Archive for August, 2019

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New patio covering extends all the way to keep that pesky sunshine off your beers.

In the small town of Santa Fe, having a dedicated brewery crowd is not a given. It’s something that is earned. Take it from the long-standing beer-stitutions like Second Street Brewery, Santa Fe Brewing, and Blue Corn. They’ve been at this biz a long time, and they’ll tell you, they had to fight to stay in business, year after year, until they became household names. They’ll also tell you that in Santa Fe, it’s never as easy as popping open a can and poof, a crowd magically appears on your doorstep.

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RFA certainly has come a long way from their first patio covering.

On the way to similar steady street cred is Rowley Farmhouse Ales. They turn 3 this year, and they’ve earned their success all the way. With a good business model, an abundance of quality products (on the table and in the taps), and a good bunch of people to keep the wheels turning, RFA has managed to keep its doors open and even grow in the face of the city of holy faith’s fickle crowds, surviving even Santa Fe’s slowest of ‘beer-industry winters.’

I asked brewmaster and co-owner John Rowley what being open for 3 years meant to him personally.

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John Rowley (center) tells it true.

“We’re super excited to make this landmark of being open three years,“ he said. “We couldn’t have done it without having a great team and the continued support of our local community.“

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Chef Kaplan serves up another smile in a glass.

I also asked chef and co-owner Jeffrey Kaplan how he felt about being open 3 years and going strong.

“It feels good to have made it this far,” Kaplan said. “We still have a ways to go, but we are continually trying to make better beer, and improve our processes within our budgets and constraints. We’ve come a long way, but still have some growing to do. I’m really happy with our progress, and I hope everyone is happy with our beers!“

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With New Mexico’s first-ever foeders that went in at the beginning of the year, people can certainly enjoy more RFA beer! Head brewer Wes Burbank admires his new wood.

Speaking of which, RFA has an awesome lineup of rare beers ready to tap for their anniversary party. And, in true RFA fashion, they have a bunch of special bottles they’ve pulled out of their archives. Kaplan said they’re releasing Songs of Our Own, RFA’s brand-new spontaneously fermented American wild ale, which they aged in local wine barrels on tangerines. It should be noted that this is the first-ever commercial spontaneous beer made in NM.

Special draft list

Songs of Our Own — Fruited Wild Ale

Stoutish — Oyster Stout

Meier — Fruited Lemon Gose

Apercu — Fruited Mead

Body isn’t Life — Barleywine

Grandissant 4x Cerise

Raspberry Germophile — Fruited Berliner

Jose — Fruited Keylime Gose

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There will also be commemorative glassware to purchase and live music!

Music lineup

Mark Dawson of Mod Orange (noon-1 p.m.) Show some support as one of our favorite bartenders performs!

El Brujo Trio (1-3 p.m.)

Clark Libbey & Kristen Rad (3-5 p.m.)

The entire event is from noon to 5 p.m., at 1405 Maclovia St, Santa Fe, NM 87505, all ages are welcome. To another successful year!

Cheers!

— Luke

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For more #craftbeer info and @nmdarksidebc news follow me on Twitter at @SantaFeLuke

The 49th annual CANvention of the Brewery Collectibles Club of America is set for the Albuquerque Convention Center this weekend. (Photo courtesy of the BCCA)

The Brewery Collectibles Club of America is coming to the Albuquerque Convention Center this weekend for its 49th annual CANvention. The general public is welcome to join the registered members in Exhibition Hall 3 this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

It only costs $10 to take a look at this massive collection of beer history from around the country, though there is a $5 off coupon available on Craigslist.

The entire CANvention takes place over a span of four days, with more than 500 BCCA members on hand to showcase their collections. The purpose of the non-profit BCCA “is to inform and educate its members about the history of the brewing industry and beer-related collectibles and the cultural roles many have played,” per the official press release.

Albuquerque’s Roadrunner Chapter is the host, and yours truly will also be on hand for a 2 p.m. seminar on Saturday to talk about Albuquerque’s beer history. (Yes, shameless plug time!) I will have copies of my book, Albuquerque Beer: Duke City History on Tap, for sale for $20 cash, for anyone interested. The seminar will be held in the Taos Room, plus there will also be a seminar hosted by Rick Chavez about the history of Route 66 at 1 p.m.

The convention will feature more than just old-school beer cans. Members also collect light-up signs, coasters, tap handles, trays, and other beer-related items that they refer to as “breweriana.”

If you ever wanted to learn more about beer history from the folks who know it best, head on down this Saturday and take a look around.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Staff members from the breweries involved in the One for 5 Pale Ale share a light-hearted moment at Albertsons Market during the official launch party.

Local breweries have been working hard to benefit many charities over the years in the Albuquerque area, but a new initiative is taking things to an even more collaborative level.

Bosque Brewing, Sierra Blanca Brewing, and Steel Bender Brewyard have teamed up to create a new beer to benefit The Storehouse New Mexico. One for 5 Pale Ale is the result, with six-packs of this beer now for sale at 25 Albertsons Market locations throughout the state, plus on-tap sales at the breweries later this week.

The twist with this collaboration is that 100 percent of the profits will go to The Storehouse, which is the largest food pantry in New Mexico. The nonprofit has been a chosen charity for Steel Bender since the brewery started, but now its fellow Admiral Beverage-distributed breweries have hopped on board to create this special beer.

Steel Bender co-owner/marketing director Shelby Chant said everything came together quickly as a beer was needed in time for Hunger Action Month in September.

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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, one in Red River, one in Silver City, and one in Truth or Consequences 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.

Labor Day Weekend is usually seen as the traditional end of summer, even though it sure doesn’t feel like it temperature-wise. For the most part, the breweries are treating it like any other weekend, with the exception of a trio of Friday events and two more of note on Sunday. First up, La Cumbre is definitely feeling autumn with the annual release of its delicious Oktoberfest Lager this Friday at noon on tap and in cans. The original location will also have My Sweet Basil outside, and if last year’s German-themed menu is back, we should all rejoice. Later that night at 8, the Desert Darlings return to Tractor Wells Park for Hops & Dreams: The Muppets Edition, and we are probably just as curious as everyone else as to what that will entail. If you cannot make it to that location, stop by Tractor Nob Hill for its eighth anniversary party. Jacob Chavez and friends will perform at 5 p.m., followed by DJ Flo Rader at 7. There will also be specials where you can order a growler of beer for your table.

Sunday’s events span two cities. The 377 Brewery will be providing the beers at the Red, White, Blues & Brews event at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial. It runs from noon to 8 p.m., is free to attend, and will also feature plenty of food, live music, and family activities. Up in Santa Fe, Rowley Farmhouse Ales will celebrate its third anniversary, with live music from noon to 5 featuring Mark Dawson, El Brujo Trio, and Clark Libbey & Kristen Rad. Special beers on tap will include Raspberry Germophile, Body isn’t Life Barleywine (collab with Chicago’s Pipeworks), Song of our Own (tangerine spontaneous wild ale), and Grandissant 4x Cerise (jumbo-sized kriek). Look for more archived beer bottles being poured and/or sold. There is no cover charge.

Also, do not forget that today (Wednesday) is the early bird ticket party for New Mexico Brew Fest at Marble. Head down after 5 p.m. and snag some discounted ticket(s), and use that savings to buy yourself a beer or two.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bow & Arrow has a small batch of Thai Crush Grissette available Friday. Brew Lab 101 will introduce Wicked Pissa New England-Style IPA on Friday. Canteen is being a WIPL Wouser again. Differential has a new Light Lager for the lingering days of summer. Ex Novo goes retro with 1995 Called Amber Ale. La Cumbre also wonders What’s the Alternative (Altbier). Marble follows suit with its own new Altbier. Nexus puts on Raspberry Beret American Wheat. Rio Bravo added Berliner Weisse and Blood Orange Blonde. Steel Bender will have One for 5 Pale Ale, its new charity collaboration with Bosque and Sierra Blanca, on tap starting Thursday (see more details below in their entry). Tractor rolls out American Amber Ale and Pineapple IPA, plus Cold Brew Milk Stout is on tap at Wells Park only.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn has more of its tasty Scotch Ale on tap. Furthern north in Red River, RRBC adds Mango Cream Ale. Down in Truth or Consequences, T or C Brewing ascends with Valhalla Peach Wheat.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of August 26.

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This still at Hollow Spirits will soon have some company on the equipment side as the distillery starts brewing beer.

During the ratification of the small brewer license as part of Senate Bill 413 this past spring, it noted that places with licenses not using them to brew beer would soon have a decision to make. They could either start brewing, with the promise of making a minimum of 50 barrels per year or have their own beer account for 50 percent of sales, or they would have to seek a new license to continue to selling guest taps.

Since distilleries do not fall under the reciprocity law between breweries and wineries in New Mexico, those with small brewer licenses would either have to give them up or starting producing something other than just hard liquor. In the case of Hollow Spirits, it means it will soon be time to add the title of brewer to the business card of head distiller Martin Ulloa.

“Our one-year anniversary will be December 6, so we’re planning to release our first beer then,” Martin said. “I do have a beer background. I’m going to go pretty easy (with) something I like to drink, something sessionable, maybe on the helles side, maybe on the pilsner side, and then go from there.”

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The beers will be poured again this year at Loretto Park in Bernalillo.

The Mountain West Brew Fest is back at Loretto Park in Bernalillo this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with 13 local breweries participating, along with some distilleries and wineries.

Tickets can still be purchased online. General Admission A tickets cost $20 and get you a commemorative pint glass and seven free samples. General Admission B tickets cost $10 and get you the glass and three free samples. There’s also a military ticket for those with valid military ID that get you the A tickets for $15. Anyone under 21 can attend as long as they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. Tickets for those ages 13 to 20 are $5, while 12 and under are free.

So, yeah, it is not an unlimited sampling event. Use your sample tickets wisely to help you choose the pints.

There will be live music throughout the day. The lineup from start to finish will be Calvin & Jazz Trio, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Hillary Smith & Chillhouse, 1-2:30 p.m., Brandon Saiz Band, 3-4:30 p.m., and Black Pearl, 5-6:30 p.m.

Food trucks scheduled to be in attendance include Punchy’s Pizza, CCR Roasting, La Rivas, Snow Cone Express, Sparky’s Chicano Dawgs, Powdrell’s BBQ, El Sazon de la Tia, Ortiz Jerky, Castanedas Kitchen, NM Kettle Korn, El Toro Loco, Las Comadres, and Solo Ink Pretzels.

As for the non-brewery providers of alcoholic beverages, your options include Sandia Hard Cider, Left Turn Distilling, Noisy Water Winery, and Sheehan Winery.

Finally, we reached out to all the breweries with which we have contact, and a few got back to us. If the others drop us a late line, we will update the empty listings below.

  • Bosque: Elephants on Parade, Pistol Pete’s 1888 Ale, Open Space Haze, Beyond the Trees (Cider), Jetty Jack, Driftwood Oatmeal Stout
  • Boxing Bear: Uppercut IPA, Black and Blue Tart, Chocolate Milk Stout, Ameri-Kolsch, AppleBear Cider
  • Broken Trail: TBA
  • Desert Valley: TBA
  • Dialogue: TBA
  • Enchanted Circle: TBA
  • Kaktus: TBA
  • Kilt Check: Groundskeeper Willie Cream Ale, Outlamber Amber Ale, Black Sunshine Porter
  • 1933 Brewing: Patriot IPA, Harlow’s Hef
  • Palmer: IPA, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cockness Monster, Orange Cider
  • Second Alarm: TBA
  • Steel Bender: Skull Bucket IPA, Raspberry Dynamite, COMPA Los Ranchos Lager, Steel Bender Cider
  • The 377: TBA

To all those going, have fun, stay safe, and remember, this is our last local festival until NM Brew Fest in October.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

A familiar spot on Central is now home to the Red Door Downtown Taproom.

Red Door Brewing hosted a VIP night for friends and industry friends and even a beer writer on Wednesday night. For many of us, it was our first visit to the space since it was Blackbird Buvette, which was two businesses ago at 509 Central NW.

Compared to Blackbird, it is almost night and day. The space is much brighter and move inviting. The bar is still in the same spot, but everything behind it looks different. There is still a spot up front by the big glass windows for a DJ or other performers to set up.

The bar area was rightly packed during the VIP event.

The kitchen, which is run by the owners of Kamikaze Kitchen & Food Truck, is an open design, the smell of the food wafting out and daring anyone to turn down an appetizer or full-sized dish. Seriously, they have one called The Mother Klucker, which is as bonkers as it sounds. (Check their Facebook page for the full menu.)

Out back, the same patio is there, but it seems more open and, yes, inviting. There is one Red Door mural on the east wall, while Kamikaze will soon get a mural on the west wall, owner Matt Biggs told us. They will add some shade elements to keep the patio hopping during the daytime, too.

We are digging the mural on the patio.

General manager Ali Cattin said that there are still a few more aesthetic improvements on deck for inside and outside, but what the brewery team has done so far is impressive. Particularly due to its proximity to Launchpad, Inside Out, and El Rey, this Red Door spot should be a prime pre-concert spot.

The full Red Door beer lineup, both house beers and seasonals, were all on tap. Of course, Red Door also inherited a full liquor license, so look for all sorts of spirits and cocktails, many of which will be from local distilleries. The mix of industry folks present seemed pretty evenly split between pints and cocktails.

The neon red light from the previous taproom has a new home.

There will be a grand opening party this Friday starting at 5 p.m., with live music from The Riddims from 9 to midnight. 10 Drink Minimum will be doing a live podcast before that

Downtown can be a weird, fickle place when it comes to new bars, but we have a feeling that Red Door should lock its spot down and become a Central Avenue mainstay.

Thanks to the staff for the invite.

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, one in Red River, one in Silver City, and one in Truth or Consequences 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.

Unless you have been out of town, or under a rock, all summer, the grip of the soccer craze has not loosened upon this city and its breweries and taprooms. New Mexico United games, shown via the ESPN+ streaming service, are now taking over the TVs all across town. Heck, it’s taking over across the state. For this Saturday’s road game against San Antonio (6 p.m. on Saturday), Bosque is having a little extra fun at the Nob Hill Public House. In addition to $1 off beers and certain food items for anyone wearing United gear, Rude Boy Cookies will be on hand with cookie decorating kits for purchase. Make your own United cookies during the game. There will also be prize giveaways throughout the game from United staff members who will be on hand. If cookies are not your thing, fear not, for there will be additional watch parties at Rio Bravo, Starr Brothers, and a whole lot of other locations. Check in with your favorite brewery and see if they are participating.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Ale Republic brings back Lone Wolf and adds Belgian Cream. Bombs Away has more Primer Pub Ale, while also getting experimental with X IPA. Bosque put its latest charity beer, Working Lab Golden Ale, on tap recently, along with Allryety Then (Lager) and Lulumelon (Gose), plus you can find Jetty Jack (formerly Brewer’s Boot) in six-pack cans. Boxing Bear added Murkito and Bear-Mosa. Canteen tapped Strawberry Basil Saison and Sundance Kolsch. Differential goes dark with more Irish Dry Stout. Ex Novo has its Oregon flagship, Eliot IPA, on tap and in cans here for a limited time. Flix Brewhouse brings back two of its medal winners, H-E-Dubbel Hockey Sticks and James Blond. Lava Rock fishes out some Brown Trout Lager and Gila Gose. La Cumbre will have the autumn edition of Project Dank IPA on tap and in cans this Friday. Marble puckers up Pina Loca Gose. Nexus wakes up with Toucan Sam Mango IPA. Red Door brought back Blackberry Hefeweizen and Raining Blood IPA for the grand opening of the new downtown taproom this weekend. Rio Bravo slams a Dunkelweizen. Toltec has a limited supply of Fresa Loco available. Turtle Mountain put Yum Yum Bramble on tap, and Oktoberfest could soon follow. UPDATE: Cinderella Story Brett Saison is now back on tap at Steel Bender.

Up in Santa Fe, Rowley Farmhouse Ales introduces Jose, a key lime gose. Second Street brings back old favorites like XX ESB and Rod’s Best Bitter, while also adding Mandarina Brut IPA and Yuzu Gose. Down in Truth or Consequences, T or C Brewing hops along with Jackrabbit Pils this Thursday.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of August 19.

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Look, a full beer lineup all made on site is now at Lava Rock!

The last time any of us visited Lava Rock Brewing on the westside, an actual beer lineup was just starting to take form. Since then, we had received word that head brewer Ram Khalsa now has that promised full lineup on tap, and with some time to kill on a Tuesday afternoon, this here editor-in-need-of-a-story headed west of the Rio Grande to check it all out.

At this point, I should not expect to find myself as an anonymous drinker at any brewery in town. Ram was behind the bar, checking on the beers while more beer was being brewed in the back, and he was quick to welcome me to the brewery. I was promptly greeted with a sampler flight of six beers (which is standard), plus a seventh that he felt I needed to try.

Part of the impetus for trying those Lava Rock beers was due to the fact that the brewery, which now partners with M’tucci’s as its kitchen operator, is offering up a special this Wednesday. For $24, customers can get a flight of six 5-ounce samples of beer, each paired up with a specific appetizer.

  1. Gila Gose with shrimp and crab ceviche
  2. Shiprock Saison with honey balsamic chicken wings
  3. Petroglyph Wit with watermelon with feta and basil
  4. Brown Trout Lager with sausage orzo ragu
  5. 32 Bravo DIPA with BBQ meatballs with arugula and apple mustard
  6. Capulin Pale Ale with chocolate cherry tart with hazelnut cookie crust

Hello, sample tray. Not pictured, the Gila Gose. But, what is there makes for a really nice color rainbow.

As always, I must remind everyone that I am not a fully trained cicerone or anything of the sort. Beer is incredibly subjective, and I highly encourage everyone to try the beers, make up your own opinions, and offer constructive criticism where applicable. I had the unique opportunity to comment directly on the beers to Ram, so these were my thoughts on the seven beers that I sampled, five of which will be part of that special pairing Wednesday (I had to leave out the Petroglyph Wit as it has an ingredient that my body considers an unfortunate allergen).

  • Gila Gose (4.5% ABV, 6 IBU): Ram was proud of this offering, which is a straight, non-fruited gose. Oh, sure, there are a couple fruited goses (peach and prickly pear) on tap, for those who like such things. “I just felt a traditional gose could stand on its own,” he said. This one has just enough of that salty forward flavor, with not too much of the sour element on the back end. It goes down quite easy in this scorching late-summer heat.
  • Shiprock Saison (8% ABV, 30 IBU): While this French-style farmhouse has many of the hallmarks of the style, Ram also went ahead and dry hopped it with a dash of Nelson and Mosaic. There’s a bit of hop dryness on the back end, as well, but for the most part the Belgian-like yeast funk and a bit of spiciness are there to dominate the start and middle.
  • Brown Trout Lager (5.7% ABV, 20 IBU): The dark copper color aside, “You could drink this in the heat,” Ram said, as it is a lighter brown lager in the style of a German dunkel. The German malts and hops are there, but for the most part it is just smooth and comforting, and should hold one over until more of the popular Valles (Helles) Lager is ready soon. (There are two other lagers on deck, as well.)
  • 32 Bravo DIPA (8% ABV, 110 IBU): Ram has previously worked at La Cumbre and Santa Fe Brewing, but he said that the hop-forward beers are still a work in progress on Lava Rock’s 10-barrel brewhouse. This DIPA is not overpowering, harking back to the style from 10 years ago. This is not a juicy, sweet beer, but instead a chewy hop bomb that is slowly growing into something worthy of the behemoths that have set the local standard for DIPAs.
  • Capulin Pale Ale (6.2% ABV, 33 IBU): A coffee pale ale, this is not a copy of Sidetrack’s Buzz Bomb. If you like your coffee big, bold, and roasty, with no sweetness, this one is for you. Ram did say that the batch is an older one, but future changes could be coming since this style has not quite found its proper niche on the westside.
  • Volcan IPA (6% ABV, 80 IBU): The house IPA, Ram said he is still tinkering with this recipe. It is based in part on the classic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, with more of an amber color and some of the old-school northwestern hops. Ram said he didn’t do much dry hopping, which in my personal opinion this one could use in the future.
  • Seismic Stout (5% ABV, 25 IBU): Of course I got the stout; I wouldn’t be living up to my nickname if I didn’t, right? This is an Irish dry stout, with hints of smoky roast and a slight bit of sweetness from the malt that offers up hints of chocolate and toffee. It is not a big, chewy stout, but this time of year, that is just fine. “Bigger stouts are coming this winter,” Ram said, which is music to my ears.

Overall, Lava Rock is still a work in progress on the beer front, but it is trending in the right direction. Ram has the proper beer education from La Cumbre and SFBC, and as he dials in his recipes and grasps the wants and needs of his customer base on the westside, things should start to settle in at the pub. Considering how much of a struggle things were in the beginning for Lava Rock, it is almost like a new brewery/restaurant has moved into the same location, which in a way it has, so to speak. The kitchen is all M’tucci’s, the beer is now all made on site, and it is worth another visit for beer lovers.

Please let us know what you think, and if you have some constructive criticism on the beer front, we will be happy to pass it along.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The forthcoming Bow & Arrow Rambler Taproom will be smaller than the main location, but it will feature much of the same aesthetic charm.

The recent rumors of an Albuquerque brewery heading to the Four Corners proved to be true earlier this week, as Bow & Arrow Brewing officially announced it will be opening its first offsite taproom in Farmington. The Rambler Taproom is aiming for a winter opening, said Bow & Arrow CEO Shyla Sheppard, and is the product of a long search for a second location that had started in Albuquerque.

“We’ve been looking for a while,” she said. “Actively looked all over Albuquerque and the metro area. We explored quite a few properties, actually. But then again, as you know better than most people, there’s a lot of movement taking place right now in the market. Maybe there’s a future opportunity for us somewhere here, but for our first offsite, the more we looked at the Four Corners area, (we found that) it’s very much in line with how we’ve positioned ourselves, branded ourselves being about the American Southwest, and the Four Corners is really kind of the gateway of all of that.”

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