And so it begins!

No, things are not slowing down today. You just have to fight harder to keep up!

The rain be damned, that was a pretty damn fine start to ABQ Beer Week on Thursday. Whether you were indulging in some beer and cheese (and other foods) at Marble, or snagging a pint of the Strawberry Cream Malpais at Two Fools, or the Oak Aged Wake Up Dead at Nob Hill Bar & Grill, or hell, just doing your local duty with the 505 Collaboration Session IPA, it was a good day. Remember, they only brewed up 10 barrels total of the 505 to split between eight breweries (Boxing Bear, Canteen, Chama River, La Cumbre, Marble, Nexus, Ponderosa, Turtle Mountain), so get over and try some ASAP. I am not exaggerating when I say it might be the best session IPA that I have ever tasted. If you are at Canteen, don’t forget to snag a pint of Hopspitality IPA while that lasts during ABW.

So anyway, onto Day Two, which features 11 events at 13 venues across the city. Let us all hope for better weather and equally good, if not better, beer. Though it will be hard to top the 505 and the Wake Up Dead. Jeebus, those were wonderful …

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.

What: Beer and Bowling with Tractor. Where: Silva Lanes. When: 7 to 9 p.m. Cost: No cover charge.

Details: Start cranking out those Big Lebowski one-liners, people! The good folks at Tractor are teaming up with Silva Lanes for a night of bowling and beer. They will be serving up 20-ounce pours of Farmer’s Tan Red Ale for just $3, plus you can buy cans of Almanac IPA and Mustachio Milk Stout if you like to keep your options open. A number of bowling lanes will be reserved, but don’t panic, you do not have to bowl to participate in the fun. A whole lot of the Tractor staff will be present and participating as well, so come hang out in an even less formal atmosphere than Tractor itself. And, you know, bowl a game while always remembering, “The Dude abides.”

Why you should go: Dudes, you have to get off the bar stools at least once. So go bowl, the one “sport” that does not require much athletic skill. Bust out your tackiest clothes. Wear some ridiculous shoes. And drink beer and have fun, because that is what Beer Week is all about.

All the other great events

What: Samuel Adams Summer Ale Tasting. Where: Total Wine (both locations). When: 1 to 3 p.m. (Cottonwood), 4 to 6 p.m. (Uptown). Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free samples of the popular Summer Ale. Why you should go: Free beer (samples)!

What: Abita Special Tapping. Where: Anodyne. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Anodyne will serve up a keg of Bourbon Street Imperial Stout that was aged in Pappy Van Winkle barrels. Why you should go: If you love dark beer, and you know we do, this is one that cannot be missed.

What: Mother Road Sampling. Where: Jubilation. When: 4 to 6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The good folks from Flagstaff are bringing out some of their beers for you to sample. The three main bottled beers will be available, including the excellent Lost Highway Imperial Black IPA. Why you should go: Mother Road is one of the best breweries in Arizona, so if you have never tried their beer before, this is a great way to learn about all what they have to offer.

What: New Belgium Pint Night. Where: Gecko’s (both locations). When: 4 to 6 p.m. (North), 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. (Nob Hill). Cost: No cover charge. Details: Head over to either Gecko’s for a pint of New Belgium’s new “test pint,” Opening Day Golden Ale. Why you should go: Well, OK, we’re a bit far into the baseball season for it to be a true opening day beer, but nonetheless, this is a chance to try a new NB beer and also grab some great food from Gecko’s menu.

What: Left Hand Special Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 5 p.m. until the supply runs out. Cost: No cover charge. Details: A keg of Introvert Session IPA will be opened. Why you should go: It’s a new beer, it’s from Left Hand so it’s probably darned good, and as a session IPA you will be OK to go try other beers, either at Two Fools or elsewhere. Plus, we’re pretty sure it will go great with Fish & Chips.

What: Goose Island Migration. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 5 to 8 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Bar manager Thomas DeCaro is from the Chicago area, so he has called in the big guns from the Windy City in the form of Sofie, The Ogden, The Illinois, and oh, yeah, our old friend the Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout. Why you should go: BCB Coffee Stout is all the reason you need. Oh, fine, and get something good to eat while you are there.

What: Appetizer Pairing with St. Bernardus, Verhaeghe and Belzebuth. Where: Shade Tree Customs & Cafe. When: 5 to 11 p.m. Cost: $17 for an appetizer tray. Details: The beers are St. Bernardus Abt 12, Verhaeghe Eckt Kriekenbier, and Belzebuth. The planned pairings are, respectively, mesquite-smoked chicken wings with red chile and cinnamon, white wine-steamed mussels, and chocolate plus marscapone cheese on a salted water cracker with a cherry on top. Why you should go: St. Bernardus Abt 12 is a clone of Westvleteren 12, considered by some to be the best beer in the world. Read about it here. Shade Tree Customs & Cafe is the first in the state to have this beer on tap. Representatives from D & V International, Inc., the U.S. importer of fine Belgian beers, will be in attendance to answer questions. — Amy O

What: Patio Invasion with NM Craft Brewing. Where: Stereo Bar. When: 5 to 10 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Adam was able to get some info on the beers from the Las Vegas-based NMCBC. There will be a special raffle where if you buy a pint, you get a raffle ticket to win a ticket to Blues & Brews. You are limited to three pints per customer and three tickets total. The beers on tap will be IPA, Red, Wry Blonde, Oatmeal Stout, Vapor (similar to a steam beer), and Sweet Stout. Why you should go: The opportunities to try beers from elsewhere in the state, besides Santa Fe, usually require a long drive out of town. Head over to Stereo Bar and enjoy some unique beers without having to rack up the mileage.

What: La Cumbre Tap Takeover. Where: Rock & Brews. When: 5 to 9 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: La Cumbre beers will take over the taps at the R&B location on Montgomery. Why you should go: If you are in the Northeast Heights and lacking in classic ‘80s rock, grab a pint of Elevated (we assume it will be there) and kick back with one of those giant R&B pretzels while listening to the tunes they play all night, loudly throughout the joint.

What: Stouts & Stogies. Where: Imbibe Cigar Bar. When: 6 to 8 p.m. Cost: No cover charge listed. Details: They are serving Picobrouwerij Alvinne Podge Belgian Imperial Stout and will have a professional cigar roller on site. Why you should go: A unique foreign stout and, for those who like them, cigars.

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 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
Thursday — 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)

* * * * *

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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