A holiday weekend provides plenty of chances for members of the Crew to explore our local beer scene. From beers-to-go to visiting breweries to the ages old blend of football and beer, we had some fun out there.
My weekend actually runs Wednesday and Thursday, but this week I found myself out and about on Friday as well. For lunch, I swung by La Cumbre to try the new batch of Oktoberfest that had just been released. It is a wonderful batch, available in cans as well as on tap. I was also quite pleased that my gamble about My Sweet Basil having German-themed food to go with the beer also panned out.
Later that night, after work, I hit up Bosque, but alas, all the Scale Tipper IPA cans had long since sold out. There was still some on tap, at least. From there, it was off to Red Door’s Wyoming taproom, which was in its surprise last night of business. Most of the beer had already been consumed, but I snagged a final pour of Paint it Black Milk Stout. It was a shame to see the place close, as it was packed many nights, and it certainly went out with a bang.
Finally, I was trying to be good Saturday, but then the Arizona football team went out and, well, played like usual, choking against BYU in the season opener. Thus, I opened a 2018 Founders KBS. Oh, Wildcats, once again you have me looking ahead to basketball season.
Speaking of beer and football, here are the rest of the Crew’s adventures.
Keeping it local at the tailgate
I would venture to say my holiday weekend was likely a little different than most of yours. It’s all about opening weekend for tailgating and football. We tailgated Friday overnight and all day and into the night after the game on Saturday. Sunday was recovery and Monday means catching up on errands and things around the house. It was a rainy, misty, awesomely cool day on Saturday. The picture reflects this perfectly. Our tradition is to get at least one type of Santa Fe Brewing “Zia cans” to show off to visiting teams. Sadly, we never met any Incarnate Word tailgaters on Saturday. It doesn’t matter, though, it still always tastes great.
Holiday bites and brews
Starr Brothers Brewery was open for business on Labor Day and I took full advantage. I’ll confess that the main purpose for the visit was a quick snack to hold me over till dinner, but that always couples well with a nice beer. I have always enjoyed their food and this time I was specifically aiming for tacos. They are small and a little bit gourmet, but quite tasty and on-point. I had a chicken taco and a steak taco. My mom, who was visiting from Chicago for the weekend, enjoyed her fish taco. I started with a pint of There Gose Them Boyzz, which is a cleverly named and tasty boysenberry gose. It was a fruitier than the average gose, but was still tart with a tinge of salt, as it should be. I also enjoyed a pint of Bottoms Up Kolsch. This kolsch gave me exactly what I wanted from the style. It was no frills, but it checked the kolsch box that needed checking. Never unhappy after a visit to Starr Brothers Brewery. Cheers!
The new big boys (?) on the block
Can Steel Bender become a new powerhouse brewery in NM? Recently, in discussing the brewing industry here in the state with a friend, this question was posed to me. Honestly, I didn’t have an answer, as any answer would be fairly complex. As I enjoyed a few nighttime ales this weekend, it struck me that, aside from my 2016 KBS that I had opened, each of the other beers I had enjoyed WERE FROM STEEL BENDER. That’s right, Red Iron, Skull Bucket, and Tangerine Dream. That got me thinking that, at least in terms of sales, packaging, and distribution, perhaps the answer could be yes. Now I know some will argue that they are still a new kid on the scene and lack the cred in terms of accolades (GABF, WBC, etc., hardware is always lovely when you bust your ass as a brewer!), but if more and more people are buying and enjoying their beers, that says a lot about this brewery that is only over a year into existence. Therefore, I’m of the opinion that this distinction is on the horizon for the taking for the SBB crew, and good on them for that.
A rhapsody of a pilsner
This past week saw some wonderful new projects come to fruition for ABQ’s beer community. Luckily that meant stopping by La Cumbre’a new westside location. The Thunderbolts and Lightning Pilsner by far stole the spotlight among the expanded tap list with its brilliant clarity, and clean, pleasant light citrus, and refined, distinctive malt character. The excitement is certainly building as we enter Oktoberfest season as well- keep an eye out for all the new releases!