When High and Dry opened in February 2018, no one would have expected that four years later, a global pandemic would make up half of its existence.
“The last two years is a blur, that’s for sure,” said co-owner/head brewer Andrew Kalemba. “It’s weird to reflect back on.”
As their four-year anniversary approaches, what better way to celebrate all the good, and not so good times, than a party with all of their friends? The event, taking place this Saturday, is a throwback celebration for everyone they worked with during the pandemic, and will feature nine different bands.
“Music is part of everyone’s life here,” Andrew said. “I’m (even) gonna get off my butt and play guitar, assuming I’m not herding cats all day.”
The event headliners will be Red Mesa, a band that High and Dry has collaborated with on a past beer (Disharmonious Red IPA), and they are tentatively talking about a second collab this spring, in conjunction with an album release.
Food will be provided by another friend, Dubious Smokehouse, who will be opening, and sampling, on that day.
Another anniversary throwback will be the beer release itself, Dream Hammer, a chai vanilla wheat that they are bringing back from a couple years ago.
Meanwhile, Andrew said they are “full steam ahead” on High and Dry’s side project, to be located in what was formerly Ragin’ Shrimp at Copper and Carlisle. This new location, Andrew said, will “flip High and Dry on its head.” It will be wine-forward, featuring local New Mexico wines. The current location typically has about 12 beers on tap, and three wine offerings. This would be switched at the new taproom.
High and Dry will be working closely with their neighbor at the new property to make it a brunch-forward, food and wine pairing experience, another of Andrew’s passions.
Food pairings will also be a focus back at the original location when Tikka Spice becomes a permanent fixture at the brewery, serving up delicious food from their second truck every Wednesday through Sunday. They also plan to be at the anniversary party.
While the first part of the year is focused on new ventures, the rest of the year will be focused on community outreach. There are plans to contribute to the ABQ free fridge effort, funds from regular trivia nights all go to charity, and local organizations such as the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance will have informational setups at the brewery.
As for the beer, a newer 4-barrel system has been in place for over a year now, and Andrew said it is “going well (and) hasn’t blown up yet.” This year, they have already had a collaboration brew with Sobremesa, a raspberry and pomegranate wheat wine called Take a Lap, and they plan to brew a lot more, especially with their new assistant brewer who they hired last year.
Andrew has been prepared for the new 50-barrel production requirements for the State of New Mexico since they were originally announced, and was brewing at least 100 barrels-per-year even on their old 1-barrel system. Last year was the first year they had all taps full with only High and Dry beer, and they brewed close to 300 barrels in 2021. Andrew said he considers this a point of pride that they were able to meet the requirements before they were in place, and has provided assistance to other local brewers to get their own systems up to speed as well. He expects there will likely be a lot of leeway in the first year, and hopes the state has productive conversations with everyone about its expectations.
Thanks so much to Andrew for taking some time to update us on everything that’s going on with High and Dry, and we look forward to another year of great beer and community.
Cheers to four years!