Good beer and good causes go hand in hand. It’s one of our favorite things as beer bloggers to write about, and one of our favorite ways for us, as beer drinkers, to help our fellow men, women, or puppies. Who doesn’t love drinking great beer, knowing that we’re supporting a real, local organization, and all from the comfort of your favorite local barstool? Personally, I would donate until they cut me off. Actually, I’m sure that I have, on occasion. Recently, I attended the annual Atalaya Rescuefest at Second Street Brewery, and I spoke with Aimee Adamek, one of the main organizers of Rescuefest and Atalaya Search and Rescue, the non-profit to which we proudly raised our pints that day. I also spoke with Second Street head brewer Rod Tweet about the beer he made especially for the fest.
After I finished wolfing down the best buffalo chicken sandwich I’ve had in a long while, I knew I had a window of opportunity to where I could get my interviews in without slurring my way through them. There were, of course, quite a few delicious brews on tap that day, but as with all things, business first. Aimee Adamek had been wandering around, and I’d lost sight of her sometime between bites. The ever-together GM, Colleen Sager, hunted down my interviewee in no time, and put us up in her own office. With the jams of Alex Maryol streaming in through the open door like a bluesy American breeze, and the brewhouse bustling with a new brew in the boil, Sager’s office would be the only really quiet place onsite that day.
DSBC: What is Atalaya Rescuefest? Tell us a little about your cause.
Adamek: Rescuefest started last year. It was our first year to have essentially a search and rescue fundraiser to help fund the team, because we do not receive any funds whatsoever. Any training, any gear, most importantly comes out of our own pockets, so we invest the money, not only for gear, trainings, gas mileage, you name it. It comes out of our own pocket. So we created Rescuefest to help fund our needs to help save people in the back country.
DSBC: In the back country … how far-reaching is your organization?
Adamek: We actually do rescues in the entire state. We do have districts in which we work, but we do go out of those districts. It’s wherever we’re needed within the state.
DSBC: And so, in order to fund all that, you started Rescuefest. How long have you been doing search and rescue?
Adamek: 8 years.
During that time, they’ve helped countless hikers, hunters, rangers, in every type of terrain in our state. Forests, deserts, mountains, you name it, they’ve been there.
DSBC: How do our beer readers get involved? How do we help?
Adamek: We’re always welcoming new members to the team. If you happen to run into one of our teammates, they’re more than happy to answer questions. You can join us or start joining us at our regular classroom meetings and trainings to get involved. I think the crowd that Second Street brings in is typically a lot of outdoor folks.
DSBC: There’s just something about the outdoors and beer. Hand in hand, too.
Adamek: Absolutely, so a lot of times, you know, after a hard training in the field, we’ll come to Second Street and get a cold brew.
DSBC: Makes perfect sense to me. Do you have any upcoming festivals or events?
Adamek: We usually do a first-aid event for ATC, the charter school on the other side of town. We do the Atalaya Turkey Trot as well, which is like a 3 or 5K run.
DSBC: Will you be doing this particular event again next year?
Adamek: We hope so, sure! We’d love to!
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I also caught head brewer Rod Tweet just after he was giving Aimee a tour of the brewhouse. Before he had to get back to brewing I asked him a few short questions.
DSBC: How long have you guys been doing Rescuefest?
Tweet: I think it’s our second year, yeah.
DSBC: How easy is it to get something like this together?
Tweet: The Atalaya Search and Rescue people really put a lot of the work into the organization of it up front. They book all the music. We really don’t do any of that part of it.
DSBC: But you do something special for this event. You brewed a special beer. Tell us about that.
Tweet: This beer fits the Altbier (style), pretty well. And it’s an Altbier as I think it should be, or as I like them. It’s very hoppy. Not hoppy like an American IPA, but it’s hoppy. I’ll mix it up a little bit every year. This year it’s 100-percent German Hallertau that we just got in, so real nice hops in it, and quite a bit of German Pilsner malt, German Munich, and I’m pretty happy with it. I think it came out great. This year we dry hopped it with a small amount of Hallertau, because it’s a fairly malty beer, so we throw like a bag of wheat in it, and dry hopping it helps finish it, and that’s it for this year. We have a framework for it, but we usually, like I said, mix it up a little bit.
DSBC: Do you plan to do this again next year?
Tweet: As long as they want. (Laughs) You know, doing a beer for them? I always welcome that.
DSBC: Good beer for a good cause. As a brewpub, why do you do it?
Tweet: As a brewpub, it’s something we can do. These folks’ve been good to us. It’s a way to help out. We’re pretty open to that kind of thing.
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Atalaya Search & Rescue Mission Statement:
Founded in the fall of 2002, ATALAYA SEARCH AND RESCUE (ASAR) is an all-volunteer and non-profit organization dedicated to the search and rescue of lost or injured people in the backcountry of New Mexico. On call 24/7 and operating under State Police and the Department of Public Safety, our responders are highly trained in ground search, medical care, communication, and technical rope rescue. ASAR team members have collectively participated in hundreds of search and rescue missions in the mountains, forests, and deserts of the southwest, and play a vital role in New Mexico’s public safety network of first responders.
To help out, you can either donate through http://www.atalayasar.org/, or if you want to see what they’re all about for yourself, their meetings are held every other Wednesday at St. John’s College (ESL 111, building 8) at 6:30 p.m., 1160 Camino De Cruz Blanca, Santa Fe. Or, follow Second Street Brewery on Facebook and make sure to look out for next year’s Rescuefest, where the proceeds from your pints of the Altbier and/or special pint glass help these rescuers get the gear, training, and cover their expenses! Help them help you! Think globally, drink locally, I always say.
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