Archive for November, 2018

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Dave Merkin, workin’ it. Hails!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Well, if you’re a Target shopper, it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas way back in September. Well, now that Turkey month is basically over, and we’re sleighing full-speed toward Saturnalia, it’s time to get our holi-day-drinking priorities straight.

Let’s face it, either we did the shopping or we didn’t. And, whether we’ll be enjoying some well-earned end-of-the-year-relaxation, or we’ll be last-minute dashing through the snow through packed parking lots toward pre-picked-through aisles, you deserve a good, hearth-warming craft beer. It’s been a long year, am I right?

Let’s take a breath together. Ah, that’s the good stuff.

Maybe it’s your first time in New Mexico, or maybe you’re simply new to our blog and didn’t know, but every year, Santa Fe Brewing Company hosts the “12 Beers of Christmas,” a special event during which, from the 13th to the 24th of December, SFBC taps a fun, usually Christmas- or Winter-themed (typically one-off) special beer to celebrate the season in style.

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Sam, left, and George Boese are proudly opening their second location this weekend.

Long, long ago, the Crew was tipped off by a reader that the area of town where he lives, near Tramway and Paseo del Norte, was potentially getting a brewery taproom. He asked us what brewery might be heading to just about the most northeast corner of the city, but at the time, we had no idea.

A while later, we noted that Boese Brothers Brewery had a pending off-site taproom license pending with the State of New Mexico, but it was listed for a zip code in the Southeast Heights. Well, it turned out that was a typo, since as we now know, the Boese Brothers Brewpub is the taproom taking the spot on Tramway, just south of the Paseo intersection.

The taproom’s grand opening will kick off Friday at 4 p.m. and run all weekend, so to preview both that and take care of Boese Brothers’ entry in our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series, I met up with George and Sam Boese at the new space on Wednesday afternoon.

“Probably early last year we started looking around for places, maybe in the February timeframe,” George said. “We hadn’t really gotten anything that we liked until we found this place. It’s the right combination, we think. We looked a couple of neighborhoods. We really liked this spot. It was probably the view that got us.”

This picture really doesn’t do the view of the mountains justice, but it will have to suffice.

Admittedly, I already told Sam about how impressive the view is of the Sandia Mountains out the front windows. The exact address is 7849 Tramway Blvd, Suite C. To get to it from either northbound or southbound Tramway, just turn west at the light at San Bernardino. It is located in the middle of the building just north of the CVS Pharmacy, next to the Dominos restaurant.

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Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s seven breweries, one in Los Alamos, one in Moriarty, one in Red River, and one in Las Cruces also joining the party.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Giving Tuesday has come and gone, but the opportunity to support a good cause still lies ahead. On that day, Canteen, Marble, Rowley Farmhouse Ales, and Steel Bender joined breweries across the country in making a batch of Resilience IPA. (Edit: RFA is still awaiting the arrival of the hops, but expects to brew Thursday.) The recipe hails from Sierra Nevada, which temporarily had to shut down its main brewery in Chico, California, as the Camp Fire burned its way to the city limits. Seeking to help those who lost everything, particularly the residents of the now-destroyed town of Paradise, Sierra Nevada created this new IPA with all proceeds going to help rebuild the communities affected by the wildfire. We tip our hats to Canteen, Marble, RFA, Steel Bender, Sierra Nevada, and every other brewery to participate in this venture. When the IPA is ready to tap locally, we will be sure to let everyone know. Yeah, even we can take a break from the big, bold, beautiful stouts for a change this holiday season.

We could have led off with the grand opening of the Boese Brothers Brewpub on Tramway this weekend, but fear not, I am on my way to interview George and Sam Boese to preview that event and also complete the entire Look Back/Look Ahead Series article on Boese Brothers. Look for that on Thursday afternoon, which I hope to post in between my interviews with the (many) Marble command staff members for their upcoming LB/LA entry.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque was able to sneak in some Chai Hard and Autumn Red while we weren’t looking. Bow & Arrow has another bottle release this Saturday with Dream Mesa, a golden sour ale. Canteen has a fresh batch of North 14 Pale Ale. La Cumbre rolls out more Pecos Porter, Noche De Paz, and Gracias Por Fumar. Marble unveils Cryogenic Pale Ale and Ye’ Olde Ale. Nexus pours some dessert in the form of Blueberry Sweetart at the Silver Taproom only (for now). Ponderosa should have some fresh ESB by the weekend. Red Door will be Pining for Maple Breakfast Brown on Thursday. Sidetrack has a fresh batch of Pub Ale on tap. Steel Bender kicks off the 4 Casks of Christmas on Saturday, with each cask featuring a different version of Brickie American Stout, and this week’s version is Peppermint Mocha.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn hops to it with Lord Lupulin IPA.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of November 26.

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The beer fridge overflows with all the stout-y goodness.

Thanksgiving was kinda fuzzy, man. At least that seems to be the case for most of us, as the sheer number of holiday brews left the bulk of the Crew speechless (or, at least, unable to write). It was a tad overwhelming.

First up, Wednesday saw a quick trip to Tractor for a four-pack of Turkey Drool. Yeah, didn’t need the half-growler this year. It’s been my personal tradition to always make the TD the first beer of every Thanksgiving. It makes the bad Lions and Cowboys football go down so much easier.

After that little treat, Friday brought a shorter-than-usual line at Jubilation for the annual Black Friday cellar sale. The barrel-aged Expedition Stout from Bell’s topped my personal list, so I walked out with two of those, one 2016 Uncle Jacob’s from Avery, a 2015 Barrel-Aged Narwhal from Sierra Nevada, and, yeah, had to get one Bourbon County Brand Stout and see if it still holds up (Jubilation did not receive any variants, which was disappointing this year).

Since I still have a huge stout haul from a friend’s cellar sale a few months back, I limited myself to just those five bottles. Oh, but alas, the locals beckoned me back out in the afternoon.

I joined Franz Solo at Boxing Bear for the always excellent VantaBlack Russian Imperial Stout, with this year’s batch in bottles, and a 3-year-old barrel-aged version on tap only. I am sad to report that the BA is out, but you can still buy bottles at the brewery, as I made sure to do. Next time around, head brewer Justin Hamilton assured us, he will make sure to bottle some of the barrel-aged batch, too.

The good folks at Bosque were simultaneously spreading the word over social media that their Fresh Start Breakfast Stout was on tap, so I hit up the San Mateo location on my way back. It’s just as good as ever, a sweet treat that paired oh-so-well with leftover dessert. A four-pack of that accompanied me home.

It was back to work for me on Saturday, after which I really needed more beer. My original plan was to stay in, drink some of those stouts, and watch terrible movies, but friends dragged me out to Quarter Celtic. The Oat Face Killer (Oatmeal Stout) was delightful, tasting way heavier more than a 5.1-percent beer should.

As for the rest of the Crew, only AmyO was able to put her thoughts together in printed form, which is remarkable considering the Lobo-sized headache she dealt with after another dismal season of hand-egg just ended.

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Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s seven breweries, one in Los Alamos, one in Moriarty, one in Red River, and one in Las Cruces also joining the party.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Forget about self restraint this week, and we are not just talking about eating too much on Thanksgiving. No, Black Friday has become a beer holiday, enabling all of us sensible people the right to escape shopping madness and settle down with some delicious stouts and porters. We already previewed the awesome Blackest Friday event at Rowley Farmhouse Ales, so please click that link to refresh your memory and make that commitment to drive to Santa Fe. If you cannot leave ABQ for whatever reason, there are still plenty of local options. Starr Brothers has happy hour prices all day. Bosque is releasing its wonderful Fresh Start Breakfast Ale, a maple and coffee stout, in four-pack cans at all locations. Jubilation has its annual Black Friday cellar sale starting at 10 a.m. Line up early if you want to grab the good stuff, which will include the annual Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout release (plus variants) and should see other great beers including the ultra-rare Barrel-Aged Expedition Stout from Bell’s. I will be in line with the rest of the crazies before heading to Santa Fe. Again, though, if you are not headed to RFA, then Boxing Bear is going all out with its own selection of dark and malt-forward beers, including the release (finally) of Vantablack Russian Imperial Stout in bottles. Vantablack will also be on tap, in both the regular and 2-year-barrel-aged versions (whoa). There will also be Barrel-Aged Oso Otoño (2 years) and Chocolate Milk Stout (18 months) on tap, and yes, you can fill growlers of those. Iron Lung Smoked Porter is also back, and there is a limited supply of bottles of Barrel-Aged Standing 8 Stout available to take home as well. UPDATE: If you are headed south instead, stop at Truth or Consequences Brewing for a special release of six bottles. A kind person might be willing to pick up a bottle of the barrel-aged Truth Serum Barleywine and bring it back here for the Crew to sample.

In terms of hours, every brewery appears to be closed Thanksgiving except Blue Corn, which will be open and serving food and beer from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Red Door, which will be filling discounted growlers from noon to 4 p.m. at the brewery on Candelaria. Apparently everyone will be right back to normal operating hours Friday. As for tonight (Wednesday), a few breweries could close early if the crowds die down, so take note when heading out to fill your growlers or pick up packaged beer directly from the source.

Do not forget, all of our breweries count as small businesses, so keep them in mind when shopping on Small Business Saturday. They have plenty of merchandise beyond just the beer (our annual Merch Guide will be out soon, we promise). Marble Westside will have a holiday market at noon and Boxing Bear will have a pop up market at 1 p.m.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque is also feeling tropical with Guavango. Bow & Arrow has a limited supply of its barrel-aged barleywine, Thief of Time, back on tap. Canteen spices it up with more Sichler Chile Lager, plus Wee Bit Loco, a Scottish Wee Heavy. Marble put Joe Pumpkin on nitro, while more cans of Imperial Red will soon be available. Ponderosa brings back Hop-Mosa, a hazy IPA, on Saturday. Sidetrack has more Railhead Red available, plus the new C4 IPA. Starr Brothers quickly got Brown Chicken Brown Cow back on tap. Steel Bender has Ich Bin Cranberry Kettle Sour on tap (for real this time), plus this Saturday will see a double-bottle release of Ned’s Sour Pail and Ned’s Sour Pail with Boysenberry, as well as an on-tap release of The Whole Shoe, a Belgo IPA. Toltec has special new beer-and-food pairings every Wednesday, and today will feature the arrival of the new Vienna Lager. Tractor brings back a seasonal favorite of ours, Turkey Drool!

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn pops a new porter, Black by Popular Demand.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of November 19.

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The taps are flowing and the packaged beers are available as well now at Southwest Grape and Grain.

Our friends at Southwest Grape and Grain recently completed their growler-filling/pint-pouring (beer, while you shop for making more beer) station, with package sales as well so bombers and cans aplenty. I, Franz Solo, headed over and talked to owner Donavan Lane about what we can expect from this lovely development going forward and about the looming holiday season — it is an annual Crew favorite owing to the plethora of barrel-aged, barrel-aged, barrel-aged … yes … but that’s a dark tale for another ramble — and what that means for his fair establishment. 

Solo: Here we are, you’ve got all of your taps in place and pouring and beer for sale in the store. How cool is it seeing your vision for this space beginning to come to fruition?

Donavan: It is definitely satisfying, a long time coming with the moving process earlier this year and the remodel, and the licensing, and then getting all of the taps set up has definitely taken a while and a lot of effort, but it is finally getting there. We’ve been selling beer for about a month and a half now. More people know that they can get a beer while they are shopping, so (it is) definitely nice to see it going. 

Taps as far as the eye can see!

Solo: Any interesting future plans for what you might do with all of these taps?

Donavan: Well, we have a few things to finish up in our brewing room. The goal is to try to get all of that done by the end of December, or the first part of January. We’ve been brewing a few little 5-gallon batches that we’ve put on tap, where we are having some fun playing around with recipes. Once we get the bigger system set up, we will be able to do bigger 1-to-2-barrel batches and put those on tap. And, then we will start looking at figuring out the logistics and price points to be able to start offering brew on premises, where customers can come in and brew a batch here and then split it up amongst friends, or take it all home for themselves. So during the first part of next year we will look into getting that going and then working with the various beer clubs in Albuquerque, whether it is Dark Side Brew Crew, the Worthogs, or the Dukes of Ale, or any of the other ones that are out there about doing collaboration beers, having them come in a brew a beer that we put on tap, doing some competitions with the clubs, as well. Definitely a lot of fun stuff there. 

As far as the growler fill goes, we are continuing to reach out to more and more of the local breweries to get more of their packaged beer in. Our taps are basically full, but those will continue to rotate. Whenever one goes out we will bring in something new. (Between procuring grains and such for my own batches and trying all of the many special/seasonal offerings on tap, I may never leave, well, unless it involves other actual beer-related work.) We are also going to look into bringing in some local wine as well.

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You can take home packaged beer in addition to supplies to make your own beer now.

So all told, this is pretty great out the gate in concept and execution, with a lovely swath of unique offerings from our favorite local haunts on tap, ready to fill your growlers or slake your thirst while you browse the many fermentation-related necessities on site. Grape and Grain has a patio available for beverage consumption as well, but as it is nearing full winter this will not be open until spring, when the brewing room will hopefully be in full swing. Also of note are a few holiday sales going on this month and throughout the holidays, so here are the details on those for all of your fermentation/homebrewing needs, or gifts for your friends or loved ones who have fallen for the craft.

From now through December 14 there is a raffle going on with an entry for each pint purchased and some very cool prizes being offered to boot. 

Black Friday sale: 10 percent off Friday and Saturday, and a coupon for 20 percent off one item on Sunday with coupon from Facebook or store email list (I definitely recommend getting on this list for other perks, which I have most certainly taken advantage of in my three-plus years of homebrewing).

Coming in December, an all-grain sale on the first 25-percent all-grain by the pound or 10 percent off bulk bags.

There will also be some sales going on closer to Christmas and New Years as well, but those are still TBA.

So it’s a grand time to stock up on supplies for those lovely imperial stouts or hefty lagers and such as the season demands. For any additional information on events, classes, sales, and so forth do check out southwestgrapeandgrain.com or find them on Facebook. Better yet, give the store a visit or three, or just keep going back for more batches, which is what homebrewing tends to do to you once you start down the path to darkness, oh delicious …

On that note, I bid you all happy brewing, happy shopping, happy drinking, happy festivities, and so on an so forth!

Skål!

— Franz Solo

The beers are now flowing out in Tijeras.

For the past three weeks, Lizard Tail Brewing’s Rock Canyon Taproom in Carnuel has been operating in a soft opening mode. That all changes this Saturday when they will have the grand opening celebration. The party includes live music all day, headlined by The Real Matt Jones at 7 p.m.

New tap handles adorn the space.

I recently paid a brief visit to the taproom previously owned by Grant Brewing out of Chama. The interior was already really nicely appointed, so not a lot needed to be changed. They did fill it in with more tables and some visually stunning pieces of art.

There is new signage, of course, and naturally all-new beers. There were seven Lizard Tail beers on tap, as well as a watermelon cider from Sandia Ciders, plus several other local beers in bottles and a few wines by the glass were also available.

The new beer list, mostly courtesy of Lizard Tail.

Enjoy the pictures, and if you get a chance, stop by and have a beer and a visit. The staff are super welcoming and very excited to be a part of bringing beer, music, food and fun back to Tijeras Canyon.

Cheers!

-AmyO

 

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s seven breweries, one in Los Alamos, one in Moriarty, one in Red River, and one in Las Cruces also joining the party.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

It can be fun sometimes to look into the past and see all those beers that used to be on tap at our more popular breweries. While some stood the test of time and are still around, others faded into history. The specialty releases can be even harder to track, but we believe the good folks at Marble when they say that Reserve Ale is their oldest annual seasonal release. Every year since 2008, the first year Marble was open, this barrel-aged beauty of a strong ale appears again on tap and in bottles. With the weather taking a decidedly wintry turn, now seems like a perfect time to indulge again in this amazing, warming beast of a beer. Reserve will be back today (Wednesday) at all three Marble locations.

I will make sure to grab some Reserve before I trek north today to Red River Brewing. The staff invited me to come up and give a presentation on the history of brewing in New Mexico, so that is exactly what I will do at 7 p.m. If you are in the area, stop by for a history lesson and a Q&A afterwards. You can also enjoy all the great beer and food at RRBC, which I am certainly looking forward to trying at last.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bombs Away hits the mark with fresh Altbier. Bow & Arrow is releasing Tropic Rodeo Milkshake IPA on Saturday. Canteen has more Munich Helles for us all to enjoy. La Cumbre is also feeling its German roots with Munchner Dunkel and Weizenbock. Marble also has Northside IPA on tap at the Westside taproom. Nexus brings back Coffee and Cream at the Silver Taproom only. Quarter Celtic says damn the cold and dreams of warmer days with more Mangose. Red Door rolls out The Big DIPA and more New England IPA later this week. Rio Bravo released the new biscochito-inspired Imperial Dunkelweizen on Tuesday. Starr Brothers brings back Black Friday Dark American Lager this week. Steel Bender added more Cow Plow Brown Ale. Tractor hops to it with The Boot Girl and Ghost Ranch IPAs.

Up in Santa Fe, there are quite a few new additions at Tumbleroot, including Oktoberfest, Peach Dortmunder, Wet Hopped Amber, and Honey Double IPA.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of November 12.

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Cheers to Metal Monday at Tumbleroot!

It can be hard for all of us down in Albuquerque to join Luke for a beer in Santa Fe, but Monday was Veteran’s Day observed for all federal, state, and local government entities, which left me with a day off and a chance to finally attend a Metal Monday at Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery’s Agua Fria taproom.

After Luke assured me that the streets of Santa Fe were free of ice, I drove north and first made my way to Second Street O.G. for some chicken mushroom schnitzel and a pint of the Old Pecos Porter. With a proper amount of sustenance now in my belly, Luke and I made the short drive to the taproom. It was a bit of a winter wonderland out on the patio, with the temperature well below freezing and the snow still lingering there.

We went inside to the rather spacious interior and grabbed beers as Street Tombs warmed up on stage. By the time Albuquerque’s Distances played, the entire joint had filled up with 100-plus metalheads who braved the cold (as I noted to my friend Kristen, it was 19 degrees out, but felt like 12, to which she responded, “I didn’t need to know that!”). The sound system at Tumbleroot more than did its job, leaving all the bands sounding quite good. Distances sounded even better than their last show at Launchpad.

Luke predicted that a good number of Santa Fe brewers would show up, and he was right. From Blue Corn’s Paul Mallory to his former assistant, Andy Lane (now with Tumbleroot), to Wes from Rowley Farmhouse Ales and David Merkin from Santa Fe Brewing, it was quite the gathering of metal-loving beer minds. Merkin brought us some Dysphotic Stout, since his old band was the headliner for its CD release (seriously, get the new Dysphotic album, it is quite spectacular), and Street Tombs (Black) Ale. The stout was on point, not quite as heavily dry-hopped as in the previous year’s batch, but it still offered up quite a kick. I personally want to try it side-by-side with Marble’s Cholo Stout.

As for the house beers, I had a full pour of the Irish Stout, since it was just 3.8-percent (!) ABV, and I still had the drive home ahead of me. Being a good beer writer and all, I did try samples of the Honey Hibiscus Wheat, Old School IPA, and Oktoberfest. The Irish Stout was deceptively rich and creamy for such a low ABV. The Old School IPA took me back in time about a decade or so. The Oktoberfest was good, but it was definitely the sweetest take on the style by any New Mexico brewery that I tried this year. The Honey Hibiscus was rather mild, as expected.

Overall, I was quite impressed by Tumbleroot, from the setup for the music, to the beers on tap. Hopefully I get the chance to attend a future Metal Monday or two.

As for the rest of the Crew, it was a bit of a quiet weekend, but three of them got out and about.

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We know we can’t safely drink all of these in one day, but damn, are we tempted.

As the cold chill creeps across the windshields of our state, we Nuevo Mexicanos tend to head indoors, finally abandoning the patios we’ve held onto through the fall. Winter is finally here, and the eves of pumpkin beers and brut experiments are soon behind us, and only the memories of wet-hop and Oktoberfest beers remain, buried deep down on our Untappd lists.

As winter closes its icy talons around our hearts, something changes. A lever inside is pulled. A switch of self-preservation is flipped for many of us beer drinkers. Now bundled in our warmest coats and our touchscreen-friendly gloves, we belly up to the bar to navigate a new menu of wonderful winter offerings of delicious dark-ish delights. Gone from our minds (and even menus) are the liquid-sunlight lagers, fruit-basket bubblegum beers, and lawn-gnome-wrecking porch pounders. Instead, we find dark spots on our beer lists, voids, blackholes of boozy goodness during this, the darkest of daylight savings times.

Yes, Stout Season is upon us, and to some of us in the Crew, it’s beginning to look a lot like Festivus. Oh, my friends, Stout Season is a wonderful time of the year when we turn down the lights, curl up in front of the fire in our warmest plaid pajama banana hammocks, and get ready to Netflix-and-Chill with a snifter of Bourbon Barrel-Aged Tweak.

In celebration of the season, the Santa Fe kings of the collab, Rowley Farmhouse Ales, are bringing us lucky folks yet another edition of Blackest Friday, a hit parade of beer’s darkest and most doom-fully metal beer, with a cosmically colossal collection of big barrel-aged stouts.

On Black Friday, November 23, RFA will be tapping nearly 20 rare and barrel-aged stouts for all those who aren’t afraid of the dark. Such an event promises to test the mettle of even the most intrepid spelunker. It will pummel the palate, trounce the taste-buds, and just make our inner stout monsters sit up and chuckle a deep, bellowing and satisfied laugh. Mm-hm-hm-hm-hm-hm!

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