Pucker up, people, because one of your favorite beer tastings of the year is back for another go around. Tart at Heart returns to Sister on Saturday, April 13 for its fifth annual onslaught of sour and barrel-aged beer goodness. To get the scoop on what this year’s event holds, I sat down with the main man behind the event, Angelo Orona of Craft King Consulting.
“We’re trying to do it big for the fifth year, for sure,” he said. “Some of the same concepts are going to be in play this year. Obviously we’ve got a lot of sour and barrel-aged beers … always trying to get the most exclusive (and) interesting beers into the state.”
This event sells out every year, and for those still hoping for a VIP ticket, sorry, you are already too late. Those sold out shortly after our interview took place; Angelo said there were only 10 left at the time we sat down. There are still general admission tickets ($40) for sale online and at the Kelly Liquors on Juan Tabo. Those still get you in for three hours of unlimited tastings from 2 to 5 p.m., and you get to keep the commemorative glass. VIP ticket holders get in at 1 p.m. and also keep the glass and a special T-shirt designed by local artist Chris Erickson.
Whether it is three hours or four hours of unlimited tasting, Tart at Heart has always brought out some unique and special beers, from local and regional breweries, plus national and international ones as well.
“We’re going to keep a couple cards up our sleeve, but there’s some beers that we really excited about for this year,” Angelo said. “One of them is Boulevard Love Child No. 9, it’s a barrel-aged sour blend, so that’s going to be a pretty exclusive beer. One that we’re really excited about as well is the Goose Island Bourbon County Bramble Rye, so we were able to track that down. We didn’t even think that was going to make it into the state, but we have one of the only sixth barrels of that beer.”
The locals have stepped up as well.
“Rowley (Farmhouse Ales) is sending us some really great stuff from Santa Fe,” Angelo said. “We have Coté d’noir mixed fermentation raw wheat saison, that’s aged in Pinot Noir barrels. We have sour raspberry from another local brewery, Dialogue.
“Overall just trying to keep it funky, keep the whole momentum that we’ve built over the last four years of just introducing some really interesting flavors to the customer.”
Angelo promised a full beer list reveal for later this week, so when that appears, we will make sure to share it here and on social media.
The setup will be the same at Sister as it was last year. The bar will also be open, so customers without tickets can still hang out and enjoy the usual selection of beer, wine, and spirits, and it will also give designated drivers a place to hang out and enjoy some food and non-alcoholic drinks. As most folks know, parking downtown is limited, and with so many high ABV beers being sampled, using a DD, taxi, or ride-share service is highly recommended.
Tart at Heart always has a charitable component as well, with a portion of the proceeds dedicated to do some good in the community.
“One thing that’s really important that I wanted to talk about as well is just as we have every year, we support a local charity,” Angelo said. “This year that charity is Presbyterian Ear Institute. I was asked by a friend some time late last year to donate some of my time to their annual auction. I will continue that partnership with Tart at Heart so we can really raise some money for these folks.
“What Presbyterian Ear Institute does is they’re a school that helps hard of hearing children and adults learn speech, also help with surgical procedures such as cochlear implants, so they really make a huge impact on the local community. They serve a vitally important role for people who are hard of hearing here in Albuquerque. I’m really happy to partner with them. We think that they’re a great fit for us. They’ll also have an informational booth and some folks talking about their charity here on site on April 13.”
Most of us in the Crew have been able to attend Tart at Heart at least once (or more) in the past, and we highly recommend this event for anyone, not just hard-core beer geeks. It is not all sour and barrel-aged behemoths, and there is almost always something for everyone to enjoy.
“We’re really excited that we’ve made it five years,” Angelo said. “It’s really a testament to local beer enthusiasts wanting to experience new and interesting flavors. We’re really happy that they’re excited and enthusiastic about returning this year.”
We will see many of you at Sister in a couple Saturdays.