Archive for the ‘Beer Notes’ Category

Hey, we know that brewer! Toltec’s Kaylynn McKnight and co-owner Diana Navarrette are getting the brewery ready for an opening this spring. (Photo courtesy of Toltec Brewing)

It has been a while since we busted out some Beer Notes, but the news was piling up in our inbox, so here we go again.

New brewery updates

By our count, there are 20 forthcoming breweries, plus one that just opened. Alas, there is also another that closed, as we note below. First up, the breweries with active small brewer licenses.

  • Callahan West Brewery (Mosquero): The brewery is open in this small town in Northeast New Mexico. It is located at 22 Main Street, on the west side of town, next to the Headquarters Restaurant. Details are scarce at this point, but there is a fledgling Facebook page, and we suppose it could make for an interesting summer road trip.
  • Cantero Brewing (ABQ-Brewery District): Slow but steady progress is apparent, with the brewing system now set up. We will drop the owners another line and see if we can get an advance tour/preview.
  • Elkins Brewing (Grants): There is still no website, no social media, or anything else about this brewery. If anyone out there has information, please send it over.
  • Red River Brewing: The staff seems to be putting the finishing touches on the interior of the completed building. Hey, someone had to benefit from the mild winter up north. It should be only a matter of time before we add Red River to our next Taos Trek (which we are way, way overdue to do again).
  • Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery (Santa Fe): Plenty of positive signs abound to the point of where we have to imagine it will be the next to open. Tumbleroot has begun brewing and distilling, and in addition is starting to book musical acts for its stage. Look for a preview in the coming weeks.

The snow finally showed up, but not before most of this new brewery was built. (Photo courtesy of Red River Brewing)

Now for all the breweries with pending small brewer licenses, who are, by and large, further away from opening.

  • 1933 Brewing (Rio Rancho): Located in the old Fat Squirrel building on Southern, we have seen construction getting underway. There is also a Facebook page and a website, finally, though neither have any real information.
  • BLUE (ABQ-Downtown area): We have no new updates about this brewery, which a source told us would be located somewhere along Broadway near Lead/Coal, similar in size and scope to Sidetrack.
  • Bonito Valley (Lincoln): The brewery’s Facebook page said it hopes to open by the summer along Highway 380 in Southeast New Mexico.
  • Brewstillery (ABQ-UNM area): We still have no information on this place.
  • Casa Vieja (Corrales): The existing event space may look to do some small batch beers, but will mainly use the license to sell beer and wine at the events it hosts.
  • Cloudcroft Brewing: Formerly known as Switchback Brewery, it will instead be named for the town it will call home in the mountains in Southern New Mexico. A full build-out is now underway, with a very rustic look to the site, which is quite appropriate.
  • Hollow Spirits (ABQ-Wells Park): The distillery/brewery has hired a head distiller, Trey Allen, but no projected opening date (or even month) has been listed.
  • Hopscotch Brewing (Artesia): First, the good news is that Deepwell Brewing is alive and well under a new name. The bad news is that it will take over the building previously occupied by Desert Water Brewing, which closed recently. Still, soon Artesia will be back to having two breweries, and that is a good thing.
  • Icebox Brewing (Las Cruces): There is a Facebook page, but beyond the address of 2825 W. Picacho Ave., there is no additional info.
  • Leaf & Hive (Santa Fe): One of two places looking to open in the capital city that will offer up mainly products that require a brewing license, but are not necessarily beer. The Facebook page says it will be honeybrew, a “heirloom cultured sparkling tea.”
  • Sourdough Mine Restaurant and Brewery (Socorro): Located in the old Twisted Chile space off the main plaza, the restaurant is already up and running.
  • Tall Pines Beer and Wine Garden (Ruidoso): This beer/wine bar has been in operation for a while. It remains to be seen how much (if any) beer it plans to brew.
  • Toltec Brewing (ABQ-West Side): The exterior signage is now covering all the entrances at 10250 Cottonwood Park NW. Inside, the brewery area appears ready, while the the taproom area is getting the final paint job. We can also confirm that former Nexus brewer Kaylynn McKnight will be running the brewhouse, while Adam Galarneau, formerly of Bosque, Marble, and Turtle Mountain, will be the general manager. Those are two talented and experienced people, a good sign of the commitment of the Toltec owners to putting their brewery on the map from the get-go.

That’s some swanky signage! (Photo courtesy of Toltec Brewing)

There are three other breweries we know are on the way, but have not yet applied for a license. We recently previewed Ex Novo Brewing and its plans to open in Corrales. HoneyMoon Brewery, a kombucha-centric operation, is coming to Santa Fe. Blu Dragonfly is coming to the northern town of Cimarron and has already joined the NM Brewers Guild far in advance of its opening.

If there are any other new breweries out there that we missed, please let us know.

We can also report that Guadalupe Mountain (Carlsbad) and Lost Hiker (Ruidoso) are now open and serving their own beers.

Politics and beer don’t mix here or anywhere

Well, so much for this legislative session.

One of the best things about breweries is how they are (usually) delightfully free of the venomous political discourse that has infected our country. Sadly, politics has a way of getting into the beer, and it rarely turns out well for any beer drinker, regardless of his/her affiliation.

Here in New Mexico, even after it passed both houses in the legislature, Senate Bill 204 died with a whimper when outgoing Governor Martinez killed it with a pocket veto. SB204 was designed to give breweries the ability to obtain private celebration permits. Currently, only distributors have these permits. Who knows why the governor did not like this bill, which had bi-partisan support.

It could be worse, however, as craft brewers in Maryland suffered a devastating defeat in Annapolis. Small breweries in Maryland face significant restrictions in how much beer they can brew and sell. Efforts to lift many regulations have failed, as the combination of macrobreweries and distributors have been opposed to giving craft breweries any advantages. Hopefully more progressive politicians will take another look at the situation next year.

Meanwhile, the announcement of pending tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum imports have left some in the craft beer industry worried. Those worries may be valid, as this story in the Wall Street Journal shows. (Thanks to Boxing Bear’s David Kim for the link.) A rise in the price of American steel and aluminum would benefit the manufacturers, but not everyone in the market may be able to afford those increases. That could hamper an industry that uses a hell of a lot of both metals. Ultimately, though, it is still early in the process, and time will tell what the full impact will be on the brewing industry.

Sampler tray

  • Little Toad Creek got some good news when its first taproom outside Silver City cleared a major hurdle. The City of Las Cruces has given its approval for the location at 119 N. Main St. Now all that remains is for state approval, which hopefully will come in advance of the Blazin’ Brewfest in May.
  • Red Door is looking to hire a new head brewer. We are working on finding out the details behind the departure of founding brewer Wayne Martinez.
  • Tart at Heart is returning to Sister for a fourth time on April 14. We will have more details as we get closer to this fun annual event.
  • Second Street will host the first Pilsner and Crab Fest at the Rufina Taproom on June 16-17. It will not be a competition, but a celebration of the style. We would love to see what other breweries bring to at least give us all the opportunity to do a side-by-side tasting.
  • Rejoice, haze lovers, for the Brewers Association has heard your cries. Three new hazy or juicy ale categories (pale, IPA, double IPA) have been added to the official ranks of the Beer Style Guidelines. Other categories have been added as well to reflect the ongoing evolution of craft beers. Click that link for more details.

That clears out the notebook for now. If anyone out there ever has any craft beer news to share, big or small, drop us a line at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or just tapping on a Crew member’s shoulder if you spot one of us out and about at a brewery, taproom, or beer bar.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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That little construction project on McMahon near Unser is the forthcoming west side taproom for Tractor.

Time to clear out the old beer notebook once again …

Tap That offers up a different approach

For those who do not follow us on Facebook, you might have missed our discovery, per reader Matthew Abeyta, that there is a new taproom opening up this weekend. It is not, however, like most (or possibly) taprooms you have ever been to before.

Tap That, located on Montgomery just west of Louisiana (near the old Heimat House/Assets Grille), is hosting its grand opening starting at 5 p.m. today (Friday). The concept, as explained to us by our friend Angelo Orona, is where people come in, get a hi-tech bracelet, and use it to order the beers. There will also be a full food menu. It is not quite like one of those serve yourself taprooms that have popped up in other states (that is still against the law in this state, as far as we know), but it will be a different concept.

We would share more from the Albuquerque Business First story that ran a few weeks ago, but it is locked behind the subscriber-only paywall. Needless to say, if you can afford a subscription (we cannot), go get it, and help some fellow journalists stay employed.

Otherwise, head over to Tap That and let us know what you think. With luck, and a little free time, the Crew will head over there soon as well.

Tastings, tappings, and more

Outside the breweries, there is a fair amount going on this weekend that will keep us plenty busy. It starts today (Friday) at 4 p.m. as North Coast Brewing will be at Jubilation, presenting their most excellent Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout and other beers for tasting. Word is there will even be two bottles of the barrel-aged Rasputin, XVII and XX. It runs until 6 p.m. and is free, of course, but it is so hard to roll into Jubilation these days and not roll out with a box full of delicious beers from around the country and some delectable local offerings as well.

Once you are done there, head on down to Sister for a Bell’s tap takeover that starts at 5 p.m. In addition to the worth-the-hype Hopslam, an imperial IPA brewed with honey, there will be multiple other varieties available as well. The one we are excited about is the Whiskey Barrel-Aged Cherry Stout, which many folks have told us is a much more balanced version than the regular batch.

For events at breweries, might we suggest going to Marble Westside tonight at 8 to see our friend Kristen’s band, String Dinner. Hopefully her other band, Distances, which might be the best metal band in Albuquerque, will be performing again soon somewhere.

If anyone needs to get out of town this weekend, our friends at Truth or Consequences Brewing have suggested a trip south. Take a dip in the hot springs to relax, then head over to the brewery for some fun and new beers. Big River IBA (7.5% ABV, 69 IBU) went on tap Thursday. It is an India Brown Ale, a fun take on a slightly different IPA. The brewery has live music ever Friday and Saturday night, too. Special upcoming concerts include The Pine Hill Haints on Tuesday and The Booze Bombs on Thursday, both at 7 p.m. The latter band is described as German rockabilly, which has us imagining Rammstein crossed with Reverend Horton Heat, or something like that.

The TorC staff recommends The Firewater Lodge, The Blackstone, Riverbend, Las Palomas, The Charles, Indian Springs, and The Pelican as the best places to stay the night.

New brewery/taproom updates

  • High & Dry Brewing has quietly opened in the southeast. I took a tour the other day with brewer/owner Andrew Kalemba, so look for our full story early next week. For now, there are six guest taps available, but the house beers will not be on tap until the grand opening on February 10. It is a sweet little space that they have built on Adams just south of Lomas. It also might be one of the most deceptive taprooms in town. From the outside it looks quite small, but the inside can fit up to 88 people, with even more room in the back for brewing.
  • Tractor has a pending license for its forthcoming west side taproom, plus some pictures went up on social media this week (see above). Look for that space to open in the coming months.
  • It appears the mysterious 1933 Brewing Company announced for Rio Rancho will be moving into the old Fat Squirrel Pub and Grill on Southern Boulevard. Long ago, of course, that was the original location of Turtle Mountain. It will not be owned by the folks behind Pi Brewing, who also previously owned the Fat Squirrel, but by new owners.
  • Construction continues apace at Cantero and Lava Rock, but neither appears close to opening its doors. The Ponderosa taproom at the El Vado Motel redevelopment has been delayed (more on that with the Ponderosa Look Back/Look Ahead Series article coming next week) and will probably not open until later in the spring.
  • Another new addition to the list of pending small brewer licenses is Casa Vieja LLC in Corrales. We are pretty sure we know what this one is, too, but for now we are remaining mum at the request of the owner.

That is all from us today. As always, please let us know whenever you see anything out there that you think is beer news: nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The Brewers Association is working with the USDA to help hop growers, big and small.

Even in a slow news period, there are still little items we would like to share.

Brewers Association moves to support independent hop growers

The good folks over at the BA announced today that they have struck an agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service (USDA-ARS) “to fund public hop breeding for the purpose of developing and releasing disease resistant aroma hop cultivars into the public domain, in support of hop growing efforts throughout the U.S.”

What that basically means is it will be even easier for more and more folks to start growing hops without worrying about copyrights and the like, so long as they are working to create disease- and pest-resistant strains. The hop-growing industry is booming in the Pacific Northwest, and now even local farms in New Mexico are beginning to pop up, such as Red Hat Hops in Los Ranchos. Fighting the scourge of disease and pests is a key to that continued expansion, as well as keeping costs due to shortages from spiraling out of control.

Coincidentally, Red Hat is hosting a special meeting this Saturday (invite-only) to bring together breweries, hop farmers, and other farmers to work in even better collaboration. In other words, your local beers may be getting even more local ingredients as everyone finds even better ways to work together. If one of the Crew can attend this event, we will have a full report next week.

International Stout Day returns

The glorious holiday known is back this Thursday, celebrating all that is great and wonderful about beers on the darker end of the spectrum. Canteen will be bringing back the award-winning Panama Joe just in time, but as always we encourage everyone to seek out great stouts all around the city.

Sadly, Driftwood Oatmeal Stout is no longer a part of the regular menu at Bosque, having been bumped from the lineup due to low sales and the need to make a permanent tap for the 1888 Blonde Ale.

Happily, Bombs Away Beer Company unveiled its first stout back on Friday, the mean and burly Stockpile Stout. This is not a sweet, creamy little thing, but instead a thick, robust stout that will go oh-so-well once the weather finally turns cold (which, as a side note, could very well be this weekend to coincide with the NMAA state soccer tournament, which always has terrible weather, as us freelance reporters always find out the hard way).

Look for more on Stout Day in the upcoming edition of The Week Ahead in Beer.

Rio Bravo hosts homebrew event

This Saturday is National Learn to Homebrew Day, with events across the country to encourage folks to start up or improve their existing techniques. The main event here in town will take place at Rio Bravo Brewing, which has the available space to host the Dukes of Ale and Worthogs of Rio Rancho. Southwest Grape and Grain should also be on hand.

We should have a lot more on this later in the week, but for now, check the Facebook pages of Rio Bravo and the rest for more details. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and admission is free.

Obligatory updates on new breweries

Here are the latest little bits and pieces about forthcoming breweries and off-site taprooms.

  • High and Dry Brewing, located on Adams just south of Lomas, is making some serious progress and could open before the end of the year. They are painting the exterior and just received their new 1-barrel brewing system.
  • Hollow Spirits, located on 1st Street between Dialogue and Marble, has begun its interior build-out. Friends and family helped in the demolition/clean-up of the warehouse space. The combined brewery/distillery is aiming to open in 2018.
  • Cantero Brewing, located in the old Firkin Brewhouse space on Columbia south of Aztec, and Lava Rock Brewing, located on Unser north of Ladera, are both moving along, though there is no big news from either place. It remains to be seen who will win the race between them and High and Dry to be the next brewery to open in Albuquerque.
  • Outside of the metro area, Guadalupe Mountain Brewing in Carlsbad now has an active small brewer license with the state. Anyone in the Carlsbad area looking for work can check the list of open positions on the brewery Facebook page.
  • Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery in Santa Fe is making some major progress. The still has arrived and the build-out of the production facility is nearly complete.
  • Lost Hiker Brewing in Ruidoso has received public approval and is now moving ahead with the final stages before opening, possibly before the year is out. The brewery already has merchandise for sale online.
  • Red River Brewing now has a pending license with the state. Construction of the new brewery building in the ski town is progressing quickly as the crew rushes to finish before the snow arrives.
  • We reported last month that Bare Bones Brewing in Cedar Crest had an active license, but that was not the case. Instead, the license has been withdrawn by the brewery owners, who told us via Facebook message that they are looking to go in a new direction. There were no further details, but it looks like Ale Republic will remain the lone brewery in the East Mountains for the foreseeable future.
  • On the new taproom front, Santa Fe Brewing has a pending offsite license for a new downtown location, though no exact address is listed. When we learn more, we will make sure to update everyone.

That is all from us for the time being. If anyone has news or updates they would like to share, please email us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com or drop us a line via any of our social media sites.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Get ready to raise those La Cumbre pints soon, Arizona!

It was clearly time to clear out the old notebook once again …

La Cumbre expands distribution to the west

Last year, when I sat down with owner/master brewer Jeff Erway for our Look Back/Look Ahead Series article, he said that Arizona was definitely his next target for out-of-state distribution. The only thing he was lacking at the time was a distributor. Well, it appears he found one.

La Cumbre announced on social media that it will indeed expand to the Grand Canyon state, debuting in the Phoenix area on October 9 and moving out to the rest of the state in the weeks that follow.

“The responses on our Twitter account and Facebook and things like that has been overwhelmingly from Arizona,” Jeff told the Albuquerque Journal. “Arizona seems like the state that’s most thirsty for La Cumbre beer.”

La Cumbre will become the third New Mexico brewery to distribute in Arizona, joining Marble and Santa Fe. It also distributes in Colorado.

The Roswell mystery solved

For all the growth in craft beer in New Mexico, the fifth largest municipality in the state still has not attained its own craft brewery. Roswell, smaller only than Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, and Santa Fe, has oddly been a craft beer dessert. If nothing else, it seemed like at some point, maybe an out-of-town brewery would at least put a taproom there. Well, that day is about to arrive.

Milton’s Brewing, headquartered in Carlsbad, has officially announced on social media that it will be opening a taproom in Roswell. Milton’s Off Main is slated to open at 315 N. Main St. later this year. It will mark the first off-site taproom for Milton’s and, as noted above, the first true craft taproom in town.

Obligatory forthcoming breweries update

Yeah, we dig that logo. As local as local can be.

As per usual, here is the latest info (if we have any) on the next wave of breweries. Take note, we only list those who have a pending small brewer license with the State of New Mexico.

  • Bare Bones Brewing now has an active license with the state, but the Cedar Crest brewery has yet to open. There are no updates on the brewery Facebook page, either, but we gotta imagine it is getting close. Keep an eye out.
  • Bombs Away Brewing also has an active license. We feel confident in saying it will be the next brewery to open. Stay tuned for an update sooner than later.
  • The only new pending license since our last check is for a place calling itself the Brewstillery. It is located somewhere in the 87106 zip code in the southeast part of town. If anyone out there has information on this new addition to the list, please contact us.
  • Cantero Brewing has its equipment now in place, per its social media. Looks like it is getting close and may be able to open before the year is out.
  • Guadalupe Mountain Brewing has also received its equipment down in Carlsbad. It should be getting close as well.
  • We solved two mysteries with one Instagram inquiry the other day. It turns out that High and Dry Brewing, which has an account, is one and the same with Volume 31 Brewing, a mystery pending license holder we spotted a few weeks back. The brewery will go by the former name, with a nice hot air balloon motif (surprisingly, a first for a local brewery, as far as we can recall). High and Dry will be located at 529 Adams St., which is just south of Lomas.
  • Lava Rock Brewing has a “coming soon” sign now posted outside the building on Unser just north of Ladera. We will take that as a good sign (pun intended).
  • Lost Hiker Brewing has a public hearing pending with Ruidoso Downs residents and officials on October 10. After that, it should be good to go to bring local craft to the mountain town.
  • Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery is also making progress in Santa Fe, per its social media pages. It is in the market for a brewer/distiller and bottle shop/market manager. If you have interest in either position, email the Crew and we can forward your info to the owners.
  • We do not have anything new on the following forthcoming breweries: BLUE (Albuquerque), Elkins Brewing (Grants), Glencoe Distillery and Brewery (Ruidoso), Switchback Brewery (Cloudcroft), and Toltec (Albuquerque).

As always, if there are any news tidbits we have missed, please drop us a line via social media or at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The swanky new patio bar at Rock & Brews will be running for their Saturday beer festival. (Photo courtesy of Rock & Brews)

Fridays are always a good day to catch up on all the news that would otherwise slip through the cracks. This week, we have some changes with the front-of-house at Rio Bravo, two special brews for college rivals UNM and NMSU, a Saturday beer fest at Rock & Brews, and, yes, of course some news on forthcoming breweries and off-site taprooms.

Moving and shaking at Rio Bravo

Rio Bravo has turned over three key positions recently, all designed to help the brewery run even better than before.

“We’ve got a lot of new people in here,” head brewer Ty Levis said. “We’re seeing some big changes, some real social media push, some (big) events coming up.”

As many have probably heard, Amberley Pyles is the new marketing and social media director. She brings a wealth of experience from her time at Marble Brewery.

Joining her are bar manager Chrystal Buzzard, who comes from Vintage in the Northeast Heights, and general manager Aaron Jackson, who has managed at numerous bars and restaurants at night over the years in addition to corporate management during the day.

Aaron and Amberley have already been making sure Rio Bravo takes advantage of its huge beer garden in the back for outdoor concerts and other events.

“We’ve had quite a few concerts back there now that we’ve had 300-plus people,” Aaron said. “We have many more to come this next month.”

One of the biggest upcoming events at the brewery will be its second anniversary party on September 22. That day will also mark the debut of The Burger Stand at Rio Bravo, which will make it the first brewery in the Wells Park neighborhood with a full kitchen.

“It will keep people here for a second beer,” Ty said. “It really does make a difference in the grand scheme of things.”

Rio Grande Rivalry gets its own beers

For those who do not subscribe to the Albuquerque Journal, you might have missed the back-to-back stories on two local breweries partnering with our state’s two main universities.

Bosque Brewing will join forces with New Mexico State to create Pistol Pete’s 1888 Ale, a blonde ale that will first go on tap at the Las Cruces taproom (natch). It will eventually be available at both Albuquerque locations as well, and at Aggies sporting events in Las Cruces.

“We are really excited to do this beer in collaboration with NMSU,” Bosque owner Gabe Jensen wrote in an email. “We have had great support in Las Cruces and being an alum of NMSU, just made this make sense. Not to mention how excited I am to have this beer available year round. It’s one of my favorite beers we’ve done.”

Once the Bosque production facility in Bernalillo is done, the 1888 will be canned as well and available in statewide distribution.

Meanwhile, the University of New Mexico will team up with Kellys Brew Pub and Santa Fe Dining to create Lobo Red Ale. There are plans to eventually can this beer as well, but for now look for on tap at Kellys and UNM sporting events. It should also be available at Chama River and Blue Corn, the other two breweries owned by parent company Santa Fe Dining.

Rock & Brews taps a wide variety of beers for patio festival

Before summer completely disappears, Rock & Brews is hosting a beer festival on the patio this Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. There are special VIP tickets available in advance, which gets you two special pours and a commemorative shirt. Regular tickets cost $15 if you purchase in advance, going up to $20 at the start Saturday.

The beer list definitely has a fruity theme to it. Here is the mix of unique local and regional beers on tap.

  • Boxing Bear: AppleBear Cider
  • Marble: Strawberry Gose
  • Ponderosa: Raspberry Saison
  • Rio Bravo: Pink Boots Pale Ale (brewed in collaboration with ABQ chapter of Pink Boots Society)
  • Sierra Blanca: Cherry Wheat
  • Starr Brothers: Piney the Apple
  • Steel Bender: Saison de la Rosa (exclusive pour)
  • Golden Road: Tart Mango
  • Great Divide: Grapefruit Roadie
  • Oskar Blues: Fugly
  • Uinta: Lime Pilsner
  • Upslope: Belgian Blonde with guava

New brewery and taproom updates

We have news on two forthcoming taprooms, but at the request of the breweries, we are withholding their names. One taproom will be somewhere in the university area. We do not know the exact location, but it is a ways off, so stay tuned.

The other taproom is from an existing brewery in Southeastern New Mexico, but it will not be in the same town as its mothership. Instead, it will be the first craft taproom in Roswell. With a population of more than 45,000 people, Roswell is the largest town in New Mexico with no craft brewery or taproom to call its own. Again, once we get the green light to name the brewery and identify the taproom location, we will share it.

As for new breweries, we do have one new name since our last Beer Notes. Elkins Brewing is looking to open in Grants some time in the near future. As of right now, Elkins does not have any social media presence that we could find. If that changes, we will share it on our corresponding social media pages.

Otherwise, the forthcoming brewery list remains as follows (in Albuquerque unless noted): Bare Bones Brewing (Cedar Crest), BLUE, Bombs Away Beer Company, Cantero Brewing, Glencoe Distillery and Brewery (Ruidoso), Guadalupe Mountain Brewing (Carlsbad), Hollow Spirits, Lava Rock Brewing, Lost Hiker Brewing (Ruidoso), Switchback Brewery (Cloudcroft), Red River Brewing, Toltec Brewing, Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery (Santa Fe), Volume 31 Brewing.

Also, while Sandbar Brewery and Grill is now open, its small brewers license is still listed as pending, so it does not yet have its own beer on tap. When it does, we will head over to try it.

That is all for now. See some of you at the Slayer/Behemoth/Lamb of God show on Saturday!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Party time with Great Divide in a couple weeks!

Lots of stuff can fall through the cracks as far as beer news goes, especially when an editor goes on a road trip, so here is pretty much everything I know we missed over the last couple weeks.

Anniversaries and grand openings and soft openings

Today (Friday) is going to be a busy one. First up, Chile Line Brewing is celebrating the official grand opening of its new taproom, which is right next to Pizzeria Da Lino, at 204 N. Guadalupe St. in Santa Fe. There will be live music, special food samples, and of course plenty of beer starting at 4 p.m.

Duel Brewing has been celebrating its fourth anniversary all week long in Santa Fe. The party comes to Albuquerque tonight at 8 p.m. James Whiton will bring his solo loop bass, with a number of burlesque dancers performing. All sours will be $1 off all night.

Also, a reader has informed us that Colfax Ale Cellars in Raton will be quietly having a soft opening. New Mexico’s northernmost brewery had hoped to open last fall, but hit a few more bumps in the road. At last, they will open today at 3 p.m. The Run to Raton Bike Rally & Car Show is also in town, so a lot of the motels are already booked. Take note if you plan to drive up, you will have to designate a driver. The grand opening date will be announced soon.

Exclusive beers en route

Our buddy Thomas DeCaro, now representing Great Divide, is bringing some special new IPAs to town for a two-night tapping at two locations. They will happen at Sister Bar on August 4 at 5 p.m., and then at Nob Hill Bar & Grill the following night. The beers en route are Hazy, a New England-style IPA, Tea Ski IPA, brewed with black tea, and All the Buzz Words, a special collaboration with Weldworks. ABW is described as a “kettle sour session New England-style IPA.” It debuted back at the brewery in Denver on July 1.

Boxing Bear to the Heights

We are working on a time to go more in-depth on this, but yes, it appears that Boxing Bear is the brewery targeted to move into the forthcoming taproom space being built at the new Snow Heights Promenade at Eubank and Menaul. Head brewer Justin Hamilton pretty much confirmed it to the Albuquerque Journal. That’s official enough for us.

More taprooms and breweries?

That mystery taproom coming to Menaul just east of Louisiana has now been confirmed as Broken Trail, which will have beer and spirits available (unlike just spirits at Green Jeans). Owner Matt Simonds asked us to keep quiet until it was more official, but the word got out and now we can say, yeah, that’s Broken Trail.

Elsewhere, Hollow Spirits, the new venture from former Red Door co-owner Frank Holloway, has a pending small brewer license as well. Taking a similar path to Broken Trail is not a bad idea.

Down south, Lost Hiker Brewing has a pending license as well. It will be located in Ruidoso Downs. That mountainous region also has the Glencoe Distillery and Brewery coming east of Ruidoso, and Switchback Brewery in Cloudcroft. Unlike the others, Lost Hiker does have a Facebook page so everyone can keep track of the progress.

* * * * *

That is all the news we missed (that we know of). As always, if you know anything you feel we and the craft beer community should know, drop us a line via social media or at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

 

Beer Notes: Road tripping across the old USA

Posted: July 10, 2017 by cjax33 in Beer Notes

Ah, the art of taking a photo with one’s phone while driving. And not crashing. Yeeha!

As you read this today, I, your humble Stoutmeister, will be traveling along Interstate 40 eastward. The last of my cousins (at least for a while) is getting married down in Pensacola, Florida, so I figured heck, why not drive out there and explore beer in a part of the country I have not visited in a long time.

How long? Well, the last time I was in Memphis I was 11 years old. I have never been to the states of Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi. I went to New Orleans in college for Mardi Gras, but I really don’t want to talk about that hangover (so, so bad). I have never been to Houston, and my entire time in the Dallas-Fort Worth area consisted of seeing one Texas Rangers game in 2007. So, yeah, it is all pretty much an undiscovered country for me. Just without Shakespeare-spouting Klingons, right?

As I travel, I will be making quite a few beer-related stops, checking out some breweries and/or beer bars. I already circled Tapwerks in Oklahoma City, Lost Forty Brewing in Little Rock, Wiseacre Brewing in Memphis, LoDa Bier Garten in Mobile, Pensacola Bay Brewing in that city, Avenue Pub in New Orleans, The Conservatory in Houston, and potentially multiple stops in the DFW area. I will type up a few recaps of my travels, little beercation guides, since I know some of you might also head that way at some point.

Don’t worry about beer news around New Mexico, though. The rest of the Crew will step up in my absence. Deezbeers (Andrew) has a preview of the big 20th anniversary celebration at Three Rivers on Friday in Farmington. I will have a preview of the preliminary round of the NM IPA Challenge, set for Saturday at Duel Brewing, and Brandon will be at the event and providing live results on our social media outlets as they are announced. Look for plenty of other stories as well, including Franz Solo getting poetic about more beers, including one that he brewed that might set a record for IBUs.

In the meantime, since I know how much everyone likes updates on new breweries …

New brewery updates

As always, these are almost all on the breweries with pending small brewer licenses with the State of New Mexico, or those with active licenses that have still opened their doors.

  • BLUE: A new one, not sure if this going to be the final name or not, but it will be located near Broadway and Lead/Coal. A friend of the Crew is working on putting us in touch with the owner.
  • Bombs Away Beer Co.: Construction continues on the brewery near Moon and Central, but we have not received an update in a while.
  • Cantero Brewing: Yes, they really are taking over the location of the Firkin Brewhouse in the Brewery District. There is still a lot of work to do, including building a patio.
  • Hops Brewery: Well, they told us they were opening on July 1, but apparently that did not happen. We have not received any updates since.
  • Lava Rock Brewing: The brewhouse and equipment have arrived, so construction is ramping up on the new place north of Ladera on Unser. The owners anticipate a fall opening.
  • Sandbar Brewery and Grill: No new updates, but they are posting a lot of ads hiring front-of-house and kitchen staff, so that bodes well for an opening in the near future. The brewery is located on San Mateo just south of Montgomery.
  • Toltec Brewing: Another new West Side operation, they will be located next to Urban Hot Dog in a building at Cottonwood Drive and Old Airport Avenue. It sounds like they are a long ways off.
  • Volume 31 Brewing: Yup, another new addition to the list, all that is known is that this brewery will be located in the 87108 zip code in the southeast. That zip code has the boundaries of Lomas (north), Wyoming (east), Gibson (south), and Carlisle (west). This could be the proposed brewery from the owner of Humble Coffee, but we do not have confirmation of that.
  • Bare Bones Brewing (Cedar Crest): It appears they have a new location now, located further north on Highway 14 from Ale Republic. The important thing is progress continues.
  • Deepwell Brewing (Artesia): Just announced via a Facebook page, they do not yet have a pending license, but we figure they are making their presence known. We will keep an eye out on the state website.
  • Drylands Brewing (Lovington): Their license is active, but they don’t yet appear to be open.
  • Guadalupe Mountain Brewing (Carlsbad): Work continues on Carlsbad’s second brewery, but it remains a long ways from opening.
  • Red River Brewing: There is still no pending license, but the owners did demolish the old building on their property and will begin construction soon.
  • Switchback Brewery (Cloudcroft): No news.
  • Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery (Santa Fe): No news.

On the new taproom front, yes, Tractor is putting a brewery on the West Side near McMahon and Unser. We knew about that one for a while, but their owners asked us not to say much as the physical building has not been built yet. Then the Journal found out and the news broke. The Four Hills taproom will open much sooner, potentially by the start of August, though no firm opening date has been set.

There are unconfirmed rumors of lots of other taprooms opening around town. Until we get official word, we will refrain from sharing those here.

* * * * *

That is all from us for now. As always, if you know of any beer news, email us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com or contact us on social media.

Wish me luck surviving humidity. Southeastern breweries/taprooms have air conditioning, right? RIGHT?!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

It is curtains for Draft Station’s Albuquerque location. (Photo courtesy of Draft Station)

Well, it’s Friday, and the little bits of news are starting to bunch up. Here we go …

R.I.P. Draft Station, and Sandia Chile Grill, too?

It appears that two more local beer spots have closed their doors. One is now confirmed, the other seems likely but is not official.

First up, Draft Station ABQ posted on Facebook that they were closing again due to problems caused by the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project on May 5. Since then, there were no posts, and multiple people told us that the taproom appeared to be permanently closed. We were then told by another brewery that their orders for future beers have been canceled. A final confirmation then came in when we contacted an executive with parent company Santa Fe Dining, and he emailed us back to confirm that yes, Draft Station ABQ is now permanently closed.

It was always a tough sell for the local version of the big hit up in Santa Fe. While that location is in prime real estate overlooking the Plaza, the ABQ location was stuck too far from the other downtown breweries/taprooms and then just a bit too far from Old Town. Throw in the impact of A.R.T. on business (you could not turn into the parking lot from westbound Central), and it proved to be the final coup de grace. There is always the chance that Draft Station could live again (scroll down), but for now, may it rest in peace.

Meanwhile, as I posted in The Week Ahead in Beer (no worries if you missed it), by all accounts Sandia Chile Grill is closed as well. Efforts to reach them by phone have failed as the number listed has been disconnected. They have not made a social media update in some time, but then again they never were very active online. A quick drive past the location found the doors closed, but the signs were still up, including their new T-shirts in the window. The tables and chairs were still inside as well.

However, we checked the State of New Mexico website and found that their small brewer license is listed as expired. There are no applications pending for a new or renewed license under either Sandia Chile Grill or Oso Loco Brewery.

If anyone out there knows the full story with SCG, please contact us.

More new places? More new places

Meanwhile, there are three new small brewer licenses pending. The Sandbar Brewery and Grill will indeed be making its own beer in the location at 4100 San Mateo. For those thinking, “hey, that location is familiar,” it was formerly home to Sneakerz, a sports bar probably best known for having (you guessed it) sand volleyball courts on the premises.

UPDATE: We previously wrote — The prior location of the Sandbar was up near Journal Center. Many, many moons ago we reported on how they were teaming up with the long-since-defunct New Mexico Craft Brewing out of Las Vegas to serve their beer at the indoor sand volleyball facility. That partnership did not last, but we are glad to see the Sandbar owner(s) sticking with craft beer. — But, as it turns out, this Sandbar has no relationship to the previous Sandbar. Our apologies for the mistake.

The stated goal of Sandbar is to open this summer. We will keep everyone updated as to their progress.

Another new name on the list is Toltec Brewing, which has a zip code listing of 87114. That is the West Side, running from the river to Albuquerque’s western city limits. The northern boundary is Rio Rancho, the southern boundary is roughly Paseo del Norte. Currently, Marble Westside and Boxing Bear are in this zip code, so clearly Toltec could be just about anywhere out there that commercial properties exist. There is no additional information online that we could find, social media or otherwise. If anyone out there knows more about Toltec, please drop us a line.

The final newcomer is another place we knew about in advance. Guadalupe Mountain Brewing is set to become the second operational brewery in Carlsbad. We have already been in touch with their owner/brewer, so expect a story from us in the coming months. You can already follow them on Facebook.

The great mystery taproom speculation begins

A reader alerted us to the fact that the developers of the Snow Heights Promenade are planning on adding a 2,800-square-foot taproom to the complex located on the southwest corner of Eubank and Menaul.

Our friends at the Albuquerque Journal followed up on the Snow Heights Facebook post with this tasty morsel about a “soon-to-be announced ‘award-winning local brewery’ that’s looking to open a 2,800-square-foot taproom at the site.”

All right, let us play the guessing game. We can rule out just about any brewery that has opened since the start of 2016, since none of them are really in position financially to open a taproom yet. We can then throw out any brewery that has maxed out its number of taprooms (Bosque), has a taproom somewhat nearby (Marble, Canteen), or a forthcoming taproom nearby (Red Door, Tractor). Taking the award-winning comment above, we gotta figure it is a brewery that has won multiple major medals/awards, which to the general public usually starts with the Great American Beer Festival. So who does that leave?

  1. Boxing Bear: The reigning GABF Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year is a logical candidate. The taproom would certainly bring their beers to a new audience. This one almost makes too much sense, doesn’t it? Still, nothing official yet from the BBB staff.
  2. Chama River: If the Draft Station is truly closed, maybe it is due to moving here. Technically, it was always under Chama’s license, so that could work. But, then again, it would not come with the name of the award-winning brewery attached.
  3. La Cumbre: Well, now, wouldn’t that be interesting? It’s pretty far from the main brewery, though certainly not as far as Boxing Bear. Owner Jeff Erway has talked in the past about the reasons he has not opened a taproom, ranging from not wanting a location too close to a bar or restaurant that has carried LC beers since the beginning, to wanting a good landlord tenant relationship (if not outright ownership of the taproom building). We will call LC the dark horse candidate.

Could it be another brewery besides these? Sure, anything is possible, but these are the most logical candidates. Good ahead and speculate away in the comments or on social media. We will see what the final is when the developers and brewery in question are ready to announce it to the public.

More new brewery tidbits

These are all the other breweries or off-site taprooms with pending licenses with the state.

  • Bare Bones Brewing is closing in on a new location after their original space fell through in Cedar Crest. It will still be somewhere along Highway 14 in the East Mountains.
  • Bombs Away Beer Company is busy with the buildout of their space near Central and Moon. We await a chance to visit when they are ready, so yes, we are in contact with head brewer David Kimbell.
  • Drylands Brewing continues with its buildout in Lovington. Search for their Instagram page and you can keep track of their progress. It is looking good.
  • Hops Brewery in Nob Hill remains in limbo. We have no idea what the current delay is about.
  • Lava Rock Brewing continues with its buildout on Unser north of Ladera, as does Truth or Consequences Brewing down south. The latter now has an active license, but is not yet open.
  • We have nothing new to add on Glencoe Distillery and Brewery in Ruidoso (license active, but no other info), Switchback Brewery in Cloudcroft, or Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery in Santa Fe. If anyone out there has info, as always, please contact us.

That is all from us for now. Got a tip? Want to share something without announcing it to the world? Direct message us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or via email at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

It sure looks like Hops Brewery is getting close to opening in Nob Hill.

Goodness gracious, beer notes on a Friday. Whatever has come over me?

Brewers Association takes a stand against offensive labels

An emerging point of contention for craft beer has been the use of blatantly sexist or offensive labels and imagery by certain breweries. Luckily, New Mexico breweries have largely managed to avoid these sorts of things, but it has become a battleground issue in other states.

Well, the Brewers Association weighed in on all of it at the just-wrapped Craft Brewers Conference in Washington D.C. To say that the BA brought the hammer down might be a bit of an over-simplification, as it remains to be seen how it will all play out in terms of penalties and the like, but it is a big step forward to getting craft beer away from a juvenile mindset. Craft beer is still an industry dominated by white males working on the production side. That does not mean it should act like a stereotypical bad college fraternity.

Here is the exact wording the BA sent out in a press release Thursday:

“The BA updated its Marketing and Advertising Code to help brewers maintain high standards and act as responsible corporate citizens. New language has been included to address that beer advertising and marketing materials should not use sexually explicit, lewd, or demeaning brand names, language, text, graphics, photos, video, or other images that reasonable adult consumers would find inappropriate for consumer products offered to the public. Any name that does not meet the Marketing and Advertising Code that wins a BA produced competition including the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) or World Beer Cup will not be read on stage or promoted in BA materials, and will not be permitted to use the GABF or World Beer Cup intellectual properties in their marketing. Additionally, the BA has convened an Advertising Complaint Review Board should an issue arise that warrants further review and action.”

This should make for a fascinating GABF in October, especially if multiple medal winners are not read aloud during the awards ceremony. More information can be found on the official BA website.

If you want to share your thoughts or ask questions about all of this, please do so via any of our social media outlets. Or, if you would prefer to contact us directly, use nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

Southwest Bacon Fest returns

We almost completely forgot about the Bacon Fest until Marble shared the fact it is taking the aptly named Bacon’s Best Friend to the event, which runs this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Balloon Fiesta Park.

Unlike the Food Truck Festival organizers, we were never contacted by the Bacon Fest P.R. people, so it slipped through the cracks. In a late scramble, we sent out an email to 11 of the 14 attending breweries for whom we have current contact information. Unfortunately, many key brewery staffers are still en route back from the aforementioned CBC, so we only heard back from three (so far). If any others update us with their lists, we will add them here.

  • Marble: Bacon’s Best Friend (Rauchbier), Double White, IPA, Red Ale, Pilsner, DANG Pale Ale
  • Quarter Celtic: Pedro O’Flanigan, Crimson Lass, Quarter Porter, Clark IPA
  • Rio Bravo: La Luz Lager, Snakebite IPA, Lemongrass Wit, Cherry Sour, Pinon Coffee Porter

We still hope to hear back from Bosque, Boxing Bear, Canteen, Chama River, Kaktus, Palmer, Starr Brothers, and Tractor. We do not currently have contact info for Abbey, Cottonwood (Desert Water), or Santa Fe.

Hops Brewery looks like its almost ready

Based on that photo way up at the top, it sure looks like Hops Brewery is getting ready to open soon in Nob Hill. The current Albuquerque Rapid Transit construction should not get in the way too badly, so the Crew will be keeping an eye out if an official announcement appears. It has been a long, long road for Hops, which we first heard about as far back as early 2013. Let us hope only a few final touches need to be applied before they can start serving beer.

Otherwise there is nothing new to report on the new brewery front. We have not heard that Bare Bones Brewing has found a new home in the Cedar Crest area after their initial space fell through over issues with a new landlord. Bombs Away Beer Company has joined the NM Brewers Guild, but beyond that and a physical address near Moon and Central, there is nothing new there, either.

Oh, and Desert Valley Brewing officially has an active small brewer license. The main operation is still located next to the Craftroom near Menaul and the I-25 frontage road. The old Stumbling Steer space they are taking over will be an off-site taproom. They have a pending license for that with the state now.

If anyone out there hears about news involving new or forthcoming breweries, please send it to us using the usual ways (email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

See some of you downtown Saturday for the Easter Beer Hunt and/or Tart at Heart 3.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Behold the champion in all its glory! All hail Project Dank! Again!

We realize that not all of you who follow us do so on social media, so of late, there were some newsy tidbits on good old Facebook that some of you might have missed. Think of this as a little social media news roundup while we get the jam-packed Week Ahead in Beer and a feature on Three Rivers ready for the next weeks.

La Cumbre claims National IPA Challenge again

Back in 2014, La Cumbre brought some serious bragging rights to New Mexico when its Project Dank won it all at the Brewing News National IPA Challenge. Over the next two years, it was Bosque and Scale Tipper taking the crown, all while keeping New Mexico in the spotlight. After Scale Tipper was dethroned back in the Round of 32 this year, it seemed as if the title could end up leaving New Mexico. Thankfully, Project Dank was back at full power.

La Cumbre’s hop bomb of hop bombs defeated Lawson’s Finest Liquids’ Hopcelot IPL in the Final Four before overcoming Lynwood Brewing’s Hop Sauce in the championship match on Monday, making it four straight titles for the state of New Mexico.

How impressive is this? Well, prior to this little run of dominance, no state had ever won back to back, no brewery had ever won back to back, and no brewery had won more than one challenge. New Mexico now has four straight titles, with two of its breweries winning two apiece.

To heck with the West Coast IPA style. It’s time to just call it the New Mexico IPA style. It’s the best damn style in America, and it doesn’t need to be from a coast.

Pi Brewing will be closed indefinitely

Now to the bad news of the week, which comes from the West Side brewery. We will just let them tell the story directly from their Facebook page:

As you know, a car crashed into our building on January 1st causing our space to be red tagged by city officials citing safety concerns. After over 10 weeks our landlord has not approved the contractor for the work or have yet to retain a contractor to execute repairs. Once authorized, repairs are quoted to be an additional 10 weeks. The landlord’s blatant disregard for the severity of the forced closure has cost our employees their livelihood and your continued patronage. It seems the big California based property management company and the big Florida based landlord have little concern for our small New Mexico business. That being said, we have made the difficult decision to close and look for a new home.

It has been a pleasure to have been a part of your neighborhood, but the time has come for us to call another place home. In the last 7 years we have seen your children grow up, we have been a part of your first dates and later included in the weddings, even our own children have learned how to ride a bike in the dining room and throw dough in the pizza pit. You have trusted us with your field trips, birthdays and anniversaries. We have met some of the most amazing people through the years, including some of our closest friends today. Thank you for your stories, memories and incredible support!

We have a couple of locations in mind, but if you have suggestions, feel free to PM us. As soon as a new lease is signed, we will let you all know where the party will continue.

Thank you again for the last 7 years,

Greg & Nicole Villareal

Yeah, this is a major bummer. Pi was just seemingly hitting its stride and finding its niche. We wish Greg and Nicole all the luck they will need in finding a new location. It will certainly not be an easy thing to pull off, but we remain confident that they will make every effort to bring their brewery back. It will probably be quite a while, though, before they are making beer again.

New breweries update

Not much has changed since our last edition of Beer Notes, but there are a couple items that we needed to pass along.

First up, add another newcomer to the list, as Switchback Brewery in Cloudcroft has a pending small brewer license. We could not find any additional info on the new operation, not via a Google search or on social media, so at best this one is probably a long, long way off. We just have to wonder if it will really come to fruition with that name, as there is already a Switchback Brewing Co. in Burlington, Vermont. If you think “but that’s so far away, surely they won’t object,” then please go visit Mike Campbell over at Drafty Kilt and ask him what happened with the original Off Kilter name for his brewery. (Yeah, there is always a chance the Vermonters will give it an OK, but don’t hold your collective breath or anything.)

Meanwhile, in similar news to Pi, the not-yet-open Bare Bones Brewing in Cedar Crest is already looking for a new home. We will also let them explain what happened via their Facebook post:

As some of you may have already heard, Bare Bones Brewing has hit a little speed bump with our progress. Our anticipated April 2017 opening date will be pushed further down the road as we explore some new location options. Unfortunately, we were unable to come to an agreement with the new property owners in regards to how we would run our business. We were not given the same lease terms and other businesses within the same complex seemed to have more say over what we could and couldn’t do, which led us to make the very hard decision to cut our losses and move on, to find a location that would be better suited to the friendly, family, community atmosphere we are looking for. We appreciate the many hours that volunteers put into cleaning and renovating the space. It hurts to leave all that hard work behind, but as with everything in life, we live, we learn, and we come out a little better in the end. Stay tuned for updates as we move forward. Cheers!

Let this all be a lesson to anyone who thinks it’s easy to open a brewery in this day and age. We will keep an eye on any future announcements from Bare Bones about a new location.

Anyway, that is all for now. If anyone needs me, I will be at one of the Marble taprooms later to indulge in the new Woodshed Double Red, which is basically a barrel-aged Imperial Red blended with regular Red Ale. That is just the kind of beer to help us all survive a Tuesday.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister