The beers are now flowing out in Tijeras.

For the past three weeks, Lizard Tail Brewing’s Rock Canyon Taproom in Carnuel has been operating in a soft opening mode. That all changes this Saturday when they will have the grand opening celebration. The party includes live music all day, headlined by The Real Matt Jones at 7 p.m.

New tap handles adorn the space.

I recently paid a brief visit to the taproom previously owned by Grant Brewing out of Chama. The interior was already really nicely appointed, so not a lot needed to be changed. They did fill it in with more tables and some visually stunning pieces of art.

There is new signage, of course, and naturally all-new beers. There were seven Lizard Tail beers on tap, as well as a watermelon cider from Sandia Ciders, plus several other local beers in bottles and a few wines by the glass were also available.

The new beer list, mostly courtesy of Lizard Tail.

Enjoy the pictures, and if you get a chance, stop by and have a beer and a visit. The staff are super welcoming and very excited to be a part of bringing beer, music, food and fun back to Tijeras Canyon.

Cheers!

-AmyO

 

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s seven breweries, one in Los Alamos, one in Moriarty, one in Red River, and one in Las Cruces also joining the party.

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.

It can be fun sometimes to look into the past and see all those beers that used to be on tap at our more popular breweries. While some stood the test of time and are still around, others faded into history. The specialty releases can be even harder to track, but we believe the good folks at Marble when they say that Reserve Ale is their oldest annual seasonal release. Every year since 2008, the first year Marble was open, this barrel-aged beauty of a strong ale appears again on tap and in bottles. With the weather taking a decidedly wintry turn, now seems like a perfect time to indulge again in this amazing, warming beast of a beer. Reserve will be back today (Wednesday) at all three Marble locations.

I will make sure to grab some Reserve before I trek north today to Red River Brewing. The staff invited me to come up and give a presentation on the history of brewing in New Mexico, so that is exactly what I will do at 7 p.m. If you are in the area, stop by for a history lesson and a Q&A afterwards. You can also enjoy all the great beer and food at RRBC, which I am certainly looking forward to trying at last.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bombs Away hits the mark with fresh Altbier. Bow & Arrow is releasing Tropic Rodeo Milkshake IPA on Saturday. Canteen has more Munich Helles for us all to enjoy. La Cumbre is also feeling its German roots with Munchner Dunkel and Weizenbock. Marble also has Northside IPA on tap at the Westside taproom. Nexus brings back Coffee and Cream at the Silver Taproom only. Quarter Celtic says damn the cold and dreams of warmer days with more Mangose. Red Door rolls out The Big DIPA and more New England IPA later this week. Rio Bravo released the new biscochito-inspired Imperial Dunkelweizen on Tuesday. Starr Brothers brings back Black Friday Dark American Lager this week. Steel Bender added more Cow Plow Brown Ale. Tractor hops to it with The Boot Girl and Ghost Ranch IPAs.

Up in Santa Fe, there are quite a few new additions at Tumbleroot, including Oktoberfest, Peach Dortmunder, Wet Hopped Amber, and Honey Double IPA.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of November 12.

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Cheers to Metal Monday at Tumbleroot!

It can be hard for all of us down in Albuquerque to join Luke for a beer in Santa Fe, but Monday was Veteran’s Day observed for all federal, state, and local government entities, which left me with a day off and a chance to finally attend a Metal Monday at Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery’s Agua Fria taproom.

After Luke assured me that the streets of Santa Fe were free of ice, I drove north and first made my way to Second Street O.G. for some chicken mushroom schnitzel and a pint of the Old Pecos Porter. With a proper amount of sustenance now in my belly, Luke and I made the short drive to the taproom. It was a bit of a winter wonderland out on the patio, with the temperature well below freezing and the snow still lingering there.

We went inside to the rather spacious interior and grabbed beers as Street Tombs warmed up on stage. By the time Albuquerque’s Distances played, the entire joint had filled up with 100-plus metalheads who braved the cold (as I noted to my friend Kristen, it was 19 degrees out, but felt like 12, to which she responded, “I didn’t need to know that!”). The sound system at Tumbleroot more than did its job, leaving all the bands sounding quite good. Distances sounded even better than their last show at Launchpad.

Luke predicted that a good number of Santa Fe brewers would show up, and he was right. From Blue Corn’s Paul Mallory to his former assistant, Andy Lane (now with Tumbleroot), to Wes from Rowley Farmhouse Ales and David Merkin from Santa Fe Brewing, it was quite the gathering of metal-loving beer minds. Merkin brought us some Dysphotic Stout, since his old band was the headliner for its CD release (seriously, get the new Dysphotic album, it is quite spectacular), and Street Tombs (Black) Ale. The stout was on point, not quite as heavily dry-hopped as in the previous year’s batch, but it still offered up quite a kick. I personally want to try it side-by-side with Marble’s Cholo Stout.

As for the house beers, I had a full pour of the Irish Stout, since it was just 3.8-percent (!) ABV, and I still had the drive home ahead of me. Being a good beer writer and all, I did try samples of the Honey Hibiscus Wheat, Old School IPA, and Oktoberfest. The Irish Stout was deceptively rich and creamy for such a low ABV. The Old School IPA took me back in time about a decade or so. The Oktoberfest was good, but it was definitely the sweetest take on the style by any New Mexico brewery that I tried this year. The Honey Hibiscus was rather mild, as expected.

Overall, I was quite impressed by Tumbleroot, from the setup for the music, to the beers on tap. Hopefully I get the chance to attend a future Metal Monday or two.

As for the rest of the Crew, it was a bit of a quiet weekend, but three of them got out and about.

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We know we can’t safely drink all of these in one day, but damn, are we tempted.

As the cold chill creeps across the windshields of our state, we Nuevo Mexicanos tend to head indoors, finally abandoning the patios we’ve held onto through the fall. Winter is finally here, and the eves of pumpkin beers and brut experiments are soon behind us, and only the memories of wet-hop and Oktoberfest beers remain, buried deep down on our Untappd lists.

As winter closes its icy talons around our hearts, something changes. A lever inside is pulled. A switch of self-preservation is flipped for many of us beer drinkers. Now bundled in our warmest coats and our touchscreen-friendly gloves, we belly up to the bar to navigate a new menu of wonderful winter offerings of delicious dark-ish delights. Gone from our minds (and even menus) are the liquid-sunlight lagers, fruit-basket bubblegum beers, and lawn-gnome-wrecking porch pounders. Instead, we find dark spots on our beer lists, voids, blackholes of boozy goodness during this, the darkest of daylight savings times.

Yes, Stout Season is upon us, and to some of us in the Crew, it’s beginning to look a lot like Festivus. Oh, my friends, Stout Season is a wonderful time of the year when we turn down the lights, curl up in front of the fire in our warmest plaid pajama banana hammocks, and get ready to Netflix-and-Chill with a snifter of Bourbon Barrel-Aged Tweak.

In celebration of the season, the Santa Fe kings of the collab, Rowley Farmhouse Ales, are bringing us lucky folks yet another edition of Blackest Friday, a hit parade of beer’s darkest and most doom-fully metal beer, with a cosmically colossal collection of big barrel-aged stouts.

On Black Friday, November 23, RFA will be tapping nearly 20 rare and barrel-aged stouts for all those who aren’t afraid of the dark. Such an event promises to test the mettle of even the most intrepid spelunker. It will pummel the palate, trounce the taste-buds, and just make our inner stout monsters sit up and chuckle a deep, bellowing and satisfied laugh. Mm-hm-hm-hm-hm-hm!

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It was another banner year for La Cumbre, and more is yet to come for 2019.

It is tradition around these parts to start our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series, which focuses on the year gone by and the year to come at almost every New Mexico brewery, with La Cumbre Brewing. I managed to catch up with owner/master brewer Jeff Erway just before he left on a well-earned vacation to talk about another big year for his award-winning brewery.

“You know, it’s funny, we have seen really steady growth the last few years,” Jeff said. “We’re never trying to hit a home run with our yearly growth. We just keep on hitting singles and doubles. Some of our specials this year were home runs, our seasonal releases. I feel like we’ve continued to do probably a better job of that than anybody as far as getting things out there that the public gets really excited about.”

The specialty beers may have stirred the pot in 2018, but the biggest move of the year was the long-awaited opening of an off-site taproom. La Cumbre Westside opened in August to huge crowds and positive reviews.

“We opened up a new taproom,” Jeff said. “That was about as much ambition as I’ve put toward anything since we opened La Cumbre. It’s been a very good year for us as a company and I feel like it’s been a great year for our management team both professionally and personally.”

The La Cumbre taproom took a lot of hard work to get open back in August.

Of course, with such a recent opening, there is little chance that La Cumbre is eyeing a third location this soon. Right?

“I won’t lie, I am actively seeking out that next right taproom location,” Jeff said. “I know I move a little slower than some would on this, but I don’t like the idea of swinging and missing. I take my sweet time about things like that. When I find the right one, I’ll pursue that.”

Fire up the speculation engines, people! There is no pending license or anything like that, so we believe Jeff when he says he is looking, but has not yet set things in stone.

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The Ginger Man is an old-school bar with a modern craft beer list.

Greetings, beer fans! Normally, this blog is dedicated to all of the great beers produced in New Mexico. But, once in a while, Stoutmeister allows us to babble on about some of our trips to other lands, near and far. I had the pleasure to visit New York City (NYC) a few months ago and thought I would jot down what notes I could remember. (Um, something came up and I forgot to do this for a few months. Sorry.)

One thing that really stands out to me in my travels to NYC is that there aren’t that many breweries there. At least, not in Manhattan, which is where we visited. I know there are others off the island and within a subway stop, but the central hub of the city only has a few. As someone who’s used to every small town in the West having one, and at least three within a stone’s throw anywhere in Albuquerque, this feels strange. I guess it can be chalked up to economics; it’s just too darned expensive. Because there’s so much to see in Manhattan by foot and so little time (this was actually a work/education trip), we again didn’t venture out to the other boroughs.

The good news is that there are still many good places within 10 blocks or so of Times Square to find quality beers. The craft beer revolution certainly hasn’t skipped the Big Apple. Generally, you don’t have to go very far to find a bar of some sort. Thirty years ago, I’m sure all of them would’ve been slinging more whisky, Guinness, and Bud Light than anything else, and while it’s still somewhat true, many of them have excellent beers. A healthy handful dedicate themselves to craft beers. At most places, you will find a good representation of local and regional beers, too.

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Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s seven breweries, one in Los Alamos, one in Moriarty, one in Red River, and one in Las Cruces also joining the party.

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.

Nothing has ever been easy over at Kilt Check Brewing. From the lengthy process of getting open as Drafty Kilt, to then having to change the name of the brewery due to a trademark issue with an Atlanta brewery’s beer, it has been a long road just to get to two years of operation. Hey, if any brewery has ever earned a big party, it’s Kilt Check, and that will be going down this week. Things kick off with an open mic tonight at 7, a blues jam with Rudy Boy on Thursday at 7, and live music by Chris Dracup on Friday at 7. The big day is Saturday, naturally, with everything kicking off at 3 and running until the wee hours. There will be food from Blazing Barn and ABQ Grill ‘N Que, live screen printing by Ink Theory, live comedy, the mobile axe-throwing unit by ABQ Axe, and live music by Daddy Long Loin, Broska Inc., Dave Holtkamp, Morning Mushroom, Let it Grow, and Lonn Collanca Band. There will be an outdoor beer garden, too. Head on over to raise a pint or two to Mike Campbell and his family!

After the weekend ends, however, things do not suddenly slow down. Instead, hit the road to Santa Fe for another Metal Monday at Tumbleroot. The City Different’s black metal maestros, Dysphotic, are throwing a CD release party for their new album, The Eternal Throne. Doors are at 8 p.m., with Street Tombs and Albuquerque’s finest metal band, Distances, opening the show. (Distances is also part of a local metal show Thursday night at Launchpad to open Red Mesa’s upcoming tour.) Horns up to start the week, New Mexico!

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Boese Brothers says ‘nyet!’ to the little beers with another round of Komrade Boese Russian Imperial Stout. Boxing Bear hits hard with Schwarzbier on the nitro tap. Canteen has another batch of Social Capital, a dry-hopped kettle sour, available. La Cumbre graces us with the presence of its maltiest, mightiest offering, La Negra, in bottles and on tap this Friday. Marble has four newcomers in Coconut Cream Porter on nitro, Eastbound and Brown, 111 Rosé, and Alpha Acid Trip. Rio Bravo is teaming up with the University of New Mexico to create El Lobo Rojo, a cherry wheat ale, starting this Monday. Sidetrack spins up another batch of Turntable IPA. Steel Bender unleashes a double bottle release Thursday with Viejo Agrio and Make Mine a Dubbel. Toltec has a tasty Ba-Dunkelweizen on tap today (Wednesday).

Up in Santa Fe, things looked quiet until SFBC released Adobe Igloo on tap and in cans.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of November 5.

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Bow & Arrow stole all the flavor and put it in the Breakfast Bandit.

A pair of delicious seasonal stouts appeared on tap for International Stout Day last Thursday, and to the surprise of no one, of course I went and tried both of them.

First up was Breakfast Bandit, the latest in Bow & Arrow’s series of pastry stouts. Checking in at 9-percent ABV, it is the biggest to date. Made with 240 Krispy Kreme glazed donuts and a whole lot of local coffee, the flavor is stronger with the latter than the former. There is still a fair amount of sweetness on the back end, but it doesn’t leave you wanting to rush home and brush your teeth to avoid a cavity or anything. Mostly, it is a big blast of coffee roast, with an appropriate amount of thickness in terms of the mouthfeel. As the stout warms, it gets even more complex. This is one of those beers where you might end up drinking a couple before you even realize it, so make sure you can handle the higher ABV.

For the second stout, Mustaches and Cream, that came with a group visit to Canteen. Franz Solo, Brandon, and I were meeting to discuss our applicants for the open writing spots on the Crew. Naturally, we stuck with tradition and ordered the darkest seasonal on the menu. Made with chocolate and vanilla, M&C is a burly stout, one that does not hit you with too much sweetness. Brandon tasted a lot of coffee in this one, even though technically there was no coffee in it. The powerful roast of the stout balances out with the sweeter additives. Even better, a portion of the proceeds of this beer go to Movember.

A couple other beers worth checking out around town are the Citra SMASH at Red Door and the Wee Stache, the collaboration Scotch ale at both Steel Bender and High and Dry, with proceeds from that tasty brew also going to Movember.

The rest of the Crew were off and running around town, revisiting some old favorite haunts.

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This building on Tramway near Paseo del Norte will soon host a Boese Brothers taproom.

As a public service, anytime we publish a story about one new brewery or off-site taproom opening, questions appear about any additional ones coming down the pipeline. As a public service, here are some tasty beer notes with info on what is on tap for Albuquerque and beyond.

Boese Brothers head for the foothills

We have known for a while that Boese Brothers Brewing was going to open a taproom somewhere in town, but the obvious question of where went unanswered. Thankfully, a magical little moment happened on Instagram and, with some help from a good friend in the industry, we tracked down the location.

The new taproom will open soon at 7849 Tramway Blvd. NE, which puts it just south of the intersection with Paseo del Norte. While Tractor and Canteen covered the southern end of Tramway with their taprooms, Boese Brothers will be the first to move into the far northern end of the corridor.

This will be the second off-site location for Boese Brothers, which also co-owns the Desert Dogs Taproom in Santa Fe. We will be in touch with George and Sam Boese to hopefully get an advance look at the place and learn a little more about it before it opens.

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We borrowed this image from Red Door since we have never been to the bowling alley that will house the new taproom in Clovis.

Red Door Brewing has set its sights a bit further east than ever before. The brewery’s next taproom will not even be in Albuquerque, but instead in a town that has no local brewing of its own.

“I was in Clovis at one point,” owner Matt Biggs said. “When you’re down in a place like Clovis there’s a definite lack of options for people there. When you tell them you’re down there and you’re with a brewery, they get really excited for you to go out there. We went down for a bit and we had been looking there for a year now, but nothing had worked out.”

Even as its Northeast Heights taproom closed, Matt kept hoping for something to come together in Clovis. It turned out that another brewery failing to close the deal left the proverbial door wide open for Red Door.

“Roosevelt Brewing was supposed to move into the bowling alley there,” Matt said. “That fell through last minute and the bowling alley had met our events person, Norah (Doss), and they called us because they knew we were interested in the city. It kind of worked out for us. The bowling alley had changed ownership and he didn’t want to do food and beverage service, so he reached out to us. That will be our first out-of-city taproom.”

Hooks’ Alley, formerly Main Line Bowl, will be the new home of a Red Door taproom. It marks the first time a brewery has taken on such an endeavor, and the first real craft beer presence in Clovis.

“I think figuring out the needs of the market (comes first), and then after the first few months and just have a presence,” Matt said. “When you have a remote (taproom), you have to have a good manager that you can trust down there, and making sure we’re making the trip frequently to keep them on it.”

Since Red Door has had its eye on Clovis for a while, Matt has already gotten a pretty good idea of what the market wants.

“We went there and did a couple of events,” he said. “The first one we did we took four half-barrels for a one-night event that was going to be four hours long, and we ran out of beer after about two hours. We had a 40-person-deep line the whole time. We went to our distributor who had a warehouse nearby and picked up a couple of sixtels and we were fine.”

The actual process of converting the bowling alley cafe into a taproom will not be nearly as hard as it was to set up the two previous Red Door taprooms.

“It’s pretty much ready to go, it definitely needs some aesthetic upgrades, so that’s primarily what we’re going to be doing,” Matt said. “We’re not going to be doing major construction, which is super nice. It was a bowling alley cafe, so it’s got a place for beer, wine, it’s got a full kitchen. We’re not stressing out the design of it.”

At this point it is all about waiting on the approval of the State of New Mexico.

“It’s more about the permitting,” Matt said. “We’ve never had to deal with the New Mexico Health Department because Albuquerque has its own. They’re very similar to AGD, so the permitting can take some months. But, basically once we’re permitted we can take beer down there and start serving it. We’re really looking forward to it.”

Matt said the Side Door Kitchen, the company-owned food truck at the main brewery location, has already helped Red Door prepare for how to handle the kitchen in Clovis.

“Our manager here (Ali Cattan) has an extensive food background, menus, pricing stuff out, getting supplies, it’s a pain, but you see everybody is trending toward food at this point,” he said. “I think there’s the realization that beer (alone) doesn’t cover the bills.”

All of us in the Crew wish Red Door the best of luck tapping into the untapped market of Clovis. The next time we are out that way, we will have to hit up the bowling alley for a couple games and a couple pints.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister