Archive for September, 2014

Last Saturday afternoon, fellow Bullpen-er Luke and I, Amy O (along with our significant others), visited Santa Sidra Cidery in Santa Fe. We were very warmly greeted by owner and cidermeister Michael Zercher and his wife. None of us had ever seen a working cidery before and the tour was quite informative. Mike knows a great deal about the history of cider and trained in cider making both in the northwestern United States and in Europe. As it turns out, the process is very much like winemaking until the final steps and the cidery actually operates under a wine license. As with wine, the process starts with whole fruit that is pressed for its juice, and each year’s harvest will produce different flavor characteristics.

We dispatched two of the Bullpen members to check out this award-winning cider.

We dispatched two of the Bullpen members to check out this award-winning cider.

Mike tries to use New Mexico apples as much as possible. This year’s crop came mostly from an organic grower in the Mimbres Valley in southern New Mexico, with some additional apples from Corrales and Alamogordo. Currently on hand in Santa Sidra’s warehouse are approximately 11,000 pounds of apples in the cooler, with a few thousand more pounds at room temperature awaiting pressing. It is quite an impressive sight. The boxes of apples are enormous. Apparently, each box weighs about 800 pounds and yields about 60 gallons of juice. The juice is fermented in stainless steel wine tanks using white wine or champagne yeast. The cider is transferred to a brewery bright tank at the end for carbonating and back sweetening with cane sugar (the cider is fermented to completely dry in the wine tanks). The finished product comes out at just under 7-percent ABV. It is bottled in bombers and each bottle contains the juice of four apples. Yes, four apples!

According to Mike, prior to Prohibition, cider was the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage in the United States. But the growers were encouraged (I am sure that is putting it mildly) to remove their apple orchards so they would not be tempting anyone to make cider in “those dark days.” All these years later, cider is finally starting to make a comeback. Cider consumption in the U.S. has grown 100 percent each year over the past three years.

So ... many ... apples ...

So … many … apples …

After the tour we all sat down together at a table and enjoyed the literal fruits of their labor — and it’s a lot of labor, folks. So, remember that fact the next time you question the price of locally produced craft ciders. We learned that the large producers like Angry Orchard usually make their ciders from concentrate and water. Although, as Mike said, it is very difficult to make good cider that way and some of them do it very well. In addition to volume, it simply explains how they are able to keep their prices in line with beer.

Santa Sidra currently makes two types of hard apple cider — a “Dry” and a “Tad Sweet.” I preferred the “Dry,” just because it differs more from most of the mass-produced ciders. It is subtle, a little nutty/yeasty, and totally refreshing. The “Tad Sweet,” just like the name suggests, is only slightly sweeter. It also has more tartness so the sugar balances it out. The Zerchers are incredibly invested in the community, and are doing their part to help New Mexico growers. Return the favor by giving their cider a try (see the website for locations where the cider is sold). Santa Sidra does not have a taproom just yet, but you never know what the future may hold.

Now let’s hear from Luke. Here are his imPRESSions …

Cideries sure look like breweries on the inside.

Cideries sure look like breweries on the inside.

Hey folks, Luke here! First off, huge thanks to fellow Bullpen member Amy O for inviting me to tag along on the tour of Santa Sidra Cidery. She knew that I would jump at the chance because if it’s in Santa Fe, carbonated, and has an ABV, it’s probably right up my alley. I want to preface this by admitting that I’m not a cider drinker, which is why I brought my lady friend along. Being gluten-free, she’s had much more experience with hard ciders than I have. I’m a beer guy at my core, but I’m willing to branch out. I’m sorry, I had to.

When we arrived I thought it looked like a typical cidery in Santa Fe (I’ve been to a couple now), meaning it’s pretty unassuming from the outside and probably too small for production inside. We would soon see. We found ourselves immediately in a small office space with a table, chairs, and some file cabinets, and I keep thinking, but where do you make the cider? Then we’re taken down some long stairs into a part of the building you’d never have guessed was there. The space appears to be a very pristine, re-purposed garage of sorts, inside which looks very much like a brewery if you’re not looking too closely. It has the big stainless steel tanks, a large walk-in, temperature-controlled room, but here’s where the apple falls a little farther from the tree: the cider press, the many boxes of fresh apples, and that incredible fresh apple aroma. You can’t even get that at the orchard. Santa Sidra is indeed a cidery, and it means business.

The Bullpen gets the full tour.

The Bullpen gets the full tour.

It’s easy to take Mike seriously about his craft, even as he joked along with us throughout the tour. He’s very impressive with his knowledge of the business from the vast history to the microbiology. But in him, you see the same kind of true passion that I’ve seen in the great brewers that truly love what they do, which gets them through the trial and error, and beyond the failed batches. If he’s a salesman, he’s the most laid-back salesman you’ll ever meet, but that day, on ciders, I was sold.

When it came time to taste, I was excited that we were going to taste a cider that had won Best of Show at the NM State Fair Pro-Am Beer, Mead, and Cider competition. This little cider, the “Tad Sweet,” had caused a bit of a stir amongst many of our hop-nation, as you might remember. It was the cider “heard ’round the world,” the way folks were talking.

Upon first sip, I instantly got the impression that it was something special. I certainly understood why MrHoppy – ABQBeer (@MrHoppy505, who was one of the judges for the cider category) said via Twitter that “it was amazing! Definitely stood out.” As for me, I really appreciated that it wasn’t just carbonated apple sweetness. It was more complex than I was expecting. It was a bit more full flavored, with more of that apple presence than the dry cider. My girlfriend, just as others had, preferred the dry, noting that it was “light, clean, fresh, not too sweet, very enjoyable, delicious!” My notes on the dry were almost exactly the same, with an emphasis on clean.

For a beer guy like me, I won’t likely make any drastic life changes after this tasting. But ciders are now on my radar, and they will certainly become a greater presence in my life, just as they will (and deservedly so) in the craft culture. Before the tour, I knew very little about hard ciders and the business of making them. After having tried Santa Sidra’s ciders, I can honestly say that I can’t wait to open up another bottle to do a little more research on the matter.

Cheers!

— Amy O and Luke

Another week, another brewery re-branding itself. In the wake of Marble and Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca, Il Vicino Brewery will henceforth be known as the Canteen Brewhouse. This change will likely have less of a visual effect than things have been for those two breweries, since IV never did any package sales. So why the change to a 20-year-old brewery? Ask the brewer and thou shalt learn.

As the flier on the tables says, "Same ol' guys. Same great beer. Brand new name."

As the flier on the table says, “Same ol’ guys. Same great beer. Brand new name.”

“The way that New Mexico is set up if you have a brewing license or a manufacturer’s license and you have a retail license, then you can’t have a distributing license,” Brady McKeown said. “So you can have two, but you can’t have three. So this does free us up to self-distribute, which doesn’t mean we’re making any more beer but it (makes us) more flexible. If somebody has a wedding and they want to buy it and they say we need it delivered here, OK, we can do that. Before it was like sorry, you can buy and it you have to take it over.”

Now what that ultimately could mean is that if Canteen expands its brewing operation (it will still supply the Il Vicino restaurants, more on that in a bit), then there is the possibility of future bottling/canning. For now, that sort of thing is on the back burner for Brady and his staff.

Essentially, not much will really change with the renaming. The brewery will just have some freedom from the restaurants, though for now it will be business as usual. All of the signage and merchandise, from glasses to T-shirts, will be changed out by the end of the year. Some things will arrive more quickly — think shirts first — and others will wait a while until the current inventory is sold — think growlers.

Brady first told us about this potential move last year, though we were asked to keep it private. A lot had to be sorted out with all of the various owners/investors of Il Vicino to determine who had a percentage of the different operations. Once that was all taken care of this year, the Canteen was able to make things official (though on a side note, technically all of their entries for Great American Beer Festival were listed under Canteen Brewhouse; Brady said their booth in Denver will have both forms of signage, “cross-branding,” he called it, to help folks understand what’s going on).

“This is also something that’s growing for them that they wanted for themselves,” Brady said. “Now they’re putting more into the brewery facility-wise. It took a long time for them to figure who had what.”

For now it’s just a matter of assuring everyone that none of the staff, and just as importantly none of the beers, are going to change.

“We’ve been around for so long we don’t want people to think it’s been sold and it’s going to change,” Brady said. “It’s not going to change because it’s the same thing.”

One small change that people will notice will be the names of the beers. For instance, if you go to Il Vicino in Nob Hill or up on Montgomery or over near Corrales, you will still see Slow Down Brown, Wet Mountain IPA, Dougie Style Amber, and so on up on the beer boards. However, the Canteen will have a new list of beers. Well, sort of.

“It will be the same beer (at the restaurant and brewery), just different names,” Brady said. “We just don’t have the capacity to brew two different IPAs or two different browns.”

In other words, the IPA you drink at the Canteen will still be Wet Mountain, but it will have a different name as required in the terms of separation. Brady said so far they haven’t come up with the new names for the beers at the Canteen, though with a staff as creative as his, he feels confident that they will have something better than a generic “Canteen IPA” or something of that sort.

“If somebody comes up with something good (we’ll use it),” Brady said.

I personally suggested McKeown Scotch Ale instead of Sasquatch, so we’ll see if they go with that.

In the end, this is a positive move. It will give the Canteen more freedom with the beer. Folks who enjoy the restaurants will still have their favorites on tap. Yet if the brewery wants to consider bottling/canning down the line, it now has the freedom to do so under state law.

This also gives you, dear reader, an excuse to go out and buy new merch. Your spouse/significant other will totally understand. (Of course, I’m single, so you might not want to take relationship advice from me.)

Good luck to the Canteen Brewhouse at GABF this week.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

This weekend marks a temporary respite amid festival season, falling in between Hopfest last week and the upcoming Lions, Tigers, and Beers at the Zoo next weekend (plus GABF, for those lucky enough to head up to Denver) and then NM Brew Fest the weekend after that. So the good folks at Marble decided it was as good of a time as any to hold a sort of mini-festival. This one is not as much about the beer as it is everything else.

This is just one of this weekend's many events involving local breweries.

This is just one of this weekend’s many events involving local breweries.

The annual Mountain Rescue Brew Fest will run at the downtown pub from noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday. The entire event supports the Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Council. It’s free to get in, but donations are encouraged. There will be a raffle, a silent auction, plenty of Mountain Rescue apparel for sale, plus some “Mountain Skills Trivia,” so start studying up now.

While there won’t be a lineup of beers to sample, Marble will have a special new brew called Rescue Craft on draft. We have no idea what type of beer this is going to be, so for curiosity’s sake we might just have to stop by to try it. There will be a commemorative pint glass, just in case your collection from all over hasn’t completely taken over an entire cabinet (it already has for Franz Solo and Mrs. Solo, FYI).

This being Marble, there will of course be lots of live music playing during the festival. A total of eight acts will perform including Alex Maryol, Boris McCutcheon, DJ Matty Be, Eliza Linde, Floozy, The Green Billies, The Jake Leg Three, and Sol de la Noche.

If you’re busy Saturday, Marble has another event Sunday. Meet up at the downtown pub at 1 p.m. with your bicycle and then head up to Gecko’s in Nob Hill for a special party. There will be a tap takeover, commemorative glasses for the first 50 people, and of course football on Gecko’s many TVs. The event lasts from 2 to 10 p.m., and yes, you don’t have to be one of the ones to bike over. You can drive/walk/skateboard, hell, parachute in if you want (we just wouldn’t recommend that one; space is tight in Nob Hill).

As for other breweries’ weekend events in the ABQ metro area …

  • Up in Bernalillo on Sunday, the Desert Darlings belly dancers will be performing a special masquerade-themed show at Kaktus from 6 to 9 p.m. If you bring your own mask, Kaktus will only charge you $3 per pint.
  • Broken Bottle is hosting a Headliners Comedy event Saturday at 9 p.m. Kevin Kennedy will be the host, while the comedians will include A.J. Martinez, John Cuellar, Mary Byrd, Genevieve Garcia de Mueller, and friend of the Crew Margaret VonShnorkelstein.
  • The Stumbling Steer has live music tonight and Saturday. First up is Boulevard Lane tonight at 7, followed by Ravin Hills at 7 on Saturday.
  • Tractor will be holding brewery tours at Wells Park on Sunday. The tours will kick off at 3:30, 5:30, and 7 p.m. If you would rather stay out front, the I’ll Drink to That variety show starts at 4 p.m.

If we left out anybody’s events this weekend, we apologize. Just let us know via email (nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com) or on social media and we’ll update this.

Have fun this weekend, everyone! And don’t forget to listen to 1600 AM/95.9 FM on Saturday at 3 p.m. to hear the dulcet tones of myself and Brandon Daniel as we chat about the local brewing scene with the hosts of The Spirits of New Mexico.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

There has been a lot of little beer-related news items coming across the Crew’s proverbial desk of late, so I figured I would jam them all together in a notebook. Now it’s just a test to see how many of those items I actually remember.

Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead.

New breweries are (still) sprouting like weeds

After the recent brewery boom (Boxing Bear, Lizard Tail, Ponderosa, Red Door) you would think things would slow down for a bit. Well, you’d be wrong.

Rio Bravo Brewing is aiming to open in early 2015, though it will no longer be located on Rio Bravo. The new address is 1912 2nd St. NW, which was the old Firestone warehouse. That’s basically about two blocks east and a couple blocks north of Tractor Wells Park. We have tried many times to get a hold of someone at RBB, but alas, they have never responded. Maybe now that they have a location we’ll get a response. They are planning a full kitchen, indoor and outdoor stages, and “distribution statewide.” Clearly they’re not aiming for a neighborhood pub, like Lizard Tail, but are going big.

See? Snazzy logo.

See? Snazzy logo.

Elsewhere, Albuquerque Brewing Co., which has quite the snazzy logo, is still hoping to open in the near future. We had just touched base with them when we learned their brewer’s wife was about to have a baby. We can be nice and wait for a while until they get at least two consecutive hours of sleep in a night.

Firkin Brewhouse and Grill is aiming to open in the near future in the Brewery District near La Cumbre and Il Vicino. Their planned location is at 3351 Columbia Dr. NE. Firkin will have a trio of owners, with Aaron Walters and Mike Trissell handling the brewing while David Singer will manage the taproom. They’re aiming for more of a neighborhood pub, with a Prohibition Era theme. The goal is to have six beers on tap when they open in the first quarter of 2015. We’ll try to track them down and delve a little deeper into their plans.

And hopefully we’ll hear back from Blue Grasshopper in Rio Rancho. They got a nice write-up from Local IQ in a story about new breweries.

Another festival? Why not?

The ABQ BioPark Zoo will host its first beer festival on Saturday, Oct. 4, when Lions, Tigers, & Beers debuts. It runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and only folks 21 and over can attend (sorry, parents, you can’t bring the little ones along for this event). There’s a pretty sizable brewery list online, including Big Sky, Black Diamond, Deschutes, Lagunitas, Magic Hat, Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada, Stone, and more. In terms of in-state breweries, Abbey, Marble, Ponderosa, Santa Fe, and Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande will be in attendance. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased online. The first 3,000 attendees get a souvenir mug.

Let the ECS begin

Back when we visited Santa Fe Brewing to talk about their pending expansion, they also let us know about the Ever Changing Series, a new run of limited specialty beers. Well, they’re kicking the ECS off this Friday with a shindig at the brewery from 4 to 10 p.m. Luke, our Santa Fe correspondent, will be in attendance, so look for his review next week.

The first beer in the ECS is a Double White IPA (10% ABV), which was made with orange peel (thus denying me from being able to drink it; Luke already sampled it and declared it to be wonderful) and a special South African hop called J-17 was mixed in with more traditional North American hops.

A new ECS beer will be released quarterly. They will be available for sale in bombers across the state.

A cider by any other name

The folks up at Santa Sidra wanted us to know that they took no offense to our tongue-in-cheek story about their cider beating out the beers for best in show at the State Fair Pro-Am. First, sales rep and friend of the Crew Angelo Orona gave us two bottles to sample (we’re aiming for Sunday evening on that). Second, Bullpen member Amy O was invited to take a tour of Santa Sidra this weekend. Look for our double cider story next week as we try to figure out if they really did deserve to beat all the beers.

Who put these guys on the radio?

UPDATED: We’ve interacted a lot with Thomas Molitor online about the brewing scene, so he decided it was time for us to come on his radio show, “The Spirits of New Mexico,” and talk face to face. Brandon and I will be joining him on KIVA 1600 AM (95.9 FM) on Friday morning. We’re scheduled to be there at 9:15 a.m. (bright and early by my standards), but as it turns out we’re just recording the show, it’s not airing live (probably a good thing). Listen in to the recorded show Saturday at 3 p.m. and tell us how we did! For those who have never talked to me in person before, I will warn you that I’ve been told I sound like ESPN’s Bill Simmons. I am not Bill and he is not violating his current three-week suspension. I swear, ESPN higher-ups.

And finally

The Crew is sending a big old hug to our friend Leah Black. Leah’s home was recently broken into, and while thankfully she and her roommate weren’t home at the time, they both lost a lot of irreplaceable possessions to some of the worst scum in our city. Leah has been a part of the brewing scene since Hallenbrick was still around and has been doing a great job as Marble’s media rep. If you see Leah around Marble this weekend at the Mountain Rescue Brew Fest (we’ll have a preview soon), please be extra nice, tell her how awesome she is, and don’t mind if she photo bombs you (she’s good at that). We hate when bad things happen to good people. Raise a pint in her honor and let’s hope APD catches the thieves and tosses them into the deep, dark hole where they belong.

* * * * *

If you know of any beer/brewery-related news out there, drop us a line at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or contact us through Facebook or Twitter.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with the reunified edition of The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s four breweries and one newcomer down in Socorro also joining the party. We tried hard to keep the state edition going, but without participation from the breweries outside the I-25 corridor, it was futile.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

We technically entered into autumn this week, but it’s been acting like fall for a while in the craft brewing world. While the big boys (Samuel Adams, Sierra Nevada, etc.) have been filling the shelves with their pumpkins and marzens since August, breweries in New Mexico are now catching up. Hey, you all were drinking so much of their stock this summer they were fighting to keep up with demand. Now that things have cooled off (literally, I guess), the locals are releasing their fall beers as well. Don’t worry, the Crew will soon have enough beers to do a double challenge. In the meantime, Back Alley’s Oktoberfest debuted at Hopfest. Broken Bottle’s Oktoberfest went on tap today. Il Vicino has both a Pumpkin Porter and a Pumpkin Saison. La Cumbre has Witch’s Tit (pumpkin) and an Oktoberfest. Ponderosa has jumped on board quickly with an Oktoberfest, just their second seasonal. Turtle Mountain’s Oktoberfest went on tap this week. Bosque has an Oktoberfest and a pumpkin in the works, as does Chama River. Blue Corn is also working on an Oktoberfest for the near future.

With festival season in full swing and breweries gearing up for GABF next month, there were only a few new beers (or old favorites) popping up this week. Bosque has brought back its popular Olde Bosky Porter, plus there’s a Simcoe IPA on tap. Broken Bottle resurrected Cactus Juice, made with prickly pears. Chama River has The Hound, an amber ale.

Up in Santa Fe, Santa Fe’s small-batch beer is Carne’s Peachy Camper, plus the first in their Ever Changing Series, a Double White IPA, is due out this week. Second Street has Rod’s Best Bitter and Boneshaker Bitter back on tap.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of Sept. 22.

To break down each “capsule,” I listed the brewery (with Web page linked), its phone number and hours of operation. Under “Beers” are the new or seasonal beers on tap for this week.

Albuquerque metro area breweries

ABQ Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–midnight, Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–2 a.m., Sunday 10 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Petrus Aged Ale, Petrus Aged Red. Petrus Aged Ale and Red are high alcohol barrel-aged sours from a family-owned brewery in Flanders. Several times a year, ABP serves up the latest creation by local brewing hero and winner of the Samuel Adams Longshot competition, Ben Miller, or seasonal releases by Monks Brewing.

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

(Hours 4 p.m.-11 p.m. daily)

Beers: Soroche IPA, Red Ale, Berliner Weisse, Octoberfest. We enjoyed the Octoberfest over at Hopfest, so hopefully it’s on tap for a while so we can get some more. BADH has been fighting to keep with demand lately, so we can’t guarantee all of these beers will be on tap through the weekend. Don’t worry, though, as BADH always carries a large swath of beers from across New Mexico and the world.

Bosque Brewing Company — (505) 750-7596

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun noon-8 p.m.)

Beers: Fade to Blackberry Sour, Acequia Wet Hop IPA, Rebel Brit, Bosque’s Burnin’ Red, Olde Bosky Porter, Simcoe IPA. The Rebel Brit is a variation of the Mellow Brit. Also an American brown ale, it was brewed with London Ale yeast to produce a unique but tasty flavor. Fade to Blackberry finds some balance between the sweet blackberry flavor and the usual tartness of a sour. Scale Tipper #4 (7.4% ABV, 100+ IBU) is out for the time being as the remaining stock is bound for GABF next month. In its place is Acequia, brewed with fresh-picked hops from Colorado. It was our pick for the best hoppy beer at Septemberfest recently. Both the Blackberry and Acequia are nearing the end of their run. The Burnin’ Red, with a new recipe, is back on tap. Also back on tap is an old favorite in the Olde Bosky Porter.

Cask: Yup, Bosque is doing a cask now, because they love us all that much more (actually, they just recently acquired some casks to do these sorts of things, but we can pretend). This week’s cask offering will be the Olde Bosky with coffee added. That should wake us all up Friday afternoon/evening.

News: Construction continues on Bosque’s new taproom, the Bosque Public House, located on Girard just south of Central. Bosque has also signed a lease on a new taproom in Las Cruces, located in the former Mimbres Valley space across from New Mexico State at the corner of University Ave. and Espina St.

Bosque has a happy hour running from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and all day on Sunday. Look for a revamped menu and get $1 off your favorite pints.

Beers in the more distant future will include a pumpkin ale, Oktoberfest, and a barley wine. Plus, Bosque is aging its Scotia Scotch Ales in rum barrels, and they just received a shipment of casks to start doing that as well. We’re a bit excited.

Boxing Bear Brewing Company — (505) 897-2327

(Sun-Thurs 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-11 p.m.)

Beers: Paw Swipe Pale Ale, Hairy Mit Hefe, Standing 8 Stout, Ambear Ale, Red Panda Session Red, Uppercut IPA. Recent additions to the lineup are the Standing 8 Stout (6.3% ABV, 45 IBU) and Ambear Ale (5.2% ABV, 35 IBU). The other somewhat recent addition is the Red Panda (4.6% ABV, 65 IBU), while the Sun Bear Summer Ale has vanished with the arrival of fall. Sadly, the popular Bear Knuckle DIPA has run out for now, but the punchy Uppercut IPA is back.

News: Glassjaw DIPA went into the fermenter back on Sept. 17. It should debut in the weeks ahead.

Broken Bottle Brewery — (505) 890-8777

(Mon–Weds 4-11 p.m., Thurs-Fri 4 p.m.–midnight, Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10 p.m.)

UPDATED >>> Beers: 12 Step Apricot Ale, Wise Ass Watermelon Wheat, Atomic Rye Red, Elixir Vanilla Cream Ale, Stray Dog IPA, Cactus Juice, Oktoberfest. The Stray Dog, Apricot, Watermelon, Atomic, and Elixir went on tap recently, while the Cactus Juice is the newest beer listed via BBB’s Facebook page. It’s made with prickly pears. The Oktoberfest went on tap today (Wednesday).

Events: B3 has $3 beers every Tuesday from open to close. On Wednesday, B3 will be hosting their open mic from 8-10 p.m., with signups starting at 7:30 p.m. Check out B3’s karaoke night every Thursday starting at 8 p.m.

Cazuela’s Seafood & Mexican Grill — (505) 994-9364

(Open daily 8 a.m.-10 p.m.)

Beers: Papacabra (Double IPA), Panama Red, Acapulco Gold (Mexican Lager), Hefeweizen, Chupacabra IPA, Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale, Beer for My Horses (Oatmeal Stout), Inebriator (Doppelbock). E-Rock and I had a chance to sample the Piedra del Fuego (5% ABV), which we both recommend. According to Cazuela’s menu: “This cream ale uses red-hot stones to super caramelize the sugars, creating a nutty, toffee-like flavor.” The Inebriator (8% ABV) and the Papacabra (9.7% ABV) are the biggest beers in the lineup.

Events: Cazuela’s now features a live guitarist every Friday.

News: Cazuela’s Beer for My Horses won a bronze medal in the oatmeal stout category at the World Beer Cup in Denver and also captured a gold medal in the stout category at the 2014 State Fair Pro-Am.

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Hardscrabble ESB, Wee Bit Loco, The Hound (Amber Ale), Valle de Oro Pale Ale. Wee Bit Loco is a new Scottish ale and was our pick as the best malty beer at Septemberfest. Hardscrabble (5.4% ABV, 35 IBU) another recent entry to the lineup. The Valle de Oro (5.5% ABV, 35 IBU) was brewed in honor of the Friends of Valle de Oro, the wildlife shelter in the South Valley. For every pint sold, $1 will be donated to the shelter. The Hound (6% ABV, 40 IBU) was described as “a roasty fall amber.”

News: Head brewer Zach Guilmette has revamped the recipe for Chama’s Jackalope IPA to give it a stronger kick and tastier palate. Franz Solo and I also highly recommend you try the revamped Sleeping Dog Stout. It’s creamy and burly and sweet and roasted … it’s got everything you want in a stout.

UPDATED >>> Events: Chama is hosting a beer dinner Thursday at 6:30 p.m. It will feature all five of the beers that Chama is sending to the Great American Beer Festival next week. Call the number above for reservations, they’re required, and it’s $45 per person. It will be your first chance to try Cosmic Dog, a new coffee stout. Zach, we’re all poor, can you save some of that for us after you get back from Denver? Thanks.

Il Vicino Brewing Canteen — (505) 881-2737

(Sun–Thurs noon–10 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–midnight)

UPDATED >>> Beers: Irish Red, Sessa’s Wet Hop IPA, Exodus IPA, Henhouse Saison, Elmo’s IIPA, Pumpkin Saison, Pumpkin Porter, Mimosa Beer. The Elmo’s (10% ABV) is a modified version of the Elsa Imperial IPA with Mosaic hops added. Citra IPA (8.3% ABV, 65 IBU) and the return of Exodus (7.8% ABV, 100+ IBU) will keep the hopheads happy. Henhouse will be entered in the GABF Pro-Am this year. Mike Archibeck teamed up with Doug to brew this unique new beer. If you need to get your fall fun going, the Pumpkin Saison and Porter are a good place to start. We lean toward the porter, but, uh, we’ve got “Dark Side” in our name. The Mimosa was a late addition to the lineup. It’s got a wheat base infused with blood oranges.

News: Il Vicino posted some pics on Facebook of the beers they are currently barrel-aging in the back. They’ve got Double IPA in tequila barrels, American Stock Ale in rum barrels, Belgian Strong Golden in wine barrels, and Panama Joe Coffee Stout in bourbon barrels.

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

(Hours Mon-Thu 11:30-8 p.m., Fri-Sun 11:30-10 p.m.)

Beers: Kolsch, Oyster Stout, Banty Rooster (Hefe IPA), Helles Lager, Honk Ale, Alanna’s Amber, Banaweizen, Charlie Brown. The Oyster Stout and the Alanna’s Amber are the newest entries. Located at 471 South Hill Road in Bernalillo, Kaktus is one of the state’s newest breweries. It is a small, casual place, similar to Blue Heron in appearance and comfort factor. Kaktus owner Dana Koller said fans can expect the nanobrewery to go through its most popular styles quickly, though they will always have something new and exciting available as a replacement.

Events: Kaktus has several new weekday specials including $3 pints on Monday, $9 growlers on Tuesday, $6 bison nachos on Wednesday, and $8 Frito pie and beer on Thursday.

The Desert Darlings belly dancers will perform from 6 to 9 p.m. on Sunday. If you’ve never seen the Desert Darlings in person, you’re missing out. This week’s event will be masquerade-themed, so wear your masks.

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: Full Nelson, Project Dank, Across the Pond, Tank 10 Red Ale, Witch’s Tit, Oktoberfest, Levitated (Imperial) Pilsner. Well, hello there Oktoberfest (5.4% ABV, 35 IBU). It debuted last Saturday while we were all at Hopfest. Oh, darn, we’ll have to head over and try it along with the Levitated, which debuts with a release party on tap and in bombers today (Wednesday). The other somewhat recent additions include the popular seasonal pumpkin beer, Witch’s Tit (7.5% ABV, 30 IBU), plus Across the Pond (6.5% ABV, 65 IBU), a British-style IPA, and Tank 10 Red Ale (6.8% ABV, 85 IBU), which is a wonderful combo hop bomb/malt blast of a beer, just the way we like ’em. The Full Nelson (8.5% ABV, IBUs listed as “stupid”) is a powerful DIPA, but the brewer has run out of bombers for sale. You may still find some around town. Project Dank (7.5% ABV, “a lot” IBU) is back with a fresh batch.

News: We congratulate La Cumbre Brewing Co. for becoming this year’s National IPA Champion. Project Dank scored the win by edging out 127 other IPAs from around the country, including the likes of the venerable Fat Head’s IBUsive.

Lizard Tail Brewing — (505) 717-1301

(Sun–Weds 9 a.m.–11 p.m., Thurs–Sat 9 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: German Blonde Ale, Berliner Weisse, Belgian Abbey, Honey Pale Ale, IPA, Amber, Oatmeal Brown, India Black Ale, Rye Stout, Porter. Both Brandon and I have had chances to visit Lizard Tail, which is one of the newest breweries in town, located in the shopping center on the southeast corner of Eubank and Montgomery. They specialize is malt-forward beers. The German Blonde (5.5% ABV, 20 IBU) is a good place to start. The Berliner Weisse (4.3% ABV, 8 IBU) is not nearly as sour as most of its genre. The Belgian Abbey (6.8%, 25 IBU) is a good example of its style. The Honey Pale Ale (6.3% ABV, 35 IBU) has a nice little hop kick to it. The IPA (6.8% ABV, 70 IBU) has a good mix of Mosaic, Warrior, and Galaxy hops. The Rye Stout (5.5% ABV, 35 IBU) has a nice flavor but lacks body. The first batch of Oatmeal Brown (4.2% ABV, 25 IBU) needed some work, but I got to sample the second batch that will be on tap soon and it’s improved. We’ll have to go back to try the new Porter (5.6% ABV, 35 IBU).

News: Lizard Tail’s happy hour runs Thursday through Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m. You get $1 off food, flights, and pints.

A Dubbel is next up on the rotating beer tap list.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

(Mon–Sat 1 p.m.–midnight, Sun 1 p.m.–10:30 p.m.)

Beers: Red Light Lager, Double White, Imperial Red, Wilderness Pale Ale. The Imperial Red is back on tap. This batch was brewed for GABF in Denver next month. Wilderness is a pale ale brewed with local spruce and pine. A portion of the profits will be donated to the Wilderness Society. Otherwise it’s a relatively light seasonal list as Marble is at capacity brewing the regular beers for distribution.

Cask: Check out Marble’s cask (a.k.a. “real” ale) selection on tap every Friday at the Downtown Pub.

Events: Brewery tours occur at the Downtown Pub every Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

The annual Mountain Rescue Brew Fest will run this Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. There will be plenty of live music, special giveaways, and more (plus a special new beer). We’ll have more on this event coming up.

Marble will hold a release party for their Pumpkin Ale on Oct. 15.

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Rye Pale Ale, Blackberry Hefeweizen, Altbier. Brewer Kaylynn McKnight cranked out a new seasonal in the Blackberry Hefeweizen while the popular Altbier has returned. The RPA (5.9% ABV) has somewhat muted rye flavor, while the sweeter malts tend to dominate this beer. It’s a good summer beer, perfect for sipping slowly on a hot afternoon.

Events: Nexus serves up Happy Hour All Day on Tuesday featuring $3 pints. Also on Tuesday, Nexus will be hosting their comedy open mic, Young Dumb and Full of Comedy, starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Sun Room.

Pi Brewing at Nicky V’s Neighborhood Pizzeria — (505) 890-9463

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Unchallenged IPA, West Coast Red, Robust Porter, Lost Grain English Summer Ale, Apricot Wheat. While Pi Brewing is not open to the public yet, they are able to brew and serve their beers next door at Nicky V’s. The IPA and West Coast Red are both good hoppy beers. We’ll keep tabs on when Pi itself opens. For now, grab a pint and some tasty Italian food.

Ponderosa Brewing Co. — (505) 639-5941

(Sun 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m.)

Beers: Ghost Train IPA, Rip Saw Red, Crosscut Kolsch, Sawmill Stout, XPA1 Pale Ale, Helles Lager, Double IPA, Oktoberfest. Porter Pounder and I went over for the grand opening recently. Ponderosa is located at 1761 Bellamah NW, which is just east of Rio Grande and due north of the NM Natural History Museum, in the bottom floor of a swanky-looking apartment/retail complex. As for the beers, they are all the initial batches, so expect some modifications/changes going forward. Needless to say we both liked the Stout (5.2% ABV, 22 IBU) the best, but we’re dark beer guys (then again, you could also call us dark beer snobs, so consider that). Porter Pounder liked the XPA1 Pale Ale (5% ABV, 35 IBU), which will always be a rotating single-hop pale ale. The Crosscut Kolsch (4.9% ABV, 25 IBU) is almost like a Kolsch/hefeweizen hybrid. The Ghost Train (6.2% ABV, 75 IBU) needs some work, but the brewer has already identified what went wrong in the first batch and is working on correcting that for the next run. The new Double IPA (7.7% ABV, 90 IBU) begs to be tried in the near future. The even newer Oktoberfest (5.7% ABV, 17 IBU) is also calling our name.

News: A Schwarzbier is in the works.

Red Door Brewing — (505) 633-6675

(Noon to midnight all week)

Beers: Gateway Blonde Ale, Roamer Red, Threshold IPA, Paint it Black Milk Stout, Unhinged Cider. We have been excited to try Red Door ever since they first invited us to visit many months ago. They are now open and their initial batches of beer are all quite good. The Roamer Red (6% ABV) was a favorite for Porter Pounder, sitting midway between hoppy reds like Marble and sweeter reds like the standard Irish variety. The Paint it Black (5.5%) is served on nitro, so it’s criminally smooth. The potent Threshold IPA (6.6% ABV) should appeal to local hopheads. Beware the Unhinged Cider as it checks in at 7.9 percent, but you don’t taste the alcohol. A wheat beer is in the fermenter, with Boxing Bear supplying their Hairy Mit Hefe as a temporary placeholder.

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

(Mon–Sat 8 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun 8 a.m.–6 p.m.)

Beers: Irish Red, Rattlesnake IPA, Smoked Stout. We’re going to dispatch E-Rock (he needs a new assignment) to re-establish our lines of communication with Sandia Chile Grill.

News: Congrats to SCG on sweeping all three medals in the mead category at the 2014 State Fair Pro-Am, while also claiming a silver medal for Barb’s Barrel Hefeweizen.

The Stumbling Steer — (505) 792-7805

(Sunday-Wednesday 11 a.m.-midnight, Thursday-Saturday 11 a.m.-2 a.m.)

Beers: Blonde, Pale, IPA, Red, Brown, Double IPA, Imperial Stout. While the brewery is being built in the back of the Steer, all of their house beers are being brewed off-site, but still using brewer Kirk Roberts’ recipes. The DIPA and the Stout are limited to two per customer, due to their high alcohol content (10% and 9.5% ABV, respectively). The Crew has already made two separate visits to the Steer to review the beer and food. We enjoyed it all.

Tractor Brewing Company — (505) 433-5654 (Nob Hill Tap Room), TBA (Wells Park)

(Nob Hill is open Monday-Wednesday 3 p.m. to midnight, Thursday 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., Friday-Saturday 1 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to midnight; Wells Park is open Monday-Thursday 3 p.m. to close, Friday-Sunday 1 p.m. to midnight.
 Last call 30 minutes before close. 
No package after midnight.
 Brewery tours Saturday at 1 p.m.)

UPDATED >>> Beers at Nob Hill: 6% Humidity 9% ABV Cider, Barnstorm Ale, Javi Light Lager, Milk Mustachio Stout, La Llorona Dry Hop Amber, Berliner Weisse, Tupac Cali Red.

Beers at Wells Park only: L4 IPL, Pilsner #15, 4 Seasons 1 Week Cider. All of the Nob Hill seasonals are also at Wells Park, which has 24 total taps (Tractor’s five regular beers have two taps apiece). The Berliner Weisse Sour is a variation of a traditional German-style wheat beer that has the qualities of a sour. It’s an acquired taste. The most recent beer additions to the lineups are the Barnstorm Ale, La Llorona Dry Hop Amber, which is drier yet more flavorful than most ambers, and Tupac Cali Red. The 4 Seasons 1 Week Cider is a variation of the 6%-9% (these names, oy), slightly sweeter and it’s only 7.2-percent ABV.

Events: On Wednesday, Tractor will be hosting another Cards Against Humanity night at Wells Park. This is a free event starting at 7 p.m. Food will by served by Nomad’s BBQ.

Geeks Who Drink is now setting up shop at the Wells Park Tap Room every Monday at 8 p.m. Bar cash for winners and bonus questions all night. Wanna see what GWD at Tractor has been up to? Check out the blog! Food will be served by Mystique.

The Solos on the Hill series is back at Nob Hill tonight at 8:30. Cali Shaw will be performing.

Tractor’s pLOUD music series at Wells Park continues Thursday with Youngsville performing at 8 p.m. Kimo’s Hawaiian BBQ will provide the food.

Wells Park will host a Red or Blue Party, a sort of political mixer for everyone. It starts at 7 p.m.

The ABQ Slam Poetry City Championship will be held at Wells Park on Saturday at 6 p.m.

The In the Mix series continues Saturday at Wells Park as DJ Cloudface will perform at 9 p.m. Kimo’s again provides the sustenance.

After an afternoon of NFL games on the projector screen at Wells Park on Sunday, the I’ll Drink to That variety show kicks off at 4 p.m. with music, poetry, comedy, and more.

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

(Kitchen hours: Mon–Tues 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Wed–Thurs 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Sun 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Reminder: TMBC closes early when business dictates. Please call.)

Beers: (House) McDay’s Cream Ale, Oku Amber, Parasol White IPA, Hopshell IPA, Piedra Lisa Porter, Heidelberg Helles. (Seasonal/specialty) Monochrome Milk Stout, Pork ‘n’ Brew Brown Ale, Saison du Soleil, Oktoberfest. To help us out for now and the future, brewer Tim Woodward broke down what will be the regular beers on tap (under House) and the current list of seasonals. That’s a pretty solid regular lineup. I personally really enjoyed the Porter and Amber, the latter of which trumps most of its genre in terms of flavor. The Heidelberg Helles (5.1% ABV, 25 IBU) has rejoined the regular lineup for good, or so Tim hopes. The newest beer on tap is the Oktoberfest, a beer I will have to trek out to Rio Rancho to sample. I got to enjoy the decadently smooth Monochrome Milk Stout from a guest tap at Boxing Bear.

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Berliner Weiss, Funkadelic Dunkel, Night Train (Schwarzbier), Scorched (smoked olde ale), Alpha Reaper (Imperial Red Ale). If the Alpha Reaper (9% ABV, 100 IBU) sounds imposing, that’s because it is. A wet-hopped imperial red, it was made with 50 pounds of fresh Chinook hops grown in Colorado. Now good luck keeping “Don’t Fear the Reaper” from getting stuck in your head. The most recent German-style beer addition is the Night Train (5% ABV, 32 IBU), a darker lager made with two types of German malts and noble hops. The Funkadelic (5.8% ABV, 30 IBU) is a Bavarian-style brown ale, with Crystal hops added to balance the big malt bill. Scorched debuted last week. I got the chance to try both Funkadelic, which is exceptionally smooth, and Scorched, which is exactly the big old smoky blast you would expect.

News: An Oktoberfest and a pumpkin ale are in the works, while further down the line we are really looking forward to an imperial stout and a barley wine.

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

(Sun 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Mon–Tues 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Wed–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Study Series: Brown (Belgian-style Sour Brown Ale), Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Synne (Pale Ale), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Marcel (Witbier), Whistler (Blonde), Manikin Small Scottish-style Dark Ale, Oaked Grunewald (Barrel Aged Imperial Porter). Duel brewer Todd Yocham described the latest Study Series entry (5% ABV) like this, “A very malt forward light bodied brown ale, soured with Lactobacillus and accentuated by the fruity esters from our Trappist yeast.” The Fantin (7.5% ABV), which I tried and liked at Pajarito Summerfest, gets this summary, “Aromas of strawberry and pineapple accentuated by our Trappist yeast will keep you wanting more.” Todd also said his supply of the Oaked Grunewald is very limited, so hurry over before it runs out.

Events: The life drawing session is $25 and is held each Sunday morning from 11-1 (although they are not open to the drinking public till 1 p.m. on Sun). You get the beverage of your choice, a Brussels-style waffle made with their own yeast and beer and then served with a Grunewald Syrup. Everyone then draws from a nude model. People can sign up through the website or call the brewery to reserve a spot.

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

(Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., closed on Sunday)

Beers: Oktoberfest, Carne’s Peachy Camper, Double White IPA, Wet-Hop Pale Ale. The Peachy Camper is this week’s entry for Small Batch Saturday, while the Pale Ale is on tap for a short time. Kriek, SFBC’s popular sour, is not on tap, but it is available in bombers around the state. The first beer in the new Ever Changing Series is a Double White IPA, which will debut with a release party this Friday. We’ll have more on the event soon.

Events: $1 Off Growler Refills in the Tasting Room on Mondays. $2 Tuesdays at the Eldorado Taphouse. On Wednesday, there is a $2 Pint Special in the SFBC Tasting Room, and the Sangre de Cristo Craft Brewers’ Meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Tasting Room as well on the third Wednesday of every month. On Thursday, there will be $1 Off Growler Refills at the Eldorado Taphouse.

News: SFBC will be busy pouring beers at multiple events this weekend, including Durango Oktoberfest on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, they will also be at the South Valley Chili Fest. And, as they have been the last few weeks, SFBC will be at the Santa Fe Ski Basin Fall Gold sale, which will hold its final event this Sunday.

Second Street Brewery — (505) 989-3278 (Railyard), (505) 982-3030 (original location)

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Sunday noon-9 p.m.)

Beers: Kolsch, Wet-hopped Otowi Pale Ale, Pivotal IPA, Atalaya Altbeir, Citra Weizen, IPA, Rod’s Best Bitter, Boneshaker Bitter. The Steam Bitter and Scotch Ale have run out, but the Rod’s Best Bitter and Boneshaker Bitter are back.

Events: Kodama Trio are playing Friday at the original location. The Alto Street Band plays Saturday.

Shows at the Railyard include Andy Primm on Friday, Christina Herr & Wild Frontier on Saturday, and the Watermelon Mountain Jug Band on Sunday.

Every Wednesday night, both SSB locations host Game Night. SSB has game boards and dominoes or bring your own … oh yeah, they also have discounted pitchers!

Other breweries you need to visit

Twisted Chile Brewing — (575) 835-2949

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sun 11 a.m.–11 p.m.)

Beers: IPA. Twisted Chile has been open for a while as a restaurant, but as the name might imply, they will be brewing their own beer on site. Located in Socorro at 115 Abeyta St. W, they will be the first brewery there to brew on site since Socorro Springs outsourced their brewing to Eddyline in Colorado.

News: A stout is in the fermenter. When it’s ready we’ll try to head down to Socorro and do a proper write-up for Twisted Chile.

* * * *

That’s all for this week! If you have any questions or comments, leave them below or contact us on our Facebook page.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Well now, wasn’t that just a fun way to spend a Saturday? The seventh annual Hopfest went down at Isleta Casino, with a lot of beer choices (seriously, a lot) to sort through. For all four original Crew members, plus at least two from the Bullpen, and our assorted friends, we’re pretty sure we collectively tried about half the beers. The sample glasses seemed a little bigger this year, so things got kinda … fuzzy … toward the end. Luckily, Brandon’s awesome lovely super girlfriend Taylor was able to drive us home (while adding to her ever-lengthening list of beers owed to her after the baby arrives next year). Hopefully everyone else got home safely, be it via a designated driver, the RailRunner, a taxi, or just by staying overnight at Isleta.

How can you not trust faces like these when it comes to getting advice on what beers to drink?

How can you not trust faces like these when it comes to getting advice on what beers to drink?

So long after our annual post-Hopfest noshing at Two Fools, I sat down with my heavily marked-up event program and got down to the business of adding all those beers to Untappd. It took a while and the better part of my battery (hence why I waited till I got safely home). As per usual, here are the best beers of the festival, in my humble opinion, and the opinions of the others who were present (well, mostly Brandon and I; Mrs. Solo and Porter Pounder were back hard at work all week). Sorry for taking so long to get this posted.

Before the listing, a special thanks to everyone involved in Hopfest. From the tireless work of organizer Marne Gaston, her right-hand woman Monica Mondragon, and their army of volunteers, twas a nearly flawless afternoon. Thanks to all the brewery reps who were there as well. We enjoyed catching up with some of you when we had the chance.

And now the Best of the (Hop)fest beers, or what you should be seeking out at local breweries or beer stores or beer bars. We divided them between local, national, and international.

Local beers

There were a fair number of local breweries who participated, including Back Alley, Chama River, Pi, Ponderosa, Red Door, Tractor, plus NM Craft Brewing came down from Las Vegas, and stalwarts like Santa Fe Brewing, Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca, and Taos Mesa were in attendance as well.

Back Alley Draft House’s Marzen: A pleasant surprise among all of the Oktoberfests floating around. A slightly sweet malt presence with plenty of earthy hop aromas and flavors, and a burst of spices that hit the palate. Unlike a lot of marzens, this one actually retains flavor profile well if you sip it slowly, as I found when I got sidetracked with meeting some of our readers. Hopefully Addison will keep this one floating around long enough for some of us to come enjoy a pint before the weekend! — Brandon Daniel

Pi Brewing’s Vanilla Bourbon Porter: Charlie and Greg both told me about this one ages ago, so I had eagerly anticipated trying it. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. In fact, it might have been my favorite beer of the entire festival. The bourbon, porter, and vanilla flavors all exist in harmonious balance. Obviously this won’t be on tap regularly, but if you hear (via The Week Ahead in Beer) that this is available at Pi/Nicky V’s, haul ass to the west side and get some. — Stoutmeister

The first words out of my mouth after tasting this consisted of a string of four-letter expletives that aren’t suitable for anyone’s ears. That should tell you enough, but if it doesn’t then just know that this is a smooth dark mistress with loads of cocoa notes that pop from the vanilla and the bourbon notes take it over the top. Makes you want to make love to a barrel. — BD

Red Door’s Threshold IPA: Reader and friend of the Brew Crew Lonnie King wrote on Facebook, “It was deliciously hopped, bright and clean flavors up front. Also had an even malt finish. Four stars out of five. I just hope the quality remains consistent through the years.

Stumbling Steer’s Imperial Stout: Oh, Kirk, you’ve done it again. The Steer’s Imperial Stout is always pretty damn good on its own, but they threw in something a little extra, put it on cask, and served up a big ol’ coffee-flavored blast of stout-y goodness. We also chatted briefly about the progress on the Steer’s in-house brewery. It’s moving along, but Kirk didn’t want to set a date for it to be fully operational. — S

Dukes of Ale homebrew competition

The beer-centric folks of the Dukes of Ale homebrewing group were back to their usual antics at this year’s Hopfest, offering up five unique beers brewed by members of the group and served up to the public at the event to decide the favorite. Now, you will have to forgive us at this point, as we fell prey to the clutches that every beer writer does at these events … by which I mean, we were somewhere around Albuquerque when the beer began to take hold. That’s right, our memories got fuzzy and we weren’t in note-taking mode, so the collective of DSBC can’t recall ALL of the beers. The few that we can recall consisted of an Oktoberfest, an English-style Porter, and an American Pale Ale. I personally enjoyed the traditional English-style Porter for sticking to its roots in the classic ingredients that the style originated from long ago. My favorite of the lot was the American Pale Ale, which was a very well-executed example of the style. It possessed just enough pale malt bitterness, coupled with a little bit of residual sweetness, and a bright and clean hop profile that made it very well-rounded. Hats off to the Dukes of Ale for another solid year. — BD

Not sure what beer caused this reaction, but the odds are good we have it listed here.

Not sure what beer caused this reaction, but the odds are good we have it listed here.

National beers

While some of the mass-distributed beers were more of the same, there were some notable new brews (or at least new to us) that were available. And at least a few longtime Crew favorites.

Boulder’s Shake Chocolate Porter: One of the ultimate dessert beers, a giant blast of chocolate that somehow does not become overly sweet (looking at you, Odell’s Lugene). I do believe it’s on tap at Two Fools if you need to get a fix out of something other than a bottle. Though the bottles are still pretty good. — S

If you have not tasted this treat, I advise you to do so after eating, so as not to ruin your appetite. That being said, this is basically the adult equivalent of drinking a chocolate milk shake, if a milk shake had alcohol in it. That means it is a very tasty treat. Nuff said. — BD

Clown Shoes’ Crunkle Sam: Big and boozy, just the way I like a monstrous barley wine. This one offered a serious punch to the mouth. And probably contributed greatly to my general fuzziness of brain. — S

Dry hopped with citra, eh? I’ll take it. Although the citra hops don’t shine through quite as well as I personally would like, this is overall a delicious barley wine, with a smooth malt body, and plenty of oak and vanilla notes to make this a diabolically smooth drinker. Seriously, this along with Stumbling Steer can easily account for my hazy recollections of the day. — BD

Mad River’s Steelhead Extra Stout: Probably the best traditional stout I had all day. It’s big and bold, roasty yet sweet, and pretty much everything you want in a dark elixir. — S

A simply delicious beer. Creamy with enough sweetness to balance out a hefty grain bill of roasted barley and chocolate malts. It stands up with a nicely laced head and very subtle spice in the back from the hops, but they do not overtake the dark heart of this beer. If it were any smoother, they would have to use this to make NHL ice. Say, now there’s an idea … — BD

Magic Hat’s Wilhelm Screamer Pumpkin Ale: It is barely September and you are probably already sick of hearing about pumpkin beers. No? Good, because Magic Hat has an awesome one here. This is a balanced pumpkin ale, teeming with fresh pumpkin in every batch, then spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon to create that pumpkin-pie-in-a-bottle flavor. Plenty of pale malt and earthy hops are still present to let you know what you are drinking. One of my personal favorites so far this season. — BD

Mother Road’s Lost Highway Black IPA & Red Rye Ale: I already wrote a few months ago about how much I enjoyed Mother Road when I visited Flagstaff. It was definitely the class of a small but quality brewing scene. Lost Highway was my favorite of their house beers and it’s still top quality. It leans toward the maltier side of black IPAs, though there are enough hops to keep you awake. As for the Red Rye, that was a new one for me. The rye was a bit more subtle than I had expected, though they were running it through a Randall with fresh-picked Cascade hops, so that certainly altered the original flavor. I’d love to go back and compare this version to the original.

Feel free to chastise me for not making it to Flagstaff more frequently, as this was actually the first time I had tried Mother Road Brewing. Thumbs up to both of these beers, as they were both very tasty. Lost Highway is a burst of roasted malty goodness, lots of caramelized sugar notes and dark malts abound, with a resiny and slightly tangy hop punch that lingers in the finish very nicely. Sharing the name of a David Lynch film doesn’t hurt either. The Red Rye is a solid American-style red ale, with a nice punch of fresh hops (picked a week before brewing, according to Mother Road beer ambassador Dan Choiniere). The rye is subtle but present and helps add to the overall punch of this beer. Did I mention it is punchy? Good. — BD

Squatters’ Wee Peat Scottish Ale: Been wanting to try this Scottish for a while, so it had a lot to live up to, especially with the quality of other Squatters beers. It has some nice peat-smoked elements, with that sweetness on the back end from the malt bill one would expect from a quality Wee Heavy. — S

Squatter’s always offers a solid selection; the Wee Peat Scottish Ale is in that category. Although a bit thin in the mouthfeel for my taste, it packs plenty of caramel, very low hop profile and slightly smokey notes from the roasted malts. A fine Scottish if you are in the mood for one that doesn’t require a spoon to drink. — BD

International beers

There were a lot more beers brought in from around the world, including a whole slew of foreign ciders.

Thistly Cross Ginger Cider: With all of the ciders floating around that day, I figured some praise was due to a category that I usually am quite apathetic to. The Ginger Cider was delicious, boasting a slightly dry body that had plenty of spice character and was not overly sweet. I found a cider I enjoyed, go figure. — BD

Radeberger’s Braufactum Roog: This is not the name of a Star Trek villain, but instead a rauchweizen, which takes a smoky rauchbier and mixes is up with a weizen. The smoke mutes the bitter wheat flavor, while the wheat in turn keeps the smoke from being too intense. It just ends up a nicely balanced beer. — S

One last note

Bullpen member Amy O had this story to share: “We stayed at the Airport Sheraton, which was the overflow hotel after Isleta sold out. Sheraton completely dropped the ball on the shuttle service they were supposed to provide. They said they didn’t agree to it and refused to shuttle us — which made us very unhappy campers — why else would we book a hotel as a local? I refused to drive myself or pay for it, so I had to spend a long, grueling time arguing with them and they finally agreed to send us in a taxi that they paid for. I found Marne as soon as I got there and she got it straightened out in time for some of the others to shuttle in and she made sure they shuttled us back, so I give an extra big THANKS to Marne. My favorite beers of the day were The Stumbling Steer (imperial) stout and the Red Rye from Mother Road. I was surprised about the mead from Sandia Chile Grill. I didn’t think I would like it, but it was pretty darn good. Pi’s West Coast Red was another favorite in our group. We were pretty impressed with their beers. All in all, a super good time. It was so much beer I totally started to lose names of what I liked! Loved the event.”

* * * * *

Another Hopfest is in the books. We hope you all had as much fun as we did. We will see you around the breweries for the next couple weeks before we all gather again at NM Brew Fest on Oct. 11.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Editor’s note: For more on this story below, you can visit Paul at his own booth at Hopfest this afternoon. His booth is located on the south wall of the main ballroom, next to the Dukes of Ale and Pagosa Brewing. — Stoutmeister

In the craft beer industry, homebrewing, professional brewing, and competition are all part of the same universe. Many professional brewers started off as homebrewers, and many homebrewers aspire to become professionals, but regardless of official status or aspirations, it all boils down to one thing — brewing great beer. That’s why both the pro brewer and homebrewer regularly compete for ribbons, medals, and bragging rights. Competition is a friendly way of challenging each other to make better beer and keep the craft of beer fresh. And, I suppose it’s also nice to say, in a friendly way of course, “My IPA can beat up your IPA.”

Brewer vs. brewer on TV sounds a lot better than another show about cooking. Or pawn shops. Or rednecks.

Brewer vs. brewer on TV sounds a lot better than another show about cooking. Or pawn shops. Or rednecks.

One way of bringing the collective industry together, the homebrewers, the breweries, and the beer drinkers, is through the magic of television. We’ve all seen “Brew Dogs” and rejoiced at the idea of beer on TV. But where it shines brightly in some areas, it leaves others dim as the dark side of the moon. Specifically, the exciting competitive side of beer. (Except for that one episode about the homebrewers. That was great. But that’s my point.)

Cooking competition shows are already wildly popular. Everyone loves a good battle in the kitchen because that’s how you really see how something is made and all the blood, sweat, and tears unwritten into each recipe. Whether it’s over cupcakes, foie gras, or baby back ribs, it’s fun to watch real people compete with real passion and creative ideas, all the while producing something we’d actually consume. It sure beats watching people starve on an island. Ahem.

One man recognized a need to see the brewing side of beer paired with the competitive side of human nature. He wants to see real brewers throw down in a casual cage match, which will showcase, above all, the passion and creativity that unarguably drive the art of craft brewing. I had the opportunity to do an email interview with expert homebrewer and fellow Bullpen writer Paul Grunewald about his exciting new TV venture and how he plans to get his idea from grain to glass, so to speak. And I suppose I’ll say it first, as we’ll all be thinking it half-way through. “Man! Why didn’t I think of that first?”

DSBC: What can you tell me about the concept for the show “Head to Head?”

Paul: Head to Head is a (respectful) competition show that has home brewers and pro brewers making beer under the same set of constraints. The beers will be judged by trained judges and then sampled with a live audience.

DSBC: Who came up with the idea for Head to Head?

Paul: I had the original idea and brainstormed with other beer lovers. The team at New Mexico Film Resource (NMFR) then helped me refine it.

DSBC: How did you come up with the idea?

Paul: There were a couple of things. In addition to brewing , both my wife and I do a lot of cooking so we watch cooking shows including “Top Chef” and some of the other shows. I was disappointed in both “Brew Masters” and “Brew Dogs.” One night, I was channel surfing and saw a show called “Airplane Repo.” I figured if there was a market for a show about people getting their airplanes repossessed, there’s got to be a bigger market for craft beer!

DSBC: I have to agree with you on that one. What features will the shows include?

Paul: These constraints might be style, ingredients, or other challenges. It will be different every week. There will not be a lot of contrived drama. The tone of the show will be similar to “BBQ Pitmasters” combined with “Movable Feast.”

DSBC: What sets this show apart from other competition shows or beer shows?

Paul: One, the host will not be swearing and screaming at the brewers! Giving them the time needed to brew a beer. The way the show is shot will be unique, but I can’t say too much more than that just yet. “Brew Dogs” is about beer, but it’s not the same vibe we think is needed for “Head to Head.” Our hope is to have each season in a great beer town including Portland, San Diego, Raleigh, etc. (not just a new city each episode as in Brew Dogs).

DSBC: Who is your target audience?

Paul: The audience is anyone that loves craft beer, and there are a lot of them. The demographics are very wide. Craft Beer grew at 18 percent last year, and over 1,000,000 people brewed at least batch of beer last year!

Beer can be a competitive sport. Well, brewing can.

Brewing as a competition. How novel.

DSBC: That would definitely include the Brew Crew. Where will the show be shooting?

Paul: We want to shoot the pilot here in New Mexico. Where the episodes are shot depends on who picks up the show. My hope would be to do season one here.

DSBC: Who will be involved with filming/production?

Paul: Again, it depends on how the show is financed. The deal can go anywhere from the idea being purchased, to “here is a chunk of money, bring me 13 shows and everything in between.”

DSBC: That makes sense. So, to which channels do you plan to pitch the idea?

Paul: I would want to start with the usual suspects, Esquire, Spike, Food Network, Discovery, National Geographic, etc. But I’ll talk to anyone who will listen to me!

DSBC: I think there is definitely a market for this kind of show. So, Paul, how are you going about getting this ambitious project off the ground?

Paul: I contracted with NMFR to shoot the promo video with my own money. They have done a number of crowd-funded projects already.

DSBC: Why did you choose Indiegogo over say, Kickstarter?

Paul: Because I’m using NMFR and they are a non-profit. If we reach our goal, Indiegogo will not take as large a percentage leaving more money to get the pilot done. Kickstarter tends to be an all or nothing proposition, whereas even if we don’t hit our full goal, we might have enough to start.

DSBC: How can craft beer lovers help get this show on TV?

Paul: The Indiegogo page is here. We will also be at Hopfest on Saturday at Isleta. We have a number of contribution perks. If anyone wants something different, please contact me.

DSBC: When is the deadline to donate or sponsor?

Paul: The campaign runs through Oct. 16, 2014.

DSBC: Paul, is there anything else you’d like to add?

Paul: I want to thank the people who have contributed time and money to this already. New Mexico is a beer mecca as well as having the film and TV resources to make a professional show. We have some great brewers and breweries here and I would like to show them off to the world! Special thanks again to Ken and Kaylynn at Nexus for their help with the promo video.

DSBC: Thanks Paul! Looking forward to watching Head to Head soon, pint-in-hand.

Cheers!

— Luke

Oh, Hopfest, you lovely giant beer festival, you have returned. It’s Lucky No. 7 for Hopfest, which returns to the Isleta Casino this Saturday. Tickets are still available online today (Friday). They go up in price at the door ($35 for general admission, $45 for Extra Hoppy Hour), so we highly recommend you get them online while you still can. And if any are left (it was 85-percent sold out Thursday morning), get those Extra Hoppy Hour tickets. It’s worth it to pay a little extra to have an hour (2-3 p.m.) of shorter lines. Pick out the beers or breweries you absolutely, positively have to try and hit those first.

So many beers, so little time. Again.

So many beers, so little time. Again.

Event organizer Marne Gaston had to put together a lot of this from afar — her family actually moved to Sarasota, Florida, earlier this year — but she said no one should worry, all is well.

“Well, we started a year ago, so the long-distance part just started happening,” she said. “I mean, it’s gone really well. It’s lucky number seven, we have 70 breweries, seven bands … actually, we have 74 breweries. That’s 12 more than last year.”

Ah, but what beers are out there? There’s over 70 breweries present at Hopfest this season, so it’s a lot to sort through. Being Hopfest veterans, the Crew is here to help, as always. Hopfest is divided into two rooms and an outdoor area. We prefer to hit the smaller room on the right side as you walk down the main hall. It gets really crowded once the GA folks are let inside, so hit those breweries first. From there, pick your favorites in the huge main room on the left side. As the GA folks pour in at 3 p.m., head to the outside and enjoy the fresh air and good beers out there.

So by room, here are the breweries to visit and the beers they’re expected to bring. We realize a lot of these beers lists may change by the time the kegs are tapped.

“Part of the problem is I’m bugging them to get their information way in advance so we can get it in the event program,” Marne said. “Whatever information we can get in advance, it helps people plan their day, makes it more fun.”

We did our best to make sure we had up-to-date lists for all the New Mexico breweries present, but a few of them did not have time to get back to us. Nonetheless, this is a listing of the beers we’re targeting. It does not include every brewery present, so there are some you may wish to seek out in addition to these.

UPDATED: As I was helping Marne set things up at Hopfest on Friday, we all found out that Cazuela’s is no longer attending, but Ponderosa is. So where it shows Cazuela’s on the map inside your program, that’s now Ponderosa. Also, we got an updated list from Pi Brewing.

Premier Stage/Side room breweries

Durango Brewing: They’re bringing Durango Dark Lager. That’s all I need.

Eel River: They’re that brewery that does all organic beers. Gotta admit, kinda curious what the heck an Organic Acai Berry Wheat tastes like.

These three lunkheads will be back at Hopfest. Will you?

These three lunkheads will be back at Hopfest. Will you?

Erdinger/Krombacher: These two classic German breweries are bringing some of their wares overseas. Erdinger specializes in weissbier. Krombacher has a weizen as well, plus a pilsner and a dark lager.

Grain Hopper: The Rio Rancho-based home brewing store has concocted a trio of beers. White Knight (Belgian Wit), Over the Pond (Pale Ale), and Hoptoberfest will be available. Looking forward to the last of those three.

Mad River: Never pass up Steelhead Extra Stout. Never.

Mother Road: The Lost Highway Black IPA is some epic stuff. I’m also quite intrigued to try the Red Rye IPA. Beyond those, a Mother Road rep contacted us to say they’re also bringing something special in a Randall, something else in a cask, and a third beer that’s been barrel aged. Oh, you are much to good to us, supreme lord of the Flagstaff brewing scene. WE’RE NOT WORTHY!

Ponderosa: They just signed up Friday. We don’t know what they’re bringing, but we’ll stop by and see what they’ve got.

Total Wine collective: The jumbo beer store is bringing three unique beers — Clown Shoes’ Crunkle Sam (barleywine), Pike’s Naughty Nelly (a gold artisinal ale, whatever that means), and Laughing Dog’s Sneaky Pete, which sounds like a DIPA and checks in at 10 percent ABV.

Cider-palooza: You know that Johnny Appleseed badge on Untappd? You can start leveling up on that there’s so many cideries here. There are going to be four alone in the side room, including Green Goblin and Thistly Cross.

Main room breweries

Alaskan: We’ve always enjoyed the Amber and Freeride APA. The seasonal they’re bringing is their Pumpkin Porter.

Back Alley: Addison actually ran out of beer downtown because he was saving up for Hopfest. He didn’t get us an updated list, but we have a feeling it will be more than just the Soroche IPA and Berliner Weisse.

Black Diamond: The NorCal brewery with a brewer from ABQ (he and Franz Solo actually went to high school together … this town is so small) is bringing four of its best. If you have never tried the Fracas Imperial Red or the Peak XV Imperial Porter, you’ve been missing out.

Bridgeport: The Oregon brewery has something called Trilogy #2 Aussie Salute, an IPA made with two American hops and two Australian hops. Fair enough, we’ll give it a try.

In 2012, the crazy lines were for Boar's Nest. We expect Pi and Red Door to get huge lines this time.

In 2012, the crazy lines were for Boar’s Nest. We expect Pi and Red Door to get huge lines this time.

Chama River: The Brew Crew’s hefeweizen challenge champion, Hefe Nice Day! will be available, along with the delicious Hardscrabble ESB.

Dukes of Ale: They usually bring several top-notch home brews for us all to try, with patrons getting to vote for the favorite as best of show.

Lagunitas: An Imperial Red, you say? Why yes, I’d love to see what this hop-centric California brewery does with one of those.

Magic Hat: These guys always get points for sheer naming creativity. The scored again with Wilhelm Screamer, their seasonal pumpkin release.

NM Craft Brewing: There’s no entry in the event program, but fear not, the NMCBC folks got back to us on the five beers they have coming down from Las Vegas. On the way are a Session IPA, Rye Pale Ale, Wet and Wild IPA (made with fresh-picked hops; last year’s batch was wholly unique and awesome), Porter, and Cream Ale. Guess we’ll have to try ’em all. Shucks.

Odell: Just when I thought I had all of their beers, they go and bust out Gramps Oatmeal Stout. That sounds surly and mean. Woots.

Pagosa: Mrs. Solo and her dear husband (who’s stuck at the Apple Store during iPhone release weekend; raise a pint in his honor wherever you are) have long sworn by this lovely brewery from southern Colorado. How much do they love it? They claim Pagosa has a better Chile Verde Cerveza than any NM brewery. The good news is you can see if they’re right, because it’s on the menu.

Pi: Hey, remember a couple years ago when the lines for Boar’s Nest were crazy as everyone eagerly anticipated it was opening soon? Well, sadly, it never did, but Pi is one of two new ABQ breweries at Hopfest this year that actually is open already. They’re bringing their West Coast Red, Unchallenged IPA, Apricot Wheat, and a special Bourbon Vanilla Porter.

Red Door: The other new brewery in town is already seeing huge crowds and positive buzz, even among the most discerning of beer drinkers. The Trapdoor Wheat was listed in the event program, but as it’s not ready at the brewery, it won’t be present at Hopfest, either. Don’t fret, the excellent Roamer Red, Threshold IPA, and Unhinged Cider will still be there for your tasting enjoyment.

Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca: The award-winning Nut Brown and the Alien Imperial Stout, their two best beers in our humble opinion, will be present.

Sandia Chile Grill: The Rattlesnake IPA will not be available, as listed in the program. Brew Crew Bullpen member Amy O had stopped by SCG to get a list (and a try a pint or two). They will be bringing their Smoked Stout and Barb’s Barrel Hefeweizen, plus two of Clint’s award-winning meads. Be forewarned, the melomel mead checks in at 14 percent ABV.

Santa Fe: It looks like they’re just bringing the usual suspects (Java Stout, Happy Camper IPA, Oktoberfest, Nut Brown), but it’s always worth stopping by to see if anything special is lurking.

Ska: It’s been a while since I had a Pinstripe Red Ale, so I suppose I can stop by. Would rather have a Steel Toe Stout, which isn’t listed.

Squatters/Wasatch: Been meaning to try the Squatters Wee Peat Scottish Ale, so here’s a good opportunity.

Stumbling Steer: Get your hop bomb on with the Hop Trough DIPA. Or remain standing and go with the Iron Horse IPA. Either way, you can’t lose.

Tractor: It’s a lot of the old favorites (all three canned varieties, plus Apple Cider and Berliner Weisse), but Tractor does list a “surprise beer,” so we’ll have to go by and be surprised and all.

Cider-palooza part two: There are another six cideries scattered around the main room, including Crispin, Strongbow, Johnny Appleseed, Woodchuck, and Angry Orchard. Seriously, if you don’t pick up at least two or three levels on that Untappd badge, you’re not even trying.

Outdoor area breweries

Big Sky: Well, hello there Slow Elk Oatmeal Stout. You sound like our kind of beer.

There will be plenty of beer goodness packed outside.

There will be plenty of beer goodness packed outside.

Boulder: When you need dessert, Shake Chocolate Porter should suffice.

Deschutes: Fresh Squeezed IPA will be available, but not Obsidian Stout. Boo (to the latter, not the former, which is pretty darned tasty for hop lovers).

Left Hand: Milk Stout, Oktoberfest, and Sawtooth (ESB) in one place. Thank you, Left Hand, thank you.

Marble: The list in program has changed considerably, or so Leah Black told us. The popular Double White will still be there, but it will now be joined by the Double IPA, Galaxy IPA, and Pilsner instead of the regular IPA, Red, and Barley Wine. She did not say whether those two “special brews” were still coming. Guess we’ll have to go find out. Oh, darn.

Oskar Blues: The Old Chub Scotch Ale is listed. Please be on nitro. Please, please, PLEASE.

Santa Sidra: Remember how a cider beat out all the beers at the State Fair Pro-Am? Here’s your chance to try this super cider. And further pad your Untappd stats.

Taos Mesa: They listed their tasty Kolsch 45 and Three Peaks IPA, plus the latest incarnation in their Sessions (IPA) series.

* * * * *

All right, that’s just about everything. Get those pretzel necklaces ready, don’t forget the RailRunner times if you’re taking that, and prep your palates. Come Saturday at 2 p.m., it’s go time!

And yes, you can say hello if you see us. We’ll be the bearded lunkheads in black. Plus Mrs. Solo. Hey, we gotta class up this trip at least somewhat, right?

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Spotting a new brewery down south

Posted: September 18, 2014 by porterpounder in New Brewery Preview, Uncategorized
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Recently I, Porter Pounder, was invited to an advance tasting at a new brewery under construction while working down south in Las Cruces. Spotted Dog Brewery is the name, and wheat beer is their very specific game. Jerry Grandle, owner and operator, was kind enough to let me in to watch them brew their first official batch, and give me some insight to their new brewery. Spotted Dog is holding a soft opening this Friday, according to their Facebook page, and will have a grand opening in the weeks to come “after we get all the kinks worked out.”

Say hello to Southern New Mexico's newest brewery.

Say hello to Southern New Mexico’s newest brewery.

Having been home brewing for over 14 years, and having strong ties to Southern New Mexico history, Jerry explained that wheat beer is actually quite common in local history. Located at 2920 S. Avenida de Mesilla in old Mesilla, it’s actually a really great location, close to lots of great food, music, and art. True old New Mexico, so even the location says something about the forthcoming styles of beer.

On that note, that’s why you’re all here, lets talk beer menu! Spotted Dog will be opening boasting six mainstay beers: Belgian Wit (6.5% ABV), Milk Stout (7% ABV), IPA (6.5% ABV), Pale Ale (6.5% ABV), Hefeweizen (6% ABV), and a Red (6.5% ABV). They will also be having themed, seasonal, or specialty beers on rotations, which includes small batch beers, like their 13-percent Imperial Wheat, or the Braggart, which I was lucky enough to get to taste.

Brewer Jerry Grandle has been hard at work in advance of Friday's soft opening.

Brewer Jerry Grandle has been hard at work in advance of Friday’s soft opening.

The two beers that were available during my visit were the aforementioned Braggart, and their mainstay key beer, the Belgian Wit. The Wit was super crisp, with light hop tones to start, and finished with some bitterness that stemmed from the zest from tangerines, grapefruit, and even the hint of coriander. There are four types of hops in it, too, which play really nicely off the zest for the finish. When you get that first scent on the nose of this Wit, you really notice the grapefruit, and that typical Belgian funk that you know and love from the yeast of this beer style. The Wit was still very cloudy, with a decently thick head as well upon pouring that had excellent tight bubble grouping. Once I let it open up to room temperature a lot of flavor came out to play in wonderful harmony. It may not be the boldest Belgian beer you’ll taste all year, but it will make a great summer and fall beer for something a little different and unique.

The Braggart, which was at a much stronger 13 percent ABV, is one of their small batch specialties. This is one that I certainly would be coming back for every tapping before I miss out. The Braggart is somewhere in between beer and mead. I also recommend letting it open up just a touch, then really experience its chewy, heavy glory. The additives are candy ginger and fresh honey, which are perfect for a simple flavor profile to add to this specialty. It had a gorgeous nose up front, especially just hinting at the ginger, and a light, cloudy, caramel color. There really are no hop profiles in this style, and you can expect a very sweet, not alcohol finish. Because of the sweetness, you’ll never quite realize how heavy of a pint you’re actually experiencing. It will definitely remind you of something along the lines of a wee heavy.

And that was my experience at Spotted Dog. They certainly are a much-needed, unique brewery located in a small college town, and we can’t wait to get back down there after opening and give em a taste and see how the other beers fare.

Prost!

— Porter Pounder

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with the reunified edition of The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s four breweries and one newcomer down in Socorro also joining the party. We tried hard to keep the state edition going, but without participation from the breweries outside the I-25 corridor, it was futile.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

To say this is a busy beer week might be a massive understatement. Red Door Brewing is having its soft opening today (Wednesday) with the grand opening Friday. The Crew got a sneak preview and loved their beers, considering they were all debuts. It was a much stronger start than Ponderosa had recently (we have faith that they will improve considerably in the months to come), more akin to what Boxing Bear did out of the gate. While all that is going on, two more breweries are revving up this week outside of the ABQ metro area. Twisted Chile Brewing in Socorro (see entry below) will have its first beer on tap, an IPA of course, this Saturday. Spotted Dog Brewing in Mesilla will open Friday. Look for a full preview from Porter Pounder this week (he got an advance visit while working on a film crew down in Las Cruces last month). If all that wasn’t enough, Ullrfest is taking place on Pajarito Mountain next to Los Alamos on Saturday. The biggest event of all, however, is Hopfest, which is set for Isleta Casino on Saturday starting at 2 p.m. for “extra hoppy hour” and 3 p.m. for everyone else. I met with Marne Gaston (at Red Door) and will have a full preview, including a list of the beers you need to seek out, on Thursday.

With festival season in full swing and breweries gearing up for GABF next month, there were only a few new beers (or old favorites) popping up this week. Back Alley hopes to have a new October Fest on tap by Friday. Bosque has revamped Burnin’ Red. Broken Bottle introduces the Stray Dog IPA. Il Vicino has the funky Pumpkin Saison. Ponderosa unleashed a Double IPA. Tractor has brought back Barnstorm Ale and is introducing Cider Especial.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn does not fear the Alpha Reaper, an imperial red. Santa Fe’s small-batch beer is a Doppelbock this week. Second Street has Wet-hopped Otowi Pale Ale, Pivotal IPA, and Atalaya Altbeir now available.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of Sept. 15.

To break down each “capsule,” I listed the brewery (with Web page linked), its phone number and hours of operation. Under “Beers” are the new or seasonal beers on tap for this week.

Albuquerque metro area breweries

ABQ Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–midnight, Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–2 a.m., Sunday 10 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Petrus Aged Ale, Petrus Aged Red. Petrus Aged Ale and Red are high alcohol barrel-aged sours from a family-owned brewery in Flanders. Several times a year, ABP serves up the latest creation by local brewing hero and winner of the Samuel Adams Longshot competition, Ben Miller, or seasonal releases by Monks Brewing.

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

(Hours 4 p.m.-11 p.m. daily)

Beers: Soroche IPA, Red Ale, Berliner Weisse, October Fest. Brewer Addison Poth said as of Monday that his taps had run dry, due in part to preparing kegs to take to Hopfest on Saturday, and because so many of you visited last weekend and drank up what was left. He hopes to have the four beers listed back on tap either Thursday or Friday. Don’t worry, though, as BADH always carries a large swath of beers from across New Mexico and the world.

Bosque Brewing Company — (505) 750-7596

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun noon-8 p.m.)

Beers: Fade to Blackberry Sour, Acequia Wet Hop IPA, Rebel Brit, Bosque’s Burnin’ Red. The Bosque Lager is temporarily out (guess you all liked it, didn’t you?) but will return soon. The Rebel Brit is a variation of the Mellow Brit. Also an American brown ale, it was brewed with London Ale yeast to produce a unique but tasty flavor. Fade to Blackberry finds some balance between the sweet blackberry flavor and the usual tartness of a sour. Scale Tipper #4 (7.4% ABV, 100+ IBU) is out for the time being as the remaining stock is bound for GABF next month. In its place is Acequia, brewed with fresh-picked hops from Colorado. It was our pick for the best hoppy beer at Septemberfest recently. The Burnin’ Red, with a new recipe, is back on tap.

News: Construction continues on Bosque’s new taproom, the Bosque Public House, located on Girard just south of Central. Bosque has also signed a lease on a new taproom in Las Cruces, located in the former Mimbres Valley space across from New Mexico State at the corner of University Ave. and Espina St.

Bosque has a happy hour running from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and all day on Sunday. Look for a revamped menu and get $1 off your favorite pints.

Beers in the more distant future will include a pumpkin ale, Oktoberfest, and a barley wine. Plus, Bosque is aging its Scotia Scotch Ales in rum barrels, and they just received a shipment of casks to start doing that as well. We’re a bit excited.

Boxing Bear Brewing Company — (505) 897-2327

(Sun-Thurs 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-11 p.m.)

Beers: Paw Swipe Pale Ale, Hairy Mit Hefe, Standing 8 Stout, Ambear Ale, Red Panda Session Red, Uppercut IPA. Recent additions to the lineup are the Standing 8 Stout (6.3% ABV, 45 IBU) and Ambear Ale (5.2% ABV, 35 IBU). The other somewhat recent addition is the Red Panda (4.6% ABV, 65 IBU), while the Sun Bear Summer Ale has vanished with the arrival of fall. Sadly, the popular Bear Knuckle DIPA has run out for now, but the punchy Uppercut IPA is back.

Broken Bottle Brewery — (505) 890-8777

(Mon–Weds 4-11 p.m., Thurs-Fri 4 p.m.–midnight, Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: 12 Step Apricot Ale, Wise Ass Watermelon Wheat, Atomic Rye Red, Elixir Vanilla Cream Ale, Stray Dog IPA. The Apricot, Watermelon, Atomic, and Elixir went on tap recently, while the Stray Dog IPA is the newest beer listed via BBB’s Facebook page.

Events: B3 has $3 beers every Tuesday from open to close. On Wednesday, B3 will be hosting their open mic from 8-10 p.m., with signups starting at 7:30 p.m. Check out B3’s karaoke night every Thursday starting at 8 p.m.

Cazuela’s Seafood & Mexican Grill — (505) 994-9364

(Open daily 8 a.m.-10 p.m.)

Beers: Papacabra (Double IPA), Panama Red, Acapulco Gold (Mexican Lager), Hefeweizen, Chupacabra IPA, Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale, Beer for My Horses (Oatmeal Stout), Inebriator (Doppelbock). E-Rock and I had a chance to sample the Piedra del Fuego (5% ABV), which we both recommend. According to Cazuela’s menu: “This cream ale uses red-hot stones to super caramelize the sugars, creating a nutty, toffee-like flavor.” The Inebriator (8% ABV) and the Papacabra (9.7% ABV) are the biggest beers in the lineup.

Events: Cazuela’s now features a live guitarist every Friday.

News: Cazuela’s Beer for My Horses won a bronze medal in the oatmeal stout category at the World Beer Cup in Denver and also captured a gold medal in the stout category at the 2014 State Fair Pro-Am.

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Hardscrabble ESB, Wee Bit Loco, Radioactive IPA, Valle de Oro Pale Ale. Wee Bit Loco is a new Scottish ale and was our pick as the best malty beer at Septemberfest. Hardscrabble (5.4% ABV, 35 IBU) another recent entry to the lineup. Radioactive IPA (7.5% ABV, 100 IBU) was Chama’s standout entry in the IPA Challenge back in July. It’s back by popular demand. New to taps is the Valle de Oro (5.5% ABV, 35 IBU), which was brewed in honor of the Friends of Valle de Oro, the wildlife shelter in the South Valley. For every pint sold, $1 will be donated to the shelter.

News: Head brewer Zach Guilmette has revamped the recipe for Chama’s Jackalope IPA to give it a stronger kick and tastier palate. Franz Solo and I also highly recommend you try the revamped Sleeping Dog Stout. It’s creamy and burly and sweet and roasted … it’s got everything you want in a stout.

Il Vicino Brewing Canteen — (505) 881-2737

(Sun–Thurs noon–10 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–midnight)

Beers: Irish Red, Sessa’s Wet Hop IPA, Exodus IPA, Henhouse Saison, Panama Joe Coffee Stout, Elmo’s IIPA, Pumpkin Saison. The Elmo’s (10% ABV) is a modified version of the Elsa Imperial IPA with Mosaic hops added. Citra IPA (8.3% ABV, 65 IBU) and the return of Exodus (7.8% ABV, 100+ IBU) will keep the hopheads happy. Welcome back to a Crew favorite, the GABF gold-medal winning Panama Joe (8% ABV, 37 IBU). Speaking of GABF, Henhouse will be entered in the Pro-Am this year. Mike Archibeck teamed up with Doug to brew this unique new beer.

News: Il Vicino posted some pics on Facebook of the beers they are currently barrel-aging in the back. They’ve got Double IPA in tequila barrels, American Stock Ale in rum barrels, Belgian Strong Golden in wine barrels, and Panama Joe Coffee Stout in bourbon barrels.

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

(Hours Mon-Thu 11:30-8 p.m., Fri-Sun 11:30-10 p.m.)

Beers: Kolsch, Oyster Stout, Banty Rooster (Hefe IPA), Helles Lager, Honk Ale, Alanna’s Amber, Banaweizen, Charlie Brown. The Oyster Stout replaces the Cream Stout, while the Helles Lager returns. The Alanna’s Amber is a new entry, taking the Solstice Pilsner’s spot on the roster. Located at 471 South Hill Road in Bernalillo, Kaktus is one of the state’s newest breweries. It is a small, casual place, similar to Blue Heron in appearance and comfort factor. Kaktus owner Dana Koller said fans can expect the nanobrewery to go through its most popular styles quickly, though they will always have something new and exciting available as a replacement.

Events: Kaktus has several new weekday specials including $3 pints on Monday, $9 growlers on Tuesday, $6 bison nachos on Wednesday, and $8 Frito pie and beer on Thursday.

The Desert Darlings belly dancers will perform from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday. If you’ve never seen the Desert Darlings in person, you’re missing out.

Kaktus will be one of four breweries pouring at the Rio Rancho Oktoberfest this Friday and Saturday.

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: Full Nelson, Saison d’Hommel, Fievre d’Abricot, Across the Pond, Tank 10 Red Ale, Witch’s Tit. Jeff was out of town, so we didn’t get an update (yet). Oh, darn might have to stop by La Cumbre after this afternoon’s Isotopes affiliation announcement (spoiler: it’s the Rockies, according to sources). The most recent additions include the popular seasonal pumpkin beer, Witch’s Tit, plus Across the Pond (6.5% ABV, 65 IBU), a British-style IPA, and Tank 10 Red Ale (6.8% ABV, 85 IBU), which is a wonderful combo hop bomb/malt blast of a beer, just the way we like ’em. The Full Nelson (8.5% ABV, IBUs listed as “stupid”) is a powerful DIPA that’s also available in bombers, though none are left at the brewery. You may still find some around town. The Saison (7.5% ABV, 35 IBU) and the Fievre (7.8% ABV, 25 IBU) are likewise available for sale in bombers.

News: We congratulate La Cumbre Brewing Co. for becoming this year’s National IPA Champion. Project Dank scored the win by edging out 127 other IPAs from around the country, including the likes of the venerable Fat Head’s IBUsive.

Lizard Tail Brewing — (505) 717-1301

(Sun–Weds 9 a.m.–11 p.m., Thurs–Sat 9 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: German Blonde Ale, Berliner Weisse, Belgian Abbey, Honey Pale Ale, IPA, Amber, Oatmeal Brown, India Black Ale, Rye Stout. Both Brandon and I have had chances to visit Lizard Tail, which is one of the newest breweries in town, located in the shopping center on the southeast corner of Eubank and Montgomery. They specialize is malt-forward beers. The German Blonde (5.5% ABV, 20 IBU) is a good place to start. The Berliner Weisse (4.3% ABV, 8 IBU) is not nearly as sour as most of its genre. The Belgian Abbey (6.8%, 25 IBU) is a good example of its style. The Honey Pale Ale (6.3% ABV, 35 IBU) has a nice little hop kick to it. The IPA (6.8% ABV, 70 IBU) has a good mix of Mosaic, Warrior, and Galaxy hops. The Rye Stout (5.5% ABV, 35 IBU) has a nice flavor but lacks body. The first batch of Oatmeal Brown (4.2% ABV, 25 IBU) needed some work, but I got to sample the second batch that will be on tap soon and it’s improved.

News: Lizard Tail’s happy hour runs Thursday through Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m. You get $1 off food, flights, and pints.

A Dubbel and a Porter are next up.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

(Mon–Sat 1 p.m.–midnight, Sun 1 p.m.–10:30 p.m.)

Beers: Red Light Lager, Double White, Imperial Red, Wilderness Pale Ale. The Imperial Red is back on tap. This batch was brewed for GABF in Denver next month. Wilderness is a pale ale brewed with local spruce and pine. A portion of the profits will be donated to the Wilderness Society. Otherwise it’s a relatively light seasonal list as Marble is at capacity brewing the regular beers for distribution.

Cask: Check out Marble’s cask (a.k.a. “real” ale) selection on tap every Friday at the Downtown Pub.

Events: Brewery tours occur at the Downtown Pub every Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Don’t forget about the Community Ride and Refueling Party for cyclists and beer lovers alike this Saturday at Marble. All the info you need was posted last week, or go to Marble’s website for more info.

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Rye Pale Ale, Blackberry Hefeweizen, Altbier. Brewer Kaylynn McKnight cranked out a new seasonal in the Blackberry Hefeweizen while the popular Altbier has returned. The RPA (5.9% ABV) has somewhat muted rye flavor, while the sweeter malts tend to dominate this beer. It’s a good summer beer, perfect for sipping slowly on a hot afternoon.

Events: Nexus serves up Happy Hour All Day on Tuesday featuring $3 pints. Also on Tuesday, Nexus will be hosting their comedy open mic, Young Dumb and Full of Comedy, starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Sun Room.

Pi Brewing at Nicky V’s Neighborhood Pizzeria — (505) 890-9463

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

UPDATED >>> Beers: Unchallenged IPA, West Coast Red, Robust Porter, Lost Grain English Summer Ale, Apricot Wheat. While Pi Brewing is not open to the public yet, they are able to brew and serve their beers next door at Nicky V’s. The IPA and West Coast Red are both good hoppy beers. We’ll keep tabs on when Pi itself opens. For now, grab a pint and some tasty Italian food.

Ponderosa Brewing Co. — (505) 639-5941

(Sun 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m.)

Beers: Ghost Train IPA, Rip Saw Red, Crosscut Kolsch, Sawmill Stout, XPA1 Pale Ale, Helles Lager, Double IPA. Porter Pounder and I went over for the grand opening recently. Ponderosa is located at 1761 Bellamah NW, which is just east of Rio Grande and due north of the NM Natural History Museum, in the bottom floor of a swanky-looking apartment/retail complex. As for the beers, they are all the initial batches, so expect some modifications/changes going forward. Needless to say we both liked the Stout (5.2% ABV, 22 IBU) the best, but we’re dark beer guys (then again, you could also call us dark beer snobs, so consider that). Porter Pounder liked the XPA1 Pale Ale (5% ABV, 35 IBU), which will always be a rotating single-hop pale ale. The Crosscut Kolsch (4.9% ABV, 25 IBU) is almost like a Kolsch/hefeweizen hybrid. The Ghost Train (6.2% ABV, 75 IBU) needs some work, but the brewer has already identified what went wrong in the first batch and is working on correcting that for the next run. The new Double IPA (7.7% ABV, 90 IBU) begs to be tried in the near future.

News: More German-style beers are on the way in the weeks ahead.

Red Door Brewing — (505) 633-6675

(Noon to midnight all week)

Beers: Gateway Blonde Ale, Roamer Red, Threshold IPA, Paint it Black Milk Stout, Unhinged Cider. We have been excited to try Red Door ever since they first invited us to visit many months ago. They are now open and their initial batches of beer are all quite good. The Roamer Red (6% ABV) was a favorite for Porter Pounder, sitting midway between hoppy reds like Marble and sweeter reds like the standard Irish variety. The Paint it Black (5.5%) is served on nitro, so it’s criminally smooth. The potent Threshold IPA (6.6% ABV) should appeal to local hopheads. Beware the Unhinged Cider as it checks in at 7.9 percent, but you don’t taste the alcohol. A wheat beer is in the fermenter, with Boxing Bear supplying their Hairy Mit Hefe as a temporary placeholder.

News: Red Door’s soft opening is today (Wednesday) from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. The grand opening will be Friday from noon to midnight. Europa Roaming Kitchen will provide the food on Friday.

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

(Mon–Sat 8 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun 8 a.m.–6 p.m.)

Beers: Irish Red, American IPA. We’re going to dispatch E-Rock (he needs a new assignment) to re-establish our lines of communication with Sandia Chile Grill.

News: Congrats to SCG on sweeping all three medals in the mead category at the 2014 State Fair Pro-Am, while also claiming a silver medal for Barb’s Barrel Hefeweizen.

The Stumbling Steer — (505) 792-7805

(Sunday-Wednesday 11 a.m.-midnight, Thursday-Saturday 11 a.m.-2 a.m.)

Beers: Blonde, Pale, IPA, Red, Brown, Double IPA, Imperial Stout. While the brewery is being built in the back of the Steer, all of their house beers are being brewed off-site, but still using brewer Kirk Roberts’ recipes. The DIPA and the Stout are limited to two per customer, due to their high alcohol content (10% and 9.5% ABV, respectively). The Crew has already made two separate visits to the Steer to review the beer and food. We enjoyed it all.

Tractor Brewing Company — (505) 433-5654 (Nob Hill Tap Room), TBA (Wells Park)

(Nob Hill is open Monday-Wednesday 3 p.m. to midnight, Thursday 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., Friday-Saturday 1 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to midnight; Wells Park is open Monday-Thursday 3 p.m. to close, Friday-Sunday 1 p.m. to midnight.
 Last call 30 minutes before close. 
No package after midnight.
 Brewery tours Saturday at 1 p.m.)

Beers at Nob Hill: Cider Especial, Barnstorm Ale, Javi Light Lager, Milk Mustachio Stout, La Llorona Dry Hop Amber, Berliner Weisse, Tupac Cali Red.

Beers at Wells Park only: L4 IPL, Maibock, Maibock. All of the Nob Hill seasonals are also at Wells Park, which has 24 total taps (Tractor’s five regular beers have two taps apiece). The Berliner Weisse Sour is a variation of a traditional German-style wheat beer that has the qualities of a sour. It’s an acquired taste. The most recent beer additions to the lineups are the Barnstorm Ale, La Llorona Dry Hop Amber, which is drier yet more flavorful than most ambers, and Tupac Cali Red. The Cider Especial is also new.

Events: On Wednesday, Tractor will be hosting another Cards Against Humanity night at Wells Park. This is a free event starting at 7 p.m. Food will by served by Nomad’s BBQ.

Geeks Who Drink is now setting up shop at the Wells Park Tap Room every Monday at 8 p.m. Bar cash for winners and bonus questions all night. Wanna see what GWD at Tractor has been up to? Check out the blog! Food will be served by Mystique.

Tractor’s Thirsty Thursday music series at Wells Park continues with April Barreiro performing at 8 p.m. Kimo’s Hawaiian BBQ will provide the food.

The In the Mix series continues Saturday at Wells Park as DJ Young Native will perform at 9 p.m. Kimo’s again provides the sustenance.

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

(Kitchen hours: Mon–Tues 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Wed–Thurs 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Sun 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Reminder: TMBC closes early when business dictates. Please call.)

Beers: (House) McDay’s Cream Ale, Oku Amber, Parasol White IPA, Hopshell IPA, Piedra Lisa Porter, Heidelberg Helles. (Seasonal/specialty) Monochrome Milk Stout, Pork ‘n’ Brew Brown Ale, Dog Daze Summer Lager, Saison du Soleil. To help us out for now and the future, brewer Tim Woodward broke down what will be the regular beers on tap (under House) and the current list of seasonals. That’s a pretty solid regular lineup. I personally really enjoyed the Porter and Amber, the latter of which trumps most of its genre in terms of flavor. The Heidelberg Helles (5.1% ABV, 25 IBU) has rejoined the regular lineup for good, or so Tim hopes. The newest beer on tap is the Saison du Soleil, a French/Belgian saison. I got to enjoy the decadently smooth Monochrome Milk Stout from a guest tap at Boxing Bear.

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Berliner Weiss, Funkadelic Dunkel, Night Train (Schwarzbier), Scorched (smoked olde ale), Alpha Reaper (Imperial Red Ale). If the Alpha Reaper (9% ABV, 100 IBU) sounds imposing, that’s because it is. A wet-hopped imperial red, it was made with 50 pounds of fresh Chinook hops grown in Colorado. Now good luck keeping “Don’t Fear the Reaper” from getting stuck in your head. The most recent German-style beer addition is the Night Train (5% ABV, 32 IBU), a darker lager made with two types of German malts and noble hops. The Funkadelic (5.8% ABV, 30 IBU) is a Bavarian-style brown ale, with Crystal hops added to balance the big malt bill. Scorched debuted last week. I got the chance to try both Funkadelic, which is exceptionally smooth, and Scorched, which is exactly the big old smoky blast you would expect.

News: An Oktoberfest and a pumpkin ale are in the works, while further down the line we are really looking forward to an imperial stout and a barley wine.

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

(Sun 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Mon–Tues 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Wed–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Study Series: Brown (Belgian-style Sour Brown Ale), Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Synne (Pale Ale), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Marcel (Witbier), Whistler (Blonde), Manikin Small Scottish-style Dark Ale, Oaked Grunewald (Barrel Aged Imperial Porter). Duel brewer Todd Yocham described the latest Study Series entry (5% ABV) like this, “A very malt forward light bodied brown ale, soured with Lactobacillus and accentuated by the fruity esters from our Trappist yeast.” The Fantin (7.5% ABV), which I tried and liked at Pajarito Summerfest, gets this summary, “Aromas of strawberry and pineapple accentuated by our Trappist yeast will keep you wanting more.” Todd also said his supply of the Oaked Grunewald is very limited, so hurry over before it runs out.

Events: The life drawing session is $25 and is held each Sunday morning from 11-1 (although they are not open to the drinking public till 1 p.m. on Sun). You get the beverage of your choice, a Brussels-style waffle made with their own yeast and beer and then served with a Grunewald Syrup. Everyone then draws from a nude model. People can sign up through the website or call the brewery to reserve a spot.

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

(Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., closed on Sunday)

UPDATED >>>> Beers: Oktoberfest, Lydia and Carne’s Doppelbock. The Doppelbock is this week’s entry for Small Batch Saturday, while the Crystalweis we listed earlier will be held back until a later date. Kriek, SFBC’s popular sour, is not on tap, but it is available in bombers around the state. The first beer in the new Ever Changing Series will be a Double White IPA, which potentially will debut this week or the next.

Events: $1 Off Growler Refills in the Tasting Room on Mondays. $2 Tuesdays at the Eldorado Taphouse. On Wednesday, there is a $2 Pint Special in the SFBC Tasting Room, and the Sangre de Cristo Craft Brewers’ Meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Tasting Room as well on the third Wednesday of every month. On Thursday, there will be $1 Off Growler Refills at the Eldorado Taphouse.

News: SFBC will be all over the place pouring beers this week, including Rio Rancho Oktoberfest and Globalquerque on Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, they will be at Hopfest, Ullrfest in Los Alamos, Bands and Brews in Pagosa Springs, Sipapu Music on the Rocks, Taos Chile Challenge, and the Santa Fe Renaissance Fair. And, as they have been the last three weeks, SFBC will be at the Santa Fe Ski Basin Fall Gold sale, which will be held this Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

Second Street Brewery — (505) 989-3278 (Railyard), (505) 982-3030 (original location)

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Sunday noon-9 p.m.)

Beers: Kolsch, Wet-hopped Otowi Pale Ale, Pivotal IPA, Atalaya Altbeir, Citra Weizen, Scotch Ale, IPA, Steam Bitter. The Cream Stout, Rod’s Best Bitter, Boneshaker Bitter, and Pajarito Pale Ale have run out, but the Pivotal IPA and wet-hopped Otowi Pale Ale are back, plus the Atalaya Altbier has debuted. This year’s Scotch Ale is a cherry wood smoked aged beer, which gives it a smoky yet sweet flavor profile, without being too much of either. It’s a big, thick, tough beer that’s not for the faint of heart.

Events: SSB Thursday’s Patio series features Bill Hearne. Tumbleweeds are playing Friday. Eryn Bent plays Saturday.

Shows at the Railyard include Pollo Frito on Friday, Jaka on Saturday, and the Watermelon Mountain Jug Band on Sunday.

Every Wednesday night, both SSB locations host Game Night. SSB has game boards and dominoes or bring your own … oh yeah, they also have discounted pitchers!

Other breweries you need to visit

Twisted Chile Brewing — (575) 835-2949

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sun 11 a.m.–11 p.m.)

Beers: IPA. Twisted Chile has been open for a while as a restaurant, but as the name might imply, they will be brewing their own beer on site. Located in Socorro at 115 Abeyta St. W, they will be the first brewery there to brew on site since Socorro Springs outsourced their brewing to Eddyline in Colorado.

Events: As noted above, the debut of the IPA as the first homemade beer at Twisted Chile will be this Saturday. The Crew hopes to go down some time next week to try this and hopefully the stout will be ready when we arrive.

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That’s all for this week! If you have any questions or comments, leave them below or contact us on our Facebook page.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister