Author Archive

The Black Snout interior provides ample seating for individuals, couples and groups to gather for a fresh brew and sports entertainment. Future plans also include patio seating out front.

On the first day of summer, a steady flow of thirsty people made its way to Black Snout Brewhouse when the newest Northeast Heights watering hole on Juan Tabo and Menaul opened its doors to the public on Friday.

Since our last visit a little over a month ago, the finishing touches have been put in place right down to the shine on the concrete floor, which by 7 p.m. had already seen some wear from the scuffle of feet throughout its opening day.

“It was spotless at 2 o’clock,” said owner Josh James, in between working back in the brewery, behind the bar, and out on the floor greeting guests and waiting tables, along with his wife/co-owner Natasha and about half of their eight total employees.

As expected on the first day, there was a decent amount of chaos, and the staff was somewhat slow to greet me and take my order at the bar when I first arrived, but that quickly changed after I sat down at a table.

Besides some minor back and forth with the fire marshal, Josh said the last leg of preparations for opening went fairly smoothly, and now he and Natasha are ready to take the next steps as brewery owners.

“Now that we’re open, thank goodness, the first thing I want to do is sleep,” Josh said.

The lounge seating area is a perfect spot for kicking back and watching a game. Soon, window shades will be added to further enhance the viewing experience on sunny New Mexico afternoons.

Otherwise, the immediate plans are to settle in and make minor changes as needed. Currently, the north wall is lined with TVs broadcasting a variety of sports channels, and already patrons are asking what will be done with the still mostly blank south wall.

Josh said that eventually he will add some more TVs to that side as well, but with future plans for a restaurant in the space next door, he doesn’t want to put too much money into something that will only be temporary.

“I don’t want to say just yet, but it’s going to be super exciting,” he said when asked for more details about the restaurant. “It kind of goes along with our theme here.”

The sports bar theme is supported in part by collaborations with local athletes, and organizations including Jackson’s MMA, in a business relationship that Josh said he hopes will be good for both the brewery and the community. Donated sports memorabilia already adorns the walls and the space behind the bar. Additionally, what Josh described as a “pretty exciting” endorsement announcement is in the works for the near future.

There is, of course, one more important element to the equation — the beer itself. Currently, Black Snout has three flagship beers: Half Guard Hefe, South Paw Porter, and Triple Double Hazy Pale Ale, along with the limited release, Gummy Bear Hazy Pale Ale.

The limited release Gummy Bear Hazy Pale Ale is fruity and delicious. Plus, it looks really cool in a pint glass.

The first attempt at brewing the Gummy Bear four years ago didn’t go too well, Josh said, and he has tried it again three or four more times since then. Brewer Josh Olivas got the final product right just in time.

“We ended up nailing it on the head when we were not sure if (the brewery) was going to work out,” he said.

Made with actual gummy bears, the brewing process is very specific and requires knowledge of water chemistry. Only one other brewery does it, Josh said, but in a completely different way. The initial aroma is tropical and fruity, like a handful of multi-flavored gummy bears, and the taste is a mild citrus with a very light hop finish. It’s rare that I can drink an entire pint of pale ale, but this one went down easily. Many others must have enjoyed it as well, as it was the best seller on opening day.

I also sampled the Half Guard Hefe and the South Paw Porter. Banana aromas and flavors shine in the Half Guard. Backed up by spicy cloves, it is banana bread in a glass. On first sip, the South Paw is pretty much what I would expect from a typical porter, but the finish is like biting into a bar of dark chocolate.

“We felt like we hit a home run on all of these beers,” Josh said.

In about a week, you can try them all at once when the first flights are unveiled. Growler fills will unfortunately not be available due to the quantity limitations of the 1-barrel brewing system, which Josh says comes with some challenges, but they are working to nail it down.

Guest taps from Santa Fe Brewing and Brew Lab 101 round out the current selection. In the future, Josh said he hopes to develop Black Snout’s relationship with these and other local breweries.

20190621_190850

The beer selection is small, but packs a punch.

As new breweries continue to open in the Northeast Heights and throughout Albuquerque, Josh said that their goal is not to compete with anyone else, but instead to support American-made beer and the local community.

“We’re just trying to be Black Snout,” he said.

Thanks to both Josh and Natasha for taking a few minutes of their busy first day to talk with me, and congratulations on the successful opening of their new brewery!

Cheers!

— Maureen

Head over to Red Door today for a lecture on the impact climate change is having on the beer industry.

From shifting weather patterns to the decimation of wildlife habitat, potential concerns surrounding climate change are continuously being brought to light with new research. Now, two local researchers are working to determine the effects of climate change on the beer brewing process.

They will present their findings and discuss future directions in a lecture to take place from 6 to 7 p.m. today (Wednesday) at Red Door’s main brewery at 1001 Candelaria NE. There is no cover charge for this event.

The lecture will be presented by Drs. Asa and Mark Stone. In addition to being the only Advanced Cicerone® in New Mexico, Asa is also a Presidential Fellow and Brewing & Beverage Management faculty member at CNM, as well as a climate science and data analysis expert.

Mark is an Associate Professor of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at UNM, a Registered Professional Engineer, and Diplomat of Water Resources Engineering, with expertise in climate change and resilience.

At the time of our communication, Asa said that the lecture title was in the process of changing and would read something like “Climate and Beer Brewing“ or “Impacts of Climate on Spontaneous Fermentation.“

Asa and Mark collaborated with Jean van Roy of Brasserie Cantillon, a traditional Lambic brewery in Brussels, and Adam Harbaugh of Lambic.info to investigate the impacts of climate change on the Lambic brewing process, which is highly temperature dependent, as well as its associated cultural heritage.

“We hope to elevate the audience’s appreciation for beer, the role of beer in society, and (the understanding of) how climate change is threatening the beer (not just Lambic),” Asa said.

The talk is the latest in the monthly Disaster Proof lecture series that began at Red Door in February. The lectures are presented in collaboration with The South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center and cover what can be done to prepare for natural disasters at the local and individual level. Previous topics included flooding, wildfires, and drought.

“It was always the plan to lead up to climate change and its effects on the beer industry for Beer Week,” Candelaria taproom manager Johnny Padilla said. “It will be a dive into the climate and how it affects things integral to our beer industry.”

Thanks to both Asa and Johnny for their insights on this interesting and educational event!

Cheers!

— Maureen

Grab yourself a pint or two at Red Door during the Fourth Annual Food Truck Battle.

As Beer Week approaches its opening weekend, calendars fill up, and schedules start to get hectic. It’s nice to take a step back and consider the important questions — specifically, who is going to win this year’s Red Door Food Truck Battle?

The battle goes down from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday at Red Door’s main brewery location at 1001 Candelaria. There is no cover charge, and if you just want to pay for the food, but are not drinking, that is allowed.

Now entering its fourth year, the battle is already heating up with four food trucks in the running.

(more…)

DSCN8227

Congratulations to Sidetrack on three years in business! They will have plenty more beer in store for the year ahead.

Going into their fourth year, Sidetrack Brewing Company owners Dan Herr and Anne O’Neill have one main goal — making their beer even better.

To achieve that goal, they first had to acquire some new equipment, including a 7-barrel fermenter and an expanded walk-in cooler. Coming off a big year in sales, during which, Anne said, they struggled to keep up, these new items will help increase their production.

DSCN8236

Sidetrack’s shiny new fermenter, which they bought from Boxing Bear, will be ready to go within the next month or two.

Since Sidetrack doesn’t currently do any distribution or canning, 100 percent of its sales are out of the taps in house. This led them to expand their tap tower to 10 handles (previously six). In past years, there may have been two or three beers from other breweries flowing from those taps. Moving forward, they want their own beer to be featured. This will continue to include at least one, but usually two, regular cask offerings. Although it is a challenge to do, Anne said she hopes to “make it fun” and add new flavors like fruit to the cask beers.

With not much room to expand beyond their current footprint, Dan and Anne have to get creative with their use of the space by making these adjustments, along with smaller behind-the-scenes changes that most patrons probably won’t ever see or notice. All of the moves are aimed at bringing the brewery up to a more conventional system and improve the overall customer experience.

“We just open the doors and try to make the people who come in happy,” Dan said.

(more…)

It was a busy, but fun year for Bombs Away.

It’s been a busy first year for Bombs Away Beer Company owners John and Hilary Degnaro, and they show no signs of slowing down, as we found out for our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series.

By 3:30 p.m. on the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving, the side streets outside the brewery were lined with cars, and the taproom was already packed with thirsty patrons ready to celebrate the long holiday weekend ahead.

Another recent holiday weekend was a significant landmark for the brewery — the Degnaros adopted Veteran’s Day 2017 as their first official opening. But, local residents and employees from Kirtland Air Force Base wouldn’t have noticed too much fanfare either for last year’s grand opening or for their one-year anniversary, since Hilary said it isn’t really their style.

Nevertheless, the brewery has had a considerable list of accomplishments in just a little over a year since opening.

“We’re sitting in the major accomplishment,” John said as he enjoyed a beer on the patio, which was completed near the end of July this year.

“(The patio) really opened up the square footage of the taproom,” Hilary said. “It’ll be standing-room-only in there, which amazes us.”

“People find us,” she continued. “We don’t put up a lot of signage. People like that it’s kind of a hidden gem.”

(more…)