Well, this past weekend took quite a bit out of all of us. Hence, no Monday story, and only a couple other Crew members could put together coherent thoughts about all that happened. We can’t blame the IPA Challenge, either, since Andrew was one of four of us who was there.
As for me? Well, in addition to the hops, I spent Friday night showing an old college friend around town. Swede had never stopped in Albuquerque for anything more than a tank of gas, but after hearing me brag over and over again about our beers, he was ready to finally stop in and see what our breweries offered. Well, that and he can’t seem to get enough of La Cumbre’s distribution in Tucson.
We hit up Canteen so he could try a flight and maybe grab a bite to eat. That maybe turned into definitely as the rain hit hard the first time. After a couple pints and some food, we moved to Bosque in Nob Hill. It rained a lot more outside, pints were consumed inside, and by golly, we have a new convert to our beer scene. He said he was impressed by the sheer quality of taprooms compared to those in Tucson (though they are starting to catch up).
Though I never asked Swede which specific beer was his favorite, he did order a pint of Pecos Trail Brown at Canteen after his flight, while Elephants on Parade and The Irish Goodbye were his Bosque selections.
Meanwhile, after the NMIPAC ended on Saturday, I lost track of the rest of the Crew and ended up waiting with the brewery folks who either worked for the Guild or just ended up hanging out until the very end. Someone came up with the glorious idea of driving into the heart of Bernalillo and going to the historic dive of dives, Silva’s Saloon. The place was quite the slice of history, and worth further exploration. (It is right next to the original Range Cafe, just in case you got lost like Brandon and co. did trying to find us.)
A good time was had by all by the pool table, with cans of Marble Pilsner on hand, and a jukebox cranking out some random old tunes. I would share more details, but it was all off the record. Oh, but if you ever challenge La Cumbre’s Daniel Jaramillo at pool, you better bring your “A” game. The man is a shark. I feel that’s something that I can safely report.
On with the rest of the Crew’s adventures …
Dine out, darkness in
This weekend I hit up one of my favorite local haunts, M’tucci’s Market & Pizzeria after a long morning swim. I go for the quality of the food, the charm of the place, and the eclectic selection of local beers they have on tap. Well, that and the fact that it is mere minutes from home. Of the two saison-style brews they had on tap, I went with Bosque’s Pepporfessor Honeydew, which had mellowed in spiciness over time perfectly to accompany the many delectable meats on the pizza selections we made.
Since reading Brewmaster’s Table by Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery, I’ve taken a bit more of an appreciation of just what different styles of beer can accomplish when paired — using intent and a little knowledge — with food. Good meals can become, well, transformative experiences with the right pairing of beer and dish of choice (try a weissbier with good bratwurst, kraut, and mustard to get an idea). This day was one of those for me, but then I have yet to meet an unworthy dish at any of the M’tucci’s establishments, so go and try it for yourself.
The day continued in excellence to the nightcap, which was my last bottle of my favorite beer, batch one of Avery’s Tweak from 2014. If you know anything about us in the Dark Side, there are few beers we do not consider “sessionable.” This one is, in fact, a sipper. Deep waves of darkness from malts and coffee and barrel create, to my palate, the pinnacle of what beer can be. This is not some one-trick animal, either. Layered subtle echoes, shades of the dead, tendrils of the darkest fears and … er, malts, roasted, toasted, burned at the stake … clearly, perfection! Grab a bottle and find out for yourself.
— Franz Solo
Back to the Winchester
I had another overdue visit this weekend. Sunday afternoon, I stopped at Quarter Celtic after an almost two-month hiatus. Quarter Celtic may be my favorite neighborhood-pub-style vibe kind of brewery in the ABQ area. I feel regular-ish, even if I go only once every couple months.
I started with the VP30, which is a Festbier commemorating the 30th anniversary of Village Pizza of Corrales and Albuquerque. The anniversary was celebrated earlier in the month, but this clean, well-balanced, and true-to-style beer carries on. After a few refreshing gulps, my banger in a bun arrived. This sausage was properly presented on a fresh pretzel bun with whole-grain mustard and purple kraut. I didn’t plan it, but of course, it paired perfectly with the VP30.
For dessert I happily lapped up a MacLomas Stout. I tend to think of Dry Irish Stouts as the “lagers of stouts.” They are the younger cousins of the bigger, bolder stouts that we tend to champion in the NM Dark Side Brew Crew. However, I found myself content with this not-so-dry, and slightly creamy with a little bit of roastiness, 5.4-percent ABV-packing stout.
Aggie up, Lobo fan
For my weekend beer-cap, my craft connoisseur-ing was pretty much broken down into post IPA Challenge Final celebrations and the recovery stages. Much fun was had Saturday, and many beers certainly were drank in honor of another Challenge in the books, but what stood out the most was a fresh cold one straight from Bosque North’s new canning machine. In my experience, it doesn’t get much better than a can straight from the line, shared amongst beer friends, regardless of beer style and the college team on the side of the can. (Go Lobos! Haha.) Thank you Mr. Bullard for the full tour and your excellent hospitality! The Crew won’t soon forget.