Archive for February, 2019

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, 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 are totally done with winter, right? No more straining our lower backs shoveling snow, right? Hey, we can all hope for warmer days ahead, and the wonderful porch beers that come along with those days. Bosque is feeling a bit springy with Resto Hazy Pale Ale, which debuts in cans and on tap this Friday at all locations. Resto will be the flagship beer at the forthcoming Restoration Pizza, which will open in March. It’s a single-hop, two-grain beer, perfectly refreshing for the dawn of spring. Across town, Boxing Bear is also sticking with the hops and haze on Friday. Totally Cereal Hazy IPA, made with rolled oats, will debut on tap. If haze is not really your thing, Bow & Arrow is releasing Rad Vista Pilsner on tap Friday. It’s the first single-hop pilsner in a new series, this one using Vic Secret hops. Both beers should feel quite nice on a warm day on the patio.

Another awesome beer-and-food pairing is going down this week at Ponderosa. The brewpub is teaming up with Rebel Donut today and Thursday from opening at 11 a.m. until the donut bite supply runs out. The pairings will feature donut bites made with the same beers they’re paired with, so it’s Blood Orange Wit, Bellamah Brown, and the brand-new Red Velvet Ale. Presale tickets are $10, while tickets at the door are $12.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque also has its collaboration beer with Ex Novo now on tap, Frenemies, a West Coast pilsner made with experimental hops. Boxing Bear varies up one of its standards with Black and Blue Milk Shake. Canteen brings back Tuttle IPA and Social Capital, with the latter made with pomegranate and cardamom. Kaktus kicks over the taps with Solstic Pale Ale, Amber, Oatmeal Stout, Belgian Golden, and Darlings Doppelbock, named in honor of the Desert Darlings. Marble is feeling smooth with Marble Lager, and a big naughty with Safeword IPA. Quarter Celtic rolled out the beastly Never Cry Wolf-Dragon, a hazy IPA that was originally brewed for the canceled National IPA Challenge. Rio Bravo went ahead and made a peanut butter hazelnut brown ale and called it Squirrel Nuts, because why the heck not? Sidetrack has put its Pub Ale with Earl Grey Tea on draft, not just in the cask (but it’s there, too), plus there is more Turntable IPA and regular Pub Ale available. Toltec puts its NIPAC entry, Guapo Hoppo, on tap as well. Turtle Mountain tunes up a new Brut IPA called Toxic Masculinity.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn and Beer Creek are releasing a collaboration, Santa Faze IPA. Rowley Farmhouse Ales introduces the new raspberry Oud Bruin, Fromabozen, and Agent Scully – Season Two, Episode Six (IPA).

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of February 25.

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Brewer Alexander Pertusini has worked hard to find his comfort zone at Chili Line Brewing.

During the past year, Chili Line Brewing has been busy. I mean, really busy. Between turning their taproom into a downtown nightlife destination, pouring at all the local festivals, and getting their brand-new location ready to open, they’ve been BUSY. Thankfully, brewer Alexander Pertusini was kind enough to sit down and speak with the Dark Side Brew Crew about the year before and what’s coming down the tracks in 2019 for our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series.

It was 6:30 on a Wednesday evening when I walked into an already crowded bar. I felt like I was late to the party. Pertusini greeted me as he poured beer for a good mixture of what sounded like regulars and folks visiting from out of town. After pouring me one of three stouts on the menu, he joined me at an empty table, which was becoming a rare commodity as the minutes passed. It was already a bit of a different vibe from the last time I’d visited “professionally,” I should say.

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Seats were at a premium at Chili Line on a weeknight.

And then, I tasted the beer. A solid stout, heavy on flavor, delivering on the promised premise of cocoa and lactose (by the name, Tio Coco Milk Stout), great mouthfeel, and very light on the smoke. Hmm.

Pertusini was soon brought a beer by a gentleman I would later recognize from Breaking Bad and other well-known screen roles. And, as soon as I could wrap my brain around all the pleasant changes and tweaks at work around me, I thumbed on both of my recorders and looked over my laundry list of questions. Though I was already getting excited about the direction Chili Line seemed to be heading in, I wanted to know how their year went.

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The little brewery that could has become a popular destination in Southeast Albuquerque.

The great neighborhood pub experiment is rolling along in several areas of Albuquerque, perhaps most notably at 529 Adams St. NE, where High and Dry Brewing has gained a loyal following in just one year of operation. While operating the smallest brewing system (1 barrel) in town, brewer/owner Andrew Kalemba and his staff have managed to nonetheless make a name for themselves in a crowded craft beer scene.

I caught up with Andrew on Monday afternoon at the brewery, where he was still hard at work even though it was closed to customers, for our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series.

“2018, it went by fast, that’s for sure,” Andrew said. “We can’t complain. We have what I’d like to call consistent business all year. The neighborhood really showed up and supported us. The bottom line is we hit our year one business case, which is a fantastic thing to celebrate. I’m not sure I got to sit down and enjoy it during the birthday weekend, but that was an absolutely awesome milestone for us to be able to do that in the first year.”

Andrew moved to Albuquerque from Austin, which is filled with small breweries that serve as popular gathering spots in the midst of residential neighborhoods. He took that inspiration into building High and Dry, taking over a former tattoo parlor space just off Lomas Boulevard. It has worked out mostly as planned so far, with plenty of people walking over from their homes, or making a short drive.

“There’s butts in seats, and that’s awesome,” Andrew said. “What’s nice, too, even at our anniversary (party), we still have new people coming in and discovering it, even people who live in the neighborhood. That’s kind of flattering. We kind of like being that. We also have people walking in and hitting on a lot of the things you said. It’s the neighborhood spot, it’s the neighborhood’s living room. Come mosey on over here and hang out. That’s resonating with people and people are getting it without us having to beat the idea into everyone’s head.”

Of course, with the development of such a strong customer base, it also means Andrew has to work hard to keep the beers flowing out of his 1-barrel brewhouse.

“I think the last time we talked I was right in the thick of chaos, when we had some product recalls, and spilled five barrels down the drain, and then we also figured out how to break the sewer line,” he said. “It was rough for a while. Obviously, the guest taps and the collaboration model is really important to sustaining that. One of the awesome things about New Mexico is we have reciprocity, and that’s always been key to our (business) model.”

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Flix Brewhouse’s Unbreakable Glass earned one of four medals at the Best of Craft Beer Awards. (Photo courtesy of Will Moorman)

Here on this blustery Friday, it feels like a good time to stay indoors and catch up on some local beer news as we empty the notebook yet again.

Flix picks up four medals at Best of Craft Beer Awards

If there is a theme early on in 2019 to some of the beer competitions going around, it is that Flix Brewhouse has come to make a statement.

The brewery/movie theater, which makes all of its beers on premises in Albuquerque, earned four medals at the recent Best of Craft Beer Awards. Three other local breweries brought home another four medals, as well.

Flix earned gold in the Baltic-style Porter category with Darth Malt, and another gold in Belgian-style Witbier for Luna Rosa, which is a year-round beer. Flix also picked up a silver for James Blond in the Belgian-style Blonde Ale or Pale Ale category, and a bronze for Unbreakable Glass in the American-style Cream Ale category.

Those medals follow up a strong performance at the Beer Army Beer Wars last month. Congrats to Flix for making New Mexico proud again!

As for the other local winners, Sierra Blanca won gold for its Green Chile Cerveza in the Chili Pepper Beer category (that was how the competition spells Chili, so please don’t yell at us), and a bronze for Cherry Wheat in the Fruit Wheat Beer category. Rio Bravo brought home a silver for its Amber/ESB in the British Bitters category, while Abbey Brewing snagged bronze for its Monks’ Dark Ale in the English-style Mild or Brown Ale category.

Congrats to one and all!

New brewery updates: Things are moving again

Another new brewery is coming to the East Central/Foothills area. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Carlson)

The end of the partial shutdown has several of the pending breweries around town back on track. Here is the latest that we know about each.

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Turtle Mountain celebrates its 20th anniversary this year after winning its first GABF gold medal last year.

Turtle Mountain is turning 20 years old in just a few weeks, which is quite the milestone for a brewery, let alone a restaurant. I was able to sit down and chat with both head brewer Mick Hahn and owner Nico Ortiz regarding their stellar 2018, and what 2019 has in store for them.

Solo: The big thing with our look back would probably be that gold medal you snagged at GABF (Great American Beer Festival)?

Mick: Yeah, that definitely is the biggest thing for 2018. We are beyond thrilled to have that thing hanging behind the bar. It feels really good to have something that Turtle has deserved for a long time, and to get that recognition. So my favorite part of GABF all together was seeing Stan Heironymous tweet out that his favorite thing of GABF was Turtle Mountain getting a medal. 

Solo: That’s beautiful.

Mick: To get those words coming out of Stan’s mouth means a whole lot. He was one of the first people to sit at our bar and taste our beer 20 years ago, and Albuquerque owes a lot to him and his writing, so to hear him say that felt great. It just backed up everything I believe about Turtle being, oh, just shy of world class. We are very happy about it and hopefully we can try to have some sort of repeat this next year. Wooden Teeth will definitely get submitted again, for sure, and we will look at what else is going to be our entries for 2019 medals. 

Solo: Since lagers are kind of your thing, might we see some more of those?

Mick: Yeah, for sure, and I think they are overlooked by a lot of people who don’t see them to be as exciting, so they don’t get as much attention as a lot of the styles out there. 

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Congratulations to Sidetrack on three years in business! They will have plenty more beer in store for the year ahead.

Going into their fourth year, Sidetrack Brewing Company owners Dan Herr and Anne O’Neill have one main goal — making their beer even better.

To achieve that goal, they first had to acquire some new equipment, including a 7-barrel fermenter and an expanded walk-in cooler. Coming off a big year in sales, during which, Anne said, they struggled to keep up, these new items will help increase their production.

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Sidetrack’s shiny new fermenter, which they bought from Boxing Bear, will be ready to go within the next month or two.

Since Sidetrack doesn’t currently do any distribution or canning, 100 percent of its sales are out of the taps in house. This led them to expand their tap tower to 10 handles (previously six). In past years, there may have been two or three beers from other breweries flowing from those taps. Moving forward, they want their own beer to be featured. This will continue to include at least one, but usually two, regular cask offerings. Although it is a challenge to do, Anne said she hopes to “make it fun” and add new flavors like fruit to the cask beers.

With not much room to expand beyond their current footprint, Dan and Anne have to get creative with their use of the space by making these adjustments, along with smaller behind-the-scenes changes that most patrons probably won’t ever see or notice. All of the moves are aimed at bringing the brewery up to a more conventional system and improve the overall customer experience.

“We just open the doors and try to make the people who come in happy,” Dan said.

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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, 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.

Red Door became the latest brewery to can one of its regular offerings earlier this week. The Mother Road Mobile Canning team came to the brewery on Monday to package the Vanilla Cream Ale. It is now available at the brewery and the downtown taproom, as well as at select retailers. It was a nice present for head brewer Matt Meier, who is going on paternity leave for the birth of his first child. Red Door becomes the ninth local brewery to can one of its flagship beers. It is a crowded market, but it is nice to see a different style go into cans.

There are a couple of Mardi Gras-themed events this week as well that are worth checking out. Tractor Wells Park will again host the Desert Darlings for one of their Hops & Dreams on Friday night at 8, complete with a Bourbon Street theme this time around. We would also be remiss not to point out that the Darlings will be celebrating the birthday of one of their own, Shannon, with a dance party at Kaktus on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Back in Albuquerque, The 377 Brewery will host a Brazilian Pre-Carnival Party on Saturday night at 8. Bring your mask and prepare for a night of Brazilian music, food, and more.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bombs Away perks up with Java Nut Brown Ale. Bosque had a big tap turnover with Belgo Pale Ale, Peach ‘n Berry Sour, Map & Compass Pale Ale, Frostbit Wit, and Marahute Hazy DIPA now available. Boxing Bear is feeling feisty with Bulldog English IPA. La Cumbre rolls out Luck of the Draw DIPA in cans and on tap this Friday. Marble once again summons the Thunder From Dortmunder. Starr Brothers capitalizes on its soccer ties with 505 Reds – Liverpool Red Ale. Tractor lightens up with Wavey Hour Ale.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn marches forward with Royal Road Farmhouse Ale. Further north in Red River, RRBC brings back its Scottish Ale.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of February 18.

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The reddish lettering in the upper left amounted to the totality of the initial announcement that the NIPAC was canceled for 2019.

The NIPAC is dead.

Over the weekend, in the quietest way possible, the Brewing News left a small note on the front page of the National IPA Challenge website that the annual competition was canceled for 2019. It was perhaps the final, inevitable outcome after last week’s national furor over a story by publisher/owner Bill Metzger that ran in the Great Lakes edition of Brewing News, a national publication with multiple regional editions that comes out every two months.

Metzger chose to resign over the controversy following the publication of his blatantly sexist/misogynistic story. He later claimed it was satire in a futile effort to save himself, but few in the national brewing community saw it that way. A number of New Mexico breweries withdrew from the NIPAC in protest, making public statements condemning Metzger.

From Bosque Brewing: “Hey, Bosque Family. It is with serious disappointment that, in light of a recent article published by Brewing News, we are writing to let you know that we are pulling our beers from the National IPA Challenge effective immediately.

“The sexist and racist remarks made by editor Bill Metzger were deeply upsetting and do not reflect our sincere belief that the brewing industry should be an inclusive community free of misogyny, racism, or any behavior of the like.

“This decision was a very obvious one to make, and we appreciate your understanding.”

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The fourth annual Stout Invitational at Bathtub Row Brewing was a smash hit.

For the first time in four years, Stoutmeister made it to the Stout Invitational up at Bathtub Row Brewing in Los Alamos this Saturday. This annual New Mexico Brewers Guild event brings stout lovers together from across the state in a unique setting atop the mountain in a perfect stout weather kind of day.

The winner of the public vote for this fun competition was El Choco by Lost Hiker Brewing from Ruidoso. It earned 24 votes, beating out Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Imperial Stout (18) and Blue Corn’s Whiteout Stout (16). The best performance by an Albuquerque brewery was Tractor’s Chocolate Milk Stout, which was fourth with 13 votes (it was my choice out of the group, FYI).

Lost Hiker brewmaster Dan Carey holds his first major beer award.

For Lost Hiker, it was the first major award for the young brewery.

“It’s just unbelievable, I’m blown away,” brewmaster Dan Carey said. “We’re so excited. There’s so much good beer in New Mexico for us to come out on top, I drank 16 different beers, and they were all fantastic. This was a great honor.”

Here are the final public voting totals:

  1. Lost Hiker El Choco 24 votes
  2. Roosevelt Bull Moose 18
  3. Blue Corn Whiteout Stout 16
  4. Tractor Chocolate Milk Stout 13
  5. Bombs Away Fat Man Stout 11
  6. Truth or Consequences Dark Skies 11
  7. Bathtub Row Imperial Stout 7
  8. Flix Brewhouse Rubus Nucifera 6
  9. Red River Midnight Meadows 5
  10. The 377 Mimosa Delight 5
  11. Blue Heron Prieto Real 2
  12. Chili Line New Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout 2
  13. Nexus Hot Chocolate Milk Stout 2
  14. Steel Bender Brickie American Stout 2
  15. Red Door Paint it Black Nitro Milk Stout 1
  16. Rio Bravo Barrel-Aged Grab ‘Em By the Putin 1

Unlike the Stout Challenge that the Brew Crew holds, the Invitational features all sorts of stouts, from imperials to coffee stouts to others with special adjuncts. The format is similar, though, with the beers numbered as a blind taste test. It lacks the competitive ferocity of the IPA Challenge, but still manages to be an entertaining event, as it shows the variety in what people want in a stout. Whiteout Stout, for instance, is a pale stout, and it truly stood out on the tray (not unlike that one year someone put a black IPA in the NMIPAC).

Blue Corn’s Whiteout Stout was the visual standout on the tray of 16 stouts.

It was pretty packed inside the ‘Tub, but the staff kept things flowing well, with the Brewers Guild volunteers running the show in an efficient manner between the three separate judging shifts (noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m.) due to the limited seating. It was also more than a bit cold outside, so unless you could find a spot along the fire pit, stays on the patio were short.

In the end, it was a good day atop the hill. Enjoy some additional photos of the event!

A huge thank you to John Gozigian and the Guild volunteers, the staff at Bathtub Row, and all the patrons. Raise those dark elixirs high in celebration of winter!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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, 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 can all use some good beer news this week, and Bow & Arrow is here to provide it. The Sixth Street brewery is celebrating its third anniversary Saturday from noon to midnight. There will be a pop-up by Four Corners Navajo Tacos from noon to 4, followed by Curbside Pies. Red Mesa, with Spanish flamenco guitar player Reynaldo Baca, will provide the music from 5 to 7. Special merchandise will include commemorative glassware from illustrator Dale DeForest and Desert Revival T-shirts from Darko Printshop. Oh, and of course there will be special beers. Bottles of Desert Revival, a barrel-aged raspberry sour, will be for sale. There will also be special tappings of Dark Mesa Belgian Quad, Coyote Waits Imperial Molé Stout, and Rancho Bizarro Sour Red.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque has Scale Tipper coming back in cans and on tap Thursday. Boxing Bear tapped Red Eye Lager and Hazy Featherweight IPA late last week. La Cumbre goes light and malty with Schwarzbier and big and malty on nitro with From Putin with Love. Nexus serves up some Mango Milkshake IPA. Red Door brings back New England IPA later this week. Steel Bender will have bottles of The Village Wit for sale Thursday. Toltec is feeling the holiday with Fake Love, a cherry/pomegranate kettle sour, and Sippin’ on the Bock of the Day, a collaboration with Turtle Mountain that will be on tap at both breweries.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn flies in with more Gatekeeper IPA, this time with Galaxy hops.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of February 11.

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