The annual Beer Premier was a hit this Saturday at Nexus Blue Smokehouse. Twenty brews made their debuts from 21 breweries (one was a collaboration) for the crowd of assembled beer geeks and industry insiders, all presented with aplomb by the New Mexico Brewers Guild. The important question now is when will these delicious elixirs be available for all to enjoy?
Well, the answer is that most, but not all of them will be tapped. First up, we recap what we enjoyed and look forward to trying in larger pour formats. Erin and I were the lone Brew Crew members able to attend, and with a soccer game to attend afterwards, we avoided too many “Brew Crew pours” of greater sample sizes than normal.
Best of the fest
Beer is an incredibly subjective liquid, so please take our opinions merely as suggestions, and then seek these out when/if they are available and judge them for yourselves.
Erin and I were both fans of the Southern Passion Sloppy Sloth Hazy IPA from Second Street, and I usually don’t drink hazy IPAs. That is one amazing hop.
I have missed black IPAs as their popularity waned over the years, so it was nice to see High and Dry unveil Desert Trash Black IPA. It’s got all the roasty-meets-dank-hops flavor you would want without being overpowering one way or the other.
Ponderosa paid tribute to the movie Dune with its Blackberry Spice Beer. It was basically like eating pie in liquid form, and both Erin and I highly recommend this delightful dessert ale.
Sidetrack went big, by their standards, with the 7.4-percent ABV Baltic Porter. It was a heck of a first foray in this style and earned both of our seals of approval.
Steel Bender got a little weird with its Norwegian Would?, a farmhouse ale that tastes like something you would find at the craft beer tent at a Nordic metal festival held on a viking burial ground. We would both mosh with this beer.
Another beer that surprised me was the Star Bock from Three Rivers. Made with local squashes, rather than regular pumpkins, and coffee, this beer was well balanced and definitely a little different from any pumpkin-style beer or coffee beer that I have had before.
OK, fine, but when can the rest of us drink those?
Running down the list in alphabetical order by brewery, and yes, we will update this as more information comes our way.
- Bathtub Row’s Tusk and Bone Hazy IPA actually went on tap last week before the festival. The good people of Los Alamos already wiped it out. I’m not upset, I’m just impressed.
- Bosque’s Burial Grounds (Coffee Dark Lager) will be tapped soon, but no official release date has been announced.
- Canteen’s Burq Reynolds Hazy IPA, which will be their designated charity beer for Movember, has not been tapped yet.
- Enchanted Circle’s Detonator Red IPA does not have a release date. As the main brewery in Angel Fire is temporarily closed until after Thanksgiving, if it becomes available it will only be at the taproom in Albuquerque.
- Ex Novo’s Bourbon-Barrel-Aged Earl Grey Sour is on deck, but no tap is available as of yet. This is a truly unique beer that we need to try again to wrap our palates around just what we were tasting.
- High and Dry’s Desert Trash Black IPA just needs a tap to open up.
- Marble’s Cholo Smooth Stout will be released on tap and in cans this Wednesday at all taprooms.
- Nexus will tap its Lush Imperial Stout on Vanilla this Wednesday at the brewery. We learned that the wrong keg was accidentally tapped Saturday, and it was just the regular Lush, which explains why I kept wondering where was the rum-soaked vanilla bean flavor.
- Palmer and Tractor’s Bloody Hell collaboration figures to be on tap sooner or later.
- Ponderosa’s Blackberry Spice Beer (UPDATE) is now on tap!
- Quarter Celtic’s Old Ale was just a single sixtel, so it will not be on tap at the brewery. Which is a shame since it was delicious. Let’s see if we can convince head brewer Brady McKeown to make more!
- Rio Bravo’s Green Tea Pale Ale does not have a release date yet.
- Second Street’s aforementioned Southern Passion Sloppy Sloth does not have a release date yet (we are guessing it will be in cans, too, but that is purely a guess on our part).
- Sidetrack’s Baltic Porter is now tap now!
- Starr Brothers’ Monkey Knuckle Coconut Porter, which all the coconut fans at the festival enjoyed, does not have a release date yet.
- Steel Bender’s Norwegian Would? will be tapped this Thursday.
- Taos Mesa’s Blood Orange IPA does not have a release date yet.
- Thirsty Eye’s Huning Highlander Scotch Ale will be spending a little longer in the tanks for some additional proper aging, per head brewer John Kofonow.
- Three Rivers’ Star Bock is on tap now!
- Turtle Mountain’s Stuf Stuf Stout, which popped with way more spearmint than I expected, almost mellowing out the heavy chocolate flavors, is now on tap.
Overall, it was a fun little fest, and the mini sliders from Nexus Blue were a nice treat. Lots of folks also stayed to eat or got food to go, so our hosts were well taken care of by the crowd. It was unusually hot for late October, but the sun did not beat us down too badly (if the two pale Brew Crew members did not get sunburned, that is a good sign).
Anyway, we have quite a few stories coming up this week, from Gravity Bound canning its first beers and having live music, to a look at the impact of First Friday ArtWalk on the downtown breweries, to a preview of this weekend’s New Mexico IPA Challenge preliminary round. Halloween may be over, but there is still a lot of fun to be had out there with our breweries.
Keep supporting local!