Archive for October 15, 2014

Ted Rice is a busy man these days. Marble Brewery’s co-founder/co-owner/brewmaster has barely had a chance to catch his breath since 2014 began. It didn’t get any easier, but sure was rewarding, when he and his team brought home two gold medals and the Small Brewery of the Year Award from the Great American Beer Festival in Denver earlier this month. Luckily, I managed to catch up with Ted at NM Brew Fest over the weekend and then we were able to carve out 20 minutes of his time Tuesday afternoon to try to sum up the wildest, busiest, most award-winning year in Marble’s history.

The Marble team, including Ted Rice on the left, poses with their trophies for Small Brewery and Brewer of the Year. (Photo courtesy of Marble Brewing)

The Marble team, including Ted Rice on the left, poses with their trophies for Small Brewery and Brewer of the Year. (Photo courtesy of Marble Brewing)

Q: So take me through the entire GABF experience, from winning gold for Double White and Imperial Red to Small Brewery of the Year.

Ted: “I walked into the theater just as the awards were starting. The rest of the gang was already there, they had a seat for me. I just sat down and took a deep breath and waited for it all to go down. I’ve been to the GABF as a professional brewer since 2000, so I’ve gone through the myriad of emotions that are involved in being a participating brewer. My heart used to palpitate each time a category would come up that I was entered in. Now I’ve reached that sort of level where it comes and goes.

“So I think that was maybe our second category (for Double White). Our first category we entered in the order of announcement was the American Style Wheat Beer with Yeast. So we didn’t win anything there. We entered the Wildflower Wheat there, it was a first-time entry. It has honey in it, but we didn’t want to enter that beer in the Honey Beer category because it’s not bursting with honey character. That one came and went and then Other Strong Beer came up. Just winning one medal, whether it’s bronze or let alone gold, is amazing.

“It’s a ton of fun these days when we’re coming to GABF with a big crew. Anticipation is high to deliver and thankfully we’ve been making great beer and been recognized I guess for the past four years in a row here.”

Marble's trio of brewers posed with their medals and awards in Denver. (Photo courtesy of Marble Brewing)

Marble’s trio of brewers posed with their medals and awards in Denver. (Photo courtesy of Marble Brewing)

Q: Seven medals in four years is an accomplishment. Leah (Black) captured some of the reaction this year in her videos posted to your Facebook page.

Ted: “When Chris Swersey is announcing the medals and you’re hanging on his every word, I don’t even look at the screen anymore, I just close my eyes and listen to him annunciate every single word. When you hear that ‘duh’ of Double and then ‘Double White,’ when it’s absolutely confirmed when he said ‘Marble,’ that’s when we jumped up.

“We’re all jumping up and down, we run down there, get our medal, come back and sit down. When the Imperial Red came up, that was the beer I was most confident as far as a medal contender. I just thought it tasted great, I tasted a bunch of other imperial reds on the floor and nothing else had that character. Two years ago we medaled at the GABF with exactly the same two beers, Double White and Imperial Red, but it was bronze and silver.

“We got an Imperial Red into GABF other times and also into the World Beer Cup, and those batches I didn’t feel were all that good, but those beers went to the final table. This year I was pretty confident that it was a really strong contender. Sitting back after winning Double White I was just like what could be better, let’s get gold for Imperial Red.”

One of Marble's top GABF awards now proudly adorns the window sill inside the downtown pub.

One of Marble’s top GABF awards now proudly adorns the window sill inside the downtown pub.

Q: And then came the big one. Were you even expecting that?

Ted: “Imperial Red was our last category. It didn’t really cross my mind that Small Brewery of the Year could be on the table. So we win Imperial Red and I move to a different section in the theater to go hang out with my friends from Telluride Brewing Company. My buddy says to me, nobody else has won two golds, you could win Small Brewery of the Year. I’m like, ‘No way!’ So I stayed there for the rest of the announcement. And lo and behold, we’re up there, grins ear to ear, accepting that award as well. After that, just walk on over to the festival floor, and just have some fun and try to keep it level, keep it real.

“The last thing these medals are going to do are go to my head. It’s only going to push me to keep performing at that level of excellence, batch after batch after batch.”

Q: What did you do after the ceremony?

Ted: “So during the afternoon session I think we basically ran out of both Double White and Imperial Red at that session. We probably should have rationed it, but it’s so hard to pick up the 5.2-gallon keg and feel it and say I’m going to save that for the Saturday evening session. Then we went over to Jack’s Fish House down in LoDo (Lower Denver, the area near Coors Field), just enjoying some cocktails and some nice plates. After Jack’s we went back to the festival floor, celebrated some more, and that’s pretty much it.”

Q: As a state, New Mexico earned eight more medals this year, tying last year’s mark, and pulled in a record five golds. What does this mean for the brewing scene here?

Ted: “It’s pretty amazing. Where have we come? We’ve come to be a force to be reckoned with. A lot of people, yeah, maybe dismiss us because we’re down here in this sparsely populated state. But as I always tell people, the people that live in New Mexico love big, bold flavors, so the brewers are following hand in hand with the citizens’ palates, just bringing big, bold flavors.

“I think myself and several of the other brewers that have been brewing in this state for a long time have kind of set this level of excellence that all the other brewers coming up through the ranks follow through. They’re kind of standing on our shoulders in a way. They have solid procedures set, they have solid flavor profiles set, and they’re able to build on those right alongside of us. That’s fun.”

Post-interview Imperial Red. Because why not?

Post-interview Imperial Red. Because why not drink a gold medal beer while it’s on tap?

Q: So all of that came after what can best be described as the busiest, craziest year at Marble. You’ve taken on a lot this year. Have you ever sat back and asked yourself, what am I doing? Am I crazy?

Ted: “It’s been huge, yeah. (But) I can’t turn it away, it’s only what I wanted. When we opened Marble we opened with five partners. At the beginning of this year we purchased the shares of two of the founding, managing members. And so that was just kind of inevitable that was coming down the pipeline. Those guys did a great job setting everything up. But it was just the right time for people to part ways.

“Our president and vice president were bought out as of the beginning of this year. I assumed some new roles there. Unfortunately it took me away from the brewhouse. I haven’t brewed since maybe January. Lord knows I walk through the brewery all day every day seven days a week. So I’m still there, steering it and everything. So there was that shift in ownership.

“Then we sold our distribution rights in Albuquerque and Santa Fe to National Distributing Company. And then we pretty much dissolved our distribution arm, Marble Distributing, which did a great job of getting our beer out to market. But we decided it was time to focus on running a brewery. We’d done as much as we possibly could with our distributing arm. So there was that change there.

“Then as far as projects and renovations, we renovated the patio. We renovated the bathrooms. We’re currently almost complete with the renovation of the Westside Taproom. Then we also had a really good showing at the World Beer Cup with the gold for our Pilsner and now GABF. Now we just sent our permit set to the City and also out to contractors for bid for our expansion here at 111 Marble Ave. So we’ll add 7,000 square feet and be able to more than double our current capacity. So that’s all coming together. I hope to break ground at the end of this year. I’m working on securing on all of my equipment right now. So I’m hoping I can take a deep breath in 2015, but I highly doubt that.”

The new Marble logo brought about a lot of varied opinions when it debuted this year.

The new Marble logo brought about a lot of varied opinions when it debuted this year.

Q: And don’t forget the new design for Marble. How did that re-branding ultimately play out?

Ted: “People call it a rebranding and I have to clarify it because my designer clarified it with me. Your brand is what you sell, products and services. Those things have not changed. We’re still selling the same great beer. We still have the same great environment, if not enhanced a little bit more. But we wanted a new visual representation for Marble Brewery. So yeah, we did that as well. There’s been a lot of talk about that. I think it’s all very positive. I’m ecstatic and I’m happy to have the Maverick.

“We knew people were going to push back, we knew people were going to be shocked. It was kind of interesting to see how deeply vested people were into that imagery. We live and breathe our beer, our images all the time. We knew it wasn’t a true representation of what the brewery has evolved into and what we really felt comfortable with. We knew it was time to move on. I know over time, hopefully those who didn’t really care for it at the get-go have embraced it and understand why we made that shift.”

Q: There was a perception among some people that National was doing more than just distribution, but was calling a lot of the shots, including the redesign. We know you’ve wanted to set the record straight, so here’s your chance.

Ted: “So there was this thing that Marble has sold out. Marble has always owned Marble and Marble still owns Marble. Marble is a little bit more consolidated these days in its ownership, but its ownership is still firmly in Marble. National Distributing always had the rights to distribute our beer outside of Albuquerque and Santa Fe. So what we did is we took our distribution rights that we owned and sold them to NDC so that way they can do a great job of getting our beer out to the consumer and we can do an even better job of brewing great beer. Marble never sold out. It was time to shift the focus on the business.

“Most breweries do not own their own distribution arm. Most breweries would prefer not to deal with distribution. Marble Distributing was not making any money. The purpose of Marble Distributing was to go out there and get Marble beer in as many accounts as possible. So once we did that and we were selling a bunch of beer, the brewery was picking up the slack financially for distribution. That scale of distribution business, it can’t really be a profitable entity. It was time to cut that, to tie off the bleeding.”

This is currently the north wall of Marble. It will be a little further north when the brewery expands by 7,000 square feet next year.

This is currently the north wall of Marble. It will be a little further north when the brewery expands by 7,000 square feet next year.

Q: So getting back to that whole brewery expansion bit you mentioned earlier, we’re always excited for an increase in production. Are we to assume that you’ll be pushing the walls north?

Ted: “Where our distribution cooler is now, there’s a big door right now, that will be the entryway into the new production space. In that production space there will be enough room for 12 150-barrel fermenters. There’s going to be a lager distribution cooler. There’s also going to be a nice piece of equipment that’s really going to help us increase yields … which is going to be a centrifuge.

“So the brewhouse will still say exactly where it is. In the current space where there are numerous fermenters, we’ll move them into the new space and then expand the packaging in our existing space, canning, bottling, and kegging. Right now it’s kind of a run around to achieve anything because the space is so tight. You have to jump through hoops to get from A to B.”

Ted's not kidding, it's pretty tight quarters in the back of the brewery.

Ted’s not kidding, it’s pretty tight quarters in the back of the brewery.

Q: What is Marble’s current output by year in barrels?

Ted: “So last year we did 12,500, this year we’ll probably do a little over 13,000. So not as much of an increase as we’ve seen in years past because there’s only so much we can do. I can’t really add another tank outdoors. I’m not really a big fan of using fermenters that are outdoors. It’s kind of an unpleasant work environment and it also has other concerns. So those things will move indoors.

“And then we’ve already secured more parking for our pub customers. So that’s going to be across the street right now where there’s a recycling business. We’re going to occupy that space middle of November and have additional parking. We want to make sure that it’s easy for people to come down here, whether it’s a place to lock up your bike or a place to park your car.”

Q: What’s going on with the taproom in Santa Fe?

Ted: “We’re staying in our current space for the near future. We’re just working on making that space the best kind of intimate beer bar that we can.”

Q: So you’re not moving into the bigger space upstairs?

Ted: “Not so sure what the timeline is on that right now. It’s going to be a little longer than anticipated, so we’re kind of in a holding pattern right now.”

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

Ted: “The cool thing about the Westside, if we can revisit that, we’re doubling the square footage (and) we’re tripling the seating. It’s going to have a much better flow when you walk into the space, it’s not going to be that congestion right there into the front. We’ve been turning away customers for a long time now because it’s just too crowded. So thank you (to the customers) for showing up and coming out and drinking our beer on the west side.

“We’re also adding a stage over there. And so we’re going to bring that component that we love at 111 which is live music, bring that to our brand over on the west side and double our capacity on the patio as well. It’s just going to be just like the mothership over here.”

* * * * *

A huge thanks to Ted for taking time out of his busy life to sit down and talk. It’s always nice to go straight to the top guy, plus this allows brewer Josh Trujillo to focus on the beer and Leah Black to keep working hard on planning all the great events going on at Marble in the near future. (They’re our usual contacts at Marble, in case some are wondering.) Marble will have a special release party tonight for their Pumpkin Ale (see The Week Ahead in Beer for more details). The Westside Taproom will hold a party to celebrate the completion of its expansion on Friday, Oct. 24.

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.

This pumpkin beer thing might just be catching on, it seems. Multiple breweries around the ABQ and Santa Fe areas currently have one on tap, with Marble joining the party with an actual release party tonight (Wednesday). Starting at 5 p.m., you can enjoy a pint of pumpkin ale with complimentary mini-cheesecakes from Cuppycakes. Rio will provide live music from 6 to 9 p.m. Oh, and if you’re really into pumpkins, there will be a carving contest. You can purchase the locally grown pumpkins, just bring your own carving tools (so yes, this is the only time you’ll ever really be allowed to walk into a brewery with a knife). Judging will commence at 7 p.m. If you can’t make it to Marble, you plenty of other pumpkin options. Broken Bottle has Peculiar Pumpkin Porter, Canteen has Pumpkin Saison and Pumpkin Porter, Kaktus has Pumpkin Charlie Brown, La Cumbre still has Witch’s Tit, and Ponderosa has Chocolate Pumpkin Porter. There’s also Shattered Pumpkin up at Blue Corn. Chama River will soon be bringing back Punkin Drublic as well.

On the new beer front, it’s a fairly quiet week. Bosque’s Oktoberfest has joined the fray at last. La Cumbre has added Hell Froze Over, the second edition of their brown ale. Lizard Tail will tickle your sweet tooth with Biscochito Brown. Nexus has tapped Saisons Change, a Belgian dark strong, and a dry stout. Turtle Mountain has introduced Brown Ale for Boobies, benefiting breast cancer research, as well as Cascade Session Pale Ale and Uberaltbier.

Up in Santa Fe, the Small Batch Saturday beer at SFBC is Duskin’s Forgotten Rye.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of Oct. 13.

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. Brewer Addison Poth highlighted the new Stone Reason to be Damned, a Belgian pale ale aged in red wine barrels, and New Belgium’s La Folie.

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.)

UPDATED >>> Beers: Oktoberfest, PSA (Pumpkin Spice Ale), The Box IPA, Bosque Lager, Bosque’s Burnin’ Red, Olde Bosky Porter, Simcoe IPA. The Burnin’ Red, with a new recipe, is back on tap. Also back on tap is an old favorite in the Olde Bosky Porter. We’ll have to head over and try the PSA and The Box IPA, which are the newest additions. The Lager is back by popular demand. And in a late update, Bosque’s Oktoberfest is now on tap. I got a sneak sample (OK, a full pint) last week courtesy of brewer John Bullard. It’s quite outstanding, just a massive, malty beer that’s not too sweet nor too dry.

Cask: We didn’t get a cask update yet. When we do, we’ll post it.

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 future will include a pumpkin ale 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: Glass Jaw Double IPA, Paw Swipe Pale Ale, Hairy Mit Hefe, Standing 8 Stout, Ambear Ale, Uppercut IPA, Oktobearfest. Boxing Bear is tapping into the season with their new Oktobearfest (extra point on the name), which is a hoppier variation on the traditional marzen style. Recent additions to the lineup are the Standing 8 Stout (6.3% ABV, 45 IBU) and Ambear Ale (5.2% ABV, 35 IBU). The Glass Jaw is now out in full force.

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, Cactus Juice, Oktoberfest, Peculiar Pumpkin Porter. 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 last week and is a solid example of the style, having finished third in our recent Oktoberfest challenge.

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.

Canteen Brewhouse — (505) 881-2737

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

Beers: Irish Red, Elmo’s IIPA, Pumpkin Saison, Pumpkin Porter, Mimosa Beer, Rye PA, American Stout. The Rye PA (7% ABV, 50 IBU) and the American Stout (7.4% ABV, 60 IBU) are the most recent additions. I got to try the American Stout while interviewing brewer Brady McKeown about the name change to Canteen Brewhouse. It’s a big, bold, thick, mean-as-hell-yet-totally-lovable stout. It’s my kind of stout, and that’s saying something. The Elmo’s (10% ABV) is a modified version of the Elsa Imperial IPA with Mosaic hops added. If you need to get your fall fun going, the Pumpkin Saison (6.5% ABV, 24 IBU) and Porter (7.2% ABV, 38 IBU) are a good place to start. We lean toward the porter, but, uh, we’ve got “Dark Side” in our name. The Mimosa (4% ABV, 12 IBU) has a wheat base infused with blood oranges.

News: Canteen 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.

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) and Valle de Oro (5.5% ABV, 35 IBU) are nearing the end of their runs and will soon be replaced by the Cosmic Dog (7% ABV, 25 IBU), a coffee stout, and the Raspbooby (5% ABV, 20 IBU). The latter beer is a raspberry wheat, brewed up to benefit Breast Cancer Awareness month as part of the “Toast for Tatas” campaign. 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.

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

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

Beers: Kolsch, Oyster Stout, Helles Lager, Honk Ale, Fresh Hop Amber, Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Alt German Lager, Jabberwocky IPA. The Fresh Hop Amber, Alt German Lager, and the Pumpkin Charlie Brown are the newest entries, while the Jabberwocky returns after a brief absence. 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.

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: Across the Pond, Witch’s Tit, Meridian Pale Ale, Levitated (Imperial) Pilsner, Hell Froze Over. Hell Froze Over (5.6% ABV, 42 IBU) is the new kid on the tap list, returning for a second go-around after debuting last fall. It’s a brown ale, which as the name might imply is not something that’s made regularly. The Levitated (8% ABV, 82 IBU) is a cacophony of flavors. It’s not for the weak, despite being classified as a pilsner. It’s also available in bombers. The other somewhat recent additions include the popular seasonal pumpkin beer, Witch’s Tit (7.5% ABV, 30 IBU), Across the Pond (6.5% ABV, 65 IBU), a British-style IPA, and Meridian Pale Ale (5.4% ABV, 40 IBU). Oh, and don’t panic about Project Dank no longer appearing here as a seasonal. It is now part of La Cumbre’s regular lineup. And in more good news, Jeff Erway said Red Ryeot will soon return and become a regular beer as well.

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, IPA, Amber, Oatmeal Brown, India Black Ale, Rye Stout, Porter, Dubbel, Biscochito Brown. 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 in 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 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. The Honey Pale Ale (6.3% ABV, 35 IBU) has run out for a little while, but it will be back soon. The Porter (5.6% ABV, 35 IBU) is a semi-smoky, thick beer that goes perfectly with the cooler weather. The new Biscochito Brown (8.5% ABV, 25 IBU) is not overly sweet. The Lizard Tail staff said the next batch will be a little maltier.

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

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

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

Beers: Double White, Rescue Craft Draft, Double IPA, Imperial Red, Barley Wine. The Rescue Craft is an English-style pale ale. Proceeds benefit the Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Council. Otherwise it’s a relatively light seasonal list as Marble is at capacity brewing the regular beers for distribution. There is the rotating “black handle,” which tends to feature some impressive “secret” beers. The Double White and Imperial Red both brought home gold medals from GABF.

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.

Marble will hold a release party for their Pumpkin Ale tonight (Wednesday). Other beers coming up an English-style pub ale, which may be served on nitro, and an English-style chocolate stout. We’re sensing a theme here …

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

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

Beers: Rye Pale Ale, Saisons Change, Dry Stout, Belgian Dark Strong. Brewer Kaylynn McKnight cranked out three new seasonals in the Saisons Change, Dry Stout, and Belgian Dark Strong. We’ve been remiss in visiting Nexus for a while; our chicken-and-waffles deficiency is starting to affect our daily lives, so we’ll have to head over soon and try those new seasonals while we indulge in one of ABQ’s great culinary delights.

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, Chocolate Pumpkin Porter, Schwarzbier. 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 Double IPA (7.7% ABV, 90 IBU) provides plenty of hops. The Oktoberfest (5.7% ABV, 17 IBU) is an interesting variation on the traditional style; we tasted wheat malts in the mix. The new Schwarzbier debuted last week.

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, Trapdoor Wheat. We were 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. Red Door has been having trouble keeping up with demand. All six beers are on tap this week.

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.)

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

Beers at Wells Park only: Pilsner #15, Mustachio Milk Stout, 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 Tractoberfest is back and this year’s batch is one of the best yet. It’s just a malt blast of happiness. The other 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 continues tonight (Wednesday) at 8:30 p.m. in Nob Hill as Alex Maryol performs.

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

Tractor’s 15th anniversary party will kick off Saturday at 5 p.m. We’ll have a lot more on that event later this week.

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) Cascade Session Ale, Saison du Soleil, Brown Ale for Boobies, Uberaltbier. 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. Congratulations to Turtle Mountain on winning our inaugural Oktoberfest challenge. Unfortunately, it’s run out for now.

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Shattered Pumpkin, Oktoberfest, 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. Scorched is exactly the big old smoky blast you would expect. Oktoberfest debuted last week and is quite the exceptional beer. It would have contended with Turtle Mountain for the top spot in our Oktoberfest challenge. Shattered Pumpkin (6.5% ABV, 20 IBU) was made with French saison yeast and 20 pounds of locally sourced pumpkin for a unique flavor.

News: An imperial stout is due out around Nov. 1 (they fit 900 pounds into the mash tun, for crying out loud), and they have begun brewing a Belgian blonde table beer.

Events: Blue Corn and Santa Fe Spirits will team up for a beer-cocktail dinner Thursday.

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: Danae (Golden Sour Ale), 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. 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.” The Danae is the newest entry.

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, Double White IPA, Duskin’s Forgotten Rye. The first beer in the new Ever Changing Series is a Double White IPA, which Luke of the Brew Crew bullpen recently reviewed. This week’s Small Batch Saturday beer is Duskin’s Forgotten Rye (9% ABV).

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.

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.)

UPDATED >>> Beers: Kolsch, IPA, Trappist Strong Ale, Cream Stout, Rauchbier, Fulcrum IPA, Oktoberfest, British Mild. I got to sample the Rauchbier when I took my relatives to SSB for lunch recently; it’s not overly smoky, just smooth and balanced. The Oktoberfest was a big hit at NM Brew Fest and you can never go wrong with the Cream Stout. You can also pick up four-packs of cans of Boneshaker Bitter at the brewery. The good folks from Mother Road Mobile Canning stopped by again to team up with Second Street. We love teamwork when it comes to beer.

Events: Jaka will be the featured performer all October for the Thursday Patio Series. The Watermelon Mountain Jug Band is playing Friday at the original location. Broomdust Caravan plays Saturday.

Shows at the Railyard include Carolina Wray on Friday, Hot Club of Santa Fe on Saturday, and Drastic Andrew and the Cinnamon Girls 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: KC’s Traditional Irish Stout, Venom 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. As soon as a certain editor’s schedule clears up, I’ll be headed down there to do a formal review.

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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