There will be 16 breweries serving up their finest at WinterBrew on Friday at the Santa Fe Farmers Market. The event kicks off at 4 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m., and if you have not purchased ticket(s) yet, you are out of luck, because they announced way back on Tuesday that it was sold out.

It's almost time to indulge in the third annual WinterBrew.

It’s almost time to indulge in the third annual WinterBrew.

We do recommend to all ABQ metro-based beer lovers to take the RailRunner up. It leaves downtown at 4:26 p.m. and the Los Ranchos/Journal Center stop at 4:41 p.m., arriving in Santa Fe just after 6 p.m. As someone who went last year, trust me, you don’t need much more than three hours. There will be food, but some of these big beers will neutralize whatever you eat pretty quickly.

So with all that said, the most important thing is the same as it is for every beer festival: What’s on tap? These are the most up-to-date listings provided to us by the attending breweries, or at least those that were able to inform us in advance.

Blue Corn: Not attending, as it turns out. They were listed before, but sadly, we will not be enjoying brewer John Bullard’s creations this year (his barrel-aged Imperial Porter was the highlight of WinterBrew last year). The good news is Blue Corn is putting on a Santa Fe breweries-only event called Defrost Fest on Feb. 8 from 6-8 p.m. We will have more on that in the future.

Blue Heron: Aurora IPA, La Llorona Scottish Ale, Penasco Porter, Oro de Rio Grande Pilsner. All of these are solid entries from the brewery in Rinconada (it’s on the road between Taos and Espanola; go visit, it’s worth the trip). The La Llorona has long been a Brew Crew favorite. Personally I am looking forward to trying the Penasco Porter, a winter beer that has not been on tap during my visits in sunnier times.

Bosque: Kindling, Amarillo Red, Mellow Brit, Ember IPA, Scotia Scotch Ale, Pale Ryder. The seasonal brews out of this bunch are the Mellow Brit, Pale Ryder, and the Amarillo Red, which is the newest of the bunch and worthy of sampling if you have not stopped by Bosque recently. The Amarillo hops help bring out a very unique flavor that sets it apart from most other red ales.

Chama River sent plenty of happy employees to WinterBrew last year to serve us all.

Chama River sent plenty of happy employees to WinterBrew last year to serve us all.

Chama River: Class VI Lager, Son of Slap (session pale ale), Shadow Boxer (Black IPA), Serenity Milk Stout. The Son of Slap is new to the Chama menu and deserves a sampling. If there is one thing that Chama has done consistently well in recently years it would be all of their darker seasonal beers. Shadow Boxer and Serenity Milk Stout are two of their best. No word if you get bonus points if you wear a brown coat while drinking Serenity.

Duel: Fiction (IPA), Goya Stout. Last year brewer Todd Yocham tried to kill me with overly generous samples of Dark Ryder, which at the time was checking in at nearly 13-percent ABV. This time around he is bringing Goya Stout, which is also 13-percent ABV. However, I know this in advance, so it won’t be sneaking up on me this time. And now the rest of you have been warned, too. You should still try it, because Franz Solo says it is delicious. Just don’t overdo it.

High Desert: Octoberfest, Peach Wheat, IPA, Imperial Stout, Dark Bock, Barley Wine, Brown Ale. Well, if you have ever regretted not driving to Las Cruces to try as many High Desert beers as you could, this will be your chance. They said these seven, plus possibly more, will be available on Friday. I had a few of these a few years back, but my palate memory has been overwhelmed by all the northern brews since then. I did try the Imperial Stout last year, it was a lot of smoky, roasted flavor; it’s not barrel-aged.

Beneath all that head was a whole lot of Duel's Dark Ryder last year.

Beneath all that head was a whole lot of Duel’s Dark Ryder last year.

La Cumbre: On tap — No, You’re a Dort (Dortmunder export), South Peak Pilsner, Project Dank, 2-year-old Siberian Silk (Baltic porter), Malpais Stout; Poured from cans — Elevated IPA, A Slice of Hefen. In addition to getting La Cumbre’s two mainstays poured from cans, you can always purchase a can and walk around with it inside, or keep it unopened and take it home. Plus, Project Dank will be for sale in bottles to take home. As for the tapped beers, we do love us some Dort, but let’s face it, the chance to try an aged Baltic porter like Siberian Silk is too good to pass up. Thank you, Jeff!

Marble: Imperial Stout, Reserve Ale, Imperial Red Ale, Pilsner, Azacca Pale Ale, Double White Ale, Triple, Abbey Darkness. Marble has been doing an amazing job of late rolling out more seasonals than can almost fit on their beer board at the downtown pub. Almost all of them are heading north, including the current “big three” of the Imperial Stout, Imperial Red, and Reserve. These are all big, excellent beers well in excess of 8-percent ABV. If you are trying to be more moderate in your approach, it is hard to go wrong with the GABF medal-winning Pilsner or the new Azacca Pale Ale.

Monks’ Brewing: Unknown. They are actually monks, after all, and do not have a telephone or email with which we can reach them. Basically, expect some of their usual beers, like Monks’ Wit, plus maybe a big beer or two, like hopefully their Tripel.

As the newest brewery, Duel had the huge lines last year. Expect the same for The Stumbling Steer this year.

As the newest brewery, Duel had the huge lines last year. Expect the same for The Stumbling Steer this year.

Nexus: Red Ale, Scottish Ale, IPA, Imperial Stout. Three of Nexus’ finest regulars and one of their best seasonals of all time will grace us with their presence in Santa Fe. If you have not had the Imperial Stout before it is a wondrous behemoth. It was not barrel-aged, so there is no whiskey flavor here, just big stout flavor, full of roasted malts and hints of coffee and chocolate on the edges. We will try not to overdo it with the stout like we did with Nexus’ Barley Wine back at NM Brew Fest.

Roosevelt: Portales Pale Ale, Clovis Point IPA, Imperial Porter, and either Eleanor’s Blonde Ale or their Green Chile Beer. Brewer Justin told us he’s almost 100 percent sure of the PA and IPA, pretty sure of the Porter, and then he will make the call Friday morning on the final beer. Whatever he brings, we look forward to trying as many as we can. Only Porter Pounder has sampled Roosevelt’s beers out of the six of us in the Brew Crew.

Santa Fe: Kickin’ Chicken, Imperial Smoked Rye Porter, Black IPA, Happy Camper IPA, Java Stout, Saison ’88, 1,000 Duck Sized Horses. The Imperial Smoked Rye Porter is one to try off this list. This special beer was brewed in collaboration with SFBC’s Kansas City distributor. It was made mainly for that market, so there was only a very small supply left in New Mexico. This may be your best, and only chance to try it. Among the more standard SFBC beers, definitely aim for the Black IPA. This batch was filtered with Latir and Cascade hops. Never heard of Latir? It is a hop grown right here in New Mexico.

Second Street always brings a long list of delicious beers to every festival they attend.

Second Street always brings a long list of delicious beers to every festival they attend.

Second Street: Citra IPA, IPA, Cream Stout, Outlier Special Bitter, Ringwood Red, Hallifax Strong Pale Ale, Doppelbock, 2012 Barley Wine. Once again, brewer Rod Tweet does not come to the party without bringing a wide variety of his beers. The Outlier and Ringwood Red are both part of the special Ringwood Series of beers, made with English Ringwood yeast. Let’s face it, though, an aged barley wine draws the Brew Crew like moths to a flame. Just don’t overdo it this time, Brandon. We do not need another cell phone video like the last one.

The Stumbling Steer: Imperial Stout, Double IPA. There may be a third beer, too, from ABQ’s soon-to-open new west side brewery/restaurant. General manager Sonny Jensen teased us that they are bring an “extra special treat” with them. Whether that is a beer or food (we’ve tried a couple items that were delicious), we’re excited. The Imperial Stout will be new for us to try, and we highly recommend the Double IPA to all of you hopheads out there.

Taos Mesa: Unknown. I called the main number for Taos Mesa, but no one at the brewery on Wednesday afternoon knew what beers they were bringing, and the command staff was out and about. I guess we’ll all have to settle for the surprise. For those who have never tried it, hopefully they bring down their excellent Superstitious Stout.

What is it about Tractor that brings out the fun in everyone?

What is it about Tractor that brings out the fun in everyone?

Tractor: Barley Wine, Russian Imperial Stout, Hard Cider, Milk Chocolate Stout, Black IPA, Man der Damm (light lager). E-Rock and I saw first-hand how many beers Tractor has been storing up at their new brewhouse, so it should not surprise anyone that brewer David Hargis is busting out some old favorites for this event. Being a bunch of Dark Siders, we’re definitely looking forward to the two stouts and the Black IPA. Oh, and the Barley Wine, too, but we covered that above in Second Street’s entry.

Turtle Mountain: Cabo Lager, Hazelnut Brown, Hybrid IPA, Triple Play Pale Ale. TMBC is bring two malty beers and two hoppy beers to appease the masses. The Hybrid IPA is one of their better hoppy beers, while I look forward to trying the Hazelnut Brown and Triple Play Pale Ale for the first time. I know they have been on tap before, but I have always missed them during those times.

* * * *

On behalf of myself, Franz Solo (and Mrs. Solo) and Brandon, we will look forward to seeing you all at WinterBrew.


— Stoutmeister


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