Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Quarter Celtic comes up big Down Under

Posted: May 19, 2017 by cjax33 in News
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Quarter Celtic head brewer/co-owner Brady McKeown now has another five medals to smile about. (Photo courtesy of Quarter Celtic)

Thursday proved to be a very good day for Quarter Celtic Brewpub as the staff learned the results of the Australian International Beer Awards competition. QC racked up a total of five medals — one gold, three silvers, one bronze — out of the six entries they submitted to the competition, which features beers from around the world. QC was the only New Mexico brewery to compete.

I briefly chatted with co-owner/assistant brewer David Facey over a pint of Crimson Lass, which took gold in the Irish Red category. It was the only beer to win gold in that category, as the AIBA scores things slightly differently than, say, the Great American Beer Festival. Basically, everything is graded on a points scale. A beer that earns between 14 and 15.4 points receives a bronze, between 15.5 and 16.9 earns silver, and 17 and above earns gold. Thus, there can be multiples of each medal per category. Still, to say that Crimson Lass was the only beer to exceed 17 points in its category was fairly remarkable.

Bringing home silver were Quarter Porter in the Robust Porter category, Morbuck IPA in the Imperial/Double IPA category, and Clark IPA in the Australian Pale Ale category. Bronze went to Kill or be KILT in the Scotch Ale category, where no beer earned a gold medal (tough crowd).

David said a big reason for QC to enter a competition like this is to get a good idea of just where its beers fit in terms of categories. Nowadays there are so many to choose from, it can behoove a brewery to start long before GABF rolls around to try and figure out where it has the best chance to win a medal. As an example, Marble moved its Pilsner into the Keller or Zwickelbier category and continues to rack up the medals, rather than assign it to a German or Bohemian Pilsner category.

Regardless of the intent, anytime a brewery in just its second year of existence can pull in some hardware is a good thing, and testing the waters, so to speak, in advance of a major competition is always a good thing.

Next up on the awards docket? David was stopping by the brewpub to ship out QC’s entries to the upcoming North American Beer Awards, which should be announced some time in early June. That will be the last major national/international competition until GABF in October.

Congrats to Quarter Celtic on these awards. We forecast many more in the future!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

La Cumbre often pairs its beers with special offerings from the food trucks, but now it’s headed to the ultimate pairing event in Washington D.C. (Photo courtesy of La Cumbre)

One of the more unique little treats for members of the media during the Great American Beer Festival was the time we got to spend at a special beer and food pairing before the start of the Saturday afternoon session. It was a scaled-down version of the much larger annual event Savor: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience. The 10th anniversary edition of this event is set for Washington D.C. on June 2 and 3, and two New Mexico breweries will participate.

Longtime local powerhouse La Cumbre will be joined by relative newcomer Dialogue, and 84 other breweries, as their beers will join up with paired dishes from some of the nation’s best chefs and restaurants. All the attending breweries were selected from a lottery that had 300 applicants. Getting two of those from New Mexico is mighty impressive.

“Albuquerque has one of the best beer scenes in the country right now, and we are proud to be an ambassador for our city at this truly world-class event,” La Cumbre owner Jeff Erway said in a press release.

La Cumbre will have Elevated IPA paired with carrot hummus, popped lentils, and laffa, and Albus Quercus (saison) paired with pastrami cured salmon, potato blini, and creme fraiche. Dialogue is taking its Berliner Weisse and Scarlet Beh Gose, which will be paired with special dishes from Choptank Oyster Company. Anyone can check out the full menu here.

We realize most of you cannot get all the way to D.C. on short notice, but if you have friends there, let them know. Another option, of course, is to scan that there menu, find the best cook you know, and try to make some of those dishes to pair up with beers from our two local breweries, or others from around the region who distribute here. Or, heck, check on the pairings that pop out to you, and find a local beer that matches the one going with the dish you gotta try. There is nothing in the world that says you cannot try to emulate the best beer and food pairings yourself or with friends. Who knows? Maybe this could be a way to get that one friend or family member who claims not to like beer to see it from a new angle. It has worked for wine for years, after all.

Let us all raise a glass in a couple weeks to La Cumbre and Dialogue as they carry the banner of New Mexico craft beer back to the nation’s capital!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Say hello to the future Red Door taproom at Comanche and Wyoming.

The news broke last week that Red Door Brewing was set to open a taproom in the Northeast Heights this summer. It will be the second off-site taproom for Red Door, quite a ways from both their main brewery on Candelaria west of Interstate 25 and their taproom downtown in the Simms Building.

To learn more about how they came to the decision to take up space in the renovated multi-use complex on the southwest corner of the Wyoming/Comanche intersection, I sat down with head brewer/co-owner Wayne Martinez.

“We had actually been talking to them (Coe & Peterson) for a while,” Wayne said. “When you did your Look Back/Look Ahead (article), we’d already been talking to them. We just weren’t at a point where we wanted to say anything.”

The first place Coe & Peterson had in mind for Red Door was on the opposite side of town.

“We had been looking at (the former) Stumbling Steer, or that’s what they approached us with,” Wayne said. “The West Side is nice, but that location wasn’t for us. I think it will work out pretty well for someone else. It didn’t fit for what we are going for. So we told them that and they said we have this Heights location. Do you like the Heights?”

