Santa Fe gets festive with the 12 Beers of Christmas

Posted: December 12, 2013 by cjax33 in Events, News, Uncategorized

Amid this exceptionally busy time of year, it is always nice to unwind with a pint or two at your favorite local brewery. Some of those breweries will try to be a little extra festive, putting up Christmas decorations or maybe brewing up a special one-off holiday ale. Over at New Mexico’s oldest brewery, however, they are truly getting into the holiday spirit with a multi-day event of beer-infused goodness.

Santa Fe Brewing will kick off its third annual 12 Beers of Christmas series on Friday. This even will stretch from Friday right up to Christmas Eve, with a new, special beer being released every day. The 10-gallon batches will be available at both the main brewery taproom and the Eldorado taproom, split evenly between the two sites.

See that unmarked tap handle on the far right? That's where the 12 Beers of Christmas will soon be at Santa Fe Brewing's main brewery taproom.

See that unmarked tap handle on the far right? That’s where the 12 Beers of Christmas will soon be at Santa Fe Brewing’s main brewery taproom.

The 12 Beers of Christmas were the brainchild of assistant brewer Leif Rotsaert and members of the Sangre de Cristo Craft Brewers Club, grown out of SFBC’s weekly Small Batch Saturday series. Porter Pounder and I, Stoutmeister, dropped by the taproom recently to talk to Leif about this unique yearly event.

“The first year was ‘well, can we actually do it?’ The 12 Beers of Christmas is like Small Batch presents the 12 Beers of Christmas,” Leif said. “Small Batch Brewing, it’s our pilot system that we test all of our cool specialty stuff with. The plan was that we would use this system to brew 12 five-gallon batches and sell them on tap here. That would be three years ago. At the time we were investigating opening a brewpub, an off-branch from our tasting room, over in Eldorado.

“The second year was pretty difficult because we had the same amount of difficult involvement from our staff. I had to work on it a lot. One of the brewers and myself, we really tried to crank them out because now we had to brew 10-gallon batches for two (locations). The coolest thing about the five-gallon batch is it’s going to be gone by the end of the day. And if it isn’t, then we’ll do a revisitation on it later that month, like on a Saturday.”

The 2013 edition of the 12 Beers of Christmas has gone a lot smoother from genesis to production for Leif and the home brewers.

“Last year was kind of difficult; this year, I’ve never seen it go so easy,” Leif said. “Because of, I guess, just the continued involvement and support of our local home brew club. When the time came to announce the 12 Beers of Christmas and the deadline, we just completely filled up within the first week. I got like a phone call that night. I’m just hanging out at my house and the phone call from one of the home brewers, ‘Hey Leif, I want to do this thing. Can we do it?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, OK.’ ‘Dude, I need a keg of pale ale for this.’ ‘Don’t worry about it, man. You want to do a spice infusion on a pale ale? Yeah, sure, any day of the week.’ ‘Are you sure, I don’t want to change the recipe but I want to make a beer and this would be a good base for it.’ So we got to do something fun like that.”

In addition to being fun, the entire process of a home brewer creating a beer at SFBC and then serving it to the general public can be quite beneficial.

“For me, it’s like whenever I do something like the 1,000 Duck Sized Horses, I’m constantly hearing feedback,” Leif said. “It’s making me think about is that really what I’m tasting in this beer? Really, what you’re getting when you’re a home brewer, you’ll enter your beer into a competition, you’ll get judging score sheets and this and that, but you’ll never get a true, honest feedback like the same that comes from some dude who can tell what really good beer is at the bar.”

While you're at Santa Fe Brewing for the 12 Beers of Christmas, you can always pick up some merch as Christmas gifts. Yes, even gifts for yourself, you greedy person, you.

While you’re at Santa Fe Brewing for the 12 Beers of Christmas, you can always pick up some merch as Christmas gifts. Yes, even gifts for yourself, you greedy person, you.

SFBC provides all the ingredients as well as the pilot system for the home brewers to use. On the day of their beer’s release, they can even drink for free, a pretty nice reward for all their hard work, while also interacting with a wide swath of beer lovers.

So without further adieu, here is the schedule for the 12 Beers of Christmas, with notes on some of the beers that were made available to us in the Crew. We did not get the exact times most beers will be tapped, save for Saturday’s brew will be available starting at noon. When we do get tap times, we will update this story or have them on our Facebook page.

Friday — Duskin’s Raspberry Frambozen: Inspired by a seasonal release from New Belgium Brewing, this Belgian-style brown ale is finished with fresh raspberries for a big, fruity aroma and a dry, tart finish. (6.8% ABV)

Saturday — Babes in Brewland’s Southern Pecan Spiced Brown Ale: This Brown Ale features roasted New Mexican pecans, coriander, ginger and cinnamon. With a slightly sweet finish, it’s like pie in a glass! (And as a side note, the Crew, or at least Porter Pounder and I, will be in attendance for this release.)

Sunday — Sonya’s Cheery Wit: A Belgian witbier aged on tart cherries, Vietnamese cinnamon, and pinot noir-soaked, toasted American oak. (6.3% ABV)

Monday — Barrel Aged Belgian Sour Tripel: A project of Sangre de Cristo Craft Brewers, this Belgian-style Tripel was aged in a Chardoannay oak barrel for nine months. With just a hint of sour, this pale beer packs a wallop at about 9-percent ABV.

Tuesday — Biscochito Stout: A sweet stout with no lactose, brewed with Anise seed, cinnamon, and aged on lightly toasted wood chips. (6.5% ABV)

Wednesday — Grapefruit IPA

Dec. 19 — Nick & Leif’s Collaboration Sour (Bottled)

Dec. 20 — Hector’s Tamarind Saison

Dec. 21 — Bourbon Barrel Black Ale: A high gravity black ale, with bourbon-soaked oak cubes added for two weeks in secondary. (7.3% ABV)

Dec. 22 — Santa Fe White IPA: Hopped with Amarillo and Cascade during the boil, and dry hopped with Mosaic and Citra. The high ABV makes it a bit nippy on the tongue, but it finishes rather smoothly. (8.6% ABV)

Dec. 23 — Fat Man Minty Stout

Dec. 24 — Sangre de Cristo Craft Brewer’s Club Collaboration Sour (Bottled)

A big thanks to Leif, Alana, everyone else at SFBC, and the Sangre de Cristo Craft Brewers Club for all their time and help. We look forward to joining you at main taproom, hopefully more than once, over the next 12 days of beer goodness.


— Stoutmeister


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