Marvelous Marblefest features a slew of new brews of a German variety

It’s time to get your German food and beer fix at the annual Marblefest this Saturday.

Long ago, Marble Brewery used to hold Septemberfest in its back parking lot downtown, featuring other breweries from around the state offering up their autumn beers. As the brewery grew and expanded, eventually swallowing that parking lot, Septemberfest disappeared into the memory of festivals gone by.

Then along came Marblefest, a full-on German-themed beer event that perfectly captures the season, with other breweries joining in on the fun. The 2019 edition of this street party is set for this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (VIP only), and 2 to 11 for everyone else.

Thirsty for more knowledge, I met up with on-site events coordinator/social media director Geraldine Lucero, director of brewing operations John Heine, and head brewer John Carroll to learn what beers will be poured and all the other details the beer geeks of New Mexico need to know.

“Marblefest is like German and New Mexican culture combined, because we can’t do something that’s strictly Oktoberfest German-style, we’re really inspired by the culture, but ultimately we love New Mexico and want to bring as many aspects of it into our event,” Lucero said. “We’re excited.

“General admission is $5 at the door only at 2 o’clock. No dogs, no strollers, guys. Sorry, but you won’t be let in if you bring any of that.”

There will also be a special VIP event for the first three hours of the day.

“We have our VIP tasting session is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., tickets are available online for $20, day of they jump to $25,” Lucero said. “You get a commemorative tasting glass, six 4-ounce pours, and the delicious pretzel and mustard combo, plus live music from Mondo Vibrations.”

That mustard was made by the chef at The Acre using Marble Pilsner.

“I’ll be getting the lederhosen dusted off and manning the pretzel station this year,” Heine said. “Everybody can come by and grab a pretzel and some mustard.“

The entire staff is clearly excited for this event.

“It’s going to be a fun day with all the food trucks here, and the bands, it’s going to be a great beer celebration,” Heine said. “It’s a few weekends of drinking in a row (in Germany) all in one day. … It’s an awesome day celebrating beer, beer culture, and enjoy ourselves.

“I’m glad that we got other breweries included in this, just like in Munich where there’s a certain number of breweries allowed to be at Oktoberfest officially.”

Ah, yes, the other breweries. Marble has invited nine of their friends to come by and offer up their own beers. One of the more unique offerings is a collaboration between Marble and a certain Santa Fe brewery.

“One thing we’ve done is a collaboration with Rowley Farmhouse Ales,” Carroll said. “It’s a German-style bock beer, heavy on the Munich and Vienna malts, Tettnanger hops, just sort of pretty traditionally done. It’s turned out beautifully, so we’re going to put some of it on draft for Marblefest and it will also be available at Rowley’s taproom on draft.

“And then, we are going to put some of it into red wine puncheons with Rowley’s house culture and funkify it. We’re going to put some of it into Heaven Hill bourbon barrels and age it that way. It should be delicious. We’re going to get three great beers out of one collaboration.”

The beers, both Marble’s and other breweries’, shall flow!

Marble will also bring back three of its own popular takes on traditional German styles.

“And then for the Marblefest beer we’ve done (in the past) we kept the recipe very similar,” Heine said. “A good portion of Pilsner malt, a handful of Vienna and Munich malts in there for some color and body and some nice toasted character. We’re sticking with Magnum and Tettnang hops as we have in the past. We’re going to enter it this year at GABF in the traditional Oktoberfest (category).”

Heine said he is particularly looking forward to both serving that one and drinking it.

“Our Oktoberfest was brewed early this year so it’s been lagering for quite a few months now,” he said. “I’m just really excited to get it out there and then try it. It’s really drinkable, it’s got a nice balance to it. There’s plenty of malt character in there, but it’s not too cloying or sweet. Hopefully we can consume it by the liter.”

The two Johns have one more brew ready, while brewmaster Josh Trujillo has also been hard at work at the Heights brewery.

“Another fun beer that John and I had worked on the recipe the past few years is a German inspired festbier,” Heine said. “We have that ready to go. … Josh has the (Thunder from) Dortmunder from the Heights, which is going to be in the export helles category. That’s really good. People have been drinking that up here and at the pubs. They’re brewing another batch today up in the Heights.”

As for the other visiting breweries, these are the beers they are bringing down (we will update this as they slowly trickle into our inbox, but please remember all beers are subject to change depending on availability):

  • Bosque: Oktober Forrest
  • Boxing Bear: OktoBEARfest
  • Canteen: Oktoberfest
  • Ex Novo: Perle Haggard German Pils
  • La Cumbre: TBA
  • Rowley Farmhouse Ales: TBA besides the collab
  • Sidetrack: Oktubre Fiesta
  • Steel Bender: Oktoberfiesta
  • Toltec: Munich Helles

“We brought back all the ones from last year and we added Ex Novo,” Lucero said. “We really respect what they’re doing, an amazing brewery making delicious liquid. Sidetrack is our neighbor down the street, so we really wanted to include them. I love what they’re doing for the neighborhood itself, it’s such a cool little watering hole. Of course we invited Rowley because of the collaboration.

“Last year we had seven and now we have nine. We’ll hopefully keep getting bigger and bigger every year.”

There will also be plenty of live music, food, games, and more. The music lineup will have Mondo Vibrations at the VIP session from 11 to 2, followed by Burque Sol from 2:30 to 4, Partizani Brass Band from 4:30 from 6, Keith Sanchez and The Moon Thieves from 6:45 to 8:15, and Arizona band Fayuca from 8:45 to 10:45.

“We also have some special surprise elements that I can’t really talk about, but the crowd is going to love them,” Lucero said. “We’re encouraging everybody to dress in their dirndl and lederhosen. We’re going to be handing out some gift certificates for best dressed, so it will be fun to dress up.

“We’re going to have a photo booth that will be set up in the north lot next to our food court with Street Food Sensations, Urban Hotdog, Ohana Hut, and Dia de los Takos are going to be here. All the food trucks are encouraged to have at least one German-inspired dish on their menu.”

A slew of German brews, plenty of food, and live music all day. Yeah, it will be time to order a Lyft or Uber and head on down to Marble this Saturday.


— Stoutmeister

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