few days has been to try each one in turn and bask in the glory of a veritable galaxy of hops. Stoutmeister joined me on three of these adventures and Mrs. Solo was also present for Bosque’s offering. Whether you are a fan of Northwestern-style IPAs, with their distinctive pine flavor, or have a hankering for more malts or tropical flavors, all of these are well represented and sure to please.

Marble's Challenge IPA was the last of the five entries to be released this week.

Marble’s Challenge IPA was the last of the five entries to be released this week.

These are the five that we tried: Chama’s Radioactive IPA, Bosque’s Scale Tipper IPA, Turtle Mountain’s India Stupid Ale, Il Vicino’s Sabbatic-ale IPA, and Marble’s Challenge IPA. So as not to unjustly influence any voters at the Challenge, I will refrain from attaching any description to any particular beer.

Three of these were very similar in profile — strong malt backbone punctuated with multiple layers of tropical fruit and citrus flavors. Each beer had a unique combination of mango or peach, tangerine, pineapple, orange, and grapefruit. Another had a strong presence of pine and grapefruit which was very dank in aroma and flavor with a fine, bitter finish. One of these had a far more prominent pine flavor with less of the fruit character and finished with a strong, bitter, crisp bite.

The five brews I sampled are not your everyday, standard “house” IPAs. Many contain close to 10 pounds of hops per barrel and utilize up to 10 different hop varieties in their composition. There is not a single one that disappointed me. They are all really, really outstanding beers, each unique and wonderfully crafted. So whether you like your fruit first or pine or bitter or a combination one way or another on the front or back end, you’ve got it.

Il Vicino's Sabbatic-ale is the successor to Exodus.

Il Vicino’s Sabbatic-ale is the successor to Exodus.

Owing to the cost of ingredients alone these IPAs are a rare seasonal and I highly recommend heading to your favorite watering hole and enjoying a pint or two before they disappear! One recommendation on consumption, let your pint rest a bit. The aroma and the flavor of the hops really open up like a flower or a good glass of wine with a slight raise in temperature and oxygenation.

And for the details for the final round (Stoutmeister said I should include this one more time), it kicks off at noon and runs until 4 p.m. at Tractor Wells Park, which is at 1800 N. 4th Street. You can still buy tickets online at nmbeer.org or you can get them at Wells Park. We’re not sure if they will still be selling any at the door Sunday, so get them now just in case.

After two rounds, Bosque leads with 41 votes, followed by Chama River (27), Il Vicino (23), and then a four-way tie with 18 votes for Blue Corn, La Cumbre, Santa Fe, and Tractor. It should make for an exciting finish.

Hope to see you all on Sunday, it will be as Stone Brewing put it best: “A stage dive into a mosh pit of hops!”

Prost!

— Franz and Mrs. Solo

P.S. Last year Stoutmeister wrote a “Survival Guide” for first-time IPA Challenge participants. It’s all still valid today, so back and read the entire thing. Well, OK, skim it if you have to, but trust me, it’s helpful.

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with the second half of the now-divided Week Ahead in Beer. This edition covers all the breweries outside of Bernalillo and Sandoval Counties. From Taos to Santa Fe to Farmington to Las Vegas in the north, to Portales, Artesia, Silver City, and Las Cruces in the south, this edition will keep you up to date every week with as many breweries as we can reach. I’ll be handling both editions for now.

Duel has seen the light and is now seeking help from the public to expand their brewery and serving area.

Duel has seen the light and is now seeking help from the public to expand their brewery and serving area.

Up in Santa Fe, Duel Brewing has some ambitious plans for the future, but they need help from their customers. Duel has engaged in a crowdfunding endeavor to help expand their brewery and the taproom space. The goal is to eventually triple their production. Duel has already acquired the space next door for an additional 1400 square feet for an expanded serving area, but they could use some help going forward. Duel hopes to continue bottling some of their beers and with this additional funding they will be able to add even more. It will also give them the potential to begin selling Duel beers at other Santa Fe bars and restaurants as well. Duel has been successful so far, but if they want to kick it up to the next level, they’re calling on beer lovers for support. If you have the cash and love their beers, give them a hand. They’re going to be holding a big party to celebrate their efforts August 16. You can keep up to date on their progress via Duel’s Facebook page, they’re posting pretty regular updates. Good luck to Duel!

