The beer festivals are coming: A guide to surviving the onslaught

Posted: August 16, 2016 by cjax33 in Events, News
Brandon, far right, and Stoutmeister, in the back, found plenty of time for shenanigans with their friends.

It’s almost time for festival overload. Prepare yourselves and your friends.

Beer festival season in New Mexico and neighboring states is about to kick into overdrive. To help everyone out, we put together a list of the key info you need to know (what/when/where/how much, etc.) in order to plan out how to keep your liver functioning and you bank account from evaporating.

What: ABQ Hopfest
When: Saturday, Aug. 27, 2 to 6 p.m.
Where: Isleta Casino
How much: $30 for general admission in advance ($35 day of), $40 for Extra Hoppy Hour ($45 day of), $55 VIP ($65 day of)
Details: The biggest fest in New Mexico is back, with 70 breweries in attendance, including a number of locals (Bathtub Row, Duel, Marble, Ponderosa, Quarter Celtic, Red Door, Rio Bravo, Santa Fe, Sierra Blanca, Tractor). Official link.

What: San Juan Brewfest
When: Saturday, Aug. 27, 1 to 5 p.m.
Where: Durango, Colo., Buckley Park
How much: $30 general admission, $45 upgraded general admission, $70 VIP
Details: La Cumbre, Marble, and Santa Fe are among the 54 breweries scheduled to be in attendance. Plus, a slew of those breweries are Colorado and regional standouts that do not distribute to NM, such as Prost, Melvin, and Great Divide. Save yourself some mileage driving all over the state and get ’em all in one place! Official link.

What: Mountain West Brew Fest
When: Saturday, Sept. 3, and Sunday, Sept. 4, noon to 6 p.m.
Where: Bernalillo
How much: $20 general admission, $40 VIP
Details: The two-day outdoor festival returns for a second go-around over Labor Day weekend. New breweries such as Enchanted Circle, Palmer, and The 377 will join returning favorites Bosque, Canteen, Kaktus, Ponderosa, and Santa Fe. Official link.

What: New Mexico True Fest
When: Saturday, Sept. 3, and Sunday, Sept. 4
Where: State Fairgrounds
How much: TBA
Details: Breweries and eateries that have been certified as NM True will be present, with six breweries pouring Saturday and another six on Sunday. La Cumbre, Tractor, Santa Fe, Quarter Celtic, Sidetrack, and Lizard Tail are on the first day. Boxing Bear, Bow & Arrow, Enchanted Circle, Rio Bravo, Taos Mesa, and Nuevo get Sunday. Official link.

What: Telluride Blues and Brews
When: Sept. 16-18
Where: Telluride, Colo.
How much: $199 three-day pass, $70 Friday or Sunday pass, $75 Saturday pass
Details: If she wasn’t so darned busy right now, we would just have Leah Black tell you why you should go. But, we’re also trying to keep these capsules short. Let’s just say it’s a lot of live music in an awesome setting, with a “House of Brews” featuring four Colorado breweries and a cidery throughout the fest. On Saturday, from noon to 3 p.m., there will be a special beer tasting featuring 54 breweries, including Marble and Eske’s, plus regional heavyweights like Epic, Great Divide, Ninkasi, Prost, and many more you can’t get in New Mexico. Official link.

What: Alibi on Tap
When: Saturday, Sept. 24, 4 to 10 p.m.
Where: ABQ Rail Yards
How much: TBA
Details: This new event will feature bands, beer, and burlesque acts. Rio Bravo, Duel, Sidetrack, Palmer, and Dialogue (their debut?) will be present. There’s no official site, but we found this link.

What: New Mexico Brew Fest
When: Saturday, Oct. 1, noon to 6 p.m.
Where: Villa Hispana at State Fairgrounds
How much: TBA, tickets go on sale Aug. 26 online
Details: This fun annual event is back for a seventh time, returning to Villa Hispana after a year out on main street. Just about every local place is involved, and it’s in-state breweries only. Taos Mesa, Blue Corn, Second Street, Santa Fe, Duel, and Sierra Blanca are among those coming in from outside the ABQ metro area. There will be a special pre-sale at Marble on Aug. 25. Official link.

What: ABQ Corks & Brews
When: Saturday, Oct. 1, noon to 4 p.m.
Where: ABQ Rail Yards
How much: $27
Details: It’s an “afternoon tasting of craft beers and fine wines, paired with artisanal chocolates.” No breweries are listed, but basically you get a tasting passport for 30 samples, or one from each vendor, plus five bonus. You can also purchase pints or glasses of wine. How fancy of them. Official link.

What: Flagstaff Oktoberfest
When: Saturday, Oct. 1, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Wheeler Park, Flagstaff, Ariz.
How much: $7 general admission
Details: No word on which breweries will be there, but you can expect a lot of the locals (Mother Road, Historic, Lumberyard, etc.) will probably be present. Music, food, games, and more, only a four-hour drive from ABQ. Official link.

What: UllrFEST
When: Saturday, Oct. 1, noon to 5 p.m.
Where: Pajarito Ski Area, Los Alamos
How much: TBA
Details: We await more information on this annual event, a sort of farewell to the non-skiing season on the mountain. We do know that Enchanted Circle, Bathtub Row, Blue Heron, Boxing Bear, Chili Line, La Cumbre, Santa Fe, Second Street, Taos Mesa, and Tractor are planning on being there. There will also be music, games, and more! Official link.

What: Great Tucson Beer Festival
When: Saturday, Oct. 1, 6 to 10 p.m.
Where: Kino Sports North Complex, Tucson, Ariz.
How much: $45 general admission ($50 day of), $90 VIP ($100 day of)
Details: OK, maybe we’re stretching “regional” a bit, but Tucson is only about seven hours away by car. They also say this is the 30th annual, which is weird, because I lived there from 1996-2003 and never heard of it back then. Oh, the days before social media. Anyway, this iteration already has a lot of Arizona breweries (Nimbus, Huss, Prescott, Barrio, Grand Canyon, Mother Road, etc.), plus some notable national brands (Boulevard, Victory, Funkwerks). Official link.

What: Great American Beer Festival
When: Thursday, Oct. 6, through Saturday, Oct. 8
Where: Denver Convention Center
How much: Tickets are sold out, so good luck finding something affordable on the resale market
Details: Fear not! The Crew (well, myself and Brandon) will be attending via press passes this year. Look for some Facebook live chats as long as our phone batteries last (we’ll try not to drain them checking into Untappd, but no promises), plus coverage of the awards ceremony and more. Official link (to make everyone jealous, of course)

What: Red River Oktoberfest
When: Friday, Oct. 7, through Sunday, Oct. 9
Where: Brandenburg Park, Red River
How much: $5 general admission
Details: Info is a little scarce right now, but it’s cheap, the setting is wonderful, and Luke sure had a fun time up there a couple years ago. Official link.

If we missed any major regional beer festivals, please let us know. We left out anything small, like a one-brewery-hosted Oktoberfest, or anything like that. Those we will keep you updated on as they come along.

Otherwise, good luck planning the next couple months. We will see some of you at GABF, and possibly some of these other events as well.


— Stoutmeister

  1. Thad Hahn says:

    Guess I should have gotten this to you sooner.. Maybe Reid can do article?  Thad Hahn Los Alamos, NM

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