While Desert Valley will take over the old Steer spot this year, the Red Door ownership jumped at the Heights spot once they saw the developer’s plans.

“I think we got there and saw the outside of the building,” Wayne said. “This was awful, it looks like a doctor’s office in a strip mall from the 90s or something. Then they showed us the whole facade that they were going to redo. At that point I was sold. They told us what else they had planned for it, the Poki (Poki Cevicheria) restaurant. It just seemed like a good fit for us right now.”

Work is now underway on both the exterior and interior of the space for Red Door, Poki Poki, and other potential future tenants.

The east-facing side of the building includes that loft window above the bar where patrons can view the mountains.

“The space will probably be 1,500 square feet, but we’re probably going to do only 95 (person) occupancy,” Wayne said. “We’re looking at doing the same theme we have here with the (video) games. We’ll have a retro system up there. We’ll probably also do one or two pool tables.”

There will also be a second floor loft above the bar, with a window facing the Sandias that will likely give patrons a wonderful view at sunset. It will not be the only place to catch all those amazing colors in the sky before dusk.

“There will be an exterior patio,” Wayne said. “We’re on the southernmost part of the building. They put in two huge garage doors. We’re not going to have that big of a patio, maybe 20 to 25 people. That will be facing south. The food trucks will pull up right next to the patio.”

Wayne said that for now he is not worried about the impact a new taproom will have on Red Door’s beer production.

“We’re still focused on distribution even though we’re doing another taproom,” he said. “We’re really trying to push the West Side and a little bit of Santa Fe, too. As far as production goes, we’ll see how this taproom plays out. We’re definitely going to need to get some more kegs. But as far as major equipment, we should be OK.”

Wayne said the taproom location, which is fairly removed from any nearby breweries or taprooms (Marble Heights and Lizard Tail are the closest), fits into Red Door’s belief that the scene will become dominated by “local pubs” in areas of town that are underserved. It also should not have a major impact on the crowd sizes at the main brewery or downtown.

“We’re hoping so,” Wayne said. “We have planned for a little bit of cannibalization from this location. We’re just trying to be precautious based on numbers that are realistic. We’re kind of planning on that, hoping we can appeal to the whole crowd up there all the way to Tramway that doesn’t come down here.”

A glance inside shows a lot of work remains to be completed.

A new taproom fits Red Door’s current business plan, while also helping to attract new customers and push for future growth.

“It seems to be working for us right now,” Wayne said. “We have no plans of canning anytime soon. As far as the distribution plan goes there, it kind of makes sense trying to expand, trying to stay competitive.”

In this day and age, a brewery cannot sit back and watch its local compatriots run past. We applaud Red Door, Tractor, and all the rest aiming to move forward and continue their growth, while expanding craft beer’s reach into all corners of the metro area and state. We will keep everyone updated on the progress of the new taproom.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Tractor’s new 16-ounce cans will soon be appearing on shelves.

Things are always busy over at Tractor Brewing, but in the last few weeks, things have gone from zero to 60 in a hurry. To make sure I had every last bit of information for this story, I sat down with co-owner/president Skye Devore at the end of last week to go over all the big news.

“It’s hard whenever you get so much good news and so many great things are all happening at one time,” Skye said. “You want to enjoy your moment and tell everybody, but you also have to figure out how to time it.”

Over the last few weeks, Tractor won a gold medal for its Double Plow Oatmeal Stout, signed a distribution agreement to put its beer in Texas, made the decision to switch to 16-ounce cans, announced two beers that will join its can lineup, and officially announced the location of their second off-site taproom in Albuquerque.

The move to larger cans is one that will impact Tractor in a number of ways.

“The can manufacturers have just made it harder and harder for you to order (smaller numbers),” Skye said. “They don’t want to deal with you in small quantities. They want you to buy 8,000 cases per brand of anything that you’re going to roll out. That wasn’t going to work for us.

“We found that if we switched to 16-ounce cans, and work with a company out there that sleeves them for you, the minimums are much lower, the margins are better, and it makes it feasible for us to do the stuff that we love, but to replace our entire bomber series with 16-ounce cans.”

Skye mentioned popular seasonals like Turkey Drool and Luna De Los Muertos Imperial Stout as candidates for special can releases. For the most part, though, the change in can size will be focused on the core beers and ciders. Farmer’s Tan Red Ale, Delicious Golden Dry Cider, New Mexican Lager, and Big Sipper Session IPA will make the transition this month, followed by Almanac IPA and Delicious Red Hard Apple Cider in June. Mustachio Milk Stout will switch over in 2018.

“Right before we made the decision we had ordered an entire truckload of milk stout cans,” Skye said. “We’ll get through a chunk of this year, because (stout sales) slows down in the summer.”

Of course, there are two new names to cans up there in the New Mexican Lager and the Big Sipper. The latter is part of a special new partnership with the annual Pork & Brew festival, held every July in Rio Rancho. In past years, event organizers have designated one special beer among participating breweries as the official beer of Pork & Brew. This time around, it will be available in cans in addition to being on tap.

“We get a lot of requests for it throughout the year,” Skye said of Big Sipper, while later adding that since Almanac IPA is Tractor’s best seller, it makes sense to put another IPA into the market, even if only for a limited time.

The Big Sipper cans will officially debut during ABQ Beer Week with a special event at Wells Park on May 25. The Silver String Band will perform and Pork & Brew tickets will be sold at a discount.

“With us moving to (bigger) cans and not have to commit to so many of them, it just makes so much more sense for us to be able to do stuff like that,” Skye said.

Adding more sessionable beers like Big Sipper and New Mexican Lager will also help Tractor in its expansion into sales in Texas. Tractor participated in its first beer festival across the border, the Sun City Craft Beer Festival in El Paso, on April 29.

“L&F is our distributor in the southern part of New Mexico and they also have a house in El Paso,” Skye said. “We were like, well, that makes the most sense for us. It’s certainly the most friendly market to approachable craft beer, versus our neighbors to the north. We have an existing relationship with a distributor who’s always treated us right.

“We already know there are close to a million people sitting right there. Why not go for it? The New Mexico population is not growing. If you want to grow, you either have to steal someone else’s business or sell outside of the state.”

It never hurts to dangle some hardware in the face of new, and old, customers, too. Tractor pulled in a gold medal at the Los Angeles International Beer Competition in April. That it won with one of its longest-tenured house beers, Double Plow Oatmeal Stout, does not hurt.

“Double Plow was a beer that we were making when I first started with Tractor in 2007,” Skye said. “We sent it out to the L.A. International Beer Competition and won gold. Anytime you win something you want people to know. That was pretty exciting for us.”

Double Plow did win the third annual DSBC Stout Challenge in 2014, and it fell four points shy of becoming the first two-time winner at the sixth annual back in February. It has long been a favorite beer of the Crew.

“We love our milk stout and it’s definitely our best seller in the stout category, but it does have lactose in it,” Skye said. “There are a lot of people that can’t drink it.”

To that end, the gold medal and the lack of lactose has suddenly put Double Plow on the radar of other businesses.

“We’ve actually received a whole bunch of phone calls and interest from people who want to carry it outside of our taprooms,” she said. “That’s led to a twist on some production schedules.”

Of course, production at Tractor is going to have to ramp up soon as a second off-site taproom will be opening soon.

“The taproom, that was another one of my goals,” Skye said. “At the end of 2016, I sat down and asked (myself), ‘You were supposed to do a taproom this year, where’s your game face, what’s happening?’ I started working with Kyla (Rhodes-)Stoker (of KW Commercial) and I said I wanted a taproom lease signed by April 1 and I want to be open July 1. She’s like really?”

At this point, it looks like Skye and Tractor will meet those goals. They have signed a lease with Daskalos Development and Investments to place the taproom at the Four Hills Village at Central and Tramway. That location is already home to Icon Cinemas and a Sprouts Market.

“We’ve been assured that the neighborhood is really interested in having us come in and put something in that spot,” Skye said. “Five years ago, Albertson’s pulled out, the movie theater pulled out, and it was kind of abandoned. Now it’s been revitalized.”

The taproom will be in a space formerly occupied by a pizzeria, so there will not have to be an overt amount of renovation. Skye said Tractor has a hearing scheduled with the state on May 17 to get their liquor license approved. The taproom will then have 24 taps and a large exterior patio.

Putting a taproom far from Tractor’s current locations in Wells Park and Nob Hill was a goal from the beginning. Adding new customers is always a priority. It will also be just the second craft brewery location in that area. The Canteen taproom is a half-mile north on Tramway on the opposite side of Interstate 40, but Skye said the two locations will serve to complement each other, not compete.

“Looking at that, too, I find that in New Mexico, freeways are great dividers,” she said. “They’re like mental blocks. I feel like Canteen has found their niche on that (north) side of the freeway. We’ll have a full, entirely different group of people on our side. There’s a shift toward neighborhood breweries. We want to do that.”

The Crew has also heard of rumors of a possible west side taproom for Tractor, but Skye said she could not comment on the record about whether there is any truth to those whispers.

Skye said all of these big moves for Tractor will help the brewery keep up in an increasingly crowded and competitive craft beer market.

“The next challenge (is that) everyone is growing around you, and you don’t want to be left behind,” she said.

We look forward to checking out the taproom when it is finished, and in taking some of those new cans home, too. Just stay out of our way when they put Turkey Drool in cans this fall.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

A local artist added this awesome image to the new Little Toad Creek production facility.

After visiting all four breweries in the southeastern part of the state last weekend, Luke and I decided to take the long way around from Carlsbad to Silver City. We wanted to check out Toadfest, the annual street event collaboration between Little Toad Creek and the New Mexico Brewers Guild. There was plenty of rain and wind as we actually dipped down through Texas, re-emerging into blue skies upon reaching El Paso. After a hearty lunch at the Hoppy Monk (yes, they have food in addition to an epic beer selection), we continued up Interstate 10, past Las Cruces and over to Deming, before taking Highway 180 up to Silver City.

The taproom was buzzing away during Toadfest.

Little Toad Creek is located in the heart of downtown now at the corner of Broadway and Bullard Streets. They have left behind the little mountain resort where it all started. Now they have a three-storefront location, almost like a smaller version of Three Rivers Brewery in Farmington. There is the bar area, a larger venue with a stage and a pool table, a small patio in the back, and a retail store with merchandise and bottles of their spirits for sale.

Luke did all the driving before Silver City, so Stoutmeister let him release the hounds at LTC and finished the drive later that night.

The event was a bit different in setup this year. LTC was not able to get a street permit, so instead they had an extended patio area in the alleyway out back. The beers from other New Mexico breweries were poured either at the main bar inside or via a jockey box on the patio. Despite some wind, a few drops of rain, and even a few snowflakes, it was still a lively time. There were a few tourists mixed in with the crowd of locals, who were easily identifiable by the fact they were covered in head to toe with outdoor clothing (the North Face love is strong in Silver City).

It was quite the crowd out in force for Toadfest.

There was live music, the kitchen was buzzing, and folks were crowding around Guild director John Gozigian to talk beer and buy merchandise. For many of the locals, it was a rare chance to try beers from Albuquerque, Taos, and Santa Fe that are not available in bottles or cans year-round. I tried a Kolsch from Taos Mesa (it had been a while) and then a LTC porter, which was quite toasted and tasty.

It may not look like much from the outside, but this new facility is about to start churning out some quality beers and spirits.

What it showed us more than anything was that Silver City, just like the towns in the southeast, has begun to have a thriving craft scene thank to the local brewery. With that in mind, LTC co-owner/brewer/distiller Dave Crosley and his wife and co-owner Teresa Dahl-Bredine are already working on taking things to the next level. Dave invited me, Luke, and John to take a walk a couple blocks down Bullard to Mill Road, where the second building on our left had quite the history. Once upon a time, it was the liquor depot for all of Silver City, where the trains serving the mines would back up and drop things off for the thirsty citizens. In later years, it was a roller skating rink, with some of the old interior artwork still on the interior walls. Now, it will be something quite different.

There is plenty of space to grow inside.

The new production facility for Little Toad Creek will soon be churning out even more beer and spirits. A shiny new 15-barrel brewhouse sits next to one of the biggest stills we have seen in the state (admittedly, we have only seen the ones at Broken Trail and Left Turn, so we cannot say it is the biggest overall). There are plans to eventually start canning and distributing LTC beers, though Dave said they have not decided exactly how far outward those beers will be shipped.

That is one shiny still.

Still, the very fact that a brewery/distillery combo that started at a nearby mountain resort has now been able to move into such a large facility is a good sign indeed. It shows the popularity of drinking local, both for residents and for the tourists flooding into the area to keep cool(er) in the summer months. We all know our big breweries up here along Interstate 25 are doing great, but to see expansion and ambition in the small towns warms our hearts even more.

Dave with his “son,” Earl, who guards the brewery in exchange for back scratches and belly rubs.

This summer, we are planning to take another trek to Taos and the breweries around it. We also plan to visit Las Cruces to see how things are going down there, after which I think we will be able to say we have visited every brewery in the state at least once. Until another half dozen open this year. Oh, darn, guess we will have to go back.

Craft beer culture is alive and well in all the corners of New Mexico. Let us all raise a pint to that this weekend!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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From Big Brew 2015 at Santa Fe Brewing

Greetings, craft beer fans! This one’s for all the homebrewers out there, and, of course, any and all folks interested in learning more about beer. If you haven’t already heard, National Homebrew Day is fast approaching, and we don’t want you to miss out on any events here in New Mexico.

In 1988, it was announced before Congress that May 7 would forever be known as National Homebrew Day, and since then, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) has held events the first Saturday of May to celebrate the huge community of homebrewers, who, in large part, helped bring craft beer back to America after the that dark period when we felt prohibited to speakeasy about it. (Ahem.)

This year, on Saturday, May 6, large homebrew events will be held across the nation, and you can find them all on the AHA Website. And, because we’re just as serious about beer here in our state, we have a few events planned for you, New Mexican Brewquenos, as well.

The following lists all the AHA-registered events for our state:

Milton’s Cavern City Big Brew Day (brewery) – “Come hang out with the local homebrew club, Cavern City Brewers at Milton’s Brewing. A number of homebrewers will have their personal brewing systems in the outdoor area of the brewery demonstrating a homebrewer’s brew session.” Contact Brad Carlsen at caverncitybrewers@gmail.com to RSVP. Location: 108 E. Mermod, Carlsbad, NM.

Santa Fe Brewing Company (brewery) – “We will be hosting 2017 Big Brew in the brewery. Please come out to join us. RSVP to the email address so we can buy enough food for people.” Contact Ted Bolleter at jtbolleter@yahoo.com to RSVP. Location: 35 Fire Place, Santa Fe, NM.

Southwest Grape & Grain and Worthogs Homebrew Club (homebrew supply shop) – “Homebrewers from the Worthogs Homebrew Club of NM will be brewing some All- Grain, Extract and BIAB recipes at Southwest Grape & Grain homebrew shop. They will be ready and eager to talk to anyone interested in learning how to brew, answer questions, and share their experiences. This event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 505-332-2739 (SWGG) or 505-289-0123 (Worthogs).” Contact Donavan Lane/Ariel Figueroa at worthogsNM@gmail.com to RSVP. Location: 2801-N Eubank Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM.

Victors Home Brew (homebrew supply shop) – “We will have home brewers out on the porch brewing with their different types of equipment and eager to talk to anyone interested in learning to brew, answer questions, and share stories. Dukes of Ale brew club members will be participating and offering presentations on making mead, cider, and different kinds of brewing equipment. The event will run from 10 (a.m.) to 4 (p.m.). Come have samples, pizza, and refreshments. Call 505-883-0000 for more information.” Contact Jens Deichmann at jens@victorshomebrew.com to RSVP. Location: 2436 San Mateo Pl. NE, Albuquerque, NM.

To RSVP directly and for additional details for these events, just click this LINK! Do it!

MIlton's Brewery Logo

Feature: Milton’s and Cavern City Brewers Big Brew Day

From co-owner/head brewer Lucas Middleton: “This Saturday, Cavern City Brewers will be participating in the American Homebrewers Big Brew 2017 at Milton’s brewing on the patio (out back). We will be opening at 2 p.m. for locals to come and check out the brewing process and get the word out about the Homebrew club.

“The Friday before (May 5), Tractor is coming down to supply us with a new beer called Minute-4, a smoked lager they brewed for the firefighters in Carlsbad. We will be donating proceeds from this beer to help the team out.

“Carlsbad’s team, with Fire Chief Rick Lopez, won the world championship, the national championship, and set the world tandem record during 2016’s Scott Firefighter Challenge. The team members include Brad Carlsen (of the Cavern City Brewers), Jay Carter, Todd Vannatter, Geronimo Ontiveros and Casey Collins.”

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Big Brew with the Babes in Brewland, SFBC 2015

Feature: Big Brew at Santa Fe Brewing Company

This year, on Saturday, May 6, beginning at 9:30 a.m., Santa Fe Brewing Company will once again host Big Brew with, well, a big brew session in their big brewery. Santa Fe’s fine homebrew club, the Sangre De Cristo Craft Brewers homebrew club, will be there to talk beer, brewing, and the craft of craft-beermanship. Food will be provided to those who RSVP, and SFBC R&D manager, David Ahern-Seronde (of current Santa Fe Reporter cover page fame) will be offering tours of the entire grounds, including the new packaging hall, barrel cave, and The Bridge. It’s sure to be a rockin’ good time, so RSVP now.

Before SFBC had nixed the event in 2016, I had been to a couple Big Brews in the past before writing for the NMDSBC. It is actually at one of these, where I met with the Sangres, learned a thing or two about how to brew, and got started homebrewing, which expanded on my passion for craft beer as well as brewing industry network, which eventually landed me this sweet writing gig. So, folks, homebrewing, not fear, was the path to the Dark Side for me.

What to know: Santa Fe Brewing will provide hot and cold liquor for brewing. Food will be handled by the Sangre De Cristo Craft Brewers, that is, if you RSVP.

What to bring: Bring all your equipment! If you’re not feeling like bringing out the whole rig for an all-grain brew, then that’s fine, too. Feel free to do an extract brew, and just come out and have a good time. If you’re not sure what all-grain or extract brews are, then you could definitely benefit from coming out to Big Brew!

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Peaches for the brew, SFBC 2015.

Homebrewing is a great gateway into the craft beer industry. Homebrewing channels passion, fosters creativity, and maybe above all, teaches technique. At the top level, homebrewing has even led many folks in the state to open up their own facilities, where you currently enjoy a hand-crafted experience, and at its lowest level of achievement, homebrewing teaches a much better understanding and appreciation for that carbonated beverage we love so much.

I highly recommend going to any of these special events, even if you don’t plan to brew, or to take up homebrewing. You’ll get to talk homebrewers about DIY projects of the beer-related kind, and also you’ll get to speak with pro brewers about their favorite thing to chat about, and I’ll give you a hint — it’s not distribution and licensing. You can ask them all you want about making the good stuff.

So, I hope you go out, and maybe one of you will decide to learn to homebrew after this weekend, and maybe one of you will achieve greatness and open up the brewery that turns the New Mexico brewing industry upside down, all because you stopped in to check things out on a Saturday. Who knows? Hope you can make it out to one of the events! And, remember folks, fear might lead to anger. Anger might lead to hate. Hate usually leads to suffering. But, the Dark Side Brew Crew will always lead you to beer.

Cheers!

— Luke

Luke123 Steel Bender

For more #CraftBeer news, @nmdarksidebc info, and Untappd Badge-whoring, follow me on Twitter @santafecraftbro!

 

Yes, we are finally visiting Milton’s and the other breweries in Southeast New Mexico. Because we didn’t stick the NM in front of our name for nothing.

Back in the fall, the New Mexico Brewers Guild took several of its members from the Albuquerque area down to the southeastern part of the state to visit the breweries far from the metro area. Yours truly was invited, but I had to finish up a book (due out June 5, FYI) on Albuquerque’s beer history, and could not attend. All these months later, Luke and I have made plans to follow in their footsteps.

This Friday, we are intent on visiting Roosevelt Brewing in Portales, Desert Water Brewing outside Artesia, The Wellhead in downtown Artesia, and Milton’s Brewing in Carlsbad. Our goal is to take in the atmosphere at these places, try their beers, their food (if they serve), and see how they compare to our “big city” breweries. We will be kind, of course, in terms of rating the beers. Our purpose to is to introduce all of you to these places, which we know many of our primary readers have never visited before. We do not intend to be overly critical and compare these places to the much larger and better-funded breweries along I-25, but instead we will judge them on their own merits in the context of the smaller towns they inhabit.

If possible, we will have a story for each brewery that will run next week and beyond. We will be posting on all three of our social media outlets (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) live as we go.

The Crew made a pledge to get out to the breweries beyond the ABQ and Santa Fe areas, and we intend to follow through. We have already run Andrew’s stories on Three Rivers Brewery and 550 Brewing in the northwest, now it is time to catch up with the breweries in the opposite corner of the state. Then, schedules permitting, we will head up to the Taos area this summer, and down to Las Cruces at some point in later summer/early fall.

Of course, weather may not be our friend this weekend, but we will endure what we can. The catch may come Saturday, when we will try to be crazy and drive all the way from Carlsbad to Silver City in time to catch Toad Fest. This street party (weather-permitting) in downtown Silver City has been on our list of “must attend” events. Plus, we have never actually visited Little Toad Creek’s location in Silver City, so we can pull off a two-for-one there.

And, if we are really lucky, we may be able to stop by Truth or Consequences Brewing and meet their owners, as they have told us they are just a month or so away from opening.

Wish us luck, and good weather.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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Hey what’s up folks, it’s Luke (the Santa Fe guy). You guys have heard of Vice, right? Well, Vice Media runs a little channel called Viceland where they show programs on everything from weed, tattoos, to the rest of counter culture and craft beer. Recently Viceland came to New Mexico to film their debut episode of the brand new show BEERLAND, which follows Golden Road Brewing founder, Meg Gill, across the country, as she checks out local craft beer scenes and the unique cultures united around the brews.

In the debut episode Gill meets up with a few familiar faces from our craft beer scene. You may remember Mr. Angelo Orona from a recent hit beer event, Tart at Heart, as well as many others he’s been a part of around our state. Gill chatted with Orona to learn a little about NM’s traditions and the passion we put into the beer we make. She also made a special trip to meet with home-brewer Cale Chappelle’s amazing home saloon (which is a must see, if you ask us). She also checked out Meow Wolf for the first time, and caught a bonfire on the fringes of (Taos) society with Burger Stand at Taos Ale House owner Bobby Joe.

Throughout the season of BEERLAND, Gill meets up with homebrewers across America to give them a chance to brew their beer at her brewery. Chappelle and a friend and former co-worker of mine, Andy Lane, were the two home brewers chosen to represent the state’s vibrant home-brewing scene for this episode. Both created special brews for the show, but only one of them will move on to compete for the good stuff, with the good stuff. Who will win? You’ll just have to find out on Thursday on VICE TV.

When I asked Lane what he hoped America might learn about New Mexico’s beer culture from watching the show, he replied, “I hope America learns that New Mexico has been developing its beer culture over the last 30 years, completely independent from the rest of the country. We find ways to use local ingredients that you can find nowhere else in the world. I believe some day, a Neomexicanus (one of NM’s local varieties of hops) Pale Ale will be a universally recognizable style.”

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Local brewery employee and home brewer, Andy Lane.

If you don’t have cable, satellite, connected devices, or if you, too, live off the grid, the Lodge in Santa Fe is hosting some public events on Thursday and Friday, amidst which, they’ll hold a special screening of the episode. The events are free, but you definitely want to pick up some tickets right here at this LINK. Come out and celebrate craft beer, and support New Mexico’s local beer culture. Hope to see you there!

Cheers!

— Luke

Event Schedule

Thursday, 4/27

5-6 p.m.: Happy Hour with music & lawn games

6-7 p.m.: Home Brew seminar for the hop-curious

7:30-8 p.m.: Special screening of BEERLAND, episode one, filmed entirely in Santa Fe and featuring local sites and faces

8-9 p.m.: Trivia, lawn games & live music

Friday, 4/28

9-10 a.m.: Detox with Hop Yoga for all levels

10-11 a.m.: Retox with Beer-tails & Breakfast

Luke123 Steel Bender

For more #CraftBeer news and @nmdarksidebc info, follow me on Twitter @santafecraftbro! Cheers!

If you have all sufficiently recovered from the concert at El Rey, pick a taproom and enjoy a special beer today!

Back when we presented our preview for the Marble ninth anniversary week events, one of the lingering questions was what beers would be part of the special From the Wood triple release. Well, thanks to Marble marketing and events coordinator Geraldine Lucero being her awesome self, we have the scoop before any of the three taprooms open today at noon.

  • Cereza Cerveza (6.2% ABV), which debuted at Tart at Heart 3 last weekend, will be at Marble 111 (Downtown).
  • Gin Blossom Ashlar (7% ABV) will be at the Northeast Heights taproom.
  • Nitro Brune (8.5% ABV) will be at the Westside taproom.

Each of the beers will offer up a unique and different tasting experience.

“The one that I’m really excited about is the Cereza Cerveza,” Geraldine said. “We’re using pilsner malt, Magnum hops, Chardonnay barrels, Dalton cherries, and lots of patience. The tasting notes on that are bright cherry flavor, neat and subtle funk, lively acidity, and mellow notes of oak creating an easy-drinking, fruited sour.”

Even as a non-sour drinker, I personally enjoyed that beer at Tart at Heart. It pretty much tastes exactly as those tasting notes describe.

The Gin Blossom Ashlar is the Double White aged in Stonecutter Spirits gin barrels.

“Some of the tasting notes from this beer: The Double White takes on notes of rosemary and mint and juniper berries, as well as a subtle vanilla bourbon note,” Geraldine added. “We tried it (Wednesday). It’s so good, it’s so tasty.”

Considering how much you all love Double White, this one should go fast.

The Nitro Brune is the La Brune on nitro, as if one could not tell by the name. The CO2 version debuted back on New Years Day and proved to be quite popular.

“Some of the tasting notes on the Nitro Brune: Notes of prune and dried cherries. A smooth tartness and warming notes of vanilla and bourbon from the oak blend together to make a luscious experience in the glass,” Geraldine said.

Marble Westside is fast becoming a major destination for people who like a wide variety in their beers.

“Our Westside location has 25 different beers on tap right now,” Geraldine said. “That’s insane. We’re also doing an archive beer tapping there Saturday. DJ Leftover Soul will be there Saturday night.”

Archive beer tapping? Lord help us if they have vintages of Imperial Stout and/or Reserve Ale. Oh, Isotopes, you just had to be home this week …

Anyway, Geraldine also had a couple additional news tidbits she wanted to pass along.

“I’ll give you a little scoop,” she said. “Have you tried the Indiana Bones Raider of the Lost Ale? That’s an IPA that drinks like a 6-percent (ABV) IPA but it’s only 4 percent. It’s a delicious, hop-forward, I couldn’t believe that it’s only 4 percent.”

OK, an early contender for best beer name of the year right there. We will let everyone know when it pops up on tap, but you can keep track yourself by checking the constantly updated beer menus for all three Marble locations on Untappd. Just search by venue and you will find them.

For those of you who love the beer/food pairings at Marble, they have a huge one coming up for Cinco de Mayo.

“Something else that we’re working on other than anniversary week that’s coming up is our (next) Crave featuring Chef David Gaspar from Artichoke Cafe,” Geraldine said. “We’re turning the fermentation hall into a dining hall again. A four-course meal paired with four special brews. We met with Chef David this afternoon to do a tasting.

“The beer lineup is looking like Pilsner Anejo will be on the menu, the Hans Cholo is going to be on there, and we’re thinking about putting our Pineapple Gose on the menu. That’s what we started with (Wednesday). He’s going to come up with some pairing ideas and we’re going to do a tasting at Artichoke next week. Tickets are looking like they’re starting at $60 a seat (for) Friday, May 5.”

Artichoke Cafe and Marble? As soon as those tickets go on sale, get them, because they will go fast.

Thanks to Geraldine for taking the time out of her (insanely) busy day to chat. And thanks to old Crew friend Tyler for the samples of Pineapple Gose, Hans Cholo, and Maibock, the ninth anniversary beer that is now on tap and for sale in bombers.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Tractor’s Nob Hill taproom is back behind those trees, away from much of the construction for the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project.

The Albuquerque Draft Station shut its doors on April 3, through no fault of its own. The Albuquerque Rapid Transit project had torn up Central Avenue outside, and during the construction a water line was ruptured, forcing the craft beer bar to shut its doors. Draft Station would not reopen until April 12. Nine days of revenue were lost.

It was perhaps the most extreme example of the negative effects of the ongoing construction, which has hampered businesses not only in the stretch of Central west of downtown, but also in Nob Hill, which has been torn to pieces for months. The Crew reached out to the breweries and off-site taprooms in the affected areas. While Bosque and Draft Station never got back to us, I did have a chance to sit down with Kaktus owner Dana Koller, Kellys head brewer Dan Cavan, and Tractor marketing director Jeremy Kinter. Each of their respective Nob Hill locations has had a different experience with A.R.T.

Kaktus only opened its taproom on December 31, 2015, making it one of the more recent new additions to the neighborhood.

“We only opened a few months before we really started getting into that (construction),” Dana said. “We don’t have numbers to compare it to, but it’s definitely been an uphill battle. We feel there’s a (clear) reason for that. We’re getting our high ratings, people love what we’re doing up there, but it has been really difficult to get that walk-in traffic. We see our numbers going up slowly, really slowly, but they are going up. I think we would be about 35 to 40 percent stronger if the construction wasn’t there.”

Kellys has also had a hard time discerning the exact impact of the construction, as the longtime brewpub recently went through an ownership change. Now under Santa Fe Dining’s umbrella, Kellys has revamped its food and beer menu.

“Honestly, I think it’s just slightly less than business than usual,” Dan said. “Probably the changeover had more impact than this on our sales.”

Tractor has been the most established and stable of the three, but that has not meant it has avoided a drop in sales.

“It’s been interesting, but surprisingly enough A.R.T. hasn’t impacted us as deeply as we expected,” Jeremy said. “We’ve held our own. Sales have been down, yes. We have noticed a drop, but it has not been significant by any means. We’re one of the lucky few.”

Tractor does have a couple things in its favor. First off, it has its own established parking lot out front, and many customers over the years have learned to park on the side streets like Silver and Tulane. The taproom also has a loyal clientele from the residential neighborhood to the south.

“What’s nice about our Nob Hill location is it’s more like a Cheers (style) bar,” Jeremy said. “There’s a ton of regulars and those regulars still come, mostly from around the neighborhood.”

Parking issues are still there for everyone, however.

“We’re one of the lucky few where we have parking, unlike areas like Harvard, for instance, in the Bricklight District,” Jeremy said. “That’s a lot tougher. Getting there is really tough, getting in and out is really tough. I know Winnings (Coffee) is having a tough time. They have the Indiegogo campaign for $10,000. It’s really sad to see that it’s impacting those bigger businesses as well. I don’t want to see Off-Broadway go out of business. AstroZombies won’t go out of business, but they’ve taken a hit. Everyone has taken a hit. Nob Hill Bar & Grill, they’ve taken a hit. Even Two Fools.”

It is that drop in support for all businesses in Nob Hill that has Tractor concerned.

“All in all, it has impacted us, but not bad,” Jeremy said. “We’re more concerned with the neighborhood in general. That’s our biggest concern right now, concerned with the other businesses shutting down like Red Wing (Shoes), Hey Johnny, the furniture store. We’re worried about the impact on Nob Hill in general, because that impacts all of us.”

These sorts of signs are becoming all too common in Nob Hill, worrying the breweries and taprooms.

Kaktus has made moves to try to combat that by bringing the various businesses together.

“We’ve been trying to get involved wherever we can,” Dana said. “We did that passport program recently to encourage business and encourage the businesses to come together and build that excitement. I’m happy to see that our numbers are going up, because that means we’ll probably make it, even though it’s been a struggle. Chances are high we’ll make it, especially after the construction is done. We should see some strong numbers.”

The passport program involved 19 businesses on or near Central, where patrons could get a small booklet and receive a stamp every time they made a purchase. They could then turn them in to be part of a drawing for $700 in prizes.

“It got us some positive exposure in the media,” Dana said. “It’s the perception that people are getting more than anything else, if we kind of create events, they’ll make their way down. That was pretty successful for the first one. The biggest thing was we got positive news. It was in the Journal. KOAT covered it.”

Kaktus may look to do a second go-around with the passport program, Dana said, as construction is expected to continue through July. Those construction plans extending into summer is where the Nob Hill locations could start to see a major impact.

As Dan noted for Kellys, “we’re patio driven, so we’re also weather driven,” meaning the coming weeks and months will truly show whether or not the construction will have a tangible effect on the brewpub.

“They’ll probably finish the bulk of the construction during our slow season,” Dan said. “(But) it will be interesting to see what happens when they’re working on the sidewalk on our side of the street.”

The bulk of the sidewalk construction is currently along the north side of Central in Nob Hill. It has created headaches for locations such as Il Vicino, Two Fools, Matanza, and more. Once it reaches the south side, where it could begin to affect Tractor, Kellys, Nob Hill Bar & Grill, and even close to Bosque.

The sidewalk construction is creeping closer toward Kellys.

One major casualty, events wise, has been the loss of the annual Pride Parade, which will move to Lomas this year. The uncertain end date for construction means that Route 66 Summerfest could also be in jeopardy of being relocated.

“That’s a huge loss for us, especially for Tractor and our involvement in the LGBTQR community,” Jeremy said. “That’s one of our big demographics. We have Drag Queen Bingo and we do events sometimes with the social club. At Pride we do a float and people come to Tractor (afterwards). That was a big loss for us and we weren’t too happy about it moving to Lomas, but we understood. You can’t do that on Central right now.”

Tractor still intends to be involved with the parade.

“The word as of now is next year it will move back to Central, which is good,” Jeremy said. “Also, they’re working with me to let Tractor to close down a portion of the street or block in Nob Hill and host a post-Pride Parade party. That’s a nice stipulation that they gave us. They’re working with us and Nob Hill Bar & Grill.”

The Tractor staff is thinking positive thoughts about Summerfest staying put. So far, city officials have not officially committed to keeping it in place, nor have they officially said it would be moved. That call may not come for another few weeks, so the city can better analyze the state of the construction and its progress.

“What we were concerned with, and we just had a meeting with the economic development (committee), and our biggest concern has been the loss of Summerfest,” Jeremy said. “As you know, Summerfest is a huge event in Nob Hill. It’s our number one day for sales. That’s the case for a lot of the businesses in Nob Hill. There has been some talk of Summerfest moving away from Nob Hill, but that hasn’t happened. We’re very fortunate for that.”

Kellys, likewise, will miss having the Pride Parade around and hopes that Summerfest is not going anywhere.

“Those are huge bumps,” Dan said. “Losing Pride from Central, we’re busy from 7:30 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon. That will definitely impact us. Summerfest is huge, that’s the largest event on Central. Just keep it rolling, get (the construction) done by Summerfest.”

For now, the Nob Hill breweries will keep their fingers crossed that things will keep trending in a positive direction as the construction gets closer to completion. None have been hit so hard that they are in danger of closing shop, but not every business in the district can make the same claim.

“We’re more concerned about the neighborhood in general than ourselves,” Jeremy said. “Tractor will be fine. We do things to try to drive traffic there. We have music two nights a week. We have art openings. We have those events to generate our own traffic. Scalo, I think, is bringing back music as well. It’s about that time of year. We opened our patio. Once the warmer weather is back we’ll see more traffic.”

The Crew will keep an eye on the status of all the breweries and taprooms up and down Central, as well as the ultimate fate of Summerfest.

In the meantime, get back out to the affected areas and show your support for all the businesses in Nob Hill, East Downtown, West Downtown/Old Town, and downtown itself whenever the construction finally reaches there. Let us focus on helping our local small businesses, whether they sell beer or not, keep their doors open, regardless of the status of old Route 66. Lomas and Lead/Coal are our friends!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister