Well, everyone out there seemed to survive the two big festivals on Sunday. The crowd was big at Blues & Brews but not overwhelming. The local breweries held their own in the face of the national and international brands. And the big surprise? The soon-to-open Firkin Brewhouse, which debuted with a flourish. The Capo’s Java Stout was a creamy delight, very much its own beer and not a copy of Santa Fe’s Java Stout. Kudos to the newcomers. We will be in touch with them in the coming weeks and do a formal preview of the next to join the ABQ brewing community.
Today is both a somber day and a day of celebration. Memorial Day is a day of mixed feelings, where we honor those who sacrificed for our country, but also celebrate their legacy and the freedom they defended. Today will feature a music festival at Marble, special tappings at Gecko’s, Rock & Brews, and Two Fools, a food truck battle at Red Door, and something about the Brew Crew defending our title at Tractor Wells Park.
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: Battle of the Beer Geeks II. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 3 to 7 p.m. Cost: $10 for a tray of five beers to sample and a pint of your favorite.
Details: Last year, the Brew Crew’s Hammer Smashed Stout reigned supreme over the other beer groups’ entries. This year we doubled down with Darkside Donutbrau, a massive breakfast stout loaded with creamy malts, dark chocolate, and of course a copious amount of cold-brewed coffee. Three groups are back for a rematch with a new group in tow. All seem to have chosen the light to battle our dark. The Babes in Brewland unleash Her Sage Advice, an imperial white with sage and lemon. The Dukes of Ale have Wit Dream, a hoppy saison. The ABQ Craft Beer Drinkers went wild with Sigil Saison, a Citra dry-hopped Brett Saison aged on Chilean White Wine Soaked Oak Chips. And new to the battle are the Cerveceros de Burque, armed with a Ginger Pale Ale. Carlos the Tall will provide the music from 5 to 7, after which your votes will be tallied and a winner will be announced.
Why you should go: We know how much you all love us and what we do for you as a brewing community, providing you with all the news and insight on our amazing craft scene. So you totally want to help us keep the Rock Em Sock Em Robots trophy, don’t you? Of course you do. We will see you at Tractor. And yeah, there might be a special moment where we show off the trophy to the sounds of a certain classic rock band.
All the other great events
What: Marble Special Release. Where: Gecko’s (both locations). When: 11 a.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The rather delicious Weizenbock will be released on tap outside the brewery and festivals for the first time. Why you should go: Rather enjoyed this one at Blues & Brews, plus you can get it with some delicious tapas food.
What: Brews and Food Truck Battle. Where: Red Door. When: 2 to 6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Five food trucks will compete for a “totally arbitrary title,” according to the Red Door Facebook site. OK, funny. So what does it all mean? Switch It Up, The Toasted Bean, Nosh Wagon, The LUNCH BOX, and Soo Bak Foods will each have a scaled down menu, in many cases paired with one of Red Door’s beers, often priced for multiple samplings. Why you should go: Chow down on some amazing food, drink some great beer, and yeah, you get to pick your favorite at the end.
What: Memorial Day Festival. Where: Marble Downtown. When: 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Five bands will provide the entertainment, two food trucks will provide the sustenance, and Marble will provide the brews. Bellemah, The Chemical West, Sad Baby Wolf, Lilah Rose, and Cactus Tractor will perform beginning at 3 p.m. Adoughbe Pizza will be outside from noon to 11, while Street Food Institute will be there from 4 to 9. Why you should go: It’s a holiday, kick back and relax.
What: Alaskan Sampling. Where: Total Wine Cottonwood. When: 3 to 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.
What: Kona, Redhook, and Widmer Brothers Sampling. Where: Total Wine Cottonwood. When: 5 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.
What: Deschutes Tap Takeover. Where: Rock & Brews. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The popular Oregon brewery’s beers will be on tap. Why you should go: Beer, food, sports on TV, classic rock over the sound system.
What: Mother Road Special Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: A sweet milk stout will be tapped in a firkin. Why you should go: Delicious beer, Two Fools awesome food, there are worse ways to spend your evening.
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 — 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
Friday — Stuffed Avocado Street Tacos, Rattlesnake IPA
Saturday — Smoked Meat Sample Platter, Rattlesnake and Red Ranger and Milk Stout ($3 per 10-ounce)
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Enjoy yourselves out there, but please, do it responsibly.