As promised a little while ago, the Crew has resurrected this bi-weekly feature. This is where we share short reviews of the various beers we have tried of late from local breweries and from microbreweries across the nation.

Since it has been a while since we have done one of these, I fear some of the guys might go overboard in a sheer number of reviews. Well, maybe they will. This is also us trying to find that free time amid work/school/sports coverage (we really can’t call what I do “work,” can we?) to jot stuff down. While it’s easy for this professional freelance writer to churn out copy quickly, the others, well, I at least know they don’t type with one finger. At least I hope they don’t.

Anyway, as always we divide this between local beers on tap and bottled beers from around the country.

Far Darrig Red Ale is well worth the trip to Bosque.

Far Darrig Red Ale is well worth the trip to Bosque Brewing.

Local brews

Bosque’s Far Darrig Red Ale: A malty blast of goodness, without too much sweetness like some Irish-style reds tend to have. This is a strong, flavorful brew but at the same time it is smooth and drinkable. It rather perfectly bridges that summer-to-autumn gap. The best comparison is Il Vicino’s Irish Red and the Far Darrig is very close in quality. It is a seasonal and those tend to often go quickly at Bosque, so head over ASAP for a pint or a growler fill. — Stoutmeister

Broken Bottle’s Highway 6 Scottish Ale: This one was delightfully smooth and as the pint warmed a bit I got a nice blast of peaty smoky goodness. Perhaps not my favorite Scottish (maybe I’m biased after the glorious Beam Me Up from Nexus), but very drinkable and worth a taste. — Franz Solo

I also had this one while watching my football team gag away its season opener. Thankfully, the beer was good enough to keep me distracted. The peat-smoked flavor was present early and late, but never to an overwhelming degree. Less sweet and malty than some other Scottish ales. It was the winner of a homebrewing challenge at BBB. — Stoutmeister

Broken Bottle’s Year Two IPA: Wow, did this one improve from last year in my opinion. The new batch includes some of my favorite hops (Willamette) which give it a lovely berry front end. What comes next in terms of flavor is the best elements from one of my personal favorites from BBB: Nacho Brau. These two beers are of a kind, with the IPA finishing nice and crisply. In a word, I LOVED this beer as an excellent alternative to some of the other offerings around town at this time. — Franz Solo

The Panama Joe Coffee Stout has become a regular feature at the Crew's weekend beer brunches.

The Panama Joe Coffee Stout has become a regular feature at the Crew’s weekend beer brunches.

Il Vicino’s Panama Joe Coffee Stout: I was very pleased that this one made a triumphant return to the Vicino lineup, a rare dark beer to end the summer. Delicious strong coffee aroma and flavor at the beginning well balanced with good strong stout malts. This was not as overwhelming in terms of coffee flavor as last year’s and all in all a wonderful stout. — Franz Solo

Il Vicino’s Wine Barrel Aged Golden Strong: I had this one during ABQ Beer Week at the Double Barrel tasting in April and it was really quite good, if a little young. The latest release was simply magical, sweet Cabernet with potent Belgian character, almost like drinking a really good mead. At the time of this posting Vicino has re-released the other of their barrel aged Belgians, the Dark Strong, which I also highly recommend and will be sampling soon. — Franz Solo

Il Vicino’s Sucellus Dry Stout: This beer is Denver-bound as the winner of IVBC’s Pro-Am homebrew challenge. As the name might imply, it is as dry as a beer can be. The roasted elements are somewhat muted. This is more akin to a regular Guinness stout, though it does have the feel of being as thick. I hope it does fairly well in the Pro-Am competition, though it’s not as good as the Coconut Porter from last year. — Stoutmeister

Il Vicino’s Dark American Lager: Another GABF entry, this beer looks and feels like a brown ale. It has some flavor, but seems to be missing something that would give the extra oomph it lacks. I liked their Dark Matter Pilsner a lot more than this. It’s just too light of a beer. — Stoutmeister

La Cumbre’s Who Gose There: Well, here’s something you don’t see around the 505 … ever. Honestly, I was a virgin to this style, but La Cumbre never really disappoints. A tall wheat body, with a somewhat complex hop profile, citrus notes abound. A light and crisp finish with a slightly tangy/sour hit in the finish. Refreshing and not too strong, this drinks like a very sessionable wheat beer. Definitely unique and different from other wheat beers, though. Try this if you like your pints crisp, tangy, and refreshing. — Brandon Daniel

Nexus’ American Amber Ale: More hops and less malt than your standard amber, this lies at the other end of the spectrum than the Alaskan Amber I reviewed last week. The hops are certainly not overwhelming, it’s a little closer to a pale ale and makes this drier than one would expect from an amber. Over time it mellows out and just becomes an easy-drinking beer to have alongside your chicken and waffles. — Stoutmeister

Out-of-town beers

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen: I’m typically not a fan of rauchbiers (there have been some bad ones), but this was a surprise procurement from a trip to Total Wine. The smoke flavor is very good, very consistent which one would expect from a beer that has been brewed for centuries in a small town in Bavaria. They use only beechwood to roast the malts and then age this beer in all-copper vessels for several months. If you want a smoked beer that is exactly what the title indicates, this is your beer; really good smoke flavor with a delightful Märzen base. — Franz Solo

Anderson Valley’s Fall Hornin’ Ale: I like this beer quite a bit, it may be too sweet for some palates, but I really enjoyed the pumpkin spices that are almost like pumpkin pie or marshmallow sweet potatoes. My one wish is that it were just a tad stronger in alcohol content, but for a pumpkin fall seasonal, very good. — Franz Solo

Of course a bunch of metal-loving beer reviewers went to Jubilation and bought this bomber.

Of course a bunch of metal-loving beer reviewers went to Jubilation and bought this bomber.

Robinson’s Trooper: Okay, I was excited but skeptical for this one. But a beer created by Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson? Of course I’m going to try it! And it was pretty solid overall. Earthy hop notes and biscuit are present in the nose. Drinks smooth with a medium body, and caramel, toffee, and almost a cookie flavor in there. Roasted malt and hop bitterness are pretty mild for an ESB, but pleasant. This would be a decent starting point for someone not used to the ESB style (an underrated one, if I do say so). Finishes mellow with more biscuit and caramel, bitterness fades quickly. Pretty solid stuff; run to the hills and grab some … I mean, run to the liquor store! — Brandon Daniel

Stone’s Götterdämmerung 17 Anniversary IPA: A monster of a beer. Fresh, flavorful, bitter, bold, awesome, all wrapped in the same bomber. I’ll take this one against any other IPA from 2013 as the best of the year. I’ve had three of these so far and I’m hooked so if you love hops and a mosh pit of hops try this guy! — Franz Solo

Uinta Punk’n Harvest Pumpkin Ale: It’s that time of year for pumpkin beers! This is probably the most solid of the few I’ve tried this season. The nose is slight pumpkin, cinnamon, and clove, with slightly earthy hops. A light-to-medium bodied ale, the pumpkin flavors are fresh and accompanied by cinnamon, clove, some caramel and toffee. It has a smooth mouthfeel, with a touch of vanilla. I was hoping for more pronounced pumpkin, but it’s enough to make this one an enjoyable seasonal brew. It will certainly bring the feeling of fall to your palate. — Brandon Daniel

Local beers we’d like to try but have not had (yet)

Chama River’s Last Minute Ale; Il Vicino’s Hell(y)es; La Cumbre’s Hoppy & Weiss and Project Dank: Operation Drown Moses; Turtle Mountain’s Dark Star Black IPA and Molasses Porter; plus any and all beers from breweries in Farmington, Taos, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Portales, Deming, and Las Cruces!

If any of you readers have tried these and would like to share (or pretty much any beer available in NM, for that matter), please send your short reviews of 100 words or so to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com. Please include whatever name you would like to go by. You can also direct message us your reviews on Facebook.

* * * *

That’s all from us this time around. We’re going to try to move this feature back to Fridays in the future. Thanks for reading and we will be back in about two-plus weeks (tentatively Oct. 4) with our next beer roundup.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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