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.
Finding a beer fit for a comic book legend
Friday night on the way up to Durango we decided to slip into Ska Brewing to pick up some beer and briefly attend the release party for this years Snowdown beer. It is an “Excelsior-style” red lager with a “comic-can” theme and would be just perfect on the slopes. The brewery was jam packed. Some people were dressed for the occasion in either superhero outfits or comic prints. The beer was crisp and refreshing, with some caramel notes and a rounder mouthfeel than a typical lager.
The other winner of the evening for us was their Moral Panic Brut IPA. It’s the beer we bought a sixer of to take with us.
The great beers of the Great Lakes region
I’m kind of the black sheep of my family when it comes to drinking beer. I barely managed to get them through the six pack of Santa Fe Adobe Igloo that I brought up for my week-and-a-half-long holiday visit to Michigan. I wasn’t sure how their Midwestern taste buds would receive a dark beer brewed with cacao and chiles, but the chile flavor is subtle enough that they ended up really liking it when they finally got around to drinking it.
Near the end of my trip, I was able to convince my mom and sister to venture out to HopCat, a chain with 17 locations throughout Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Florida. Each location has a huge number of beers on tap, featuring a variety of local, as well as other popular brews from around the country and the world. I settled on The Ghost of the Neapolitan, a white stout brewed with chocolate, strawberry and vanilla, from Saugatuck Brewing based out of Douglas, Michigan. A HopCat exclusive, this nitro pour was smooth, creamy, and just the right amount of sweet — everything I like in a beer. I did a quick distribution search for the other versions of this stout, and unfortunately, it’s not currently available anywhere within 100 miles of Albuquerque. But, if you ever find yourself at one of the HopCat locations on your travels, be sure to check this one out, along with the many other beers they have available.
My sister selected the Rubaeus Raspberry Ale from Founders, which I have previously seen on the shelves of the Albuquerque Uptown Total Wine. While everything is always better on tap, this one tastes nearly as good in cans, and I highly recommend it for those who like fruity, non-hoppy beers.