Posts Tagged ‘Alaskan Brewing’

The Tuesday announcement that Founders Brewing was coming to New Mexico in October was greeted warmly by most of the people we interacted with online or in person. However, more than a few folks seemed a bit disappointed that one beer was missing from the (outstanding) lineup of nine Founders offerings that will be at the Kickoff Party at Nob Hill Bar & Grill on Oct. 7.

Of course we are referring to KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout), one of the most sought-after beers in America. It can be hard if not impossible to acquire. Over the years the Crew has had a mere handful of bottles of this wonderful elixir, where the already excellent Breakfast Stout is aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels. Yet, we have never had the pleasure of enjoying the epic epicness on tap.

Drum roll …

Please don't drool on your computer.

Please don’t drool on your computer.

Oh, Oct. 14 is so far away, is it not? We all need things to look forward to in life, so at least we have this event.

To keep us satiated through September, though, NHBG and bar manager/craft lover extraordinaire Thomas DeCaro has lined up some serious goodness every Wednesday night.

Sept. 2: Avery Special Tapping featuring The Beast, The Maharaja, Samael’s, and The Reverend. The Beast (15-17% ABV, 63 IBU) is a Grand Cru. The Maharaja (10-12% ABV, 102 IBU) is a monstrous imperial IPA. Samael’s (15-17% ABV, 41 IBU) is an oak-aged English-style strong ale.  The Reverend (10% ABV, 24 IBU) is a decadent Belgian quad.

Sept. 9: Green Flash/Apline Tap Takeover featuring Hoppy Birthday, Pacific Gem Single Hop, Styrian Golding Single Hop, Green Bullet, Double Stout, and Hop Head Red. The Green Bullet (10.1% ABV, 100+ IBU) is a specialty release from Green Flash.

Sept. 16: Special tapping of a 2014 Alaskan Smoked Porter keg

Sept. 23: Special tapping of Odell Oak Haven (Peach Ale aged in whiskey barrels)

Sept. 30: Double Bourbon Barrel Tapping of Pumpkin Barrel Ale and Kentucky Barrel Ale from Lexington Brewing

That should keep everyone more than satisfied until KBS night.

Got any questions? Ask us and we will do our best to answer, or we will pass it along to Thomas and get back to you via the usual channels (Facebook, Twitter, this site, email, in person, etc.).

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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And so it begins!

Beyond the usual tastings and tappings, you can learn more about beer from the brewers themselves today.

It can be hard to single out a theme on each day of Beer Week, but sometimes there are things that stand out amid all the various tappings, tastings, and food/beer pairings. For instance, today there are two chances to learn from brewing representatives about the beer you are drinking. Head to Chama River to learn about the process of brewing their sour, Plum Goodness, from brewer Zach Guilmette. (We will have a full preview later today.) Or you can go to Torino’s and learn about the various Abbey Brewing creations from their representatives.

Beyond that there is more fun scheduled for Nob Hill Bar & Grill, El Pinto, Rock & Brews, Gecko’s, Two Fools, Cazuela’s, Jubilation, O’Niell’s Nob Hill, Sister, and our featured event at Ponderosa. So many events, so little time. Divide and conquer!

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: Rauchfest. Where: Ponderosa Brewing. When: All day. Cost: No cover charge.

Details: A festival of smoke! Ponderosa will be hosting Rauchfest, debuting a traditional Rauchweizen. Comprising of mostly smoked wheat (oak smoked), some smoked barley (beech smoked), and Munich malt with a banana/clove flavor from the hefeweizen yeast. It should come in around 5.5-percent ABV with a low IBU, but it will be a truly smoked beer, with lots of flavor. You can play cornhole all day and Chef Tanner will have smoked brats and some other smoked goodies to accompany the beer. Plus, Ponderosa will have Dos Pendejos performing live in the evening from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Why you should go: Live music, a new beer, and excellent Ponderosa food. There are worse ways to spend part of your evening. Or go earlier for just the beer and food.

All the other great events

What: Santa Fe Brewing Special Tapping. Where: Gecko’s (both locations). When: 11 a.m. Details: The new Session Ale will be tapped at Gecko’s in Nob Hill and the one on Academy. Why you should go: New beer (it was popular at Blues & Brews) plus awesome food. Happy lunch break!

What: Thirsty Thursday Beer & Pizza Special. Where: Cazuela’s. When: 2 to 6 p.m. Cost: $7.99. Details: You get an 8-inch pizza of your choice paired with either Acapulco Gold, Piedra del Fuego (our pick), or Panama Red. Why you should go: If you are out on the west side and looking for something to eat and drink before heading into town for the other events, how can you beat this offer?

What: Tractor Tap Takeover and Special Release. Where: Rock & Brews. When: 3 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: There will be lots of Tractor beers on tap. We have no idea which ones. Why you should go: It’s a mystery! Go indulge.

What: Odell Sampling. Where: Jubilation. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager Tasting. Where: Total Wine (both locations). When: 4 to 6 p.m. (both locations) Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Dogs Drink Free Happy Hour. Where: El Pinto. When: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: No, that’s not a typo, your dogs can drink for free on the patio at El Pinto from today through Thursday. They will have Bowser Beer, a special alcohol-free beer made specifically for dogs. As for humans, there will be four Lagunitas beers for you — Cappuccino Stout, Equinox Pale Oat Ale, Brown Shugga’ Barleywine, and the special limited release of Waldo 4/20. Why you should go: Awesome new Lagunitas beers and old favorites, plus a chance to relax with your best friend. Throw in some delicious El Pinto food and it all adds up to a great afternoon.

What: Odell Special Tapping and Takeover. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Once again, NHBG makes us all proud. In addition to stalwart 90 Schilling, you can get French{hop}Connection (saison), Perle White IPA, Fernet Aged Porter, and the exclusive Barrel Thief Imperial IPA aged in oak barrels. Why you should go: With that lineup, everyone should go home happy. Throw in food and sports on TV and you’re a winner, guaranteed.

What: Boulder Beer Special Tapping. Where: Sister Bar. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: An unknown Boulder Beer will be tapped at Sister. Why you should go: Solve the mystery.

What: Plum Goodness Release Party. Where: Chama River. When: 5 to 6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: See our separate preview that will run later today. Why you should go: Enhance your beer knowledge while drinking beer. Plus, lots of food options and sports on TV.

What: Marble Beer Dinner. Where: Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm. When: 5:30 to 9 p.m. Cost: The event is sold out, but contact Los Poblanos (505-344-9297) to get on their waiting list. Tickets are $65. Details: Live music, specials, unique beers, and more at Los Poblanos, with a reception from 5:30 to 6 and dinner afterward. Why you should go: Take a chance, see if you can make the list, then enjoy great food paired with great beer.

What: Alaskan Tap Invasion. Where: Bubba’s 33. When: 6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Alaskan beers will be on tap at the eatery along I-25 near Chama River. Why you should go: If you love Alaskan beers and classic American food, go for it.

What: Second Annual New Belgium Frozen T-Shirt Contest. Where: Monte Vista Fire Station. When: 6 p.m. Cost: Inquire at the door. Details: For the second time, the folks from New Belgium are giving folks a chance to win a special NB bicycle. All you have to do is unwrap a completely frozen T-shirt faster than everyone else. Why you should go: We had some friends who nearly won this last year. So go test your frozen-shirt-unwrapping skills. It’s harder than it looks.

UPDATED >>> What: Odell Special Firkin Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Friend of the Crew Tony Calder informs us that it will be a Mango Habanero IPA in the cask tonight. Well now, that just sounds like a flavor combo for the ages. Why you should go: Unleash this crazy beer upon your taste buds, plus snag some good food while you are there.

What: Second Annual Sierra Nevada Sausage & Cheese Tasting. Where: O’Niell’s Nob Hill. When: 6 to 8 p.m. Cost: $5 for sausage and cheese tray (beer not included). Please reserve tickets by calling (505) 255-6782. Details: Buy a tray of sausage and cheese, then go off the list of suggestions with which Sierra Nevada beers go best with which food items. Why you should go: Expand your palate, but fear not if you are unconvinced, we have a review of the previous event at O’Niell’s Juan Tabo up on our site today from one of our new correspondents.

What: Beer on the Patio. Where: Torino’s. When: 6:30 p.m. Cost: $25 per person, call Torino’s at (505) 797-4491 to reserve your spot. Details: Torino’s is hosting a four-course pairing of Monks’ Ales with cured meats, cheeses, and fine breads. Featured beers will include Monks’ Ale, Tripel, Dubbel, and Golden Ale (Krystal Weisse). Abbey Brewing reps will be on hand to give a master speech and answer your questions. Why you should go: Learn more about these unique beers while enjoying some delicious food.

What: Beer Bike 5K. Where: Civic Plaza. When: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Cost: $30, with tickets available online here. Details: Hope on board the Duke City Pedaler at Civic Plaza and ride it around to Marble, Tractor Wells Park, and Back Alley Draft House. You get member prices at each location. This even will repeat Wednesday and Thursday. Why you should go: Burn off some beer calories while, um, adding more beer calories! Hey, it’s a win-win, plus it is one of the most fun and unique ways to enjoy a mini-pub crawl. Just be prepared, it’s a little over 3 miles in length and the DCP is tougher to pedal than it looks. You’ll get a good workout plus good beer.

What: pLOUD Music Series. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 8 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Felix y Los Gatos will perform live. Why you should go: Chill out with some good music and beer.

Special ongoing events

All throughout Beer Week, these two events will be running.

Brewery Scavenger Hunt at lululemon athletica at ABQ Uptown
Where: lululemon athletica ABQ Uptown and various other participating sites. When: Today through May 31. What: Pick up a scavenger pass at lululemon and head to six of nine participating locations. Take photos with your pass at the locations and then bring it all back to lululemon to be redeemed for a special pint glass. Participating sites: Routes Bicycle Rentals & Tours, Duke City Trolley, Tractor, La Cumbre, Red Door, Marble, Chama River, The Grain Station, Rock & Brews

Smoked Meats Week
Where: Sandia Chile Grill When: 3 to 8 p.m., from today through Saturday, May 30
What: Beer and smoked meat pairing; beers are $3.50 per pint, $6 per 10-ounce mead sample
Today — Smoked Salmon Platter, Red Ranger Irish Red
Friday — Stuffed Avocado Street Tacos, Rattlesnake IPA
Saturday — Smoked Meat Sample Platter, Rattlesnake and Red Ranger and Milk Stout ($3 per 10-ounce)

* * * * *

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

And so it begins!

Get your geek-on with the Crew!

Anyone else need a vacation after the three-day weekend? Yeah, it was jam-packed with beer events, from the two festivals Sunday to Monday’s Battle of the Beer Geeks II (congrats to the Babes in Brewland on their victory). Now it’s back to a simpler slate of tastings and tappings across town.

Today features special events at The Grain Station, El Pinto, Farm & Table, 5 Star Burgers, Bistronomy B2B, and more usual haunts such as Two Fools, Rock & Brews, Tractor Wells Park, and Nob Hill Bar & Grill.

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: Lagunitas and Upslope Special Tappings. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge.

Details: Once again, bar manager Thomas DeCaro is pulling out all the stops to bring us great beer. Upslope is bringing two new beers to tap here in ABQ in the form of the Yirgacheffe Coffee Dubbel, a coffee-infused Belgian-style beer brewed in collaboration with Dragonfly Coffee Roasters (which is adjacent to one of Upslope’s taprooms in Colorado). That will be paired alongside the Japanese Dry Lager, made with jasmine and Sorachi Ace hops. At the same time, Lagunitas has their IPA, double dry-hopped, on cask.

Why you should go: Two brand-new beers to New Mexico, plus a hopped-up version of a hugely popular IPA. Throw in some great NHBG food and you have a good way to spend an otherwise quiet Tuesday evening.

All the other great events

NEW EVENT >>> What: Santa Fe Special Tapping. Where: Gecko’s (both locations). When: 11 a.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: SFBC’s new Session Ale will be tapped at both Gecko’s, NE Heights and Nob Hill. Why you should go: A new beer that’s big on flavor, light on ABV, would pair nicely with Gecko’s food for lunch.

What: Stone Stochasticity Project Tasting. Where: Total Wine (both locations). When: 1 to 3 p.m. (Cottonwood), 4 to 6 p.m. (Uptown). Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Santa Fe Sampling. Where: Total Wine Uptown. When: 2 to 4 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Alaskan Sampling. Where: Total Wine Uptown. When: 3 to 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Tupac Tuesday with Tractor. Where: The Grain Station. When: 3 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Tractor has brewed up a fresh batch of Tupac Cali Red and is taking it over to The Grain Station, where they will have it on tap to go with their great food. There will be some live art as well. Why you should go: Enjoy a quality beer with some quality food and pull of a two-for-one in terms of supporting local businesses.

What: Dogs Drink Free Happy Hour. Where: El Pinto. When: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: No, that’s not a typo, your dogs can drink for free on the patio at El Pinto from today through Thursday. They will have Bowser Beer, a special alcohol-free beer made specifically for dogs. As for humans, there will be four Lagunitas beers for you — Cappuccino Stout, Equinox Pale Oat Ale, Brown Shugga’ Barleywine, and the special limited release of Waldo 4/20. Why you should go: Awesome new Lagunitas beers and old favorites, plus a chance to relax with your best friend. Throw in some delicious El Pinto food and it all adds up to a great afternoon.

What: Alaskan Tap Takeover and Special Release. Where: Rock & Brews. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Music for What ALES You. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Local musician Casey Mraz will provide the tunes, while you can purchase special beer and grilled cheese pairings from the Cheesy Street outside for just $13. Why you should go: Delicious grilled cheese offerings paired with Tractor beers while live music is playing. Sounds like a chill out and relax kind of event, if you ask us.

What: Kona, Redhook, and Widmer Brothers Sampling. Where: Total Wine Uptown. When: 5 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Marble and Farm & Table Beer and Food Pairings. Where: Farm & Table. When: 6 p.m. Cost: $50 for six beer tickets and a four-course meal. Details: Farm & Table will host a Spring BBQ event with five different Marble beers on tap — Pilsner, Wildflower Wheat, Oatmeal Stout, Maibock, IPA. There will be stationary appetizer trays of cheeses, chicken wings, and other finger foods. There will also be house-made brats, with baked beans, potato salad, and fresh green salad. There will also be dessert in the form of double chocolate cupcakes with a stout caramel cream (yum). In addition to the food and beer, there will be some games in the courtyard and a live band, Next Three Miles. Why you should go: Food, games, beer, music, it’s like a midweek party that you’ll probably need. Call (505) 503-7123 or email reserve@farmandtable.com for reservations.

What: Goose Island Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 6 to 8 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: We are blessed again to have more Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout on tap at the tavern. Why you should go: The Bourbon County series is the best thing that Goose Island makes, plus you can chow down on some great food while you enjoy a glass.

What: 5 Star Burgers presents an evening with Craft King. Where: 5 Star Burgers Old Town (next door to the Draft Station). When: 6 to 9 p.m. Cost: $20. Details: How about five delicious food items paired with craft beer, plus having Albuquerque’s Craft King (our friend Angelo Orona) on hand to answer all of your beer questions? Sounds like a great way to spend your evening. The food/beer pairings are Potato Chips topped with a gorgonzola drizzle paired with Bosque Lager; Taos Slider paired with Marble Red; Teriyaki Slider paired with Boxing Bear Paw Swipe Pale Ale; BBQ Slider paired with Santa Fe Nut Brown; Sweet Potato served with a Sweet Maple Cream paired with Oskar Blues Old Chub Scotch Ale. Why you should go: Expand your beer knowledge while drinking delicious beers and eating amazing food.

What: Beer Bike 5K. Where: Civic Plaza. When: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Cost: $30, with tickets available online here. Details: Hope on board the Duke City Pedaler at Civic Plaza and ride it around to Marble, Tractor Wells Park, and Back Alley Draft House. You get member prices at each location. This even will repeat Wednesday and Thursday. Why you should go: Burn off some beer calories while, um, adding more beer calories! Hey, it’s a win-win, plus it is one of the most fun and unique ways to enjoy a mini-pub crawl. Just be prepared, it’s a little over 3 miles in length and the DCP is tougher to pedal than it looks. You’ll get a good workout plus good beer.

What: Burgers and Brews. Where: Bistronomy B2B. When: 7 p.m. Cost: None listed. Details: Enjoy some great burgers and some of B2B’s best beers paired together. If you buy a B2B beer, you get a special Yelp! glass. The B2B brewers will be on hand to talk about their creations. Why you should go: B2B always has great food, plus some really unique and different beers. If you have never gone, head over to Central.

Special ongoing events

All throughout Beer Week, these two events will be running.

Brewery Scavenger Hunt at lululemon athletica at ABQ Uptown
Where: lululemon athletica ABQ Uptown and various other participating sites. When: Today through May 31. What: Pick up a scavenger pass at lululemon and head to six of nine participating locations. Take photos with your pass at the locations and then bring it all back to lululemon to be redeemed for a special pint glass. Participating sites: Routes Bicycle Rentals & Tours, Duke City Trolley, Tractor, La Cumbre, Red Door, Marble, Chama River, The Grain Station, Rock & Brews

Smoked Meats Week
Where: Sandia Chile Grill When: 3 to 8 p.m., from today through Saturday, May 30
What: Beer and smoked meat pairing; beers are $3.50 per pint, $6 per 10-ounce mead sample
Today — Potato Stuffer, Barb’s Barrel Hefeweizen
Wednesday — Stuffed Avocado Street Tacos, Gold Rush Pilsner
Thursday — Smoked Salmon Platter, Red Ranger Irish Red
Friday — Stuffed Avocado Street Tacos, Rattlesnake IPA
Saturday — Smoked Meat Sample Platter, Rattlesnake and Red Ranger and Milk Stout ($3 per 10-ounce)

* * * * *

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

And so it begins!

Release the beer hounds! The three-day weekend begins!

Welcome back to ABQ Beer Week, though technically it never left. After Thursday’s surge of events contrasted with the terrible weather, we expected more Friday, but the sun kept the rain at bay for a change. So we have that going for us, if nothing else.

Today’s lineup kicks off with a golf tournament and concludes with multiple tastings. In between, a major brewery celebrates their anniversary weekend.

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: Nexus 4th Anniversary Party. Where: Nexus Brewery. When: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Cost: No cover charge.

Details: Release the hounds as Nexus turns four years old today. To celebrate, they are grilling up some more red chile BBQ ribs, back by popular demand. You can also order a pint of Prosperity Works Belgian Scottish, which is the normal Beam Me Up Scottish this time with Belgian yeast. One dollar from each pint sold will go to the charity Prosperity Works. There will be live music from the Racine Kreyol Band from 1 to 4 p.m. The first 100 Nexus Members who walk in the door will get a special pint glass.

Why you should go: Even if the red chile BBQ ribs are too spicy, there will be plenty of other food, including the always awesome Chicken & Waffles. Throw in a new beer, live music, and more, and it has hard to see how you would sit this one out.

All the other great events

What: Seventh Annual NM Brewers Guild Golf Tournament. Where: Santa Ana Golf Club. When: 7 a.m. (registration), 8 a.m. (shotgun start). Cost: $100 per person. Details: From the Guild website, “Join New Mexico Brewers Guild for our 7th Annual Golf Tournament as we return to Santa Ana Golf Course for another round of beers and lost balls. Gather up a foursome of your best beer drinking buddies for this 4-Man or Woman scramble as we tee up some of the finest local beers to motivate the biggest hack to pick up some clubs.” The $100 covers your course fees, range balls, lunch, awards, and beer, of course. Why you should go: We know some of you love to play golf (looking at you, Karim), so why not throw in some beer and help the Guild at the same time?

What: Kiuchi Brewery Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 11 a.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Hitachino Nest White Ale is the selected beer from Japan that you will enjoy. Why you should go: For those who are into the burgeoning Japanese craft scene, Kiuchi is among the trailblazers with their Hitachino Nest series. Plus, stick around for a Kilarney Grilled Chicken for lunch.

What: Oskar Blues Sampling. Where: Whole Foods on Academy and Wyoming. When: 11 a.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Pinner Throwback IPA will be among the styles to sample. Why you should go: Free beer samples. Plus, pick up some healthy food for later when you have to cook dinner for your significant other and/or family to make up for all the time you’ve been spending at Beer Week events.

What: The Harwood’s Annual Fundraiser. Where: Marble Downtown. When: Noon. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The Harwood Art Institute is an amazing community resource, with their Summer Art Camp teaching children in-depth lessons in various mediums. Marble hosts their annual fundraiser to raise money for art scholarships to the camp. Street Food Institute will be on the curb from noon to late, while Conchitas Creations will join them from 1 to 7 p.m. Carlos the Tall will perform from 1 to 2:30, followed by Jasper from 3 to 4:30, and Joanie and Darin from 5 to 6:30 p.m. There will also be a merch table with a button-making machine from Harwood. You can purchase raffle tickets ($1 each) for prizes ranging from local bands’ CDs to a grand prize of a $175 gift basket from Harwood that will include a membership, gift certificate to an art class, and more. Why you should go: Support a good cause, help some kids have a great summer, eat awesome food, buy some merch, enter the raffle, listen to great music, and of course indulge in Marble’s many great beers.

What: Angry Orchard Honey Cider Tasting. Where: Total Wine (both locations). When: 1 to 3 p.m. (Cottonwood), 4 to 6 p.m. (Uptown). Cost: No cover charge. Details: Sample Angry Orchard’s newest cider. Why you should go: Free cider samples.

What: Woodchuck Sampling. Where: Total Wine (both locations). When: 1 to 3 p.m. (Uptown), 4 to 6 p.m. (Cottonwood). Cost: No cover charge. Details: Sample some Woodchuck ciders. Why you should go: More free cider samples.

What: Tommyknocker Event. Where: Twin Peaks. When: 1 p.m. Cost: No cover charge listed. Details: Tommyknocker will be promoting their beers for sale locally with Maple Nut Brown and Jack Whacker Wheat on tap. Why you should go: Beer, food, sports on TV. Almost everything you need in life.

What: Beer and Boards. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 1 p.m. (opening), 6 p.m. (music). Cost: No cover charge. Details: Tractor and Kamagraph are teaming up again for another art show, this one showcasing the art of skateboards. There will be live art being made, plus skateboarding demos in the parking lot, and live music will begin at 6 with Zack Freeman, Burque Sol, and The Riddims. Why you should go: Support the local art community, support some local musicians, and of course enjoy some beer while you are there.

What: April Showers Bring May Sours. Where: Jubilation. When: 2 to 4 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Unleash the power of sour beers. There will be eight (!) sours available for sampling and then package sales. The lineup — St. Louis Framboise Lambic, St. Louis Peche Lambic, Petrus Aged Red, Petrus Oud Bruin, Monk’s Cafe (Flemish Red), Silly Sour (brown ale), St. Louis Fond Tradition Kriek Lambic, Petrus Aged Pale. Why you should go: If you love sour beers, this is practically nirvana.

What: Colorado Brewing Tasting. Where: O’Niell’s Juan Tabo. When: 2 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Left Hand, New Belgium, and Oskar Blues will have samples for sampling. Why you should go: Three good Colorado breweries in one places.

What: Mother Road, Deschutes, and Ska Tapping. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 4 p.m. (Mother Road), 5 p.m. (Deschutes), 6 p.m. (Ska). Cost: No cover charge. Details: It’s a tripleheader of beer greatness. First up, Mother Road will have a special sour cask at 4 p.m. Then at 5, Deschutes will have some of their awesome Mirror Mirror barley wine from 2014. Then it’s Ska Keep the Pint Night, featuring Modus Hopperandi and True Blonde, with brewery swag and giveaways. Why you should go: One location, three epic breweries.

What: Sierra Nevada Special Tapping. Where: Sister Bar. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: A quartet of SN beers will be available in the form of Summerfest Lager, Kellerweis, Harvest Idaho 7 Single IPA, and Ovila Quad with plums. Why you should go: The Harvest and Ovila are a couple of hard-to-get beers, so reward the folks at Sister for getting them by stopping by and paying for a pint or two.

What: Belgian Beer Dinner. Where: Heimat House. When: 5 p.m. Cost: $55 per person. Details: It’s a five-course meal pairing up different dishes with different Belgian beers. Among those poured will be the St. Bernardus Abt 12. There will be brewery reps on hand to help you get through it. Why you should go: Get an education in Belgian beer and indulge in some amazing European food. Sound like a win-win.

What: Bosque Tap Takeover. Where: Rock & Brews. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: An unknown number of different Bosque beers will be on tap at the rock bar. Why you should go: Well, if you’re in the area, save some gas money and stop here.

What: Alaskan Special Tapping. Where: Gecko’s Nob Hill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: We have no idea what this beer will be, but it will be on tap at the NH location. Why you should go: Curiosity is not a bad thing. Neither is tapas food.

What: Oskar Blues Sampling. Where: Whole Foods on Carlisle. When: 5:50 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Pinner Throwback IPA will be among the beer styles sampled. Why you should go: Free beer samples!

Special ongoing events

All throughout Beer Week, these two events will be running.

Brewery Scavenger Hunt at lululemon athletica at ABQ Uptown
Where: lululemon athletica ABQ Uptown and various other participating sites. When: Today through May 31. What: Pick up a scavenger pass at lululemon and head to six of nine participating locations. Take photos with your pass at the locations and then bring it all back to lululemon to be redeemed for a special pint glass. Participating sites: Routes Bicycle Rentals & Tours, Duke City Trolley, Tractor, La Cumbre, Red Door, Marble, Chama River, The Grain Station, Rock & Brews

Smoked Meats Week
Where: Sandia Chile Grill When: 3 to 8 p.m., from today through Saturday, May 30
What: Beer and smoked meat pairing; beers are $3.50 per pint, $6 per 10-ounce mead sample
Today — Stuffed Avocado Street Tacos, Dirty Steve Mead (9.5% ABV)
Sunday — Baby Back Ribs, Legacy Mead (9.2% ABV)
Monday — Smoked Sausage, Rattlesnake IPA
Tuesday — Potato Stuffer, Barb’s Barrel Hefeweizen
Wednesday — Stuffed Avocado Street Tacos, Gold Rush Pilsner
Thursday — Smoked Salmon Platter, Red Ranger Irish Red
Friday — Stuffed Avocado Street Tacos, Rattlesnake IPA
May 30 — Smoked Meat Sample Platter, Rattlesnake and Red Ranger and Milk Stout ($3 per 10-ounce)

* * * * *

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

Marchfest5

It might not have been advertised much outside of Santa Fe, but plenty of folks showed up at Buffalo Thunder.

Last Saturday was the second annual Marchfest put on by Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino. Previously, this was an event that many of the Crew had written off due, mostly in part to little to no advertising, except through commercials on the mainstream radio stations (I’d be pretty surprised if the Crew listened to the radio). (We don’t. — S) There was almost no cooperation from the people running the event back then, and from what I did hear from those who attended, most reviews were mixed.

This year, because I’m the new Santa Fe correspondent, I felt it necessary to head out to my “backyard casino” and investigate what could go so wrong with a brewfest. Painful memories of Lions, Tigers, and Beers still bring forth a full-body shudder. Thankfully, for this event, I wasn’t wandering through the woods alone. I had a trusty guide, and I also bumped into Dark Side Bullpen and Los Alamos correspondent, Reid Rivenburgh, at the event. He came with his lovely wife, and this was their second Marchfest. Here were his thoughts on the event:

“We attended the Buffalo Thunder 2014 Beerfest, and as usual, a year later I can really only recall that I was a little “ehhh” about the event. I remember it being quite crowded, for one thing, and it’s never fun to stand in line for five minutes to fill a barely 1-ounce cup. Some friends were planning to go to this year’s event, so we figured we’d give it another chance. We were glad we did! Perhaps the biggest difference was that there weren’t that many attendees, so lines at each table were at worst a few people. It was far from empty, but it still felt comfortable. (And I was also able to catch up with fellow Dark Sider Luke, who I don’t think I had seen since the IPA Challenge.)

“I’m a dedicated IPA fan and will appreciate just about any style of beer, but my wife steers towards the ciders and fruitier/wheatier beers. Well, this was her event. It felt like there were just as many alternative beers as real ones. The makers of her favorite beer, the Pecan from the Pecan Grill and Brewery in Las Cruces, were in attendance. She even found a new favorite, Whiskey Beer. (Too bad we didn’t note who made it despite going back 14 times.) It was a glorious day for her. I certainly had plenty of Real Beers (TM) to try, but it didn’t feel like there were all that many interesting, unusual ones. Still, it was fun, and they were kind enough to offer complimentary sliders and tamale bites, which were much appreciated. And as a final bonus, since the event was at Buffalo Thunder, we were able to go to their buffet after and, ahem, digest our food and drink before driving off. (Plenty of gambling, too, if you’re into that kind of thing.) Overall, two thumbs up!”

My experience was pretty similar, except I was sans significant other this time around. Upon arrival I was greeted by tables full of beer mugs, T-shirts, water bottles, snacks. It felt like somebody had made a brewfest checklist and followed it. Pretzel necklaces, check. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, until one of those items is left unchecked, right?

Inside the main ballroom, it was a very open space full of tents and booths — nothing new, but always a happy sight. The place felt full enough of people, but it certainly wasn’t overcrowded like some Albuquerque venues, cough, BioPark, cough. I never had to wait in line. Not once. The music was mainly bluesy rock, but solid for a fest. The band was called D.U.S.K. (Dirty Urban Sh*t Kickers) and they kept people in the right beer-drinking mood. I can’t taste beer to Death Metal just yet; after all, my Dark Side training is not fully complete. (We have much work to do, clearly. — S)

Marchfest2

D.U.S.K. takes the stage!

Of the breweries, there was a healthy handful. Even La Cumbre showed up, despite previous confusing reports. And only one Marble Brewery showed up, which, if you saw this year’s Marchfest flyer, you’d get the joke. Santa Fe Brewing Co. poured all they’d promised to pour. It was unfortunate not to see more local guys, especially from Santa Fe, but that’s another can of worms I ain’t touchin’. Still, Tractor, Kellys, and Abbey Brewing Co. came to hang out for the day.

It was nice to drink my way from Kannah Creek (Grand Junction, Colo.), to Mother Road Brewing Co. (Flagstaff, Ariz.) ever since our fearless editor came back from his trip out to Flagstaff in June of last year. I ended up with a pint of their Kolsch towards the end. And I’d do it again. Avery, Breckenridge, and Ska were also representing Colorado, so that was nice.

Marchfest4

Some of the sights and beers.

The high-er rollers came out to the casino from the West Coast — Lagunitas, Stone, Deschutes, Sierra Nevada, and Alaskan. They were all welcome sights, as well, and brought some nice offerings and some special stuff. Did I mention Heineken was there? I usually wouldn’t. But, they were touting this crazy new vacuum-suctioned keg contraption that keeps the sunlight and oxidation out of beer. The beer I tasted was nothing like my memories of those dank, smoke-filled pool halls from college. If it could do that for Heineken, imagine the possibilities. Have you ever known a guy who complained about the oxidation in craft brews? I may know a thousand of them. And then there were the weird guys like Montejo and the Traveler Beer Company, both using some curiously odd mixes and mustaches to hide their macro parentage (so that’s where the mustaches came from!). I may have missed some of the breweries, but it was a big room.

As for value, we received a small taster glass with our ticket. Can’t complain about unlimited tastes. But if you wanted the mug and ticket for a “full beer” you had to pay $10 extra. This is a little bit different from NM Brewers Guild events, which, I believe, traditionally comes with a pint glass and ticket for a full pour. I suppose the extra money went to paying all the hotel and casino staff that were working with the brewery staff as additional pourers. Too bad they couldn’t tell you what you were drinking. Not a huge deal. There was at least one person at each booth that could. The total costs came out to what you might expect from a brewfest when you factor in full beers, food, souvenirs, etc. So, no problem there. There was an even a place, off to the side, where you could buy a six packs of all the stuff you liked.

Marchfest1

Look, proof of all the happy people!

Overall, it was a great time. Generally, I go to fests to try new things I’ve never had before, but I was “working,” so I tried a few new things from Mother Road, Stone, Kannah, but I had no problem playing the hits. Happy that Red Ryeot and State Pen Sour Porter were there. But, you see, I suspect it was a different crowd there than we see at ABQ Brew Fest or even Winter Brew. This crowd was very happy to be trying these beers, many of them for the first time. If this was their introduction to non-light macro lagers or Mexican lagers popular around the area, then from the enthusiasm they showed me, it was a huge success. After all, Sierra Nevada doesn’t make for a bad first experience, does it now?

What makes this brewfest worth attending next year? Well, for one thing, it’s a great venue. Come for a brewfest, and stay for a fun night. Drink great beers with your friends, and have a good time. Does every brewfest need to be an Untappd badge raid? I don’t think so. I can’t always go to my favorite brewery and try something new. I go far too often for that. But I go to have fun. And have fun, I did. Everyone had fun. I’m giving the whole experience a B+. The atmosphere was good. The vibe was good. This good time was well worth the price of admission. Let’s see what they can do next year!

Marchfest3

A couple photo IDs amid more attendees: Bullpen writer Reid Rivenburgh and his wife (top right). Event coordinator Emily Brcic (bottom right) is in the red shirt.

After the event I asked Emily Brcic, the event coordinator, a few questions.

DSBC: Overall, how do you think it turned out?

Brcic: I believe that overall the event was a big success, especially for being our second annual Marchfest. We learned many things from the previous year’s event that we applied this year. One example, was that we doubled the size of the room. This allowed more flow through the event, and eliminated crowded walkways and groups of people not being able to go to the booths that they wished to. We ended up having around 2,000 to 2,500 people at the event, which was a great turnout for an event that is still in it’s growing stages!

DSBC: What was the biggest success of this year?

Brcic: I think that our biggest success was the number of vendors/distributors that we had turn out and how great their booths and products looked. They all took a lot of pride in showing their products off to the guests, and I think this translated into a great guest experience. We had over 100 different beers this year, which was an increase from about 60 (I believe) last year, and we hope to increase that by even more for next year!

DSBC: Anything you would do differently next year?

Brcic: If I would change anything for next year’s event, it would be to push the event back a few hours. We struggled both years now with the majority of people not showing up until 1:30 to 2 p.m., when the event starts at noon. If we were to push the start time back, I think this would be beneficial to everyone involved.

* * * * *

All in all, allow me to say, well done Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino. Well done, Emily Brcic, for taking the lessons you learned from the previous event and really putting together something worth coming out for. Everyone I spoke to, and the majority were from Albuquerque (that was surprising), had nothing but positive things to say. I’ll reiterate, everyone had a good time. We can’t always go to Disneyland expecting new rides. Sometimes you just get drunk and ride the teacups, but it’s all good fun in the right place. Stay festy my friends!

Cheers!

— Luke

If you were in attendance, tell us what you thought about Marchfest on our Facebook page.

For more #CraftBeer News and @NMDarkSideBC info, follow me on Twitter @SantaFeCraftBro

Oh, Hopfest, you lovely giant beer festival, you have returned. It’s Lucky No. 7 for Hopfest, which returns to the Isleta Casino this Saturday. Tickets are still available online today (Friday). They go up in price at the door ($35 for general admission, $45 for Extra Hoppy Hour), so we highly recommend you get them online while you still can. And if any are left (it was 85-percent sold out Thursday morning), get those Extra Hoppy Hour tickets. It’s worth it to pay a little extra to have an hour (2-3 p.m.) of shorter lines. Pick out the beers or breweries you absolutely, positively have to try and hit those first.

So many beers, so little time. Again.

So many beers, so little time. Again.

Event organizer Marne Gaston had to put together a lot of this from afar — her family actually moved to Sarasota, Florida, earlier this year — but she said no one should worry, all is well.

“Well, we started a year ago, so the long-distance part just started happening,” she said. “I mean, it’s gone really well. It’s lucky number seven, we have 70 breweries, seven bands … actually, we have 74 breweries. That’s 12 more than last year.”

Ah, but what beers are out there? There’s over 70 breweries present at Hopfest this season, so it’s a lot to sort through. Being Hopfest veterans, the Crew is here to help, as always. Hopfest is divided into two rooms and an outdoor area. We prefer to hit the smaller room on the right side as you walk down the main hall. It gets really crowded once the GA folks are let inside, so hit those breweries first. From there, pick your favorites in the huge main room on the left side. As the GA folks pour in at 3 p.m., head to the outside and enjoy the fresh air and good beers out there.

So by room, here are the breweries to visit and the beers they’re expected to bring. We realize a lot of these beers lists may change by the time the kegs are tapped.

“Part of the problem is I’m bugging them to get their information way in advance so we can get it in the event program,” Marne said. “Whatever information we can get in advance, it helps people plan their day, makes it more fun.”

We did our best to make sure we had up-to-date lists for all the New Mexico breweries present, but a few of them did not have time to get back to us. Nonetheless, this is a listing of the beers we’re targeting. It does not include every brewery present, so there are some you may wish to seek out in addition to these.

UPDATED: As I was helping Marne set things up at Hopfest on Friday, we all found out that Cazuela’s is no longer attending, but Ponderosa is. So where it shows Cazuela’s on the map inside your program, that’s now Ponderosa. Also, we got an updated list from Pi Brewing.

Premier Stage/Side room breweries

Durango Brewing: They’re bringing Durango Dark Lager. That’s all I need.

Eel River: They’re that brewery that does all organic beers. Gotta admit, kinda curious what the heck an Organic Acai Berry Wheat tastes like.

These three lunkheads will be back at Hopfest. Will you?

These three lunkheads will be back at Hopfest. Will you?

Erdinger/Krombacher: These two classic German breweries are bringing some of their wares overseas. Erdinger specializes in weissbier. Krombacher has a weizen as well, plus a pilsner and a dark lager.

Grain Hopper: The Rio Rancho-based home brewing store has concocted a trio of beers. White Knight (Belgian Wit), Over the Pond (Pale Ale), and Hoptoberfest will be available. Looking forward to the last of those three.

Mad River: Never pass up Steelhead Extra Stout. Never.

Mother Road: The Lost Highway Black IPA is some epic stuff. I’m also quite intrigued to try the Red Rye IPA. Beyond those, a Mother Road rep contacted us to say they’re also bringing something special in a Randall, something else in a cask, and a third beer that’s been barrel aged. Oh, you are much to good to us, supreme lord of the Flagstaff brewing scene. WE’RE NOT WORTHY!

Ponderosa: They just signed up Friday. We don’t know what they’re bringing, but we’ll stop by and see what they’ve got.

Total Wine collective: The jumbo beer store is bringing three unique beers — Clown Shoes’ Crunkle Sam (barleywine), Pike’s Naughty Nelly (a gold artisinal ale, whatever that means), and Laughing Dog’s Sneaky Pete, which sounds like a DIPA and checks in at 10 percent ABV.

Cider-palooza: You know that Johnny Appleseed badge on Untappd? You can start leveling up on that there’s so many cideries here. There are going to be four alone in the side room, including Green Goblin and Thistly Cross.

Main room breweries

Alaskan: We’ve always enjoyed the Amber and Freeride APA. The seasonal they’re bringing is their Pumpkin Porter.

Back Alley: Addison actually ran out of beer downtown because he was saving up for Hopfest. He didn’t get us an updated list, but we have a feeling it will be more than just the Soroche IPA and Berliner Weisse.

Black Diamond: The NorCal brewery with a brewer from ABQ (he and Franz Solo actually went to high school together … this town is so small) is bringing four of its best. If you have never tried the Fracas Imperial Red or the Peak XV Imperial Porter, you’ve been missing out.

Bridgeport: The Oregon brewery has something called Trilogy #2 Aussie Salute, an IPA made with two American hops and two Australian hops. Fair enough, we’ll give it a try.

In 2012, the crazy lines were for Boar's Nest. We expect Pi and Red Door to get huge lines this time.

In 2012, the crazy lines were for Boar’s Nest. We expect Pi and Red Door to get huge lines this time.

Chama River: The Brew Crew’s hefeweizen challenge champion, Hefe Nice Day! will be available, along with the delicious Hardscrabble ESB.

Dukes of Ale: They usually bring several top-notch home brews for us all to try, with patrons getting to vote for the favorite as best of show.

Lagunitas: An Imperial Red, you say? Why yes, I’d love to see what this hop-centric California brewery does with one of those.

Magic Hat: These guys always get points for sheer naming creativity. The scored again with Wilhelm Screamer, their seasonal pumpkin release.

NM Craft Brewing: There’s no entry in the event program, but fear not, the NMCBC folks got back to us on the five beers they have coming down from Las Vegas. On the way are a Session IPA, Rye Pale Ale, Wet and Wild IPA (made with fresh-picked hops; last year’s batch was wholly unique and awesome), Porter, and Cream Ale. Guess we’ll have to try ’em all. Shucks.

Odell: Just when I thought I had all of their beers, they go and bust out Gramps Oatmeal Stout. That sounds surly and mean. Woots.

Pagosa: Mrs. Solo and her dear husband (who’s stuck at the Apple Store during iPhone release weekend; raise a pint in his honor wherever you are) have long sworn by this lovely brewery from southern Colorado. How much do they love it? They claim Pagosa has a better Chile Verde Cerveza than any NM brewery. The good news is you can see if they’re right, because it’s on the menu.

Pi: Hey, remember a couple years ago when the lines for Boar’s Nest were crazy as everyone eagerly anticipated it was opening soon? Well, sadly, it never did, but Pi is one of two new ABQ breweries at Hopfest this year that actually is open already. They’re bringing their West Coast Red, Unchallenged IPA, Apricot Wheat, and a special Bourbon Vanilla Porter.

Red Door: The other new brewery in town is already seeing huge crowds and positive buzz, even among the most discerning of beer drinkers. The Trapdoor Wheat was listed in the event program, but as it’s not ready at the brewery, it won’t be present at Hopfest, either. Don’t fret, the excellent Roamer Red, Threshold IPA, and Unhinged Cider will still be there for your tasting enjoyment.

Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca: The award-winning Nut Brown and the Alien Imperial Stout, their two best beers in our humble opinion, will be present.

Sandia Chile Grill: The Rattlesnake IPA will not be available, as listed in the program. Brew Crew Bullpen member Amy O had stopped by SCG to get a list (and a try a pint or two). They will be bringing their Smoked Stout and Barb’s Barrel Hefeweizen, plus two of Clint’s award-winning meads. Be forewarned, the melomel mead checks in at 14 percent ABV.

Santa Fe: It looks like they’re just bringing the usual suspects (Java Stout, Happy Camper IPA, Oktoberfest, Nut Brown), but it’s always worth stopping by to see if anything special is lurking.

Ska: It’s been a while since I had a Pinstripe Red Ale, so I suppose I can stop by. Would rather have a Steel Toe Stout, which isn’t listed.

Squatters/Wasatch: Been meaning to try the Squatters Wee Peat Scottish Ale, so here’s a good opportunity.

Stumbling Steer: Get your hop bomb on with the Hop Trough DIPA. Or remain standing and go with the Iron Horse IPA. Either way, you can’t lose.

Tractor: It’s a lot of the old favorites (all three canned varieties, plus Apple Cider and Berliner Weisse), but Tractor does list a “surprise beer,” so we’ll have to go by and be surprised and all.

Cider-palooza part two: There are another six cideries scattered around the main room, including Crispin, Strongbow, Johnny Appleseed, Woodchuck, and Angry Orchard. Seriously, if you don’t pick up at least two or three levels on that Untappd badge, you’re not even trying.

Outdoor area breweries

Big Sky: Well, hello there Slow Elk Oatmeal Stout. You sound like our kind of beer.

There will be plenty of beer goodness packed outside.

There will be plenty of beer goodness packed outside.

Boulder: When you need dessert, Shake Chocolate Porter should suffice.

Deschutes: Fresh Squeezed IPA will be available, but not Obsidian Stout. Boo (to the latter, not the former, which is pretty darned tasty for hop lovers).

Left Hand: Milk Stout, Oktoberfest, and Sawtooth (ESB) in one place. Thank you, Left Hand, thank you.

Marble: The list in program has changed considerably, or so Leah Black told us. The popular Double White will still be there, but it will now be joined by the Double IPA, Galaxy IPA, and Pilsner instead of the regular IPA, Red, and Barley Wine. She did not say whether those two “special brews” were still coming. Guess we’ll have to go find out. Oh, darn.

Oskar Blues: The Old Chub Scotch Ale is listed. Please be on nitro. Please, please, PLEASE.

Santa Sidra: Remember how a cider beat out all the beers at the State Fair Pro-Am? Here’s your chance to try this super cider. And further pad your Untappd stats.

Taos Mesa: They listed their tasty Kolsch 45 and Three Peaks IPA, plus the latest incarnation in their Sessions (IPA) series.

* * * * *

All right, that’s just about everything. Get those pretzel necklaces ready, don’t forget the RailRunner times if you’re taking that, and prep your palates. Come Saturday at 2 p.m., it’s go time!

And yes, you can say hello if you see us. We’ll be the bearded lunkheads in black. Plus Mrs. Solo. Hey, we gotta class up this trip at least somewhat, right?

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The 16th annual San Juan Brewfest took place on Saturday, August 23, in beautiful downtown Durango. Benefiting the United Way of SW Colorado, the brewfest had a great turnout, despite the rain that threatened to dampen the mood. Held at Buckley Park near the northern tip of Main Street, there couldn’t be an easier event to find, or find your way home from.

There was quite the crowd at the San Juan Brewfest.

There was quite the crowd at the San Juan Brewfest.

There were over 50 breweries, with 35 from Colorado, six from New Mexico, and nine were from breweries ranging from the east coast to the west coast, including a few macrobreweries. Macros always reminded me of the old guy at the college parties. “Dude are you like, a professor or something?” But I kid the big guys. With all that the San Juan Brewfest had to offer, you could sample a beer poured by a familiar face from the likes of Turtle Mountain or Taos Mesa, you could get to know your northern neighbors’ beers a bit better, or you could try a few swallows from far away lands like Boston, Juneau, or Petaluma. (A full list of breweries is below.)

As far as brewfesters go, everyone was very friendly and laid back in that Colorado kinda way. On occasion, there were those folks who were a bit over-excited to talk about their interests, like trail-riding or ciders. Where did that cider guy come from? But there’s nothing wrong with that. Passion is what fuels the craft beer industry, am I right? So keep on keepin’ on, cider guy!

Fans dance to the Hill Stompers.

Fans dance to the Hill Stompers, a band from Los Alamos.

Everyone enjoyed themselves, sampling, noshing on German sausages straight from the grill, and dancing wildly inappropriately (in front of children) to the rockin’ local bands. One of those local bands happened to be local to New Mexico. Have you guys heard the Hill Stompers from Los Alamos? Well do it, already! They’re like a circus marching band fueled by candy corn and cerveza.

Getting to the beer, there were over a hundred beers to try at the brewfest, including some breweries bringing more than the promised two. It was impossible to try them all, or maybe we didn’t try hard enough. With the free taster glass and a handy notepad, we set out to pulverize our palates. And boy did we! My Untappd App sure got a workout the next day. As for my personal favorites, Great Divide had a fantastic dark, roasted, powerful warrior of a beer called the Claymore Scotch Ale (7.7% ABV) that just knocked my hop-socks off. I also really enjoyed Upslope Brewing Co.’s Belgian Style Pale Ale (7.5% ABV), the Face Down Brown by Telluride Brewing Co. (5.7% ABV), and of course the Kriek from Santa Fe Brewing was way up there on my list.

Marble's tent was a popular spot for beer lovers.

Marble’s tent was a popular spot for beer lovers.

There was also a beer that I won’t name that I really liked but couldn’t put my finger on why. Then it dawned on me as I finished that last swig; it REALLY reminded me of something racked from one of La Cumbre’s tanks. Was it one of Elevated IPAs long-lost sisters? I couldn’t tell! I could, however, go on and on about the beers, but there were so many different styles. Most breweries brought an IPA and a pale ale, others brought reds, Belgians, and there were a handful of saisons and sours. But why not just grab my Untappd name and take a look at my journey? LukeDukeSF. Now, I’ll try not to say too much more about this, but after sampling so many IPAs, I can definitely say I prefer New Mexico IPAs to Colorado IPAs. Nuff said.

The competition that day was as hot as the sun, when it did decide to come out. For the Judge’s Choice, Left Hand Brewing Company won third place for their Milk Stout Nitro. Our very own Marble Brewery won second place with their already-award-winning Pilsner. “505! 505!” I chanted silently in my head as I heard the news. Best beer of the fest went to Elevation Beer Company’s Avis IV. And finally, winning People’s Choice for best beer was the Brown Bear Ale from Aspen Brewing Co.

With great weather, great beers, and great company, it was a brewfest to remember, or try REALLY hard to remember. Thanks, Durango, for a great time. See you next year!

Cheers,

Luke!

Everyone was left smiling at the end of the brewfest.

Everyone was left smiling at the end of the brewfest.

2014 San Juan Brewfest Breweries

AC Golden (Golden, CO), Alaskan Brewing (Juneau), Aspen Brewing (CO), Avalanche Brewing (Silverton, CO), Blue Moon Brewing (Golden, CO), Boston Beer, Bottom Shelf Brewery (Bayfield, CO), Boulder Beer (CO), Breckenridge Brewery (CO), Brew Pub and Kitchen (Durango), Bristol Brewing (Colorado Springs), Carver Brewing (Durango), Durango Brewing, Elevation Beer (Poncha Springs, CO), Eske’s Brew Pub & Eatery (Taos), Fort Collins Brewery (CO), Great Divide Brewery (Denver), Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing (Chippewa Falls, WI), Kannah Creek Brewing (Grand Junction, CO), Lagunitas Brewing (Petaluma, CA), Left Hand Brewing (Longmont, CO), Lumberyard Brewing (Flagstaff, AZ), Marble Brewery, Moab Brewery (UT), Mr. Grumpy Pants Brewing (Ouray, CO), New Belguim Brewing (Fort Collins, CO), Oak Creek Brewing (Sedona, AZ), Odell Brewing (Fort Collins, CO), Oskar Blues Brewery (Longmont, CO), Ouray Brewery (CO), Pagosa Brewing and Grill (Pagosa Springs, CO), Palisade Brewing (Palisade, CO), Riff Raff Brewing (Pagosa Springs, CO), Roaring Fork Beer (Carbondale, CO), Rocky Mountain Brewery (Colorado Springs, CO), San Luis Valley Brewing (Alamosa, CO), Santa Fe Brewing, Shock Top Brewing (St. Louis), Sierra Nevada Brewing (Chico, CA), Ska Brewing (Durango), Steamworks Brewing (Durango), Strange Craft Beer (Denver), Taos Mesa Brewing, Telluride Brewing (CO), Three Barrel Brewing (Del Norte, CO), Three Rivers Brewery, Turtle Mountain Brewing, Two Rascals Brewing (Montrose, CO), Upslope Brewing (Boulder, CO), Wolfe Brewing (Pagosa Springs, CO)

It’s another big day for ABQ Beer Week as there are nine total events going on Wednesday, including two beer dinners and a beer breakfast before that.

Beer breakfast, two beer dinners, and plenty of tappings and tastings. Wednesday is going to be a big day.

Beer breakfast, two beer dinners, and plenty of tappings and tastings. Wednesday is going to be a big day.

Featured event

What: Stone Beer Dinner. Where: The Stumbling Steer. When: 6 to 9 p.m. Cost: $65. Details: How does a five-course meal with lots of delicious Stone beers sound? Apparently it sounded pretty good, because this event has sold out. Just check out the beer list — Go to IPA, Saison, IPA, Smoked Porter with Chipotle, Arrogant Bastard, Imperial Russian Stout — plus some additional beers on tap, including Stone beers on cask. With all those beers you get to have special mini grilled cheeses, a new take on bangers and mash, a variation of green eggs and ham, plus a New York strip for the main course, and pudding for dessert. This dinner will leave you fat and happy. But then again, the Steer always leaves you fat and happy. Why you should go: For those who bought a ticket, good for you. For those who didn’t, Franz Solo and Mrs. Solo will be sure to make you regret it by posting a lot of pictures on Facebook and writing up a full review, too.

All the other great events

What: Breakfast & Beer. Where: Cazuela’s. When: 7 to 11 a.m. Cost: Unknown. Details: There aren’t really any details available for this event, other than there will be a full breakfast menu and house beers to go with the dishes. Call Cazuela’s at (505) 994-9364 for more information. Why you should go: We’re kinda curious what they’ve got going on. Satisfy our curiosity by going and finding out. We’d go, but, uh, that’s early. We’re mostly a nocturnal Brew Crew.

What: Boulder Beer Event. Where: The Barley Room. When: 4 to 5 p.m. Cost: Unknown. Details: Another event with no details. We’ll try to call The Barley Room and find out more as to what Boulder Beers will be poured, if there’s a cover charge, and if anything else special is in store for you. Why you should go: We’ll figure that part out for you later.

What: Boulder Beer Special Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Boulder’s Black IPA will be the featured beer at Two Fools. Head on over to try some of this (relatively) new concoction. Why you should go: Has Two Fools disappointed anyone yet? Didn’t think so.

What: Alaskan Tap Takeover. Where: O’Niell’s Juan Tabo. When: 5 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: There will be six Alaskan beers taking over the taps. Amber, White, Summer Ale, Icy Bay IPA, Freeride APA and Stout will be the night’s selections. Why you should go: If you’re up in the Northeast Heights and need a beer fix, this one is tough to beat.

What: Left Hand Tasting. Where: O’Niell’s Nob Hill. When: 5 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free tastings of five Left Hand beers, plus they will be on tap if you want a pint of your favorite. Longtime favorites like Polestar Pilsner and Milk Stout will be there, plus there will be Beer Week Sauce (porter with coffee), Ambidextrous, and Widdershins (barley wine). We don’t know if it’s Ambidextrous #5, a Sticke alt, or #6, a smoked dopple weizenbock. Why you should go: The Sauce, Ambidextrous, and Widdershins are pretty darned good and often hard to find. Here’s your chance to get all three. Plus, you can get the chance to meet me, since I’ll be the official Beer Week volunteer rep at this event.

What: Food Truck Beer Dinner. Where: Marble Downtown. When: 5 to 9 p.m. Cost: $35. Details: Since Stone is sold out, and you’re probably going to be hungry no matter what, head over to Marble for this special dinner. The $35 will get you plates from three food trucks — The Supper Truck, Street Food Institute, Conchitas Creations — and three 10-ounce beers paired up with each dish. For your musical entertainment, The Squash Blossom Boys will be playing from 6 to 9 p.m. Why you should go: It’s hard to pass up the chance to have great food truck meals paired up with Marble beers. Throw in some good bluegrass on Marble’s new covered patio and you’re in for a great night.

What: New Belgium Frozen T-Shirt Contest and Bike Giveaway. Where: Monte Vista Fire Station. When: 7 to 10 p.m. Cost: Unknown. Details: Yeah, we had to admit, this was a weird one when we first saw it. Apparently a frozen T-shirt contest goes like this — they soak a New Belgium shirt, then freeze it solid, and it’s up to folks to then untie the frozen shirt. So, yeah, that could be fun. Plus you get a chance to enter a raffle for a free New Belgium cruiser bike. Why you should go: It might be the most unique event this week. Give it a shot, and let us know how hard it is to untie a frozen shirt.

What: Beer Cocktails. Where: ArtBar by Catalyst Club, 2nd Street and Gold. When: 7 p.m. to midnight. Cost: Unknown. Details: Members and their guests can head over to try a slew of special beer cocktails. Not only that, but you can get the recipes for your favorites and take them home. The cocktails are crafted with Alaskan beers and some other styles as well. Plus, there will be an open mic for entertainment. Why you should go: For those who like to play with their beer, this is your chance.

Got any updates or additional info for the Crew? Email us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com or contact us via Facebook or Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy Day Seven! Just remember to pace yourselves and be responsible.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

ABQ Beer Week keeps rolling along, but it’s a little slower on Day Five, a.k.a. Memorial Day. This is a holiday for families to honor the military servicemen and women who have protected our country. It’s also a day to try to kick that Blues & Brews hangover from Sunday.

There are only four events on Memorial Day, but we all have to rest at some point.

There are only four events on Memorial Day, but we all have to rest at some point.

Featured event

What: La Cumbre Special Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 6 to 8 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: La Cumbre and Two Fools are teaming up for a variation on the popular Malpais Stout. This batch of Malpais had vanilla bean added to it, something that will turn a traditionally strong-flavored beer into something more sweet. We haven’t had it (and one of us will still be in Chicago and thus is sad), so head on down to see what this new variation tastes like. Why you should go: Come on, you know you love the Malpais. Now it’s a sweeter version (or so we’re guessing). Plus, a Kilarney Grilled Chicken Sandwich and a mountain of French Fries sounds like a great post-hangover dinner.

All the other great events

What: Memorial Day Festival. Where: Marble Brewery Downtown. When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Marble’s annual festival falls during Beer Week this year, so why not count it as an event? Unfortunately, details are not present on Marble’s website. There will probably be music and other fun stuff, and we’ll try to find out more and update this post when we can. Why you should go: If nothing else, you can find out what’s happening and let us know.

What: Drink-it-and-Take-it Pint Glass Promotion. Where: The Stumbling Steer. When: All day. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Buy any Stumbling Steer house beer for $7 and you get to take a commemorative pint glass home. Why you should go: Fill your empty bellies with good Steer food (we’d make a list of what we recommend, but suffice it to say, everything is good) and improve your glassware collection at home.

What: Alaskan Brewing Tap Takeover. Where: ArtBar by Catalyst Club, Gold and 2nd Street downtown. When: 6 to 9 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Alaskan is bring nine of its beers to tap at ArtBar. There will also be comedians, poets, artists, and musicians performing. You can get flights of the various beers, too. Those beers are Amber, White, Free Ride APA, Icy Bay IPA, Hopthermia, Stout, Summer Ale, Barley Wine, and the Jalapeno Imperial IPA. Why you should go: Live performers plus nine different beers to try. Trust us, there’s never anything on TV on Memorial Day that you can’t get on DVD. Save “The Dirty Dozen” for later and head over to ArtBar.

Got any updates or additional info for the Crew? Email us at nmdarksidebrewcrew.com or contact us via Facebook or Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy Day Five! Just remember to pace yourselves and be responsible.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The good folks up at the Taos Ski Valley know there is more to life than just skiing and snowboarding. There is beer, and it is good, and it brings people to the valley even after the snow melts.

Down there at the bottom of that ski lift is the Taos Ski Valley, where they will be holding the Spring Beer Festival.

Down there at the bottom of that ski lift is the Taos Ski Valley, where they will be holding the Spring Beer Festival.

To celebrate the change of seasons, the Taos Ski Valley is playing host to the Spring Beer Festival this Saturday from 4:30 to 7 p.m. For $25, you get a commemorative mini-beer mug and unlimited samples from multiple in-state and out-of-state breweries. There were also be three (maybe four) eateries on hand to make sure you are not drinking too much on an empty stomach — Rhoda’s, Bavarian, Sabroso, and hopefully Stray Dog will be on hand.

The entire event will be followed by the birthday celebration for Taos Ski Valley founder Ernie Blake, with fireworks, a torch parade, and more.

As for the beer, 12 breweries will head up on their own, while Premier Distributing will bring beers from five of their clients to the event. The out-of-state breweries signed up for the event are California’s Stone Brewing, plus Colorado’s Boulder Beer, Left Hand, New Belgium, and Oskar Blues.

The joint was jumping at the last beer festival at Taos Ski Valley. (Photo courtesy of Jim Cox)

The joint was jumping at the last beer festival at Taos Ski Valley. (Photo courtesy of Jim Cox)

Due to a time crunch caused by my sports coverage this week, I was not able to get a hold of all the in-state breweries attending the event in regards to what beers they are bringing.

Abbey Brewing — the monks will likely bring some of their top sellers, such as Monks’ Wit, Monks’ Ale, and if everyone is lucky, that wonderful Tripel Special Reserve that they showcased at WinterBrew.

Eske’s — they had not yet finalized their list, but the best guess for their lineup will include standard-bearers like Seco Stout and Green Chile Beer, plus there is the Mesa Red IPA, Dead Presidents Cherry Ale, and Naked Ape, an apricot ale. It does appear Eske’s has all points on the flavor spectrum — hoppy, malty, sweet, spicey — covered with this potential lineup.

High Desert — they currently have 10 beers on tap in Las Cruces, but it’s unknown which of those are coming north. On the lighter side they have a Wheat, Peach Wheat, Bohemian Pilsner, Steam, and an Amber. Darker/heavier beers include IPA, Anniversary IPA, Rye Beer, Imperial Stout, and a Barley Wine.

Enjoy the delectable Stout Americano, Taos patrons!

Enjoy the delectable Stout Americano, Taos patrons!

Marble — brewer Kyle Rudeen will be bringing Farmhouse 111, Stout Americano, Double IPA, and either the Reserve or the Barley Wine. Yeah, basically Marble is bringing some of its biggest, most flavorful beers to Taos to challenge the palates of locals and tourists alike.

Santa Fe — as per usual, the big guns are being brought out, including the current seasonal, Irish Red Ale. Also on hand will be Happy Camper IPA, Imperial Java Stout, Saison ’88, and Black IPA. They will also bring some bottles of Chicken Killer for the barley wine lovers.

Taos Ale House — the local guys are bringing up Mosaic Imperial IPA, Mosaic Lollipop Pale Ale, Brook Trout Brown, and the always wonderful Simple Porter. If anyone gets a chance to try their other beers, please let us know. We need to make a Brew Crew Taos Trek III in the near future.

Taos Mesa — efforts to reach them were again unsuccessful. Among the beers currently on tap at TM, some that the Crew would like to try include the Amarillo Rojo and Imperial Honey Oat Porter. Different Crew members have enjoyed the Superstitious Stout, Notorious ESB, and Big Brown. Hopefully some of these will be on hand Saturday.

Premier Distributing’s clients are Alaskan, Goose Island, Odell, Tractor, and Woodchuck. Expect bottles from some of the beers you can currently find at Jubilation, like Alaskan ESB, Odell Runoff Red IPA, Tractor Farmer’s Almanac IPA, and more.

We hope everyone up in Northern New Mexico enjoys this event. The folks at Taos Ski Valley are already planning future events, including an Oktoberfest. Keep supporting craft beer in all corners of our state!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister