Happy cold, gray Thursday everyone. If you need some light back in your life, there is some good news for this weekend. The Taos Brewmasters Festival kicks off Saturday at the Ski Valley, marking its 21st annual running below the slopes.
Normally, the festival is held in December, but it was pushed back this year due to a lack of snow on the mountain above. Plus, the decision was made to no longer have the spring-time beer festival, but rather have just one fest. This one kicks off at 4:30 p.m. and runs until 7 at Tenderfoot Katie’s and the Martini Tree Bar, both of which are located at the base of Lift #1. It costs $30 at the door and you receive a complementary mug.
While plenty of you love to go skiing and snowboarding, we know ultimately that it is the pull of the beer that can be the deciding factor. Take note that this year’s fest is populated by a lot more out-of-state breweries brought in by their local distributors. There are not nearly as many breweries from Southern Colorado as in the past, as only Steamworks and Carver made the trip from Durango (neither is distributed here in NM, FYI).
The other out-of-state breweries are Alaskan, Boulder, Deschutes, Firestone Walker, Founders, Four Peaks, Full Sail, Left Hand, Mother Road, New Belgium, Odell, Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada, Upslope, and the Craft Brew Alliance, which we think is that collection of breweries from the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii that is partially owned by the Evil Empire (InBev).
As for the locals, a total of 10 New Mexico breweries will be present. Here is what they are bringing, as reported to us by the breweries themselves:
- Boxing Bear — Iron Lung Smoked Porter, Standing 8 Stout, Paw Swipe Pale Ale
- Chama River — UPDATED: Class VI Golden Lager, Sleeping Dog Stout
- La Cumbre — TBA
- Marble — Double White, IPA, Priddy Bueno Porter, Spruce Moose
- Red Door — Gateway Blonde, Calypso SMaSH, Strong Scotch Ale, Paint it Black Milk Stout
- Santa Fe — UPDATED: Chicken Killer, Java Stout, Pale Ale, Happy Camper, State Pen Porter, SF Gold, Nut Brown, Black IPA, Adobe Igloo, plus two bottles to be released at different hours of Single Barrel Sour, and two bottles of Lemon Skynard also to be released at different hours
- Sierra Blanca — TBA
- Taos Mesa — Kolsch 45, 3 Peaks IPA, Tap Dance Barley Wine, BBA Black Diamond Export Stout
- Three Rivers — TBA
- Tractor — Farmer’s Almanac IPA, Farmer’s Tan Red, Mustachio Milk Stout, Delicious Red Apple Cider
Marble’s Tony Calder pointed out that this will mark the debut of Spruce Goose, a new stout made with (you guessed it) spruce tips. The Priddy Bueno just went on tap recently at the Marble taprooms here in Albuquerque as well. Iron Lung returned to Boxing Bear late Wednesday.
If any of us in the Crew were able to head up this weekend, we would also be making a beeline for that bourbon barrel-aged Black Diamond Export Stout and the Tap Dance Barley Wine at Taos Mesa’s booth. I suppose we will just have to hope they bring that down for WinterBrew in Santa Fe on Jan. 13. (Please? Pretty please?)
Of course, skiing/snowboarding and then drinking on an empty stomach would be a terrible idea. Five local restaurants — Bavarian, Blonde Bear Tavern, Medley, Rhoda’s, Sagebrush Inn — will be providing food during the festival.
Keep an eye on the weather, of course, but otherwise if your weekend is lacking in anything to do, we would definitely suggest a trip up north to try some quality brews in a beautiful setting.