The 16th annual San Juan Brewfest took place on Saturday, August 23, in beautiful downtown Durango. Benefiting the United Way of SW Colorado, the brewfest had a great turnout, despite the rain that threatened to dampen the mood. Held at Buckley Park near the northern tip of Main Street, there couldn’t be an easier event to find, or find your way home from.

There was quite the crowd at the San Juan Brewfest.

There was quite the crowd at the San Juan Brewfest.

There were over 50 breweries, with 35 from Colorado, six from New Mexico, and nine were from breweries ranging from the east coast to the west coast, including a few macrobreweries. Macros always reminded me of the old guy at the college parties. “Dude are you like, a professor or something?” But I kid the big guys. With all that the San Juan Brewfest had to offer, you could sample a beer poured by a familiar face from the likes of Turtle Mountain or Taos Mesa, you could get to know your northern neighbors’ beers a bit better, or you could try a few swallows from far away lands like Boston, Juneau, or Petaluma. (A full list of breweries is below.)

As far as brewfesters go, everyone was very friendly and laid back in that Colorado kinda way. On occasion, there were those folks who were a bit over-excited to talk about their interests, like trail-riding or ciders. Where did that cider guy come from? But there’s nothing wrong with that. Passion is what fuels the craft beer industry, am I right? So keep on keepin’ on, cider guy!

Fans dance to the Hill Stompers.

Fans dance to the Hill Stompers, a band from Los Alamos.

Everyone enjoyed themselves, sampling, noshing on German sausages straight from the grill, and dancing wildly inappropriately (in front of children) to the rockin’ local bands. One of those local bands happened to be local to New Mexico. Have you guys heard the Hill Stompers from Los Alamos? Well do it, already! They’re like a circus marching band fueled by candy corn and cerveza.

Getting to the beer, there were over a hundred beers to try at the brewfest, including some breweries bringing more than the promised two. It was impossible to try them all, or maybe we didn’t try hard enough. With the free taster glass and a handy notepad, we set out to pulverize our palates. And boy did we! My Untappd App sure got a workout the next day. As for my personal favorites, Great Divide had a fantastic dark, roasted, powerful warrior of a beer called the Claymore Scotch Ale (7.7% ABV) that just knocked my hop-socks off. I also really enjoyed Upslope Brewing Co.’s Belgian Style Pale Ale (7.5% ABV), the Face Down Brown by Telluride Brewing Co. (5.7% ABV), and of course the Kriek from Santa Fe Brewing was way up there on my list.

Marble's tent was a popular spot for beer lovers.

Marble’s tent was a popular spot for beer lovers.

There was also a beer that I won’t name that I really liked but couldn’t put my finger on why. Then it dawned on me as I finished that last swig; it REALLY reminded me of something racked from one of La Cumbre’s tanks. Was it one of Elevated IPAs long-lost sisters? I couldn’t tell! I could, however, go on and on about the beers, but there were so many different styles. Most breweries brought an IPA and a pale ale, others brought reds, Belgians, and there were a handful of saisons and sours. But why not just grab my Untappd name and take a look at my journey? LukeDukeSF. Now, I’ll try not to say too much more about this, but after sampling so many IPAs, I can definitely say I prefer New Mexico IPAs to Colorado IPAs. Nuff said.

The competition that day was as hot as the sun, when it did decide to come out. For the Judge’s Choice, Left Hand Brewing Company won third place for their Milk Stout Nitro. Our very own Marble Brewery won second place with their already-award-winning Pilsner. “505! 505!” I chanted silently in my head as I heard the news. Best beer of the fest went to Elevation Beer Company’s Avis IV. And finally, winning People’s Choice for best beer was the Brown Bear Ale from Aspen Brewing Co.

With great weather, great beers, and great company, it was a brewfest to remember, or try REALLY hard to remember. Thanks, Durango, for a great time. See you next year!

Cheers,

Luke!

Everyone was left smiling at the end of the brewfest.

Everyone was left smiling at the end of the brewfest.

2014 San Juan Brewfest Breweries

AC Golden (Golden, CO), Alaskan Brewing (Juneau), Aspen Brewing (CO), Avalanche Brewing (Silverton, CO), Blue Moon Brewing (Golden, CO), Boston Beer, Bottom Shelf Brewery (Bayfield, CO), Boulder Beer (CO), Breckenridge Brewery (CO), Brew Pub and Kitchen (Durango), Bristol Brewing (Colorado Springs), Carver Brewing (Durango), Durango Brewing, Elevation Beer (Poncha Springs, CO), Eske’s Brew Pub & Eatery (Taos), Fort Collins Brewery (CO), Great Divide Brewery (Denver), Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing (Chippewa Falls, WI), Kannah Creek Brewing (Grand Junction, CO), Lagunitas Brewing (Petaluma, CA), Left Hand Brewing (Longmont, CO), Lumberyard Brewing (Flagstaff, AZ), Marble Brewery, Moab Brewery (UT), Mr. Grumpy Pants Brewing (Ouray, CO), New Belguim Brewing (Fort Collins, CO), Oak Creek Brewing (Sedona, AZ), Odell Brewing (Fort Collins, CO), Oskar Blues Brewery (Longmont, CO), Ouray Brewery (CO), Pagosa Brewing and Grill (Pagosa Springs, CO), Palisade Brewing (Palisade, CO), Riff Raff Brewing (Pagosa Springs, CO), Roaring Fork Beer (Carbondale, CO), Rocky Mountain Brewery (Colorado Springs, CO), San Luis Valley Brewing (Alamosa, CO), Santa Fe Brewing, Shock Top Brewing (St. Louis), Sierra Nevada Brewing (Chico, CA), Ska Brewing (Durango), Steamworks Brewing (Durango), Strange Craft Beer (Denver), Taos Mesa Brewing, Telluride Brewing (CO), Three Barrel Brewing (Del Norte, CO), Three Rivers Brewery, Turtle Mountain Brewing, Two Rascals Brewing (Montrose, CO), Upslope Brewing (Boulder, CO), Wolfe Brewing (Pagosa Springs, CO)

Bosque aims to tap into thirsty Las Cruces market

Posted: August 28, 2014 by cjax33 in News
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Ever since Bosque Brewing Co. opened in Albuquerque, there was a belief that sooner or later they might have their eye on a second location. That second location is coming closer to fruition in Nob Hill, but the belief had been that Bosque had one eye focused on Las Cruces. After all, the majority of its owners are either from down south or went to college at New Mexico State.

There's not much to see inside yet, so here's the view from the patio at Bosque's taproom in Las Cruces. (Photo courtesy of Gabe Jensen)

There’s not much to see inside yet, so here’s the view from the patio at Bosque’s taproom in Las Cruces. (Photo courtesy of Gabe Jensen)

Last week, while I was at my friend’s memorial in Tucson, Bosque co-owner Gabe Jensen sent me a short e-mail stating that they had signed a lease to open a taproom in Las Cruces. I followed up on that message on Wednesday afternoon with Gabe over a pint of Scale Tipper #4 IPA (which is outstanding, hurry over and buy a pint or two).

