Welcome to our new miniseries of articles to highlight the season’s best local offerings. We will be doing spot reviews on recent releases in the lager family of beers from around the state. **DISCLAIMER** Please be advised that these reviews do not indicate current availability, double check our Week Ahead in Beer posts for weekly listings, or contact the breweries directly via phone or their respective social media to inquire.
The weather is heating up, hoodies have given way to tank tops, and unpredictable storms are popping up periodically … sounds like summer in New Mexico is on its way. Along with the scorching heat, however, comes a wonderful time of year for our local craft beer world, and that is the season of lagers!
An actual season? Well no, but perhaps it should be. The state of NM has landed on the national craft beer map for several other styles, such as various incarnations of IPAs and specialty beers; but our state’s breweries are consistently churning out some top-notch, refreshing, flavorful lagers that will quench your thirst in the warm weather months.
As it stands currently, there are a LOT of these beers available, so we took it upon ourselves to compile some spot info on as many as possible into a short run of highlights. Hopefully this will aid everyone in deciding how to beat the heat! Got any favorites you would like to share? Comment on our social media posts, send us a DM, or email us at email@example.com.
With that being said, let’s get to it …
Boxing Bear Brewing—Huell Melon Lager, Body Czech Pilsner: (NOTE-Huell Melon currently available at all locations EXCEPT Tramway) Two different but delicious offerings are currently on tap at BB locations. Huell Melon offers a smooth, flavorful malt body, but with the inclusion of huell melon hops, it lends subtle notes of honeydew and berries to the flavor profile, while still possessing traditional clarity and a slightly crisp finish. Meanwhile, Body Czech Pilsner has become a crowd favorite as a year-round offering. It is brewed with all of your traditional ingredients, possesses subtle spice from the noble hops and stellar drinkability, and finishes beyond clean and with a crouton-like crispness. You will never go wrong with a Body Czech for pure tasty refreshment, and for those hunting for something a little different, Huell Melon Lager delivers.
Ex Novo Brewing—Krispy’s Kolsch: The brewery nestled in the heart of Corrales is no stranger to quality lagers, with the award-winning Perle Haggard and The Most Interesting Lager In The World as regulars, so now we focus on Krispy’s Kolsch, which (in this writer’s opinion) should be a regular beer … just saying, hint hint. One of the most fantastic local Kolsches that can be found in package and on draft, it is easy going on hop bitterness, still finishes clean and quenching, and is of course low in ABV, making it an ideal session beer if you’re going to be in the sun for a bit. I really can’t say enough good things about this beer. It is available as a seasonal on draft and in four-packs. Find me throwing elbows to restock on this one!
Canteen Brewhouse—Helles Awaits, High Plains Pilsner: OK, so a beer with a Slayer reference in the name is usually going to make our collective of writers immediately throw the horns up, but this beer has all the flavor behind it. It possesses the traditional bready malt body you’d want in the style, with still a subtle, non-aggressive hop bite. Still crushable, it also pairs well with lots of food options. Franz Solo offered his assessment after our recent visit: “Light dough character from the malts with slight pleasant sweetness and noble hops perfectly balance this crushable summer brau.” If you want a very traditional pilsner, High Plains is an excellent choice. This one is a very straight-ahead German lager, with the noble hop bite you would expect, but clean drinking and a cracker finish. Quite the flavorful pils. Another note from Franz on this one: “Light dough character from the malts with slight pleasant sweetness and noble hops perfectly balance this crushable summer brau.” That sums it up quite nicely.
ReSource Brewing—Helles of Year!, Que? Swiss Lager, Bert Lips Schwarzbier: Stoutmeister dropped in on this little gem of a brewery in the Northeast Heights to try one new lager, Helles of a Year!, and then they went and insisted that he also try (well, retry) the two year-round lagers. Here is his report: The Helles was delightful, with a light crispness up front, and only mildly sweet. It was clean throughout, with only the slightest hint of malty bitterness that fades after the first couple of sips. Que? Swiss is light and refreshing, with a slight touch of floral sweetness from the noble hops. It is likewise clean throughout. The Bert Lips is a nice, roasted brew, with the tiniest hints of some coffee and chocolate. It’s rare to find a schwarzbier in Albuquerque, so this one hits the spot even in the warmer months, when most folks say it’s too hot for a stout or porter.
There are a wealth of lagers in the state for us to try right now, and we will be highlighting them for the next few weeks, so check back for more highlights on the seasons most crushable beers!
Until next time…
— Brandon Daniel