Hey, everybody, happy 12-12-12 to one and all. Stoutmeister here, finally getting around to recapping our recent visit behind the scenes at Marble. Yeah, I know, us Crew guys are always bragging about our insider access, but in this case, we (E-Rock was along for the ride, as per usual) were not alone this past Friday. That is because every first Friday of the month, ordinary citizens and beer bloggers alike can take a free tour of Marble’s massive brewing operation. And you get a free, 10-ounce beer sampler to keep you company!
Seriously, how have most of you failed to take advantage of this awesomeness? We were two of about 10 people who ventured behind the tap room and into the brewery itself. With sales manager Angelo Orona as our guide, we got the full tour, while armed with our samples of the Brown Porter (in a twist, guess what I ordered a full pint of while I was waiting in the tap room?). The ABQ Beer Geek brought us our samples, prompting Angelo to point out the fact that this man was the original beer blogger for the 505, and the Beer Geek in turn quickly deflected attention by pointing our who E-Rock and I were.
Yup, we’re celebrities now. Not really, but it was a fun little moment. Anyway, to the tour itself (we have a full photo album up on our Facebook page, otherwise this would have gotten cluttered).
Angelo started us where beer starts, explaining the process of malting barley and showing us the various malts used for some of Marble’s specialty beers. The primary malt used by Marble is in the giant silo that sits outside, but there were bags and bags of yummy additional malts for the darker beers and the like piled up inside.
From there we got to climb up and look inside the humongous mash tun and get an idea of what the process of turning all that malt, water, and hops into wort has to take. Since it was basically the weekend at that point (5:30 p.m.), there were no beers being brewed in that initial stage, so it was fun to look inside the machine and realize how much you do not want to ever fall in there.
After checking out the fermenters and talking more about the brewing process, we stepped inside the cooler to see where all the magical elixir comes from for all the patrons out in the tap room. We got to check out the brewery’s bottling system, marvel at the sheer number of cases of beer stacked up, ready for transport to liquor and grocery stores, and at all the kegs that your favorite local bars will soon be receiving of delicious Marble beer.
Oh, and there were those barrels, those wonderful, wonderful whiskey barrels where the next batch of Marble Reserve was aging. This year’s batch is scheduled to be tapped in the late winter/early spring, so before you charge off to Arizona to see if the Dodgers are really going to be as good as the money they have spent, you might want to stop by Marble first.
So the next time the first Friday of the month rolls around, make sure to make your way to Marble for the free tour. You will not be disappointed. And if the Beer Geek brings you the sample glass, make sure to tell him the Crew sent you. I promise, he won’t roll his eyes or anything like that. Hopefully.