After a rather epic 40th birthday party for yours truly on Friday night, the rest of the weekend was spent in reflection of times gone by, and what is still to come. Namely, what have we already written on and what do we still need to put here on the site. It occurred to me that we have not done our annual early preview of ABQ Beer Week, where the Crew tries to pick out one top event per day of the upcoming craft beer extravaganza.
Well, with ABQ Beer Week kicking off two weeks from this Thursday on May 24 (running until June 3), we are not as early as usual. Of course, this does mean a lot of the schedule is more set in stone, so that should keep us from looking back on this later and going “whoops, that was the wrong day/that event did not happen.”
Thursday, May 24
There are a whole lot of tastings on this day, plus one event to get you off the barstool and on your feet, but in the end we still have to go with tradition. Marble is bringing back its Beer, Cheese & More at the downtown brewery. Head over to get some of the best Marble beers paired up with all sorts of delectable finger foods. When tickets go on sale at the taproom, we will let everyone know, since it sells out every year.
Friday, May 25
At first glance, the 21 and Over Tap Takeover at Sister did not seem to make much sense. After all, to drink beer, you gotta be 21 and over, right? Well, it actually refers to the participating breweries, all of whom are 21 and over in terms of their years of operation. Old-school favorites like Bell’s, Firestone Walker, Four Peaks, Left Hand, New Belgium, Odell, Rogue, and Sierra Nevada will each be bringing a unique one-off beer. When we get closer to the event, we will reveal said list.
Saturday, May 26
There are 10 listed events, so this is one of the busiest days. We gotta go with Nexus’ anniversary party, which runs all day. There will be the infamous red chile ribs, plus the previous two days saw the release of a new IPA and Beam Me Up Scotty, so those will both be available as well. There will also be live music. As always, Uber/Lyft are your best options because that parking lot fills up fast.
Sunday, May 27
Of course we have to pick ABQ Blues & Brews at Sandia Casino, one of the biggest beer festivals in our state. Tickets are on sale now. The long preliminary list includes New Mexico breweries like Bathtub Row, Bosque, Broken Trail, Canteen, Duel, Enchanted Circle, Eske’s, Flix Brewhouse, Hops Brewery, Kellys, Kilt Check, Lava Rock, Marble, Nexus, Ponderosa, Quarter Celtic, Rio Bravo, Santa Fe, Sierra Blanca, Steel Bender, Tractor, and Tumbleroot, plus of course the Dukes of Ale will be on hand.
Monday, May 28
If you do not feel like firing up the grill, but would still like some charred meats, then head over to Steel Bender for the smoke-out. There will be mucho meats, plus sides, and beers, and live music, too.
Tuesday, May 29
Remember when the Crew helped make Obey the Darkside, our beastly stout, over at Canteen? Well, it turns out it is not all gone. No, some was put into a Two Fools Whiskey Barrel, and now it will be transferred to a cask and served all day at Canteen’s main location. See you all when the doors open at noon!
Wednesday, May 30
A chunk of the Crew will be making one of our crazy there-and-back trips to Denver to catch one of our favorite Nordic melodic death metal bands, Insomnium, so you will not see us on this day. For the rest of you staying here, might we suggest a saunter over to Quarter Celtic? The mini-cask fest, a huge hit last year, will be back with a selection of delightful special beers. It’s also Wing Wednesday, if you actually needed any additional incentive.
Thursday, May 31
This day is a killer, because not only we will be racing back from Denver, but we have to choose between two events that look epic. Of course, we have to be at Battle of the Beer Geeks at Tractor Wells Park to see if we can finally reclaim the title from the Babes in Brewland. For those looking for something different this year, head over to Flix Brewhouse for a special showing of the cinematic classic Beerfest (which was filmed here in ABQ). There will be a special collaboration beer release with Steel Bender, plus other fun activities for fans of the movie.
Friday, June 1
Nob Hill Bar & Grill is hosting a Firestone Walker Barrelworks tap takeover. Um, if you insist. I mean, that was just one of the holy beer pilgrimages of a lifetime and all. FW just won four medals (three gold, one silver) at the World Beer Cup, too. When we have the tap list, we will share it. Then we will drink them all.
Saturday, June 2
The second-to-last day is packed, as one would expect, so there are a lot of options. After some hemming and hawing, we will head for the Mini Lager Fest at Ponderosa. The hosts are bringing together multiple breweries to offer up their best lagers. A slew of sessionable beers on what will probably be a scorcher of a day? Sign us up!
Sunday, June 3
Ready for another cask festival? Head to Steel Bender for Le Cask Lunatique, which brings together a flock of firkins with local jazz icons Le Chat Lunatique. Once again, when we know the identities of the cask beers, we will share them.
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Those are our early picks, but we reserve the right to change our minds, or of course to attend multiple events. As we do every year, please remember not to overdo it out there. Lyft and Uber are your friends, as are your actual friends who are willing to be designated drivers.
We will have a lot more on ABQ Beer Week in the days ahead, from focusing on specific events to running down everything at the breweries participating for multiple days. Until then, head to the official website to see some of the other events that are listed so far, and see if there are any that pique your interest more than what we listed above.