Editor’s note: We just received one more story from our last Beer Week correspondent, Julie, who has been on the road and could not get this to us any sooner. (She is currently in Flagstaff learning good things about Mother Road.) But since it contains info beyond just the event itself, it seemed prudent to still run the story. Read on for some good news about the plans at Sister and how they will benefit all of us craft beer lovers. And be really jealous of the Double D-licious she got to have. — Stoutmeister
Sister retains its allure even during full daylight hours, and for you day drinkers out there it’s a great chance to explore the flocked wallpaper, dioramas, and semi-creepy portraits without the crush of the usual crowd. I headed there during ABQ Beer Week for the limited release tappings from Boulder Beer. Two barrel-aged brews were offered, plus (my first) IPA on nitro.
Starting with Libido Grande, the tequila barrel-aged IPA, I immediately was hit with the scent of honey. No wonder, as this brew was loaded with agave. The sweetness was cut by the bitter body of the IPA, but the agave prevailed in the body of the brew to make this IPA stickier than what you’d expect. Rich with an amber hue, it had little to no head. Notes of pine, citrus or weedy hops were not to be found here, but this beer surprised with the little kick of tequila that lingered at the end.
At 7-percent ABV (70 IBU), the Libido Grande is what Carrie (the Boulder rep) described as a “creeper,” making you think you’re drinking a session ale because it goes down so smoothly. Carrie says Sam, the Boulder brewer who gets to choose which beers are barrel-aged, kept the Libido Grande in tequila barrels for a full three months.
The clear winner of the Boulder tasting was the Double D-licious, their Shake Chocolate Porter aged in bourbon barrels (5.9% ABV, 30 IBU). Wow. If you’ve ever had their Shake Chocolate Porter, you’ll remember the rich, dark chocolate flavor. Aged in bourbon barrels, the chocolate overtone is cut by the liquor and by bing cherries that were added specifically for this task. What remains is a velvety porter with an intense bourbon bite. Upon first smell, you get the bourbon. The first taste is also bourbon, but the super opaque dark body soon gives up notes of chocoloate and cherries. The cherry is subtle, but definitely there.
The Double D-licious was just a one-off brew for ABQ Beer Week, but everyone in attendance was in total agreement that this would be a regular addition to their beer fridges if it was only regularly available. Carrie went on to host a brunch pairing featuring this brew and chocolate waffles at Nob Hill Bar & Grill to top off ABQ Beer Week.
Finally, I tried the Mojo IPA on nitro. Carrie told us IPAs on nitro are trending in Colorado, and maybe New Mexico will be warming up to this next. What happens to an IPA when it’s put on nitro is that the hops are cut, and you are left with a smooth, rich body that is full of malt. After the nitro cascade settles, it resembles very much an English IPA. At 7.2-percent ABV (72 IBU), it’s another creeper and very easy to drink.
What’s Next For Sister
Ben, the manager at Sister, made it known they had big plans for the summer. Along with their stellar draft lineup, they will continue to grab special brews from everyone as they become available. They were tapping La Cumbre’s Strawberry Gose the next day, and are introducing multiple Ballast Point brews over the next few weeks.
What’s really exciting is that they secured one of the chefs from the former Blackbird Buvette and will be opening a full kitchen in mid-June. They’ll feature a wide range of vegetarian and gluten-free options, along with tacos and frito pie at affordable prices. Watch Sister for beer-centric events and food pairings this summer. Word is that five-course meals with a beer for each round are on the way soon.