Weekend Beer-cap: Chasing down brews from the Windy City to our own backyard

There is no such thing as too much food at Steel Bender, apparently.

Of all the Crew, I (Stoutmeister) am the only one who does not get a true weekend. Well, sometimes Brandon works, too, but I am guaranteed to work every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday without a vacation-time request, which often limits my excursions to breweries and bars (heck, sometimes I get so tired I just open something at home and drift away, hopefully without spilling anything; being 40 does kinda suck sometimes).

Thus, when I chime in for the Weekend Beer-cap, my adventures date back to my actual days off, Wednesday and Thursday. I made sure to stay busy this past week, too. After a stop by Red Door for an interview, I hit up Tractor Wells Park for a delightful pour of Oktoberfest. It is just as smooth and lightly sweet as I remember. Later that day, I hit up High and Dry for the first time in a while, through no fault of theirs, but I wanted to make sure to stop by for the start of Second Street Brewery’s “residency” as the guest brewery of the month. It is quite the cool concept for High and Dry, and gives a brewery like Second Street a chance to show off its beers to the many folks who think Santa Fe is just too far away, even for beer. I enjoyed a tasty Vienna Lager, while my friend Kristen was quite into the Boneshaker Bitter.

The next day I did the impossible, which is to get my dear sainted mother out to a brewery not named Canteen (she has a serious love for the Irish Red, as I have mentioned before). Yes, dad and I got her to Steel Bender for some OktoberFiesta and a big old mountain of food. The pairings were delightful — she went with the grilled chicken, I stuck with the tried-and-true pulled pork, dad went more traditional with a bratwurst — and after my folks departed, I also made sure to snag some of the Black (Hole Sun) IPA. Big and burly, for sure, and one I would like to try again.

Oh, and I also had a couple beers at Chama River earlier that day. Wait, what?

Stay tuned for a (very) overdue update about what is going on with Chama and Kellys. We are also scheduled for a full sit-down interview with the owners and brewers of Cantero Brewing this week, and of course there is this little thing coming up next week called the Great American Beer Festival. Expect blowout coverage of that, too.

No rest for the wicked, right? Here are the rest of the Crew’s adventures over the actual weekend.

Beercationing in the Windy City and its rival town

Drinks by the Chicago River is where it’s at.

I have been travelling around Illinois and Wisconsin since Wednesday. It’s not really a surprise, but I found many Chicago beers to be lighter versions of the styles at home. My favorite draft beer I had in Chicago was Half Acre Daisy Cutter Pale. It went so well with deep dish pizza! Milwaukee, on the other hand, surprised me with multiple dank, Mosaic-heavy IPAs, particularly at Third Space Brewing. Sours are getting popular across Wisconsin, too. Flying back home late tonight from Chicago, and we wanted to go to a few breweries today, but most, sadly including Half Acre, are closed Mondays. We found a few open and are heading that way right now.

— AmyO

Brunching with brews at ye ole Public House

If the first food-and-beer photo didn’t make you hungry, well, sorry.

Saturday was a great day to visit the Bosque Brewing Public House in Nob Hill. Two newish beers, the Oat Gold and Wet Hop Red, were available. I enjoyed the Oat Gold with my Carne Adovada Tostadas. It was beautifully golden and clear, clean and refreshing, yet faintly sweet. It paired very well with the spicy red chile on the tostadas. The fried eggs were cooked perfectly. I was sad to see that the brunch menu had been drastically reduced; however, this dish will fill that role just fine as it will remain on the menu. I will return very soon for the Wet Hop Red. Keep it up Bosque!


— Andrew

Homebrewing hits the road

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble!

Did a mobile brew of a 7-percent ESB with the Worthogs this weekend for my 38th batch to date. It was a little bit of an adventure bringing my equipment across town, as I’ve only ever brewed at home or just up the road. While we brewed, we cracked open a fair number of different homebrewed beers of styles ranging from barleywine to smoked lager to tropical saison. I was happy to see a very strong fermentation with a big Krausen this morning after pitching my London ale yeast after midnight. This is the first batch for which I’ve added additional minerals, using a little calcium carbonate and a good bit more gypsum to bring out the hop character (Sterling and Fuggles) as is proper for the the classic burton water profile native to Old Blighty. So in around three weeks, this should be ready to go in bottles just in time for fall’s arrival.


— Franz Solo

Divine bottle sharing and getting smacked down by green chile cheeseburgers

Now that is one Divine bottle share.

This past weekend a few members from the Santa Fe Brewing industry got together for our monthly P.O.E.T.S. (Piss Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday) meeting, and it turned into an epic bottle share. Among the beers were a few local Oktoberfests, goses, saisons, IPAs, Avery’s Tweak!, and even a “sort of” vertical tasting of Saint Arnold’s Divine Series. I say “sort of,” because each Divine bottle is a different beer style, but they do it every year. So, maybe not a vertical at all. But, we got to taste Nos. 13 through 16, including a Belgian Quad, a Belgian Golden Strong Ale, an Imperial Stout, and something called an Adambier! Each was an excellent brew and totally worth tracking down, or knowing a friend who knows a friend. September’s P.O.E.T.S. meeting was another big success. It’s always a good thing when beer people get together (with beer) to talk beer.

Any good fall food event should have some Oktoberfest to wash it all down.

I also got over to Santa Fe Brewing for the Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown, which was held at the Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing for the first time. I have to say, it was a perfect venue for the event. Thankfully, the weather was excellent. I’d also wager that SFBC’s Oktoberfest is still the best true-to-style Oktoberfest in the state. Fight me, or change my mind, or both.


— Luke

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