Archive for July 15, 2016


It’s go time!

It’s IPA Challenge time again! The second leg of the 2016 NM Brewers Guild’s annual event continues Saturday at Santa Fe Brewing Company’s brand new venue, the Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing. And, just as that sentence was, this competition will be a mouthful. It’s the first leg after the elimination round where 28 IPAs were judged at Rio Bravo Brewing Company on July 9, and 13 were eliminated. That’s right, only 15 IPAs made the cut, those you chose and one whose brewery happened to be a host for the next legs of the competition.


In case you need a reminder, those breweries with seven or more votes moved on to the next round, unless the brewery was hosting a following leg of the tournament.

Saturday at noon, the jockey boxes will begin pouring their hearts out. Fifteen IPAs will find their way onto each tray per ticket purchased. It’s a simple concept. You sample and choose your favorite. The numbers will then be counted and added to the following legs in the competition, where, at the final round, the numbers will be tallied up, and your 2016 IPA Challenge Champion will be crowned. Note: The numbers have all been reset from the elimination round, so everyone that moved on starts at zero votes.

After you select your favorite, stay for a complimentary pint of your favorite choice of IPA, or purchase any other beers that Santa Fe Brewing has on tap at the outdoor patio. At 5 p.m., local roof burners, Sean Healen Band, will take the stage for a free-to-the-public show. There will be food from Jambo Food Truck, Kebab Caravan, and Taqueria Gracias Madre in case you’re hungry, or just need to fill your stomach somewhere in the middle of 15 IPA samples and a pint. Remember, food is your friend at the beer events!


Sean Healen Band will perform a FREE live show following the IPA Challenge.

As with every poor sap that sits next to me at one of these competitions, I’d like to share my IPA Challenge strategy, thanks to the wisdom of Duel’s Todd Yocham. You’re picking one winner, right? So, there’s no need to drink each sample down to the end. You can sample, and if you don’t like something, put it aside, right away. I like to keep a “maybe” section so I can return to them, but your final, critical decision section, which you deem the best of the rest should be down to about two or three samples — this way you don’t get too drunk to really decide, and it cuts down on palate fatigue. And, insider hint, ask for small refills of those last two you’re still considering. 15 IPAs. Do yourself some favors. Also, if you can’t make it, Santa Fe Brewing Company will be live streaming from the event, so stay tuned to the SFBC Facebook page.


Things may get a little fuzzy after so many IPAs. Remember to hydrate and eat food, but not food that will wreck your palate!

For me, I have personal nostalgic feels for this event. It was the first story I ever did for the NM Dark Side Brew Crew. That was two years ago at Second Street Brewery. I’m thrilled to still be writing for the Dark Side, and I’m so honored to have found a place in the NM brewing industry because of them. So, special thanks to Stoutmeister and the rest of the Crew for taking a chance on an untested dude from Santa Fe. Cheers to our great industry, and see you at the Bridge for Round One! Fight!

— Luke (Craft Crusader)

Now that's a party!

Now that’s a party!

Oh, Nob Hill. You wonderful little place, except for your lack of parking. Home to three taprooms, several beer bars, and that place with the nice patio. This Saturday, it will also be home to one small-but-awesome event, and one very large event. Then comes Tuesday, with another small-but-awesome.

First up, Ballast Point will be celebrating their 20th anniversary locally at Nob Hill Bar & Grill. As the beer list above shows, they are bringing out all the big guns available this time of year. The real highlight is the collection of five beers from their R&D team. The Schwarzbier and DIPA caught our eye, while the Tripel could be a beast. All of that taps starting flowing at 1 p.m., so stop in, grab lunch, and then consume. Just do so quickly, because Saturday is also …

Route 66 Summerfest

The biggest of all the Summerfests is the one in Nob Hill, and it begins at 2 p.m. There will be three stages for music (find the full list here on Facebook), including one in the Cork & Tap area, where local breweries and wineries will be pouring their finest. Cork & Tap will be located at Central and Montclair, which is two blocks west of O’Niell’s.

This is not a sampling event. You get a wristband with the ID check, head in, and pay for your beers. Please drink responsibly. Traffic getting in and out of Nob Hill will be about 10 times as bad as normal, and expect a heavy police presence for your safety.

Nine breweries were listed by the City of ABQ as attending, but Abbey Brewing will not be there. Of the remaining eight, seven got us their lists. If the other one happens to share between the time you read this and Saturday, we will update their list.

  • Boxing Bear: Uppercut IPA, Hairy Mit Hefe, Ambear, Cider, Bearzen, New Mexikolsch, Chocolate Milk Stout
  • Broken Trail: Lone Pine Pils, Otero ESB, Sancho Saison, Pepe the Mule (not a beer, but we will list it anyway for them)
  • Canteen: TBA
  • Kaktus: GuyPA (IPA), Redcard, Dunkelweizen
  • La Cumbre: Slice of Hefen, Elevated IPA, Malpais Stout, Fievre d’Abricot, ‘Merica, Red Ryeot
  • Marble: Double White, Pilsner, IPA, Red Ale
  • Red Door: Roamer Red, Threshold IPA, Vanilla Cream, Unhinged Cider
  • Santa Fe: Autonomous Collective DIPA, Pale Ale, Java Stout, Freestyle Pilsner, Nut Brown, Hefeweizen

The nice thing here is that some of the breweries are not just bringing their usual house beers. Boxing Bear is bringing their award-winning Chocolate Milk Stout, plus the new New Mexikolsch. Broken Trail has their new Sancho Saison (we approve of the name, Matt). Kaktus plucked three current favorites from their constantly rotating taps. La Cumbre has current seasonals ‘Merica, a pale ale, and Fievre d’Abricot. Red Door has their summer-friendly Vanilla Cream. Santa Fe rolls out a hop bomb in the Autonomous Collective. Cheers to all of those!

And, of course, you can always duck into Bosque, Kaktus, or Tractor for fresh beers on tap. With air conditioning. Yeah, they will all be pretty crowded until the sun goes down.

But wait, there is more …

Welcome to New Mexico, Firestone Walker!

We will drink them all. ALL.

We will drink them all. ALL.

At long last, FW arrives in our fair state. This Tuesday, Nob Hill Bar & Grill will once again host a potentially epic launch party starting at 5 p.m. If you fall in love with some of those beers, go load up the trunk the following day when they go on sale at Jubilation.

First, though, that list … Parabola. PARABOLA. PARABOLA ON TAP. PARABOLA ON TAP IN ALBUQUERQUE!!!!

Ahem, yes, well, one of my all-time favorite barrel-aged imperial stouts is worth celebrating. Yet there are also the Double Jack, Wookey Jack, Nitro Merlin Milk Stout, and that 19th Anniversary behemoth. Bring lots of friends with you so that you can all try as many as possible. Then get an Uber.

UPDATE: As for the Jubilation list, we just got it from our own Adam Auden, the wonderful beer manager — Union Jack, Easy Jack, Wookey Jack, Luponic Distortion, DBA, Pivo Pils, Opal, and the variety 12-pack. There might be an extra special or two that made it on the truck, but we will have to wait and see.

So, yeah, parking be damned, scorching weather be damned, it is gonna be a fun stretch in Nob Hill. See you all out there.


— Stoutmeister