The July 4 weekend is almost here, which means it is once again time for Pork & Brew in Rio Rancho at the Santa Ana Star Center. I sat down with Noah Trujillo and Alex Archuleta from the Rio Rancho Convention and Visitors Bureau to see what is up with the 14th annual edition of this popular beer-and-food festival, set for Saturday, July 1, through Monday, July 3.
“Looking back to last year, that was the best the event has ever done,” Noah said. “Our attendance numbers were up, but people also seemed to be spending (more) money. The vendors did realy well, both food and beer. To put it mildly, the event was packed. On Saturday and Sunday, the Fourth was a Monday last year, it was a little slower that day, but Saturday and Sunday were insane. Hopefully that happens again.”
As always, they wanted to remind folks this is a family friendly event. The same three local breweries as last year — Cazuela’s, Red Door, Tractor — will be in attendance. It is a purchasing event, not a sampling event. Each brewery was kind enough to send us their beer lists this far in advance.
Tractor brewed up the official beer of the festival, Big Sipper IPA, which is still on sale in cans around the state. In addition, Tractor will have Haymaker Honey Wheat, Delicious Red Apple Cider, New Mexican Lager, Mustachio Milk Stout, and Berry Cider.
Cazuela’s will once again bring Porky’s Malt Liquor, their special entry for the festival, plus Acapulco Red, Pilsner, Idaho SMASH IPA, and their Beergaritas.
Red Door will have their specialty entry, Sowbelly Blonde, plus Trapdoor White Ale, Roamer Red, and Open Saison. Noah also said that the brewery tent has been expanded this year, with more seating for patrons to enjoy.
In addition to the beer, there will be plenty of BBQ for people to sample. The competition will no longer take place, freeing up time and space. There will be a special BBQ 101, hosted by the Texas Bib Rangers, an award-winning husband-and-wife duo who have won more than 1,000 major show awards. They will show you how to make the best BBQ from start to finish. It will take place every day from 3 to 4 p.m.
“Barbecue 101 is one of those (new) things,” Noah said. “We’ve never had a cooking demo at this event, so people can see how their food is made and the process it goes through. We’re having those cooking demos every day.”
The Cooking Channel show Carnival Eats will also be on hand for the first time, filming all day Saturday and Sunday, for a future episode. It is the top-ranked show on the cable station.
For the kids, Galloping Grace Youth Ranch will be back with an even bigger setup.
“Galloping Grace Youth Ranch, they’ll be back at the event, but they’re expanding,” Noah said. “They kind of do the midway. They’re expanding that into more interactive games for the kids. They’ll have their petting zoo. They’re also using this to get ready for fair season, showing off their animals and things like that.”
There will also be a daily raffle for a Traeger Smoker, plus every day after BBQ 101 is over, a raffle will be held for a Charbroil Smoker. In other words, win a smoker, which will win you many more friends. Perhaps even the Crew, for we love smoked meats.
Plenty of local musicians will also be on hand, many of which are regulars on brewery stages. Here is the updated schedule.
Saturday, July 1
- The Gershom Brothers (Brew Tent Stage), 11 a.m.
- Toby McBrooks (SASC Stage), 12:30 p.m.
- Rippy and the Sillyettes (Brew Trent Stage), 3:15 p.m.
- The Noms (SASC Stage), 3:30 p.m.
- Avenge Apollo (Brew Tent Stage), 5 p.m.
- Twist & Shout (SASC Stage), 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 2
- Toby McBrooks (SASC Stage), 11 a.m.
- Bosque Blues (Brew Tent Stage), 11 a.m.
- Eileen and the Cross Country Stage (SASC Stage), 12:30 p.m.
- Ancient Bones (Brew Tent Stage), 3:15 p.m.
- Red Wine (SASC Stage), 3:45 p.m.
- Split Decision (SASC Stage), 5:30 p.m.
Monday, July 3
- Toby McBrooks (SASC Stage), 11 a.m.
- Danny the Harp (Brew Tent Stage), 11 a.m.
- Mungo Mike (SASC Stage), 12:30 p.m.
- Red Wine (SASC Stage), 3:30 p.m.
The event times are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on July 1-2, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 3. There will be events going on inside the Star Center, if you need a break from the parking lot heat, or should a random monsoon drop in like it did two years ago.
Tickets are $6 per day for adults, $4 for children ages 4-12 and for seniors 65 and over, and children 3 and under get in free. Active duty and retired military also get in for $4 with ID.
Grab some sunscreen, take your appetite, and have fun out there next weekend!