ABQ Beer Week 2019 is upon us with a true blitzkrieg of funky events and new brews, and a Los Ranchos brewery is right at the heart of it. Steel Bender Brewyard is embracing its neighborhood roots by branching out across the city, while still staying close to home.
“We really did want to build a place to ‘brew,’ that’s where our tag line comes from,“ said Steel Bender marketing director/co-owner Shelby Chant. “Yes, to brew the beer, but to brew with your friends, to brew up a great idea, to brew up your next vacation.”
Steel Bender is kicking off ABQ Beer Week today (Thursday) with the release of their new beer, Stay Golden Ale, an English-style summer ale brewed with lemon peel. Then on Friday, SBB sales reps will be at Jubilation Beer, Wine, & Spirits’ Wild and Sour beer tasting event along with with Rowley Farmhouse Ales and Bow & Arrow Brewing.
Among several in-house celebrations, Steel Bender has some surprises for us. On Saturday, they have teamed up with Bristol Doughnuts Co. (located in Nob Hill) for the “Breakfast of Champions” beer-and-donuts pairing. Head brewer Bob Haggerty, who is a former chef, and SBB Chef Jason Baczkiewicz met with the Bristol Doughnuts owners Sara and Coy Tremmel to decide what pairings would work best.
“All of us agreed we’ve never tasted such an incredible donut,” Shelby said.
The pairings are chosen to highlight the flavors the beer and the donuts together and individually.
“One of the pairings is the Raspberry Dynamite with Bristol Doughnuts’ cookies and cream brioche doughnut; it’s just unbelievable,” Shelby said. “Jesus (Rodriguez) came up with this one and said, ’This may be my best pairing ever!’ It’s just unbelievable. So we’re really excited about this event. The pairings will be offered right when we open and we’re only getting a limited amount.”
The pairing is a four-beer flight with four different donut holes. The pairings are:
- Cookies & Cream Brioche Doughnut with the show-stopping Raspberry Dynamite
- Blueberry Thyme Bomboloni alongside the floral Hummingbird Pils
- Cinnamon Sugar Cake Doughnut to complement the airy Steel Bender Cider
- Maple Bacon Brioche Doughnut next to the hearty Red Iron Red
After attending Sunday’s Blues & Brews Festival, next up for Steel Bender is the Memorial Day Smoke-out on Monday.
“This year we’re smoking turkey legs, hot links, and brisket, and then the kitchen is making all of their all their usual sides, including potato salad, coleslaw, (and) BBQ beans,“ Shelby said. “It’s just kind of a fun day out on the patio.”
The Dirty Brown Jug Band will be playing their “Outlaw Americana” music on the patio, weather permitting, from 1 to 3:30 p.m.
M’tucci’s Pizzeria and Market is hosting Steel Bender for a tap takeover on Wednesday. SBB is sending the ETTU Brut IPA, Rosy Nosy Mixed-Fruit Berliner Weisse, Lloyd’s Three O’Clock Kolsch, and Skull Bucket IPA.
A big event on Thursday, May 30, will see Steel Bender and Ex Novo release their bottle-conditioned Saison de Luxe collaboration in the taproom, along with a special meal pairing (grilled lengua and polenta with salsa verde and calabacitas) that will be available only that day. The Saison de Luxe is a brett saison, which is re-fermented with Steel Bender’s and Ex Novo’s house strains of brettanomyces, and dry-hopped with Southern Passion hops from South Africa. It’s a fruity, bubbly, funky beer and perfect way to kick off the summer.
Steel Bender is collaborating with Artichoke Café for a four-course beer dinner on Saturday, June 1. There are still some ticketed seats available ($65 plus tax and gratuity). The menu is attached to the Facebook event page, and required reservations can be made by calling the Artichoke Café at (505) 243-0200.
Steel Bender’s last hurrah for ABQ Beer Week will be their annual Le Cask Lunatique on Sunday, June 2.
“This is a really fun event, especially for the beer geeks out there,” Shelby said. “One of our brewers, David Facey, (along) with our other brewers, created six different casks of ‘beer cocktails’ is what we’re calling them. He took the Compa Lager and created a casked classic cocktail out of that just by using different herbs and spices and everything.”
It didn’t stop there, however. The cask cocktails seem to be delicious and brilliant concoctions:
- The Witty Gin, which is The Village Wit infused with the botanicals and spices that Left Turn Distillery uses to create its Old Tom Gin.
- Mulvaney’s Old Fashioned, made from a stash of Mulvaney’s Irish Red from earlier this year. The brewers added cinnamon, orange peel, nutmeg, clove, allspice, and sweet cherries.
- Compa-rinha is the Compa Los Ranchos Lager conditioned with palm sugar and lots of lime zest and juice to mimic the traditional Brazilian drink.
- Blue Bullet’s Wood-Aged Irish Whiskey saw the brewers soak French oak chips in Left Turn Distilling’s NM Blue Corn Whiskey, allow them to dry, and then added them to a cask of Blue Bullet Stout.
- Stay Golden Sunrise is the newly tapped Stay Golden Ale, but conditioned on maraschino cherries and fresh orange zest and juice.
- Funky George Porter is made from the George Porter, with added brettanomyces to create a funkified, original draught.
All six of the beer cocktail offerings will be out on the patio bar top at noon, and will last until the crowd finishes them off. Local favorites Le Chat Lunatique will be playing their gypsy jazz inside from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
“We love ABQ Beer Week,” Shelby said. “It’s such a fun way to just get people to explore wherever they want around town, and they’re going to find something that they want to do.”
Steel Bender Brewyard has been a community-focused brewery from the beginning, and this summer they plan to focus on their new distribution goals, and they hope their reach will broaden their community, and that their roots in Albuquerque and Los Ranchos will just grow deeper. After ABQ Beer Week and throughout the summer, they plan to double their presence at festivals and events statewide.