Posts Tagged ‘Kaktus Brewing’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABQ Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

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

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

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

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

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

Bosque Brewing Company — (505) 750-7596

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

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

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

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

Broken Bottle Brewery — (505) 890-8777

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

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

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

Il Vicino Brewing Canteen — (505) 881-2737

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

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

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

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

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

Beers: Red, Cream Stout, Banty Rooster (Hefe IPA), London Porter, Choice ESB, Basil Lager, Banaweizen, Jabba Wocky IPA. Located at 471 South Hill Road in Bernalillo, Kaktus is one of the state’s newest breweries. It is a small, casual place, similar to Blue Heron in appearance and comfort factor. Kaktus owner Dana Koller said fans can expect the nanobrewery to go through its most popular styles quickly, though they will always have something new and exciting available as a replacement.

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

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

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

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

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

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

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

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

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

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

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

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

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

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

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

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

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

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

The Stumbling Steer — (505) 792-7805

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

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

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

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

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

Beers at Wells Park only: L4 IPL, C&C IPA, F.Y.F.A. IPA, Barley Wine, Juniper Xtra Pale Ale, Pilsner #15, Scotch Ale, Javi Lager. All of the Nob Hill seasonals are also at Wells Park, which has 24 total taps (Tractor’s five regular beers have two taps apiece). The Pilsner Roja is a crisp, Marzen-style beer that tastes good in the hot summer months. If you need a hop punch to the face, the F.Y.F.A. (F— Yeah Friday Ale) is a much more hop-forward IPA than what Tractor usually creates. The Berliner Weisse Sour takes a traditional German-style weiss beer and twists it into a sour. It’s an acquired taste.

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

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

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

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

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

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

Beers: (House) McDay’s Cream Ale, Oku Amber, Parasol White IPA, Hopshell IPA, Piedra Lisa Porter. (Seasonal/specialty) Stars & Stripes American Lager, Blackberry Tart Cherry Wheat, The Fitzgerald Session IPA, N.B. SMaSH Pale Ale, Pork ‘n’ Brew Brown Ale, India Stupid Ale. To help us out for now and the future, brewer Tim Woodward broke down what will be the regular beers on tap (under House) and the current list of seasonals. That’s a pretty solid regular lineup. I personally really enjoyed the Porter and Amber, the latter of which trumps most of its genre in terms of flavor. The newest beers on tap are the Blackberry Tart Cherry Wheat and the India Stupid Ale, which was TMBC’s excellent entry in the IPA Challenge.

* * * *

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister and the rest of the NMDSBC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABQ Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

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

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

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

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

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

Bosque Brewing Company — (505) 750-7596

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

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

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

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

Broken Bottle Brewery — (505) 890-8777

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

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

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

Il Vicino Brewing Canteen — (505) 881-2737

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

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

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

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

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

Beers: Red, Cream Stout, Banty Rooster (Hefe IPA), London Porter, Choice ESB, Basil Lager, Banaweizen, Jabba Wocky IPA. Located at 471 South Hill Road in Bernalillo, Kaktus is one of the state’s newest breweries. It is a small, casual place, similar to Blue Heron in appearance and comfort factor. Kaktus owner Dana Koller said fans can expect the nanobrewery to go through its most popular styles quickly, though they will always have something new and exciting available as a replacement. The popular Jabba Wocky IPA is back on tap this week.

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

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

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

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

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

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

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

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

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

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

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

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

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

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

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

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

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

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

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

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

The Stumbling Steer — (505) 792-7805

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

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

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

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

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

Beers at Wells Park only: L4 IPL, C&C IPA, F.Y.F.A. IPA, Dry Cider, Apple Cider, Berry Cider, Mustachio Milk Stout, Barley Wine. All of the Nob Hill seasonals are also at Wells Park, which has 24 total taps (Tractor’s five regular beers have two taps apiece). The Pilsner Roja is a crisp, Marzen-style beer that tastes good in the hot summer months. If you need a hop punch to the face, the F.Y.F.A. (F— Yeah Friday Ale) is a much more hop-forward IPA than what Tractor usually creates.

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

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

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

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

Beers: (House) McDay’s Cream Ale, Oku Amber, Parasol White IPA, Hopshell IPA, Piedra Lisa Porter. (Seasonal/specialty) Stars & Stripes American Lager, Blackberry Tart Cherry Wheat, The Fitzgerald Session IPA, N.B. SMaSH Pale Ale, Pork ‘n’ Brew Brown Ale, India Stupid Ale. To help us out for now and the future, brewer Tim Woodward broke down what will be the regular beers on tap (under House) and the current list of seasonals. That’s a pretty solid regular lineup. I personally really enjoyed the Porter and Amber, the latter of which trumps most of its genre in terms of flavor. The newest beers on tap are the Blackberry Tart Cherry Wheat and the India Stupid Ale, which is TMBC’s entry in the IPA Challenge.

* * * *

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

The two main themes from Round Two of the IPA Challenge tonight (Tuesday) at Roosevelt Brewing in Portales were 1) there was a great turnout (83 voters) and 2) those voters were all over the place in their selections.

The voting totals from Round Two in Portales. The number on the left was the beer's designation for the blind taste test. Voting totals are on the right.

The voting totals from Round Two in Portales. The number on the left was the beer’s designation for the blind taste test. Voting totals are on the right.

No brewery out of the 16 participants garnered more than 10 votes, while everyone had at least one vote. Santa Fe Brewing won the night with 10, while Marble was last (!) with just one vote. In between were a whole bushel of breweries, with the overall voting totals only changing ever so slightly in the overall order going into Sunday’s grand finale at Tractor Wells Park.

Bosque Brewing picked up seven votes to expand its overall lead to 41, while second-place Chama River picked up just three votes for 27 total and third-place Il Vicino added just two for 23 total. Fourth place now features a four-way tie between Blue Corn, La Cumbre, Santa Fe, and Tractor, all of whom have 18 votes total.

For the sake of reference, here are the overall voting totals. The first number in parentheses was the voting total from Saturday’s Round One at Second Street, with the Roosevelt/Round Two voting following.

  1. Bosque 41 votes (34/7)
  2. Chama River 27 (24/3)
  3. Il Vicino 23 (21/2)
  4. Blue Corn 18 (12/6)
  5. La Cumbre 18 (12/6)
  6. Santa Fe 18 (8/10)
  7. Tractor 18 (15/3)
  8. Second Street 17 (12/5)
  9. Marble 16 (15/1)
  10. Turtle Mountain 16 (14/2)
  11. Cazuela’s 14 (7/7)
  12. High Desert 14 (8/6)
  13. Kaktus 14 (5/9)
  14. Roosevelt 13 (5/8)
  15. Taos Mesa 13 (8/5)
  16. Nexus 7 (4/3)

As noted many times before, the final round of the IPA Challenge will be this Sunday at Tractor Wells Park (1800 N. 4th Street, for those who still haven’t been there) from noon to 4 p.m. Tickets are still available online at nmbeer.org and on site in advance and (if there are any left) at the door Sunday.

We will have our guide to how to survive the Challenge, should it be your first or if you’re looking to improve upon last year, this Friday.

Until then, we say good show, Portales. For a town of maybe 20,000 people (probably less), you had a solid turnout. Congrats to everyone at Roosevelt Brewing for helping to make that happen, and to the Brewers Guild, as always, for organizing this event.

See many of you Sunday afternoon.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Editor’s note: Welcome to the first story by a member of our new Brew Crew Bullpen. Luke, being our first Santa Fe-based writer, headed over to Second Street Brewery for Round One of the IPA Challenge on Saturday. His enthusiasm for this is shining through every part of this story. Enjoy! — Stoutmeister

16 breweries. One winner. No mercy.

IPA Challenge pic 1

The 2014 IPA Challenge got off to a great start this weekend at Second Street Brewery in Santa Fe.

Luke here, the newest member of the Bullpen and the Santa Fe correspondent. Another year for the battle of the IPAs, and bragging rights are once more on the line. But the IPA Challenge is about more than just bragging rights. Well, OK so it’s mostly about bragging rights in a state that hails its hoppiest hitters. But despite all the limits being pushed and the ingredients being tweaked, I’ve learned that the IPA Challenge makes brewers better brewers, and makes us beer drinkers better as well.

Sixteen breweries (listed in the photo below) brought specially brewed IPAs to Second Street Brewery in Santa Fe on Saturday to compete in the first leg of an event unique to our state. The 12th running of the NM IPA Challenge had such a wide spectrum of IPAs that there was something for everyone’s palate, making it easy for no one to choose just one favorite. The IPAs ranged everywhere from colorful and complex to pure Pinesol, from questionably sessionable to hardcore ABViolators, and finally from malt-forward monsters to absolute hoptomic bombs.

It was not an easy event to judge. With a tray of 16 IPA-filled tasters in front of me (only identified by numbers), it was hard not to be intimidated. Thankfully, Todd Yocham, head of brewing operations at Duel Brewing in Santa Fe, helped me find a more efficient way to judge and smudge, something akin to “Hot or Not” until you’ve found your fave. Duel Brewing did not participate in the event, but Todd is no stranger to how we do things out here in the Southwest, high noon style.

When asked if he wanted to brew a beer for the competition he said, “Oh hell, yeah! Yeah. We talked seriously about doing it this year, but with some other events and things, and we’re still small. It would take more time than we have at the moment.” Busy with their expansion plans (Stoutmeister will have more in The Week Ahead in Beer State Edition this Thursday), it’s only a matter of time before we’ll see something from Duel, and I can’t wait for them to toss their 10-gallon hats in the ring.

But for the brewers that are currently in the Challenge, they were certainly in it to win it, no matter what style of IPA they made. I got to speak with Rod Tweet, Second Street’s brewer, very briefly, as that part-man, part-brewing machine does not stop moving for more than a minute at a time. He told me about Second Street’s IPA: “We took our Pivotal IPA and leveraged it so it’s Fulcrum (IPA). We amped up the dry hopping for four extra points of gravity and used nine hops in the beer. There’s a lot of complexity in there. We’re real happy with it. We made one that we want to drink.”

James Warren, head brewer at Blue Corn, had a similar approach. “I tried to do something balanced,” he said. “We use a really nice base malt for it.” He then mentioned some surprising hops, which I won’t divulge until after folks in all three competition locations have had a taste.

And of course I had to ask James, since John Bullard won last year with his Resurgence IPA at Blue Corn just before he left for Bosque, was there any pressure on new head brewer to bring it back? “Absolutely!” he said. “I absolutely want to see it back at Blue Corn. But I’ve had so many great beers in the last three months that it’d be hard to be disappointed.” I asked what it meant to the brewery to win, and he said, “It’s great to me, as kind of the new guy in the New Mexico brew scene, to come out and do this, but it also means a lot to other people in the brewery, besides me, already having that trophy.” But in the end, he said, confidently, “I made a beer I wanted to make.” I can dig that.

The numbers listed before each beer were what they were marked as for the blind taste test. The numbers to the right are the voting totals.

The numbers listed before each beer were what they were marked as for the blind taste test. The numbers to the right are the voting totals.

Well folks, with the results in out of 204 votes cast between noon and 4 p.m., it seems that John has the lead so far and could be on his way to earning another trophy for his new brewery, Bosque. But as we all know, it ain’t over till it’s over. There are still the second and third legs of the competition at Roosevelt Brewing in Portales on Wednesday and at Tractor Wells Park in Albuquerque on Sunday. Who knows how the judges will cast their votes? Only tastes and time will tell.

But bragging rights aside, these competitions are great for the industry. Chris Goblet, of the New Mexico Brewers Guild said, “The brewers knew early on how fun it would be to have a competitive competition, a friendly competition amongst the brewers in a category that was really exciting and interesting. So in 2002, these folks came together and had the first challenge and we realized very quickly that it was a great opportunity to really get to know the style.

“And so we’ve talked about, in the future, doing other events like the ‘Peak of the Pisners’ or ‘Land of the Lagers,’ where we would be able to get people to really have the opportunity to taste multiple beers on the same platform, so they could really start to educate their palates as to the diversity of style and what a style should taste like.”

Todd added, “It’s really about the camaraderie of the brewing industry here in New Mexico, gettin’ together and throwin’ down. It’s not important who wins, but it kinda is! (laughs)”

All the participants that I spoke to seemed to be enjoying themselves as well. Local homebrewer and Sangre De Cristo Craft Brewers Club head Jim Steinbach said, “I had a hard time (to pick a winner). I had it down to about five. There were three that were what most people would consider a standard IPA and there were two kind of outstanding IPAs that I liked.” He also wanted to see Challenges for new styles like a stout challenge in the winter. (Way ahead of you there, Jim. — Stoutmeister) Non-IPA drinker Kyle, from Massachusetts, said it was easier now to pick the IPAs he liked, after trying 16 different ones. Chelsea, from Washington, DC., said it was much harder to pick a winner, being an IPA fan. And thanks to fellow bullpen member Reid for joining us in the midst of battle, and for those life-saving pretzels!

So what does all this all tell us? Bullard’s beers are tough hombres, tasting is teaching, and people from other states are here for the NM beer! So cheers and good luck to the brewers. May the hops be with you!

— Luke “Skyhopper”

The brewer who won it all last year has his new brewery out in front after Round One of the 2014 IPA Challenge. Bosque and John Bullard, who won with Blue Corn last year, took the lead with 34 of the impressive 204 votes cast at Second Street Brewery on Saturday afternoon.

The numbers listed before each beer were what they were marked as for the blind taste test. The numbers to the right are the voting totals.

The numbers listed before each brewery’s IPA were what they were marked as for the blind taste test. The numbers to the right are the voting totals.

Luke of the Brew Crew Bullpen will have a more detailed recap of Round One either Sunday or Monday, including interviews with some of the brewers and other folks attending the event. For now, this is just a quick summary of the voting totals. Without any further adieu …

  1. Bosque 34 votes
  2. Chama River 24 votes
  3. Il Vicino 21 votes
  4. Marble 15 votes
  5. Tractor 15 votes
  6. Turtle Mountain 14 votes
  7. Blue Corn 12 votes
  8. La Cumbre 12 votes
  9. Second Street 12 votes
  10. High Desert 8 votes
  11. Santa Fe 8 votes
  12. Taos Mesa 8 votes
  13. Cazuela’s 7 votes
  14. Kaktus 5 votes
  15. Roosevelt 5 votes
  16. Nexus 4 votes

We don’t have the exact records, but 204 total votes may very well be a record for a non-Albuquerque IPA Challenge round. Great job by everyone in Santa Fe and for those who trekked there for this event. Craft brewing is only getting bigger and better in New Mexico and it’s not just limited to the ABQ metro area.

Considering how spread out the votes were, this is hardly a done deal for Bosque. Remember, last year Turtle Mountain won the opening round at High Desert in Las Cruces. Blue Corn did not start to pull away until Round Three (there were four rounds last year) at Santa Fe Brewing.

Round Two is set for Wednesday at Roosevelt Brewing in Portales from 4 to 8 p.m., followed by Round Three next Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at Tractor Wells Park. Tickets for both rounds are still available at the breweries and online at nmbeer.org.

And again, if anyone out there attending Round Two at Roosevelt is interested in being a correspondent for the Brew Crew, please email us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

Otherwise, see many of you at Tractor Wells Park!

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.

This week it’s fairly quiet around the metro area as most of the breweries are gearing up for the IPA Challenge, which begins Saturday at Second Street. Next Wednesday is round two at Roosevelt Brewing in Portales, with the grand finale July 20 at Tractor Wells Park. Some of the breweries are introducing their IPAs from the Challenge to taps in advance. You can go on an advance scouting expedition, or just try IPAs throughout the city this week to prep your palate.

There are several new beers on tap this week worth highlighting. Bosque’s Farmhouse Pale Ale is now on tap and they have also debuted Scale Tipper: Batch 3, their entry in the IPA Challenge. Chama River has brewed Radioactive IPA for the Challenge and it will debut Thursday. Kaktus has introduced Banaweizen and has also brought back the popular Basil Lager and Red Ale. La Cumbre has brought forth What’s the ALTernative.

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

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

ABQ Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

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

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

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

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

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

Bosque Brewing Company — (505) 750-7596

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

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

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

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

Broken Bottle Brewery — (505) 890-8777

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

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

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

Il Vicino Brewing Canteen — (505) 881-2737

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

Beers: St. Bob’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout (11.5% ABV), Apricot Saison (6.5% ABV, 24 IBU), Hefeweizen (5.0% ABV, 14 IBU), Exodus IPA (7.6% ABV, 100+ IBU), Blood Orange Hefeweizen (5.0% ABV, 14 IBU), Everyday IPA (5.0% ABV, 70 IBU), Aztec Lager (4.8% ABV, 20 IBU), Fest Bier, American Stock Ale, C-Hop Shop IPA. Oddly, we did not get an update from Il Vicino this week of their current seasonals, so this list is probably somewhat out of date. If they do send us an update or post a picture of the beer board on Facebook, we will update this entry. In their defense, they’re probably exhausted after their awesome 20-year anniversary party, which I missed since I had to cover a rather dreadful Isotopes game (they were shut out 2-0; yes, really, a baseball team was shut out at 5,000-foot elevation).

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

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

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

Beers: Red, Cream Stout, Banty Rooster (Hefe IPA), London Porter, Choice ESB, Basil Lager, Banaweizen, CZ Dunkel. Located at 471 South Hill Road in Bernalillo, Kaktus is one of the state’s newest breweries. It is a small, casual place, similar to Blue Heron in appearance and comfort factor. Kaktus owner Dana Koller said fans can expect the nanobrewery to go through its most popular styles quickly, though they will always have something new and exciting available as a replacement. The Red and Basil Lager are back on tap, while the Banaweizen is new to the lineup.

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

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

There will be live music at Kaktus on Thursday and Friday from 6 to 8 p.m., while on Sunday the Desert Darlings belly dancers will perform from 6 to 8. 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: Miles from Cologne, Grange’s Red Card 4ALS, What’s the ALTernative. The Miles is a Kolsch-style beer, smooth and mild to help beat the summer heat. The Red Card is a beer brewed in honor of former UNM soccer player Pat Grange, who died of ALS. Proceeds from this beer will go to ALS research. I got to try this beer with the Solos; it’s a wonderful, bold red ale, with strong hop and malt flavors that make it one of the burliest, yet tastiest beers you’ll get to have this summer. Kudos to Jeff Erway and his staff on creating this beer and doing it for a great cause.

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.

Jenny’s Cream Ale should debut on tap this Thursday or Friday.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

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

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

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

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

Events: Marble’s downtown pub is having a party for the release of Heidi’s Raspberry Tart (6.5% ABV) starting today (Wednesday) at 5 p.m. This special beer will be paired with The Grove’s scrumptious macarons. South Carolina’s Cranford Hollow will provide music from 6 to 9 p.m. The Supper Truck will be parked out front as well. The Tart is a wheat beer brewed with Heidi’s organically grown raspberries.

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

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

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

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

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

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

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

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

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

The Stumbling Steer — (505) 792-7805

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

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

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

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

Beers at Nob Hill: Mustachio Milk Stout, Apple Cider, Red Trekker Belgian Ale, Maibock Lager, Pilsner #15, Javi Light Lager, Juniper IPA.

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

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

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

The “We Got That Fire” Show is this Saturday at Wells Park from 7 to 11 p.m. Bay Area rap legend L*Roneous and the local rap group 2bers have collaborated on the album Utopian Blues. They will perform music from the album for FREE. Local music stalwarts Mondo Vibrations will also perform. Kimo’s BBQ will provide the food.

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: Kosmonaut Kolsch (5.3% ABV, 22 IBU), 505-2014 Collaboration, Piedra Lisa Porter (5.7% ABV, 40 IBU), N.B. SMaSH (5.7%, 45 IBU), Heidelburg Helles (5.1%, 20 IBU), Oku Amber (6.5% ABV, 30 IBU), Hopshell IPA (6.7% ABV, 100 IBU), Parasol White IPA (7.0% ABV, 50 IBU), Red Rye (4.8% ABV, 20 IBU), McDay’s Cream Ale, The Fitzgerald (session IPA), Stars & Stripes Lager, Pork & Brew Brown. We didn’t hear back from TMBC this week, so I’ll update this later if Tim or Nico sends an email (otherwise this is what’s currently on the TMBC website). McDay and Heidelburg Helles will be making their way to TMBC’s regular menu, so you can enjoy them all year. I had the Kolsch, Porter, and new Fitzgerald Session IPA at SummerFest. They are all well worth the trip to Rio Rancho.

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with the first Metro Edition of The Week Ahead in Beer. This column will cover 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.

This week features another one of those holidays that is pretty much all about drinking. Well, there’s fireworks and stuff for families, too, but if Untappd creates a special badge for it, you know it’s mostly about beer. To celebrate the 4th of July, Sandia Chile Grill is selling pints of their new American IPA for just $2.50. If you want your beer to go at a discount, head up to Kaktus for $8 growlers, plus all pints are $3.50. Tractor has a big concert called the “We Got That Fire” on Saturday (it’s free). Take note in the brewery entries that some places are closing early so their staffs can get out and enjoy the fireworks and barbecues as well. If there are any late additions to the list of events/specials for breweries on the 4th, we’ll update this.

There are several new beers (or newish, since we didn’t run this last week) on tap this week worth highlighting. Many debuted at The Beer Premier two weekends ago. Back Alley has its popular Ladron’s Peak, plus a new batch of Imperial IPA. Bosque’s Close to Clever Saison, a Beer Premier debut, is on tap at the brewery. Chama River has brewed an Apricot Hefeweizen that’s perfect for summer. Kaktus has introduced Banty Rooster, an IPA/hefeweizen hybrid. Heidi’s Raspberry Tart gets a kickoff party at Marble today (Wednesday). Nexus’ Honey Chamomile Wheat, another Beer Premier debut, is on tap at the brewery. Sandia Chile Grill has its new American IPA. Tractor has introduced a hoppy beast known as the F.Y.F.A. IPA. Turtle Mountain has Stars & Stripes Lager, perfect for this weekend.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of June 30.

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

ABQ Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

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

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

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

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

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

Bosque Brewing Company — (505) 750-7596

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

Beers: 505-2014 Collaboration, Fisticuffs IPA, The Last Straw Hefeweizen, Close to Clever Saison. The Last Straw is back by popular demand. It’s one of the best American hefes I’ve ever had. I did try the Fisticuffs, too, which is pretty damn close to epic. If you remember what brewer John Bullard did last summer to win the IPA Challenge (when he was with Blue Corn), well, this is right up there with Resurgence. The Close to Clever debuted at The Beer Premier. It’s got that farmhouse funk aroma, but if you get past that it’s got a solid saison flavor.

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

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

Broken Bottle Brewery — (505) 890-8777

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beers: Papacabra (Double IPA), Panama Red, Acapulco Gold (Mexican Lager) (5.2% ABV), Hefeweizen (5.5% ABV), Robusto Porter (5.9% ABV), Chupacabra IPA (7.2% ABV), Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale (5.0% ABV), ESB (5.2%), Beer for My Horses (Oatmeal Stout). E-Rock and I had a chance to sample the Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale, which we both recommend. According to Cazuela’s menu: “This cream ale uses red-hot stones to super caramelize the sugars, creating a nutty, toffee-like flavor.”

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

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

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

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

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

Il Vicino Brewing Canteen — (505) 881-2737

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

Beers: St. Bob’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout (11.5% ABV), Apricot Saison (6.5% ABV, 24 IBU), Hefeweizen (5.0% ABV, 14 IBU), Exodus IPA (7.6% ABV, 100+ IBU), Blood Orange Hefeweizen (5.0% ABV, 14 IBU), Everyday IPA (5.0% ABV, 70 IBU), Aztec Lager (4.8% ABV, 20 IBU), Fest Bier, American Stock Ale, C-Hop Shop IPA. Oddly, we did not get an update from Il Vicino this week of their current seasonals, so this list is probably somewhat out of date. If they do send us an update or post a picture of the beer board on Facebook, we will update this entry. In their defense, they’re probably exhausted after their awesome 20-year anniversary party, which I missed since I had to cover a rather dreadful Isotopes game (they were shut out 2-0; yes, really, a baseball team was shut out at 5,000-foot elevation).

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

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

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

Beers: Amber, Cream Stout (nitro), Banty Rooster (Hefe IPA), London Porter, Choice ESB, Helles Lager, James Blonde, CZ Dunkel. Located at 471 South Hill Road in Bernalillo, Kaktus is one of the state’s newest breweries. It is a small, casual place, similar to Blue Heron in appearance and comfort factor. Kaktus owner Dana Koller said fans can expect the nanobrewery to go through its most popular styles quickly, though they will always have something new and exciting available as a replacement. The Banty Rooster, an IPA/hefeweizen hybrid, is the newest beer to hit the taps.

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

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

There will be live music at Kaktus on Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m., while on Sunday the Desert Darlings belly dancers will perform from 6 to 8. 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: BEER, Retro Pale Ale, Miles from Cologne, Grange’s Red Card 4ALS. The Miles is a Kolsch-style beer, smooth and mild to help beat the summer heat. Or you can go with BEER, also known as Bi-Partisan Pilsner. The Red Card is a beer brewed in honor of former UNM soccer player Pat Grange, who died of ALS. Proceeds from this beer will go to ALS research. I got to try this beer with the Solos; it’s a wonderful, bold red ale, with strong hop and malt flavors that make it one of the burliest, yet tastiest beers you’ll get to have this summer. Kudos to Jeff Erway and his staff on creating this beer and doing it for a great cause.

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.

La Cumbre will close at 7:30 p.m. for the 4th of July. The band Group Therapy will then play the taproom Saturday night.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

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

UPDATED >>> Beers: Double White, Iron Horse Extra IPA, Extra Special Bitter, Heidi’s Raspberry Tart. Thanks to Sean at Marble for backing up Leah this week (she’s a tad busy organizing the event listed below). The Iron Horse (8.0% ABV) uses a blend of experimental hops for a one-of-a-kind taste. In addition, $1 from every pint sold of Iron Horse goes to the Ales for ALS campaign. Pints cost $5.50, add $6 extra for a growler. The ESB (4.7% ABV) uses West Yorkshire yeast and English malts for a, well, very English beer.

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

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

Events: Marble’s downtown pub is having a party for the release of Heidi’s Raspberry Tart (6.5% ABV) starting today (Wednesday) at 5 p.m. This special beer will be paired with The Grove’s scrumptious macarons. South Carolina’s Cranford Hollow will provide music from 6 to 9 p.m. The Supper Truck will be parked out front as well. The Tart is a wheat beer brewed with Heidi’s organically grown raspberries.

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

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

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

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

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

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

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

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

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

The Stumbling Steer — (505) 792-7805

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

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

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

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

Beers at Nob Hill: Mustachio Milk Stout, Apple Cider, Red Trekker Belgian Ale, Maibock Lager (5.8% ABV), Pilsner #15, C+C IPA (7.0% ABV), Juniper IPA.

Beers at Wells Park only: L4 IPL (6.5% ABV), Saison (6.7% ABV), Scotch Ale (7.5% ABV), Barley Wine, Pilsner Roja, F.Y.F.A. IPA. 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). Tractor’s Scotch Ale is Fermented with Edinburgh Scotch Ale Yeast and brewed with a hundred pounds of smoked malt, big flavors from smoke and caramel malts make this a pleasure for the palate. A rich burgundy color and subtle flavors of bacon, caramel and smoke are all balanced by slightly earthy and hoppy characteristics.”

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.

The “We Got That Fire” Show is this Saturday at Wells Park from 7 to 11 p.m. Bay Area rap legend L*Roneous and the local rap group 2bers have collaborated on the album Utopian Blues. They will perform music from the album for FREE. Local music stalwarts Mondo Vibrations will also perform. Kimo’s BBQ will provide the food.

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: Kosmonaut Kolsch (5.3% ABV, 22 IBU), 505-2014 Collaboration, Piedra Lisa Porter (5.7% ABV, 40 IBU), N.B. SMaSH (5.7%, 45 IBU), Heidelburg Helles (5.1%, 20 IBU), Oku Amber (6.5% ABV, 30 IBU), Hopshell IPA (6.7% ABV, 100 IBU), Parasol White IPA (7.0% ABV, 50 IBU), Red Rye (4.8% ABV, 20 IBU), McDay’s Cream Ale, The Fitzgerald (session IPA), Stars & Stripes Lager, Pork & Brew Brown. We didn’t hear back from TMBC this week, so I’ll update this later if Tim or Nico sends an email (otherwise this is what’s currently on the TMBC website). McDay and Heidelburg Helles will be making their way to TMBC’s regular menu, so you can enjoy them all year. I had the Kolsch, Porter, and new Fitzgerald Session IPA at SummerFest. They are all well worth the trip to Rio Rancho.

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The Yards Craft Beer Premier went down Saturday afternoon, but people were still chatting about it throughout the weekend. It is hard to sum up people’s feelings on the event, which were as mixed as the beers themselves. We asked for attendees to weigh in on Facebook and for the most part their general reactions were similar to ours. We liked this event, but it could use a lot of work before the 2015 edition comes around.

The line outside the Beer Premier moved far too slowly for most people in the blazing June sun.

The line outside the Beer Premier moved far too slowly for most people in the blazing June sun on Saturday afternoon.

First up, there were things we did like. The beer was quite good. Ladron’s Peak from Back Alley Draft House was probably the most unique beer. Made with sage, blue corn, and more native New Mexican ingredients, it produced a wonderfully aromatic beer that was popular with the crowd. Other beers that seemed to strike a chord with the crowd were Kaktus’ Choice ESB, Abbey Brewing’s Monks’ Dubbel Reserve, Bosque’s Close to Clever saison, The Stumbling Steer’s Brazilian Soiled Dove, both of Santa Fe’s barrel-aged Porters, and the Crew’s favorite, The Preacher’s Share from Second Street. It was quite a nice surprise to find that imperial stout that I tried out of the mesquite whiskey barrel back in April.

Now for all the things that either did not work or need work before next year’s event.

1. Is it hot in here, or is that just me?

The Yards was a cool venue from an aesthetic perspective, but from a practical perspective, it was toasty. “The space was beautiful, but hot — there were fans that weren’t on, which makes no sense, given the amount of people as the afternoon progressed,” said Alexis Fisher on Facebook. She has a point, the Yards got stuffy. I’m not sure if there is a practical way to cool the place down, but something would be better than nothing. Otherwise they might want to move the event to earlier in the year. Also, leaving the sample glasses out in the sunlight was not a very popular move. They should have been kept in the shade.

2. A little comfort goes a long way

One consistent complaint dealt with water. People wanted free water to both cleanse their palates and to just stay hydrated. One additional suggestion was rinsing stations for glasses. Breweries often had to use their beer to wash out people’s glasses. No one wants to see beer wasted. Dorian Fisk Gilmer said, “Cheers to Taos Mesa Brewing for being the ONLY one offering to cool your pint glass with ice prior to pouring. Cheers to 2nd Street Brewery for the water keg.” Also, lots of folks called for a larger seating area so once they bought their pints, they could get off their feet and relax.

3. Getting in should be easier

The Yards does not have a lot of available parking, and apparently there were issues with the security staff letting people park prior to 4 p.m. “The security initially wasn’t going to allow anyone TO PARK until 4PM until I explained what foolishness this was to a supervisor and he reluctantly relented,” Travelin Man said. The line to get in was very slow moving, but when it comes to properly checking IDs, we know it’s not something that can necessarily be sped up. Still, on an extremely hot day, it was rough on people. We were told at least one woman passed out in line due to the heat. Precautions, like on-site EMTs, might need to be taken in the future.

The Yards had a lot of aesthetic value, but darn it got hot inside. And Stoutmeister's camera phone was blurry because someone got beer on the lens.

The Yards had a lot of aesthetic value, but darn it got hot inside. And Stoutmeister’s camera phone was blurry because someone got beer on the lens.

4. Hope you’re not hungry

The space and size limitations of the Yards meant only three food trucks could fit in the allotted space outside. The time of the event fell right during dinner time for most people, so yeah, it got a bit chaotic by the trucks. The lines took forever (I personally stood without moving more than 10 feet over 30 minutes in the Sebastianos line, at which point I gave up and left the festival to get food). Another suggestion was to not have the mobile bathrooms be right across from the trucks. It got a little smelly later on, we were told.

5. To sample or not to sample

For us in the Crew, we never had issues getting samples. Of course, we’re beer writers known by the breweries thanks to our shirts and having met us many times before. There were numerous people who did not have such an easy time as they reported lots of breweries were either reluctant to offer any samples or in some cases started charging for samples. A big part of this is due to the following …

6. Clarity is the key

There was a lot of confusion among the beer drinkers, the breweries, and just about everyone else about how this event should be run. There was not enough information provided in advance by the Brewers Guild, and it didn’t just seem to be the general public that was confused about the nature of the event. The breweries did not know what to do as far as giving out samples went. It seems as though there was not enough communication going on, nor enough promotion. We in the Crew only found out about the format a week in advance and it was the ABQ Beer Geek who tipped us off to the new format.

It was a far-from-perfect event, but we still managed to have some fun. From left, honorary Crew member Dan Hicks, Stoutmeister photo bombing in the back, and Brandon enjoy the Preacher's Share from Second Street.

It was a far-from-perfect event, but we still managed to have some fun. From left, honorary Crew member Dan Hicks, Stoutmeister photo bombing in the back, and Brandon enjoy the Preacher’s Share from Second Street.

So where do we go from here?

Having a specific set of rules for the breweries to follow as far as sampling/purchasing goes would be a start. Then making sure the general public knows these rules as well more than a week in advance would be an improvement. The Yards is a unique venue, but it’s just too hot in the middle of June at that time of day without providing free water and turning on all of those unused fans. There is not enough parking nor room for enough food trucks to accommodate such a large crowd. Either reduce the number of tickets sold or move the event to a different location (which as we all know is nearly impossible to find in the ABQ metro area; there are not a lot of good beer festival spaces around here, especially with all the restrictions placed on these events by the City and the State of New Mexico).

Personally, I think it needs to go back to the 2013 format in one respect. Every brewery should bring one unique, brand new beer. Leave the other beers at home. That way you have 19 breweries (well, 18, since I did not see Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca anywhere) providing one beer apiece. It would make it more streamlined and help people more easily pick their free pint and make it more understandable to limit sampling. That would make life much easier on the all the brewery reps doing the pouring, too.

As for the event’s pricing structure, well, as Nico Ortiz of Turtle Mountain pointed out to me, in many states now unlimited sampling festivals cost upwards of $50. For the breweries to see any financial profit and for the Guild to get the money it needs to continue to lobby in Santa Fe and promote NM beer across America, this is one possibility discussed. I countered with the fact that when UNM started charging $5 to park at football games and for the use of its parking lots during Isotopes games, people in this town freaked out. We are not a wealthy state, so going to $50 festivals would not work for most people, just the die-hard beer lovers. The alternative is to do an event like this, where you get one free pint and then must pay for additional pints, but keep the cost under $20. There does not seem to be an easy solution to what most people want (unlimited sampling) and what the brewers and the Guild want (at least some tangible profit).

We heard from a number of you on Facebook, but we’d love to hear more suggestions about how to improve this event for next year, especially in terms of the pricing/sampling structure. It should be one of our state’s premier beer events (pun intended there). Let’s continue to work with the Guild and the breweries to make it just that. Keep messaging us via comments here, Facebook, Twitter (@nmdarksidebc), and email (nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com). We’ll pass along your comments to the Brewers Guild. Who knows, maybe one or more of you out there has the best solutions going forward. This is our event, New Mexico. It was pretty good this year, but it could be a great event in the years to come.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

AUTHOR’S NOTE: After originally publishing this story I received an email from Christopher Goblet of the Brewers Guild. He brought up a couple key points that I’ve now added to the story. Perhaps most importantly for everyone, based on people’s responses, is that you can sample the beers before you buy them. Read on for more details. — Stoutmeister

The Yards Craft Beer Premier is the second incarnation of last year’s Beer Premier event, put on by the New Mexico Brewers Guild. This year’s event has a new location, the railyards instead of the Hispanic Cultural Center. You know The Yards, it’s that huge train warehouse where they filmed part of The Avengers and that middling last Terminator movie. Now they’ve fixed it up and are holding farmers markets and other events there, even some MMA fights. This time around, it’s all about the beer.

They always make swanky posters for these events.

They always make swanky posters for these events.

Now, we’re usually not the group that gets overly critical about things, but I have to admit, I’m skeptical of the new format. Rather than your standard “pay a fee, go inside, sample lots of beers” format, the Guild has reset things. For your $15 ticket you get a pint glass and one free pint worth of beer. You can do some sampling, said Christopher Goblet of the Brewers Guild, with the various breweries letting you try stuff before you buy. Just don’t expect to up over and over again or try every single beer they’re offering. All subsequent pint purchases (up to three) are something you have to pay for. There are food trucks present, but you’ll have to pay the usual prices for grub. There is some live music. Still, I’m not sure if you broke down the ticket (say $5 for the beer, $5 for the glass, $5 for the bands) that it’s all truly worth it. I hate saying that about a Guild event, and maybe we’ve all just been spoiled with all these sampling festivals, but I personally like getting a little more with my entry fee than one pint. And was it just me, or did they not spell out the format until much closer to the date? Watching the public reaction when people arrive and realize they have to spend extra and only get one free pint with limited sampling will be interesting, to say the least.

Now, as Goblet pointed out, there have been problems recently with the State of New Mexico’s Special Investigations Division. A lot of breweries have been cited at recent festivals (I can recall multiple incidents at WinterBrew in Santa Fe) for various undisclosed offenses. The idea behind having an event that’s less about random sampling is to try to help curb these citations. I will admit, this is not something that crossed my mind before Goblet e-mailed me about it. Don’t you just love the State’s priorities? They have a million more important things to do to fix our troubled state. But no, let’s pick on breweries. (sigh)

For us (Brandon is coming along) the hardest part will be figuring out what to get for our free pints. There are 19 breweries present (some say 20, but Rio Grande and Sierra Blanca are the same place, basically), and the Guild is estimating that they will bring a total of around 85 beers. Yeah, good luck picking that one freebie from the sea of quality beers. We’re still going to this event, though, so to try and help everyone, we contacted the majority of the breweries to get lists of what they’re bringing. Only seven responded so far; we’ll keep updating just in case anyone sends us a late list. We’re highlighting the actual new beer that’s premiering (hence the event’s title), and including a few other beers that places are bringing if they gave us those.

Back Alley Draft House: The premiering beer is called Ladron’s Peak. It’s brewed with New Mexico blue corn, mesquite honey, juniper, sage and Mormon tea. This might be the most unique beer we’ve heard about.

Bosque: The word is they’re bringing a new saison for their premier. Also coming along for the ride is the fairly new Fisticuffs IPA, which is one of the best new IPAs I’ve had in town (and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t consider himself an IPA guy).

Chama River: The premiering beer is Gone Awrye, a hybrid of a rye and steam beer. If that’s a little much or not your genre, they’re bringing Jackalope IPA, Sleeping Dog Stout, and Hop the Pond ESB.

Kaktus: Appropriately enough for summer, they are bringing James Blond, a beer that fits the season, not too mention has an amusing name. If that newbie is not your cup of tea, er, beer, then you can aim for the Choice ESB or the Amber.

La Cumbre: The premiering beer is the 2014 version of Saison d’Hommel. Brewer Jeff Erway sent us this description: “Brewed with French Pilsner malt, utilizing a step infusion mash, hopped with French Aramis and NZ Dr. Rudi’s and fermented with 3 different farmhouse strains (2 Belgian, 1 French). Resulting beer is hugely aromatic with a nose of black pepper, eucalyptus, orange zest and honey. The palate is creamy, yet minerally and bone-dry with a moderate but firm bitterness.” If you miss the Beer Premier, this one will soon be for sale in bombers.

Second Street: Four beers are coming down from Santa Fe in the form of Boneshaker Bitter, Pivotal IPA, Railyard Red, and Bohemian Pilsner. I’d personally be curious to try the Boneshaker and see what sets it apart from Rod’s Best Bitter.

Tractor: In addition to a Cider and Marzen, they’re bringing “a surprise of an IPA.” We have no idea what that means, but we’re intrigued.

Turtle Mountain: There are two new ones en route from Rio Rancho in the Dog Daze of Summer and Stars and Stripes Lager. You can also get McDay’s Cream Ale, Hopshell IPA, Piedra Lisa Porter, and The Fitzgerald (session IPA).

Other breweries participating are Abbey Brewing (Monks), BJ’s Brewhouse, Blue Corn, Cazuela’s, Kellys Brewpub, Marble, Nexus, Santa Fe, Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande, The Stumbling Steer, and Taos Mesa. We’ll keep working on finding out what they’re bringing.

See you all Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister