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

OK, fine, we totally rubbed it in this morning that we were getting to make a beer at Canteen Brewhouse while most of you were stuck working at your regular jobs. In all fairness, though, you have to all pay for those pints you drink, so you’re just earning your beer money. As for us, well, we got a couple free beers, a free lunch, and we got to brew a beer with our name on it. We win for today.

Here’s proof that we — and by that I mean myself, E-Rock, and Franz Solo — were at Canteen brewing today. This way in case we need it, we now have an alibi. You’d be surprised how often that comes up with a bunch of bearded, beer-loving metalheads.

So we brewed up a big old Baltic Porter for all of you to enjoy in the near future. We made about seven barrels worth with head brewer Brady McKeown. Hopefully there will still be enough left over for the rest of you after we’re done with our share.

Canteen brewer Brady McKeown cleans out the mash tun in preparation for our brew session.

Canteen brewer Brady McKeown cleans out the mash tun in preparation for our brew session.

That's enough grain for our beer, don't you think?

That’s enough grain for our beer, don’t you think?

They're heavier than they look.

They’re heavier than they look.

We filled the mill room, that's for sure. Sorry for the butt shot, Brady.

We filled the mill room, that’s for sure. Sorry for the butt shot, Brady.

Adding a little more to the mash.

Adding a little more to the mash.

Looks like we filled the mash tun.

Looks like we filled the mash tun.

Franz Solo was first to tackle the mashing.

Franz Solo was first to tackle the mashing.

E-Rock's turn with the mash paddle. It's a great workout for arms and shoulders.

E-Rock’s turn with the mash paddle. It’s a great workout for arms and shoulders.

Stoutmeister's turn to mash included Brady hanging nearby with his mask on. No, he did not try a terrible Bane impersonation.

Stoutmeister’s turn to mash included Brady hanging nearby with his mask on. No, he did not try a terrible Bane impersonation.

Now that's starting to look a lot more like beer.

Now that’s starting to look a lot more like beer.

Ror snapped a photo of all of us hard at work. Well, OK, just Franz Solo. There's not much room on the platform!

Ror snapped a photo of all of us hard at work. Well, OK, just Franz Solo. There’s not much room on the platform!

We paused for sustenance. And to watch USA-Colombia.

We paused for sustenance. And to watch USA-Colombia.

Oh, now that beer looks delightfully black. As black as our souls.

Oh, now that beer looks delightfully black. As black as our souls.

Our beer's home for the next few weeks. See you soon, you beautiful bastard.

Our beer’s home for the next few weeks. See you soon, you beautiful bastard.

Half of brewing is cleaning, as we all know.

Half of brewing is cleaning, as we all know.

We did our part to help clean up.

We did our part to help clean up.

No one told us about this extra step in the cleanup.

No one told us about this extra step in the cleanup.

Who says writing about beer is all work and no play? See you all at the grand unveiling of Dark Side Baltic Porter, which we (or Canteen) will announce soon.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Morning, everyone. Just wanted to pass along this little tidbit.

We’re brewing a beer at Canteen Brewhouse today (Friday).

Yes, we're the people brewing a beer at Canteen. Be afraid, er, no, be excited. You can trust us. We promise to only take a piece of your souls.

Yes, we’re the people brewing a beer at Canteen. Be afraid, er, no, be excited. You can trust us. We promise to only take a piece of your souls.

Not some little beer on a pilot system, either. We’re brewing up a big old Baltic Porter for all of you to enjoy on Canteen’s full system. No, seriously, head brewer Brady McKeown is letting us brew. He’s not crazy. Well, a little crazy, if you’ve ever seen Canteen’s photos on Facebook, but he will supervise this entire endeavor.

We’ve been talking about brewing a beer there since they were still Il Vicino. Heck, the conversation probably began back in 2013, since Zach Guilmette (now at Chama River) was still there and was in charge of working with us to craft a recipe. The good news to come is that we still plan to work with Zach over at Chama soon, so brace yourselves for a double blast of Brew Crew-inspired/created beers at major ABQ breweries in the near future (and it might be triple if we get over to Tractor one of these days).

Our goal is to create the type of big, bold, dark beer that we all love and share it with all of you. In case you haven’t noticed, but judging by your complaints on Facebook you have, it’s gotten really cold out there (by NM standards). That’s the type of weather that screams out for monstrous dark beers. And we’re just the people to make sure those kinds of beers are being brewed.

We’ll have a full recap of today’s fun up soon, with lots of photos (we’d hoped Porter Pounder would be able to film this, but he’s stuck working on the set of the “Maze Runner” sequel that’s filming in the state right now) and more. And of course we’ll let you all know when the beer should be ready for its debut on tap. Just don’t mind us if we’re the first ones to drink it.

We hope you enjoy your Friday as much as we’re about to enjoy ours.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

SFOpenAfterword1

All await anxiously as awards are announced.

This past weekend, the inaugural Santa Fe Open Brewing Competition took place in, you’ve guessed it, Santa Fe. From Friday morning to the awards ceremony on Sunday afternoon, the Sangre De Cristo Craft Brewers homebrew club (and friends and family) came together in a huge concerted effort to put on an event that proved an even bigger success than anyone could have hoped for.

A first for the club, this homebrew competition was the culmination of a year’s worth of planning and hard work, and it went off with hardly a glitch in the program. Despite some small issues with the software used for registering, everything went smoothly according to director of stewards Phil Rickert. And it was no small feat as with 330 entries, they dealt with an influx in excess of 900 bottles. Thankfully, people really showed up to work. Judge director Jim Steinbach coordinated with 36 judges, 17 of them BJCP certified. Rickert said that all 14 stewards that registered for the event, showed up for duty, meaning there was, at minimum, one steward per table. Both directors made sure that the judging process went smoothly so that all the judges had to do was judge, ensuring quality and fairness for each entry. I saw a bit of that as I sat down at a table and faux judged a category. Let me tell you, it’s not easy work.

From the overall impression I got, everybody really stepped up in a big way. The list of people to thank — sponsors, other clubs like the Atom Mashers and Dukes of Ale, family and friends — is too large to print, and I’ll let the Sangres do that personally. But it should be pointed out that Santa Fe’s local businesses really support the homebrew community. Among so many, Cowgirl was very generous for providing the room, food, and service free of charge for Friday night’s judge’s orientation. And Santa Fe Brewing Company played a big part Sunday, pouring brews and lending the space, indoor and out, for a complete awards ceremony take over. Sangre’s Nate Burk really helped out by providing lunch and securing the community room at Whole Foods, which was complete with ample space for judging, and more importantly, a walk-in cold room to keep those beers at temperature.

SFOpenAfterword4

Kevin Fleming of the Dukes of Ale should seriously consider opening up a hardware store. Congratulations on so, so many wins!

The whole thing didn’t just happen that weekend, however. From first meeting to fruition, the Sangres have been hard at work to build a brewing competition that would stand out from the others. For months, the Sangres gathered new sponsors for the competition, calling, emailing, even hitting up a certain Ambassador of Beer for some sweet brew swag from a certain Challenge of an India Pale Ale event. From the more glamorous jobs like judging to the less glamorous, like actually putting all of those prize sacks together for the medalists, the Sangres really came out en force. At one point, meeting one Sunday to check-in all 900-plus bottles, labeling each entry, and organizing them into the categories and finally boxing them for storage, was just another thing to check off the list.

In the end, it turned out to be a fun event. Almost everyone went home with prizes, some more than others ::cough:: Kevin Fleming ::cough:: The judges all talked about how much they enjoyed Friday night’s get-together at Cowgirl, and the potluck at the awards ceremony was a huge success as well, with the samples of random homebrews and servings of Miggs’ delectable pygmy goat. And my guacamole! Just kidding. The food was all delicious, a true example of people going above and beyond for the things they’re most passionate about. It certainly was an event to remember, one everybody’s excited to repeat next year.

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John Rowley wielding the Grand Champion Staff for Best Of Show. That beautiful work of art is his for a year, just like the Stanley Cup.

One such individual was Sangre De Cristo Craft Brewer’s club president, event organizer, and Best of Show winner, John Rowley. I spoke with him about the event.

DSBC: The inaugural Santa Fe Open Brewing Competition has come to a close, how do you feel about how it went?

Rowley: I think everything went smoothly, and we had a great turnout. And everyone was really happy with how everything went. I’m sure not everyone’s score was perfect, but that’s how competitions are. I think the judging was well done and was pretty smooth. We had an epic turnout of judges. I haven’t seen a competition in New Mexico with that many judges. And I’ve been judging for a while, and I was amazed by how many people came out.

DSBC: Any major hiccups?

Rowley: No, not really. We had a few, little, minor blips with administrative things, but no. I don’t think we lost any bottles. There was one beer (out of 330 entries), that beer we never confirmed if we even got it. So the week before the competition, I basically went through all the entries with everyone at check-in. You were there.

DSBC: Yes, I was.

Rowley: We basically figured out all the beers that didn’t show up or weren’t paid, and I contacted all those people and a lot of people either hadn’t entered, didn’t pay, or didn’t have time to send the beer, whatever, but we got it squared away. But there was one person in Carlsbad; I never got a hold of him. He paid, but he never gave us the beer, or we never found the beer. I don’t think we ever received the beer, because we never checked it in. I emailed him. I texted him. I called him. I did everything I could to try to smooth that out. So I apologize for that one beer, but I think, all things considered, that’s pretty good.

DSBC: A huge success. So is there anything you would do differently next year?

Rowley: So, I think there are probably a couple little things, so what we’re going to do is have a ‘lessons learned’ kind of meeting and we’re going to talk about anything that we think could be done better. Really the main thing with us is the software. But I think for 95 percent of it, it was pretty solid.

DSBC: What were some of the highlights of this year?

Rowley: Highlights, uh, for me, winning best of show! (laughs) I can’t really complain about that, because that’s pretty cool. I’m really excited about that. You know, but I don’t want to be the one that wins his own competition …

The Pro Brewers Trophy goes to Santa Fe Brewing Co. for their 20th Anniversary State Pen Imperial Porter!

The Pro Brewers Trophy goes to Santa Fe Brewing Co. for their 20th Anniversary State Pen Imperial Porter!

DSBC: Well, if you brew a good beer … and the judges did their job, and there were judges from all over.

Rowley: Yeah, we had a great turn out of judges. A lot of certified judges came out. And everything was done by the book.

DSBC: It was a good win.

Rowley: Yeah, it was a solid win. It wasn’t an engineered win. I’m real happy with that. A lot of the beers I thought I would have done pretty well with, didn’t do as good as I wanted them to, but that’s the competition.

DSBC: And it was stiff competition. So my plan was to interview Best of Show winner as well. It just happened to be you. So can you tell us a little about the beers you entered and the categories?

Rowley: So I entered a number of beers in Belgian Specialty, category 16E. That’s kinda my wheelhouse. Those are the beers I really like to brew.

DSBC: Thanks for your advice, by the way, on my Saison!

Rowley: Oh, no problem. I like Saisons. I like Farmhouse Ales. Those are beers I have a passion to brew. You know, nine times out of 10, I’d rather brew a Saison over, you know, an English Mild. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I like Milds, but I celebrate diversity in beer. There’s not a beer out there that I wouldn’t like to beat up. I mean, I love beer.

DSBC: It’s interesting what you did with the BOS grand prize, which was the Ss Brewing Technologies Stainless Steel Conical Fermenter. Can you tell us a little about that?

Rowley: Yeah, so I thought it would be kind of a douchebag move for me, as the organizer to win the competition, and then walk around with this thing on my head, like, ‘Oh yeah I won.’ Nah, that’s not how I am, so I think the best move was to donate it, but I can’t really donate the device itself, exactly (to the charity). So what we were thinking was, since we’re doing a canned food drive for 12 Beers of Christmas, and our Christmas party is going to fall smack dab in the middle of that, and I think your beer is on tap that day.

DSBC: Yeah. I think it is.

Rowley: So we thought, why not, do a charity kind of thing with the prize. It just makes sense. It’s a really nice thing. I’m really appreciative of Mitch Thomson (President and Co-founder of) Ss Brewing Technologies. I really appreciate his support as the title sponsor for our event, and I wouldn’t change a damn thing, man, that guy is awesome. And so we will be auctioning off the equipment to benefit the Santa Fe Animal Shelter. So on the third Wednesday of December, we’ll have our annual Christmas party potluck, we’ll have a good time, and why not put that prize to good use. And so I encourage people to bid on it!

DSBC: And the bidding starts at?

Rowley: So it’s a $400 device, and we’ll start the bidding at $250, and hope that we can get over 400 bucks and donate it to the Santa Fe Animal Shelter.

* * * * *

It’s all over for now, and highlights for me, well, thinking back on the whole thing, my highlights include: eating the ‘tenderest’ goat that had ever walked the planet (and happened to be marinated in SFBC’s State Pen Porter), getting to sit in and listen as real judges really pull apart a beer, having my entries do pretty well for my first competition, and just being around so many folks enthusiastic about beer and brewing. It’s a great community, homebrewers, I always say. Where, if you want to talk about what you have in the fermenter, someone’s always glad to listen. It was a first for me. It was a first event put on by the Sangre De Cristo Craft Brewers. Hopefully, it is the first of many.

Cheers!

— Luke

A complete list of results for the Inaugural Santa Fe Open Brewing Competition is posted [HERE].

And for information on how to join the Sangre De Cristo Craft Brewers click [RIGHT HERE].

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.

As the weather is about to drop from this weird, balmy level of unusual heat for this time of year to exceptionally cold (polar vortex again), the biggest, meanest beers are beginning to hit taps. A great example of this is Blue Corn’s new Imperial Stout, a monster beer (900 pounds in the mash tun) that will debut Thursday night with a special event. For just $10 (RSVP required, click the link for more info), you can enjoy a pint of Imperial Stout and three small but tasty food items. You can get Doughnut Sliders, doughnut holes made with the stout acting as the buns around some ground beef mini-patties. Then there are the Juniper-Dusted Elk Satays with Prairie Thyme’s Mountain Blackberry Jalapeno Ambrosia Sauce. And finally there are Black Bottom Cheesecake Bites. If you’re still hungry, you can then get 10 percent off your dinner at Blue Corn. All that plus a powerhouse stout? If we didn’t live in ABQ, we’d all be there. As it is, we’re dispatching Santa Fe correspondent Luke to rep the Crew. And to plead with brewer James Warren to send us some Imperial Stout via the ABQ Draft Station as soon as possible.

On the new beer front, it’s a good week for new releases. Boxing Bear has tapped Oso Otono, a fall oatmeal lager. Canteen has Fog Nozzle, a smoked marzen, plus an unnamed IPA they hope to have by the end of the week. Chama River’s Old Town Oat Brown and Chamahawk Xtra Pale Ale are both out. La Cumbre is saying Ahh Helles Yes this week. Lizard Tail’s burly Oatmeal Stout is on tap. Marble has taken some English inspiration for their Nitro Pub Ale. Nexus has brought back Equinox Spiced Brown Ale and a batch of 2013 Barley Wine.

Up in Santa Fe, the folks at SFBC have run out of Oktoberfest, but Black IPA is back and they also have small batches of Deviator Doppelbock and Full Mast Kilt Scotch Ale. We’re still waiting on word back from Second Street.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of Nov. 10.

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, Berliner Weisse, Poth’s Pilsner, Ladron’s con Fuego. 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 beer list has not changed yet. The pilsner is based on a pre-Prohibition recipe. It’s a sweet, tasty little treat. This version of the Ladron’s is smoky, as the name might imply.

Events: Sunday’s 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), Bosque Lager, 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 Lager is back by popular demand. 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: We didn’t get a cask update yet. When we do, we’ll post it.

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.

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)

UPDATED >>> Beers: Fog Nozzle Smoked Marzen, Irish Red, Rye PA, American Stout, The Good Stuff, White Shine (White Wine). New to taps is Fog Nozzle, a rauchbier, which has all the smoky goodness you need for this sudden drop in temperature. The White Shine (9.75% ABV) 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.

A new IPA will be out, hopefully, by week’s end.

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.

UPDATED >>> 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: Meridian Pale Ale, Hell Froze Over, 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. Hell Froze Over (5.6% ABV, 42 IBU) is one of the newer kids on the tap list, returning for a second go-around after debuting last fall. It’s a brown ale, which as the name might imply is not something that’s made regularly. If you’re looking for something to sip slowly, Meridian Pale Ale (5.4% ABV, 40 IBU) is available. Oh, and don’t panic about Project Dank no longer appearing here as a seasonal. It is now part of La Cumbre’s regular lineup. And in more good news, Jeff Erway said Red Ryeot will soon return and become a regular beer as well.

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. 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 next Wednesday, Nov. 19.

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 move 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: Gateway Blonde Ale, Roamer Red, Threshold IPA, Paint it Black Milk Stout, Unhinged Cider, Trapdoor Wheat. 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.

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.)

Beers at Nob Hill: Berry Cider, Ruby Red Wheat, Barnstorm Ale, Pilsner #15, Tractoberfest, Little Red Rye-ding Hood, Jack the Sipper.

Beers at Wells Park only: 6% Humidity 9% ABV Cider, 4 Seasons 1 Week Cider, Bulls-Eye PA, Mustachio Milk Stout, Pilsner #15, La Llorona Dry Hop Amber, Javi Light 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 Tractoberfest is back and this year’s batch is one of the best yet. It’s just a malt blast of happiness. The 4 Seasons 1 Week Cider is a variation of the 6%-9% (these names, oy), slightly sweeter and it’s only 7.2-percent ABV. 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 is Tractor’s take on a pumpkin ale.

UPDATED >>> Events: Thursday’s pLOUD Music Series is back at Wells Park with Lunakats performing at 8 p.m.

The Babes and Bullies Calendar Release Party is Saturday at Wells Park from 5 to 9 p.m. That will be followed at 9:30 by the Definition Rare 10th Anniversary Party, a hip-hop event.

Monday at Wells Park, it’s the 2015 Beer Farmer Membership Blowout. Get your membership card (or renew it) and it will be valid for 14 months. You also get entered in a raffle for a membership purchase/renewal. It all kicks off at 3 p.m.

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

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

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

Beers: (House) McDay’s Cream Ale, Oku Amber, Parasol White IPA, Hopshell IPA, Piedra Lisa Porter, Heidelberg Helles. (Seasonal/specialty) Cascade Session Ale, Saison du Soleil, Brown Ale for Boobies, Uberaltbier, A Little Somethin’ Pumpkin. 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. Congratulations to Turtle Mountain on winning our inaugural Oktoberfest challenge. Unfortunately, it’s run out for now. However, they’ve added A Little Somethin’ Pumpkin, which is served on nitro. Yeah, that sounds pretty damn intriguing to us.

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Imperial Stout, Monks Mesa (Belgian Blonde). Beer lovers have been draining Blue Corn dry of its seasonals lately, with the Shattered Pumpkin running out this past week. The Monks Mesa (4.5% ABV, 15 IBU) is a Belgian blonde table beer. The Imperial Stout will debut Thursday. See the opening intro for more.

News: Coming soon are a single-hop IPA with Rakau, Meltdown chocolate porter, and a winter warmer.

Events: Blue Corn’s imperial stout will be released with a special party Thursday that will require reservations. Starting at 6 p.m., for $10 you get a pint of stout with three small dishes. Not a bad deal for a beer of that power. Whoo’s Donuts is making donut holes with the stout to serve as the buns for sliders in one of the food specials that will be available.

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, Pivotal IPA, Schwarzbier, Berliner Weisse. The Schwarzbier is the most recent addition to taps. In addition to their own beers, Second Street has a guest tap that currently features La Cumbre’s Elevated IPA.

UPDATED >>> Events: Pollo Frito is playing Friday at the original location. The Gregg Daigle Band plays Saturday.

Shows at the Railyard include Hot Club of Santa Fe on Friday and Mushi Trio 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: KC’s Traditional Irish Stout, 790 IPA, Pumpkin Ale, 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 this week and try their beers (all were quite tasty) and meet the staff. Look for the story to be posted soon!

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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