Happy Friday, everyone! Stoutmeister here with a roundup of all the recent beer news and notes, plus a preview of this big “it-should-be-a-national-holiday” weekend.

The entire Crew will gather again on Super Bowl Sunday to pick the ABQ area's best stout.

The entire Crew will gather again on Super Bowl Sunday to pick the ABQ area’s best stout.

Yeah, it’s Super Bowl time, and at least this year there are two teams involved that not everyone in the Crew utterly despises. I’m rooting for the Seahawks, personally, but that’s just because they haven’t won before (my Steelers, with some unfortunate help from some idiot refs, beat ’em in SB XL back in ’05). If the Broncos win, well, good for Peyton and all those long-suffering Denver-ites. Well, considering all the great craft beer they have, I can’t ever feel too bad for anyone that lives in the greater Denver metropolitan area. Even when they’re buried in snow.

Since it is the Super Bowl, that means the Crew is holding its third annual Stout Challenge, aka the Super Bowl of Stouts. Once again, we’re doing a blind taste test to determine the best regular “house” stout in the ABQ metro area. There are a few changes this time around. We’ve tried to modify the scoring system when we have a cream/milk stout, due to Shilling being unable to drink those, but it’s been such a headache that we made the tough decision to excise those styles completely. That means no Second Street nor Sandia Chile Grill, both of whom have a cream/milk as their house stout. Sorry, guys. We do love those, but we’re going to try to keep it limited to the oatmeal/dry stout styles that are more prevalent. That also means no coffee stouts (sorry, Santa Fe), nor will there be any imperial stouts (sorry, Duel) crashing the party, which often happens at the IPA Challenge. Due to time and financial constraints, we won’t be sending anyone to Santa Fe for the only standard stout up there, Blue Corn’s Gold Medal Stout. This year we will be limiting things to 10 stouts from the ABQ metro area.

So many stouts ...

So many stouts …

The final results from 2013, for those that forgot, went: 1. La Cumbre Malpais Stout, 2. Second Street Cream Stout, 3. (tie) Chama River Sleeping Dog Stout and Marble Oatmeal Stout (the 2012 winner), 5. Il Vicino Dark & Lusty Stout, 6. Blue Corn Gold Medal Oatmeal Stout, 7. Tractor Double Plow Oatmeal Stout, 8. Cazuela’s Pastizal Stout, 9. Nexus American Stout, 10. Broken Bottle Mulligan Stout.

Replacing Second Street, Blue Corn, and Nexus (which no longer brews a regular stout) will be Bosque Oatmeal Stout, Kaktus Blackout Stout, and Turtle Mountain Oatmeal Stout. We’ll be kicking off the festivities between 1 and 2 p.m., so we have plenty of time before the game starts and it will leave Franz Solo with plenty of time to throw the five racks of ribs (!) on the grill outside. (There will also be two stews made with different stouts.) Expect lots of silly photos online and eventually wobbly photos of guys drinking beer around a fire pit.

But that’s not all that’s happening this weekend …

Tractor 1, bureaucracy 0

There will be great beer waiting beyond these doors to the new Tractor on 4th Street.

There will be great beer waiting beyond these doors to the new Tractor on 4th Street.

We were all bummed out when the private party/soft opening at Tractor Wells Park was canceled Thursday due to the wonderful City of Albuquerque’s decision to deny an occupancy permit because of, wait for this, an issue with the sidewalk outside. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!

The good news came on Friday around 2:30 p.m. when Tractor’s Skye Devore e-mailed me with the simple line “Victory!” So now that all that has been cleared up with the City, Tractor can get down to the business of serving us all beer in their new taproom at 1800 4th Street NW. The grand opening is still set for Saturday at 4 p.m. There will be live music and lots of fun inside, plus 24 (!) taps serving up some favorite beers, some new beers, and some old favorites brought back just for this event.

While all that’s been going on, we can now officially share some great news that …

John Bullard, center, holds up his IPA Challenge trophy. Now he's joining the staff at Bosque as head brewer.

John Bullard, center, holds up his IPA Challenge trophy back in August. Now he’s joining the staff at Bosque as head brewer.

Bosque hires one of the state’s best brewers

In case you missed our post on Facebook or Bosque’s post on their blog, the news we learned back at WinterBrew is now official: Bosque Brewing has hired Blue Corn’s John Bullard to become their head brewer. Founding brewer Gabe Jensen will be freed up to be more of a CEO/COO, roles he had already taken on while still brewing in the back. John, who seized the IPA Challenge trophy in August and won two silver medals at the Great American Beer Festival in October, will now bring his superb skills to the Bosque staff as they expand first into their new, larger brewing space and then open their Nob Hill taproom.

This unification of a great brewer and a great brewery has all of us in the Crew eagerly anticipating the awesome beers that await us. I will be heading over to Bosque, post-Stout Challenge hangover be damned, on Monday afternoon for a formal sit-down interview with John and Gabe. Look for that story either later in the day Monday or Tuesday.

* * * *

That’s all from us on this gray, windy Friday. We’ll be out and about tonight to prep our palates for Sunday. Enjoy your weekend, everyone, just please be responsible and don’t get behind the wheel after too many pints. We want everyone to be around Monday, complaining about their hangover and going back to work and whichever team won that made you mad.


— Stoutmeister

  1. This is a great move by Gabe. Since canning and bottling is in Bosque’s business plan, John Bullard can deliver the consistent quality, presumably because Blue Corn had no plans to can or bottle. This is John’s opportunity to shine as a skillful brewer and help extend the Bosque brand beyond the taproom.

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