Archive for the ‘Beer Premier 2013’ Category

Editor’s note: Yeah, we know, The Beer Premier was back on July 20. Brandon took his time. Part of it was the fact he took audio notes and by the end of the event (you’ll understand as you read this) it was a little, uh, hard for him to understand what he was saying. So the best way to look at this overdue review is it can become your handy beer scavenger hunt guide. No, seriously, print this out (or just keep the link handy on your smartphone) and head out whenever your weekend is and seek out all these new beers. Most, if not all, are available now at the breweries and tap rooms. Enjoy, but do take note not to try all 16 in the same day. Brandon learned that the hard way. — Stoutmeister

New Mexico has become a watering hole for quality beers. For the most part, if one was to travel to pretty much any area of the state you would be able to find a brewery to quench your thirst, or at least be able to find a local beer in packaged form in stores around the state. However, this be a challenge when it comes to keeping up with new offerings from the area. Hell, we here at the NMDSBC do our best to keep our readers in the loop about new beers, but it’s not always practical for the six of us to head out of town for beers (getting the six of us in the same room at the same is hard enough with all of our wacky schedules).

Luckily the New Mexico Brewers Guild made it easy on craft brew fans! July 20’s first Beer Premier gave patrons a taste of something new from 16 different breweries from around the state. Held at the Hispano Chamber of Commerce here in Albuquerque, each brewery brought something special which was prepared just for this event, and in most cases can now be found on tap at their respective home bases. If you weren’t keen on the new offerings you were still bound to find something to indulge in, as each brewery also brought along a few of their old favorites. New beers and old favorites? It’s a win-win situation!

Prost!  The Beer Premier tasting begins!

Prost! The Beer Premier tasting begins!

The setup was similar to some of the other beer festivals you may have been to before: we were greeted with a wristband, tickets and a tasting glass (a liberal-sized tasting glass, I might add). Tickets were good for pours of your choice from each brewery, so if you wanted to indulge in multiple pours from a certain brewery, you could do so. Each brewery also brought plenty of goods, such as shirts and growlers to fill and take home. Unfortunately I forgot to purchase growlers of my favorites by the end because, well … I’d tasted a lot of beer. In fact, I question why the rest of the Crew left me to take on this fest by myself; I mean, these were big f*****g pours of beer! (Porter Pounder, Franz Solo, and I were all working that day, E-Rock was in California, and Shilling was broke. — Stoutmeister) Alas, I stepped up to the plate with vigor, and with that I give you a breakdown of some of the beers in no particular order.

Belgian IPA, Blue Corn Brewery: The folks at Blue Corn impressed us at SummerBrew with their Schwartzbier, and continued to do so at Beer Premier with their Belgian IPA. This was an unexpectedly tasty hybrid beer, with a good hop profile to it; plenty of citrus and floral notes that linger around, with plenty of yeasty qualities and a light malt bill to tie the two styles together. A very easy drinking beer for these hot summer months that packs a bit of a punch. Impressive stuff for a unique style, which was brewed in honor of the recently opened Duel Brewing in Santa Fe, which specializes in Belgian-style beers. The Belgian IPA was a standout on this day.

Kolsch, Abbey Beverage Company: Monks was well represented this day, bringing along a fresh Kolsch for the event. Not usually my favorite style, I was more than pleased with the bright aromas and smooth pale malts within. No filtration to be found with this hazy brew, that wouldn’t be very Kolsch of them (heh). The Monks staff informed me it was not meant to be as sweet as it came out, but the sweetness is mild enough to not take away from the refreshing nature of this brew. Mild-to-nonexistent hops here and a nice crisp finish make for a mild, but flavorful concoction.

American Session Ale, Chama River Brewing: Most of the beers at Beer Premier were sessionable. Chama River Brewing actually brought a session beer, their American Session Ale, to be exact. To me, this beer drinks like a High Life (I’ll never turn down a High Life, as I am a punk rock/metalhead at heart). Light on the malts and hops, with just a touch of each to give it a smooth profile and flavor. I was hoping for a bit more out of it, but session beers are meant to be easy drinking, so Chama hit the nail on the head with this one.

Competing with Nob Hill Summerfest surely was tough, but beer lovers still found time to indulge in Beer Premier.

Competing with Nob Hill Summerfest surely was tough, but beer lovers still found time to indulge in Beer Premier.

Peaotch Pale Ale, Tractor Brewing Company: Funny beer names, you know you like em. Tractor had that covered with their “Peaotch” Peach Pale Ale. Brewed in a similar style to their Sodbuster Pale Ale, this beer adds peach flavors to the mix. Now dare I say the hops in there are dialed down by the peach in this one? Possibly, as my brewing skills are amateur at best, but my palate says yes. It drinks like a peach ring candy with a malt backing, which was actually somewhat nice initially. The sweetness was a bit too much for my liking after a few sips. Those who like a sweeter or fruity beer seemed to be enjoying this summer offering.

Saison d’Hommel, La Cumbre Brewing: A saison. The Saison d’Hommel, to be exact. To be honest, this is probably one of my least favorite styles of beer, but Jeff Erway and his staff know what they are doing. I should not have doubted them. Wonderful aromas on the nose, lots of spice and hints of orange, plus earthy characteristics from the yeast. Slightly dry and bitter in the back and on the finish, but not enough to make the rest of it bad. Almost doesn’t drink like a saison, but I will not argue with the folks who do it the best, especially when this beer is just plain great. Another favorite from the day.

Single Hop Mosaic IPA, Second Street Brewery: Aside from Blue Corn’s Belgian IPA, there was not a lot of hops on the board at this point … oh wait, look at what Second Street has, a Single Hop Mosaic IPA! Lots of floral hints and some resiny undertones to this remarkably smooth IPA. More malt than you might expect from a good IPA, but it balanced out well. Good choice of hops in here, they certainly shine through well.

Summer Scotch Ale, Turtle Mountain Brewing: Ah, yes, a darker beer, something that I hadn’t encountered until this point! Malty but smooth and easy drinking, wonderful mouthfeel, plenty of caramel malts to please my palate. There were also some slightly spicy hints in the nose present, a nice contrast to this richer beer. Well done.

Pirate’s Booty, Santa Fe Brewing: All the patrons and friends from around the craft brewing community kept telling me to go try Santa Fe’s offering, called Pirate’s Booty. Yes, I chuckled and finally made my way to their booth to grab a pour. Again, I am not a fan of sweet/fruity beers, but damn, this was one tropical brew. A hefeweizen brewed with pineapple (my favorite fruit) and ginger? I don’t know what they were thinking with this one, but man, it actually worked quite well. A hearty wheat body melded well with the tangy and sweet citrus, with a bite of ginger in the back and in the finish. I don’t know what the SFBC staff were drinking when they were coming up with this, but Pirate’s Booty was unique and tasty.

Yours truly gets his White Ryeno on.

Yours truly gets his White Ryeno on.

Notorious ESB, Taos Mesa Brewing: BEST. BEER. NAME. EVER. Oh, and it’s delicious too. A good balance, leaning more towards the earthy hop/toffee side of things as far as flavors go. It has a pretty smooth body from the malt bill, with a bit of dry bitterness in the back that balanced out a creamy middle. Taos Mesa, why do you have to be in, well, Taos? Road trip!

White Ryeno, Back Alley Draft House: Back Alley had an intriguing offering called White Ryeno. A rye wit brewed with a hint of vanilla, this offered a unique combination of flavors. A sturdy wheat body with orange flavors at the front, it was remarkably smooth on the palate. The vanilla really made this one pop, and offered an extra creamy and mellow touch all around the palate. One of my favorites of the day.

* * * *

Overall this was a really fun event, as it gave craft beer fans a chance at an exclusive peek at the latest from around the state. Even those new to craft beer were finding the new beers to be likeable; and since each brewery had some of their old favorites available as well, there were sure to be a lot of new converts to our states wonderful brews. While having to compete with Nob Hill Summerfest was certainly a challenge, the event was well received and the weather managed to stay decent enough. Having to coordinate with multiple breweries to have enough beers for this event was a task that we must toast the NM Brewers Guild, and here’s to hoping this becomes a regular event.

Until next time …


— Brandon Daniel