Posts Tagged ‘Abbey Brewing Company’

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!


— 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.


— 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
  • 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!


— 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
  • 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


— 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.


— Stoutmeister

Your brewery list for Bacon Fest, take three.

Your brewery list for Bacon Fest, take three. And my thumb.

The Southwest Bacon Fest is back Saturday at Balloon Fiesta Park for a third edition. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will feature a slew of eateries and food trucks providing bacon-centric dishes, plus of course there will be beer. You can buy a ticket for as little as $7, or buy a $25 ticket and get seven tokens to exchange for special bacon bites and bacon beers.

The Crew will let others handle the “what bacon dishes are there” aspect of this. As per usual with any festival, our mission is to get you the beer lists for the 15 participating breweries. Well, perhaps due to festival fatigue, or just my own lack of free time in which to persistently nag them (blame the start of the high school state tournament season, which will occupy undue amounts of my time in the next few weeks, but it’s all for beer money, so it’s worth it), we did not get all of them (yet). I will endeavor to update this list as many times as needed before the gates swing open. Here is what we have to date.

Abbey Brewing: TBA

Boese Brothers: Ichabod’s Revenge (Imperial Pumpkin Ale), Patriot Porter infused with bacon

Bosque: Humo Rojo, Scotia Scotch Ale, Riverwalker IPA, Bosque Lager, Olde Bosky Porter, Centennial Single Hop Pale Ale

Boxing Bear: Chocolate Milk Stout (2015 GABF silver medal winner), Fist Pump Pumpkin Ale, Body Slam Imperial Pilsner, Ambear, Paw Swipe Pale Ale, Uppercut IPA, Hairy Mit Hefe, Oso Otono (Oatmeal Brown Ale), Red Glove (Hoppy Red) — the latter two are debuting at Bacon Fest before they go on tap at the brewery

Canteen: Pilsner, Canteen Calabaza (Pumpkin Ale), IPA, Dark & Lusty Stout

Chama River: Smoke Em Out (Rauchbier), Jackalope IPA, Broken Spoke Honey Wheat, Oxbow ESB

Distillery 365: Bacon Bloody Beer, Faulty Barrel-Aged Ale, plus bacon martinis and Bloody Mary’s and other surprises

Kaktus: Cherrywood Smoked Chipotle Porter, Helles Lager, 1492 IPA

La Cumbre: Elevated IPA, Slice of Hefen, Malpais Stout, State Fair Cream Ale, Southpeak Pilsner, Witches’ Lit

Marble: TBA

Pi: West Coast Red, IPA, Pre-Prohibition Pilsner, Robust Porter

Ponderosa: Ghost Train IPA, American Wheat, Bellamah Brown, Jubilee (Smoked Amber)

Red Door: Anniversary Double Red, Broken Arrow Pale Ale, Ryeson Sun Saison, Cosmos Porter

Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande: Pancho Verde, Bone Chiller Brown, Sun Chaser Pale Ale, Alien Milk Stout, Red Beer

Tractor: Breakfast Beer, rest TBA

If I were going, and it seems unlikely I will make it due to the aforementioned state soccer tournament and a public memorial for my Isotopes/Lobos colleague Stu Walker (who died unexpectedly on Monday), my picks for the beers you have to try, brewery by brewery, would be Patriot Porter at Boese Brothers, Chocolate Milk Stout at Boxing Bear, old favorite Dark & Lusty at Canteen, Smoke Em Out at Chama (Zach went over the top with this one, for those who love smoked beers), Faulty Barrel-Aged Ale at Distillery 365, that ferocious-looking Cherrywood Smoked Chipotle Porter at Kaktus, Jubilee at Ponderosa, Anniversary Double Red at Red Door, and the mysterious Breakfast Beer at Tractor.

Again, as other breweries send over their lists, I will keep updating this. Have fun out there! Remember your sunscreen, drink plenty of water, and stay safe.


— Stoutmeister

The last and arguably best NM beer festival of the year is this weekend!

The last and arguably best NM beer festival of the year is this weekend!

If your favorite brewery’s staff has a little extra kick in their step these days, it is probably because they all know that the final festival of the season is almost upon us. NM Brew Fest 6 is set for this Saturday at the State Fairgrounds from 1 to 6 p.m. (or 11:30 a.m. if you get a VIP ticket).

To get the lowdown on what is new and/or different this year from years past, I talked to NM Brewers Guild director Chris Goblet a while back.

“New Mexico Brew Fest 6, we got through five years, which is a great milestone for the Guild,” Goblet said. “This year the Guild has partnered with Hoppervision, who created New Mexico Brew Fest back in 2009. I kind of took the reins this year again and decided to follow the trail of legislation that we passed and focus on the reciprocity bill. So we’ve got four distilleries, a cider maker and a winery, and we’ll have 25 breweries. It kind of plays off this whole idea of drink local, which is our theme this year.”

A huge question with any VIP/early entry type of ticket is always what does someone get as a bonus with the extra money paid. Last year it was access to some rare, barrel-aged beers, that left a few of us (myself included) feeling a little overwhelmed later on.

“So for your early-bird entry, in addition to a number of specialty beers, you’re also going have your choice of a Blood Mary or a Beermosa to start the day,” Goblet said. “A beer festival that starts you off with a cocktail or champagne-beer concoction, not a bad way to begin the day.  Instead of being limited to a single beer station, Early Birds will have access to all of the breweries, wineries, and distilleries for that first hour.

“I really wanted to hype up the fact that we’re all manufacturing centers working together, playing together. We want this to become the largest local libations festival in New Mexico, so that every year we can grow and feature the new start-up producers. Our festival is a showcase of New Mexico-made alcohol.”

Another past problem with NMBF has been alleviated in terms of the space allotted.

“The big other change this year is we’re no longer in Villa Hispana,” Goblet said. “We’re going to move the festival to main street. It’s going to give us more square footage to accommodate up to 10,000 people. And we can have all the brewery trucks drive right into the festival to park.”

Of course, we know a major part of any event preview is to track down who is pouring what beers. The good news is that three of the four NM beers that won medals at the Great American Beer Festival will be available, as well as beers from BJ’s that won medals. These are all the lineups we received from attending breweries:

  • Abbey: Monks’ Ale, Wit, Dark, Dubbel, Tripel
  • Back Alley: Landon’s Lager (malt liquor), California Common, Hefen or Hell, Octoberfest
  • Blue Corn: Brown Paper Bag, Oktoberfest, Gold Medal Oatmeal Stout, Roadrunner IPA
  • Boese Brothers: La Onza White Ale, Steampunk Lager
  • Bosque: Riverwalker IPA, Brewer’s Boot Amber, Pale Ryder, Driftwood Oatmeal Stout, Scotia Scotch Ale, Bosque Lager, Oktoberfest, Humo Rojo
  • Boxing Bear: Body Czech Pilsner, Hairy Mit Hefe, Uppercut IPA, Standing 8 Stout, Oktobearfest, Noble Pale Ale, Body Slam Imperial Pilsner, Not Your Mom’s Cream Soda, and a special 1 p.m. tapping of the GABF silver-medal-winning Chocolate Milk Stout
  • Canteen: Dark and Lusty Stout, Dougie Style Amber, IPA, Pilsner
  • Cazuela’s: Acapulco Gold, Kilt Kicker, Calabaza, Papacabra
  • Chama River: Jackalope IPA, Pumpkin Ale, Sleeping Dog Stout, Rio Amber
  • Distillery 365: ESB, 4th of July Ale (plus Holy Ghost Vodka, Horsethief Rum)
  • Duel: Titian, Dark Ryder, Grunewald, Ara Pacis, Fiction, Bad Amber, Cezanne Denoument, plus a sneak peek beer
  • La Cumbre (which will be split between two tents): State Fair Cream Ale, A Slice of Hefen, Elevated IPA, Red Ryeot, Malpais Stout, Project Dank, Full Nelson, Witch’s Lit, VMO #3, Summer Strong
  • Lizard Tail: Belgian Abbey, ESB, Strawberry IPA, Biscochito Brown, India Black Ale
  • Marble: Wildflower Wheat, Farmhand Pale Ale, Red Ale, Imperial Red (2015 GABF bronze medal winner), Oatmeal Stout, Double White, Get Stoked, Mick’s Mac
  • Nexus: Honey Chamomile Wheat (2015 GABF silver medal winner), Cream Ale, Scottish Ale, Equinox
  • Picacho Peak: TBA, but we know they are bringing four kegs
  • Ponderosa: Rip Saw Red, Ghost Train IPA, Jubilee, Zatfig (Oatmeal Stout)
  • Red Door: Ryeson Sun Saison, Broken Arrow Pale Ale, Anniversary Double Red, Vanilla Cream Ale
  • Rio Bravo: Oktoberfest, Karl’s Hefeweizen, Rio Bravo Amber, Level 1 DRB IPA
  • Rio Nuevo: TBA
  • Santa Fe: Booth #1 — Happy Camper, Oktoberfest, Duke’s Anniversary Lager; Booth #2 — Nut Brown, Java Stout, Chicken Killer, and R2Beer2 will Randall the Nut Brown through roasted pinon (SFBC will also have one brewer at each booth to talk to customers about the beers being poured)
  • Second Street: Pivotal IPA, Fulcrum IPA, Trebuchet DIPA, Kolsch, Brown Ale or Red Comet, Boneshaker Special Bitter, The Preachers Share
  • Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande: TBA
  • Taos Ale House: TBA
  • Taos Mesa: 3 Peaks IPA, Cross Eye Rye, Great Scot Scottish, Wheeler Peak Wheat
  • Tractor: Almanac IPA, Farmer’s Tan Red Ale, Mustachio Milk Stout, Delicious Red Hard Apple Cider, The Ruggles, Traktoberfest
  • Turtle Mountain: Kosmonaut Kolsch, Altbier, Hopshell IPA, After Midnight Schwarzbier, Gourd Dammit

If I absolutely had to pick one beer that is not to be missed, it would be The Preachers Share, a barrel-aged imperial stout, at Second Street. Of course, that is probably the beer that did in the Crew in years past, so be careful.

All TBA lists above will be updated as soon as we get them, even the morning of the event, so if we are missing your favorite place, keep checking back. We will try to announce updates via Twitter and/or Facebook.

The Crew will be out for the VIP session, so if you see us, stop by and say hello.


— Stoutmeister

It's almost here!

It’s almost here!

The first Mountain West Brew Fest is almost upon us. It kicks off Saturday at noon and runs till 6, then repeats that schedule on Sunday in Bernalillo. If you have not bought your tickets yet, go here and get ’em. And remember, if you are unsure of a Premium Ticket, you can upgrade at the fest for just $10.

As always with any festival, we know the number one question is the same: “What beers are being poured?” Well, we would love to share it with you, but we were unable to get much info. Like, at all. It is unfortunate. We would think the breweries, this being a Brewers Guild event and brand new and all, would want to promote things as much as possible. But we get it, sometimes they get too busy and are pretty much just grabbing any kegs they can find the day of an event. Or perhaps they just want you all to be surprised.

(Probably not.)

Anyway, at the very least the Guild did provide us with the list of available beers in the Premium Tent. We also know specialty out-of-state beers Admiral will be pouring on Saturday (waiting on Sunday, will update if we get that list). Sadly, National Distributing will not be participating, so we lose out on some of their products.

We also learned that Las Vegas’ New Mexico Craft Brewing will not be attending, and Duel has informed us they will only be present on Sunday. If any other breweries are withdrawing or cutting back to a single day and inform us, we will update this post ASAP.

Fear not, though, there should still be a lot of great beer out there this weekend. For the Premium Pass Beer Lineup, the Guild has assembled some potentially delicious selections.

  • Abbey Brewing: Monks’ Dubbel Reserve
  • Blue Corn: Barleywine
  • Chama River: WOOT! Saison, Blueberry Kolsch
  • High Desert: IPA
  • La Cumbre: Fievre d’Abricot, Project Dank, Summer Strong (Pale Barleywine)
  • Marble: Saison, Apricot Sour
  • Pecan Grill: Imperial Smoked Lager
  • Spotted Dog: ESB
  • Three Rivers: Imperial IPA, Nitro Scotch Ale
  • Tractor: Berry Cider
  • Turtle Mountain: After Midnight, AmeriKriek

These beers will only be available inside the air-conditioned tent with a Premium Pass upgrade. We gotta admit to being curious about an Imperial Smoked Lager, plus it’s been ages since we had a beer from Three Rivers. Spotted Dog will be coming to the northern half of the state for just the second time (first was NMIPAC). That Summer Strong from LC is new, and it’s always hard to pass up on Monks’ Dubbel Reserve and Blue Corn’s Barleywine.

The Saturday lineup for the Range Cafe/FR8 House booth, provided by Admiral:

  • Avery White Rascal
  • Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin
  • Breckenridge Nitro Vanilla Porter
  • Green Flash Le Freak
  • Lagunitas Brown Sugga
  • Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest
  • Ska Vinifera
  • Squatters Ghost Rider White IPA
  • Upslope Imperial IPA
  • Wasatch Apricot Wheat

So what do we have for the in-state breweries at their booths? Not much, but what we do have should excite your palates.

  • Blue Corn: Night Train Schwarzbier, Drone Wars (Braggot), Alpha Reaper 2.0, Brown Paper Bag (Malt Liquor)
  • NEW Bosque: Bosque Lager, Riverwalker IPA, Brewer’s Boot Amber Ale, Scotia Scotch Ale, Driftwood Oatmeal Stout, Scale Tipper IPA, Stoked on Oak
  • Boxing Bear: Bohemian Pilsner, Hairy Mit Hefe, Uppercut IPA, Black and Blue Sour, Cucumber Saison
  • Distillery 365: 4th of July American Ale, 365 ESB, Trail Ride Bicycle Beer
  • Kaktus: Darkness Falls Stout, Target IPA, Yard Sale IPA, Tasty Red, Berna Brown, Wit, Basil Lager, Sweet and Dry Apple Cider
  • La Cumbre: A Slice of Hefen, Elevated IPA, Red Ryeot, Malpais Stout, State Fair Cream Ale, Male Stripper, Acclimated IPA, plus a special cask at 2 p.m. on Sunday of Elevated wet-hopped with Chinook
  • NEW Rio Bravo: Dirty Rotten Bastard IPA, Roadkill Red, Black Angus Stout, Karl’s Hefe
  • NEW Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca: Alien Milk Stout, Alien Amber, Guns & Oil, Bone Chiller Brown Ale, Sun Chaser Pale Ale, Pancho Verde, Desert Pils, IPA
  • Turtle Mountain: Kosmonaut Kolsch, Oku Amber, Hopshell IPA, Stauffenberg Stout

We are still waiting on and hoping for lists from Abbey, Back Alley, Bathtub Row, Boese Brothers, Canteen, Cazuela’s, Chama River, Duel, Marble, Nexus, Pi, Ponderosa, Red Door, Santa Fe, Second Street, and Tractor. When we get them, if we get them, they will be posted above.

For transportation, we recommend the Rail Runner. Train #702 heads north from Downtown ABQ (11:17 a.m.), Montano (11:26), Los Ranchos/Journal Center (11:32), and arrives in Bernalillo at 11:48, just before the start of the festival (it is a less-than-12-minute walk). Train #707 then leaves Bernalillo at 6:30 p.m., heading southbound only. For Santa Fe patrons, Train #703 leaves the SF Depot at 10:44 a.m. and will get you to Bernalillo by 11:43 a.m. You will have a longer wait until you can go back as Train #706 leaves Bernalillo at 7:24 p.m. and arrives at the SF Depot at 8:24, so plan accordingly.

Most of the Crew will be there when the gates open Saturday. If you see us and want to say hello, please do so.


— Stoutmeister

We cannot guarantee your level of Hopfest shenanigans will approach ours, but you can try.

We cannot guarantee your level of Hopfest shenanigans will approach ours, but you can try.

The Albuquerque Hopfest returns this weekend, featuring 70 breweries and a whole lotta beers down at the Isleta Casino. Once again, the Crew will be in attendance, as we are veterans of this annual event. So we present our picks for what beers to try and all the other advice we can think of sharing.

First up, if you do not have your tickets yet, click here and buy them. Pay extra for the Extra Hoppy Hour, which starts at 2 p.m. instead of 3. Trust us, it is worth it. You get those 60 bonus minutes to try your beers with short lines everywhere. So peg your favorites, see where they are on the map, and chart out a plan of attack. In general, we hit the side room first (west side of the main hallway), then the main ballroom, and finally outside.

While outdoor beer festivals are fun sometimes, the blazing heat plus dehydrating alcohol can be a bit much. Plan your time outside accordingly. It might be wise to go there earlier rather than later.

Take this note about the outside setup, it is a bit different this year. As event organizer Marne Gaston explained, they have moved out of that little courtyard area on the southwest corner of the building. That area will still have some tables and chairs in the shade for folks to enjoy, plus a grill serving up some tasty food, but the brewery tents are no out in the parking lot. As this is now the Xtreme Hopfest, that is also where the BMX stunt area will be, which is good because we were afraid they would be peeling riders off the walls if they set up the stage in the courtyard.

Backing up a little bit, we highly recommend folks take the Rail Runner down to Isleta (the train leaves downtown at 12:12 p.m.). There will be shuttles at the stop to take you up the hill to the casino/hotel complex. This is unless you have a designated driver, which can be good since the train out of Isleta leaves at 6:10 p.m., so you will have to clear out of the Hopfest area before the event officially ends at 6. Otherwise the next train leaves there at 8:15 p.m.

There is also the VIP area, which is in the room on the south end of the main hall. If you paid extra for that, you will be happy to know that Whole Foods will be providing food pairings to go with the available beers. We did not get a whole list of the pairings, but we do have the beer list and times they will be poured by the awesome Monica Mondragon and her staff of volunteers.

3 p.m. — Kiss Mix Cocktails

3:15 — Alaskan Imperial IPA

3:30 — Odell Trellis Garden Ale

3:45 — Widmer Bros. SXNW

4 — Santa Fe Highland Heath

4:15 — Marble Saison Brux

4:30 — Big Sky Ivan Imperial Stout

4:45 — Upslope Citra American Pale Ale

5 — Mother Road 3rd Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout

5:15 — Back Alley Ladron’s Peak

As for the beers for us non-VIPs, once again, we’ve broken it down so you don’t have to. Just remember that these picks are coming from a bunch of people who like dark beers and big-flavored hoppy beers. In the interest of time and space, we are skipping the cideries and hard liquor establishments. Please take note that will Distillery 365 does make their own beer, they are only bringing their vodka and rum to Hopfest. Also, Boese Brothers was a late scratch as they did not have enough people to staff Hopfest and their brewery. Just one of those weekends, we suppose.

We broke this down alphabetically by geography.

Side room (Premier Stage)

Adelbert’s: This Austin, Texas-based brewery specializes in Belgian-style ales, though they did not give us a list. We’ll have to see what they bring.

Big Bend: Another new brewery (to this event) from Texas (Alpine, to be specific), we’ll go with the Number 22 Porter, just to find out the significance of that number. (Also: Lager, Gold, Hefe, IPA)

BJ’s: We’ll go with the Whiskey Barrel Stout, though we are certainly not expecting anything on the level of, say, Marble Imperial Stout. (Also: Blonde, Red, IPA, Cider)

Bridgeport: Kingpin, a hoppy red ale, is our pick. (Also: Hop Czar IPA, Conviction Pale Ale)

Canteen: They brought Exodus. Enough said. (Also: Amber, Knights of the Canteen)

Cazuela’s: The Kilt Kicker, a smoked Scottish ale, is the current seasonal and our pick. (Also: Gold, Red, Stout, Piedra Del Fuego)

Santa Fe: We need more hops in our lives. Thankfully they brought Autonomous Collective IPA. (Also: Oktoberfest, Gold, Happy Camper, Nut Brown, Java Stout)

Sierra Nevada: The Harvest IPA is kinda funky this year, but worth sampling. (Also: Oktoberfest, Pilsner, Pale Ale)

Squatters/Wasatch: Polygamy Porter on nitro? Yes, please. (Also: Hop Rising, Doppelbock)

Other breweries in the room: Delirium Tremens, Guinness, Leinenkugels, Lucifer (Belgium)

Outdoor area

Big Sky: No list available, but they usually bring good stuff.

Durango: You cannot go wrong with the Dark Lager. (Also: Blueberry Wheat, IPA)

Left Hand: Good Juju wasn’t good enough, so they made Great Juju. Sounds funky. We’ll try it. (Also: Session IPA, Milk Stout, Oktoberfest)

Marble: In a shocker, we did not get a list from Marble. They like to surprise us. Yeah, that’s it.

Red Door: It’s the house beers, but we can never pass up Paint it Black Milk Stout. (Also: IPA, Red, Blonde, Cider)

Tommyknocker: We’re curious what the IPA & A Half actually is. (Others: Brown, IPA, Wheat, Amber)

Upslope: They’re only listed as bringing their IPA and Thai Style White IPA. We hope there’s more, but those are pretty decent.

Other breweries outside: Nuevo Cerveza, Pabst Blue Ribbon

Main ballroom

Abbey Brewing: You can never go wrong with the Tripel, but they have also promised a surprise beer. We love surprises, unless they are sours. Then we call them disappointments. (Also: Monks’ Ale, Dark Ale, Dubbel, Wit)

Alaskan: More hops, so we can catch Hopothermia. (Also: Pale Ale, Amber, Pumpkin)

Back Alley: Got an advance sample of the Pre-Prohibition Porter. I’ll go back for more, that’s for sure. (Also: Hefe, Red, Kentucky Common)

Ballast Point: Big Eye IPA gets lost in the shadow of Sculpin, but it is worth trying if you have not tried it. (Also: Pale Ale)

B2B: We are curious if their Oak-Aged IPA stacks up to Odell’s Barrel Thief. Option B is the always solid Coconut Porter. (Also: Red Rye, Cucumber Cream)

Dukes of Ale: The home brewers’ booth is always worth a visit. We have heard there will be a pilsner, wheat, hoppy red, and some ciders/meads available. Vote for your favorite.

Lagunitas: Pilsners are good. Imperial Pilsners are even better. (Also: IPA, Lil’ Sumpin)

Mother Road: The new Tower Station IPA will make its NM debut here. (Also: Roadside Grove)

New Mexico Craft Brewing: Sebastian Canyon Foreign Extra Stout was great at Blues & Brews, so odds are it will be great again. (Also: Session IPA, Steam, Porter, Cider)

Odell: Checked my Untappd listings, somehow I have never had their Okto. Gotta remedy that. (Also: IPA, Myrcenary)

Ponderosa: The name “Walther IPK” alone is worth trying. (Also: IPA, Wheat, Red)

Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca: It’s a toss-up between the Milk Stout and Black IPA. (Also: Chile Beer, Amber, Pale Ale, Brown)

Sandia Chile Grill: Clint makes good beers, but his meads win awards. Take your pick between the Dirty Steve and Legacy. (Also: IPA)

Ska: The Rudie Session IPA is new, so we’ll try that. (Also: Modus Hoperandi, Decadent)

Tractor: The new Big Sipper Session IPA is worth checking out, or you can go with The Ruggles, a steam beer. (Also: IPA, Stout, Red, Berliner Weisse)

Other breweries in the room: Boston Beer Co. (Samuel Adams), Goose Island, Kellys, Kona, Omission, Radeberger, Pyramid, Third Shift, Traveler, Widmer Bros.

Remember, all beer lists are subject to change, so we could all be in for some surprises.

See you all at Isleta.


— Stoutmeister

All the tools a beer writer needs to get the lowdown on the state's newest and biggest upcoming festival.

All the tools a beer writer needs to get the lowdown on the state’s newest and biggest upcoming festival.

Festival season arrives on Aug. 29 with old favorite Hopfest back at Isleta Casino. While that event is one we know well, many have begun to ask the Crew about the next big one on the New Mexico calendar, the Mountain West Brew Fest. The event will replace the old Labor Day weekend wine festival at Loretto Park in Bernalillo, running from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 5, and Sunday, Sept. 6. It will feature over 50 breweries in attendance, from in-state and out-of-state, plus a whole heck of a lot more than just beer.

To get all the details, I met up with New Mexico Brewers Guild director Chris Goblet at Kaktus Brewing on Tuesday afternoon. Over a couple mugs of Berna Brown, we pretty much covered everything that you want to know, short of the specific beers available (a list that Goblet hopes to send over next week or the week after at the latest).

For now, to answer the first question most people have asked, here are the breweries scheduled to be in attendance.

New Mexico breweries: Abbey, Back Alley, Bathtub Row, Blue Corn, Boese Brothers, Bosque, Boxing Bear, Canteen, Chama River, Distillery 365, Duel, Kaktus, La Cumbre, Las Cazuela’s, Little Toad Creek, Marble, New Mexico Craft Brewing, Nexus, Pi, Ponderosa, Red Door, Rio Bravo, Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca, Santa Fe, Second Street, Tractor, Turtle Mountain

Out-of-state breweries: Anchor, Anderson Valley, Avery, Ballast Point, Big Sky, Boulder, Breckenridge, Deschutes, Full Sail, Green Flash, Lagunitas, Left Hand, New Belgium, Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada, Ska, Stone, Upslope

That is a lot of breweries, but if MWBF comes off as expected, it might be just the right number.

“We are planning to the largest craft beer event by population, by ticket sales, by attendees, that’s ever happened (in New Mexico),” Goblet said, noting that in its 27-year history, the Bernalillo wine festival had anywhere from a peak of 28,000 visitors to 14,000 last year. “As a part of this transition into this new craft beer era, we’re going to take a wine festival and somehow replace it with a craft beer event. So we have no idea how many people to expect. It’s a first-year event. We have no idea if some of those wine drinkers will come join us or if they’re going to go to the wine festival at Isleta. It could either be a couple thousand people or it could be 10,000 people.

“And that’s the part that’s really exciting. Whenever you step into something new, you kind of have a sense of a first-year event but it’s kind of also a 28th year event. And that’s the big unknown. How many glasses do we bring? How much beer do we need? We’ve had a lot of brewers who are used to smaller, more intimate festivals. And now you’re talking about potentially four- to five-thousand people per day, descending upon a festival expecting to have a great craft beer experience. We’re trying to gear ourselves up, or ramp up, to accommodate what we think will be a pretty strong demand.”

While there are some California and Oregon breweries in attendance (Anchor, Anderson Valley, Deschutes, Full Sail, Green Flash, Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada, Stone), the hope is that the MWBF will grow into a major regional festival. New Mexico has long been a state caught between three regions — West Coast, Southwest, Rocky Mountain — but part of the thought in naming this festival Mountain West was to identify more with the latter.

“We chose the name Mountain West Brew Fest specifically because we’ve been wanting to continue to build our brand as one of the Rocky Mountain states for craft beer,” Goblet said. “Rocky Mountains, we’re the southernmost tip. The water from Colorado flows into New Mexico. We think that New Mexico has been doing an amazing job representing itself as a solid West Coast craft beer producer. So we wanted to make sure people identified New Mexico not just as a southwest (state) like Arizona, Texas, and Nevada, but really a Mountain West state.

“It also ties into the (college) sports teams and Labor Day weekend is the kickoff of athletics in the Mountain West Conference. There’s this idea that the beers coming out of the West are of the highest quality and we’re part of that brand. People say West Coast beer, but our identification is Mountain West beers.”

As one can tell from the list of in-state breweries, it is mainly those within spitting distance of the central Rio Grande Valley who are attending. Notables such as High Desert (Las Cruces), Spotted Dog (Mesilla), Roosevelt (Portales), The Wellhead (Artesia), 3 Rivers (Farmington), and Taos Mesa are absent. Well, only sort of absent, as Goblet explained.

“It’s a big holiday weekend, it’s an unknown event,” he said. “I don’t blame a few of our further-flung breweries, our frontier breweries as we call them, for calling this one in as an audible. We’ve made accommodations for our further-flung breweries to send their beers to the festival through our Premier Pass and Premier Tent. The idea being that they can’t come, but their beer can still be represented and poured by another brewery. So we’re going to try to have representation of all the breweries in the state that we can get. It’s a long haul, it’s an expensive weekend to come to Albuquerque so we understand for the first year that it was much easier for a lot of the Rio Grande corridor breweries to show up.”

That Premier Pass/Tent is the bonus setup for this event. It costs $10 extra and you can either buy it in advance or upgrade at any time while you are at the festival.

“So you’ve got your standard general admission of $20, a great price for a big, large-scale festival like this,” Goblet said. “You get your standard commemorative sampling glass with your two-ounce sampling line. It’s unlimited sampling like every other Guild festival. You can (also) purchase pints.

“But because this festival has traditionally drawn so many people, we wanted to create an upgrade for folks who wanted to get out of the sun, get a bit of space, have a bit more of an intimate experience. Each day we’ll have four or five bars inside the Premier Tent. The Premier Pass gets you access into an air-conditioned tent with 20 different beers that are not available in the rest of the festival that you can sample and purchase. We’re looking for rare, obscure, unique, interesting beer styles that aren’t (readily) available, limited edition, maybe some barrel-aged specialties.

“Plus, this is where you can go find beers from breweries not represented at the festival — Spotted Dog, High Desert, 3 Rivers, Taos Mesa, and a few others. So it’s kind of one step up, plus it’s air conditioned, so it has that creature comfort for folks who want a bit more exclusive experience.”

Considering the recent temperatures around New Mexico, something with air conditioning just screams “VISIT ME!” That it will also have unique beers available means you will probably find the Crew there.

In addition to all the beer, there will also be a farmers market on site, plus food trucks/vendors, and live music (Bottom Dollar String Band, Anthony Leon & the Chain, Detroit Lightning, Blaze the Nation, Squash Blossom Boys, The Porter Draw, and Soul Kitchen are all lined up to perform). Plus, in the spirit of Labor Day weekend, there will be beer games galore. No, not the traditional beer pong with beer (state law prohibits those, in case you were not aware), but stuff like corn hole, giant Jenga (thank Boxing Bear for that), and whatever else the breweries happen to bring along. Since it is also a giant grass field, picnicking is encouraged, and fear not, the breweries will protect you from any bears that wander in and try to steal your basket. (Right, guys? Right?)

“We all like to think about, it’s Labor Day weekend and what do you do on Labor Day weekend? You hang out with family and friends in your back yard, great beer, great food, you play games and sit in the grass and have a picnic,” Goblet said. “This festival provides that beautiful grassy landscape, (with the) Sandia Mountains in the backdrop. You have a farmers’ market on site where you can go get a picnic. You can go to one of the food vendors and grab a nice lunch. You can have a friendly competition with the games. You can go listen to a concert. The idea is that it’s one of these lounging kind of days, hanging out with friends, doing whatever everyone likes to do on Labor Day, which is kick back and enjoy.”

As for getting to and from the event, fear not, in addition to bribing that one friend/relative/spouse to be your designated driver, they are encouraging every alternative means of transportation that people can come up with for the weekend.

“We have orchestrated some special trains, so definitely check your Rail Runner schedule, there will be special trains coming to the event,” Goblet said. “So you’ve got your standard Rail Runner schedule, your special trains, whatever, by foot, by bike. If Trump will give you his helicopter you can land in the middle of the festival. The hope is that we’re centrally located, we’re between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. It’s an easy 35 minutes form Santa Fe, 15 to 20 minutes from Albuquerque, depending on how fast you drive.”

For the record, I got from ABQ to Kaktus, which is not far from the main site, in 10 minutes. But I drive like a lunatic. Just ask the rest of the Crew. There is a reason they will not ride with me unless absolutely necessary.

Come Labor Day weekend, however, I think the Crew will take advantage of those special Rail Runner trains. We will see many of you there, of that I am all but certain.


— Stoutmeister