Archive for May 27, 2016

The Crew who attended Blues & Brews were a happy bunch. From left, Adam, Laura, Stoutmeister, Kristin, with the photo bomb from Karl.

The Crew who attended Blues & Brews in 2015 were a happy bunch. From left, Adam, Laura, Stoutmeister, and Kristin, with the photo bomb from Karl.

The biggest of the big is back at Sandia Casino this weekend as Blues & Brews returns for its sixth annual beer-a-palooza. This Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m. (2 to 6 for VIP ticket holders), attendees will be able to choose beers from 70 different breweries, a mix of local, national, and international.

As we do every year, we present the key things you need to know.

  1. Uber is your friend, or a taxi, or a designated driver, or just get a room for the night.
  2. The VIP ticket is worth it, but the supply is nearly out, so buy it online ASAP. That first hour where there are only a handful of people is huge when it comes to being able to properly taste and enjoy your beers. Make a list of your “must haves” and hit those first.
  3. Load up on food beforehand, whether at home, a stop on the way, or at one of the casino restaurants.
  4. And most of all, have fun. Just about everyone in attendance always seems to be in a good mood, so keep the positive vibes flowing.

That brings us to the beers, which are always the key. As noted, there will be an awful lot, too many to simply list below. To start, here are all the local breweries with their full lists. Some are correct in the event program, others have been updated thanks to info from the breweries.

  • Abbey: Monks’ Ale, Monks’ Wit, Monks’ Dark, Monks’ Dubbel, Monks’ Tripel
  • Albuquerque Brewing: Saison, Dunkelweizen
  • Cazuela’s: Agave, Chupacabra IPA, 1859 India Porter, Lemon Drop
  • Firkin: Peach Fuzz, Jailhouse Java Stout, Ombibulous IPA
  • Isotopes: Slammin’ Amber, AAA Blonde
  • Kellys: Amber, Session IPA, Apricot Ale
  • Marble: Double IPA, Double White, IPA, Red Ale, Abricot Sour, Pilsner Anejo, Rita
  • Pi: 5 O’Hop Somewhere Session IPA, Barrel-Aged Bourbon Vanilla Porter, Prohibition Pilsner
  • Red Door: Vanilla Cream Ale, Shift Ender Golden Lager, Belgian Dubbel, Threshold IPA
  • Rio Bravo: Black Angus Stout, Dirty Rotten Bastard IPA, Karl’s Weizen, Amber, Roadkill Red
  • Sandia Chile Grill: Red Ranger Irish Red, Legacy Mead, Honey Moon Mead
  • Santa Fe: Freestyle Pilsner, SF Gold, Western Bloc Wheat IPA
  • Sierra Blanca: Bone Chiller Brown, Sun Chaser Pale Ale, Pancho Verde Chile Cerveza, Vanilla Milk Stout, Desert Pilsner, Alien Amber, Cran Sour, Alien Imperial Stout, Rio Grande IPA, Outlaw Lager, Alien Wheat
  • Tractor: Farmer’s Almanac IPA, Farmer’s Tan Red Ale, Milk Mustachio Stout, Cerveza New Mexican, Hard Apple Cider, and either Desert Flower IPA or Hopsplitter IPA

If we had to pick a few favorites from that list you need to try, make sure to hit up the Monks’ Tripel, ABC’s Dunkelweizen, Cazuela’s Porter, Firkin’s Jailhouse Java Stout, Marble’s Pilsner Anejo (it is the last of that beer available anywhere, ditto the Rita), Pi’s Barrel-Aged BVP, Red Door’s Vanilla Cream Ale, any mead from Sandia Chile Grill, Santa Fe’s unique Western Bloc, Sierra Blanca’s Vanilla Milk Stout, and whichever of those two specialty IPAs that Tractor brings. These are suggestions only, pick out your favorites, and then let us know what you think. Who knows, maybe you will find a great beer that we have overlooked.

Oh, and of course you need to visit The Dukes of Ale’s booth to try their beers as well. We do not know what they are bring, but odds are, it will be home brew that rivals many of the professional beers you will be tasting. Get over there during VIP hour, because the lines always get long later on.

Once you have done your solemn duty and visited as many of the local breweries as possible, then head out into the national/international landscape. Again, we cannot list every available beer or brewery or this would get longer than The Week Ahead in Beer, so these are just our picks. Of course, your palate could demand something completely different, so double check the listings in the event program.

  • Alaskan: It may seem out of season, but their Smoked Porter is good year round. (Alternative: Kicker Session IPA)
  • Avery: They did not have a list in the guide, but odds are, they will have something amazing.
  • Ballast Point: Whichever fruit you like the best between Watermelon (Dorado), Mango (Even Keel), or Pineapple (Sculpin) is the one you should go with.
  • Boston Beer Co. (Samuel Adams): Surprise! They brought some of their newer styles instead of the same old, same old. Our pick is the Heaven or Helles. (Alternative: Got to Gose)
  • Boulder Beer: At some point in your life you have probably had Hazed or Confused. They are offering up a twist on it in the form of Hazed Hoppy Session Ale. (Alternative: Shake Chocolate Porter)
  • Eddyline: The Colorado brewery has their Java Stout on tap. Try it and compare it to Firkin. (Alternative: Crank Yanker IPA)
  • Founders: The current season of choice is Mosaic Promise, which is definitely worth sampling, and the next day you can go buy a six-pack at Jubilation and be the hit of your Memorial Day party. (Alternative: Dirty Bastard)
  • Green Flash: Get in the groove with Soul Style IPA. (Alternative: Tangerine Soul Style)
  • Lagunitas: Does mine eye spy a Lil Sumpin’ Sumpin’? Why, it does! (Alternative: Lucky 13)
  • Left Hand: They listed three of their standards — Milk Stout, Polestar Pils, Good Juju — plus one TBA. Go check out what that one is and let us know.
  • Mother Road: Our friends in Flagstaff debuted Tower Station IPA here last year at Hopfest. Go see what all the buzz is about with this delicious hop bomb. (Alternative: Lost Highway Black IPA)
  • New Belgium: Oh, come on, they don’t do hoppy. Or do they? Rampant Imperial IPA is bucking the NB trend. (Alternative: Heavy Melon Watermelon Lime Ale)
  • Oskar Blues: The Beerito Mexican Lager sounds like a summer porch beer for a lazy afternoon. (Alternative: Pinner Throwback IPA)
  • SanTan: Our friend Nicole Duke of Tractor absolutely loves Mr. Pineapple, and we are pretty sure she would never, ever steer us wrong. (Alternative: Devil’s Ale)
  • Sierra Nevada: If you have not tried Nooner Pilsner yet, you are still doing summer wrong. (Alternative: Otra Vez Gose-Style Ale)
  • Ska: To hell with the heat, grab some Bump ‘n’ Grind for that perfect coffee stout flavor. (Alternative: Modus Mandarina)
  • Upslope: Another contender for porch beer of the summer is their Craft Lager. (Alternative: Belgian Pale Ale)

Other breweries in attendance will include Adelbert’s, Bridgeport, Durango, Goose Island, Guns & Oil, Kona, Leinenkugel, Lexington, Magic Hat, North Coast, Odell, Omission, Pyramid, Redhook, Shiner, Squatters, Wasatch, and Widmer Brothers. There will also be multiple cideries and other vendors.

Remember to pace yourselves, be kind to others, don’t spill your beer, and above all else, have fun and stay safe. Send us your pictures and your comments afterwards and we will include those in our Beer Week in Review story that will run the week of June 6.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

We are off and running with 14 events on the opening day!

Try not to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of events on Day Two!

How did you do in Thursday’s opening events? Did you pace yourselves properly? Or was it all too much?

We hope it was a good, efficient day and night, with plenty of fun involved without going overboard. After all, it’s important to be well-rested and ready to go again, since Friday’s docket features 19 (!) events all over the map. There will be big, there will be small, but most of all, there will be a lot of great beer.

Choose wisely, grasshoppers.

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: 505 Collaboration Rye Kellerbier NM Brewers Guild Fundraiser. Where: 17 different locations in the ABQ metro area, plus locations in Santa Fe and Farmington (see below). When: 1 p.m. Cost: No entry fee at any location.

Details: Yep, it’s that time again. The annual beer made by a dozen different breweries came together last month at La Cumbre. Now, you get to try it by the pint at your favorite local breweries. You will have to check in and see at each brewery if they will sell it in growlers (we are thinking no, but you can ask). Remember, $1 from every pint sold goes to the NM Brewers Guild. That money will be used to continue their efforts to help all of our breweries throughout New Mexico. Grab yourselves a pint and raise it to all of our talented brewers anytime during Beer Week!

The full list of participating breweries in the metro area — Bosque, Bow & Arrow, Boxing Bear, Canteen, Chama River, Draft Station, Firkin, La Cumbre, Marble, Nexus, Ponderosa, Quarter Celtic, Red Door, Santa Fe ABQ Taproom, Sidetrack, Tractor, Turtle Mountain — and those outside of the metro area — Blue Corn, Draft Station, Santa Fe, Second Street in Santa Fe; 3 Rivers in Farmington.

Why you should go: We think that’s covered above.

All the other great events

What: Beer and Food Pairings. Where: Santa Fe Brewing ABQ Taproom. When: 11 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: For the next three days, SFBC will be teaming up with their neighbors at Green Jeans to create delicious pairings. The menu will change every day. Why you should go: You already know the restaurants at Green Jeans rock, and you know the beer at SFBC rocks, so odds are this will all rule.

What: Firkin Friday. Where: Marble (both locations). When: Noon. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Head brewer Josh Trujillo and his team will surely have some awesome creations in the casks. If we get advance notice, we will update it. Why you should go: Delicious cask beer makes for the perfect lunch break with Nosh Wagon downtown.

What: Founders Sampling. Where: Total Wine Cottonwood. When: 1:30 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Some of Michigan’s finest beers will be available for you to try. Why you should go: Free beer!

What: Moylan’s Special Release. Where: Rock & Brews. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Get ready for the most British beer ever, Afternoon Tealight, an ESB infused with Earl Grey. Why you should go: That sounds like Captain Picard’s kind of beer. Make it so.

What: Beer Brat Cookout. Where: Albuquerque Brewing. When: 4 p.m. Cost: $5 per brat. Details: The folks at ABC are boiling bratwurst in their beers. Why you should go: Food made with beer, plus you can drink more beer. Woots!

What: Founders Meet the Brewery Rep and Tasting. Where: Jubilation. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: For those who don’t live on the West Side, you can get some Founders samples, too. Why you should go: Devil Dancer Triple IPA will be among those available. Dudes, you need this beer in your life.

What: Marble Special Tapping. Where: The Local Brewhouse. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: A keg of the new Marble Saison will be available for folks way out in Rio Rancho. Why you should go: This is one of the only Rio Rancho-based events, so for those who live out there, jump on board.

What: Left Hand Special Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Get your hop dose with Extrovert IPA. Why you should go: Beer plus great food, huzzah.

What: Smokin’ BBQ Night. Where: Rio Bravo. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Get ready for lots of BBQ, plus hand-rolled cigars made to order, and special beer flights for $5. Music from Eryn Bent starts at 4. Why you should go: Beer, food, cigars, music; there are worse ways to spend a Friday.

What: 4th Annual Tower of Sour. Where: Back Alley Draft House. When: 4 p.m. Cost: $15. Details: We hope to have more than what fits here, but there will be 16 sours to choose from. Your entry fee covers four samples and a 10-ounce pour of your favorite. Why you should go: In addition to the hosts, other participating breweries will include Marble, Santa Fe, Sierra Blanca, a Bathtub Row/Cazuela’s collaboration, plus from all around the country — Anderson Valley, Ballast Point, Goose Island, New Beligum, Odell, Stone, Uinta — and the world, Rodenbach.

What: Boese Brothers Special Tapping. Where: Imbibe. When: 4:30 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Zeus Juice White IPA, their most recent seasonal, will be available for all of you who don’t like downtown, but will go to Nob Hill. Why you should go: Boese’s seasonals don’t last long, so this might be your last chance to try it before it’s gone, at least outside the brewery.

What: New Belgium Lips of Faith Special Tapping. Where: Gecko’s Nob Hill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: This is a new collaboration beer made by NB and Hof Ten Dormaal. Why you should go: If you love Belgian-style beers, you gotta try this one.

What: Jake & Harley’s Cigar Gallery, Food and Beer Evening. Where: Jinja West. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No entry fee, but beers, food, and cigars are to be paid for a la carte. Details: The folks out west are tapping Founders Backwoods Bastard and Porter, plus they will have cans of Dirty Bastard, All Day IPA, Centennial IPA and Rubaeus. Why you should go: If you love Founders and don’t want to commute to the east side of town, this is for you, West Siders.

What: Avery Special Tapping. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: This a double tapping of Raja and Maharaja, two massive IPAs. Why you should go: HOPS. Need we say more?

What: Tractor Co-op Members Barrel-Aged Beer Pre-Release and Youngsville’s Farewell to ABQ Show. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 6 p.m. (pre-release), 8:30 p.m. (music). Cost: $15 for pre-release, show is free. Details: We got all the details about this epic double event earlier this week. Why you should go: Barrel-aged beers and awesome live music.

What: Brews with a View Beer Dinner. Where: Hyatt Regency. When: 6 p.m. Cost: None listed, call (505) 980-9671 for more info and reservations. Details: Upslope will be on hand for a four-course dinner on the 19th floor, hosted by Forque Restaurant. Why you should go: Delicious food, delicious beer, and you can’t beat the view.

What: The Hopper: Hop-on, Hop-off Brew Cruise. Where: Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town. When: 6 p.m. Cost: $20. Details: The ABQ Trolley Company is taking folks around for a 3-hour tour with stops of 30-45 minutes at each of the five participating breweries — Back Alley, Boese Brothers, Duel, Ponderosa, Sidetrack. Why you should go: Visit five breweries and you only pay one low price for transportation.

What: Ballast Point Tap Takeover. Where: Mezcal, the former Stereo Bar. When: 6 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: BP is taking over 15 different taps, bringing all of their finest ales and lagers. The full list — Big Eye IPA, Big Eye with fresh ginger root, Sculpin, Grapefruit Sculpin, Pineapple Sculpin, Black Marlin Porter, Mango Even Keel, Longfin Lager, Navigator Doppelbock, Homework Series #6 Robust Porter, Homework Series #7 Session Saison, Wahoo White, Piper Down, Grunion Hoppy Pale Ale, Calm Before the Storm. Why you should go: That is a ton of wonderful beer.

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Got any questions, comments, complaints, send them to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or leave them here on our site, on Facebook, or on Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy yourselves out there, but please, do it responsibly.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister