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From left, CNM instructor Nick Jones, academic affairs director Victoria Sanchez Martinez, and Bombs Away brewer/part-time instructor David Kimbell.

The day after Cinco de Mayo might seem a bit early for a collegiate summer session, but Central New Mexico Community College is indeed starting its session on May 6. That leaves a little over a week for anyone interested to register for its popular Brewing and Beverage Management Program.

Now three years along, the program is attracting students from all walks of life, while also integrating with many of the local breweries. Sometimes that can just be a field trip to learn about how things work in the real world. Other times it involves professional brewers working side jobs as instructors, such as Bombs Away head brewer David Kimbell.

It was David who invited me over to CNM to talk with the staff about the program, which is one of those stories we have been meaning to do since, oh, it started in 2016. We were joined by full-time instructor Nick Jones and academic admissions director Victoria Sanchez Martinez.

“I knew that the level of knowledge coming out of here was pretty good,” David said. “Nick came to me last summer and asked me if I would like to teach in the fall. Being that I had never taught, I was somewhat nervous about it. I did not expect how much I would love it. I really, really enjoy it. I’m looking forward to having more of a role in it.”

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Boxing Bear head brewer/co-owner Justin Hamilton with his new pride and joy (at work, anyway), the brewery’s first canning line.

The last few weeks have been exceptionally busy for the staff at Boxing Bear Brewing. It has not just been the mad rush to finish the brewery’s first offsite taproom, which opens today (Wednesday) at 1710 Central Ave. SW, next door to Amore Pizza. There has also been the arrival of a new canning line, plus additional equipment in the brewery, and the time needed to learn how to use some of that.

Oh, and did we also mention that head brewer/co-owner Justin Hamilton’s wife is about two weeks from her due date? Add it all up and it was a wonder that Justin found the time to sit down for the better-later-than-never Boxing Bear entry in our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series.

“It’s been a crazy ride in 2019,” Justin said. “I’ve definitely been packing the brewery. Last week we got three more 20-barrel fermenters and a 20-barrel serving vessel. (Today), actually we have another bright tank and another fermenter coming. Since we ordered that much equipment that comes on two different shifts, which kind of screwed us a little bit, because it would have been nice to put everything in at the same time last week.

“It’s been a whole lot of madness. We literally pulled in those four tanks, it was the second exact time the Wild Goose employee showed up to train us. We moved four tanks inside and then proceeded to set up the canning line in the same day. It was pretty nuts. That being said, we did all right.”

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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 Truth or Consequences 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.

The final days of April seem to have a theme of giving back to good causes. It starts this week at Dialogue with Finola’s Fight Benefit Concert featuring the Memphis P Tails and Sex for Admission. There will be a raffle and a silent auction during the concert, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m. It all benefits Finola, a friend of the brewery who is battling cancer. Then on Friday, our friend Carlos Contreras wrote a guest post on a special Art Fusion for a Cause at Ponderosa, benefiting the New Mexico Autism Society. Sunday will feature a pair of events, one in Albuquerque and the other in Santa Fe. The former will feature the release of One Albuquerque shirts benefiting the Albuquerque Police Department at Canteen at 4 p.m., with live music from Todd Tijerina. The Santa Fe event will be at Tumbleroot at 4, as Soldier Songs and Voices hosts a benefit concert for veterans. Special guest Susan Gibson will also perform at this free event, with donations accepted at the door.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bombs Away hits the mark with version five of its Hazy Chain DIPA. Bosque puckers up with Re Re’s Shandy. Canteen brings back Fill in the Blanco and Coffee Lager. Cantero is feeling the season with Jelly Bean Sour and Chocolate Bunny Marshmallow Stout. Kaktus kicked out some German Pilsner, Maibock, and Lemongrass Blonde. Marble still has some celebratory beers on tap like the Malbec Zinfandel Saison. Ponderosa doubles down on Doppelbock. Quarter Celtic introduces Rosemarie, a rosé ale with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and hibiscus. Sidetrack has more Turntable IPA and Co-Mo IPA. Steel Bender walks a mile with The Whole Shoe Belgo IPA.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn added Santa Muerte Collab IPA. Second Street takes it to the Chin-Gose, while also adding Kohatu Pale Ale. Tumbleroot has just filled bottles of Sour Golden Ale with apricots. Down in Truth or Consequences, T or C Brewing is adding four new beers during Thursday’s beer fiesta, including a pale ale, a wheat ale, and two lagers.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of April 22.

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Enjoy some art with your beer this Friday for a good cause.

Editor’s note: Carlos Contreras, a longtime friend of the Crew, asked if we could run this guest post about Friday’s upcoming Art Fusion for a Cause, and the team of tattoo artists behind this special event at Ponderosa Brewing. Grab a pint of Coco Puffs Baltic Porter and enjoy!

Art Fusion for a Cause is a charity event benefiting different charity organizations around New Mexico. Four artists combine their talents on four separate canvases, switching off on each other’s work until the four pieces are complete. The artwork is then raffled off and 100 percent of the proceeds go to the charity of the evening.
These events are often held at breweries, with the next coming up this Friday night.

“We’re staying as community-driven as possible. We have an upcoming event at Ponderosa Brewing Company on April 26 at 7 p.m. where we do a little something called Art Fusion,” said Ben Shaw, owner of Archetype Tattoo, a local shop that lends to the community on a regular basis.

Aside from using their craft to benefit the community, Archetype artists continually hone their craft every chance they get.

“A few of our artists will be attending the Explorer Tattoo Conference this May in St. Louis to gain some new knowledge and technique to create even better tattoos,” Shaw said.

His excitement for delivering the best of everything to those of Albuquerque is palpable and contagious. The shop is filled with talented and enthusiastic artists who create an atmosphere unlike any other in the Duke City. One of the things that Shaw and company are most excited about, is the ninth annual New Mexico Tattoo Fiesta at Isleta Hotel and Casino. The event will run July 12 through 14, and Archetype is an official sponsor.

Part of building a brand has come into play as Shaw and his team moved locations last year.

“We worked hard to establish our new(ish) location and prove we are some of the best in our community. The shop and our artists took a bunch of awards from the Alibi, Albuquerque Journal, and Albuquerque the Magazine,” he mentioned proudly.

Archetype is definitely a family. They lift each other up and support each other in and out of the shop.

“We have some of the most talented, diverse, and adaptable tattooists working in our shop,” he said.

Ben’s experience and leadership is at the core of Archetype. As a tattooist of nearly 20 years, Ben has honed his craft to create impeccable, intricate tattoos that will last a lifetime. He has a staff of other amazing artists, and here is a bit about them:

  • Aldo has the wackiest, most creative mind — and the technical talent to back it all up.
  • Want an original, quality sleeve done in a day? Just ask Carlos.
  • Eddie’s the man for black, gray, and all kinds of ill sh*t — and just the man to make you comfortable for your first tattoo.
  • Meghan’s sweet, neo-traditional style, coupled with her incredible customer service skills, make Archetype one special place to be tattooed.

It’s obvious that Archetype artists know their craft. All their artists are 100-percent licensed, meaning they have completed over 1,000 hours of study in the art of tattoo and have certifications in blood borne pathogen training, CPR, and first aid. This is definitely a safe place to add to a collection of body art, or to get your first.

Shaw’s artists know their stuff, and they are driven to keep learning new techniques by attending educational events and conferences specifically for tattooing. Already an award-winning business, they continue to keep getting better Burque’s ink junkies. If you’re looking for a new piece, look no further, and if you’re just looking for a neat group of folks who go above and beyond for their community, catch em at Art Fusion, or the New Mexico Tattoo Fiesta. Tell em thanks for all that they do for this city of ours.

— Carlos

The frame has gone up and the foundation has been poured for the future Tractor taproom in Los Lunas, the brewery’s original home.

Twenty years ago, Tractor Brewing came to life in the Village of Los Lunas. Five years ago, it left the village behind, moving all of its brewing operations to Albuquerque. Later in 2019, it will move back to Valencia County in the form of its fourth offsite taproom.

To get a better read on this version of you can go home again, I sat down with Tractor president/co-owner Skye Devore. Her brewery already has three offsite taprooms in Albuquerque — Nob Hill, Four Hills, Westside — but the opportunity to add another was too good to pass up.

“Because we wanted to do another something, and we feel like Albuquerque has got a lot of Tractor right now,” Skye said. “We thought it would be a good idea for something not in Albuquerque, but I don’t want to drive too far, so Los Lunas seems perfect. There’s a lot going on there economically right now.

“I remember when we were there before, it used to be so hard to convince anybody to drink craft. Now it’s just not like that anymore. Now it’s a great place to be.”

The brewery will be located off Main Street, not far from the Facebook Data Center.

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There’s a beer party on Friday and everyone is invited!

It is not often that a beer festival, big or small, sneaks up on us, but that was the case with the Bacon Jam Block Party. This neighborhood event, which will feature four breweries, is set for Friday from 2 to 11 p.m.

The new restaurant Bacon Jam is located on the southeast corner of Girard and Candelaria, and neighbors Palmer Brewery and Left Turn Distilling have been instrumental in helping the owners prepare for this mini-festival, which is free to the public.

“He’s just wanting to have a get-together to introduce his new restaurant, Bacon Jam, to the neighborhood,” Left Turn owner Brian Langwell said of the Bacon Jam owner. “And, let everyone know there’s a bunch of breweries in the neighborhood. … (But) they usually know that. The theory was we’re going to get every brewery in the neighborhood together and do this. We got every brewery except La Cumbre. They didn’t see the need to send someone half a block down the street.”

Rather than block off part of Girard, the party will be contained in the large Bacon Jam parking lot and patio that faces Candelaria.

“We’re going to serve on their patio outside,” Brian said. “The four breweries that are participating are Red Door, Canteen, ourselves Palmer and Left Turn, and Cantero. We’re going to set up our little portable booths out on the patio out there. They’ll do beers and we’ll do cocktails. We’re going to block off the majority of their parking lot out there, have a stage out there and do live music. I know the guy from Bacon Jam is going to do food specials so everybody can try his food.”

If you have driven up Candelaria recently, you might have noticed this spot, which will be the setting for the block party.

The Left Turn/Palmer tasting room will be open during the festival.

“We’re going to be doing really simple stuff (at the festival),” Brian said. “We’re going to have limited staff.”

“If they want the fancy stuff, they can come in here,” Rob Palmer added.

The festival will mark the debut of the new Left Turn bourbon, which is being readied for bottling as soon as the labels arrive, Brian said.

Take note, this is not a free sampling festival. Beer will be sold in pints, only. A portion of the proceeds will go to the charity Warehouse 508.

As for the beers being poured:

  • Canteen: Fill in the Blanco (White IPA), High Plains Pilsner, Boysenberry Wheat, Munich Dunkel
  • Cantero: IPA, Deaf Dog Brown, Brew-ha-rista (Red Chile Stout), Cream Sour
  • Red Door: Rickety Cricket (Green Tea Raspberry Hefeweizen), Lemongrass Pils, Unhinged Cider

“It’s just basically a big block party to introduce Bacon Jam to the neighborhood,” Brian said. “I’m just the guy that did the permits.”

Thanks to Brian and Rob for the quick chat and the helpful info, and of course for wading through those giant stacks of paper to get those permits done.

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, and one in Red River 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.

Hey, remember last week, when we barely had anything to write about? Yeah, that is so not this week. Thursday through Saturday is just kinda bonkers, and that is leaving out all the Marble anniversary events we previewed separately. First up, there is some truly blackened black metal descending upon Tumbleroot’s Agua Fria location in Santa Fe this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Local heavyweights Dysphotic are joined by touring bands UADA and Wormwitch for a head-banging good time. Then on Friday night, keep that Game of Thrones buzz going in advance of the next episode on HBO, as the Desert Darlings return to Tractor Wells Park for the GoT edition of Hops & Dreams. Need to get out and move more? Then head downtown Saturday afternoon for the third annual Easter Beer Hunt. It’s a grownup egg hunt, and the different colors of plastic eggs correspond to the three participating breweries — Boese Brothers, Red Door, Sidetrack — with different prizes inside that can be redeemed at each brewery. Only three eggs can be redeemed at each location, and please do not start until noon. For those who do not drink beer, you can also redeem some of the eggs at The Brew for coffee. Saturday will also feature a slew of 4/20 events, including special ones at Rio Bravo (market and live music), Turtle Mountain (smoked BBQ), and Truth or Consequences (cannabis education).

On the new beer front this week, there are a few other options to check out. Bombs Away finds itself in Condition Red Ale. Bosque recently rolled out Sunshine Stout, Mango Mujer, and W-Altbier White. Canteen has Cabana Lager back on tap to get you ready for Cinco de Mayo a little early. La Cumbre has Father Nelson back on tap and in bottles this Friday, plus Hell Froze Over Brown Ale and Chew & Swallow Oatmeal Stout are on tap again. Marble has Cerveza on tap now, and it will come out in 19.2-ounce cans on Saturday, plus you can also get Mountain Fog and Tea Gary IPA on tap. Red Door gets a little funky with Rickety Cricket. Tractor resurrects Acreage IPA. Turtle Mountain has a smoky little marzen called The Rauchette.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn is feeling ruthless with Cutthroat Rye Pale Ale. HoneyMoon unveils Pearsephone, a pear elderflower kombucha. Rowley Farmhouse Ales has moved on to Season Two, Episode Seven of Agent Scully IPA, while also bringing back Biere de Mars and adding Oyster Stoutish. Tumbleroot is feeling the season with Maibock. Further north in Red River, RRBC has Raspberry Campfire Cream Ale. Down south, Truth or Consequences hops to it with Deep Space Dankety-Dank.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of April 15.

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The calm before the storm … of fun! Marble will celebrate its 11th anniversary with a huge street party this Saturday.

Marble Brewery is growing up fast, with its 11th birthday coming up this weekend. Naturally, being Marble and all, the staff is throwing a huge fiesta for all of its loyal patrons, with additional events and beer releases sprinkled throughout the week.

To get the lowdown on all of it, I sat down with marketing director Geraldine Lucero, who is the keeper of all celebratory knowledge at 111 Marble Avenue.

“We’ve got an event planned every night this week,” she said. “We kicked it off with our Brew Club appreciation party on the deck (on Monday). It was just our way of saying thank you to all of our loyal patrons that have been there. A lot of them have been Brew Club members for a long time. So we just gave them some free food, our way of saying thank you, that we love you, and without them we couldn’t do it. That’s what this whole week is about, saying thank you by giving (our customers) these awesome events to be entertained with.”

The beer dinner is nearly sold out tonight, while the 19.2-ounce cans will go quickly Saturday.

Next up on the event calendar is a first-time beer dinner collaboration between Marble and a popular Nob Hill restaurant.

“Tonight we are doing a beer dinner at Frenchish in Nob Hill,” Geraldine said. “Josh (Trujillo) and I met with Chef Jennifer James and her team. It’s been a weeks now, but we hosted them here to taste some beers and work on a menu. It’s going to be her first beer dinner, I believe. She said it’s a little out of my element, but she’s such a talented chef that I’m really excited to see how the dinner goes tonight. We’re close to that, a close sellout, too. We have a few seats left for that. My goal is to sell out every event this week.”

Call (505) 433-5911 to see if you can still get a reservation. The cost is $75 per person for a four-course dinner that starts at 6 p.m.

“We’re really excited about that,” Geraldine said. “We’re going to feature the last keg of the 111 Rosé that John Heine brewed. We’re bringing eight Marble team members. I’m just really excited. I love beer dinners, I love Jennifer James, and I love Frenchish. I sought them out and asked them to have this beer dinner with us because they’re amazing.”

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Despite its hidden location, customers are finding their way to Cantero.

The best laid plans do not always come to fruition. We sent one of our writers to Cantero Brewing back in the fall, only to have him then move to California for a new job. After deciding that he was never going to actually send us the story, I trekked over to the brewpub at 3351 Columbia Dr. NE to catch up with brewers David Rosebeary and George Gonzales.

“I think it’s been going really well, actually,” David said. “We’ve been really busy. We hit that normal lull around wintertime. That’s definitely a lesson learned. Other than that, we’ve just been more familiar with our brewhouse. I feel like the quality of the beer is getting better and better.”

Located in the Brewery District just a few blocks from Canteen Brewhouse and La Cumbre, Cantero has managed to find its niche since our first visit thanks in large part to its extensive food menu.

“I think so, and also we’ve been using beer in our recipes,” David said. “Like our chicken and waffles, we use our (red chile) stout in their syrup. We have a pretty close relationship with our kitchen. Whenever (our chef is) choosing stuff, he’s also asking us for pairing ideas.”

The food menu at Cantero has been a major draw.

That synergy between the kitchen and brewing team has helped. A sizable lunch crowd arrived on a weekday as the interview took place.

Of course, much like the brewery there before it, Cantero has had to deal with its somewhat remote and random location, just south of Aztec and a block east of the I-25 northbound frontage road. So far, though, customers have managed to find their way.

“A lot of people are saying they finally made it in,” George said. “We’ve had people who had us on their to-do list, but they finally tracked us down. We did do a Groupon that got us some exposure. We had a pretty good success with that, it got a lot of people to finally make it in.

“That was a big part of the Groupon that we did was that it featured food as part of the deal. That way they get exposure to the whole product that we offer. Hopefully they come back for the beer.”

David said for the most part, customers are finding Cantero simply through social media and the like.

“Basically, that’s it,” David said. “We’re just really focusing on natural growth. We’re not trying to do too much to coerce people into coming. We want them to come of their own accord. We’ve got a lot of word-of-mouth.”

The weekday lunch crowd found their way to the brewpub.

Like so many breweries that have come before, in that spot and elsewhere around town, finding out what the public wants in the styles of beer has proven to be a bit of a surprising challenge for Cantero.

“That’s how it’s been going; it’s pretty interesting to see what hits and what doesn’t,” David said.

“It’s a tug of war between the serving tanks, we’re trying to log what’s been selling and what’s not, and then all of a sudden we’ll face a lull,” George added.

“It’s really hard to figure out,” David said. “Springtime we’re figuring more sours are going to be working its way out, but even on some of the nicer days it seems the darker beers are working. That’s sort of been a surprise.”

As if they were speaking of me, I ordered a Deaf Dog Brown, which was smooth, creamy, and not-too-sweet.

“The brown is going to stick around, it’s one of our favorites,” George said. “It’s not the fastest seller but it’s definitely steady. That’s the one in the last month or so it went boom. I was thinking warmer weather, we were going to dial in the lagers and some of the lighter offerings, but people are digging the dark.”

The rich and creamy Deaf Dog Brown.

David and George do have the advantage of a 1-barrel pilot system alongside their 10-barrel brewhouse, which gives them the chance to play around with some unique beers without ending up with too much left over.

“Definitely keeping things steady is (key),” David said. “We have our pilot system that we like to brew on, so there’s some funky offerings coming from there, some fun stuff coming.”

The duo is looking everywhere and anywhere for what might be the next beer style to hit it big.

“I have friends in other areas,” George said. “I have a friend who works in a beer bar in New York. He’s a genuine geek, working on his doctorate there at NYU, but he’s also a bit of a beer geek. I try to see what’s happening over there. We’re trying to see different trends, if we can get an early jump on something, which would be nice.”

One area where the brewers have seen growth on the national market is with beers with a lower ABV (alcohol by volume).

“I’ve noticed, even as far as national brands, the craft ones, gravitating toward smaller beers with bigger flavors,” George said. “I really like how some substantial some people’s 4-percenters are. I think that might be something we’d like to approach, to give that lighter option, get a few lawnmower beers out there.”

David mentioned he would like to see some hop-forward beers with a substantial amount of flavor, but sticking to the lower ABV trend.

“Not so much toward the session IPA (trend),” George added. “For me that was never really a hit. I wanted to like them, but I never really found one. But, I like the idea.”

Brewers George Gonzales, left, and David Rosebeary, from a prior visit of ours to Cantero, are quite proud of that old workhorse of a boiler back there.

Neither David nor George had ever brewed on a commercial scale before, but both said they are a lot more in sync with the main brewhouse and the old-school boiler in the back.

“The boiler has actually been doing” — knocks on wood — “really well the last couple months,” David said. “We’re working with our boiler guys and they’ve got it dialed in pretty well. The brewhouse, I think, has been performing well and we’re definitely getting more comfortable with it and used to it, so brew days have been going a lot more smoothly.”

“Scaling (up) has been a lot less problematic,” George added.

With things settling down internally, Cantero will be participating in more events this year, starting with Albuquerque Beer Week in May.

“We have an event here for Beer Week, we’re going to do a beer release, (but) I’m not comfortable saying what that is going to be quite yet,” David said. “We’re going to be doing a beer release and probably a food pairing as well.”

There is also a potential block party with Canteen, Palmer, and Red Door tentatively scheduled during Beer Week, assuming the City of Albuquerque approves, George said. Cantero will also be part of the biggest event of Beer Week.

“We’ll be at Blues & Brews,” David said. “We’re starting to get out there a little bit more. We don’t want to participate to the detriment of what we have on stock here. We want to participate, (but) we’re just trying to hedge our bets a little bit.”

We still dig this old truck that’s permanently parked out front.

A big thanks to David and George for taking time out of their brew day to chat. We look forward to what they have coming down the pipeline, particularly that multi-brewery block party if it comes to pass.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

You do not need to wear a bunny hat to enjoy Tart at Heart’s beer lineup this year, but you could.

After waiting patiently, the beer list for Saturday’s Tart at Heart 5 is finally set and ready to go. For event details, check our previous story.

Twenty-one of the beers that will be available for sampling are from 10 local breweries, with the other eight coming from out of state for Saturday’s 2-to-5 p.m. event at Sister Bar.

If any last-minute changes occur, we will update this list. UPDATE: It turns out The 377 Brewery is also in attendance, bringing two more local sours to the event.

  • Bell’s Brewery: L’Appel du Vide-Blackberry Sour
  • Boulevard: Love Child #9
  • Bow & Arrow: Cosmic Arrow, Desert Revival
  • Canteen: Social Capital with jasmine and raspberry
  • Cantero: Tamarind Sour
  • Dialogue: Sour Raspberry, ODB Kettle Soured English Mild
  • Firestone Walker: Bretta Tangerine
  • Goose Island: Bourbon Country Bramble Rye
  • La Cumbre: Blood Orange Sour
  • Marble: 111 Rosé, Abbey Brett
  • New Belgium: Transatlantique Kriek
  • Odell: Brett Golden Sour Ale
  • Red Door: Blueberry Pie Berliner Weisse, Lemonade Stand
  • Rio Bravo: Cherry on Brett
  • Rowley Farmhouse Ales: Cote d’or Pinot Noir, Greyscale, Sonora Weisse, Grandissant (VIP only)
  • Steel Bender: Pucker Up Buttercup, Brett Innuendo, Ned’s Sour Pail, Ned’s Sour Pail with boysenberry, Viejo Agrio
  • Stone: Winter Harvest-Vintage 2014
  • The 377: Freya, Cosmos
  • Upslope: Wild Christmas

Pack some antacids, leave the car at home, and have fun this weekend. After all, there will only be about two-and-a-half hours between the end of this and the start of the New Mexico United game.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister