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 … Beer on the back roads
Like most people, we take I-25 when traveling from Los Alamos to Albuquerque. Having read the DSBC report about Beer Creek, which is just south of Santa Fe along the back road to Albuquerque, we decided on a nice afternoon to return home that way and visit the new brewpub. Well, as it turns out, that path also runs by Ale Republic in the east mountains area. Might as well kill two beer-birds! We had a nice stop and were impressed by the variety and quality of their beers. Four of them were 8-percent or higher ABV. We also enjoyed the nachos and the excellent service. It’s a bit out of the way but certainly worth a visit. (We stopped by Beer Creek later than planned and just looked around a bit, since it was packed. A stop for another day.)
Canteen kills it with beer-and-food pairings
I made a quick stop for a late lunch at the Canteen Brewhouse on Sunday. I had a pint of Hank ESB which, according to the description, is named after one of the brewer’s dogs. This was a light, balanced ESB. It was definitely bready and I thought I tasted some toffee. I enjoyed it along with my go-to food item at Canteen, the Brewer’s Brat, which didn’t fail me. The brat was properly served with whole-grain mustard and kraut. This time I also added a cup of house-made black bean chili, which was very flavorful. Always a pleasure visiting the Canteen Brewhouse and sitting at the bar for lunch and a brew or two.
Road tripping through the north
This weekend we got out of town for the first time in months. We did a quick overnight in Taos and toured around parts of Northern New Mexico, stopping at some breweries I have been meaning to get to for a long time. In the near future, I will probably do a quick write-up/pictorial about what we saw. We met some incredibly nice people along the way. For now, I will share my favorite picture from the trip. Because speaking of nice people, the owners of this awesome spot in pretty much the middle of nowhere on Highway 64 between Cimarron and Raton, at the junction of Highway 505, were great. Google Cold Beer New Mexico; you know you want to!
Seeking standout brews in Santa Fe
The week behind in beer for me was split between pre-show beers and post-show beers. I spent the weekend enjoying live music and crafty goodness from a few of Santa Fe’s best breweries. Two beers of note were the Coffee Porter from Second Street Rufina and Sonora Weisse from Rowley Farmhouse Ales. The Coffee Porter was phenomenal. It was brewed as a smaller batch, but it’s still on tap, telling me that Santa Fe has not quite grasped the summer-is-still-dark-beer-weather concept. I highly recommend going out to the Rufina location and begging no less than management to keep this beer year-round. Lets face it, how many good porters have you had? One? Two?
The Sonora Weisse at Rowley Farmhouse Ales was so damned good. It’s a good reminder that New Mexico can really compete with the big boys like Casey, Cantillon, Cascade, and Crooked Stave. Why do they all start with Cs? Anyway, this excellent beer is outstanding, but not literally. They continue to release excellent beers that are totally beer-geek, bottle-share worthy, the likes of which will challenge New Mexico’s growing palate, like their Gaijin, Tea For Two, even their damned glitter beer was delicious. The passion fruit and prickly pear in this beer really come through, but it’s so nicely balanced that you’ll know you’re not just drinking someone’s rushed kettle sour, you’re enjoying something masterfully crafted by people who truly know what they’re doing. It’s more refreshing than any sour beer has a right to be. You’ll want another.