Archive for the ‘Beer in Santa Fe’ Category

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RFA at GABF, from left: Charlie Papazian, head brewer Wes Burbank, assistant brewer Tyler King, Kaley (the girl under the tree), Chef Jeffrey Kaplan, friend of the brewery Jim Steinbach, badass Elissa Ritt, and Hoss. (Photo courtesy of Rowley Farmhouse Ales)

Denver is a city of liquid dreams and harsh mornings. From all over the country, much of the beer industry flies or drives into town for the annual Great American Beer Festival, a week-long bout of beer tasting and bonding, followed by an immense awards ceremony, a culmination that becomes the true test of one’s mettle. And, there’s medals, too.

GABF 2018 has come and gone, and once again there hasn’t been so many disappointed bearded folk since Smaug moved into the Lonely Mountain. I kid, though. Honestly, win or lose, there are few such ginormous gatherings that bring the brewing industry together like this one.

At the end of the weekend, however, what you take away from GABF is truly up to you, well, and the 293 judges in attendance. Was it that woman you met? The memories you (may or may not have) made with your bearded and pink-booted buds? Or, was it that all-important recognition of taking home a medal in one of the 102 categories? 2,404 breweries entered 8,496 beers in the competition this year. Not all were going to return home victorious, but our state did as well we’ve done in the past with seven medal wins.

Stoutmeister, our fearless editor, whose own mettle rivals Thorin Oakenshield himself, already caught up with a few of our other medalists in the midst of the mile-high festival, there at the mountains of madness. But, now that we’ve all made it safely back to land of enchanted beers, and all of the Crew is accounted for, even me, with livers and fancy Bierstadt glassware intact, it was high time we got back to business as usual and catch up with the rest of our New Mexico winners to find out what it’s like to bring home those shiny coveted awards.

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My view of the awards ceremony.

Since Santa Fe is my hometown and turf, I caught up with silver medalist, Rowley Farmhouse Ales, a brewery that just celebrated its second year in the business.

In the small but friendly taproom, head brewer Wes Burbank and brewmaster John Rowley joined me for a sampling of one of their yet-untapped creations.

Though it’s a first GABF win for Rowley Farmhouse Ales, these guys are no strangers to beer competitions or medals. For Burbank, it’s his eighth GABF medal with a brewery, having worked with the likes of Backcountry, Crooked Stave, Dry Dock, and Left Hand to name a few, but this was his first fist bump from Papazian. For John, it’s certainly not his first GABF rodeo either, just the first medal he got to bring home with him. Yet, for their plentiful past experience, this GABF was special to both.

“I gotta say it feels pretty good,” Rowley said. “We were sitting there, waiting for our name to be called. All the breweries were there. You’re kind of getting disappointed because you’re not hearing your name, category after category. I was actually kind of looking at my phone at that point. Then, when I heard Germophile, I said, ‘Fuck yeah!’”

And, if it’s not currently under his pillow right now, I’ll eat my hat. I will eat my hat, sir!

“We had all of our (tasting) glasses on the floor,” Burbank said. “When I heard them say our beer, I accidentally kicked one of those little plastic glasses halfway across the hall!”

The RFA crew celebrated here and there with other breweries and beer friends while working three events that day at Hops and Pie, Falling Rock, and Goed Zuur. It wasn’t until after, that they really processed the win.

“When I was finally alone, after all the celebrating, I lost it,” Burbank said. “It all hit me, what we did, how hard we worked. I was overwhelmed. It was a great feeling.”

“By that point in the night we were pretty torched,” Rowley added.

As previously mentioned, Rowley had won competitions for his beers before but not quite like this. He had won a medal at the National Homebrew Competition, and many local awards.

“It’s not the same,” Rowley said. “This is such a greater magnitude. This is definitely another level.”

Homebrew competitions are still important. Homebrewing is where many of us start that journey towards brewery ownership and GABF awards. It has been that way for so many in our industry. Speaking of which, The Santa Fe Open homebrew competition is coming up soon.

“Go to santafeopen.org. It’s coming up the weekend of November 8, but you have to get your entries in now. There’s posters all over the place, in most of the breweries and Southwest Grape & Grain. If you want your beer to be evaluated by a reasonably good group of judges, and I know they’ll have some certified National Judges, this is your thing,” Rowley said.

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The Winner – Germophile. Image courtesy of head brewer Wes Burbank

Germophile won silver in the Berliner-style Weisse category. It had 115 entries.

“Berliner Weisse is a very simple style of beer,” Burbank said. “Which is why I couldn’t be more proud that we won with this one, because this beer is all about execution. Pretty much every Berliner Weisse is the same recipe with different tweaks here and there. It’s just a super wheat beer that’s soured. Ours is 50-percent wheat, 50-percent pilsner. It’s super easy.”

With sour beers there’s a lot of sliding on that quality and flavor scale, but it comes down to how the brewery controls that slide that makes the beer successful.

“I think our process is dialed in,” Rowley said.

“The only thing I really tweak with it is water profile, to see if I can make it just a little bit better,” Burbank added.

It was just the second batch of Germophile made by Rowley Farmhouse Ales, and Burbank’s first batch.

I asked the guys, out of all the beers they’d sent in to be judged at GABF, which beer would they want to win for?

Rowley said, “Actually I’m most happy with this beer winning. This beer is a beer we can make all the time. It’s a core offering. We sell it all the time, make it all the time. It hasn’t been a huge seller for us, but it’s steady. It moves.”

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As seen at GABF!

“This is one of the first times I can say there’s nothing I could have done better with this beer. For me, as a brewer, this is the best one for me, because it’s not about exotic ingredients or how many hops you can stuff into a keg. It’s a very simple beer, and it’s just down to execution,” Burbank said.

For next year, Rowley assured me they’re just going to keep on brewing, and brewing more Berliner Weisse, for sure.

I would like to congratulate the entire crew at Rowley Farmhouse Ales on their Silver Medal win and all of our other winners this year at the Great American Beer Festival. As always, I can’t wait to see how everyone does next year. To all the brewers in New Mexico making amazing beers, to continuing to challenge yourselves, your equipment, and our palates, we raise up the glassware!

Cheers!

— Luke

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For more #CraftBeer news and @nmdarksidebc stories, follow me on Twitter at SantaFeCraftBro. Untappd: SantaFeLuke

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From left, John Rowley, Wes Burbank, and Jeffrey Kaplan. Cheers to more years, gentlemen!

This Sunday, Rowley Farmhouse Ales (RFA) is throwing a huge party for their second anniversary, and I sat down with the guys to get the details on where they’ve been, what they’ve seen, and where they’re going.

Rowley Farmhouse Ales opened in 2016. In two years, they’ve experienced a few changes, pumped out a ton of different beer styles (not just farmhouse ales and sours), and solidified themselves as a great bistro for beer geeks in the Santa Fe area. In two years, they definitely had more highs than lows.

I asked the guys what their favorite thing about being open for two years was.

“That we’re still open!” co-owner and chef Jeffery Kaplan joked. “In two years, we’ve gotten some really awesome accolades and appreciation from the local community.”

One such accolade came from CraftBeer.com, naming Rowley Farmhouse Ales best beer bar in New Mexico for 2018. They also received a Local Hero Award for 2018 from Edible New Mexico for Best Gastropub.

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RFA wins Best Gastropub 2018

“A lot of the local community has come back again and again,” Kaplan said. “(RFA) has turned into this local neighborhood spot that people are enjoying. That’s kind of been my favorite thing.”

Two years haven’t been without its choppy waters, but the Rowley crew have always been able to weather the storms. Who could forget the one time when the wind blew the big tent away from the patio area? Tent season was indeed over. And then, there was the Great Deluge of 2018. My mother and I actually got stuck at RFA for that event, and I’ll say, it is not a bad place to get caught in a storm.

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A packed house on a Monday night, taking pics of the storm.

Over the past two years, RFA has earned the respect of Santa Fe foodies by always trying out fresh ideas and keeping what works. It’s pretty simple. Every season they change their menus, keeping popular plates, and ditch the dishes that didn’t work out as well. They’ve also made tweaks to everything from the kitchen to the brewhouse. Some were larger tweaks than others, like the construction of a new patio covering to rearranging equipment in the brewhouse.

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That cover should not blow away in the wind.

“We just ran out of space,” co-owner and brewmaster John Rowley recalled. RFA reached a point where they had to move equipment outside. They got a trailer, which now houses everything they don’t use on a daily basis. Now they have space they need to bottle and move around.

Sitting on two years, the guys are pretty happy where they are.

“We brewed 250 barrels last year, which, for a brewery of our size, is a pretty good start,” Rowley said. “Yeah, we’re on the right track. I think our beer quality is good. We’re brewing the stuff we want to brew.”

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Age away, you beautiful beers.

I also talked to their new head brewer Wes Burbank about the immediate future of Rowley Farmhouse Ales. He’s very happy to have found a good home here in Santa Fe, and he’s pretty optimistic about Rowley’s future.

“We’ve got a solid foundation right now,” Burbank said. “I want to do what we’re doing, but more of it, and get it into more people’s hands, which we’ve already started doing. We’ve got quarterly drops in Denver, which might increase. There’s more of a market there for these types of beers. New Mexico is kind of still untapped for us. It’s a huge market (for RFA) to break into.”

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From barrel to glass.

“We’re trying to focus on our current markets, trying to grow those,” Rowley added. “We will have a lot bigger capacity next year with our 40-barrel foeders.”

Rowley will be getting the two foeders in about 12 weeks. With them, RFA will have two stock sour beers, souring all the time. And, with the size of their brewhouse (seven barrels), they can pull seven barrels out. They can put seven barrels of wort in. They can constantly be pulling solera. If you want to know what that means, take a look at this wiki article from our friends at Milk the Funk.

“Once filled, the foeders will never be empty again,” Burbank said. “Unless we move.”

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Take-home bottles and cans are great for RFA fans who don’t actually live in Santa Fe.

Party Down

Where: Rowley Farmhouse Ales

When: Sunday, noon to 7 p.m.

What: They’ll have seven hours of live music, including several solo artists, Shake Alert, and Nacha Mendez. There will also be a silk screener making custom shirts.

Why us beer geeks should go: RFA will be pouring tons of their rare barrel-aged beers from their backlog. About 19 of them, including Cerise Redux, Mixed-Dubbels Curling, the Ab Initios, a raspberry Oud Bruin, and the Framboisen, a special beer made for the event, as well as some other really cool barrel-aged goodies.

Additional: No cover charge. Plus, Wes said Slayer might show up. I’m hesitant to promise that, however.

*****

When Rowley Farmhouse Ales opened back in 2016, they only had one beer on tap made on their 1-barrel brewhouse. It wasn’t even quite ready, Rowley said. Today, they have a huge catalog of beers they’ve made that they can pull out anytime they want for a good time. Some of them have been aging down below in the barrel room for two years. To say they’ve come a long way is an understatement. But, they keep growing, and everything keeps getting better with age.

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After this toast with a certain imperial stout, things got blurry.

So, head over to Rowley Farmhouse Ales on Sunday and help them drink a few of their rare beers. Wish ‘em a happy birthday, and tell ‘em Luke sent you. Maybe don’t do that last one. To the whole crew at Rowley’s, we’re so glad to have you here in town. Thank you for your excellent hospitality and delicious food and beers. To your continued success and many more years in the business, cheers!

— Luke

Also on RFA’s plate:

NMDOG Meet & Greet and Fundraiser!

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Join us to meet adorable, adoptable NMDOGs today (Saturday) from 1-5 p.m.! As always through Sept. 30, $1 from every full pour from the Pulls for Pups handle will benefit NMDOG.

For more @nmdarksidebc info and #craftbeer news, follow me on Twitter at @SantaFeCraftBro. Untappd: SantaFeLuke

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In their finest bow ties, the Blue Corn boys heft the hardware

SANTA FE — It has now been a few weeks since Blue Corn Brewery brought home the New Mexico IPA Challenge trophy. With their busy late-summer schedules, and their transition to a new chef and menu, the staff just now got around to celebrating. Well, they did it in true Blue Corn fashion with another epic beer dinner to give Santa Fe a chance to cheer Blue Corn’s big win, as well as introduce us to the new man behind the menu.

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General manager Michelle Kyle introduces head chef Josh Ortiz.

Chef Ortiz had just moved across town from Rio Chama, one of Santa Fe Dining’s more upscale establishments, just a 5-minute stroll from the Plaza. It was there that he truly sharpened his knife as the sous chef. Before that, he worked under Kelly Rodgers at La Casa Sena, another fine downtown eatery.

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Baby arugula, fresh pomegranate, triple cream brie, avocado, basil vinaigrette, pine nuts, pomegranate balsamic reduction, all paired with Pomegranate Gose.

“We’re all really excited that (Ortiz) is here,” assistant brewer Andy Lane said. “His new dishes (on the updated menu) are amazing.”

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Shrimp Tempura, jumbo lump crab salad, crispy wonton chip, spicy mango chutney, micro cilantro, all paired with La Marcha Wedding Lager.

Across four courses, we really got to know what Ortiz brings to the table. From the arugula salad with fresh pomegranate, pine nuts, and brie, to the jumbo lump crab salad with shrimp tempura, to the duck confit with orange segments and orange glaze, and finally to the dessert course of dark chocolate custard with whipped cream mousse and macerated strawberries, we all got a thorough introduction to Ortiz’s chops.

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Duck confit, white bean summer succotash, roasted cipolini onions, orange segments, frisee, orange glaze, all paired with Gatekeeper IPA.

Having been to several of these beer dinners now, I thought that the food was much better in practice than it was on paper. I’ve seen arugula salads and duck confit dishes in a few multi-course prix fixe menus, but at Blue Corn that night, each course was so creatively crafted, balanced, and paired that each dish felt fresh and exciting. Each bite was a new trip down the rabbit hole, chaotic and uncertain of where you’ll land, but in a very good way. I regret that I didn’t take a look at the new and updated regular menu, but after stuffing myself with so much deliciousness, I couldn’t possibly think about more food for a few days. Can you blame me?

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Dark chocolate custard, graham cracker-hazelnut crust, whipped cream mousse, macerated strawberries, all paired with Oatmeal Stout.

That night in Santa Fe, Blue Corn brewers also hoisted up the IPA Challenge trophy for the second time in the brewery’s history. The first win came from John Bullard in 2013 with his Resurgence IPA. Blue Corn is still the only brewery to win this coveted trophy from outside the Albuquerque metro area. Last year, head brewer Paul Mallory wasn’t as pleased with how his IPA ultimately turned out.

“I wanted more from it,” he said.

This year, he and Lane really worked on getting the recipe to where they thought it should be.

I reached out to Mallory to get an idea as to what the IPA Challenge win means to him, to Blue Corn Brewery, as well as the New Mexico craft beer industry.

DSBC: What does winning the IPA Challenge mean to you, personally?

Mallory: Winning the IPA Challenge means a lot to me. It was a really great way to get people excited about trying our beer. It was really amazing to be able to celebrate with family, friends, co-workers, and customers as well.

DSBC: How does winning the IPA Challenge impact Blue Corn’s current production?

Mallory: We have had trouble keeping the Gatekeeper on tap since the win. We have all of our other beers we’re trying to keep up with at the moment, too. But, we will do our best to keep brewing the Gatekeeper. As long as people keep enjoying it, I’ll keep brewing it.

DSBC: When will it be available again?

Mallory: We currently have it on tap now. I hope it will be on for another week or so, but you never know how fast it will go.

DSBC: Plans for next year’s challenge?

Mallory: I haven’t thought about next year’s competition yet. I’m not sure if we’ll change it up or not.

DSBC: Why do you feel it’s important that we have competitions like this?

Mallory: I think competitions like this are great because they push brewers to be their best or most extreme, depending on the competition. In New Mexico, I really feel the competitions help build camaraderie as well. The NM Brewers Guild does a great job with that aspect of it.

DSBC: Lastly, what’s Blue Corn taking to GABF?

Mallory: We are taking the Gatekeeper IPA, Gold Medal Oatmeal Stout, End of the Trail Brown Ale, Barrel Aged Cosmic Darkness, and Pomegranate Gose to GABF this year.

Blue Corn Brewery will have a booth at the event.

* * * * *

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Cheers to more beer dinners!

I would personally like to thank all the staff at Blue Corn Brewery for their hard work and incredible hospitality. To your well-deserved victory, to your new chef, we raise ‘em up!

Cheers!

— Luke

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I don’t always drink fancy cocktails… But when I do, I do it in a Maiden shirt.

For more #craftbeer news, @nmdarksidebc info, and shameless Untappd check-ins follow me on Twitter @SantaFeCraftBro. Untappd: SantaFeLuke

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Photo courtesy of Santa Fe Brewing Co.

Santa Fe Brewing Company (SFBC) is celebrating a very big and important birthday. This year, New Mexico’s original craft brewery is celebrating its “Dirty 30,” and you’re invited! In honor of this amazing anniversary, SFBC is getting down with a whole week’s worth of events at the Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing from today (Tuesday) through Sunday. Not only that, nearly all of the events will be giving back to the community that has given the brewery so much, so you have every reason to be amped about this! They said amped in the 80s, right?

I recently reached out to owner Brian Lock to learn a little about where SFBC has been, what he’s seen in his time at the head of the company, and where they’re headed in the coming years.

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SFBC owner Brian Lock cuts the ribbon on many new projects in the works for SFBC

DSBC: Thirty years of Santa Fe Brewing. What sorts of changes have you seen the company go through?

Lock: During the last 30 years there has been so much evolution with the SFBC as a brand. From bottle conditioning back in 1988, to releasing cans in 2010, and just recently a complete can redesign, things here are constantly changing, which makes the job so fun and interesting. There is never a dull moment.

DSBC: What were some of the major highlights in 30 years?

Lock: Major highlights for me over the last 30 years — being the first brewery in the state of New Mexico to offer craft beer in a can, opening three offsite taprooms (Eldorado in 2011, ABQ Green Jeans in 2015, Brakeroom in 2018), and being the first brewery in the state to surpass 15,000 barrels. Lastly, moving from a micro to a regional brewery.

DSBC: What were some of your favorite moments, personally?

Lock: Favorite moments would be working festivals and talking to all the craft beer fans about beer and culture. Creating a beer culture in New Mexico and creating a brand that attracts a family-like vibe both for employees and for patrons.

DSBC: What was the funniest thing(s) that ever happened at the brewery?

Lock: I think the funniest story is the infamous Chicken Killer Barley Wine story. The name of the beer came from an event that happened out in Galisteo, NM, where Petey the miniature dachshund mauled over 30 chickens.

DSBC: What’s the original craft beer company of New Mexico currently focusing on?

Lock: We are focusing on being relevant in the craft beer space. It is so competitive these days that you have to be innovative, and always coming out with new offerings to keep the brand fresh and interesting, otherwise you will be forgotten about.

DSBC: We know about the (main brewery) taproom is currently being built. But, with your 30th anniversary in mind, what do you think the next 30 years look like for SFBC?

Lock: Yes, new taproom is the focus along with a very large beer garden. It’s hard to speculate about the next 30 years, but for the next five years I see a new brewhouse in SFBC’s future, and some other exciting products to add to our portfolio.

30th Anniversary Events

  • Today (Tuesday): Steel Pulse & Tribal Seeds will be live at The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing with rad special guests Iya Terra. Ages 21+. Tickets are $28 in advance, $33 day of show (including all service charges). 6–10 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 30th Bash — Chicken Killer 2.0 Release Party. Party hard with the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society! They’ll will be at SFBC to host an onsite pet adoption from noon to 3 p.m. 15 percent of the beer sales from this event will be donated to the shelter. There will be food trucks as well as live music by the, like, totally gnarly cover band Chango. Free admission 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Thundercats hooooo!
  • Thursday: 30th Bash — Beer Dinner with Pig and Fig. To celebrate 30 years in the biz, SFBC is teaming up with Pig + Fig Cafe for what will prove to be an unforgettable beer and food pairing dinner. The meal includes six righteous courses prepared by award-winning, world-renowned chef Laura Crucet. The dinner will take place in SFBC’s packaging hall. Santa Fe Brewing’s bad-to-the-bone brewmaster Bert Boyce will host the evening’s festivities. According to SFBC: “The dinner will be paired with a wide variety of SFBC brews, including a few old favorites from the vault and some never before seen new releases.” Tickets are available through holdmyticket.com. $5 from every ticket sold will be donated to Feeding Santa Fe, Inc. 5-8 p.m.
  • Friday: 30th Bash — “Santa Feighty-Eight” Party. SFBC is going Back to the Future with a celebration worthy of a 30th anniversary. Because the brewery was ‘born in the 80s,’ the staff is hosting an 80s-themed birthday bash with karaoke, a costume contest, beer specials, and food trucks. So get out your best denim jackets and neon spandex and don’t forget to Aqua Net that do! 15 percent of the proceeds from the event will go to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association: New Mexico Chapter. 7-10 p.m.
  • Saturday: 30th Bash — Brews and Body Art. SFBC is hosting a totally bodacious live body art competition with Rock Your Body Face and Body Art. In front of a live audience, body artists will battle each other with live canvasses, and the audiences will vote for their favorites with wicked cash prizes on the line. For the occasion, SFBC is releasing Merkin’s brand-new “Pepe Loco” Mexican Lager (their newest creation in the Ever-Changing series). DJ Orign and DJ Kota will provide the jams. You can bet it’ll be turned up to the max! 15 percent of the sales during this event will be donated to ARTsmart New Mexico. For more information go to: info@rockyourbodyfaba.com. 3-10 p.m.
  • Sunday: 30th Bash — “Hair of the Dog” Beer Olympics. And, the word of the day is “Hangover.” Ahhh! If you’ve still got any fight left in you after a week full of fun beer events, SFBC is closing out the festivities with a “bloody beer bar,” Brass Monkey (an old favorite) small-batch release, and food trucks featuring brunch items to help with your inevitable yet awesome week-of-beer hangover. If that’s not enough for you, you can participate in the 2018 “SFBC Beer Olympics!” Or, if you’re like us in the Crew, will be happy to watch from the side, through very dark sunglasses, Brass Monkey-in-hand. 15 percent of the beer sales from this event will benefit the Adaptive Sports Program New Mexico. Noon-5 p.m.

“If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight miles an hour, you’re going to see some serious shit.” — Doc Brown

To many more years of great beer and great times!

Cheers!

— Luke

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Luke – SFBC Oktoberfiesta Circa 2014

For more #craftbeer news and @nmdarksidebc info, follow me on Twitter @SantaFeCraftBro. Untappd: SantaFeLuke.

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Rich Headley, and his epic goatee, pours us a cold one.

Back in June, even we were feeling the sweltering heat all the way up here in Santa Fe, it was hard to escape the slow simmer of city life even in the Sangres. And, when it gets too hot in the city, us Santa Feans just gotta get out of town. Well, one Wednesday, I did just that. I headed down Highway 14, passing Tumbleroot’s new brewing/distilling/taproom on my left, and Santa Fe Brewing Company’s main complex on my right.

And, vowing not to pick up any hitchhikers, as requested by the signs preceding the state pen, that is, unless they showed the right amount of leg — with my windows rolled down, Iron Maiden screaming across the Bluetooth, I breezed down the two-lane road with a cool sense of freedom. I was getting out of town, and loving the gorgeous, greenish landscape that sprawled out before me.

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Dat vista, tho.

Before I knew it, and I truly mean that, I was there, missing the turn. It was exactly across the road from the Shell Station and Lone Butte General Store. How had I gotten here in 17 minutes from the middle of town? When I’d lived in Albuquerque, last year, it was 30 minutes to anywhere from my corner of the grid. But, here I was at 3810 State Highway 14 N, the exact location of Beer Creek Brewing Company. (For the reader who keeps calling me out on not giving exact addresses. You are not forgotten, ma’am.) (more…)

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That’s one sexy lineup, Second Street.

Since Second Street opened a third location on Rufina Street in 2017, their second brewing facility has acted as a testing-ground for the Rufina location flagship beers and what would be future Second Street can offerings. Back when I spoke with President/Brewmaster Rod Tweet for the Look Back/Look Ahead Series article for 2017-18, they were looking at releasing cans during the second quarter of 2018.

Well, here we are somewhere in the middle of the third, but, as promised, Second Street is currently labeling their cans and shipping them off to stores near you. That’s right, Second Street has cans at last! Again. Well, this time from their own canning line. And this time, for good. You might remember the short run with Mother Road Mobile Canning. Well, Second Street is doing its own thing now, and Dark Side’s got the scoop for you.

As La Cumbre, Marble, Santa Fe Brewing, Bosque, Canteen, Rio Bravo, etc., all well know, packaged goods are just another product on a shelf without a bold, eye-catching, and ultimately memorable design. The brewers work hard to put something excellent in cans and bottles that consumers can bring home from the store, but the brewery’s job is not finished there. The package has to hold its own against hundreds of other designs, especially to folks who don’t already know what they’re looking for, and indeed are judging a book by its cover. For example, Santa Fe Brewing and Marble have both majorly overhauled their packaging to ensure that what they put out there on the shelves would 1) stand out to the public in an ever-shrinking market, and 2) represent their brand to the fullest potential with a certain stylistic cohesiveness, so the consumer can not only return to what they know and love, but also be confident in trying another can or bottle from the same company. (more…)

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Recently I was attending a little meet-up of the Santa Fe brewers at Rowley Farmhouse Ales, and after many delicious beer samples from the local brewers, as well as some recent RFA collabs, RFA let me in on a little secret. Rowley Farmhouse Ales and recent IPA Challenge winner, Blue Corn Brewery, had a collaboration in the works. Seeing as there had never been a collaboration between these two breweries before, I wanted to get the story out to the public as soon as I could. During a very busy weekend, I caught up with both brewers to find out what exactly was going down in my town.

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RFA head brewer Wes Burbank at a recent collaboration with Pipeworks Brewing Company in Chicago.

First up, I met with Wes Burbank, the head brewer at Rowley Farmhouse Ales.

DSBC: I heard you guys are doing a collaboration with Blue Corn soon. Does Rowley Farmhouse Ales (RFA) have an official statement?

Burbank: Official Statement from RFA — Barleywine is dead, long live the new life, Pilsner! #PiL

DSBC: You guys are the kings of the collab over there at RFA. In one aspect or another RFA has been involved in at least six completed collaborations this year with many in the works. What do you feel collaborations bring to breweries and to the beer drinkers?

Burbank: Collabs are great because you get to see how other people brew on different systems. I’ve learned so much this way. It’s really great to be able to exchange little tips and tricks of the trade on brew days to make all our lives easier. There are lots of little things that pop up and you can say, “Oh, I have a clever trick for this!” I think specifically for us at RFA, we just think it’s fun, and we have the ability to do it. We don’t have a lot of core beers, and we love being able to brew new things when the (creative) spark hits. I think it’s great for the beer drinkers, because we’ll usually try stuff that we might not otherwise, either by combining things our breweries are known for, or just doing something crazy. I think it builds a sense of community, not just within the participating breweries, but sometimes with the consumers as well.

DSBC: Whose idea was the collaboration on this one? How’d it come about? Was it from the meeting?

Burbank: I’m not sure exactly where this originated, to be honest. We have been talking about doing one for a while, but usually it’s one of those several-beers-deep situations where it’s, “We should totally do a collab!” And, we finally found some time in our schedules to make it happen when we met for the first POETS (Piss Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday) meeting. We are lucky at RFA to have a great Mayhem Coordinator (the fantastic Elissa Ritt), and she actually will follow up with this type of thing, which I think is a large part of why we do so many collabs.

DSBC: What are you looking forward to most about this collaboration?

Burbank: There are two things that really excite me about this. The first is we are going to do two versions of this beer — one traditionally at Blue Corn, then followed up by the same recipe at our place with our house culture, so with some added funk. It’ll be exciting to showcase both beers side-by-side!

The second thing I’m excited about is brewing with Paul (Mallory) and Andy (Lane). They both have been great to me since I moved here a couple months ago from Colorado, so I’m excited to work with them. I’ve recently been trying to get the Santa Fe brewing community together once a month to hang out and discuss beer. We just recently had our first get-together and I think it was a huge success. That actually started with Paul and I drinking on the patio at RFA, and we both thought it would be great for everyone to have a place each month where we can exchange ideas, talk shop, or just showcase our new beers. We brewers are a busy bunch, so having a planned time allows us the chance to schedule some time out to see what we’re all up to around town.

* * * * *

I also was able to get a statement from 2018 IPA Challenge winner, head brewer of Blue Corn Brewery, and all around good guy, Paul Mallory.

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Paul Mallory hoisting up the hardware at the 2018 IPA Challenge!

“I feel excited to be doing a collaboration with another brewery in Santa Fe,” Paul said. “I also am eager to see how things turn out, considering we’re doing something a little different in regards to collaboration.

“What inspired the collaboration was just running into John (Rowley) at his spot. We have both always enjoyed doing collaborations with other breweries. We got to talking and came up with a game plan.

“We are doing two different brews, one at Blue Corn, the other at Rowley. It’ll be the same malt bill, but we’ll pitch different cultures in each one. At Blue Corn we’ll be pitching a traditional Hefeweizen yeast, while at Rowley, they’ll be pitching their mixed house culture. It should make for two very different beers.”

When asked if Blue Corn will consider doing more collaborations in the future, Paul had this to say: “We are always looking for ways to make things more interesting for us as brewers, and for our customers. We enjoy doing collaborations with other breweries and local suppliers.”

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Two Bavarian Hefeweizens from two different breweries — one thing’s for sure, whatever they do with them, whether it’s the more traditional handling or taking a bit of a more funkadelic approach, you can bet these beers will be well-brewed and delicious. These collaborations are good for our beer community, because we ARE a community. In times like these we have to remember that we’ve really got only one big enemy, and they have Super Bowl commercials and brewery-buying power. Through these collaborations we’re not so much worried about shelf space and sales figures. Instead, we declare that dilly dilly ain’t our dilly, yo. We’re one nation under a groove, gettin’ down just for the funk of it, and making good and interesting beer is all we need to focus on (from the beer-making side of things). To the independent craft beer community, we raise ‘em up!

Cheers!

— Luke

Also on tap for Rowley Farmhouse Ales:

Wednesday: In collaboration with metal band Veil of Maya, RFA is pouring their Ale of Maya at Anodyne.

“Ale of Maya is a double IPA brewed with Veil of Maya for the Summer Slaughter show on Weds 8/15 at the Sunshine Theater. Our friends at Anodyne are pouring the beer for us. It’ll be on tap Wednesday! Maybe you’ll see myself and some of the band there after the show having a couple. Ale of Maya is a West-Coast style DIPA, with lots of citrus notes. 9%ABV, and 66.6 IBU’s. \m/”  ~Wes Burbank

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Thursday: Join Rowley Farmhouse Ales at Tumbleroot Brewery & Distillery for American Funk. They’ll be pouring Greyscale and Kaffeeklatsch alongside Tumbleroot’s Gose and brand new Sour Red! Get four 5-ounce pours for $13 and enjoy live music from Earle Poole & the Girls, and Gary Farmer and the Troublemakers! I’ll be there for the whole funk and nothing but the funk!

American Funk

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I would like to thank my mother. And Oprah. And the Crew. And Chuck Norris. And Pete! No one like you, but you still fly! This one’s for the ladies! Fine… You can have it back, Paul.

Follow me on Twitter @SantaFeCraftBro for Untappd Snaps and #DarkSideBrewCrew Shenanigans. Also, follow @lostgramsofluke on IG if you’re so inclined. Quality not assured.

My Post-42

This Friday, Blue Corn is hosting their second annual Cask Festival at the southside location, bringing together at least half of the operational breweries north of La Bajada hill. OK, Burqueños, that’s that big hill between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Blue Corn organized this special event with seven excellent breweries on the roster, including one brand-new, not-yet-open (as of the writing of this article) place, Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery. Blue Corn has always been a great host for beer dinners. If you’ve read my articles, you’d already know it’s going to be an excellent way to spend your Friday night.

Why cask ales, you ask? Well, we all have mixed opinions about cask ales. Some of us enjoy them, some of us are indifferent. Some brewers don’t like to serve beer in them, but they’re a part of the industry, and some would argue it’s draught beer at its best. And, though the process has been around for ages, it’s not likely to go away any time soon, because it’s a part of beer history, and another interesting way to experience something we love.

With cask ales, something else is going on in the beer that makes it different and special, not just a foamy pour from a tap. You see, the active yeast used to carbonate the beer in these metal vessels continues to age the beer all the way until it has been tapped. As the beer ages and conditions, the CO2 created by the yeast will dissolve into the beer, smoothing out the flavors, blending as a painter does colors, and toning down the sharpness of the hops.

Oftentimes, and in a few of the cases below, brewers will add special ‘extras’ to these beers to give them a significant change in flavor profile, something they (as businesses) couldn’t do on a much larger scale, such as additions of fruit, extra dry-hops, honey, and so on. These flavors continue to condition with the beer, and give it more complexity than it had at the outset. Perhaps it loses something in the mouthfeel and in the warmer temperature, but it is still a fun way to test your palate with new flavors. Just imagine, for a minute, that if you could just cut straight through some of the high rocky peaks, you could discover the dense and beautiful vegetation at the bottom of the valley. And, there’s a history lesson in the process, if you really want to get into it. But, let that be your icebreaker at the event.

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Casks from the first Cask Festival at Blue Corn Brewery last year.

Blue Corn Brewery is no stranger to cask beers. As the title of the festival suggests, it’s not the first rodeo for the brewery. In fact, it’s not even the second. Blue Corn has held a few of these sorts of events in the past, and to great success. At one time, the brewery even used to release cask beers every Friday at the Draft Station in downtown Santa Fe. (Ah, the good ole’ days.) The best part of this event is that seven breweries are coming together on one night, to chill out, to laugh, to talk about everything from brewing process to mash paddle size … er, you know, brewer stuff. And, they’re totally accessible to you, the customers, if you’re not shy.

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Dave “Merkin,” head of R&D at Santa Fe Brewing Co., pours us a beer.

Go up to the guys with beards, glasses, or fruit-forward shirts. You’ll find them in the corners of the event — they’re the ones laughing the loudest, and having the most fun because they’re all buddies. They know how to enjoy these things, but, it’s not an exclusive club. These guys are friendly and will absolutely tell you about their favorite beer styles, favorite (other) breweries, favorite brewed beers, and so on. And, if you’re not feeling as chatty as I am after a couple beers, just ask them which brewery they brew for, and thank them for the hard work they do. Not all heroes wear capes, my friends.

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An appetizer from last year’s event.

Included in the price of these seven cask ales are seven appetizers of Blue Corn’s chef’s creation. In my experience, these bites have always been worth the price of admission, even without the beer.

Menu:

Blue Corn Brewery: Barrel Aged Imperial Stout with Cherries

            -Black Cherry Mousse with Chocolate Shavings

Santa Fe Brewing Co.: 7K All Day IPA

            -Marinated Pork Taco with Pickled Onions, Lime Cabbage and Cilantro

Duel Brewing: Fiction Belgian IPA with French Oak and Kaffir Lime Leaves

            -Salmon Ceviche with Habanero and Mango

Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery: Dry Irish Stout with Honey

            -Traditional Irish Stew

Second Street Brewery: XX ESB dry-hopped with Chinook and EKG

            -Beer Battered Alaskan Cod with Malt Vinegar Crisps

Bathtub Row Brewing Coop: Hoppenheimer IPA with Lemondrop Hops

            -Apple-Lemon Mini Cupcake with Mint

Rowley Farmhouse Ales: Biere de Garde with Brettanomyces

            -Gorgonzola Grilled Cheese with Herbed Portobello

Blue Corn was gracious enough to host this event, and we have a good number of participating breweries, but one is so new, that they haven’t sold a single beer in public, to my knowledge. Friday night at Blue Corn Brewery will be your first guaranteed chance to try a beer from Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery. I reached out to Jason Fitzpatrick, co-founder and manager of business operations, and asked him a few welcome-aboard questions.

DSBC: What does it mean to Tumbleroot to officially join the Santa Fe (as well as the whole New Mexico) beer scene?

Fitzpatrick: Joining the ranks of the talent brewers and operators in New Mexico is quite an honor. (Jason) Kirkman and I hatched the idea that was to become Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery two-and-a-half years ago, and the road was tough to get to this point. After many ups and downs throughout the process, we certainly have a greater appreciation for all of those who paved the way.

DSBC: What do you look forward to most about becoming part of this very vibrant scene? And, what are your hopes for your new establishment?

Fitzpatrick: We look forward to bringing something new and exciting to Santa Fe and New Mexico. We are inspired by bits and pieces of our experiences at taprooms, bars, restaurants, cocktail parties, family gatherings, concerts, and travels, and aim to bring all the best of those into one community-centric space. With a capacity for 400 people, our taproom can serve many different experiences at once. We hope that we have succeeded. We hope to become a second home for Santa Feans, and to inspire others to explore and connect with the community.

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Tumbleroot is here, as we saw with Jason Kirkman at Winterbrew 2018.

Why you should go?

For one thing, it’s always fun to taste a beer that’s exclusive to one event. It’s not something everyone can say they’ve had. And, it’s not something you’re likely to find again. The cask beers are usually very interesting, and certainly on the ‘extra’ end of the spectrum.

The food will be excellent and inspired, as it always is, because Blue Corn has a reputation to uphold for its beer dinners. I haven’t been let down yet.

Finally, this is a great opportunity to actually go up to and speak with brewers about what they do, how they make your beer, and what kind of beers they might be making next. Who knows? Your crazy suggestion might just end up in one of their fermenters and on the chalkboards. Or, as in my case, you might convince the brewer to brew something you once loved that’s no longer in the rotation.

The second annual Santa Fe Cask Fest is THIS Friday at 6:30 p.m. The cost of $30 per guest gets you a pour of each cask ale and seven appetizers, and a chance to shake the hand of most of the Santa Fe brewers. It’s a ticket with a built-in VIP pass, and you’re cordially invited. I look forward to seeing you there! To more beer beer events in Santa Fe, and a rapidly growing independent craft scene, we raise them up, cheers!

For reservations call 505-984-1800, or email manager@bluecornbrewery.com.
Address: 4056 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87507

— Luke

2017NMIPACround2-3

If you see me at the event, say, “Hey!” I promise to be on my most reasonable behavior.

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Head brewer Paul Mallory (left) and assistant brewer Andy Lane (right) discuss whether to add more peaches to Andy’s beer. (We also approve of the TRVE shirt, Andy.)

Today (Thursday), Blue Corn Brewery is hosting a collaboration beer dinner with Beneficial Farms CSA of Santa Fe. Beneficial Farms is a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture collaborative, that provides fresh produce to its members, while supporting 30 local New Mexico farms. This particular beer dinner is also very special to our readers because Blue Corn Brewery will be debuting assistant brewer Andy Lane’s first commercially brewed recipe — Andy’s Peaches and Cream Ale.

The recipe comes from one of the first (all-grain) homebrew recipes Lane ever made (circa 2013). Lane said he loved the flavor combination of a cream ale with peaches, and his friends all agreed with his assessment when he brewed it for them around five years ago.

“It went fast,” Lane recalled. “It was really easy to drink, really palatable.”

It was one of his favorite beers that he’d made while starting out. So, after being hired on at Blue Corn, and having worked with head brewer Paul Mallory on learning some good solid commercial brewing lessons, the first beer Lane proposed was his Peaches and Cream Ale. After just two homebrew batches, where Lane dialed in the recipe, he impressed upon Mallory that it was ready for the larger system and for the public. Today, you’ll be able to try Lane’s creation, a true labor of love, a testament to this young brewer’s journey, and a stepping stone in his career.

Andy’s Peaches and Cream Ale is a very fruit-forward beer, made with Pilsner, two-row, and honey malt, and no hops to put the peaches up front and center. A great deal of work went into this beer, the peaches in particular. They had to process them, peel them, de-seed them, freeze them, cull them, boil them, and purée them, before finally adding them to the beer. It was labor intensive and time intensive. It took roughly 10-plus hours to get it all in a tank. But, of course Lane feels it will be well worth the effort. Andy said it’s on the sweeter side, perhaps ranging into dessert beer territory, but he’s pleased with his creation nonetheless. From my early taste of the still-fermenting wort, I would say it’s definitely peachy, in a literal sense. I definitely got more peach tea than candy or dessert. And, it weighs in around 6.2-percent ABV. I can’t wait to try it once I get back from San Diego.

Blue Corn Brewery and Beneficial Farms Collaboration Dinner menu

Starter: Salami, Asadero*, Jalapeño Jack*, Queso Fresco*, Peach Compote*, Black Sea Salt Crostini

Beer: Green Chile Lager Cask* (5.0% ABV, 20 IBUs)

Salad: Spring Mix*, Goat Cheese*, Roasted Tomato*, Cucumber, Honey Balsamic Reduction*, Red Chile Pecans

Beer: Glasgow Garnet Scotch Ale (9.5% ABV, 20 IBUs)

Main Dish:Farm Raised Grilled Chicken*, Mushroom Cream Sauce,Jalapeño-Asadero Potato Gratin*, Sautéed Greens*

Beer: SMASH Pale Ale (5.6% ABV, 40 IBUs)

Dessert: Vanilla Ice Cream, Milk Chocolate Drizzle, Peach Glaze*, Mint

Beer: Peaches n’ Cream Ale* (6.2% ABV, 14 IBU)

*#LocallySourced

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All brewers get their start somewhere. Sometimes it happens in the blink of an eye, but sometimes it happens after a long, winding journey, and many guessed-at roads. If you haven’t read my previous articles on Andy Lane, you can certainly ask him about where it all began, where he’s been, and what he wants to do eventually. He’ll be there at the beer dinner, happy to share his hero’s journey with you.

I asked Lane what it meant to him, to be able to now commercially brew a recipe of his own design. He replied, “It’s exciting! I now get to professionally brew one of the first beers that got me into homebrewing. It’s rewarding. It feels like the last step in a long process. But, it also feels like the first step on the road to what I want to do, if that makes sense.”

Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. at Blue Corn Brewery (Southside). The cost is $45 per person. Call (505) 438-1800 to make your reservations.

To the beginning of what I hope is a very fruitful career (no pun intended), raise ‘em up, my friends!

Cheers!

— Luke

2017NMIPACround2-3

Untappd: SantaFeLuke, Twitter: SantaFeCraftBro

My Post-16

Calling all beer geeks! Many of you have tried, or at least heard of the amazing beer, “Bomb!” from Prairie Artisan Ales (Tulsa, Oklahoma). Maybe some of you haven’t, but that’s OK, too. I’m not calling you out. If you haven’t heard of it, Bomb! is a huge, 13-percent ABV imperial stout aged on chocolate, coffee, vanilla beans, and ancho chile peppers. According to Prairie, “The peppers add just the right amount of heat to complement the intense coffee and chocolate flavors.” For those of you who have had this, you know it’s a big, chewy, complex-yet-pretty-balanced beer.

This Sunday, Rowley Farmhouse Ales is hosting an event at the brewery surrounding this crazy amalgamation of four separate flavorful imperial stouts. It’s not like any beer event I’ve ever been to in New Mexico. It’s called Prairie Bomb! Deconstructed. Is RFA just tapping Bomb!? No sir/ma’am! These mad scientists are messing with the very fabric of creation itself! Well, not exactly.

Other bars and taprooms have hosted similar Bomb! Deconstructed events, tapping all four variants and letting the public blend to their hearts’ content, but this is where the mad science of RFA comes in. According to chef and co-owner Jeff Kaplan, they have the actual recipe straight from Prairie.

Bomb! is made up of a blend of four different imperial stouts with four different flavor components and RFA has a keg of each.

Deconstructed Bomb! Chocolate – Imperial Stout with cacao nibs (13% ABV)

Deconstructed Bomb! Coffee – Imperial Stout with Spaceship Earth coffee (13% ABV)

Deconstructed Bomb! Vanilla – Imperial Stout with vanilla beans (13% ABV)

Deconstructed Bomb! Chile – Imperial Stout with ancho chile peppers (13% ABV)

During this event, you’ll get a flight including each deconstructed stout, plus the constructed Bomb! and of course, a beaker, you know, for science! With that flight full of Bombs! (wow, that’s something you can’t say near a TSA agent), you’ll get a chance to blend your Deconstructed Bomb! variants together, and Rowley and Kaplan will take it back to “the lab.” Then, whoever gets closest to the official artisan blend will win a couple of Rowley bottles and achieve supreme beer geek fame for all time.

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Now, it wouldn’t be a Rowley event without puppies. That’s right, this, as with many of Rowley Farmhouse Ales events, supports a local nonprofit to help make life better for our furry friends, something very near and dear to the Rowley crew. This event in particular is supporting NM Pets Alive, a local nonprofit life-saving program for at-risk doggos and kitties. They’re will also have some adoptable puppies on-site during the afternoon.

The event is all Sunday afternoon beginning at 11:30 a.m. To more Bomb!-ass beer events for great causes, cheers!

— Luke

2017NMIPACround2-3