Beer festivals and the like are among the many event casualties of the current pandemic. Gathering people in large numbers anywhere is not a particularly good idea, so it has forced event organizers to get a little creative in how to keep annual traditions going.
Take ABQ Beer Week, the annual multi-day, multi-event extravaganza that usually takes up the majority of articles on this site in late May every year. Instead of having events scattered at breweries, bars, and restaurants across town, the majority of Beer Week is going virtual this year, with some tasty beer releases mixed in to help encourage you to get out of the house.
The full schedule of releases and events can be found here, but take note, there is always the chance more events will be added as there was no formal deadline for submitting ideas this year. Here is our day-by-day, event-by-event look at Virtual ABQ Beer Week.
There are four beer releases today, though you may have to drive a bit to get to one of them. Starting at noon, all three Marble locations will release a fresh batch of Porter for crowler/growler fills. Sure, it’s all warm and sunny outside, but we can all use a little darkness in our glasses.
Way up the road, Red River Brewing is releasing Desperado Mexican Lager starting at 2 p.m. Back in town, Kilt Check is releasing its first lager at 3 p.m., appropriately titled Lockdown Lager. This pre-Prohibition-style lager was “brewed in quarantine” and should hit the spot in the warm afternoon.
Finally, High and Dry has two new beers for everyone, Helles in a Handbasket and Bruised Knees IPA. Those will be available when the doors open at 4 p.m.
UPDATE: Ex Novo’s Dress Code release has also been added as an official Beer Week event. Head over to grab a four-pack of this tasty cherry sour. You can also purchase an Ex Novo first anniversary glass.
The Steel Bender Memorial Weekend Bender Smoke Out is back for another run. Hop on the website at 11:30 a.m. to order in advance. For $45, you get one pound of smoked sausage, two pounds of pulled pork, a quart of baked beans, a quart of coleslaw, and six dinner rolls from Pastian’s Bakery. They claim this feeds four, but based on the last few BBQ meals from Steel Bender, this feeds four more than once. Mmm, leftovers … Oh, and this continues through the weekend as long as supplies last.
If you live south of Interstate 40, you have another BBQ option as Dialogue Brewing and ABQ Grill ‘n ‘Que have teamed up. Get your order in online today (Thursday) by 9 p.m. You can get either the Happy Hour Take Out Take In special, with 20 Buffalo wings, dipping sauces, and veggies with two crowlers of 505 Lager for $32, or get the Barbecue Dinner for 4 with one pound of BBQ chicken, macaroni and cheese, rolls, brownies, and a gallon of either iced tea or lemonade for $45. You can also add Martine’s Casserole Special for $25, with heat-and-serve instructions provided for a future meal.
Now that you have dinner set, hop on Facebook live to take a Virtual Brewery Tour of Tractor Wells Park with head brewer Mick Hahn and co-owner David Hargis from 5 to 7 p.m. They will show you how the beer, cider, and spirits are made, followed by a live Q&A with the audience. The best part? It is free to attend from the comfort of your home. No tripping over hoses like some Brew Crew members have done in the past.
Casa Vieja is hosting a Digital Guided Tasting starting at 1:30 p.m. Brewer/owner Gary Socha will talk about the history of brewing beer, how to make beer, and a discussion of beer styles. How do you participate? Head up to Casa Vieja in advance and purchase a special four-pack of canned beers so you can sample them and follow along. When you purchase a four-pack you will receive the info on how to sign up for the online class.
Tractor is hosting a Mystery Beer Contest. Stop by the Nob Hill taproom between 2 and 6 p.m. and pick up a four-pack of canned beers. All that will be listed on each can is the ABV and IBUs. It’s then up to you to figure out what style the beer is, write a description, and then give it a name. Submit your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday at 2 p.m. The winner’s name and description will then become permanent as that beer is brewed and canned at Tractor. There will also be a special Tractor prize pack for the winner.
There are no events scheduled as of now. Normally Sunday would be the Blues & Brews Festival, but with Sandia Casino still closed, that is certainly not happening again until 2021.
UPDATE: Ex Novo’s Sunday release of cans of All Together IPA, which we covered in The Week Ahead in Beer, is now an official Beer Week event.
One of the tastier traditions of Beer Week continues as Tractor and Cheesy Street are continuing their annual course of beer-and-grilled-cheese pairings. This one will take place at the Westside Taproom 2 to 6 p.m., but everyone should get their orders placed in advance, as there is a limit of 75. Get four special grilled cheeses paired up with a mixed four-pack of Tractor beers — Farmer’s Tan Red, Pilsner #15, Brut IPA, and Honey Wheat.
OK, in an effort to be nice to folks on the opposite side of town, Tractor is hosting a Cider & Cupcake Pairing with Cake Fetish at the Four Hills Taproom from 2 to 6 p.m. Again, order in advance online, as there will only be 50 available, with four different cupcakes paired with a mixed four-pack of Blood Orange Cider, Berry Cider, Delicious Golden Dry Cider, and Delicious Red Apple Cider.
Thursday, May 28
There will be a Four Peaks Brewing happy hour with the brewer at 4 p.m. Additional details are not yet available.
Friday, May 29
To be nice to customers in Valencia County, Tractor is hosting a pizza-and-beer pairing from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Los Lunas Taproom. Order online in advance and get a pizza with four different topping combinations, plus a four-pack of Farmer’s Tan Red, Milk Mustachio Stout, New Mexican Lager, and Acreage IPA. See how the different beers pair up with the pizza toppings, all from the comfort and safety of home. Beer and pizza are pretty much the perfect pairing as is, but imagine getting flavors that are meant to go together.
Another bit of fun from the comfort of home is Net Sesh Fest II. The New Mexico Brewers Guild is once again hosting a bit of virtual fun from 5 to 7 p.m., with brewers, brewery owners, and staff members showcasing their breweries, hidden talents, food-and-beer pairings, and more! The setup is donation based, ranging from $6 to $25. Head over to the Guild website for more details.
Wednesday, June 3
The Cyber Cider Fest kicks off on World Cider Day, naturally. Grab a ticket and get a NM Cider Sampler Pack, featuring ciders from Black Mesa Winery, Brew Lab 101, New Mexico Hard Cider, Santa Fe Brewing, and Steel Bender. You get seven total ciders, plus a wine tote bag from NM Wine, a coupon for $5 off wine from any local wine maker, a tasting glass, other surprise gifts and coupons, plus $5 from every purchase will go to the Serving NM Fund, which benefits bar and restaurant workers who lost their jobs due to the lockdown. There will be sign-on information for the live online event, which will feature interviews with cider makers, music, special guests, and interactive games. You can pick up your sampler pack from any Santa Fe Brewing location.
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That covers everything for now, but as we said, more events could be added. When they are, we will provide daily updates. If you are able and willing, please show our breweries some additional support and participate in the events that appeal to you. Hopefully a year from now we will all be bouncing around from one brewery to another during Beer Week, but for now, this will have to do.