Bosque is taking over the taproom space formerly occupied by Mimbres Valley, the Deming-based brewery that closed its doors earlier this year. It’s located in the small retail center at the northwest corner of E. University Ave. and S. Espina St., across the street from the NMSU campus.

The big worry is that with Bosque having only recently expanded its primary brewery, plus the ongoing Nob Hill construction, and now Las Cruces, is that they are biting off more than they can chew.

“I was talking to Jess (Bosque GM) earlier today and was like, ‘What are we thinking?’ What the heck?'” Gabe said. “So really it comes down to Nob Hill is taking longer than we’ve expected, longer than anyone expected. … We got the keys (Tuesday), so it’s great. We’re about 60 days out, maybe 90. We’re doing the work now. THe ball is in our court. It’s going to happen now, finally. But I was hoping that was going to happen six months ago.

“We’ve had our eye on Las Cruces. I’m from Las Cruces, born and raised, graduated from State. … We have a tie to Las Cruces. There’s room for more beer in Las Cruces.”

Gabe noted High Desert Brewing is a Las Cruces “icon,” while De La Vega Pecan Grill also brews their own beer, and Spotted Dog Brewery will open soon in neighboring Mesilla. Still, for an area with an estimated metro area population nearing 200,000, that’s not a lot.

“There’s plenty of room in Las Cruces,” Gabe said. “So we were looking at it and then when the whole thing went down with Mimbres, as unfortunate as that is, I had my eye out. A couple people came to me knowing I had an interest in down there.

“It took a little longer than we thought it would. It can be a little sticky to take over a place while it’s still under lease. But eventually, finally we signed a lease last week.”

The exact opening for Bosque’s LC taproom is not known yet. They could host some gatherings via a picnic license from the state starting as early as Oct. 25, but full approval is still pending from all the various government agencies.

“We’re going to slap some paint on it, upgrade the draft system, and that’s it,” Gabe said. “Eventually we might change out the tables, but we don’t have to do that. The cost of entry is not there. It’s where we want to be.”

The taproom is not very large. It can probably hold 30 to 40 customers, but it does have a nice patio that could accommodate another 30 to 40, and Las Cruces is probably capable of having outdoor drinking 1o months out of the year.

Even with two new locations opening and several places around town now having Bosque beers on tap (and more coming), Gabe said patrons should not worry that they are pushing themselves beyond their brewing capacity and wearing out brewer John Bullard and his staff.

“I was talking to John, he’s not worried about it,” Gabe said. “We’re at like a third of capacity. I’ve got more equipment over there, another fermenter. We haven’t had time to put it up. I’ve got another bright tank on order. We can do 75, 80 barrels a week on that. That should be OK. … And I’m definitely interested in some tap accounts in Las Cruces, since we’re going down there anyway.”

We’re sure everyone in Southern New Mexico will look forward to the addition of another quality source of in-state beer. The Crew and Bosque will keep everyone up to date on the progress of both the Nob Hill and LC taprooms. And then we will go to them and enjoy a pint or two.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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

A lot of labor went into beers around the state like this Bohemian Pilsner at High Desert.

A lot of labor went into beers around the state like this Bohemian Pilsner at High Desert.

It’s Labor Day weekend, so make sure to hug a brewer (with his/her consent) and thank ‘em for all the hard labor that went into producing the beers you’re drinking. Well, on a more serious note the holiday weekend figures to be a busy one around the state. And since it’s a holiday weekend and this is New Mexico, please remember to drink responsibly and be careful out there on the roads. There are a few events going on around the state. Santa Fe Brewing will be serving beers at the Angel Fire Gravity Games and Brewfest on Saturday. If you would rather hang around in Santa Fe, there will be live music this weekend at Duel and Second Street. If you’re further north, Taos Mesa will be hosting plenty of live music as well.

There are a few new beers on tap across the state. Blue Corn is introducing Scorched, an smoked olde ale. Desert Water has George Lite on tap and the Pilsner will be ready this weekend. High Desert has fresh batches of Hefeweizen, Black IPA, Amber, and Stout. New Mexico Craft Brewing has a whole new lineup at the Old Town Drafthouse, including their popular Cider. Santa Fe’s Small Batch Saturday will feature a Wee Heavy. Second Street has a fresh batch of the GABF medal-winning Steam Bitter.

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

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of August 25.

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

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: HALT!-bier, Berliner Weiss, Funkadelic Dunkel, Night Train (Schwarzbier), Scorched (smoked olde ale). It’s getting awful German over at Blue Corn. The most recent German addition is the Night Train (5% ABV, 32 IBU), a darker lager made with two types of German malts and noble hops. The Funkadelic (5.8% ABV, 30 IBU) is a Bavarian-style brown ale, with Crystal hops added to balance the big malt bill. HALT!-bier (6% ABV, 40 IBU) is an Altbier made with two types of German color malts and a mix of Warrior and Crystal hops that give it a crisp, dry finish. Scorched will debut at the Thursday Beer Garden tonight, while a flamenco group will provide entertainment from 6 to 9 p.m.

News: In the works is an imperial red wet hop beer using 50 pounds (!) of Chinook hops from Colorado.

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

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

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

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

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

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

Beers: Oktoberfest, Wee Heavy. The Wee Heavy is this week’s entry for Small Batch Saturday. Production of Freestyle Pilsner has ended for the year, so go grab a sixer while they are still available. Kriek, SFBC’s popular sour, is not on tap, but it is available in bombers around the state.

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

News: SFBC will be providing beer at the Angel Fire Gravity Games and Brewfest on Saturday. They will also be at the Fall Gold Sale at Ski Santa Fe on Sunday.

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

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

Beers: Kolsch, IPA, ESB, Boneshaker Bitter, Cream Stout, Railrunner Pale Ale, Railyard Red, Rod’s Best Bitter, Pajarito Pale Ale, Steam Bitter. The German Pilsner and Triskelion Amber have run out, so a trio of old favorites are back in the Rod’s Best Bitter, Pajarito Pale Ale, and Steam Bitter, which won a gold medal at GABF last year.

Events: SSB Thursday’s Patio series will feature Paw Cole and the Clinkers all month long. Lil Tones is playing Friday, followed by Pollo Frito on Saturday. There is never a cover. Shows at the Railyard include Mushi Trio on Friday and Acadian Drifters on Saturday, and Hot Honey with Sunday brunch all month long.

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

Taos-area breweries

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

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

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

Beers: Embudo Gold Golden Ale, Lava Rock Pale Ale, Tarantula Trek Red Ale, Ladybug IPA, Prieta Real Imperial Stout. The Ladybug and Embudo were the most recent additions to the lineup when we visited Blue Heron recently. The Ladybug offers up a unique mix of varied hops that produce a beer that tends to be sweeter and mellower than what we normally think of with IPAs. Blue Heron also has many of its beers for sale in bombers, including longtime Crew favorite La Llorona Scottish Ale.

