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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.

While I will miss Oregon for all its green and many new beers to try, there is work to be done here, so I am back in ABQ until the beer road calls again (e.g. GABF) next month. It’s a good thing I’m back, because there’s a lot to cover this week. First up, as we noted in our story about The 377 Brewery tying for third at the Great British Beer Festival, brewmaster Lyna Waggoner also has a cool new idea for all of you lovers of some of the more unique beers. The Basement Barrel Project will kick off today and then continue every Wednesday with a different special beer offering. Patrons can order 10-ounce pours of wild and spontaneously fermented beers. If folks like the beer enough, they can enter into a drawing for the chance to purchase a bottle of the beer (there will only be two bottles of each beer available). Two winners will be chosen for each beer. The BBP will start with the Belgian Sour Quad that just won a gold medal at the U.S. Open Beer Championship.

We also wanted to highlight a good charity event this week. Tractor Wells Park is hosting Beer for Boobs (no giggling) on Saturday night starting at 7. For every pint sold, $1 will go to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Albuquerque. The Porter Draw will provide the music starting at 8 p.m.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bombs Away brings back Short Fuze Blonde Ale and High Speed Low Drag Lager, while also adding the new All Clear!, an apple beer. Bosque is feeling patriotic with American Brown. Bow & Arrow has replaced a house beer, Sun Dagger, with a new year-round saison, Fringe Jacket. Boxing Bear takes a swing at more Red Knuckle Irish Red and Das Bear German Pilsner. Canteen has a new version of Social Capital made with plums, vanilla, and cardamom. La Cumbre rolls out bottles of Pina Quercus, a tequila-barrel-aged tart ale with pineapple, on Friday. Marble unveils Pomegranate Gose. Ponderosa has Blood Orange Double Wit back on tap in addition to being available in cans. Red Door rolls out Peach Berliner Weisse on Friday. Sidetrack has fresh batches of Turntable IPA Track 1, Guera, and our favorite, Buzz Bomb. Starr Brothers will have a new rose gose, Whole Lotta, by this weekend. Steel Bender debuts Harvest Pale Ale on Thursday. The 377 also debuts small batches of New Mexico Chile Lager and Ginger Beer. Tractor adds Simcoe Single-Hop Pale Ale to its lengthy beer list. Turtle Mountain goes big with Three Marks IPA and small with Sex in a Canoe (again, no giggling).

Up in Santa Fe, it’s quiet, which means all the brewers must have something awesome on deck.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of August 13.

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The spoils of the best airport gift store in the world, which is naturally in Portland, Oregon.

What do you get when you mix a few procrastinators (AmyO excluded) and have them write a story together? Well, you get this weekly feature at night, that’s what you get.

Anyway, the Crew has been a bit scattered of late, with me (Stoutmeister) in Oregon and the others running amok all over New Mexico for various reasons. I have returned, and yes, I brought back a few goodies from Portland, though not quite in the normal way. Rather than borrow a hard-sided suitcase for my trip in which to store bottles/cans for the flight home, I took my old soft-sided bag. Even with copious amounts of bubble wrap, I wasn’t going to risk beer, or my clothes, for the trip home. So I forlornly traveled into the airport after checking my bag and … wait, what’s this? Beer bottles and cans for sale inside the airport?!

Bless you, Oregon liquor laws. Or just whatever genius moment occurred at a place called “Made in Oregon” that enabled someone to think, “Hey, would should sell some of our amazing craft beer at reasonable prices to travelers who still have room in the carry-ons!” And thus, I was able to stuff my backpack with four bombers — a barrel-aged barleywine from Buoy (Astoria), an imperial IPA from Gigantic (Portland), a pilsner from pFriem (Hood River), an export stout from Pelican (Pacific City) — and bring them home to New Mexico. There may not have been the biggest of the big beers there (sniff, no Great Notion), but it was a solid and varied selection (yes, there were Cascade sours) at about the same price one would pay at a brewery or liquor store.

Let us just imagine weary travelers being able to purchase some Elevated IPA to take back to New York, or Double White to Chicago, or Scotia to San Francisco, or Mustachio Milk Stout to Seattle, or … well, you get the point. Unless it is completely forbidden by state law, some enterprising soul should sell our best craft beers behind the TSA security check at the Sunport. Let’s start exporting New Mexico around the country and beyond!

After that, I wolfed down a Hopworks Pilsner and some chicken-infused mac-n-cheese at the Henry’s Tavern inside the airport, and I finally returned home. As for the rest of the Crew that was “stuck” here over the weekend, here are a couple of their reports.

Trekking to the City Different

After taking the Rail Runner to Santa Fe, if your first stop isn’t Second Street Railyards, you’re not doing it right.

This past Saturday afternoon we took the Railrunner from Los Ranchos to Santa Fe. The weather was perfect for strolling about town. It was mostly cloudy with a few light sprinkles, but not enough rain to interfere with any outdoor plans.

As per usual when we take the train up there, the first stop was Second Street at the Railyards. My pint of choice was a Rod’s Best Bitter.

We wandered around a bit and decided to call upon Desert Dogs Brewery and Cidery just off the plaza at 112 W. San Francisco. It was our first time there. It’s a nice, bright, and open space with a mini patio overlooking the street below. They have pool and shuffleboard as well as a good selection of beers and ciders. I had a mango cider that was quite tasty.

— AmyO

Someone let Luke name a real beer

Meet La Marcha Wedding Lager at Blue Corn. Yeah, Luke really got to name it.

This weekend my beer adventures took me to Second Street for their brand new can release. I won’t get into detail about them, as I have the full story for you coming today or tomorrow. On a separate beer adventure, one of the beers that happened to be on tap this past weekend at Blue Corn Brewery was La Marcha Wedding Lager. It’s an excellent crisp and refreshing lager, fish-bowl clear like an un-tinted vehicle driving through Espanola. This is an all-around solid lager that definitely makes for a great easy-drinking porch beer. And, as an added bonus, brewers Paul Mallory and Andy Lane were nice enough to let me name this one. To say that I have a large Hispanic family is an understatement, and I know that it’s pretty rare to have a Hispanic wedding without La Marcha. Hence, the name, and they did a great job. I’ll be back for a growler to satisfy my late-summer porch-drinking needs.

Cheers!

— Luke

As the NM Brewers Guild put it best, “How many times has earth-shattering news appeared on a Post-It note?” Congrats to The 377 on tying for third at GBBF. (Original photo courtesy of Carlos Garcia)

At this point in history, it is no longer a surprise to see a New Mexico brewery claiming one of the Michael Jackson Awards for Best American Cask Ale from the Great British Beer Festival. After all, in the previous six years, four local breweries combined for five medals.

It is, however, quite heartening to see one of the “little guys” in our local scene being the brewery to bring home a medal in 2018. The 377 Brewery added its name to the list of winners when it tied for third in this year’s edition of the American Cask Beer Bar over the weekend.

“What this win means for me is that my love and dedication to the art and science behind the brewing process is being recognized,” 377 brewmaster Lyna Waggoner said in an email. “My Schwartzbier had won medals in the homebrew scene. I believed in this beer and never changed the recipe. There is a secret to this beer, but I won’t tell.”

Whatever that secret is, it impressed the British judges. It is the third bronze medal for a New Mexico brewery after Canteen and Rio Bravo tied last year. Prior to that, Marble won gold in 2012 and silver in 2013, followed by La Cumbre taking gold in 2014.

“I’m proud to stand with the previous other NM winners and to continue to show the brewing world that we kick ass,” Lyna said.

Tucked away near the intersection of Yale and Gibson, The 377 has quietly been on a roll of late, earning a gold medal for its Belgian Sour Quad at the U.S. Beer Open Championship, in addition to a pair of past gold medals.

“What this win means to The 377 is the recognition of being chosen in such a large and diverse field of competitors,” Lyna said. “I know they (the owners and staff) are ecstatic.”

The good news is the Schwartzbier is available almost year-round at the brewery, so anyone who is curious about this award winner can head over to try it at almost any time. A limited amount of the Belgian Sour Quad will be available starting this Wednesday, and we will have more details on how that kicks off the Basement Barrel Project in The Week Ahead in Beer.

Overall, it is just part of a positive string of news and events for The 377.

“As far as momentum, it’s already building with our new kitchen opening up very, very soon,” Lyna said. “Possibly a pilot system for me to explore even more avenues of beer artistry is in the works. And, to finally get a chance to show off my sour side of beer making is finally here. And, I’m happy about that.”

Congratulations to Lyna and The 377 from all of us in the Crew.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Flix Brewhouse brewers Will Moorman and Marisa Bernal show off their bronze medal from the US Open Beer Championship. (Photo courtesy of Will Moorman)

A photo on the Facebook page of Flix Brewhouse lead brewer Will Moorman caught our eye earlier this week. It is the photo above, featuring a very happy Will and equally happy assistant brewer Marisa Bernal, holding aloft a medal from the recent US Open Beer Championship.

As it turns out, the Flix duo were not the only smiling folks around, as three New Mexico breweries brought home medals out of a field featuring 360-plus breweries and 6,300 entries.

Flix earned a bronze for its Baltic Porter, Darth Malt, which was its 10th medal earned from four competitions this year alone (Alltech Commonwealth Cup, Los Angeles International Beer Competition, Best of Craft Beer Awards). Flix has earned three golds, four silvers, and three bronzes, and it finished fifth overall at the Best of Craft Beer Awards.

The 377 brewmaster Lyna Waggoner displays all three of her gold medals. (Photo courtesy of The 377)

The 377 Brewery fared even better at the US Open, bringing home a gold for its Belgian Sour Quad in the Wood/Barrel-Aged Sour Beer category. Brewmaster Lyna Waggoner told us a while back that she was really into brewing the Belgian-style beers, and clearly she is making a name for herself and her brewery. It is The 377’s third gold medal in less than two years.

Santa Fe Brewing also picked up two bronze medals for its Pale Ale (in the ESB category) and 7K IPA (in the West Coast IPA category).

While these competitions may not have the cachet of the Great American Beer Festival or World Beer Cup, the feedback brewers receive can be immensely helpful as they seek to make their beer better and better. It can also open the eyes of potential customers who might otherwise overlook these breweries.

Congrats to all the winners. We will see you at GABF in September.

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.

Greetings from Oregon, again. While I am still up here, there is plenty going on around ABQ and the rest of New Mexico. The big theme this week is the ongoing popularity of specialty beer releases in four-pack, 16-ounce cans. La Cumbre has pretty much mastered the art of these releases, and another is coming out this Friday as Full Nelson DIPA makes the transition from 22-ounce bottles to cans. The beer will be the usual Nelson Sauvin hop bomb you have all come to respect and love, while the can design is more reminiscent of Ska than the traditional LC look. Another brewery, however, is jumping in on the fun as Bosque will be releasing its first specialty canned four-packs from the brewery at North in Bernalillo. Strawberry Sabotage, a big hit earlier this summer, will be making its way into package for the first time. Look for more details on the release via Bosque’s social media pages.

We also wanted to highlight the return of a special event to Marble downtown this Sunday from 2 to 7 p.m. Love Beer, Hate Cancer is a music festival with a raffle, live shirt printing, face painting, food trucks, and more. A portion of the proceeds benefits Camp Enchantment. There is also Tractor’s Sock Hop, which runs Friday from 4 to 7 p.m., and benefits Rio Grande Down System Network. There will be vintage tunes and dancing, and actual socks for sale, with all the money from each pair sold going to the charity.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque also has one of its classics, Summer in Hallertau, back on tap. Boxing Bear has a fresh batch of the award-winning Featherweight Session IPA. Canteen climbs high with Cloudview Wit. High and Dry brings back Humble Affair, its delicious coffee stout, and adds Mesita #5, a new sour. La Cumbre also has Regional Fetish IPA back on tap. Ponderosa resurrects Saphir Lager. Starr Brothers introduces a new single-hop beer, Azacadabra. Tractor brings back Azacca Single Hop Pale Ale, which might be worth comparing side-by-side with its Starr Brothers cousin.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn has run out of Gatekeeper IPA, opening a tap for La Marcha Wedding Lager. Chili Line has several new beers available, including Hugo’s Hef, Tio Coco (Milk Stout), Que Picante (Dark Red Chile Lager), Fuego (Juniper and Honey Ale), and Brumoso (Hazy) IPA. Second Street has some fresh Rod’s Best Bitter, plus more Pivotal IPA, Tres Equis Lager, and Neo Mexicanus Pale Ale, made with fresh local hops.

Over in Moriarty, look for a limited amount of Barrel Aged Cherry Amber on tap this week.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of August 6.

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Any beer lover visiting Eugene would be remiss not to stop at ColdFire Brewing.

Welcome to the road version of Weekend Beer-cap. Yours truly is still up in Oregon for a little while longer, still bouncing around breweries.

I am currently down in Eugene, which is one of those towns that most people probably just pass through going between Portland and Bend. Yeah, it is a college town, but ignoring the ubiquitous Ducks merchandise everywhere, it also has a fair number of breweries.

Ninkasi is the big boy here, distributing its beers as far away as Arizona. Heck, Ninkasi even sponsors Sunday games for the Eugene Emeralds, the short-season Single-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs (for those that do not follow baseball, that is four levels below the Isotopes, mostly kids right out of college). Imagine Marble sponsoring Sunday games at Isotopes Park. Oh, we can only dream.

Since I had Ninkasi before, outside the ballpark I aimed to visit the smaller breweries. My favorites so far have been ColdFire, Elk Horn, and Falling Sky. They all have a nice mix of stouts, pilsners/kolsches, reds, IPAs, and the rest. Falling Sky also had a pretty solid menu, even if the chefs went way overboard on the pesto on the chicken-and-bacon sandwich. ColdFire is the only one without food, but its American Stout and Stylish Kolsch were worth two visits.

The next time you make it up to Oregon, take note that Eugene is worth a beer stop, or even an overnight beer visit. Most of the breweries are within walking distance of each other, too, since the weirdest thing about Eugene is that its government has kept Lyft and Uber out of town. (No place is perfect.)

Anyway, here is what a couple other Crew members were up to back home while I was away.

Bending towards a love of certain sours

Why yes, that is a blend of Raspberry and Tangerine Dynamite at Steel Bender.

Full disclosure, I am not typically a fan of sours. But, all summer I have been drinking Steel Bender’s Raspberry Dynamite, on purpose! This Sunday we went to Steel Bender to try the next in the Dynamite “series,” Tangerine Dynamite. While still good, to me it is a little more on the sour side than the Raspberry, or it feels that way. The beertender suggested mixing the two and she even poured a sample that way. I fell for it immediately because it looks so neat. I noticed quite a few going out to servers, so I think they struck gold with that. Next time, I will stick to straight Raspberry, but it was a lot of fun.

Cheers!

— AmyO

Dancing to a plethora of pints

A little 7K IPA goes well with salsa.

Unlike many in the DSBC, I suspect, I have a secret second life as a Latin dancer. Yes, it’s not pretty to see in my case, but at least it’s something that can be done while drinking good beer. (It’s practically a requirement, really.) Sunday evening, the New Mexico Salsa Congress held a fundraiser at B2B, the taco/beer joint near Uptown. The place has very good tacos and supposedly 60 NM beers on tap. This is a monthly event, so if this sounds interesting to you, stay tuned for future events!

(P. S. Nosotros, a popular local Latin band, will be playing at Marble downtown this Friday. Best of both worlds!)

— Reid

Lincoln is home to New Mexico’s newest brewery. (Photo courtesy of Bonito Valley Brewing)

Live from Portland, er, well, almost alive from Portland, here are some little beer tidbits that have been popping up on our radar over the last few weeks.

August brewery openings

Bonito Valley Brewing in Lincoln is now open, becoming the latest addition to the long list of small-town breweries in the state. Located at 692 Calle La Placita (Highway 380) in the middle of town, BVB will celebrate its grand opening through the weekend. If anyone stops by, take some pictures and send us some tasting notes! And yes, there is a beer called Billy the Kid Amber.

Over in Artesia, Hopscotch Brewing has its grand opening set for Friday, Aug. 10. The brewery is located at 1 Cottonwood Road on the north side of town, which was formerly the home of Desert Water Brewing (it closed earlier this year).

Up in Cimarron, Blu Dragonfly Brewing is now open, though its own beers are not yet ready. The BBQ is ready, however, so if you are up north, chow down and enjoy some guest taps. The brewery is located at 301 E. 9th Street.

Meanwhile, in the ABQ metro area, rumors persist that Cantero Brewing and Rio Rancho’s 1933 Brewing are close to opening. We are dispatching AmyO to take a tour of Cantero on Sunday, after which we will have a better idea of how close it is to opening. If anyone out there has info on 1933, please send it along.

Checking out the OG version of Ex Novo

The cozy taproom at Ex Novo Brewing in Portland.

During my long trek through the breweries of Portland on Thursday, I made sure to spend some time at Ex Novo Brewing. There will be an Ex Novo in Corrales in the future, and I talked briefly with owner Joel Gregory after the IPA Challenge. He said right now that spot is just a field of dirt as they clear it in preparation for construction, but the brewery in Portland is of course fully functional.

The space is tall, with some high ceilings that make up for the lack of width. The taproom area is out front, opening directly into the brewery. There was a good-sized list of house beers and seasonals. I went with the Perle Haggard Pils and Parliament Dunkadelic, and the flavor lived up to the awesome names. The food menu was short but solid, and I wolfed down a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with fries.

Overall, the staff was great, the vibe was positive, and things moved quickly and efficiently even with a big crowd on hand. There were young and single folks, old dudes like me, and several families. If Ex Novo can translate all of that to its Corrales location, it should be pretty darn popular with New Mexico beer drinkers as well.

Oh, and other breweries that are definite must-visits if you are ever up here on a beercation:

  • Hair of the Dog Brewing, which is within walking distance of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, a jumbo-sized Explora and quite fun when you need a break from all the beer. The beer is quite good, too, but be forewarned, many of the house beers average between 7.5-10 percent.
  • Modern Times Belmont Fermentorium, which is a fully functional brewery from the guys in San Diego, loaded with all sorts of good beers made there and trucked up from SoCal. I tried a Suggestion of Mass, a monstrous (11.3% ABV) dessert stout collaboration made with Florida’s J. Wakefield Brewing.
  • Wayfinder Brewing, which has been open about a year-and-a-half, is making some tremendous lagers. It’s just a little off the beaten path, but was overflowing with people as I left to meet my friend at Ex Novo.
  • Ecliptic Brewing, our final stop for the night, is just tremendous. Huge selection, great outdoor seating area, and then it was 10 o’clock and everything closed. Boo.

Anyway, I am gonna go grab some brunch and then check out McMenamin’s Bagdad Theater. Tonight, there will be Great Notion. And probably a few other places. Bless this town.

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.

Before I fly off to Oregon for a bit (yes, for beer), I wanted to make sure this story was posted nice and early for all of you to prepare for what should be quite the busy weekend. The big event in Albuquerque is at Boxing Bear, where the brewery will be celebrating its fourth anniversary with an all-day party. To mark the occasion, a collaboration beer, Spacebear Oddity Hazy IPA, was brewed with Odd13 Brewing of Lafayette, Colo. There will be a limited amount on tap and for sale in bombers. Also present are Urban Hotdog Company for your culinary needs, High Desert Flameworks for your glassware needs, and The Real Matt Jones will perform from 2 to 5 p.m. for your music needs. Author Ashley M. Biggers will be selling signed copies of the second edition of her popular book, 100 Things to Do in Albuquerque Before You Die, from 3 to 6 p.m. We are gonna go out on a limb and guess at least one of those involves indulging in our local craft beer scene. Head on over and raise ’em high in honor of Boxing Bear, and if anyone wants to stash a bottle of Spacebear Oddity for me while I am gone, I would not be opposed.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque honors its old friend with Bearly There IPA. Bow & Arrow will release Roam Wild, an American wild ale with brettanomyces, on tap and in bottles on Friday. Canteen has fresh batches of North 14 Pale Ale, Exodus IPA, and Laid Back Lager. Flix Brewhouse has a new trio of seasonals in Paleontology Pale Ale, Killer Bee Honey Wheat, and SAY HOP ONE MORE TIME (capitalization is theirs). La Cumbre releases a new sour, MOOD, on tap and in cans this Friday. Marble rolls out Amber Lager and old favorite DANG Pale Ale is back, plus Brett IPA returns on tap and in bombers today. Ponderosa goes light with Peach Wheat and dark with Oatmeal Stout. Toltec brings back the popular Imperial Agave Wheat on Thursday. Tractor counts down to the release of 321 SMaSH Pale Ale.

Up in Santa Fe, Second Street rolls out a slew of new with Vienna Lager, 2920 IPA, Rufina Amber, Coffee Porter, Dragon’s Blood, Pajarito Pale Ale, and Yuzu Gorudo. Up in Red River, RRBC kicks back with Campfire Cream Ale.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of July 30.

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Breathe in the history at Silva’s Saloon in Bernalillo. Just don’t breathe too deep.

Well, this past weekend took quite a bit out of all of us. Hence, no Monday story, and only a couple other Crew members could put together coherent thoughts about all that happened. We can’t blame the IPA Challenge, either, since Andrew was one of four of us who was there.

As for me? Well, in addition to the hops, I spent Friday night showing an old college friend around town. Swede had never stopped in Albuquerque for anything more than a tank of gas, but after hearing me brag over and over again about our beers, he was ready to finally stop in and see what our breweries offered. Well, that and he can’t seem to get enough of La Cumbre’s distribution in Tucson.

We hit up Canteen so he could try a flight and maybe grab a bite to eat. That maybe turned into definitely as the rain hit hard the first time. After a couple pints and some food, we moved to Bosque in Nob Hill. It rained a lot more outside, pints were consumed inside, and by golly, we have a new convert to our beer scene. He said he was impressed by the sheer quality of taprooms compared to those in Tucson (though they are starting to catch up).

Though I never asked Swede which specific beer was his favorite, he did order a pint of Pecos Trail Brown at Canteen after his flight, while Elephants on Parade and The Irish Goodbye were his Bosque selections.

Meanwhile, after the NMIPAC ended on Saturday, I lost track of the rest of the Crew and ended up waiting with the brewery folks who either worked for the Guild or just ended up hanging out until the very end. Someone came up with the glorious idea of driving into the heart of Bernalillo and going to the historic dive of dives, Silva’s Saloon. The place was quite the slice of history, and worth further exploration. (It is right next to the original Range Cafe, just in case you got lost like Brandon and co. did trying to find us.)

A good time was had by all by the pool table, with cans of Marble Pilsner on hand, and a jukebox cranking out some random old tunes. I would share more details, but it was all off the record. Oh, but if you ever challenge La Cumbre’s Daniel Jaramillo at pool, you better bring your “A” game. The man is a shark. I feel that’s something that I can safely report.

On with the rest of the Crew’s adventures …

Dine out, darkness in

Love the darkness. Become the darkness.

This weekend I hit up one of my favorite local haunts, M’tucci’s Market & Pizzeria after a long morning swim. I go for the quality of the food, the charm of the place, and the eclectic selection of local beers they have on tap. Well, that and the fact that it is mere minutes from home. Of the two saison-style brews they had on tap, I went with Bosque’s Pepporfessor Honeydew, which had mellowed in spiciness over time perfectly to accompany the many delectable meats on the pizza selections we made.

Since reading Brewmaster’s Table by Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery, I’ve taken a bit more of an appreciation of just what different styles of beer can accomplish when paired — using intent and a little knowledge — with food. Good meals can become, well, transformative experiences with the right pairing of beer and dish of choice (try a weissbier with good bratwurst, kraut, and mustard to get an idea). This day was one of those for me, but then I have yet to meet an unworthy dish at any of the M’tucci’s establishments, so go and try it for yourself.

The day continued in excellence to the nightcap, which was my last bottle of my favorite beer, batch one of Avery’s Tweak from 2014. If you know anything about us in the Dark Side, there are few beers we do not consider “sessionable.” This one is, in fact, a sipper. Deep waves of darkness from malts and coffee and barrel create, to my palate, the pinnacle of what beer can be. This is not some one-trick animal, either. Layered subtle echoes, shades of the dead, tendrils of the darkest fears and … er, malts, roasted, toasted, burned at the stake … clearly, perfection! Grab a bottle and find out for yourself.

Skål!

— Franz Solo

Back to the Winchester

A man cannot live off beer alone. Brats and fries are also necessary parts of a healthy diet.

I had another overdue visit this weekend. Sunday afternoon, I stopped at Quarter Celtic after an almost two-month hiatus. Quarter Celtic may be my favorite neighborhood-pub-style vibe kind of brewery in the ABQ area. I feel regular-ish, even if I go only once every couple months.

I started with the VP30, which is a Festbier commemorating the 30th anniversary of Village Pizza of Corrales and Albuquerque. The anniversary was celebrated earlier in the month, but this clean, well-balanced, and true-to-style beer carries on. After a few refreshing gulps, my banger in a bun arrived. This sausage was properly presented on a fresh pretzel bun with whole-grain mustard and purple kraut. I didn’t plan it, but of course, it paired perfectly with the VP30.

For dessert I happily lapped up a MacLomas Stout. I tend to think of Dry Irish Stouts as the “lagers of stouts.” They are the younger cousins of the bigger, bolder stouts that we tend to champion in the NM Dark Side Brew Crew. However, I found myself content with this not-so-dry, and slightly creamy with a little bit of roastiness, 5.4-percent ABV-packing stout.

— Andrew

Aggie up, Lobo fan

Cheers to the weekend gone by!

For my weekend beer-cap, my craft connoisseur-ing was pretty much broken down into post IPA Challenge Final celebrations and the recovery stages. Much fun was had Saturday, and many beers certainly were drank in honor of another Challenge in the books, but what stood out the most was a fresh cold one straight from Bosque North’s new canning machine. In my experience, it doesn’t get much better than a can straight from the line, shared amongst beer friends, regardless of beer style and the college team on the side of the can. (Go Lobos! Haha.) Thank you Mr. Bullard for the full tour and your excellent hospitality! The Crew won’t soon forget.

— Luke

Brewer Paul Mallory hoists the NM IPA Challenge trophy after pulling off the victory.

BERNALILLO — What has happened before will happen again.

It is not just a line from the last version of Battlestar Galactica, but it is a summation of the 2018 New Mexico IPA Challenge. Blue Corn, the 2013 winner, has recaptured the title in a stunning upset of the biggest breweries in the state. The little brewpub that could has done it again.

“I think it’s kind of cool to bring the trophy back to Santa Fe,” said BC head brewer Paul Mallory, who had trouble forming words after his brewery took its second-round lead and carried that over to a commanding victory.

Blue Corn racked up 83 total votes, including a round-best 45 on Saturday. The final round was a resounding success at Bosque North, with short lines, plenty of space, and a general sense of positive camaraderie in all corners of the new location.

Two-time defending champion Boxing Bear finished second with 69 votes for its AlbuMurky Hazy IPA, while Marble was third with 68 votes for Safeword IPA. Red River (57), La Cumbre (55), Kellys (39), Rio Bravo (39), Quarter Celtic (38), Second Street (38) and Kaktus (33) rounded out the top 10.

This is only the second time that a brewery outside of Albuquerque has won the NMIPAC. The last time? Well, it was Blue Corn in 2013, then featuring current Bosque director of brewing operations John Bullard in the command seat.

The final voting tally for the 2018 NMIPAC.

“I think that Blue Corn has been around for so long that everybody has made up their mind about it,” Paul said. “In a way, this will make people pay attention to Blue Corn (again).”

Paul said the key to victory was hitting all the right spots with hopheads in this state.

“I think it was nice and clean, it had that really nice bitterness,” Paul said.

Paul came to Blue Corn from a brewery, Black Diamond, in Northern California, but he was born and raised in New Mexico.

“New Mexico has taught me more about IPAs than California, they try to dry them out,” he said. “I think New Mexico taught me more about it than anyone else.”

Congratulations to Paul, Blue Corn, and everyone in New Mexico. This has been another great IPA Challenge, and we look forward to everyone raising their game for the 2019 edition.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister