From left, CNM instructor Nick Jones, academic affairs director Victoria Sanchez Martinez, and Bombs Away brewer/part-time instructor David Kimbell.

The day after Cinco de Mayo might seem a bit early for a collegiate summer session, but Central New Mexico Community College is indeed starting its session on May 6. That leaves a little over a week for anyone interested to register for its popular Brewing and Beverage Management Program.

Now three years along, the program is attracting students from all walks of life, while also integrating with many of the local breweries. Sometimes that can just be a field trip to learn about how things work in the real world. Other times it involves professional brewers working side jobs as instructors, such as Bombs Away head brewer David Kimbell.

It was David who invited me over to CNM to talk with the staff about the program, which is one of those stories we have been meaning to do since, oh, it started in 2016. We were joined by full-time instructor Nick Jones and academic admissions director Victoria Sanchez Martinez.

“I knew that the level of knowledge coming out of here was pretty good,” David said. “Nick came to me last summer and asked me if I would like to teach in the fall. Being that I had never taught, I was somewhat nervous about it. I did not expect how much I would love it. I really, really enjoy it. I’m looking forward to having more of a role in it.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Boxing Bear head brewer/co-owner Justin Hamilton with his new pride and joy (at work, anyway), the brewery’s first canning line.

The last few weeks have been exceptionally busy for the staff at Boxing Bear Brewing. It has not just been the mad rush to finish the brewery’s first offsite taproom, which opens today (Wednesday) at 1710 Central Ave. SW, next door to Amore Pizza. There has also been the arrival of a new canning line, plus additional equipment in the brewery, and the time needed to learn how to use some of that.

Oh, and did we also mention that head brewer/co-owner Justin Hamilton’s wife is about two weeks from her due date? Add it all up and it was a wonder that Justin found the time to sit down for the better-later-than-never Boxing Bear entry in our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series.

“It’s been a crazy ride in 2019,” Justin said. “I’ve definitely been packing the brewery. Last week we got three more 20-barrel fermenters and a 20-barrel serving vessel. (Today), actually we have another bright tank and another fermenter coming. Since we ordered that much equipment that comes on two different shifts, which kind of screwed us a little bit, because it would have been nice to put everything in at the same time last week.

“It’s been a whole lot of madness. We literally pulled in those four tanks, it was the second exact time the Wild Goose employee showed up to train us. We moved four tanks inside and then proceeded to set up the canning line in the same day. It was pretty nuts. That being said, we did all right.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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 Truth or Consequences 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.

The final days of April seem to have a theme of giving back to good causes. It starts this week at Dialogue with Finola’s Fight Benefit Concert featuring the Memphis P Tails and Sex for Admission. There will be a raffle and a silent auction during the concert, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m. It all benefits Finola, a friend of the brewery who is battling cancer. Then on Friday, our friend Carlos Contreras wrote a guest post on a special Art Fusion for a Cause at Ponderosa, benefiting the New Mexico Autism Society. Sunday will feature a pair of events, one in Albuquerque and the other in Santa Fe. The former will feature the release of One Albuquerque shirts benefiting the Albuquerque Police Department at Canteen at 4 p.m., with live music from Todd Tijerina. The Santa Fe event will be at Tumbleroot at 4, as Soldier Songs and Voices hosts a benefit concert for veterans. Special guest Susan Gibson will also perform at this free event, with donations accepted at the door.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bombs Away hits the mark with version five of its Hazy Chain DIPA. Bosque puckers up with Re Re’s Shandy. Canteen brings back Fill in the Blanco and Coffee Lager. Cantero is feeling the season with Jelly Bean Sour and Chocolate Bunny Marshmallow Stout. Kaktus kicked out some German Pilsner, Maibock, and Lemongrass Blonde. Marble still has some celebratory beers on tap like the Malbec Zinfandel Saison. Ponderosa doubles down on Doppelbock. Quarter Celtic introduces Rosemarie, a rosé ale with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and hibiscus. Sidetrack has more Turntable IPA and Co-Mo IPA. Steel Bender walks a mile with The Whole Shoe Belgo IPA.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn added Santa Muerte Collab IPA. Second Street takes it to the Chin-Gose, while also adding Kohatu Pale Ale. Tumbleroot has just filled bottles of Sour Golden Ale with apricots. Down in Truth or Consequences, T or C Brewing is adding four new beers during Thursday’s beer fiesta, including a pale ale, a wheat ale, and two lagers.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of April 22.

Read the rest of this entry »

Enjoy some art with your beer this Friday for a good cause.

Editor’s note: Carlos Contreras, a longtime friend of the Crew, asked if we could run this guest post about Friday’s upcoming Art Fusion for a Cause, and the team of tattoo artists behind this special event at Ponderosa Brewing. Grab a pint of Coco Puffs Baltic Porter and enjoy!

Art Fusion for a Cause is a charity event benefiting different charity organizations around New Mexico. Four artists combine their talents on four separate canvases, switching off on each other’s work until the four pieces are complete. The artwork is then raffled off and 100 percent of the proceeds go to the charity of the evening.
These events are often held at breweries, with the next coming up this Friday night.

“We’re staying as community-driven as possible. We have an upcoming event at Ponderosa Brewing Company on April 26 at 7 p.m. where we do a little something called Art Fusion,” said Ben Shaw, owner of Archetype Tattoo, a local shop that lends to the community on a regular basis.

Aside from using their craft to benefit the community, Archetype artists continually hone their craft every chance they get.

“A few of our artists will be attending the Explorer Tattoo Conference this May in St. Louis to gain some new knowledge and technique to create even better tattoos,” Shaw said.

His excitement for delivering the best of everything to those of Albuquerque is palpable and contagious. The shop is filled with talented and enthusiastic artists who create an atmosphere unlike any other in the Duke City. One of the things that Shaw and company are most excited about, is the ninth annual New Mexico Tattoo Fiesta at Isleta Hotel and Casino. The event will run July 12 through 14, and Archetype is an official sponsor.

Part of building a brand has come into play as Shaw and his team moved locations last year.

“We worked hard to establish our new(ish) location and prove we are some of the best in our community. The shop and our artists took a bunch of awards from the Alibi, Albuquerque Journal, and Albuquerque the Magazine,” he mentioned proudly.

Archetype is definitely a family. They lift each other up and support each other in and out of the shop.

“We have some of the most talented, diverse, and adaptable tattooists working in our shop,” he said.

Ben’s experience and leadership is at the core of Archetype. As a tattooist of nearly 20 years, Ben has honed his craft to create impeccable, intricate tattoos that will last a lifetime. He has a staff of other amazing artists, and here is a bit about them:

  • Aldo has the wackiest, most creative mind — and the technical talent to back it all up.
  • Want an original, quality sleeve done in a day? Just ask Carlos.
  • Eddie’s the man for black, gray, and all kinds of ill sh*t — and just the man to make you comfortable for your first tattoo.
  • Meghan’s sweet, neo-traditional style, coupled with her incredible customer service skills, make Archetype one special place to be tattooed.

It’s obvious that Archetype artists know their craft. All their artists are 100-percent licensed, meaning they have completed over 1,000 hours of study in the art of tattoo and have certifications in blood borne pathogen training, CPR, and first aid. This is definitely a safe place to add to a collection of body art, or to get your first.

Shaw’s artists know their stuff, and they are driven to keep learning new techniques by attending educational events and conferences specifically for tattooing. Already an award-winning business, they continue to keep getting better Burque’s ink junkies. If you’re looking for a new piece, look no further, and if you’re just looking for a neat group of folks who go above and beyond for their community, catch em at Art Fusion, or the New Mexico Tattoo Fiesta. Tell em thanks for all that they do for this city of ours.

— Carlos

The frame has gone up and the foundation has been poured for the future Tractor taproom in Los Lunas, the brewery’s original home.

Twenty years ago, Tractor Brewing came to life in the Village of Los Lunas. Five years ago, it left the village behind, moving all of its brewing operations to Albuquerque. Later in 2019, it will move back to Valencia County in the form of its fourth offsite taproom.

To get a better read on this version of you can go home again, I sat down with Tractor president/co-owner Skye Devore. Her brewery already has three offsite taprooms in Albuquerque — Nob Hill, Four Hills, Westside — but the opportunity to add another was too good to pass up.

“Because we wanted to do another something, and we feel like Albuquerque has got a lot of Tractor right now,” Skye said. “We thought it would be a good idea for something not in Albuquerque, but I don’t want to drive too far, so Los Lunas seems perfect. There’s a lot going on there economically right now.

“I remember when we were there before, it used to be so hard to convince anybody to drink craft. Now it’s just not like that anymore. Now it’s a great place to be.”

The brewery will be located off Main Street, not far from the Facebook Data Center.

Read the rest of this entry »

The visually stunning Cloudcroft Brewing was one of several that AmyO visited on her trip south.

Last September, my other half and I thought a quick overnight road trip was in order. We ventured up north to visit some northern New Mexico breweries we had not been to. At that time, we were trying to decide whether to do a northern or a southern route. The time of year pulled us north, then, so it was now time for us to head back out to venture to a few breweries down south.

DISCLAIMER: In the story for the northern tour, I stated that we knew we would not be able to get to everything in the time we had, and the distance we would need to cover. Yet, several readers still commented on how we “missed” one brewery or another. We didn’t miss them. Either they weren’t open when we were in that area, they took us too far off our route, or we just couldn’t fit them in and get where we needed to be in a reasonable amount of time. So, I am going to add a disclaimer here and hopefully people will read it. On this trip we did not go to Las Cruces, because that should be its own trip. We also did not make it to Artesia or Carlsbad because I have already covered The Wellhead in Artesia, the new Hopscotch Brewing north of Artesia is not open on Sundays, Guadalupe Mountain in Carlsbad is also closed on Sundays, and Milton’s in Carlsbad does not open until 2 p.m. on Sundays. For these reasons, and the fact that hotel prices were flat out exorbitant in Carlsbad/Artesia, we altered our originally intended route to instead head back north from Roswell to Clovis and Portales, before returning to ABQ Sunday evening.

We began our journey Friday late afternoon, heading south on I-25, making our first stop at Owl Cafe in San Antonio for a quick break before heading on to Truth or Consequences. FYI, though they make a good burger at the Owl, they sadly have no craft beer game at all. Like zero.

Read the rest of this entry »

There’s a beer party on Friday and everyone is invited!

It is not often that a beer festival, big or small, sneaks up on us, but that was the case with the Bacon Jam Block Party. This neighborhood event, which will feature four breweries, is set for Friday from 2 to 11 p.m.

The new restaurant Bacon Jam is located on the southeast corner of Girard and Candelaria, and neighbors Palmer Brewery and Left Turn Distilling have been instrumental in helping the owners prepare for this mini-festival, which is free to the public.

“He’s just wanting to have a get-together to introduce his new restaurant, Bacon Jam, to the neighborhood,” Left Turn owner Brian Langwell said of the Bacon Jam owner. “And, let everyone know there’s a bunch of breweries in the neighborhood. … (But) they usually know that. The theory was we’re going to get every brewery in the neighborhood together and do this. We got every brewery except La Cumbre. They didn’t see the need to send someone half a block down the street.”

Rather than block off part of Girard, the party will be contained in the large Bacon Jam parking lot and patio that faces Candelaria.

“We’re going to serve on their patio outside,” Brian said. “The four breweries that are participating are Red Door, Canteen, ourselves Palmer and Left Turn, and Cantero. We’re going to set up our little portable booths out on the patio out there. They’ll do beers and we’ll do cocktails. We’re going to block off the majority of their parking lot out there, have a stage out there and do live music. I know the guy from Bacon Jam is going to do food specials so everybody can try his food.”

If you have driven up Candelaria recently, you might have noticed this spot, which will be the setting for the block party.

The Left Turn/Palmer tasting room will be open during the festival.

“We’re going to be doing really simple stuff (at the festival),” Brian said. “We’re going to have limited staff.”

“If they want the fancy stuff, they can come in here,” Rob Palmer added.

The festival will mark the debut of the new Left Turn bourbon, which is being readied for bottling as soon as the labels arrive, Brian said.

Take note, this is not a free sampling festival. Beer will be sold in pints, only. A portion of the proceeds will go to the charity Warehouse 508.

As for the beers being poured:

  • Canteen: Fill in the Blanco (White IPA), High Plains Pilsner, Boysenberry Wheat, Munich Dunkel
  • Cantero: IPA, Deaf Dog Brown, Brew-ha-rista (Red Chile Stout), Cream Sour
  • Red Door: Rickety Cricket (Green Tea Raspberry Hefeweizen), Lemongrass Pils, Unhinged Cider

“It’s just basically a big block party to introduce Bacon Jam to the neighborhood,” Brian said. “I’m just the guy that did the permits.”

Thanks to Brian and Rob for the quick chat and the helpful info, and of course for wading through those giant stacks of paper to get those permits done.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Lava Rock’s own beer begins to flow at long last

Posted: April 17, 2019 by amyotravel in News
Tags:

Lava Rock has started brewing on a full-size system at long last.

I very rarely get to the west side of town, so after an overnight stay at Route 66 Casino Hotel for my birthday, I made a point to quickly swing by Lava Rock Brewing Company at 2200 Unser Blvd.

The Crew had heard that they are now brewing their own beer on a full-size brewhouse after the first system purchased before opening was rejected by the City of Albuquerque. Therefore, I thought I should pop in on the way to Flix Brewhouse for a birthday movie.

Luckily, head brewer Ram Khalsa happened to be there, working on some equipment. Ram has experience at several local breweries, including La Cumbre. We had a brief chat and I took a couple of pictures to entice our readers.

First off, I just have to note that I would be ecstatic if I lived in the area and finally had two places to hang out for beer in such close proximity — Lava Rock and Growler USA. (No, this location of Growler USA still cannot fill Growlers due to the state laws regarding full liquor licenses, but there are nearly 100 taps, so that is pretty impressive.)

The tanks at Lava Rock are finally being filled with beer made on site.

I was able to sample the two house-made beers on tap at the time, Volcan IPA and Seismic Stout. The IPA is on the malty side, which may play well to the area. However, Ram said for the next go-around that he hopes it will be a little less malty, though he added that he doesn’t want it to be overly hoppy, and less dry on the finish. Both beers are highly drinkable and do not suffer from the “watery syndrome” that often occurs in the beginning at new breweries. On deck in the fermenters were a Belgian wit and a blonde, with plans for a hazy IPA soon, Ram said. The goal is to have eight house beers and two-to-four rotating seasonal/specialty offerings.

If you live in the area, I hope you are already a regular. If not, head over and check out Lava Rock. It has a full kitchen with a weekday happy hour, and the patio is open to enjoy the warmer weather. The space looks great, and the two staff members I met were very nice and incredibly welcoming.

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, and one in Red River 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.

Hey, remember last week, when we barely had anything to write about? Yeah, that is so not this week. Thursday through Saturday is just kinda bonkers, and that is leaving out all the Marble anniversary events we previewed separately. First up, there is some truly blackened black metal descending upon Tumbleroot’s Agua Fria location in Santa Fe this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Local heavyweights Dysphotic are joined by touring bands UADA and Wormwitch for a head-banging good time. Then on Friday night, keep that Game of Thrones buzz going in advance of the next episode on HBO, as the Desert Darlings return to Tractor Wells Park for the GoT edition of Hops & Dreams. Need to get out and move more? Then head downtown Saturday afternoon for the third annual Easter Beer Hunt. It’s a grownup egg hunt, and the different colors of plastic eggs correspond to the three participating breweries — Boese Brothers, Red Door, Sidetrack — with different prizes inside that can be redeemed at each brewery. Only three eggs can be redeemed at each location, and please do not start until noon. For those who do not drink beer, you can also redeem some of the eggs at The Brew for coffee. Saturday will also feature a slew of 4/20 events, including special ones at Rio Bravo (market and live music), Turtle Mountain (smoked BBQ), and Truth or Consequences (cannabis education).

On the new beer front this week, there are a few other options to check out. Bombs Away finds itself in Condition Red Ale. Bosque recently rolled out Sunshine Stout, Mango Mujer, and W-Altbier White. Canteen has Cabana Lager back on tap to get you ready for Cinco de Mayo a little early. La Cumbre has Father Nelson back on tap and in bottles this Friday, plus Hell Froze Over Brown Ale and Chew & Swallow Oatmeal Stout are on tap again. Marble has Cerveza on tap now, and it will come out in 19.2-ounce cans on Saturday, plus you can also get Mountain Fog and Tea Gary IPA on tap. Red Door gets a little funky with Rickety Cricket. Tractor resurrects Acreage IPA. Turtle Mountain has a smoky little marzen called The Rauchette.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn is feeling ruthless with Cutthroat Rye Pale Ale. HoneyMoon unveils Pearsephone, a pear elderflower kombucha. Rowley Farmhouse Ales has moved on to Season Two, Episode Seven of Agent Scully IPA, while also bringing back Biere de Mars and adding Oyster Stoutish. Tumbleroot is feeling the season with Maibock. Further north in Red River, RRBC has Raspberry Campfire Cream Ale. Down south, Truth or Consequences hops to it with Deep Space Dankety-Dank.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of April 15.

Read the rest of this entry »

The calm before the storm … of fun! Marble will celebrate its 11th anniversary with a huge street party this Saturday.

Marble Brewery is growing up fast, with its 11th birthday coming up this weekend. Naturally, being Marble and all, the staff is throwing a huge fiesta for all of its loyal patrons, with additional events and beer releases sprinkled throughout the week.

To get the lowdown on all of it, I sat down with marketing director Geraldine Lucero, who is the keeper of all celebratory knowledge at 111 Marble Avenue.

“We’ve got an event planned every night this week,” she said. “We kicked it off with our Brew Club appreciation party on the deck (on Monday). It was just our way of saying thank you to all of our loyal patrons that have been there. A lot of them have been Brew Club members for a long time. So we just gave them some free food, our way of saying thank you, that we love you, and without them we couldn’t do it. That’s what this whole week is about, saying thank you by giving (our customers) these awesome events to be entertained with.”

The beer dinner is nearly sold out tonight, while the 19.2-ounce cans will go quickly Saturday.

Next up on the event calendar is a first-time beer dinner collaboration between Marble and a popular Nob Hill restaurant.

“Tonight we are doing a beer dinner at Frenchish in Nob Hill,” Geraldine said. “Josh (Trujillo) and I met with Chef Jennifer James and her team. It’s been a weeks now, but we hosted them here to taste some beers and work on a menu. It’s going to be her first beer dinner, I believe. She said it’s a little out of my element, but she’s such a talented chef that I’m really excited to see how the dinner goes tonight. We’re close to that, a close sellout, too. We have a few seats left for that. My goal is to sell out every event this week.”

Call (505) 433-5911 to see if you can still get a reservation. The cost is $75 per person for a four-course dinner that starts at 6 p.m.

“We’re really excited about that,” Geraldine said. “We’re going to feature the last keg of the 111 Rosé that John Heine brewed. We’re bringing eight Marble team members. I’m just really excited. I love beer dinners, I love Jennifer James, and I love Frenchish. I sought them out and asked them to have this beer dinner with us because they’re amazing.”

Read the rest of this entry »