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, one in Silver City, 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.

For a long time, cider was just that random other drink that your gluten-free friend could order when you dragged him or her to the brewery. These days, it seems like everyone has followed Tractor’s lead in adding one or (usually) more ciders to its tap list. It only makes sense, then, that we would finally get a full-blown cider festival here in Albuquerque. Cider66 will kick off Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. at Expo New Mexico. Bosque, Boxing Bear, Palmer, and Steel Bender will all be there, along with a number of cideries and wineries. There will also be live music and a classic car show. Advance tickets are $20 and can be purchased online. They go up to $25 the day of the event.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bow & Arrow releases Desert Rambler Hefeweizen on Friday. Boxing Bear has more of its PUB, (Pineapple Upside-down Beer). Canteen unveils Cherry Witte It. Dialogue brings back ODB Sour Brown Ale and adds Nugget to the Rack Hoppy Imperial Amber. Ex Novo goes Over the Porterline, while also putting Coffee Cream Ale on nitro. Marble builds up Sorens’ Stonefruit Gose. Quarter Celtic gets all summery with Raspberry & Wheat Pedro. Red Door restores its supply of New England IPA. Rio Bravo is up early with Dawn Patrol Pale Ale. Sidetrack decides to be Contrary to Pubular Belief. Steel Bender rolls out Peach Dynamite on Thursday. Thirsty Eye bites into some El Drac IPA. Toltec gets into the cage with Fresa Loco Warrior. Tractor channels Kubrick with Eyes Wide Shut IPA. Turtle Mountain rocks out with Tenacious Mediocrity IPA.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn made more of its powerhouse Gatekeeper IPA with Citra. Out in Moriarty, Sierra Blanca puckers up for summer with Raspberry Sour. Further north in Red River, RRBC rolls out Blackberry Campfire Cream Ale.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of June 24.

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The Black Snout interior provides ample seating for individuals, couples and groups to gather for a fresh brew and sports entertainment. Future plans also include patio seating out front.

On the first day of summer, a steady flow of thirsty people made its way to Black Snout Brewhouse when the newest Northeast Heights watering hole on Juan Tabo and Menaul opened its doors to the public on Friday.

Since our last visit a little over a month ago, the finishing touches have been put in place right down to the shine on the concrete floor, which by 7 p.m. had already seen some wear from the scuffle of feet throughout its opening day.

“It was spotless at 2 o’clock,” said owner Josh James, in between working back in the brewery, behind the bar, and out on the floor greeting guests and waiting tables, along with his wife/co-owner Natasha and about half of their eight total employees.

As expected on the first day, there was a decent amount of chaos, and the staff was somewhat slow to greet me and take my order at the bar when I first arrived, but that quickly changed after I sat down at a table.

Besides some minor back and forth with the fire marshal, Josh said the last leg of preparations for opening went fairly smoothly, and now he and Natasha are ready to take the next steps as brewery owners.

“Now that we’re open, thank goodness, the first thing I want to do is sleep,” Josh said.

The lounge seating area is a perfect spot for kicking back and watching a game. Soon, window shades will be added to further enhance the viewing experience on sunny New Mexico afternoons.

Otherwise, the immediate plans are to settle in and make minor changes as needed. Currently, the north wall is lined with TVs broadcasting a variety of sports channels, and already patrons are asking what will be done with the still mostly blank south wall.

Josh said that eventually he will add some more TVs to that side as well, but with future plans for a restaurant in the space next door, he doesn’t want to put too much money into something that will only be temporary.

“I don’t want to say just yet, but it’s going to be super exciting,” he said when asked for more details about the restaurant. “It kind of goes along with our theme here.”

The sports bar theme is supported in part by collaborations with local athletes, and organizations including Jackson’s MMA, in a business relationship that Josh said he hopes will be good for both the brewery and the community. Donated sports memorabilia already adorns the walls and the space behind the bar. Additionally, what Josh described as a “pretty exciting” endorsement announcement is in the works for the near future.

There is, of course, one more important element to the equation — the beer itself. Currently, Black Snout has three flagship beers: Half Guard Hefe, South Paw Porter, and Triple Double Hazy Pale Ale, along with the limited release, Gummy Bear Hazy Pale Ale.

The limited release Gummy Bear Hazy Pale Ale is fruity and delicious. Plus, it looks really cool in a pint glass.

The first attempt at brewing the Gummy Bear four years ago didn’t go too well, Josh said, and he has tried it again three or four more times since then. Brewer Josh Olivas got the final product right just in time.

“We ended up nailing it on the head when we were not sure if (the brewery) was going to work out,” he said.

Made with actual gummy bears, the brewing process is very specific and requires knowledge of water chemistry. Only one other brewery does it, Josh said, but in a completely different way. The initial aroma is tropical and fruity, like a handful of multi-flavored gummy bears, and the taste is a mild citrus with a very light hop finish. It’s rare that I can drink an entire pint of pale ale, but this one went down easily. Many others must have enjoyed it as well, as it was the best seller on opening day.

I also sampled the Half Guard Hefe and the South Paw Porter. Banana aromas and flavors shine in the Half Guard. Backed up by spicy cloves, it is banana bread in a glass. On first sip, the South Paw is pretty much what I would expect from a typical porter, but the finish is like biting into a bar of dark chocolate.

“We felt like we hit a home run on all of these beers,” Josh said.

In about a week, you can try them all at once when the first flights are unveiled. Growler fills will unfortunately not be available due to the quantity limitations of the 1-barrel brewing system, which Josh says comes with some challenges, but they are working to nail it down.

Guest taps from Santa Fe Brewing and Brew Lab 101 round out the current selection. In the future, Josh said he hopes to develop Black Snout’s relationship with these and other local breweries.

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The beer selection is small, but packs a punch.

As new breweries continue to open in the Northeast Heights and throughout Albuquerque, Josh said that their goal is not to compete with anyone else, but instead to support American-made beer and the local community.

“We’re just trying to be Black Snout,” he said.

Thanks to both Josh and Natasha for taking a few minutes of their busy first day to talk with me, and congratulations on the successful opening of their new brewery!

Cheers!

— Maureen

These guys are gonna be the next brewery to open in Albuquerque this Friday!

All of us in the Crew figured we would have a nice, relaxing June after ABQ Beer Week ended. Then, a new brewery opened. And, another one. And, another one. It has left a lot of people’s heads spinning, trying to remember what is open, and what is still on deck. To help out everyone else, and maybe even to help ourselves, we present the great guide of everything that has opened since about May 20, will be open soon, and what is much further down the road.

ALREADY OPEN

Ex Novo Brewing, Corrales: If you have not been to this most excellent NM version of the popular Portland, Oregon brewery, you are missing out. Its beers are now popping up at bars and restaurants around town, and you can pick up six-packs and four-packs, but really, you should drive up Corrales road a ways and enjoy the most excellent taproom that is adjacent to the big production brewery. It is right across the street from the fire station and Corrales Bistro Brewery (which does not, alas, brew its own beer). Just please remember to adhere to the strict 30 MPH speed limit.

Enchanted Circle Brewing Taproom, San Mateo and Osuna: The Angel Fire brewery’s taproom also opened during Beer Week. They have a full kitchen, and all the beers from up north. They are tucked into the same shopping center as Amy’s Donuts, right near Cliff’s amusement park.

Blue Grasshopper Brewing Taproom, Second Street and Summer: The latest addition to the Wells Park brewing scene is almost a carbon copy of the other two Blue Grasshopper locations, and that is just fine. Enjoy a wood-fired pizza and a huge beer list (mainly guest taps). They are still working on building the brewery in the other half of the building.

Hops Brewery Taproom, Los Ranchos: Located at 7226 Fourth Street, north of Osuna/south of Paseo del Norte, this charming little spot has a lot of beer, not much parking (carpool, please), and a limited food menu, but it often has food trucks pulling up for special occasions.

Thirsty Eye Brewing, Broadway and Gold: The neighborhood pub for EDo (East Downtown) is now open, serving coffee starting at 7:30 a.m. and beer in the afternoon/evening. We got a full preview of this spot from the good group of people who have made it a reality at 206 Broadway SE.

La Reforma Brewery, San Mateo and Alameda: We got to chow down in advance of the opening of this brewery in the old Bosque taproom space at 8900 San Mateo. The taqueria food, done Mexico City-style, is excellent, the beers are tasty, and as a result we think this is gonna be a popular joint for a long time to come.

Brew Lab 101, Rio Rancho: We did a full preview a while back, but now this long-awaited addition to the RR scene has opened as of Tuesday night. Featuring beer and cider, it is just west of Turtle Mountain on Southern, past the post office and before you get to Joe’s Pasta House. Speaking of which, you can bring in food from there and other local establishments so that you do not drink on an empty stomach.

ALMOST BUT NOT QUITE OPEN

Black Snout Brewhouse, Juan Tabo and Menaul: The good news is that we will be able to move these guys to the open list as of Friday night. The grand opening is set, so make sure to head on over and tell us what you think of the beers, the space, the whole thing. One of our writers is planning on a review to run early next week, just in case you want us to test the waters first.

Quarter Celtic Brewpub Taproom, Juan Tabo: Just around the corner from Black Snout, the QC taproom is very close to opening. How close? We just got invited to a soft opening/trial run for the spot. It should be ready for everyone well before July 4 rolls around.

FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD

Among those breweries still in the planning/built-out stages are the B2B Garden Brewery, on Comanche just west of Wyoming; Turquoise Trail Brewing, on Central near Juan Tabo; Hausammann Brewhaus, on Central across from UNM; Looking Glass Spirits & Long Lost Brewing, on Sixth Street just a few blocks south of Bow & Arrow; Desert Valley Brewing’s taproom on San Mateo, just a block south of where Enchanted Circle opened; and Tractor Brewing’s taproom in Los Lunas.

Breweries outside the ABQ metro area still on the docket include 575 Brewing (Alamogordo), Boogie’s Brewery & Distillery (Deming), Lauter Haus Brewing (Farmington), Piedra Blanca Brewery (White Rock), Public House 28 (Anthony), and off-site taprooms from Boese Brothers (Los Alamos), Icebox (Northeast Las Cruces), Lost Hiker (Downtown Ruidoso), Picacho Peak (Alamogordo), Red Door (Roswell), and Truth or Consequences (Las Cruces). Oh, and then of course there are the new Bosque taprooms coming to Santa Fe and Las Cruces (yes, a third one), but those do not have pending licenses yet with the State of New Mexico.

Got all that? We will do our best to keep you continuously updated. In the meantime, enjoy the new ones, support the old ones, and just in general have fun with the vast variety of breweries that we have across New Mexico.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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, one in Silver City, 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.

Thanks to Crew co-founder E-Rock, we have all gotten to know the talented women who make up the Desert Darlings bellydance troupe (he used to provide the music for many of their live shows). The Darlings have become a regular fixture at Kaktus Brewing, and with their monthly Hops & Dreams shows at Tractor Wells Park, connecting them to the brewing community. This Friday they are back at TWP, but with a special performance. The Magic Lamp Edition will feature a special fundraiser for their upcoming super-sized stage production of The Wizard of Oz at the South Broadway Cultural Center on July 12 (go here for tickets). Friday’s show will feature a silent auction and special vendors that starts at 6 p.m., guest performers will take the stage at 7 p.m., and the Darlings will then perform at 8:30 p.m. You can enjoy Tractor’s beers, ciders, and cocktails throughout the performance. Head on down to support some amazing local performers!

Another big event this weekend is the World Food and Music Festival at Marble 111 on Sunday from 2 to 8 p.m. My Sweet Basil, Street Food Blvd., and The Witching Flour Bakery will be serving up a wide variety of dishes inspired by recipes from all over the world. The eclectic music lineup will feature Sol De La Noche (2-3 p.m.), Wagogo (3:15-4:45), Jade Masque (5-6:30), and Nosotros (6:45-8). As always, it is free to attend.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Ale Republic rolls out some new brews for summer in Cream Pie, Angry Wheat, Best Coast IPA, and Wheat St. Wheatwine. Bosque bucks the trend with Clearly Impossible Hazy IPA. Boxing Bear rounds up more Murkules Hazy DIPA and Ameri-Kolsch. Canteen did not run out of beer with its anniversary, even adding Strawberry Basil Gose and Maze of Haze Pale Ale. Ex Novo goes dark with Oat of Touch Stout, but finds the light with Coffee Cream Ale. La Cumbre tells us to Lager Softly Kellerbier while also adding a Green Cap Belgian Abbey Single. Marble keeps it varied with Idaho Pale Lager and Mountain Fog (Hazy IPA). Nexus has discovered A Haze Has No Name IPA. Ponderosa brings back its popular New Mexico Lime Lager. Rio Bravo continues its lineup makeover with Goodwill IPA, Thin Mint Stout, Made Wit Love, and Session IPA, plus Summer Day Pale Ale on Friday. Sidetrack rolls out more of its Güera American Blonde Ale. Steel Bender has New Peculiar English-Style Ale available Thursday. Tractor keeps it a little off-beat with Summer Spice Field Beer. Turtle Mountain added Preamble Pils, and brought back SCH Scotch Lager, with $1 from every pint sold of the latter going to help brewmaster Mick Hahn’s brother, who is battling cancer.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn is feeling downright peachy with a Peach Gose. HoneyMoon has locked in three more kombuchas, Lupolo Seca, Piedra, and La Moneda. Rowley Farmhouse ales has tapped more of the barrel-aged Steindock’d Barleywine, while also tapping the Covhefe Collab, created in partnership with Blue Corn. Second Street brings back XX ESB and Railrunner Pale Ale, plus cans of Supernova IPA are available for a limited time. Tumbleroot also aims for summer patio beers with a German Pilsner and Hefeweizen.

Out in Moriarty, Sierra Blanca introduces Tularosa Burro Flats Cider, plus Alien IPA has landed. Down in Truth or Consequences, T or C Brewing brings back Big River India Brown Ale.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of June 17.

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Stoutmeister needed some help reviewing La Reforma Brewery, so he brought along Erin and Dan (who took the photo, but you probably know him as the guy in the Crew shirt who sometimes wears a kilt).

La Reforma Brewery officially opens today (Monday) at 8900 San Mateo Blvd. NE, but a few of us in the industry — or industry adjacent — were invited to a soft opening Friday night.

While I am perfectly comfortable reviewing the beer the general setup of a new place, I am quite possibly the worst person imaginable to review authentic Mexico City-style food, mainly due to a specific allergy. With that in mind, I brought along my friends Dan and Erin, both of whom took a vacation to Mexico City back in March.

It’s the old Bosque space re-imagined.

First up, the space is both the same one you were used to with Bosque being there, but also there are subtle changes. The bar is still up front, but the tables have been changed around to have a more personalized dining experience (no more community tables). The TVs are still up there on the wall, but we forgot to ask co-owners John Gozigian and Jeff Jinnett if they will be showing soccer games in the future. We will let them announce watch parties online.

The initial beer lineup had three of the four beers available for us to try. La Ref Lager, Maximillian (Dunkel), and Turbia Hazy IPA were ready, with Hi-Wit (Hibiscus Belgian Wit) not quite ready for us, but it will be on tap today. There are also a Michelada made with the La Ref, Bosque guest taps (see our previous story as to how Bosque and La Reforma are sharing the brewery), and six cocktails made with the spirits distilled on site.

From left to right, La Ref Lager, Turbia Hazy IPA, and Maximillian Dunkel were all solid house beers.

We each ordered a flight of the three beers, with Dan and Erin opting for Micheladas, then a cocktail each, before Dan switched to a lager to finish and Erin had one more cocktail. They mostly just made yummy sounds when it came to the Micheladas and cocktails, which were also at many of the other tables around us.

My own take on the beers was that the La Ref was quite the standout. It tastes like a high-end cerveza, with the Tettnanger hops and corn sweetness combining for quite the sweet beer. At just 4.8-percent ABV, it hits the spot without leaving you too loopy.

The old bar is still there, but note the windows looking into the brewery and the kitchen.

The Maxmillian (5.5% ABV) is a Munich-style dunkel. It is a solid beer, but could use a little more flavor. Franz Solo is our resident German beer expert, so at some point I will need to utilize his palate to figure out exactly what is missing with the Max, but if anyone else out there wants to try it and let us know your opinion, please do so.

The Turbia (7.2% ABV) is neither too juicy, nor too hoppy. It ends up somewhere in the middle, with even the non-IPA fans at the table enjoying it. We will see what the haze-heads think of it, as I could see the recipe changing based on their whims to either juicier or hoppier.

The Mexico City-style quesadillas were a huge hit, as was that jalapeno green sauce.

Now, as for the food, here are the quick reviews that Erin emailed over shortly before slipping into a food coma at home:

  • The jalapeño “salsa de Lupe” was reminiscent of the purest CDMX flavors. This particular batch was also hot enough to knock you on your ass before you even threw a punch.
  • The carnitas burrito was so packed full of flavorful ingredients that we didn’t even have room in our stomachs for the tacos we ordered. But, I have a feeling they will be amazing on the re-fry!
  • If you’ve never had true Mexican-style quesadillas, do yourself a favor and order them here. You’ll never want to order Americanized quesadillas ever again for fear of utter disappointment.
  • The “El Tri” was a refreshing summer cocktail that was deceptively … alcoholic. The Michelada was spot-on. The crisp, bright lager was a flawless base that complemented the michelada mix all too well.

We also need to point out that our server was excellent (we made sure to tell her bosses), and the service overall for a brand-new brewery/eatery was impressive. As always, please be patient as some kinks will still need to be worked out here and there, especially when things get really busy at peak hours. The good news is that the owners are not new to any of this, so they should be able to straighten things out in a hurry and have La Reforma operating like a well-oiled machine in record time.

A big thanks to John and Jeff for the invitation, and to Erin and Dan for coming along to be my official food tasters (they have volunteered for future missions as well).

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The party actually starts at 4 p.m., but it’s still gonna be a big one to celebrate 25 years.

One of the big summer events that all of us in the Crew have been looking forward to is the 25th Anniversary Party for Canteen Brewhouse, which starts this Saturday at 4 p.m.

We wanted to make sure we had all the details for everyone. We already knew, from social media posts, that musicians on hand include Felix Y Los Gatos, Chris Dracup, CrazyFool, and Dusty Low. The food trucks in attendance will be Kimo’s Hawaiian BBQ, Pink Ladies, Street Food Institute, and The Blazing Barn. Vendors taking part are Fizzy Bee Beauty, Danny Hart Design, Christopher McAfee, Allegra Howell and Foxy Girl Designs, Erin Leigh Jewelry Design, Sarah Donahue, and Suzy Heer.

On the beer front, Citranova is the official summer anniversary beer, and it will be on tap and for sale in four-pack 16-ounce cans.

All right, that is a start, but we had some additional questions. With no time to meet up, we asked general manager Jamie Schwebach and head brewer Zach Guilmette over email.

Q: Besides what’s already been announced — bands, food trucks, Citranova — what else can we expect on the beer front?

A: We will have Tuttle IPA and Strawberry Basil Gose being rereleased, as well as all of the favorites that are currently on tap, including our house beers and rotating seasonals. For our Mug Club members, we are offering a free sampling of beers that have been aging from 3 to 4 p.m. and will have them available for sale at 4 p.m. (here is looking at you St. Bob’s) at $7 for a 10-ounce pour.

All right, we’ve got barrel-aged imperial stout. This is good. This also means we are gonna Lyft/Uber over. UPDATE: There will be 2010 St. Bob’s, 2012 Barleywine, 2014 St. Bob’s, and 2017 St. Bob’s.

Q: Are there any other pertinent details that people should know not on the Facebook page?

A: The party will be in our parking lot, on the patio and inside. We will have fun games to play and all are welcome (kids, dogs, strollers). Think corn hole, tether ball, four square and double dutch … taking it back.

This means parking will only be on Aztec, so yes, using a ride share or a designated driver to pick you up/drop you off is highly recommended. UPDATE: There will also be parking across the street at A-One Collision, but seriously, don’t drive unless you absolutely have to, especially considering all those barrel-aged beers above.

Q: What is your favorite memory from Canteen/Il Vicino history?

A: Over 25 years there have been many great memories for the three guys that started it all — Rick Post, Greg Atkin, and Tom White. The common thread throughout it all are all the regulars and patrons that have come and raised a pint and many who are still coming everyday! Through only three head brewers in 25 years, starting with Rob Chavez to Brady McKeown and into Zach Guilmette’s hands, the beer and our inclusive atmosphere has been the drive that have kept this brewery alive after a quarter century; that and the indelible assistant Doug Cochran, who just passed the 19-year mark last month. The memories of all the people that have kept this brewery going, from behind the scenes to sharing the stage in the success of multiple World Beer Cups and GABF medals, the Canteen Brewhouse will always be about celebrating the memories of our past as much as creating new ones. We hope everyone can make it for our anniversary party where more memories will be made!

Oh, and if anyone is curious what Doug’s favorite memory was, well, it was when Dougie Style Amber won a gold medal at GABF in 2014.

Canteen has come a long way since the brewing operation started in a cramped room in the back of the Nob Hill Il Vicino in 1994. We have enjoyed being along for at least part of that ride since the Canteen location opened in 2011.

If there are any other questions about this event, you can ask Canteen directly or we can pass along your queries. Otherwise, we will see you all out there Saturday night.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The Thirsty Eye Brewing command staff, from left, general manager Amelia Salas, co-owner Shawn Turung, co-owner David Mahlman, co-owner Kim Arthun, and brewer John Kofonow.

The surge in the number of neighborhood pubs around Albuquerque is showing no signs of abating. While the empty spaces on the map have been filled elsewhere, the East Downtown (EDo) neighborhood still lacked a spot to call its own.

That will change Friday when Thirsty Eye Brewing holds its soft opening at 206 Broadway SE. Located next to the Exhibit 208 Art Gallery, on the east side of Broadway near Gold, Thirsty Eye is the creation of a group of friends and colleagues. Gallery owner Kim Arthun, retired architect David Mahlman, and Shawn Turung are the partners, and they have hired brewer John Kofonow and general manager Amelia Salas to help them turn a concept into reality.

“We didn’t want to walk anywhere for beer,” Kim said with a smile. “I’ve been a part of it on the drinking side of it back to the early days of Kellys and Il Vicino in its little closet room, just tasting whatever they had. We used to go over there for their Wednesday brewer’s mystery keg. I think at that time there was maybe four places in this town.”

Later, Kim and his friends were part of a traveling group of artists and Sandia Labs employees who frequented the breweries every Wednesday.

“I’ve never been a homebrewer, but I’ve drank at every brewery, tried every beer,” Kim said. “I love what they are, the community, they’re like American pubs. In this day and age, where everything is electronic and people don’t talk a lot, the thing that I like the most about the ones I really like are that you can sit down at the bar, have two people on either side of you (that) you’ve never met before and by the time you leave, you’re friends, you end up drinking together for the next five years. In this day and age, I don’t see that a lot.”

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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, one in Silver City, 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.

This Sunday is Father’s Day, just in case you had not checked the calendar in a while, and thankfully there will be some pretty good brew-and-food options if you have a dad like mine who loves beer. Luke has a preview of the Crab and Pilsner Festival at Second Street Rufina, which runs all day Saturday and Sunday. We would just recommend you go early Sunday, in case they run out of crab (this inland state loves its shellfish). Down in Silver City, Little Toad Creek has a Blues Brunch at 1 p.m. with live music from Joe Neri and Blues Dawg. Canteen has Beer and a Brat at both locations starting at noon. Get a pint of Laid Back Lager and a bratwurst for $8. Quarter Celtic is grilling up ribs on the patio, with special pours of Dark Pedro and barrel-aged MacLomas Stout starting at noon, plus live music from Canyon Standard time from 3 to 5 p.m. If there are any other Father’s Day-centric events that we have missed, please let us know!

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque has a new saison, Ocha. Canteen has its anniversary beer, Citranova, on tap and in cans Saturday. Ex Novo looks at some Aperture Pale, plus it also has its collaboration with Steel Bender, Saison de Luxe, available in bottles. La Cumbre releases its collaboration IPA with Colorado’s Cannonball Creek Brewing, Woodland Paradise, on tap and in cans on Friday. Marble was able to Czech in with Pilsner Burquell. Ponderosa has a fresh batch of Oatmeal Stout. Red Door rolls out a slew of new seasonals, with Cascade SMASH and Lemonade Stand up first, followed by Picture Rock Porter, a collaboration with Beer Creek, on Friday, and Nitro Double Vanilla Cream on Sunday. Tractor hits the mark with Sorachi Ace IPA.

Up in Santa Fe, Second Street brewed up an Imperial Pilsner for its festival. Over in Los Alamos, Bathtub Row stacks up some Brick City IPA.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of June 10.

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Original artwork by Mariah Scee will most definitely find it’s way on another sweet T-shirt, so get it while supplies last!

Back by popular demand!

This Saturday and Sunday (June 15 and 16), Second Street Brewery — Rufina’s annual Crab and Pilsner Festival returns to Santa Fe for a second round, and we’ve never been more excited to get crabs again.

Last year, hundreds of Santa Feans and visitors showed up hungry and thirsty for the first Crab and Pilsner bash in such numbers that they exhausted the entire supply of cold-water-clawed crawlies. Luckily, Rufina is such a spacious, well-run operation that the party never felt too packed, nor did the serving teams ever seem overwhelmed. My friends and I certainly had a shell of a time!

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From last year’s fun event!

“Last year was incredibly successful!” said Second Street creative director Mariah Scee. “The turnout on both Saturday and Sunday exceeded our expectations, and the event went really well on both the crab and the beer fronts. Particularly on the beer side, we had a great variety of pilsners, making it a really fun experience for experienced beer drinkers, and also allowing us to introduce the style to guests who might not have known what pilsner was before the event. We also learned a lot, and are going into this weekend better equipped to handle the volume of people, keep the crab boiling, the plates coming, and flight after flight of pilsners flowing from the bar.”

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The newest brewery in Las Cruces is located in one of the older buildings in town.

Icebox Brewing might just be the most modern, and yet the most historic brewery in Las Cruces. While the brewery has only been open since January, the building it occupies has been around for more than 50 years.

General manager and co-founder Brian Weidauer said that the former home of Sierra Ice and Water at 2825 W. Picacho Ave. seemed to be a natural fit for a brewery.

“We obviously, first and foremost, enjoy beer,” Brian said. “We like the community that craft beer represents, and especially the camaraderie between all the businesses and all the breweries. The owner (John Wright) had an industrial supply business for a long time, a family business, and he recently sold that. I’ve known him for a long time, so we were working together. We paired up with (brewer) Garrett Denmark and started throwing around ideas of what we could build and what we wanted to do.” 

The connections that Wright had to the industrial community led them to a building with a long history.

“We found this building, it used to be an old ice (making) plant,” Brian said. “That’s where the name Icebox comes from. Since Miller has Icehouse, we didn’t want a cease-and-desist letter from them.“ 

Icebox is already one of the largest breweries in Las Cruces by square footage.

The first major brewery in Albuquerque was the Southwestern Brewery and Ice Company, which lasted from 1889 to 1917, and combined both brewing and ice-making. It remained open as an ice plant until the 1970s, though brewing never resumed after Prohibition.

Sierra Ice and Water was never a brewery before, and it certainly does not have a history dating back to the 19th Century, but it does make for a unique setting for a modern brewery.

“We worked hard over the past year or two to repurpose at least this front warehouse and get our brewhouse built, get all the equipment in place, get some recipes developed,” Brian said. “I think our approach to the beers is we kind of make sure most of the styles are very approachable to the general public, but also good enough for the real beer connoisseur.” 

The interior combines a comfortable vibe with the industrial aesthetic.

That approach fits the bulk of the local customers, as well as visitors from nearby El Paso, who are not as well versed in the more eclectic beer styles like people in Albuquerque and Santa Fe are used to these days.

“With the beers that we have, (I) just try to have the styles that are classic and basic, and we can continue to teach people what craft beer is,” said Garrett, who came from nearby Spotted Dog Brewing. “We want to throw some new stuff in there and start working on some kettle sours, and some of the trending beers that are out there, but we also really want to focus on what craft beer is and educate people on that.” 

Icebox has an open brewing area, visible to the entire seating area for its customers. There is a sizable patio out front, facing north toward Picacho Avenue. The bar inside is quite large, but there are plenty of tables as well. There is a small stage for music, and the SoHo food truck is permanently parked outside.

“There’s lots of room for expansion if we need it,” Brian said. “I can show you our walk-in cooler and what we did with that. We had to put everything in (ourselves). We put the sprinkler system in so we could keep the brewing equipment open (for viewing), just separated by the railing. That was very important to us. The investment was made to bring all of that in. Pretty much all of the electrical had to be redone, all the HVAC work is brand new, there wasn’t anything in here. It was kind of a shell of a warehouse.” 

The brewing area is visible from the entire seating area.

There were a few businesses that occupied the building in between the closing of Sierra Ice and Water, but none of them did much to modernize the building.

“We tried to keep the warehouse feel for sure, but make it feel comfortable enough with some little touches,” Brian said. “The big bar was part of our plan, the design from the beginning. We wanted it to be a place where people could sit and talk, make new friends.

“We have two more TVs when we originally even thought we were going to have. There was debate whether we were even going to have TVs for a long time. But, we kind of caved to the fact there’s events on from time-to-time that people are going to want to see. We put four on, but we’re tapped out.” 

Brian said the process of opening Icebox was not all that difficult in terms of dealing with the City of Las Cruces or the State of New Mexico, but he did not have a way to compare it to the struggles that many new breweries face in Albuquerque.

“I can’t relate it to Albuquerque, but I’d say the process overall was fairly smooth,” he said. “There were things we had to change to meet codes, obviously. We had a unique deal where we’re taking a pretty old building and when you repurpose it like that, you have to bring everything up to code. A lot of the things we ran into before we got our final inspection approval had to do with this particular building. It’s just the process, it takes long to come down from Santa Fe and then back to the city.” 

The storage area in the back definitely has the ice plant theme.

The immediate success for Icebox has already led the staff to make the decision to open an offsite taproom.

“We were hoping to really be into some remodeling projects and stuff by June, but it looks we’ll be July,” Brian said. “It’s public knowledge. It’s a Burger Time location up on North Main, 3231 North Main, it’s across from the Lowe’s Home Improvement, right by the I-25/Main Street exchange there.

“Over the years there used to be several neighborhood bars around that area. The liquor license laws and everything over the last 10 to 15 years, it’s disappeared. Right now you have a bar-restaurant up on Sonoma Ranch that’s pretty high up on Highway 70, (and from there to) all the way down to downtown, there’s nothing on Main Street anymore. We feel like it’s a great location for a neighborhood taproom/restaurant, just that local place to go and serve that side of town.” 

If you don’t get the joke here, there is nothing we can do for you.

The Shivering Scotsman (6.4% ABV, 24 IBU) and Black Ice Lager (5.1% ABV, 20 IBU) were both solid malt-forward beers. There are still many more to try, so rest assured that the Crew will return to Icebox on our next trip to Las Cruces.

A big thanks to Brian and Garrett for the beer and the interview on a busy day (Blazin’ Brewfest was just five hours away when we sat down).

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister