Archive for January 24, 2019

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Brewmaster Rod Tweet and head brewer Tom Ludzia are ready for more Second Street beer. Are you?

Second Street had another great year, with each of its taprooms humming along like well-oiled machines. The big news wasn’t the taprooms in 2018, although it should be noted that Second Street Rufina is steadily becoming just as much a fixture in the Santa Fe brewpub scene as the Oldery and the Railyard locations already are. The real star of Second Street’s 2018, however, was another machine altogether, one perhaps not as well-oiled (just yet), but one with multiple components whirring to life at the hands of a few good men and women. That machine includes the canning line, the wholesale shop, and the new lines of distribution of kegs and gorgeous cans chugging off the line.

Some time between counting inventory and working on the latest batch of one of his new flagship beers, president and brewmaster Rod Tweet made some time to sit down with me for the latest installment of our Look Back/Look Ahead Series for 2018-19.

Tweet meets me after work on a Saturday at Rufina. We take one of the tall tables in the large Rufina space, and I have a hard time deciding on what I want to drink, for once. There’s more than a few exciting beers on the list these days, but I’m in the mood for the Brown. It’s good, and I can’t recall the last time I really enjoyed a Brown Ale as much in years.

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The Brown Ale does not disappoint.

After taking a couple sips, I start the recorder. I want to see how business was in 2018, and I want to hear all about the brand-new canning line, and how its first few months in operation went. As we all know, it ain’t easy getting one of those things firing on all pistons. I’m also looking to find out what they plan to do with all the beer they’re pouring into packaging in 2019, and which beers.

“We had a really good year,” Tweet says. “The new place continues to grow. The Railyard, and the original location are like an engine, relatively figured out at this point.”

Second Street is still fine-tuning Rufina, building on what they know, but tweaking everything from food to events as needed. With their restaurant business purring away, they have more time to focus on what we’re all interested in: beer.

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The Starr Brothers command staff includes, from left, general manager Derek Minero, co-owner Heather Starr, head brewer/part-owner Rob Whitlock, and assistant brewer Matthew Pullen.

There are occasions where we can actually properly time the release of one of our Look Back/Look Series articles with a major event at the subject brewery. Sometimes, though, we almost miss the opportunity, and a mad scramble ensues to get the story done in time. That was almost the case this week, but the good folks in charge at Starr Brothers Brewing made it easy for us to get this article up before their third anniversary party kicks off Saturday.

Co-owner Heather Starr, head brewer (and now part-owner) Rob Whitlock, and general manager Derek Minero were able to join me for a quick interview on Wednesday afternoon, going over the entirety of 2018 and what is to come in 2019.

First up, Saturday’s anniversary bash will run all day, with plenty of fun on deck.

“We haven’t done the bands before, this is kind of our first time doing that,” Heather said. “But, I think it will add to the celebratory atmosphere. We’ve got (souvenir) cups, we’ve got merch, we’re doing a live screen print.”

The participating bands are Rise of Seekalae (2 to 4 p.m.), RoyalHills (5 to 8), and Kevin Herig (8:30-10:30).

“Our beer release, we’re going to do the Lost Cities of Gold (Hazy IPA) that I had up at WinterBrew,” Rob said.

“Then some raffles and stuff, just an all-day party,” Derek added.

Heather also noted that the west parking lot has been expanded, with crushed gravel instead of dirt. Any time a brewery can add more parking, it is a good thing.

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