News: Blue Heron’s new taproom in Espanola is now open for business. Stop by on your next time up north and check out all they have to offer.

Comanche Creek Brewing Company — (575) 377-2337

(Wed-Sat noon–6 p.m.)

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

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

Eske’s Brew Pub — (575) 758-1517

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

Beers: Taos Green Chile Beer, The Chemist (Gluten-free), Blonde Betty, Artist Ale (English bitter), Millennium IPA, Red-Handed Ale, Naked Ape (Fruit beer). Thanks to reader 8BitHitman, we have an updated beer list for Eske’s at last. After initially going “huh?” on a few of these beers, 8BitHitman wrote us back to fill us in. The Chemist is Eske’s popular gluten-free beer. The Artist Ale is an English bitter and was his choice as the best of the bunch. The Naked Ape is a fruit beer, with peach/apricot characteristics.

Taos Ale House — (575) 758-5522

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

Beers: Mosaic Lollipop Pale Ale, Mogul Imperial IPA, Simple Porter. We haven’t gotten an update from TAH in a while, so we don’t know if these are still the beers on tap or if something else has joined or replaced them. If anyone is in Taos over the Labor Day weekend, stop in and let us know what they’ve got. Also, grab a burger and a pint, it’s worth it. TAH also has a few guest beers on tap as well.

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

Taos Mesa Brewing — (575) 758-1900

(Daily 11 a.m. – close)

Beers: Amarillo Rojo, Great Scot Scottish, Fall Down Brown, Superstitious Stout, Kolsch 45, 3 Peaks IPA. We were big fans of the Kolsch 45, and the Superstitious Stout was pretty good as well, even for the hot summer. There are also multiple guest taps, including one rotating tap called the “NM Brewers Guild” tap, featuring random beers from all over the state.

News: There’s “a high gravity surprise” coming for us all in late October/early November.

Northeast breweries

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

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

Beers: Oatmeal Stout, Kolsch, Dry-hopped Pale Ale, Cider, Red. Business has been nuts over at NMCBC, so beers are changing out rapidly on tap. This is the most recent listing for the Old Town Draft House via their Facebook page.

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

Northwest breweries

Three Rivers Brewery — (505) 325-6605

Beers: India Pale Ale, Sandstone Wheat, SHIPA – Citra, Papa Bear’s Golden Honey Ale, Red Mountain Wheat, Red Apple Flyer Cider, Orchard Street Raspberry Wheat, King Colona, Longshot Light, 3 Rivers Scottish Ale, Arroyo Amber Ale, Thode’s Fat Dog Stuck in the Door Stout. The lineup at Three Rivers has two recent additions in the SHIPA – Citra (6.5% ABV) and the Sandstone Wheat (4.7% ABV), a Bavarian-style hefeweizen that’s back after only a brief absence. The SHIPA is a Single-Hop IPA made with, you guessed it, Citra. The Orchard Street Raspberry Wheat (4.5% ABV) is made with fresh raspberries. The King Colona (9.5%) is the imperial version of the NM Colona. The rather awesomely named Thode’s Fat Dog Stuck in the Door Stout (5.4% ABV) is the darkest beer on tap. It was named in honor of Jim Thode, a friend of the brewery who died while serving in Afghanistan in 2010. The Arroyo Amber Ale (5.0% ABV) is the local favorite. It is copper-red in color, medium bodied, and is brewed with caramel malt with a nice hop balance.

Eastern breweries

Roosevelt Brewing — (575) 226-2739

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

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

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

Southeast breweries

Desert Water Brewing — (888) 959-9342

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

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

News: The Pilsner should be on tap this weekend. The Pale Ale is still fermenting.

The Wellhead — (575) 746-0640

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

Southwest breweries

High Desert Brewing Company — (575) 525-6752

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

Beers: Wheat Ale, Peach Wheat, Hefeweizen, Bohemian Pilsner, Octoberfest, IPA, Black IPA, Amber Ale, Steam Beer, Stout, Barley Wine. The lineup has cycled in four new beers, with the Hefeweizen, Black IPA, Amber, and Stout replacing the Kolsch, ESB, Anniversary IPA, and Brown. Porter Pounder and I recently had a chance to visit HDBC. He went with the Barley Wine, while since I had to drive on to ABQ that day, I went with the Pilsner. We enjoyed both of these beers from opposite ends of the ABV spectrum. High Desert Brewing Company is located at 1201 W. Hadley Ave. in Las Cruces.

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

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

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

* * * *

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

In recent months all of us in the Crew have noticed The Ale Republic popping up as a term over the local beer landscape. Even after liking their Facebook page and reading their posts, we were still unclear on just what the concept of this local group was. Were they trying to open a brewery? Were they just craft beer lovers trying to create a new community online? Or was it something else entirely?

The Ale Republic is a planned beer bar/brewery that would showcase New Mexico products.

The Ale Republic is a planned beer bar/brewery that would showcase New Mexico products. (All photos courtesy of the Ale Republic.)

To answer these questions, and with Jason from the Bullpen in tow, I sat down with Zach and Patrick from the Ale Republic on a busy night at Marble’s downtown pub last week before I had to head down to Tucson (thus the delay in getting this story up; sorry, Ale Republic folks).

What the Ale Republic is going to be has evolved from the group’s original concept.

“We wanted to open up a beer bar where you could get really crazy, exclusive beers, always rotating (taps),” Patrick said. “I wanted to have a sour tap. I had all these big dreams. We realized you can’t do that with existing New Mexico laws. You can’t have California beers or anything from out-of-state unless you (also) sell food.

“We still wanted to have a beer bar. There are some places like Sister, Billy’s (Longbar), Anodyne. We wanted a place that’s not distracted by Jaeger shots, all that crap. We wanted a place that has really good beer and a lot of it. A place where you go every time there’s something new.”

With their initial plan needing modification, the Republics (we won’t refer to them as Republicans, because that would bring politics into a discussion about beer, and we would NEVER do that to anyone) took some inspiration from a unique, monthly beer lovers gathering known as the Beer Underground, something else that’s popped up on social media of late.

“We came up with this concept of where we’re launching off the Beer Underground,” Zack said. “The deal with that was we have New Mexico beers and home brews (for tasting). … But it was becoming too popular, we had too many people. We decided we needed to expand or something. We wondered how we could (adapt) that.”

While people would gather, invite-only, at a secret location to try locally-made beers and home-made beers, Zack was right, it was getting overcrowded. Realizing there is a market for beer customers to try not only beers from the breweries, the new concept was born.

Patrick of the Ale Republic wants a place that brings the community together.

Patrick of the Ale Republic wants a place that brings the community together.

“It’s a beer bar that’s a brewery. You can come in, brew your beer, put it on tap with La Cumbre, Marble, whoever,” Zack said. “And so you can put your beer up with the breweries across New Mexico. We want to focus on New Mexico, seek out the really unique beers. If Marble is doing a sour, we want to serve some of it.

“Basically if you come in, you’re not going to know what’s going to be on tap. It’s going to be 30 different beers (constantly rotating). We wanted to do something that from time to time, it’s going to be entirely different.”

The Ale Republic will give home brewers a chance to showcase their beers. The more unique, the better, Zack added.

“What started as the idea of having a beer pub with a lot of different stuff morphed into this model,” Patrick said. “At the beginning we’ll have a lot of crazy, experimental stuff from other breweries, like the Underground. But the long-term goal is to have mostly our beer unless there’s something we need to focus from somebody else.

“It will be community-built. If someone says, ‘Hey, there’s something I’ve always wanted to make,’ they can come brew it.”

Turning a conceptual idea into reality, however, can be difficult. There are all the matters of finding a location for the Ale Republic, to raising money for its construction/development/operation, to navigating the various laws, while also continuing to garner support from the brewing community and in-state breweries.

“The biggest challenge is purely social in the beer network,” Patrick said. “It’s convincing the other local breweries that we’re partners in this, we’re not competitors. There’s a lot of evidence to support that.

“My best example is the Century 24 movie theater. When they built that it was a giant dirt lot. Then Pappadeaux’s started and all of a sudden a couple years flew by and 15 restaurants opened up. You would think that it would be bad to open a restaurant next to another big restaurant or five other big restaurants. But it’s a big draw and all of those restaurants are successful because of that.”

Zack of the Ale Republic runs with their flag through the Bosque to, um, make a nice picture?

Zack of the Ale Republic runs with their flag through the Bosque to, um, make a nice picture?

The Ale Republic would also offer breweries on the west side of town a chance to showcase their beers to an audience that may be reluctant to cross the Rio Grande, or perhaps for a southern crowd that does not want to drive north of the Big I.

“So basically you can come to our brewery and try everything you’ve heard about,” Zack said. “There’s stuff in the south of the state, stuff in the north. Not many people make it up to Farmington to try 3 Rivers. It becomes an incentive to the breweries and people visiting, instead of a pub crawl, you can come to one location. We have 30 taps, each one of those taps will be a different brewery.”

Another advantage to the breweries, Zack explained, will be a planned phone application for the Ale Republic where customers can vote on their favorite beers and leave comments. It could give insight to the breweries on why certain beers sell and do not sell.

As for the in-house Ale Republic beers, Patrick said the recipes will be community-based, created by a team of brewers based upon customer reaction. The Ale Republic will also seek a vintners license so they can brew ciders and mead.

“That will help diversify the crowd a little bit,” Patrick added.

The targeted area for the Ale Republic is downtown, though they did not want to reveal the exact location yet as they are still searching for an ideal location. It figures to be no further north than Wells Park, but they would prefer something closer to Old Town as it would draw in tourists looking for a good starting point to exploring the local beer scene.

As for financing, Zack said in an ideal world the Ale Republic’s current Kickstarter campaign would be more than enough, but here in reality the group will probably take out loans and/or seek additional private investment. Still, all the money they can raise from the beer-loving crowd is greatly appreciated. They are trying to reach $25,000 by Sept. 8, so donate now if you can.

Once they are open, Ale Republic will have a customer membership program that won’t be too dissimilar than those at other breweries.

“We’re going to have several levels of membership,” Patrick said. “The basic level of membership will be $25 or $30 (a year), with like $1 off beers, stuff like that. We want to have another level of membership above that with more offers, more incentives.

“We also want to keep some things from Beer Underground, with our ‘First Thursday’ tradition, where we have special events like beer and cheese tastings, things like that.”

The Ale Republic could even allow its customers to vote on special events to be held on Thursdays and other nights.

Another aspect they hope to have is brewing classes for the public, helping people learn how to brew on systems bigger than their kitchens at home. After that, they would like to help people learn how to become professional beer judges, though that might take a lot more research into just what national regulations must be met. (Patrick, it should be noted, was a judge for the recent New Mexico State Fair Pro-Am. We’re still working on getting those results, FYI.)

“There is a huge demand for judges, which is just a sign of how many people are brewing now,” Patrick said.

If everything comes together for the Ale Republic, we look forward to this concept of a New Mexico beer bar, with the opportunity for home brewers to come there and create their own recipes. An interactive, learning environment for beer drinkers is something this state could always use. We wish them a lot of luck, because it’s never easy to turn a concept into reality.

If you want to help out, click on the link to their Kickstarter above, or contact the Ale Republic at state@alerepublic.com or check out their website or Facebook page.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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

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

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

As more and more restaurants bring in craft beer to their taps, they are also embracing the concept of beer dinners. This is good news for all those who consider themselves both food and beer connoisseurs. Turtle Mountain has begun special beer and food pairings every Friday. While they don’t always have the pairing known by Wednesday, we will always try to update this site with the information before the dinner is served. Meanwhile, Chama River has a beer dinner Thursday at 6:30 p.m. It’s $45 for five courses and five beers, including the Class VI Golden Lager, Jackalope IPA, Radioactive IPA, Hefe Nice Day, and the new Wee Bit Loco Scotch Ale. Call the number in the Chama entry below for reservations. In addition to Chama and Turtle combining their own food and beer, other breweries and brewery restaurants are joining forces as well. The Stumbling Steer and Bosque are teaming up for a dinner Thursday at 6:30 p.m. It costs $45, but you get a five-course meal paired with five delicious beers. Bosque’s Pathfinder Pils, Cumulus Wheat IPA, and Scotia Scotch Ale will be poured, along with the Steer’s Pigsticker Pale Ale and Rawhide Red Ale. Give the Steer a call to make your reservations. The more people that attend these events, the more special pairings there will be in the future. And maybe in the future it will fall on a night where at least one of us in the Crew can attend.

UPDATE: Turtle Mountain will have a special cask of Saison du Soliel dry-hopped with Sorachi Ace this Friday. The food dish it will be paired with is TBD. TMBC’s beer entry below also got an update, so scroll down to check it out.

The breweries are back to cranking out their seasonals, with some old favorites coming back to tap as well. Bosque unleashes Scale Tipper Batch #4, their follow-up to their IPA Challenge winner, plus the Fade to Blackberry Sour. Boxing Bear now has Ambear and Standing 8 Stout. Chama River has Hardscrabble ESB. Il Vicino has brought back Panama Joe Coffee Stout and Exodus IPA. Kaktus promises not to pull the football away from Charlie Brown. La Cumbre went full hop-bomb with Full Nelson DIPA on tap and in bombers. Marble has its Rye Bretta back. Tractor has a fresh batch of Tupac Cali Red. Turtle Mountain’s Heidelberg Helles is back and an Altbier is on deck.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of August 25.

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

ABQ Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

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

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

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

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

Beers: Soroche IPA, Pale Ale, Kolsch, California Commons, Berliner Weiss, Ladron’s Peak. Berliner Weiss and Ladron’s Peak are the most recent additions to the lineup. The Ladron’s debuted at the Beer Premier earlier this summer and was a huge hit. It’s one of the most unique beers you will ever taste (and thusly hard to describe). Can’t wait to head over, order some grub from NY Pizza Dept. next door and enjoy a pint or two.

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: Farmhouse Pale Ale, Pathfinder Pils, Bosque Lager, Fade to Blackberry Sour, Scale Tipper Batch #4. The Lager (4.8% ABV, 20 IBU) is a good place to start on the menu. Pathfinder Pils (5.9% ABV, 35 IBU), a Bohemian style, is now on tap as well to help beat the last of the summer heat. It’s a delicious, malty-sweet beer.

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

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

Scale Tipper: Beers in the more distant future will include a pumpkin ale, Oktoberfest, and a barley wine. Plus, Bosque will be aging its Scotia Scotch Ales in rum barrels, and they just received a shipment of casks to start doing that as well. We’re a bit excited.

Boxing Bear Brewing Company — (505) 897-2327

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

UPDATED >>>> Beers: Paw Swipe Pale Ale, Hairy Mit Hefe, Standing 8 Stout, Ambear Ale, Sun Bear Summer Ale, Red Panda Session Red. New to the lineup are the Standing 8 Stout (6.3% ABV, 45 IBU) and Ambear Ale (5.2% ABV, 35 IBU). The other somewhat recent additions to the lineup are the Sun Bear (4.8% ABV, 30 IBU) and Red Panda (4.6% ABV, 65 IBU). Sadly, the popular Bear Knuckle DIPA has run out for now.

Broken Bottle Brewery — (505) 890-8777

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

Beers: Stinky Pinky, DADU Honey Wheat Ale, Triad IPA, Barely Legal Bourbon Oak Stout, 12 Step Apricot Ale, Wise Ass Watermelon Wheat, Atomic Rye Red. Both the Apricot and Watermelon went on tap recently, while the Atomic Rye Red is the newest beer listed via BBB’s Facebook page. The Stinky Pinky (5.3% ABV) is a hefeweizen infused with grapefruit. The DADU (8.2% ABV) is almost like a beer/mead hybrid. The Triad (6.6% ABV) uses a mix of three hops for a bigger, bolder flavor, plus additional dry hopping has given it a stronger aroma.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

Beers: Hardscrabble ESB, Double Rainbow, Nutty Professor, Hefe Nice Day! Hardscrabble (5.4% ABV, 35 IBU) is the new entry to the lineup. The Double Rainbow (4.8% ABV, 20 IBU) is a blackberry beer. The Hefe Nice Day! (4.5% ABV, 15 IBU) won the Brew Crew’s recent Hefeweizen Challenge. Nutty Professor is a pecan brown that’s very sweet in flavor. You might want to get a waffle to go from across the freeway at Nexus and bring it over, then pour the NP on top.

News: Head brewer Zach Guilmette has revamped the recipe for Chama’s Jackalope IPA to give it a stronger kick and tastier palate. Franz Solo and I also highly recommend you try the revamped Sleeping Dog Stout. It’s creamy and burly and sweet and roasted … it’s a damn contradiction of a beer, but it’s wonderful.

Il Vicino Brewing Canteen — (505) 881-2737

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

Beers: Irish Red, Fest Beer, Vienna Lager, Sessa’s Wet Hop Cascade Pale Ale, Citra IPA, Exodus IPA, Henhouse Saison, Panama Joe Coffee Stout. There was a whole lot of tap turnover at the Canteen this week. Citra IPA (8.3% ABV, 65 IBU) and the return of Exodus (7.8% ABV, 100+ IBU) will keep the hopheads happy. Welcome back to a Crew favorite, the GABF gold-medal winning Panama Joe (8% ABV, 37 IBU). Speaking of GABF, Henhouse will be entered in the Pro-Am this year. Mike Archibeck teamed up with Doug to brew this unique new beer.

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

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

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

Beers: Kolsch, Cream Stout, Banty Rooster (Hefe IPA), London Porter, Honk Ale, Solstice Pilsner, Banaweizen, Charlie Brown. The Kolsch, Honk, and Charlie Brown are new to the roster, replacing the Amber, ESB, and Jabberwocky IPA. The Solstice is another recent addition, brewed with two types of Belgian malts and German hops. It’s sweet and refreshing on a hot day. Located at 471 South Hill Road in Bernalillo, Kaktus is one of the state’s newest breweries. It is a small, casual place, similar to Blue Heron in appearance and comfort factor. Kaktus owner Dana Koller said fans can expect the nanobrewery to go through its most popular styles quickly, though they will always have something new and exciting available as a replacement.

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

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

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: Full Nelson, Saison d’Hommel, Fievre d’Abricot, Old Hop, New Hop. The newest beer on tap is Full Nelson (8.5% ABV, IBUs listed as “stupid”), a powerful DIPA that’s also available in bombers. If you need good hops but less of them, try Old Hop, New Hop (5.4% ABV, 41 IBU), an American pale ale that uses Centennial (old) and Simcoe (new) hops. The Saison (7.5% ABV, 35 IBU) and the Fievre (7.8% ABV, 25 IBU) are also available for sale in bombers.

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

Lizard Tail Brewing — (505) 717-1301

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

Beers: German Blonde Ale, Berliner Weisse, Belgian Abbey, Honey Pale Ale, IPA, Amber, Oatmeal Brown, India Black Ale, Rye Stout. Both Brandon and I have had chances to visit Lizard Tail, which is the newest brewery in town located in the shopping center on the southeast corner of Eubank and Montgomery. They specialize is malt-forward beers. The German Blonde (5.5% ABV, 20 IBU) is a good place to start. The Berliner Weisse (4.3% ABV, 8 IBU) is not nearly as sour as most of its genre. The Belgian Abbey (6.8%, 25 IBU) is a good example of its style. The Honey Pale Ale (6.3% ABV, 35 IBU) has a nice little hop kick to it. The IPA (6.8% ABV, 70 IBU) has a good mix of Mosaic, Warrior, and Galaxy hops. The Rye Stout (5.5% ABV, 35 IBU) has a nice flavor but lacks body. The first batch of Oatmeal Brown (4.2% ABV, 25 IBU) needed some work, but I got to sample the second batch that will be on tap soon and it’s improved.

News: Lizard Tail’s happy hour runs Thursday through Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m. You get $1 off food, flights, and pints.

A Dubbel and a Porter are next up.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

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

Beers: Red Light Lager, Brau, Double White, Saisonette, Rye Bretta. Brau (7.1% ABV) is a new German-style Sticke Altbier. The Rye Bretta (6.7% ABV) is back on tap; it’s a barrel-aged pale ale with some serious funk. It debuted in cask format back during ABQ Beer Week. The Saisonette (4.2% ABV) is one of the lower alcohol beers we’ve seen this summer.

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

News: A fresh batch of Imperial Red is headed to GABF soon. Hopefully it will also be on tap at the brewery soon.

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

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

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

Beers: Rye Pale Ale, Blackberry Hefeweizen, Altbier. Brewer Kaylynn McKnight cranked out two new seasonals in the Blackberry Hefeweizen and the popular Altbier has also returned. The RPA (5.9% ABV) has somewhat muted rye flavor, while the sweeter malts tend to dominate this beer. It’s a good summer beer, perfect for sipping slowly on a hot afternoon.

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.

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

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

Beers: Pi IPA, West Coast Red, Porter, Lost Grain ESA, Apricot Wheat. While Pi Brewing is not open to the public yet, they are able to brew and serve their beers next door at Nicky V’s. The IPA and West Coast Red are both good hoppy beers. We’ll keep tabs on when Pi itself opens. For now, grab a pint and some tasty Italian food.

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

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

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

The Stumbling Steer — (505) 792-7805

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

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

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

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

Beers at Nob Hill: Apple Cider, Javi Light Lager, Pilsner Roja, Berry Cider, La Llorona Dry Hop Amber, Milk Mustachio Stout, C+C IPA.

Beers at Wells Park only: L4 IPL, Maibock Lager, Trekker Red Belgian Ale, Barley Wine, Berliner Weisse Sour, F.Y.F.A. IPA, Tupac Cali Red. All of the Nob Hill seasonals are also at Wells Park, which has 24 total taps (Tractor’s five regular beers have two taps apiece). The Pilsner Roja is a crisp, Marzen-style beer that tastes good in the hot summer months. If you need a hop punch to the face, the F.Y.F.A. (F— Yeah Friday Ale) is a much more hop-forward IPA than what Tractor usually creates. The Berliner Weisse Sour takes a traditional German-style weiss beer and twists it into a sour. It’s an acquired taste. The most recent additions to the lineups are the La Llorona Dry Hop Amber and Tupac Cali Red.

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

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

On Thursday, Tractor’s pLOUD music series at Wells Park continues with ‘Merican Slang performing at 8 p.m. Kimo’s will provide the food.

At Nob Hill on Saturday, the latest Perfect Pub Pet class runs from noon to 1 p.m. It costs $15.

Tractor’s In the Mix series continues Saturday at Wells Park with DJ Shakedown performing from 9 p.m. to midnight.

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.)

UPDATED >>> Beers: (House) McDay’s Cream Ale, Oku Amber, Parasol White IPA, Hopshell IPA, Piedra Lisa Porter, Heidelberg Helles. (Seasonal/specialty) Monochrome Milk Stout, Berry Cherry Wheat, Pork ‘n’ Brew Brown Ale, Dog Daze Summer Lager. To help us out for now and the future, brewer Tim Woodward broke down what will be the regular beers on tap (under House) and the current list of seasonals. That’s a pretty solid regular lineup. I personally really enjoyed the Porter and Amber, the latter of which trumps most of its genre in terms of flavor. The Heidelberg Helles (5.1% ABV, 25 IBU) has rejoined the regular lineup for good, or so Tim hopes. The newest beer on tap is the Monochrome Milk Stout. I got to enjoy this decadently smooth beer from a guest tap at Boxing Bear. The Berry Cherry Wheat is nearly out, with an Altbier waiting in the wings to replace it.

* * * *

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

As a definite afficionado of all things hopped to infinity, I loved La Cumbre’s Father Nelson. It was for me the natural progression from the ground broken by Elevated IPA and our beloved Project Dank. Full Nelson is the fourth level in my humble opinion, a fully armed and completed Death Star Mark II to Father Nelson’s original Death Star.

Franz Solo was more than pleased with his pint of Full Nelson DIPA.

Franz Solo was more than pleased with his pint of Full Nelson DIPA.

Stoutmeister and I (Franz Solo) headed over to La Cumbre on Monday afternoon and enjoyed pints of both the cask version of Full Nelson (dry-hopped with even more Nelson Sauvin) as well as the regular. I sampled the cask version first and from the first aroma I knew the gloriously devastating levels of hops I was about to enjoy. There was a strong, dank, pineapple/peach element to the initial aroma which changed in character as the pint was consumed. About halfway through the pint the aroma became more bitter like the initial finish to the taste, but the flavor became more sweet.

The flavor overall was just as advertised, with tons of Nelson Sauvin on the front end with a strongly bitter pine finish which had hints of coconut. Where Father Nelson was the piña colada of double IPAs, Full Nelson takes the tropical theme and just runs it through to a natural and delicious conclusion.

The standard Co2 version of Full Nelson is far more smooth, with a significantly sweeter character than on cask. This is not a beer for everyone — an extreme amount of hops and bitterness accompany this magnificent brew. For those of us who are true hopheads, so to speak, this beer hits us right in the sweet spot and does not diminish until our palates are obliterated and our glasses are empty.

So if you, too, delight in all that is the lord of hops, grab a glass or a bomber of this excellent brew. Just remember where the power regulator is or you might end up like Alderaan.

Pröst! And may the force be with you, always!

— Franz Solo

Nothing to ponder about Ponderosa

Posted: August 26, 2014 by amyotravel in New Brewery Preview
Tags:

Editor’s note: A big thanks to Amy O and Franz Solo for taking on this story. I was supposed to handle the primary interview with Ponderosa, but as some may have seen from my post on Facebook, a close friend passed away last week in Tucson. While I was away, they did a great job heading down to Ponderosa and getting you the lowdown on what you need to know. Enjoy the story, and if you have any questions, just send them our way via social media or the comments below. — Stoutmeister

The large and spacious bar area at Ponderosa Brewing.

The large and spacious bar area at Ponderosa Brewing.

Franz Solo, my boyfriend Dave (as photographer, so props to him), and I went to meet with the brewer at the soon-to-be-open Ponderosa Brewing Company last week. Here’s the lowdown.

I really need to start by saying that I know Matt, the brewer, has been incredibly, unbelievably busy. He is not only brewing, he is assisting with many aspects of the operational setup. Despite that, he was the most gracious and generous host, and his excitement is quite contagious.

On the beer front, the red ale, pale ale, and IPA are all ready to go. We were able to also taste the Kölsch and the stout, although they are not yet carbonated. They will be ready when Ponderosa opens. He is also working on a Helles that could be complete for the (still projected) early September opening date.

Ponderosa's fermenters are already filling up with beer.

Ponderosa’s fermenters are already filling up with beer.

We were able to get the full tour and Matt spent a long time with us. He showed us the entire facility and the equipment in detail, including the electronic control panel for the brewing system and how they have room to add on to the equipment and expand the brewing operation. We “inspected” the hops, and of course, fully inspected the beers. I absolutely loved the Kölsch. For those who are fans of seriously intense stouts (I am), the stout is a whopper (I, Franz Solo, was quite pleased with both the Kölsch and the stout as well, and am very much looking forward to both of these when they are ready to go). There’s not a lot of either beer, so I would recommend watching for their opening date and heading over to try it as soon as possible.

Ponderosa's brewer already has beer in his bright tanks that's ready to go.

Ponderosa’s brewer already has beer in his bright tanks that’s ready to go.

Although Matt (the humble guy that he seems to be) said he is not completely satisfied with this first batch of red, Dave declared it second, locally, to only Marble, which was a surprise since red is not typically Dave’s favorite beer style. It’s not potently hoppy like Marble’s red, but it is complex, and had less of a caramel flavor than some. The single-hop pale ale (an experimental hop with some crazy number/letter combination for a name) was clean, crisp, and extremely refreshing.

The first batch of IPA is less intense than Matt was hoping for, but although it was on the mild side for an IPA, I found it to be extremely aromatic with strong floral notes (Franz Solo: I liken this particular style of IPA to something along the lines of Stone’s Enjoy By series of wonderfully fresh IPAs). I joked that he may have to end up keeping it in rotation and also make another that is geared more toward “hopheads.”

A Ponderosa pint glass just needs some filler.

A Ponderosa pint glass just needs some filler.

Future beer plans include a rotating stout and lager, and several other German-style beers (Franz Solo: This is quite exciting for us! To have beers that are about as close in composition and taste as what one would find in Germany here in our fair desert city is just wonderful!). Matt said that Alan, the brewmaster in Portland, indicated they will adhere pretty strictly to the Reinheitsgebot (German Purity Law) for future German-style brewing at Ponderosa. He jokingly claimed he is the “Jesse” to Alan’s “Walt.” It seems that with all this German beer talk, there has to be a “Heisenberg” reference in there as well.

We also toured the kitchen and spoke with the chef. He is from Texas and lived in New Orleans for a while. As you can imagine, he intends on bringing bold flavors to his menu. Some menu items he plans to offer — many with a “twist” — include burgers, steak (or steak sandwiches), salads, beer-battered fish-and-chips, fish tacos, a homemade pulled pork sandwich, a daily soup, and beer cheese soup. He also plans on locally-inspired cuisine such as enchiladas with borracho beans (also using their beer).

Ponderosa has a fairly large and well-appointed facility, with an area away from the main bar for kids to play and write on a chalkboard wall. A patio sits on the north side with long, sturdy picnic tables and an excellent ambiance. It will be a great place (especially for lucky Sawmill District residents) to hang out. And they may have a really unique outdoor stage area soon for music.

Bring on September! I am ready to try the food and to pair it with more of the delicious beer.

Cheers!

— Amy O

Park your tail at the bar: Lizard Tail Brewing opens for business to thirsty patrons.

Park your tail at the bar: Lizard Tail Brewing opens for business to thirsty patrons.

Albuquerque has become a hot spot in the microbrewery industry over the past few years. This should come as no surprise to us locals, as we have become accustomed to the creations routinely offered up by the likes of La Cumbre, Marble, Il Vicino, Chama River … the list goes on, really. That being said, it is always nice to see a new brewery pop up in town that can offer up their own take on our craft beer favorites. If you happen to be a resident of the Northeast Heights in Albuquerque, you are usually reserved to finding a DD or cabbing it if you wish to partake in a pint with friends. Well, now you don’t have to look far, because Lizard Tail Brewing has set up camp right in your backyard!

Located in the same spot as the now-defunct Bad Ass Brewery, Lizard Tail Brewing opened up shop this past Friday and was received with open arms by craft beer lovers. The venue chosen for business has always, to me anyway, seemed like it was at a disadvantage as it is nestled in a shopping plaza which houses two other busy bars. After stopping in for their grand opening, however, I have no doubt about their ability to attract a crowd. The atmosphere was quaint and relaxed, with bar stools and tables alike filled with patrons. For those in the area looking for something other than your average macro brew, this is a welcome sight for your neighborhood. But enough about pretty decorations, on to the beers.

The current rotation of beers at Lizard Tail consists of Berliner Weisse, Blonde Ale, IPA, Amber, Oatmeal Brown, Honey Pale Ale, India Black Ale, Rye Stout, and the current seasonal offering of Belgian Abbey. I was in a bit of a time crunch when I stopped in, so I only opted for a single flight of four beers (don’t worry, Lizard Tail staff, I and the rest of the Crew will be back to try the rest!) Big selections yield difficult choices, but I opted for the Oatmeal Brown, Belgian Abbey, IPA, and the Rye Stout. The first thing that I noticed about all of the beer selections was a distinct malt bill in every batch, which I greatly appreciate.

A flight of Lizard Tail libations, from left to right: Oatmeal Brown, Belgian Abbey, Rye Stout, and IPA.

A flight of Lizard Tail libations, from left to right: Oatmeal Brown, Belgian Abbey, Rye Stout, and IPA.

The Oatmeal Brown was a bit lighter than I expected, coming off a bit more like an amber ale with a crisp finish, but drinks smooth and has a wonderful aroma that you will want to keep sniffing with each drink. The Belgian Abbey is one of the seasonal offerings that will be rotating in and out with the changing of the tree colors. Grab this one while you can, for it is a lovely summertime brew with a nice yeast complexity, subtle sweetness, and nice citrus notes that make this a great choice for these final hot days of the year.

For dark beer lovers (which we obviously are), the Rye Stout is a solid option. Pouring a deep, obsidian black, it has plenty of creamy mouthfeel, lots of coffee and roasted barley, with just a bit of rye kick in the finish to make this stand out. I found that I actually enjoyed this one better as it opened up a bit in temperature; a few degrees made it a tasty brew. Finally, the IPA — I was impressed. In this city we are spoiled with great IPAs, so this is always a category that can make or break a brewery. Lizard Tail’s IPA has a grapefruit-forward hop profile, with floral notes around the middle, with a bit of zest and peppery hints to boot. There is subtle malt sweetness for balance, and a lingering bitterness and nice finish. It’s a pretty impressive IPA from the new kids on the block!

Overall, Lizard Tail Brewing has something for everyone on the big board that greets you when you walk in. Dan and Ken revealed some upcoming creations to our Bullpen member Adam previously. You can look forward to a Porter, Biscochito Brown, Belgian Strong Dark ale, and several others. If you are hungry as well, there are always snacks and sandwiches available. But let’s face it, you will be there for the beer, and you damn well should. Lizard Tail is up and running and definitely offers up something refreshing for all craft beer drinkers here in town.

Until next time …

Prost!

— Brandon Daniel

Marble rolls in a different direction

Posted: August 25, 2014 by brewsbanner in News
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Unless you were living under a rock this past weekend, you undoubtedly heard about the “hatching” that took place at Marble Brewery on Friday. Yes, one of Albuquerque’s most iconic breweries has completely re-branded itself. And when I say completely I do mean completely. The shift in brand recognition is so divergent that my first thoughts were, “Did Marble get sued for trademark infringement and had no choice but to abandon the marble theme?” While that theory seems unlikely, the surprising change does lend itself to the question of why. Why would such a recognizable and successful brewery feel the need to reinvent itself at this stage in its journey?

The new Marble logo is ... different.

The new Marble logo is … different.

Here is the official statement from Marble: “We love Albuquerque: the bright blue skies, the colorful, energetic, funky people, places, art, landscapes and food that burst from our vibrant city. We wanted an image that exuded our passion for craft beer and our commitment to brewing boldly, punctiliously and always with a knowledge of the past and an eye to the future. The maverick, our new visual identity, perfectly represents the Marble brand that you know so well: bold, adventurous, funky and rooted in our local community.”

That’s a fun explanation, but it comes off somewhat manufactured, like something a PR firm would say. I wanted a more candid explanation. I didn’t want to know where Marble was going as much as I wanted to know why they were going there.

I made it a priority to show up to Marble just as the doors opened for business on Friday, increasing the likelihood that I would see Marble head brewer Ted Rice hanging around. Immediately, I was a little puzzled. The staff was as unfamiliar as the colorful attire they wore. For a brief second I couldn’t help but think I was in the Bizarro World version of Marble Pub. Then I caught my first view of the new logo. NM Dark Side Brew Crew Editor Chris “Stoutmeister” Jackson summed it up best when he simply replied, “Wow, that’s different,” to a picture of the logo I had just texted him. It was different to say the least. I ordered a pint of the India Pale Lager on cask, took one smooth sip, and proclaimed, “Yes! The beer is still great!” Crisis averted.

More about the "Maverick" is written on the back of Marble's new growlers.

More about the “Maverick” is written on the back of Marble’s new growlers.

As I sat at the bar enjoying my beer and and keeping an eye out for Ted, I found this to be the perfect time to observe the reactions of patrons to the newly born transformation. Interestingly enough, the first few people didn’t really notice or did notice and just didn’t have much of a reaction. Then a gentleman came in to pick up a half keg and promptly noticed the new logo. “What the hell is that? A new logo?” he asked the bartender. “Yes,” the bartender replied. “Man, I just bought two of the Marble tap handles for my home bar. What’s going to happen to the old merchandise?” the customer added. “I guess it’s vintage now,” the bartender replied with a grin.

In one fell swoop Marble not only unveiled a new identity, but simultaneously created a market for vintage Marble Brewery merchandise. Keep those old Marble products folks, they could be worth something someday!

New logo. Same good beer. That's the most important thing.

New logo. Same good beer. That’s the most important thing.

By far the best reaction came from the head brewer of another popular Albuquerque brewery, “I like it. Seriously, I do. If you’re trying to get me to talk shit about it I won’t. That’s all I’m gonna say.” (If you know who I’m talking about then you could totally see him saying that.) Another good reaction came from a former Marble employee. “Is that the new logo? Really? I don’t get it. I can’t imagine Ted is very happy about this,” he said.

The latter reaction aside, it’s not too surprising that most of the reactions that I came across that day were positive and supportive. After all, Albuquerque is an extremely loyal community that excels at supporting local businesses and who is becoming increasingly receptive to change. Even the people who questioned the move made it clear that as long as the quality of the beer remains then the label means little.

I never did get to speak to Ted in person that day and to be honest I’m kind of glad I didn’t. I think we are all better off not knowing the truth. As anybody who has ever been part of a breakup knows, the truth can only hurt. As long as Marble keeps creating award-winning, innovative, delicious beers then I’ll roll right along with them in any direction they choose.

Cheers!

— Jason

Last week I had the opportunity to watch some awesome history in the making. Santa Fe’s Second Street canned their first beer inside their brewery. “Why is that awesome?” I hear you asking yourself. Besides the fact that we can now pick up a canned version of their Pivotal IPA and take it along on all of our outdoor adventures, it’s awesome because Second Street doesn’t own a canning machine, nor do they have a canning crew. So how did they pull this off? How was I able to take a four-pack of 16-ounce cans home with me that very day? Four words: Mother Road Mobile Canning.

Mother Road Mobile Canning starts the line for Second Street's Pivotal IPA.

Mother Road Mobile Canning starts the line for Second Street’s Pivotal IPA.

On August 14, Mother Road Mobile Canning drove their rig up to Santa Fe and set up shop right in the middle of Rod Tweet’s brewery, and Tweet was nice enough to talk to me about it. With a very much can-do attitude, I thought I’d start with the obvious. “Why the decision to can?” I asked. Tweet replied, “I’ve been interested in the canning format for a while, and with Mother Road available to us, it just seemed like a really good opportunity to see what getting a beer in a can is all about. Also, it gave us a chance to learn how to get beer ready for packaging – which is a pretty different exercise, as we found out than our normal brewpub process. Dissolved O2 levels, C02 levels, temp. etc. and measurement thereof, all more important (when canning). Also, for fun!”

I asked what made them decide to can the Pivotal IPA in particular. Tweet laid it down like this: “The Pivotal is an IPA that we developed over this past fall/winter with this in mind. We put a lot of thought into the formulation and it’s turned out to be a huge seller for us at the pubs. I also have committed a lot of money to getting the hard-to-get hops to support it, so the more we can sell, the better.”

SecondStreetCans

The four-packs are ready to go.

So folks, while supplies last, you can pick up the Pivotal in a can at both Second Street locations (2nd Street and the Railyard). And for our Al(BREW)querque friends, this is a great reason to take the Rail Runner up, visit the downtown pub location, and take home some of those hoppy suds in that sexy green can. And we certainly CAN expect to see another of Tweet’s creations in this format in the near future. Look out for the Boneshaker Special Bitter to be riding down the trails sometime in late September.

I also had the opportunity to spend some time with David Smidt, owner and president of Mother Road Mobile Canning, while he and his stellar crew canned the Pivotal. Over the sputters and whirs of the canning line, we talked a little about what they’re doing and where they’re going.

There's a beer in this selfie, so I guess we'll let it slide.

There’s a beer in this selfie, so I guess we’ll let it slide.

David said Mother Road has been in business for only a few months now, having gotten their equipment from Wild Goose Engineering in Colorado back in March. They started canning here in New Mexico with Kelly’s Brewpub in Albuquerque, and now they’re in three states, soon to be more. The benefits of canning, according to David, are that with cans, you can take them anywhere, hiking, biking, camping, etc. With the new cans, you have a better finished product than the bottle. The plastic lining on the inside of the can eliminates that rough metallic taste that we’d all come to know and loathe. The beer tastes just as good as if it was just poured at the brewery — better than the bottle, because no light can get in to skunk the beer. The canning process also eliminates the bit of air that exists in the bottle, which can change the flavor and carbonation of a bottled beer over time. I mean, come on. No one likes Stale’s Pale Ale. Cans are also economically better for breweries because with less weight, they cost less to ship. And you just can’t get the level of artwork on a bottle that you can with a … well, a can.

Mother Road is currently canning for several accounts, including Tractor Brewing of Albuquerque, Second Street, two others in New Mexico, three in Missouri, and one in Arkansas. When asked if he thought cans would eventually replace bottles, David said that it probably wouldn’t happen, or at least wouldn’t happen for a long while, but he was sure that cans would definitely become much more commonplace in the craft beer industry as breweries realize the benefits. I asked David what Mother Road’s plans were for the future and it was pretty clear that the possibilities were as vast as the open road. They’re always searching for new accounts, new breweries, and cider makers, and there was even mention of canning a wine. Whatever the road has in store for these guys, I want to be along for the ride.

Cheers!

— Luke