Archive for May 28, 2015

Editor’s note: Meet Vicki, another of our correspondents, who went to review the Sierra Nevada Sausage and Cheese event at O’Niell’s Juan Tabo from last week. She was delayed in sending this to us, so in the end I figured, hey, why not run this review the day they are holding a second event at O’Niell’s Nob Hill. This way her review can also serve as a preview of tonight’s event. It’s a classic Brew Crew two-for-one story. — Stoutmeister

It's a veritable feast paired with great Sierra Nevada beers!

It’s a veritable feast paired with great Sierra Nevada beers!

Whether walking down the grocery isle or the wedding isle, finding a flight of Sierra Nevada’s finest waiting for you at the end of it would be a welcomed treat indeed. Albeit one of these scenarios is a bit more unexpected than the other; not many grooms I have met would find a reason to object.

And as I entered the sudsy sanctuary, a.k.a. O’Niell’s Pub Juan Tabo, last Thursday for the first official day of ABQ Beer Week to witness the holy moley union of Sierra Nevada with — wait for it — cheese and Sierra Nevada’s own sausage made at Chico State University Farms, I couldn’t find a single reason to object, either.

If you live in the 505 and like to wet your whistle with wheat, you have most likely been to the iconic Irish establishment known as O’Niell’s. With two pet-friendly locations to choose from, you are never more than a quick jaunt from one of ABQ’s most beloved pubs. When we arrived, the place was pleasantly and expectedly packed. Jonathan and our server Rick were welcoming and fun, and the service was attentive and quick.  If you have never been to O’Niell’s (gasp!), or if you haven’t been in a while (your bad), you don’t know or have forgotten what you are missing!

The same can be said for one of the cornerstones of craft brew and the event’s honoree, Sierra Nevada. If like your dreams of yesterday, you have put your love for this beer on a shelf, it is time to pull them back on down and dream and drink again! As Sierra Nevada’s exceptionally knowledgeable and talented tasting host, Keith, said, “This is the beer that beer brewers tell me they have in their own fridges!”

Sierra Nevada’s offerings for the evening consisted of Kellerweis (you would be Weis to give it a try), Scotch Ale (a full-bodied fan favorite), Hop Hunter IPA (Hop. On. That. Seriously!), Harvest Idaho 7 IPA (I do hope they keep making this stuff), Nooner Pilsner (insert afternoon-er delight joke here for my personal fav), and of course their flagship brew, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (the beer that launched the company and the aspirations of countless home brewers).

The event was like being on an episode of The Bachelor, except this episode wasn’t lame or scripted, and instead was awesome and delicious, and one in which you would be sure to find an honest and true brew that you could make a long-term commitment to with or without a rose ceremony.

In case you are the type whose decision would hinge on how your beer-trothed would get along with your friends and family, what could be more telling than a pairing with Sierra’s own Italian Sausage and Bratwurst made at Chico State University Farms, and YES PLEASE, Pass the CHEESE, which on this night happened to be Roquefort, Havarti, Goat, Mascarpone, Port Salut, and Camembert en Croute. (Disclaimer, sausage and cheeses’ likeness to actual friends and family members isn’t anyone’s darn fault but their own.)

The pairings went together like the brew and the pub, Sierra Nevada with their strong commitment to the environment and the community, believing, “Put good in and good will come out,” and O’Niell’s straightforwardly motivational motto — “Good Food. Honest Drink.” — both proving to be a winning recipe for a lasting relationship, and don’t forget in liquids as in life, “No Sniveling!”

A Poem In Closing

If you haven’t drunken, chosen, or been,
it is time to check in with each of them!
They are both classics, like the one that got away,
But even better because they stayed!
I have, I did, and yep I do
Faithfully, and Still Loving You …

For more info on dream, green, brew machine that is Sierra Nevada visit their website.

To find out what’s up, neat, and good to eat at either of O’Niell’s locations visit their website.

Yet another special release for ABQ Beer Week brings us back to Chama, where the 505-2015 Session IPA was brewed. This time the release is all their own, Plum Goodness, a soured saison with Italian plums.
Photo courtesy Chama River Brewing co. Facebook page.

Photo courtesy Chama River Facebook page.

This is the second release in a saison series of four (The Summer of Saison), starting with the Lemon Jester. Each will be a somewhat different style. This beer has been kettle-soured — this involves adding the souring bacteria in the kettle to keep it from infecting the rest of the brewery; once the target pH is reached the temperature is raised to kill the bacteria before the regular fermentation is undertaken. After that was complete the beer was transferred to the conditioning tank with Italian plum purée to marry with the fruit. The sourness is nicely balanced with the sweet, sharp fruit, the plums giving it a pleasant pink blush.
The release party gets started today (Thursday) at 5 p.m. Brewer Zach Guilmette will give a 15- to 20-minute talk on this beer, his approach on how this was brewed, and take any questions on the new beer. There will be complimentary appetizers available to pair with the beer. This will be repeated at 5:30 p.m., with some live music at 6 p.m.
Further along in the saison series is going to be a sage saison. This beer has a traditional saison malt makeup; the other beers in the series are embracing the idea that farmers would use whatever grains and adjuncts they had to hand. The final member will be a super saison aged in red wine barrels, expected to be ready around August. Other things to look forward to from Chama include a gluten reduced take on their Amber ale some time down the road.
— Adam
And so it begins!

Beyond the usual tastings and tappings, you can learn more about beer from the brewers themselves today.

It can be hard to single out a theme on each day of Beer Week, but sometimes there are things that stand out amid all the various tappings, tastings, and food/beer pairings. For instance, today there are two chances to learn from brewing representatives about the beer you are drinking. Head to Chama River to learn about the process of brewing their sour, Plum Goodness, from brewer Zach Guilmette. (We will have a full preview later today.) Or you can go to Torino’s and learn about the various Abbey Brewing creations from their representatives.

Beyond that there is more fun scheduled for Nob Hill Bar & Grill, El Pinto, Rock & Brews, Gecko’s, Two Fools, Cazuela’s, Jubilation, O’Niell’s Nob Hill, Sister, and our featured event at Ponderosa. So many events, so little time. Divide and conquer!

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: Rauchfest. Where: Ponderosa Brewing. When: All day. Cost: No cover charge.

Details: A festival of smoke! Ponderosa will be hosting Rauchfest, debuting a traditional Rauchweizen. Comprising of mostly smoked wheat (oak smoked), some smoked barley (beech smoked), and Munich malt with a banana/clove flavor from the hefeweizen yeast. It should come in around 5.5-percent ABV with a low IBU, but it will be a truly smoked beer, with lots of flavor. You can play cornhole all day and Chef Tanner will have smoked brats and some other smoked goodies to accompany the beer. Plus, Ponderosa will have Dos Pendejos performing live in the evening from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Why you should go: Live music, a new beer, and excellent Ponderosa food. There are worse ways to spend part of your evening. Or go earlier for just the beer and food.

All the other great events

What: Santa Fe Brewing Special Tapping. Where: Gecko’s (both locations). When: 11 a.m. Details: The new Session Ale will be tapped at Gecko’s in Nob Hill and the one on Academy. Why you should go: New beer (it was popular at Blues & Brews) plus awesome food. Happy lunch break!

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: Tractor Tap Takeover and Special Release. Where: Rock & Brews. When: 3 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: There will be lots of Tractor beers on tap. We have no idea which ones. Why you should go: It’s a mystery! Go indulge.

What: Odell Sampling. Where: Jubilation. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager Tasting. Where: Total Wine (both locations). When: 4 to 6 p.m. (both locations) Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Dogs Drink Free Happy Hour. Where: El Pinto. When: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: No, that’s not a typo, your dogs can drink for free on the patio at El Pinto from today through Thursday. They will have Bowser Beer, a special alcohol-free beer made specifically for dogs. As for humans, there will be four Lagunitas beers for you — Cappuccino Stout, Equinox Pale Oat Ale, Brown Shugga’ Barleywine, and the special limited release of Waldo 4/20. Why you should go: Awesome new Lagunitas beers and old favorites, plus a chance to relax with your best friend. Throw in some delicious El Pinto food and it all adds up to a great afternoon.

What: Odell Special Tapping and Takeover. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Once again, NHBG makes us all proud. In addition to stalwart 90 Schilling, you can get French{hop}Connection (saison), Perle White IPA, Fernet Aged Porter, and the exclusive Barrel Thief Imperial IPA aged in oak barrels. Why you should go: With that lineup, everyone should go home happy. Throw in food and sports on TV and you’re a winner, guaranteed.

What: Boulder Beer Special Tapping. Where: Sister Bar. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: An unknown Boulder Beer will be tapped at Sister. Why you should go: Solve the mystery.

What: Plum Goodness Release Party. Where: Chama River. When: 5 to 6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: See our separate preview that will run later today. Why you should go: Enhance your beer knowledge while drinking beer. Plus, lots of food options and sports on TV.

What: Marble Beer Dinner. Where: Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm. When: 5:30 to 9 p.m. Cost: The event is sold out, but contact Los Poblanos (505-344-9297) to get on their waiting list. Tickets are $65. Details: Live music, specials, unique beers, and more at Los Poblanos, with a reception from 5:30 to 6 and dinner afterward. Why you should go: Take a chance, see if you can make the list, then enjoy great food paired with great beer.

What: Alaskan Tap Invasion. Where: Bubba’s 33. When: 6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Alaskan beers will be on tap at the eatery along I-25 near Chama River. Why you should go: If you love Alaskan beers and classic American food, go for it.

What: Second Annual New Belgium Frozen T-Shirt Contest. Where: Monte Vista Fire Station. When: 6 p.m. Cost: Inquire at the door. Details: For the second time, the folks from New Belgium are giving folks a chance to win a special NB bicycle. All you have to do is unwrap a completely frozen T-shirt faster than everyone else. Why you should go: We had some friends who nearly won this last year. So go test your frozen-shirt-unwrapping skills. It’s harder than it looks.

UPDATED >>> What: Odell Special Firkin Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Friend of the Crew Tony Calder informs us that it will be a Mango Habanero IPA in the cask tonight. Well now, that just sounds like a flavor combo for the ages. Why you should go: Unleash this crazy beer upon your taste buds, plus snag some good food while you are there.

What: Second Annual Sierra Nevada Sausage & Cheese Tasting. Where: O’Niell’s Nob Hill. When: 6 to 8 p.m. Cost: $5 for sausage and cheese tray (beer not included). Please reserve tickets by calling (505) 255-6782. 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 your palate, but fear not if you are unconvinced, we have a review of the previous event at O’Niell’s Juan Tabo up on our site today from one of our new correspondents.

What: Beer on the Patio. Where: Torino’s. When: 6:30 p.m. Cost: $25 per person, call Torino’s at (505) 797-4491 to reserve your spot. Details: Torino’s is hosting a four-course pairing of Monks’ Ales with cured meats, cheeses, and fine breads. Featured beers will include Monks’ Ale, Tripel, Dubbel, and Golden Ale (Krystal Weisse). Abbey Brewing reps will be on hand to give a master speech and answer your questions. Why you should go: Learn more about these unique beers while enjoying some delicious food.

What: Beer Bike 5K. Where: Civic Plaza. When: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Cost: $30, with tickets available online here. Details: Hope on board the Duke City Pedaler at Civic Plaza and ride it around to Marble, Tractor Wells Park, and Back Alley Draft House. You get member prices at each location. This even will repeat Wednesday and Thursday. Why you should go: Burn off some beer calories while, um, adding more beer calories! Hey, it’s a win-win, plus it is one of the most fun and unique ways to enjoy a mini-pub crawl. Just be prepared, it’s a little over 3 miles in length and the DCP is tougher to pedal than it looks. You’ll get a good workout plus good beer.

What: pLOUD Music Series. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 8 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Felix y Los Gatos will perform live. Why you should go: Chill out with some good music and beer.

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 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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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