No local brewery dives into ABQ Beer Week quite like Tractor, which once again will load up on the fun throughout the 11-day series of events. To make sure I had all the necessary information, I was able to sit down with the incredibly busy dynamic duo of Jeremy Kinter and Carla Bryant to go over all 11 events at both Tractor locations.
Thursday at Wells Park
First up is the Big Sipper IPA can release. As I recently discussed with Tractor co-owner Skye Devore, this session IPA is the official beer of the upcoming Pork & Brew in Rio Rancho. The July event is a ways off, but Tractor is already releasing the new 16-ounce cans to the public. The event kicks off at 7 p.m., with the Silver String Band providing entertainment from 8 p.m. Onward. Nomad’s BBQ will be parked outside for all your culinary needs.
Friday at Wells Park
We have said before how much we love when our breweries join forces, but we have to admit, it has been a while (if ever) that we have seen one brewery host another. Rowley Farmhouse Ales will be bringing down some of its finest creations for Sour Hour starting at 5 p.m. There will be six featured beers from Santa Fe, plus Tractor will have some of their own.
“We’re going to be featuring our Flanders Red and Berliner Weisse and then we might have a special sour that we put on tap as well,” Jeremy said. “That will go until the kegs run out.”
After the sours have left everyone plenty puckered out, sit back and enjoy the rhythmic excellence of the Desert Darlings as they present Hops & Dreams: Beer Week Edition. If we haven’t sang their praises enough in the past, let us say again that these amazingly talented dancers put on one truly amazing show.
Saturday at Wells Park
Oh, collaboration beers, how much do we love thee? Tractor and Flagstaff’s Mother Road Brewing have joined forces to create two excellent new beers that will make their debut at 7 p.m. Look for an altbier and a unique take on a double IPA on tap throughout the night.
One of our longtime favorite local bands, Le Chat Lunatique (we first saw them at Septemberfest in Marble’s old back parking lot in 2010), will provide the tunes starting at 8 p.m.
Saturday at Nob Hill
In a late addition to the schedule, Tractor will be hosting another edition of Crafternoon starting at 3 p.m. Attendees will be making special beer cozies and coasters. The Yarn Store will provide the kits, or you can buy your own at their store across the street. This is a free event and open to crafty types of all skill levels.
Sunday at Sandia Resort & Casino
Tractor will join around 70 other breweries for the annual ABQ Blues & Brews Festival. We will have an in-depth preview of who’s taking what later this week.
Monday at Nob Hill
OK, it’s shameless self-promotion time again! The Dark Side Brew Crew is hosting Beer Geeks Trivia starting at 7 p.m. The event is free to all, and there will prizes provided by Tractor. There will be five rounds total, including a special tasting round in the middle where you get to try and correctly identify which Tractor beer you are drinking. Prior to that, Round One will focus on general New Mexico craft beer knowledge, Round Two will focus on national craft beer, and then after the tasting round, Round Four gets tough with New Mexico beer history, and Round Five caps it all with questions submitted by 10 different breweries around town.
Tuesday, May 30 at Wells Park
In what’s becoming an annual tradition, Tractor and Cheesy Street are teaming up for more beer-and-fried-cheese pairings. For $13 you get a tray of six different mini-fried cheese sandwiches, each paired with a different small pour of a Tractor beer. We promise, you will have a gouda time. (OK, wait, sorry, that was a terrible pun. Terrible.) It will start at 5 p.m.
Wednesday, May 31 at Wells Park
Tractor is teaming up with Gruet Winery and Cheese & Coffee for a special five-course dinner starting at 7 p.m. This is not a ticketed-in-advance event, so patrons can buy each pairing separately, meaning no one has to eat and drink more than they want.
“It’s no longer Beer vs. Wine, that was just a glitch,” Carla said of the renamed event, which is different than what is on the printed Beer Week fliers. “We’ll have for each course for sale individually the night of and we have them until they run out.”
Thursday, June 1 at Wells Park
The fourth annual Battle of the Beer Geeks takes center stage as the Crew (inaugural champs) tries to reclaim the title from two-time winner Babes in Brewland. Of course, you could all show up and end up voting for the Worthogs or Dukes of Ale or the other competitors, but hey, we’ll understand. (Maybe) This year we flipped it up a bit with a theme, as everyone had to brew to a style corresponding to a wheat beer. Don’t worry, the Crew still went ridiculously overboard, but I am happy to report that we did not clog the heat exchanger this year and cause head brewer Josh Campbell to lose any hair.
It costs $10 for a tray of the five beers, but you will not know who brewed what. You then get a pint of your favorite, which counts as your vote. The winner will be announced around 8 p.m.
Friday, June 2 at Wells Park
If you have never been to an Art Fight before, this is the one time to go check it out. It kicks off at 7 p.m. and admission is free.
Friday, June 2 at Nob Hill
Even we had to ask what the heck Night Out Cards was all about. Basically, as Jeremy explained it, it is a special deck of cards with “truth or dare” style questions. A deck and two wristbands costs $20, and you can add up to five additional players on your team for $5 apiece. Each wristband gets $1 off beers, and there will be special prizes and contests every 30 minutes. WhichCraft will also be on hand to help you choose which beers you want to drink.
“Basically they’re brewery truth or dare cards, you get a deck and you have to do things like fake a break-up in a bar and you get so many points,” Jeremy said. “The team with the most points at the end wins a big old prize.”
Saturday, June 3 at Nob Hill
The annual Cider Day Night Fever gets kicked up a notch this year, with Tractor bringing in guest ciders from Santa Fe Cider Works, New Mexico Cider Company, Palmer Brewery and Cider House, Skarsgard Farms, and Red Door. It all starts at 5 p.m., with DJ Wae Fonkey providing the dance tunes starting at 7 p.m.
“They’re bringing some cool stuff,” Jeremy said. “Red Door is going to have a blood orange cider and their Unhinged. There will be an Enchanted Cherry Cider from Santa Fe. We’re going to have a Cranberry Ginger Cider and our Golden Dry Cider. Those two will be very limited.”
Saturday, June 3 at Wells Park
Speaking of ciders, the Triple Berry Cider will make its debut in concert with the Jodie Herrera Art Opening and Glass Release. A touring band from California, The Blank Tapes, will perform starting at 8 p.m.
* * * * *
After all of that, we just hope Jeremy gets to go home and sleep. For a week. Thanks, dude, you earned it!
Carla will soon be moving on to the next chapter, and we thank her for all her time and patience with us over the past year. Her successor gets to start up just in time for all the fun!