It was quite the busy weekend for the Crew, so naturally in trying to type this up, ye ole work wi-fi would crap out on me at lunchtime. Sigh, that is what you get sometimes for not getting this all done the night before. Anyway, fear not, The Week Ahead in Beer is coming later today, then we will be back on our usual schedule.
My beer weekend was actually fairly light. The combination of Halloween-related events and the final (sniff) Lobo men’s soccer game took up my time. I did end up on 3,999 unique beers on Untappd, so I had to come up with a worthy beer for 4,000. After examining the archives, I dug up an Old Perseverance, a monstrous (18.5% ABV) old ale from Avery. After a rather terrible Monday at work, it was the perfect antidote.
Yeah, not terribly exciting, but with some awesome beers all debuting Thursday, I will be back at the breweries next weekend.
As for the rest of the Crew, they were all over the place, again. Andrew even sent in a double post, of sorts.
Brews by the lake
Hello from Tahoe!
Dave and I are spending a few days in South Lake Tahoe for our anniversary. I surprised him with a funky motel that has a working brewery on site. He is so happy we are staying at Basecamp. It’s nothing fancy, but it has a lot of charm and character. The beer garden has fire pits and Adirondack chairs. There is live music most nights.
The brewery is called Outpost Brewing Company. Dave told me their Space Tiger IPA has been his favorite of the trip and we have been drinking a lot of beer in multiple breweries and taprooms. The beer scene has highly improved since we were here last seven years ago. Other favorite beers have included Mr. Toad’s Wild Rye from Cold Water Brewery and Needle Peak Pale Ale from The Brewery at Lake Tahoe.
Tomorrow we hope to do an ale trail in Reno, where we fly out the next morning.
Cheers from Cali/Nevada!
Beer Premiere hits all the right notes
Canteen Brewhouse hosted the NM Beer Premiere this Saturday and I arrived promptly for the 1 p.m. start. The weather fully cooperated, which allowed for a comfortable outdoor event. I’ll confess that I was a tinge concerned about fitting everyone at Canteen, but never did I feel as though the event was overcrowded. I never had a hard time finding a place to sit or waited more than a couple minutes in line.
I sampled all 19 of the available beers and came up with a short list of my favorites — Bosque’s Chai Hard Spiced Brown Ale, Kaktus’ Munich Helles Lager, La Cumbre’s Hysterical Daisy Hazy DIPA, Marble’s Alpha Acid Trip Triple IPA, and Three Rivers’ Big Black Dickel Imperial Aged Stout. La Cumbre’s and Marble’s heavy-hitting IPAs were beers that I was definitely excited about. I saved them for later in my tasting with the Hysterical Daisy delivering a juicy awakening, and the Alpha Acid Trip leaving me sufficiently dankified. I also had high expectations for Three Rivers’ stout, which got its name from the Dickel Bourbon barrels that it was aged in with coffee. The coffee was strong enough to cover most of the 10-percent ABV. It was borderline overpowering, but I definitely enjoyed it. Kaktus’ Helles was a very pleasant surprise. I was powering through the lighter beers when I happened upon this gem — bright, clean, slightly sweet, and refreshing … definitely true-to-style.
Finally, Bosque’s Chai Hard was my favorite and my selection for a full pour. I had this beer about halfway through the tastings and was blown away by this whole-bodied, malty brown ale with all the right notes of chocolate, cinnamon, and chai. Much respect to all of the breweries involved, bravo to my top five, and woot woot to Bosque for blowing me away with a chai beer! This was my first Beer Premiere and it was a great time. The three hours flew by as I found myself enjoying a couple quick bratwursts (my food of choice after beer tasting), before being picked up by my Uber just a few minutes before the event ended at 4.
What’s in a name?
Just a quick note on an interesting situation I found myself in on Sunday. Being a resident of Northwest ABQ, I was excited to fill up a growler at the new Growler USA, which opened recently off of Unser Rd. just north of I-40. After finding a spot in the packed parking lot and running inside, I asked the hostess if I could take a look at the beer list instead of tying up space at the busy bar while trying to decide what I wanted to fill my growler. The hostess politely informed me that ABQ Westside’s Growler USA does not fill growlers. I politely asked her to clarify whether that was because they had just opened … no folks … because they have a full liquor license they will not be filling growlers, she said. MINDF**K!!! No doubt we have some complicated liquor laws, but COME ON. Is it too much to ask that places with “Brewery” in the name actually brew some of their own beer, and places with “Growler” in the name actually fill up growlers?
Embracing the aged darkness in the spirit of the season
This Halloween weekend I kept close to home, popping a couple bottles from my cellar to pair with my Halloween movie marathon. I opened up a Molinillo Stout and a La Negra, both from La Cumbre, both aged several months. In tasting the Molinillo Stout, the notes of cinnamon and chocolate still rang through clear as a bell. Only the milk creaminess from the lactose seemed to settle into a more subtle role. I didn’t feel as if any of the flavors dropped out after time, and this beer did not seem to get boozier with age, which I think was good for this particular beer. And, to its credit, it retained the same mouthfeel as I recall fresh from the brewery’s taps. This was definitely a better beer to hold on to, and could have possibly made it another year. It certainly didn’t taste like a week-old pastry. It was vibrant and balanced, and you definitely got Mexican chocolate stout before referring back to the bottle.
As for La Negra, this barrel-aged Russian imperial stout certainly changed over time. The old barrel-aged broad definitely became more boozy and bitter as time passed. In no way did that diminish the dark powers of this bottled beast. She’s still bold, beautiful, and brutal, with an oof-factor well over 11, a perfect dark offering to the Mistress of the Dark. Happy Halloween all!