Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Everything we are looking forward to in 2018

Posted: January 2, 2018 by cjax33 in Events, News

The World Beer Cup is back in 2018, and we expect more smiles from our brewers as they bring back awards. Hopefully Jeff Erway remembers to bring his award to the interview this year.

After publishing a recap of the biggest news stories of 2017 last week, the Crew begins the new year with a look ahead to what we think will be some of the biggest stories of 2018. Some of these come from the articles in our Look Back/Look Ahead Series that we have already published, others are from as-yet-unpublished stories in that series, and the rest is just from our vast databank of beer news knowledge. (Hey, no laughing!)

Organizing all of that into a post was not an easy task. There are far too many things with undetermined dates attached. We have also been covering the beer scene long enough to understand that when it comes to opening a brewery or a taproom, never, ever, EVER attach a fixed date. The City of Albuquerque alone all but guarantees some sort of bizarre, nonsensical delay because an inspector finds a sink is two inches too far to the left or something. Add it all up, and this is gonna be one hodgepodge story, but hey, we are still recovering from New Year’s Eve. If there is something you, gentle reader, thinks we are missing, send us an email or comment here or on social media.

Awards and competitions

Will Bosque become the first three-time winner of the NIPAC? Or will it be La Cumbre?

First up, the National IPA Challenge is bound to get underway just about any day now. There are multiple brackets as breweries pit their finest IPAs, Imperial IPAs, weird/experimental IPAs, and Session IPAs. The main IPA bracket will have 128 entrants. New Mexico has won the last four of these, with La Cumbre’s Project Dank taking the title in 2017 and 2014, sandwiched around back-to-back wins for Bosque’s Scale Tipper in 2015 and 2016. Prior to this, no brewery had ever won one or more, much less back-to-back, and no state had ever had more than one champion. The final votes will be cast in mid-March, right around the same time as you are fretting over another non-beer bracket.

April marks the return of the biennial World Beer Cup, which is held in conjunction with the annual Craft Brewers Conference. It all goes down in Nashville this year. Barring an unexpected lottery win, the Crew will sadly not be able to attend (we were invited to apply for press passes, so there’s that, at least). New Mexico breweries brought home six medals in 2016, including golds for Boxing Bear (Chocolate Milk Stout), La Cumbre (BEER), and Nexus (Honey Chamomile Wheat).

After those come the more familiar competitions, namely the NM IPA Challenge in July and of course the Great American Beer Festival, which will be held September 20-22 this year (weird, we know) instead of in October. We covered some potential changes that could be coming to the NMIPAC in our Look Back/Look Ahead Series article on the NM Brewers Guild.

Best of the fests

We look forward to another Friday night in Santa Fe as WinterBrew returns January 12.

So far, we have not heard of any new festivals coming to New Mexico this year, but most of our favorites are returning. First up, the Taos Brewmasters Festival is this Saturday at the ski area. We will have more on that later this week.

WinterBrew is set for Friday, January 12 at the Santa Fe Farmers Market. Get your tickets now, as this one always sells out.

The Stout Invitational is back at Bathtub Row in Los Alamos on February 17. Another Guild event, the Blazin’ Brewfest, will go down in Las Cruces on Cinco de Mayo (godspeed with that, everyone).

ABQ Beer Week returns May 24 and runs through June 2. Blues & Brews is the biggest event, as per usual, and will be held May 27 at Sandia Casino.

We are still holding out hope that BearFest will return some time this summer.

Fall festivals will include Hopfest, likely in August, and NM Brew Fest, likely in October. The Beer Premiere will also be back, location TBD. There figure to be plenty of other events scattered throughout the year, from Pajarito Summerfest to the Red River Oktoberfest and many others in between.

Oh, and of course the Crew will be holding our annual Stout Challenge on Super Bowl Sunday. Will this be the year a brewery finally earns a second title? In six years, we have had six different winners, capped by Starr Brothers last year.

Breweries get bigger

Construction is well underway in Bernalillo. (Photo courtesy of Bosque)

There are not as many construction projects on deck for our existing breweries as in years past, but there are quite a few that we are looking forward to in 2018.

Bosque is the big mover and shaker, with the Bernalillo production/packaging facility looking to open some time in the first quarter of the year. The Open Space project, a three-story brewery and taproom, will replace the original San Mateo location later in the year. That building is going up at Venice and the Interstate 25 frontage road. It will be one of only a handful of purpose-built breweries (as opposed to a retrofitted warehouse or restaurant) in the state.

Though there is no permit application posted yet on the State of New Mexico’s website, we have heard through the grapevine that Blue Grasshopper is aiming to open a brewing facility in the Albuquerque. The tiny brewing space at the original location in Rio Rancho was never going to cut it once they expanded to two taprooms. Whether this production facility will also have a taproom attached is unknown at this time.

We still await final confirmation that Boxing Bear will be opening a taproom on the East Side, specifically at the Snow Heights Promenade being built at Eubank and Menaul.

There are three breweries in Albuquerque that we know are opening off-site taprooms in 2018. Ponderosa is putting a small taproom in the El Vado Motel redevelopment near Central and Rio Grande. Tractor is opening its third taproom on the West Side near McMahon and Unser. Starr Brothers has a pending license for a location somewhere in the Southeast.

Other breweries rumored to be looking at/considering taprooms include Hops Brewery, Quarter Celtic, Rio Bravo, and Turtle Mountain, but nothing has been confirmed with any of them.

Up in the Santa Fe area, we know that Santa Fe Brewing has a pending license for a location near downtown.

Otherwise, we are mainly looking forward to seeing all the creative new beer releases, both on tap and in bottles/cans, from breweries across the state this year. The expansion of the barrel-aging programs at places like Bow & Arrow, La Cumbre, Marble, Tractor, and more should be enough to keep us all satiated throughout 2018.

Yes, more new places are on the way

Say hello to the first officially open new brewery of 2018. (Photo courtesy of Guadalupe Mountain Brewing)

Quite a few breweries are scheduled to open in 2018, though as we noted in our intro, attaching a fixed date more than a week out would be foolish.

The Crew will have to take another trip to Southeastern New Mexico this year. Drylands Brewing opened in Lovington after our last pass through the region, so we have to go back there. Monday also marked the grand opening of Guadalupe Mountain Brewing in Carlsbad. Lost Hiker Brewing in Ruidoso has an active small brewers license, so we should be seeing a grand opening announcement for them some time in the near future as well.

Other breweries hoping to open in the south/southeast include Switchback Brewery in Cloudcroft, Bonito Valley Brewing in Lincoln, and Deep Well Brewing in Artesia. The Las Cruces area will also see the opening of a Little Toad Creek taproom in 2018.

The northern half of the state could also see some new openings in 2018. Red River Brewing is taking advantage of the balmy winter weather to finish construction on its building. There are also Callahan West Brewing in Mosquero in the northeast, while Elkins Brewing is still looking to open in Grants to the west.

Santa Fe will soon see the arrival of its seventh brewery and first combined brewery/distillery operation in Tumbleroot. The small brewer license is already active, so now it is just a matter of finishing the last of the construction and getting everything up and running.

There are three breweries in Albuquerque moving closer and closer to opening here in the early part of 2018. Cantero Brewing, in the brewery district, is nearly ready to go. Lava Rock Brewing is also almost ready on the West Side. Throw in High & Dry Brewing in the Southeast, and the Crew has quite a few advance tours to take here in the coming weeks.

All of those breweries now have active licenses, while things are still pending for the likes of BLUE (near downtown), the Brewstillery (southeast), Hollow Spirits (Wells Park), 1933 Brewing (Rio Rancho), and Toltec Brewing (West Side). Those figure to be farther off, though at least of the five, Hollow Spirits is run by our old friend Frank Holloway (formerly of Red Door), who is keeping us up to date via Facebook.

Will additional breweries be announced as the year goes on? Of course. We promise to let you all know about them as soon as we find out.

* * * * *

That is all from us. What are you looking forward to in 2018 from our craft beer scene? Drop us a line and we may share it the next time we choose to look ahead.

Cheers, and happy New Year!

— Stoutmeister

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Was Boxing Bear’s repeat victory at the NM IPA Challenge the biggest beer news story of 2017? You can decide by clicking on the poll below.

The year is nearly over, so it only makes sense that the Crew would sit down to review everything that happened in the last 12 months. We ultimately decided that while we could pick out the top news story, this site would not exist without the support of our readers, so we are asking all of you to voice your opinion. To start, we picked out what we feel were all the major news stories involving craft beer in our state, everything from January through December.

  • The year began with the news that La Cumbre was buying the building next door and expanding its footprint to set up distribution to Arizona and increasing production.
  • Senate Bill 314 emerged to threaten the breweries with an increase in excise taxes. A fiery town hall followed with the bill’s sponsor, Senator Cisco McSorley. Soon a House bill of similar structure was announced. Ultimately, however, support for small business outweighed a desire for an increase in taxes, or perhaps it was just a realization that the bills were more about pushing the state toward a neo-prohibitionist stance. The bills were both defeated.
  • The Albuquerque Rapid Transit project was a huge thorn in the side of breweries, taprooms, and beer bars up and down Central Avenue. It ultimately led to the closure of the Albuquerque Draft Station. Other businesses kept fighting to stay alive, and the fight was not over by the end of the year as businesses looked for new ways to bring customers back.
  • In a stunning move that seemingly came out of nowhere, Chama River Brewing suddenly closed its doors. One of the most established brewpubs in the city, and one of the oldest, was gone in the blink of an eye.
  • Even as Chama closed, other breweries were opening across the state. Aztec finally landed a brewery as 550 Brewing arrived. Truth or Consequences Brewing opened down south. Hub City Brewing gave Valencia County its first brewery since Tractor had pulled up stakes and moved to ABQ years ago. In the metro area, Steel Bender Brewyard brought craft to the Village of Los Ranchos. The Southeast Heights landed a new brewery as well in the form of Bombs Away Beer Company. Nob Hill added one more brewery as Hops Brewery opened after years of struggles to get open.
  • A huge surge in off-site taprooms was also notable in 2017. Tractor went to Four Hills, Red Door went to the Northeast Heights, Desert Valley moved into the old Stumbling Steer spot on the West Side, Broken Trail popped up near Uptown, and Grant Brewing from Chama opened a taproom near Tijeras. Construction continues on a new taproom for Ponderosa as well.
  • Not one, but two local breweries, Dialogue and La Cumbre, were selected to participate in SAVOR, the prestigious food-and-beer pairing event held in Washington D.C.
  • New Mexico breweries picked up a major award at the Great British Beer Festival again. This time, Canteen and Rio Bravo shared the bronze award for best American cask ale with two wildly different beers.
  • The New Mexico IPA Challenge started off with a preliminary round surprise, before eventually finishing with a repeat champion again as Boxing Bear barely held off past winner Bosque.
  • Real world disasters dominated much of the news cycle, including three separate strikes by major hurricanes. In response to Hurricane Harvey’s devastation in the Houston area, Tractor brought together 24 New Mexico breweries for Hops for Harvey, a fundraiser to help breweries in Texas.
  • Speaking of hops, by the end of the year local hop farms were starting to make news. This sudden upsurge in the growth of local agriculture to support local breweries made a lot of sense. More on this ongoing story will be shared in 2018.
  • Bosque Brewing had a huge year, opening a larger taproom in Las Cruces, expanding its Nob Hill Public House, and announcing plans to replace the original San Mateo taproom and brewery with a larger building along the Interstate 25 frontage road. Construction on the Bernalillo production-and-packaging facility also finally got underway after a lengthy delay.
  • It was another standout year at the Great American Beer Festival, with five New Mexico breweries bringing home six medals. Marble landed another bronze for its Pilsner and then snagged gold for Cholo Stout. Nexus earned gold for its Imperial Cream and Sierra Blanca also picked up gold for its Cherry Wheat.

Those are the big news stories, in our humble opinion. Now we ask for all of you to select which one was the top news story of 2017. If you would like, leave comments below or on social media.

This poll will be up for one week, so we will reveal your choices on January 4.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Black Note is a beauty, especially on tap.

December is here, and you have one more chance to snag a taste of one of the true wonders of the barrel-aged world with one last keg of Bell’s Black Note on tap at Nob Hill Bar & Grill this evening. This beer, a.k.a. Voldemort, is just as insidious as he who shall not be named. You will not notice the darkness as it creeps over your palate until it is far too late. A thoroughly delicious end, if I do say so myself.

This batch was added to freshly retired bourbon barrels, so it has a good, wet presence of bourbon that extends from the aroma and melts throughout the entire experience. I found hints of light cinnamon, vanilla, and plenty of roast and black malts in this one, with an incredibly smooth, sweet chocolate middle, finished off with fresh bourbon.

This beer does not mess around at all. A quintessential winter warmer with hints of creamy chocolate that coats your entire palate with sweet sweet darkness. But, don’t take my word for it, go forth and enjoy this black diamond of winter’s looming chill and decide for yourself!

You can still find this delicious offering in six packs around town.

For that matter, Bell’s is a brewery that has multiple stouts to choose from, as they put it themselves, a “stout portfolio,” ranging from the somewhat sweeter Special Double Cream Stout to the tart Cherry Stout all the way to Expedition (Russian Imperial) in all of its glory, not to mention Kalamazoo and of course Black Note. These alone are only some of the delightful darkness that has landed in our fair desert oasis on the wings of the tolling of the Bells. But, as I’ve said, don’t take my own musings for it, go forth and explore with your own palates and sensibilities! Deep was the darkness with no light at all, and it was good.

Skål!

— Franz Solo

Kaktus went ahead and remodeled the interior of its Nob Hill taproom.

Kaktus Brewing had the unfortunate timing of opening its Nob Hill taproom just as construction began on the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project. Now, as the last of the orange cones have been removed, Kaktus is looking to finally find its niche with a taproom remodel.

“As you know, right when we opened this location, they started A.R.T.,” owner Dana Koller said. “We were just up against it hard, the challenge right there for a while. We just got motivated as they were completing A.R.T., supposedly they’re about to run any day now, we decided to recreate ourselves along with that. All of our changes would be done December 1. So, we didn’t close to make the changes, we’ve been incrementally creating them, and then December 1 is when it’s like this is where we’re at.”

The new interior is both cozy and pseudo-industrial.

Kaktus tossed out the old, almost 1960s-style mod furniture. The bar is now one solid piece with a concrete counter top. The new vibe is almost a sort of throwback style, but mixed with a little bit of the eclectic fun that the original brewery in Bernalillo has been sporting since day one.

“We’ve been trying to figure out our niche here,” Dana said. “We’ve got an incredible niche in Bernalillo. I mean a niche in the whole industry, a brewery on the way to Santa Fe, on the way back from the Jemez. So we’ve been trying to figure out our niche here. We decided to go with this really aggressive social environment. We’re pushing those social hours between 2 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.”

Kaktus is moving away from being seen as a restaurant with beer, Dana said.

“That’s the niche we’re trying to create, a social environment more away from the restaurant to focus more on the taps and the drinks,” Dana said. “Before you walked in and we felt like people weren’t too sure if we were going more restaurant or more taproom. Now we’ve just decided to go much more taproom, more bar oriented.”

Relax after a long day with a pint or two.

The menu is quite different from anywhere else in Nob Hill.

“Our menu is all about those fine hors devours and flatbreads, more bar menu style, but pretty nice,” Dana said. “It’s something you’re not going to find anywhere else. We’re doing duck wings, squash and goat cheese flatbreads, a unique grilled cheese.”

The changes have not been limited to the downtown taproom space. Head on upstairs for a new experience as well.

“We did the same thing with the rooftop patio,” Dana said. “We added some new lights up there. It’s all lounge furniture from one end to the other. It’s super comfortable. We’ve even got new staff coming on board this week. It’s almost a full overhaul, to a degree. We have a nice new feel, so when people walk in it’s going to be a whole new experience.”

Dana shared this photo of what the rooftop patio now looks like at night. The plant holders will be replaced soon by mini-fireplaces.

Capturing some of the Bernalillo experience, but also giving the taproom its own voice, has been the goal.

“That was the other thing, we tried to match our Bernalillo spot with its eclectic-ness, and we still did, but we’re definitely taking it up a notch at Nob Hill to identify ourselves more,” Dana said. “Bernalillo is outdoorsy, kick your feet up, chickens are running around the property. This is going to be nothing like that at all. We’re going to be the opposite of that, a real clean, fun environment, the start of your social night.”

The timing could not be better for Kaktus to make these sorts of moves. A.R.T. coming to an end is one thing, but this Saturday will feature the annual Twinkle Light Parade, and the following Saturday will feature Shop and Stroll.

“I thought we offered something different to begin with, but it wasn’t enough for people to talk about,” Dana said. “It wasn’t enough for people to be like oh, my experience was great there. We started the aggressive changes with the menu. The day after Thanksgiving, we were open that Friday and Saturday and that’s it, we already got a really good response to the style those two days. People walking in the door were so positive. I’m so excited about this week.”

All of us in the Crew wish Kaktus luck in finding that niche. We look forward to chilling out with pints like the delicious new Oatmeal Raisin Stout in the near future.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Red Hat Hops and the Village of Los Ranchos recently held a forum to bring together local farmers and breweries.

Hop growing has expanded in the United States from the Pacific Northwest to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to coincide with the rising tide of craft beer. At long last, it is beginning to grow roots here in New Mexico, as we are still growing as a brewing destination.

I had the chance to attend a forum hosted by Red Hat Hops and the Village of Los Ranchos earlier this month, and was pleased to be included in the first collective meeting between hop growers, breweries, farmers, brewery chefs, and other related officials from the Guild and the state. Above all, the intent for this gathering was to open a dialogue to foster community, collaboration, and communication between the farmers who would like to supply our local breweries with local ingredients, and the breweries.

John Seabrooks, formerly of Rio Bravo and with over 26 years in the brewing industry, started us off by illustrating the impetus behind local collaboration.

“It is important to start the dialogue and figure out what all of the needs are (of breweries),” John said, “so we can go to the state and other federal agencies and begin to see what we can do to begin to get the appropriate funds to support the initiative of local growers.”

Starting an industry from scratch is no easy task, with much of the equipment required to grow the ingredients needed for making beer costing more than your typical startup business is able to afford. Thus, creating a group for our local growers much like our Brewers Guild is quite important, so as to be able to foster collaboration and cooperation to get our local hop business going. As of this writ, we are up to four total hops growers in the state of New Mexico, with representatives from Red Hat Hops, Crossed Sabers Hops, Stone Lizard Hops, and White Crow Hops all in attendance.

With the recent explosion of some tremendous wet-hopped beers appearing at the end of this year’s growing season, which built on the success of prior years in magnitude and availability, the general consensus is to push for that as a stepping stone for our local hop growers initially, and build on the success of such beers as Bosque’s Acequia IPA and wet hop series, La Cumbre’s Wet Hopped Elevated, and Santa Fe Brewing’s Wet Hopped Strong Ale, to name a few. The possibility of a future Wet Hopped IPA challenge to go alongside our annual IPA challenge was also broached, and is certainly a mouthwatering and palate-destroying possibility, which we will certainly keep on our radar for any developments.

When it comes to brewing beers with wet hops, freshness is king. As we are in relatively close proximity to hop growers in Colorado, our breweries can sometimes see hops harvested and brought down within one to two days or so, and added to beers in the process of being brewed almost immediately. If we were able to cut that time down to a matter of hours, our collective palates would all benefit from the added oils and luscious flavors and aromas that wet hops are known for.

So where are we in terms of hop production in our state now and where are we headed? As Tom from Red Hat Hops put it, “This year we all established what we are doing. I think most of us are doing expansions for next year already. So, for 2018, we are looking at between 10 and 12 acres of harvestable hops in New Mexico. The following year that will likely double and if we get the support of brewing community it’s going to take off exponentially.”

Here’s hoping this will take off, which would benefit all of us hopheads, brewers, and local growers alike. On the topic of hops and how they are used, a typical brew will use strictly dried hop pellets, which keep their magical powers of flavoring substantially longer than fresh hops, so a longer-term goal will be for our state to grow our hop business enough to support the procurement of a large scale hop-drying facility or oast house, likely with some help from the state via the NM Brewers Guild.

You may ask yourself why now? Why are locally sourced ingredients from private businesses so vital to the future of the craft brewing industry? The answer lies with the elephants in the room, the evil empire that is AB InBev and its ilk, which have been procuring malt and hop suppliers to drive their own costs down and put pressure on their competitors, which limits or in some cases eliminates (as was the case with South African hop varieties this past year) availability of those ingredients for craft breweries. These types of market manipulative, monopolistic practices are a huge reason to forge ahead with locally grown and sourced ingredients for beers not beholden to the deplorable multi-billion dollar “beer” conglomerates.

As John so excellently put it, “As a result of AB InBev’s hold on the market, they essentially said we will no longer sell the hops that some craft brewers throughout the world are using that are produced in South Africa. They essentially told everyone that we are saving those hops so that we (InBev) can give them to the craft breweries that we own. In my mind this is the tip of the iceberg. I don’t believe what they are saying in terms of there being a shortage of these hops. What they are doing is essentially taking care of their own business first at the expense of other craft breweries in the world who need to use these South African hops. So, as these huge conglomerates continue to get bigger and buy up more and more craft components, they begin to exert market forces which make it even more difficult for craft brewers to keep their doors open.”

As John went on to illustrate, this also hits the home brewer as well, with the conglomerates wanting to have complete dominance over alcoholic beverages worldwide from the macro to the micro all under their banner for their own profit. So it is essential that we do all that we are able to fight this attempt at utter monopoly by looking to our local providers, which will remain local rather than caving to the self-serving dumptruck-of-cash approach of these conglomerates.

Those of you who know your hop varieties are probably asking which ones are being grown in our state and the answer is quite a few, including the following — Chinook, Cascade, Neo Mexicanus, Centennial, Columbus, and Nugget. There is definitely a lot to look forward to in light of what I learned here about how well hops grow in our climate, and the possibilities for growing not only hops at the local level, but also grain and other fruits and vegetables used in brewing beer or supporting brewery kitchens to bring us good quality locally sourced cuisine.

This was a well attended and successful first gathering of growers, farmers, and brewers, and here’s hoping for a successful harvest this coming year and for good collaboration going forward. Thanks to Red Hat Hops for bringing all of this together and I look forward to future meetings like this as our local brewing community expands from brewery to farmland and beyond.

Skål!

— Franz Solo

Everything is ready to take flight at the new Red Door taproom at Wyoming and Comanche.

The staff at Red Door Brewing expected to have their second offsite taproom open by now. As usual, though, the red tape piled up and slowed the process to a crawl. Now, however, there is light at the end of the tunnel after the taproom received its license from the State of New Mexico.

“This was definitely one thing after another,” said co-owner/head brewer Wayne Martinez. “It ended up being pushed back further than we’d like it to (have been). It’s just (finishing the) small things now.”

With luck, those small things will be done by the end of this week, and the taproom will be open by this weekend. Located on the southwest corner of Wyoming and Comanche, it will bring Red Door beers to a new audience while also appeasing long-time fans who live closer to there than the original or downtown taprooms.

“I’ve heard several people say they could walk home from here,” Wayne said.

Wayne provided a quick tour of the space on Monday evening.

“It will fit about 90 people,” he said. “The (taps) tower should be here, hopefully at the end of the week, but we’ll see. And then we still have to have (the final) inspection.”

All that is missing is the taps tower.

As soon as the taps are ready, there will be 14 total, two more than downtown. Wayne said that will enable the brewery keep more seasonal and specialty offerings on tap, so look for an even greater variety of beer in the future.

The taproom occupies the southern end of the building, which also houses the Poki Poki Cevicheria restaurant. Wayne said patrons can bring food from Poki Poki (or any outside eatery) into the taproom, as there is not enough space for a food truck to park outside.

The space inside will feature a bar and tables on the ground level. There is a small area on the west side of the building where a familiar feature will be set.

“This will be the retro gaming area,” Wayne said. “We’ll have a couch, we’ll have a TV with probably a (Nintendo) 64 again.”

The loft area upstairs will be a popular feature.

There is also a loft area above the west side.

“If we have any kind of groups that want to a have a (private) party, we’ll be able to accommodate that,” Wayne said.

Another interesting motif is a number of red doors hanging above the main bar area. Sound padding is on top of each one to help with the echo effect of the high ceiling.

The large garage doors on the south side will open up in good weather. While not a true patio, it will at least take advantage of sunny and pleasant days.

With luck, the last piece of equipment will arrive this week, the final inspection will go smoothly, and Red Door Wyoming will open its doors by Saturday. Stay tuned for further updates.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Ready to rename a brewery? Drafty Kilt needs our help.

If anyone missed the news from the Albuquerque Journal on Friday, Drafty Kilt Brewing has to change its name by the end of 2017. It turns out that there was a beer called Drafty Kilt from Monday Night Brewing in Atlanta, and it was trademarked back in 2010. To avoid a possible future lawsuit, Drafty Kilt now has a short time to brainstorm up a new moniker.

All of us in the Crew decided it would be a good idea to lend owner/brewer Mike Campbell a hand, but even we could use some extra help. That is why we are calling upon all of you, the beer-loving public, to help us come up with a new name for Drafty Kilt.

Here are a few rules.

  • No offensive names. Come on, folks, keep it PG. The federal government has to approve this, and you know that people in Washington have no sense of humor.
  • Do your homework, please check to make sure there is not an existing brewery or beer trademarked with the name. Google is your friend.
  • Sorry, but just changing letters in the name (e.g. Draughty Kilt) will not work. Mike made sure to point this out. So the new name cannot be a phonetic variant of the current one.
  • All names will be considered, but if you have a really good one with a Scottish theme, that would probably be best. Just don’t get the producers of Highlander mad or anything.
  • How to submit? Simple, send us your best ideas to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or you can direct message us via any of our social media platforms. We just need to have a way to contact you (see below). We will then forward all serious suggestions to Drafty Kilt.
  • Will there be a prize? Yes, if your new name for the brewery is chosen, there will be some sort of reward from the owners.
  • If we could get all suggestions by Friday, that will help out the brewery. They hope to apply for a new name sooner than later, giving the government plenty of time to respond.

Get creative, have fun, and help a brewery out. Hey, there are worse ways to spend the quiet hours the rest of this week.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Bombs Away Beer Company has brewed a new red IPA in honor of Air Force Tech Sergeant Phillip A. Myers, who died in Afghanistan in 2009.

In the short time it has been open, Bombs Away Beer Company has become a frequent hangout for many active-duty service members from Kirtland Air Force Base, as well as the many retired military who live in Albuquerque. This Veterans Day, BABC is giving back with a special beer brewed in honor of an Air Force sergeant who lost his life serving his country.

Phil’s Incendiary IPA is the creation of not just head brewer David Kimbell, but also Casey Pascoe, who served in the Air Force with BABC owner John Degnaro. The beer was made to honor Tech Sergeant Phillip A. Myers, who died in Afghanistan on April 4, 2009, when he was just 30 years old, leaving behind a wife and two children. Proceeds from the sale will go to the EOD Warrior Foundation, a charity that supports veterans from Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal and their families.

“We were approached by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal shop on base that they were putting together a charity fundraiser and they wanted to know if we wanted to be a part of it,” John said. “We said yes. It was actually a golf tournament, so we sponsored a hole. After that they said do you want to put up an item for a silent auction as part of the charity. I said yeah, but I don’t really know what to auction.

“I kind of kicked it around a little bit, so we came up to auction off basically a brew day. The winner of the auction would come in, they would brew the beer, and then we would eventually release the beer and proceeds would go back to the charity.”

Then it was just the matter of the right person winning that prize in the silent auction.

“Highest bidder, that was me,” Casey said. “I’d been here (to BABC) before. I’d seen the progress they had done on making the brewery. When I saw that at the auction, I was like I had to get that.”

Of course, winning the prize was one thing, making the beer was another.

“I’d never brewed before, so I think after the golf tournament we all ended up here,” Casey said. “The soft opening we all ended up back here. I let them know that I had won the auction and was looking forward to brewing some beer with them.”

Casey had a good idea of what kind of beer to make.

“It was between Casey and David to come up with how the beer is going to look, as far as what style,” John said. “Casey said, ‘I want to do a red and I want to name it after a fallen EOD tech named Phil Myers,’ who was a friend of both of ours.”

The incendiary part of the beer name holds double meaning.

“It’s in the EOD or ordinance world, it’s the color of the bombs, they have a red stripe on them,” Casey said. “And, Phil was a red-headed dude with a big ginger beard because when he was deployed he was out of regs, like most of us were, because we were out in the middle of nowhere. We didn’t have all the stuff to shave every day. I think that would be the best (name).

“I think that that also falls in line with the names of the beers they already have up on the board. Phil was a bit of an incendiary fella himself, I guess you could say. Everything he touched kind of caught fire, whether it was being a mentor to me as a young airman, or just everything he did he excelled at.”

Air Force veteran Casey Myers, up bright and early, brewing beer for the first time in his life.

Phil would probably have been amused to know just how much hard work Casey put into the beer.

“Learning to brew with David in the back, I didn’t realize how much work that was,” Casey said. “It’s a lot of work. I think I went home that day and I put the kids to bed at 7 and I hit the pillow at 7:30. I learned a lot.”

As for the beer itself, it should satisfy the hop-loving palates of Burquenos.

“I guess you could say what Casey wanted was something with a lot of citrus aroma, so I used a lot of citrus-forward hops (like) Citra, Centennial,” David said. “There are some dark fruit notes in there (too). It makes for a very malty IPA.”

Phil’s Incendiary IPA will go on tap this Saturday for Veterans Day. Also, BABC will be launching its brewery membership, with special discounts for active-duty service members and retired military.

Raise those pints high this weekend.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Counting down the days till Expedition and its stout friends arrive from Michigan! (Photo courtesy of Bell’s Brewery)

It was pretty awesome and all when Bell’s Brewery started distributing in New Mexico last month. After the initial excitement just to get beers like Two Hearted and Kalamazoo Stout here, plenty of folks started asking that one, inevitable question: “Where are the seasonals?”

Oh, they are about to arrive in a big, big way. Bell’s sales rep Silas Sims sent us the full list of upcoming seasonal beers coming to New Mexico, plus just where you will be able to sample them, enjoy them on tap, and get them to go.

First up, sour lovers, get ready for The Wild One (6.5% ABV, 20 IBU), a sour brown ale aged in oak foeders with a little brett thrown in for an extra funky kick. If you prefer something maltier and chewier, Christmas Ale (7.5% ABV, 35 IBU), a hefty Scotch ale, is “certain to make any occasion festive, or at least a bit more bearable,” per the Bell’s website.

Then comes the darkness, a quartet of excellent stouts that has the Crew already saving up some money in advance. Expedition Stout (10.5% ABV) is a massive Russian Imperial Stout that has earned plenty of fame among the fans of the darkness. It does not arrive alone, as two dessert stouts will accompany it to Albuquerque and points beyond. Cherry Stout (7% ABV) is a little more tart than sweet, using only Montmorency cherries from the Traverse City area in Michigan. Meanwhile, Special Double Cream Stout (6.1% ABV) gets its sweetness and smooth mouthfeel not from lactose, but from a blend of 10 special malts.

Finally, the whale of the bunch will be here, but in limited supply. Black Note Stout (11.2% ABV) is a wonderful behemoth, a bourbon barrel-aged blend of the Expedition and the Special Double Cream. “Aimed squarely at the stout and bourbon aficionados, Black Note makes a grand statement about the art of the dark.” That is just beautiful poetry right there, people.

These beers should arrive by the end of next week, meaning November will be getting off to a great start. Jubilation will have them, as should both Total Wine locations and both Whole Foods locations. Additional retailers will be announced when that information becomes available.

For those not quite sure if you want these beers, there will be some special tastings and tappings coming up as well.

  • Friday, November 3: Sister Bar will host the first tapping of Black Note from 5 to 8 p.m., with Porter, Oarsman, Lager of the Lakes, and Two Hearted also available.
  • Thursday, November 9: Jubilation will have a tasting of select beers (no Black Note, sorry, it is a limited amount) from 4 to 6 p.m. Keep an eye on their social media for the full lineup.
  • (Black) Friday, November 24: O’Niell’s on Juan Tabo will have kegs of Black Note, The Wild One, Winter White, and one TBD beer on tap from 5 to 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 30: Whole Foods on Carlisle will have a tasting of all available beers from 4 to 6 p.m.
  • TBD date in December: There will be another Black Note tapping, this time at Nob Hill Bar & Grill. We will share that info when it is available.

Stout season is upon us! Glory to the elder gods!

Now we can’t wait to see what our local breweries will produce this season to go up against these national heavyweights. We have a feeling the winner will be … all of us!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

A replacement for the original Bosque location is coming in 2018.

The cat finally got out of the proverbial bag late Monday afternoon as Bosque Brewing officially announced it will be replacing its original San Mateo location in 2018. The new spot will be located along the southbound Interstate 25 frontage road along Venice Avenue, in between two existing buildings.

“We purchased a piece of land up here off of the frontage road, between Arizona Tile and the University of Phoenix,” said director of operations/co-owner Jotham Michnovicz. “It’s 1.75 acres and we are going to get rid of the strip mall struggle.”

One of the Bosque employees tipped us off about this potential move a while back, but we had to wait until the full purchase of the property was complete. The new location will be purpose-built as a brewery, housing a 15-barrel brewhouse that will be responsible for producing much of the draft-0nly beers, as well as special seasonal and specialty releases. The production facility in Bernalillo, which is also currently under construction, will handle the main packaged brands (IPA, Lager, Elephants on Parade, Scotia, 1888 Golden Ale) for mass distribution.

“Basically, what we’re going to do is build a brewery that’s more of a production facility,” Jotham said of the new site. “We’ve been wanting to do a lot of fun beers and we haven’t really had the space to do them in volume yet. So, this new building that we’re going to have is a three-story building. The third story (includes) a rooftop patio. The patio is basically a wrap-around. There’s going to be a first-, second-, and third-story patios. You’ll be able to get views of the Balloon Fiesta as well (as the Sandias).”

The first four will not feature any seating, just a standing bar and tables, with glass windows to look into the brewery, said managing director/co-owner Gabe Jensen.

“I’m just excited about the concept of open spaces,” Gabe said. “Downstairs is not going to have any seating. The restaurant (with seating) will be on the second floor. Downstairs will have an open feel so you can browse whatever those things are. We want to have a yard outside. We’re going to have a full-sized bocce ball court, which I’m excited about.”

Gabe said that adding the new project on top of Bernalillo, while having just finished the full retrofit on Las Cruces, and still working on the expansion of the Nob Hill taproom, will be quite the challenge.

“I think the biggest challenge is going to be the fact that we’re going to open Bernalillo very close to when we’re going to open here,” he said. “Even though we haven’t broken ground here, it’s a quicker build, because like you said it’s from scratch and we’re not trying to retrofit things and permitting is more linear. Submit this and you know when you can start. I’m guessing we’re about three-to-four months apart from when we open Bernalillo in February to when we’re going to open this one in April or May, hopefully.”

Getting everything done by May 1 will be key, Gabe added, because that is the end of the current lease at the San Mateo location.

The main focus of the new location, on top of being a fun place to drink beer for customers, is to create more space and improve the existing San Mateo brewery. A new 15-barrel brewhouse will be installed, which will enable the existing brewery to still operate right until the new one is ready to go.

“A big part of that is, we have someone interested in (buying) this one, but we need to install a new while this is still going,” Gabe said. “Putting ourselves three months out of commission wouldn’t be good.”

Gabe said that the goal will be to use the new brewery to be limited runs of specialty beers that can be packaged, but in cans instead of 22-ounce bombers.

“I’m pretty sure, that aside from barrel-aged stuff, bombers are going away, just in general,” he said. “There’s a use for them, but just as a preferred platform for beer, I don’t think it’s there anymore, even for specialty.”

In the end, Bosque will have more room for brewing, which is the most important thing.

“The bottom floor is the biggest footprint,” Jotham said. “The back end is where the brewery is. We’ve got about 5,000 square feet for the brewery, I think, not including the (walk-in) cooler, of course. It’s a nice yard space space for distro.”

That will include, yes, more parking.

“A huge, huge part of the reason we’re (moving),” Gabe said. “We were looking at buying this building, but you come in here Friday at 4 p.m., there’s 88 spaces out there, and 20 are taken by co-workers, another 20 by other tenants, and now you only have 48 plus our distro stuff.”

Jotham said there will be between 90 to 100 spaces just for customers at the new location, with employee and truck parking in a separate area.

Modulus Architects and Snyder Construction will break ground soon on the new facility. The San Mateo location will stay open at least through April.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister