Beer Week: Colorado and Oregon invade, we approve

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E-Rock and Franz Solo each made trips out for Thursday’s ABQ Beer Week events in Nob Hill. They offer up their thoughts on all the great beers that were available.

Rogue Nation seized control at O’Niell’s in Nob Hill, much to the delight of Franz Solo and E-Rock!

Once again, I found myself at beer tastings on Nob Hill. I started the day’s tastings at Two Fools where I ran into the ABQ Craft Beer Drinkers crew. They graciously invited me to their table to join them in a tasting of Left Hand’s Week Sauce, a coffee porter. Once again, Left Hand reminded me why they are my favorite out-of- state brewery. The coffee porter had the perfect amount of espresso taste in this delicious and smooth offering. If you are a fan of Marble’s Oatmeal Stout, then you are going to love the Week Sauce, a beer brewed especially for beer weeks across the country.

Next, I was off to O’Niell’s for a Rogue Brewery tasting. Due to a filing error, I did not have enough money on hand to buy the two pints that Rogue had on tap. However, I had no problem heading over to their free sample table and trying four other beers that they had on hand. First up was the Hazelnut Brown, which was amazing. The sweet hazelnut flavor would make for an irresistible dessert beer. It was my favorite of the four.

Then I had the Mocha Porter. It was good, but not nearly as smooth and tasty as Left Hand’s Week Sauce. Next up was the John John Ale, which is the Dead Guy Ale aged for 21 days in a whiskey barrel. The secondary aging process gave this beer a sweet whiskey taste that was not overpowering. I ended this stretch of tasting with the Double Dead Guy. This beer was very malty, but not as sweet as the John John Ale.

All in all, it was a great night filled with delicious beers. This evening I will double check my wallet and make sure I have enough cash to properly enjoy Stone Brewery’s offerings at O’Niell’s in Nob Hill. I hope to see you there.

Cheers!

— E-Rock

Rogue Nation invaded Albuquerque the past two evenings and it was glorious! The tasting lineup was a good roundup of some of the basic Rogue beers that I have enjoyed over the years and a couple of the excellent variations on the classic Dead Guy Ale. But the showstopper was the fact that the XS Imperial Russian was on tap alongside the aforementioned Dead Guy.

I had the chance to taste a couple of the XS series ales in bomber form in the past, but having this one, in particular on tap, was simply magical. This one packs a punch with a nearly impenetrable black-hole-like color, a dark copper head and an aroma that is dank, like good tilled earth. This one is a fire-breathing dragon when it comes to flavor, certainly not for the meek, or for those who avoid darker beers like they were the plague or something, but for those of us who have a love of the darkness (dark side!) this one delivers so well that I was forced to give it a triple helping!

Now, even with this delicious lineup and the appearance of the XS, this is but a small snapshot of the Rogue empire. If you ever chance to be in the Pacific Northwest, head to Newport, Oregon, where the brewery lies and you will be assaulted with more than 30 varieties on tap which form a galaxy of flavors, styles and just plain good beer!

In any event, this tasting was most welcome and I look forward to enjoying more of Rogue Nation!

— Franz Solo

Friday’s Beer Week events

  • Imbibe will be playing host to two big events. Santa Fe Brewing is bringing its Chicken Killer Barleywine and Black IPA (on draft) to the Nob Hill joint for folks to enjoy. That will run from 5 to 7 p.m. Also, there will be another beer trivia contest. It’s only a $5 entry fee per person. Team registration begins at 6 p.m. and the contest starts at 7 p.m. There will be plenty of Beer Week prizes on hand.
  • Two Fools will be doubling up on out-of-state brews for their taps at 5 p.m. New Belgium’s Cocoa Mole’ will occupy one tap, while Montana’s Big Sky will offer up … something. Nothing is listed at the moment on the Beer Week events page, but I’m sure whatever they are bringing will be tasty.
  • O’Niell’s Juan Tabo will have another round of tasting from 5 to 7 p.m. as Colorado’s Oskar Blues shows off its finest creations. Samples of Dale’s Pale Ale, Deviant, Yellow Pilsner, and Old Chub will be available, while you can also buy full pints of G’Knight.
  • O’Niell’s Nob Hill will play host to Franz Solo. Oh, and So Cal’s Stone Brewing, one of Franz’s favorites, will be there with Sublimely Self Righteous, Smoked Porter, Oaked Arrogant Bastard, the classic IPA all available for sampling. Once you (and Franz) are done with that you can purchase full pints of Levitation, Arrogant Bastard, and Cali Belgique. This event will also run from 5 to 7 p.m.

Memorial Day weekend suggestions

If you are escaping ABQ (and the smoke cloud) this weekend for other, cooler parts of the state, seek out the breweries in those areas!

  • For the Taos area, start at Blue Heron Brewing along Highway 68, just past the Dixon exit on the left (river) side of the road. We recommend the Tarantula Trek Red Ale, the Amber’s Folly, and the Prieta Real Imperial Stout (though probably not if you’re doing the driving). If you have the time, and we think you should make time, head over toward Eagle Nest and look for a dirt road with a brewery sign on it to find your way to Comanche Creek Brewing. Find your way to the little log cabin and enjoy some Homestead Amber. Then swing north through Red River and loop your way back into Taos. Right off the main drag you will find the Taos Ale House across the street from the main post office. They are always brewing up something awesome, and something a little out of the ordinary, so make sure to stop on by.
  • If you are just heading to Santa Fe, the Big Three up there — Blue Corn, Santa Fe Brewing, Second Street — will be there for you as always. The Road Runner IPA tops the menu at Blue Corn, but the Atalaya Amber Ale and the End the of the Trail Brown Ale are worth a look as well. SFB will have its usual collection of powerhouse beers, plus an Oranjelo Belgian White will be featured for Small Batch Saturday at the main tasting room. The good folks at Second Street will have favorites like their E.S.B. and Cream Stout, plus summer styles including a Kolsch and the Rail Runner Pale Ale.

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