Today is like Christmas Eve for craft beer lovers. Yes, here on May 16, an otherwise average Wednesday, the community braces itself for the start of ABQ Beer Week on Thursday. The NMDSBC is preparing for the onslaught of flavorful delights that are coming our way over the next 11 days (which, yes, I realize makes “Week” a bit of a misnomer, but bonus beer days are always welcome). Despite the fact we have one member (Shilling) who has gone MIA, the rest of us will do our best to preview and review as many events as we can.
I will be at Isotopes games most of the time (the longest homestand of the season exactly coincides with A.B.W., of course), but from my command chair in the press box I will be rapidly editing posts and keeping the Crew on track.
Now take note that we are not wealthy beer drinkers, so a lot of the more expensive beer dinners will not be covered, but we will be at a lot of the tastings and other events, all culminating in celebrating Franz Solo’s 30th birthday at the massive Blues & Brews beer festival at Sandia Casino on May 27.
Here is the massive schedule of Beer Week, with some details included. You can also go to the official site for more info.
- Chama River will be playing host to the kickoff beer dinner ($45 per person, reservations required) at 6:30 p.m. I will skip this to cover baseball, but I will visit Chama tonight (Wednesday) to finally get my hands on some 3 Dog Night Baltic porter.
- For the young, or the young-at-heart, live or relive your college days with a beer pong tournament at Spectators, starting at 7 p.m.
- As the ABQ Beer Geek put it best “bust your best Izod out of the closet” and head for Imbibe, where Durango’s Ska Brewing will have a special release of its DIFF, a flavor-loaded Belgian Wit.
- E-Rock plans to be in attendance for the Beer 101 class being held at Marble from 6 to 8 p.m. Reservations are required and it costs $10, but hey, you get to try 10 beers along the way, so that works out.
- Three local bars — Billy’s Long Bar, Stone Face Tavern, Horse and Angel Tavern — will all have the Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock on tap. It is a rare release of a quality beer from the craft brewing pioneers.
- Imbibe is at it again, this time with a special release of a beer from Green Flash Brewing, one of the newer and more successful breweries in the San Diego area. No details have been released as to exactly what kind of beer they are unveiling, so Franz Solo said he would try to investigate.
- The Whole Foods at Carlisle and Indian School, which employs a lot of local musicians during the day and thus deserves your support, will be playing host to a tasting event from 5 to 7 p.m. No further details have been released as to who or what will be on tap, so stay tuned.
- As E-Rock noted in his last post, the 505 Five Collaboration beer is set to be released Friday at all five of the breweries that created it. So stop on by Chama, Il Vicino Canteen, La Cumbre, Marble or Nexus and enjoy a pint or two.
- Just as a side note, do the world a favor and root for Bayern Munich to crush Chelsea in the Champions League final (it’s Europe’s Super Bowl, for those who don’t follow soccer), which airs at 12:30 p.m. on Fox. Odds are a lot of breweries will be showing the game, so stop on by and double up on the enjoyment.
- The Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival is back at Balloon Fiesta Park for the weekend and there will be a craft brewers tent, filled with lots of Celtic-themed beers. The Craic Festival will feature beers from Abby Brewing, Blue Corn, Chama River, Il Vicino, La Cumbre, Marble, Santa Fe, Second Street, Tractor and Turtle Mountain. The entire festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. You can buy a one-day pass for $15 or a two-day pass for $20. The beer is not totally free, you can get samples to pick your favorite and then pints are $4 apiece.
- The ABQ Trolley’s Ale Trail is back again this year, but sadly it is all sold out, and even the Crew did not manage to get a ticket in time. Good luck to all of those who are hopping on board.
- Tractor Brewing’s Tap Room in Nob Hill will be playing host to the Pint-for-Pint event, a blood drive donation co-sponsored by Isotopes Brewing Co. If you stop by Tractor to donate blood, you will get an Isotopes pint glass, a $5 Tractor gift certificate and other beer coupons. We just don’t recommend you start drinking after giving blood. But your needle-phobic friends can always stop by and enjoy themselves while they wait for you. The event starts at noon and runs until about 4:30. Reservations are going fast, so click here and put your name in if you can.
- Our little Nexus Brewery is growing up fast! Come celebrate the one-year anniversary with a beer brunch at 11 a.m. and a BBQ at 2 p.m. There will be live music, a special imperial Scottish ale will be on tap and there will be plenty of excellent food. The BBQ will feature Nexus’ original red chili BBQ sauce, so those with strong tastebuds should start lining up.
- Another trendy Nob Hill joint, Zinc, will be playing host to a Marble beer dinner at 6 p.m. Get your reservations in, but remember it is $35 and since it’s Zinc, hopefully you have another Izod handy.
- Two Fools Tavern, an old favorite in Nob Hill, will be the home of multiple special tappings during Beer Week. First up will be a TBA offering from Il Vicino, beginning at 5 p.m. and continuing until they run out.
- Like beer? Like cheese, too? Then you are in luck as Marble brings back its beer & cheese pairings from 4 to 7 p.m. The cost is $15.
- Local legend Ben Miller, who won the Sam Adams longshot competition a few years back, will unveil his new Belgian Dark Strong at ABQ Brew Pub in uptown. The beer will go on tap at noon, while Miller himself will stop by to talk to the masses around 5 p.m.
- Two Fools will tap the Widmer Brothers Brrrrbon ’11, a 9.5-percent ABV beast. If you love bourbon barrel-style beers, drop by to check this one out.
- O’Niell’s Nob Hill will play host to the first of its tasting events, this one brought by the good folks from Colorado’s Odell Brewing, from 5 to 7 p.m.
- Think you know beer? Round up some friends and head down to Tricklock Theater Co.’s space on Gold and 2nd Street (next to The Box) at 7 p.m. for Tractor’s Tournament of Trivia! Make sure you sign up first at the tap room; the cost is $10 per person. As a bonus, Tractor’s Lauren and Nathan (who are both actors currently performing in the rock musical F8, though you probably know Lauren from her YouTube role as Lynette in the S@#$ Burquenos Say videos) will be hosting in character, whatever that means.
- O’Niell’s Nob Hill will have a La Cumbre tasting from 5 to 7 p.m., while Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum IPA will be tapped at Two Fools starting at 5 p.m.
- Il Vicino Canteen will be serving both its excellent Sasquatch Scotch on cask as well as unveiling a special IPA, “Albuquerque Hops-pitality.”
- We are not sure what it is, but the trendy Nob Hill Bar & Grill will be playing host to an event called New Belgium vs. “New Belgium.” Um, OK, sure. When more details are available, we will post them.
Wednesday, May 23
- This may go down as the ultimate tapping/tasting night. Red Hook’s Pilsner will be on tap at Two Fools, Marble will have Real Ale Night (details TBA), Billy’s Long Bar has Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum IPA on tap if you missed the previous night’s event, New Belgium tasting will be at O’Niell’s Nob Hill and Rogue Ales tasting will be at O’Niell’s Juan Tabo. Phew. Got all that? That’s a lot of great beer. Franz Solo promises he will be with his beloved Rogue (he once told us we can scatter his ashes at the brewery in Oregon).
- There are two exclusive beer dinners as well this night. The Fat Squirrel Pub welcomes La Cumbre for a $45 beer dinner, while Quarters on Wyoming has the North Coast Old Stock Vertical dinner, which is limited to all of 10 people, so get your reservation in ASAP if you are interested in this NorCal brewery.
Thursday, May 24
- More tastings: Oregon’s awesome Deschutes Brewery will be unleashing the goodness at O’Niell’s Juan Tabo while Rogue Ales will head to O’Niell’s Nob Hill for a second night of greatness. Both are from 5 to 7 p.m.
- Two Fools will have a special tapping of Left Hand’s Week Sauce, a burly coffee porter, starting at 5 p.m.
- The Red Hook Tap Takeover will occur at yet another trendy spot, Ibiza, in Nob Hill from 6 to 8 p.m.
- Kelly’s Brew Pub in Nob Hill will have a special beer release of its own. Details to come.
Friday, May 25
- Imbibe will have both a beer trivia event (starting at 6 p.m., details TBA) and welcome Santa Fe Brewing’s Chicken Killer barleywine and Black IPA to the taps from 5 to 7 p.m.
- New Belgium and Montana’s Big Sky will have special tappings at Two Fools, starting at 5 p.m. New Belgium will unveil Cocoa Mole’, a beer with chocolate and spicy ingredients, while Big Sky’s release is TBA.
- Colorado’s Oskar Blues will have a tasting at O’Niell’s Juan Tabo while SoCal’s Stone Brewing will be at O’Niell’s Nob Hill. Both are from 5 to 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 26
- If you cannot make it to Tractor for Pint-for-Pint this Saturday, there is another up the freeway at Santa Fe Brewing. Check back for more details.
- Southwest Grape and Grain will have a homebrewing demonstration. Check back for more details, as I imagine will be sending the Crew’s homebrewer extraordinaire, Cryptogrind, to this event.
- Oskar Blues will have a tasting at O’Niell’s Nob Hill from 6 to 8 p.m., while Odell Brewing will be over at Billy’s Long Bar with all of its beers available for $3 a pint all day and night.
Sunday, May 27
- The big one finally arrives: ABQ Blues & Brews kicks off for the masses at 3 p.m. and runs until 6 p.m. (unless you paid extra for a VIP ticket, then you get in at 2 p.m.) Sandia Resort and Casino is the host for this 30-plus brewery event. Just make sure you have a designated driver on hand, or else grab a hotel room upstairs. We are hoping to have the entire Crew at this event, so keep an eye out for us (E-Rock is working on our T-shirts now for easier identification). And don’t forget to find our friend and inspiration for this blog, the ABQ Beer Geek, who should be present as well.
That is all from the Crew for now. Check back here often as we will do our best to cover as much of Beer Week as we can!