In the meantime, there are new beers around the state to try. Blue Corn has unleashed Pound for Pound IPA, their entry into the IPA Challenge. High Desert put the American Pale Ale back on tap. Second Street has added San International Pale Steam and Fulcrum IPA, their Challenge entry. Three Rivers tapped four new beers this week in the Red Mountain Wheat, Peachy Keen Wheat, Longshot Light, and the awesomely named Schnitzengiggle (a dunkelweizen).

To further help people organize any brewing adventures, rather than list the breweries alphabetically here as we do in the Metro Edition, they’re grouped by geographic region: Northwest (Farmington), Santa Fe area, Taos area, Northeast (Las Vegas), East (Portales), Southeast (Artesia), Southwest (Las Cruces, Silver City).

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of July 7.

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

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Blueberry Wheat, Lunch Meeting (Session IPA), Training Wheels Light Lager, Pound for Pound IPA. New to taps this week is the Pound for Pound IPA (7.5% ABV, 100+ IBU), Blue Corn’s entry into the IPA Challenge. It boasts 7.5 pounds of hops per barrel, utilizing a mixture of Amarillo, Chinook, Eldorado, and Simcoe hops. The Blueberry Wheat (6% ABV, 15 IBU) was made with 84 pounds of pure blueberry puree. Wow. It’s also brewed with 40-percent wheat, honey, orange peels and coriander. The Lunch Meeting (4.7% ABV, 50 IBU) was made with Citra, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops. There is a lot of Vienna malt to balance out the hops.A new American light lager called Training Wheels (4.5% ABV, 15 IBU) is on tap. It’s made with flaked maize, rice, and pilsner malt.

News: There is an Altbier now in the works that should be ready soon.

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: Study Series: Brown (Belgian-style Sour Brown Ale), Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Non-Fiction (Pale Ale), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Oaked Grunewald (Imperial Porter), Titian (Strong Golden 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.”

News: Duel Brewing has just started bottling Tableaux, Titian, and Fiction in 22-ounce bottles.

Coming soon are Whistler (Belgian Blonde), Marcel (Belgian Witbier), and Dark Ryder (Strong Dark Ale).

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: Freestyle Pilsner. We did not hear back on what’s coming up for Small Batch Saturday this week. Head up to the brewery for a surprise!

Events: $1 Off Growler Refills in the Tasting Room on Mondays. $2 Tuesdays at the Eldorado Taphouse. On Wednesday, there is a $2 Pint Special in the SFBC Tasting Room, and the Sangre de Cristo Craft Brewers’ Meeting will be held at 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.

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: San International Pale Steam, Amber Ale, Cream Stout, Kolsch, Fulcrum IPA, Pivotal IPA, Rod’s Best Bitter. The San International Pale Steam is new to the lineup. Rod’s Best Bitter back on tap as well. July is IPA Month at Second Street, so expect lots of varieties of the most popular style of beer to hit taps in the weeks ahead. In addition to the Original IPA and Pivotal IPA, look for St. George IPA and Fulcrum. As it turns out, Fulcrum is Second Street’s entry into the IPA Challenge.

Events: SSB Thursday’s Patio series will feature Joe West all month long. There is never a cover.

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!

Taos-area breweries

Blue Heron Brewery — (505) 579-9188 (original location), (505) 747-4506 (Espanola taproom)

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

(Espanola taproom, 100 Los Alamos Hwy: Wes-Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.–8 p.m., happy hour Weds-Fri 4 p.m.–6 p.m.)

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

News: Blue Heron’s new taproom in Espanola is now open for business. Stop by on your next time up north and check out all they have to offer (and yes, we’ll head up there before the summer is out, time permitting).

Comanche Creek Brewing Company — (575) 377-2337

(Wed-Sat noon–6 p.m.)

Beers: Scully Mountain IPA, Deadman Pale Ale, Homestead Amber Ale, Iron Mountain Porter, Belgian Blond. Homestead Amber Ale was on hand when E-Rock and I visited Comanche Creek in 2012. The Homestead is often bottled and served at establishments in the Eagle Nest/Angel Fire area. We also had the Iron Man back then. It’s a burly beer worthy of Tony Stark.

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

Eske’s Brew Pub — (575) 758-1517

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

Beers: We haven’t gotten an update from Eske’s in a long time. If anyone out there is planning on visiting, snap a photo of their beer listings and email it over.

Taos Ale House — (575) 758-5522

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

Beers: Mosaic Lollipop, Mogul IPA, Simple Porter, Landscaper Session IPA. TAH also has a few guest beers on tap as well. The Simple Porter was a personal favorite from a while back. Considering I have not tried the others, a trip back up to Taos is overdue. Finding actual time to go, well, that’s a whole other story.

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

Taos Mesa Brewing — (575) 758-1900

(Daily 11 a.m. – close)

Beers: Cold Gold, Cross Eye Rye, Great Scot Scottish, Rainy Day IPA, Fall Down Brown, Lunch Pale Ale, Sessions (IPA), Superstitious Stout, White Feather IPA. Recent additions to the taps are the Cold Gold (5.0% ABV, 20 IBU), a golden ale, and Sessions (5.0% ABV, 60 IBU), a session IPA. The popular Rainy Day IPA (7.2% ABV, 90 IBU) and Lunch Pale Ale are also back in the regular lineup. For a darker beer, I recommend the Superstitious Stout (naturally), though I enjoyed the Sessions when I tried it at SummerFest. A second version debuted at The Beer Premier. There are also three guest taps featuring Marble’s Wildflower Wheat and Pilsner, plus the Marble Beers’ IPA from Great Britain (not ABQ).

Northeast breweries

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

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

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

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

Northwest breweries

Three Rivers Brewery — (505) 325-6605

Beers: India Pale Ale, Sandstone Wheat, Afternoon D’light IPL, Papa Bear’s Golden Honey Ale, Red Mountain Wheat, Red Apple Flyer Cider, Peachy Keen Wheat, Chaco Nut Brown, Schnitzengiggle, Longshot Light, 3 Rivers Scottish Ale, Arroyo Amber Ale, Powerplant Porter. The lineup at Three Rivers has seen some changes. Red Mountain Wheat (4.5% ABV), Peachy Keen Wheat (4.9% ABV), Schnitzengiggle (7% ABV), and Longshot Light (3.5% ABV) are all new. The snicker-worthy name Schnitzengiggle (shout out to the movie “Beerfest”) is a German-style dunkelweizen. Some of the more interesting older beers on tap include the Afternoon D’light IPL (5.0% ABV), an India pale lager made with just Pilsner malt and Citra hops. The Sandstone (4.7% ABV) is a Bavarian-style hefeweizen. The Arroyo Amber Ale (5.0% ABV) is the local favorite. It is copper-red in color, medium bodied, and is brewed with caramel malt with a nice hop balance.

Eastern breweries

Roosevelt Brewing — (575) 226-2739

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

Beers: Eleanor’s Blonde Ale (5.5% ABV, 21 IBU), Portales Pale Ale (5.5% ABV, 45 IBU), Clovis Point IPA (6.1% ABV, 69 IBU), Dirt Town Brown Ale (4.0% ABV, 23 IBU), Happy Heifer Hefeweizen (4.9% ABV, 17 IBU), Big Stick Stout (10% ABV, 75 IBU), Black Water Draught Porter (8.5% ABV, 30 IBU), Green Chile Lager (5% ABV, 18 IBU), Wild Cherry Stout (4% ABV, 15 IBU), Roosevelt Golden Lager (4.8% ABV, 21 IBU), Wagon Wheel Wheat (4% ABV, 15 IBU). Roosevelt Brewing is located at 201 S. Main Street in Portales. Our own Porter Pounder stopped by while working on a film crew that was shooting in Portales and reviewed several of Roosevelt’s beers.

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

Southeast breweries

Desert Water Brewing — (888) 959-9342

(Tues-Sat noon-9 p.m.)

Beers: El Hefe (hefeweizen), Rice Beer, Hard Cider, Wild Oat Beer, Hoppy, Wheat. Desert Water, located at 1 E. Cottonwood Road in Artesia, brews in small batches, so the lineup is constantly changing. They sell the beer in 4-ounce samples ($1, $2 for cider) or 12-ounce glasses ($3.50 beer, $5 cider). You can also purchase the beer in growlers.

The Wellhead — (575) 746-0640

Beers: Cisco Canyon Blonde, Indian Basin Wheat, Wellhead Pale Ale, Crude Oil Stout, Roughneck Red, Wildcat IPA. Brew Crew Bullpen member Amy O visited The Wellhead recently and snapped a photo of their beer board. Look for her review of Artesia’s original brewery soon. The Wildcat IPA (7% ABV) is the biggest beer in the lineup, though personally I’d love to try the Crude Oil Stout (4.7% ABV) one of these days.

Southwest breweries

High Desert Brewing Company — (575) 525-6752

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

Beers: Wheat Ale, Peach Wheat, Hefeweizen, Bohemian Pilsner, Rye Beer, American Pale Ale, Black IPA, Brown Ale, Porter, Irish Red, Barley Wine. The lineup had just one change this week as the American Pale Ale replaced the IPA. Lots of fresh beer is ready for you, Las Cruces! High Desert Brewing Company is located at 1201 W. Hadley Ave. in Las Cruces.

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

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

Beers: Helles Lager, IPA, Amber Ale, Robust Porter, Oatmeal Stout. These are all beers in the regular rotation. I will add seasonal brews as I learn about them. I got to try the Amber and Porter at SummerFest. Both hit all the right notes for their respective styles. LTC’s beers are getting better and better.

* * * *

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with the Metro Edition of The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, giving you a list of their current beers on tap as well as any special events going on in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and Bernalillo. Look for the State Edition, which will include everywhere from Taos and Santa Fe up north to Las Cruces and Silver City down south, this Thursday.

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 third and final round of the IPA Challenge will take place this Sunday at Tractor Wells Park. There are still tickets available which you can buy online at nmbeer.org or at Wells Park itself. For those who want to know a little about what they’re getting into, several area breweries are actually serving their IPA Challenge entries. Contrary to what some people have thought, these are not the regular or house IPAs being served. Almost every brewery involved (there are 16) has brewed up a special IPA for this event. Why not brew these year-round? As John Bullard from Bosque told me recently, his Scale Tipper: Batch 3 IPA is the most expensive beer that Bosque has ever brewed. The sheer amount of different hops being used (some breweries are dumping in eight to 10 pounds per barrel) makes these beers so costly. So to help the breweries out money-wise, go drink some of their Challenge beers. Among those on tap are Radioactive IPA at Chama River, the aforementioned Scale Tipper at Bosque, Sabbatic-ale at Il Vicino, India Stupid Ale at Turtle Mountain, and Jabba Wocky IPA at Kaktus (though owner Dana Koller said the specific batch submitted for the Challenge was oaked). Right now it does not appear that La Cumbre (Project Dank), Marble, Nexus, or Tractor has their entry on tap, but then again, none of them have actually identified their entry by name. Some breweries choose to keep things secretive, others are more open, and there’s nothing wrong with either approach.

There are several new, non-IPA beers on tap this week worth highlighting. Il Vicino brings back Vienna Lager, plus every day they will be tapping one or two of the 50 beers from their recent anniversary party (see below for more on that). La Cumbre has resurrected Like Mother Like Daughter, a pale ale, while adding Jenny’s Cream Ale to tap. Turtle Mountain adds to the summer beers with Blackberry Tart Cherry Wheat.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of July 14.

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

ABQ Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

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

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

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

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

Beers: Belgian White, Red Ale, Imperial IPA, Ladron’s Peak. The Ladron’s Peak debuted at Beer Premier to a lot of “wow!” from the crowd. It’s one of the most unique beers in the state, brewed with “NM blue corn, mesquite honey, juniper, sage and Mormon tea,” said brewer Addison Poth. In addition to the house beers and brews from other local breweries, Back Alley currently has Stone’s Collective Distortion IPA, Rogue Farms 7 Hop IPA, New Belgium’s Lips of Faith Gruit, and Green Flash’s Le Freak. 

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: 505-2014 Collaboration, The Last Straw Hefeweizen, Close to Clever Saison, Farmhouse Pale Ale, Scale Tipper: Batch 3. The lineup is unchanged from last week, but that’s OK because it’s pretty darned good. The Scale Tipper series’ third entry is also Bosque’s entry for the IPA Challenge. Don’t forget, though Blue Corn may technically hold the title of defending champion, Bosque’s John Bullard was the brewer there last year when they won. The Last Straw is one of the best American hefes I’ve ever had. The Close to Clever debuted at The Beer Premier. It’s got that farmhouse funk aroma, but if you get past that it’s got a solid saison flavor.

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

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

Broken Bottle Brewery — (505) 890-8777

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

Beers: Stinky Pinky, Vienna Saaz-age, DADU Honey Wheat Ale, Triad IPA. The Stinky Pinky (5.3% ABV) is a hefeweizen infused with grapefruit. The Vienna Saaz-age (5.5% ABV) is a single-hop (Saaz) and single-malt (Vienna) beer. The DADU (8.2% ABV) is almost like a beer/mead hybrid. The Triad (6.6% ABV) uses a mix of three hops for a bigger, bolder flavor, plus additional dry hopping has given it a stronger aroma.

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.

News: The next round of seasonals in the works includes Cheeky Cherry Wheat, Barely Legal Oak Stout, 12 Step Apricot Ale and Wise Ass Watermelon Wheat.

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, Robusto Porter, Chupacabra IPA, Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale, ESB, Beer for My Horses (Oatmeal Stout). E-Rock and I had a chance to sample the Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale, which we both recommend. According to Cazuela’s menu: “This cream ale uses red-hot stones to super caramelize the sugars, creating a nutty, toffee-like flavor.”

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

News: Cazuela’s Beer for My Horses won a bronze medal in the oatmeal stout category at the World Beer Cup in Denver.

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

Beers: 505-2014 Collaboration, Apricot Hefeweizen, Summer Smoke, Cascading River, Radioactive IPA, Hop the Pond ESB. Summer Smoke is a smoked rauchbier, one that I finally got to try last week. It’s got the right balance between the smoky opening and a sweet, smooth, malty finish. The Cascading River (5% ABV, 50 IBU) is a single-hop Cascade pale ale. The new Apricot Hefe (4.5% ABV, 15 IBU) makes its debut as another summer-themed beer.

News: Head brewer Zach Guilmette has revamped the recipe for Chama’s Jackalope IPA to give it a stronger kick and tastier palate.

Il Vicino Brewing Canteen — (505) 881-2737

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

Beers: Apricot Saison, Fest Beer, American Stock Ale, Vienna Lager, Boysenberry Wheat, Cerveza-rita. In the wake of their awesome 20-year anniversary party, the Canteen staff will be rolling out the kegs of the beers from that event. The lineup figures to change almost daily, so you never really know what you’re going to get when you visit the Canteen. As of Tuesday, it was the Barley Wine and Sweet Sandarine Porter, but it appears Franz Solo and I finished off the latter, opening a tap for the Sabbatic-ale (7.7% ABV, 100+ IBU), Il Vicino’s IPA Challenge entry. I guess you’ll have to visit them frequently to try as many great beers as possible. Hmm, they may have thought out this strategy.

News: Il Vicino recently brought home two medals from the North American Beer Awards. Dougie Style Amber won a gold medal, while Irish Red took home a bronze.

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

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

Beers: Red, Cream Stout, Banty Rooster (Hefe IPA), London Porter, Choice ESB, Basil Lager, Banaweizen, Jabba Wocky IPA. Located at 471 South Hill Road in Bernalillo, Kaktus is one of the state’s newest breweries. It is a small, casual place, similar to Blue Heron in appearance and comfort factor. 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. The popular Jabba Wocky IPA is back on tap this week.

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.

Kaktus is running specials on pints and growlers for July 4. You can fill your growler for just $8, while $3.50 gets you a pint. But take note, Kaktus will close at 7 p.m. so the staff can go enjoy the fireworks, too.

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.

