AHA Rally in Santa Fe brings out the beer love in everyone

AHA AHA table
It all started here on Saturday at Santa Fe Brewing.

Hello, beer lovers!

Luke and I were able to attend the American Homebrewers Association Rally held this past Saturday. The event was hosted at Santa Fe Brewing by Alana and her crew as well as volunteers from the Atom Mashers, Dukes of Ale, Santa Fe Home Brew Club, and Sangre De Cristo Craft Brewers club. The event was open to members of AHA and renewals and signups were offered at a discount that included reduced dues, raffle tickets for books and swag, and two free beers.

Attendance for the event was quite good and I estimated about 50 people were there by mid-afternoon. On the SFBC pilot system they were brewing a small batch of Green Chile Blond that smelled amazing and later a Green Chile Hefeweizen. Multiple tours of the brewery were held, which is always a treat because every time I go there, they have added something new. There is much more in the works as Santa Fe Brewing continues to add capacity. (There’s quite a lot in the works, and just in case you missed it last week, here’s the lowdown on SFBC’s massive expansion plans. — Stoutmeister)

AHA Mother Road Canning Line 2
The Mother Road Mobile Canning line in action.

Also in attendance was Mother Road Mobile Canning, who gratefully offered free canning to home brewers who brought their finished beer to the event. After some excitement about finding a proper electrical source for the equipment, multiple brewers were able to get their creations inserted in to 12-ounce shiny cans. There were a lot of smiling faces carrying out cases of their fine beers.

This was a great event and a good chance to meet old friends and fellow brewers.  As always, Santa Fe Brewing were outstanding and gracious hosts providing space and hospitality for the event. Thanks to all the hosts and volunteers in putting on such a great event!

— Paul

* * * * *

What’s up guys? Luke here, with my bit on the American Homebrewers Association Rally. For my portion of the article, I had the great pleasure of talking with just about everyone that attended, from the always friendly Santa Fe Brewing Co. staff, and Mother Road Mobile Canning’s crack team, to other Santa Fe brewers who stopped by, incognito, whose cover I won’t now blow. There was a great turnout from all corners of the beer community, but most importantly that day, I got to chat with the heart and soul of the AHA organization, the homebrewers. A ton of you guys and gals came out, from all over the state and the surrounding areas including Arizona, Colorado, and Texas, but I figured I’d only pester a handful of you with some very brief interviews, to see what New Mexico was brewing at home.

Interview #1: Mike

DSBC: What’s your name and where are you from?

Mike: My name’s Mike and I’m from, Santa Fe, NM.

DSBC: How long have you been homebrewing?

Mike: Been brewing since 2001, so 13 years now.

DSBC: What got you started?

Mike: An infomercial on the TV Guide Channel. The Homebrew Store had a commercial and we thought, why aren’t we doing this? And we immediately went out to the homebrew store and bought supplies.

DSBC: What are your favorite styles to brew?

Mike: Anything hoppy. I like brewing hoppy beers, although lately I’ve been brewing less hoppy beers, just for the change, to try and diversify my brewing. But black IPAs are my favorite style to brew.

DSBC: We’ll have to talk about that black IPA later. For now, last question. What’s in the fermenter?

Mike: Right now I have a stout, an amber, a Belgian specialty ale, and a rye hybrid.

AHA Homebrewers 2
A meeting of the beer minds inside SFBC.

Interview #2: Blair

DSBC: Hi, what’s your name and where are you from?

Blair: My name’s Blair, and I’m from Taos.

DSBC: How long have you been homebrewing?

Blair: Three or four years.

DSBC: Cool, and what got you started?

Blair: It was kinda something I wanted to do for a long time. I’ve always been into fermentation in general.

DSBC: What are your favorite styles to brew? Not an easy question, I know.

Blair: I like to try new things, but I’m consistently drawn to brewing Belgian styles. I probably drink a lot of hoppier IPA-type things.

DSBC: Same here! And last one, what’s in the fermenter?

Blair: Well, a session IPA and a cider.

DSBC: A cider, interesting! We see a lot more people brewing ciders these days. How’s it going for you?

Blair: Well, I kinda feel like that was my first attempt, and I have a long way to go.

AHA Homebrewers
Move toward the light, beer lovers!

Interview #3: Eric

DSBC: OK, just a few simple questions. What’s your name and where ya from?

Eric: I’m Eric, from Santa Fe.

DSBC: Nice to meet you, Eric from Santa Fe. How long have you been homebrewing?

Eric: On and off for 20 years.

DSBC: What got you started?

Eric: I just like better beer.

DSBC: Great answer! What are your favorite styles to brew?

Eric: I like IPAs.

DSBC: And lastly, what’s in the fermenter right now?

Eric: Nothing right now! But there will be soon, an Oktoberfest.

DSBC: Tis the season, cheers Eric!

Interview #4: Edward

DSBC: Hi, what’s your name and where are you from?

Edward: Edward Otero. I’m originally from Los Lunas.

DSBC: How long have you been homebrewing?

Edward: 20 years.

DSBC: What got you started?

Edward: I got outta college, well when I was in college, I loved beer. When I got out, I could afford it, and I wanted to brew my own stuff.

DSBC: What are your favorite styles to brew?

Edward: Light lagers and stouts.

DSBC: So, both ends of the spectrum, nice! What’s in the fermenter at the moment?

Edward: I got an American Lager and a Bohemian Lager.

AHA turnout
Admiring the fermenters and bright tanks.

DSBC: Very cool! Appreciate your time, Edward.

Interview #5: Angie

DSBC: Hello, what’s your name and where are you from?

Angie: Angie, originally from Oregon, now Santa Fe.

DSBC: How long have you been homebrewing?

Angie: A year, this last weekend.

DSBC: So what got you started brewing, Angie?

Angie: My boyfriend introduced me to beer. You can take his taproom tour in Santa Fe!

DSBC: I will definitely be on that tour! What’s your favorite style to brew?

Angie: Made a chocolate porter, definitely my favorite.

DSBC: Last question, what’s in the fermenter?

Angie: A peach saison, for the wort challenge, but hoping to get another batch going soon!

DSBC: Great, thanks Angie, and good luck with the challenge!

AHA carboys
Carboys full of home-brewed beer.

Interview #6: Scott

DSBC: What’s your name, sir, and where are you from?

Scott: Scott Carpenter of the Dukes of Ale, from Albuquerque, NM.

DSBC: How long have you been homebrewing, Scott?

Scott: Five years.

DSBC: What got you started?

Scott: My wife bought me a session for Valentine’s Day, there at Kellys Brew Pub. A friend and I did a batch there, and we had all these empty bottles laying around, so she brought me a starter kit. So I started doing my own, and that’s what kicked it off. And now I’ve done 37 batches in the last five years.

DSBC: Wow! Excellent. What are your favorite styles to brew?

Scott: Anything experimental. I’ve done a sage gruit with bread yeast, instead of brewer’s yeast, and that actually won some medals. But other than that, I like a chicory stout. I used oak chips that I had soaked in Wild Turkey bourbon and chicory coffee and made an awesome stout. Right up your guys’ alley, the Dark Side Brew Crew.

DSBC: Oh yeah, we’d be all over that one. One more question. What’s in the fermenter?

Scott: Got a yeast starter goin’. I was supposed to get some of this (Santa Fe Pale ale wort), for the “Wort Challenge.”

DSBC: Oh yeah, how do you feel about that one?

Scott: Well, four gallons, I’m excited. But I’ve got a bunch of Maris Otter so I may do something else to it.

* * * * *

This was just a small sample of the many enthusiastic homebrewers that showed up on Saturday. From all that I spoke to, I gathered a few things: 5) New Mexico likes to brew hoppy beers as much as they like to drink them. 4) Homebrewers are not afraid of tackling the trends like ciders, sours, or sessions. 3) Experimentation is the rule, not the exception. 2) Even after a year or so brewing at home, I am still a complete novice next to these homebrew wizards. 1) Homebrewers will always stop and talk about their latest labbed libations, even when their wife is honking the horn out in the parking lot, shouting, “It’s time to go, Kevin! Get your butt out here this instant! You better have only had one!”

As always, I kid, but I’ve seen it before. Anyway, thank you to everyone who came out for the event, doing your part to make the beer community stronger, blurring those lines between pro and amateur, newbie and vet, certified judge and chug-a-lugger. And special thanks to those of you who spent a minute or two just talking beer with the new guy. Much appreciated!


— Luke

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