Every year after ABQ Beer Week there is a collective sense of exhaustion and fulfillment that causes the Brew Crew to go into semi-hibernation. This year, however, there is no rest for the weary, as every Saturday in June there is a major beer event somewhere in the state.
For this Saturday, it’s SummerFest at Pajarito Mountain. Featuring a New Mexico Brewer’s Fest with 17 breweries in attendance, SummerFest will run from 1 to 6 p.m. It costs $20 (cash only), you get a special pint glass, with lots of samples, and finally a pint of your favorite. Oh, and as they pointed out to this very pale individual, BRING LOTS OF SUNSCREEN. No problem, folks, the SPF 50 and I will make the drive up to Los Alamos. Once in town, you can park at Los Alamos High School’s Sullivan Field. From there, Atomic City Transit’s bus will run every half hour, taking you up and down the mountain.
In addition to the beer, which I’ll discuss in more detail below, there will be the Pajarito Punishment Downhill Bike Race at 1 p.m. (for all you X-Games followers, this sounds perfect for you to watch or participate in). The band Nosotros will perform from 2 to 6 p.m. If you’re hungry the cafe will be open from 1 to 5. There’s also a disk golf tournament, plus you can use the ski lift from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for your own hiking and biking adventures on the many mountain trails.
This is a beer website, however, so we’ll just focus on the important thing — what’s on tap. Of the 17 breweries (plus Santa Fe Cider Works and Santa Fe Spirits, if you are a strange person who needs a break from beer), eight have sent in their beer lists. If the others come in late, I’ll update this list.
Abbey Brewing (Monks) — As we’ve said before, the monks at Abiquiu don’t have email. Expect some of the usual (Monks’ Wit, Monks’ Ale), plus hopefully some of their delicious Tripel will be there.
Blue Corn — New brewer James Warren is bringing a wide variety of beers. On the lighter side are the Honey Wheat, 1/2 Wit (Belgian-style witbier), and the AproPeach Saison. All should go well in the current toasty weather. For those looking for bolder styles and saying damn the heat, the Acme Anvil DIPA, Rampant Lamb Maibock, and Malty-Ness Monster (Scottish wee heavy) should satiate your palates.
UPDATED >>> Blue Heron — As I had hoped, the La Llorona Scottish Ale, a Brew Crew favorite, will be present. Also on hand are the summer-worthy Embudo Gold Golden Ale and the new Ladybug IPA.
Bosque — Four favorites will likely be on hand in the form of Kindling (golden ale), Pale Ryder, Ember IPA, and Driftwood Oatmeal Stout. The stout is usually my pick (naturally), but the Pale Ryder sounds perfect if it’s warm and toasty outside.
Duel — Brewer Todd Yocham is not taking this festival lightly as he will bring eight different beers. On the lighter end (ABV-wise) are the new Belgian Blonde and Brown, plus Duchamp (a sour wit), Marcel (Belgian wit), and Bad Amber, all of which check in between 4-6 percent. Fiction (7%), a Belgian-style IPA, will also be on hand, as will two of the big boys, Titian (a golden strong) and Oaked Grunewald (porter), who both sit at about 11 percent. Always use caution with Duel’s big beers, but never pass them up. Just ask for a smaller sample if you’re worried at all.
Eske’s — no word yet
High Desert — no word yet
La Cumbre — Brewer Jeff Erway is sending up a number of his best beers, some in bombers, some in cans, and some on draft. The draft beers are BEER (a.k.a. Bi-Partisan Pilsner), Miles from Cologne, and Project Dank, with the latter also available in bombers. There will be cans of La Cumbre stalwarts A Slice of Hefen, Malpais Stout, and Elevated IPA, plus bombers of Blanche de Burque.
Little Toad Creek — no word yet
Marble — New events/media coordinator Leah Black cracked the whip and got me the beer list from Marble faster than anyone ever has. (In defense of all others who work there, the brewers in the back are notoriously indecisive when it comes to picking out a beer list.) Heading north will be regulars like the Pilsner, Amber, IPA, and Red. One big crowd favorite, the Double White, will join them, as will the relatively new ISA (India Session Ale), Abbey’s Mosaic, and Farmhand Pale Ale.
Nexus — New brewer Kaylynn McKnight sent me a tentative list, so this is still subject to change. Two regulars, the Cream and Scottish Ales, will make the trek. Joining them will be the great dessert beer that is the Chocolate Porter, plus the new Shepard’s Session IPA. Yup, it’s clear that session IPAs are the big trend right now among NM breweries.
Santa Fe — One seasonal and three stalwarts are headed to Pajarito. The Happy Camper IPA, Nut Brown, and Imperial Java Stout will be joined by the Freestyle Pilsner.
Second Street — Brewer Rod Tweet is sending five beers that should cover almost all of the brewing spectrum. The GABF medal-winning Rod’s Steam Bitter will be accompanied by the Rod’s Best Bitter, Cream Stout (another Brew Crew favorite), Citra Weizen, and Pivotal IPA. I tried the Pivotal back in April and found it has a bolder, but not too bold, flavor than the regular IPA.
The Stumbling Steer — no word yet
Taos Mesa — No word yet, but current beers on tap at TMBC include Cross Eye Rye, Great Scot Scottish, Rainy Day IPA, White Feather IPA, Sessions IPA, Lunch Pale Ale, and the two I’ve enjoyed in the past in Fall Down Brown and Superstitious Stout.
UPDATED >>> Tractor — Summery beers like Haymaker Honey Wheat, Farmer’s Almanac IPA, and Saison will be on hand, plus the Apple Cider. For us dark beer lovers, the Double Plow Oatmeal Stout and Mustachio Milk Stout will be available as well.
Turtle Mountain — New brewer Tim Woodward is bringing up four of his creations. The tasty Oku Amber has been on tap for a little while now, offering up more substance than most ambers. It will be joined by the new Kosmonaut Kolsch, The Fitzgerald Session IPA, and Piedra Lisa Porter.
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I will keep trying to get the remaining beer lists between now and when I drive up Saturday. Even as a native New Mexican, I have never been to the Los Alamos area (always been on the other side of the Jemez), so I’m looking forward to this little trek. Plus, at this point I’ve got 20 new beers (and counting) to sample. That alone has lured me out of my post-Beer Week malaise.