Archive for the ‘News’ Category

The reddish lettering in the upper left amounted to the totality of the initial announcement that the NIPAC was canceled for 2019.

The NIPAC is dead.

Over the weekend, in the quietest way possible, the Brewing News left a small note on the front page of the National IPA Challenge website that the annual competition was canceled for 2019. It was perhaps the final, inevitable outcome after last week’s national furor over a story by publisher/owner Bill Metzger that ran in the Great Lakes edition of Brewing News, a national publication with multiple regional editions that comes out every two months.

Metzger chose to resign over the controversy following the publication of his blatantly sexist/misogynistic story. He later claimed it was satire in a futile effort to save himself, but few in the national brewing community saw it that way. A number of New Mexico breweries withdrew from the NIPAC in protest, making public statements condemning Metzger.

From Bosque Brewing: “Hey, Bosque Family. It is with serious disappointment that, in light of a recent article published by Brewing News, we are writing to let you know that we are pulling our beers from the National IPA Challenge effective immediately.

“The sexist and racist remarks made by editor Bill Metzger were deeply upsetting and do not reflect our sincere belief that the brewing industry should be an inclusive community free of misogyny, racism, or any behavior of the like.

“This decision was a very obvious one to make, and we appreciate your understanding.”

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The new primary logo for Bosque Brewing debuted at a special gathering.

Bosque Brewing is giving its brand a little upgrade. During a Tuesday night gathering of Bosque Insider members, plus at least one beer writer, an updated logo and new can and merchandise designs were unveiled as pints of Scale Tipper, back this Thursday, flowed inside the brewing space adjacent to the San Mateo taproom.

“We started the process of the refresh in August of last year,” said Jessica Griego, Bosque’s director of culture and engagement, to the assembled crowd. “We settled on the final round last week.”

Bosque’s partner, the Utility Agency, “brought our brand new life,” Jessica added.

The updated primary logo emphasizes the brewery’s name over the ubiquitous leaf, which is now more of a background element on most of the designs.

“We are super excited to do something fresh and new,” Jessica said.

Say hello to the designs of the year-round can lineup. The two new additions are on the left.

That new will include two more year-round canned offerings alongside the four current staples of Elephants on Parade, Scotia, Lager, and IPA. Open Space Haze will soon appear in the new cans, and Jetty Jack is the renamed Brewer’s Boot Amber Ale.

“We feel (the refresh) pays tribute to the past six years of Bosque,” Jessica said. “We also feel it incorporates everything, the mountains, the river, and of course the Bosque (wilderness) in between. It pays homage to New Mexico.”

Jessica said the new can designs will start hitting shelves in April, so if you are a fan of the more classic almost-all-black design, go snatch them up now.

As for Scale Tipper, it will now be part of what will be dubbed the Boutique Line, which will encompass all of Bosque’s seasonal/specialty releases in package. The core beers will still be sold in 12-ounce cans sold in six-packs, while the Boutique beers will be sold in 16-ounce cans in four-packs.

Old friend, new look. Hello again, Scale Tipper.

You can pick up the swanky new Scale Tipper four-packs at all Bosque locations on Thursday. Be forewarned, even with the simpler design, this big IPA was gone from some of the taprooms before the sun set in the west the last time it was available. Since we did get an advance tasting, this batch has more of a fruity element, but still has that good old hoppy kick. It remains one of the more complex specialty IPAs in the state.

Overall, it was a nice presentation from Bosque, both for this here beer writer and the other people in the audience. Look for a revamped website to launch this month, with plenty more beers coming down the pipeline.

Thanks to the staff for the invite, too. It is always appreciated, especially for writers between day jobs.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The National IPA Challenge has been sullied after the publisher of the Brewing News, which organizes the competition, wrote a sexist and offensive article this month.

Late Monday night, during a final perusal of Beer Twitter posts, I stumbled upon something truly horrific. Bill Metzger, the publisher for the Brewing News — that little once-every-two-months, regional mini-newspaper that you see scattered around breweries — had published an article in the Great Lakes edition (UPDATE: link now disabled) that could be best described as … well, horrific. It’s the one titled “Scottish Hopping to Real Ale.” (See below for a link responding to the original article.)

You only need to read the part on the front page to get the gist of how wholly inappropriate, and downright offensive, that the article is, and why it never should have been written in the first place. Heck, even just as an article about cask beers in Scotland, it is quite terrible, and deeply insulting to anyone with even an ounce of Scottish DNA in their bones.

Though Bill has since attempted to claim it was just satire in one of those non-apology-apologies, the damage has been done. Other beer writers are tackling this misogynistic catastrophe far beer than us, so we will let them do the primary talking here. So why bring it up? The National IPA Challenge, that’s why.

Originally, we were going to write a post today that breaks down the NIPAC for all the New Mexico entries. For those who need a refresher, the NIPAC is an annual competition for breweries around the country to have their IPAs compete in a bracket-style format. It is organized by, you guessed it, the Brewing News. Even as multiple breweries are pulling their advertising from the publication and demanding that it no longer be distributed in their taprooms, the beers for the NIPAC have already been shipped out.

We would not expect, nor demand, that any New Mexico brewery is suddenly going to pull its entries from the competition. It does have to give all the participants pause, however, not merely for this year, but certainly next year.

In our humble opinion, no brewery that claims to support equality can ever again associate itself with the Brewing News as long as Bill Metzger is publisher.

It is truly a shame that one man has undone the good work of many people, from the writers and editors who contribute to the publication, to everyone who has helped organize and judge at the NIPAC.

The craft brewing industry, and those industries associated with it such as the “beer media,” have taken major steps to address a lack of diversity and equality in what was traditionally a white male-dominated scene. It is clear we still have a ways to go, however.

Brandon wanted to add this: The craft beer community should be based on one thing: love and appreciation for craft beer. That has no room for racism, sexism, misogyny, or any other discriminatory behaviors.

We welcome all of your comments and input on this issue, but please, keep it civil. This is not a red-blue political issue, so let’s not make it one.

No cheers today, folks.

— Stoutmeister

The exterior of the renovated space that will house Differential Brewing at 500 Yale SE.

Three years after we first spotted the pending license, Differential Brewing (also known as Brewstillery) is finally ready to open its doors in Southeast Albuquerque. The grand opening starts this Friday at 4 p.m. and runs through the weekend. In advance of all that, I met up with head brewer Peter Moore for a tour of the property at 500 Yale SE, which is one block south of Coal on the east side of the street, not far from Quarters and the UNM sports facilities and Isotopes Park.

Rather than go for a fancy mishmash of treated wood and industrial metal, like so many other breweries in town, Differential will have a bit of a throwback look and feel.

“We’re looking for our vibe as brewery dive,” Peter said. “We all grew up in kind of the punk scene. It’s like a Joe’s except people aren’t chasing people out with knives, that kind of stuff.

“It doesn’t look pretty, but it’s functional.”

The north end of the taproom figures to be a popular spot for people watching.

The taproom space is an old gas station/garage, while the brewery room is located in an adjacent building on the property. There is a small patio beneath the garage doors facing Yale, and a much larger patio on the north side of the building. The entire property is owned by the Nellos family, who own Quarters, and Tino Nellos is one of the owners of Differential, along with Anthony Hanson, the former liquor store manager.

“That’s how we were able to get a hold of the buildings and that kind of stuff,” Peter said. “That has saved us a lot of money not having to pay rent while we’re doing construction. That would have wiped us out.”

Like so many others, Anthony was a homebrewer first, and that love of beer led him down the path of wanting his own brewery.

“I had been a homebrewer for over a decade,” Anthony said. “(Tino) had the property here and we thought that was the location to do it. Peter just happened to stumble into our orbit and was like, I can show you how to do that for real real. I used to run the liquor store down the street, so I know that side of the business just fine.”

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The new project from outgoing Brewers Guild executive director John Gozigian.

The news that New Mexico Brewers Guild executive director John Gozigian was stepping down at the end of March did not catch us by complete surprise when it was announced last week. We were aware of John being involved in a new project coming to replace the Bosque San Mateo taproom/brewery, and seeing as how the Guild bylaws prohibit the director from having a financial stake in any brewery, that meant his time would eventually be up.

That time is almost here, so I sat down with John over lunch on Monday to talk about his new project, La Reforma, as well as his time with the Guild and what is coming down the line.

“It’s been in the works for a little while,” he said. “When Bosque announced that they were going to developing the Open Space (location), and I learned that they were basically going to leave the space on San Mateo, it got me to thinking. I never intended to get back into the brewing industry. Even less so, was I interested in getting back into the restaurant business.

“But, from an entrepreneurial point of view, you look at a second generation restaurant/brewery space becomes available, and you can potentially cut in half the cost of developing it for that use. The infrastructure is already there.”

John said he talked to managing director Gabe Jensen and ended up “shocked” that no one had approached Bosque about taking over the space. That led to John making a call to an old friend.

“I ran the idea by my former Marble and Santa Fe Dining partner Jeff (Jinnett) about his level of interest in getting back into the brewery/restaurant business,” John said. “Jeff was kind of the same mind I was after we left Marble, don’t need to do (another) brewery, don’t need to do a restaurant. It’s like the Mob, you know, every time you try to get out, they pull you back in. We tend to gravitate back to what we know and what our area of expertise is.”

Our first photo of John Gozigian as Guild executive director was snapped at Starr Brothers three years ago. My, how time flies.

It was Jeff who came up with the idea for La Reforma, which will bring a new theme and approach to a brewery in a town loaded with options.

“Over the years, Jeff had always talked about the restaurants he went to when he was a kid in Mexico City, because he grew up there,” John said. “He would go to these carnitas restaurants, these huge places that specialized in carnitas and tacos, and it was a real family (friendly) thing. There was beer, too. We had talked over the years that if we ever did a brewery again, we would do a Mexico City-style culinary experience, and do some Mexico-style beers, lagers, obviously.”

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The first competition of the year is in the books.

The first national beer competition of the year is in the books, and once again, New Mexico breweries have pulled off a strong showing. The Beer Army Beer Wars awards were announced last week, with five local breweries bringing home 20 medals.

Flix Brewhouse came in seventh overall with one gold, four silvers, and one bronze. Quarter Celtic added one gold, two silvers, and one bronze, while Three Rivers tacked on two silvers and three bronzes. Rounding out the list were Santa Fe (one gold, one silver) and Steel Bender (three silvers).

“It felt pretty darn good, man, I’m not going to lie,” Flix head brewer Will Moorman said. “We entered six beers, too, and well, all of them got a medal. I can’t complain about that at all. We were thoroughly surprised.”

Will said he learned from Steel Bender brewmaster Bob Haggerty, who had gotten an early look at the medal winners.

“It was good to see, there were some heavy-hitting breweries in there, too,” Will said. “It wasn’t just a pay-to-play kind of thing. Even in the small categories, they didn’t award medals if there wasn’t something that was worthy. It was nice to see that lend credence to how they operated a slightly smaller competition.”

The full list of winners by category is below.

  • International Pale Lager: Quarter Celtic’s Pedro O’Flanagan’s (bronze)
  • International Dark Lager: Quarter Celtic’s Dark Pedro (silver)
  • Festbier: Quarter Celtic’s VP30 (gold), Three Rivers’ Festbier (silver)
  • German Exportbier: Quarter Celtic’s Come to the Dort Side (silver), Three Rivers’ The Hoff (bronze)
  • Baltic Porter: Flix’s Darth Malt (silver)
  • English IPA: Santa Fe’s Happy Camper (gold)
  • Dark Mild: Flix’s Brown Basilisk (bronze)
  • Wee Heavy: Three Rivers’ Chuckerout (bronze)
  • English Barleywine: Santa Fe’s Chicken Killer (bronze)
  • American Pale Ale: Three Rivers’ Merica (silver)
  • California Common: Three Rivers’ Common (bronze)
  • Belgian IPA: Steel Bender’s The Whole Shoe (silver)
  • Witbier: Flix’s Luna Rosa (silver)
  • Belgian Blond Ale: Flix’s James Blond (silver)
  • Belgian Dubbel: Flix’s H-E-Dubbel Hockey Sticks (gold)
  • Mixed Fermentation Sour Beer: Steel Bender’s Ned’s Sour Pail (silver)
  • Fruit Beer: Flix’s Oasis (silver)
  • Specialty Fruit Beer: Steel Bender’s Raspberry Dynamite (silver)

Will said smaller competitions like this one can still have a lot of value for a brewer, especially for someone who is still relatively new to a head brewer position.

“For me, personally, part of my goal in my career is to brew highly stylistically accurate beers,” he said. “Sales are obviously super important, customer popularity is a huge thing, too, but I feel this is a really great benchmark to hit. You can brew that medals on a set of commonly accepted style guidelines, then you’re doing all right.

“I’m still relatively new. This will be my third year as a head brewer. For me as a new guy, I want to make sure my base beer is solid before we make it smoked and soured and add some chocolate cake.”

For outgoing Three Rivers head brewer Brandon Beard, the medals were a fitting final salute to his time at the Farmington institution. He will be opening Lauter Haus Brewing in town in the future.

“Well, it feels great, I’m super happy that I have put together a good team that will continue to strive and grow at 3RB,” he said. “One of the beers that medaled was flagship from before me. One was a collaboration between Patrick and I, and the other three were my recipes. When I started brewing 10 years ago, I was like every beginning brewer and was all about the hops. Over the years, I grew out of that. When I started brewing at 3RB, we only did one lager a year (Oktoberfest), but I really wanted to start brewing lagers. So about four years ago, I made it a personal goal to start brewing more lagers.

“I love that three of the five beers were lagers that medaled. I don’t think I stand alone when I say a lot of brewers really want the lager to blow up like some of these other styles have in the last year. You can’t hide any flaws in a lager; that’s why I want to brew more and more of them. Now that I’m going out on my own, it shouldn’t be a surprise with the name we chose for our brewery (Lauter Haus) that we will be pushing lagers on people. But, I know that 3RB is in good hands it was just time for me to do my own thing.”

The next set of awards are the Best of Craft Beer Awards, which are set for February 11.

Congrats to all of the New Mexico winners of this event. It is good to see 2019 starting off on the right note, competition-wise.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Boxing Bear is preparing to open its first taproom in West Downtown, but the brewery is not necessarily planning to stop with just that location.

In the blink of an eye, a little rumor recently whispered to us became reality this week when Boxing Bear Brewing officially announced it was opening a taproom in the former 5 Star Burgers space on West Central.

To get a little better idea of how it all came together this quickly, I sat down with head brewer/co-owner Justin Hamilton.

“So after 5 Star closed, we saw the building (at 1710 West Central),” he said. “We’ve been hunting (for) taprooms. It wasn’t like 5 Star approached us. We were actively looking for taprooms, not just one, but multiple for a long time.”

Boxing Bear was given a short time to make a decision on leasing the space.

“The timeline was really quick,” Justin said. “Five Star was one of our accounts, so that gave us the heads up. That spurred our interest in that location and that allowed us to pursue (it). We also know there’s lots of breweries looking for that perfect taproom space, so we had to really try to harness it as quickly as possible. I love that location. It’s so much culture, a really, really up-and-coming area. It’s right down the street from the revitalized El Vado (Motel), it’s literally across the street from Albuquerque staple Duran’s, and we’ll be right next to Amore Pizza. All those things are a sure fit for us.”

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Dave Merkin, workin’ it. Hails!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Well, if you’re a Target shopper, it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas way back in September. Well, now that Turkey month is basically over, and we’re sleighing full-speed toward Saturnalia, it’s time to get our holi-day-drinking priorities straight.

Let’s face it, either we did the shopping or we didn’t. And, whether we’ll be enjoying some well-earned end-of-the-year-relaxation, or we’ll be last-minute dashing through the snow through packed parking lots toward pre-picked-through aisles, you deserve a good, hearth-warming craft beer. It’s been a long year, am I right?

Let’s take a breath together. Ah, that’s the good stuff.

Maybe it’s your first time in New Mexico, or maybe you’re simply new to our blog and didn’t know, but every year, Santa Fe Brewing Company hosts the “12 Beers of Christmas,” a special event during which, from the 13th to the 24th of December, SFBC taps a fun, usually Christmas- or Winter-themed (typically one-off) special beer to celebrate the season in style.

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The taps are flowing and the packaged beers are available as well now at Southwest Grape and Grain.

Our friends at Southwest Grape and Grain recently completed their growler-filling/pint-pouring (beer, while you shop for making more beer) station, with package sales as well so bombers and cans aplenty. I, Franz Solo, headed over and talked to owner Donavan Lane about what we can expect from this lovely development going forward and about the looming holiday season — it is an annual Crew favorite owing to the plethora of barrel-aged, barrel-aged, barrel-aged … yes … but that’s a dark tale for another ramble — and what that means for his fair establishment. 

Solo: Here we are, you’ve got all of your taps in place and pouring and beer for sale in the store. How cool is it seeing your vision for this space beginning to come to fruition?

Donavan: It is definitely satisfying, a long time coming with the moving process earlier this year and the remodel, and the licensing, and then getting all of the taps set up has definitely taken a while and a lot of effort, but it is finally getting there. We’ve been selling beer for about a month and a half now. More people know that they can get a beer while they are shopping, so (it is) definitely nice to see it going. 

Taps as far as the eye can see!

Solo: Any interesting future plans for what you might do with all of these taps?

Donavan: Well, we have a few things to finish up in our brewing room. The goal is to try to get all of that done by the end of December, or the first part of January. We’ve been brewing a few little 5-gallon batches that we’ve put on tap, where we are having some fun playing around with recipes. Once we get the bigger system set up, we will be able to do bigger 1-to-2-barrel batches and put those on tap. And, then we will start looking at figuring out the logistics and price points to be able to start offering brew on premises, where customers can come in and brew a batch here and then split it up amongst friends, or take it all home for themselves. So during the first part of next year we will look into getting that going and then working with the various beer clubs in Albuquerque, whether it is Dark Side Brew Crew, the Worthogs, or the Dukes of Ale, or any of the other ones that are out there about doing collaboration beers, having them come in a brew a beer that we put on tap, doing some competitions with the clubs, as well. Definitely a lot of fun stuff there. 

As far as the growler fill goes, we are continuing to reach out to more and more of the local breweries to get more of their packaged beer in. Our taps are basically full, but those will continue to rotate. Whenever one goes out we will bring in something new. (Between procuring grains and such for my own batches and trying all of the many special/seasonal offerings on tap, I may never leave, well, unless it involves other actual beer-related work.) We are also going to look into bringing in some local wine as well.

* * * * *

You can take home packaged beer in addition to supplies to make your own beer now.

So all told, this is pretty great out the gate in concept and execution, with a lovely swath of unique offerings from our favorite local haunts on tap, ready to fill your growlers or slake your thirst while you browse the many fermentation-related necessities on site. Grape and Grain has a patio available for beverage consumption as well, but as it is nearing full winter this will not be open until spring, when the brewing room will hopefully be in full swing. Also of note are a few holiday sales going on this month and throughout the holidays, so here are the details on those for all of your fermentation/homebrewing needs, or gifts for your friends or loved ones who have fallen for the craft.

From now through December 14 there is a raffle going on with an entry for each pint purchased and some very cool prizes being offered to boot. 

Black Friday sale: 10 percent off Friday and Saturday, and a coupon for 20 percent off one item on Sunday with coupon from Facebook or store email list (I definitely recommend getting on this list for other perks, which I have most certainly taken advantage of in my three-plus years of homebrewing).

Coming in December, an all-grain sale on the first 25-percent all-grain by the pound or 10 percent off bulk bags.

There will also be some sales going on closer to Christmas and New Years as well, but those are still TBA.

So it’s a grand time to stock up on supplies for those lovely imperial stouts or hefty lagers and such as the season demands. For any additional information on events, classes, sales, and so forth do check out southwestgrapeandgrain.com or find them on Facebook. Better yet, give the store a visit or three, or just keep going back for more batches, which is what homebrewing tends to do to you once you start down the path to darkness, oh delicious …

On that note, I bid you all happy brewing, happy shopping, happy drinking, happy festivities, and so on an so forth!

Skål!

— Franz Solo

Duel ABQ taproom closes after all

Posted: October 8, 2018 by cjax33 in News
Tags:

Farewell, Duel taproom, we hardly knew ye.

The Duel Brewing taproom in downtown Albuquerque is no more.

After hearing rumors for a week, the Crew ventured downtown last Wednesday to see for ourselves if the taproom had indeed closed. By all appearances, it has been shut down, and with the deletion of the site’s Facebook page, we feel confident in writing that the taproom has closed.

We had been waiting for a response from Duel owner Trent Edwards, but he has not written us back. Our last communication with him came after this story, in which we noted that there was an advertisement online for the taproom space being up for lease. Edwards vehemently denied that his taproom was closing in a series of emails, culminating with an official statement that simply read “On the record: Duel Taproom ABQ is not closing.” We received that email on September 7, but nothing since.

This sign was posted adjacent to the Duel taproom.

Our quick visit to the taproom, after its posted time of opening (2 p.m.), found the entire building to be dark. A large for lease sign, by Coe & Peterson Properties, was on the outside. While the big logo was still up on the upper facade of the building, the front entrance had been scraped clean of the logo and hours of operation. There was no visible movement inside as all the lights were off, with the chairs still up on the tables.

People involved in the downtown music/arts scene informed us that all of the events scheduled at Duel had been relocated to other nearby breweries, including Sidetrack and Boese Brothers.

Right now, we can only speculate as to why the taproom closed. The likeliest cause is that it simply was not making enough money to cover the cost of the lease for such a large space. Duel had one of the largest, if not the largest, off-site taprooms in the state. Throw in the location on Central, where rent costs are higher than elsewhere in the city, and it was seemingly tough to make a profit. Again, though, this is only speculation until we have an official interview with Edwards.

The Duel signage had already been scraped off the main entrance.

Duel is the second downtown taproom to close in recent months, following Monk’s Corner, which shut down due to financial reasons at the end of July. That leaves only Boese Brothers, Sidetrack, and the Red Door taproom in downtown proper (we consider Marble to be a part of the Wells Park neighborhood since it is north of Lomas) in terms of craft-beer-specific establishments. Downtown breweries in the 1990s included the first Rio Bravo Restaurant and Brewery and San Ysidro Brewing, which closed in 1998 and 1997 respectively.

Our condolences to Duel’s fans in ABQ. We hope everyone in Santa Fe continues to support the brewery there.

— Stoutmeister