Beer Notes: Local brewers play musical chairs

Posted: February 28, 2014 by cjax33 in Events, News
Tags: , , ,

It has been a slow news week on the beer front, as you all have no doubt noticed from our lack of fresh content on the site. Now, part of this is due to the fact that there are a lot of rumors about brewers moving about that we have either not confirmed or we have been asked by the breweries involved not to say anything.

The only brewer changing breweries we can confirm is John Bullard (holding his IPA Challenge trophy last August) going from Blue Corn to Bosque. But there are more moves on the way.

The only brewer changing breweries we can confirm is John Bullard (holding his IPA Challenge trophy last August) going from Blue Corn to Bosque. But there are more moves on the way in the coming weeks.

While Bosque Brewing was more than willing to trumpet the pending arrival of brewer John Bullard from Blue Corn, other places are holding off on making official announcements. That puts us in the difficult position where sometimes we know a change is coming, but the breweries are not ready to go on the record until everything is finalized. Essentially we have to weigh the value of breaking news versus the positive relationships we have with most of these breweries, and what effect it might have if we share the news before they are ready to announce it. In the end, none of the breweries in New Mexico are required to talk to us. They are private businesses, not government, so there is no law on the books that says they have to be as open and accommodating with us as they have been up until now. In order to maintain our access, we have gone along with their wishes to wait on any stories or Facebook posts until they are ready to share the stories.

So basically all we can share right now is that Zach is leaving Il Vicino after spending some time there as the No. 3 brewer, learning from Brady and Doug. And we can share that because they posted a really funny video on their Facebook page. As to where Zach is going, we know (it’s here in town), but we can’t say yet. Let’s just say he’s going to be a head brewer at an established brewery.

There are other moves pending at that unnamed brewery and two others here in town. We should have the news for you around mid-March (fingers crossed) about one of those places. The third brewery in question has asked us to wait a while as they sort things out.

Now, of course, if any individual brewers or additional breweries wish to contact us, we would be happy to talk with you. Just email us at or direct message us via Facebook. If you need us to sit on the story for a few days or even weeks, we will do so.

But don’t worry, ABQ-area beer lovers. These are all good moves and in our opinion, the quality of beers throughout the metro area will only be getting better in the months ahead.

Quick reviews

Franz Solo and I did our usual “New Brew Thursday” last night (yeah, we were going for that Untappd badge, but I’ve maxed out at Level 10 and for some reason Untappd won’t let poor Franz advance past Level 5) with stops amid the crazy wind at La Cumbre and Il Vicino.

Il Vicino's tasty new Vienna Lager will get you to Europe without even needing a passport.

Il Vicino’s tasty new Vienna Lager will get you to Europe without even needing a passport.

At the former, we got to try the Pogue Mahone, a new Irish dry stout that went on tap this week. We had it on cask, since that was still available. It is a silky smooth stout, as dry as the name suggests. This is in many ways the stout that Guinness once was (or still is, just not the version we get have shipped to the good ol’ USA). We highly recommend any stout lovers head over to La Cumbre this weekend to try this excellent beer.

Over at the Canteen, we made it just in time for last call. Going almost to the opposite end of the beer spectrum, we ordered pints of the Vienna Lager. Holy hell, did Il Vicino make a quality lager. The crisp, strong flavors from the German malts jumped out at us right away. This is a big lager (6.8% ABV) with big flavor throughout. I haven’t been to Austria since I was far too young to drink beer, but I have been back to Germany as an adult, and this beer would stack up against the finest lagers you can get in Bavaria. Franz Solo and I agreed we could have sat there for another hour or two just slowly drinking this beer. But the IV staff wanted to clean up and go home before midnight, so we finished our pints and said our thanks.

If you like your beer as dark as night, head to La Cumbre this weekend. If you like to defy the supposedly bad weather headed our way and act like it’s already summer with your beer, head to Il Vicino.

Clearing the notebook

  • We plan to have a preview next week of the upcoming Spring Beer Festival at Taos Ski Valley that is set for March 8. I am not sure if any of the Crew can make it up there or not. I will probably either be covering a UNM baseball game or a high school state basketball tournament game, so my attendance is unlikely. Also, I’m still poor, and gas prices keep on rising.
  • Porter Pounder and Brandon are planning on attending the Fiery Foods Show this weekend. If there are any special beers being served, I am sure they will try them and share their thoughts.
  • A number of breweries have Irish Reds in the works or already on tap. If enough places have them on tap at once, expect another mini-Beer Battle. Assuming we can find the time as March tends to be a busy month (especially for this here freelance sports writer).
  • We are still searching for information on the new breweries that are reportedly moving forward around town. We have heard that there will indeed be a new brewery taking over the old Elliott’s Bar space near Alameda and Corrales. Add in Hops Brewery in Nob Hill, the unnamed brewery on 2nd Street downtown, Lizard Tail Brewing in the old Farside/Bad Ass space in the Northeast Heights, the Draft Station on Central west of downtown, and other rumored sites around the metro area. If anyone has any news, please email or message us as listed above.

That’s all for now. Enjoy your weekends, everyone. If you want to watch some baseball before getting beer, the UNM Lobos are home tonight at 6, Saturday at 1 p.m. (doubleheader) and Sunday at 1 p.m. Hey, that’s where I will be, likely followed by a beer somewhere nearby.


— Stoutmeister


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