Archive for May 21, 2015

Want to join? Just find a Brew Crew member out and about during ABQ Beer Week.

Want to join? Just find a Brew Crew member out and about during ABQ Beer Week.

Before the Ballast Point Draft Kickoff Party began at Nob Hill Bar & Grill on Wednesday night, yours truly made a stop by Tractor Wells Park to talk to co-owner Skye Devore about a new initiative involving the New Mexico Brewers Guild and its member breweries. As the guilds do in other states, the NMBG is now offering up a special membership for the most ardent supporters of craft beer in our state. The Dark Side Brew Crew has agreed to help out with this endeavor, so to start with, let us explain just what it is all about.

It costs $40 to become an Enthusiast Member. That money, just like at Guild-sponsored festivals, is then used by the Guild in its lobby efforts with the State Legislature in Santa Fe. As you all might remember, the Guild scored a number of big wins for craft brewing at this year’s legislative session and the hope is to continue that. How important can lobbying be? Well, as Skye pointed out, it costs $25 to get a wine grower’s license in New Mexico. A small brewing license costs $1,000. That is what the power of well-funded lobbying can do. As our craft brewing industry expands in New Mexico, it nonetheless runs into a lot of issues involving state and local governments. If we want that growth to continue in a positive manner, creating revenue and local jobs for our community, the Guild needs more help than ever.

Of course, this is not just you donating to the Guild. Fear not, you will get something back. Actually, you will get a long of things back. Maybe the biggest one is that you will be able to participate in the preliminary round of the 2015 IPA Challenge. There are now far more breweries than available spots in the Challenge. Last year 16 breweries competed, but with the state now pushing 40 breweries total, it could make life hard on the Guild to decide who gets in and who does not. For the record, the State of New Mexico has capped the Challenge at 16 when it is held in any city. There is a loophole, though, in that the Challenge could be held at a tribal casino. So the plan this year is to hold a preliminary round with 24 entries. Enthusiast Members will get to try them and pick not just one favorite but 12 favorites. Those 12 will then advance to the main rounds of the IPA Challenge, which will be held in July in Santa Fe, Las Cruces, and Albuquerque. So if you are a true hophead, this is a unique experience you can’t pass up. It will likely be held the last weekend in June, though that and the location is still TBD.

Beyond the Challenge, there will be other benefits. There should be some swag from the Guild, possibly including pint glasses and more. You will receive special discounts and other fun stuff during Guild-sponsored festivals throughout the state. And though all the details have yet to be ironed out, many of the Guild-affiliated breweries will be offering up certain mug club prices for Enthusiast Members. Tractor, for instance, will likely offer Beer Farmer pricing on growler sales. Other breweries might give you pint discounts, or special offers on clothing and pint glasses. Each brewery will make their own decisions. You will also receive a weekly beer news email, with links to stories from us in the Brew Crew and from the breweries themselves, plus maybe some special stories for members only (we’re still working out the details on all of that, too).

For now, signing up is easy. Just look for Brew Crew members out at ABQ Beer Week events. We will have sign-up sheets with us. All we need is your name and email and the Guild will contact you when everything is set in stone. If you are worried about not being able to find us, follow us on social media via Facebook or Twitter (@nmdarksidebc). We will let you know where we are so you can meet us. Or if you are not a social media person, get at us via email ( and we will let you all know.

If you have any additional questions, you have all of those means to ask us electronically, or you can ask us in person when you see us. We will do our best to answer everything and look for a follow-up post when the Guild formally sets all the benefits in place to being an Enthusiast Member.


— Stoutmeister

And so it begins!

And so it begins!

Hello, Albuquerque beer lovers! And everyone else coming to town. ABQ Beer Week is here, a monolithic, 11-day series of events (167 total!) that is all about expressing our love of craft beer. The entire Crew, plus some special correspondents, will be doing our best to cover as many events as we can. Are we going to be everywhere? No, but I can guarantee you that we will be previewing every single event every day. Day in and day out, we will summarize every event and give you all the info you need to know to plan your days and nights of beer-drinking fun.

From time to time, we will run separate, larger previews for key events (most notably for Blues & Brews on Sunday and Battle of the Beer Geeks II on Monday). I have all of our active Crew members (myself, Franz Solo, Brandon, AmyO, Adam) working on stories, only Luke is exempt because, damn it, he has earned some time off for all of his hard work in Santa Fe. And, also, he lives in Santa Fe, so if he is going to come down here at all, we’re just gonna let him have some fun. Oh, and Reid is exempt as well since he lives in Los Alamos and is plenty busy working at the Labs and also writing up a preview of Bathtub Row Brewing’s grand opening and the upcoming Pajarito Mountain SummerFest.

OK, so let us get down to Day One of ABQ Beer Week. Here on Thursday we have … 19 events?! Jeez, Marne Gaston, you and your awesome staff and team of volunteers are clearly trying to kill us from the get-go. (Please note, if there was such as thing as sarcasm font, that last sentence would be in said font.)

Featured event

Every day we will pick what we consider the biggest, most interesting, most unique event. This does not mean you should go to only this event and ignore the rest. All of them deserve your attention, but realistically, you can probably only attend a few. So we will make our daily pick, and you can either jump on it, or declare the Crew is foolish (we kinda are) and pick your own.

So on this day of 19 events, which one stands out to us? Why, that would be the annual Beer, Cheese, and More at Marble Brewery.

“Beer and cheese pair beautifully, and we like to highlight this each year with our annual beer and cheese event,” said Amberley Rice, Marble’s director of marketing, in an email to the Crew.

This event costs $20 and reservations are highly recommended. Call Marble at (505) 243-2739, or sign up via their website.

The full beer/food pairing menu is as follows:

Holstein Uniekaas–Rauchbier
Truffle Gouda–Maibock
Cranberry–Double White
Igor Gorgonzola–Brett IPA
Vecchio–Oatmeal Stout
Castelvaltrano Olives
Marcona Spanish Almonds
Peruvian Sweet Pepper Drops
Water Crackers

Sounds like some pretty good stuff. In addition, two of the top local bands, Porter Draw and Red Light Cameras, will split time on the patio stage from 7 to 10 p.m., weather permitting (if necessary they will crowd onto the small stage inside the taproom).

Our special correspondent Kristin will have a full recap in the near future. Keep an eye out for it!

All the other great events

What: Oude Orval: Cellared Orval Limited Release. Where: Shade Tree Customs & Cafe. When: All day. RSVP only for cellared Orval. Others may attend and while it lasts will receive the new, but not cellared, Orval. Cost: $10. Details: As of the Monday, there are two spots left for the cellared Orval. If you RSVP, it will be set aside with your name on it. To RSVP, email According to Shade Tree General Manager Josh Berry, there will be a food pairing offered at an additional cost (cost and item description unavailable at time of preview). Why you should go: Because we don’t all have a beer cellar with Oude Orval in it, do we? Plus, a Merchant du Vin representative will be there.

What: Hopspitality IPA Release. Where: Canteen Brewhouse. When: All day. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The annual specialty IPA is back for Beer Week and will be on tap when the doors open at noon. Why you should go: Start your day off right with a pint of this and a Piggly Wiggly for lunch. At least that is my plan.

What: 505 Collaboration Beer Release. Where: Boxing Bear, Canteen, Chama River, La Cumbre, Marble, Nexus, Ponderosa, Turtle Mountain. When: All of Beer Week or until supply runs out. Cost: No cover charge. Details: I got to be on hand when this year’s 505 was brewed at Chama River. They only made 10 barrels divided among eight breweries, so the supply will go fast. This is a session IPA in name only. Josh Trujillo, Zach Guilmette, and everyone else hopped the holy living hell out of this thing. You’re welcome, hopheads. Why you should go: Dear lord, you need a reason for this one? When has the 505 disappointed you, I ask? That’s right, go get some.

What: Blue Moon Summer Honey Wheat Tasting. Where: Total Wine (both locations). When: 1 to 3 p.m. (Cottonwood), 4 to 6 p.m. (Uptown). Cost: No cover charge. Details: Stop by either Total Wine to try some samples of Blue Moon’s summer seasonal. Why you should go: Free beer samples. Need we say more? Plus, you can always stock up on take-home beers while you are there.

What: Thirsty Thursday Beer & Pizza Special. Where: Cazuela’s. When: 2 to 6 p.m. Cost: $7.99. Details: You get an 8-inch pizza of your choice paired with either Acapulco Gold, Piedra del Fuego (our pick), or Panama Red. Why you should go: If you are out on the west side and looking for something to eat and drink before heading into town for the other events, how can you beat this offer?

What: Krombacher Tap Takeover and Stein Night. Where: Heimat House. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: I could type something up, but Franz Solo had all this to say:

Krombacher Stein night at Heimat House: Let’s get down to brass tax, I am most definitely a fan of Heimat House, the cuisine is splendid and the selection of rare beers on tap is outstanding as well. Tonight from 4-7 they will have a limited number of Krombacher half-liter steins to give out on a first-come, first-serve basis. In addition to Krombacher Pilsner and Dunkel we will have a chance to drink their Weizen as well. Half-liter pours will run you $4.50 apiece, which is a nice discount of one to two dollars off the regular price. These three are some solid offerings of good German brews, so head on down and enjoy the libations and outstanding cuisine! — FS

What: Brouwerij St. Bernadaus & Brouwerij Verhaeghe Tasting. Where: Jubilation. When: 4 to 6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Samples of two of the finest beers from Belgium will be available for free. Why you should go: Prep your palate for the rest of the night, plus you can always pick up some beers for after hours once you have safely returned home and are done being out for the night. You know Jubilation will have plenty of awesome offerings.

What: Wild Beer Co. Somerset Wild Sour Ale Release. Where: Sister Bar. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: All the way from the U.K., Wild Beer’s Somerset Wild Sour Ale will make its ABQ debut. Why you should go: See how the English take on a sour ale and compare it to some of the more popular American versions. Take note, there are live bands performing after 9, so make sure to clear out before then to avoid paying the $7 cover (unless you want to stay and listen, of course).

UPDATED >>> What: La Cumbre Special Firkin Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 5 p.m. until the supply runs out. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Two Fools listed it as a Strawberry Cream Ale, but LC brewer Jeff Erway said it is almost certainly the Strawberry Gose that was released on Wednesday, ableit in cask form. NOPE. It’s actually a Strawberry Malpais Stout. Why you should go: It’s a special new LC beer, on cask no less, at a place that serves amazing food and has plenty of other beer on tap. Do you really need a reason?

What: Colorado Brewing Tasting. Where: O’Niell’s Nob Hill. When: 5 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Brace yourselves for not one but three Colorado breweries’ offerings all available for sampling at the same time. We do not have a list of the exact beers, but between Left Hand, New Belgium, and Oskar Blues, there will be plenty of options. Why you should go: Dude, it’s three breweries’ wares being sampled at one location. Plus, you can stick around and fill your belly with delicious food to help soak up all the beer.

What: Second Annual Sierra Nevada Sausage & Cheese Tasting. Where: O’Niell’s Juan Tabo. When: 6 to 8 p.m. Cost: $5 for sausage and cheese tray (beer not included). Please reserve tickets by calling (505) 293-1122. Details: Buy a tray of sausage and cheese, then go off the list of suggestions with which Sierra Nevada beers go best with which food items. Why you should go: Expand and educate your palate, especially for those who can’t/won’t get out of the Northeast Heights. It’s food and beer. Trust us, they go great together.

What: Left Hand/New Belgium Special Tappings. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 6 to 11 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Not one but two special beers will be tapped in the form of Left Hand’s Oak Aged Wake Up Dead imperial stout and New Belgium’s Cocoa Mole. Why you should go: They oak-aged some Wake Up Dead. Holy mother of … anyway, that plus a spicy kick of mole with some cocoa in the NB concoction will make us some happy drinkers.

What: ABQ Beer Week Dinner. Where: Chama River. When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Cost: $45 per person. Reservations required, call (505) 342-1800. Details: Chef Goza and Brewer Zach’s first beer dinner collaboration is a doozy. The theme here is spring itself. For your $45, you get Shoulder of Spring Pig paired with Rio Chama Amber Ale, Spring Salad with Class VI Golden Lager (2014 GABF gold medal winner), Butter Poached Black Cod with Midas Well IPA, Spring Lamb with Smoke ‘Em Out Porter, and Spring Fruit Shortcake with Lemon Jester Saison. Why you should go: Because fat (for the night), drunk (please get a DD), and smart (see the previous two) is the way to go through life.

What: Oskar Blues Special Tapping. Where: Rock & Brews. When: 7 to 10 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Old favorites like Mama’s Lil’ Yella’ Pils and G’Knight will be on tap, plus Old Chub Nitro and a special, surprise beer. Why you should go: Who doesn’t like surprises? Plus, even if that isn’t to your liking, Old Chub Nitro should be to everyone’s liking.

What: Thirsty Thursday. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 8 to 10 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Local musician Keith Sanchez will perform. Why you should go: After all that fun, wouldn’t you just like to kick back at Wells Park? Enjoy some tunes, sip on your last pint of the night, and let all your worries melt away. Oh, and we recommend calling in “sick” on Friday.

Special ongoing events

All throughout Beer Week, these two events will be running.

Brewery Scavenger Hunt at lululemon athletica at ABQ Uptown
Where: lululemon athletica ABQ Uptown and various other participating sites. When: Today through May 31. What: Pick up a scavenger pass at lululemon and head to six of nine participating locations. Take photos with your pass at the locations and then bring it all back to lululemon to be redeemed for a special pint glass. Participating sites: Routes Bicycle Rentals & Tours, Duke City Trolley, Tractor, La Cumbre, Red Door, Marble, Chama River, The Grain Station, Rock & Brews

Smoked Meats Week
Where: Sandia Chile Grill When: 3 to 8 p.m., from today through Saturday, May 30
What: Beer and smoked meat pairing; beers are $3.50 per pint, $6 per 10-ounce mead sample
Today — Pulled Chicken, Rattlesnake IPA
Friday — Pulled Pork, Milk Stout
Saturday — Stuffed Avocado Street Tacos, Dirty Steve Mead (9.5% ABV)
Sunday — Baby Back Ribs, Legacy Mead (9.2% ABV)
Monday — Smoked Sausage, Rattlesnake IPA
Tuesday — Potato Stuffer, Barb’s Barrel Hefeweizen
Wednesday — Stuffed Avocado Street Tacos, Gold Rush Pilsner
May 28 — Smoked Salmon Platter, Red Ranger Irish Red
May 29 — Stuffed Avocado Street Tacos, Rattlesnake IPA
May 30 — Smoked Meat Sample Platter, Rattlesnake and Red Ranger and Milk Stout ($3 per 10-ounce)

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Got any questions, comments, complaints, send them to, or leave them here on our site, on Facebook, or on Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy yourselves out there, but please, do it responsibly.


— Stoutmeister