Continuing our run of ABQ Beer Week site previews, I hit up Tractor Wells Park on Tuesday afternoon. One could sense the staff knew it was the calm before the storm, the last moments of tranquility before chaos. Or maybe that was just the exhausted look on the face of Tractor public relations guru Jeremy Kanter, who carved out the last minutes of his long, long day to chat about all of the events they will be hosting and attending over the next 11 days.
On with the day-by-day list of great length:
Friday—Members-Only Barrel-Aged Beer Pre-Tasting at Wells Park
The benefit of being part of the Beer Farmers Co-op is that numerous times this year, Tractor has invited folks to come try beers before they are released to the public, while also getting to interact with head brewer David Hargis and co-owner and certified Cicerone Skye Devore. For ABW, Tractor is busting out the big guns.
“We have only 30 spots available to Co-op members and tickets are $15 apiece,” Jeremy said. “We’re going to do it in the brewery. They get three 8-ounce snifters of Barrel-Aged Scotcholate, Barley Wine, and Luna de los Muertos.”
There will be bombers available from a limited bottling run of all three. Co-op members can purchase them for $12 this night only, limit three per person. That all starts at 6 p.m., so make your reservations ASAP.
For everyone else, or Co-op members who feel like sticking around, Youngsville will have their Farewell to Albuquerque show at 8:30 p.m. The band is relocating to Austin, Texas, which makes sense for a group determined to try to make it big. The Porter Draw will also perform.
Saturday—Bees & Seeds Festival at Wells Park, Cider Day Night Fever at Nob Hill
The folks at GMO-Free NM are moving their annual festival from Tiguex Park to Wells Park starting at 1 p.m. There will be live music, vendors, a ton of food, and of course plenty of beer.
“We’ve permitted our parking lot,” Jeremy said. “We have tons of vendors, inside and outside. We have an outdoor stage with a lot of bands.”
Burque Sol, Innastate, Keith Sanchez, Buddhafunk, and Element37 will all perform. Click that link above for the full list of vendors. Plus, there will be a live art auction and art activities for children.
When all that is done, head up to Nob Hill for Cider Day Night Fever at 7 p.m. DJ Wae Fonkey will be spinning out some groovy tunes. There will be special cider cocktails, or you can just pick your favorite cider(s) and drink it/them straight up. Costumes are encouraged, of course. Just don’t end up brawling like the girl scouts in Airplane when they start playing “Staying Alive.”
Sunday—Blues & Brews at Sandia Casino
Tractor will be taking a lot of their beers to the big fest. In addition to their three canned beers and cider, they will have Cerveza New Mexican and one of their two specialty IPAs, Desert Flower or Hopsplitter.
Tuesday—Beer & Cheese with Cheesy Street at Wells Park
After taking Memorial Day off, events resume with this annual beer/food pairing with one of our favorite food trucks.
“That’s the one we do with a tray with four mini-sliders (of grilled cheese) paired with four beers, a flight,” Jeremy said. “I don’t know (about the beers), we’re still determining that pairing.”
The cost is $13 for the tray and things will kick off at 3 p.m.
Wednesday, June 1—Ask a Certified Cicerone and Bad Beer Tasting at Wells Park
As noted above, Tractor co-owner Skye Devore is a certified Cicerone, so she will be hosting a special class for the ultimate beer geeks.
“That’s study tips and tricks for beer geeks,” Jeremy said, whether one is studying for Cicerone certification, or just anyone who wants to learn more about the beers they drink.
The study session is free and starts at 6 p.m. Afterwards, stick around as Skye will bust out her Off-Flavor Kit and help folks understand just what you should not be tasting in your beer. If you wish to participate, that costs $5.
Thursday, June 2—Battle of the Beer Geeks III at Wells Park
It is time. Time for the Crew to RECLAIM OUR GLORY. Ahem, this annual tasting event is back for a third time (we won the first one), starting at 5 p.m. From then until 7:30, you can purchase a tray of five beers created on Tractor’s pilot brewing system by five different beer groups (including the Crew) for just $10. You get samples of all five beers, plus a 12-ounce pour of your favorite. The winner will then be announced at 8 p.m. This year there will be both a People’s Choice Award and a professional Judges’ Best of Show. In a twist from years past, the beers will be not be identified by which group made which beer, just to keep things a little more objective.
Melissa Rios will also be on hand to provide the music.
Friday, June 3—Beer Themed Art Fight at Wells Park
So, what exactly makes an art fight beer themed?
“OK, so every art fight is themed with something,” Jeremy explained. “Last art fight was bees and seeds. You have to paint within that criteria. This one has to have beers and pups. All the money from the art auction is going to PACA.”
Head over at 7 p.m., grab a beer, watch some amazing art being made live, bid on your favorites, and help out a charity that takes care of dogs and cats. By this point in Beer Week, you will probably need to restore some good karma, so head on over.
Other events: Tractor will also have a tap takeover at the Hooters on San Mateo. Felix y Los Gatos will perform at 5 p.m. on the patio. The Cerveza New Mexican will be poured along with stalwarts like Almanac IPA, Farmer’s Tan Red, Mustachio Milk Stout, and Hard Apple Cider.
Saturday, June 4—Planned Parenthood Beer & Bands Annual Fundraiser at Wells Park, Official barrel-aged beers release at Nob Hill
This is a huge fundraiser for Planned Parenthood. Once again, Jeremy said the parking lot will be permitted with an outdoor stage for musical acts and a lot more. This is a ticketed event, costing $15, with all proceeds going to PP. Confirmed musical acts include Le Chat Lunatique and Keith Sanchez, plus the Desert Darlings will perform along with the ABQ Aerialist Collective. It runs from 5 to 8 p.m.
If you cannot make it downtown, stay in Nob Hill as the three aforementioned barrel-aged beers will go on tap at noon. You can get a flight of all three for just $12. If you like one a lot, you can purchase a bomber for $15, but the supply will be limited.
“I’ll be surprised if we have very much left over from the pre-release, especially the Luna, it’s so good,” Jeremy said.
If the Lobo baseball team’s schedule permits, I will be at the Members Only Pre-Tasting, so you know I will be taking some Luna home. As much as they let me have, to be honest.
Sunday, June 5—Official barrel-aged beers release at Wells Park
It’s the same deal as the day before at Nob Hill. Grab a sampler tray or take a bomber home for the same prices. It all kicks off at noon.
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Thanks to Jeremy (and Skye) for the information on all the events. Once again Tractor is putting on a wide range of entertaining, vibrant, and even educational events for Beer Week. We cannot thank them enough.
And remember to get to Battle of the Beer Geeks and vote for us! (Even if we cannot tell you which beer is ours.)