Posts Tagged ‘Abbey Brewing Company’

The 3rd Annual New Mexico Food Truck and Craft Beer Festival returns this Saturday with 20 breweries in attendance. (Photo courtesy of Food Truck Festivals of America)

The 3rd Annual New Mexico Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival returns this Saturday with 20 local and regional craft breweries providing their beers at Balloon Fiesta Park. The event kicks off at noon and runs until 6 p.m. It will feature some 25 local food trucks. The cost is $5 online and $10 at the gate.

Tickets to buy beer will be sold for $6 apiece at the festival, or attendees can purchase a four-pack of beer tickets for $20. They can also purchase a general admission ticket with three beer tickets online for $18.50.

More information on the trucks and the like can be found via the event’s Facebook page or at the website linked above. Since we are a beer website, the most important information we can provide for all of you is the list of attending breweries and the beers that will be served. There are seven New Mexico breweries/cideries represented.

  • Abbey Brewing: Monks’ Ale, Monks’ Dark, Monks’ Tripel
  • Avery Brewing: Ellie’s Brown, Liliko’i Kepolo, White Rascal
  • Ballast Point: Longfin Lager, Mango Even Keel, Sculpin IPA
  • Breckenridge Brewing: Nitro Vanilla Porter, Dry Irish Stout, Mango Pale Ale
  • Dogfish Head: SeaQuench Ale, Flesh & Blood IPA, 60 Minute IPA
  • Great Divide Brewing: Colette Farmhouse Ale, Yeti Imperial Stout, Titan IPA
  • Green Flash/Alpine: Pure Hoppiness DIPA, Tangerine Soul Style IPA, Passion Fruit Kicker
  • Guns and Oil: Wild Bill (Wheat Bock), American Lager
  • Lagunitas Brewing: IPA, 12th of Never Ale, Hop Stoopid DIPA
  • Nuevo Brewing: Nuevo, Bloody Maria
  • Pecan Brewing: Hoppin Wheat, Pecan Beer
  • Rio Bravo: Roadkill Red, New Mexico Pinon Coffee Porter, Snakebite IPA
  • Sandia Cidery: Apple, Watermelon, Cherry
  • Santa Fe Brewing: Happy Camper IPA, Freestyle Pils, Pale Ale
  • SanTan Brewing: Mr. Pineapple, Devils Ale, Sex Panther Chocolate Porter
  • Sierra Blanca Brewing: Cherry Wheat, Alien Amber, Outlaw Lager
  • Sierra Nevada: Pale Ale, Sidecar, Torpedo IPA
  • Ska Brewing: Modus Mandarina, Mexican Logger, Pinstripe Red
  • Upslope: Citra Pale Ale, Craft Lager, Guava
  • Wasatch/Squatters: Hop Rising IPA, Ghost Rider White IPA, Off Duty IPA

In addition to all of that, Food Truck Festivals of America is offering up a special giveaway to Brew Crew readers for a four-pack of tickets and $40 in truck bucks. Rather than just pick one of you, we would like to test your beer knowledge. The first person to correctly answer the following question will get the tickets (your name will be at will call).

Q: Which New Mexico brewery has won the most medals (gold, silver, and bronze) at the Great American Beer Festival? (As a tiebreaker, give us the exact number.)

Email your answer to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

UPDATE: We have a winner already! It took just 10 minutes from the time this story was posted for someone to correctly guess Canteen/Il Vicino, which is the current leader with 12 medals. Thanks to all who participated!

Have fun at the fest!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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Thomas Baxter, an actual monk from the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, is often serving beers at Monks' Corner downtown.

Thomas Baxter, an actual monk from the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, is often serving beers at Monks’ Corner downtown.

I recently visited Monks’ Corner Taproom for my final contribution to this year’s Look Back/Look Ahead Series. It seemed fitting to finish at the new taproom location for Abbey Brewing, which likely is tied more closely to centuries old brewing traditions than any other New Mexico brewery. General manager Chris Pacheco was kind enough to sit down with me on a late Friday afternoon and do two of my favorite things — talk about beer and drink beer.

“We did a soft opening on September 29, and then our first day of business was October 5,” Chris said. “So it was kind of a lot just trying to put everything together and make sure that everything was in order. But, it was fun.

“I came on about a month before. I gave my month notice at Chama River, and in the interim time I was kinda spending time both at Chama doing my shifts, and coming (here) trying to hire staff, order cleaning supplies, organize glassware, as well as making sure all of the permits were in hand. It wasn’t just me, though. Thomas Baxter was on a little bit before me. He’s a monk from the Monastery (of Christ in the Desert), actually. He took a year sabbatical to come work with us.”

Wait, what? Is there really a monk working at the taproom?

“A lot of first timers will come in and one of their first question’s is, ‘Are their real monks?’ and a lot of the time Tom is here and he’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m one of the monks from the monastery,’ and that kinda throws them off,” Chris said. “So, there are real monks. Even on the packaging of the beer they are all real monks. If you look at the box it will say the monk’s (actual) name. It brings the story back up front. We get a lot of questions about that. It’s kind of cool. It’s definitely very different … a different kind of model to work with. It makes it interesting and fun but that was also part of the reason why it was easy to buy into it … because of the story.”

It was only a few minutes into our discussion that I sensed Chris’ genuine respect for the tradition that is the foundation of Abbey Brewing. It runs deeper than the name and the brand, and it doesn’t just represent something, it is something. It’s not something that can be described in writing, but rather something that is felt, experienced, lived. Chris described visiting the monastery, near Abiquiu, as a part of employee training.

“It’s definitely an eye-opening thing for a lot of us,” he said. “You have a preconceived notion of what a monastery is going to be. You have some great people with great senses of humor. It’s definitely a reverent place, but they are normal people. We did a day trip. It’s really, really cool. Everyone seemed to kind of get a better sense of what the business is about. It’s not just a taproom. There was something behind it … that was bigger. It went back to a tradition of monastic brewing, and European-style monastic brewing. Not necessarily location-wise here, but with our beer and what we are doing. It definitely taps into that culture of your tradition.”

The Monks’ touch extends beyond the monastery and directly into the taproom, but in more ways than just the beer. It’s part of the expectations for the staff.

“Some of our employee handbook goes back and forth with the Benedictine traditions,” Chris said. “Hospitality is one of the most important things to them and we try to bring that into our environment. Hospitality, quality, and treating everybody fairly is one of the biggest things. We are as accommodating as we can be with everyone until it becomes an issue of safety.”

There was also an effort to incorporate the visible features of the Abiquiu area into the taproom.

“The design of the taproom really has that in mind in terms of the color scheme,” Chris said. “It’s all based on one of the photographs that’s in the back, which is the Chama River Canyon, and it was a nice thing to learn that the color scheme was built around a photo that was taken on the way to the monastery. It’s all trying to tie in to going back to the monastery where it started from.”

Chris reminded me that some of the beer uses hops from the monastery.

“They grow their own hops … and we’re working on a Tripel Reserve right now,” Chris said. “And, if we do any brew that has a reserve title that means they use our local hops. We have to go to the open market like everyone else for most of the other hops.”

There will be a special release party today (Tuesday) at the taproom for the Tripel Reserve. It will run from 6 to 10 p.m. and also feature live art, music, and food specials.

Well, that looks just heavenly. Hello, Monks' Corner, welcome to the party.

Monks’ Corner has found its niche downtown.

Beyond the long history of monastic brewing, it’s also important to point out that Abbey Brewing is a relatively long-established brewery in New Mexico.

“We have been distributing since 2005,” Chris said. “It hasn’t been at a huge scale, but it’s been out-of-state, too, so we have some sort of a reach. It was kinda interesting that they did it that way. That they did the distribution first and then this is the first taproom.”

One of the biggest challenges of new breweries/taprooms seems to be filling taps with enough beer, though Monks’ clearly had a distinct advantage in that aspect. However, opening is never an easy task.

“We had our final inspection on the day of our soft opening,” Chris said. “After that it was almost like a restaurant impossible episode where we had, for the next three hours, all hands on deck to make sure that it looked presentable for opening. We got it done for the soft opening.”

One aspect of Monks’ Corner Taproom that is truly unique is its partnership with the business right next door.

“This is one of the coolest partnerships, just having a restaurant attached within walking distance and you can bring your beer in here,” Chris said. “It’s two different companies, two different staffs, two different owners.”

That’s correct. You can walk about 15 feet from the bar at Monks’ Corner to the ordering counter at Maya, which offers great New Mexican cuisine, salads, and sandwiches. The fish tacos I had were top notch.

“One of the coolest things is that you can, if you felt like you just wanted to have lunch or dinner outside of the taproom, you could come into this side and have a meal away from the taproom ambience, and you can still bring your beer in here,” Chris said. “For me that was one of the most interesting things that I’ve seen from us so far.”

You can order your food from Maya and have it delivered to your table at Monks' Corner.

You can order your food from Maya and have it delivered to your table at Monks’ Corner.

It has been just over four months since opening and Chris still has his game face on.

“Even to this day it still feels like we’re opening,” he said. “It’s a work-in-process. I was really surprised with the neighborhood. With the new building and the neighborhood and all the breweries around here … this community really supports its local breweries. A lot of our business … the bulk of our business comes from people in this neighborhood. You never know what to expect, but this neighborhood has been really good to us so far. I didn’t know what to expect with downtown Albuquerque, honestly, but it’s nice. You see bartenders and such from some of the other breweries that come in and talk.

“One of the cool things that I have noticed is that all these taprooms in this area are extremely different, like aesthetically, (and) like beer style-wise, too. It’s like we all have something to offer the neighborhood and the residents of the neighborhood, which I think is great because it gives us, as consumers, a better choice. It gives you more of an option and it creates a real scene in downtown Albuquerque.”

Looking forward, Chris said he hopes to further embrace the neighborhood by planning some events.

“We really want to do a lot more events, and give the customer something to do along with have a beer, events that make sense for the brand as well as make sense for the neighborhood,” he said. “We want to do live music and incorporate more live music. We are flirting with the ideas of things like Geeks Who Drink or some other sort of trivia, maybe live art installations. Almost, at this point, throw things at the wall and see what sticks.

“I know that at some point we’d like to do a firkin release when it makes sense, and do some releases around some of the reserve beers that are going to be coming shortly. The first one that we will have out is the Tripel Reserve, which will be made with the local hops. So, we want to build an event around that, but it’s still kind of in the planning process.”

Even a brewery rooted in monastic tradition looks to mix things up a bit every now and again.

“There’s been talks of an American style pale ale that kind of leans towards an IPA, which is very unusual for a Belgian brewery to do, but it’s not 100 percent,” Chris said. “There might be a (sort) of a pale ale from us. We are also looking at starting working on some ciders, a sweet and a dry cider. Hopefully we can start expanding our selection. When we opened the doors I think we started with five beers and now we have seven on tap of our own. They’re working on other ones to bring in too.

“One thing I do like, also that I keep on forgetting because it’s almost like an afterthought to me, but we do have 20 taps. We typically have 10 to 15 guest taps on at a time. It’s going to be ever-changing. We have some favorites that will probably not leave the tap, but for the most part it’s an experiment and what we’re going to bring in seasonally will change.”

In addition to the food next door, Chris said he was also enthusiastic about having some smaller, snackier options available in the taproom, options that would pair well with the beer.

“We’re planning on bringing cheese and charcuterie plates also and pairing that with some of the beers that we have,” Chris said. “That’s a project that we are currently working on right now. We always want to have a couple of snack options — some chocolate options that will pair well with some of our dark beers, (or) nuts, almonds, things of that nature. We want it to be something you can eat while you are sitting down, but also want to go in with the thought that it will compliment the beer and vice versa … as well as some of the wine, too.”

Considering the progress made by Monks’ Corner so far this year, and the plans for next year, there is no reason not to be believe that the location is destined to become a staple of the community.

“All and all, I think our beer scene statewide is fantastic,” Chris said. “It’s exciting because as a state we’re still young at making beer, but we’re doing so well. We’re fortunate to be where we’re at after three months of business, but still you always kind of want to look forward and thrive in a thriving community. So, there’s opportunity for all of us and I think the good things is that there is a niche for everyone. There’s room for everybody in this environment as long as the quality is there.”

Be sure and get over to Monks’ Corner next time you are in downtown ABQ to check on the progress and drink some delicious beer. Don’t forget the tasty food options. The Brew Crew wishes Monks’ Corner and Abbey Brewing the best of luck in 2017.

Cheers!

— Deezbeers

Well, that looks just heavenly. Hello, Monks' Corner, welcome to the party.

Well, that looks just heavenly. Hello, Monks’ Corner, welcome to the party.

We know, there have been a lot of grand openings and special events at new places all around town in the last few months. We are confident you can all handle at least one more. Right?

Start doing those growler curls, and prep your palates, for Monks’ Corner is coming to downtown on Wednesday, Oct. 5. This latest entry in the ever-expanding scene in the heart of Albuquerque is brought to us by Abbey Brewing. Located in the southwest corner of the new Imperial Building at 3rd Street and Silver, Monks’ Corner is currently in the final stages of preparation.

Sales rep/beer guru Angelo Orona provided me with a quick tour of the forthcoming taproom on Monday morning. A construction crew was still busy putting the finishing touches on the space.

“The idea is for this to be a focal point for the surrounding community here,” Angelo said. “As you can see, there are a lot of residents. The Imperial Building has a lot of rentals above us. We want to be collaborative with the neighbors and the other breweries that are around here.”

It was years ago when the Crew heard rumors of Abbey looking to put a taproom somewhere along Paseo del Norte. Those plans fell through, but new plans were made with downtown in mind. Once the Imperial Building, a mixed-use development with commercial spaces on the ground floor and apartments above, was complete, the idea of Monks’ Corner finally became a reality.

There is still work to be done with eight days until the grand opening.

There is still work to be done with eight days until the grand opening.

“Berkeley (Merchant) and his wife, Marie, designed this space,” Angelo said of Abbey’s general manager. “Everything’s very deliberate. If you notice, even the paint scheme is reminiscent of the area around the monastery. If you look at photos or if you’ve ever been up there … the cliffs around the monastery, this is the same color scheme.”

The space is 1,800 square feet in total, with room for about 80 patrons. There will be 20 taps, including a cider, made of the Abbey Monks beers as well as rotating guest beers.

“I’m the main person putting together the draft list right now,” Angelo said. “The one thing that I’m trying to focus on here is trying to get a lot of one-off beers, beers where there’s only one keg. I’m going to try to leverage some of my relationships and see if I can get some special stuff.”

That will not happen right away as far as the specialty/rare taps go, Angelo added, but over time.

Crackin’ Crab and Maya will be the neighboring restaurants. Maya is owned by Dennis Apodaca, whose restaurant Sophia’s Place is a popular North Valley establishment. Both restaurants will be joining forces with Monks’ Corner. Fans can expect some special beer and food pairings.

“Absolutely, that’s definitely in the cards,” Angelo said. “The one that I’m excited about is the seafood. … That’s pretty unique and interesting. I know Dennis is pretty innovative with his food, too. The idea is we’ll have some (Abbey) beers featured on his menu that pair well.”

A small, standing-room only patio is on the west side.

A small, standing-room only patio is on the west side.

There are some plans for live music and other events down the line, though those will wait until after the staff gets settled in and develops a consistent routine, Angelo said.

“One thing that we’re really going to focus on here, we were really fortunate to get a gentleman named Chris Pacheco,” Angelo said. “He’s formerly of Chama River. He’s going to be the GM here. He really, really wants to focus on — and I’m on board with this as well — on education of the staff and making sure that this is a place where people can feel like they can confidently ask a question and a get a good answer.”

That education will extend beyond the staff to the customers as well. Angelo is also the man behind Craft King Consulting, so expect a lot of Beer 101-style classes and more to take place at Monks’ Corner.

“Basically, we’re trying to make this a place that has small events that differentiate from other places,” he added.

Monks’ Corner will also have a merchandise area, a cooler for six-packs that can be purchased of Abbey beers, and yes, it will be licensed for growler sales right from the get-go. Now it is just a matter of crossing those final T’s and dotting the last I’s before the doors swing open next week.

Until then, we will keep tabs on any last-minute changes or developments. Otherwise, see you all at Monks’ Corner next week.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Time to head up the mountain again for great beer and a lot of fun!

Time to head up the mountain again for great beer and a lot of fun!

So, you guys down in Albuquerque seem to be having a lot of fun with your “Beer Week” thing.  Lots of events all over town, lots of beer … I can appreciate that. But, some of us don’t get down to Albuquerque very often as we are stuck up in the mountains. Well, we don’t have multiple events every single day, but we do have some big ones every few months. And, this weekend, we have one of the biggest! It’s time for Summerfest at the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area in Los Alamos.

Participating breweries are Abbey, Marble, Bathtub Row (the hometown favorite), Bosque, Boxing Bear, Chili Line, La Cumbre, Santa Fe Brewing, Second Street, Taos Mesa, Tractor, Turtle Mountain, and Black Smuggler Winery. A very respectable lineup. We weren’t able to get beer selections for most, but we do want to call out Chili Line Brewing, which is Santa Fe’s newest brewery. Their head brewer is Xander Pertusini, a Los Alamos native. Their specialty is smoked beers, and they’ll be bringing a smoked IPA and a smoked stout. Intriguing …

Editor’s note: Good thing Reid has yours truly to track down some of the participating breweries’ beer lists. — S

  • Abbey: TBA
  • Bathtub Row: Duck Duck Gose, Kristy Kream, Not Your Daddy’s Stout, Hoppenheimer IPA
  • Bosque: Elephants on Parade, Riverwalker IPA, Azacca SMASH, Scotia Scotch Ale
  • Boxing Bear: Bearzen, Ambear, Paw Swipe Pale, Uppercut IPA, Cider
  • Chili Line: Smoked IPA, Smoked Stout
  • La Cumbre: VMO #2, A Slice of Hefen, BEER, Elevated IPA, Project Dank, Red Ryeot, Malpais Stout
  • Marble: IPA, Double White, Wildflower Wheat, Red Ale, Eldorado Pale Ale, Saison #1
  • Santa Fe: ECS Lemon Skynyrd, rest are TBA
  • Second Street: 2920 Pilsner, Trebuchet, High Wheeler Pale Ale, Rod’s Steam Bitter, IPA, Railyard Red
  • Taos Mesa: TBA
  • Tractor: TBA
  • Turtle Mountain: Bien Tu Helles Bock, Konventional Kolsch, Session Red, plus house beers TBA

If any additional information comes in we will update this list.

As always, this event isn’t just about beer. There’s food and a few bands, of course (and I know that one band, DK and the Affordables, is a lot of fun). But, there’s also bike racing, hiking (take a lift if you’re not keen on climbing up the mountain), and disc golf. There will be a free shuttle that runs between the high school parking lot and the ski area, which is likely a good idea for folks reading this blog. Weather reports are currently predicting rain, and the weather in the mountains can change on a dime in any case, so be ready for anything on that front.

If you’re in northern New Mexico or just need a break from Beer Week, do yourself a favor and head up to Summerfest!

Cheers!

— Reid

The Crew who attended Blues & Brews were a happy bunch. From left, Adam, Laura, Stoutmeister, Kristin, with the photo bomb from Karl.

The Crew who attended Blues & Brews in 2015 were a happy bunch. From left, Adam, Laura, Stoutmeister, and Kristin, with the photo bomb from Karl.

The biggest of the big is back at Sandia Casino this weekend as Blues & Brews returns for its sixth annual beer-a-palooza. This Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m. (2 to 6 for VIP ticket holders), attendees will be able to choose beers from 70 different breweries, a mix of local, national, and international.

As we do every year, we present the key things you need to know.

  1. Uber is your friend, or a taxi, or a designated driver, or just get a room for the night.
  2. The VIP ticket is worth it, but the supply is nearly out, so buy it online ASAP. That first hour where there are only a handful of people is huge when it comes to being able to properly taste and enjoy your beers. Make a list of your “must haves” and hit those first.
  3. Load up on food beforehand, whether at home, a stop on the way, or at one of the casino restaurants.
  4. And most of all, have fun. Just about everyone in attendance always seems to be in a good mood, so keep the positive vibes flowing.

That brings us to the beers, which are always the key. As noted, there will be an awful lot, too many to simply list below. To start, here are all the local breweries with their full lists. Some are correct in the event program, others have been updated thanks to info from the breweries.

  • Abbey: Monks’ Ale, Monks’ Wit, Monks’ Dark, Monks’ Dubbel, Monks’ Tripel
  • Albuquerque Brewing: Saison, Dunkelweizen
  • Cazuela’s: Agave, Chupacabra IPA, 1859 India Porter, Lemon Drop
  • Firkin: Peach Fuzz, Jailhouse Java Stout, Ombibulous IPA
  • Isotopes: Slammin’ Amber, AAA Blonde
  • Kellys: Amber, Session IPA, Apricot Ale
  • Marble: Double IPA, Double White, IPA, Red Ale, Abricot Sour, Pilsner Anejo, Rita
  • Pi: 5 O’Hop Somewhere Session IPA, Barrel-Aged Bourbon Vanilla Porter, Prohibition Pilsner
  • Red Door: Vanilla Cream Ale, Shift Ender Golden Lager, Belgian Dubbel, Threshold IPA
  • Rio Bravo: Black Angus Stout, Dirty Rotten Bastard IPA, Karl’s Weizen, Amber, Roadkill Red
  • Sandia Chile Grill: Red Ranger Irish Red, Legacy Mead, Honey Moon Mead
  • Santa Fe: Freestyle Pilsner, SF Gold, Western Bloc Wheat IPA
  • Sierra Blanca: Bone Chiller Brown, Sun Chaser Pale Ale, Pancho Verde Chile Cerveza, Vanilla Milk Stout, Desert Pilsner, Alien Amber, Cran Sour, Alien Imperial Stout, Rio Grande IPA, Outlaw Lager, Alien Wheat
  • Tractor: Farmer’s Almanac IPA, Farmer’s Tan Red Ale, Milk Mustachio Stout, Cerveza New Mexican, Hard Apple Cider, and either Desert Flower IPA or Hopsplitter IPA

If we had to pick a few favorites from that list you need to try, make sure to hit up the Monks’ Tripel, ABC’s Dunkelweizen, Cazuela’s Porter, Firkin’s Jailhouse Java Stout, Marble’s Pilsner Anejo (it is the last of that beer available anywhere, ditto the Rita), Pi’s Barrel-Aged BVP, Red Door’s Vanilla Cream Ale, any mead from Sandia Chile Grill, Santa Fe’s unique Western Bloc, Sierra Blanca’s Vanilla Milk Stout, and whichever of those two specialty IPAs that Tractor brings. These are suggestions only, pick out your favorites, and then let us know what you think. Who knows, maybe you will find a great beer that we have overlooked.

Oh, and of course you need to visit The Dukes of Ale’s booth to try their beers as well. We do not know what they are bring, but odds are, it will be home brew that rivals many of the professional beers you will be tasting. Get over there during VIP hour, because the lines always get long later on.

Once you have done your solemn duty and visited as many of the local breweries as possible, then head out into the national/international landscape. Again, we cannot list every available beer or brewery or this would get longer than The Week Ahead in Beer, so these are just our picks. Of course, your palate could demand something completely different, so double check the listings in the event program.

  • Alaskan: It may seem out of season, but their Smoked Porter is good year round. (Alternative: Kicker Session IPA)
  • Avery: They did not have a list in the guide, but odds are, they will have something amazing.
  • Ballast Point: Whichever fruit you like the best between Watermelon (Dorado), Mango (Even Keel), or Pineapple (Sculpin) is the one you should go with.
  • Boston Beer Co. (Samuel Adams): Surprise! They brought some of their newer styles instead of the same old, same old. Our pick is the Heaven or Helles. (Alternative: Got to Gose)
  • Boulder Beer: At some point in your life you have probably had Hazed or Confused. They are offering up a twist on it in the form of Hazed Hoppy Session Ale. (Alternative: Shake Chocolate Porter)
  • Eddyline: The Colorado brewery has their Java Stout on tap. Try it and compare it to Firkin. (Alternative: Crank Yanker IPA)
  • Founders: The current season of choice is Mosaic Promise, which is definitely worth sampling, and the next day you can go buy a six-pack at Jubilation and be the hit of your Memorial Day party. (Alternative: Dirty Bastard)
  • Green Flash: Get in the groove with Soul Style IPA. (Alternative: Tangerine Soul Style)
  • Lagunitas: Does mine eye spy a Lil Sumpin’ Sumpin’? Why, it does! (Alternative: Lucky 13)
  • Left Hand: They listed three of their standards — Milk Stout, Polestar Pils, Good Juju — plus one TBA. Go check out what that one is and let us know.
  • Mother Road: Our friends in Flagstaff debuted Tower Station IPA here last year at Hopfest. Go see what all the buzz is about with this delicious hop bomb. (Alternative: Lost Highway Black IPA)
  • New Belgium: Oh, come on, they don’t do hoppy. Or do they? Rampant Imperial IPA is bucking the NB trend. (Alternative: Heavy Melon Watermelon Lime Ale)
  • Oskar Blues: The Beerito Mexican Lager sounds like a summer porch beer for a lazy afternoon. (Alternative: Pinner Throwback IPA)
  • SanTan: Our friend Nicole Duke of Tractor absolutely loves Mr. Pineapple, and we are pretty sure she would never, ever steer us wrong. (Alternative: Devil’s Ale)
  • Sierra Nevada: If you have not tried Nooner Pilsner yet, you are still doing summer wrong. (Alternative: Otra Vez Gose-Style Ale)
  • Ska: To hell with the heat, grab some Bump ‘n’ Grind for that perfect coffee stout flavor. (Alternative: Modus Mandarina)
  • Upslope: Another contender for porch beer of the summer is their Craft Lager. (Alternative: Belgian Pale Ale)

Other breweries in attendance will include Adelbert’s, Bridgeport, Durango, Goose Island, Guns & Oil, Kona, Leinenkugel, Lexington, Magic Hat, North Coast, Odell, Omission, Pyramid, Redhook, Shiner, Squatters, Wasatch, and Widmer Brothers. There will also be multiple cideries and other vendors.

Remember to pace yourselves, be kind to others, don’t spill your beer, and above all else, have fun and stay safe. Send us your pictures and your comments afterwards and we will include those in our Beer Week in Review story that will run the week of June 6.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

And festival season is a go!

And festival season is a go!

The unofficial kickoff to festival season is upon us once again as Blazin’ Brewfest returns to downtown Las Cruces on Saturday. This annual event, put on by the NM Brewers Guild, is definitely the biggest and most important festival for craft beer lovers in Southern New Mexico and surrounding areas.

The festival runs from 5 to 9 p.m. at 211 Main Street. There will be 15 breweries present, plus food trucks, and live music. The cost is $15 in advance or $20 at the gate. You can still buy tickets at High Desert, Spotted Dog, the Bosque taproom, Main Street Bistro, and of course online.

While the Crew will be otherwise occupied Saturday up here in ABQ, we will have correspondents writing about the fest and the best beers to seek out after it’s over. That, of course, leads to the question of what will be served at the festival. We only heard back from eight nine of the participating breweries, but if anyone else sends us a late list, we will update this story.

Abbey: TBA

Bosque: Riverwalker IPA, Driftwood Oatmeal Stout, Brewer’s Boot Amber Ale, Scotia Scotch Ale, Bosque Lager, Elephants on Parade, Amber Rye, Beermosa

High Desert: TBA

La Cumbre: BEER, Elevated, Red Ryeot, Malpais, Slice of Hefen, plus there will be a special tapping of Project Dank at 7 p.m.

Little Toad Creek: TBA

Marble: Double White, Pilsner, Red, IPA

Pecan Grill: TBA

Picacho Peak: Javelina Black IPA, La Bruja Porter, High Noon Hefeweizen, Sunset Summer Saison, Smooth ‘n’ Stout

Ponderosa: Ghost Train IPA, Spanglish New Mexican Lager, Manzanita Milk Stout, Saison Chat Sauvage

Red Door: Unhinged Cider, Roamer Red, Shift Ender Golden Lager, Bad Moon Ryesing

Santa Fe: Gold, Black IPA, Nut Brown, Happy Camper, Western Bloc IPA

Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande: Pancho Verde Chile Cerveza, Red Beer, Bone Chiller Brown, Rio Grande IPA, Rio Grande Desert Pilsner, Alien Stout, plus a limited pour of Cranberry Sour

Spotted Dog: Milk Stout, Hop Dog, Prickly Beaver Wheat, Angry Beaver Wheat, Shep Farmhouse Ale

Taos Mesa: TBA

Tractor: TBA

Remember, this is a Brewers Guild event, so it needs all the support our community of beer lovers can provide!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Get off the couch and head southwest this weekend.

Get off the couch and head southwest this weekend.

Toad Fest, the street festival hosted by Little Toad Creek in Silver City, will not only feature live music and other fun this Saturday, but it will have 12 other New Mexico breweries serving up 20 different, unique beers.

The list, as provided to us by the NM Brewers Guild.

  • Abbey: Monks’ Tripel
  • Blue Corn: Fuzzy Snuggler
  • Bosque: Riverwalker IPA, Tu-Bock Shakur
  • Canteen: Marzen
  • Chama River: Class VI Golden Lager, Broken Spoke Wheat Ale
  • La Cumbre: BEER, Red Ryeot
  • Marble: Imperial Red, Double White
  • Red Door: Roamer Red, Bad Moon Ryesing
  • Santa Fe: Happy Camper, Santa Fe Gold
  • Second Street: Pivotal IPA, Schwarzbier
  • Sidetrack: Crossbuck Pale Ale, 3:10 to Belen Brown
  • Spotted Dog: Spring Thing (Belgian-style saison)

It’s a great opportunity for folks in Southern New Mexico, as well as those who wish to trek up from El Paso or from Arizona, to enjoy a lot of beers you can only get up north. Spotted Dog will represent the Las Cruces area, too. Plus, of course Little Toad Creek’s own beers will be available, and their spirits.

Admission is free to the event, which starts at 2 p.m. and runs until midnight. The music will be provided by Wylie Crazyhorse Jones at 2, Compas at 4, and JB & the Jackrabbits at 8. There will be games for kids and adults, too. Food-wise, look for a special menu featuring lots of grilled meats (ribs, brisket, etc.) and the like.

Remember, this is a Guild event, so a portion of the proceeds of beer sales will go to helping the Guild help breweries across our state.

Considering the weather right now in ABQ, it might not be a bad idea to trek south to Silver City for a day. Let us hope the sun stays out down there.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Food trucks, beer, and (hopefully) nice weather are in store for this weekend. (Photo courtesy of Food Truck Festivals of America)

Food trucks, beer, and (hopefully) nice weather are in store for this weekend. (Photo courtesy of Food Truck Festivals of America)

The Great New Mexico Food Truck Festival returns to the grounds of the Balloon Museum on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. General admission tickets cost $5 in advance and $10 at the gate. There is also a VIP option for $20/$25 that gets you in at 11 a.m. (tickets were said to be limited, but there was nothing on their Facebook page about those selling out as of Friday afternoon).

In addition to all of the food trucks present, there will be quite a few craft beer options as well. It’s a distributor-controlled event, so there is not much local beer available. Abbey Brewing is sending Monks’ Ale, Dubbel, and Tripel. The De La Vega’s Pecan Beer is going to be there, along with a Hoppy Wheat. That mysterious Nuevo beer will be present. Rio Bravo is sending three beers, DRB IPA, Randy’s Red, and Old Town Porter.

As for the regional/national breweries, as provided by the event organizers (subject to change):

Avery — White Rascal, Ellie’s Brown, Raja DIPA, Lilikoi
Ballast Point — Pineapple Sculpin, Mango Even Keel, Watermelon Dorado
Boston Beer Co. — Sam Adams Grapefruit IPA, Nitro Belgian, Rebel Rouser IPA, Traveler Shandy
Breckenridge — IPA, Vanilla Porter, Oatmeal Stout
Guns and Oil — TBA
Lagunitas — IPA, Pilsner, Undercover Shutdown, Lil’ Sumpin’ Sumpin’
Latis (Belgium) — Rodenbach Grand Cru, Shoefferhofer, Radeberger
Leinenkugel — Summer Shandy, Blue Moon
SanTan — Moon Juice IPA, Hopshock IPA, Devil’s Pale Ale, Mr. Pineapple
Shiner — Kingpin Red, Wicked IPA, Prickly Pear
Sierra Nevada — Otra Vez Gose, Pale Ale, Torpedo IPA, Tropical IPA
Ska — Modus Mandarina, True Blonde, Mexican Logger
Squatters — Devastator Doppelbock, Hop Rising DIPA, Polygamy Nitro Porter
Upslope — Pale Ale, IPA, Craft Lager, Belgian Pale Ale
Wasatch — Apricot Wheat, Ghost Rider White IPA

Of course, we also figure you want the food truck list, so here is what they sent us:

  • Ay K Rico
  • Basil’s Home Cooking
  • Bill’s BBQ & Kettle Corn
  • Big Dogs BBQ
  • Brooke’s Carryout
  • Calle Ocho
  • Castaneda’s Kitchen and Catering
  • Europa Roaming Kitchen
  • Fresco New Mexico
  • GOTTAHAVSUM
  • Hot Stuff Hawaiian Shaved Ice
  • Irrational Pie
  • Karibu Café
  • Kimo’s Hawaiian BBQ
  • My Sweet Basil
  • Mystique
  • O’Bean’s Coffee Cruiser
  • Ready to Roll
  • Rescue Pizza
  • Snow Cone Xpress
  • Street Food Institute
  • StreetFoodBlvd
  • TeddyLu Concessions
  • Texas Roadside Diner LLC
  • The Lunch Box

Just don’t forget your sunscreen, and carpooling is recommended if anyone remembers the parking situation from the last few festivals in that area.

Have fun this weekend, everyone!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Say hello to the next craft beer destination downtown. (Photo courtesy of Abbey Brewing)

Say hello to the next craft beer destination downtown. (Photo courtesy of Abbey Brewing)

Consider this the short version of Beer Notes, since yours truly is battling a cold. The worst thing about a cold is clearly the inability to drink beer. Stupid medicinal conflicts are the main reason, but also of course there is the inability to properly taste what one is drinking. Hopefully I will be able to dig deeper into some of these stories once I am not contagious.

Here a taproom, there a taproom, everywhere a taproom

For a few years now, we have heard about the possibility of Abbey Brewing opening a taproom somewhere in the Albuquerque area. Those plans had seemingly fizzled out until a surprise announcement was tucked into this story from the Albuquerque Journal.

Intrepid business reporter Jessica Dyer got the scoop that The Monks’ Corner will be opening downtown at the corner of Silver and 2nd Street. They will be one of the business tenants inside the multi-use Imperial Building, which will also include downtown’s first grocery store, the Silver Street Market. There will also be a Crackin’ Crab Seafood Boil restaurant and Sophia’s Place, a New Mexican restaurant which may go by a different name with a different menu than its progenitor restaurant.

The Monks’ Corner will occupy 1,800-square feet on the ground floor of the four-story building. The sign posted showed it will open this fall.

So, to sum up downtown over the last six-plus months, we have seen Boese Brothers, Sidetrack, and the Duel taproom all open up, the Chama Microbar close, and Red Door’s taproom is still under construction inside the Simms Building. It looks like downtown really might become a true craft beer destination after all.

Not every taproom succeeds

This week we received an unexpected direct message on Facebook. A while back, a reader tipped us off that he thought a brewery or taproom was taking up space at a building on San Pedro between Marble Ave. and Lomas. Well, it turns out it was supposed to be a taproom, but the deal between the building owners and an unnamed brewery fell apart.

The Fair Heights Neighborhood Association has a 1,400-square foot location with an outdoor patio that is ready for a tenant. We did not have any sure-fire suggestions for them, but if any brewery folks are out there reading this and have been thinking about a spot, they apparently have a ready-for-occupancy space.

New breweries update

Only a couple updates this time around. First up, yes, we have seen the sign near the Paseo del Norte frontage road advertising Lone Sun Brewing. After doing some investigating, all we could find was that an LLC was established with the name in 2014. Right now, we would characterize this as a long-ways-off type of project. If they ever apply for a small brewers license, we will let everyone know. If anyone in the project involved wants to contact us, please do.

Meanwhile, over in craft-beer-starved Grants, there is a brewery in the works. Route 66 Junkyard Brewery will be the first craft brewery in the small town to our west along I-40. Considering they just put up a Facebook page about two months ago, we have to imagine they are very early in the process. Seek them out online and keep track of their progress if you are interested.

Sampler tray

  • Santa Sidra, one of the state’s premier cideries, is looking for a new owner. Anyone interested can contact Mike Zircher at mike@santasidra.com.
  • Blue Corn is celebrating brewer James Warren’s second anniversary with a special beer dinner Thursday night. We will have more in The Week Ahead in Beer, but go over and check out their Facebook page for more details.
  • Turtle Mountain will be selling their 17th anniversary beer, Amethyst Brett Stout, for $6 in 13-ounce tulip glasses.

That’s all for now. If anyone out there has any beer news you would like to share, email us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

WinterBrew is sold out for 2016, so 800 lucky people are going to have some awesome beers this Friday!

WinterBrew is sold out for 2016, so 800 lucky people are going to have some awesome beers this Friday! (Photo courtesy of the NM Brewers Guild)

Well, the good news is WinterBrew is as popular as ever. The bad news is that means 800 tickets disappeared in the blink of an eye and the event is completely sold out. So for the lucky 800 of you who are going, we did our best to compile the list of what the 17 participating breweries will be pouring.

Our best, however, was not great this time around (UPDATE: It’s gotten better!). Now 10 of the 15 breweries we contacted (we do not have contact info for either Taos Mesa or Little Toad Creek) responded with beer lists by our publication deadline. If any others do send us their list, we will update this post as many times as necessary.

On a side note, the majority of the Crew will not be present. Fear not, we are doing fine, one of our members is getting married Saturday and Friday night is the rehearsal dinner. Enjoy this one without us!

Abbey Brewing (Monks): TBA

Bathtub Row: Hindsight Doppelbock, Uncle Smokey’s Pumpkin, Asian White IPA, Wit Rock.

Blue Corn: Russian Imperial Stout, McLeonard’s Scotch Ale, Road Runner IPA, Atomic Blonde (NOTE: The RIS and McLeonard’s are already out at the brewery, so this is your last chance to get them if you have not tried them before.)

Bosque: Bosque Lager, Scotia Scotch Ale, Riverwalker IPA, Josh a Skosh Irish Red (Nitro), The Schwarz Awakens, Summer in Germany, Just for Fun Double India Black Ale, Slow Burn Red Chile Brown Ale (NOTE: Those last five beers are making their debut. See below for more details.)

Chama River: UPDATED — due to the change in brewers, Chama will not be attending

Duel: TBA

La Cumbre: TBA

Little Toad Creek: NA

Marble: UPDATED — Pilsner, Double White, El Mysterio, Imperial Red, Imperial Stout

Red Door: Gateway Blonde, Unhinged Cider, Dark Side DIPA, Strong Scotch Ale

Santa Fe: UPDATED — SF Gold, Adobe Igloo, Happy Camper, Snowflake IPA, Brown Session IPA, La Bete Noir, and Adobe Igloo randalled through surprise ingredients in R2Beer2

Second Street: We just got the update that they will not be attending.

Sierra Blanca: Pancho Verde Chile Cerveza, Bone Chiller Brown, Milk Stout, Cran Sour

Spotted Dog: IPA, Milk Stout, Smokey Oso (Porter), Winter Harvest (Belgian farmhouse winter warmer)

Taos Mesa: NA

Tractor: Luna De Los Muertos, Et Tu Brute Cider, Barley Wine, Mustachio Milk Stout, Pilsner #15, Scotcholate

Turtle Mountain: Heidelberg Helles, Hopshell IPA, O Tannenbaum, Stauffenberg Stout, Wilde Jagd

So, those five new Bosque beers all came with a description. Josh a Skosh Irish Red (5.6% ABV, 18 IBU), nicknamed the “malt monster” by the brewery staff, this red ale was born out of an attempt to make a lower ABV version of the Scotia; The Schwarz Awakens (5.4% ABV, 25 IBU), a Franconian-inspired schwarzbier; Summer in Germany (6% ABV, 25 IBU), a German-inspired summer ale dry hopped with a whole lot of Noble hops; Just for Fun Double India Black Ale (8.7% ABV, 90 IBU), roasted malts plus Mosaic and Nelson Sauvin hops; Slow Burn Red Chile Brown Ale (6% ABV, 15 IBU), a malt-forward brown ale infused with New Mexico red chile. Take note, Bosque will not guarantee all five of those will be ready in time, but they are doing their best to make sure all will debut at WinterBrew.

Considering how many of you have been asking for something exclusive at festivals, voila.

That alone has us a little jealous that we will not be there. But alas, duty calls. And you gotta see the bright green vests under our tuxes.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister