Archive for October 11, 2013

Beer drinkers are big talkers. Not just at the bar, but often when just sitting around, even if there’s no beer (especially if there’s no beer, when I think about it), we talk about beer and doing this and that with beer. For a while now, well, pretty much since the IPA Challenge, we’ve been talking about heading just 60 miles north to Santa Fe and spending a day trying all the beers the state capital has to offer at its breweries.

As a group we tend to talk a lot about going places to drink beer instead of actually going. We're changing that this Sunday. We swear.

As a group we tend to talk a lot about going places to drink beer instead of actually going. We’re changing that this Sunday. We swear.

And we’ve talked.

And talked.

It’s gotten to the point Blue Corn brewer John Bullard called us out.

And yet we still talked.

Well, damn it, it’s high time we finally go north, so weather/money/schedule-willing, we’re going up this Sunday. Our football teams suck (but most breweries will have a TV on anyway), so we’re not missing anything.

Why head to Santa Fe? Why not? Lately there have been some very good brews coming out of Blue Corn, Duel, and Second Street, as Brandon and I learned at NM Brew Fest last weekend. While Santa Fe Brewing sends its beers south, the others do not, so it’s either head up there or miss out on some quality beer. The advantage those three places have is all their brews are made and sold in-house, so they can be a little more experimental and varied than a lot of the bigger places.

All the stuff we’ve had recently from Blue Corn (Oktoberfest, Pumpkin Ale), Second Street (Cherrywood Smoked Imperial Porter, Scotch Ale, Otowi Pale Ale), and Duel (Non-Fiction Pale Ale, Fiction IPA) has been excellent. Plus, there are lot more beers to try. We still need to sample the Paonia Wet Hop IPA at Blue Corn (plus whatever else John has on tap), the various Oktoberfest beers at Second Street, and Duel’s two burly porters, Grunewald and Nightwatch. It’s a lot of beer for a single trip, so for the most part we’ll be doing small samplers and putting our favorites in growlers to take home.

We plan to be enjoying ourselves on the patio at Second Street, because who wouldn't want to kick back in this setting?

We plan to be enjoying ourselves on the patio at Second Street, because who wouldn’t want to kick back in this setting?

We still love the dozen or so breweries in the ABQ area, but lately we are aware many are running at capacity just to crank out their best-selling regular beers and have not had time to play mad scientists at the levels we’re used to seeing. Plus, we can always mosey over to a nearby watering hole, whether solo or as a group or with random other people, at just about any time of the week.

So posting this rather ridiculous little entry, I am personally hoping it lights enough of a fire under my brethren to ensure we actually go. If not, John might refuse to serve us at Hopfest, and no one wants that. Plus, this can serve as a preview so when I try to write up a recap on Monday; it won’t come out of left field.

And besides, I need some time out of town to erase the memories of that awful baseball game Wednesday night.

* * * *

On an only somewhat related note, lots of people in the craft beer-drinking community have been freaking out over that Associated Press story about how the government shutdown could affect microbreweries across the country. First off, don’t panic. The shutdown affects the minor agency that oversees a lot of the brewing industry, but it mainly only impedes the following:

  • New breweries that did not get approval before the shutdown will have to wait until it’s all over. So, don’t expect to see The Stumbling Steer pouring its own beer for a while on the west side.
  • Breweries can’t change aspects of their packaging, so if, say, Santa Fe wanted to design new labels for their cans or bottles, they can’t until after the shutdown. Also, if a beer that was previously sold in bombers was supposed to switch to six-packs, it can’t now.
  • New beer recipes, whether totally brand new or just a tweak to last year’s seasonal ales, are also on hold. However, this is just for beers that are sold in bottles/cans. Il Vicino, for instance, can still make new seasonals and sell them at the Canteen. Since most of the New Mexico breweries that bottle/can their beers basically stick to the same styles at all times, there is no threat of losing anything good anytime soon.

Now, if the shutdown starts getting counted into months as opposed to days, then it could get dicey and have a major impact on the spring seaonals. Like it is for just about every other possible aspect of life being impacted, we all need this stupid shutdown to end soon.

Back to happy weekend drinking, people! That’s the best way to fight politics.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Advertisements