Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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That’s one sexy lineup, Second Street.

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

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

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

As the NM Brewers Guild put it best, “How many times has earth-shattering news appeared on a Post-It note?” Congrats to The 377 on tying for third at GBBF. (Original photo courtesy of Carlos Garcia)

At this point in history, it is no longer a surprise to see a New Mexico brewery claiming one of the Michael Jackson Awards for Best American Cask Ale from the Great British Beer Festival. After all, in the previous six years, four local breweries combined for five medals.

It is, however, quite heartening to see one of the “little guys” in our local scene being the brewery to bring home a medal in 2018. The 377 Brewery added its name to the list of winners when it tied for third in this year’s edition of the American Cask Beer Bar over the weekend.

“What this win means for me is that my love and dedication to the art and science behind the brewing process is being recognized,” 377 brewmaster Lyna Waggoner said in an email. “My Schwartzbier had won medals in the homebrew scene. I believed in this beer and never changed the recipe. There is a secret to this beer, but I won’t tell.”

Whatever that secret is, it impressed the British judges. It is the third bronze medal for a New Mexico brewery after Canteen and Rio Bravo tied last year. Prior to that, Marble won gold in 2012 and silver in 2013, followed by La Cumbre taking gold in 2014.

“I’m proud to stand with the previous other NM winners and to continue to show the brewing world that we kick ass,” Lyna said.

Tucked away near the intersection of Yale and Gibson, The 377 has quietly been on a roll of late, earning a gold medal for its Belgian Sour Quad at the U.S. Beer Open Championship, in addition to a pair of past gold medals.

“What this win means to The 377 is the recognition of being chosen in such a large and diverse field of competitors,” Lyna said. “I know they (the owners and staff) are ecstatic.”

The good news is the Schwartzbier is available almost year-round at the brewery, so anyone who is curious about this award winner can head over to try it at almost any time. A limited amount of the Belgian Sour Quad will be available starting this Wednesday, and we will have more details on how that kicks off the Basement Barrel Project in The Week Ahead in Beer.

Overall, it is just part of a positive string of news and events for The 377.

“As far as momentum, it’s already building with our new kitchen opening up very, very soon,” Lyna said. “Possibly a pilot system for me to explore even more avenues of beer artistry is in the works. And, to finally get a chance to show off my sour side of beer making is finally here. And, I’m happy about that.”

Congratulations to Lyna and The 377 from all of us in the Crew.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

— Luke

Also on tap for Rowley Farmhouse Ales:

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

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

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

American Funk

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

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

Flix Brewhouse brewers Will Moorman and Marisa Bernal show off their bronze medal from the US Open Beer Championship. (Photo courtesy of Will Moorman)

A photo on the Facebook page of Flix Brewhouse lead brewer Will Moorman caught our eye earlier this week. It is the photo above, featuring a very happy Will and equally happy assistant brewer Marisa Bernal, holding aloft a medal from the recent US Open Beer Championship.

As it turns out, the Flix duo were not the only smiling folks around, as three New Mexico breweries brought home medals out of a field featuring 360-plus breweries and 6,300 entries.

Flix earned a bronze for its Baltic Porter, Darth Malt, which was its 10th medal earned from four competitions this year alone (Alltech Commonwealth Cup, Los Angeles International Beer Competition, Best of Craft Beer Awards). Flix has earned three golds, four silvers, and three bronzes, and it finished fifth overall at the Best of Craft Beer Awards.

The 377 brewmaster Lyna Waggoner displays all three of her gold medals. (Photo courtesy of The 377)

The 377 Brewery fared even better at the US Open, bringing home a gold for its Belgian Sour Quad in the Wood/Barrel-Aged Sour Beer category. Brewmaster Lyna Waggoner told us a while back that she was really into brewing the Belgian-style beers, and clearly she is making a name for herself and her brewery. It is The 377’s third gold medal in less than two years.

Santa Fe Brewing also picked up two bronze medals for its Pale Ale (in the ESB category) and 7K IPA (in the West Coast IPA category).

While these competitions may not have the cachet of the Great American Beer Festival or World Beer Cup, the feedback brewers receive can be immensely helpful as they seek to make their beer better and better. It can also open the eyes of potential customers who might otherwise overlook these breweries.

Congrats to all the winners. We will see you at GABF in September.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Brewmaster John Bullard stands before his now complete production brewery. Well, leans, because he probably could use a nap at this point.

During my visit with the Bosque Brewing command staff at their new office/warehouse space last week, we also spent a lot of time talking about the final preparations for Bosque North and its series of openings. There was an industry-invite-only opening on Wednesday, and it will host the final round of the NM IPA Challenge on Saturday, before concluding with the grand opening Monday.

It has been a long, laborious process for Bosque to get the combined production brewery and taproom space up and running. From a lengthy delay caused by construction on Highway 550 (or, more aptly, waiting to figure out how that construction should proceed), to then converting an old building into a state-of-the-art brewery, it has not been easy.

We had Luke do a little photoshopping to show how much things have changed since our first trip to Bosque North in March, putting some similar photos side-by-side, including this one of the brewery interior.

The trio of managing director Gabe Jensen, director of operations Jotham Michnovicz, and director of culture and engagement Jessica Griego took me through the final days of preparing North for occupancy. I then took another tour with director of brewing operations John Bullard for a fresh set of photographs to show just how far the construction has come since my last visit in early March.

“I was telling Gabe yesterday, every time we’ve opened a taproom, it’s all hands on deck for 12 to 16 hours a day,” Jotham said. “Yesterday, I had a meeting with Gabe in our office and everything that needed to be handled was being handled by our team over in that spot. I didn’t even have to be there yesterday, which is really cool to see our team come together and be able to handle (everything).”

Another shot of the brewery looking down from the second floor, albeit from a slightly different angle, since the original view is now a solid wall.

While John and production manager Tim Woodward have things handled in the brewery, the front-of-house staff has come together to take charge of the taproom area.

“We actually have as our taproom liaison, he moved up from Las Cruces, his name is Max Portillo,” Jessica said. “He’s been an essential leader on our Las Cruces team for four years now. We’ve been nudging him every time we saw him to move up here and he did. We’re super excited for him. He’s stepping into a new role, but he’s a seasoned leader at Bosque.

“We’ve had maybe one or two other transfers internally, but otherwise it’s all new people. Well, our kitchen manager, he transferred from Nob Hill, his name is Mitch O’Connor. The key management positions are internal, but for the most part we’ve hired from the community, Bernalillo and northern Rio Rancho. That was really a goal of ours to make sure we hired from within the community and were representative of it.”

The front patio is now ready to go, with tables just out of sight and the window to the interior bar ready to go.

The team led by Max and Mitch was going through training while I was taking the tour with John, making sure everything would be ready for the inevitable crush of humanity headed their way.

“I think that’s one of the funnest things about opening a restaurant in general, is that camaraderie than happens whenever there is a launch team,” Jotham said. “We’ve got 30 new hires, they were all in this (conference) room doing orientation, getting to know each other and building that rapport with each other. They were there yesterday, putting everything away. It creates a little bit of ownership for the staff. You get to be a part of setting the building up, knowing where everything is going to go. Some of my fondest memories are of opening a restaurant.”

The view from the second floor patio/deck is looking better by the day. Now if they would only finish up on Highway 550’s bridge.

The brewing staff did have to get bigger as well.

“A lot of our brewing staff came over from San Mateo,” Jotham said. “It’s a pretty light staff over there now. We did bolster the team as well, we hired some new positions. I’d say the majority of the people that were on our brewing team are now at Bernalillo.”

“They were brewers or they moved from elsewhere on staff to join the brewing team, packaging team, cellar, all that,” Gabe added.

The interior of the tower now features a big screen TV and a bar just to the right of frame.

The canning line is already up and running, meaning that at last, all Bosque packaged beer is being brewed and canned in New Mexico.

“We’re doing it,” Gabe said. “We got our last shipment of IPA a week ago. That was the last (overall). Everything from here on out that’s produced will be at Bernalillo.

“It’s getting to that point where I can’t keep up. They’ve already canned Elephants on Parade twice. That was the one thing that we were super nervous about because we hadn’t done it. The first run was like oh, that went perfect.”

The silo has its logo. John swears it glows in the dark, but we’re a bit skeptical (someone has been working some very long shifts, FYI).

Bosque did receive a large number of unused cans from Sleeping Giant in Denver, so try not to get confused if you still see the old labeling.

“We’ve had some other hiccups with packaging, but that’s going to happen,” Gabe said. “We got permission from the TTB to put beer in the cans that (still) say Denver, and we’ll just have to stamp them on the bottom to say NM next to the date, just so we can use up those cans. There will be a transition period of a couple months of where we’re brewing it here, but it will still have Denver packaging.”

The first cans with a full New Mexico label, as opposed to an underside stamp, will be the 1888, but Gabe and Jotham said they are waiting on the cartons to arrive before they can can the beer.

Think that’s enough cans to keep all of you happy? What? It’s not? Jeez, people, you just can’t get enough Elephants on Parade, can you?

What will really get beer geeks excited, however, is what else will be going into cans in the near future.

“We’ll be doing some one-off can specialty releases as well,” Jessica said. “That’s probably our biggest (project). … I’m the most excited about that, to be able to release some specialty beers in cans, and showcase our quality and what we can do out there.”

“I think that’s one of the things that’s John is most excited about,” Gabe added.

The canning line is already getting a workout, with lots more to come, including specialty releases!

John confirmed that he does have four specialty cans on the docket, all of which will come in 16-ounce cans in four packs, as opposed to the 12-ounce six-pack cans for the regular offerings.

So what will a couple of those cans contain? Well, one just might be a past two-time National and New Mexico IPA Challenge winner, and the other might be a former Great American Beer Festival medal winner of a certain fresh hop persuasion.

“There’s a good variety in there, too,” Jessica said. “We’ve got a wide range of styles. We still have to figure out the dynamics of how we release them. Do they hit all the taprooms at the same time? Are they only at Bernalillo first and then they hit the taprooms? We have some logistics to work out on that still. We’ll make sure to communicate that clearly on social media for everyone.”

Clearly, Bosque employs some folks who do not share our fear of heights.

Overall, Bosque North is an impressive creation in all aspects. It is just another sign of how far our local craft beer industry has come in just the past six years. The days of jamming tiny brewing systems into strip malls and hoping for the best have come and gone. The bar has been raised and will continue to be raised, which is good news for all of us that love craft beer.

Here are some additional pictures from Wednesday night’s industry-only invite opening for a final look before the public gets to join us.

The interior of the downstairs taproom. There’s a second bar to the right of frame.

A whole lotta brewery folks gathered on the second floor patio/deck.

Good night, Bosque North. We will see you again soon!

Once again, it is a very good time to be a fan of local craft beer in New Mexico. Thanks to Gabe, Jotham, Jessica, and John for everything.

See some of you at the NMIPAC on Saturday.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Find your way to Innovation Way, the home of Bosque’s new offices and warehouse.

Last month, Bosque Brewing sent out a short press release about moving its offices to a new location in Rio Rancho. It seemed surprising that the brewery’s ownership would make such a move, especially with Bosque North in Bernalillo still unopened. After finally being able to work out a time to meet (never easy with all of our busy schedules), I ventured over to 7701 Innovation Way NE to see the new space, learn why the move was made, and also catch up on everything else Bosque related.

The trio of managing director Gabe Jensen, director of operations Jotham Michnovicz, and director of culture and engagement Jessica Griego greeted me in a second floor conference room. Yeah, they have a conference room. Yeah, they have two floors. It’s quite different than the crowded, fully open space they had at the San Mateo location (we would always meet in the taproom due to a lack of space).

This conference room was filled with the new Bosque North employees during their recent orientation.

“I’ll take you back a little bit,” Gabe said. “Bernalillo has taken much longer than anything I’d ever want something to take. When we designed the office over there, it had seven offices and a conference room, plus a little fore room, and we were like how would we ever need that much space.

“About a year ago, we said we’re gonna need more space than that pretty soon after we open. I looked at some office warehouse type of places out here. Bernalillo is large and tall, which is great for production, but it’s kind of an expensive space and we don’t want to add more to just store things like empty cans and boxes. All the storage things that if you’re in an industrial area paying industrial prices you can afford.”

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You gotta put all those unopened growlers somewhere.

The combination of the need for an off-site warehouse and the growth of the office staff sent Gabe on a mission to find a nearby space that could handle both.

“I found plenty out in Northern Rio Rancho and Bernalillo like a year ago,” he said. “I thought there’s no reason to get it now. When we got closer (to North opening), there was nothing, which is good for the economy and everything, but there was nothing left for us. I was thinking a 6,000- or 7,000-square-foot office warehouse and probably not in great shape, just to throw some stuff in and have some sales offices and distro offices and stuff like that. That didn’t work. Once we got close to opening Bernalillo, we contemplated stuffing everyone in there and also keeping our offices (at San Mateo), that big open mess.”

Space, glorious space!

Gabe’s business connections, however, gave him a heads up that there was a building available.

“Kind of on a whim, I came out and looked at this place,” he said. “Some economic development people had told us about it. This had been vacant for about three years. We got a good deal. There’s more to that story as well, just relationships and things like that, but we were able to (close on it). Anytime I showed anybody this place, and that includes all of us, Jess and I walked out of here and thought no, it’s silly, we couldn’t do this.

“But, when I did the math, it made sense. The math still worked out, especially considering there’s 8,000 square feet of warehouse here, which makes storing cans (easy); it’s only a mile away from Bernalillo. That sounds like a long time, but it happened (fast). Three days and a week later and we had a lease. We’ve never pulled that off.”

Bosque now has a building in which to grow. There are some additional offices that will eventually be leased out to other small businesses on the south end of the building.

“If we can get the other side leased, which we plan to do, our actual monthly expense is going to be the same (as San Mateo),” Gabe said.

The north (right) half of the building is all for Bosque.

At first glance, the building almost seems too big. After a post-interview tour, I could already see where the staff still has room to expand in the future.

“This size of a building that we’re in, we need this much space,” Gabe said. “We have 18 people housed here. I can already feel a difference in the efficiency of people. I can close my door and bang something out instead of having to navigate all working in the same open space. I didn’t have a desk in the end. Well, I finally did once John (Bullard) was at Bernalillo all the time, I stole his. I think at the end of being at our offices on San Mateo, we had six people sitting around a single table. That’s not efficient.”

No one is going to particularly miss the old San Mateo office, which was always being squeezed by storage demands.

“I’m usually pretty sentimental about things and I was so happy to move out of that place,” Jessica said. “I was not sad at all. It was getting really inefficient with everyone sitting on top of each other. Not having a door to have (private) conversations, all of the things.”

The pink boots are a nice touch in Jessica’s office.

Our conversation took us to the impending opening of Bosque North and all that will entail. We will have more on that in a separate story, with new photos of the finished space, later this week.

As for some of Bosque’s other upcoming projects, those have been on the back burner until North was completed. Now the staff will begin moving those along as well.

“We can say Restoration Pizza will happen first,” Jessica said. “I think once we get Bernalillo open we’ll be able to dive into and start kickstarting these projects off.”

The replacement for the San Mateo taproom/brewery will follow soon after.

The warehouse space in the back is already filling up with kegs, cans, and more.

“Open Space, we could go pull the permit right now and get started, but we’re working on financing for that one,” Jotham said. “It’s all of the pre-construction stuff that is going on. We hope to really hit the ground running right after we open Bernalillo (on) both of those projects. It’s just that Open Space is going to be a longer build. It’s a seven-month construction timeline that we’ve put together. Restoration Pizza should be way faster than that, because it’s just a buildout of an existing space. That one won’t be as crazy.”

Even after those projects are done, do not expect Bosque to kick back and take it easy.

“We actually have been really strategically planning the next three-to-five years,” Jessica said. “We have goals and things we want to do, but nothing is set in stone yet.”

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Gabe and Jessica are quite proud of the new space. And yes, they have an employee bar back there, because of course they do.

Look for more on Bosque North in a couple days. Thanks to Gabe, Jotham, and Jessica for the interview and the tour.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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Monks’ Corner will no longer call this spot at Silver and Third Street home.

As you’ve all heard by now, Monks’ Taproom, Abbey Brewing Co.’s Albuquerque-based taproom, is closing its doors at the end of business on Tuesday, July 31. Yesterday, I reached out to Berkeley Merchant, general manager of Abbey Brewing, and he had this to say in a forthcoming press release:

“We will miss serving our regular guests and neighbors, and collaborating with our colleagues at Sidetrack, Red Door, Duel, and Boese Brothers. Our experiences as part of the downtown community have brought us great pride and satisfaction, and we have enjoyed serving our guests, being part of the craft brewing community, and supporting the industry in general as charter members of the New Mexico Brewers Guild. However, the challenges of providing a highly memorable guest experience at this specific location at this time have led us to the decision to concentrate on the brewing and distribution of our family of Monks’ Ales while we explore new sites for a future taproom.”

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Co-owners David Gonzales (left) and Berkeley Merchant (right)

Abbey Brewing will continue to brew and distribute Monks’ Ales wherever you currently purchase them, and they’ll likely appear in more stores and markets in the future. Monks’ Taproom will continue to serve beer up through the 31st, and starting today (Friday), they’ll have plenty of farewell specials on all beer, wine, cider, growler fills, merch, and package. Just follow along on their social media channels for the exact specials available. And, be sure to show them your love and support as they transition out of the corner of Silver and Third.

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All hail the Tripel Reserve.

Thank you, Monks’, for always providing a friendly atmosphere in which to drink your delicious Monks’ Ales. May you find a successful place to land, and for the sake of your fans, may you find it sooner than later. To Abbey Brewing Company and the great quality of beer you make here’s to many more years sipping your excellent products brewed in the ancient monastic tradition, cheers!

— Luke

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Follow Luke on Twitter @SantaFeCraftBro and be his drinking buddy on Untappd: SantaFeLuke

Changes are afoot inside the original Broken Trail location on Stanford.

On an uncharacteristically overcast Saturday, Dave (boyfriend/partner in crime) and I were tooling around in our Jeep and made our way over to visit our buddy Matt Simonds, owner of Broken Trail Spirits + Brew. For some reason as we drove along, we had a discussion about how we missed the old days of hanging out nearby in the onetime micro pub of the original Il Vicino Brewing operation on Vassar north of Comanche. We were feeling especially nostalgic, but little did we know that feeling was about to become the theme of the next few hours.

It was apparent something major was happening from the moment we walked into Broken Trail’s base of operations on Stanford. There was a bit of controlled chaos. Matt waved to us from the back, so we took a seat at the bar. We were the only ones there, but we were completely surrounded — by supplies. Since it was a slow Saturday afternoon, I wondered if they were just doing some major summer cleaning/rearranging. Matt soon set us straight and filled us in on some significant operational news.

It turns out this would be our last time in this taproom as we currently know it. Matt said they need the space for ramped up production, so the majority of the seating in the original location has to go to make room. Dry storage and probably the bottling line will move up front. He hopes to keep the bar intact and use that area as his lab for now, and keep taps operational for occasional drop-ins; he just will not have any regular taproom hours. Essentially, the main taproom business will be at the Uptown location on Menaul just east of Louisiana. I started to get misty and wistful all over again.

It’s bittersweet, Matt said. The whole bar is a piece of him; it’s his baby.

The Uptown taproom will now be the focus of where folks can enjoy a Broken Trail beer on tap.

Then the craziest thing happened. I was suddenly appeased when Matt went on to say that he hopes he can have this original location mimic the vibe of the old Il Vicino. He was waxing nostalgic about it, too. What the hell? Is this guy clairvoyant or something?

So hopefully, it will all come full circle.

I told Matt it’s a very good thing he recently opened the Uptown taproom, and he agreed. He said the location has turned out to have a different crowd than he expected. His expectation was that the location would have about a 50/50 split between spirit and beer sales. To his surprise, that number is currently about 70/30 in favor of beer. Not only was the area underserved as far as local brewery taprooms go — because really only the Alien Brew Pub is in close proximity — and having multiple hotels nearby helps as well. The hotel directly across the street is the Albuquerque crew hotel for Southwest Airlines. Southwest crew members have an app for local places that provide discounts, and this provides good exposure for the taproom.

Matt said that since the first day they opened, they have been at 100-percent capacity. The thing is, about every six months, they increase capacity. They are also making beer much more frequently than they used to. He thinks that makes them better at it, plus turning it over faster makes for fresher beer.

More production means more new equipment for owner Matt Simonds, right.

So why the sudden, larger increase in production? For the most part, it stems from being super flexible and always willing to try new things, as well as the relationships Matt has built with other related businesses. Broken Trail is naturally increasing production, bottling, and distribution of their own spirits (as well as accompanying sodas and syrups) and kegging their own beer. They are now working with Mother Road Mobile Canning to package their Pepe the Mule malt beverage. (Pepe even has a Facebook page!)

It is this relationship with Mother Road that fostered the latest opportunity, requiring the immediate need for expansion of the production area. Mother Road approached Broken Trail with an opportunity. As of last week, Broken Trail is the western U.S. producer for a nationally distributed ready-to drink canned spirit product (one not distributed in New Mexico at this time).

Matt had to scramble to buy more, larger equipment. He has a new 40-barrel tank ready to go on line. He is waiting for some fittings and other pieces of additional equipment. They are currently using their 15-barrel tank every day. They will need Mother Road to come in and do canning multiple times a week. And, that means, Matt needs more help in the warehouse. He said it may even lead to having two shifts every day. Three weeks ago, he thought there was no way, he didn’t think he could do it. But, he is doing it. Somehow he makes it work, with more equipment and streamlining of processes.

The original taproom will be consumed by the ever-expanding need for more production.

Additionally, they are talking with a few other local businesses about producing some related, non-alcoholic beverage products. Our most loyal readers may remember a previous story where we joked (joked is the operative word; we were not serious) about Matt changing the name of his business every year and having a contest for the best name. Broken Trail used to be called Distillery 365. Now I said this year he needs to change the name to Broken Trail Beverage Company.

For my own purely selfish reasons I am feeling a bit sad about the change, but it’s really a great sign for things to some. Matt said he is excited about the new opportunities; as always, he is full of the giddy, contagious enthusiasm that is quintessential Matt Simonds.

Cheers to new adventures!

— AmyO

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We’re really digging the poster.

On Saturday, the Rufina taproom will host Second Street’s first Crab and Pilsner Festival, and you’re all invited. The event goes from 11 a.m. on Saturday to 10 p.m. on Sunday. Yes, it’s a two-day festival, and it seems like the perfect thing to bring your dad to on Sunday, because it’s Father’s Day, in case you’ve forgotten. And, gosh darn it, dad deserves good beer! And, if dad’s into the light stuff, like most dads are, well, we know where he can find a few of them this weekend.

The Crab and Pilsner Festival is free to attend. You don’t have to buy tickets or make reservations. Just get to 2920 Rufina Street early enough to buy your pilsner glass and T-shirt. All pilsners will be sold at regular pint prices, but you can buy flights as well. And, we’re pretty sure they’ll let you sample a few more, if you ask nicely.

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You can wear the poster? Even better!

As of the posting, we’re still missing a few beers from some of the breweries, but there will be pilsners from 17 breweries in total.

Blue Corn — Atomic Blond

Bosque — TBA

Boxing Bear — Body Czech

Canteen Brewhouse — High Plains Pilsner

Duel — Sorachi Ace Pilsner

Enchanted Circle — Palisades Pilsner

Kaktus — Kaktus Pilsner

Marble — Marble Pilsner

Marble Heights — Thunder From Dortmunder

Santa Fe — Freestyle

Second Street — Agua Fria Pilsner

Sidetrack — Sidetrack Pilsner

Starr Brothers — Starrphire

Steel Bender — Schnitz ‘N Giggle

Taos Mesa — Koenig Lager

Tractor — TBA

Turtle Mountain — TBA

As the name of the festival implies, it’s also a crab festival, with a menu put together by Second Street’s southern chef Milton Villarrubia, which, if you’ve ever eaten at Rufina, you’d know this man can do southern food.

MENU:
Crab and Tasso Gumbo
Cup $7.50 / Bowl $15
Succulent Gulf blue crab meat and house-made smoked Cajun Tasso Ham are cooked in a seafood stock with trinity, chef’s signature dark chocolate brown roux. Seasoned to perfection with Cajun spices and served with white rice, grilled baguette, and garnished with green onions.

Snow Crab Plate
Half Portion $18.50 / Whole Portion $37
Traditionally boiled Pacific Northwestern snow crab-cluster, served with boiled red potatoes, corn, crackers, and melted butter.

Dungeness Crab Plate
Half Portion $18.50 / Whole Portion $37
A Pacific Northwest classic! Dungeness crab served with boiled red potatoes, corn, crackers, and melted butter.

Sides
Corn on the cob – $.75 each
Red Potato – $.75 each
Andouille Sausage – $3.50
Whole Artichoke with Caper Aioli – $7
Dry Creole Spice – $1

There will also be a free live show on Saturday by guitarist Combsy, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to keep us all entertained well into the night.

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Hello, proper glassware!

This will be a different festival than our Albuquerque crowd will be used to, but then again, this model seems to work for most of Second Street’s festivals, where it’s a little less of a line and sample-fest, and more of a food-and-drink-and-music hangout. At these things, I’ve never left feeling like I’ve spent too much or gotten too little to taste, and I’ve always made a few new friends. So, I’ll be there on Saturday, enjoying some of the best clean and clear beers our New Mexico breweries have to offer under one roof.

To the pilsner, where mistakes have nowhere to hide, raise ‘em up!

— Luke

Broken Trail will clean out that lot to the left for the St. Baldrick’s Brew Fest this Saturday.

There are many beer festivals that give a portion of the proceeds to worthy charities. Then there is the St. Baldrick’s Brew Fest, which puts its charity front and center, and will see 100 percent of the net sales go to the cause. It all goes down this Saturday at Broken Trail’s main location at 2921 Stanford NE starting at 4 p.m.

To learn more about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and this new festival, I sat down with Broken Trail owner Matt Simonds and event organizer/one-woman-army Morgan McLain.

In the past, Morgan had teamed up with Red Door, but that ended last year.

“Last year, we didn’t do a big event, Red Door was in the middle of opening several other businesses,” she said. “We decided to do a St. Patrick’s Day special at Broken Trail because the first couple of events for St. Baldrick’s were held at an Irish pub in New York.”

The small event raised about $300, Morgan said, but more is always good.

“When we were thinking about this year, after all of the kerfuffle we went through with Red Door, it made sense to do it here (at Broken Trail),” she said. “(Matt) had offered that up last year. We decided to do it here, but we asked are we just going to do a (small) event or throw a party. When the Red Door event started up, we challenged all the brewers (to shave their heads) and they came through the first year, which was great. We decided why not do the same thing, we have the space to do it, we have the licensure to do it, which is something we didn’t have at Red Door. We reached out to 15 or 20 breweries.”

Broken Trail will make use of its spacious, and fenced-in, exterior lot for the festival.

“The idea is that let’s utilize the huge space that we have,” Matt said. “We’ve basically invited breweries to come in and hopefully donate kegs if not sell it to us at a reduced rate. Then with the idea that 100-percent of the net sales will be going directly towards St. Baldrick’s. So hopefully we’ll have tents set up.”

The breweries on hand will include Canteen, Little Toad Creek, Quarter Celtic, The 377, and Tractor. Steel Bender will donate a keg, too, and the forthcoming Hollow Spirits will pop up as well (as Morgan put it best, “Hollow Spirits will be here with a banner and Frank’s head, but I don’t think they have anything to contribute, but they’re working on it.”) Fork & Fig will cater the event, and Nomad’s BBQ will park its truck and smoker at the event as well. Pop Fizz will be present, too. On the music front, Morgan said, “Red Light Cameras and Le Chat Lunatique are both playing because they love me, and so I badgered them (a lot).” The traditional act of having one’s head shaved during the event will also occur, and yes, Morgan has signed up Matt, among others.

It is no easy undertaking to put all of this together, but this year marks a milestone in Morgan’s personal life.

“It makes the most sense to have a (big) party,” she said. “This is a huge year for me, it’s my 25th year cancer free, so we had to do it up great. Why not have a party? We might as well have a big festival. It’s more fun to do that and I feel like in the long run it’s easier to do that than just have one small event.”

Morgan was lucky to survive cancer as a child, but the disease did not end with her, so she has remained active in helping others.

“Over high school and the beginning of college I actually lost three of my friends that I had known through the oncology department,” she said. “One of them lost his original battle and two of them with their relapse as young adults in their mid-20s. That, of course, hangs around with you.

“Cancer has been pretty pervasive in my family and my life. My father passed away from cancer, I’ve lost friends from cancer.”

Morgan said she also has a number of friends working in the medical community, many in cancer-related fields, both here in Albuquerque and around the country. Growing up, she was also involved in another local charity, Camp Enchantment, which helps children who are cancer survivors.

“Childhood cancer is probably the most underfunded kind of cancer,” Morgan said. “The National Institute of Health is offering only 4 percent of their funding budget to cancer research, although that’s changing now. The Scott Act passed (last week), it’s the biggest piece of legislation that ever passed for childhood cancer research. It guarantees them $30 million over the next five years. It goes to the National Institute of Health and the National Cancer Institute for ongoing clinical research for kids who have survived cancer and longevity after that and how childhood cancer affects you as an adult.”

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is the largest private organization in the country that raises money in the fight against childhood cancer, as well as helping the survivors get on with their lives.

“As an adult with cancer there are obviously lasting effects from the chemotherapy, but especially as a child who has to go through a really intense type of therapy, there are side effects that can last a lifetime,” Morgan said. “Whether it’s cognitive defects, whether that’s learning disabilities, whether that’s physical defects, you have to have something amputated. Long-term effects from childhood cancers aren’t as widely understood as adult cancers are. If you have childhood cancer your odds of having cancer again skyrocket in your adult lifetime, regardless of where you live, what you do, what you come into contact with, et cetera. It’s not a matter of if, but when.”

A huge thanks to Morgan and Matt for taking the time to sit down and talk about this important cause. We hope to see everyone out at Broken Trail this Saturday (and yes, we will get those beer lists to you before the end of the week). If you cannot attend, but are interested in donating, go the event’s official page.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister