Archive for August 21, 2018

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.