Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Your weekend just got more crowded with yet another event. But it’s for a good cause, so get out there and enjoy a pint!

Just when you thought we had all the weekend’s events covered in The Week Ahead in Beer, two more popped up, and we thought we might provide some additional details on one other. We will have our first review of the Desert Valley Brewing taproom up later today.

Oktoberfest at Taos Ski Valley

This Saturday and Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., skedaddle on up to The Bavarian Lodge & Restaurant for the annual celebration of the German harvest. There will be plenty of food and beer, naturally, and you can reserve your stein in advance if you click here.

That same link will also help you find a discounted hotel room, since you might as well stick around in the beautiful ski valley before the snow shows up and Leah Black reclaims her favorite mountain.

Get on up there and have some fun!

Mariposa Fun(d)raiser at Bow & Arrow

The Mariposa Fund is holding their annual fundraiser this Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m. The fund provides reproductive healthcare to women who are otherwise not eligible. There will be fun and games, and of course plenty of Bow & Arrow beer on tap. If you would like to contribute to the fund but cannot attend, click here.

In other Bow & Arrow news, they have re-done their Scotch ale recipe and renamed it True Aim Scotch Ale. We are always supportive of bigger and better Scotch ales. B&A has also added Fast Luck Dry-Hopped Pale Ale for the weekend, and will have Wolf Eyes Oktoberfest on tap this coming Thursday. From Sept. 25-30, B&A will donate $1 from every pint sold of Wolf Eyes to the UNM Alumni Association in honor of homecoming week.

Golden Days Brew Fest at Santa Fe Ski Area

We mentioned this one before, but thought you could use a few more details. It runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The cost to enter is $18, which gets you a silicone pint glass, three samples, and one pint of your favorite beer. There will be extra runs of the 255 Mountain Trail Bus as well, so no need to drive up. Click here for more details.

As for the attending breweries, Boxing Bear, Broken Trail, Dialogue, Drafty Kilt, and La Cumbre will be heading up from Albuquerque. Locals on hand will include Chili Line, Santa Fe, and Second Street. New Mexico Hard Cider will also be on hand.

* * * * *

The Crew will be bouncing around to various events and beer releases all weekend. We will also be attending the memorial/tribute show to our late friend and fellow beer geek/metalhead Justin Shearer on Saturday night (8-11) at The Moonlight Lounge. If you knew Justin, come on by and join us and his family and friends from around the country. Local bands Futilitarian, Jagged Mouth, The Extinction, and Distances will perform.


— Stoutmeister


Choose from among 25 breweries’ most excellent beers and have the proceeds go to a good cause? Sign us up!

The staggering toll of Hurricane Harvey is still being felt across Texas, with many homes and businesses lost to the destructive flooding. Included among those are craft breweries, and their employees, many of whom no longer have a job as a result. The MBAA (Master Brewers Association of Americas) Texas District reached out to neighboring states for help. Tractor Brewing president Skye Devore responded by creating Hops for Harvey, a special event this Wednesday running from 3 p.m. to midnight.

Tractor and the New Mexico Brewers Guild have pulled together 24 other local breweries to each provide one keg of a special beer, with 100 percent of all profits going to the MBAA Texas District. Throw in one to-be-determined Tractor beer, and that will mean 25 different beers will be available at the Wells Park taproom for one night.

“I think it’s really cool, because it’s like a miniature brew fest,” said Tractor marketing director Jeremy Kinter. “What I like about it is the New Mexico breweries were really quick to jump on board. The day of (announcing), we had like 19 breweries jump on board. They’re not just regular beers, not the flagships, either. They’re throwing some special beer at us. It’s just amazing, the reaction has been extremely impressive. I’m proud to be a part of the Albuquerque brew scene.”

The original plan was to just have a pizza party, Jeremy said, as national Papa John’s was going to donate all of its profits from Wednesday to the relief effort. That changed once the MBAA Texas District made contact.

“MBAA Texas District reached out to see who might be able to provide support to breweries in the Houston area as some are underwater,” Jeremy said. “Flood insurance for businesses is only available through the government and does not cover lost business or lost wages, only physical damages. Brewery employees who may have been lucky enough not to be flooded out at home could arrive to work to find their brewery and employment gone or temporarily closed. Government aid takes time to reach them.”

Any money that is not needed by the breweries in Texas or their employees will then be donated to other parts of the relief effort, Jeremy added.

There will be growler fills allowed at the event. As for what breweries are participating, we have that list below, and as they name the beers they are bringing, we will keep updating this list right up until the doors open at Wells Park.

  • Abbey: TBD
  • Bombs Away: TBD
  • Bosque: IRA (India Red Ale)
  • Bow & Arrow: TBD
  • Boxing Bear: Crystal Kolsch
  • Broken Trail: Pepe the Mule
  • Canteen: Exodus IPA
  • Chama River: TBD
  • Dialogue: TBD
  • Duel: Marcel (Sour Wit)
  • La Cumbre: TBD
  • Marble: Double White (freshly brewed batch)
  • Nexus: TBD
  • Ponderosa: Blueberry Stout
  • Quarter Celtic: Clark IPA
  • Red Door: White AF IPA
  • Rio Bravo: Cherry Wheat
  • Rowley Farmhouse Ales: Germophile (Berliner Weisse)
  • Santa Fe: TBD
  • Sidetrack: Pub Ale
  • Sierra Blanca: Single Hop
  • Steel Bender: The Village Wit
  • Taos Mesa: TBD
  • Tractor: TBD
  • Turtle Mountain: Lemongrass Honey Wheat

No, that is not a typo, one of the last kegs available of a Chama River beer will be there. Hey, better this than throwing it out, right?

A big thumbs up to Skye and the staff at Tractor for organizing this, and to the Guild for making sure to bring everyone together. Thank you to all the breweries for donating kegs, especially for the fact that these are not the cheaper beers in their lineups, yet they are essentially giving them away for free.

Guess I know where I will be pregaming the Social Distortion concert on Wednesday.


— Stoutmeister

Pondering the future of beer festivals in New Mexico

Posted: August 22, 2017 by cjax33 in Events

Do huge festivals with unlimited sampling still have a place in the future of craft beer?

During stretches without much in the way of brewery news, big or small, I tend to find myself stepping back and taking a big-picture look at the state of the craft beer scene in New Mexico.

Perusing the latest slate of beer-related emails, I took note of the fact that Hopfest, returning this Saturday, is now 10 years old. That is a fairly remarkable accomplishment for any annual festival, particularly in the constantly shifting craft beer scene.

Consider the landscape when Hopfest first began. At that time, Marble Brewery was only a few months old. The only other operational breweries in Albuquerque were Chama River, Il Vicino (now Canteen), and Kellys, with Tractor in Los Lunas and Turtle Mountain in Rio Rancho comprising the totality of the metro area’s craft beer options.

Hopfest has changed quite a bit over time, up to 70-plus breweries now, moving to successively larger venues, and so on. What has not changed is the general theme: buy a ticket, get unlimited samples. Back in 2008, that was the standard format of most festivals around the country. They took their cues from the Great American Beer Festival, and it worked.

The question now is does that format work anymore? It is certainly worth debating.

Other festivals tend to limit the number of samples, in an effort to get customers to eventually buy a pint, so the participating breweries can make some money back. While large breweries like Marble and Santa Fe can write off the beer they give away for free as a marketing/promotional expense, it can be much harder for the smaller breweries and brewpubs. Those only make so much beer, so giving away any of it for free can be a blow to the bottom line, unless the owners truly believe they can recoup the costs through the free advertising the festival can bring.

Another argument against unlimited sampling is that craft breweries no longer need such events to draw in customers. That certainly holds true for some of the more established brands, but not necessarily for all. New breweries can still argue they benefit from being introduced to a public that might not always wish to venture out beyond the places where they are already comfortable. Festivals like Hopfest and its May counterpart, Blues & Brews, also tend to draw in a younger crowd. From a strategic standpoint, it should be easier to convince someone is his/her 20s to embrace craft beer than someone in his/her 40s or 50s.

Festivals with limited sampling seem to at least have a place with the more serious beer geeks.

Smaller, more exclusive festivals have their place as well. The notion that more “serious” craft beer drinkers attend those events seems to hold true, be it BearFest or WinterBrew. Of course, those folks are usually well versed in craft beer, so do they actually need a festival as existing customers? It usually just depends on the intent of the festival. WinterBrew, for instance, is viewed, first and foremost, as a fundraiser for the New Mexico Brewers Guild (as is the IPA Challenge). On a secondary note, it can bring Albuquerque residents north to Santa Fe to try the breweries they might not otherwise visit on a regular basis, outside of those that package and distribute.

The problem that exists with the smaller fests is that sense of exclusivity. Namely, does it keep new customers away? Once the loyal beer geeks snatch up their share of the tickets, what remains? There are many people, especially in New Mexico, who wait until the last minute or just prefer to walk up and buy at the door.

In other states, too, the cost of attending festivals has climbed to significant heights. They are still well-attended, and more than one brewery owner has predicted that eventually New Mexico’s festivals will have to catch up to those in Colorado and Arizona in terms of cost. Otherwise, local breweries may continue to drop out without the financial bump, leaving the festivals largely in the hands of the distributors, who treat them almost entirely as promotional write-offs. The counter argument to that is the same when it comes to arguing about the cost of sporting events and the like, that New Mexico is simply too poor of a state, and even middle class beer drinkers would be loathe to part with $50, $75, or $100 for a festival, no matter the format.

Already, there are signs of festival fatigue among local establishments. Take Nexus, for instance, as a popular local brewery that has largely abandoned the festival circuit. It is extremely rare to see breweries from the outer regions of New Mexico attend festivals in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, while the only breweries from the two I-25 cities to head to the far north, south, or southeast are usually just those that package and distribute far and wide. Otherwise, barring an event being a Guild fundraiser, everyone tends to stay in their own neck of the woods.

Festivals meant to support the NM Brewers Guild, like WinterBrew, remain popular with the breweries themselves, including many who do not attend larger events.

It all makes for an interesting set of arguments and counter arguments. There is seemingly no perfect beer festival setup, at least in terms of limited/unlimited sampling and overall cost. For every person who is fine with limited samples, the odds are that others are not. For every brewery happy to attend festivals big and small, there are others who will be more selective if not sit it out entirely. Simply put, there is perhaps no right or wrong set of answers when it comes to the future of beer festivals in New Mexico and beyond.

For now, the big events like Hopfest and Blues & Brews will seemingly continue to roll along, as will the smaller festivals like WinterBrew and the events on Pajarito Mountain above Los Alamos. Other festivals struggling to find that niche, like the once-ambitious Mountain West Brew Fest (yes, it is coming back Labor Day weekend, though it is down to just seven attending breweries), may struggle and fade into the past, like Marble’s Septemberfest, the New Mexico Beer Cup, and many others.

Of course, this is all just my opinion. The Crew and I want to know what you think. Sound off in the comments, on social media, or if you would prefer a private conversation, email us at


— Stoutmeister

A.R.T. construction remains a major headache for local businesses along Central west of downtown.

The area west of downtown along Central Avenue suffered a black eye earlier this year when the owners of Draft Station announced it was closing. The prime spot for craft beer in the area was gone, snuffed out by a disastrous sewer spill caused by the construction of the Albuquerque Rapid Transit system.

All these months later, the construction remains, but craft beer has not disappeared from the area. Two local businesses are still carrying only local beer taps, and both are doing everything they can to still attract customers even amid the ongoing headaches on the road outside.

Amore Neapolitan Pizzeria and 5 Star Burgers, next door neighbors just to the east of where Draft Station once stood, both still have their local-only beer taps in place. Each offers up a fairly different lineup at present, meaning if you feel like a burger instead of a slice, or vice versa, your beer options can differ as well. The important thing is both places, also locally owned and operated, continue to keep New Mexico brews on tap.

Half of the all-local beer taps at Amore.

Amore currently has beers from Boese Brothers, Bosque, Boxing Bear, Ponderosa, Red Door, and Santa Fe. They include some specials like Boese’s Patriot Porter on nitro, Boxing Bear’s Tropic Thunder IPA, Red Door’s Rye Steam, and SFBC’s hugely popular 7K IPA. Every Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m., pints are $3.

Across the sidewalk at 5 Star, Bosque, Boxing Bear, La Cumbre, Marble, Red Door, and Santa Fe are all available. There are always two rotating taps, usually from La Cumbre and Marble. The former has the popular El Jugo on tap at the moment. 5 Star has a daily happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. with $3 pints.

The taps at 5 Star Burgers.

For those who prefer exact addresses to punch into the Google Maps on your phones, 5 Star is located at 1710 Central Ave. SW, while Amore is at 1700 Central. Some folks told us that when Draft Station closed, it took away one of their favorite gathering spots for local beers in that area. Well, we just wanted to let you know that there are still two more options, and with football season just around the corner, options are good.

In addition to just the beer and the great food, every Saturday this September from 1 to 4 p.m., Immastar Productions is bringing live music to the space between the two restaurants. Alto Estilo will perform free shows once every weekend. Local beer, local food, and local music all add up to a big win.

Brave the construction and help keep these local businesses alive. Now is not the time to abandon them. And, yes, there is plenty of parking!

Thanks to our friends Brian and Carlos for the heads up on all of this.


— Stoutmeister

This specific fest is not one of those listed below, but we needed a photo of an out-of-state event, so voila!

OK, fine, we were about to go two days in a row (my fault) without a story, but inspiration struck me. Or, well, I was cleaning up and found my copy of Southwest Brewing News and glanced at the upcoming festivals list. Thus, for those of you without kids who can still travel these next two months, here are some options for beer if you just need to get away for a bit. In every case this lists a Saturday event, except when it covers more than one day.

August 12: Aces & Ales 8th Annual Strong Beer Festival

Las Vegas is always a good getaway spot, so rather than blowing all your money on blackjack or poker, head over to blow it on beer! You can find the event page online. A bunch of breweries not available here will be there, including AleSmith, Bear Republic, Bottle Logic, The Bruery, Epic, Noble Ale Works, Pizza Port, and Tenaya Creek.

August 19: Stone 21st Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival

This huge fest is being held on the campus (!) of Cal State San Marcos. There are rare beer all-access tickets, or you can purchase a ticket for session A or B. The all-access runs from 1 to 8 p.m., the two sessions are divided into four-hour blocks. Just about every bad ass California brewery will be represented along with the hosts, including 21st Amendment, AleSmith, Beachwood, Bottle Logic, The Bruery, El Segundo, The Lost Abbey, Noble Ale Works, Pizza Port, and Russian River, plus a few from out of state. Tickets and more info can be found here. Oh, and the best part? All the profits go to charity.

August 26: 19th Annual San Juan Brewfest

Trek up to Durango, if you are not going to Hopfest here, and enjoy this delightful festival featuring a slew of Colorado mountain breweries who do not distribute outside their state. It is held in a park adjacent to downtown and is a huge favorite among all our friends who have attended in the past. If you feel homesick, La Cumbre, Marble, and Santa Fe will be there. We just want to try The Mr. Grumpy Pants Brewing Company, for its name alone.

September 2

It is Labor Day Weekend, so stay home, stay safe, avoid the headaches of travel. Just make sure to load up on beer, first. And grilled meats.

September 9

Not every weekend has a great fest. Rest up for the next one.

September 16: Oktoberfest

The granddaddy of ’em all kicks off in Munich, running until October 3. I went as a kid. I could not understand why all the nice Germans were turning red and falling over all the time. If you don’t have any Europe money stashed away, head down to Austin for the first anniversary of the Oskar Blues brewery down there.

September 22: 23rd Annual San Diego Festival of Beer

Held downtown every year, this event actually takes place on a Friday. Early bird tickets cost $40 through August 31, after that it goes up to $50. This is another charity-driven event, fighting cancer. In addition to a number of the big breweries mentioned for the two previous California fests, this will include Karl Strauss, Artifex, Figueroa Mountain, Absolution, Modern Times, and more. Even Allagash is coming from way out in Maine for the fun.

September 30: 31st Annual Great Tucson Beer Festival

Our friends in Tucson are finally catching on that craft beer is good (their number of breweries has tripled since my last visit in 2015). This fest was a big part of that inspiration. Held at the Kino Sports Complex, onetime spring training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox, it will feature plenty of local and regional breweries. Tickets will cost $35 for general admission and $70 for VIP in advance (add $10 to each day of). The out-of-state breweries include Fort Collins, Maui, Mission, Modern Times, Pizza Port, Saint Archer, and, yes, Santa Fe. Notables from in-state include Barrio, Freak’N, Huss, Old Bisbee, and Prescott.

October 5-7: Great American Beer Festival

This is not just an opportunity for Franz Solo and I to brag about getting media credentials. OK, it totally is, but if you see us up there, join us for a hearty toast in the Halls of Valhalla.

Back to actual, researched news the rest of the week. I promise.


— Stoutmeister

Local artists, musicians, and vendors are joining forces for special events at Dialogue in September.

One of the great things our breweries have done over the last several years is embracing other local businesses and a long list of musicians, artists and other vendors. Usually, there is one creative element per night, but the folks at Dialogue Brewing and Immastar Productions decided that it would be even more advantageous to bring multiple creatives and businesses together all at once on specific nights.

Immastar’s Carlos Contreras, who used to handle all the events and promotions at Tractor, is the brains behind “Hand Crafted.” He sent us a release detailing the plans, which will start up September 7.

“Hand Crafted is exactly as it sounds — an experience put together ‘by hand,’ featuring incredibly delicious brewed beer by our host Dialogue Brewing, and featuring the sounds of a different musician each week, paired carefully and thoughtfully with a visual artist who will create/paint LIVE during the event,” Carlos wrote. “The live artist will be new each Thursday as well. This will all be going on while a local craft vendor slangs his or her wares to the crowd — here’s the catch, that vendor will be there all month. That’s right — every Thursday night.”

Dialogue gives these artists, musicians, and vendors a venue with a diverse crowd. Since Dialogue itself is one of the more innovative and experimental breweries out there, it all fits together perfectly.

“Dialogue Brewing and Immastar Productions are opening the doors to the possibility of a partnership that we think will help to create visibility and continual opportunities for success for our craft vending friends,” Carlos wrote. “Knowing where a food truck is per their schedule has lent to their sustainability and success, sometimes the opening up of brick and mortar and static locations that gained a following while on four wheels — why wouldn’t it work for our folks who create things you take and wear or put in your homes?”

The September schedule is already set for every Thursday. Danny Hart Designs will be the vendor on site for all four nights. The musicians and live artists will be as follows.

  • September 7: Musician — Garry Blackchild, Live Artist — David Santiago
  • September 14: Musician — Still Closed for Repairs (solo), Live Artist — Cloudface
  • September 21: Musician — Keith Sanchez, Live Artist — Chris Lopez
  • September 28: Musician — Cali Shaw, Live Artist — Stephanie Eichelberger

Look for more info as these events get closer to happening. As always, we are happy to see our breweries working to promote and support everything local.


— Stoutmeister

Full disclosure: This is a taster of Hazillionaire, their New England-style IPA.

Fans of the distinctive, funky flavor characterized by brett beers will not have to venture far from home or wait for seasonal releases to get their fill. And, it seems that this often-experimental style may have found a perfect home base at Bow & Arrow Brewing. Cosmic Arrow, a saison and the first in their series of brett beers, debuts today (Friday) at a special tapping that begins at 4 p.m. The brewery is located off 6th Street and McKnight Avenue, just in case you still have not made it over there.

Head brewer Ted O’Hanlan set a beautiful tulip glass of Cosmic Arrow before me for tasting. The color brought muddled lemons to mind, and the beer presented itself as a classic saison on the nose. At first sip, it released fruity notes and an extremely mild tartness. The Cosmic Arrow (7.1% ABV; 27 IBU) is a very dry, very sessionable saison with only minor hints of bitterness or sweetness and light effervescence. Aged in red zinfandel barrels for three months, the beer retained traces of oak that didn’t overpower the smoothness.

The second beer that will be released today is the excellent Hoodoo Monster Imperial American Red (9.3% ABV; 50 IBU). Named for the rock spires that decorate the southwest (and including “monster” because of the ABV), this beer honestly surprised me with its sophistication. I expected something much sharper, likely due to the imperial in the name, and its deep red-brown color didn’t lead me to believe otherwise. However, I found a classic American hop profile layered over a rich caramel flavor. For such a big beer, the Hoodoo Monster is incredibly smooth and (dangerously) drinkable.

How they got here

The beer hall is often packed with customers. (Photo courtesy Shyla Sheppard)

When I sat down with Bow & Arrow owner Shyla Sheppard at the beginning of the year, she mentioned the brewery would be expanding the barrel-aged program they launched in 2016 with the assistance of the new head brewer they were bringing on in the spring (Ted). Ted and Shyla share a palpable excitement about these brews, and it’s easy to see that the match — both in terms of style and experimentation — was a good one.

Though he recently hailed from Black Tooth Brewing Company in tiny Sheridan, Wyoming, it’s worth noting that Ted used to spend summers as a child in Albuquerque because his mother grew up here. Ted was eager to join Bow & Arrow as head brewer earlier this year to put his experience and creativity to work. Before Black Tooth, Ted entered the industry at Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, N.C., where he worked with barrel-aged beers. Shyla said that Ted has, in addition to brewing, a culinary background.

“I think that lends a unique and interesting perspective to the way he approaches developing new beers and pushing the envelope with unusual ingredients,” she said.

Ted O’Hanlan, head brewer, has past experience in North Carolina and Wyoming.

“It takes a long time to brew brett beers, but it’s so expressive and it makes beer really unique,” Ted said. “It’s really taken off in other parts of the country, and it seems there are one or two breweries per state that are taking on this challenge. I like the complexity, and the challenge of working with it, because you have to wait.”

His willingness to experiment is an ideal complement to Shyla’s vision of the Bow & Arrow of the future. The brewery is moving towards mixed fermentation beers overall, and will explore American wild brett style, traditional sour, kettle sour and barrel sour beers. The popular El Breakfast stout is currently barrel-aging as an imperial in rye whiskey barrels (Ted sources these barrels directly from Wyoming Whiskey, as his friend is the head distiller there), with an upcoming October release date. Four other brews hitting the barrels this month include a second round of Cosmic Arrow, an American brett pale ale in a neutral oak barrel, a quad sitting on brett in more Sheehan barrels, as well as another brett sour beer that will turn more quickly than Cosmic Arrow. They are experimenting with a method to turn a mixed culture sour beer in months rather than years.

What’s tapping next

Shyla Sheppard, owner of Bow & Arrow Brewing Co.

Ted’s past experience at Fullsteam in their plow-to-pint and foraged beer programs intersects nicely with Shyla’s original vision for Bow & Arrow. The brewery was created to celebrate community, cultural heritage, and a rich appreciation for the land. Shyla was born and raised on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota, and is a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes. Her partner and co-owner, Missy Begay, was raised on the Navajo Nation. Ted’s experience with foraged beer — a community affair where community foragers were paid market price for ingredients — only underscores the vision Shyla and Missy said they share for Bow & Arrow.

This vision of celebrating what the land has to give is reflected in the next beer in their Way Out West kettle sour lineup. The first release was a dry-hopped farmhouse ale, and the second (Way Out West-Sumac) will be a Berliner Weisse brewed with locally sourced sumac berries. Sumac, indigenous to New Mexico, lends a crisp, tart, citrus taste, and Shyla attributes a long history of the indigenous people making pudding and a lemonade-type drink with the berries. The distinct aroma has transferred to the beer with a chile powder effect on the nose at first. However, when tasting it, Way Out West-Sumac (4.1% ABV; 7 IBU) is an exceptionally smooth summertime brew. At that low alcohol level, it should top your list of summer session beers.

Also, look for Bow & Arrow’s second release in their rotating stout series to be released shortly.

Where they’re headed

Shyla and Ted pose with the ever-growing collection of barrels.

From their earliest conversations, a willingness to push the envelope where brett was concerned united Ted and Shyla. Now, 36 barrels sit within full view of the beer hall behind the glass that separates it from the brewing area. Shyla just installed a sliding barn door for easy access to the barrels. Barrels holding sours are tucked under the stairs in the beer hall. It’s clear that the barrel-aged program is going to be a defining factor for the brewery in years to come.

Beyond what’s happening in the brewery and beer hall, Shyla said they are participating in more tap takeovers, and is working on increasing their distribution. Having launched with a 15-barrel system right away, they have room to grow without having to expand the brewery immediately. Bow & Arrow currently has taps at Slate Street, both Slice Parlor locations, Matanza Beer Kitchen, Pueblo Harvest Café, and Monk’s Corner Taproom. More beer pairing and collaborative dinners are in the works.

“This was a dream for a long time,” Shyla said.

After moving to New Mexico from the Bay Area, she left a career in social impact investing to launch Bow & Arrow with her partner, Missy, a physician. A hobbyist home brewer, she did the research necessary to decide that designing, building, and opening a brewery was indeed a viable business venture. She took the leap, and in their first year, they landed awards and accolades from the commercial construction industry to being named a Local Favorite by New Mexico Magazine.

The bones of the brewery are made for fostering community. Giant tables in the expansive beer hall give way to cozy nooks and large classroom-style spaces upstairs that can be rented for group events. Shyla’s passion for supporting local entrepreneurship is rooted in this brewery, and she actively seeks opportunities to help others on their business journeys.

This white buffalo head hangs above the entrance, facing the bar. Shyla told me it’s because her grandfather raised buffalo, and buffalo always face the storm. It faces the bar as a reminder to stay true to her dream, and to be the storm.

“Any startup will consume your life, and at the end of the day it has to be worth it,” Shyla said. “I’m really pleased with where we are today, and looking forward to where we’re headed.”

If Cosmic Arrow is any indication of where Ted’s skilled hand will help lead Shyla’s vision, it looks like this collaboration will be a resounding success.


— Julie

Three Rivers is going all-out for its 20th anniversary party!

During a road trip through Southwest Colorado at the end of June, I was fortunate enough to stop in and say hello to our friends at Three Rivers Brewery in Farmington.

It had been about five months since I had previously visited as part of our Look Back/Look Ahead Series. This time, I spent the night in Farmington, which allowed me to really get the full Three Rivers experience. It was the first night of my three-night road trip, and I did not hold back. As a matter of fact, I have to give a shout out to Lou Go’s Taxi Service in Farmington for providing me with a safe and dependable transportation option. I was disappointed to see that neither Uber nor Lyft were available in the area, but Lou Go’s filled the void well with 24-hour service, clean vehicles, and friendly drivers.

I started at the Three Rivers Brewery Restaurant on the corner of the block. It was a Friday night and the place was packed, but I was able to find a spot at the bar, conveniently located next to the taps. It was my third time eating dinner at this bar, and I was returning with a high expectations for food quality after the previous visits. I ordered the dinner special for the week, which was Rock Shrimp & Andouille Jambalaya. It was excellent. Each element tasted fresh and savory, and was tied together with a flavorful, but not overpowering level of spiciness.

Take flight with this, um, flight!

Of course, my food was accompanied by a flight of beers, which carried the same high standards as the food, again as expected. My personal favorites on the flight were The Black (stout) and the Arroyo Amber. I also sampled others that were not in my flight. The Raspberry Wheat was exceptionally refreshing, and one of the most well-balanced fruity wheat beers I have had in recent memory. Personally, I would pick this beer on a hot summer day over most of the Gose options that seem to have exploded in ABQ this summer.

It resembles Franz Solo’s beer fridge!

After finishing dinner, I walked further down the block (past the Tap Room and Pizzeria, both of which were also a buzzing with activity) to the Three Rivers Brewstillery, which had been under construction during my previous visit. It was exciting to see the finished product.

I sat at the bar, examined the menu, and was drawn to the ‘Beer Geek Bottle List,’ as well as the fridge containing said bottles … some even in boxes… yeah, I definitely nerded out on this. It was at this point that head brewer (really, we can call him head of beverage operations, with the addition of the distillery), Brandon Beard joined me. I hadn’t given him much notice on my visit, so it was great that Brandon was able to meet up. Unfortunately, assistant brewer (now really head brewer), Patrick Liessmann, was out of town.

After popping a bottle of Kasteel Barista, a Belgian quad with chocolate and coffee, Brandon and I discussed the upcoming 20th anniversary of Three Rivers Brewery, which will be celebrated with a party this Friday, starting at 5:30 p.m.

They’re saving the Crew at least one bottle. We hope!

Let me be clear, if I was not going to be at a wedding event in Chicago on that day … I would be attending this anniversary party (He is not the only one missing this for a wedding. — S). Just hearing about the treats that will be available is enough to make any true beer lover salivate. If there are two things (in my mind) that set Three Rivers apart, it has been their success in, 1) incorporating exciting and rich ingredients such as peanut butter and coconut, and 2) barrel aging. Building on what they do best, Three Rivers will be releasing their 20th anniversary limited edition Black Lily Barrel Aged Stout in four variations — Bourbon Barrel, Bourbon Barrel & Peanut Butter, Rum Barrel, and Rum Barrel & Coconut.

Assistant Brewer Austin Jacobs brought out some samples of the Rum Barrel & Coconut, and I was in heaven. I won’t attempt to describe it in too much detail, aside from saying it’s an easy-to-drink barrel-aged beer; you can taste the alcohol content, but nothing like, say, a Marble Reserve (not hating on Marble Reserve, it has its place, too). The coconut is unabashedly present and delicious. It complements the beer in the same way a scoop of vanilla ice cream complements a mug of root beer.

Don’t take my word for it; try it while it lasts. Only a 100-count of 750mL bottles of each variation will be available.

Sorry, Andrew, we didn’t warn you that this job will include copious amounts of delicious foods.

Just when I thought that I had seen and tasted it all, executive chef Jay brought out three of the tapas dishes that are on the menu in the Brewstillery. After I was done complimenting him on the jambalaya that I had for dinner, I happily munched on what he had set in front of me. My pictures do not do this food justice. It’s much easier to take a good picture of a glass of beer then a platter of food.

Please go to the Three Rivers website to see the menu and specific descriptions. It was the perfect food to snack on after a night of beer drinking. Along with the tapas, I sampled a few of the craft cocktails that are available and they, too, were top notch. The Brewstillery drink menu could satisfy any preference at the highest level of quality.

Much thanks to Three Rivers Brewery staff for their continued hard work and success at providing high-quality, local products to the community — the food, the beer, the spirits, the whole package. The passion is visible in the people, and you can taste it in the products. On a more personal note, thanks to Brandon and Austin for hanging out with me and showing me a fun time.

A huge thanks to brewmaster Brandon Beard, on the right.

I encourage all NM craft beer lovers to plan a visit to Three Rivers Brewery, and enjoy what they have to offer. The upcoming anniversary party would be a great opportunity, but any time is a good time.

Furthermore, Three Rivers is a great place to grab a meal, or a drink, or just hang out, for anyone who might be spending a night near Farmington, or traveling through.

On behalf of the NM Dark Side Brew Crew, I want to say congratulations to Three Rivers Brewery on their upcoming 20th anniversary, and we look forward to another 20 years!


— Deezbeers

Drafty Kilt will host a brewery collectibles swap meet this Saturday.

The Roadrunner Chapter of the Brewery Collectibles Club of America is holding its 14th annual Brewery Collectibles Show this Saturday at Drafty Kilt. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and admission is free.

Roadrunner president Dan Scoglietti emailed the Crew to let us know that this has become a tradition to team up with brewer Mike Campbell, who has previously hosted shows at Tractor and Cazuela’s when he brewed at those places. The show has also been held at Kellys, Marble, La Cumbre, and Canteen in past years.

The goal of this swap meet is to bring together all sorts of collectors of old brewery and Americana memorabilia. There will be everything from cans to bottles to coasters and more. There will be free appraisals for anyone looking to clear out the garage of old items.

Dan wrote that he is hoping for a big turnout as national club officers and board members will be in attendance. Albuquerque is currently slated to host the 2019 National CANvention, though rumors are swirling that the unnamed city that was expected to host the 2018 edition has dropped out. Whichever year it turns out to be, it will bring some 400 to 500 brewery collectors to town to sell their wares, and plenty more craft beer enthusiasts as well.

Of course, the best part of having this event at a brewery is you will be able to enjoy a pint while perusing the collectibles. Try the new Covfefe Hefe, a strong contender for beer name of the year.


— Stoutmeister

The Rail Yards, minus the smudge on the camera lens, will be hosting another beer festival.

A small beer festival, called simply the Tapping Party, is popping up this Saturday at The Rail Yards south of downtown, with a good cause behind the entire event. Craft for Causes, a non-profit, is teaming up with breweries nationwide to create special beers and raise money for charities. There is no entry charge, patrons only pay for the food and beer they choose to purchase.

All of it is tied into the Tedeschi Truck Band’s Wheels of Soul tour, which comes to the Sandia Casino Amphitheater on July 27. The five participating local breweries will each create a special beer for that concert, though anyone who wants to try them in advance can come to The Rail Yards from 5 to 9 p.m. It raises money for Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, which donates high-quality musical equipment for under-funded school programs across the country.

The five participating local breweries are La Cumbre, Marble, Palmer, Santa Fe, and Steel Bender. The special beers will be La Cumbre’s All That I Need, a dry-hopped kellerbier; Marble’s Wheels of Soul Pale Ale; Steel Bender’s Black (Hole Sun) IPA, which is a tribute to the late Chris Cornell; Santa Fe’s Altbier; and a TBA beer from Palmer. Left Turn Distilling will also be there as the lone distillery making a special Wheels of Soul spirit.

In addition to those, each brewery will have other beers available for purchase. This not a sampling event. La Cumbre is also bring El Jugo Pale Ale and Elevated IPA. Marble will also pour Pilsner, Double White, and Black Currant Gose. Steel Bender is also taking Lloyd’s 3 O’Clock Kolsch, Red Iron Red, and Goose is Loose Berliner Weisse.

There will be live music from Red Light Cameras, ReVoZo, James Whiton, and DJ Gabe. There will be three food trucks present, tattoo artists, live shirt printing, and other vendors.

Got any questions? Ask away, or check the event’s Facebook page.


— Stoutmeister