Such a magical place...

Such a magical place…

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

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

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

Blacker than the blackest black: transferring to secondary fermentation

Blacker than the blackest black: transferring to secondary fermentation

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

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

Brandon finally got a new bottling hat!

Brandon finally got a new bottling hat!

Oh, well, sue me.

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

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

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

Prost!

— Brandon Daniel

We’re all a bunch of Untappd badge whores

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Without further adieu, here’s us:

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

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

* * * *

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The Week Ahead in Beer: So much news!

Posted: April 16, 2014 by erockslab in Uncategorized

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABQ Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

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

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

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

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

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

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

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

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

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

Blue Heron Brewery — (505) 579-9188

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

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

Bosque Brewing Company — (505) 750-7596

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

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

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

Broken Bottle Brewery — (505) 890-8777

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beers: Cabrocito (Pale Ale), Papa Cabra (Double IPA), Acapulco Red, Panama Red, Acapulco Gold (Mexican Lager) (5.2% ABV), Hefe Weizen (5.5% ABV), Robusto Porter (5.9% ABV), Chupacabra IPA (7.2% ABV), Pastizal Oatmeal Stout (5.5% ABV), Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale (5.0% ABV), ESB (5.2%). First there was the Chupacabra IPA, then Papa Cabra Double IPA, and now Cazuela’s is pleased to announce the arrival of the newest addition to the Cabra family, the Cabrocito Pale Ale. Try them all. Stoutmeister and I had a chance to sample the Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale, which we both recommend. According to Cazuela’s menu: “This cream ale uses red-hot stones to super caramelize the sugars, creating a nutty, toffee-like flavor.”

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

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

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

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

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

Comanche Creek Brewing Company — (575) 377-2337

(Wed-Sat noon–6 p.m.)

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

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

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

(Sun 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Mon–Tues 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Wed–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight)

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

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

Eske’s Brew Pub — (575) 758-1517

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

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

High Desert Brewing Company — (575) 525-6752

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

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

Il Vicino Brewing Canteen — (505) 881-2737

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

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

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

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

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

Beers: Hexa IPA (brewed with six different hops), Belgian Blonde, Red Ale, Honk Ale, American Brown, Dark Abbey, Black Out Stout, Helles Lager. Located at 471 South Hill Road in Bernalillo, Kaktus is one of the state’s newest breweries. It is a small, casual place, similar to Blue Heron in appearance and comfort factor. Stoutmeister recommends the ESB and any and all of their lager-style beers. Kaktus owner Dana Koller said fans can expect the nanobrewery to go through its most popular styles quickly, though they will always have something new and exciting available as a replacement.

Events: Kaktus hosts live music by original songwriters every Monday night from 6-8 p.m., and they are also offering $3 pints every Monday.

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Deming Brewery has already closed)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

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

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

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

Events: Nexus serves up Happy Hour All Day on Tuesday featuring $3 pints. Also on Tuesday, Nexus will be hosting their comedy open mic, Young Dumb and Full of Comedy, starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Sun Room.

Roosevelt Brewing — (575) 226-2739

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

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

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

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

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

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

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

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

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

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

Events: $1 Off Growler Refills in the Tasting Room on Mondays. $2 Tuesdays at the Eldorado Taphouse. On Wednesday, there is a $2 Pint Special in the SFBC Tasting Room, and the Sangre de Cristo Craft Brewers’ Meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Tasting Room as well. On Thursday, there will be $1 Off Growler Refills at the Eldorado Taphouse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Stumbling Steer — (505) 792-7805

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

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

Taos Ale House — (575) 758-5522

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

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

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

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

Taos Mesa Brewing — (575) 758-1900

(Daily 11 a.m. – close)

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

Three Rivers Brewery — (505) 325-6605

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

Cask: There is nothing on cask at present.

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

(Nob Hill is open Monday-Wednesday 3 p.m. to midnight, Thursday 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., Friday-Saturday 1 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to midnight; Wells Park is open Monday-Thursday 3 p.m. to close, Friday-Sunday 1 p.m. to midnight.
 Last Call 30 minutes before close. 
No package after midnight.
 Brewery tours Saturday at 1:00 p.m.)

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

Beers at Wells Park only: IBL (6.0% ABV), Apple Cider (7.2% ABV), Jack The Sipper (8.5% ABV), Javi Lager (5.0% ABV), Maibach Lager (6.2% ABV), Easy Rider IPA (6.0% ABV), ESB (6.0% ABV), Sticky Fingers Brown Ale (7.6% ABV), Adebisi Black Lager (5.2% ABV). All of the Nob Hill seasonals are also at Wells Park, which has 24 total taps (Tractor’s five regular beers have two taps apiece). The Crew highly recommends the Luna De Los Muertos, it’s one of our favorite imperial stouts in town. It’s not barrel-aged, but it still packs a punch. There are so many beers on tap at both Tractor locations that they will cover all types of beer lovers.

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

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

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

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

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

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

The Wellhead — (575) 746-0640

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

* * * *

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

Cheers!

— E-Rock

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

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

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

Kickin’ it at the World (Beer) Cup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brewery interviews in 3 … 2 … 1 …

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now the random stuff

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prost!

— Franz Solo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABQ Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

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

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

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

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

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

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

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

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

Blue Heron Brewery — (505) 579-9188

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

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

Bosque Brewing Company — (505) 750-7596

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

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

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

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

Broken Bottle Brewery — (505) 890-8777

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beers: Cabrocito (Pale Ale), Papa Cabra (Double IPA), Acapulco Red, Panama Red, Acapulco Gold (Mexican Lager) (5.2% ABV), Hefe Weizen (5.5% ABV), Robusto Porter (5.9% ABV), Chupacabra IPA (7.2% ABV), Pastizal Oatmeal Stout (5.5% ABV), Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale (5.0% ABV), ESB (5.2%). First there was the Chupacabra IPA, then Papa Cabra Double IPA, and now Cazuela’s is pleased to announce the arrival of the newest addition to the Cabra family, the Cabrocito Pale Ale. Try them all. Stoutmeister and I had a chance to sample the Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale, which we both recommend. According to Cazuela’s menu: “This cream ale uses red-hot stones to super caramelize the sugars, creating a nutty, toffee-like flavor.”

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

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

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

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

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

Comanche Creek Brewing Company — (575) 377-2337

(Wed-Sat noon–6 p.m.)

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

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

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

(Sun 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Mon–Tues 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Wed–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight)

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

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

Eske’s Brew Pub — (575) 758-1517

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

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

High Desert Brewing Company — (575) 525-6752

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

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

Il Vicino Brewing Canteen — (505) 881-2737

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

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

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

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

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

Beers: Hexa IPA (brewed with six different hops), Belgian Blonde, Red Ale, Honk Ale, American Brown, Dark Abbey, Black Out Stout, Helles Lager. Located at 471 South Hill Road in Bernalillo, Kaktus is one of the state’s newest breweries. It is a small, casual place, similar to Blue Heron in appearance and comfort factor. Stoutmeister recommends the ESB and any and all of their lager-style beers. Kaktus owner Dana Koller said fans can expect the nanobrewery to go through its most popular styles quickly, though they will always have something new and exciting available as a replacement.

Events: Kaktus hosts live music by original songwriters every Monday night from 6-8 p.m., and they are also offering $3 pints every Monday.

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Deming Brewery has already closed)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

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

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

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

Events: Nexus serves up Happy Hour All Day on Tuesday featuring $3 pints. Also on Tuesday, Nexus will be hosting their comedy open mic, Young Dumb and Full of Comedy, starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Sun Room.

Roosevelt Brewing — (575) 226-2739

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

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

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

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

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

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

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

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

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

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

Events: $1 Off Growler Refills in the Tasting Room on Mondays. $2 Tuesdays at the Eldorado Taphouse. On Wednesday, there is a $2 Pint Special in the SFBC Tasting Room, and the Sangre de Cristo Craft Brewers’ Meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Tasting Room as well. On Thursday, there will be $1 Off Growler Refills at the Eldorado Taphouse.

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

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

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

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

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

The Stumbling Steer — (505) 792-7805

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

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

Taos Ale House — (575) 758-5522

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

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

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

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

Taos Mesa Brewing — (575) 758-1900

(Daily 11 a.m. – close)

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

Three Rivers Brewery — (505) 325-6605

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

Cask: There is nothing on cask at present.

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

(Nob Hill is open Monday-Wednesday 3 p.m. to midnight, Thursday 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., Friday-Saturday 1 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to midnight; Wells Park is open Monday-Thursday 3 p.m. to close, Friday-Sunday 1 p.m. to midnight.
 Last Call 30 minutes before close. 
No package after midnight.
 Brewery tours Saturday at 1:00 p.m.)

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

Beers at Wells Park only: C+C IPA (7.0% ABV), Maibach Lager (6.2% ABV), Luna De Los Muertos Imperial Stout (9.2% ABV), Easy Rider IPA (6.0% ABV), ESB (6.0% ABV), Sticky Fingers Brown Ale (7.6% ABV), Adebisi Black Lager (5.2% ABV), L4 IPL (6.6% ABV), Et Tu Brute Cider. All of the Nob Hill seasonals are also at Wells Park, which has 24 total taps (Tractor’s five regular beers have two taps apiece). The Crew highly recommends the Luna De Los Muertos, it’s one of our favorite imperial stouts in town. It’s not barrel-aged, but it still packs a punch. There are so many beers on tap at both Tractor locations that they will cover all types of beer lovers.

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

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

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

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

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

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

The Wellhead — (575) 746-0640

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

* * * *

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

Cheers!

— E-Rock

Happy National Beer Day, everyone! Today is the 81st anniversary of the day prohibition was repealed, so folks everywhere should raise their pints in honor of one of those rare moments when politicians actually did the right thing.

Anyway, while the various Crew members debate what beer to drink to honor this sacred day, I’ve been sifting through the beer news files to fill out another notebook. This time around we’ve got news on two new breweries in New Mexico (yes, we’re finally starting to make contact), a quick recap of our brewing day at Tractor, and a few other tidbits here and there.

Bosque's current system will be sold to the Los Alamos Beer Co-op.

Bosque’s current system will be sold to the Los Alamos Beer Co-op when the new system goes online soon.

Bosque lends Los Alamos a helping hand

Last week I stopped by Bosque to get an update on the progress of their new brewhouse, which is about a month away from full activation. The thing I neglected to do was ask what will happen to the old 3.5-barrel system they have been using since they opened. The answer to that unasked question appeared today in my inbox.

The Los Alamos Beer Co-op, which we have written about before, is going to purchase Bosque’s old system for their future brewery. This is another great example of one in-state brewery helping another.

“Purchasing brewing equipment puts us one step closer to being a reality,” said LABC board President, Micheline Devaurs in a press release. “Buying a used system makes great sense in this market because the lead time to purchase new equipment is often over a year due to demand. Used systems like the one we purchased can be fairly new, because breweries size up quickly.”

The LABC is still working on finding a suitable location in Los Alamos, with the hope of opening their brewery/taproom some time this fall. Until then, Bosque’s old equipment will be kept in storage once the transfer is complete.

“This brewing system had many positives which drove our decision,” Devaurs said in the release. “The system is less than two years old, has had one owner and has been in constant use making good beer. The brewer from Bosque Brewing will be assisting in both system set up and brewer training. Additionally, the money we will save in transportation and shipping costs makes this well worth it for us.”

I hope to have a full interview with members of the LABC up on our site here in the coming weeks, so everyone can learn more about this unique brewing enterprise. We just have to work around their busy schedules, the Albuquerque Isotopes home schedule, and the possibility of my going to Las Vegas late in the month with “that friend” from college. It could be the death of me, especially since there’s a new Yardhouse in Vegas that has 160 taps. Yup, 160. I may never leave.

We borrowed this photo from Red Door's Facebook page showing their brewing tanks being delivered.

We borrowed this photo from Red Door’s Facebook page showing their brewing tanks being delivered.

Enter through the Red Door (Brewing Co.)

A couple weeks ago at Tractor while we were all talking about our brews (see next entry), I was talking with La Cumbre’s Leah Black about yet another new brewing venture here in Albuquerque. She asked if any of us had heard about Red Door Brewing, which was set to open “somewhere on Candelaria” in the near future. We had not at the time, but fortunately we soon discovered one of our readers was one of the founding partners of this new brewery. Thanks to this, we have managed to touch base with Red Door’s owners and now Franz Solo and I (assuming he’s over his cold) will visit their new location this Wednesday.

Red Door will be located at 1001 Candelaria NE, just west of I-25 on the north side of the street. They have a Facebook page up already and some pics showing their brewing equipment being delivered. We will find out Wednesday all the details about when they hope to open, their projected brewing capacity, what styles of beer they like, and more.

We know a lot of you have been chomping at the bit for news on the many new places opening around town. We are doing our best to find out about the rest, but if anyone out there has info or is able to pass along contacts for these new places, please send it to us.

For the record, we know of the following new breweries:

  • Lizard Tail Brewing in the old Farside space at Montgomery and Eubank
  • Boxing Bear Brewing in the old Elliott’s Bar near Alameda and Corrales
  • The Draft Station on Central west of downtown
  • Rio Bravo Brewing in the South Valley
  • Hops Brewing in Nob Hill near Carlisle
  • Ponderosa Brewing in the Sawmill District near 12th and Mountain
  • Broken Arrow Brewing, which rumors have put near 12th and I-40
  • The unnamed small brewery on 2nd Street between Lead and Coal downtown

Know of any others? Pass us the info, especially for anything outside of the Albuquerque area. We hope that there are more new places opening up across the state and fewer closing their doors like Mimbres Valley just did in Deming.

Porter Pounder, left, and Stoutmeister work on our beer at Tractor Wells Park this past Saturday.

Porter Pounder, left, and Stoutmeister work on our beer at Tractor Wells Park this past Saturday.

We brewed a beer, now it just needs a name

So four of us in the Crew — myself, E-Rock, Brandon, Porter Pounder — trekked over to Tractor Wells Park early Saturday morning to brew our beer for the upcoming Battle of the Beer Geeks event for ABQ Beer Week next month. With assistant brewer Josh Campbell helping us out (and head brewer David Hargis bringing us pints and ordering pizza because he’s awesome, too), we managed to brew a big, burly, yet sweet stout. Our obsidian ale should check in between 7- and 8-percent ABV. We’ll share more on what our recipe entailed and some specifics about the brewing process at another time, probably closer to the actual release of the beer on May 22 alongside beers brewed by our friends in the Babes in Brewland, ABQ Craft Beer Drinkers, and Dukes of Ale.

Now all we need is a name for this beer. We argued (a lot) about names, ranging from dark to downright goofy. Got any suggestions? It’s a big stout with sweet characteristics. Some kind of double name that contrasts both elements, perhaps?

A big thanks to Josh for all his hard work and patience with us, David for all of the above, and owner Skye Devore for inviting us to participate in all this. We truly had a blast brewing and at least a couple of us said aloud “I could do this every day!” We will have a photo gallery up on Facebook at some point once everyone gets their photos together. I’m the only one not back at work today, but I’ll have plenty on my plate when the Isotopes return to town Friday. Speaking of which …

What to drink when taking in a Topes game

I hope to take a quick tour of the beers available at Isotopes Park this week before Friday’s home opener. I might as well put my season press pass to use for something besides just writing about the players this season, right? Nothing goes better together than beer and baseball, so this seemed like a pretty good idea.

Of course, it’s all for you guys, since they tend to frown upon beers in the press box. Though during some of those 15-10, four-hours-plus games, we do tend to grumble about needing a pint or two up there. Let’s hope the potentially good pitching staff the Topes have this season will keep those ugly games to a minimum.

This and that

  • La Cumbre has brewed a Triple IPA called Father Nelson. It’s due out April 21. Prepare your palates now, for this one sounds like it will destroy every tastebud in its path. (Not that that’s a bad thing for some of you crazy hopheads.)
  • Shilling is not dead, he’s just been working the graveyard shift for Albuquerque Ambulance. He is headed up to Denver shortly and hopes to have some reviews of breweries and beers up there. If anyone has some suggestions for some under-the-radar places to check out, please pass them along.
  • I hope to hit up Vegas and then Flagstaff on my way back later this month. Suggestions for places to stop at are welcome.
  • Franz Solo has reviewed the latest Game of Thrones beer from Brewery Ommegang. Look for it this Friday. Mrs. Solo intends to start writing for us once she gets through her last few weeks of college classes. My suggestion for her first post is how to accumulate the most badges on Untappd in the shortest time possible.
  • Got any brew news of any kind? Or some questions for us? Message us on Facebook, Twitter, or at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com. Or if you see any of us in person at a brewery, come say hello.

Until the beer news notebook fills up again …

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

We have been teasing everyone for a while now with hints that we are getting to brew a beer over at Tractor. None of us have ever said why, so with brewing set to commence in about 16 hours or so, I get to be the one to fill in the details.

The Crew will be brewing on Tractor's pilot system back in the Wells Park brewhouse this weekend.

The Crew will be brewing on Tractor’s pilot system back in the Wells Park brewhouse this weekend.

So last year during ABQ Beer Week we, plus the Babes in Brewland and ABQ Craft Beer Drinkers, were part of a beer groups meet-and-greet at Marble. The only problem was no one really showed up to say hello, and half of those folks that did were already followers of one or more of our groups or somebody’s friend. Rather than repeat this and hope for the best, this year the Beer Week powers that be, plus Tractor mastermind Skye Devore, came up with an alternative.

You — yes, you, gentle reader — can still come meet all our groups, plus the Dukes of Ale and maybe the Warthogs (their home-brewing counterparts from Rio Rancho) on Thursday, May 22, but this time we will have the added bonus of beer! As in our beer, made by us using Tractor’s pilot brewing system. Each group is going to take a day this month to brew up around 20 gallons of our own recipe, with Tractor providing the ingredients, advice, and a little oversight by brewer David Hargis and his staff. When you arrive at Wells Park in May, each group will have a table set up with free samples of our beers. You can come by, try what each of our groups made (the plan was for everybody to make a different style) and let us know how we did. Plus, we can all talk about whatever else. If you have some story ideas for the Crew, or have suggestions for improving our site or its content, feel free to share.

Back on the day a few weeks ago when Skye brought everyone together to discuss our plans, pretty much every other beer group rep look at me and said “so you guys are doing a dark beer, right?” It would be kind of silly for us to brew a pilsner or a witbier, now wouldn’t it? So yes, we have concocted a recipe for a sweet stout and worked out our ingredients list with David. Since stouts take a little longer than most beers to age, the Crew gets to be the first to brew, starting bright and early (for us, anyway) at 8:30 a.m. this Saturday. We will likely have lots of pictures and updates on Facebook and Twitter as the day goes along. Brandon and Porter Pounder are our most experienced home brewers in the group, so E-Rock and I will just be helping out as needed, or just standing around and taking pics with our cell phones while cracking dumb jokes. And of course, drinking lots of coffee. I mean lots. We’re basically nocturnal.

We are not promising the second coming of Left Hand’s Milk Stout or anything like that, but we do hope folks come down to Wells Park on May 22 and try our beer, as well as the other groups’ beers, and let all of us know what you think. In all, this promises to be a fun event to kick off the best week of the year.

Until then, gotta get some sleep. Right after covering the Lobo baseball game. And after Mrs. Solo’s birthday bash (part two). And after hopefully getting in a short recap of the Isotopes’ doubleheader on the road. Did I mention before about lots of coffee? I’m talking a gallon at this point. Maybe two.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The other day I mentioned to the rest of the Brew Crew that Bosque’s new brewhouse was close to being fully operational. E-Rock naturally replied with “It’s a trap!” proving that once again we are all giant nerds in this group. Anyway, all Return of the Jedi jokes aside, I decided to head over to Bosque this afternoon (Thursday) to check on the progress of the brewhouse and chat with owner/brewer/hard-working dude Gabe Jensen.

Bosque's Gabe Jensen gives you a good idea of how big (and awesome) his new 30-barrel fermenters are. And how cool the new Bosque T-shirts are, too.

Bosque’s Gabe Jensen gives you a good idea of how big (and awesome) his new 30-barrel fermenters are. And how cool the new Bosque T-shirts are, too.

After tasting head brewer John Bullard’s new hefeweizen, The Last Straw (it’s on Untappd now, I added it, no need to panic, you badge-addicted fools), we walked from the taproom next door to get the full status update. Most of Bosque’s equipment is in place, with only a few items still yet to arrive. Once everything is in the brewhouse, final construction/assembly will begin.

“I’m hoping we’re brewing in a month, but I’ve been saying that every month for the last three months,” Gabe said. “But a lot of things are on the way. The chiller, I just got confirmation they’re sending that I think (Friday). Platforms should be sent out within the next week. Glycol plumbing will be in next week, I got all that (coming). The walk-in cooler is supposed to be delivered Monday or Tuesday.”

Bosque does have a current walk-in cooler in place, but the new one will have dimensions of about 25 feet long, 11 feet wide and 10 feet tall. The old one will eventually be moved out of the brewhouse and into Bosque’s taproom that will open in Nob Hill. The hope is that the second location will open sometime this summer, but much more work has to be done, so no firm dates have been attached as of yet. Gabe and some of the other Bosque owners were actually headed downtown Thursday night for a hearing with the city in regards to making sure they can fill and sell growlers out of the Nob Hill taproom

All the wonderful new equipment ready for use at Bosque.

All the wonderful new equipment ready for use at Bosque.

Gabe said the final production goal will be “3,000 barrels a year, we hope.

“Not necessarily in the first year,” he added. “But I hope to be up to that capacity by December. I won’t sell 3,000 by December, but to sell 3,000 in the first full 12 months is the goal.”

The towering new trio of 30-barrel fermenters that dominate the room indicate that goal could easily become a reality. The good news is that the Bosque staff and their landlord are so far in sync about everything, which should speed up and simplify the process once all the equipment is in place.

In addition to all of that, Bosque has a couple of whiskey barrels in the back that were sent over by the good folks at Jubilation. The beer has not been added yet, and we cannot reveal what specific beer it will be as a final decision has not been made (it will be one of their best sellers), but when it’s ready to go we will share the news.

Gabe also said he is looking forward to 2015 with all the new and extended hop contracts Bosque has signed.

The new brewing system is almost ready for use.

The new brewing system is almost ready for use.

“I don’t have everything I want until January, but come January we’ll have everything but Citra,” he said. “And I’m on the waiting list, (so) I think I may get some Citra. But I’ve got Mosaic, I’ve got El Dorado, I’ve got a lot of Amarillo, a ton of that.”

Something tells us the future SMASH (single malt and single hop) beers from John are going to be exceptional.

All in all, it was a quick visit, but a good one. Bosque has many good things coming for beer lovers here in Albuquerque and points beyond. Head over now for John’s new hefe, or the Citra SMASH if you have not had it yet, or the Bosque’s Burnin’ red rye, or just any of their beers. They are all worth the visit and many return visits afterward.

* * * *

As for the Crew, look for our overdue explanation Friday of just what the heck we are doing brewing a beer over at Tractor. Hint: it’s ABQ Beer Week-related. While we’re there we will snap a bunch of photos of Tractor’s now operational brewhouse at Wells Park.

Brewing is getting bigger and better throughout the metro area. Tis a good time to be a beer lover here!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister