Archive for the ‘Beer in Los Alamos’ Category

The annual autumnal festival returns to the mountains above Los Alamos. Skal!

The days are getting shorter, and there’s a bit of a nip in the air here in the higher elevations. Fall will be here soon, officially, and with it the prospect of snow. To many people, snow means skiing, but, only if there’s enough of it! To please Ullr, the Norse god of snow and winter, Pajarito Mountain Ski Area and the Los Alamos Ski Club host a festival each fall in the hope of bringing abundant snow. And, if you’re going to host a Nordic-themed festival, then you’re certainly going to include an abundance of beer.

This year’s ULLR Fest will be taking place Saturday at the Pajarito Mountain above Los Alamos. The weather has been very nice, so it should be a very pleasant afternoon (though being a mountain, you have to prepare for nearly anything, so dust off those hoodies). Being a themed event, there will be a costume contest, so bring your finest Viking garb.

Several New Mexico breweries will be in attendance to satisfy your thirst, and wine will also be available. For $15, you get a souvenir glass, unlimited tastings, and a pint of your favorite beer. Pints will also be available for purchase (cash only, please). Bring your ID! The beer portion of the event will begin at noon and run until 5 p.m.

Stoutmeister has been hard at work putting together beer lists for the attending breweries, and so far most have responded. Hopefully we hear back from the last three breweries before the festival begins.

  • Bathtub Row: Hoppenheimer IPA, Kritical Kolsch, Flat Cap Brown
  • Blue Corn: Apparition Pale Coffee Ale, Saison aged with Brett, Gold Medal Oatmeal Stout, Ginger Braggot
  • Bosque: Elephants on Parade, Oktoberfest, Pistol Pete’s 1888 Blonde Ale, Bosque IPA
  • UPDATED–> Boxing Bear: Uppercut IPA, Ambear, Chocolate Milk Stout, Pineapple Upside Down Beer, Cider
  • La Cumbre: TBA
  • Marble: Double White, IPA, Pilsner, Marblefest (making its debut!)
  • Red Door: Blackberry Hefeweizen, White AF IPA, Roamer Red, Oktoberfest
  • Santa Fe: Santa Fe Gold, 7K IPA, Happy Camper IPA, Nut Brown
  • Second Street: Fulcrum IPA, Atalaya Altbier, LVL Stout, Summer Rain Sour, Double X ESB, Kolsch
  • Taos Mesa: Mosaic IPA, Black Widow Porter, Kolsch 45, Great Scot Scottish
  • The 377: TBA

There are numerous other fun events planned for the day:

  • Disc Golf tournament begins at 10 a.m. at the Lodge; entry is $20. There are Pro/Advanced/Novice/Female Divisions. Cash payout for top three players in each division.
  • STRAVA self-timed downhill mountain bike race (download the app and time your run as many times as you want, prizes for the best time at the end of the day). This event is free.
  • Pajarito Poker Run mountain bike ride (pick a card as you board the lift each time, take any run you want, best two hands at the end of the day wins a prize). This event is also free.
  • NEW THIS YEAR: Downhill Mountain Bike Rentals and free lessons all weekend.
  • Lift Served Biking and Hiking 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

On top of that, there will be some great music provided by Bronach and Felix y Los Gatos.  The cafeteria will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to soak up the beer.

As usual, a shuttle will run between Sullivan Field (adjacent to Los Alamos High School) and the ski area every 30 minutes, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Also, shuttle service will be available to the White Rock Visitor Center. Call 661-RIDE (7433) to arrange that service.

Cheers!

— Reid

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Stout lovers, head to Los Alamos this weekend!

It’s a rare thing when I, your Los Alamos-based correspondent, get to write about a local festival! Some of you may have heard about the Brew Crew’s own annual Stout Challenge (which I have yet to attend, sadly), and as fine as that event was, this one may be even finer. The Bathtub Row Brewing Co-Op is hosting its Second Annual Stout Invitational this Saturday, with 15 New Mexico breweries bringing their finest stouts:

  • Bathtub Row Brewing Co-op
  • Blue Corn Brewery: Gold Medal Oatmeal Stout
  • Bosque Brewing
  • Boxing Bear Brewing: Chocolate Milk Stout
  • Chama River Brewing
  • Kaktus Brewing: Slow Loris Imperial Stout
  • Kellys Brew Pub
  • La Cumbre Brewing: Molinillo Stout on nitro
  • Red Door Brewing
  • Rowley Farmhouse Ales
  • Santa Fe Brewing
  • Sidetrack Brewing: Stoker Stout
  • Starr Brothers Brewing: Foggy Monocle (oatmeal stout)
  • Taos Mesa Brewing
  • Tractor Brewing Company: Cowgirl Coffee Stout

Note that Starr Brothers’ entry was the winner of the Brew Crew Stout Challenge. Let’s see if they can make it two for two. We will keep updating this list as more stouts are announced.

For $25, you get a commemorative glass, a sample of all 15 beers, and a full pint of your favorite. The day will be broken into three separate sessions, each lasting an hour and a half. They’ll start at noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. Tickets for a session can be purchased at the ‘Tub, or you can purchase them online at nmbeer.org. The 4 p.m. session is already sold out, so act fast.

As soon as we have the identities of the competing stouts, we will update this post.

Cheers!

— Reid

Get your finest viking gear on and head up the mountain for beer!

Get your finest viking gear on and head up the mountain for beer!

Greetings, gang. Bathtub Row Brewing in Los Alamos has had a new head brewer for a while now. We’ve been meaning to track him down and pick his brain, and the planets finally aligned Wednesday. We spoke with Nic Boyden about where he’s from, what he likes, and what his plans are.

We also discussed Nic’s special beer for this weekend’s upcoming event at the Pajarito Ski Area, Ullrfest! We know that there are other things going on this Saturday (NM Brew Fest and Corks and Brews in Albuquerque), but this is one of the premier events in the mountains near Los Alamos. The weather forecast looks promising, so it should be a great time. As always, activities other than beer drinking will include bike races, chairlifts and hiking, disc golf, and a viking-themed costume contest. Music will be provided by JJ and the Hooligans. If you think you will be participating in the beer portion of the agenda, you may want to take the free shuttle that runs between town and the ski hill every half hour.

The breweries that will be in attendance, with beer lists where provided. (Updates will be posted whenever we receive them until the morning of the festival.)

  • Bathtub Row: Ullr Beer (Sahti), Hoppenheimer IPA, Raconteur Table Beer, Fat Man Stout
  • Blue Heron
  • Boxing Bear: Oktobearfest, Ambear, Uppercut IPA, Cider
  • Chili Line
  • Enchanted Circle: Glory Hole IPA, Panty Tosser Peach Wheat, Wet n Wild, Octoberfest, Red River Red
  • La Cumbre
  • Santa Fe: Idaho IPA, Oktoberfest, Imperial Java Stout, Nut Brown (in cans)
  • Second Street: Southern Passion IPA, Rail Runner Ale, Red & Yellow Armadillo, Rod’s Best Bitter, 2920 Pale Ale, Kolsch
  • Taos Mesa
  • Tractor: Mustachio Milk Stout, Tractoberfest, Farmer’s Almanac IPA, plus cider cans
  • Unquarked Winery

What else does Bathtub Row’s new brewer have in store? Well, let’s find out.

Nic, the new head brewer at Bathtub Row, is looking forward to his first Ullrfest.

Nic Boyden, the new head brewer at Bathtub Row, is looking forward to his first Ullrfest.

DSBC: Hi, Nic. Thanks for meeting with us. How would you describe your beers?

Nic: Hoppenheimer (IPA) is the standard beer that we have here. That’s what everybody asks for the most. A bunch of hopheads here in Los Alamos. I try to brew a Hoppenheimer every other week, so we’re trying to keep it on tap. We’ll blow through a Hoppenheimer tank in about four days. If it’s released on a Wednesday it’s almost gone Thursday night and Friday night, and then Saturday, Sunday, we’ll have a little bit, and then it’s gone by the beginning of the next week. So, I’m trying to do that every other week, but still trying to keep a good variety. Otherwise I’d be doing that once a week. Trying to bring in some other IPA ideas, also. We’ve made some small tweaks to Hoppenheimer, but it’s pretty solid — bitter, hoppy Centennial-based beer. Sticking with that, made some small tweaks to it.  

DSBC: Do you have other ones that are staples? It seems like a lot of these are unusual ones.

Nic: Right. Every one of these was a first time. We’ll try to keep the Wit, which is pretty standard. Changing up the yeast strain right now. The next Wit we’ll be doing a little more frequently, but we’ll be sticking with that yeast strain for a while, really trying to dial that in. Everybody here has really been liking the Wit since before I was here. I’m not going to tweak that one too much. We want to keep a bitter, a light one, and a dark one, also.

DSBC: Do you think about it seasonally, too? It’s getting colder, so it’s time to start stocking more stouts and things.

Nic: I’m definitely going to try to do that. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, a hophead still wants an IPA. A malthead always wants a stout or brown or porter. Still trying to keep a variety, but at least let the subtleties of each beer be dictated by the season. In the summer, we’re trying to keep it fruity; in the fall, we’re going to have more beers with more spice to it, like your apple pie spices or your pumpkin beer. Everybody loves that. Definitely there will be darker stuff in the winter, too.

DSBC: Right now you have eight of your own beers.

Nic: Right now all of them are our own, so all of our taps are full.

DSBC: That’s a lot of room to play around even if you had four staples on hand; that’s four one-offs or crazy ones, whatever you want to try. Well, do you get to pick the brews?

Nic: I pretty much get to pick. I’m always trying to take suggestions and get some input on beers that we’ve done. I’m not going to just make every beer to (fit) my palate. We’re trying to sell some beers, try to keep some variety and some staples at the same (time), a balance of everything across the board. Pretty exciting that we have eight of our on tap right now. There was a point at the end of the summer where we were running out of beers so fast that we couldn’t keep all eight taps full even with guest beers. We were blowing through guest beers. After we blow through a Hoppenheimer, we’d put on a Boxing Bear (Uppercut) IPA. We’ve also done (Bosque’s) Riverwalker. As soon as we run through ours and theirs, then people will gravitate towards the next hoppiest thing, and then the pale’s gone. And then the hoppy pilsner’s gone (and) until Sunday afternoon we don’t have any beer whatsoever.

DSBC: Do you have kegs in reserve from other breweries that you can pull out?

Nic: Yes, we do, and we try to not (create) too much of stockpile due to space. What we’re usually going to order from another brewery are IPAs. IPAs are best when fresh, right, so we try to keep our stock as small as possible due to space and freshness. People got really thirsty over the summer.

DSBC: Plus the Lab is the factory in this town, and there lots of students that come in over the summer. Now that summer is out that’s probably why it’s calming down, and you know how much students drink.

Nic: I’m excited to have all eight of ours on tap. We’re just catching our breath after summer.

DSBC: I guess you do have to think about all of this when planning your own brewing schedule. You don’t want to stockpile too much of your own, either.

Nic: I’m still trying to figure it all out. I’m still new to town. I feel like wherever you go there’s a specific beer season. The only variables are how much does it drop off and sometimes it’s almost negligible, and in other towns it’s almost mud season like you’d have in a mountain town where tourists disappear for a while.

DSBC: Or ski season kicks in and suddenly they’re back. That brings up the next question. You mentioned you’re not from here, so where are you from?

Nic: I’m actually from Albuquerque. I’ve lived in Colorado for 10 years and been brewing up there for the last six or seven years.

DSBC: Where did you work there?

Nic: I got my start at Avery in Boulder. It’s huge. And then I moved down to Salida in the mountains and worked at Elevation four years after that.

DSBC: So, you’ve been working your way up the brewery ranks?

Nic: Yeah, I moved to Colorado to do environmental consulting as a field tech. Then found that I didn’t get paid anything, so I got into cell phone tower construction. I grew up and worked nine years at the Tram in Albuquerque climbing towers and stuff, so it was easy to transition that to cell tower construction. Really enjoyed the travel, but being a home brewer, I said that I didn’t care how much I made, I’m getting into the industry.

DSBC: So you were a home brewer before. You’ve liked beer for a long time, like a lot of us.

Nic: Yeah, I just took the leap. I took the first job I was offered. I applied to a lot of places on the front range of Colorado, and the first job I got offered luckily was at Avery. I just drove a forklift to get my start. I very quickly moved into packaging. I was the packaging lead and then I did some cellaring and then I moved up the brew deck. I worked my way up, getting on-the-job training at Avery. What was awesome was that they also paid me to do online schooling for brewing. When I felt like I was topping out with where I could go there, I wanted to move on and get more creative control, so I went to Elevation. A smaller place. I developed a few things and changed some things there, then I felt like I wanted to move to a place where every single week was a new beer and a new opportunity. More creativity.

DSBC: You couldn’t find that at Avery, huh.

Nic: I couldn’t find that at Elevation, either. That’s why I think this is a great fit for me. I have to keep the customer base happy with the IPA, the Blonde, the Wit … but beyond that, it’s complete creative control. It’s a lot more fun.

The current selection of beers at BRB.

The current selection of beers at BRB.

DSBC: What I’ve found is that there is a lot of sophisticated beer drinkers in this town. Plus, a lot of home brewers, they know their beers, and they love creative, crazy things, if you can pull it off. How did you find out about Bathtub Row?

Nic: I met Jason Fitzpatrick (the general manager) and Jason Kirkman (the assistant brewer) last fall at ColorFest at Pagosa Springs. I had a good, professional relationship with them, and once I heard that they were offering up a head brewer position, I decided that this would be a pretty good trip for me. I knew those guys already, so I figured they know what they’re doing, I’ll take the leap.

DSBC: What do you think of this town? It is different from other towns, it’s a little isolated … in World War II that was a plus.

Nic: It totally makes sense. It’s a cool little town, definitely. Cool, unique town … like you said, driven by the Lab. Moving from Colorado, I didn’t want to end up back in the desert. I’m a mountain person at heart. This was one of the few places that I could see myself moving back to New Mexico for. Being at 7,500 feet, getting the moisture, the cool air. Having trails right outside my door, I can bike, I can run, I can take my dog out. That’s the closest I can get to Colorado. I thought it would be a good fit. So far, it’s been nice living here.

DSBC: Albuquerque is of course a huge beer scene, just getting bigger all the time. But, you’d rather have a small town atmosphere, I guess.

Nic: Yeah, I’m from Albuquerque and moved to Denver. I was in downtown Denver, and ever since I’ve been stepping away. I went to Boulder which is smaller, and I went to Salida, which is smaller. And, I went to Los Alamos, which is probably about the same size as Salida.

DSBC: Unlike our previous head brewer, you didn’t get a whole lot of say about how things are set up or the equipment. Are you happy with what’s going on in back?

Nic: For what we can fit into this building, we’ve got a pretty decent setup. And, just speaking with the Board and Jason the GM, I’ve definitely heard what their long-term goals are, and their brew system itself was purchased from Bosque. They outgrew it in a year. So did we, actually. That would be the only thing that I’d like to really step up in the future. That’ll be down the road. We can catch our breath before next summer’s big season starts up again. Maybe we can get something in the works by then. But, right now we did just buy a keg washer that should have arrived yesterday. We’re going to get that installed so we can take care of our own kegs.  

DSBC: What did you do before with kegs?

Nic: We mostly took our kegs down to Santa Fe Brewing and paid them per keg to clean them. So, we’d drive them down there, drop them off, and then a week later pick them up.

DSBC: It’s like having to go to the laundromat!

Nic: Yeah, it’s just that the laundromat’s pretty far away. And, also they’ve got their own struggles trying to keep up with their own production, so we were on the back burner. They were doing us a favor. So, sometimes we wouldn’t have kegs if they had issues of their own that they needed to address. They definitely helped us out, but we decided to just take care of it ourselves. It’s not like the brewery is going anywhere, we can invest in a keg cleaner. That’s the next thing that’s been purchased and on the road somewhere. And, I think we will be getting at least one more fermenter pretty soon. It’s the number one limiting factor for our production right now. We’ll be maxed out on space back there after that.

DSBC: I suppose you could brew off-site and bring the kegs down here?

Nic: We could, but we want to stay true to Bathtub Row, make sure that the name makes sense. Holds true to the history of this place and what we’re about. Ideally we wouldn’t leave Bathtub Row as far as the facility goes, but maybe that’s way down the road. We have talked to the landlord just a little bit about expanding this building in the future. We haven’t been shot down yet.

DSBC: You mentioned Santa Fe Brewing. It seems like there’s a pretty tight-knit, friendly brewing community here. There’s also more and more competition, not so much here but in Albuquerque. Do you still feel that camaraderie?

Nic: I still definitely do feel the camaraderie. I feel like we’re making as much beer as we possibly can and we’re at our max capacity here. Nobody’s eating into our business, so it’s not even an issue for us. As far as breweries being competitive, I don’t really feel that too much because I think that coming from Colorado and joining the New Mexico beer industry, even though Colorado’s been around longer, I’m seeing the same thing … there’s just so much camaraderie. A very altruistic atmosphere where everybody’s trying to help everybody out. Ultimately our competition is not each other. There’s a huge market share that’s not craft beer.

DSBC: Those Budweiser guys?

Nic: Yup. We’re all friendly. It’s no issue whatsoever, especially here.

DSBC: Do you ever go to some of the other breweries? For “research” purposes?

Nic: Oh, definitely. I need to do a little market research. I’ll try to get off the hill as much as I can, but that is pretty rare right now. Since I’ve started, we’re kind of short-staffed, and summertime being busy, I’ve been here at the brewery almost seven days a week. Not really working hard on weekends, but there’s always something that needs to be kept up with or addressed. We can’t brew any faster. The only thing that slows down our schedule is if the yeast could work faster, I’d be brewing even more beer.

DSBC: Not much you can do about that, there’s no super yeast yet.

Nic: Nope, can’t rush those guys. I haven’t made it to as many places as I like. The industry is booming right now.

DSBC: A lot of them are putting out some really good beers too. Like, if you went down to La Cumbre and tried an Elevated, would you think about how you could reverse engineer it?

Nic: I like to interpret what they’re going for and see how it is received by everybody around me. I obviously have my personal tastes, but I want to make a beer that the masses really want to enjoy. When I say the masses, I really just mean the co-op and the local community because that’s who I’m brewing for. But, once I get a finger on the pulse of what they want here, which is basically the Hoppenheimer …

DSBC: A double IPA would be fine, too!

Nic: That would be nice to keep on tap. We (would) blow through that so fast. We have done some. Did you get a chance to try the honey double IPA?

DSBC: I bought one for a friend but didn’t try it myself, so no. It sounded good.

Nic: That was Jason Kirkman’s little baby. He did a fantastic job with it. He came up with all of that before I was here. I brewed it but it was all his. We used some local honey. We used some orange blossom water and copious amounts of hops. We ended up winning a national honey competition. There’s a large honey company, nationwide, based out of Colorado. They did a beer competition. They had an IPA category and a light beer category. Stouts, porters, browns, Belgian categories. It was nothing like the GABF, but we submitted a bottle of the honey double IPA and won the IPA (category). I think that’s a pretty stout category to try to win. Proud of Jason and his recipe. That’ll be coming back.

DSBC: You probably didn’t even use their honey!

Nic: No, we used local honey.

DSBC: No need to mention that on the form.

Nic: Ha ha, no. So we also have that submitted to GABF. We bottled enough to send to that competition as well as GABF.

DSBC: Anything else you’ve entered in GABF?

Nic: We entered the Redhammer, which is also Jason’s imperial red recipe. I had him come up and do that brew on his own and show me how he liked to brew that. That has been the best-received beer that we’ve entered in competition. I figured why not enter it again. We also did the wit, which has done pretty well also. No medals, but it’s advanced to the finals in some different competitions.

DSBC: And, you’ll continue to participate in the IPA Challenge? That’s big in this state.

Nic: Yup. There’s a lot of good IPAs that were down there. We have to step our game up.

DSBC: So what is your favorite beer? Just some personal info.

Nic: My favorite beer … Actually, I’d say that my favorite beer is Coors Original.

DSBC: Ha ha. I’ll have to edit that out.

Nic: It’s a solid German lager.

DSBC: I didn’t see that one coming!

Nic: No one does. It’s mostly water. That’s how I hydrate. And, it’s consistent, and that’s something I can geek out on as a brewer. Every Coors I’ve ever had in my entire life tastes exactly like a Coors. They’ve got the science down, for sure. Made with that Rocky Mountain water.

DSBC: You can taste the difference, eh? You’re drunk right now, aren’t you?

Nic: Ha ha. My girlfriend still lives in Salida, and we try to climb a mountain every weekend. She’s done almost every single 14er in Colorado, and some 10 times. She’s done quite a bit. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m going to try to summit a peak once a week when it’s climbing season. My favorite thing is to sit on top, eat some peanuts, and drink Coors Original. Doesn’t get you too drunk so you can get back down the hill.

DSBC: Yeah, you don’t need a double IPA right then. It’s not a good idea.

Nic: You can edit that all out.

DSBC: No, no, it’s a fun part. Anything else you want to mention?

Nic: I think it’s just great to be able to experiment here and try different styles. I’m really glad the community has been very open to that idea. I always have to keep an IPA on tap. I get plenty of request for reds and ambers. I try to keep those in rotation, but I feel like there so many other styles and I think it’s awesome that the educated beer drinkers are open to that. There are some places where you couldn’t do a mild and have people enjoy it, (a) three-plus-percent English mild, or a Belgian table beer. I’m really glad that people are open to that idea. It also allows me to do a SMASH on tap. I’m trying to showcase some hops. I think it’s pretty awesome that we can dance across all styles, as long as we keep our staples on, I can play around with whatever I want. That being said, Coors Banquet might be my favorite beer, but I love to make Belgians, I love to make sours. We have a great saison with peaches, brett, and lacto in barrels right now. It’s developing. It’s starting to taste good. That’s what I like best, a variety. If I want something standard, I’ll drink a Coors Original. I get to try everything. I definitely feel lucky to do this.

DSBC: You’re kind of living the dream for a lot of people that would be reading this blog, for example. Congratulations to you for having it all come together … and get paid for it! I’ve heard that for Ullrfest you’re making a juniper beer?

Nic: I’ve researched, but it’s nothing that I’ve tried. It’s sahti, a traditional Finnish beer. European malts and noble hops. The distinctive character of it is traditionally is mashed and filtered through a hollowed-out log filled with juniper branches. What I did is completely cover the false bottom of our mash tun with some fresh Los Alamos juniper boughs, and then threw all of the grain on top and mashed on top of that. It pulled the juniper flavor out of the branches. I’ll be adding a juniper berry dry spice at the end of fermentation, also. It’s going to be a good beer, hopefully. If you like juniper! With Ullrfest being the kick-off to ski season, we were thinking we would do something Scandinavian and maybe that’ll help with the snowfall.

DSBC: Sourcing local ingredients, too! That’s cool. Well, that’s about it. Thanks for your time.

Cheers!

— Reid

Time to head up the mountain again for great beer and a lot of fun!

Time to head up the mountain again for great beer and a lot of fun!

So, you guys down in Albuquerque seem to be having a lot of fun with your “Beer Week” thing.  Lots of events all over town, lots of beer … I can appreciate that. But, some of us don’t get down to Albuquerque very often as we are stuck up in the mountains. Well, we don’t have multiple events every single day, but we do have some big ones every few months. And, this weekend, we have one of the biggest! It’s time for Summerfest at the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area in Los Alamos.

Participating breweries are Abbey, Marble, Bathtub Row (the hometown favorite), Bosque, Boxing Bear, Chili Line, La Cumbre, Santa Fe Brewing, Second Street, Taos Mesa, Tractor, Turtle Mountain, and Black Smuggler Winery. A very respectable lineup. We weren’t able to get beer selections for most, but we do want to call out Chili Line Brewing, which is Santa Fe’s newest brewery. Their head brewer is Xander Pertusini, a Los Alamos native. Their specialty is smoked beers, and they’ll be bringing a smoked IPA and a smoked stout. Intriguing …

Editor’s note: Good thing Reid has yours truly to track down some of the participating breweries’ beer lists. — S

  • Abbey: TBA
  • Bathtub Row: Duck Duck Gose, Kristy Kream, Not Your Daddy’s Stout, Hoppenheimer IPA
  • Bosque: Elephants on Parade, Riverwalker IPA, Azacca SMASH, Scotia Scotch Ale
  • Boxing Bear: Bearzen, Ambear, Paw Swipe Pale, Uppercut IPA, Cider
  • Chili Line: Smoked IPA, Smoked Stout
  • La Cumbre: VMO #2, A Slice of Hefen, BEER, Elevated IPA, Project Dank, Red Ryeot, Malpais Stout
  • Marble: IPA, Double White, Wildflower Wheat, Red Ale, Eldorado Pale Ale, Saison #1
  • Santa Fe: ECS Lemon Skynyrd, rest are TBA
  • Second Street: 2920 Pilsner, Trebuchet, High Wheeler Pale Ale, Rod’s Steam Bitter, IPA, Railyard Red
  • Taos Mesa: TBA
  • Tractor: TBA
  • Turtle Mountain: Bien Tu Helles Bock, Konventional Kolsch, Session Red, plus house beers TBA

If any additional information comes in we will update this list.

As always, this event isn’t just about beer. There’s food and a few bands, of course (and I know that one band, DK and the Affordables, is a lot of fun). But, there’s also bike racing, hiking (take a lift if you’re not keen on climbing up the mountain), and disc golf. There will be a free shuttle that runs between the high school parking lot and the ski area, which is likely a good idea for folks reading this blog. Weather reports are currently predicting rain, and the weather in the mountains can change on a dime in any case, so be ready for anything on that front.

If you’re in northern New Mexico or just need a break from Beer Week, do yourself a favor and head up to Summerfest!

Cheers!

— Reid

If there was ever a beer perfectly made for a chocolate festival, it's this one.

If there was ever a beer perfectly made for a chocolate festival, it’s this one.

We are a long way from regular festival season, but there are two events this weekend featuring some of our local breweries. Up at Pajarito Mountain above Los Alamos is Skiesta, which Reid previewed earlier this week. Over at the State Fairgrounds is the Southwest Chocolate & Coffee Fest, a two-day event this Saturday and Sunday.

Skiesta will feature Bathtub Row (naturally), Blue Heron, Santa Fe, Second Street, and Taos Mesa. The SCCF will feature Bosque, Boxing Bear, Santa Fe, and Tractor. So far we have beer lists for four of the five Skiesta breweries and three of the SCCF breweries. As others appear, we will update this post. (UPDATE: We have the full Boxing Bear list below; it is downright ridiculous, in a good way.)

Why attend either festival? Well, with Arizona out (damn it) and Arkansas-Little Rock and Yale already blowing up brackets, it’s not like there is much reason anymore to stay home and watch the NCAA Tournament. Right? Right.

Here are the lists, starting with Skiesta.

Bathtub Row: Irish Red, Dry Stout, Sapphire Pilsner

Blue Heron: IPA, Golden Ale, Stout

Santa Fe: TBA

Second Street: Agua Fria Apricot, ESB, 4 Hour Lunch, Kolsch (gluten removed), Cream Stout, Ringwood Red

Taos Mesa: Mosaic IPA, Sappho Amber, Kolsch 45, Great Scot Scottish Ale

And the SCCF breweries.

Bosque: Momma Always Said (on CO2 and nitro), Bosque Lager, Elephants on Parade, Riverwalker IPA, Marzen, Scotia Scotch Ale, Driftwood Oatmeal Stout

Boxing Bear: Chocolate Milk Stout (fresh batch!), Coffee Chocolate Milk Stout, Baltic Bear, Red Glove, Simcoe SMASH, Uppercut IPA, Ambear, Cider, Sucker Punch DIPA

Santa Fe: TBA (but we gotta imagine Java Stout will be going, right?)

Tractor: Cowboy Coffee Stout, Brass Monkey, Berry Cider

Shake off those post-St. Patrick’s Day hangovers and prepare to head out this weekend, either to the Fairgrounds or up the mountain. Some of us in the Crew will likely be at one or the other. Stop by and say hello if you see us around.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

2016 Skiesta Flier JB rev1 texture2 small

As usual, things are busy with Bathtub Row Brewing in Los Alamos. The big one is Skiesta, which will be held this Saturday.  If you’re into skiing and beer (and I bet a healthy percentage of you reading this are), this is an event not to be missed.  It’s getting awfully warm out there, so who knows how much more skiing you’ll be able to do, and there will be lots of good beer and food.  Felix y los Gatos is also an excellent band.  Trust me, you won’t be able to stay sitting down when they start playing!

Other notable upcoming events:

  • Tuesday, March 15: Another beer dinner will be held.  This is obviously short notice, and it could very likely be sold out by the time you see this, but if you’re in the area, at least try to go.  And we’re sorry we told you too late.
  • Thursday, March 17th: From 6-9pm, the Tub will be hosting a St. Patrick’s Day celebration featuring Bronach-Celtic Blues and food offerings from the Los Alamos Cooperative Market.
  • Saturday, Math 19: It’s not just Skiesta this Saturday….  From 11-noon, you can participate in a yoga class at the brewery.  Cost is donation to the instructor, and you get 1/2 off your first post-stretch pint.  Bring your mat and limber up for Skiesta!  (Yoga classes are held the third Saturday of every month.)

Also, plans are underway to transform the adjacent outdoor area into a nice patio, with lighting, shade, and, of course, good beer.  It’ll be a welcome addition in the warmer weather.

Cheers!

Reid

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Greetings, beer lovers! Things are afoot at Bathtub Row Brewing in Los Alamos. First and foremost, the ‘Tub is hosting a Stout Invitational event on February 20. Sure, it’s starting to feel a bit spring-ish out there, but it is still technically winter, and it’s a fine time to be enjoying some black beers.

Here’s your chance to try 12 stouts from breweries around New Mexico, talk to the brewers who made them, and get a souvenir pint glass to boot! It’s being organized in three separate sessions, at noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. The cost is $25. If the IPA Challenge isn’t your thing, well, maybe this is your thing. Stop by BRB to buy tickets, or visit nmbeer.org to buy tickets online.

Look for more details as we get closer to the event itself, though we do have the full list of participating breweries in addition to the hosts: Blue Corn, Bosque, Boxing Bear, Canteen, Chama River (which just won the Brew Crew’s Stout Challenge), La Cumbre, Red Door, Rio Bravo, Santa Fe, Second Street, Taos Mesa, Tractor, and Turtle Mountain.

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And, in other news, you can now purchase food right at BRB. You could always bring in your own food, or go next door to Rigoberto’s or several other nearby places, but now you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your bar stool. The Tub has teamed up with the local food co-op to offer a handful of delicious dishes, including soups and quesadillas. They’re eager for feedback and suggestions, so get in there and try it and let them know what you think. Hey, one co-op helping another, that’s always a good thing.

Cheers!

— Reid

brb-dinner

Los Alamos is getting in on the beer dinner scene.

Bathtub Row Brewing in Los Alamos is continuing to bring more events and activities to the community. The latest is their first “beer dinner,” featuring local chef Laura Hamilton of Rosebud Cafe in nearby White Rock. Six delicious-looking plates will be paired with an appropriate (and also delicious) BRB brew. A maximum of 60 people can sign up, and it will likely sell out, so get your ticket ASAP. The event is set for Tuesday at 6 p.m. Cost is $60 per person, or $50 for co-op members. Call (505) 500-8381 or visit the brewery to sign up.

Menu

First Plate
Coriander dusted scallops, green chile beurre blanc, fried leeks
Wit Rock

Second Plate
Warm lentil salad, cranberry cardamom vinaigrette, frisee of pancetta
Little Bird Blonde

Third Plate
Pumpkin pecorino bisque, caramel crème fraiche, spicy fennel sausage
Octoberfest

Fourth Plate
Cocoa-chipotle braised short ribs, roasted fingerling potatoes, swiss chard
Black Point Stout

Fifth Plate
Sharp Irish cheddar, IPA soda bread, pear ginger compote
Hoppenheimer IPA

Sixth Plate
Satsuma orange sponge cake, cinnamon milk syrup, passion fruit granita
Trinity Tripel

Beer Tasting Notes
Wit Rock (6.3% ABV)

Appearance: Pale Hazy
Aroma: Spicy, Citrus
Flavor: Citrus, Coriander

Little Bird Blonde (5.9% ABV)

Appearance: Straw, Clear
Aroma: Biscuit, Honey
Flavor: Crisp, Light Hop Bitterness, Bready

Octoberfest (5.9% ABV)

Appearance: Medium Amber
Aroma: Malty, Bready
Flavor: Toast, Caramel

Black Point Stout (5.6% ABV)

Appearance: Dark Brown to Black
Aroma: Roast, Coffee
Flavor: Coffee, Chocolate, Touch of Sweetness

Hoppenheimer IPA (6.6% ABV)

Appearance: Deep Gold
Aroma: Citrus, Pine
Flavor: Hoppy, Grapefruit, Resinous

Trinity Tripel (10.6% ABV)

Appearance: Pale Gold, Good Clarity, Effervescent
Aroma: Spicy, Black Pepper, Slight Banana
Flavor: Grainy, Sweet Malt, Citrus

(In unrelated news, kudos to BRB for concocting a very good Double IPA! It made for a very happy Halloween.)

Cheers!

— Reid

A sample of the trail.

Hit the hiking trail, but with beer, up in Los Alamos.

New Mexico is full of people who love to hike. It’s also full of people who love good beer. In my experience, there’s quite a bit of overlap between those two groups. Who doesn’t enjoy a good beer or two after hiking 14 miles? OK, you can still have a beer or two after hiking a few miles, but after 14, you’ve really earned those beers! That’s great, but last weekend, my eyes were opened to the concept of drinking during the hike. I’m sure this isn’t anything new, and apparently it’s a common pastime in Germany.

Former Chamber of Commerce head, and now retired, full-time hiker, Kevin Holsapple is attempting to bring the activity here to New Mexico. He’s started a business in leading folks on hikes with modest stops for, ahem, carbo-loading and thirst-quenching. As a resident of Los Alamos, his tours naturally take place in the scenic canyons and mountains around the town. Several months ago, he contacted the Brew Crew about this new venture, and I, being the Los Alamos rep, signed up. Because of various commitments on both sides, we only now were able to take part. It worked out fine, though, because it was a perfect, cool fall day, with fall colors in abundance.

They really do have a beer bar at the Smith's in Los Alamos.

They really do have a beer bar at the Smith’s in Los Alamos.

Los Alamos is a small town, so the concept of a “beer crawl/hike” is one that would have been laughable a few years ago. Now, we have our own microbrewery and what is quite possibly the only grocery store in the state with a bar. In addition, our golf course was recently completely remodeled, and the new restaurant inside has a respectable selection of beers. Our adventure started at Smith’s. We met at 11 a.m. in the parking lot, got through some introductions, and headed inside to the bar.

Smith’s keeps 12 beers on tap and rotates them regularly. How they select the beers is a bit of a mystery, but you’ll always find something good available.

The beer lineup at Smith's.

The beer lineup at Smith’s.

Not only did we get a flight of four beer samples, but Smith’s also provided us with some pretzels and cheeses. It was a delicious way to get things started! My favorite was Founders Breakfast Stout, which seemed appropriate, though at 8-percent ABV you have to wonder about the wisdom of the choice. At least it was only 4 ounces, and Cecilia and I split a single flight. Bear in mind, I am an IPA guy at heart.

At this stop, we also met Harvey from Abiquiu and Lynne from Santa Fe, our fellow travelers on the tour. A few others were supposed to join us but had to cancel. Interestingly, Lynne was nursing an injury and didn’t participate in the hiking part, and Harvey also wasn’t 100 percent and only did the first leg of the 6-mile hike. I felt a bit envious … all of the beer with none/some of the agony?

One of the steeper stretches of the trails around town.

One of the steeper stretches of the trails around town.

After some sampling and noshing, we gathered our things and drove over to Bathtub Row Brewing. This would be our last stop, so we parked the cars there and hiked down into the canyons to our second stop, Cottonwood on the Green. That’s the fancy name for the restaurant at our local golf course. The place is brand new and quite impressive.

The beer selection is enough to make one golf regularly.

The beer selection is enough to make one golf regularly.

Here, we had a similar range of beers to choose from, though there were a few more mainstream choices than at Smith’s.

Again, we were provided pretzels and had the option of getting an appetizer, but we declined. I ordered an espresso to keep the blood flowing for the return trip.

Beautiful canyon views abound near Los Alamos.

Beautiful canyon views abound near Los Alamos.

The trip back to the “Tub” was similar, but along slightly different canyon trails. Los Alamos is mostly on top of mesas, and the canyons can provide a maze of trails to get lost in. Fortunately, Kevin seems to know them all. (In addition to knowing all of the trails in the area, he has also been to Europe many times and is knowledgeable about and happy to discuss the beers of Germany and the surrounding area.)

The gang at the final pit stop.

The gang at the final pit stop.

We reached Bathtub Row Brewing feeling tired, but happy. We ordered take-out from Rigoberto’s, the Mexican restaurant next door, and enjoyed local beers this time.

You never know who you’re going to meet on one of these things, but Harvey and Lynne were interesting and very cool people to talk to, so we got lucky.

Kevin, left, Reid and his wife Cecilia.

Kevin, left, led the hike with Reid and his wife Cecilia.

All in all, this was a very fun event and is highly recommended.  Kevin is excited about his fledgling business, and he’s even considering other ideas, like hosting beer crawls in Albuquerque. If you’d like more info or to sign up for a hike, visit his web site: The craft beer hike tour of Los Alamos NM.  He can also be contacted directly at kevin@primepassages.com.

Cheers!

— Reid

Hello, Bathtub Row!

Hello, Bathtub Row!

Bathtub Row Brewing celebrated their “Full House Party” this past weekend, with live music, food specials, and more. It was their way of saying, “Hey, all eight of our taps are now filled with our very own beer.” The good news is the people of Los Alamos turned out in droves, with a number of people driving up from ABQ and Santa Fe and elsewhere in New Mexico. Basically we all ended up learning that what Brew Crew Bullpen member Reid had been telling us for a while — Bathtub Row was making some damn fine beer.

With a big thanks to my friend Gabriel for the ride to and fro, I parked myself at the end of the bar that curves around the inside of the BRB space. In addition to bar seating and tables, there is also a “lounge area” by a fireplace that figures to roar in the winter. There is a spacious outside area as well, though how much of that is permanent and how much was just for the Full House Party was unclear (I should have asked, but the beer came first).

The rustic log tables and chairs were awesome.

The rustic log tables and chairs were awesome.

On tap this weekend were the Hoppenheimer IPA (sold only outside, due to the lack of tap space inside), Wit Rock, Big House Belgo Pale Ale, Little Bird Blonde, Mild at Heart, Posh Bitter, Le Becquerel Saison, Red Hammer, and Black Point Stout. Being the industrious beer drinker/writer that I am, I brought a notebook to jot things down as I drank each beer from the sample tray.

The first half of the flight, from left, Little Bird Blonde, Big House Belgo, Red Hammer, Black Point Stout.

The first half of the flight, from left, Little Bird Blonde, Big House Belgo, Red Hammer, Black Point Stout.

Little Bird Blonde (5.6% ABV): Very mild, definitely a starter beer. There was a hint of pilsner malt from a bit of crispness. Wheat notes were present as well. The finish included a slight apricot/peach sweetness. Brewer Hector Santana also brought out a sample of a second version made in a more English-style. I admittedly liked that one better, so hopefully it will be on tap soon (and then permanently, assuming it is cost-effective).

Mild at Heart (3.7% ABV) Ah, the English Mild, which as the name might imply, often lacks much flavor. This one was too thin, coming off as a bit of water-down ESB. The style just does not connect with Americans seeking bigger flavors. Best leave it on the islands.

Posh Premium Bitter (5.9% ABV) Better than the mild, more in tune with what Rod Tweet has been brewing over at Second Street. It was quite sweet, maybe a little too much, with hints of biscuit-y malt on the back end to dry things out.

Le Becquerel Saison (7.1% ABV) As Gabriel, and others, noted, it is big for a saison. There was not much of that farmhouse funk in the aroma that can drive some people (me) away. The spices were a tad muted, compared to others (think Marble). The malt bill gave it a bit of sweetness. In a way, this was the saison for the non-saison drinker.

The second half of the flight, from left, Mild at Heart, Posh Premium Bitter, Wit Rock, Le Becquerel Saison.

The second half of the flight, from left, Mild at Heart, Posh Premium Bitter, Wit Rock, Le Becquerel Saison.

Wit Rock (6.1% ABV) Like a lot of wits, this had ingredients that are do not agree with me from an allergy perspective. Gabriel, among others, enjoyed this beer, though, so if you like the style, it should work for you.

Big House Belgo (6.7% ABV) Dear lord is this a Belgian-style beer. The huge funk hits you right in the face from the aroma alone. The Belgian yeast produces an almost potent, astringent farmhouse flavor off the bat, but fear not if that is not your thing, it mellows out considerably as it warms. Then the sweeter, more citrus-like flavors come to the forefront and it drinks like a standard Belgian golden ale. It was definitely one of the more complex beers BRB brewed. I would expect some future modifications/tinkering.

Red Hammer Ale (7.1% ABV) Listed as a double red, this beer goes the opposite way of most West Coast-style reds. The sweet-but-dry malts are up front, with the hope kick on the back end. I thought I picked out some Southern Hemisphere hops in there, for the more flowery, less piney/citrusy flavors, but my poor palate may have taken too much by this point.

Hoppenheimer IPA (7.3% ABV) Definitely more in the East Coast vein, with a strong malt backbone and less bitter hops up front. It tends to be fairly sweet on the back. The aroma was not too strong, so perhaps a bit more on the dry-hopping could be in its future. Otherwise, if you like beers like Dogfish Head 90 Minute, you will enjoy the Hoppenheimer. It does not become death, the destroyer of palates. (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

Black Point Stout (4.8% ABV) I know, I know, my favorite beer was the stout. But … damn, this is a hell of a stout. I classified it as a classic American stout. It was not overly roasted/smoky, nor too sweet/chocolate-y, nor too creamy/milky. Instead, it hit all the right notes in between. In the cold of winter it might be a bit thin on the mouthfeel, but that would be the most minor of quibbles. Others who tried this feel the same way, it appears from my Untappd account. Just an excellent stout, especially considering the low, sessionable ABV. If you only have time to drink one beer at Bathtub Row, this is the one.

Overall, the quality of the beer, the location, the staff, and the general vibe of the crowd really combines to make Bathtub Row a place you have to visit. Sure, you may be surrounded by patrons with more PhD’s than you knew existed, but in the end, you are all there for great beer and good times.

I look forward to the next trip I take up the mountain. Bathtub Row, you have one Burqueno in support from now til the end of brews, er, time. (Same thing, really.)

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister