Archive for January, 2017

The bills have passed! Thank you, Governor Martinez and everyone who works in this building!

Another bill that impacts craft breweries goes up for a state legislature committee vote this week.

The good folks out at Ale Republic alerted us to the fact that the first notable piece of legislation that affects craft breweries comes up this Thursday in Santa Fe. A new reciprocity bill is due for a vote before the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee, which meets at 1:30 p.m. in Room 309.

Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard has introduced a bill to expand the existing reciprocity between New Mexico breweries and wineries to now include craft distilleries as well. The current law allows breweries to also sell wine, as long as it is made in the state, without requiring a wine license. In turn, wineries can add craft beer taps from local breweries. If the new bill passes, distilleries such as Broken Trail, Left Turn, Santa Fe Spirits, and more will have the same ability. At present, a distillery can only have beer on tap if it has a small brewer license.

Basically, you could go to a single New Mexico liquor-producing entity and you could have a mixed drink, a glass of wine, and a pint of beer, so long as all are made within the state. (We would recommend you do not drink all three without a designated driver/Uber/Lyft/taxi at hand.) The full text of the proposal can be found here, but be forewarned, it is written in that nebulous legalese that has befouled many a person.

Five state representatives sit on the committee — Eliseo Lee Alcon (District 6/Cibola and McKinley Counties), Deborah A. Armstrong (17/Bernalillo), Patricia Roybal Caballero (13/Bernalillo), Bob Wooley (66/Chaves, Lea, Roosevelt), and Monica Youngblood (68/Bernalillo). If any of them are your state rep, and if you support the passing of this bill, please contact them and encourage them to vote yes. Use this handy feature to find your rep and contact him or her.

If you have any questions, contact us, or you can contact Patrick Johnson of Ale Republic at patrick@alerepublic.com.

Once we find out the results of the committee vote, we will share it here.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

It was Nexus' turn for an interview for our Look Back/Look Ahead Series. The fried chicken arrived shortly after this picture was taken, FYI.

It was Nexus’ turn for an interview for our Look Back/Look Ahead Series. The fried chicken arrived shortly after this picture was taken, FYI.

Things are going good at Nexus Brewery. How good, one might ask? Owner Ken Carson is already planning a third location, even though he only opened his second this past June. For this edition of our Look Back/Look Ahead Series, I sat down with Ken and head brewer Kaylynn McKnight to recap the year that was and preview what all is to come this year. The biggest revelation, clearly, was the one above.

To get there, one has to recap what has happened in the prior 12 months. Nexus had another busy, bountiful year, one that even included the opening of its second location, the Nexus Silver Taproom, on the west side of town. There were many smaller, but equally important, developments going on as well.

“The World Beer Cup, that was nice,” Kaylynn said of the gold medal for Honey Chamomile Wheat, awarded back in April. “I got an assistant last year. It’s pretty nice to have some help back there. He’s doing pretty good back there, three days a week, and then he’s doing other stuff for the company. … It’s fun teaching someone else to brew, someone else that’s passionate about a craft-brewing industry job. That’s pretty exciting.”

Kaylynn said Nexus saw an increase of 200 barrels of production from 2015 to 2016, in part due to the new taproom, but demand was also up at the mothership.

“With the influx of all the breweries and everything, we still increased, just off this operation alone, we increased 15 percent,” Ken said. “I don’t mean to brag or anything, but we’re really pleased we carved out a niche in this (crowded) market.”

The hit beers in 2016 included old favorites like Beam Me Up Scotty, plus new ones such as the Bird of Prey IPA.

“As far as the beer goes, I think we talked about shifting the normal IPA that we have to the Bird of Prey IPA,” Kaylynn said. “The reason being, we can do that because I have better hop contracts this year. I have more fun, good, crazy hops to play with. The Bird of Prey sold really well.”

You had one job for this photo, Jeff. One job! At least it was safe at the brewery.

We still love this photo. That’s Kaylynn on the left with Boxing Bear’s Justin Hamilton and La Cumbre’s Jeff Erway, who forgot his award, after all three won gold at the World Beer Cup.

The introduction of Nexus Silver also meant new customers. Ken said they were a bit surprised by the different palates of folks on the west side of town.

“On the west side, those guys are not hopheads over there,” Ken said. “We’re selling a ton of Imperial Cream; high-alcohol beers are (doing) amazing over there.”

Other twists with the crowd at Silver include more 20-ounce pours being served than the standard 16-ounce, plus growler sales are higher there. In addition to the differences in how people consume the beer, the taproom also went through an interior renovation.

“We started off, no one was happy with the interior,” Ken said. “So we went back and redid the interior, changed it substantially.”

The lineup of guest beers has also evolved over time, Ken added. The goal is to bring in different and unique beers that can either complement the Nexus lineup, or fill in the gaps.

As for this year, there are plans for more events and the like at Nexus Silver. Ken said fans can expect live music on Sundays, while the house party theme will continue Saturday night. They will also bring food dishes from the main location to the taproom every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m., selling them as sort of a food hour, in lieu of a happy hour. As always, Nexus will listen to its customers and ultimately settle on what they want from the location.

The exterior of the Nexus Silver Taproom hasn't changed since opening, but the inside sure did. We just lack a picture of it. (D'oh!)

The exterior of the Nexus Silver Taproom hasn’t changed since opening, but the inside sure did. We just lack a picture of it. (D’oh!)

Of course, even with Nexus Silver so new, plans are already afoot to put a third location just south of downtown.

“I guess the big news is, and you guys get to break the news again, is I bought a building off Bridge right (south on) Broadway,” Ken said. “It’s an old nightclub. I’m working on the financing right now. We’re going to go in and we’re going to call it our smokehouse. It’s going to be barbecue, but we’re also going to have a real, live smokehouse where we actually smoke meat, the old-fashioned stuff.”

OK, more delicious food is coming, but what about the beer?

“In addition to that, in half of our building, we’re going to add another brewery to it, probably around 15 barrels,” Ken said. “We’re going to keep this brewery here. This is all subject to financing. Things do change, fortunately and unfortunately, as you go along, but I think we’re full capable of doing this. And then, at that point, we’re going to go retail and start distributing our beer. We feel like we have a couple beers to put to market that will fill a space.”

More food, more beer, beer being distributed … this is all good news. Very good.

“The building is 9,000 square feet,” Ken said. “It has a stage. We planning on having a patio. The food, we’re going to do it in such a way it’s going to kind of be a takeout restaurant with a taproom. So, you can go get your food and take it home, or you can walk it down to the taproom. We’re not going to have a full-service restaurant.”

Ken said he hopes for those who do not go for the food, they will have a more interactive experience with one another at the taproom. It is an atmosphere he has always looked for in his locations.

Food is still important, however.

“I’ll still probably serve the fried chicken down there, but we’ll probably put more emphasis on the gumbo and Cajun food,” Ken said. “I’m looking forward to it. I see us making our own sausage, or own bacon, I see us doing all of those things.”

Start exercising now, people. The pounds are coming.

The Crew has always agreed that Nexus' food is wonderful.

Aw, the Crew was so much thinner back then. Before all that chicken and all those waffles over the years. And, just our general laziness.

As for the original location, Ken said they are experimenting with some new dishes, as well as working with their customers to determine if some of the existing dishes need some tweaking here or there.

“What we have in plans for (this) year is we’re re-looking at our menu,” Ken said. “We’re going to go through a process talking with our customers to see what they like, what they’d like to see changed, any suggestion they have. I’m going to work that through a survey and then through a blog, get their opinions, see what they say.”

Go on …

“We’re working on a soul food egg roll which is collared green, green chile, and chicken,” Ken said. “We have a cinnamon waffle that’s going to be drenched with icing. Then we’ve got a lot of other things. Then I’m going to fire up the barbecue pit and we’re going to every Saturday we’re going to have barbecue starting in the spring. It’ll be a Saturday special with barbecue. Everything will be using a New Mexican twist, like the red chile ribs.”

Look for some new beers from Kaylynn this year, as well as the return of some old favorites. She also promised to be back at festivals this year after taking 2016 off.

Overall, the promise of a new location, with more food options, and more beer, is more than enough to get us excited for Nexus in 2017 and beyond. We are thankful for them carving out a niche in our brewing scene, even if we have to carve an extra notch in our belts after some of our meals there.

Thank you to Ken and Kaylynn for taking the time to chat, and to let us break the big news again.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

We had shirts made for everyone. Show us a little love and buy one, please?

We had shirts made for everyone. Show us a little love and buy one, please?

A belated thank you to everyone who came out to our fifth anniversary celebration at Tractor a couple weeks ago. Well, even if you did not make it out there, we still have quite a few shirts for sale. Our friend Michael Wieclaw, a.k.a. the mad genius behind Metal the Brand, made this batch of shirts for us.

Our goal is to raise money to upgrade this here website. It has been five years now, and we still have the same format and the same set of issues. We want to make this a better site for everyone. We just need your help. We are selling the shirts for $12 apiece, cash only. Want one? Send us an email to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or a direct message on Facebook or Twitter. We will set up a time and place to meet (hint: places with beer are our favorite).

Don’t worry, we aren’t planning to go into full-time advertising/merchandising. This has long been a non-profit endeavor on our part, and for the most part, we plan to keep it that way.

Oh, and we will still love you if you don’t buy a shirt. Just keep supporting our local breweries and we’ll call it even.

The 377 takes flight with its own beers

The 377 now has 11 beers on tap, and more coming, so be prepared to get more than one flight.

The 377 now has 11 beers on tap, and more coming, so be prepared to get more than one flight.

A few months back, when The 377 Brewery opened, lots of folks bemoaned the lack of house beers. Well, for those not following them on Facebook, they have been churning out their own beers for a few weeks. After following a quartet of Colorado Rockies around town all day Friday, I found myself near The 377 and elected to head over to finally try all of them.

The 377 now has 11 beers made by Lyna Waggoner, ranging from a kolsch to an imperial cream. They have the hoppy and malty ends of the spectrum covered.

As always, these are just my opinions. Yours could end up being wildly different. The fun thing about beer is that is wonderfully subjective. Go try these and let me know what you think. Just remember to rate them as a brand-new brewery. If you are expecting beers on the level of a La Cumbre or a Marble, you may ended up disappointed, unless your palate remembers what the beers tasted like at those breweries when they were only a few months old.

  • Johnny Winter Kolsch (5% ABV): Crisp, clean beer is the perfect place to start. A little creamy with a solid mouthfeel. This will go well during the summer months.
  • Spitfire Best Bitter (4.5%): This one tasted a little off initially, then it settled down as it warmed a bit. A little bready, not too sweet.
  • Dieterhosen Hefe (4.9%): A genuine surprise, the clarity alone will throw off some people, but the flavor is good throughout. Much closer to a true German weizen, with mild banana and clove flavors in balance.
  • Imperial Cream (8.5%): This one lacked flavor, which made it dangerous in that you cannot taste the ABV as there is no heat here. There is some sweetness that hits mid-palate, but it fades fast.
  • The 377 IPL (4%): A rather simple beer, dry with minimal hop bitterness. Just ends up being smooth and sessionable, but nothing particularly memorable.
  • Sancho Session IPA (5%): It really just tastes like a dry-hopped amber ale. If you like ambers, you will like this beer. Otherwise, aim higher.
  • The 377 IPA (7.2%): Hard to pick out the exact hops used, but it definitely has a throwback quality to it, more like the type of IPA popular before 2010. It will probably draw the biggest range of likes and dislikes in this hop-crazy town.
  • Black IPA (6.6%): The hop bill is pretty similar to the regular IPA, only with the sweeter malts coming through. Minimal roast on the back end.
  • Funky Punky Swartzbier (8.5%): The newest beer on the menu and one of the best. Big roasted, nutty flavor up front, with an underlying sweetness throughout. Another big beer that does not bring the heat.
  • Full Booty Stout (7%): Not quite full, the flavor profile is pretty good, but lacks the mouthfeel from most stouts this size. Roasted elements stand out above the sweetness.
  • Robust Porter (5.9%): Roasty, toasty big flavors, in many ways even more flavorful than the stout. A rival to the Swartzbier for the title of best dark beer. The bonus is you can drink more of these and not fall off your bar stool.

Overall, it is a promising start for The 377. We wish them continued luck, and will always appreciate another place to grab a pint before or after Lobo games (and let’s face it, the UNM men’s basketball team seems intent on driving people to drink).

Proposed brewery will face significant obstacles

A little while back, Albuquerque Business First ran a story about how the owner of Humble Coffee wanted to open his own brewery. The catch was that it was one of those subscriber-only stories, so we had to wait until the print copy showed up at a public library to read the details.

The goal is apparently to start a place at 529 Adams NE, which is currently occupied by Archetype Tattoo (the owner said he will help Archetype find a new location). Basically it would be one block east of Washington, just a couple doors down from Lomas. The big problem with the location is that it is about two blocks from an elementary school, and three blocks from a large Catholic church. Both would have to grant permission for a brewery operating that close.

Throw in converting a property to a functional brewery, getting those approvals, and the fact it takes the State of New Mexico on average six months to approve a small brewer license, makes the Humble plan to open in four months more than a bit unlikely. We wish them luck if they actually go through with it, but color us skeptical that they can pull it off at all, much less in a few months time.

Sampler tray

  • So far, so good with the state legislature in terms of bills affecting breweries. The Brewers Guild will remain vigilant, since this session still has a ways to go.
  • Breweries who still have pending licenses with the state, because that little bit above about Humble probably has you curious: Bare Bones Brewing (Cedar Crest), Bombs Away Beer Co. (Albuquerque), Desert Valley Brewing (Albuquerque), Drylands Brewing (Lovington), Hops Brewery (Albuquerque-Nob Hill), Lava Rock Brewing (Albuquerque-West side), Truth or Consequences Brewing
  • Steel Bender Brewyard is aiming for a March opening. Their license is now approved.
  • We apparently had another brewery close, this time outside the metro area. The Farmington HUB Brewery has shut down, by all accounts. Its Facebook page is gone and there is no website anymore (if there ever was one). It was open less than a year. We never had the chance to get up there and check it out.

That is all for now. If you ever have tips or news tidbits, contact us any of the usual ways.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

After being stuck in place for the last three years, Turtle Mountain has big plans for 2017.

After being stuck in place for the last three years, Turtle Mountain has big plans for 2017.

Franz Solo here. At long last, I’ve had a chance to actually get to my remaining Look Back/Look Ahead Series articles. Life sometimes has other plans for you than you desire and that’s definitely a good bit of what kept these on the backburner. Without further ado, I was able to hang out with both head brewer Mick Hahn and owner Nico Ortiz for Turtle Mountain’s entry in the series for 2016-17. This is a bit of a tale of purgatorio and, with a bit of luck, the first steps towards a bit of paradiso in the year to come. I ended up doing this in two sessions, so first we will have my conversation with Mick and thereafter my time with Nico.

We began over a tray of most of the brews on tap, as I had not had many of them in a while. I wanted to get my feet wet with some of the possible differences in the beers stemming from the 2016 change in brewers at Turtle, when Mick came over from Marble to replace Tim Woodward, who is now with Bosque.

(Editor’s note: This interview was trimmed due to its length and because much of it relates to events in December. — S)

Solo: So, look back, look ahead, you were here for half of this past year?

Mick: Yeah, I was here for about half the year.

Solo: Are you making any big changes?

Mick: I don’t know if I’m making any big changes. There’s a couple beer lineup changes that are happening. We did get rid of the Oku Amber as a regular, and we’re bringing in the Red Rye Redux as a throwback nod to a classic style that was a staple of our house for a long time, and it was good to bring it back. We had one batch that sold out way too quickly, so I’ve got a double batch that I brewed last week and hopefully it stays on tap for a month or so. Since the Oku was our only gluten-reduced beer, the Red Rye is taking place of that. We’ve also stepped that up and have our cream ale, which is (now) gluten reduced. Right now we have two gluten-reduced beers and we’re looking to have at least three of them on at any given time.

Solo: Yeah, I can’t say that gluten-free beers have been my favorite in the past, but these are quite palatable and taste spot-on to the style.

Mick: So, really with the White Labs enzyme it doesn’t do much to the flavor of the beer, it just makes it palatable for those people who can’t handle the gluten. It’s worthwhile especially for a couple of beers or so.

Solo: So, I don’t actually know much about your brewing background at this point.

Mick: I worked at Marble for about three years prior to getting pulled up here. I started on the packaging line sorting bottles, and I was on the brewhouse for the last year and a half there. The one beer I got out while I was there under my own volition was the (Mick’s Mack), and so I brought that up here and have the McSmack as a nice secondary take on it.

Solo: Any particular stylistic things you want to do or are kind of your forte?

Mick: I’d say I haven’t been brewing long enough to have a forte. So, I’m really just going for everything that I do know how to brew, and have a few things that I’ve wanted to brew and haven’t yet had a chance to. I’m going to do a double-batch barleywine (He means Depravity, which is still on tap.) so that’ll be pretty good.

Since somebody forgot to take a picture with the interview, Mick was kind enough to send us a brewery selfie, which is really the only acceptable kind of selfie.

Head brewer Mick Hahn has not had too much of a hair-raising experience at TMBC.

After discussing other beers that are now available at TMBC, including the two red ales, we spoke about the Cocomilia Robur, the first brett beer that Mick has brewed.

Mick: Right now we’ve got a bit of a backup on specials. We’re not going to have anything go offline for four weeks, so this will be what we have for awhile. The first that will probably go out is the Cocomilia Robur, which is our brettanomyces plum cream ale that was aged nine months in our barrels, with the second generation of brett that those barrels have had. We then filled up those barrels each with something different, so they’re running two different projects right now. Hopefully this summer we will have two different beers that turn out and have some more funky brett.

Solo: (after a taste of the plum brett) I like that it’s actually a little milder than other sours I’ve had.

Mick: Yeah, it’s got a good bit of brett on the nose, but it’s not overly tart, it’s soft, it’s fruity, and you get a little bit of honey (and) a little bit of vanilla from wood. It’s a good beer. I’m really happy with how that turned out, even though I didn’t have a damn thing to do with the production of it. All I said was all right, it’s time to come out.

Another seasonal no longer on tap that I tried was the Rise of Fall, which was made with butternut squash instead of traditional pumpkin. If Mick goes through with some tweaks to the recipe this fall, he may enter it at the Great American Beer Festival.

Mick: Yeah, actually we did 50 pounds of butternut squash and roasted it in the wood-fired oven, and then threw that in the mash, and then did one pound of pumpkin spice. I’m pretty happy with that, but next year I want to up the butternut squash, and try and cut out the spice and see if we can get away with just a nice squash beer.

Solo: Sounds good to me.

Mick: They had the squash and yam beer category at GABF and they had just 10 entries into it.

Solo: So, is that something you’re aiming for?

Mick: If it’s that small of a category, why not? Especially given that they didn’t award a gold or a silver, they only awarded the bronze for it because other people put pumpkin spice in it. If we can get away with just doing butternut squash and have a solid beer that has a little creamy field flavor to it, I’d be happy with that. I’m happy with how that beer turned out. I was reluctant to do a pumpkin beer, but for an autumnal seasonal I think it’s a good one.

Solo: I like the change-up with the squash instead of pumpkin.

Mick: Yeah a lot of people use butternut squash in their pumpkin pies as a filler, which is good because pumpkin is a very overwhelming flavor. How many breweries have a wood fired oven so we have that opportunity to do it and why the hell would we not? The last two (samples) on the tray are our Hopshell (IPA) and our Cargill IPA. We tried some malt from a new distributor in Denver called Cargill, so that’s where that comes from. We gave an entirely different hop build to it. I’m really happy with where the Hopshell is at right now.

Solo: Agreed, this honestly has come a ways in the past couple of years. I know you pulled some better hop contracts in the past year so that is definitely paying off.

Mick: Tim left me with a lot of good hops. Hopshell has been selling out the past two batches, and I’ve gone from like three or four days from having it on tap between batches and they just keep selling faster and faster, which is an excellent problem to have.

Solo: What hops are you using in that one?

Mick: So, that one has got Columbus, Summit, Mosaic, Southern Cross, Comet, and Simcoe. And then, the dry hop is Simcoe, Mosaic, Comet.

Solo: Yeah definitely got that wonderful Simcoe/Mosaic balance going on there.

Mick: Most of the time I really feel that those two, especially Mosaic needs Simcoe (to) balance it. I think Simcoe can stand alone by itself pretty well, but Mosaic is such an intense hop and it leaves so much behind. And then this one (Cargill) has got Azacca, Mosaic, Equinox, Simcoe, and Citra. And then, dry hopped with Azacca, Simcoe, Citra.

Solo: “Kang” (yes that was my reaction, typical of a cornucopia of hops assaulting my pallet), good stuff man.

The winter beer lineup at Turtle Mountain has been strong. (Photo courtesy of TMBC)

The winter beer lineup at Turtle Mountain has been strong. (Photo courtesy of TMBC)

Mick: Yeah, I like it a lot, it just came out Friday. That’ll probably be the first one to go offline.

Solo: Yeah, I would say so. Spicy, piney, grapefruit, pineapple …

Mick: That one’s good. I think Cargill is really tasty. 7.3 percent on that one and 7.1 percent on our house IPA.

Solo: Which is right where you want to be.

Mick: Yeah I don’t want to have a house IPA that’s lower than 6.7 percent. Seven percent is a great place to keep it at.

Solo: Especially since you want to have a base that will hold up to massive amounts of hopping. Are you guys still looking to do more distribution?

Mick: We are still looking into it. It’s been a fun transition since me coming in here, but one of my plans is hopefully at the first of the year to get our beer pouring at at least half-a-dozen other places in town. I know there was a lot in the past that held that up, but I don’t see any reason for that to be the truth now.

Solo: Yeah, I kind of figured this would be a little bit of a slower year, just recovering from the fiasco that was the parking lot and the fire suppression system.

Mick: Yeah, so I’m ready to start pushing my beer. One of the things I wanted was to wait to get a solid lineup so that I know I can take this beer to a bar and say, hey this is what we have, this is what we’re going to be having, this is what you can expect from us without having to worry about having a significant change down the road. I wanted to make sure that the beers were something that I was proud of and would be happy taking door to door.

Solo: Did a bit of tweaking, I’m sure.

Mick: Yeah, for most of them. I really think the cream ale I haven’t really done anything with except for making it gluten free. The Helles I haven’t done anything with, but it’s actually leaving our lineup, this is its last batch for a while. I’ll probably do something next spring with it. We are bringing the Wooden Teeth up into a full time position. Yeah, I like the Wooden Teeth, it’s a good lager.

Solo: Yeah, it’s interesting seeing the shift now that craft lager is a thing.

Mick: I’m going to have an amber lager, a copper lager coming out in about a month. (Can’t Catch Me is now available.) I’ll be brewing that one this week, too. That’s the Cargill malt as well. That one got a fun all-German hopping, I got some Taurus off the spot market, so that was the base and then Hallertau Blanc and then Mittelfruh.

Solo: Do you think you are going to do anything a la the bottling you did a couple of years back at some point?

Mick: Absolutely, the (only) question is when. So, I would like to get to the point where we are bottling like twice, or three times a year, and doing some 22-(ounce bottles). Really the hard thing is we don’t have the space in here to do that most of the time. So, yeah, I’d really like to get some bottles out there, the question is what style as well. We need to make sure that we have something that’s worth putting into bottles. I mean, we also still have a case or case and a half left of the Wilde Jagd. Nico keeps talking about starting up canning as well, which we currently do not have a space for. But, that would take some changes to the set-up, but I have some ideas about how we might make that work. If we want to start pushing more beer outside these walls we need to step up our game.

Solo: So, about the same place we were last year around this time, we’re just one removed and aimed for the same goals?

Mick: Yeah, thankfully the switch over didn’t include too many steps backwards. I got to work with Tim for three weeks before he went to Bosque, so it was a good transition. I’m happy with it and I’m pretty sure he’s happy with it.

Now that this is done, it's time to move on to bigger and better things! (Photo courtesy of TMBC)

The parking lot was a drain on time and resources, but now the brewery can move forward. (Photo courtesy of TMBC)

With that we ended our conversation and I returned the following week to talk with Nico.

Solo: All righty, another Look Back/Look Ahead, here we are.

Nico: Look back, man, 2016 was a good year in some respects, not as good as Boxing Bear’s year, but the good year had nothing to do with the brewery, so to speak. We didn’t win any awards, we did a lot of major upgrades to the brewery that were sort of delayed maintenance projects that will enable Nick and Evan to more easily make better beer. So, that was positive. It’s not glamorous, it didn’t win any medals, there’s no accolades for that, and it’s going to cost money instead of make money. The big thing for 2016 was our parking lot. That was just a ridiculously large project. It was $350,000 that I could have spent any number of ways that would have made me happier and would have actually generated money. I did not have a choice in this matter so that’s sort of, while everyone else here was opening taprooms, that hobbled me and did not allow me to open up a taproom.

So, looking back, I’m glad it got done, but I’m also pretty upset that Turtle has not had the ability to utilize any of its taproom licenses thus far. But, in 2017, we’re hoping that’s going to change. So, looking back is not so important as the looking forwards. Looking forwards to 2017, I’m going to put in for our wholesaler’s license. We fought so hard two years ago to get that distributor’s license for restaurant breweries, you know for Rod (Tweet of Second Street), for me, for anybody that has that beer and wine license attached to their business. And, we got that through and I had thought about putting in for the license right away, but then Tim told me, well, it’s not just the license, it’s the cooperage, it’s a delivery vehicle, it’s another staffed person. If you want to actually, honestly distribute beer, it’s expensive, and so that obviously got back-burnered while we had that parking lot issue.

I want to at least be able to take our beer in draft form to local accounts. I’m not talking about citywide distribution or anything, well, maybe Rio Rancho citywide, but not metro city wide. At least be able to have the license, that way I get it and all I have to do is renew it, because everybody and their brother is distributing now, so I need to be able to stay on even par. It’s going to mean some minimal cooperage. I don’t know if we’re going to justify a delivery vehicle, but that’s definitely on the plans for 2017 as well as a taproom, utilizing one of our taproom licenses. We haven’t figured out where, we have a few ideas in mind, but we have three of them (licenses), and for restaurant breweries that’s the way you generate money.

Beer is the highest margin product that we sell. (In) the restaurant business, the food service is only getting more expensive and more complicated. The beer business continues to be actually more fun to be a part of, so that’s kind of where we’re looking is none of this restaurant stuff small footprint, probably going to have a pizza oven because Turtle, just like Nexus, is tied to its food. So, the curse of having been a restaurant brewery for 18 years is that everybody associates the pizza and the beer. They don’t look at either without the other. I actually don’t have a problem with putting in a pizza oven, but we’re not going to be doing any kind of a massive footprint place like this. I’ve been to most of the taprooms, the little Canteen taproom up in the heights, I like something like that — small, maybe (room for) 50 or 60 people, 70 people, something modest. It isn’t a big deal to stick a pizza oven in the back, something modest, and just do that. It’s where you start talking about massive coolers and hoods and things like that. Probably most of the prep work for this will be the first half of 2017, sometime in the second half of 2017 we may start to see a lot of this stuff come to fruition.

Solo: Amen to all of the above. If anyone deserves to have a streak of success and good luck it is assuredly Turtle. I, for one, am stoked at the prospect of a Turtle taproom/pizza oven combination, combined with distribution and the delicious results of good hop contracts and good house beer changes and creations.

Nico: I hated to be on the sidelines for the last three years. The whole parking lot started in 2014 and now we’re at the end of 2016. So, for all of 2014, 15 and 16 I’ve had to be on the sidelines. And, that has not made me happy. However, it certainly has enabled me to take a closer look at the market and everything that has been going on, and seeing where people are looking, and seeing what quality of beer is out there. It’s enabled me to gather a lot of intel, I’d rather benefit from other people’s successes and or failures than actually the first one who’s out the gate. For that reason, we’re somewhat happy. Things haven’t changed that much.

Getting Turtle Mountain tap handles at other locations is a priority for 2017. (Photo courtesy of TMBC)

Getting Turtle Mountain tap handles at other locations is a priority for 2017. (Photo courtesy of TMBC)

Solo: Overall, the market has not changed much and this is about what I had figured, considering what you have gone through in the last several years.

Nico: If you look at Second Street, too, Second Street turned 20 (in December) and Rod, they opened up the taproom downtown, which was four or five years ago. But, it took them, they’re 20 years old and they’re now just getting ready to expand. Whereas if you look at somebody like Marble and La Cumbre, six years old they’re already where Rod is 20 years down the road. So, the first 10 years of our life was spent in a market that was not like it is now. The last 10 years, well, probably since Marble came around really (in 2008), that right there is probably the resurgence and the point zero of the current beer market. When Marble opened up, that was point zero, so you have to look at everything since that time.

The fact that we’re still open after 18 years come March is great, but we need to leverage that and we need to make sure that people come out here. There’s still a lot of people here in Albuquerque, I saw there’s a trolley doing a tour of breweries downtown, there’s a lot of breweries downtown, but no trolley is ever going to come out to Rio Rancho. Even Justin (Hamilton of Boxing Bear) down the hill, he’s in Albuquerque so you could hit Alameda and do Boxing Bear and Bosque, but you don’t just come bend up the hill to come to Rio Rancho. So, we’re still after 18 years kind of the hinterlands, the outpost. Which is fine, we do well out here and if you want to come out here, you’ll find a way. We’re not that far away from Albuquerque.

Solo: Not a far drive at all given what we Burqueñas and Burqueños are used to, and well worth it, in my humble opinion. Turtle is a great joint for a pint, a pint and a pizza, hockey (only if the Pens are playing, ha!), soccer, and all the other good sports. The addition of the parking lot has made a world of a difference. Gone are the days of worrying about backing up into that blasted circular wall or finding that cherished striped spot. In the lap of luxury we house our steeled steeds, and drink we will of Mick’s fine brews.

Nico: I’m happy to see Flix Brewhouse opening up. The west side has always been sort of dry. I mean there’s 250,000 people that live on this side of town and there’s precious few breweries on this side of the river, so that’s where we’re looking. So, we’re not looking on the other side of the river for expansion just yet. I mean, we still have a few people from the (northeast) heights coming over here, but just as much as I don’t like crossing the river to their side, they don’t like crossing over here to my side. It’s that psychological barrier. So, we’re going to stick to our side of town. We have a few ideas as far as where we’re going to go. Definitely look for Turtle Mountain to do something in the second half of 2017.

Mick and Evan have been having fun with the beers in the back. Our minimal barrel aging program still (continues); we have our brett plum ale on now. We will be continuing on with that. He’s crafting new recipes and I kind of give him wide latitude to do what he wants back there. The other impetus for some minimal distribution and a taproom is that it gets frustrating with having 13 serving tanks in the back, but we only have one place to sell the beer.

Look for more new and innovative seasonals this year. (Photo courtesy of TMBC)

Look for more new and innovative seasonals this year. (Photo courtesy of TMBC)

Solo: Yeah, and he (Mick) was explaining the same thing — I might have all this stuff ready to go, but until something kicks, I have no space to put it.

Nico: We have 13 taps and if a beer is really really good, but doesn’t sell all that quickly, it sits back there and takes up a tank from a beer that would otherwise be able to sell really quickly. If we can keg it down and take it offsite, then we could actually put it on tap either at an offsite account or at a taproom. It would enable more throughput of the beer and more throughput generates more money, which enables us to add more infrastructure into the brewery, and anybody that has taprooms understands that. The brewery itself is a lot of fun in terms of Mick gets to order grain and hops, Tim got them (hop contracts) in place, and now Mick is benefiting from it.

Solo: Definitely, and I remember exactly talking to Tim and saying, OK, so you’ve got this on line, this on line, this on line, and then that’s going into your Hopshell, your other specialties, and it’s fantastic.

Nico: We got the Mosaic, we got the Citra, we got some of the hard-to-find hops and the contracts are solid. So, Mick now actually has … you know the tough thing about tweaking recipes is that well Tim was constantly having to modify recipes based on the hops we had available. It’s a little hard though once you find a sweet spot, if your hop contract runs out, and you don’t have that kind of hop, well then, you’ve got to modify the recipe. In a brewpub environment it’s not that bad because certain minimal changes to recipes are expected, but if you’re going to can it and put it out on the market you need to have that consistency. We’ve definitely benefited from consistency as a restaurant-brewery. We never really had house beers before Tim came on, so we’ve modified them a little bit, but five of the six beers that Tim developed are still here. We are still tweaking and we will continue to have those. At some point in the future I would consider canning, but it is getting awfully crowded out there, and New Mexico still does not have that many people, and the shelves are getting crowded with beers.

Solo: Left and right, you know, people are coming in every day. We’ve got Great Divide coming down, we’ve got everything else coming in. Shelf space is at a premium and getting filled with lots of really good offerings and a fair number of equally subpar offerings.

Nico: Oh, yeah, there’s going to be some sort of shakeout where you have a whole bunch of beer vying for the same spaces. I’d rather do taprooms, max out my taprooms, and get the $5 pint type of a thing than I would invest in a $100,000 canning line and a big ol’ facility. It is nice, but a lot of it is glory and ego. There is a lot of marketing to it, but I also don’t have a 30-barrel brewhouse.

You get that catch-22 of you need to have the money to invest in the infrastructure in order to make the beer, but the sale of the beer is the stuff that generates the money to invest in the infrastructure, but you can’t sell the beer unless you have the infrastructure you need to make the beer to sell the beer. And, you start chasing your tail like this. That’s the curse of this business is you have to have a ready source of capital and if you have to wait until it comes from operations it takes you time.

As far as 2017 goes we got a lot of the burden off of our shoulders (already). We’re busy paying off some stuff, capital will free up during the year, so that we can finally actually make some strides. We are looking forward to it. Finally, after what amounted to being in orbit without doing anything for three years, we’re finally going to leave orbit and take off and continue our 18-year mission to explore strange new business adventures and such. We were in orbit for three years and it broke my heart to see all of these people doing all of this expansion, and all of this stuff, and my hands were tied and it was frustrating. But, it also meant that I couldn’t make any mistakes or rash decisions.

This has been well thought out over three years. I think we certainly have all of the raw materials we need. We have the excess capacity in the system. We (still) have to get some new cooperage. We have to do a little more work in the brewery, but we have the ability to easily service one taproom, probably two, with the given system that we’ve got. I know Mick would love to have more throughput on the beer so he can make more beer. We’re bottlenecked by how quickly the beer sells, and if we weren’t necessarily bottlenecked by that we could have more styles on tap. Mick could go in new and different directions. It’s finally just exciting to not be stuck and not have to worry about watching from the sidelines, to be able to be back in the game.

* * * * *

With that we end another edition of Look Back/Look Ahead for Turtle Mountain. Here’s to a successful mission to explore new potential taprooms, and hopefully the subsequent advent of even more delightful brews by extension. May the coming months ring true for these well thought out plans as we west-side beer aficionados would love to see more successful ventures in our neck of the woods.

Prost!

— Franz Solo

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s six breweries, one in Socorro, one in Los Alamos, and one in Moriarty also joining the party.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

This anniversary party thing is gaining steam. Last week, it was Duel’s ABQ taproom and, well, us, but this week it’s Sidetrack’s turn. The downtown brewery actually turned one year old back at the start of the month, but they waited until this coming football-less weekend to host a celebration. They are going all-out in their small space, so let us hope the weather holds off so the patio can be used. There will be three new beers on tap — Stoker Stout, 2926 Steam Lager, The Red Line — with the stout and red also available on cask. My Sweet Basil, everyone’s favorite food truck, will be on hand to have special pairings to go with the new beers. There will also be live music throughout the day, plus stand-up comedy as well. There will be anniversary T-shirts for sale for $12 and special giveaways throughout the day. It all starts at 2 p.m. and runs until 11.

For our friends up in Santa Fe, Rowley Farmhouse Ales is also having a bit of fun this week. Tonight from 6 to 11, RFA is taking five (!) beers to Violet Crown Cinemas for a mini tap takeover. They will have Fields of Rye, Saison du Sarlacc (dry-hopped), Josephus (imperial American brown), Babyhands (saison with Clementines), and Ab Initio (Berliner Weisse with passion fruit). The fact they named a beer Josephus … nothing beats a History of the World Part One reference. Nothing.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few new options to check out. Bosque has Caldera, an English brown on nitro (get it fast, their nitro tap has been getting drained rapidly). Bow & Arrow will have a new IPA available by the end of the week. Canteen brings back Falconer’s Pale Ale, plus they have an Oud Bruin debuting today. Dialogue is feeling sessionable on those new taproom couches with their Golden Ale. Flix Brewhouse rolls out Word is Blond Belgian and January Embers English Barleywine. Marble takes a cue from us with Dark Strong and Barkin’ Clark Dark, while Rouge L’Orange offers up something lighter at the Westside Taproom. The #GFF is back at Quarter Celtic. The 377 flies in with Funky Punk Swartzbier.

Up in Santa Fe, Second Street will have fresh batches of Cereza Negra, Rod’s Best Bitter, and Red and Yellow Armadillo out later this week.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of January 23.

To break down each “capsule,” I listed the brewery (with Web page linked), its phone number and hours of operation. Under “Beers” are the new or seasonal beers on tap for this week.

Albuquerque metro area breweries

Albuquerque Brewing Co. — (505) 797-1842

(Mon–Fri 3-10 p.m., Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun noon-8 p.m.)

Beers/News: ABC is closed until at least February 1 for renovations. We will have further updates when they are available.

Ale Republic — (505) 281-2828

(Mon–Thurs 2–10 p.m., Fri–Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

Alien Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–midnight, Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–2 a.m., Sunday 10 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Call the number above for details on any small-batch beers currently available. They change frequently. The rest of the lineup is from the Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande family of beers.

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

(Sun–Weds 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thurs–Sat 4 p.m. to midnight)

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Sundays are Service Nights at Back Alley, with $2 off all beers for service industry workers. Bring your server’s ID and you will be rewarded. All beers are $1 off on Tuesdays.

Bistronomy B2B/Lobo Beast 101 — (505) 262-2222 (B2B), (505) 247-2116 (Lobo)

(B2B: Mon–Tues 4-9 p.m., Weds noon-9 p.m., Thurs–Sat noon-9:30 p.m., Sun noon-9 p.m.; Lobo: daily 4 p.m. to close)

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

The Blue Grasshopper — (505) 896-8579

(Noon to 11 p.m. most days, call for more info)

Beers: Belgian Pale Ale, Paddy Wagon Red, Dunkelweizen. The Dunkelweizen is the most recent addition.

Live Music: Bands perform from 6 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday through Saturday. Click the link for the schedule.

Boese Brothers Brewery — (505) 382-7060

(Hours: Mon–Thurs 3 p.m.–midnight, Fri 3 p.m.–2 a.m., Sat noon–2 a.m., Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: Patriot Porter, La Onza White Ale, Dr. Strangehop XPA, Duke City Lager, Double Dead Ale, Santa’s Little Helper. Double Dead Ale is also available in bombers. Santa’s Little Helper, the most recent addition, is a raspberry vanilla porter.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Boese will have a happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, with $3 pints. You can also get $3 pints all day Tuesday and $6 growler fills all day Wednesday.

Bosque Brewing Company — (505) 750-7596 (main brewery), (505) 508-5967 (Nob Hill Public House), (575) 571-4626 (Las Cruces Taproom)

(Main brewery on San Mateo: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-midnight, Sun noon-8 p.m.; Nob Hill: Mon–Weds 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Thurs 11 a.m.-midnight, Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Sun noon-11 p.m.; Las Cruces: Sun–Thurs noon-11 p.m., Fri–Sat noon-midnight)

Beers: Dry Stout, Vienna Amber, The Gaffer (Barleywine), Jet Black Winter (Imperial Stout), Tone It Down Pale Ale, Caldera English Brown (on nitro). The most recent additions include the massive barleywine, The Gaffer (11.5% ABV), and Jet Black Winter (9.5% ABV), a roasty toasty imperial stout. Caldera won’t last long on nitro, nothing does at Bosque.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Bosque has a happy hour running from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and all day on Sunday. Look for special menu items and get $1 off your favorite pints.

Bow & Arrow Brewing — (505) 247-9800

(Mon-Weds 3–10 p.m., Thurs 3–11 p.m., Fri-Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–9 p.m.)

Beers: Flint & Grit (British Mild), Sun Dagger (Saison), Crossed Arrows (Scotch Ale), Hoka Hey (IPA), Jemez Field Notes Lager, Storm & Hearth Vanilla Bean Stout, Land of Manana Farmhouse IPA, Bucking Brown-co, Autumn Archer (Marzen). The most recent additions are the Bucking and Archer. Storm & Hearth Vanilla Bean Stout is back and even better than the first time. A new IPA will be out by the end of the week.

Events: Saturday—Brunch with Good & Thorough, 11 a.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Bow & Arrow has happy hour every Monday through Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. Get $1 off pints. A new late happy hour starts Thursday at 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m.

Boxing Bear Brewing Company — (505) 897-2327

(Sun-Thurs 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-11 p.m.)

Beers: Vantablack Russian Imperial Stout, The Saaz Man Cometh, Slap Happy DIPA, Scotch Rocket, Munich Ale, Iron Lung Smoked Porter, Chocolate Milk Stout (on nitro). A recent addition is the monstrous Vantablack (10.2% ABV, 80 IBU), which is back for a second epic run. Bombers of The Red Glove (7.2% ABV, 105 IBU), a gold medal winner at GABF, are still on sale at the brewery and other fine establishments like Jubilation. Chocolate Milk Stout is also for sale in bombers as well as being on tap.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Every day at lunchtime (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), for just $10 you can get a pint and a panini of your choice.

Weekly Events: Today (Wednesday)—Geeks Who Drink, 8-10 p.m.

Broken Trail Brewery & Distillery — (505) 221-6281

(Mon-Thu 3-9 p.m., Fri 3-10 p.m., Sat noon-10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.-8 p.m.)

Beers: Otero ESB, Lone Pine Pilsner, Sancho Saison, Pepe the Mule. OK, fine, Pepe the Mule counts as a beer, even though it is basically a Moscow Mule, but it was made with beer. Look for it soon in package format.

Live Music (main location): TBA

Weekly Events (main location): Today (Wednesday)—Cards Against Humanity hosted by 10 Drink Minimum, 7 p.m.; Sunday—Build-your-own Bloody Mary bar, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Tuesday—All hours beers $2 a pint

Canteen Brewhouse — (505) 881-2737 (brewery), (505) 200-2344 (taproom)

(Brewery: Sun–Thurs noon–10 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–midnight; Taproom: Open daily 3–10 p.m.)

Beers: Vienna Lager, Operation Black Hops IPA, Panama Joe, Irish Red, Falconer’s Pale Ale, Oud Bruin. The Social Capital is out, but fear not, Oud Bruin will have fill that sour void in your heart. They also have Pecos Brown dry-hopped with Fuggles on nitro.

Live Music: Thursday—Eryn Bent, 6-9 p.m.; Sunday—Keith Sanchez, 3-6 p.m.

Cazuela’s Seafood & Mexican Grill — (505) 994-9364

(Open daily 8 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Papacabra (Double IPA), Acapulco Gold (Mexican Lager), Chupacabra IPA, Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale, Beer for My Horses (Oatmeal Stout). These are the regular house beers. Call the number above for an updated seasonal list.

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Hopmonic Convergence IPA, Alpha Centaur (Wheat Beer), Natalia Polonch’ (Baltic Porter), Lloyd’s Extra Gloves (Sour Winter Warmer). The Natalia (9.5% ABV, 33 IBU) was oak aged, which means it might be the finest Baltic ever made. Get it quickly before it’s gone, which means before we drink it up.

News: Chama now has a rotating nitro tap. Call to see what is available this week.

Dialogue Brewing — (505) 585-1501

(Open daily noon-midnight)

Beers: Belgian Citrus IPA, Berliner Weisse, Sour Raspberry, Cream Ale, Saison, Robust Porter, The Centennial IPA, Coffee Lager, Golden Ale, Lloyd’s Extra Gloves. OK, the last beer, Lloyd’s Extra Gloves, is a reference to the original Dumb and Dumber, but fear not, it is not a joke. It is a sour winter warmer brewed in collaboration with Chama River.

Weekly Events: Monday—Service Industry Night, 6 p.m.

News: Kitsune Food Truck will be parked out front every day for lunch.

Drafty Kilt Brewing — (505) 881-0234

(Sun–Thu 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Groundskeeper Willie Cream Ale, Wee Beastie Scottish Ale, McWabbit Pale Ale, Campbell Toe IPA. Welcome to the listings, Drafty Kilt! Brewer/owner Mike Campbell has three of his own creations on tap at 4814 Hardware Dr. NE, including the new Campbell Toe (no snickering). Check out our review.

Happy Hour/Discounts: $1 off pints and 20-ounce pours, Mon-Fri, 3-6 p.m.; “Just Because We Love You Club,” happy hour prices at all times for teachers, first responders, law enforcement, and military with ID; Growler Fill Days on Thu and Sun, $2 off new growlers, $1 off refills

Flix Brewhouse — (505) 445-8500

(Open daily 11 a.m.-midnight)

Beers: Blonde Ale, Lupulus IPA, Satellite (Red IPA), 10 Day Scottish Ale, Luna Rose Wit, Umbra Chocostout, Dubbel Whammy, Radegast American Pale Ale, Rebel Yell Porter, Holy Mother of Quad, Word is Blond Belgian, January Embers English Barleywine. The newest seasonals are the Word is Blond and January Embers, replacing The Brown Basilisk.

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

(Bernalillo hours Mon-Thu 2-9 p.m., Fri-Sat 11:30-10 p.m., Sun 11:30-9 p.m.)

Beers: Down and Stout, ESB, Blonde Ale, Helles Lager, Imperial Stout, Black IPA, Oaxford IPA, Ambrosia Amber, Walnut Cider, DjinnJar Kombucha. A recent tap turnover introduced Down and Stout, Blonde Ale, Black IPA, Oaxford IPA, Ambrosia Amber, Walnut Cider, and since then Imperial Stout was able to sneak back onto the list.

Weekly Events (Nob Hill): Thursday—The Desert Darlings, 7 to 9 p.m.

Weekly Events (Bernalillo): Sunday—Brunch, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., The Desert Darlings, 6-8 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Kaktus has several new weekday specials in Bernalillo, including $3 pints on Monday, $9 growlers on Tuesday, $6 bison nachos on Wednesday, and $8 Frito pie and beer on Thursday.

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: Angry Belgian, Ein Bier Bitte!, Pecos Porter, Pilot #8, Cafe Con Leche. The Cafe Con Leche is back on tap and for sale in bombers, but only for a limited time. A recent addition is the Ein Bier Bitte!, a delicious German Helles lager. The Pilot #8 is an experimental saison made on La Cumbre’s, you guessed it, pilot system.

Live Music: Saturday—Lenin & McCarthy, 6-9 p.m.

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Lego Night Build Off, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Lizard Tail Brewing — (505) 717-1301

(Mon–Weds noon-9 p.m., Thurs–Sat noon-midnight, Sun noon-7 p.m.)

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Lizard Tail’s happy hour runs seven days a week from 3 to 6 p.m. You get $1 off food, flights, and pints.

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Geeks Who Drink, 8 p.m.; Thursday—Karaoke, 8-11 p.m.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739 (downtown), (505) 508-4638 (Westside), (505) 323-4030 (Heights)

(Downtown: Mon–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10:30 p.m.; Westside: Mon–Thurs noon–11 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10 p.m.; Heights: Mon–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10:30 p.m.)

Beers: Eastside Special Bitter, Fit Bird IPA, Equinaut DIPA, Dang Pale Ale, La Blanche, White Out, Double IPA, Howlin Down Brown, Barkin’ Clark Dark (Downtown and Westside), Pumpkin Noir (Heights and Westside), Spruce Moose (Heights and Westside), Dark Strong (Downtown only), Brown Extra (Downtown only), La Brune (Heights only), La Rouge (Westside only), Dunkel (Westside only), Rouge L’Orange (Westside only). The constantly shifting lineups at each location promise plenty of fun, no matter which one you visit. The most recent additions are the Equinaut, a new single-hop double IPA, and Spruce Moose, a stout made with, you guessed it, spruce tips.

Live Music (Heights): Friday—Urban Pioneers, 7-10 p.m.; Saturday—The Bus Tapes, 7-10 p.m.

Live Music (Westside): Friday—Dos Gatos, 8-11 p.m.; Saturday—Funk Tractor, 8-11 p.m.

Other Events (Downtown): Tuesday—Sip and Sketch, 6 p.m.

Other Events (Westside): Sunday—Marble Mouth Off: 50s and 60s edition, 4 p.m.

Weekly Events (Downtown): Saturday—Brewery tours, 2 p.m.

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100 (brewery), (505) 226-1055 (Silver Taproom)

(Brewery: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.–8:30 p.m.; Silver Taproom: Mon–Fri 4-10 p.m., Sat noon-10 p.m., Sun noon-9 p.m.)

Beers: Double Bird IPA, Hibiscus Imperial Cream, Nitro Chai Chocolate Porter, Ensign Belgo (Silver Taproom only), El Dorado Session Pale Ale, Doppel-Spock. A couple beers popped up recently with the return of Hibiscus and the arrival of the new Double Bird IPA, which, as the name might suggest, is a double-strength version of the popular Bird of Prey IPA.

Happy Hour/Discounts (Brewery): Monday–Friday, $5 appetizers, 3-5 p.m.

Weekly Events (Silver Taproom): Saturday—a live DJ will perform

Palmer Brewery and Cider House — (505) 508-0508

(Tues–Sat 3–9 p.m.)

Beers: MWA (Malt With Attitude), Guero (Belgian Wit), Pale Ale, Stout, Cockness Monster (Scotch Ale). Palmer shares a building with Left Turn Distilling on Girard south of Candelaria. We got the full story on their origin and what’s to come in 2017.

Pi Brewing — (505) 890-9463

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Kama Citra IPA, U Down w/ BVP?, Burque Lite, Cardinal Sin Red, AdHd, Amber’s Amber, Axis of Awesomeness, It’s So Tinsel. The Kama Citra (7.2% ABV, 95 IBU) is back for another run. Recent additions to the lineup include Axis of Awesomeness (8.1% ABV, 80 IBU), an imperial IPA, and It’s So Tinsel (8.4% ABV, 25 IBU), a Scottish Wee Heavy.

News: Pi is temporarily closed due to a damaged wall. They do not have a re-opening date yet.

Ponderosa Brewing Co. — (505) 639-5941

(Sun 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m.)

Beers: Oud Bruin, Schwarzbier, Mosaic Single Hop Pale Ale, Nikolaus, Amber Ale. The Oud Bruin, a brown sour, is now on tap and for sale in bombers. You can also still purchase bombers of Sour Saison, Big Belgian IPA, and Preacher’s Daughter (Belgian Golden Strong) at the taproom or at liquor stores around town.

Quarter Celtic Brewpub — (505) 503-1387

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.)

Beers: All the WITty Names are Taken, “Oi!” Kellerbier, Clark IPA, Bruce Dark IPA, Count Stoutula, #GFF. Back on tap is Clark, a hazy New England-style IPA, and now its “nemesis,” Bruce Dark IPA, has joined the lineup. The #GFF, an imperial grapefruit IPA, returns today (Wednesday).

Weekly Events: Saturday—Premier League Viewing Party, 8 a.m. (technically it’s the FA Cup this weekend)

Red Door Brewing — (505) 633-6675 (brewery), (505) 990-3029 (downtown taproom)

(Brewery hours: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri 11 a.m. to midnight, Sat 7 a.m. to midnight, Sun 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Downtown taproom hours: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m. to midnight, Sun 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

Beers: Vanilla Cream Ale, Ottobrau Pilsner, Strong Scotch Ale, Calypso SMaSH Pale Ale, Nieuwe Bruin (downtown taproom only). The Calypso is the most recent addition to the lineup. The Vanilla Cream and Scotch are a coupe of old favorites back for another run.

Weekly Events (Brewery): Saturday—Beer and Breakfast, 7-10 a.m.; Monday—The Draft Sessions, 7-9 p.m.

Weekly Events (Taproom): Today—Paint it Black Open Mic, 8-10:30 p.m.; Tuesday—Geeks Who Drink, 7-9 p.m.

Rio Bravo Brewing Company — (505) 900-3909

(Mon–Thu noon–10 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–11 p.m., Sun noon–9 p.m.)

Beers: Rio Bravo Amber, Weizen, Randy’s Shandy, Dirty Rotten Bastard IPA, Snakebite IPA, Black Angus Stout, Randy’s Red Ale, Duke City Pilsner, Old Town Porter (regular and barrel aged), Barley Wine (regular and barrel aged), Oktoberfest, Raspberry Sour, Cereza Loco (Cherry Sour), NM Pinon Coffee Porter, Oatmeal Stout, Belgian Strong Golden, Level 3 IPA. The Level 3 (7.5% ABV, 120 IBU) should satisfy any hophead. Also of note, the Karl’s Krystal Weizen will be $2.50 for pints for the rest of January.

Live Music: Friday—Tony Wilson with Lisa Lopez, 8 p.m.; Saturday—Burque Sol, 8 p.m.

Weekly Events: Today (Wednesday)—Movie Night, 7 p.m.; Friday—Philly Friday, all day; Tuesday—$2 Taco Tuesday, all day

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

(Mon–Sat 8 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun 8 a.m.–6 p.m.)

Beers: Call the brewery for an updated list.

Sidetrack Brewing — (505) 288-6468

(Mon–Thurs 3–11 p.m., Fri 3 p.m.–midnight, Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: Pub Ale, Switchgear IPA, Crossbuck Pale Ale, Stoker Stout, 2926 Steam Lager, The Red Line. The last three beers will debut for the anniversary party on Saturday (see our intro above).

Cask: The Stout and Red are in the firkins.

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Taco Tuesday, all day

Starr Brothers Brewing — (505) 492-2752

(Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day)

Beers: Starrstruck IPA, L.A. Woman (Blonde), Red Zepplin, St. Pumpkins Eve (Holiday Stout), Foggy Monocle (Oatmeal Stout), Therecastle, Lampshade Porter. The most recent addition is the Foggy Monocle, an oatmeal stout. Therecastle is a smooth and tasty English-style brown ale.

Weekly Events: Saturday—Premier League Viewing Party, 8 a.m.

The 377 Brewery — (505) 934-0795

(Open noon-11 p.m. most days)

Beers: English Best Bitter, Session IPA, Black IPA, Robust Porter, Kolsch, Hefe, Imperial Cream, IPA, Oatmeal Stout, Funky Punky Swartzbier. Welcome to the listings, 377! Holy moley, they now have multiple house beers on tap. The most recent additions are the IPA (7.2% ABV, 98 IBU), Oatmeal Stout (7.5% ABV, 62 IBU), and Funky Punky (5.5% ABV).

Tractor Brewing Company — (505) 433-5654 (Nob Hill), (505) 243-6752 (Wells Park)

(Nob Hill: Sun–Weds noon–midnight, Thurs noon–2 a.m., Fri–Sat noon–2 a.m.; Wells Park: Mon–Thurs 3 p.m.–close, Fri–Sun 1 p.m.–midnight)

UPDATED >>> Beers: Vulgar Display of Porter, Turkey Drool, Javi Light Lager, Farmer’s Freckles Scottish Export, Apricot Wheat, Berliner Weisse, Berry Cider, Goathead Hador Doppelbock, Partridge in a Pine Tree IPA, Cranberry Ginger Cider, Barrel-aged Luna De Los Muertos, Traktoberfest (Nob Hill only), Chiapas Mexican Amber (Nob Hill only), Cowgirl Coffee Stout (Nob Hill only), Cowgirl Coffee Stout on nitro (Wells Park only). Our ultimate winter favorite, Luna De Los Muertos, a Russian imperial stout, is back and this time it’s been barrel aged. You can also buy it in bombers around town. That there Vulgar Display of Porter (8.8% ABV) is a Baltic made in collaboration with a certain group of beer writers. We hope you all enjoy it.

Live Music (Wells Park): Thursday—Still Closed for Repairs, 8 p.m.; Saturday—Homegirls Records, 8 p.m.

Live Music (Nob Hill): Today (Wednesday)—Sloan Armitage, 8:30 p.m.; Saturday—Gato Malo: Songs From My Ancestors, 5 p.m.

Other Events (Wells Park): Thursday—Beer for a Better Burque: Nasario Remembers the Rio Puerco (documentary film), 6 p.m.; Friday—Hops & Dreams: Wizard of Oz Edition, 8 p.m.; Sunday—I’ll Drink to That: APLP Edition, 4 p.m.

Weekly Events (Wells Park): Monday—Monday Night Film Club, 8 p.m.; Tuesday—Kamikaze Karaoke, 7 p.m.

Weekly Events (Nob Hill): Today (Wednesday)—Writing Wednesdays, 5 p.m.; Monday—Tractor Tune Up, 7:30 p.m.

Also, every first Monday of the month at both Tractor locations is Beer for a Better Burque night. For every pint you buy $1 can go to one of four charities that have partnered with Tractor. You can also opt to purchase a special growler with the logo of your favorite charity.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Tractor now has a late happy hour from 9 p.m. to midnight on Mondays with $2 classic beers and $3 seasonals.

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

(Kitchen hours: Mon–Tues 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Wed–Thurs 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Sun 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Reminder: TMBC closes early when business dictates. Please call.)

Beers: El Toro Rojo, Mashhole (Brown IPA), McSmack, Encierro Red Ale, Depravity (Barleywine), Can’t Catch Me Copper Lager. The El Toro (8.5% ABV) is a new imperial red. Depravity (10% ABV) is a beast of a barleywine.

News: Wooden Teeth has been promoted to the regular lineup, replacing the Helles.

Cask: Tuesday—TBA

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Open daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Scotch Ale, Captain Omar’s Boat Beer (Dortmunder Export), High Altitude Pale Ale, Apparition Pale Coffee Ale. The Scotch Ale is the most recent addition to the lineup. Try the Apparition; if you close your eyes, you would be convinced it is actually a coffee stout.

Chili Line Brewing — (505) 500-7903

(Mon–Sat 4–11 p.m., Sun 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m.)

Beers: El Jefe (Rauchweizen), sIPApu (India Pale Lager), Antonio Bandito (Dunkelweizen), Llorona Lager. The sIPApu is back, now as an IPL. The Llorona Lager is the other recent addition to the lineup.

Live Music: Every night at 7 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Reverse happy hour after 9 p.m. includes $1 off pints, $6 appetizers, $10 entrees and pizzas.

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

(Brewery: Mon–Sat open at 11 a.m., Sun open at 1 p.m.; ABQ taproom: Mon–Thurs 2 p.m.–midnight; Fri–Sun noon–midnight)

Beers: Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Non-Fiction (Pale Ale), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Whistler (Belgian Blonde), Cezanne Magnifique, Rye Goya (Imperial Stout), Stocious (Wee Heavy), Judith (Sour Amber), HMWWA FIACFW (Barrel-aged Sour). The most recent additions are the Rye Goya, Stocious, Judith, and the unpronounceable, but tasty, HMWWA FIACFW.

Live Music (ABQ taproom): Saturday—The Night Shift, 8 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts (Brewery): Happy hour Mon–Fri, 4-6 p.m. (discounts for all draft beer), Growler Saturdays ($3 off growler fills).

Happy Hour/Discounts (ABQ taproom): Happy hour Mon–Fri, 5-7 p.m.

Rowley Farmhouse Ales — (505) 428-0719

(Open all week from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

Beers: Dr. Drei, Stout-ish (Session Oatmeal). Santa Fe’s newest brewery has a solid mix of guest taps, plus their latest offerings, Dr. Drei, a Brett black IPA, and Stout-ish. See our intro for more on their tap takeover at Violet Crown today (Wednesday).

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

(Main taproom: Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 2-8 p.m.; ABQ taproom: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–11 p.m.; Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight; Sun 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Snowflake IPA, Hipster Union Red Rye, Adobe Igloo, Nuevo (Blonde Ale), Dysphotic Stout (ECS). The latest entry in the Ever Changing Series, Dysphotic Stout, is basically the Black Beast of AAAAHHHH. Snowflake IPA is back, now part of a series of seasonal-themed IPAs called the In-and-Out Series. Adobe Igloo is back on tap and in six packs.

Happy Hour/Discounts: $1 off growler refills in the tasting room on Mondays. $2 pint Tuesdays at the Eldorado Taphouse. On Wednesday, there is a $2 pint special in the tasting room. On Thursday, there will be $1 off growler refills at the Eldorado Taphouse.

Second Street Brewery — (505) 989-3278 (Railyard), (505) 982-3030 (original location)

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Sunday noon-9 p.m.)

Beers: Kolsch, IPA, Cream Stout, 2920 Pale Ale, 2920 IPA, Rauchbier (Railyard only), Rail Runner Pale Ale, Rod’s Steam Bitter. The Cereza Negra will be back on tap later this week; if you haven’t tried it yet, you really, really need some in your life. Also due back later this week are Rod’s Best Bitter and Red and Yellow Armadillo.

Live Music (Original location): Friday—The Shiners Club Band, 6-9 p.m.; Saturday—Justin Evan Thompson, 6-9 p.m.

Live Music (Railyard): Friday—Greg Butera & Band, 6-9 p.m.; Saturday—Welsh & Watts, 6-9 p.m.

Weekly Events (Railyard): Thursday—Geeks Who Drink, 8 p.m.

Other breweries you need to visit

Bathtub Row Brewing — (505) 500-8381

(Mon–Weds 2–10 p.m., Thurs 2–11 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–11 p.m., Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: The Tripel Lindy, Wit Rock, Crazy Mother IPA, Betty on Brett, Spearmint Stout, Jarrylo Pale Ale, Beedle’s Apple Ale, Catcher ‘n the Rye. The most recent tap turnover went down in Los Alamos with Crazy Mother, Betty, Spearmint, Jarrylo, Beedle’s, and Catcher making their debuts.

Weekly Events: Thursday—Open mic, 6 p.m.

Sierra Blanca Brewing — (505) 832-2337

(Mon–Thurs 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Fri –Sat 11 a.m.–9 p.m.)

Beers: Cherry Wheat, Whiskey Milk Stout, Cranberry Sour, Interstella Vanilla. The popular Cherry Wheat is more tart than sweet, and it will soon be bottled. The most recent additions are the Whiskey Milk Stout and Cranberry Sour.

Twisted Chile Brewing — (575) 835-2949

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun noon-4 p.m.)

Beers: Zia Pilsner, 790 IPA, Hose Co. 1 Red Lager, Venom IPA, KC’s Irish Stout, English Porter, Pilabo Pale Ale, Schwarzbar Black Lager, Quebradas Sunrise Amber, Lobo Blanco White IPA. The newest addition is the Quebradas, back for another run.

Live Music: TBA

Weekly Events: Today (Wednesday)—Open mic, 6:30-9 p.m.

* * * *

That’s all for this week! If you have any questions or comments, leave them below or contact us on our Facebook page.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Ale Republic has found its niche as a mountain brewery.

Ale Republic has found its niche as a mountain brewery.

Traveling over a mountain pass can create the illusion of having crossed into a different world. Opposite sides often display vast differences in culture, landscape, and energy. Maybe it’s just evidence of growing up in a place without mountains, but I confirm this magic every time I travel over the Sandias. My recent visit to Ale Republic in Cedar Crest was no exception. I was hosted by business partners Patrick Johnson and Zach Gould. We jumped right into discussing their opening this past year and the work that led up to it. Opening a business is no cakewalk, and breweries are not an exception.

Patrick: Well, we opened. That was the challenge … it took us two years to get through permitting with (Bernalillo) County. We’re the first brewery in the county outside of the city jurisdiction, so we had to talk to the county people, not the city people. The city practically has like a pre-filled-out form of here’s the start-a-brewery packet. So, it was a big pain and it was very expensive. We spent almost half our money just getting through the permitting process. We were paying a year and a half of rent and with no income.

Zach: And, we had to have like equipment … it would have been one thing if you’re just paying for the space and you didn’t have to have it finished out. But, for a lot of the things they wanted to see something fully finished. So, it’s basically the system that they have set up is do all the hard work, do everything, and then we see.

Yes, they have more than one beer on tap now.

Yes, they have more than one beer on tap now.

In spite of the less than ideal permitting journey, Ale Republic opened its doors in the fall.  

Patrick: We opened with bare minimum. We had one beer on tap. Some of the complaints on our online reviews are, “Oh, they only have one beer on tap. Another one of those breweries.” But, my response to that is well at least we did it! I remember when La Cumbre only had a couple back in the early days.

Zach: This is a very much handmade deal. I don’t think I have ever seen a brewery open with as little as we did. We really just put our souls into it and got it up and running.

Patrick: Yeah, we did everything. We made all the light fixtures. We did all the work.

Patrick and Zach’s personal touch gives Ale Republic a local craft feel which, when combined with the tranquility of its East Mountains location, provides a cool and relaxed setting. With such a great vibe it is no surprise that they have been embraced by the brewing community.

Patrick: The other breweries have been really supportive. It’s a really cool community. Tractor sent us a grand opening welcome. Nexus sent us flowers. People were really friendly.

The Ale Republic also has connections outside of the local community.

Patrick: And, we’re going to be doing some collaborations this year, too. We have a partner brewery in Long Beach called Beachwood Brewery. So, we are going to go out there and brew with them in the next couple months, and they are going to come out here and brew with us. So, this West Coast IPA has roots on the West Coast, actually.

Zach, left, and Patrick have been keeping their small brewing system humming.

Zach, left, and Patrick have been keeping their small brewing system humming.

I shared the excitement that I feel about camaraderie between breweries around the country and how common it seems to be. Zach was quick to remind me why this shouldn’t be surprising.

Zach: Well, it’s a craft. I think people forget that, especially on the larger scale, because it gets so technical. But, it’s still very much a craft. People have been doing this for a very long time. Sometimes there’s things that people do that there’s not a reason, but they just do it because they do it. And, it’s a community and you learn off other people.

And when it comes to being a craft, Ale Republic is not cutting any corners. They are making every effort to be both local and unique.

Patrick: Our brand is really specialty products. The IPA we have (is) because everybody loves IPAs, so you kind of have to have one. We both really like West Coast style … not super in-your-face hoppy, but pretty sticky and balanced. The interesting thing about our IPA has to do with our water. Almost all breweries use treated water. We’re just pulling it out of the ground. It’s well water, so it’s really minerally, and I think that interacts with the hops. It’s a pretty hoppy beer and it gives it a very interesting character. I think our water works really well with the Belgians, particularly the Golden Strong, I think it’s spot on. All the traditional beer styles are defined by the water that came from that spot. They never purified it or anything. From an environmental perspective that’s pretty sweet … just use what we have. We’re trying to get as much local stuff as we can … local ingredients. One of our goals is to make a 100-percent local beer. So, we’ve got the water down pat, straight out of the ground. The trickiest one is going to be malt, finding a local malt supplier. Not necessarily local in the east mountains, but local to the surrounding area. Hops we can get from Taos Hops. And then, yeast, we’ve got a local wild strain. But, that’s one of our goals in the next year or two.

All in all, it has been a year of establishing a solid foundation for continued growth. Zach and Patrick both seem content with the progress, and optimistic about what lies ahead after a recent expansion of the seating area that includes a free pool table.

Zach: It’s been a learning experience. It’s been a growing experience. But, I think we’re well on our way. What we were focused on first was just getting doors open and having everything be modular. We weren’t overextending, ever. We’re not a team of investors. Really this is just a straight up handmade brewery of people that are pretty passionate and willing, and probably pretty crazy, but willing to devote the time to make it happen.

Patrick: So, going into the year I think we’re pretty set. We have done our expansion, just finished that. Our brewhouse is pretty much at capacity, and whenever we can afford it, we’ll get more conditioning tanks, but for now we’re in steady-state.

Game room? Genius!

Game room? Genius!

Looking ahead into the rest of 2017, there seems to be a common theme in many of Patrick and Zach’s plans — leveraging the beautiful location that is close to ABQ, but at the same time feels so removed.

Patrick: I’m hoping for a really strong spring, and I think summer is going to be a blast up here. We’re going to have a big beer garden, put bands outside, do like a blue grass festival. It’s warm and it’s quiet, and it’s nice to get out of the city.

Zach: We have a really great outdoor space. It’s away from Albuquerque, which I think some people are like, “Oooh, it’s away from Albuquerque.” But, that’s the thing, is that that’s one of the best things, because you get out of Albuquerque. In the summertime, when Albuquerque is sweltering hot, and you feel just dried out, and you want to escape the concrete, and it’s just too much … you come here and it’s like perfect temperatures, there’s a cool breeze, you got a beer in your hands … it’s like camping without any of the work.

Patrick: We should put a tent in the back and AirBnB it.

With the extensive amount of outdoor space at their fingertips it is not actually that farfetched to think that camping would be a possibility at Ale Republic. Frankly the possibilities are endless. Patrick and Zach have an open canvas with which to create an outdoor space that ABQ breweries and taprooms could not match.

Patrick: This property goes all the way back to that hill. We have a lot of opportunities to do some really fun stuff with the property. So especially, we are talking about outdoors, having a really sweet beer garden, a landscaped beer garden with a fountain that’s like actually in the woods.

Zach: Imagine a park that you went to where you could drink, you could listen to music, you could play games, and that was open late … and there’s dogs running around, kids running around.

Patrick: People ride their horses down and get beers. The trail system connects to a bunch of residences back there, and yeah, they’ll ride their horses down.

Again, it's in the mountains! Hike, bike, ski, snowshoe, and drink beer.

Again, it’s in the mountains! Hike, bike, ski, snowshoe, and drink beer.

The trails aren’t just for horseback riding, but hiking, too. Ale Republic is conveniently located next to a parking lot that serves these trails.

Patrick: We had no idea who our customer base would be, but as you would guess it’s mostly locals. On the weekends, you get people from Albuquerque coming up to go skiing and go hiking on the trail. There’s really great trails back there. It’s really cool it’s right there. So, we’re really pushing that. Like the outdoor brewery … be in touch with nature for a while and grab a beer.

A couple other goals for this upcoming year include setting up some regular events.

Zach: So, when we originally were a beer club we would do first Thursday events, where every first Thursday we would have like a big party and do a whole thing. So, we want to continue that. We just don’t know exactly how it’s going to look. We’ve been really occupied just getting this thing open, but at this point we’ve expanded, our beer’s kind of more settled down. I would not say we’re anywhere close to being finished. This is a process. It’s not a destination. So, at this point, things like that we’re definitely interested in. We’re trying to do as many events as possible. We would really like to partner with … I don’t know, anybody really, to do races, and stuff like that, in the open space. There’s a snow shoe race coming up that we’re going to try and be involved in, where people do a snow shoe race up at the peak and then after that will come down and hang out.

Ale Republic is also beginning some small-scale distribution into the ABQ market.

Patrick: I really want to find a bar in Albuquerque that we can supply our beer, at least one handle at all times, where if you want our beer that you can go to. So, we’re looking for a place. I think starting in March or April we’ll be able to do that.

* * * * *

If you have yet to visit Ale Republic, then do yourself a favor and at least pick a Saturday to make the drive up and relax for a couple hours enjoying lunch and a beer or two, not to mention the scenery. Better yet, plan to stop in after a day on the trails or at the ski area. The work continues at Ale Republic, but Patrick and Zach should hold their heads high with pride after the progress they have made. The Brew Crew wishes the best of luck to Ale Republic in 2017.

Cheers!

— Deezbeers

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s six breweries, one in Socorro, one in Los Alamos, and one in Moriarty also joining the party.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

It may be hard to believe, but the Dark Side Brew Crew turns five years old this month. Yeah, for five whopping years, we have been writing about and drinking a whole lot of craft beer in New Mexico. It is fairly amazing we have kept this thing going, considering the rate of attrition in our own ranks, the fact that we do not get paid for any of this, and just the growing task of trying to keep up with an industry that has gone from about 20 breweries statewide to around 70 in this span. What are we going to do to commemorate turning five? Why, throw a party, of course. All of you, yes, you, gentle readers, are invited to join us at Tractor Wells Park on Saturday at 8 p.m. We have two of our best local metal bands, The Extinction and Jagged Mouth, performing full sets. We will have a beer we created (with help from Tractor head brewer Josh Campbell) on tap, Vulgar Display of Porter (it’s a Baltic). We will even be selling T-shirts made by our good friend Mike Wieclaw, the mad genius behind Metal the Brand. So, come on down, there is no cover. You get to support a local brewery, two local bands, a local artist, and of course, your local beer writers. We promise to put any money made from the shirts to good use (WEBSITE UPGRADE TIME!!!). Oh, and according to a lot of people, the apocalypse is starting Friday. We might as well send out civilization-as-we-know-it with a bang on Saturday! (A strict “no talking about politics” will be in place. Violators will be thrown into the pit.)

We still have yet to receive any new updates from Pi Brewing, which has been closed since a car plowed into their building on New Year’s Day. Word is repairs are underway, but a date of completion/reopening is still TBD. We are also still waiting on word about the future of Albuquerque Brewing, but for now, it remains closed as well.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few new options to check out. Bosque goes big with The Gaffer, a new barleywine that nearly overloaded the brewhouse when it was made. Boxing Bear gets silly with Slap Happy DIPA. Marble unleashes Spruce Moose, a new stout, plus their Equinaut DIPA is on tap at all three locations now. Nexus is feeling the hops as well with Double Bird IPA, plus Hibiscus Imperial Cream returns. Speaking of old favorites, Spanglish is back at Ponderosa. Quarter Celtic brings in the “nemesis” of their Clark IPA, namely Bruce Dark IPA. Starr Brothers only needs one lens to look at the darker side with Foggy Monocle Oatmeal Stout.

Up in Santa Fe, sIPApu IPL returns to Chili Line, joined by Llorona Lager. The delicious Cereza Negra, a cherry coffee stout, is on tap at Second Street after hitting it big at WinterBrew.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of January 16.

To break down each “capsule,” I listed the brewery (with Web page linked), its phone number and hours of operation. Under “Beers” are the new or seasonal beers on tap for this week.

Albuquerque metro area breweries

Albuquerque Brewing Co. — (505) 797-1842

(Mon–Fri 3-10 p.m., Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun noon-8 p.m.)

Beers/News: ABC is closed until at least February 1 for renovations. We will have further updates when they are available.

Ale Republic — (505) 281-2828

(Mon–Thurs 2–10 p.m., Fri–Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

Alien Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–midnight, Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–2 a.m., Sunday 10 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Call the number above for details on any small-batch beers currently available. They change frequently. The rest of the lineup is from the Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande family of beers.

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

(Sun–Weds 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thurs–Sat 4 p.m. to midnight)

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Sundays are Service Nights at Back Alley, with $2 off all beers for service industry workers. Bring your server’s ID and you will be rewarded. All beers are $1 off on Tuesdays.

Bistronomy B2B/Lobo Beast 101 — (505) 262-2222 (B2B), (505) 247-2116 (Lobo)

(B2B: Mon–Tues 4-9 p.m., Weds noon-9 p.m., Thurs–Sat noon-9:30 p.m., Sun noon-9 p.m.; Lobo: daily 4 p.m. to close)

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

The Blue Grasshopper — (505) 896-8579

(Noon to 11 p.m. most days, call for more info)

Beers: Belgian Pale Ale, Paddy Wagon Red, Dunkelweizen. The Dunkelweizen is the most recent addition.

Live Music: Bands perform from 6 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday through Saturday. Click the link for the schedule.

Boese Brothers Brewery — (505) 382-7060

(Hours: Mon–Thurs 3 p.m.–midnight, Fri 3 p.m.–2 a.m., Sat noon–2 a.m., Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: Patriot Porter, La Onza White Ale, Dr. Strangehop XPA, Duke City Lager, Double Dead Ale, Santa’s Little Helper. Double Dead Ale is also available in bombers. Santa’s Little Helper, the most recent addition, is a raspberry vanilla porter.

Events: Sunday—The Brewhaha, 6:30 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Boese will have a happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, with $3 pints. You can also get $3 pints all day Tuesday and $6 growler fills all day Wednesday.

Bosque Brewing Company — (505) 750-7596 (main brewery), (505) 508-5967 (Nob Hill Public House), (575) 571-4626 (Las Cruces Taproom)

(Main brewery on San Mateo: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-midnight, Sun noon-8 p.m.; Nob Hill: Mon–Weds 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Thurs 11 a.m.-midnight, Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Sun noon-11 p.m.; Las Cruces: Sun–Thurs noon-11 p.m., Fri–Sat noon-midnight)

UPDATED >>> Beers: Dry Stout, Vienna Amber, The Gaffer (Barleywine), Jet Black Winter (Imperial Stout), Tone It Down Pale Ale, Driftwood Oatmeal Stout (on nitro). The most recent additions include the massive barleywine, The Gaffer (11.5% ABV), and Jet Black Winter (9.5% ABV), a roasty toasty imperial stout.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Bosque has a happy hour running from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and all day on Sunday. Look for special menu items and get $1 off your favorite pints.

Bow & Arrow Brewing — (505) 247-9800

(Mon-Weds 3–10 p.m., Thurs 3–11 p.m., Fri-Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–9 p.m.)

Beers: Flint & Grit (British Mild), Sun Dagger (Saison), Crossed Arrows (Scotch Ale), Hoka Hey (IPA), Jemez Field Notes Lager, Storm & Hearth Vanilla Bean Stout, Land of Manana Farmhouse IPA, Bucking Brown-co, Autumn Archer (Marzen). The most recent additions are the Bucking and Archer. Storm & Hearth Vanilla Bean Stout is back and even better than the first time.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Bow & Arrow has happy hour every Monday through Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. Get $1 off pints. A new late happy hour starts Thursday at 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m.

Boxing Bear Brewing Company — (505) 897-2327

(Sun-Thurs 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-11 p.m.)

Beers: Vantablack Russian Imperial Stout, The Saaz Man Cometh, Slap Happy DIPA, Scotch Rocket, Munich Ale, Iron Lung Smoked Porter, Chocolate Milk Stout (on nitro). A recent addition is the monstrous Vantablack (10.2% ABV, 80 IBU), which is back for a second epic run. Bombers of The Red Glove (7.2% ABV, 105 IBU), a gold medal winner at GABF, are still on sale at the brewery and other fine establishments like Jubilation. Chocolate Milk Stout is also for sale in bombers as well as being on tap.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Every day at lunchtime (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), for just $10 you can get a pint and a panini of your choice.

Weekly Events: Today (Wednesday)—Geeks Who Drink, 8-10 p.m.

Broken Trail Brewery & Distillery — (505) 221-6281

(Mon-Thu 3-9 p.m., Fri 3-10 p.m., Sat noon-10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.-8 p.m.)

Beers: Otero ESB, Lone Pine Pilsner, Sancho Saison, Pepe the Mule. OK, fine, Pepe the Mule counts as a beer, even though it is basically a Moscow Mule, but it was made with beer. Look for it soon in package format.

Live Music (main location): TBA

Weekly Events (main location): Today (Wednesday)—Cards Against Humanity hosted by 10 Drink Minimum, 7 p.m.; Sunday—Build-your-own Bloody Mary bar, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Tuesday—All hours beers $2 a pint

Canteen Brewhouse — (505) 881-2737 (brewery), (505) 200-2344 (taproom)

(Brewery: Sun–Thurs noon–10 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–midnight; Taproom: Open daily 3–10 p.m.)

UPDATED >>> Beers: Vienna Lager, Operation Black Hops IPA, Panama Joe, Irish Red, Exodus IPA, Social Capital. This version of Social Capital was made with dark cherries and aged on French oak. The Vienna Lager replaced the Munich Helles, so Central Europe is still represented.

Live Music: Thursday—Chris Dracup, 6-9 p.m.; Sunday—Le Chat Lunatique, 3-6 p.m.

Cazuela’s Seafood & Mexican Grill — (505) 994-9364

(Open daily 8 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Papacabra (Double IPA), Acapulco Gold (Mexican Lager), Chupacabra IPA, Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale, Beer for My Horses (Oatmeal Stout). These are the regular house beers. Call the number above for an updated seasonal list.

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Krampus (Barleywine), Hopmonic Convergence IPA, Alpha Centaur (Wheat Beer), Natalia Polonch’ (Baltic Porter). The Natalia (9.5% ABV, 33 IBU) was oak aged, which means it might be the finest Baltic ever made. Don’t believe me? GET TO THE CHAMA!!!! Unlike Arnold, you just get to drink an epic beer, not battle an alien trophy hunter to the death.

News: Chama now has a rotating nitro tap. Call to see what is available this week.

Dialogue Brewing — (505) 585-1501

(Open daily noon-midnight)

Beers: Belgian Citrus IPA, Berliner Weisse, Sour Raspberry, Cream Ale, Saison, Robust Porter, The Centennial IPA, Coffee Lager, Lloyd’s Extra Gloves. OK, the last beer, Lloyd’s Extra Gloves, is a reference to the original Dumb and Dumber, but fear not, it is not a joke. It is a sour winter warmer brewed in collaboration with Chama River.

Live Music: Friday—Eryn Bent, 6 p.m.

