Brewers and Distillers Cup brings together a love of craft and soccer

Soccer and craft beer just together, don’t they? (Image courtesy of Blue River Productions)

Ron Patel knows a thing or two about soccer. He is also a fan of local craft beer and spirits, and back before he rejoined the front-office staff at New Mexico United, Patel came up with an idea of how to bring all that he loves together in one event.

The Brewers & Distillers Cup is the result, a five-on-five co-ed soccer tournament wrapped around a craft festival. It will take place Saturday at Balloon Fiesta Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are still available online.

Patel said the idea originated in a conversation with an old friend and business partner.

“The end of last year, Larry Espinosa and myself — we worked together on the Albuquerque Sol — we looked at some cool things to do,” Patel said. “How do we match breweries and soccer? There’s no such thing as an original idea. We’d seen the Brewers Cup in Oregon (and) thought this is kind of neat. What can we do in Albuquerque?”

Enter Dean Strober, who runs Blue River Productions.

“Ron came to me and asked to partner up because I do festivals,” Strober said. “Soccer, I play, but running a tournament, Ron has years of experience.”

“I’ve known Dean for years, he’s the premier promoter,” Patel said. “We told him, ‘We’ll handle the soccer piece for you, and then you just produce one of your festivals.’ This is basically a beer and cocktail festival and wrapped inside of it is a five-on-five tournament.”

The Crew has known Ron Patel, second from left, for some time, as evidenced by this picture by Erin, far right.

A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Somos Unidos Foundation, which Patel said was an easy selection as the nonprofit.

The festival itself will be set up like plenty of others that folks have attended.

“When they come in, the first thing they see are the brewery distillery tents and other craft vendors and food trucks,” Strober said. “You have a familiar, very traditional festival look. But, right beyond the tents are seven soccer fields.”

All told, 20 craft producers will be on hand, and not only will they be serving, but they will also each be represented by teams wearing their logos on the back of specially made jerseys provided by the organizers. The teams are allowed to have both employees and customers, and the Crew can confirm that several of our friends will suit up for Quarter Celtic, and our own Gentleman Assassin, Erin, will be on the pitch with Ex Novo.

“It’s five groups of four (teams),” Patel said. “Winner of each group goes to the knockout round. They all play each other once. The top three second-place teams will also qualify for the knockout stage. Then it goes quarterfinals, semifinals, and first, second, and third, we’ll have trophies for those. It’s a 30-by-40 field. Goals are a little smaller. I think it’s going to be a a riot.”

The tournament is sanctioned by the New Mexico State Soccer Association, so actual referees will be on hand to make sure there are no shenanigans.

We have no idea what’s happening here. Sorry, Ron. (Photo courtesy of Daniel Hicks)

As for the festival part of things, there will be commemorative pint glasses available for a limited time. All attendees 21 and over will be allowed up to 10 sample pours of beer/wine/cider/cocktails, and you can purchase full pours. There will be multiple food trucks on hand (Gourmet Doner Kebab, Honey Bottom Coffee & Tea, Jenn’s Diner – A Taste of New Mexico, Kimo’s Hawaiian BBQ, Pop Pop’s Italian ice, The Sugabom, With Love Waffles), a vendor marketplace, lawn games, and a kids zone (and anyone under 16 gets in for free, ages 16 to 20 are just $5 per ticket).

Non-breweries in attendance will include Albuquerque Distilling, The Craftroom (Sandia Hard Cider), Hollow Spirits, Las Nueve Ninas Winery, Leaf & Hive, Left Turn Distilling, One Distillery, Safehouse Distilling, and Wayward Sons Distillery.

For the 11 breweries, we did get beer lists from nine of them.

  • Bosque: TBD
  • Brew Lab 101: Sexi NuMexi Mexican Lager, Sassy Brunette Amber Ale, Wicked Pissah Hazy IPA, Peachy Keen Cider
  • Canteen: Crimson Pale Ale, Tuttle Hazy IPA, Sundance Kolsch, High Plains Pilsner, Laid Back Lager
  • Ex Novo: V for Vienna, Threat Level Turquoise, Stay Goalden (all cans)
  • Quarter Celtic: Prince of Dortness, Crimson Lass, Mor Buck IPA, Mac Lomas Stout
  • Red Door: Unhinged Cider Sour Cherry, Vanilla Cream Ale, West Coast IPA, Mic Czech Bohemian Pilsner
  • Santa Fe: NMX Standard, Cholla Fizz (four seltzer flavors — Mountain Mayhem, Red River Punch, Citrus Sunset, Pink Laterade)
  • Sidetrack: A Tribe Called Kölsch, MX Lager, Salutation IPA, Pub Ale
  • Steel Bender: Skull Bucket, Raspberry Dynamite, Esmerelda Italian Pilsner, COMPA Blue Corn Lager, Mañana Hazy IPA, Lloyd’s 3 O’Clock Kolsch (all cans)
  • The 377: TBD
  • Tractor: Sodbuster Pale Ale, Haymaker Honey Wheat, Blood Orange Cider, plus two cocktails, Margarita and Raspberry Limeade

Now, for those attending to watch the soccer and root on your favorite breweries/distilleries, here is the schedule for group play. The knockout rounds will follow, and everything will be wrapped up in time for everyone to drive down to Isotopes Park for the New Mexico United match.

Group A
Ex Novo vs. Canteen, 10:45 a.m.
Brew Lab 101 vs. The Craftroom, 10:45 a.m.
The Craftroom vs. Canteen, 11:30 a.m.
Ex Novo vs. Brew Lab 101, 11:30 a.m.
Ex Novo vs. The Craftroom, 1 p.m.
Canteen vs. Brew Lab 101, 1 p.m.

Group B
Left Turn vs. Safehouse, 10 a.m.
Albuquerque Distilling vs. Tractor, 10 a.m.
Albuquerque Distilling vs. Safehouse, 10:45 a.m.
Left Turn vs. Tractor, 11:30 a.m.
Left Turn vs. Albuquerque Distilling, 12:15 p.m.
Safehouse vs. Tractor, 12:15 p.m.

Group C
Bosque vs. Red Door, 10 a.m.
Steel Bender vs. Wayward, 10 a.m.
Bosque vs. Steel Bender, 10:45 am.
Red Door vs. Wayward, 11:30 a.m.
Wayward vs. Bosque, 12:15 p.m.
Steel Bender vs. Red Door, 12:15 p.m.

Group D
Hollow Spirits vs. Sidetrack, 10 a.m.
Las Nueve Ninas vs. The 377, 10 a.m.
Sidetrack vs. The 377, 10:45 a.m.
Hollow Spirits vs. Las Nueve Ninas, 12:15 p.m.
The 377 vs. Hollow Spirits, 1 p.m.
Las Nueve Ninas vs. Sidetrack, 1 p.m.

Group E
SFBC vs. Quarter Celtic, 10 a.m.
One Distilling vs. Leaf & Hive, 10 a.m.
One Distilling vs. SFBC, 10:45 a.m.
Quarter Celtic vs. Leaf & Hive, 10:45 a.m.
Quarter Celtic vs. One Distilling, 12:15 p.m.
Leaf & Hive vs. SFBC, 12:15 p.m.

Parking is free, and since the setup is shown as being toward the north end of Balloon Fiesta Park, we recommend taking the Balloon Fiesta Parkway entrance off San Mateo.

Oh, and do not forget your SPF 50.

Keep supporting local!

— Stoutmeister

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