Stoutmeister here with our official preview of WinterBrew, set for Friday at the Santa Fe Farmers Market. This is the one beer festival none of us managed to get to last year, so this time around I will head up alone and make sure to cross it off the old beer-bucket list of life. I bought my ticket in advance via the New Mexico Brewers Guild website, which proved to be a good move as most of the tickets on sale at breweries in Albuquerque and Santa Fe have sold out.
The good news is that WinterBrew runs from 4 to 8 p.m. This is good because the RailRunner does not leave ABQ until after 4 p.m. (specifically 4:26 downtown, 4:41 Journal Center) and arrives at the Santa Fe Depot at 6:03 p.m. What a wonderful train schedule, no? So unless you don’t have work and can go spend all day in Santa Fe (there are worse things), you’re probably going to be like me and miss half the festival. So to all those locals and folks daring to drive who get there at 4, please leave the rest of us some beer! Also, the last train leaves SF for ABQ at 9 p.m. on the dot, but thankfully the good folks at 2nd Street’s Railyard location are holding an after-party, so we can always hang out there for an hour.
Now, onto the important stuff, which is namely this: What beers are going to be on hand? Well, as of Wednesday afternoon, there were a lot of “we hope to have this” and “we’re debating this one or this one” amongst the breweries. So what lies below should be taken as a tentative list, with a big old asterisk attached. I do my best to prepare your palate, but then again, who doesn’t love a good surprise or two?
Blue Corn: The plan right now is to have BC’s pilsner, IPA, stout, and an imperial porter aged in bourbon barrels. This is one of those breweries I keep meaning to visit but never get around to, and in the past they have only brought the IPA and (I think) the pilsner down to Septemberfest, so I am eager to try their stout (natch) and definitely am looking forward to an imperial porter, a rare style.
Bosque: The new Boss Pale Ale will lead the list of five beers that ABQ’s newest brewery is taking north. Also on hand will be crowd favorites like the Scotia Scotch Ale, Brewer’s Boot (amber ale), and Olde Bosky (porter), one of my personal favorites.
Chama River: Two regular beers and two seasonals will highlight Chama’s offerings. I am personally looking forward to sampling the new Serenity Milk Stout. Sadly, this beer does not come with a free brown coat or a chance to meet Summer Glau. It will have to stand on its own. Also on tap will be the seasonal Simcoe Pale Ale, plus Chama stalwarts in the Jackalope IPA and the Class VI Golden Lager.
Duel: Santa Fe’s next brewery, which is not yet open for business, will be bringing two of its future flagship beers to WinterBrew in the Titian Ale, a classic Belgian, and the Dark Ryder, a darker Belgian as the name might imply. While I am not big on the Belgians in general, I will make sure to try the Dark Ryder, as Stone recently did its best to change my mind about the genre with the Vertical Epic 12.12.12.
High Desert: No brewery had a longer trip ahead of them than High Desert, traveling up from Las Cruces, so I understand that they were not able to call me back with a list. I look forward to seeing what they will surprise us all with, since I have not had an HDBC beer since visiting there a couple years ago.
La Cumbre: The plan for one of ABQ’s heavyweights was still up in the air, though the odds are good that Jefe’s Hefe, Elevated IPA, and South Peak Pilsner will make the trip up I-25. One or more seasonals or another regular or two could also sneak onto the truck Friday.
Marble: Still waiting to hear back from ABQ’s biggest brewery. If they let me know tonight or tomorrow, I’ll update.
Nexus: The delicious Chocolate Porter will head Nexus’ lineup, with their regular stout and IPA also on hand. Brewer Manuel said he is debating between the regular cream ale and the imperial cream ale as the fourth member of Friday’s ensemble. Hard to go wrong with either, in my opinion.
Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca: The GABF gold medal winner, Sierra Blanca’s Nut Brown Ale, will lead the list from Moriarty’s flagship brewery. The Pancho Verde Chile Cerveza, Outlaw Lager, and IPA will also be available. If anyone runs out of steam in terms of sampling, RG/SB will have bottles of its beer for sale so you can take them home.
Santa Fe: Nothing is certain with New Mexico’s oldest brewery, but they hope to have their Black IPA, Happy Camper IPA, and Java Stout on tap. Either the pale ale or nut brown will round out the lineup. In addition, they plan to have the burly Kickin’ Chicken (barley wine) for sale in bottles, if you dare to tackle that beast of a beer.
2nd Street: There is no such thing as a host brewery at WinterBrew, but if there was, it would be 2nd Street, whose Railyard location is right by the Farmers Market. In the spirit of this, 2nd Street is bringing EIGHT beers to the event. Wow. The list features stalwarts like IPA, a German-style pilsner, Rod’s Best Bitter (ESB), Pajarito Pale Ale, a brown ale, the cream stout, and Alternator (a double alt beer). New to the list is Outlier, a new seasonal that screams “TRY ME!” After reading this list, there is a pretty decent chance your best chance to find me at WinterBrew is to just camp out by the 2nd Street table.
Tractor: I guess Dave and company are just planning to surprise us all with their lineup for Friday. Again, if they get back to me, I will update.
Turtle Mountain: Hopheads can rejoice with the news that Turtle’s Hoptimus Prime (DIPA) will be batting cleanup on Friday. The American Wheat will be on hand for those looking for something lighter. Turtle had yet to settle on its last two beers. If they want our advice, the Ironman Black IPA and Celtic Brown would be wonderful additions to the roster. … And then on Thursday afternoon, Turtle did indeed announce that the Ironman and Celtic would be making the trip up I-25! Great beer minds do think alike!
Well, that should whet your appetite for great beer Friday. I will be at the event (bearded dude, glasses, black hoodie) whenever the RailRunner gets me there. Feel free to say hello.
And don’t forget the Brew Crew’s first anniversary party on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Back Alley Draft House. Then you can meet all of us and enjoy some new beers from Goat Head. It’s free to get in (you still have to pay for the beer) and all are welcome!