The New Mexico Brewers Guild had big plans back in 2020 for its own version of the annual Craft Brewers Conference, a combined educational event and trade show for members of the industry within the state. COVID, of course, wiped out both the New Mexico version and the national version that year, but after CBC returned at full strength earlier this month, the Guild is planning its own conference for Friday, June 17.
Normally, we would probably only mention this in passing, since neither the general public nor even the Crew would be invited. But, that is changing, as the public can now participate in the conference one month from now, and as an added bonus, you can combine that with your ticket to the Great New Mexico Beer Festival the next day, June 18.
“We are going to be opening up limited ticketing for the general public,” said Tess Vidalis, the executive director of the NMBG. “We’re going to be offering tickets to the conference on June 17 for $40. You can also bundle that with a ticket to the conference and festival for $65. It would be a great opportunity for people who are really enthusiastic for the beer scene in New Mexico.”
Everything will be taking place at Balloon Fiesta Park, the same site as where the Brewers & Distillers Cup was held last month. It is no coincidence, then, that the Guild is working with the same organizer behind that event, Dean Strober and Blue River Productions.
The full schedule of the conference, including ticket links for industry members and the general public, can be found here.
Vidalis said the theme of the conference is sustainability in brewing, which is quite timely in this day and age. Between supply chain disruptions, and the effects of climate change on the barley crop and hop harvest, not to mention the worsening drought conditions in New Mexico, sustainable brewing is becoming more and more important.
After keynote speaker Matt Gacioch, the sustainability ambassador for the Brewers Association, gives his presentation at 2 p.m., there will be four breakout sessions at 3 and 4 p.m. Then Seth Gardenswartz, a friend of the Crew and partner at Blackgarden Law, will give a presentation on changes to cannabis law in New Mexico and how those will affect the brewing industry. A speaker roundtable will follow at 5:30.
Once all that is done, there will be a four-category beer competition among the local breweries, as medals are handed out for the best American wheat, German-style pilsner, hazy IPA, and West Coast IPA. The awards ceremony will run from 6:30 until just before the conference wraps up at 8.
Of course, if the conference is a little too geeky, you can just attend the festival the following day. In addition to tasting beers from around 30 breweries, there will also be two special classes hosted by Southwest Grape & Grain, and a five-course beer-and-food pairing. You can find the further details on both of those by clicking on that link.
Throw in live music from Boomroots Collective at noon, and The Riddims at 3:30 p.m., plus free lawn games, arcade games, movies, and mini golf, and it figures to be pretty hard not to have a good time.
The current list of 30 participating breweries includes quite a few from outside the Albuquerque metro: Beer Creek Brewing (outside Santa Fe), Blu Dragonfly Brewing (Raton), Capitol Brewing (Socorro), Downshift Brewing (Ruidoso), Enchanted Circle Brewing (Angel Fire), Leaf & Hive Brewlab (Santa Fe), Little Toad Creek Brewery & Distillery (Silver City), Milton’s Brewing (Carlsbad), Santa Fe Brewing, and Taos Mesa Brewing.
They will be joined by local stalwarts Boxing Bear Brewing, Brew Lab 101, Canteen Brewhouse, Ex Novo Brewing, JUNO Brewery, Kilt Check Brewing, Late Shift Lager House, Lava Rock Brewing, Lizard Tail Brewing, Marble Brewery, Nexus Brewery, Palmer Brewery, Red Door Brewing, ReSource Brewing, Rio Bravo Brewing, Rumor Brewing, Sidetrack Brewing, Steel Bender Brewyard, Thirsty Eye Brewing, and Tractor Brewing.
In addition to the breweries, vendor tables are available for $300 for both days. You can contact Vidalis directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
We will have more information, including the beer lists for the breweries, in the days leading up to the festival.
Any questions? Just drop us a line on social media or at email@example.com, and if we cannot answer you, we will forward it to the Guild.
This should be a fun, and educational summer.
Keep supporting local!