AUTHOR’S NOTE: After originally publishing this story I received an email from Christopher Goblet of the Brewers Guild. He brought up a couple key points that I’ve now added to the story. Perhaps most importantly for everyone, based on people’s responses, is that you can sample the beers before you buy them. Read on for more details. — Stoutmeister
The Yards Craft Beer Premier is the second incarnation of last year’s Beer Premier event, put on by the New Mexico Brewers Guild. This year’s event has a new location, the railyards instead of the Hispanic Cultural Center. You know The Yards, it’s that huge train warehouse where they filmed part of The Avengers and that middling last Terminator movie. Now they’ve fixed it up and are holding farmers markets and other events there, even some MMA fights. This time around, it’s all about the beer.
Now, we’re usually not the group that gets overly critical about things, but I have to admit, I’m skeptical of the new format. Rather than your standard “pay a fee, go inside, sample lots of beers” format, the Guild has reset things. For your $15 ticket you get a pint glass and one free pint worth of beer. You can do some sampling, said Christopher Goblet of the Brewers Guild, with the various breweries letting you try stuff before you buy. Just don’t expect to up over and over again or try every single beer they’re offering. All subsequent pint purchases (up to three) are something you have to pay for. There are food trucks present, but you’ll have to pay the usual prices for grub. There is some live music. Still, I’m not sure if you broke down the ticket (say $5 for the beer, $5 for the glass, $5 for the bands) that it’s all truly worth it. I hate saying that about a Guild event, and maybe we’ve all just been spoiled with all these sampling festivals, but I personally like getting a little more with my entry fee than one pint. And was it just me, or did they not spell out the format until much closer to the date? Watching the public reaction when people arrive and realize they have to spend extra and only get one free pint with limited sampling will be interesting, to say the least.
Now, as Goblet pointed out, there have been problems recently with the State of New Mexico’s Special Investigations Division. A lot of breweries have been cited at recent festivals (I can recall multiple incidents at WinterBrew in Santa Fe) for various undisclosed offenses. The idea behind having an event that’s less about random sampling is to try to help curb these citations. I will admit, this is not something that crossed my mind before Goblet e-mailed me about it. Don’t you just love the State’s priorities? They have a million more important things to do to fix our troubled state. But no, let’s pick on breweries. (sigh)
For us (Brandon is coming along) the hardest part will be figuring out what to get for our free pints. There are 19 breweries present (some say 20, but Rio Grande and Sierra Blanca are the same place, basically), and the Guild is estimating that they will bring a total of around 85 beers. Yeah, good luck picking that one freebie from the sea of quality beers. We’re still going to this event, though, so to try and help everyone, we contacted the majority of the breweries to get lists of what they’re bringing. Only seven responded so far; we’ll keep updating just in case anyone sends us a late list. We’re highlighting the actual new beer that’s premiering (hence the event’s title), and including a few other beers that places are bringing if they gave us those.
Back Alley Draft House: The premiering beer is called Ladron’s Peak. It’s brewed with New Mexico blue corn, mesquite honey, juniper, sage and Mormon tea. This might be the most unique beer we’ve heard about.
Bosque: The word is they’re bringing a new saison for their premier. Also coming along for the ride is the fairly new Fisticuffs IPA, which is one of the best new IPAs I’ve had in town (and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t consider himself an IPA guy).
Chama River: The premiering beer is Gone Awrye, a hybrid of a rye and steam beer. If that’s a little much or not your genre, they’re bringing Jackalope IPA, Sleeping Dog Stout, and Hop the Pond ESB.
Kaktus: Appropriately enough for summer, they are bringing James Blond, a beer that fits the season, not too mention has an amusing name. If that newbie is not your cup of tea, er, beer, then you can aim for the Choice ESB or the Amber.
La Cumbre: The premiering beer is the 2014 version of Saison d’Hommel. Brewer Jeff Erway sent us this description: “Brewed with French Pilsner malt, utilizing a step infusion mash, hopped with French Aramis and NZ Dr. Rudi’s and fermented with 3 different farmhouse strains (2 Belgian, 1 French). Resulting beer is hugely aromatic with a nose of black pepper, eucalyptus, orange zest and honey. The palate is creamy, yet minerally and bone-dry with a moderate but firm bitterness.” If you miss the Beer Premier, this one will soon be for sale in bombers.
Second Street: Four beers are coming down from Santa Fe in the form of Boneshaker Bitter, Pivotal IPA, Railyard Red, and Bohemian Pilsner. I’d personally be curious to try the Boneshaker and see what sets it apart from Rod’s Best Bitter.
Tractor: In addition to a Cider and Marzen, they’re bringing “a surprise of an IPA.” We have no idea what that means, but we’re intrigued.
Turtle Mountain: There are two new ones en route from Rio Rancho in the Dog Daze of Summer and Stars and Stripes Lager. You can also get McDay’s Cream Ale, Hopshell IPA, Piedra Lisa Porter, and The Fitzgerald (session IPA).
Other breweries participating are Abbey Brewing (Monks), BJ’s Brewhouse, Blue Corn, Cazuela’s, Kellys Brewpub, Marble, Nexus, Santa Fe, Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande, The Stumbling Steer, and Taos Mesa. We’ll keep working on finding out what they’re bringing.
See you all Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.