The Great Beer Roundup: Slowdown summer


Stoutmeister here with another Beer Roundup. We did the last one three weeks ago but hope to stick to more of a biweekly schedule from here on out (the July 4 extended holiday weekend threw us off). As we stated last time, the idea of the Beer Roundup is to provide our readers with short reviews of the beers we try at local breweries and, starting this time around, the beers we purchase to take home from in-state and out-of-state breweries. Think of it as a big old collection of our suggested beers for your weekend activities … which we’re releasing on a Monday, but only this time. It will go back to being a Friday feature next time.

The two Brew Crew members on the left have had free time to enjoy beer lately. The busy guys on the right have not.
The two Brew Crew members on the left have had free time to enjoy beer lately. The busy guys on the right have not.

With all that being said, we’re still open to people providing reviews of the beers we haven’t tried. Yes, you, gentle reader, can chime in on the discussion. You can send us a one-paragraph review at or via our Facebook page.

To help you out with that, at the suggestion of our friend Josh “Be a Hoptimist” Sanders, here is a list of some of the beers we have wanted to try but have not gotten around to at local breweries:

Bosque Brewing — Saison Rouge; Broken Bottle — Jurye 4th Brown, Don Cherry Wheat; Chama River — Cold Crush Kolsch, Bock to the Future II, Sunset Red; Marble — Bier, American Gold; Turtle Mountain — Genesis IPA, Triple Play Pale Ale

There are others, of course, and if anyone is up in Santa Fe or the Taos area or pretty much anywhere in New Mexico with a locally-made beer, share that with us, too.

Brewery beers

Nexus’ Chocolate Porter

Stoutmeister: This delectable beer is back at Nexus. Hooray. This batch is not as sweet and overwhelmingly chocolate as the last one. It has a better balance between the sweetness and the roasted malts. The mouthfeel is thicker than most summer beers but it still works despite the warm season outside. For those craving dark beer in the summer, Nexus has come through for you (ditto Tractor and its Milk Stout).

Sandia Chile Grill’s Sun Ranger, Rattlesnake IPA, and Smooth Move Amber

Stoutmeister: I grabbed small samples of these (I had an Isotopes game to cover later, so I could not indulge in a full pint) when I stopped by to talk to Mickey and Clinton about what they had on tap for The Week Ahead in Beer. The Amber was first. As the name implies, it is very smooth and light on the palate. This is a good starter beer; it won’t linger too long. I prefer beers with a little more oomph and body. The Sun Ranger is a variation on their Irish red. It is also light on the palate but with a nice, malty sweetness that hits you in the middle. This is a tasty and refreshing beer, perfect for summer. The Rattlesnake IPA has been confounding Clinton since he started brewing it. The guys from Il Vicino have given him some advice, so I look forward to the next batch. This current batch had a bit of an odd flavor profile. There are some hops present but they lack the bite you normally associate with an IPA.

Tractor’s Milk Stout

Stoutmeister: Oh, how I missed thee, Milk Stout. It is good to have you back. This is not an overly sweet stout. There are still some nice roasted malt flavors that mix in with the creamy sweetness, giving this beer a good amount of balance. The mouthfeel is lighter than most stouts, so it fits the warmer season. I just find it nice that Tractor is still willing to give us a dark seasonal beer when everybody else is churning out the light-colored stuff in the summer. You can do both, brewers!

Take-home beers

I left this section to the dynamic duo of Franz Solo and Brandon. They each even wrote an intro.

Franz Solo: Well, let’s go through the past month and really dig deep to find the best gems (there have been many, many good brews worthy of mentioning). I’ve mostly stuck to what I’ve been stocking my beer fridge with, lots of bombers of really strong double imperial behemoths of beers so here’s a couple of my favorites of late.

Brandon: I feel a slight bit of shame, as time to make it out to our local watering holes has been hard to come by for me lately; thus, most of my beer consumption has been at home, so here are some of the bombers and bottles that have graced my fridge recently.

Anytime you relate a beer to a mosh pit, you know at least a couple of us are gonna buy it and drink it.
Anytime you relate a beer to a mosh pit, you know at least a couple of us are gonna buy it and drink it.

Stone’s RuinTen

Franz Solo: This monster of an IPA is the 10th anniversary of my personal favorite IPA, Ruination. It smells like an ocean of hops and sandblasts you in the face right from the start. We have a superb amber color like liquid gold and the first taste hits like an IPL without the sweetness, a truly metal beer that lives up to the maxim on the bottle: “A stage dive into a mosh pit of hops.” If this beer was a metal show it would be Slayer and Pantera back-to-back for double sets. Now, I’d spend a good long while describing the subtle … waaaaaait, there are no subtle flavors here, and that time could be much better spent enjoying what is a 10-year homage to my favorite IPA! So if you have a chance, head to Jubilation to pick one of these up while you can. Pröst!

Brandon: I appreciate a cacophony of hops in my beer here and there. However, Stone’s RuinTen KILLED MY PALATE. As Franz wrote, there is really nothing subtle about the hops packed into this anniversary offering of the Ruination IPA. You pick up resin, citrus, light floral offerings, and an almost nonexistent malt profile. RuinTen claims to be “a stage dive into a mosh pit of hops;” I’d say it was more like being in the middle of a wall of death at a Sick Of It All show (needless to say, it took me back to my hardcore punk roots). Definitely not for the faint of heart. If you like a hoppy kick in the teeth, turn your stereo to 11, pour one of these and bang your head.

Lagunitas Lucky 13 Imperial Red Ale

Franz Solo: This beer had an enormous head, very creamy with a strong hoppy aroma. It drank and tasted almost like a barleywine, but was exceptionally smooth for the ABV of 8.65 percent and clocking in at 76.92 IBU’s. I would have liked a tad more malt presence in this burly red monster, but we are talking about Lagunitas here so I will let that slide (re: Hop Stoopid IPA). I’d rate this one as nearly on par with Il Vicino’s Odin’s Imperial Red with a slight edge to Odin.

It's a strange name for a beer, but hey, it works.
It’s a strange name for a beer, but hey, it works.

Rogue’s Dad’s Little Helper

Franz Solo: This had an incredibly thick and wonderfully creamy head, not unlike that of a milk stout, but not much in the way of any aroma. The first taste had a delightful double whammy with a little coffee and a delightful bite of hops. This almost had a wavelike quality in the flavors, which would do a wonderful cresting of hops leading down to just a delightfully bitter, slightly burnt finish like good dark coffee. As I poured a second glass, the dark creamy head came back just as strongly as at the start. Delightful!

Anderson Valley Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout

Franz Solo: I had this one twice, once on a Friday evening and then while I was grilling on the Fourth of July. It lives up very much to the billing that it tastes and smells like Wild Turkey. There are strong hints of raisins and a very crisp and creamy head.  You pick up the aroma of Hunter S. Thompson’s favorite whiskey (“buy the ticket, take the ride”). I’m astounded at the amount of flavor that came out of this very full bourbon barrel stout as it only clocked in at 6 percent ABV! I am very impressed with this beer and it’s one I could certainly drink all day.

Sierra Nevada Barrel-Aged Bigfoot Barleywine Ale

Brandon: Now, I know what you are probably thinking, and yes this beer came out months ago. I’ve been storing a bomber of this to age a bit and just couldn’t resist popping it open recently. The folks at SNB did a wonderful job here: mellow resiny hops, oak hints throughout that play well with the strong malt base. A helping of vanilla and toasted coconut hits around the middle and helps provide a smooth mouthfeel. A big beer that is oh-so-smooth but big in ABV, this is a good beer to end the evening with. Delicious stuff.

Rogue’s Captain Sig’s Northwestern Ale

Brewed in honor of Sig, Edgar and Norman Hansen (you may be familiar with their crab wrangling on “The Deadliest Catch”), Rogue classifies this brew as an India Red Ale. It leans more towards the red end of things, though, as the hops are light and floral, though they give good support to the malt bill found in the rest of the beer. A medium-bodied ale that drinks smooth and still provides a good deal of caramel throughout. A nice flavorful beer for those looking for a richer taste in the summer months, without being too heavy.

* * * *

All right, that’s it from us for this time around. We should have E-Rock back from his California “work” excursion and hopefully we get Shilling out to more than just a soccer game in the next two weeks (though it was good game, even though the Rapids lost). Oh, and Porter Pounder might finally be done with his movie … eh, probably not. Even when that one ends, another shall begin.


— Stoutmeister

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