Happy Friday everyone. Stoutmeister here with a grab-bag of beer news and notes. I would ask if you all had a fun Halloween, but it seemed strangely quiet out there. Save for a show at Sister Bar and the kids trick-or-treating, putting the great holiday on a Thursday meant a lot of folks put it off till Saturday. Or at least it did for us in the Crew. We were not a festive bunch, but we will try to make up for it this weekend.

Anyway, there are some beer-related goings-on this weekend and a recap of stuff from last weekend.

Dia de la Cerveza

Las Cruces gets its own fall beer festival. Rejoice, southerners!

Las Cruces gets its own fall beer festival. Rejoice, southerners!

Las Cruces usually has little to celebrate on Saturdays, what with the New Mexico State football team being just about the worst program in America. So for a second time this year, the NM Brewers Guild is doing something about that with another beer festival.

The Dia de la Cerveza will take place in downtown Cruces on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. There are 11 breweries signed up and you can still get tickets online for just $15. There will also be food trucks and live music present.

So what breweries will be in attendance? Of course High Desert will be there, plus Deming’s Mimbres Valley, which has a taproom across the street from NMSU now. Others on hand will include Little Toad Creek, from the mountains near Silver City, and a full-on northern invasion featuring Abbey Brewing, Blue Corn, Bosque, La Cumbre, Marble, Santa Fe, Second Street, and Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande.

None of the Crew can make it down, but if anyone wants to share pictures or write a guest post review, contact us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or via our Facebook page.

Beers for the Dead

The mad scientists at Il Vicino have created a beer called Day of the Dead. It’s a Belgian Dark Strong aged in bourbon barrels. This beer won’t just put hair on your chest, it will probably turn you into a Sasquatch. It debuts today at the Canteen, so keep an eye out for the Crew. We’ll almost certainly stop by to try some of this monstrosity, which should be well over 10-percent ABV.

Meanwhile, if you have a hops craving, head over to La Cumbre for some of their “Chinookered” IPA on cask. Head over quickly, since last week’s batch only lasted a few hours.

Up in Santa Fe, there will also be a firkin present at Second Street’s original location as their Cask and Curry series returns for 2013, starting today.

Hopfest favorites

The voting totals are in for the best of fest, plus the best of the home brews. For the latter, the Dukes of Ale were happy to pass along (via the always awesome Marne Gaston) that Brian Ausderau’s Green Chile Pumpkin Beer won the people’s vote as the best of the five home brews offered up at their booth in the southeast corner of Hopfest’s main room. Both Brandon and Derek greatly enjoyed this unique take on a pumpkin beer. Ben Miller’s IPA was a very close second, which should come as no surprise since A) this state loves IPAs, and B) Ben is a former winner of the Samuel Adams Longshot Competition. The man can brew, people.

Anyway, Hopfest also released the people’s choice for Best of Fest, which went to a full brewery rather than a specific beer (because we all know that was Uinta’s Labyrinth). The people’s choice for the fourth straight year was Marble. No wonder Ted was smiling all day.

Checking in at a very close second was New Mexico Craft Brewing, whose Wet-n-Wild IPA was one of the biggest hits at Hopfest. Il Vicino and Tractor came in third and fourth, so it was very nice to see that people continue to vote and support local breweries first and foremost.

Since I guess some folks needed a break from beer, Angry Orchard was fifth. There was a three-way tie for sixth between Alaskan, Dukes of Ale, and Woodchuck. This mad love for cider is … unexpected. Kona, Santa Fe, and Uinta tied for seventh. Eel River and Indian Wells tied for eighth. Ninth was a five-way tie between heavyweights Abita, Anderson Valley, Clown Shoes, Left Hand, and Odell. Kellys, Red Hook, and Widmer Bros. all tied for 10th place.

We can’t complain too much about those selections, as we enjoyed at least one beer from each of those breweries (leaving out the two cider joints, of course; it’s a beer festival, we drink beer).

* * * *

Anyway, that’s it from a surprisingly newsy Friday. If there is ever some breaking beer news that slips past us, please contact us at the email we listed above or Facebook or Twitter (@nmdarksidebc) or just leave a message here. And if you see us at a brewery, you can tell us there, too.

See some of you around the breweries this weekend. And a happy birthday on Saturday to Broken Bottle’s Chris Chavez!


— Stoutmeister

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