Archive for August, 2018

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In their finest bow ties, the Blue Corn boys heft the hardware

SANTA FE — It has now been a few weeks since Blue Corn Brewery brought home the New Mexico IPA Challenge trophy. With their busy late-summer schedules, and their transition to a new chef and menu, the staff just now got around to celebrating. Well, they did it in true Blue Corn fashion with another epic beer dinner to give Santa Fe a chance to cheer Blue Corn’s big win, as well as introduce us to the new man behind the menu.

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General manager Michelle Kyle introduces head chef Josh Ortiz.

Chef Ortiz had just moved across town from Rio Chama, one of Santa Fe Dining’s more upscale establishments, just a 5-minute stroll from the Plaza. It was there that he truly sharpened his knife as the sous chef. Before that, he worked under Kelly Rodgers at La Casa Sena, another fine downtown eatery.

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Baby arugula, fresh pomegranate, triple cream brie, avocado, basil vinaigrette, pine nuts, pomegranate balsamic reduction, all paired with Pomegranate Gose.

“We’re all really excited that (Ortiz) is here,” assistant brewer Andy Lane said. “His new dishes (on the updated menu) are amazing.”

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Shrimp Tempura, jumbo lump crab salad, crispy wonton chip, spicy mango chutney, micro cilantro, all paired with La Marcha Wedding Lager.

Across four courses, we really got to know what Ortiz brings to the table. From the arugula salad with fresh pomegranate, pine nuts, and brie, to the jumbo lump crab salad with shrimp tempura, to the duck confit with orange segments and orange glaze, and finally to the dessert course of dark chocolate custard with whipped cream mousse and macerated strawberries, we all got a thorough introduction to Ortiz’s chops.

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Duck confit, white bean summer succotash, roasted cipolini onions, orange segments, frisee, orange glaze, all paired with Gatekeeper IPA.

Having been to several of these beer dinners now, I thought that the food was much better in practice than it was on paper. I’ve seen arugula salads and duck confit dishes in a few multi-course prix fixe menus, but at Blue Corn that night, each course was so creatively crafted, balanced, and paired that each dish felt fresh and exciting. Each bite was a new trip down the rabbit hole, chaotic and uncertain of where you’ll land, but in a very good way. I regret that I didn’t take a look at the new and updated regular menu, but after stuffing myself with so much deliciousness, I couldn’t possibly think about more food for a few days. Can you blame me?

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Dark chocolate custard, graham cracker-hazelnut crust, whipped cream mousse, macerated strawberries, all paired with Oatmeal Stout.

That night in Santa Fe, Blue Corn brewers also hoisted up the IPA Challenge trophy for the second time in the brewery’s history. The first win came from John Bullard in 2013 with his Resurgence IPA. Blue Corn is still the only brewery to win this coveted trophy from outside the Albuquerque metro area. Last year, head brewer Paul Mallory wasn’t as pleased with how his IPA ultimately turned out.

“I wanted more from it,” he said.

This year, he and Lane really worked on getting the recipe to where they thought it should be.

I reached out to Mallory to get an idea as to what the IPA Challenge win means to him, to Blue Corn Brewery, as well as the New Mexico craft beer industry.

DSBC: What does winning the IPA Challenge mean to you, personally?

Mallory: Winning the IPA Challenge means a lot to me. It was a really great way to get people excited about trying our beer. It was really amazing to be able to celebrate with family, friends, co-workers, and customers as well.

DSBC: How does winning the IPA Challenge impact Blue Corn’s current production?

Mallory: We have had trouble keeping the Gatekeeper on tap since the win. We have all of our other beers we’re trying to keep up with at the moment, too. But, we will do our best to keep brewing the Gatekeeper. As long as people keep enjoying it, I’ll keep brewing it.

DSBC: When will it be available again?

Mallory: We currently have it on tap now. I hope it will be on for another week or so, but you never know how fast it will go.

DSBC: Plans for next year’s challenge?

Mallory: I haven’t thought about next year’s competition yet. I’m not sure if we’ll change it up or not.

DSBC: Why do you feel it’s important that we have competitions like this?

Mallory: I think competitions like this are great because they push brewers to be their best or most extreme, depending on the competition. In New Mexico, I really feel the competitions help build camaraderie as well. The NM Brewers Guild does a great job with that aspect of it.

DSBC: Lastly, what’s Blue Corn taking to GABF?

Mallory: We are taking the Gatekeeper IPA, Gold Medal Oatmeal Stout, End of the Trail Brown Ale, Barrel Aged Cosmic Darkness, and Pomegranate Gose to GABF this year.

Blue Corn Brewery will have a booth at the event.

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Cheers to more beer dinners!

I would personally like to thank all the staff at Blue Corn Brewery for their hard work and incredible hospitality. To your well-deserved victory, to your new chef, we raise ‘em up!

Cheers!

— Luke

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I don’t always drink fancy cocktails… But when I do, I do it in a Maiden shirt.

For more #craftbeer news, @nmdarksidebc info, and shameless Untappd check-ins follow me on Twitter @SantaFeCraftBro. Untappd: SantaFeLuke

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s seven breweries, one in Los Alamos, one in Moriarty, one in Red River, and one in Las Cruces also joining the party.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

At this point, when Friday rolls around and there is no special canned beer release somewhere in the metro area, that is what seems like the anomaly. Thankfully, this is one of those now-normal Fridays, with a special treat as two of our favorites from the past make a triumphant return. La Cumbre is bringing back its delicious Oktoberfest as soon as the doors open at noon. Bosque, in the meantime, is making the long-awaited transition from bottles to cans with Scale Tipper IPA. The two-time New Mexico and National IPA Challenge winner will be available in the 16-ounce cans in four packs at all Bosque taprooms this Friday at opening. The two beers are such a delightful contrast, malty versus hoppy, that we will easily make room in our beer fridges for some of both.

A big event for the upcoming three-day weekend will see Santa Fe Brewing bring its ongoing 30th anniversary celebration to Albuquerque. The taproom at Green Jeans, from open to close, will be one big party site this Saturday. There will be live music, beer specials, and more, with $1 from every pint sold going to New Mexico Autism Society and Watermelon Mountain Ranch. There is also the return of Marble’s Labor Day El Festival on Monday at the downtown location. Scroll down to the Marble entry for the full lineup of bands.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Ale Republic has more Diablo de Oro, Bug Juice, Blonde, and Strong Dark and Handsome. Bombs Away heats up the sweet with Meltdown Vanilla Brown. Bosque also gets a little hazy with Lomas and Open Space, and a little malty with Down in the Hollow and the spectacular Fresh Start. Boxing Bear digs up some Guava Gose and will add Pineapple Milk Shake later this week. Canteen brings back Hank ESB. Marble unearths some Abbey Gold. Ponderosa has fresh Oatmeal Stout at last. Red Door resurrects Lemongrass Pilsner on Friday. Sidetrack tunes it up with Turntable IPA Track 4, plus Sunburst Pale Ale is back and Crystal Cream Ale debuts. Steel Bender will have more Manaña Tropical IPA.

Up in Santa Fe, Rowley Farmhouse Ales scrolls ahead with Agent Scully – Season Two, Episode 3, plus Sonora Weisse and Greyscale are available. Over in Red River, RRBC brings back Bad Medicine Honey DIPA and adds Amarillo SMASH.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of August 27.

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Proper glassware, Pfriem, TRVE, CAH, and … yeah, not sure what the frypan was doing there, but you can blame our insatiable need for bacon.

Welcome back to this weekly feature, which got skipped last week due to a deadly combination of not enough people sending in items, and too many other stories clogging up the queue.

This past weekend, however, was a lot more jam-packed with beer-related fun for most of us. Huzzah to that! For me (Stoutmeister), it was a chance to catch up with friends in the film industry who actually got a weekend off. There were beers to be consumed, ridiculous food to eat, and, naturally, a round of Cards Against Humanity was in the, um, cards.

On the beer front, folks cleaned out some oldies but goodies. We had beers from Trinity Brewing (Colorado Springs), TRVE Brewing (Denver), pre-evil-empire Wicked Weed (Asheville, NC), Pfriem (Hood River, OR), and one lunatic stout known as the Truffledome from California. For a few other beers, we did a little mixology. Using Santa Fe’s Chicken Killer as a base, we tested it out with some Oak Aged Vanilla Worldwide Stout from Dogfish Head, and the blend was a beauty, as it took away some of the CK burn as well as keeping the Worldwide from being overly sweet. Hey, if the folks at the SFBC taprooms can make some mixes, we can, too.

Now to the rest of the Crew’s weekend adventures … (more…)

There will soon be two locations to get your Quarter Celtic beer-and-food fix!

We got some good news earlier today (Monday) in the form of an email from Quarter Celtic Brewpub co-owner Ror McKeown. He let us know that QC’s first taproom is now in the works at 1930 Juan Tabo, between Indian School and Menaul, with a projected opening date that “will loosely be February/March 2019.”

The taproom will be about 3,000 square feet, making it smaller than the original pub at San Mateo and Lomas. The taproom will still serve about 10 to 12 beers, like the original, and will have the full food menu as well. It will seat roughly 90 people, Ror wrote.

The location is on the east side of Juan Tabo, just north of Indian School and south of Menaul. Long ago, it was the location of the original Tomato Cafe.

QC will be joining what is quickly becoming a potentially crowded little area for beer. The new Black Snout Brewhouse will open in a few months at 11500 Menaul in a shopping center on the southeast corner of the Menaul/Juan Tabo intersection. That brewery has a pending small brewer license with the State of New Mexico.

Boxing Bear was long rumored to be opening a taproom in the still-unbuilt Snowheights Promenade at Eubank and Menaul. The status of both the taproom and the development is unknown at this time.

As more updates about the new QC taproom become available, we will share them with all of you.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

 

The metal frame of the future brewery building at Steel Bender, just west of the existing building.

Anyone stopping by Steel Bender Brewyard recently may have noticed a bit of construction going on just west of the brewpub. The Crew certainly noticed, so I swung by to talk to owners Ethan and Shelby Chant and head brewer Bob Haggerty about just what is going on in Los Ranchos.

The brewery, which is not even a year-and-a-half old yet, is already expanding its brewing space to keep up with customer demand.

“It’s honestly because we’re moving a lot quicker than we thought,” Ethan said. “There are some opportunities that we were presented with that we really weren’t able to take advantage of. Bob has just been working, making this work, and it’s just too small (in the brewery), but he’s been doing a heck of a job.”

The new 8,000-square-foot building will serve as the primary brewing area, double the size of the existing brewing space.

“It’s going to have lots of fancy space, lots of square footage,” Ethan said with a smile. “It’s 8,000 square feet, with a section of offices, and the brewer’s office. Then most everything else is just brewing space, canning space, keg washing space.”

It is a bit crowded inside the existing brewery space.

Bob, whose current work space has gotten a bit compact, is all too eager to be able to stretch out again.

“We’re going to move the brewhouse over and we’re going to add a whirlpool vessel and add potentially some extra hot liquor storage,” he said. “The idea is to be able to basically bring that brewhouse up to everything it can produce. … A 15-barrel brewhouse can pump out a lot of beer, if you do it right. With the addition of a whirlpool vessel, we should be able to easily push out three turns in a day, but what I’m hoping for is four.”

To help make that happen, 60-barrel fermenters will also be installed alongside a canning line for Steel Bender.

“We got Mother Road (Mobile Canning) in to do our canning for us,” Bob said. “We have plans for our own canning line to come in very soon and then we’ll be moving it over into the new building when that is complete. That’s projected to be complete early next year.”

At the current rate of progress, things could be done even sooner than that.

“To be conservative I was thinking the first of the year, but the building is moving a lot faster than anticipated,” Ethan said.

As for the current brewing space, that will not go unused.

“The existing brewery space will be populated with barrels, hopefully some foeders, then the production will all take place in the new building,” Bob said.

The trench drain is already in place for the new building.

Things have certainly accelerated for Steel Bender so far in 2018. Six-pack cans of Red Iron Red, Skull Bucket IPA, Lloyd’s 3 O’clock Kolsch, and Steel Bender Lager have all been hitting the shelves. The popularity of Raspberry Dynamite and its cousin, Tangerine Dynamite, have also necessitated canning runs.

“The Tangerine, we got enough to do two batches, so we were always going to do two batches,” Bob said. “It was a question of where those two batches were going to land, whether it was going to be two draft or if we’re going to allocate some to package. As soon we put it out on draft, we immediately got people asking if we could package it. Since we had planned for the second batch anyway, we just allocated a little bit to package. The labeling of the cans allows us to be flexible in what we’re canning. Thanks to no small bit of scrambling on Shelby’s part to get the labels designed, ordered, and in, we were able to get that onto the shelves.”

More packaged beers are on the way in the coming weeks, so Shelby will not be any less busy. With the help of Calindo Creative, the labels will be ready when it comes time to package the beers.

“Being able to be that flexible, it’s still crazy, creative work running at the last minute, but it’s working,” Shelby said. “We’re getting the process down. We just had to crank out one more last week that we’re getting ready to can. We’re canning the Compa (Los Ranchos Lager) a week from tomorrow. Then the following week is our Oktoberfest, which we’re calling Oktoberfiesta. That one it’s a funky label for sure.”

Shelby added that the popular Balloons & Brews event will be repeated this year, where patrons can sit on the patio at Steel Bender during the Balloon Fiesta and watch the mass ascensions while enjoying beer and breakfast.

Even in a crowded brewery, there is room for more new beers set to debut in the coming weeks and months.

Bob also had some additional news on more packaged products coming down the pipeline.

“We’re into the cider game at this point,” he said. “We have our house cider recipe down, Steel Bender Cider #4. We’re working on our sweet cider, which is going to be a Perry. It’s going to be called Perry Maison. That’s in fermentation right now. We are also working with a local orchard. We’ll be putting up as much local cider as we can. Pressing is going to start next Friday. We are going to be pressing and bottling all of those. The draft cider that we’ve got on right now will continue to be as it is, and then the local apples will all go into bottles.”

The more eclectic beers will not be disappearing from the Steel Bender lineup, as more of those are also on the way in bottles.

“We’ve got five different bottle releases to keep an eye out for,” Bob said. “Three mixed culture releases. We’ve got a Flanders-style amber, we’ve got a Belgian single aged in brandy barrels, and then we’ve got the same Flanders-style amber aged with boysenberry. Those are mixed-culture sours. We’re also doing a Grissette with Amarillo and Pearl hops. Then we’re also doing a collaboration with Jubilation, the Belgian-style double aged in fresh Taos Lightning barrels. Those are all conditioning and waiting for release. We’ll be releasing all of those over the next four to six months. Keep your eyes out, those will all be coming out soon.”

With all of those packaged products coming out on top of the regular draft beers, the need for an expanded brewing space is quite apparent. Having all of it come so quickly after opening has left the Steel Bender staff with little time to breathe.

“We don’t have time to be surprised,” Bob said. “Yeah, it is surprising that we opened with such a bang and it has continued to bang. We’re all very grateful.

“We’re pretty ambitious to have the number of draft offerings that we do. So we’re trying to keep up the taproom along with the distribution model. It’s just learning how to do all that.”

It’s blue skies ahead for Steel Bender.

The new brewery building will be the key.

“We’re building this building anyway, so we just decided make it big enough so that we can grow into it,” Ethan said. “We plan to, but we’re not delusional and expect that we’re going to kill it right away. We just want to make sure we have the ability to grow into it. We just want to be prepared.”

Congratulations to everyone at Steel Bender for the amazing job they have done so far. We cannot wait to see what will be in store in the future.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Quite a few of the Lizard Tail beers will soon be available at their first off-site taproom.

I was pretty bummed out when I found out that the Grant Brewing Taproom in Carnuel (just east of town in Tijeras Canyon for the uninitiated) was shutting its doors earlier this summer. It was a great spot to stop when you are heading to the East Mountains.

Then I learned that the friendly folks from Lizard Tail Brewing (located at 9800 Montgomery Blvd NE, Suite 7) have come to save the day. I stopped in over the weekend to grab a pint on my way to dinner and was able to speak with Lizard Tail owner Dan Berry.

Although I knew they were reportedly going to take over the spot in Carnuel, I had no idea it was happening so soon. Yes, it was already a completed taproom space, but these things always take longer than anyone imagines due to the various permits and regulations.

The old Grant Brewing taproom in Carnuel will soon become the Rock Canyon Tap Room.

I almost fell off my barstool when I asked Dan if Rock Canyon Tap Room, their new name, had a target opening date yet, and he said he is hoping for sometime in mid-September. As in next month, not next year. As always, it depends on local/county government paperwork, so we cannot lock in an exact date right now.

Dan said they should have seven of their own beers on tap, plus some cider. They will also sell local wines. Additionally, they plan on adding a kitchen, which is something Grant did not have.

Good luck on the new taproom, Lizard Tail! I can’t wait to rock some beer in the canyon once again.

Cheers!

— AmyO

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s seven breweries, one in Los Alamos, one in Moriarty, one in Red River, and one in Las Cruces also joining the party.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Every autumn, one of our favorite local beer festivals has long been the New Mexico Brew Fest, otherwise known as “that one at the Fairgrounds.” The festival is back on October 13, but the organizers are teaming up with Marble to host an Early Bird Ticket Party at the downtown taproom this Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. General admission tickets will be available for $20 at this event only. You can also grab a limited edition T-shirt for $10. Throw in Marble beers and music from WhiteWater Ramble, and it should be a fun time in advance of another fun time. Trust us, this is the festival you can’t miss if you’re a lover of all of our local breweries.

There are two other events we wanted to pass along. The 377 Brewery continues its Basement Barrel Project today (Wednesday) with 10-ounce pours of a special aged Wee Heavy. This batch is six months old, and it had brettanomyces added at four months, and organic plums, apricots, and some tamarind added two months ago. If you enjoy your pour enough, you can put your name in for one of two available bottles. Meanwhile, over at Tractor Wells Park on Friday night at 8, the Desert Darlings are back for another Hops & Dreams. This will be the Superheroes & Villains Edition, so if you want to dress up alongside the bellydancers, go for it!

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque added EOP Noir to the on-tap lineup, but the bigger news is that cans of Scale Tipper are coming possibly as soon as this weekend. Bow & Arrow hits the target with Fancy Feathers Brut IPA on Saturday. Flix Brewhouse gets a little, um, risqué with Velvety Puppet Love Raspberry Witbier. La Cumbre brings back Snafued Hazy IPA and also adds A Session Divine, while the new Westside Taproom has additional styles including Carmen Hazy Session IPA, Dortmunder, and Thunderbolts and Lighting, a fantastic Bohemian (get it?) pilsner. Marble has a slew of new beers on tap including Session IPA, Jabroni Lime, Cot in the App (Witbier), Smoked Helles, and an old favorite, Thunder From Dortmunder. Quarter Celtic is clicking with Mocha Hipster Bomb, Clark Down Under, and Blood Orange Wheat. Rio Bravo just released a fresh batch of Blueberry Mint Gose. Steel Bender just added Saison de la Rose.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn added Pomegranate Gose, plus the NM IPA Challenge winner, Gatekeeper, will be back on Friday.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of August 20.

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The New Mexico Distillers Guild continues to grow alongside its brewing brethren.

Editor’s note: As we have documented many times before, real life often gets in the way of all of our stories being published in a timely manner, and sometimes breaking news like the La Cumbre taproom opening can further delay an article. That happened here (the event below was August 11), but we still felt like there was some important information to share, so away we go. — S

The weather was not looking particularly great, as Shawna and I set out for Downtown Albuquerque. What looked to be a storm front was pushing up from the south along the Rio Grande. We took a bit of solace in the idea that we were going to be inside for the second annual NM Distillers Guild Festival, but we were wrong, very wrong. As we reached the Banque Lofts along Central and Second Street, we were greeted at the door, collected our commemorative tasting glasses, and proceeded into an elevator, with the instructions simply to press the “R”. Up we went, nine floors and onto the landing for the massive rooftop patio which was to host the event.

The diffused and setting sun and the views overlooking Albuquerque quickly left a memorable impression, as by a stroke of luck the weather held off, despite some heavy gusts in the beginning. It was reminiscent in form to the beer-focused festivals, with each distillery setting up their unique tables and tents, eagerly waiting to educate and lend a sample.

With but a modest understanding of the styles and production methods at hand, this made for an exciting and eye-opening adventure in terms of flavors and possibilities with distilled spirits and liquors. Participants included Left Turn, Tractor, Broken Trail, Hollow Spirits, Little Toad Creek, Algodones Distillery, Santa Fe Spirits, and Still Spirits. There was certainly no bad, or even mediocre, cocktails or samples to be had. Each distillery had certainly brought out the big guns innovation-wise, and were ready to impress.

Hollow Spirits owner Frank Holloway, right, is a familiar face to folks in the beer scene.

Among all of this is where we met with Frank Holloway and chef Tristin Rogers with Hollow Spirits, which will soon be opening in the Wells Park neighborhood (1324 First Street NW). Frank’s name may sound familiar from his previous endeavors with Red Door Brewing. With a warm reception, and the crowd still building, we took the opportunity to talk about the festival and his current project.

“Luckily we are still small enough that we could pull off this venue, it’s a beautiful view,” Frank said. “Last year’s (Spirits Festival) was up here, too. There haven’t been too many changes. I would say we are getting better at the process. The setups are getting a little bit better, everyone is starting to bring out their tents; all the setups are a little bit better.”

The upturn in interest and founding of more distilleries definitely added to the overall participation this year, Frank said.

“There are more people than last year,” he said. “Tractor is here now, too. That has been huge to the scene, especially when you understand them from the beer side.”

The drinks were poured into the evening.

While still dwarfed by the beer community in terms of numbers, the Spirits Festival was a testament to the growing traction of the distilling side of beverage production here in New Mexico. (Stay tuned to the NMDSBC for a follow-up on the NM Distillers Guild itself.)

Taking the opportunity before the wind decided to almost take off with some tents again, we further discussed the progress of Hollow Spirits and what seems to be the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of projects.

“It seems like we’re about a month out,” Frank said. “We’re painting, about to do the floors, pretty much all the plumbing and electrical is done.”

Frank said he was cautiously optimistic, but determined to finish.

“I’ve been in the bar industry serving, distributing, opened Red Door, since I was 19,” he said. “No matter if your job is the coolest job in the world, you get tired of doing the same thing over and over and over again. So personally, I don’t want to do the same thing over for myself or my staff. So for the most part, we’re going to try and rotate (our selections) as much as possible and do seasonal drinks.”

Hollow Spirits will be working with local growers to acquire some fresh ingredients to help in bursting out of the norm.

Moving onto the topic of food, we were excited to hear there is a kitchen in the works.

“We’re not opening with food, (with the) reason being we were not sure we had the finances to initially start the kitchen, but wound up getting everything we needed for the kitchen,” Frank said. “Now we just don’t want to delay the City in terms of paperwork.”

A reasonable decision, especially when trying to keep the estimated one-month-until opening time frame.

Not all the food at Hollow Spirits will be solely for the purposes of garnishing the cocktails.

“We definitely want to do some pairing dinners, I want him (Tristin) to come to me and be like, ‘Hey, can you make this liquor, I want to do this food,’” Frank said.

While spirits are not as ‘famously’ paired with food as wine or even beer yet, they do have their place among some very satisfying dishes. Tristin added an interesting perspective to the situation.

“The idea is to kind of reprogram New Mexico diners’ minds … even if they’re not hungry, just stop by for some good drinks, enjoy, and treat it more like art,” he said. “So we want to educate you in good food.”

For those of you not as keen to spirits, Hollow Spirits will also be serving beer and wine from across the state.

As the wind finally settled down and no more human anchors were required to keep the tents from taking a 10-story plunge, it was time to try the wares. We met up with some familiar faces, downed a few excellent samples (in my humble opinion most notably Hollow Spirits’ Wheat Vodka, Little Toad Creek’s Te-Guy-La, and Algodones Distillery’s Gin). While this was certainly out of the usual for myself and Shawna, it proved to be a memorable and entertaining evening worth recommending next years Spirits Festival.

Cheers!

— Jerrad & Shawna

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Photo courtesy of Santa Fe Brewing Co.

Santa Fe Brewing Company (SFBC) is celebrating a very big and important birthday. This year, New Mexico’s original craft brewery is celebrating its “Dirty 30,” and you’re invited! In honor of this amazing anniversary, SFBC is getting down with a whole week’s worth of events at the Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing from today (Tuesday) through Sunday. Not only that, nearly all of the events will be giving back to the community that has given the brewery so much, so you have every reason to be amped about this! They said amped in the 80s, right?

I recently reached out to owner Brian Lock to learn a little about where SFBC has been, what he’s seen in his time at the head of the company, and where they’re headed in the coming years.

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SFBC owner Brian Lock cuts the ribbon on many new projects in the works for SFBC

DSBC: Thirty years of Santa Fe Brewing. What sorts of changes have you seen the company go through?

Lock: During the last 30 years there has been so much evolution with the SFBC as a brand. From bottle conditioning back in 1988, to releasing cans in 2010, and just recently a complete can redesign, things here are constantly changing, which makes the job so fun and interesting. There is never a dull moment.

DSBC: What were some of the major highlights in 30 years?

Lock: Major highlights for me over the last 30 years — being the first brewery in the state of New Mexico to offer craft beer in a can, opening three offsite taprooms (Eldorado in 2011, ABQ Green Jeans in 2015, Brakeroom in 2018), and being the first brewery in the state to surpass 15,000 barrels. Lastly, moving from a micro to a regional brewery.

DSBC: What were some of your favorite moments, personally?

Lock: Favorite moments would be working festivals and talking to all the craft beer fans about beer and culture. Creating a beer culture in New Mexico and creating a brand that attracts a family-like vibe both for employees and for patrons.

DSBC: What was the funniest thing(s) that ever happened at the brewery?

Lock: I think the funniest story is the infamous Chicken Killer Barley Wine story. The name of the beer came from an event that happened out in Galisteo, NM, where Petey the miniature dachshund mauled over 30 chickens.

DSBC: What’s the original craft beer company of New Mexico currently focusing on?

Lock: We are focusing on being relevant in the craft beer space. It is so competitive these days that you have to be innovative, and always coming out with new offerings to keep the brand fresh and interesting, otherwise you will be forgotten about.

DSBC: We know about the (main brewery) taproom is currently being built. But, with your 30th anniversary in mind, what do you think the next 30 years look like for SFBC?

Lock: Yes, new taproom is the focus along with a very large beer garden. It’s hard to speculate about the next 30 years, but for the next five years I see a new brewhouse in SFBC’s future, and some other exciting products to add to our portfolio.

30th Anniversary Events

  • Today (Tuesday): Steel Pulse & Tribal Seeds will be live at The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing with rad special guests Iya Terra. Ages 21+. Tickets are $28 in advance, $33 day of show (including all service charges). 6–10 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 30th Bash — Chicken Killer 2.0 Release Party. Party hard with the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society! They’ll will be at SFBC to host an onsite pet adoption from noon to 3 p.m. 15 percent of the beer sales from this event will be donated to the shelter. There will be food trucks as well as live music by the, like, totally gnarly cover band Chango. Free admission 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Thundercats hooooo!
  • Thursday: 30th Bash — Beer Dinner with Pig and Fig. To celebrate 30 years in the biz, SFBC is teaming up with Pig + Fig Cafe for what will prove to be an unforgettable beer and food pairing dinner. The meal includes six righteous courses prepared by award-winning, world-renowned chef Laura Crucet. The dinner will take place in SFBC’s packaging hall. Santa Fe Brewing’s bad-to-the-bone brewmaster Bert Boyce will host the evening’s festivities. According to SFBC: “The dinner will be paired with a wide variety of SFBC brews, including a few old favorites from the vault and some never before seen new releases.” Tickets are available through holdmyticket.com. $5 from every ticket sold will be donated to Feeding Santa Fe, Inc. 5-8 p.m.
  • Friday: 30th Bash — “Santa Feighty-Eight” Party. SFBC is going Back to the Future with a celebration worthy of a 30th anniversary. Because the brewery was ‘born in the 80s,’ the staff is hosting an 80s-themed birthday bash with karaoke, a costume contest, beer specials, and food trucks. So get out your best denim jackets and neon spandex and don’t forget to Aqua Net that do! 15 percent of the proceeds from the event will go to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association: New Mexico Chapter. 7-10 p.m.
  • Saturday: 30th Bash — Brews and Body Art. SFBC is hosting a totally bodacious live body art competition with Rock Your Body Face and Body Art. In front of a live audience, body artists will battle each other with live canvasses, and the audiences will vote for their favorites with wicked cash prizes on the line. For the occasion, SFBC is releasing Merkin’s brand-new “Pepe Loco” Mexican Lager (their newest creation in the Ever-Changing series). DJ Orign and DJ Kota will provide the jams. You can bet it’ll be turned up to the max! 15 percent of the sales during this event will be donated to ARTsmart New Mexico. For more information go to: info@rockyourbodyfaba.com. 3-10 p.m.
  • Sunday: 30th Bash — “Hair of the Dog” Beer Olympics. And, the word of the day is “Hangover.” Ahhh! If you’ve still got any fight left in you after a week full of fun beer events, SFBC is closing out the festivities with a “bloody beer bar,” Brass Monkey (an old favorite) small-batch release, and food trucks featuring brunch items to help with your inevitable yet awesome week-of-beer hangover. If that’s not enough for you, you can participate in the 2018 “SFBC Beer Olympics!” Or, if you’re like us in the Crew, will be happy to watch from the side, through very dark sunglasses, Brass Monkey-in-hand. 15 percent of the beer sales from this event will benefit the Adaptive Sports Program New Mexico. Noon-5 p.m.

“If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight miles an hour, you’re going to see some serious shit.” — Doc Brown

To many more years of great beer and great times!

Cheers!

— Luke

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Luke – SFBC Oktoberfiesta Circa 2014

For more #craftbeer news and @nmdarksidebc info, follow me on Twitter @SantaFeCraftBro. Untappd: SantaFeLuke.

It’s go time today at noon!

It is rare that we write “Happy Monday!” at any point during the year, but we will make an exception today. That is because the La Cumbre Westside Taproom is opening at noon, and last night I was one of the lucky folks who was invited to a secret soft opening.

The space is spacious, even if one of the LC staff told me he already thinks they should lease the empty space to the west and knock out the wall. That could still be an option, of course, but for now it should be able to hold plenty of thirsty beer lovers who have grown weary of crossing the Rio Grande to get their favorite LC beers.

The taproom is situated toward the southern end of the large shopping complex anchored by Sprouts on the southeast corner of Coors and Montaño. You can enter from either road, though certainly there will be advantages to driving up from the south or from west to east. The building is slightly askew, so the front windows and entrance are at a slight north-by-northeast angle. The patio is located somewhat to the northeast corner, sticking out a bit away from the main building. There is plenty of seating out there, and yes, plenty of shade.

Inside, the bar is in an L shape, with the longer part facing toward the west. There were 18 (!) taps available, including some new beers like the tasty Thunderbolts and Lightning (Bohemian pilsner). Yes, there may have been a quick singalong between one of the beertenders and I after she asked me what beer I had tried. The Dortmunder was the other refreshing lighter beer for a hot day, but fear not, because all you hopheads will have plenty of Project Dank, Sun Fade, and Full Nelson, plus a new session hazy IPA called Carmen. The sour, Mood, is also available, along with many other beers. There is a cooler filled with cans if you want to take some beer home, too.

There are tall tables by the front window, shorter tables in the center, and booths along the west wall. Throw in plenty of bar stools, and while it will certainly be crowded today and likely for a while, there should be enough room to keep everyone happy.

The staff is a veteran group, with quite a few faces that will probably be familiar to you from other breweries. There are quite a few Bosque expatriates, including Adam, Tony, and Mindy. It is the right group of people to handle what will likely be a significant crush of people. There is plenty of parking in the shopping center as well, so that should not be a problem. Just be careful driving through, what with all the shoppers going to and fro.

Above all, just remember to have fun today, or whenever you are making your first visit to the taproom. It is a slick, swanky place, staffed by good people, and filled with good beer. Be patient and polite as they deal with the onrush of what should be many, many folks this week.

Congrats to Jeff, Laura, Jenn, Cory, Alan, Daniel, and everyone else at La Cumbre, and thank you for the chance to be among the first to try out your awesome new space.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister