Posts Tagged ‘ABQ Beer Week’

Here we go again. Eleven days of beer goodness starts today!

All right, people, it’s go time!

Make sure you have your Lyft and/or Uber accounts up to date, and then start checking off the events you can’t miss. The Crew will be here for you every day with info on every single event.

We also have separate previews for the events at Ponderosa Brewing, Tractor Brewing, and everything involving Upslope Brewing.

We start off with the most event-packed day of all, including a certain person (me) having his first book signing alongside an excellent beer-and-food pairing from one of our finest breweries.

Featured Event

Every day we will pick what we consider the biggest, most interesting, most unique event. This does not mean you should go to only this event and ignore the rest. All of them deserve your attention, but realistically, you can probably only attend a few. So we will make our daily pick, and you can either jump on it, or declare the Crew is foolish (we kinda are) and pick your own.

What: Albuquerque Beer Book Signing AND La Cumbre Beer and Cheese Pairings. Where: Jubilation Beer Wine and Spirits. When: 4-6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge.

Details: Shameless self promotion time! Yours truly spent last year writing up the history of brewing in Albuquerque, and now Albuquerque Beer: Duke City History on Tap is ready. I will have a limited number of copies available for purchase at Jubilation. But, since you might need greater incentive to come on by, La Cumbre will also be on hand with many of their best beers paired up with all sorts of artisanal cheeses, and that won’t cost you a dime.

Why you should go: Learn all about Albuquerque’s beer history while enjoying some of our city’s best present-day beers.

All the other great events

What: Boxing Bear Special Beer Tapping. Where: Gecko’s Nob Hill. When: 11 a.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: We are working to find out just what beer(s) will be available. Why you should go: A Boxing Bear beer with your lunch. How can you go wrong?

What: Special Beer Release. Where: Bow & Arrow. When: 3 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: They are releasing a special dry-hopped sour farmhouse ale (name TBA). Why you should go: Pucker up with a new local brew to get the ball rolling!

What: Beer and Tapas Pairing. Where: Ponderosa. When: 3-6 p.m. Cost: $7. Details: A different beer and tapas pairing will be available each day. Why you should go: You need some food in your belly to go with all this beer.

What: Mother Road Sampling. Where: Total Wine Cottonwood. When: 3:30-5:30 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Sample Mother Road’s packaged lineup. Why you should go: Free beer!

What: Upslope Special Tapping. Where: M’tucci’s Moderno. When: 4-7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: In addition to happy hour food and beer specials, there will be a specialty keg tapped. Why you should go: Solve the mystery of the mystery beer, and devour awesome M’tucci’s food.

What: Alaskan Sampling. Where: Total Wine Cottonwood. When: 4-6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Sample Alaskan’s packaged lineup. Why you should go: Free beer!

What: Alaskan Tap Takeover. Where: Bubba’s 33. When: 4-8 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Multiple Alaskan beers will be on tap. Why you should go: Burgers and beer.

What: Mother Road Sampling. Where: Total Wine Uptown. When: 4-6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Sample Mother Road’s packaged lineup. Why you should go: Free beer!

What: Beer, Coffee, and Chocolate Pairings. Where: Rio Bravo. When: 5-8 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Rio Bravo will be pairing up its beers with items from NM Pinon Coffee and Chocolate Dude. Why you should go: Get your dessert before dinner.

What: A Cigar, Food and Beer Evening on the Patio. Where: Jinja West. When: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Jinja is pairing up cigars from Jake and Harley with the special tapping of three Alaskan Brewing beers, Raspberry Wheat, Summer Kolsch, and the awesome Perseverance Russian Imperial Stout. Why you should go: Perseverance alone should get you across the river.

What: La Cumbre Beer Dinner. Where: Torino’s @ Home. When: 6-9 p.m. Cost: $45 per person. Details: A four-course dinner paired with four classic LC beers. Check the Facebook event page for the full menu. Why you should go: Delicious food plus delicious beer.

What: Beer, Cheese, & More. Where: Marble Heights. When: 6-8 p.m. Cost: $25. Details: Five 4-ounce beers will be paired with five 1-ounce portions of different cheeses. There were only 75 tickets available as of Monday afternoon. Get them quick at the taproom. Why you should go: It’s annually one of the best Marble events, and that is saying something.

What: Upslope Tap Takeover. Where: M’tucci’s Italian. When: 6-10 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: They are busting out the rare beers for this event. Why you should go: Rare beers. Need we say more?

What: Big Sipper IPA Can Release. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 7-10 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Tractor will release Big Sipper for the first time in cans, made especially for July’s annual Pork & Brew in Rio Rancho. The Silver String Band will provide the music. Why you should go: You can’t live on big beers alone, so a nice session IPA will help get you through this busy day.

What: Sierra Nevada and Girl Scout Cookie Pairing. Where: O’Niell’s Nob Hill. When: 7-9 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: Enjoy delicious Sierra Nevada beers and some of the best cookies in the world. Why you should go: Oh, come on, you’ve always wanted to know what the perfect pairing is with the cookies you bought.

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Got any questions, comments, complaints, send them to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or leave them here on our site, on Facebook, or on Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy yourselves out there, but please, do it responsibly.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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Arguably the best event of Beer Week was the Beer Premier.

Arguably the best event of Beer Week was the Beer Premier.

Friday night’s New Mexico Brewers Guild Beer Premier and Matanza was a unique event and it was my first time attending this festival. It turned out to be my favorite event of Beer Week. As is the case with any event, there were some bumps in the road, but overall it was fantastic.

All the advertising for the event stated the doors would open at 5:30, but the organizers were unaware of this and so some of us were left standing outside waiting for about 20 minutes. However (even though nobody had any beer yet), nobody was overly concerned, and this mellow mood continued throughout the night. I don’t think I have ever seen such a laid-back crowd in Albuquerque, even at a beer festival.

We were very happy to be one of the first ones in the gate, because we were able to secure a table for two in the shade. It was a very warm afternoon and evening, so I felt very grateful for that table and chairs. It’s a beautiful venue, and it was a nice place to spend some quality time with those you love, or those who just love beer. (Note to self: Next time bring insect repellent; I didn’t, and I got a lot of bites right at dusk.)

Good beer to your right!

Good beer to your right!

A few minutes later, the beer began to pour. There were two beer “stations,” one on the south side and one on the north side, with two beer professionals pouring four beers each. I did hear some mild “complaining” about an inability to interact (as advertised) with the brewery staffs. There was representation from breweries, but they were often either roaming around, or not actually pouring their own beer. Again, since everyone was mellow, it came across as comments for improvement rather than actual griping.

It was a slow start for the south side beer station as they had problems with some of the lines, but everyone just gravitated to the north end while that was being fixed. Also, the south side did not have beer lists at the beginning, so nobody really knew for sure what they were ordering. Someone passed out beer information sheets to all the attendees after I was almost halfway through what I most wanted to taste. This probably should be done upon entry.

The beer — oh, the beer! It could be a pretty risky proposition having only never-before-released beers at a festival. On the other hand, it’s a nice change of pace, because having mostly the breweries’ regular beers can get a little stale, so to speak. If this festival was any indication, we have now reached yet another pinnacle in the Albuquerque brewing community. The brewers are at the level where even the more “experimental” beers are so damn good, I would seek out and drink at least 80 percent of them. I started with some of the lighter beers and worked my way to the darker ones. On his third sample, my boyfriend Dave looked at me wide-eyed and exclaimed, “Three for three!” It continued on in this fashion.

Happy beer drinkers as far as the eye could see!

Happy beer drinkers as far as the eye could see!

I decided to rank the beer I tried on a 1.0-to-5.0 scale, as one might on one of the popular beer ranking sites. Two of my fellow Brew Crew Bullpen members were in attendance, and Kristin remarked about having to manually input all the beers into Untappd. Good for you, Kristin, that’s a lot of work! (Since these were never before released, they would not be on there yet.)

There were so many good ones there that I will just relay some of my highest, as well as my lowest scores. Keep in mind in this case, that the lower scores could be affected by a comparison issue because I was sampling so many types of beers. If anyone out there attended the event and wants to share his/her ratings, please email us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com or leave us a message via any social media site. We want to know what you thought about the beers, and the event as a whole!

Higher Scores

  • WINNER (for me): La Cumbre Nitro Barrel-Aged Malpais Stout 4.8 (Just outstanding!)
  • Chama River Heavy Cream Ale 4.4
  • Sierra Blanca Whiskey Stout 4.3 (I heard very positive feedback around me as well for this beer, which actually debuted in four-packs of bottles at Jubilation before Beer Week.)
  • Tractor Summer en Blanc Witbier 4.2
  • Bosque What the Dunkel? Dunkelweisen 4.0

Lower Scores

  • Quarter Celtic Dusk’s Early Night Black Lager 3.8 (On its own it would be pretty good, and it did have some good flavor. There was nothing off about this beer, it just couldn’t stand up to some of the bigger ones for me.)
  • Canteen Grapefruit Hop Baller IPA 3.2 (So many people loved this one, but I wasn’t one of those people. I’m not a big IPA person, but Dave is, and we both had some issues which resulted in a fairly lengthy discussion about this beer. I think this had five hop varieties. To me, I was understanding the Citra and Amarillo hops, but the earthy Mosaic was a strange combination with such a citrusy beer. Your opinion could very well vary.)
  • Blue Corn (“Mystery Belgian” as described by the person pouring) Barrel-Aged Brett Cherry Ale 3.0. It was an oaky, smoky Belgian sour that just wasn’t my thing. Personal preference.

I have to give a shout-out to the mellow crowd. I heard more informed questions and intelligent beer discussion among attendees than I ever have at a local beer event. (Late development — I just got another email from Kristin and she commented on the same thing. It must have been pretty noticeable! We both felt that people really cared about the beer and were not just trying to slam as much beer as possible.)

The food lines got a bit long.

The food lines got a bit long.

Since this is mostly about the beer, I saved my food comments for the end. The staff did a good job of making up tacos in easy-to-walk-away-with containers, but the way the condiments were set up at the end made for a complete logjam. At one point I located one person I knew near the back of the food line and timed that it took them 24 minutes from start to finish to pick up their tacos. The line ended up getting very long for a while, because you would get your tacos, but you had to stand there and hold up any progress while you added your salsa, etc., and the line would stop moving. The line also started to interfere with the north beer station line.

If you could have taken your tacos to another table out of the way where people could go to either side to add toppings, it would have flowed better. I was worried that some people would just decide not to bother with the food. That was a little scary with all the beer that was flowing. I also felt a little disappointed in the selection of toppings. Something I read gave me the impression there would be more things available than one type of salsa (green), loaded with lots of big chunks of onion and cilantro, crema, and more raw white onions and more cilantro. I’m not a fan of raw onions or cilantro. The pork tacos themselves tasted good.

Kristin also noted that there was no vegetarian option. This could easily have put quite a few more people off from eating anything since this was the only food available. It would have been nice to have roasted vegetables for veggie tacos, and some rice along with the beans. (I don’t know if the beans were vegetarian, because I am allergic and cannot eat them).

Hey, look, there's Kristin! And Adam! And the back of Silas' head!

Hey, look, there’s Kristin! And Adam! And the back of Silas’ head! And Karl in a bright orange suit!

Final random thoughts: my other fellow Bullpen attendee Adam and I both thought it may have been our first beerfest that had a DJ. And, I was happy to see Marne and her new cutie-pie baby!

Cheers!

— AmyO

We are off and running with 14 events on the opening day!

Turn off the lights, the party’s over …

And so it ends.

After 11 days, ABQ Beer Week 2016 comes to a close. The theme of the final day is kick back and relax, enjoy a final few tastings and pairings, and generally reflect on all the awesome that just transpired.

A big thanks to the breweries, beer bars, and everyone else who helped get us this information every day. It wasn’t easy (especially since I’ve been out of state since Memorial Day), but it was a lot of fun to provide this every day.

And most of all, thank you to the wonderful, tireless work of Marne Gaston. Without her, we would have no Beer Week. Raise your pints in her honor today!

Featured event

Every day we will pick what we consider the biggest, most interesting, most unique event. This does not mean you should go to only this event and ignore the rest. All of them deserve your attention, but realistically, you can probably only attend a few. So we will make our daily pick, and you can either jump on it, or declare the Crew is foolish (we kinda are) and pick your own.

What: 8th Annual New Mexico Brewers Guild Golf Tournament. Where: Santa Ana Golf Course. When: 7 a.m. Cost: $110 per player.

Details: Hit up the Santa Ana GC with some of the best beer lovers/golfers around. The price gets you free range balls, a golf cart, a breakfast burrito, a full round of golf, beer on the course, lunch, and a chance to win swag (for first, second, third place) from the Guild. The shotgun start will be at 8 a.m.

Why you should go: Get out there and support the Guild! And yell “FORE!” a lot.

All the other great events

What: Goose Island Brunch. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 11 a.m. Cost: TBA. Details: Goose Island is teaming up with Sofie’s Mimosas and Waffles to bring you the ultimate end-of-ABW brunch. Why you should go: Kick that hangover in style.

What: ABQ Bike & Brew Tour. Where: Routes Bicycle Tours, 404 San Felipe NW. When: 1 p.m. Cost: $60, or $65 if you need to rent a bike. Details: Take a guided tour of three TBD local breweries via bicycle. Intermediate riders are welcome. It’s a 10-12 mile round trip. Why you should go: Stay in shape, still drink beer.

What: Joe S. Sausage Super Sunday Sausage Fest Sampler Sausage and Beer Bliss Extravaganza. Where: Marble Downtown. When: 2 p.m. Cost: $25. Details: Get your tickets ASAP for this annual bit of fun as Joe brings his best sausages to pair up with your favorite Marble Beers. Alex Maryol will provide the music from 3 to 6 p.m. Why you should go: Chow down, listen to local music, drink great beer. It’s what Sunday Funday is all about.

What: Special Firkin Tapping. Where: Santa Fe ABQ Taproom. When: 2 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: A Blood Orange Hefeweizen will be tapped in the cask. Why you should go: If that’s your kind of beer, go for it!

What: Porter Party & Chocolate Pairings. Where: Rio Bravo. When: 2:30 p.m. Cost: $7 for porter flight, $4 for chocolate assortment. Details: They will have four porters — regular, barrel-aged, vanilla, and pinon. Pair it up with chocolates, then kick back for some live music between 3 and 7 p.m. Why you should go: This just sounds like a treat, so go treat yourselves.

What: Pizza Cooked by the Brewer. Where: Albuquerque Brewing. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Carnie will be making pizzas paired up with specific beers. Why you should go: Finish Beer Week with some pizza and beer, as the beer gods intended.

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Got any questions, comments, complaints, send them to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or leave them here on our site, on Facebook, or on Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy yourselves out there, but please, do it responsibly.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

We are off and running with 14 events on the opening day!

Nearing the end on Day Ten, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had.

The party isn’t over yet, so it’s time to gear up for one last Saturday full of events.

There are two big fundraisers today, one at Tractor Wells Park and the other at Marble Westside.

Throw in some more beer releases, special tappings, sampling events, and more, and you should stay plenty busy as we wind down to the end.

Featured event

Every day we will pick what we consider the biggest, most interesting, most unique event. This does not mean you should go to only this event and ignore the rest. All of them deserve your attention, but realistically, you can probably only attend a few. So we will make our daily pick, and you can either jump on it, or declare the Crew is foolish (we kinda are) and pick your own.

What: Planned Parenthood Beer & Bands Annual Fundraiser. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 5 p.m. Cost: $15.

Details: Tractor is turning the entire front parking lot into an event space. All proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood. There will be live music from Keith Sanchez, Le Chat Lunatique, and more, plus performances by the Desert Darlings, the ABQ Aerialist Collective, and more. Music, art, beer, all in one place.

Why you should go: It’s a big old block party. Go have some fun.

All the other great events

What: Marble Special Release. Where: 5 Star Burgers Central. When: 11 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: They’re tapping another keg of Saison #1. Why you should go: Beer, burgers, bliss.

What: Sidewalk Chalk Contest. Where: Ponderosa. When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost: $20. Details: They provide the chalk, you make the art. All contestants get a T-shirt. The prizes are a $20 gift card for third place, a 1-year mug club membership for second, and a $100 gift card for first. Why you should go: Make some art, drink some beer, win some swag.

What: Albuquerque Brewing Tour. Where: Albuquerque Brewing. When: Noon. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Brewer Carnie will give a tour of the inner workings of ABC. Why you should go: See how they make the beer, then drink the beer.

What: Barrel-Aged Beer Release. Where: Tractor Nob Hill. When: Noon. Cost: $12 for a flight. Details: For the first time, the general public gets to try Tractor’s three new barrel-aged beers, Scotcholate, Barley Wine, and Luna de los Muertos. Why you should go: Because barrel-aged beers are delicious. And a limited number of bombers will be available for purchase.

What: Car Show & Live Music. Where: Rio Bravo. When: Noon. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Check out a car show outside and then listen to Reverend Catfish at 4 p.m. and Dirty Brown Jug Band at 6 p.m. Why you should go: If you love cars and/or tunes, this is for you.

What: Beer Baked Goods Cake Walk and Circus Day. Where: Albuquerque Brewing. When: 1 to 4 p.m. Cost: $5 per person. Details: Bring a baked dish made with beer to participate. Why you should go: Enjoy some food and beer on the patio.

What: Upslope Tasting. Where: Jubilation. When: 2 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Come check out the full lineup of Upslope beers. Why you should go: Free beer!

What: Watermelon Mountain Ranch Fundraiser. Where: Marble Westside. When: 2 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: There will be live music and a portion of proceeds will be donated to Watermelon Mountain Ranch. Why you should go: Support a good cause while enjoying a beer or two.

What: Raven and Co. Where: Santa Fe ABQ Taproom. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Live music at Green Jeans. Why you should go: Support local music.

What: Sierra Nevada Special Tapping. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: They are tapping three heavyweights in Five Hop DIPA, Bigfoot Barley Wine, and Hoptimum Imperial IPA. Why you should go: Big hops or big malts, you can’t lose.

(Five stars)

Got any questions, comments, complaints, send them to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or leave them here on our site, on Facebook, or on Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy yourselves out there, but please, do it responsibly.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

We are off and running with 14 events on the opening day!

Time to finish with a flourish as Beer Week is nearly wrapping up!

The end of Beer Week is in sight.

There is still fun to be had, however. From one of the biggest events — the Beer Premier — to a whole lot of smaller tastings and tappings and other fun will be going on.

Through the breweries you can also support other businesses, musicians, and artists. It’s a whole lot of local helping local, and that’s always a good thing.

Featured event

Every day we will pick what we consider the biggest, most interesting, most unique event. This does not mean you should go to only this event and ignore the rest. All of them deserve your attention, but realistically, you can probably only attend a few. So we will make our daily pick, and you can either jump on it, or declare the Crew is foolish (we kinda are) and pick your own.

What: NM Brewers Guild Beer Premier. Where: National Hispanic Cultural Center. When: 6 p.m. Cost: $35 per person.

Details: We went in-depth on this major event, which supports the Guild. There will be 16 brand-new beers from 16 different breweries (we had nine of them announced by press time), plus matanza pits to keep your bellies full.

Why you should go: Support the Guild, try lots of new beers, chow down on some roasted pork, and have fun!

All the other great events

What: La Cumbre Special Tapping. Where: Gecko’s (both locations). When: 11:30 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: No beer is officially listed, so think of it as a Friday surprise with your lunch. Why you should go: Sometimes it’s fun to be surprised.

What: Marble Firkin Friday. Where: Marble (both locations). When: Noon. Cost: No entry fee. Details: The brew team will put some unique creations in the casks. Why you should go: You know it’s gonna be something good.

What: Alaskan Sampling. Where: Total Wine (both locations). When: 1 p.m. (Cottonwood), 4 p.m. (Uptown). Cost: No entry fee. Details: Taste some of Alaskan’s finest ales on either side of town. Why you should go: Free beer!

What: IPA Tap Night. Where: Rio Bravo. When: 2 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Compare Rio Bravo’s three IPAs — DRB, Snakebite, Magnum 44 — to three guest taps from La Cumbre, Second Street, and Sierra Blanca. Why you should go: If you like hops, this is for you.

What: Santa Fe Special Release. Where: Santa Fe ABQ Taproom. When: 2 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: The next beer in the Ever Changing Series, Lemon Skynyrd, will debut on tap and in bottles. Why you should go: Check out this summer-themed beer and take some home.

What: New Belgium and Hof Ten Dormaal Tasting. Where: Jubilation. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: It’s a whole lot of Belgian-style beers, including a collaboration between the two craft giants. Why you should go: Free beer!

What: Odell Special Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: It’s another mystery keg. Why you should go: Solve the mystery, drink the beer.

What: Palmer Brewery and Left Turn Distillery Special Release. Where: Imbibe. When: 4:30 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Try M.W.A. (Malt With Attitude), an 8-percent ABV blue corn malt liquor. Why you should go: New brewery, new beer, gotta try it, right?

What: Tractor Tap Takeover. Where: Hooters San Mateo. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: They’re taking Cerveza New Mexican and their four packaged beers, along with Felix y Los Gatos to provide music on the patio. Why you should go: Grab some wings and a pint and listen to the music.

What: Marble Special Release. Where: Uptown Sports Bar. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: It’s another tapping of Saison #1. Why you should go: Watch some baseball and enjoy a pint or two.

What: Odell Special Encore Tapping. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 6 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: The Russian Pirate, a rum barrel-aged imperial stout, is back for another run. Why you should go: A big, beautiful beer for happy hour and to start your weekend.

What: Upslope Tap Takeover. Where: Mezcal (formerly Stereo Bar). When: 6 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: There will be a huge onslaught of Upslope beers available. Why you should go: Haven’t found a favorite Upslope beer yet? This is your time to find it.

What: Minute 16. Where: Albuquerque Brewing. When: 7 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Minute 16 is a band, apparently. Why you should go: Support local music!

What: Beer Themed Art Fight. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 7 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Grab a pint and watch a whole lot of artists create new works, all including images of beer. When all is said and done, you can vote on your favorite and maybe even take it home. Why you should go: Support local art!

* * * * *

Got any questions, comments, complaints, send them to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or leave them here on our site, on Facebook, or on Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy yourselves out there, but please, do it responsibly.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Time for some epic new beers to roll out!

Time for some epic new beers to roll out!

The time has come to get out there and support the NM Brewers Guild. The fun part is supporting means drinking new and unique beers.

The Beer Premier is back for a third time, kicking off Friday at 5 p.m. at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Tickets cost $35, for which you get unlimited samples from 16 breweries, plus the good folks at M’Tucci’s Cocina Grill will be cooking up pork shoulders in the matanza pits.

For more details on all of it, I sat down with Brewers Guild director John Gozigian before my trip to California.

“This will be third time we’ve done it,” John said. “The first one (in 2013) was at the National Hispanic Cultural Center at the Salon Ortega patio, which is where we’re doing it (again) this year. Unfortunately, I though the concept was great, we brought in all these breweries for a mass release of new styles and it was a great setting, but we did it the same day at the Nob Hill Summerfest and of course everybody was there. It wasn’t well attended.”

Round two was in 2014 at the Rail Yards Market, but that one had a whole heck of a lot of problems for attendees. Thus, back to the NHCC.

“That setting is just so nice,” John said. “We want it to be a little more exclusive and small. It’s going to max out at, let’s say 200 people. But, literally, it’s going to be capped at 300 glasses. That’s the maximum number of people that can go.”

John was working on getting some VIPs to be present for patrons to interact with over the course of the night.

“I’ve invited brewmasters and brewery owners to attend, too, because I really want this to be a really special event,” John said. “If you go, you get unlimited sampling in this really cool glass of 16 breweries’ beers that nobody’s ever tried before. It’s including a matanza. M’Tucci’s has the concession there and they have matanza pits outside. They’re going to be slow roasting pork shoulder in these matanza pits all day long. Then, just in time for the festival, there’s going to be super tender pork shoulder that’s going to be served with tortillas, pico de gallo, to go along with all of these exceptional beers.”

Speaking of the exceptional beers, a lot of the breweries want to keep them a secret and surprise everyone at the event. Still, nine of the 16 participants were willing to give us at least the names of their creations.

  • Boxing Bear: Session IPA
  • Chama River: Heavy Cream (Cream Ale Export)
  • La Cumbre: Rum Barrel-Aged Malpais Stout on nitro
  • Ponderosa: Manzano Double Chocolate Stout
  • Quarter Celtic: Dusk’s Early Night (Dark American Lager)
  • Rio Bravo: Barrel-aged Belgian Dark Strong
  • Sierra Blanca: Whiskey Barrel-Aged Stout
  • Tractor: Summer en Blanc Witbier
  • Turtle Mountain: Pollywog’s Pride IPL

That still leaves Blue Corn, Bosque, Bow & Arrow, Canteen, Marble, Santa Fe, and Second Street to surprise you. Though to be honest, I am really, really jealous of everyone that gets to attend this event. (I will have to make do with Firestone Walker Barrelworks being up the street.) Those beers look rather amazing.

“I’m really excited about it,” John said. “It’s going to be a unique opportunity for people to have a different kind of festival — I almost wouldn’t even call it a festival. It’s more of an intimate tasting event. It’s small. There’s not going to be distributors pouring beers. There’s going to be the actual people.”

Tickets can be purchased online at nmbeer.org or they can be picked up at La Cumbre, the Santa Fe ABQ Taproom, both Tractor locations, and Turtle Mountain.

Remember, this is a Guild event, so get out there and support our entire craft beer scene with your purchase!

“I just want to sell it out, everybody go, and have a great time,” John said. “It’s a super value.”

Cheers to that!

— Stoutmeister

We are off and running with 14 events on the opening day!

Ready for event overload? Because it’s today, people!

Welcome to the single biggest day of Beer Week.

Don’t believe us? Scroll below. Yeah, that’s 23 events. Twenty. Three.

Now more than ever, you need a plan of attack. Go by time. Go by geographic location. Go by whatever you can do safely (if driving, or even Ubering).

Just remember to carve out some time to visit Battle of the Beer Geeks and vote. Hopefully you vote for our beer (clearly I won’t be there to offer up hints), but since it’s a blind taste test this year, we just want you to pick the best one.

Featured event

Every day we will pick what we consider the biggest, most interesting, most unique event. This does not mean you should go to only this event and ignore the rest. All of them deserve your attention, but realistically, you can probably only attend a few. So we will make our daily pick, and you can either jump on it, or declare the Crew is foolish (we kinda are) and pick your own.

What: Battle of the Beer Geeks III. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 5 to 8 p.m. Cost: $10 for a tray of all five beers, plus a 12-ounce pour of your favorite.

Details: It’s time for war! Again! Battle of the Beer Geeks is back as the Crew (2014 champs) and three other beer groups (Dukes of Ale, ABQ Craft Beer Drinkers, Wort Hogs) try to dethrone the Babes in Brewland. This year there are some changes to the format. First up, you will get your tray that will identify the beers, but not the identity of the groups that brewed them. That should make it a little more objective (maybe). Pours start at 5 and end at 7:30, with the winners announced at 8. There will be a people’s choice award and a professional judges’ best of show.

Why you should go: We need your votes! Even if we cannot tell you which beer is ours. Odds are, though, you’ll figure it out (but to be fair, please only vote for it if it’s truly the best of the bunch).

All the other great events

What: Outside the 505 Tap Takeover. Where: Cazuela’s. When: 8 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: We can’t imagine this actually starts that early, but word is it will involve NM breweries from outside the ABQ metro area and their beers. Why you should go: You can always hope for something from outside ABQ other than Santa Fe or Sierra Blanca.

What: Ballast Point Tap Takeover. Where: The Barley Room. When: 11 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Sea Monster, Mango Even Keel, and Calm Before the Storm are expected to be available. Why you should go: Lunch breaks in the NE Heights need beer.

What: Santa Fe Special Release. Where: M’Tucci’s Market & Deli. When: 11 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: The Western Bloc IPA will be on tap. Why you should go: You don’t have to leave the West Side to try this SFBC seasonal.

What: Marble Special Tapping. Where: Gecko’s (both locations). When: 11 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Saison #1 will be tapped. Why you should go: Another beer-plus-lunch opportunity.

What: Second Annual Food Truck Battle. Where: Red Door. When: 2 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: It’s a casual competition between several food trucks, who will have scaled-down menus, with many items paired with Red Door beers. Pick your favorite truck and dish and see if they win. Why you should go: Chow down, drink up, don’t feel guilty. It’s a win-win.

What: Barrel-Aged Release and Chocolate Pairings. Where: Rio Bravo. When: 2 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Get a flight of BA beers (Stout, Porter, Barleywine, Belgian Dark Strong) for $7, or a chocolates tray for $4. Better yet, combine them both for $10. Why you should go: Dude, chocolate and barrel-aged beer. If you need any reason beyond that, then you’re just too needy.

What: Bow & Arrow Special Release. Where: Bow & Arrow. When: 3 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Wild Rice Pale Ale will debut. Why you should go: New beer alert!

What: Santa Fe/Broken Trail Collaboration Release. Where: Santa Fe ABQ Taproom. When: 3 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Say hello to Horse Thief Porter, a barrel of State Pen aged on rum-soaked pecans, oak chips, and molasses. Why you should go: They are the best of neighbors, aren’t they? Celebrate with them at Green Jeans.

What: Ponderosa Special Bottle Release. Where: Ponderosa. When: 3 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Say hello to Ponderosa’s first special bottle release — Saison Petite Souris. Why you should go: Grab a beer and go, drink at your leisure.

What: La Cumbre Special Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Strawberry Gose will be available on regular CO2, while Malpais Stout will be on nitro. Why you should go: Malpais on nitro? Goes great with Beef Boxty.

What: Sierra Blanca Special Release. Where: Alien Brewpub. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: The Whiskey Barrel-Aged Stout will go on tap for the first time anywhere. Why you should go: It’s their official anniversary beer, and if you like it on tap, you can still buy four-packs at Jubilation while they last.

What: Mother Road Sampling. Where: Jubilation. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Taste the full lineup from Flagstaff’s finest, including the Anniversary Barleywine and the delectable Tower Station IPA. Why you should go: Free beer!

What: Odell Tap Invasion. Where: Mezcal (formerly Stereo Bar). When: 5 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Remember when we all thought Ballast Point went crazy with 15 taps? Well, Odell is matching them with (deep breath) 90 Shilling, IPA, St. Lupulin, Myrcenary, Loose Leaf, 5 Barrel, Cutthroat Porter, Easy Street, Levity, Tree Shaker, Splice Session IPA, The Meddler, Prop Culture, Lugene, and Friek. Why you should go: If you love Odell, this is your event. If you don’t love Odell, go anyway, and then you will love them.

What: Beer and Food Pairings. Where: Sandia Chile Grill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: Green chile chicken enchiladas will be served with a hefeweizen. Why you should go: You gotta eat at some point, NE Heights residents.

What: Alaskan Tap Takeover. Where: Bubba’s 33. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Get all your favorites from Alaskan with a burger or more. Why you should go: Again, eating is good, eating while drinking craft beer is better.

What: Goose Island Special Tapping. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 6 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Bourbon County Stout is the beer in question. Why you should go: Come on, you know you want more BCBS in your life.

What: Mother Road Tap Invasion. Where: O’Niell’s Juan Tabo. When: 6 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Remember those Mother Road beers you loved at Jubilation? Get them in pint form. Plus, there will be a special firkin. Why you should go: Admit it, you’re far too curious about what’s in the firkin.

What: Marble Beer Dinner. Where: Torino’s @ Home. When: 6 p.m. Cost: $45 per person, call (505) 797-4491 for reservations. Details: We covered this event, along with the entire menu, a while back. Why you should go: Great beer plus great food equals happiness. It’s scientific fact.

What: Steal the Pint Night. Where: Canvas Artistry. When: 6 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: The description simply reads “join us for a night of thievery and steal all the pint glasses we have.” Um, OK, sounds like fun. Throw in beer and food specials and it should be a treat. Why you should go: Someone please go and find out just what the heck this crazy thing actually is.

What: 3rd Annual Sierra Nevada Sausage and Cheese Tasting. Where: O’Niell’s Nob Hill. When: 6 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: Head over to the second iteration of this annual event, featuring sausage and other foods paired with on-tap entries from the 2016 Beer Camp Across America. Why you should go: The BCAA beers are delicious this year, and the food is always good, so how can you possibly go wrong?

What: New Belgium Frozen T-Shirt Contest. Where: Monte Vista Fire Station. When: 6:30 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: It’s year three of this crazy event, where folks get to try and untwist a wet, frozen T-shirt in a timed contest. The winner gets a special cruiser bike from NB. Why you should go: Win a bike!

What: Brews and Blues with Roger Lewis All-Stars. Where: Albuquerque Brewing. When: 7 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: It’s another jam session on the patio; all musicians are welcome. Why you should go: Support local music.

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Got any questions, comments, complaints, send them to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or leave them here on our site, on Facebook, or on Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy yourselves out there, but please, do it responsibly.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

We are off and running with 14 events on the opening day!

Get over this hump day with a ton of beer events all over the place!

While I am out in California this week, I was reminded of two key things. First, traffic here still makes the worst I-25/I-40 messes you’ve ever seen look like nothing. Second, they charge $14 for craft beer at Angels games. For one pour. Not like multiple pints or a pint plus a flight or anything.

At least the Angels won on a walkoff home run by C.J. Cron.

Anyway, for all of you back in New Mexico, it’s already Day Seven (!) of Beer Week. Time to get serious and really start crossing off all of those events that have caught your eye. Because soon, it will all be over, and then all you have to look forward to is me telling stories of the hideousness of taking the 15 to the 60 to the 57, while avoiding the 55 and the 91, and trying to discern if the 5 to the 101 is the best option instead of daring the 405 even on a weekday …

Damn, I’ve already been out here too long. Miss you all! I’ll raise a glass at The Bruery today in your honor, New Mexico!

Featured event

Every day we will pick what we consider the biggest, most interesting, most unique event. This does not mean you should go to only this event and ignore the rest. All of them deserve your attention, but realistically, you can probably only attend a few. So we will make our daily pick, and you can either jump on it, or declare the Crew is foolish (we kinda are) and pick your own.

What: Ask a Certified Cicerone and Bad Beer Tasting. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 6 p.m. Cost: Study session is free, bad beer tasting costs $5.

Details: Tractor president/co-owner Skye Devore is a certified Cicerone, and she wants to help you prepare to take the upcoming certification exam, or at least learn more about beer and the program. When the study books are closed, there will be an off-flavor kit to create some bad beers to help folks further identify just what should not be in their ales and lagers.

Why you should go: Furthering the education of your palate and mind is never a bad thing, is it?

All the other great events

What: Santa Fe Tapping. Where: Gecko’s Nob Hill. When: 11 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: The excellent porch beer SF Gold will be available. Why you should go: It’s a drinkable way to start your day.

What: Green Flash and Alpine Tapping. Where: Uptown Sports Bar. When: 11 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: It’s an awesome quadruple tapping, with Barleywine and Soul Style IPA from Green Flash, plus Hoppy Birthday and Nelson IPA from Alpine. Why you should go: Those are four amazing beers, certainly worth the trip to the Uptown area.

What: Marble Special Tapping. Where: Filling Philly’s, 6904 Menaul Blvd. NE. When: 11 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Marble continues to spread the Saison love all around town. Why you should go: At some point they have to run out of Saison, right? So get it before it’s gone!

What: Beer & Sausage Pairing Night. Where: Rio Bravo. When: Noon. Cost: $20. Details: Get five special sausages from Joe S. Sausage paired up with five Rio Bravo beers. Why you should go: Be like your German ancestors and enjoy beer and sausage. Lederhosen and yodeling not required.

What: Mother Road Sampling. Where: Total Wine (both locations). When: 1 p.m. (Cottonwood), 4 p.m. (Uptown) Cost: No entry fee. Details: Try some of Flagstaff’s finest creations. Why you should go: Free beer!

What: Beer Class Podcast. Where: Santa Fe ABQ Taproom. When: 2 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Hang out and listen to the SFBC command staff, including their top brewers, sales staff, general manager, and more discuss all you need to know about their beers with the guys from 10 Drink Minimum. Why you should go: This all comes with the chance to enjoy a sneak taste of Lemon Skynyrd, the newest entry in the Ever Changing Series.

What: Alaskan Tasting. Where: Jubilation. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Meet the local rep and enjoy some of the best offerings from way up north. Why you should go: Free beer!

What: Canteen Special Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: They are putting Coffee Dark & Lusty Stout on nitro. Why you should go: Coffee stout on nitro should be enough, but if it’s not, just think of the food menu. Mmm, fish and chips.

What: Beer, Cheese & More! Where: Marble Westside. When: 5 p.m. Cost: $25 per person. Details: For everyone that missed this annual event downtown, you get a second chance to try multiple special Marble beers paired up with delicious cheeses. Why you should go: Because there isn’t going to be another of these until 2017. Remember, buy your tickets at the taproom as far in advance as you can, because it will sell out!

What: Ska Special Tapping. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Oh, it’s just a wee double dip of Barrel-Aged Dementia and Bump & Grind Coffee Stout. Why you should go: Don’t let two of the best beers to ever come from Durango slip through your grasp!

What: Mother Road Tap Invasion and Special Firkin Tapping. Where: The Grain Station. When: 6 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: We have no idea what’s going to be in the Firkin, but damn it, we’re betting it will be amazing. Why you should go: Solve the mystery! Enjoy the beer! Have dinner while you’re there!

What: Alaskan Tap Takeover. Where: Billy’s Long Bar. When: 6 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: If you loved any of those Alaskan beers you tried at Jubilation so much you desperately need a pint, well, voila! Why you should go: Because sometimes it’s too hard to drive out of the Heights for a beer event, so here’s one in your backyard.

What: Ballast Point Tap Takeover and Special Tapping. Where: Rock & Brews. When: 6 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: It’s going to include Heaven Hill Barrel-Aged Victory at Sea (13% ABV). BARREL-AGED VICTORY AT SEA. Why you should go: The previous sentence was all you need to know, but just in case, Thomas DeCaro called it the smoothest 13-percenter you will ever try.

What: Beer for Stage Fright Open Mic. Where: Albuquerque Brewing. When: 7 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Get over that fear of crowds and sing your heart out with the help of your good friend beer. Why you should go: They’re throwing in $5 cheeseburger combo specials.

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Got any questions, comments, complaints, send them to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or leave them here on our site, on Facebook, or on Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).
Enjoy yourselves out there, but please, do it responsibly.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

We are off and running with 14 events on the opening day!

This is no time to kick back on a Saturday, there is beer out there, and we must drink it up!

Forget keeping up with the Joneses, it’s all about keeping up with the beerses, um, yeah, this weekend.

Saturday is another jam-packed day, with two major events for charities, a slew of beer tastings, and two big beer dinners.

Beyond what’s listed below, don’t forget, today is also Nexus’ fifth anniversary. They will have an all-day party with food specials, live music, and there are multiple new beers to try.

Oh, and if you have not gotten yourself a pint of the 505 Collaboration Rye Kellerbier yet, what are you waiting for? Carpe diem, people!

Featured event

Every day we will pick what we consider the biggest, most interesting, most unique event. This does not mean you should go to only this event and ignore the rest. All of them deserve your attention, but realistically, you can probably only attend a few. So we will make our daily pick, and you can either jump on it, or declare the Crew is foolish (we kinda are) and pick your own.

What: Harwood Art Center Fundraiser. Where: Marble Brewery Downtown. When: 1 p.m. Cost: No entry fee.

Details: From our preview story on all of Marble’s Beer Week events.

Marble will once again hold a fundraiser for Harwood’s scholarships to their Summer Art Camp. There will be live music and more.

“We have our Harwood Fundraiser, which is always a big hit,” marketing director Elyse Cushman said. “We support them, they support children learning the arts. That’s going to be on Saturday. They have a great lineup. They’ve got a couple of local (bands). Theirs is always really, really fun to show for.”

DJ Matt, Joanie and Darin, and the Kevin Herig Trio will provide the tunes from 1 to 7 p.m. The Supper Truck and Ay K Rico will be parked on the curb to keep everyone satiated. And, there will be live art being produced. Entry is free.

“I know there’s live music, there’s beer, and it’s all for a good cause,” Elyse said. “We’re donating a portion of our sales to them.”

Why you should go: This is one of two major charitable events on Saturday (the other is at Tractor, see below). It’s hard to say no to drinking for a cause, especially when that is keeping children involved in the arts. Throw in the music and food, and it will all be worth the sun and crowd.

All the other great events

What: Marble Special Tapping. Where: Piatanzi, 3305 Juan Tabo Blvd. NE. When: 11 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: The new Marble Saison will be available. Why you should go: Grab a new beer and check out the lunch menu.

What: Beer and Food Pairings. Where: Santa Fe ABQ Taproom. When: 11 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: The good folks at SFBC are teaming up with the restaurants at Green Jeans Farmery to provide a perfect lineup of pairings. Why you should go: The lineup will change every day, so make sure to head over and find your favorite pairing before it’s gone.

What: Beer and Cornhole Tournament. Where: Albuquerque Brewing. When: Noon. Cost: $5 per person. Details: Test your cornhole skills while enjoying some pints on the patio. Why you should go: Who doesn’t love a good competition as long as there is beer involved?

What: Colorado Brewery Showcase. Where: O’Niell’s Juan Tabo. When: Noon. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Boulder, Left Hand, New Belgium, and Oskar Blues beers will be available for sampling. Why you should go: Find out what the best beers are from these Colorado heavyweights for the summer.

What: Randy’s Shandy Day. Where: Rio Bravo. When: Noon. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Grab a Weizen and Sommer Shandy Flight for $5 and enjoy watermelon slices for $2 on the patio, with music at 6 p.m. from Scotty & The Atomics and Double Plow at 8 p.m. Why you should go: If shandy is your thing, this is hard to miss.

What: Bees & Seeds ANTI-GMO Festival. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 1 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: We covered this event as part of Tractor’s full list of goings on. Why you should go: Grab a pint for a good cause and listen to some live, local music.

What: Ballast Point Tasting. Where: Jubilation. When: 2 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Our friend Thomas DeCaro will be on hand to share some of BP’s stalwarts and seasonals, including the Calm Before the Storm, Grunion, and Homework Series #7: Session Saison. Why you should go: Grab some unique tastings and then snag some beer to take home.

What: Duke City Pedaler Beer Bike Social. Where: Albuquerque Tourism & Sightseeing Factory, 219 Central Ave. NW. When: 3 and 6 p.m. Cost: $23/$25. Details: Hop on the Duke City Pedaler and bike around for 2.5 hours, with the bike leader selecting three downtown area breweries. There will be food and drink specials for riders at each location. Why you should go: Burn off some calories and stay fit amid all of this great beer and food.

What: Boulder Beer Special Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: A Blood Orange Gose and a special tequila-aged beer will be tapped. Why you should go: Grab some food and a unique beer or two.

What: Upslope Tap Takeover. Where: Sandia Saloon inside Whole Foods Academy. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Upslope takes over the taps in the new bar inside Whole Foods. Why you should go: For those of you in the Northeast Heights who have yet to try Upslope, here is your chance.

What: Beer and Food Pairing. Where: Sandia Chile Grill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: They will be serving up fish and shrimp tacos paired with their IPA. Why you should go: Support local beer, and grab a bite to eat.

What: Ballast Point Beer Dinner. Where: Seasons Rotisserie & Grill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: $40 per person. Details: Ready for a five-course meal paired with BP beers? Start off with Coconut Crusted Shrimp Lettuce Wraps paired with Sculpin IPA, then Basil Pesto Crusted Wild Pacific Swordfish with Grapefruit Sculpin, Prosciutto Wrapped Halibut Saltimbocca with Grunion Pale Ale, Cajun Crusted Soft-Shell Crab Po’Boy with Watermelon Dorado, and Victory at Sea will be paired with a TBD dessert. Why you should go: That menu looks ridiculous, and $40 is cheap for a beer dinner these days.

What: Founders KBS Vertical Tapping. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 6 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: They will have the 2015 and 2016 KBS on tap for you to try side by side. Why you should go: Two of the finest barrel-aged imperial stouts on the planet is all the reason you need.

What: Cider Day Night Fever. Where: Tractor Nob Hill. When: 7 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Celebrate ciders with some awesome cider cocktails while DJ Wae Fonky spins some disco favorites from way back in the day. Why you should go: We dare you to go and reenact the scene from Airplane. Just no brawling girl scouts, OK?

What: La Cumbre Beer Dinner. Where: M’Tucci’s Market & Deli. When: 7 p.m. Cost: $69, call (505) 639-4819 for reservations. Details: Ready for a seven-course meal paired with LC beers? Start with a House Charcuterie Board paired with BEER, then Roasted Apple and Crab Moussaline with VMO #2, Smoked Buffalo Heart Pate with Saison d’hommel, Heritage Pork Jowl Bacon paired with Fievre de Abricot, Duck Confit with Mind Phoq, Red Ryeot-braised NM Lamb Basajo Potato Puree with Summer Barley Wine, and Basil Lemon Tart with Strawberry Gose. Why you should go: Stop drooling on your keyboards/phones and make a reservation.

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Got any questions, comments, complaints, send them to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or leave them here on our site, on Facebook, or on Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy yourselves out there, but please, do it responsibly.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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