Archive for January, 2019

The future location of the Nexus Blue Smokehouse could open its doors in February.

Nexus Brewery owner Ken Carson is a busy man these days. We had originally scheduled an interview for a Look Back/Look Ahead Series entry back in December, but it had to be postponed until last week. When we did have the time to sit down to talk about everything, from the early challenges in 2018 to the forthcoming third Nexus location tentatively expected to open in February, I also ended up getting a bit of a lesson in local history, which fits particularly well on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

First, a bit of background. Yes, the long-awaited Nexus Blue Smokehouse is getting close to finally opening its doors. Its location at 1523 Broadway SE, just south of Avenida Cesar Chavez, has a connection to the past that made it too important for Ken to pass up when he was looking for a third Nexus location.

“I know some people are probably wondering why that location,” he said. “My family is from Albuquerque. My dad, his parents brought him to that neighborhood back in 1929. Our family has been in that area for a long time. Now, the neighborhood doesn’t look like it used to be (because it was) the black neighborhood. That was the only place you could buy a house in Albuquerque back in those days.”

The demographic of the neighborhood has shifted in the decades since from African-American to Hispanic, but the previous owner of the building was still tied into the original history.

“The guys that owned the building were the Navajo Elks,” Ken said. “The history of the Navajo Elks was the Navajo Elks were all over the country, (they were) the African-American Elks. They separated from the regular Elks, in fact they just stole the name. They got sued over it, but then ultimately the Elks just gave up and said forget it.”

Segregation caused a need for separate establishments.

“Then what happened was because blacks couldn’t go to the nightclubs and stuff … they put various nightclubs across the country especially in parts of the country where the population of blacks was not that big,” Ken said. “The reason being, say you’re in a town in Mississippi where the population was 50 percent, there’s going to be a guy that owns his own nightclub. Well, in New Mexico, I don’t what it was in the 50s, but back in those days the population wasn’t big enough to support it, so they created these nightclubs across the country. I’ve been to ones in Denver, there was here in Albuquerque, (and) there was one in Phoenix. A lot of them were in the Southwest.”

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The Crew went to WinterBrew and again lived to tell the tale. Barely.

It is probably not the best sign that a full week has passed since WinterBrew, and those of us in the Crew who were in attendance are finally typing up our best-of-the-fest lists. As always, it was an amazingly fun event and a great time with so many of our beer geek friends and industry compatriots. It is also a festival loaded with some big, big, big beers, the kind that leave you wondering things like “did I try that beer or not?” and “did we lose Andrew again?”

Before I let Luke and Andrew recap their experiences, I wanted to say thank you to the NM Brewers Guild for organizing this event, which I must say seemed to run even more smoothly this year than in the past (and it has always run pretty smoothly by festival standards in New Mexico). Thank you also to the participating breweries for not just bringing us the same old beers, even if it left us in a sordid state afterwards.

Stoutmeister and two of Santa Fe’s finest, Tom Ludzia of Second Street on the left, and James Warren of SFBC on the right. This was before the Skookum started to take hold.

Anyway, onward and upwards, with some of the best of the fest (listed alphabetically by brewery). I am not including awesome beers like the latest version of the Sin Barreras Imperial Molé Stout from Rowley Farmhouse Ales, because that was just an event-only pour. However, it should be noted that anytime you see any variant of that wonderful beer being made available at RFA or anywhere else, GO GET IT. So bleeping good. The rest of these beers should be currently available at breweries, or they will likely be the next seasonal/specialty brew to be tapped.

  • Bosque: Fistful of Churros is a delightful brown ale that tastes like, well, you can guess. The nice thing about this beer is it checks in on the lower side of the ABV scale, so you can double up on dessert beer and not require a Lyft or Uber to get home. It should be available soon at all locations.
  • Bow and Arrow: Breakfast Bandit, the coffee-and-donuts imperial stout, is still available, but not for much longer. Go get this wonderful beer, for if nothing else, it will make room for the next beer in the Bandit series to become available. The Buffalo Plaid Baltic Porter is another top-notch dark beer on tap.
  • Cloudcroft Brewing: My first beer from these guys was an Oatmeal Stout, which is nice and roasty and creamy, like a good version of this style should be. Definitely gonna make a trip south soon, weather permitting.
  • Lost Hiker: When some notable Albuquerque brewers tell you to make a future trip to Ruidoso, you definitely listen. For this event, I snagged some Snowpocalypse, a delightful winter warmer that belongs in your glass by the fireplace while in the study, which smells of rich mahogany.
  • Marble: It was a double dose of goodness from the good folks from 111 Marble Avenue, with the Coffee Porter and Sympathy for the Pork Chop, a smoked märzen, hitting the spot with their roasty toasty tastiness.
  • Second Street: You can still find the barrel-aged version of Skookum Barleywine in those specialty packs for sale at the brewery and liquor stores such as Jubilation. Trust me, it is quite worth it. The MBV Stout was also a nice respite from the high ABV beers, and this delectable dry Irish stout made its way into my glass as my full pint.
  • Sidetrack: The Dark Engine Stout is always a delight, but this time they threw it in the cask not just with cacao nibs, but with some coffee from Zendo. Whenever they do this again at the brewery, we will be first in the door.
  • Starr Brothers: There were no cookies to go with it, sadly, but Zombies in the Manger Biscochito Stout was still a hit. You can get it at the brewery for a limited time, but we cannot guarantee cookies there, either.
  • Truth or Consequences: This was the brewery that I kept meaning to get back to, but for some reason never did. My apologies. I did truly enjoy the Good Juju, an American brown ale, and another Crew member was down in TorC informed me that we are now in possession of a bottle of Truth Serum Barleywine. Woots!
  • Tumbleroot: I have been advocating for some time for a local brewery to put some barleywine in a rum barrel, which I had out at Tustin Brewing in SoCal once, and finally, someone listened. Actually, the Tumbleroot folks just did it on their own, and I think them for creating a lovely elixir in Captain SMASH, which is a single-malt, single-hop barleywine. The rum-barrel version is just the first of four, with future versions coming soon from agave, gin, and whiskey barrels.
  • Turtle Mountain: Mick Hahn brought the big guns to Santa Fe, with Stockholm Syndrome being a particular standout. A big, chewy Baltic porter was actually my first beer of the fest, and it was all downhill from there. I later tried the Deep Depravity Barleywine at TMBC, and it is also worth the trip to Rio Rancho and construction chaos along Southern Blvd.

Rather than ramble on further, I turn this over to Luke and Andrew, my cohorts for the evening. As usual, Luke has a lot to say. Andrew, well, it was a tough night for him. Also, I am not taking responsibility for leaving a mostly dead, unnamed-for-his-sake brewer on the Rail Runner, but since he liked a photo I shared on Instagram the next day, I know he is still alive.

A recap of the past and a request for the future

Hey, look, it’s Wes from Rowley Farmhouse Ales. Thanks for the Sin Barreras!

WinterBrew this year was just as big as it ever is, with only a few glaring breweries missing, including some Guild members not on the roster. That seems a true crime to me. However, the event was a blast, as it always is, despite my showing up two hours late due to having to work. I was quickly caught up as to which beers were worth trying, and which were worth skipping. All the brewers and pourers were in fine form, happy to share their beers and the stories behind them.

Our man Jason from Tumbleroot offered up a wonderful take on a barleywine.

I enjoyed several exciting beers from Starr Brothers and Second Street, bringing their Biscochito Stout (Zombies in the Manger) and Skookum Barleywine, respectively. With Second Street’s second location, they were able to pour more beers than ever before, and the people took notice. And, they certainly weren’t your average fest beers. In fact, many of the beers poured were not average at all.

Tumbleroot’s Captain Smash, SMaSH Barleywine was big and exciting, and Rowley Farmhouse Ales’ Raspberry Molé Stout Sin Barreras, rang a few bells in the Crew. Certainly they woke us up and made us do a double take.

It’s just so darn festive inside, but man, we wish it could be even bigger for more breweries, more beer, and why are our livers send us 30-day notices to move out?

There were some excellent beers all around from the smaller new breweries like Lost Hiker, Cloudcroft, Red River Brewing, and Truth or Consequences Brewing, but it was an old veteran that really brought it home, to me. My best of fest goes to Turtle Mountain. Their whole lineup was big, mean, well-executed, fun, and exciting. They definitely understood what it was to show up ready to pour at a brewfest. Now, I didn’t get around to every booth, but of the ones I did, there were some hits, some misses, and a couple really lame disappointments, but the festival was just as great as it ever was. It was another fine example of why it sells out every year.

But, if I might make a suggestion — and of course, I may not — it’s time to grow, time to move to a new venue, unless the Farmer’s Market can accommodate more than 700 people and 18 breweries. But, that is just a suggestion pieced together from whisperings in and around the industry. To amazing festivals that showcase what we do best, in the most fun way possible, cheers!

— Luke

(Now, how about a big old stream of photos?)

Nothing good comes from Denny’s at 2 a.m.

Andrew, bottom right, probably looking for a replacement glass after his was unintentionally shattered by another customer.

Notable memories for me were, (1) getting my glass filled with the crazy barleywine at the Tumbleroot table, only to set it down for a photo and have some lady knock it onto the floor where it smashed into pieces before I was even able to take a single sip. (2) Taking an Uber to Tumbleroot’s after-party with the two Bosque folks, except our Uber had mixed up their directions and dropped us off on the Plaza, which resulted in requiring another Santa Fe Uber just to get to Tumbleroot. (3) Ordering a mysterious sandwich to-go from Denny’s at 2 a.m. and then having to find it in the container it came in, since it was covered in chile and cheese, etc., and then Luke proceeded to eat the whole thing with his hands.

— Andrew

(However, don’t we eat all sandwiches with our hands? — Luke)

Owner Scott Salvas said he got the biggest sign possible to announce his forthcoming Brew Lab 101 in Rio Rancho.

The partial federal government shutdown has left many pending breweries in limbo, but that does not mean their owners are giving up the dream of opening in 2019. I trekked out to Rio Rancho on Wednesday afternoon to meet the owner of one of those forthcoming breweries, Brew Lab 101 Beer and Cider Company.

Owner/brewer Scott Salvas is doing everything he can to get ready for when the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is reopened, which will put him good position for a possible late May opening.

“It’s coming along,” he said of the space inside two suites in the shopping center at 3301 Southern Blvd., which is just a block or so west of Turtle Mountain. “If the government would get open to help me with the licensing stuff, that would be nice.”

Brew Lab 101 is taking over the former House of Football location for its taproom, while a former nail salon in the adjacent space will be home to the brewhouse and equipment.

“I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what (size) space did I want,” Scott said. “I originally wanted 3,000 square feet. We were looking at a space down the street. Unfortunately that deal fell apart literally two days before I was going to sign the lease, which is why I’m not open right now. That was only 3,200 square feet. Then I saw these two spaces up here.”

Owner/brewer Scott Salvas has plenty of room in which to operate.

The current shopping center has everything from a gym to a trampoline center for kids called to Elevate, to the long-established restaurant Joe’s Pasta House. It also has a lot of empty suites, the curse of the modern retail center, but also a boon for prospective business owners looking for a bargain.

That, plus Scott’s desire to see if he can translate his award-winning homebrews into an actual brewery, all combined to make Brew Lab 101 an almost reality.

“I had a passion for beer brewing,” Scott said. “I’ve been brewing for about eight years. I just started brewing beers and then having parties. I have a couple big parties a year. People would come and I think through the years the beer got better. People started giving me really good comments. Folks started encouraging me to think about it.”

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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 eight breweries, one in Los Alamos, one in Moriarty, and one in Red River 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.

The partial federal shutdown continues to wreak havoc upon the nation, including on local breweries, as we have mentioned in the past. So what can we, the beer-drinking public, do to help? Well, it’s actually fairly simple, we just have to keep buying more beer. The breweries that distribute out of state are taking the hardest hit, so they could use a little extra help. The good news is some are releasing new canned offerings this week. La Cumbre is releasing Altimeter IPA on Friday. This “brightly floral” IPA will debut in four-pack cans and on tap. Santa Fe is having a release party for its new Social Hour, a hazy wit-inspired beer with tropical fruit, at the ABQ Taproom on Saturday. There will be a Mario Kart Nintendo tournament from 4 to 7 p.m., followed by live music from 7 to 10.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque debuted EOP Tart at WinterBrew, and now it’s popping up at the taprooms, along with Surreal McCoy, a hoppy amber. Canteen saw some recent overturn with the return of Irish Red and the arrival of Mango Hussey IPA. Cantero unveils Brut IPA, Doughnut Stout, and Winter Warmer. Kilt Check has a new beer for the first time in quite a while with Black Sunshine Robust Porter. La Cumbre also added Strata IPA, Pimp Stout, and Friend Zone Golden Ale to its taps. Marble brings back Spruce Moose and also adds Coffee Porter. Nexus spices things up with Hot Chocolate Milk Stout. Quarter Celtic beckons us all to Come to the Dort Side. Sidetrack spins up more Turntable IPA, on draft and in cask. Steel Bender is up to Cider #5. Tractor hits the trail with more Cowboy Coffee Stout.

Up in Santa Fe, things are quiet again, but over in Red River, RRBC brings back Campfire Cream Ale after a short hiatus.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of January 14.

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The growth at Bosque was rather obvious this past year, considering that this big ol’ beast finally opened its doors.

It can be tough to get the bigger brewery command staffs together in one place. The chance to get everyone at Bosque together at once was too good to pass up when it was offered a couple weeks ago. By the time the interview was supposed to roll around, however, the universe decided it was time for my annual cold.

Still, the staff was game, and with plenty of cold medicine in my system, I ventured to Bosque North on a lovely afternoon to catch up with managing director Gabe Jensen, director of operations Jotham Michnovicz, director of culture and engagement Jessica Griego, and director of brewing operations John Bullard. The very building we were in was the crowning achievement of 2018 for Bosque and a good place to start this entry in our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series.

The new brewery was up and running by early July, and the taproom portion opened at the end of the month.

“It feels like it’s longer ago than that, or, it just happened, I don’t know which one,” Gabe said.

“It’s a little weird, sometimes I forget about Bosque North being in 2018,” Jessica added. “That is a big one.”

These are busy people, always looking forward, so let us cut them a little slack when it comes to trying to look back. It was up to John to get the ball rolling.

The canning line was pretty much in constant use since Bosque North opened.

“It’s been a challenge, but it’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “Lots of new equipment and stuff that I’ve never ran before, trying learning how to run it, finding new employees that can run it. We’ve built up a really strong team, so that’s been good. Then taking all of Colorado beer back has been a challenge, too. It all happened at once, but it’s been great. It’s going really good.

“Yeah, nicer equipment, working floors, everything. The facility is working better than I had hoped.”

A facility is only as good as the people working inside it, John added.

“We do have people that are very specialized in certain areas of the brewery,” he said. “So if we do have problems, on the brewhouse side or the cellar side, there’s somebody there that can make really good decisions.”

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Kaktus head brewer Mike Waddy always serves up his pints with a smile.

Another year has slipped by us, almost too quickly in some circumstances. However, as time continues its merciless march forward, for many the year proved to by a joyous and beneficial one. One of such places to have been able to share this with us is Bernalillo’s own Kaktus Brewing Company.

For those that have kept up over the past couple of years with NMDSBC’s annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series, this will come to recognize the warming and fun spirit that the brewery has been putting forth coming into its sixth year of continued operation. A strong theme this year, while not only exclusive to Kaktus, was a transition towards a strong focus on organic growth and getting back to the core of its community ties.

Shawna and I were once again hosted by head brewer Mike Waddy to sit down over a beer and discuss all that has transpired for Kaktus, and also what we all hope will soon start taking place in what has easily become one of Bernalillo’s most charismatic and unique destinations.

With a fresh pour of ‘Thur-vay-tha’ in hand, we set up on the enclosed patio on the front of the brewery, seemingly ever-changing and continually evolving with each visit. To summarize the experience that 2018 had brought for Kaktus, Michael was able to sum it up on a very positive note.

“Things were really good this year, like super good,” he said. “Like, busier than we’ve ever been. We celebrated our five-year anniversary in the middle of this October and looking back, every single year we are continuing to grow.”

From our perspective, this is a great sign, as there was much to consider at the end of 2017 with the impact that was the A.R.T. construction and the closing of Kaktus’ Nob Hill location.

Even after losing the Nob Hill taproom, the Kaktus staff stayed busy.

While there was a larger focus on refining things happening in and around the brewery this past year, it certainly did not mean there was no room for fun. Many of us are used to seeing the larger breweries hitting what seems to be becoming what could be called an annual NM beer fest circuit, but it’s always exciting to see smaller operations like Kaktus being able to participate and really get into the spirit of the Craft community.

“We had a great summer,” Michael said. ”(We) had a bunch of beer events and it was fun … we did the (Land of Enchantment) Blues Fest; we were the only vendor there and we also had some guest taps from Steel Bender on as well. This was our first year doing the New Mexico Brewfest, as well. That was fun. We gave a few kegs out and really got our name out there.”

One of the past year’s biggest questions for Kaktus was what the impact of Bosque North could be on its Bernalillo neighbor. Previous predictions and answers by Michael and owner Dana Koeller have seemingly started to come to fruition.

“Bosque (North) opening up, that was a big thing for Bernalillo,” Michael said. “People always ask if they’ve been hurting our business and the answer has always been no, not really. People come here and we do tell them to go check Bosque out. We have not seen a drop in numbers since they have opened, which is awesome, so we are hoping to get some overflow from them. … So really, it’s about two breweries now bringing more people out into the Bernalillo area.”

As a little background to our readers, Kaktus was the first brewery to open in the city of Bernalillo in 2013 (since Milagro Brewing closed in 2005), and remained the sole brewery in the area until the recent Bosque North opening.

As always, part of that progress is change, and the crew of Kaktus have been taking notes and getting to work, and not just on their beer and food.

“We’ve ramped up our entertainment here, especially the live music,” Michael said. “We have a Sunday Blues Jam. It’s freakin’ awesome; this place is always packed. I’ll come in to wash kegs and stuff and there’s no parking left! …

“We’re gonna to up our swag game a little as well, especially as a ‘destination’ brewery everyone always wants to take a little something with them.”

The enclosed patio now boasts a larger performance area with plenty of heating and protection from those cold bitter winter chills to accommodate the growing number of customers and array of entertainment.

The pints kept flowing in 2018 and should continue in 2019.

While well-managed growth is excellent, it comes with its own growing pains that always make for unique challenges along the way. For those unfamiliar with Kaktus, it is situated among an interesting array of several property types, ranging from near-industrial to homes. Ultimately, this does not bode well for the parking situation at times, as it can be limited and a slight issue. However, good news is on the way.

“From now into 2019, we’re going to be revamping the (parking) areas, making sure everybody has a place to park,” Michael said. “Also, (we are) working on the grading and making sure we get rid of the big puddles when it rains.”

It certainly doesn’t stop there. With sustainability and going green in mind, Michael also mentioned the idea of expanding their solar energy capabilities and pushing for 100-percent renewable energy use where applicable.

For the future of the staple attractions, the food and beer, they have also been putting the creative visions towards not only expanding available space in the brewhouse, but even the potential of adding a field-to-table touch to the kitchen.

“We’re considering buying a shipping container to help make more room here in the building, so we can, like, put more fermenters where the grain is now,” Michael said. “We can squeeze in two more fermenters where it is now. Also, Dana is looking into building a hydroponic system to supplement our kitchen with fresh tomatoes and veggies.”

Finally, with a shift towards something a bit more fun, we challenged Mr. Waddy to pick out his favorite beer over the past year that was produced by Kaktus.

“I can’t even remember what I made this year, I have to go look back in my brew logs,” Michael said. “Oh! One I really liked was my Bourbon Ginger. It was the beer I took to the New Mexico Brewfest. I really wanted to do bourbon aging, but with a lighter beer, as most everyone else uses stouts and porters, and stuff like that. Didn’t use the barrel this time, though. There is a tragic story of a barrel dumped the last time it was used. (This time) I soaked these American and French oak chips in bourbon for about a month and a half, and then threw those chips in the fermenter. It was almost like a ginger pale. It had notes of a whiskey ginger, and I also used a New Zealand hop variety called Motueka which has a real limey flavor to it. Those were the flavors I was going for, as my go-to cocktail is the whiskey ginger.”

Michael will keep innovating with his beers in 2019.

With another year in the books, and visions set high, Michael and the Kaktus team are determined to keep bringing their customers the experience of a ‘Balanced Beer, Balanced Life.’

As always, thank you, dear readers, for keeping up with us, the New Mexico Dark Side Brew Crew, for all your local brewery and beer-related news! Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Stoutmeister’s weekly release updates (This Week In Beer) so you don’t miss your favorite winter seasonals!

Cheers!

— Jerrad and Shawna

It’s time to gather with 700 of your closest beer-loving friends at WinterBrew.

WinterBrew 2019 is so close we can almost taste all the great beers that will be poured at the Santa Fe Farmers Market on Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. If you were not one of the lucky 700 to get a ticket, well, you might be able to land the extra pass the Crew has in hand for the festival.

I love tapping into New Mexico beer history, so the first person to correctly answer the following question will be the winner. Since this event is in Santa Fe, we stuck with a theme for that town.

Q. What current Santa Fe landmark was a brewery way back in the 19th century? Hint: It currently has a connection to someone famous beyond just New Mexico.

Send us an email at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com with your answer. We will announce when the contest is over on social media (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram), so keep an eye out there. The winner will be informed directly via email. If you are the winner, just meet the Crew out front at 5 p.m. (we will have our shirts on for easy identification). This is just one small way to give back to you, our loyal readers.

UPDATE: The question was answered correctly on Thursday at 5:30. It was the Jean Cocteau Theater, owned by George R.R. Martin. He’s kinda famous, right?

Now, for everyone that is going, we present the beer lists for 16 of the 18 attending breweries. Hopefully we get the other two before long.

  • Abbey: Monks’ Ale, Monks’ Dark Chocolate, Monks’ Tripel Reserve, Monks’ Grapefruit Wit
  • Bosque: Driftwood Oatmeal Stout, Open Space Haze, Elephants on Parade Tart, Frostbit Wit, Fistful of Churros, Bosque Cider
  • Bow and Arrow: TBA
  • Chili Line: TBA
  • Cloudcroft: Chai Spiced Porter, Oatmeal Stout, Railspike Red Ale, Trainwreck IPA
  • HoneyMoon: Camellia Flor, Camellia Blanco, Cidrucha
  • Lost Hiker: Snowpocolipse (Winter Warmer), Midnight Squirrel Stout, Rye Knot (Belgian Pale w/ Rye), Connectivity IPA
  • Marble: Desert Fog, Double White, Coffee Porter (NEW! Replacing Cholo Smooth), Sympathy for the Pork Chop (Smoked Marzen)
  • Picacho Peak: I Heart Chocolate Porter, Twisted Windmill (DIPA), 575 Scottsman, Dirty Blonde, Javelina Black (American Stout)
  • Red River: Lazy Bear Blonde, Midnight Meadows Oatmeal Stout, Back 40 Farmhouse Ale, Super Bad Medicine Bourbon Barrel-Aged Honey DIPA
  • Rowley Farmhouse Ales: No B.U. IPA, Petite Blanche (available from 5 to 6:10 p.m.), Cote d’Or Double Cerise (6:10-7:20), Sin Barreras Mole Barrel-Aged Stout with fresh raspberries (7:20-9)
  • Santa Fe: 7K IPA, Getta Witness (Witbier), Pepe Loco (Dark Lager), Chicken Killer 2.0
  • Second Street: 2920 IPA, Jackplane Imperial Porter, Agua Fria Pilsner, Boneshaker Special Bitter, 2018 Anniversary Ale, 2018 Skookum (Barleywine), Barrel-Aged Skookum, Chin Gose, Kolsch, MBV Stout
  • Sidetrack: Hobo King Lager, Dark Engine Stout, Turntable IPA, Buzz Bomb, plus cask of Dark Engine with cacao nibs and coffee
  • Starr Brothers: There Gose Them Boyzz, Brown Chicken Brown Cow, Lost City of Gold (Hazy IPA), Zombies in the Manger (Biscochito Stout)
  • Truth or Consequences: Bad Santa (Spiced Winter Ale), Good Juju (American Brown Ale), Irish Red, Palomas Porter, Supernova Hazy DIPA, Truth Serum (Barleywine, in bottles)
  • Tumbleroot: Captain SMASH (Rum Barrel-Aged SMASH Barleywine), Orange Chocolate Stout (nitro), Farmhouse Saison, Pale Ale
  • Turtle Mountain: Tiempo Mañana IPL, Darker than Darkness (Schwarzbier), Stockholm Syndrome (Baltic Porter), Deep Depravity (Barleywine), plus the archived 2016 Depravity and then 2017 Infinitesimus

Those are a lot of big, malty, chewy beers, so make sure to pace yourselves. WinterBrew is always a blast of an event, whether you take the Rail Runner or drive and spend the night in Santa Fe (please do not drive up and back if you are drinking). There will be food inside, but it might not hurt to load up at Second Street Railyard next door beforehand.

See you all tomorrow night.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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From left, Wes Burbank, Elissa Ritt, Tyler King, Jeffrey Kaplan, and John Rowley.

It’s 1 p.m. on an unseasonably warm Saturday at Rowley Farmhouse Ales (RFA). Before I could even ask my first interview question, a couple variants of Perennial Sump Imperial Coffee Stout are popped, poured into mini snifter glasses, and shared around the table.

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The best interviews are the ones where beers are present.

Just about the whole RFA crew is in attendance. Sitting around the long outdoor picnic-style table out on the patio are assistant brewer Tyler King, co-owner Elissa Ritt, chef Jeffrey Kaplan, head brewer Wes Burbank, brewmaster John Rowley, and of course, what would their gatherings be without friends? It’s a familiar scene with this crowd, a bottle share amongst buddies, furnished with beers just like Sump Coffee Stout, one of the many fruits of RFA’s keen networking labors with breweries from all over America. As it is, it’s quite unlikely to find another brewery that does more out-of-state collaborations in New Mexico, and that’s not going to stop any time soon.

The day before, I let the RFA crew know I wanted to do the Look Back/Look Ahead story for 2018-19, and asked, “Who’s in?” Thankfully, everyone was obliged to join me for a chat.

2018 has been another successful year at the small gastro-brewpub tucked away just off of Cerrillos Road. One of the major highlights was the silver medal win at GABF (Great American Beer Festival) for their Berliner Weisse, Germophile.

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Yes, that’s the RFA crew way down there on the stage.

“For me, it just means we’re on the right track,” Burbank says.

King then adds, “It legitimized all of our long days, 24-hour weekends, and all the hard work getting this place up and running.”

“And, it’s nice to be recognized for all of our hard work,” Rowley finishes.

Bringing on Burbank as head brewer was a strong push for Team Rowley last year.

“He’s a fantastic brewer, brings a lot of talent to the table,” Rowley says.

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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 eight breweries, one in Los Alamos, one in Moriarty, and one in Red River 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.

We made it through the holidays and the snow storms and all that fun. While things in Washington have not been resolved, elsewhere it is back to the usual business routine, with breweries no exception to that. La Cumbre will be releasing another canned beer. Marble will be having another guided tasting with one of its brewers. There will be live music, and other new beers on tap, and so on and so forth. It will be good to get back to normal for a change. So make sure to line up early Friday for those cans of In the Money Double Dry-Hopped IPA at La Cumbre. Make your reservations at Marble Westside to learn more about beer with Jeff Priddy tonight at 6. Then just sit back, enjoy some live tunes, and try some new beers. Hooray for the return to normalcy!

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Boxing Bear takes off with a new batch of Scotch Rocket Scotch Ale. Marble went out and smoked a märzen and named it Sympathy for the Pork Chop. Ponderosa’s Belgian Golden Strong should be on tap soon. Red Door teamed up with Beer Creek Brewing for the new Picture Rock Porter on Friday. Rio Bravo rides the hazy IPA train again with Freque Juice. Sidetrack checks in with the new Hobo King Lager and In-Crowd Pale Ale. Starr Brothers brings back There Gose Them Boyzz. Steel Bender has a double release on Thursday with Mango Dynamite and Ettu Brut IPA. Toltec goes the single-hop route with Cascade Pale Ale.

Up in Santa Fe, Rowley Farmhouse Ales adds a new version of Petit Blanche with Galaxy hops and apricots.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of January 7.

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The Southwest x Northwest Hazy IPA, a collaboration from Ex Novo and Bow and Arrow, is now on tap at the latter.

If anyone thought that this weekly feature died in the snow, well, it did not. We all just decided to enjoy our holiday stretch without writing down every beer that we consumed (well, we still have Untappd just in case our fuzzy memories need some clarity).

Anyway, keeping things rather recent, have I mentioned how much working on Saturdays can suck? This past Saturday definitely sucked, so after a quick dinner it was time to venture forth in search of beer. Reminding myself that I had been unable to visit Bow and Arrow the night before for a new beer release, I made the long drive (for me, anyway) to Sixth Street. The joint was packed inside, including a few folks in some zombie-like makeup (no idea what that was about). I found a seat at the bar and ordered the Southwest x Northwest Hazy IPA. No, really, I ordered a hazy IPA.

The beer was brewed as a collaboration between Bow and Arrow and Ex Novo Brewing, as noted in the last edition of The Week Ahead in Beer. I have had plenty of quality beers from B&A over the last year, and Ex Novo impressed me with their offerings at the original in Portland, Oregon, and those that I have been gifted in bottle or can format. It was no surprise that this beer lived up to the quality of both breweries. A lot of hazies are citrus-flavor dominant, but this also had a bitter little bite up front from some old-school piney hops. It was not too sweet, nor too tart, finding a nice balance. The mouthfeel was clean and smooth.

It went down quickly, leaving me with the chance to try another recent addition to the lineup. Buffalo Plaid Baltic Porter is one of the more flavorful examples of the style that I have tried in town. There are strong hints of dark chocolate and a little bit of coffee up front, with a smooth finish, and a fairly robust mouthfeel. I almost ordered a full pour, until I learned that Breakfast Bandit has nearly run its course. The rather infamous coffee-and-donuts stout is still a delectable beer, so I had to get some while it was still around.

Next time, however, I will indulge in some Buffalo Plaid. Bow and Arrow has come a long way over the past year, and is now firmly in my rotation of must-visit breweries. As for Ex Novo, that IPA is a good preview of what to come once the brewery in Corrales is open and ready for business.

Now to just get the damn federal government working again so things can progress.

While we wait for that miracle to happen, a couple of the ladies in the Crew ventured far and wide in search of beers to try.

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