Quarter Celtic’s Ror, left, and Brady McKeown hold up their mock check for Sierra Nevada’s Resilience IPA. The fine print reads, “QC Resilience check … slightly smaller than Marble’s.”

Quarter Celtic Brewpub owners Brady and Ror McKeown came prepared this time around. After our Look Back/Look Ahead Series entry last year got a bit, ahem, long-winded, they had a plan to keep things from going off the rails this time around. Fear not, however, they still managed to keep things appropriately off-beat, which is the norm for the brewpub on the corner of San Mateo and Lomas.

“(2018) flew by, so it’s amazing to me that in a couple weeks here we’ve got our three-year anniversary on St. Patrick’s Day,” Ror said. “It was super fast. I think our first year seemed like it took a long time. Now things are just ramping up, which is great.”

The past year was a big one for Quarter Celtic, with more medals on the wall and customers in the seats.

“Looking back on 2018, Brady did a great job on the beer,” Ror said. “He hit the trifecta. I’ll let him talk about that, but we’re pleased how it turned out.”

So what is the trifecta?

“In our mind (it was) the three big competitions we medaled in,” Ror said. “In the Great American Beer Festival we got bronze for the Mocha Hipster Bomb with Palmer (Brewery). Brady’s brewing it again, so keep an eye out. We got a silver at World Beer Cup for Pedro (O’Flanagan’s Mexican Lager). And then, North American Beer Awards, we got two, so we got a bronze for the MacLomas Stout and a silver for Pedro. In our minds, those were some of the bigger competitions where you can gauge where you brewery is at on a national level, even a world level, I guess. It’s nice, because a couple of those beers are our house beers.”

We do like the banners featuring Quarter Celtic’s many medals that now hang from the ceiling.

The good news is the one specialty beer on the list, Mocha Hipster Bomb, has just been brewed again.

“I’ll have that on more often than not,” Brady said. “A medal at GABF is always good, it doesn’t matter what it’s for. But, I mean, you look at the other winners, that’s really good company to be in.”

“On a side note, it was one of the first ones (announced), so I didn’t have to pop any antacids or anything,” Ror added.

The past year also saw a fair amount of experimentation for Brady in all of the newer styles of beer that are starting to catch the attention of the general public. Even for someone who has been brewing for almost 25 years, like Brady, there are still new styles to learn.

“It’s always fun to (try) a couple new styles,” Brady said. “The new hazy IPAs, the fruited goses, or Catalina sours, or whatever they call them now. It was fun to try new things. It’s always fun to learn something new.”

“There are some beers that people may not like, but Brady wants to try the style,” Ror added. “We’re going to throw it out there.”

“That’s the fun of a brewpub, we don’t have to put it in a can,” Brady said. “That is fun. That’s sort of the whole M.O. of Quarter Celtic — fun. It’s a fun place to be, a fun place to hang out, and it translates into the beer, too.”

Heck, there is even a sign about all of that adorning the south wall behind the bar.

Somehow we just noticed this wonderful sign.

The brothers McKeown have kept things upbeat since their days together at Canteen Brewhouse, and even long before that.

“For me, I always look forward to coming to work with Brady, because (he’s) a fun person to hang out with, keeps things light,” Ror said. “We definitely have a nice rapport going, 50 years in the making.

“Then life’s been good, because we have a great staff. Our customer base is fantastic. It really is refreshing coming to work, which is kind of a phrase that many people don’t put together.”

The beer, however, remains key to making sure the public is enjoying the pub as much as the staff. Brady said there have been a few tweaks here and there with the equipment.

“It may not make it easier to brew, but hopefully we’re making the beer better, which is always the focus,” he said. “Now we’ve got an RO (reverse osmosis) system, and a new cold liquor tank, so now we get the fermenter back that we were using for cold water.”

Those minor fixes/upgrades might not seem like much, but in the end it all comes down to the pending addition of the first offsite taproom for Quarter Celtic.

As we noted in a story last month, the sign is up for the future taproom on Juan Tabo. (Photo courtesy of Quarter Celtic)

“That kind of leads us to looking forward, because some of the things we’re doing is getting ready for doubling the number of barrels that we’re going to be selling as Quarter Celtic,” Ror said. “Early on, we got the wholesale license so we could get our name out there. We still have some capacity in this brewery, but right now we’re in the process of kind of pulling some of the wholesale back. Because we know if we keep wholesale where it was and we open the taproom, then this brewery wouldn’t keep up.”

“Somebody would be disappointed, and eventually many people (would as well),” Brady added. “Just mathematically looking at what we sold, what we sold wholesale, what we sold in house, looking at the seats we’re going to have in the new place, we figured we should give people warning that we’re pulling out so we can supply our customers.”

The taproom will be located at 1930 Juan Tabo NE, between Indian School and Menaul, on the east side of the street. It will be about 3,000 square feet, which is smaller than the main location, but odds are it will be just as busy.

As for when it will be open, Ror said he is hopeful that things will be up and running before the summer.

“Probably early May, (but) you can always throw a date out there (and hope),” Ror said. “The building, we love the location, but we’re doing a lot of infrastructure type things that needed to happen to it. It just slows the process down.”

“It saves a lot of money, though, when Ror does it all himself,” Brady added.

Essentially, the space has now been cleared out and prepared for the eventual build-up to becoming functional.

“We’ve got Lee (Wilson) coming in here this week, so things should speed up,” Ror said, referring to another of Quarter Celtic’s owners. “We’ve got all the dirty, time-consuming things out of the way. Now it’s just trying to turn it into what we think an Irish pub should be like. That’s a little stressful, because we’re going to turn a strip mall into an Irish pub.”

There will be a line out here leading into the brewery for the anniversary/St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

While Ror has been away, Brady and the staff at the main location have been busy preparing for the anniversary party that starts March 16 and continues through the infamous Irish holiday.

“On that one, we’re going to do a two-day event again,” Ror said. “So this is going to be Saturday-Sunday, and pretty much mirror itself (from last year). We’re bringing in the pipers, the dancers, the band. It will be set up pseudo-beerfest style like we’ve done the past two years, which just from a volume (standpoint) is the only way we can pull it off. Otherwise there would be three-hour waits.

“Inside will still be full service and probably a really long wait. Outside it’s fend for yourself, get your own beer, we will have food out there. You may get to sit down, you may have to stand. But, it’s worked well the last couple years. People have enjoyed it. They understand that those two days, you’re not going to be able to come in and get the nachos, because you’ve got to slim the menu, too. Anything Celtic you can do is on that limited menu for those two days.”

Brady will have a few special beers available, as he has in the past.

“We saved some of the Irish Handcuffs, (barrel) aged, as well as Kill or be Kilt,” Brady said. “We’ve only got a couple kegs of the stout, so that will go fast. But, definitely, we have more beers (ready) than we have taps right now. We’re going to try to get the Mocha Hipster on for the anniversary. … Hopefully we’ll have the Clark (Hazy IPA) back on.”

Clark should replace the popular Never Cry Wolf-Dragon DIPA, which is running low this week, so go over and help drink it up, if that is your preferred style.

In the end, everything happening now is about gearing up for the taproom opening later this year.

“Basically for us, looking forward is just the logistics of two places,” Ror said. “Before we were always here. I mean, Brady is still always here, but when it comes to the management side of it, I’m out, Lee’s out, but we’ve turned it over to capable hands with Allison (York, general manager) and Caroline (Marquez, assistant general manager) running the show here. Now we’re focused on QC 2. Once that one is up and running, we’ll be back and forth.”

We honestly have no idea what they are doing with those Go Fish (and Chips) cards.

Oh, and do not fret, once QC 2 is open, Ror and Brady and the rest of their team will get back to making those wonderful, wacky YouTube videos. Who knows, maybe the Crew will even show up in one of those at some point. Or, maybe there will be one that honors the movie Shaun of the Dead, since several of our friends frequently refer to Quarter Celtic as “The Winchester.”

For now, we just suggest everyone head over to QC for a nice cold pint, and wait for this whole thing to blow over.

A huge thanks to Ror and Brady for the interview, the laughs, and a pint of No, You’re a Dort.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s seven breweries, one in Los Alamos, one in Moriarty, and one in Red River also joining the party.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

This Friday is International Women’s Day, which makes for a great opportunity to raise a pint glass to all the women working in breweries across New Mexico. There are the ones we all (should) know about, like owners/co-owners Skye DeVore (Tractor), Heather Starr (Starr Brothers), Hilary Degnaro (Bombs Away), Katey Taylor (Cantero), Denise Baker (Rio Bravo), Shelby Chant (Steel Bender), Diana Navarette (Toltec), Shyla Sheppard and Missy Begay (Bow & Arrow), and Anne O’Neill (Sidetrack), who also doubles as president of the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Brewers Guild. Anne is joined on the Board by Santa Fe general manager Alanna Jones and Bosque director of culture and engagement Jessica Griego. In case you somehow missed the news on Monday, the Guild will be getting its first female executive director later this month when Marble’s Leah Black takes the reins from John Gozigian. There are also head brewers like Kaylynn McKnight (Toltec), Lyna Waggoner (The 377), and Cathy Racow (Enchanted Circle), plus numerous assistant brewers, packaging line staffers, and cellarmen, er, cellarwomen. There is every single female beertender and server (heck, we still owe Tractor’s Lauren Poole for our breakthrough story many moons ago), with more names than we can possibly list here. There are all the general managers and taproom managers who keep things running smoothly, from Barbie Gonzalez (Marble) to Jenn B (La Cumbre) to Melissa Martinez (Tractor) to Jamie Schwebach (Canteen) to Ali Cattan (Red Door) to Tasha Isbell (Sierra Blanca), and many, many more. Top if off with all the key front-office personnel like Geraldine Lucero (Marble), Tammy Lovato (Marble), Nicole Duke (Tractor), and everyone else we accidentally forgot … there are so many of you who keep this industry alive! We thank one and all for your hard work. Cheers to all of you this Friday, and every day!

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque went all crazy and created Take on Mead, which is exactly what you think it is. Boxing Bear gets in the season with Red Knuckle Irish Red. Cantero recently brought back its ESB, while also adding CTZ Smash. La Cumbre has the spring edition of Project Dank coming out on tap and in cans this Friday. Marble has Stout Americano on tap and in cans at all three locations today. Nexus has Tropical Tart available at the Silver Taproom. Ponderosa has the decadent Red Velvet Ale on tap at last. Starr Brothers has more There Gose Them Boyzz, as well as the new StarrLite (Kolsch). Toltec salutes all the Manchester United fans who have made the brewery their home away from home with Red Devils Helles. Tractor keeps it light, but flavorful, with Waning Wheat and Foggy Mountain Breakdown Hazy IPA.

Up in Santa Fe, Rowley Farmhouse Ales is starting bottle sales of Grandissant – 4x Cerise on Friday (pick up on Sunday), plus it will have a limited batch of a special Colkegan barrel-aged Steindock’d Barleywine on tap today (Wednesday).

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of March 4.

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Nexus Blue Smokehouse hosts its grand opening today.

The long wait is finally over today (Tuesday) as Nexus Blue Smokehouse holds its grand opening at 1511 Broadway Blvd. SE. Located on the west side of the street, just three buildings south of Avenida Cesar Chavez (the first two are a gas station and an Albuquerque Police substation), Nexus Blue will be open from 4 to 9 p.m.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a sneak preview on Friday night, which granted me an advance tasting of the menu and a chance to take some photos of the finished space. Only the main dining area was open, so it was a bit crowded, but that is to be expected. As owner Ken Carson noted in our Look Back/Look Ahead Series article, the plan is for Nexus Blue to do mainly takeout orders at the outset. If you are planning to sit down at the taproom and enjoy a meal, please be patient.

Customers order their food at the front counter, and servers will then bring it to you in the dining area if you are eating on site.

The food, of course, is the star here. Nexus Blue has a barbecue-centric menu of smoked meats, with only a few of the more classic Nexus dishes (chicken and waffles, fish tacos) available. With the rest of the Crew unavailable, I was a good son and brought my parents to the sneak preview after they finished their stint as volunteers at the new Brain exhibit at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History (hint: you should also check that out).

Your barbecue options feature smoked meats by the half-pound, five sandwich/taco options, or mega meals like The Spread and The Big Feed. The Spread can feed four to five people, with one pound of brisket or burnt ends, plus one pound of pulled pork or two hot links, plus a half-chicken or half-rack of ribs, plus two sides (pints). The Big Feed is all of the above plus six pieces of fried chicken, with quart-sized sides.

The half-rack of ribs, brisket, and french fries all went quite well with a pint of Scottish Ale.

Since there were only three of us, we each picked a different item off the menu, selecting a half-rack of ribs, a pulled pork sandwich, and a half-pound of brisket. For sides, we ordered french fries and smoked BBQ beans. The pulled pork and brisket were quite good. There is also a BBQ sauce station, so you can decide how much sauce, and what kind, you want on your meat(s). The other smoked meat options are hot links, burnt ends, and a half smoked chicken, plus of course a full rack of ribs. Additional sandwich options include a brisket, burnt ends, and hot links, plus there are brisket tacos. Other sides include mac n cheese, fried okra, coleslaw, potato salad, collard greens, and fried pickles. There are also a couple of dessert options in biscuit bread pudding and cherry/peach cobbler.

I am leaving out the prices, just in case anything has changed since Friday, but I found everything to be reasonably priced. Heck, my dad agreed, and if you can get a 75 year old to agree on the cost of food, that is a plus. Most of the main dishes were in the $8-to-$12 range.

Owner Ken Carson, center, stepped in to help his staff keep things flowing.

As for the beer, they had the regular Nexus offerings on draft, including the Cream Ale, Red Ale, Scottish Ale, Chocolate Porter, and Imperial Cream. There are eight taps in total, so a seasonal or two might pop up from time to time.

Overall, we were impressed with Nexus Blue on its first night of operation. As we have said many times in the past, please be patient and courteous with the staff of any new taproom/restaurant/brewery. They are still learning how everything works, especially as things get busier and busier. The important thing is the food is delicious, the beer is what you have come to expect from Nexus, and the space is a warm and inviting one. Do take note that the parking lot on the north side of the building is not a big one, so please endeavor to carpool if you are traveling with a large group.

We will see some of you here before the soccer game this weekend!

Whether you stop by today, later this week, or pregame the New Mexico United match on Saturday, have fun and try not to eat your body weight in smoked meats. We cannot promise that we will not attempt to do just that.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The New Mexico Brewers Guild Board of Directors has selected Marble’s Leah Black as its next executive director.

The next step in the evolution of the New Mexico Brewers Guild will come with the appointment of its new executive director, who just happens to be someone familiar to most people involved in the local craft beer community.

Marble Brewery public relations and social media director Leah Black will officially succeed John Gozigian on March 25. The Board of Directors chose Leah based on her connections throughout the industry, her marketing background, and her enthusiasm for, well, just about everything.

“Social media is my passion, but the beer industry (as a whole) is my passion,” Leah said. “It’s really hard, because I have a big chunk of my heart here (at Marble). But, I also am a firm believer in paying attention to what the universe brings to you.”

Initially, Leah did not apply for the job. The Board eventually reached out to her and others who seemed like good candidates.

“We advertised that the position was available, we advertised through our newsletter, on Indeed, and also on Brewbound dot com,” John said. “A lot of the resumés we were getting through employment websites, nobody really had relevant experience. We did get a handful of resumés from the local beer community and we actually had several good candidates. It was a tough decision, actually.

“When we weighed each candidates’ skills and personality, reputation within the community, everything gelled around Leah. We didn’t get much through our traditional sources. What the Board decided to do was reach out to people in the community that they thought would be good candidates.”

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The Marble team presents a check to Sierra Nevada for the sales of Resilience IPA. From left, brewer John Carroll, packaging line director Nate Jackson, head brewer John Heine, and president/brewmaster Ted Rice.

The results are in from one big charitable effort on the part of several New Mexico breweries, and they are good. Marble Brewery presented a check for more than $22,000 to Sierra Nevada Brewing’s Camp Fire Relief Fund on Friday, all from the sales of Resilience Butte County Proud IPA.

Marble was one of six New Mexico breweries, along with 1,400 across the country, to take a Sierra Nevada recipe and make a beer where 100 percent of proceeds went to charity. It was needed to help the victims of the wildfires in Northern California that crept right up to the outskirts of Chico, where Sierra Nevada’s original brewery is still located.

“It’s so insane, and the biggest thing we wanted to do is thank everyone, because it was everyone’s consumption of this fantastic beer that helped us raise so much money,” said Marble social media director Leah Black. “It was with 1,400 other breweries around the country, so ours is just a small chunk of what will help this cause.”

Steel Bender Brewyard reported that it raised $9,500 for its batch of Resilience, while Canteen Brewhouse, Quarter Celtic Brewpub, and Cloudcroft Brewing did not have their final figures available. Rowley Farmhouse Ales still has some Resilience on draft, so if you never got to try this flavorful West Coast IPA, head up to Santa Fe and drink for a good cause. UPDATE: Cloudcroft also still has it on tap, so if you are headed south for the weekend, make sure to stop by.

A huge thank you to all the participating breweries, to Sierra Nevada for coming up with the idea, and of course, as Leah said, to all the hopheads who bought a pint or two.

Enjoy the weekend!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s seven breweries, one in Los Alamos, one in Moriarty, and one in Red River also joining the party.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

We are totally done with winter, right? No more straining our lower backs shoveling snow, right? Hey, we can all hope for warmer days ahead, and the wonderful porch beers that come along with those days. Bosque is feeling a bit springy with Resto Hazy Pale Ale, which debuts in cans and on tap this Friday at all locations. Resto will be the flagship beer at the forthcoming Restoration Pizza, which will open in March. It’s a single-hop, two-grain beer, perfectly refreshing for the dawn of spring. Across town, Boxing Bear is also sticking with the hops and haze on Friday. Totally Cereal Hazy IPA, made with rolled oats, will debut on tap. If haze is not really your thing, Bow & Arrow is releasing Rad Vista Pilsner on tap Friday. It’s the first single-hop pilsner in a new series, this one using Vic Secret hops. Both beers should feel quite nice on a warm day on the patio.

Another awesome beer-and-food pairing is going down this week at Ponderosa. The brewpub is teaming up with Rebel Donut today and Thursday from opening at 11 a.m. until the donut bite supply runs out. The pairings will feature donut bites made with the same beers they’re paired with, so it’s Blood Orange Wit, Bellamah Brown, and the brand-new Red Velvet Ale. Presale tickets are $10, while tickets at the door are $12.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque also has its collaboration beer with Ex Novo now on tap, Frenemies, a West Coast pilsner made with experimental hops. Boxing Bear varies up one of its standards with Black and Blue Milk Shake. Canteen brings back Tuttle IPA and Social Capital, with the latter made with pomegranate and cardamom. Kaktus kicks over the taps with Solstic Pale Ale, Amber, Oatmeal Stout, Belgian Golden, and Darlings Doppelbock, named in honor of the Desert Darlings. Marble is feeling smooth with Marble Lager, and a big naughty with Safeword IPA. Quarter Celtic rolled out the beastly Never Cry Wolf-Dragon, a hazy IPA that was originally brewed for the canceled National IPA Challenge. Rio Bravo went ahead and made a peanut butter hazelnut brown ale and called it Squirrel Nuts, because why the heck not? Sidetrack has put its Pub Ale with Earl Grey Tea on draft, not just in the cask (but it’s there, too), plus there is more Turntable IPA and regular Pub Ale available. Toltec puts its NIPAC entry, Guapo Hoppo, on tap as well. Turtle Mountain tunes up a new Brut IPA called Toxic Masculinity.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn and Beer Creek are releasing a collaboration, Santa Faze IPA. Rowley Farmhouse Ales introduces the new raspberry Oud Bruin, Fromabozen, and Agent Scully – Season Two, Episode Six (IPA).

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of February 25.

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Brewer Alexander Pertusini has worked hard to find his comfort zone at Chili Line Brewing.

During the past year, Chili Line Brewing has been busy. I mean, really busy. Between turning their taproom into a downtown nightlife destination, pouring at all the local festivals, and getting their brand-new location ready to open, they’ve been BUSY. Thankfully, brewer Alexander Pertusini was kind enough to sit down and speak with the Dark Side Brew Crew about the year before and what’s coming down the tracks in 2019 for our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series.

It was 6:30 on a Wednesday evening when I walked into an already crowded bar. I felt like I was late to the party. Pertusini greeted me as he poured beer for a good mixture of what sounded like regulars and folks visiting from out of town. After pouring me one of three stouts on the menu, he joined me at an empty table, which was becoming a rare commodity as the minutes passed. It was already a bit of a different vibe from the last time I’d visited “professionally,” I should say.

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Seats were at a premium at Chili Line on a weeknight.

And then, I tasted the beer. A solid stout, heavy on flavor, delivering on the promised premise of cocoa and lactose (by the name, Tio Coco Milk Stout), great mouthfeel, and very light on the smoke. Hmm.

Pertusini was soon brought a beer by a gentleman I would later recognize from Breaking Bad and other well-known screen roles. And, as soon as I could wrap my brain around all the pleasant changes and tweaks at work around me, I thumbed on both of my recorders and looked over my laundry list of questions. Though I was already getting excited about the direction Chili Line seemed to be heading in, I wanted to know how their year went.

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The little brewery that could has become a popular destination in Southeast Albuquerque.

The great neighborhood pub experiment is rolling along in several areas of Albuquerque, perhaps most notably at 529 Adams St. NE, where High and Dry Brewing has gained a loyal following in just one year of operation. While operating the smallest brewing system (1 barrel) in town, brewer/owner Andrew Kalemba and his staff have managed to nonetheless make a name for themselves in a crowded craft beer scene.

I caught up with Andrew on Monday afternoon at the brewery, where he was still hard at work even though it was closed to customers, for our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series.

“2018, it went by fast, that’s for sure,” Andrew said. “We can’t complain. We have what I’d like to call consistent business all year. The neighborhood really showed up and supported us. The bottom line is we hit our year one business case, which is a fantastic thing to celebrate. I’m not sure I got to sit down and enjoy it during the birthday weekend, but that was an absolutely awesome milestone for us to be able to do that in the first year.”

Andrew moved to Albuquerque from Austin, which is filled with small breweries that serve as popular gathering spots in the midst of residential neighborhoods. He took that inspiration into building High and Dry, taking over a former tattoo parlor space just off Lomas Boulevard. It has worked out mostly as planned so far, with plenty of people walking over from their homes, or making a short drive.

“There’s butts in seats, and that’s awesome,” Andrew said. “What’s nice, too, even at our anniversary (party), we still have new people coming in and discovering it, even people who live in the neighborhood. That’s kind of flattering. We kind of like being that. We also have people walking in and hitting on a lot of the things you said. It’s the neighborhood spot, it’s the neighborhood’s living room. Come mosey on over here and hang out. That’s resonating with people and people are getting it without us having to beat the idea into everyone’s head.”

Of course, with the development of such a strong customer base, it also means Andrew has to work hard to keep the beers flowing out of his 1-barrel brewhouse.

“I think the last time we talked I was right in the thick of chaos, when we had some product recalls, and spilled five barrels down the drain, and then we also figured out how to break the sewer line,” he said. “It was rough for a while. Obviously, the guest taps and the collaboration model is really important to sustaining that. One of the awesome things about New Mexico is we have reciprocity, and that’s always been key to our (business) model.”

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Flix Brewhouse’s Unbreakable Glass earned one of four medals at the Best of Craft Beer Awards. (Photo courtesy of Will Moorman)

Here on this blustery Friday, it feels like a good time to stay indoors and catch up on some local beer news as we empty the notebook yet again.

Flix picks up four medals at Best of Craft Beer Awards

If there is a theme early on in 2019 to some of the beer competitions going around, it is that Flix Brewhouse has come to make a statement.

The brewery/movie theater, which makes all of its beers on premises in Albuquerque, earned four medals at the recent Best of Craft Beer Awards. Three other local breweries brought home another four medals, as well.

Flix earned gold in the Baltic-style Porter category with Darth Malt, and another gold in Belgian-style Witbier for Luna Rosa, which is a year-round beer. Flix also picked up a silver for James Blond in the Belgian-style Blonde Ale or Pale Ale category, and a bronze for Unbreakable Glass in the American-style Cream Ale category.

Those medals follow up a strong performance at the Beer Army Beer Wars last month. Congrats to Flix for making New Mexico proud again!

As for the other local winners, Sierra Blanca won gold for its Green Chile Cerveza in the Chili Pepper Beer category (that was how the competition spells Chili, so please don’t yell at us), and a bronze for Cherry Wheat in the Fruit Wheat Beer category. Rio Bravo brought home a silver for its Amber/ESB in the British Bitters category, while Abbey Brewing snagged bronze for its Monks’ Dark Ale in the English-style Mild or Brown Ale category.

Congrats to one and all!

New brewery updates: Things are moving again

Another new brewery is coming to the East Central/Foothills area. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Carlson)

The end of the partial shutdown has several of the pending breweries around town back on track. Here is the latest that we know about each.

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Turtle Mountain celebrates its 20th anniversary this year after winning its first GABF gold medal last year.

Turtle Mountain is turning 20 years old in just a few weeks, which is quite the milestone for a brewery, let alone a restaurant. I was able to sit down and chat with both head brewer Mick Hahn and owner Nico Ortiz regarding their stellar 2018, and what 2019 has in store for them.

Solo: The big thing with our look back would probably be that gold medal you snagged at GABF (Great American Beer Festival)?

Mick: Yeah, that definitely is the biggest thing for 2018. We are beyond thrilled to have that thing hanging behind the bar. It feels really good to have something that Turtle has deserved for a long time, and to get that recognition. So my favorite part of GABF all together was seeing Stan Heironymous tweet out that his favorite thing of GABF was Turtle Mountain getting a medal. 

Solo: That’s beautiful.

Mick: To get those words coming out of Stan’s mouth means a whole lot. He was one of the first people to sit at our bar and taste our beer 20 years ago, and Albuquerque owes a lot to him and his writing, so to hear him say that felt great. It just backed up everything I believe about Turtle being, oh, just shy of world class. We are very happy about it and hopefully we can try to have some sort of repeat this next year. Wooden Teeth will definitely get submitted again, for sure, and we will look at what else is going to be our entries for 2019 medals. 

Solo: Since lagers are kind of your thing, might we see some more of those?

Mick: Yeah, for sure, and I think they are overlooked by a lot of people who don’t see them to be as exciting, so they don’t get as much attention as a lot of the styles out there. 

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