The Crew tackled the dirty dozen beers at Marble’s Son of Septemberfest on Saturday. Without further adieu, here are our quick reviews of those beers.

Between four of us, our table in the back of Marble was rather crowded at all times.

Between four of us, our table in the back of Marble was rather crowded at all times.

Abbey Brewing, Monk’s Tripel

Sweet, but not overly so. You don’t taste the alcohol, which could be an issue with this 9.2-percent ABV beast. It is easy to find in bombers at area liquor stores. — Stoutmeister

Thoroughly enjoyed this one a few times before, so the only surprise was that this seemed slightly milder from previous bombers I’d had. The ABV is definitely hidden so it’s a dangerous brew, but still a tasty treat. Mild sweetness, smooth and strong-bodied, with good yeast characteristics mainly present in the finish. — Brandon Daniel

Blue Corn, Smoked Plaza Porter

Oh, John Bullard, you’ve done it again. My personal favorite at SOS, this has a good smoked flavor without tasting like you’re drinking a campfire. It’s lighter in mouthfeel than a lot of porters, so it goes good even in the warmer months. I know it’s not too big of a shock that I went with the darkest beer on the day as my session-ending mug, but this would stand out even among a dozen other stouts and porters. — S

I hear Blue Corn’s name come up at these beer festivals these days and I get excited, as they have put out some outstanding beers recently. The Smoked Plaza Porter was no exception; a wonderful strong smokey porter, not strong enough to leave a burnt wood or charcoal flavor in your mouth. Healthy amounts of toasted caramel and coffee were present, with a slightly smooth mouthfeel to soak up some of the dryness.  Lighter bodied than most porters, but doesn’t lack a bit in flavor. Thoroughly impressed with Bullard’s brews, this was my favorite for the day, too. — BD

Probably one of my personal favorites from this festival. Not a very overwhelming porter, but a good flavor. This was one of the first of the few darker beers that we got to sample on the list of 12. Thank you, John Bullard for always keeping my taste buds happy! — Shilling

Bosque Brewing, Nor’wester (Chinook IPA)

I already had a pint of this over at Bosque. Nice, mild IPA, with piney hints and a tinge of vanilla from the Chinook hops. Very smooth, it’s basically the beer you would enjoy on the porch in the Cascade Mountains after a day of hiking/fishing/whatever-outdoorsy-people-do-these-days. For the non-hophead in your life, this is a good gift. — S

IPAs … the trend in beers continues. The guys at Bosque Brewing made this single-hop version shine though. The simplicity of this beer was the beautiful thing; it really allows the drinker to appreciate the floral qualities and slight touch of vanilla in the finish that makes it oh-so-smooth. As opposed to a complex hop profile beer, this would be a good intro for someone not used to IPAs, or just for hop aficionados in general. A real standout for me, I will definitely be filling my growler with some of this. — BD

Chama River, Apricot Wheat Ale

A friend who shall go nameless put it best (or worst): “I love making beer from the apricots that have fallen on the ground already and gotten covered in dirt.” The front end was fine, the back end tasted like a mouthful of earth. You can do a fruit wheat right, but this was not right. — S

Wheat beers, always hit or miss with me, personally. Apricots, more miss than hit. That being said, this was very mellow in the nose and much too earthy on the palate. It had a rough mouthfeel, light bodied, and not very redeeming in the finish. Can’t say I’d have another one of these but if you enjoy those characteristics in a beer, give it a shot. Otherwise, keep on walking. — BD

Il Vicino, Groping Gnome (Belgian IPA)

Danger, Will Robinson, danger! At least for me, this one tasted like a citrus bomb, so I discarded it quickly. Stupid rare allergy. — S

Belgian IPA hybrids seem to always lean too heavily towards one end of the spectrum. Groping Gnome was more citrus hop notes than anything, but the Belgian yeasts bring out those complex characteristics in the finish for this one. Was not expecting to enjoy this one, but it was tasty. — BD

La Cumbre, Project Dank

Now, for that hophead in your life, get them this little monster. A multi-hop assault on the senses, this was really good, but a full pint would probably kill your palate for a week. Or two. — S

Upon first getting a whiff of this brew, the general consensus of the Crew was “DAMN YOU, JEFF AND DANIEL!” I was convinced I would not be able to taste anything else for a while after this one. There was a lot to enjoy here if you love hop bombs. However, there is remarkable complexity with the blend of hops here that make it enjoyable as the flavors bounce around on your palate. I found this one to be an extremely potent, but enjoyable, brew. Do yourself a favor, though, and don’t bother having another beer after this as you won’t be able to taste much afterward. I threw caution to the wind and finished the ones the rest of the Crew couldn’t finish, because, well … I am all that is man. — BD (You also weren’t driving. — S)

If you follow our Twitter feed @nmdarksidebc (yes, shameless promotion) then you would have read, “Project Dank … Holy sh*t @LaCrumbreBrewing …” Normally this is not my favorite type of beer. However, if you are into the West Coast-style IPA that kicks you in the testicles and then leaves a fresh patch of hair on them, then this is your beer. View Discretion is Advised. — Shilling

The geek factor is high amongst the NMDSBC. Very high.

The geek factor is high amongst the NMDSBC. Very high.

Marble, Farmhouse 111

Yikes, not my genre of saison. It smelled like a barnyard, that’s for sure. Flavor wasn’t as bad, but it’s not my cup of tea. — S

Stoutmeister got it right, the nose on this put me off right away, but the flavor was actually decent. Sessionable, if you can get past the aromatics here. — BD

Strange, we pre-gamed at Two Fools and had a discussion about saisons. Anyway, I think I was more surprised that Marble’s entry wasn’t more of a fall/winter beer. Oh well, the Farmhouse wasn’t my favorite. I tend to get my first impression with beers with my nose and like my comrades said, this one just seemed off to me. But beers like this really depend on taste. Monica from the ABQ Craft Beer Drinkers Group picked this as her favorite. — Shilling

Nexus, American Amber Ale

Take a boring amber, hop it up a bit, and that’s what Manuel did with this dry, tart little beer. Like most Nexus beers, it’s still smooth as silk, going great with most of their tasty food. — S

Quite smooth, flavorful, and easy drinking. Sessionable, mild, but with enough caramel flavors and some kick in the finish. A nice, solid all-around beer. — BD

Santa Fe Brewing, Oktoberfest

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?! Well, our response was something like that. One of the great seasonal staples here in NM turned out … poorly. It was more sour than sweet, with some bizarre flavors on the periphery. I can only hope it was a bad batch; this beer was really good in the past. Anyone who has had it at the taproom up north or in cans, let us know if this was an aberration. — S

Words fail me on this one. Usually a good seasonal staple from Santa Fe, this batch was not good. A muddled mix of flavors and a tart finish (for some reason), along with a grainy mouthfeel all added up to weird looks exchanged amongst the four of us. Not sure how something that was so good went bad this time. — BD

When I think of a solid Oktoberfest, I think of Santa Fe Brewing Co. Sadly, this batch wasn’t what I was looking for. — Shilling

Second Street, Citra IPA

There’s something comforting about single-hop IPAs in this land of hop bombs. Just enough for a hophead but not too much for a less hop-centric beer drinker like myself. Second Street is very good at making these types of beers. I usually get the various English-style bitters that Rod likes to brew, but maybe I’ll have to branch out and see what hoppier beers he has on tap. — S

Another single-hop IPA, this one with a bit more tart grapefruit and some slightly sweet citrus in there. Not an overly bitter finish that leaves you wanting another drink because it is a very easy-drinking IPA. Quite enjoyable, again nice to see the character of an individual hop have some attention devoted to it. — BD

If you have read my past reviews, I’m not much of an IPA fan. However, the Citra was rather delicious. Crisp, citrusy, and refreshing. — Shilling

Sierra Blanca, Oktoberfest

About average on the marzen spectrum, a little sweet, fairly mild, totally harmless. I would rate it a tick below this year’s batch of Sam Adams Oktoberfest, but still well above the Santa Fe we tried. — S

I was pretty unimpressed with this Oktoberfest. Flavors were not as pronounced as I would have hoped for. Smooth drinking, but pretty tame and uninspired. — BD

Stoutmeister and Brandon's pick for the best of Son of Septemberfest was Blue Corn's Smoked Plaza Porter.

Stoutmeister and Brandon’s pick for the best of Son of Septemberfest was Blue Corn’s Smoked Plaza Porter.

Taos Mesa, Old 96 Sticke Alt

Altbiers are harder to make than one might think. Do it right and it’s a solid beer, lying between a brown and an amber, just sweet enough without tasting like candy, with a strong, malty base beneath. The Old 96 does not quite find that middle ground. I still prefer Taos Mesa’s stout and brown. — S

This was a pretty decent beer. Plenty of caramel and hints of British malt as well, subtle earthy hop notes. Was hoping for a bit more from it, but overall a good beer with enough character to keep me interested. — BD

* * * *

Overall, it was a fun event. It got a little too packed by the end, but squeezing 300 people inside the confines of the taproom, the patio, and the brewery was going to be tight to begin with. The main problem seemed to be that even though lots of people were done, they didn’t want to leave. Hard to blame them. Saturday’s college football slate was crap.

The Marble leadership said if this event was a hit they might look to do similar events at other points during the year. We’re all for that.

Until the New Mexico Brewfest on Oct. 5 …


— Stoutmeister

  1. […] Sizing up the superb selection at Son of Septemberfest […]

  2. […] Sizing up the superb selection at Son of Septemberfest […]

  3. […] with sampling tents set up amongst the participating breweries. The format was switched up with Son of Septemberfest last year, where it was held on the patio and inside the brewery. Last year you got a list of beers […]

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