We had to borrow this epic selfie of Turtle Mountain’s Mick Hahn and friends after he won a gold medal Saturday. (Courtesy of TMBC)

Phew, that was quite the weekend up in Denver. We missed some stuff in our constant rush to get from place to place, from beer to beer. Hey, it was just another Great American Beer Festival, but we did have some additional tidbits of info and the like that we wanted to share.

During my brief interview with a joyful Mick Hahn of Turtle Mountain, I asked a tough question about whether it is even sweeter to win with a lager, considering how most casual beer drinkers probably do not understand how much harder it is to brew a lager than an ale. Mick was ready to celebrate, so he could not come up with an answer then, but after a while he messaged this to us:

“I thought of an addendum to the interview (Saturday). You asked about the consumers’ understanding of the intricacies and difficulty of lager vs. ale. I think I can sum it up with an experience from this weekend. Friday, I was at Prost and saw someone wearing a shirt, the back of which said: MALT WATER HOPS YEAST PATIENCE

“I fucking love that. While not a traditional ingredient, patience is so crucial to making a good beer, and that goes 10 fold for lagers. You see breweries expanding and making more and more beer simply so they can turn a greater profit. When your focus shifts from quality of product to quantity, you lose that patience that (is) so crucial to maximizing flavor.

“Working at Turtle has given me the opportunity to let that patience grow, and I think that is the biggest reason we were able to bring home the gold.”

Once again, congrats to Mick for bringing home the first gold/first GABF medal in the 19.5-year history of Turtle Mountain. Owner Nico Ortiz texted us to say he was planning on borrowing the medal to wear all day Thursday for his birthday. The Crew humbly suggests that everyone head to TMBC on Thursday and raise a pint of Wooden Teeth to Nico, Mick, and the rest of their team.

Say, that tattoo looks familiar

New Mexico native Chris Keeton won gold in the English IPA category for Alaro Brewing of Sacramento, California.

Shortly after posting our story about the award winners, we received a tip from reader Jim Bullard that we kinda sorta missed one New Mexico medal winner. The catch was the winner was a brewer from New Mexico who now brews in California.

Jim wrote, “Would like to pass on that Albuquerque native Chris Keeton scored a gold medal with the Alaro Brewing Castillo IPA, from Sacramento, California. Chris had recently collaborated with Justin Hamilton from Boxing Bear on the NABA (North American Beer Awards) winner Cali Common. Chris was in attendance with wife Lauren and 5-month-old Bennett who was present for the showing of the Bennett Pale Ale!”

Jim’s comment arrived at the same time Luke sent over the above photo after randomly running into Keeton, who apparently recognized the Crew symbol on Luke’s shirt. Keeton and his family were on the move, so they did not have time for an interview, but we plan to reach out to Alaro Brewing in the near future. We know there are other New Mexico natives brewing outside the state, but to our knowledge, Keeton is the first to claim a GABF gold medal. His Castillo IPA took the top spot in the English-style India Pale Ale category.

Know of a brewer from New Mexico who now brews elsewhere? Send us the info on him/her and we can put together a fun list.

Sampler tray

  • For anyone planning way ahead, GABF will be back in October next year, specifically from the 3rd through the 5th. The Craft Brewers Conference will also be back in Denver in the spring, but as it is an odd-numbered year, there will not be a World Beer Cup competition.
  • The Crew found a couple new eateries that we recommend for anyone visiting Denver. The Denver Biscuit Company on South Broadway was as good as advertised, plus it is a short walk from there to TRVE Brewing. We also hit up a new-to-us breakfast place called Syrup, on the corner of 18th and Champa downtown. Otherwise, we hit a lot of familiar eateries, including Jelly and Rhein Haus, plus of course we ate while downing all those delicious beers at Bierstadt Lagerhause. Future food suggestions are always welcome.
  • A few of the beers that blew us away, but are probably harder than hell to find on a regular basis: Great Notion’s Double Stack, New Holland Dragon’s Milk Reserve Maple Oak, Bosque Acequia IPA (we had to get it there since we missed the can release down here), the entire lager lineup from Chuckanut Brewing, Brooklyn Hand & Seal (Barleywine) aged in cognac barrels, Liquid Mechanics Barrel-Aged Awesomeness, Horse & Dragon’s BBA Dragonfire Imperial Stout, Black Sky’s Angel of Death Stout, Beachwood’s System of a Stout, Fremont’s BBA Dark Star Coffee Edition, Cigar City’s Coconut Marshal Zhukov’s, the entire lager lineup at Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Speakeasy’s Syndicate No. 4, AleSmith’s Vietnamese Coffee Speedway Stout, Kane’s A Night to End All Dawns and Sunday Brunch, Modern Times’ Devil’s Teeth and Fellowship of Xul, and of course Avery’s 16-percent BBA lineup of Fimbulvvinter (Quintuple), Tweak (Coffee Stout), Plank’d (Porter), and Rumpkin, with the last two straight from the barrel.
  • How are we not dead? Because Franz Solo drank even more than just those.
  • The others will have more to share this week from their own adventures. We also promise to track down first-time medal winners Starr Brothers and Rowley Farmhouse Ales, as they disappeared into the crowd Saturday.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

A lot of tired brewers and brewery owners came to life when their names were announced at the GABF Awards Ceremony!

DENVER — The 2018 Great American Beer Festival awards ceremony was another good one for New Mexico breweries. The Saturday morning event saw 2,404 breweries enter 8,864 beers, judged by 193 people, and spread across 102 categories, plus a new collaboration and the Pro-Am competition.

Eight New Mexico breweries shared in seven medals, a significant improvement from the World Beer Cup earlier this year, when only Quarter Celtic brought home a single bronze medal for its Pedro O’Flanagan.

“It means we make good beer still,” said John Gozigian, the executive director of the New Mexico Brewers Guild. “What did we win (at WBC), one medal? It was an anomaly. We always tend to medal disproportionately to our population.”

We were lucky in that Turtle Mountain head brewer Mick Hahn, left, found us at the session after the awards ceremony.

Turtle Mountain earned its first gold medal in the International-style Pilsner category with Wooden Teeth. The year-round offering is a huge win for brewer Mick Hahn and owner Nico Ortiz, beating out 85 other entries.

Mick was not in attendance when the award was announced.

“I was at our AirBnB, not quite sipping the champagne yet, but enjoying the hell out of it,” he said. “We didn’t go to the awards ceremony but we were streaming it at the house. When they announced it we just exploded. It was fantastic. I couldn’t be happier. There was a liquor store right across from the house so I ran across the street to get some champagne.”

After 19 years in business, this was the first major competition medal for Turtle Mountain.

“That’s just awesome,” Gozigian said. “For a new brewery to win is great, but to see one of the stalwarts of our brewing scene to come out of the woodwork and win in a very competitive category, I’m very happy for them.”

Mick said he was over the moon after hearing his beer’s name called on the internet broadcast.

“It means so much,” Mick said. “Turtle deserves so much more (praise) than what they have right now, in my opinion. I hate hearing people say, ‘I love it, but I never go out to Rio Rancho.’ It’s a drop in the bucket, I’m sure, but every little bit helps. A gold medal for our house lager? Yeah.”

La Cumbre’s Jeff Erway chews on another silver medal for his Malpais Stout.

There were two silver medals awarded to local breweries. La Cumbre’s Malpais Stout took second in the Export Stout category, while Rowley Farmhouse Ales earned its first medal with Germophile in the Berliner-style Weisse category, which had 115 entries.

“Always the runner up,” said La Cumbre owner/master brewer Jeff Erway. “It’s my third silver. I’m really stoked to not go home empty handed. I tasted this batch and said this is about as good as that beer ever gets. I’m really pleased with the whole team. It gets increasingly harder as the brewery gets bigger to make sure that every person back there is engaged. I’m kind of in awe of Daniel (Jaramillo) and Alan (Skinner) and how they manage the team back there. I’m real proud of everybody. Probably 20 people touch this beer. The fact that no one screwed it up is awesome.”

Bronze was the color of the day with five breweries bringing home four medals. How did that work? Well, Quarter Celtic and Palmer Brewery earned bronze in the Collaboration Beer category with Mocha Hipster Bomb.

“Brady (McKeown, head brewer) is battling in that brewhouse and it’s starting to show,” said Quarter Celtic co-owner Ror McKeown. “We’re fortunate that Rob (Palmer) was a super cool guy and has some talent himself. He was willing to jump in with us. I told him, first GABF, first beer you entered, first medal, you set the bar real high. It was a good time, but unfortunately Brady will never get to come again, since we figured out the trick was to take his cutout instead of him.”

Yes, Quarter Celtic really did take a cardboard cutout of Brady up on stage.

The Brady McKeown cutout made it to the stage at the awards ceremony, courtesy of his brother Ror.

“You never expect to win, but you want to come prepared,” Ror said. “I took that cutout. It was nice, especially since this is (Charlie) Papazian’s last year. It was our last chance to get a fist bump from him.

“(Papazian) was laughing. We went up early enough so he wasn’t tired. He told us that’s awesome. Usually you can’t get too many words out of him. He had a pretty big grin on his face.”

For Palmer, this was his first major award.

“I’ll probably never enter another beer again,” Rob said. “First beer, medal, done.”

He was actually luck to even make it into the awards ceremony at all.

“I didn’t expect the collab category to be (early), I thought it would be in the middle somewhere,” Rob said. “I’m all hungover as shit. We were at the gentlemen’s club last night. I didn’t have a pass to get in. Canteen gave me an extra pass. I sat down, tried not to throw up, and then I heard the name called. It was fucking awesome. Getting to fist bump Charlie Papazian, man, best thing ever. I’m super stoked.”

Rob Palmer’s hangover disappeared quickly thanks to his bronze medal.

Starr Brothers brought home its first medal with a bronze in the Other Strong Beer category with Lampshade Porter, another year-round beer.

Sierra Blanca’s Cherry Wheat medaled for the second straight year, this time taking bronze in the Fruit Wheat category (it won gold last year).

Bosque’s Pistol Pete’s 1888 finished third out of 127 entries in the Golden or Blonde Ale category.

“It’s awesome,” said Bosque co-owner/director of brewing operations John Bullard. “We did the same thing with Bosque IPA (medaling), that was cool, too. That really drove sales. I’m really hoping this will continue to drive sales. We’re having a hard time keeping up with this beer already, but it can’t hurt, right?”

The Crew will try to catch up with the other medal winners while we are all here in Denver, but just in case we cannot find them, we will interview them upon our return to New Mexico this coming week.

Congrats to one and all, and thank you for always representing New Mexico in such a positive way.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The Crew finds Stoutmeister’s favorite street.

First, the good news: the Dark Side Brew Crew is in Denver for another round of the Great American Beer Festival! This is normally where one would follow that with some sort of bad news, but there isn’t any, at least not for us.

Once again, we are covering America’s largest craft beer festival out of the Colorado Convention Center, today (Thursday) through Saturday afternoon, including the Saturday morning awards ceremony.

A room with a view.

Our day so far involved waking up way too early, then flying to Denver and taking the train into town. From there, we stopped at the hotel (it is kinda close, as the picture shows above), grabbed our credentials early, and then naturally began to pack on the massive amount of food we will need to get through this first night even semi-coherently. Huzzah to Denver Biscuit Company on South Broadway, and an equally big huzzah to the fact we could walk from there to our home away from home, TRVE Brewing.

Of course an IPA from TRVE was how we started our drinking day.

With an Abysswalker IPA to get us going, here is just some of the stuff we have planned over the next four days:

  • Live videos via Facebook and Instagram from the floor of GABF. We will be stopping by to talk to as many of our New Mexico breweries as we can find (they changed it this year; rather than grouping breweries geographically as in the past, they are now in alphabetical order). If you are not following us on social media, now is the time. Ignore politics and all that, just focus on the goodness of the craft beer, and even Twitter can still be fun.
  • Franz Solo will provide daily written recaps here on the site. To avoid unintelligible gibberish, these will be posted the day after each session. Look for Saturday’s fairly early, as we have the awards ceremony at 10 a.m.
  • Live awards ceremony coverage, including post-ceremonial interviews with what we hope to be many, many local brewers who are bringing home medals!
  • Plus, whatever else we think of on the fly.

We realize it has become really hard, if not almost impossible, to get tickets to this event. We will do our best to take you inside so that you get to experience almost all of GABF from the comfort of your computer, tablet, or phone. If we could find a way to teleport samples of the many great beers to you, we would, but alas, that technology does not exist yet. Come on, scientists, get on that!

We found the Santa Fe Brewing van, but not the Santa Fe brewers.

Got any questions? Any suggestions for things you would like to know about? Just message us here or on social media and we will do our best to provide that for you.

As always, just wish us luck surviving this epic sorts of madness, in the Halls of Valhalla, where the brave, may live, forever!

After food, coffee, and one beer apiece, we are much more awake now than we were back at the Sunport.

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, 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.

While most of the Crew and most of the brewers all head off to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival this week, all of you still in New Mexico will not go without some fun. First up, the Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Brew Fest is back at Marble downtown this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. This is a huge fundraiser for the Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Council, so they pull out all the stops. There will be live music (see Marble’s entry below) all day, plus food trucks, vendors, games, silent auctions, and of course plenty of Marble beer.

Then it will be time for another edition of Metal Monday at Tumbleroot’s location on Agua Fria in Santa Fe. The lineup this time around features Red Mesa, The Horned God, and local favorites Black Maria. That kicks off at 8 p.m., so head over to support some epic bands while drinking some epic beer and spirits.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque tapped Beermosa last week, and Acequia Fresh Hop IPA is back this Friday on tap and in cans. Canteen is still beating what’s left of the summer heat with Munich Helles. Flix Brewhouse is feeling mighty German with some Das Umlaut Oktoberfest and Party on Garth Kolsch, plus Oo-De-Lally English IPA debuts Thursday. High and Dry drops a slew of new beers including Black Hole’s Son Porter, Silently Said Pale, and more listed below. Marble keeps the goses going with Ginger Plum Gose. Ponderosa keeps it fresh with Wet Hop Saison. Red Door sneaked in another batch of New England IPA last weekend. The 377 keeps the sours coming with an Oud Bruin that was aged seven months in wine barrels. Tractor introduces Citra Hefe while also bringing back the Javi Pre-Prohibition Lager.

Up in Santa Fe, things are quiet for GABF week.

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

Read the rest of this entry »

After two years, it was nice to drink you again, Irish Handcuffs.

Before we dive into our latest round of beer adventures, a little business comes first. Starting Thursday, the Crew will have live coverage from the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. Yours truly, plus Franz Solo and Luke, all have press passes that will get us into the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday afternoon sessions, plus the awards ceremony Saturday morning. We will get you all the news you need as it happens, so long as we have not consumed too much beer as to render our brains useless.

Life is a struggle, sometimes.

We do have the list of competition beers from the New Mexico breweries, which will we will publish in advance of the awards ceremony so you all can follow along. Look for that no later than Saturday morning.

Wish us luck up there. It is rather easy to get completely overwhelmed, but with enough of us attending, we should stay on track this time around.

As for this past weekend, I actually made it out to quite a few places. Friday lunch was at Canteen, where the Piggly Wiggly remains one of my all-time favorite pulled pork sandwiches. I washed it down with some Hank ESB, which is just as biscuity and English as ever. Eli, forever an awesome bartender and fellow metalhead, also gave me a sample of the Wet Hop Pale Ale, which sure tastes like a much, much bigger beer, with a delightful blast of both piney and berry hop flavors.

After the Lobo men’s soccer game on Friday night, I popped in at La Cumbre and faced a vexing decision between Make IPA Clear Again and Wet-Hopped Elevated. The former won out, and it remains an excellent example of a tough, bitter old-school West Coast IPA (Luke reviews the latter down below). For Saturday, I took a trip to Red Door, where I lucked out and found a car leaving its parking space (it pays to gamble sometimes). Once inside, I did the smart thing and hung out with head brewer Matt Meier, and we were later joined by Bombs Away head brewer David Kimbell. We consumed some of the not-too-sweet, not-too-boozy Double Vanilla Cream Ale, sampled the latest batch of the New England IPA, and then I personally capped my night with some Dunkel, which AmyO also tried when she was there earlier (see below).

Following a rough day at work on Monday, I was able to make it to the Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day Festival at Quarter Celtic, where there was still just a little bit left of the 2016 Irish Handcuffs Imperial Stout. Man, aging is doing that beer wonders, just highlighting all the barrel flavors and how they blend beautifully with the strong, thick base stout. I cannot wait to try it again on the actual St. Patrick’s Day.

Enough from me, here is what a couple of the others found around their respective towns this weekend. As always, these are just our suggestions. Let us know what some of your favorite beers/places of the weekend are in the comments!

Read the rest of this entry »

The old brewhouse is still going strong at Chama River, now brewing most of the beers for Kellys Brew Pub.

There are still faint echoes of the brewpub that was at Chama River. The booths are still there, the copper-top bar is still present, and much of the kitchen equipment remains. It has all gathered some dust since Chama closed its doors in August 2017, but one thing remains operational — the brewhouse.

Yes, there are still beers being made at Chama, even with the rest of the business shut down. That is where Andrew Krosche, the director of brewing operations for Santa Fe Dining, spends most of his time. With a year to reflect on what happened, I sat down with Andrew at that copper-top bar recently over pints of his crisp and clean American Pilsner.

“So when we took Kellys over and Chama was still open, plus Blue Corn, we had three breweries working independently under one umbrella,” Andrew said. “Once Chama was closed, we continued working out of Chama, that’s (assistant brewer) Cordell (Rincon) and I at the time, brewing for inter-company distribution under the Chama name cause there was a few beers throughout the restaurants that were staples.”

With the Chama brewhouse still at his disposal, Andrew soon decided how it would best be used.

“Somewhere around that time, when you’re only brewing enough to keep a few restaurants going, it’s hard to make sure the product is fresh,” he said. “So in response to that, also knowing that Kellys with pretty slow with lots of drama that happened right before we bought it, I decided to bring all the brewers together under one roof and work out of Chama’s system, that being the best system in the company. I spent a lot of time rebuilding this facility in the two years that Chama was still open. Also, it kind of gave everyone a chance to work on the same level, to understand my terminology and what was expected. Everyone was on the same page.”

The tanks are still full of beer in Chama’s walk-in cooler.

Andrew, along with Blue Corn head brewer Paul Mallory and Kellys head brewer Dan Cavan, have been able to stay on that same page since.

“Fast forwarding to now, we’ve got the eight house beers at Kellys, (plus) a few inter-company accounts up in Santa Fe,” Andrew said. “It works out very nicely to continue working out of here (because), one, we can brew smaller batches, keeping everything fresh, keeping the quality up. Everything is served out of kegs over at Kellys, so it’s easy enough to have them to place an order for the week and then we can just use the delivery van. In that case, it’s really nice.”

It also helps in one other area for Kellys.

“Kellys, obviously, doesn’t have a barrier between the brewery and the restaurant,” Andrew added. “It is kind of nice brewing here and not worrying about say guests wandering into the brew space. Not that it’s their fault, you would have no idea you couldn’t come back there. For me, it’s just a huge liability because if we’re CIPing and some caustic sprays onto some innocent bystander, it’s not the best of things.

“That’s kind of where we are with this facility. We’ve definitely been enjoying it with this little retreat.”

On occasion, the Kellys brewhouse does get fired up to make a beer or two.

“We have been brewing, or had been brewing, occasionally over there, keeping the machinery still going,” Andrew said. “It’s like an old car, you don’t want to let it sit too long or more problems start. That, and obviously we have to keep our small brewing license and we have to have a minimum of barrelage. So we do that to supplement, usually with some of our top sellers or brews that work really well on that system, as opposed to the ones here.”

Certain styles of beer actually tend to turn out better on Kellys’ system, as opposed to the Chama brewhouse.

“The water in this city is great for stouts, and they’ve got minor filter system and no softener,” Andrew said. “Brewing over there for something like the stout or apricot (wheat) is fine with the city water. Whereas over here, I would never brew the lager there. Here I’ve got a water treatment facility to ensure it’s the best I can make it for the water.”

What was once a bar is now a brewer’s office.

Andrew has managed to turn the bar area into his own office. His laptop and a pile of paperwork sit atop the bar. He keeps a few clean glasses behind the bar as well, for quality control and that sort of thing. Those couches that were over by the entrance have been moved to where the tables used to sit by the bar. There is one TV still running, with the laptop hooked up to it. A pile of beer books sits on one of the remaining tables below it.

As for how long this setup will continue for Andrew, Chama River, Kellys, and all the rest, it is a bit of an ongoing mystery.

“Honestly, I don’t even know,” he said. “I know we own it and (Santa Fe Dining president) Gerald Peters likes that he owns it. As far as I know, selling is not something that is an option. I’ve definitely written game plans for any scenario, mainly because if and when something happens, I want to make sure that my crew is ready, that we can handle it. Just a little preemptive planning, but you never know. This isn’t like moving some kitchen equipment, this is going to require weeks of moving. ”

The craft beer world around the old-timers like Kellys and Blue Corn continues to evolve, but for the most part, the brewpubs have seen neither a sharp rise in business, nor a sudden decline.

“Looking at numbers, if we’re just going to go barrelage-wise, nothing has really changed, at least since I’ve been running things,” Andrew said. “Blue Corn’s barrelage has been the same for the last four years or so. Chama’s was for the two years I was here with it. Kellys is about the same. We’re not getting massive growth. I think a lot of reasons for that is there’s a lot more places to go. There’s a lot more neighborhood pubs. The traffic of going to the places nearest to you is not ours nowadays.

“But, being steady and consistent, that’s a plus. I’m confident that with Paul already (winning) the IPA Challenge, I’m sure that his numbers are growing right now, which is great. With the changes that Dan and myself have kind of put (into) Kellys, working on recipe development and really trying to show the public that it’s different, I feel that we can start seeing a rise soon. Maybe not through this winter, but by next spring I feel like things will change for the better.”

With so many other craft beer options out there, Andrew said it has been tough convincing folks to give Kellys another chance.

“Unfortunately, yes, (but) then our marketing team is doing their best to let the public know that things are different,” he said. “I think the challenges that we run into is a lot of times Kellys is obviously one of the oldest breweries in Albuquerque and they had gained a (bad) reputation over so many years, that a lot of times people I feel when they hear Kellys they just kind of zone out.

“They’re not even paying attention that it is a new ownership, a new brewing team, a lot of it is word of mouth. I’ve been pushing a lot of festivals for Kellys. If we can’t get the public to hear us, let’s get some samples in their hands so we can prove to them right there, real time, that this product is superior to what it used to be.”

One of the ways to do that was to move some of the Chama recipes to Kellys.

“We did cross a few beers over to Kellys,” Andrew said. “The Sleeping Dog Stout is now a Kellys beer. We didn’t change it at all, it’s a strong, solid stout that’s been around forever. The Kellys IPA, for lack of a better word, is practically the Jackalope.”

Even brewers need a comfy spot to take a break now and again.

After a brief chat about the many late summer/early fall festivals, Andrew explained one of his other strategies with Kellys that differs from many of the other breweries around town.

“The way I’ve focused Kellys right now is, cause you were asking about what we’re taking to festivals and if we’ve changed it or not, we have eight house beers as opposed to your typical six and four specials,” he said. “What brings in regulars is your house beers, not your specials. We wanted a good, broad menu that caters to everyone’s tastes and really focus on those to make sure those are the best that we can give, and not worry about specials as much.

“When we build a menu for a festival, we typically don’t change it and we are very rarely going to take a special, because we want the house beers to be the focus. We want people to know they can come into the restaurant at any time and that beer will be there just as the way that they remembered it.”

Of course, just like any mad scientist brewer, Andrew is still cooking up some innovative seasonal/specialty beers from time to time.

“Speaking of specials, it’s very rare that we do one so when we do one we get pretty pumped about it, not sure when this is going to be released because we have to taste it over the next few weeks, but I just transferred an American pale ale into the server onto cocoa nibs and coconut extract,” he said. “So we’re making like a chocolate coconut pale ale, and it’s very hop forward. It drinks almost like an IPA, but the alcohol is like a pale ale. We’re pretty excited about it. It smells great. We picked the hop bill to match the coconut.”

We definitely look forward to trying that rather offbeat-sounding beer whenever it is ready. I will highly recommend the American Pilsner, as well, and Canteen head brewer Zach Guilmette swung by later to hang out for a bit, whereupon he declared it to be one of his favorite lagers in town.

For the most part, it is just good to see a great brewer like Andrew still getting to showcase his talent, even if the current setup between Chama and Kellys is a bit unusual. We encourage everyone to head back to Kellys and give the beers there another shot. We will certainly be stopping by after we get back from the Great American Beer Festival later this week.

Thanks to Andrew for the interview, the beers, and the tour through the ghostly little building he still inhabits.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

It’s go-time, at last, for Cantero Brewing!

In case anyone out there was unaware, the newest brewery in the Duke City will open this Saturday at 11 a.m. Cantero Brewing is holding its soft opening after a long, laborious process to get to this point. There will be at least five house beers on tap, the kitchen will be up and running, but as always, please be patient if things are crowded. The staff is still learning, the beers are still young, but there is plenty of optimism that now, finally, everything is going to be all right.

To learn a little more about what has been going on up to this point, I sat down Thursday with brewers David Rosebeary and George Gonzales, and brewery spokesperson Kane Oueis, while his wife, owner Katey Taylor, was busy zipping around making sure everything was ready for a friends-and-family opening that night.

“A lot of people said it’s taken a lot longer than normal for you guys to open, but it was honestly because we were fine-tuning everything,” Kane said. “We’re honestly perfectionists. We’re just not going to do it until we’re ready.”

“Why open your doors one day and shut them down the next day because they noticed one little bugaboo?” George added.

Read the rest of this entry »

Red Door soars toward year number four

Posted: September 12, 2018 by Franz Solo in Events, News
Tags:

Red Door brewer Matt Meier has a new beer ready for us on Friday!

Another year has passed for Red Door — wait, how did this year just, wasn’t it just GABF, ahem, never mind! — and they will be celebrating this Friday at the Candelaria brewery location (we recommend utilizing Lyft and such as parking is at a premium). Stoutmeister and I sat down with head brewer Matt Meier, owner Matt Biggs, and taproom manager Ali Cattin to get all of the details.

Solo: So you have a fourth anniversary coming up.

Cattin: So for the actual day of we are doing anniversary pint glasses as we do every year. We have a logo for this year that we think looks like a Zia, which has the Red Door logo in each of the four quadrants. The company that does our T-shirts, Risen, (is) coming to do a live screen printing of that anniversary logo. We are not going to do a run of shirts, so if you want that four-year logo on anything, you have to come on Friday the 14th. We will start giving away pint glasses at 5 o’clock, music will start at 8 p.m., Ryan Painter and Jake Phillip’s band will be here, and we will do a big set up with the doors to the patio open so there will be a good indoor/outdoor experience happening. Our food truck, the Side Door Kitchen, will have some specials that night and we are also bringing in Nomad’s BBQ as well. 

Solo: He’s the best. 

Cattin: Albuquerque Axe, our neighbors over here, are bringing their mobile unit so we are super excited about that. So we will have Nomad’s and Albuquerque Axe out back, music inside, pint glasses, T-shirt printing, (and) the Cornavore will also be here with a special birthday blend for us. 

Biggs: 94 Rock will be here promoting the Storehouse Hops for Hunger event, too. They will do some live broadcasting from 5 to 7 p.m. 

Meier: We will be releasing a Double Vanilla Cream Ale which is going to GABF, as well.

* * * * *

That all sounds good to us, so head on down this Friday evening for a night of great beer, including the awesome-sounding Double Vanilla Cream, excellent food and BBQ, anniversary pint glasses, T-shirt screening, music, local popcorn, 94 Rock, and one of my personal favorites, axe throwing!!!! Also of note, $1 from each pint of Dunkel (delicious German wheat) will go to the Storehouse, so do some good while enjoying a pint. 

See you all there and Skål!

— Franz Solo

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 has to be a first that we are choosing back-to-back Monday events as our featured lead, but we are not gonna argue with either one. After a Metal Monday show at Tumbleroot last week, this time around you can stay in ABQ and enjoy the Half Way to St. Patrick’s Day Festival at Quarter Celtic this Monday from open to close. The revamped patio is complete and Los Radiators will perform traditional Celtic music from 6 to 9 p.m. out there. There will all sorts of Irish food specials, plus of course some proper beers on tap, including Scottish Manny, Kill or be Kilt Scotch Ale, and a special batch of Irish Handcuffs Imperial Stout that has been aged for two years. You can all probably guess which one I will be sipping on after work.

There are plenty of other fun events as well, starting today (Wednesday). Marble is hosting a rematch of its last round of the Brews & Bites Challenge at the Heights Taproom (the competitors finished in a tie last round). That kicks off at 6 and tickets are going fast. You can also head over to Tractor Wells Park at 7:30 for the Poetry Slam City Championship. Friday will feature Red Door’s 4th Anniversary Bash at the brewery, which Franz Solo will have a full preview of later today. Trek out to Moriarty on Saturday for Sierra Blanca’s annual Oktoberfest celebration, with food, music, and plenty of beer in the spacious beer garden out back.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Ale Republic brings back Parasol. Boese Brothers roll out Summer Ale, Oktoberfest, and Clockwork Blood Orange IPA. Bombs Away already has American Wheat available, and Oktoberfest should be ready Thursday. Bosque is feeling colorful with Oat Gold and Wet Hop Red. Bow & Arrow resurrects a seasonal favorite in Wolf Eyes Marzen on Saturday. Boxing Bear sticks with the haze with Murky Milkshake IPA on Friday. Canteen freshens up with Wet Hop Pale Ale, Citranova Lager, and Strawberry Basil Gose. La Cumbre brings back Make IPA Clear Again, its collaboration with Denver’s Comrade Brewing, in cans and on tap this Friday. Marble unveils the 2018 edition of Pumpkin Noir on tap and in bottles at all three locations today. Nexus has more Coffee & Cream on tap. Ponderosa hopes to have its Oktoberfest later this week. Quarter Celtic also brings back an old favorite in Dark Pedro. Red Door will have Double Vanilla Cream for the anniversary party Friday. Starr Brothers wants everyone to Shake Yerbouti with its new milkshake stout. The 377 has a crazy new Berliner Weisse that was aged for five months on organic mangoes and strawberries and then finished with cedar chips added before kegging.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn hopes to bring back Gatekeeper IPA by Saturday. Rowley Farmhouse Ales goes fresh with Brut IPA – Wet Hop Chinook.

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

Read the rest of this entry »

There is no such thing as too much food at Steel Bender, apparently.

Of all the Crew, I (Stoutmeister) am the only one who does not get a true weekend. Well, sometimes Brandon works, too, but I am guaranteed to work every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday without a vacation-time request, which often limits my excursions to breweries and bars (heck, sometimes I get so tired I just open something at home and drift away, hopefully without spilling anything; being 40 does kinda suck sometimes).

Thus, when I chime in for the Weekend Beer-cap, my adventures date back to my actual days off, Wednesday and Thursday. I made sure to stay busy this past week, too. After a stop by Red Door for an interview, I hit up Tractor Wells Park for a delightful pour of Oktoberfest. It is just as smooth and lightly sweet as I remember. Later that day, I hit up High and Dry for the first time in a while, through no fault of theirs, but I wanted to make sure to stop by for the start of Second Street Brewery’s “residency” as the guest brewery of the month. It is quite the cool concept for High and Dry, and gives a brewery like Second Street a chance to show off its beers to the many folks who think Santa Fe is just too far away, even for beer. I enjoyed a tasty Vienna Lager, while my friend Kristen was quite into the Boneshaker Bitter.

The next day I did the impossible, which is to get my dear sainted mother out to a brewery not named Canteen (she has a serious love for the Irish Red, as I have mentioned before). Yes, dad and I got her to Steel Bender for some OktoberFiesta and a big old mountain of food. The pairings were delightful — she went with the grilled chicken, I stuck with the tried-and-true pulled pork, dad went more traditional with a bratwurst — and after my folks departed, I also made sure to snag some of the Black (Hole Sun) IPA. Big and burly, for sure, and one I would like to try again.

Oh, and I also had a couple beers at Chama River earlier that day. Wait, what?

Stay tuned for a (very) overdue update about what is going on with Chama and Kellys. We are also scheduled for a full sit-down interview with the owners and brewers of Cantero Brewing this week, and of course there is this little thing coming up next week called the Great American Beer Festival. Expect blowout coverage of that, too.

No rest for the wicked, right? Here are the rest of the Crew’s adventures over the actual weekend.

Read the rest of this entry »