Beer Notes: Ex Novo makes a big change to its year-round lineup

Meet the first in a new series of fruited sours taking the place of Cactus Wins the Lottery. (Image courtesy of Ex Novo)

While working on some longer features, a bunch of beer notes materialized on the proverbial desk that are in need of publication. Here we go …

Ex Novo replaces one of its staples

Every week, I receive a copy of the New Mexico Brewers Guild’s newsletter via email. Down at the bottom are brewery classifieds, featuring everything from job openings to items for sale or trade. Recently, I noticed that Ex Novo was offering up a whole lot of prickly pear juice. My first thought was that somehow they ordered too much, or perhaps sales of Cactus Wins the Lottery had gone down during the pandemic.

Instead, it turned out that Cactus’ time in the everyday lineup was coming to an end. As confirmed by Ex Novo founder/president Joel Gregory, rather than keeping the sour ale on as a year-round offering, it will instead become part of a rotating series of sours.

“As far as the choice to make our fruited sour series rotating, it has been something we have been doing in Portland since we began canning them a couple years ago,” he wrote in an email. “We know Cactus Wins the Lottery has been a hit, but we also know tastes are subjective and there may be other flavor profiles and ingredients that customers would love to try as well. We’ll be following Scarlet Starlet with a dry-hopped passionfruit sour (from) January-to-March and a berry gose April-to-June until Cactus returns next July!”

Scarlet Starlet is a cherry sour, and it will arrive on draft and in cans this Friday. Breweries have always maintained some flexibility in their lineups, with year-round offerings arriving and later disappearing all the time (e.g., Cholo Stout replacing Oatmeal Stout at Marble, for instance). This is just the first such change for Ex Novo since it opened in May 2019, but over time, we doubt it will be the last.

As long as Perle Haggard doesn’t go anywhere and Kill the Sun returns every winter, we will be just fine with whatever changes Ex Novo makes.

Three breweries team up for month-long charity drive

While much has changed during the pandemic this year, our breweries keep doing their best to support as many charities as they can, particularly those they have supported in years past. For Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, the trio of Canteen, High and Dry, and Steel Bender are again raising money for the Pink Warrior House Foundation.

At Canteen, $1 from every pint sold of Social Capital Kettle Sour will go to the charity. At High and Dry, Rosa Goes-a will be the first beer on deck, and the next will be announced when it is tapped (as most folks know, with a smaller system, the taps rotate pretty frequently). At Steel Bender, the designated beer is Raspberry Dynamite. To borrow Ex Novo’s tagline, drink beer, do good, and that certainly rings true in October. As the son of a two-time breast cancer survivor, I will be grabbing some pints, even if these aren’t necessarily my usual beer styles of choice.

Boxing Bear announces a surprise can release

Can shortage or not, Boxing Bear is still pumping out the specialty hazy IPAs. (Image courtesy of Boxing Bear)

We are currently working on a story about the ongoing nationwide shortage of aluminum cans and its impact on New Mexico breweries. This is something affecting even the giants, like Budweiser and Coca-Cola, but it is not a reason to suddenly panic about availability of some of your favorite local craft brews.

Still, it has seemingly affected the smaller canning breweries first, which makes it nice to see that Boxing Bear has a new canned release that suddenly popped up on social media today (Thursday). Big Mofo Hazy Double IPA will arrive in four-packs at all three taprooms Saturday. The 16-ounce four-packs will cost $13.99 plus tax, and there will be a limited amount on draft as well.

Another release that managed to sneak up on us after we published The Week Ahead in Beer was Germophile – Watermelon up at Rowley Farmhouse Ales. That one came out Wednesday afternoon at the brewery and it is also available on draft.

Rio Bravo still basking in the glow of NMIPAC victory

The very happy folks at Rio Bravo are still beaming in the wake of their first NM IPA Challenge title on Wednesday night. After hearing back from head brewer Ty Levis in our recap story, director of brewing operations Austin Giorgetta chimed in today about the process of making their entry.

“Dice Roll in my eyes has an interesting story,” Giorgetta wrote in an email. “It’s a part of our Hop Chronicles Series and was the first generation. In strides to keep things new and fresh at RBB, I placed a hop order a couple weeks in advance for the brew. On brew day, those hops hadn’t shown (up) so I turned to Ty asked if he had a quarter. (Surprising that he did at 8:30 a.m.) He flipped a quarter and called the hop in the air, (and) then took it a step further and rolled dice to see the percentage to use of that hop. Thus, creating Dice Roll IPA.”

“Also the amount (of hops) we used was insane,” Levis added in a follow-up email. “I plugged up the heat exchanger so badly that it took nearly an hour to restore flow.”

The Crew may have plugged up the small heat exchanger at Tractor a couple times during our Battle of the Beer Geeks brew days, so we can nod our heads in sympathy over that not-so-fun experience. In the end, though, it all turned out for the best. Congrats again to everyone at Rio Bravo!

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That is all we have for today. If you know any craft beer news, big or small, send us a direct message via any of our social media pages, or email us at

Keep supporting local!

— Stoutmeister

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