Weekly Events: Monday—Service Industry Night, 6 p.m.

News: Kitsune Food Truck will be parked out front every day for lunch.

Drafty Kilt Brewing — (505) 881-0234

(Sun–Thu 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Groundskeeper Willie Cream Ale, Wee Beastie Scottish Ale, McWabbit Pale Ale, Campbell Toe IPA. Welcome to the listings, Drafty Kilt! Brewer/owner Mike Campbell has three of his own creations on tap at 4814 Hardware Dr. NE, including the new Campbell Toe (no snickering). Check out our review.

Events: Saturday—Drafty Kilt Palooza, with live music and Blazin Barn food truck, 4 p.m. to close

Happy Hour/Discounts: $1 off pints and 20-ounce pours, Mon-Fri, 3-6 p.m.; “Just Because We Love You Club,” happy hour prices at all times for teachers, first responders, law enforcement, and military with ID; Growler Fill Days on Thu and Sun, $2 off new growlers, $1 off refills

Flix Brewhouse — (505) 445-8500

(Open daily 11 a.m.-midnight)

Beers: Blonde Ale, Lupulus IPA, Satellite (Red IPA), 10 Day Scottish Ale, Luna Rose Wit, Umbra Chocostout, The Brown Basilisk, Dubbel Whammy, Radegast American Pale Ale, Rebel Yell Porter, Holy Mother of Quad. Flix is at the max of five seasonals at a time, with The Brown Basilisk (5% ABV, 19 IBU), an English brown ale, Dubbel Whammy (6.8% ABV, 19 IBU), Radegast Pale Ale, and Rebel Yell Porter (5% ABV, 35 IBU), which was brewed up specifically for the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Holy Mother of Quad (8.5% ABV, 30 IBU) all available on tap.

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

(Bernalillo hours Mon-Thu 2-9 p.m., Fri-Sat 11:30-10 p.m., Sun 11:30-9 p.m.)

Beers: Down and Stout, ESB, Blonde Ale, Helles Lager, Imperial Stout, Black IPA, Oaxford IPA, Ambrosia Amber, Walnut Cider, DjinnJar Kombucha. A recent tap turnover introduced Down and Stout, Blonde Ale, Black IPA, Oaxford IPA, Ambrosia Amber, Walnut Cider, and since then Imperial Stout was able to sneak back onto the list.

Weekly Events (Nob Hill): Thursday—The Desert Darlings, 7 to 9 p.m.

Weekly Events (Bernalillo): Sunday—Brunch, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., The Desert Darlings, 6-8 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Kaktus has several new weekday specials in Bernalillo, including $3 pints on Monday, $9 growlers on Tuesday, $6 bison nachos on Wednesday, and $8 Frito pie and beer on Thursday.

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

UPDATED >>> Beers: Angry Belgian, Ein Bier Bitte!, Pecos Porter, Pilot #8, Cafe Con Leche. The Cafe Con Leche is back on tap and for sale in bombers, but only for a limited time. A recent addition is the Ein Bier Bitte!, a delicious German Helles lager. The Pilot #8 is an experimental saison made on La Cumbre’s, you guessed it, pilot system.

Live Music: Saturday—Calling Ruby, 6-9 p.m.

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Lego Night Build Off, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Lizard Tail Brewing — (505) 717-1301

(Mon–Weds noon-9 p.m., Thurs–Sat noon-midnight, Sun noon-7 p.m.)

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Lizard Tail’s happy hour runs seven days a week from 3 to 6 p.m. You get $1 off food, flights, and pints.

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Geeks Who Drink, 8 p.m.; Thursday—Karaoke, 8-11 p.m.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739 (downtown), (505) 508-4638 (Westside), (505) 323-4030 (Heights)

(Downtown: Mon–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10:30 p.m.; Westside: Mon–Thurs noon–11 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10 p.m.; Heights: Mon–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10:30 p.m.)

Beers: Pumpkin Noir, Eastside Special Bitter, Fit Bird IPA, Priddy Bueno Porter, Equinaut DIPA, Dang Pale Ale, La Blanche, White Out (Downtown and Heights), Double IPA (Downtown and Westside), Brown Extra (Downtown and Westside), India Red Lager (Heights and Westside), La Rouge (Heights and Westside), Howlin Down Brown (Downtown only), La Brune (Heights only), Dunkel (Westside only), Spruce Moose (Westside only). The constantly shifting lineups at each location promise plenty of fun, no matter which one you visit. The most recent additions are the Equinaut, a new single-hop double IPA, and Spruce Moose, a stout made with, you guessed it, spruce tips.

Live Music (Heights): Friday—Last Call Band, 7-10 p.m.; Saturday—Jody Vanesky & Groove Time, 7-10 p.m.

Live Music (Westside): Friday—Black Smoke Blues Band, 8-11 p.m.; Saturday—The Fabulous Martini Tones, 8-11 p.m.

Other Events (Downtown): Monday—Marble Premiere League FIFA 17 tournament, 6-10 p.m.

Other Events (Heights): Sunday—Beer 101 with Ted Rice, 1-3 p.m. ($25 tickets, $20 for mug club members)

Weekly Events (Downtown): Saturday—Brewery tours, 2 p.m.

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100 (brewery), (505) 226-1055 (Silver Taproom)

(Brewery: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.–8:30 p.m.; Silver Taproom: Mon–Fri 4-10 p.m., Sat noon-10 p.m., Sun noon-9 p.m.)

Beers: Double Bird IPA, Hibiscus Imperial Cream, Nitro Chai Chocolate Porter, Ensign Belgo (Silver Taproom only), El Dorado Session Pale Ale, Doppel-Spock. A couple beers popped up back on Friday with the return of Hibiscus and the arrival of the new Double Bird IPA, which, as the name might suggest, is a double-strength version of the popular Bird of Prey IPA.

Happy Hour/Discounts (Brewery): Monday–Friday, $5 appetizers, 3-5 p.m.

Weekly Events (Silver Taproom): Saturday—a live DJ will perform

Palmer Brewery and Cider House — (505) 508-0508

(Tues–Sat 3–9 p.m.)

Beers: MWA (Malt With Attitude), Guero (Belgian Wit), Pale Ale, Stout, Cockness Monster (Scotch Ale). Palmer shares a building with Left Turn Distilling on Girard south of Candelaria. We got the full story on their origin and what’s to come in 2017.

Pi Brewing — (505) 890-9463

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Kama Citra IPA, U Down w/ BVP?, Burque Lite, Cardinal Sin Red, AdHd, Amber’s Amber, Axis of Awesomeness, It’s So Tinsel. The Kama Citra (7.2% ABV, 95 IBU) is back for another run. Recent additions to the lineup include Axis of Awesomeness (8.1% ABV, 80 IBU), an imperial IPA, and It’s So Tinsel (8.4% ABV, 25 IBU), a Scottish Wee Heavy.

News: Pi is temporarily closed due to a damaged wall. They do not have a re-opening date yet.

Ponderosa Brewing Co. — (505) 639-5941

(Sun 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m.)

Beers: Oud Bruin, Schwarzbier, Mosaic Single Hop Pale Ale, Nikolaus, Amber Ale. The Oud Bruin, a brown sour, is now on tap and for sale in bombers. You can also still purchase bombers of Sour Saison, Big Belgian IPA, and Preacher’s Daughter (Belgian Golden Strong) at the taproom or at liquor stores around town.

Events: Thursday—Beer Dinner ($45 per person, $35 for mug club members, call for reservations), 6 p.m.

Quarter Celtic Brewpub — (505) 503-1387

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.)

Beers: All the WITty Names are Taken, “Oi!” Kellerbier, Clark IPA, Bruce Dark IPA, Count Stoutula. Back on tap is Clark, a hazy New England-style IPA, and now its “nemesis,” Bruce Dark IPA, debuts today (Wednesday). Irish Handcuffs has run out, but fear not, dark beer lovers, as Count Stoutula (chocolate stout) is on tap.

Weekly Events: Saturday—Premier League Viewing Party, 8 a.m.

Red Door Brewing — (505) 633-6675 (brewery), (505) 990-3029 (downtown taproom)

(Brewery hours: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri 11 a.m. to midnight, Sat 7 a.m. to midnight, Sun 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Downtown taproom hours: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m. to midnight, Sun 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

Beers: Vanilla Cream Ale, Ottobrau Pilsner, Strong Scotch Ale, Calypso SMaSH Pale Ale, Nieuwe Bruin (downtown taproom only). The Calypso is the most recent addition to the lineup. The Vanilla Cream and Scotch are a coupe of old favorites back for another run.

Weekly Events (Brewery): Saturday—Beer and Breakfast, 7-10 a.m.; Monday—The Draft Sessions, 7-9 p.m.

Weekly Events (Taproom): Today—Paint it Black Open Mic, 8-10:30 p.m.; Tuesday—Geeks Who Drink, 7-9 p.m.

Rio Bravo Brewing Company — (505) 900-3909

(Mon–Thu noon–10 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–11 p.m., Sun noon–9 p.m.)

Beers: Rio Bravo Amber, Weizen, Randy’s Shandy, Dirty Rotten Bastard IPA, Snakebite IPA, Black Angus Stout, Randy’s Red Ale, Duke City Pilsner, Old Town Porter (regular and barrel aged), Barley Wine (regular and barrel aged), Oktoberfest, Raspberry Sour, Cereza Loco (Cherry Sour), NM Pinon Coffee Porter, Oatmeal Stout, Belgian Strong Golden, Level 3 IPA. The Level 3 (7.5% ABV, 120 IBU) should satisfy any hophead. Also of note, the Karl’s Krystal Weizen will be $2.50 for pints for the rest of January.

Live Music: Today (Wednesday)—Shane Wallin, 6:30 p.m.; Thursday—Eryn Bent, 6:30 p.m.; Friday—The Blunts, 8 p.m.; Saturday—The Tumbleweeds, 6 p.m., Keith Sanchez, 8 p.m.

Weekly Events: Today (Wednesday)—Movie Night, 7 p.m.; Friday—Philly Friday, all day; Tuesday—$2 Taco Tuesday, all day

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

(Mon–Sat 8 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun 8 a.m.–6 p.m.)

Beers: Call the brewery for an updated list.

Sidetrack Brewing — (505) 288-6468

(Mon–Thurs 3–11 p.m., Fri 3 p.m.–midnight, Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: Pub Ale, Railhead Red, Switchgear IPA, Pullman Porter, 3:10 to Belen Brown, Oat to Joy Pale Ale. The most recent additions are the Pullman Porter, a take on an English brown porter, and Oat to Joy Pale Ale.

Cask: The Pub Ale and IPA are in the firkins.

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Taco Tuesday, all day

Starr Brothers Brewing — (505) 492-2752

(Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day)

Beers: Starrstruck IPA, L.A. Woman (Blonde), Red Zepplin, St. Pumpkins Eve (Holiday Stout), Foggy Monocle (Oatmeal Stout), Therecastle, Lampshade Porter. The most recent addition is the Foggy Monocle, an oatmeal stout. Therecastle is a smooth and tasty English-style brown ale.

Weekly Events: Saturday—Premier League Viewing Party, 8 a.m.

The 377 Brewery — (505) 934-0795

(Open noon-11 p.m. most days)

Beers: English Best Bitter, Session IPA, Black IPA, Robust Porter, Kolsch, Hefe, Cream of Sum Yung Guy, IPA, Oatmeal Stout. Welcome to the listings, 377! Holy moley, they now have nine house beers on tap. The Wayne’s World-inspired Cream of Sum Yung Guy (8.5% ABV) is an imperial cream. The most recent additions are the IPA (7.2% ABV, 98 IBU) and Oatmeal Stout (7.5% ABV, 62 IBU).

Tractor Brewing Company — (505) 433-5654 (Nob Hill), (505) 243-6752 (Wells Park)

(Nob Hill: Sun–Weds noon–midnight, Thurs noon–2 a.m., Fri–Sat noon–2 a.m.; Wells Park: Mon–Thurs 3 p.m.–close, Fri–Sun 1 p.m.–midnight)

UPDATED >>> Beers: Turkey Drool, Traktoberfest, Javi Light Lager, Farmer’s Freckles Scottish Export, Apricot Wheat, Berliner Weisse, Berry Cider, Goathead Hador Doppelbock, Partridge in a Pine Tree IPA, Cranberry Ginger Cider, Cerveza New Mexican Lager (Nob Hill only), Barrel-aged Luna De Los Muertos (Wells Park only), Cowgirl Coffee Stout on nitro (Wells Park only). Turkey Drool, our ultimate fall favorite, is on tap and as delicious as ever. Our ultimate winter favorite, Luna De Los Muertos, a Russian imperial stout, is back and this time it’s been barrel aged. You can also buy it in bombers around town. This Saturday brace yourselves for the arrival of Vulgar Display of Porter, a Baltic beast created by some beer writers you know.

Live Music (Wells Park): Thursday—Clark Andrew Libbey, 8 p.m.; Saturday—The Extinction and Jagged Mouth, 8 p.m.

Live Music (Nob Hill): Today (Wednesday)—Cali Shaw, 8:30 p.m.; Saturday—Keith Sanchez, 5 p.m.

Other Events (Wells Park): Saturday—Dark Side Brew Crew 5-Year Anniversary Party, 8 p.m. (see our intro above for more details)

Other Events (Nob Hill): Thursday—Craft + Beer: Community Craft Night, 6 p.m.

Weekly Events (Wells Park): Monday—Monday Night Film Club, 8 p.m.; Tuesday—Kamikaze Karaoke, 7 p.m.

Weekly Events (Nob Hill): Today (Wednesday)—Writing Wednesdays, 5 p.m.; Monday—Tractor Tune Up, 7:30 p.m.

Also, every first Monday of the month at both Tractor locations is Beer for a Better Burque night. For every pint you buy $1 can go to one of four charities that have partnered with Tractor. You can also opt to purchase a special growler with the logo of your favorite charity.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Tractor now has a late happy hour from 9 p.m. to midnight on Mondays with $2 classic beers and $3 seasonals.

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

(Kitchen hours: Mon–Tues 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Wed–Thurs 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Sun 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Reminder: TMBC closes early when business dictates. Please call.)

Beers: El Toro Rojo, Mashhole (Brown IPA), McSmack, Encierro Red Ale, Depravity (Barleywine), Can’t Catch Me Copper Lager. The El Toro (8.5% ABV) is a new imperial red. Depravity (10% ABV) is a beast of a barleywine.

News: Wooden Teeth has been promoted to the regular lineup, replacing the Helles.

Cask: Tuesday—Encierro with cocoa nibs

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Open daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Scotch Ale, Captain Omar’s Boat Beer (Dortmunder Export), High Altitude Pale Ale, Apparition Pale Coffee Ale. The Scotch Ale is the most recent addition to the lineup. Try the Apparition; if you close your eyes, you would be convinced it is actually a coffee stout.

Chili Line Brewing — (505) 500-7903

(Mon–Sat 4–11 p.m., Sun 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m.)

Beers: El Jefe (Rauchweizen), sIPApu (India Pale Lager), Antonio Bandito (Dunkelweizen), Llorona Lager. The sIPApu is back, now as an IPL. The Llorona Lager is the other recent addition to the lineup.

Live Music: Every night at 7 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Reverse happy hour after 9 p.m. includes $1 off pints, $6 appetizers, $10 entrees and pizzas.

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

(Brewery: Mon–Sat open at 11 a.m., Sun open at 1 p.m.; ABQ taproom: Mon–Thurs 2 p.m.–midnight; Fri–Sun noon–midnight)

Beers: Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Non-Fiction (Pale Ale), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Whistler (Belgian Blonde), Cezanne Magnifique, Rye Goya (Imperial Stout), Stocious (Wee Heavy), Judith (Sour Amber), HMWWA FIACFW (Barrel-aged Sour). The most recent additions are the Rye Goya, Stocious, Judith, and the unpronounceable, but tasty, HMWWA FIACFW.

Live Music (ABQ taproom): Friday—Anniversary Party with People of the Sun and Marujah, 8 p.m.; Saturday—80s vs. 90s Dance Party with DJ Wae Fonkey, 8 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts (Brewery): Happy hour Mon–Fri, 4-6 p.m. (discounts for all draft beer), Growler Saturdays ($3 off growler fills).

Happy Hour/Discounts (ABQ taproom): Happy hour Mon–Fri, 5-7 p.m.

Rowley Farmhouse Ales — (505) 428-0719

(Open all week from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

Beers: Dr. Drei, Stout-ish (Session Oatmeal). Santa Fe’s newest brewery has a solid mix of guest taps, plus their latest offerings, Dr. Drei, a Brett black IPA, and Stout-ish.

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

(Main taproom: Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 2-8 p.m.; ABQ taproom: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–11 p.m.; Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight; Sun 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Snowflake IPA, Hipster Union Red Rye, Adobe Igloo, Nuevo (Blonde Ale), Dysphotic Stout (ECS). The latest entry in the Ever Changing Series, Dysphotic Stout, is basically the Black Beast of AAAAHHHH. Snowflake IPA is back, now part of a series of seasonal-themed IPAs called the In-and-Out Series. Adobe Igloo is back on tap and in six packs.

Happy Hour/Discounts: $1 off growler refills in the tasting room on Mondays. $2 pint Tuesdays at the Eldorado Taphouse. On Wednesday, there is a $2 pint special in the tasting room. On Thursday, there will be $1 off growler refills at the Eldorado Taphouse.

Second Street Brewery — (505) 989-3278 (Railyard), (505) 982-3030 (original location)

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Sunday noon-9 p.m.)

Beers: Kolsch, IPA, Cream Stout, 2920 Pale Ale, 2920 Pilz, Anniversary Ale, Rauchbier (Railyard only), Fulcrum IPA, Rail Runner Pale Ale, Rod’s Steam Bitter, Cereza Negra. The newest addition is the Cereza Negra, a tart cherry coffee stout, which was a huge hit at WinterBrew. Other recent additions are the Fulcrum, Rail Runner, and Rod’s Steam Bitter, a past medal winner at GABF.

Live Music (Original location): Friday—The Stringmasters, 6-9 p.m.; Saturday—Ryan Hutchens, 6-9 p.m.

Live Music (Railyard): Friday—Alpha Cats, 6-9 p.m.; Saturday—Bill Hearne Trio, 6-9 p.m.

Weekly Events (Railyard): Thursday—Geeks Who Drink, 8 p.m.

Other breweries you need to visit

Bathtub Row Brewing — (505) 500-8381

(Mon–Weds 2–10 p.m., Thurs 2–11 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–11 p.m., Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: The Tripel Lindy, Wit Rock, Crazy Mother IPA, Betty on Brett, Spearmint Stout, Jarrylo Pale Ale, Beedle’s Apple Ale, Catcher ‘n the Rye. The most recent tap turnover went down in Los Alamos with Crazy Mother, Betty, Spearmint, Jarrylo, Beedle’s, and Catcher making their debuts.

Weekly Events: Thursday—Open mic, 6 p.m.

Sierra Blanca Brewing — (505) 832-2337

(Mon–Thurs 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Fri –Sat 11 a.m.–9 p.m.)

Beers: Cherry Wheat, Whiskey Milk Stout, Cranberry Sour, Interstella Vanilla. The popular Cherry Wheat is more tart than sweet, and it will soon be bottled. The most recent additions are the Whiskey Milk Stout and Cranberry Sour.

Twisted Chile Brewing — (575) 835-2949

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun noon-4 p.m.)

Beers: Zia Pilsner, 790 IPA, Hose Co. 1 Red Lager, Venom IPA, KC’s Irish Stout, English Porter, Pilabo Pale Ale, Schwarzbar Black Lager, Quebradas Sunrise Amber, Lobo Blanco White IPA. The newest addition is the Quebradas, back for another run.

Live Music: TBA

Weekly Events: Today (Wednesday)—Open mic, 6:30-9 p.m.

* * * *

That’s all for this week! If you have any questions or comments, leave them below or contact us on our Facebook page.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The massive new packaging warehouse, left, was completed alongside the existing brewery in 2016.

The massive new packaging warehouse, left, was completed alongside the existing brewery in 2016.

Ever since Luke, and later Julie, joined the Crew, we have had them handle just about all the stories on the breweries in Santa Fe. Every now and again, though, some of us Albuquerque-based folks still have to step up and fill in, as I did with the Santa Fe Brewing entry for our Look Back/Look Ahead Series. Well, OK, fine, it was not that big of a deal, as brewmaster Bert Boyce actually lives down here in ABQ, so it was pretty easy for us to meet up at the Green Jeans taproom last week.

To say it was a busy year at the largest brewery in New Mexico would be a bit of an understatement. Bert even brought a notebook along to try to make sure we hit every key point of the year that was and what to expect this year. We did our best to cover all of it, even as the taproom was flooded with patrons on a windy night outside, causing the interior decibel level to go through the roof. From the combination of my chicken-scratch notes and what I could hear from the digital recorder, I was luckily able to still paste this story together.

Hello there, Mr. Friggin' Huge Canning Line!

Hello there, Mr. Friggin’ Huge Canning Line!

The biggest development of 2016, quite literally, was the completion of the massive new packaging warehouse. As noted back in April, the huge structure along Highway 14, and the new state-of-the-art canning line within, would enable the brewery to go from 400 cases per run to up to 5,500.

“I think the biggest thing was we completed the major expansion project,” Bert said. “We got a new canning line. That’s huge, that took so much stress off of everyone. We obviously finished the warehouse and got the canning line running. That’s made our lives significantly easier.

“We did a lot of fun, cool stuff (too). That was like the watershed moment, though. When that finally happened, everything else fell into place.”

On the beer front, SFBC worked to expand their list of offerings, while also completing the shift from bottles to cans for their core styles, including Nut Brown and State Pen Porter.

“We’ve totally transitioned to the canning lines,” Bert said. “No more bottles. Instead of two marginal packaging lines, we have one excellent packaging line. Cans are great, man. The Nut Brown and Porter, they’re exceeding expectations, it’s awesome.”

In addition to the ongoing Ever Changing Series, they added another seasonal series.

“We have fully launched our In-and-Out Series, which is a series of seasonal IPAs,” Bert said while enjoying a goblet of the current offering, Snowflake IPA. “We reserve the right to modify it. That’s been fun and successful. Those are the kind of beers I like to make and drink, so that’s OK for me.”

Let's get this thing started!

One of the first major events at The Bridge was the second round of the IPA Challenge.

While not about the beer, necessarily, Bert also said he was quite proud to see SFBC open The Bridge, the music and entertainment venue next door to the brewery.

“The Bridge opened up, which is great,” Bert said. “We’ve got the outdoor events in mid-summer, we’ve got the indoor events throughout the fall. We should continue to have some great shows. I’m personally pumped on that, the brewery is pumped on that.”

Bert agreed that having a full-sized concert area can only help to bring in more customers. He noted that there were more people there to see the group Atmosphere perform than at any point he can recall for the brewery.

All of those customers, new and old, meant SFBC had to produce a heck of a lot of beer. Overall, Bert said they produced an estimated 23,500 barrels of beer in 2016, a 13.5-percent increase from 2015. With more room to grow, expect those figures to continue to rise in 2017.

As with just about any growing company, there will always be staff changes. SFBC has added a new marketing and sales director, Jarrett Babincsak, who will take some of the pressure off Bert and the brewing staff.

“He was running a distributorship in Arizona for Two Brothers,” Bert said. “Before that he was with Big Sky. He’s kind of been there and done that in the sense of where we want to go. He knows how to talk to distributors, he knows how to put together a branding portfolio, basic things that you have to do well in order to survive in this world. He knows the business, he knows beer, I’m glad to have him around. He’s filled in a few gaps already.”

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This familiar face will be joining the team at SFBC.

SFBC has also hired a new brewing manager, whose name should be quite familiar to those that follow the beer scene in the Santa Fe area.

“James Warren will be joining Santa Fe Brewing Company in the role of brewing manager,” Bert said. “We’re sad to see him go, but our current brewing manager (Noah Tuttle) will be moving back to Colorado. We were fortunate to talk to James at the right place and right time.”

James has been the director of brewing operations for all of the Santa Fe Dining breweries for a while now after being promoted from head brewer at Blue Corn. The chance to move to SFBC was one he could not turn down, much to Bert’s delight.

“I’m super excited to have James come on board,” he said. “He has such an infectious attitude, he’s always in such a great mood. I’m always in such a shitty mood. We’re going to balance each other out really well.”

The additions of Jarrett and James to the SFBC staff are a big way to kick off the new year. They will hardly be the last big moves of 2017.

Phase III begins in 2017

SFBC ALBLF 2014 2015 pic 1

Remember this old image about how the final phase of the SFBC expansion is going to look? Construction on that middle part is getting underway soon.

While the new employees are taking up their positions, no one else will be putting their hard hats away. The next major phase of construction is about to begin at SFBC.

“We are going to begin construction on the third phase, which is the new taproom/event space at the brewery,” Bert said. “The two buildings kind of make an angle of 90 degrees. We’re going to fill that in with a taproom, event space, beer garden, it’s going to be amazing.

“It’s hard to imagine, but we’re halfway there. We’re going to be breaking ground this spring. I have no idea how long it’s going to take. I no longer feel comfortable telling anyone how long (construction) is going to take, because no one ever knows.”

Technically, though, Phase II is not yet complete.

“We still have to fully move into the new warehouse,” Bert said. “We moved the packaging line over there. We have a huge cold box coming in here. We’ve got to move the keg line over. Then, we’ll start the brewhouse. We may add a couple more tanks this summer, but we haven’t done the math on that yet.”

Trust us, there is still room to add more in here.

Trust us, there is still room to add more in here.

One big piece of new equipment will not actually arrive in 2017, but will have to wait until 2018.

“I know I said this last year, but we did not buy a brewhouse for this year, but we will for next year,” Bert said. “We’re going to be able to survive on our (30-barrel) brewhouse for one more year. We will put the brewhouse in as part of the same construction project in the first quarter of 2018. It’s going to be 70 barrels. It should be fun, because as a brewer, you don’t get to design brewhouses very often, especially sweet ones.”

There will be other developments with the SFBC beer lineup in 2017, including a move to having many of their seasonal entries being on-draft only.

“We are no longer bottling ECS,” Bert said. “ECS is just going to be draft only now. That’s going to be something that I think we can roll out a little more quickly. We don’t have to wait for bottle conditioning to come around. I’m excited to just be able to have a lot more different offerings.”

Many of those new beers and their development will be overseen by the new research-and-development brewer, Dave Merkin, who has been promoted from lead cellarman. Bert said there will still be a fair amount of experimentation and innovation.

“We really started playing around with a bunch of really small-batch, fun stuff for the 12 Beers of Christmas,” he said. “I think we’re going to continue with that mentality where if we make two kegs of something fun by tweaking something here or there, we can get that into the taprooms on much more ongoing basis.”

One big change in the future, after the new brewhouse arrives, will be to keep the current brewhouse and do all the experimental beers and special one-offs there.

“Our original plan was to sell it, but we’re now going to keep the 30,” Bert said. “We can make batches as small as 20 barrels on that. Our pilot system is going to go from 10 gallons to 20 to 30 barrels, so it had better be good.”

Bert said he would like to someday look into doing specialty beers in 16-ounce cans, but that is another one of those projects for further down the line when more things are in place.

A big thanks to Bert for this interview and all the ones in the past, like when this photo was taken.

A big thanks to Bert for this interview and all the ones in the past, like when this photo was taken.

Overall, Bert said he is excited for 2017, while already looking ahead to 2018 and beyond.

“We drink local beer because we know the difference between fresh beer and old beer,” he said. “As a brewery that sends it to other markets, it’s really important that we focus all of our operations and processes that we aren’t that brewery that’s sitting on six-month old kegs, or even three-month-old beer that tastes like nine-month-old beer, out in the market. I would say for me, personally, my mission, that which is really important to me — and is important to James who can help fill in the gaps and get creative and have fun — (is that) I don’t mind doing the dirty work. It’s just focusing on processes and beating that drum about quality and doing it right.”

We wish everyone up at SFBC plenty of luck with their many, many upcoming endeavors. Until then, raise those Java Stouts high and toast another great year for the oldest and biggest brewery in New Mexico!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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John Rowley stands amid a few of his creations.

The Look Back/Look Ahead series continues to roll with a look at Santa Fe’s newest brewery, Rowley Farmhouse Ales (RFA). Though the brewery is new to the industry, the owners and partners certainly are not, and that’s why their first year went as well as it did, and why this year, and subsequent years, will be better yet.

As if I needed another excuse to stop in at one of my favorite local craft beer spots, I recently made the easy turn off of the newly construction-free Cerrillos Road (Really? Finally?! THANK GOD! — S), onto the quiet Maclovia St., to sit down with John Rowley and Jeffrey Kaplan to find out how Rowley Farmhouse Ales’ first year fared, and take glimpse into what they’ve got brewing for 2017. We grabbed some of Rowley’s creations, and made our way out to their patio, which is their main dining real estate. It was unseasonably warm, for a winter evening, but that was more thanks to RFA’s efforts to winterize their patio, than Mother Nature’s mercy.

DSBC: How long have you guys officially been open?

Rowley: We’ve only been open for about four months.

DSBC: How has it been so far?

Rowley: It’s been a good four months. We made a lot of beer. Business is good. I think the weather’s been fairly cooperative. It hasn’t been a ‘Minnesota winter.’ (Laughs)

DSBC: No, it hasn’t. But, actually, it’s really nice out here. What have you guys done to make your customers more comfortable out here during the winter?

Rowley: Well, we got rid of the sail-shades. We’ve covered the space as best we can (with large tents), and added the heaters. And, it’s fairly comfortable, right now.

DSBC: You don’t even need a hoodie out here.

Rowley: Yeah, you could get by with a T-shirt out here, as long as the weather stays mild.

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Board game night at RFA, and T-shirts in the middle of winter.

DSBC: That’s quite an accomplishment. Speaking of which, what were some of the big moments for you guys, in 2016? Opening had to be a big one.

Rowley: Getting open was a big push for us. It took a long time. We’ve been working on this project for a year-and-a-half. Not to mention, the time I spent before that with Solar Steve, working on it. It’s been a while. This has been a long time coming.

DSBC: Starting as a homebrewer, how has it been to open up a brewery?

Rowley: Personally, I know there’s a lot of hesitancy for homebrewers going pro, because it’s a big step up. (As a homebrewer) you might not feel like brewing on a day you have to brew, just to keep the pipeline full. But, that’s been a lot of fun for us. We’ve been experimenting a lot with our 1-barrel set-up, trying to get beers out that are exciting, beers we want to brew, that we think people are going to like. I know what I want to brew in the barrels; I’ve had a good feeling for that. I’ve had good ideas there, and I think that’s fine. It hasn’t always been an easy transition, but we have to do it. It’s an expensive process. I have to source barrels. I have to brew barrels. I’ve got to get a lot of barrels. I only have a handful of barrels right now. We actually have a fair amount.

Kaplan: About 20ish?

Rowley: In (the cellar) there are 13 barrels that are filled. We have six more that are not, that we will fill soon, and then we have four more that are coming. And, there’s that Oud Bruin barrel, too. So, yeah, we probably have about 20ish. A little over 20, but our goal is to have a lot more than that.

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Barrels of fun!

DSBC: It’s a process getting something like this going. Not an easy thing to do.

Rowley: Yeah, it wasn’t easy, but we trudged through it. We had a lot of help from our friends, and from our family.

DSBC: I’m sure it was a very rewarding process as well. What was it like when the (7-barrel) brewhouse showed up?

Rowley: It felt really good. We got it from Canteen, bought it from them, and we’ve been working since then, to get everything worked out. Of course, there’s been a lot of little bugs here and there. They basically took all of the stuff we needed off of it. They took the burner away. They took the platform. There have been a lot of little things we’ve had to sort out. But, right now, we’re in really good shape. We’ve done three batches on it, and we’re pretty comfortable with how it’s working and what we need to do. We’ve made a little tiny mistake here, and a little tiny mistake there, but nothing that’s going to hurt the beer. If it did, we’d just dump it.

DSBC: What was it like getting all of those machines finally running?

Rowley: It was a pain in the ass. (Laughs) There was a lot of work. It was more of a nuisance than trouble. It’s just jumping through these hoops. It takes a long time. You’ve got to fix this thing, and then you’ve got to fix that thing. It’s just not something you can do in a day. It took us months to get that done.

DSBC: Must have been a bit of a learning curve on the new system. There always is.

Rowley: There is still a learning curve, but we’re getting it.

DSBC: And, on the new system, you’ll be making more beer.

Rowley: We were doing 1-barrel batches on the smaller system, so we were getting about two half-barrels at a time. That system was a lot more work. You don’t have the ‘clean-in-place.’ You have pumps and stuff, but it’s still manual labor to set it up and clean it and do all the things you have to do, whereas, the big system is kind of a treat, actually. The new system is not as much work, well, you’re basically doing the same amount of work, but you’re getting seven times more beer out of it.

Kaplan: From what I’ve seen, just from the three batches that you’ve done, from the first batch through the third batch, you’re 25- (to) 30-percent faster. They’ve shaved hours off the brew time, just from the first batch to the last batch.

DSBC: And, I’ll bet it’ll get better with time. How will things change for brewing this year?

Rowley: We’re going to focus more on the big system, less on the little system. The little system will stick around. We’re still going to do some stuff on it, you know, those one-off batches that’ll be like a Saturday beer, something we’ll release in a smaller volume. Or, if we have a new recipe that we want to suss out a little bit, we’ll do it on that.

DSBC: Speaking of recipes, Jeff, I’d like to talk to you a little bit about what’s going on in the kitchen. You started out as a silent partner of John’s, how was the transition into head chef at the brewery?

Kaplan: It’s been a lot of fun. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I was mostly silent, because, as a small town, I had to keep my (other) job. I probably would have been fired the moment they heard I was going to leave in six months to be at a brewery. We’re still working a lot to get to that point from when we incorporated a year and a half, two years ago now, but it’s been a lot of fun, a lot of hard work. I’m here close to 14 hours a day, six days a week, so there’s a lot going on. I drink a lot of coffee, but it’s been great.

DSBC: Probably a lot more beer too, right?

Kaplan: It’s not a lot more beer. I’m drinking beer earlier in the day, as our house policy for cleaning our system is we clean our draft lines after every single keg blows. I do that in the morning. So, every time a keg goes during a shift, we don’t put on a new beer, until the next day. So, the next morning, before any staff or guests show up, I clean all the lines that have been blown from the night before. I don’t want to break out caustic and chemicals with all these people around. Well, when you put a new beer on, you have to test it to make sure it’s okay.

DSBC: Have to keep up the quality control.

Kaplan: Exactly.

There hasn’t been a shortage of new beers to try. For the past four months, they’ve kept their promise of keeping the taps fresh and interesting.

Rowley: We haven’t really put on the same beer, much, and we definitely haven’t had the same beer back-to-back.

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Chef Jeffrey Kaplan is always ready to discuss beer!

Kaplan: We’ve had a few beers repeat, but never back-to-back.

Rowley: It’s part of our philosophy. We want to keep it mixed up. We want to keep bringing in the best beer we can get. And, that doesn’t always mean New Mexico beer, though we do try to keep a good selection of New Mexico beer on, but we do have the restaurant license, so that we can pour out-of-state beer, and that’s important to us.

DSBC: And, without the restaurant license, you couldn’t do that.

Kaplan: Exactly.

DSBC: So, this year, one of your highlights, then, was being able to pick and choose your rotating taps at will. What have you guys done, for the fella stopping in who just wants a cheap cold one?

Rowley: We’ve tried to keep it balanced. We’re kind of a boutique place. We’re kind of shooting for a little higher-end, but we don’t want to ignore the lower-end, too.

Kaplan: Stylistically, there are a lot of people in New Mexico that like pilsners, that like their light American lagers, so we keep a dedicated pilsner handle on. Now, that’s not going to be PBR or Bud Light, but Marble makes a nice pilsner; Bosque makes a nice lager. And, we get good stuff in the state, beyond what’s produced here, and we rotate through those items.

DSBC: Briefly, I want to talk about your beers and who’s brewing them. John, I know you can’t always be here. You’re up at the labs still.

Rowley: We have Jami (Nordby) working here, full-time. He’s been fantastic.

Formerly, Nordby was the owner and operator of the Homebrew Supply here in Santa Fe, a huge resource to the local homebrew club. He recently sold the shop for a bit of a change of pace, friends said.

Rowley: He’s such a solid (guy). We saw the opportunity to hire him, so we did. He’s done so much good work for us.

Kaplan: Beyond that, just working and doing stuff, when the wind picks up and we have trouble with these tents, he’s out here helping break them down. He’s like a jackal; he’s MacGyver! He’s a great guy, and a great resource.

Rowley: He’s been a big help for us. He’s our head brewer.

DSBC: How about Tyler King? I know he does a lot for you guys.

Rowley: He’s been here every weekend, painting, building this stuff, unwrapping this shit. Tyler’s been with us from the beginning. I offered him a job as an assistant brewer, a long time ago. It was kind of something he wanted to do. He’s a good homebrewer. I think he’s going to be a great brewer. His skills are moving up.

DSBC: And, so he’ll be someone who makes decisions here in the future about what sort of beers are going to be brewed.

Rowley: Yeah, he’s part of the team.

Kaplan: Core team. Absolutely!

Rowley: I told Tyler, if he’s got some ideas to spit them out. I don’t want him to bottle them up. So, yeah!

DSBC: A long time ago we mentioned that the beers brewed here at Rowley Farmhouse Ales were not going to be the usual lineup of familiar mugs. You were going to do your own take. Let’s talk about the beers you made last year, and where you’re going from there.

Rowley: We’ve done about 20 different beers on the smaller system, and three now, on the big system. We’re going to experiment with four or so, core beers. We’re going to be brewing those in stainless steel, and they won’t be barrel-aged. They’ll just be draft beer we can turn around. We’re going to try to push some of that out into the marketplace.

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More beer is coming.

We’re working with a distributor to set that up. But, I won’t talk about all that just yet. We have two of the four batches fermenting. The following week we’ll be doing the next two beers. In between those, Tyler and I will be brewing beers on the small batch on Saturdays. And, we’ll squeeze in some bigger beers for barrel aging, because we definitely need to have more beer in the basement.

In 2017, their beers will include a Rye Saison, named “Fields of Rye,” an East Coast IPA called “Agent Scully,” because it has a bit of ginger in it. There will be a straight-to-the-point Berliner Weisse, as of yet unnamed, and another Berliner Weisse with Brett and unmalted organic Sonoran white wheat currently named “Ab Initio.” They’ll also have a dry-hopped, Brett-spelt Saison, which will be more hoppy than one might expect, while still remaining a Brett Saison. Their list of beers certainly won’t be limited to a set of cores and seasonals, as John mentioned, they’ll continue to push out smaller one-offs as they get brewed.

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New beers are nearly ready.

DSBC: Jeff, really quickly, over the past four months, I’ve seen your menu evolve, keeping some items, and losing others. Will the menu rotate like the tap list?

Kaplan: We had a menu change about two weeks ago. We kept some core items, and kind of ‘winterized’ the menu. I took off some cold dishes, put on some warm dishes. My plan is to change 25 to 35 percent of the menu per season, and keep it evolving all the time. The food that we get, fresh, from the farmer’s market, is cyclical, so what we make is based on what’s fresh and available at the time. The vegetables in our dishes will change based on what we get every Saturday from the farmer’s market.

DSBC: Rowley Farmhouse Ales has become a great place for dinner, as a result. This past year, you guys have done some pretty cool beer dinners, one recently with the Cheesemongers of Santa Fe. How was that?

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Cheese-pairing class with the Cheesemongers of Santa Fe. (Photo courtesy of Rowley Farmhouse Ales)

Rowley: That was great! That was a good time. I think that was a well-received event. Everyone had a good time. I didn’t really know what to expect going into it.

Kaplan: There were 33 people here.

Rowley: We packed it in (the brewhouse). I don’t know how we’re going to do that again, unless we tear all the shit out.

DSBC: In 2017, will you guys be doing more beer dinners like that? Will you host more events like special tap takeovers with Ballast Point, such as you had last year?

Rowley: We’ll definitely be doing more fun stuff like that. We’re all for that.

One thing they’ve done regularly at Rowley Farmhouse Ales in 2016, which will continue through 2017 and beyond, is their Pulls for Puppies program. This program donates $1 of each glass of the designated tap to a new non-profit organization which switches quarterly. In their first quarter, they raised almost $2,500 for the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society. This quarter, they’re benefiting NMDog, an all-volunteer rescue service, working to end chaining up dogs outside.

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Beer is even better when it’s for a good cause.

DSBC: Sounds like you’re definitely giving us plenty of reasons to keep coming back. What would you guys like to say to the folks out there, anyone who maybe hasn’t been in yet to hang out at this unique spot?

Rowley: I would say, come on out, and we’ll show you a good time. We’ve got a great selection of beer, and we work hard to bring the best beer to the state. We want everyone to enjoy it as much as we do.

Kaplan: I really want to thank everybody that’s been supporting us so far, all the guests that have come in, from the local neighborhood in Santa Fe, and the people from Albuquerque who have come up to check us out. We’ve had a lot of community support, and it’s been great! We couldn’t do it without all the customers, friends, and family. And, beer-wise, we have some special stuff coming for you guys, so check us out if you haven’t yet.

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They’ve got some special stuff planned for us this year!

Rowley Farmhouse Ales may be Santa Fe’s youngest brewery, but that by no means makes them a green beer, too young to gauge its quality. Not at all. They may have only been on the scene since September, but it’s already evident that they bring years of beer and food experience to the table. Actually they bring it to their table, nightly, and that’s reason to go back, again and again.

In fact, they have a calendar they fill up with special beers they’re saving just for the right day. Every Wednesday they tap a new beer at 4 p.m., making it feel like a weekly rare bottle share with friends who know their beer, and as an added bonus, those friends bring the fresh food to go with the brews. From those I’ve spoken to about this space, Rowley has already locked themselves into the hearts and minds of craft beer enthusiasts for miles around (as evidenced by their huge line at WinterBrew), and with little luck needed, they’ll continue to be that rare gastropub experience Santa Fe has been looking for, filling that too-often, just-missed niche.

RFA is a brewer’s brewery, a hangout for true beer geeks, created and carefully curated by beer geeks. As Kaplan said, “We wanted a place that we’d want to go to.” And, since they couldn’t find one locally, they made one. To making it, and making it count.

Cheers!

— Luke

Lukemon

For more @nmdarksidebc info and #CraftBeer news, follow me on Twitter @SantaFeCraftBro

These were some seriously happy brewery staffers after they brought home a fairly major award.

An enduring image of 2016 will always be the Boxing Bear staff celebrating after being named Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival in October.

Looking back over the year, 2016 was a doozy, to put it lightly. The political, social, and economic struggles of 2016 made us glad we have plenty of great places to go for a beer. Fortunately, the New Mexico brewing industry enjoyed many successes in 2016, with very few losses along the way. We saw brewers recognized in major competitions, breweries expand their craft operations, new breweries open up, and opponents of the industry beat back, or at least silenced (for now). Here, we take a look at just a few of New Mexico beer’s many achievements brought about by the hard work of so many passionate people. Much thanks to Stoutmeister, for helping me to wrangle so much info into one small story.

Major awards

Once again, our brewers did us proud, highlighting 2016 with the glint of shiny medals. Eighteen “Big Ones” were awarded to several very deserving breweries, not to mention Boxing Bear enjoying just a wee bit of success as the Great American Beer Festival’s Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year, as well running away with the coveted New Mexico IPA Challenge trophy. Although many awards were given out to New Mexico beer makers this past year, below we are listing some of the most notable.

World Beer Cup (7 total)

Gold — Nexus: Honey Chamomile Wheat, Boxing Bear: Chocolate Milk Stout, La Cumbre: BEER

Silver — Second Street: Trebuchet Imperial IPA, Canteen: High Plains Pils

Bronze — Marble: Pilsner, Bosque: IPA

Great American Beer Festival (6)

Gold — Boxing Bear: Chocolate Milk Stout and The Red Glove

Silver — Bosque: Lager and Acequia IPA

Bronze — Marble: Pilsner, La Cumbre: Siberian Silk

North American Beer Awards (5)

Gold — Blue Corn: Oatmeal Stout, Boxing Bear: Chocolate Milk Stout

Silver — Blue Corn: End of the Trail Brown Ale, Quarter Celtic: Pedro O’Flannigan’s Mexican Lager

Bronze — Rio Bravo: Karl’s Krystal Weizen

Also of note, Bosque became the first back-to-back winner of the National IPA Challenge, hosted by The Brewing News. Scale Tipper claimed victory early in the year, while Bear Knuckle IPA from Boxing Bear and Adrift IPA from Turtle Mountain also made it to the quarterfinals.

Major expansions

It was a big year for New Mexico’s largest breweries. In 2016, Marble made some huge additions to their real estate, significantly expanding their Westside Taproom. They opened up a third location, the Heights taproom and brewery. They cut the ribbon on a rooftop deck at their original taproom, and moved into their new fermentation hall, complete with towering 150-barrel fermenters and a shiny new canning line.

Speaking of canning, up in the state capital, Santa Fe Brewing Company unpacked their new line as well, and made the switch from their longtime bottled products to cans, now produced in their vast new packaging hall. This was the first year that the new music venue, The Bridge, got a chance to rock out, under the management of the brewery with names like Ziggy Marley and Atmosphere hitting the stage.

A few other new taprooms opened their doors in Albuquerque as well. If you haven’t yet done so, go check out the new locations for Canteen on Tramway and Red Door downtown, and stop in at Nexus Silver on the west side, and Monk’s Corner downtown, for some crafty deliciousness, if you’re in the neighborhood.

Legislation

It wasn’t all cheers for the brewing industry in 2016. Earlier in the year, the industry experienced a bit of a shot across the bow, from the radical neo-prohibitionist group, Alcohol Taxes Save Lives and Money. The group proposed a sizable increase on the alcohol excise tax at the wholesale level, which would raise the state tax to the highest in the nation, by far. If passed, NM breweries large and small would be hit with a devastating tax that could potentially shut down operations for many, and just to keep the doors open, breweries would pass that tax on down to us consumers per pint, six-pack, and so on. The average consumer would likely seek out a cheaper alternative. Thankfully, that legislation was quickly tabled, but only time will tell when that grim reaper will rear its ugly head.

Brewery Openings

As a sign that our ever-growing industry has no fear of saturation, a whopping 16 new breweries opened their doors to the public this past year, and there will be more to come in 2017. Enjoy beers now at the breweries below.

Santa Fe

Rowley Farmhouse Ales

Chili Line Brewing Co.

Southeast NM

Milton’s Brewing (Carlsbad)

Western NM

Route 66 Junkyard Brewery (Grants)

Northwest NM

Farmington HUB Brewery

Outside ABQ

Hub City Brewing Co. (Belen)

Ale Republic (Cedar Crest)

Albuquerque

Sidetrack Brewing Co.

Firkin Brewhouse & Grill

Starr Brothers Brewing Co.

Bow & Arrow Brewing Co.

Quarter Celtic Brewpub

Dialogue Brewing Co.

The 377 Brewery

Flix Brewhouse

Drafty Kilt Brewing

Brewery closings

Now for a moment of silence as we pour one out for our friends at Firkin Brewhouse, which shut down operations less than a year after it opened. If we didn’t dare to live the lives we want, to do what drives our passions in the face of failure, we wouldn’t be an industry, only a collection of bearded and pink-booted dreamers. To those that do, instead of just sitting around and talking about it, cheers.

Opening in 2017

Looking forward to this year, we remain hopeful that New Mexico will continue to have great options for craft beer. We will have plenty of good, solid brews, and new and interesting styles coming to our taps, and as far as that goes, we can rest assured that there won’t be a shortage of taprooms to get the cold pulls. In 2017, there’s no doubt that we will hear of more expansions and new taprooms. New breweries, beers, and brands will emerge onto the scene, and there’s nothing the radical anti-alcohol groups can do to stop us.

Stoutmeister was kind enough to also round up the list of breweries with pending small brewer licenses with the state, offering more hope for 2017.

Albuquerque

Hops Brewery (Nob Hill)

Steel Bender Brewyard (Los Ranchos) — projected February opening

Lava Rock Brewing (West side)

Desert Valley Brewing (adjacent to The Craftroom)

Bombs Away Beer Co. (near Lomas and Eubank)

Outside of Albuquerque

Truth or Consequences Brewing

Drylands Brewing (Lovington)

Bare Bones Brewing (Cedar Crest)

2017 planned breweries without license application

Red River Brewing Co.

Lone Sun Brewing (Albuquerque)

Hausammann Brewing (Albuquerque)

* * * * *

Happy New Year, New Mexico! See you at WinterBrew!

Cheers!

— Luke