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Gazing down upon a Taos Brewmasters Festival from years past.

If there is such a thing as a white whale among New Mexico beer festivals, for me it is the Taos Brewmasters Festival. It has been around for 23 years counting this Saturday’s event, and yet I have never managed to time my own schedule to where I can thanks to either my day job or my other job as a freelance sportswriter.

Just because I cannot go, however, does not rule out the rest of you from visiting this classic beer festival nestled in the confines of the Taos Ski Valley. The fest runs from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, with $35 tickets available at the door. There will be 22 breweries present from around the country, including nine from New Mexico, plus one distillery and one place that focuses on kombucha.

The Blonde Bear Tavern, Bavarian, Common Fire, Rhoda’s, and more will provide the food to make sure no one is drinking on an empty stomach.

We asked all nine participating New Mexico breweries for their beer lists. Here are the ones who responded. If the others respond before the festival begins, we will update this list.

  • Bosque: IPA, Lager, Scotia Scotch Ale, Elephants on Parade, Pistol Pete’s 1888
  • La Cumbre: Big Door Prize, Project Dank, Ryeot IPA, Elevated IPA, A Slice of Hefen, Malpais Stout
  • Marble: Wildflower Wheat (in new cans), IPA, Desert Fog, Double White, Cholo Stout, Imperial Stout
  • Rio Bravo: TBA
  • Santa Fe: TBA
  • Sierra Blanca: Cherry Wheat, Vanilla Milk Stout, Alien Amber, Desert Pilsner, Bone Chiller Brown, Whiskey Stout
  • Steel Bender: Skull Bucket IPA, Raspberry Dynamite, Compa Los Ranchos Lager, Lloyd’s 3 O’Clock Kolsch, Gris-Gris, Ned’s Sour Pail (with and without boysenberry), Viejo Agrio
  • Taos Mesa: TBA
  • Tractor: Almanac IPA, Farmers Tan Red Ale, Delicious Red Hard Apple Cider, Milk Mustachio Stout

The other participating breweries from outside the state are 10 Barrel, Bell’s, Firestone Walker, Four Peaks, Full Sail, Heineken USA, Left Hand, New Belgium, Odell, Sierra Nevada, Steamworks, Stone, and Upslope.

Grab a brew and enjoy some time on the slopes! Just probably in the opposite order.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s seven breweries, one in Los Alamos, one in Moriarty, one in Red River, and one in Las Cruces also joining the party.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

They say giving is greater than receiving during the holiday season, but we rather enjoy receiving lots of new beers, especially the kind we can take home. In case anyone missed it, Second Street’s Jack Plane Porter, a wonderful cherrywood-smoked beer that was previously only available on tap, is now for sale in six packs. Joining this holiday treat on shelves this week and next are three more beers, with one hoppy/hazy favorite returning to break up the parade of beautiful darkness. First up, Marble is putting Imperial Stout in 12-ounce cans and selling them to all of us today. We will miss the bottles, but drinking one of those 22-ounce beasts tended to end our nights early unless we shared (and we never really wanted to share, it’s so good). It is also on tap, of course, at all three Marble locations, and there will be a food pairing around 5 p.m., if you can wait that long. Speaking of waiting, the lines should be back outside La Cumbre on Friday for the return of Big Door Prize, the tasty hazy double IPA that locals could not get enough of last year. In this case, show up at the brewery at noon, because it might not be there by sundown. Once those beers have gotten you through the weekend, make your way to Canteen on Tuesday for the release of six-packs of Panama Joe Coffee Stout. We already have a friend in North Carolina begging us to send her some, and we gotta imagine the local demand will be high for this award-winning elixir. Clear those beer fridges, people, for more delicious fresh beer has arrived!

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque leaves a little something on your pillow in the form of Chocolate Mint Stout. Dialogue keeps it light with Baby Wenzel Session IPA, while also teaming up with Rio Rancho’s 1933 Brewing on 70 Shilling Scottish Ale. Kaktus has a decadent Imperial Chocolate Stout available. Marble wants summer back with Raspberry Peach Pale Ale, while also getting tough with Vünderland, a Belgian strong. The 377 puckers up with Adalie, a strawberry sour aged 10 months in barrels. Toltec rolls out its first Double IPA on Thursday. Tractor brings back crowd favorite Blood Orange Cider, while also adding Belgian Winter White and bringing back Luna de Los Muertos in bottles. Turtle Mountain resurrects a classic in Mr. Hoover’s Steam, while also getting Darker Than Darkness, a new schwarzbier.

Up in Santa Fe, things are quiet, but likely not for long.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of December 10.

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It’s definitely not the best picture of our always-in-motion Metal Mayor, but we were happy to see him at a local brewery.

A long winter nap is becoming more and more tempting, but there are beers to drink, and the Crew kept after them this past weekend.

My weekend started early, as per usual, but it was more of a working weekend, with trips to Marble and Tractor to interview staffers for our Look Back/Look Ahead Series. After leaving Wells Park on Wednesday, I made my way to La Cumbre, as an old friend of the Crew tipped us off that Mayor Tim Keller would be making an appearance. I was not able to bend his ear, but I did still get to enjoy some Pecos Porter and catch up with some readers who were enjoying some afternoon beers. Though the Pecos does not get the hype of other LC beers, it remains a solid, sessionable dark beer that fits the winter chill.

There are two more special Brickie Stout casks to come at Steel Bender.

After a proper metal show with birthday boy Derek on Thursday night, I took it easy Friday night. By Saturday, it was time to head out again. Steel Bender has again had its 4 Casks of Christmas series every Saturday in December. They take the Brickie American Stout and infuse it with some other tasty elements, stick ’em in a cask, and watch everyone enjoy. This edition was special, as our own Franz Solo and old friend David Facey developed the French Toast Brickie. It was a delicious beer, with the sweetness of the maple syrup working in concert with the roasty malts. This Saturday will see another version, Fruity Chocolate Tart. Make sure to grab one or more of these wonderful brews while you still can this holiday season.

Speaking of the holiday season, Crew members found reasons for giving, and reasons to avoid the mass marketing rush and instead indulge in local beer and food.

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The light shined brightly upon Marble Brewery again in 2018.

There are plenty of challenges in life, for brewery employees and beer writers. While Marble Brewery had to deal with some surprising challenges in 2018, I presented myself with the challenge of choosing to interview six key staff members separately, and then typing up those interviews in a very short span of time.

In the end, though, both the Marble staff and I have come out of this year with our heads held high. On two days across two weeks, I managed to corral, in order, Geraldine Lucero (marketing and events coordinator), Tammy Lovato (off-site event and festival coordinator), Barbie Gonzalez (director of tap room operations), Ted Rice (president/brewmaster), Josh Trujillo (brewmaster), and Leah Black (public relations and social media director). Marble is a big company, with so many aspects to cover for our Look Back/Look Ahead Series, so yes, all of their input was needed.

Big picture ups and downs

An unexpected aluminum shortage hit Marble this year, just as it release many, many more beers in cans. (Photo courtesy of Marble)

“2018 for Marble was filled with many highs and many unexpected situations and challenges,” Ted said, noting the positive impact of the big on-site festivals, something Geraldine would cover in greater detail.

The unexpected situations and challenges occurred elsewhere.

“The (aluminum) tariffs were definitely a factor into our ballooning supply chain,” Ted said. “In the heat of summer, at the height of demand, we were shackled. We didn’t have the supplies we needed to put beer in a package and get it to market. That was completely unforeseen and extremely challenging. It was a wrench in the cog of the craft machine that is Marble. So looking towards 2019, we want to alleviate those unforeseen challenges in the supply chain.”

Josh said the brewing staff did manage to learn from the sudden can shortage.

“We learned not to freak out, completely panic and lose your shit when something out of your control goes wrong,” he said. “Really, I think 2018 really reinforced our overall confidence and my confidence in the staff that we have. I really look forward to 2019 and coaching everybody along even further and really getting the best attributes out of all of our employees.”

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Boxing Bear is preparing to open its first taproom in West Downtown, but the brewery is not necessarily planning to stop with just that location.

In the blink of an eye, a little rumor recently whispered to us became reality this week when Boxing Bear Brewing officially announced it was opening a taproom in the former 5 Star Burgers space on West Central.

To get a little better idea of how it all came together this quickly, I sat down with head brewer/co-owner Justin Hamilton.

“So after 5 Star closed, we saw the building (at 1710 West Central),” he said. “We’ve been hunting (for) taprooms. It wasn’t like 5 Star approached us. We were actively looking for taprooms, not just one, but multiple for a long time.”

Boxing Bear was given a short time to make a decision on leasing the space.

“The timeline was really quick,” Justin said. “Five Star was one of our accounts, so that gave us the heads up. That spurred our interest in that location and that allowed us to pursue (it). We also know there’s lots of breweries looking for that perfect taproom space, so we had to really try to harness it as quickly as possible. I love that location. It’s so much culture, a really, really up-and-coming area. It’s right down the street from the revitalized El Vado (Motel), it’s literally across the street from Albuquerque staple Duran’s, and we’ll be right next to Amore Pizza. All those things are a sure fit for us.”

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Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s seven breweries, one in Los Alamos, one in Moriarty, one in Red River, and one in Las Cruces also joining the party.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

My, how time flies in these parts. It seems like just the other day La Cumbre Brewing had opened its doors and introduced us to Elevated IPA and Malpais Stout. This week, the award-winning brewery celebrates its eighth anniversary, introducing us to Ocho Anniversary Ale on Saturday. The Ocho is red wine barrel-aged sour brewed with cherries, plus it is totally fair game to unleash every quotable line from Dodgeball while you are drinking it (or so we declare). The all-day party will also feature live screen printing from Screen Kings from 1 to 5 p.m., followed by the band Moonhat performing from 7 to 10. Other events include tap takeovers at Fire & Hops in Santa Fe today at 5 p.m. and at Tap That in ABQ on Friday at 5. La Cumbre will also be selling One Albuquerque T-shirts starting today, with the potential for a special appearance by a certain metalhead around 5 p.m. (no, not just me, someone a bit more famous and well-liked in these parts). Happy anniversary, and thanks for all the brews, La Cumbre!

UPDATE: We missed this initially, but Second Street is also celebrating its anniversary this Saturday. From 5 p.m. onward, a special menu from all three locations’ chefs will be available, featuring dishes like New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp as an appetizer, plus seared blackened scallops with green chile risotto, 24-hour pot roast, chicken piccata, stuffed poblano pepper, and New Orleans beignets for dessert. Check the Facebook page of the original location for more details. There will also be the tapping of the 2018 Anniversary Ale, plus Half Broke Horses play the original at 7 p.m.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque drops two new brews in Gone Crazy Hazy DIPA and Three Point No, a fruited wheat. Bow & Arrow has a fresh batch of Cosmic Arrow Brett Saison, plus the burly new Buffalo Plaid Baltic Porter debuts Friday. Boxing Bear throws a combo with Murkito Hazy Pale Ale and then the CeleBEARtion on Saturday, with the latter being a hoppy, bourbon barrel-aged ale being released on tap and in bottles. Canteen tunes it up with Radiohead IPA. Kaktus has a slew of new brews including One is the Loneliest IPA, Bock, Oatmeal Stout, Brown Porter, Paleo Pale Ale, and Thurvaytha. La Cumbre also has some Limon Quercus on tap, plus bottles of the Pina Quercus. Marble can’t be stopped with the Doppelator. Quarter Celtic plays it up with Xylophone Rock, an American pilsner. Sidetrack shines a little light on some more Sunburst Pale Ale. Starr Brothers stays up late with Rock ‘n Roll Hazy Nights IPA, plus Zombies in the Manger, the biscochito stout, returns later this week. Steel Bender, by popular demand, brings back a limited amount of Figgy Pudding on Thursday. The 377 gets a little crazy with The Duke, a vanilla graham cracker porter sour. Tractor rolls out more Chocolate Milk Stout and adds some Veruca Salt, a gose.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn brings light to the dark with Whiteout Stout on Friday. Rowley Farmhouse Ales spaces out with The Petit Blanche – Galaxy. Second Street soars through the sky with Red Comet.

Out in Moriarty, Sierra Blanca sticks with tradition and goes dark with more Whiskey Stout.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of December 3.

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The Pining for Breakfast Maple Brown at Red Door joins the pantheon of wonderful dessert beers in town.

The weekend was humming along at such a nice pace, and then the Steelers went out and f@#$ed it all up for me. It’s hard being a sports fan, but these days it’s easy being a beer lover. My weekend actually kicked off back on Thursday with trips to Marble Downtown and Marble Heights to interview a number of staff members for an upcoming Look Back/Look Ahead Series article. Naturally, I also got to partake in a few beers, because that’s the reward in advance for the hours of upcoming transcription.

First up, Ye’ Olde Ale is a delicious concoction made in collaboration with the Marble Beers in Manchester, England. A proper, 9.7-percent ABV English strong ale was aged in port wine barrels, with a little bit of brettanomyces thrown in for fun. The result is a complex beer that, in many ways, probably should not work together, but the warming alcohol and thick malt mixes wonderfully with the funky brett and sweet wine flavors. Also available were the Northside IPA and Alpha Acid Trip (Triple IPA), both of which had many of the best characteristics of what I still love in the style, with a piney touch to go with the more fruity and floral hops, plus enough of a malt backbone to keep them from drying out the palate. I also had more Reserve Ale, which has already run its course in bottle form, but remains on tap for now. It is a delightful batch this year, so if you have not had it, you are dead to me. (Just kidding. Well, maybe.)

From there, I grabbed a friend and headed over to Red Door for the release of the new Pining for Breakfast Maple Brown. I have had my fair share of maple-infused stouts in recent years, but for a lighter beer in color and mouthfeel, this brown held up well and did not allow the maple to turn it into a sugar bomb. The folks at New Mexico Piñon Coffee supplied the beans that brought in a nice coffee character to help balance everything out. Red Door has been churning out some quality seasonals for a while now, so make sure to snag a pint of this one and raise it high in honor of head brewer Matt Meier and his staff.

For Friday night, I trekked to the west side to catch up with a good friend and finally indulge in a long overdue pizza-and-beer night. We found room at the bar at the Blue Grasshopper location off Coors. While a number of the beers I wanted to drink had run out, the remainder (Boxing Bear’s Body Czech, La Cumbre’s BEER and Dunkelweizen) were more than enough. Throw in some really good pizza and even better company (thanks, Jess!), and it was a good night.

I picked up a trifecta of excellent brews from a beer-trading friend (thanks, Majin!) and stayed in on Saturday, a little too worn out from work to venture beyond the confines of home. As for Sunday, well, at least I didn’t punch the TV or anything. How a team blows a 23-7 lead at home is beyond me.

As for the rest of the Crew, two of them ended up joining forces for part of their weekend, while another ventured out of town for one of her favorite annual festivals.

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Sam, left, and George Boese are proudly opening their second location this weekend.

Long, long ago, the Crew was tipped off by a reader that the area of town where he lives, near Tramway and Paseo del Norte, was potentially getting a brewery taproom. He asked us what brewery might be heading to just about the most northeast corner of the city, but at the time, we had no idea.

A while later, we noted that Boese Brothers Brewery had a pending off-site taproom license pending with the State of New Mexico, but it was listed for a zip code in the Southeast Heights. Well, it turned out that was a typo, since as we now know, the Boese Brothers Brewpub is the taproom taking the spot on Tramway, just south of the Paseo intersection.

The taproom’s grand opening will kick off Friday at 4 p.m. and run all weekend, so to preview both that and take care of Boese Brothers’ entry in our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series, I met up with George and Sam Boese at the new space on Wednesday afternoon.

“Probably early last year we started looking around for places, maybe in the February timeframe,” George said. “We hadn’t really gotten anything that we liked until we found this place. It’s the right combination, we think. We looked a couple of neighborhoods. We really liked this spot. It was probably the view that got us.”

This picture really doesn’t do the view of the mountains justice, but it will have to suffice.

Admittedly, I already told Sam about how impressive the view is of the Sandia Mountains out the front windows. The exact address is 7849 Tramway Blvd, Suite C. To get to it from either northbound or southbound Tramway, just turn west at the light at San Bernardino. It is located in the middle of the building just north of the CVS Pharmacy, next to the Dominos restaurant.

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Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s seven breweries, one in Los Alamos, one in Moriarty, one in Red River, and one in Las Cruces also joining the party.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Giving Tuesday has come and gone, but the opportunity to support a good cause still lies ahead. On that day, Canteen, Marble, Rowley Farmhouse Ales, and Steel Bender joined breweries across the country in making a batch of Resilience IPA. (Edit: RFA is still awaiting the arrival of the hops, but expects to brew Thursday.) The recipe hails from Sierra Nevada, which temporarily had to shut down its main brewery in Chico, California, as the Camp Fire burned its way to the city limits. Seeking to help those who lost everything, particularly the residents of the now-destroyed town of Paradise, Sierra Nevada created this new IPA with all proceeds going to help rebuild the communities affected by the wildfire. We tip our hats to Canteen, Marble, RFA, Steel Bender, Sierra Nevada, and every other brewery to participate in this venture. When the IPA is ready to tap locally, we will be sure to let everyone know. Yeah, even we can take a break from the big, bold, beautiful stouts for a change this holiday season.

We could have led off with the grand opening of the Boese Brothers Brewpub on Tramway this weekend, but fear not, I am on my way to interview George and Sam Boese to preview that event and also complete the entire Look Back/Look Ahead Series article on Boese Brothers. Look for that on Thursday afternoon, which I hope to post in between my interviews with the (many) Marble command staff members for their upcoming LB/LA entry.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque was able to sneak in some Chai Hard and Autumn Red while we weren’t looking. Bow & Arrow has another bottle release this Saturday with Dream Mesa, a golden sour ale. Canteen has a fresh batch of North 14 Pale Ale. La Cumbre rolls out more Pecos Porter, Noche De Paz, and Gracias Por Fumar. Marble unveils Cryogenic Pale Ale and Ye’ Olde Ale. Nexus pours some dessert in the form of Blueberry Sweetart at the Silver Taproom only (for now). Ponderosa should have some fresh ESB by the weekend. Red Door will be Pining for Maple Breakfast Brown on Thursday. Sidetrack has a fresh batch of Pub Ale on tap. Steel Bender kicks off the 4 Casks of Christmas on Saturday, with each cask featuring a different version of Brickie American Stout, and this week’s version is Peppermint Mocha.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn hops to it with Lord Lupulin IPA.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of November 26.

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The beer fridge overflows with all the stout-y goodness.

Thanksgiving was kinda fuzzy, man. At least that seems to be the case for most of us, as the sheer number of holiday brews left the bulk of the Crew speechless (or, at least, unable to write). It was a tad overwhelming.

First up, Wednesday saw a quick trip to Tractor for a four-pack of Turkey Drool. Yeah, didn’t need the half-growler this year. It’s been my personal tradition to always make the TD the first beer of every Thanksgiving. It makes the bad Lions and Cowboys football go down so much easier.

After that little treat, Friday brought a shorter-than-usual line at Jubilation for the annual Black Friday cellar sale. The barrel-aged Expedition Stout from Bell’s topped my personal list, so I walked out with two of those, one 2016 Uncle Jacob’s from Avery, a 2015 Barrel-Aged Narwhal from Sierra Nevada, and, yeah, had to get one Bourbon County Brand Stout and see if it still holds up (Jubilation did not receive any variants, which was disappointing this year).

Since I still have a huge stout haul from a friend’s cellar sale a few months back, I limited myself to just those five bottles. Oh, but alas, the locals beckoned me back out in the afternoon.

I joined Franz Solo at Boxing Bear for the always excellent VantaBlack Russian Imperial Stout, with this year’s batch in bottles, and a 3-year-old barrel-aged version on tap only. I am sad to report that the BA is out, but you can still buy bottles at the brewery, as I made sure to do. Next time around, head brewer Justin Hamilton assured us, he will make sure to bottle some of the barrel-aged batch, too.

The good folks at Bosque were simultaneously spreading the word over social media that their Fresh Start Breakfast Stout was on tap, so I hit up the San Mateo location on my way back. It’s just as good as ever, a sweet treat that paired oh-so-well with leftover dessert. A four-pack of that accompanied me home.

It was back to work for me on Saturday, after which I really needed more beer. My original plan was to stay in, drink some of those stouts, and watch terrible movies, but friends dragged me out to Quarter Celtic. The Oat Face Killer (Oatmeal Stout) was delightful, tasting way heavier more than a 5.1-percent beer should.

As for the rest of the Crew, only AmyO was able to put her thoughts together in printed form, which is remarkable considering the Lobo-sized headache she dealt with after another dismal season of hand-egg just ended.

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