We have far too few festivals in Santa Fe, fewer after that recent Marvel-sized blip in history (as far as events go), and fewer still that are specifically designed around the celebration of Independent Craft Beverages. But, WinterBrew (oh, how we love you!), every year, does the trick, hits that spot, fulfills that need to try all the beers in the company of old friends and potential friends, and do so in a warm, festively lit environment, smack dab in the dead of winter.
Now on its 11th annual run, WinterBrew is back at the beloved Farmer’s Market Pavilion at the Railyard, after enjoying a fun outdoor excursion to Santa Fe Brewing Co.’s music venue, The Bridge, last year due to pandemic concerns.
Last year’s event was a great success, and everyone enjoyed their time, unless you were one of the few breweries caught in the shade as the sun went down, and then, well, as you can imagine in January, it got pretty cold, pretty quickly. But, of course that couldn’t be helped, and at the end of the day, the spirit of WinterBrew lived on, COVID safe(r), complete with the ceremonious breaking of a glass to signify the end of another fine festival.
For this edition, there will be a special VIP hour from 5 to 6 p.m., followed by general admission from 6 to 9, with last call at 8:30. The fest ends right in time for everyone that needs it to catch the last Rail Runner of the night. Tickets are still available online, but be forewarned, this event almost always sells out, so do not wait. In fact, the website says “few tickets left” as of 11 a.m. today (Thursday).
This year’s event should mostly feel like a return to the home field, with lots of seasoned veterans, a few rookies, and a brand-new star quarterback calling the plays.
I was fortunate enough to catch up with the new executive director of the New Mexico Brewers Guild, Ebbie Edmonston, amid her very busy schedule. She wanted fest-goers to know a few things before heading to this weekend’s event.
“Have fun!” she said. “This is one of my favorite NMBG events! Support your local breweries, rep their merch, tag them on social media, and show them some love.”
She also had a few pointers and advice as someone who has attended this particular brewfest many-a-time in years past.
“Be safe,” Edmonston said. “Have a game plan for how you’re getting home. Do you have a DD? Are you taking an Uber/Lyft? Did you book a room downtown? It’s going to be chilly. Dress accordingly. This is an indoor event, but we all know how the line at the door can take a minute or two. There will be a coat check for $5 per coat. Speaking of the line, please have your IDs and tickets ready to help make the line run smoothly.”
Lastly, our Guild director added, “If you love events like this, think about joining the Guild as an Enthusiast Member. The Enthusiast Membership is currently a reduced rate of $50 for 2023. It comes with discounts to numerous New Mexico breweries, member-only socials, discounts on NMBG hosted events and more. If you sign up by 10 p.m. Friday, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win the Yeti Tundra Haul cooler (winner announced Saturday). You can buy your membership through our website.”
And, as we in the Crew know, events like WinterBrew, feature amazing beer lists just like the following:
- Beer Creek Brewing — Get to Da Hoppa (all NM IPA), Marzen Law (Märzen), Rowe Mesa Red. Additionally, they’re running a vertical tap with releases at the hour. The VIP pour will be Golondrinas Golden Ale, an all-NM-ingredients-made beer, followed by Wholly Mole Red Chile Chocolate Porter with cinnamon and lime, Turkish Stout with cardamom and espresso beans from Aroma Coffee, and SKSB Special Dark Malt ESB.
- Bosque Brewing — TBD
- Ex Novo Brewing — Dolla Dolla Pils Y’all, Off the Record (Hazy IPA), plus two more that were still to be determined
- Hidden Mountain Brewing — Mexican Lager, Roadrunner IPA, Pineapple Wheat, Naughty or Spiced Winter Warmer, El Monstruo Oud Bruin, Sophisticator Dopplebock. There will also be 16-ounce bottles of El Monstruo for sale, along with 32-ounce crowlers of each beer after 8:30 p.m.
- HoneyMoon Brewery — TBD
- La Cumbre Brewing — Hop Launch IPA, Vivid Wild Hazy IPA, Malpais Stout, German Pilsner, Elevated IPA
- Late Shift Lager House/Sandia Hard Cider — Helles, Dopplebock, IPL, Barrel-Aged Dry Cider
- Marble Brewery — Mavbock (Strong Dark Lager), Cerro Nevada Pale Ale (Cascade Variety American Pale Ale), White Out (Uniquely Marbleous Spiced Wheat Ale), and Oatale (Toasted Oatmeal Extra Stout)
- Ponderosa Brewing — TBD
- Rowley Farmhouse Ales — Agent Scully (Season 6, Episode 3) IPA, Mountain of Light Blueberry, Petite Death, Don’t Dryve Angry. They will also be bringing a special as-of-yet unreleased bottle for VIP hour.
- Rumor Brewing — Bella Vista (Czech Pilsner), Ignition! (American IPA), Blonde (Belgian Blonde), Desert Monk (Belgian Dubbel)
- Santa Fe Brewing — Inky Boi (Baltic Porter, 7% ABV), Cherry Boi (Hazy Wheat Beer brewed with cherry and lemon, 7% ABV), NMX Standard (Lager, 4.5% ABV), and a yet to be revealed beer from their extensive library.
- Second Street Brewery — 2920 IPA, House IPA, Sloppy Sloth Galaxy Hazy IPA, Agua Fria Pilsner, The Tipsy Parrot (Piña colada inspired beer), Space Heater (Winter Warmer), Lingonberry Hard Seltzer, Cream Stout, XX ESB, Kolsch
- Steel Bender Brewyard — (draft) Mañana Hazy IPA, Raspberry Dynamite, COMPA Blue Corn Lager, Red Iron Red; (cans) Brickie American Stout, Skull Bucket IPA
- Turtle Mountain Brewing — Widespread Haze, Elden Brown, Mandy Pale Ale, Hopshell IPA, and maybe a little Barleywine.
- Unhinged Brewing — TBD
Red River Brewing was listed as attending, but they informed Stoutmeister that due to a paperwork issue, they will not be coming down for the fest.
Last few tidbits:
Food: Food will be provided by Bosque Brewing and Rowley Farmhouse Ales. Bosque will be serving up pizza by the slice, no-doubt repping their brand new Restoration Pizza restaurant (which recently opened on the Railyard in the former taproom space), and RFA will be offering some tasty frito pies that even Bourdain himself couldn’t scoff at.
When: Event is Friday, January 20, from 6 to 9 p.m. with special VIP access at 5 p.m.
Where: Santa Fe Farmer’s Market Pavilion, 1607 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe, NM 87501.
What else: A few of us in the Crew will be at this event, so don’t be strangers! We’re pretty friendly (yes, even Stoutmeister, so long as the Penguins don’t lost again to Ottawa, he told me). I promise! Feel free to check in and tell us what your favorite brews are, in person, or if you can remember them the next day, then shoot us a message, or post on our page.
I’m personally looking forward to this WinterBrew, as it will be my first time on the other side of the table pouring along side many long-time friends. I hope you all have a great and safe time! And, to the continued health of our amazing craft industry,