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: Grange’s Red Card 4ALS, What’s the ALTernative, Jenny’s Cream Ale, Like Mother Like Daughter. The Red Card (8.4% ABV, 100 IBU) is a beer brewed in honor of former UNM soccer player Pat Grange, who died of ALS. Proceeds from this beer will go to ALS research. I got to try this beer with the Solos; it’s a wonderful, bold red ale, with strong hop and malt flavors that make it one of the burliest, yet tastiest beers you’ll get to have this summer. Kudos to Jeff Erway and his staff on creating this beer and doing it for a great cause. Like Mother Like Daughter (5.9% ABV, 45 IBU) is a pale ale brewed with a “mother hop” (Simcoe) and a “daughter hop” (Mosaic). Jenny’s Cream Ale (5.4% ABV, 15 IBU) is named for La Cumbre’s taproom manager as it’s her preferred style of beer.

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.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

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

Beers: Double White, Iron Horse Extra IPA, Extra Special Bitter, Heidi’s Raspberry Tart. There’s nothing new on tap this week, but this is a pretty solid lineup to fall back upon. The Iron Horse (8.0% ABV) uses a blend of experimental hops for a one-of-a-kind taste. In addition, $1 from every pint sold of Iron Horse goes to the Ales for ALS campaign. Pints cost $5.50, add $6 extra for a growler. The ESB (4.7% ABV) uses West Yorkshire yeast and English malts for a, well, very English beer.

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

News: In April, Marble was presented the gold medal at the World Beer Cup for their Pilsner!

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

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

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

Beers: 505-2014 Collaboration, Shepard’s Session IPA (5.3% ABV, 41 IBU), Beam Me Up Scotty II (9.6% ABV, 37 IBU), Honey Chamomile Wheat. The Shepard’s is a little sweeter and creamier than you might expect from a session IPA. There’s nothing wrong with being different. The Beam Me Up is back, ready to brawl with your palate like Celtic and Rangers fans in Glasgow. It puts the heavy back into the Scottish Wee Heavy style. The Honey Chamomile Wheat is a unique little beer that made its debut at The Beer Premier. Get a sample and let us know what you think.

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.

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

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

Beers: Irish Red, American IPA. The American IPA was a new version of the Rattlesnake IPA brewed especially for the 4th of July. The Irish Red was also back on tap.

News: Sandia Chile Grill will have $2.50 pints of the American IPA on the 4th.

The Stumbling Steer — (505) 792-7805

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

Beers: Blonde, Pale, IPA, Red, Brown, Double IPA, Imperial Stout. While the brewery is being built in the back of the Steer, all of their house beers are being brewed off-site, but still using brewer Kirk Roberts’ recipes. The DIPA and the Stout are limited to two per customer, due to their high alcohol content (10% and 9.5% ABV, respectively). The Crew has already made two separate visits to the Steer to review the beer and food. We enjoyed it all.

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

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

Beers at Nob Hill: Hard Apple Cider, Trekker Red Belgian Ale, Maibock Lager, Pilsner #15, Juniper IPA, Pilsner Roja, Hard Berry Cider.

Beers at Wells Park only: L4 IPL, C&C IPA, F.Y.F.A. IPA, Dry Cider, Apple Cider, Berry Cider, Mustachio Milk Stout, Barley Wine. 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 Pilsner Roja is a crisp, Marzen-style beer that tastes good in the hot summer months. If you need a hop punch to the face, the F.Y.F.A. (F— Yeah Friday Ale) is a much more hop-forward IPA than what Tractor usually creates.

Events: On Wednesday, Tractor will be hosting another Cards Against Humanity night at Wells Park. This is a free event starting at 7 p.m. Food will by served by Nomad’s BBQ.

Geeks Who Drink is now setting up shop at the Wells Park Tap Room every Monday at 8 p.m. Bar cash for winners and bonus questions all night. Wanna see what GWD at Tractor has been up to? Check out the blog! Food will be served by Mystique.

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. (Seasonal/specialty) Stars & Stripes American Lager, Blackberry Tart Cherry Wheat, The Fitzgerald Session IPA, N.B. SMaSH Pale Ale, Pork ‘n’ Brew Brown Ale, India Stupid Ale. 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 newest beers on tap are the Blackberry Tart Cherry Wheat and the India Stupid Ale, which is TMBC’s entry in the IPA Challenge.

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister