Posts Tagged ‘Avery Brewing’

Musings from GABF 2018: Dawn of the Dragon on Day 1

Posted: October 4, 2018 by Franz Solo in GABF 2018
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The variants of New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk were exceptional at GABF.

Franz Solo here. I’ve finally gotten around to piecing together my take on our second GABF experience as members of the esteemed press. (Your second, my third, Luke’s first. — S) What follows is exactly what happened, nothing omitted, nothing added, no more, no less than the truth, er, that’s what we usually do. And now for something completely different.

Metal is a must when flying.

The day started ominously, a cold, dark drizzle like some leftover tropical deluge from yesterday’s trip. Delayed en route as some strange screeching and sliding vehicles decided to collide. But, we made it anyway. There was no trouble with the guards or the weird scanners and they strangely set us loose. It begins! Omnium Gatherum pummeling my brain cells to awakening with the Burning Cold as we ascend in the clouds riding this steel torpedo through the mist. To the mountains, green and gold with flares of red as the Aspen change and snow kisses the peaks, to them we fly as clouds of a cloud or some wandering eldritch vapor the haze of such a like we had never seen.

LVX Lightbringer pierced our cloud existence with cruel harsh morning light, glare upon glare. But, those of us who had traveled all night were in desperate need of charging from a different source, our dark lord and savior of mornings: Coffeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. This, however, was no ordinary blanket of haze. She returned and crashed over us in wave after wave, steel crushing, steel battering our skulls, er, well, you’ve heard this tale before, nothing novel, all is permitted.

The various levels of Crew consciousness on the train from the Denver airport.

We of the great white moth flecked silver turned downward in a great swooping and screeching of metals wings and gnashing sharp pointy teeth. But, to what end? With Odin on our side, to Valhalla we ride! Train ticket, eh? And, here we go!

We arrived at our hotel early, but were greeted warmly and given an early check-in, which was, well, wonderful. Our room has quite a view of the convention center and feels like we are in some Bond villain’s lair with all of the gadgets and modern accoutrements. I mean, the regular patrons of the establishment looked at us in our black metal shirts with some kind of surprised shock and horror that we could possibly also be guests in the hotel. Little did they know that we had every right to the suite, just as much as they, and in the end, we were probably far less of a nuisance overall.

There were a few thoughts of taking the Denver Biscuit Company artwork home, but alas, none of our luggage could fit this masterpiece of weird.

We took our time and unwound before going down to grab our credentials and check in at the convention center as members of the press. This was swiftly and efficiently accomplished with a smile from some very nice staff. At this point, it had been some 16 hours since my last actual meal, so we hungry and caffeine-deprived trio headed to Denver Biscuit Company to refuel and regroup.

This was a weird sort of time warp, a place stuck between the days of atomic cowboys and neon, and fat man and little boy, and something quite modern as well. The coffee was plentiful and delicious, biscuits to tame the savage hunger of the weary traveler. The patio was overrun by 20 or so Stone Brewing employees, so we knew we were in the right place.

Mere blocks from our black metal friends at TRVE, we simply had to head over for a pint. Abysswalker was our choice, a lovely breakfast haze with sweet fresh grass, orange, and a mineral finish. These quaffed, it was time for a well-deserved nap in our delightfully frigid room, which was a wonderful respite from the heat which blasted off our friendly clouds and the haze of our morning flight.

The mere fact they still give us press passes is remarkable.

A quick bite and a draught later it was time. We stalked down Stout Street to the press and brewer entrance and were swiftly through the queue. The doors were opened and we flooded in to the great hall where the beer never ends. Being allowed in the venue a tad before the great hordes would stampede, I took a few moments to drink in the aromas, the sights, the sounds of what was to come. One of my favorite traditions is the pipe-and-drum band that symbolically opens each tasting session, which of course becomes all the more hilarious seeing some of the more hungover fellow travelers on the later days react in horror to the wonderful noise they make.

Hello, friends, part one.

Hello, friends, part two.

On to our assignment, we initially visited as many of our local New Mexico breweries as possible before turning loose on the plethora of amazing options for us to sample. Beyond that, we made some new acquaintances with a fair swath of brews across the spectrum. Highlights of the evening for me were the following:

  • Lagers from Skull Mechanix Brewing out of Austin, Texas, with some really great German and Czech examples quite true to the original styles.
  • Dragon’s Milk Maple Oak bourbon barrel-aged stout from New Holland was just incredible as well, like a triple stout version of liquid pancakes (Great Notion’s Double Stack is one of our absolute favorites in the same vein), decadent to the last drop. 
  • Brooklyn Brewing’s 2014 cognac barrel-aged barleywine, Hand & Seal, which they graced us with was incredibly smooth and had a lovely depth of character.
  • Mocha Machine from Beachwood Brewing of Long Beach, California, could really wake the dead with such a strong coffee character deep and earthy.
  • Avery brought out the big guns with four of their five beers clocking in at over 16-percent ABV, all of which were lovely. Fimbulvvinter and Plank’d were new to me and really excellent, especially with the barrel-tapped version of Plank’d. We may have stopped just a couple of times for my favorite beer, Tweak, as well and I had the chance to snap a photo of myself with Adam Avery, which was quite a memorable moment.

An unexpected delight, the lagers from this Austin brewery were tremendous.

This was a bucket-list brewery for Stoutmeister.

We may have revisited this local brewery a few times. Just a few.

The beard game at GABF was strong this year.

To round out this lovely beginning to the weekend were stops at Cigar City for fresh Jai Alai (a much needed hop-filled respite from the ever-ranging plethora of wonderful pastry and barrel-aged stouts), Oskar Blues for more stout goodness with JAHvanilla Ten FIDY (man this was outstanding and a much needed coffee boost), and finishing with some Heretic Goo prior to Horse and Dragon, which had many lovely stouts (more on these later).

With that, our first day of the adventure was complete, now for the rush of night air on our short stroll back to the fifth floor of our lair to re-hydrate and regroup, take in the great roar and the hum of well, the great droves such as we who love great beer. 

Cheers to Adam Avery and all the wonderful beers his brewery has bestowed upon us.

I’ll return next week with tales from day two in Valhalla. Until then, challenge your palates, drink deep, and be never afraid to try a new beer, you never know what wonders or horrors you might find!

Skål!

— Franz Solo

Rock & Brews will host a special beer dinner Tuesday night. (Photo courtesy of Rock & Brews)

Beer dinners are plentiful in this day and age, but they are almost always limited to a single brewery’s offerings. Well, the folks at Rock & Brews decided that it was time to pair up some of their excellent food with beers from more than one brewery.

The dinner will take place Tuesday night at 7, costing $40 per person, or two for $70. Guests will be greeted with a welcome pint of Santa Fe’s Freestyle Pilsner. The four-course meal will feature the following pairings with local and regional beers.

  • Cheese (goat, green chile cheddar, gouda) and cracker trio, paired with Great Divide’s Roadie Grapefruit Radler
  • Braeburn apple salad adorned with Strongbow Cherry Blossom Cider vinaigrette, paired with Sierra Nevada’s Hazy Little Thing IPA
  • Surf (garlic butter shrimp) and turf (grilled Asian-marinated tri-tip) with braised local greens and carrot ginger mash, paired with Bosque’s Scotia Scotch Ale
  • Pineapple upside-down cake with vanilla stout creme anglaise atop vanilla ice cream, paired with Avery’s Tweak

Tickets are available at Rock & Brews, but as the time goes closer make sure to call first at (505) 340-2953.

Thanks to Angelo Orona of Craft King Consulting for putting this together, and for the heads up.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have fun this weekend, everyone!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Denver called. Franz Solo and Stoutmeister answered.

Denver called. Franz Solo and Stoutmeister answered.

We were somewhere around Wagon Mound, on the edge of the northern plains, when the bugs began to take hold. No seriously, these were a veritable swarm of all sorts of insectoids smashing and crashing against the car. Wait until you see the goddamn locusts! But I digress, it was a warm sunny day when Stoutmeister and I set out to the grand city of Denver to seek our fortunes in the plethora of outstanding brews to be found there and bang our heads to some absolutely amazing Finnish melodic death metal.

They have a sense of old-school humor at Trinity in Colorado Springs.

They have a sense of old-school humor at Trinity in Colorado Springs.

We stopped in Colorado Springs to get some much needed sustenance and sample a brew or two at Trinity Brewing for some delicious sliders and epic mac n cheese while sipping on an outstanding coffee stout. Those who love sours and saison would have a field day at this joint, for those of us who had just drove five hours at top speed, we needed sustenance and coffee-infused beer to finish the drive to Denver!

Once we arrived in the city proper, our accommodations were stupendous, and we were whisked away to the Atomic Cowboy, a top-notch beer bar on Colfax, where we imbibed several local brews, some as a preview of what was to come and others which were welcome new beers to our palates.

Lunch at Wynkoop. Don't panic, we had food, too.

Lunch at Wynkoop. Don’t panic, we had food, too.

The architecture of the Wynkoop building was rather impressive.

The architecture of the Wynkoop building was rather impressive.

The following morning we trekked to Wynkoop Brewing for an early lunch. The brews were average, but we were there for the food and the ambiance, which were excellent. I took a bit of a walk through the basement and was greeted with the requisite aging and barrel room.

The mothership that is Great Divide.

The mothership that is Great Divide.

The elusive Yeti, and friends.

The elusive Yeti, and friends.

We then trekked our way over to Great Divide in search of the elusive Yeti. Our arrival was badly timed, at least musically, for we were wearing our Pantera and Iron Maiden shirts and the tune playing in the joint was anything but metal. The bartender jokingly greeted us with “the metal brewery is just down the road,” referring of course to TRVE Brewing, which incidentally enough was on the list for the day’s adventures. We settled in for a veritable smorgasbord of delightful samples including Claymore, Hercules (which I have previously reviewed and was just wonderful on tap), as well as of course the inimitable Yeti.

A little slice of Germany in the heart of Denver.

A little slice of Germany in the heart of Denver.

Now that is a sampler tray.

Now that is a sampler tray.

Our palates whetted, our coffers filled we made our way to a little slice of Deutschland in the heart of Denver. Ever since my wife made her way to Prost, she raved at how I would adore them and she was not wrong in the slightest. Prost is as damn near to drinking German brews as one can get outside of being in Germany itself, as far as I’m concerned (one day that holy pilgrimage to Munich must be made), and we absolutely loved their beer and everything else about the place. Particular favorites of mine were the now GABF gold medal-winning Weißbier and the exceptional Keller Pils. Were I a resident of fair Denver it would be safe to call this an often frequented joint for the beer and the atmosphere alike.

All we got is \m/ \m/

All we got is \m/ \m/

Our German palates whetted, our loot of barrel-aged Doppelbock stowed, we set off to black metal heaven in the aforementioned TRVE Brewing. Our arrival, as it turns out, was badly timed. Or at least we had a bit of time to kill before the joint opened for the day so we went for a short stroll down the block and back. The shops around TRVE are a testament to the intriguing melange of culture growing in Denver and Colorado proper. You have high-end retail and fine dining next to dispensaries, cross fit, yoga, and adult shops. What to make of this blend? Time will tell.

Oh, glorious flight of TRVE brews.

Oh, glorious flight of TRVE brews.

We were the first inside TRVE as the doors opened and this brewery was everything we had been told it would be. A medieval long table commands the hall, the walls bedecked with black metal inspired art, and the altar of Baphomet, which also houses the taps, is stunning to say the least. Of all the places to prepare for a Finnish melodic death metal show this was TRVEly the ticket! The beer was as excellent as the metal music filling the place was well, metal. Our particular favorites were Tunnel of Trees IPA and the delightful Stout O))). This really felt like home to me and I would love to have a metal-themed brewery closer to home, although it is likely I would never want to leave.

We want to come back for some Saturday footy on the telly.

We want to come back for some Saturday footy on the telly.

We did, however, have a show to get to and required sustenance prior to the event. The Three Lions proved to be an excellent choice indeed and we would be quite lucky to catch a game or two of English Premier League, or most any other sport in the joint on a busy weekend.

The glory of metal was bestowed upon us.

The glory of metal was bestowed upon us.

Our show at the Bluebird Theater was a night to remember. The local openers Solar Flare set the tone and Omnium Gatherum and Insomnium put on a pair of stunning sets that set our hearts aflame with some rousingly grand metal.

This isn't heaven, but it's close.

This isn’t heaven, but it’s close.

The upstairs taproom. Jeebus.

The upstairs taproom. Jeebus.

The downstairs taproom.

The downstairs taproom.

We awoke the following day and set out for the great Avery in search of glory, and glory found us as well. For those of us who had been up all night head-banging to metal, we were in no mood for coffee and doughnuts, we needed strong drink, or at least a little slice of Valhalla to tide us over. The new Avery headquarters is simply jaw dropping. An enormous building, for starters, with a pair of taprooms and a modern brewing facility that would make many in the industry quite jealous. We were like a couple of giddy kids making our way to wonderland and the anticipation was met with some of the hands-down best beers I have ever had the pleasure of tasting from the source. Having enjoyed many of Avery’s offerings over the past decade or so, we stuck to some of the brewery exclusive options with such delectable choices as Gored (a splendid pumpkin beer), Out of Mind coffee stout, and Raja IPA (here’s hoping we get a few of these in Albuquerque!).

The ridiculous lineup of Avery beers, many only on tap at the brewery.

The ridiculous lineup of Avery beers, many only on tap at the brewery.

The food offerings were definitely on par with the quality of the beer, a menu fit for a king to be sure. Being that we are indeed the Dark Side Brew Crew, we were well prepared for such powerful brews as the Reverend (standard and barrel aged), Samael’s, The Beast (a particular favorite of mine from the days when you could procure bombers of the behemoth), and of course Uncle Jacob’s and Tweak. To say our palates were in heaven is the truth, nothing less, nothing more.

We were properly prepared for our self-guided brewery tour.

We were properly prepared for our self-guided brewery tour.

Represent properly.

Represent properly.

A snifter of Jacobs and Tweak in hand, we wandered through the sections of the brewery proper that were open to us and basked in the glory of being at the source for so many wonderful creations.

A packaging line for the ages.

A packaging line for the ages.

Tanks as far as the eye could see.

Tanks as far as the eye could see.

Dear lord, now that is a brewhouse.

Dear lord, now that is a brewhouse.

Alas, all good things … well we brought just a few souvenirs home … must eventually come to an end. We made the grueling drive through rush hour hell to the high speed burn from Raton to the edge of Santa Fe (our insectoid friends returned, with rain to boot) and found our way back to safety and security in our homes at last, just another couple of freaks in the freak kingdom of fair ‘Burque.

That should tide us over for a little while, right?

That should tide us over for a little while, right?

Until next time, Colorado.

Until next time, Colorado.

Until the next grand adventure we bid you keep the metal loud and the beer exceptional.

Prost!

— Franz Solo

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

Greetings, everyone. Hope you are all well-rested now. If not, get on that. ABQ Beer Week was bigger and better than ever, but after 11 days of beer events, we all have to admit we are pretty darn tired. It was an exhausting affair. At least it was fun. So much fun. So much fun it is hard to put it into words. So much as Luke did with the Outside Bike & Brew Festival in Santa Fe, I just assembled a bunch of our photographs and used this as a wrap-up.

Do not fret, however, we are not totally going to cop out on things. We did try a lot of beers, and while some were one-offs or specialties, we also tried a lot that you can get on tap or for sale in bottles/cans/bombers around town. The Crew will present our choices for the best beers of Beer Week. Just as soon as I get everyone to wake up and remember what they had.

Without further rambling, here are our pics from ABQ Beer Week 2015.

ABQ Beer Week kicked off with the simultaneous release of the 505 Collaboration Session IPA, left, and Canteen's Hops-pitality IPA.

ABQ Beer Week kicked off with the simultaneous release of the 505 Collaboration Session IPA, left, and Canteen’s Hops-pitality IPA.

AmyShadeTree

One of the many food and beer pairings over at Shade Tree Customs & Cafe, who brought their A Game to Beer Week.

AmyTwoFools

Two Fools did their fair share of tappings as well, including Hitachino Nest White Ale.

AmyStereoBar

New Mexico Craft Brewing came down from Las Vegas to stage a tap takeover at Stereo Bar downtown.

2015ABQBWTractorBowling

We went bowling with the folks from Tractor. Um, we were rusty, that totally explained our scores. That and the Farmer’s Tan Red Ale.

Nexus' anniversary party was a huge hit, as if you couldn't tell by the crowds.

Nexus’ anniversary party was a huge hit, as if you couldn’t tell by the crowds.

Nob Hill Bar & Grill was one of our favorite spots throughout Beer Week. Our friend Karim agreed, twas quite metal.

Nob Hill Bar & Grill was one of our favorite spots throughout Beer Week. Our friend Karim agreed, twas quite metal.

Mother Road brought their beers to Jubilation for all to try.

Mother Road brought their beers to Jubilation for all to try.

Beer, Cheese, & More at Marble was a tremendous success. It was so nice, they did it twice.

Beer, Cheese, & More at Marble was a tremendous success. It was so nice, they did it twice.

Food and beer goes together brilliantly sometimes. Red Door's food truck battle was one outstanding example.

Food and beer goes together brilliantly sometimes. Red Door’s food truck battle was one outstanding example.

More food and beer, this time the Sierra Nevada Cheese & Sausage festival at O'Niell's.

More food and beer, this time the Sierra Nevada Cheese & Sausage festival at O’Niell’s.

Franz and Mrs. Solo basked in the warm glow of the inaugural BearFest.

Franz and Mrs. Solo basked in the warm glow of the inaugural BearFest.

Marble, Santa Fe, and everyone else brought their finest to Blues & Brews.

Marble, Santa Fe, and everyone else brought their finest to Blues & Brews.

The crowd was bustling at Blues & Brews, but it was a happy pack of beer drinkers.

The crowd was bustling at Blues & Brews, but it was a happy pack of beer drinkers.

Firkin Brewhouse, which will open soon in the Brewery District, made a nice debut at Blues & Brews. Their Capo's Java Stout was excellent.

Firkin Brewhouse, which will open soon in the Brewery District, made a nice debut at Blues & Brews. Their Capo’s Java Stout was excellent.

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 were a happy bunch. From left, Adam, Laura, Stoutmeister, Kristin, with the photo bomb from Karl.

The Crew came up short in the second Battle of the Beer Geeks (congrats again to the Babes in Brewland!), but we still had a great time, and not just because of Baby Bannon. From left, proud parents Brandon and Taylor, Mrs. Solo, Franz Solo, John, and Stoutmeister all enjoying our Darkside Donutbrau.

The Crew came up short in the second Battle of the Beer Geeks (congrats again to the Babes in Brewland!), but we still had a great time, and not just because of Baby Bannon. From left, proud parents Brandon and Taylor, Mrs. Solo, Franz Solo, John, and Stoutmeister all enjoying our Darkside Donutbrau.

The Marble staff was all smiles throughout Beer Week, including at the second Beer, Cheese, & More at Marble Westside.

The Marble staff was all smiles throughout Beer Week, including at the second Beer, Cheese, & More at Marble Westside.

2015ABQBWTwoFools

Another outstanding entry for Two Fools’ tappings was Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout.

Hoppiness Envy, the collaboration IPA between Canteen and Bosque, was an amazing addition to the Beer Week fun.

Hoppiness Envy, the collaboration IPA between Canteen and Bosque, was an amazing addition to the Beer Week fun.

Avery's Uncle Jacob's Stout at Nob Hill Bar & Grill was a fitting finale for a couple of us.

Avery’s Uncle Jacob’s Stout at Nob Hill Bar & Grill was a fitting finale for a couple of us.

There are a lot of people to thank for all the fun of the past week-plus. I realize I will miss a few on this list, but here are the ones my tired mind could remember: Thomas DeCaro, Monica Mondragon, Silas Sims, Tony Calder, Angelo Orona, Skye Devore, Chris Goblet, Amberley Rice, Leah Black, Carlos Contreras, Zach Guilmette, Barbie Gonzalez, Ken Carson, Antal Maurer, John Bullard, Brady McKeown, Brandon Venaglia, Patrick Cavanaugh, all the bar and brewery staffs, the festival volunteers, all of you happy beer drinkers, and last and most importantly the amazing Marne Gaston. Thank you one and all!

We will see you all around the breweries and upcoming festivals. If you have any photos or stories you would love to share from Beer Week, email them to us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com. And yes, we are still taking signups for the NM Brewers Guild Enthusiast Membership. Just send us your name and email and we will add you to the list to give to the Guild.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

And so it begins!

From towers of sours to beer battles and beer dinners, this is how you start your weekend.

The end is nigh, but there is still much more to drink. Welcome to the second and final weekend of ABQ Beer Week. Friday kicks off with all sorts of events scattered across town as this annual tradition nears its end for 2015. We lead off with the return of the popular Tower of Sour at Back Alley Draft House.

Beyond that there is more fun scheduled for Nob Hill Bar & Grill, Rock & Brews, Two Fools, Jubilation, O’Niell’s Juan Tabo, Kellys Brewpub, Tractor Wells Park, and both Marble locations. Throw in the first ABW event at the new Sinners ‘N Saints (which replaced the short-lived LOCAL Brewhouse), and you have a full Friday ahead of you.

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: Third Annual Tower of Sour. Where: Back Alley Draft House. When: 5 p.m. Cost: $15 for seven samples and a 10-ounce pour of your favorite.

Details: It’s back! The annual adventure in sour beers returns to BADH, this time featuring Marble Brett IPA, Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose, Santa Fe Sour State Pen Porter (aged two years), New Belgium La Folie, and BADH’s homemade trio of Belgian Dark Sour, Berliner Weissbier, and Indigenous Prickly Pear Lambic. It’s the All-American incarnation this year. We doubt anyone will complain.

Why you should go: If you love sour beers, and we know many of you do, this event was made for you. Plus, you can order NY Pizza Department slices and watch Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals on TV. Go Lightning!

All the other great events

What: North Coast Tap Takeover. Where: O’Niell’s Juan Tabo. When: 11 a.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: A bunch of beers from North Coast Brewing will be available. Why you should go: Come on, you’re curious to know which beers. Head over and then let us know.

What: Firkin Friday. Where: Marble (both locations). When: Noon. Cost: No cover charge. Details: We’re anxiously awaiting the list of casks (three Downtown, two Westside) that will be available. Why you should go: Isn’t it already your Friday tradition to visit Marble for a cask ale? Yeah, we thought so.

What: Redd’s Green Apple Ale 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: Stone Tap Invasion. Where: Rock & Brews. When: 3 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: A bunch of Stone beers will be available, including Stochasticity Project, Ruination 2.0, and Points Unknown IPA, a collaboration between Stone, Ecliptic, and Wick Weed. Why you should go: Because Stone still kicks butt, that’s why. And so does Wicked Weed, so that collaboration IPA sounds wonderful.

What: Marble Tasting. Where: Jubilation. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples, including White Out. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Kellys Special Beer Release. Where: Kellys Brewpub. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The brewers at Kellys have created two new beers, a Saison and Sandia Saison, that will be tapped this afternoon. Why you should go: Go find out the difference between the two variations while relaxing on that giant patio.

What: Avery Special Tapping and Alpine NM Draft Kickoff. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Oh, just a keg of the amazingly epic Uncle Jacob’s Stout from Avery that’s been aging a few extra months. There will also be two Alpine beers making their NM debut in Hoppy Birthday (American Pale Ale) and Duet (American IPA). Why you should go: Please head over and welcome Alpine to ABQ. If you’re not a hops person, trust us, the Uncle Jacob’s has you covered.

What: Smithwick’s Nitro Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Yup, the classic Irish ale has been put on nitro. Why you should go: It was already a smooth beer, now it might just be the smoothest ever.

What: Boulder Beer Sampling. Where: Total Wine Uptown. When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Battle of Fort Albuquerque. Where: Sinners ’n Saints (formerly The LOCAL Brewhouse). When: 6 to 9 p.m. Cost: No cover charge listed. Details: It’s a good old-fashioned beer battle as Colorado’s New Belgium and Odell go up against Bosque and La Cumbre. Why you should go: Lots of great beers to try in a competition format.

What: Odell Beer Dinner. Where: Crown Room at The Downs Casino. When: 6:30 p.m. Cost: $49.99, call (505) 767-7166 to make reservations. Details: Six Odell beers have been paired with a five-course meal — Hawaiian Ahi Poke with Easy Street Wheat; Maryland Crab Cake and Kicked up Hummus with IPA; Baby Field Greens, Fennel, and Duck Salad with Loose Leaf Session IPA; Short Ribs, Cabbage Rolls, and Sausage with Cutthroat Porter and Tree Shaker Imperial Peach IPA; Homemade Double Brazzle Brownie with Brazzle Ale. Why you should go: All that delicious food paired with all that delicious beer.

What: Youngsville CD Release Party. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 8 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Youngsville will be on hand to perform and release their copy of “Drought City,” which is free with a paid bar tab. Bellemah and Slow Jeremiah will open. Why you should go: Support local music while drinking local 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 Sunday. 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
What: Beer and smoked meat pairing; beers are $3.50 per pint, $6 per 10-ounce mead sample
Today — 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

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

Greetings, everyone. May this dark and dreary Friday nonetheless be filled with the promise of a good weekend filled with quality beer. All of us in the Brew Crew are looking forward to it, even though we have to get up awfully early (by our mostly nocturnal standards) on Saturday. Why would we be getting up early? To brew another beer at a brewery, of course.

The Crew gets to brew another big, dark beer, this time at Chama River.

The Crew gets to brew another big, dark beer, this time at Chama River.

Yes, we’re humble-bragging again. Let the hate flow, if necessary. This time around the Crew will brew with Zach Guilmette and David Facey over at Chama River. Zach has concocted a recipe for a foreign export stout called Obey the Darkside (natch). We get to help out at the early hour of 8 a.m. Anyone who has had Sleeping Dog Stout lately, or had the first incarnation of Panama Joe at Il Vicino in 2013 (which won a GABF gold medal), knows that Zach is really, really good at brewing big, malty stouts. We expect Obey the Darkside to be another epic addition to Chama’s lineup. As for what we’re doing this time around — besides cracking jokes, making obscure pop culture references, and trying to convince everyone to crank up “The Number of the Beast” to 11 on the Chama sound system — we’ll probably just be assisting in whatever capacity Zach wants. This is his show, we’re just the supporting cast.

If we’re lucky, our MIA members (Brandon, Porter Pounder) from the last brew session at Canteen will be able to attend. Who knows, maybe we’ll even do a little filming of the process instead of just taking still photos this time. Just wish us luck again. And yes, we’ll be drinking our body weight in coffee again, too.

Boxing Bear celebrates Friday with a new cask offering. (Photo courtesy of Boxing Bear)

Boxing Bear celebrates Friday with a new cask offering. (Photo courtesy of Boxing Bear)

Weekend beer wonders

There are a bunch of random tastings, special tappings, casks, live events, and more this weekend. Here’s a quick roundup.

And if there is anything we’ve missed, please let us know and we will update this list. Don’t want to leave anyone out!

  • Back Alley is tapping its Pre-Prohibition Malt Tonic tonight (Friday). It’s a brown ale based on a 110-year-old recipe.
  • Boxing Bear’s cask is Uppercut IPA dry-hopped with Falconer’s Flight 7 C’s. It’s on tap today.
  • Canteen doesn’t believe the weekend ends Sunday. They have a special event for mug club members Monday from 5 to 8 p.m. Head over and try two of the barrel-aged beers, the Tequila Barrel IPA (8.3% ABV, 125 IBU) and Wine Barrel Spiced Belgian (9.2% ABV). You get a 10-ounce glass of each with your card.
  • La Cumbre’s cask for today features Elevated IPA dry-hopped with New Zealand Green Bullet. Adoughbe Pizza will be parked out front for all your culinary needs.
  • Lizard Tail has live music Saturday at 8 p.m. Solo guitarist Robert Otero will perform.
  • Nexus is having a Walking Dead Pinball party Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. Wait, what? They have a Walking Dead pinball machine now, and for three canned foods as a donation, you can participate in a tournament on the machine prior to the viewing party for this week’s episode.
  • Prior to that at Nexus, brewer Kaylynn McKnight will be hosting “ugly sweater” tours of the brewery Saturday at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. The tours cost $12 for non-members and $10 for members, but if you wear an ugly sweater, you get $2 off. The tour comes with an ugly sweater souvenir pint glass.
  • Avery Brewing is not just for sale at Jubilation, it’s also on tap at The Stumbling Steer. White Rascal and Czar Imperial Stout are both available. Dear lord, Steer, first your own Soiled Dove Imperial Stout and now the Czar? Are you trying to kill us … with love?
  • Don’t forget, the Desert Darlings will be performing at Tractor Wells Park tonight at 7. The Darling Old West: A Belly Dance Saloon Show is something you can’t miss. Unless you’re covering the Onate-La Cueva game for the Las Cruces Sun-News. Hey, I gotta pay for all these beers.
  • Jodie Herrera’s art show, The Shape I’m In, is still set for Saturday night at Wells Park.
  • There are also rumors that Turkey Drool may go on tap this weekend at Wells Park. If so, stay out of the Crew’s way. We got first dibs. Speaking of first dibs …
  • Blue Corn’s Russian Imperial Stout will be arriving at Draft Station ABQ some time this weekend. We’re so happy.
  • Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn will debut Rakau Single Hop IPA today. The cask over at the Santa Fe Draft Station will be dry-hopped Amber Ale.
  • For take-home beers, in addition to recent recommendations like Avery’s Tweak, Jubilation now has (deep breath) Stone Stochasticity Project Master of Disguise Imperial Golden Stout. Yes, it’s a golden stout. Yes, we’re very intrigued. Yes, Brandon and Franz Solo are planning a collaboration review of this one. I’ll add my two cents as well.
Awesome gear like this new Canteen growler will be in our holiday guide. (Photo courtesy of Canteen)

Awesome gear like this new Canteen growler will be in our holiday guide. (Photo courtesy of Canteen)

Lending a helping holiday hand

The Crew is always here for all of you when it comes to holiday shopping that goes beyond just the beer itself. We’re working on a series of articles highlighting all the best beer-related merchandise you can get from New Mexico breweries. From clothing to growlers and more, we’ll run down all the items you need this winter, how much they cost, and how to best acquire them.

On top of that, we’ll have our annual guide to brewery memberships right after Thanksgiving. Whether you’re renewing, adding more cards for your wallet, or signing up for the first time, we’ll have all the details on what membership provides at our many breweries.

We’ll see all of you around Chama River, Draft Station ABQ, Tractor, Back Alley, and more this weekend. It’s going to be a wonderful few days before we all overeat and watch bad football on Thanksgiving. Stay warm and stay safe, folks.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Avery takes flight at Jubilation

Posted: November 10, 2014 by cjax33 in News
Tags: ,

Every now and again, all of us in the craft beer community in New Mexico have to sit and sigh when news of a great new brew is published, but we can’t get it here. From Founders to Bell’s to Firestone Walker to Great Divide to Ballast Point to Victory to many, many others, we are often left out of the party unless we drive to Arizona or Colorado. We grudgingly understand that it’s all a matter of population and the like when it comes to beers being distributed in our fair state. With a population of just over 2 million, New Mexico as a whole has fewer people than the metro areas of Denver (2.5 million) and Phoenix (4.2 million). Craft breweries, even some of the bigger ones, can only produce so much beer, and once it leaves their state it usually has to go to another state where they can obtain a sizable customer base.

The Czar Imperial Stout is one of Avery's biggest, meanest, tastiest beers.

The Czar Imperial Stout is one of Avery’s biggest, meanest, tastiest beers.

So lo and behold, all of us in the Crew were more than a bit surprised when a long-standing rumor of a brewery returning to NM came true Thursday. Franz Solo posted in our GroupMe chat room something about Avery Brewing, one of the iconic breweries from Boulder, being back. After a quick check of our NMDSBC email and Facebook, I discovered that it was true, Avery was back, and it’s all thanks to the wonderful folks at Jubilation Wine & Spirits. They had struck a deal and brought back this wonderful brewery’s creations. For the first time in five years, we were blessed to have a new craft beer option in bottles and cans.

Now, we will always put our local breweries first and foremost, but it’s never a bad thing to try great beers from elsewhere and see how brews from around NM stack up. We’ve proudly called ourselves “beer polygamists” whenever folks ask us what our favorite brewery is. We love every brewery (well, almost, different Crew members have different preferences) as much as we can.

Avery’s initial lineup at Jubilation includes their IPA, White Rascal (Belgian-style white ale), Ellie’s Brown Ale, and Old Jubilation Ale, their holiday beer, in six-packs of bottles and cans. In addition to these, there are four bombers, including the delectable but brutal Czar Imperial Stout, Salvation Belgian-Style Golden Ale, Reverend (Belgian-style quad), and Hog Heaven (dry-hopped barleywine). I personally snagged a Czar as part of my International Stout Day indulgence (also had a Sleeping Dog Stout from Chama with dinner, then a Stout #2286 at Marble, and a Double Plow Oatmeal Stout at Tractor). It’s big and mean and not sweet at all. There’s a smokiness to it, and yeah, it’s a little boozy but at 11-percent ABV you would expect that. It’s not a stout for the timid. I also grabbed a sixer of Ellie’s. It stacks up well with Canteen’s Slow Down Brown as a super smooth, flavorful brown ale that you can drink on a lazy afternoon.

Preach on, Reverend!

Preach on, Reverend!

But in the end, no one in the Brew Crew is a bigger fan of Avery than Franz Solo. Here are his (many) thoughts on the return.

“Avery was one of the first three craft breweries I enjoyed early on in college alongside Rogue and Stone. Most weeks would end with a trip to Whole Foods to pick up a bomber of something grand to kick off the weekend right. Avery’s the Reverend was a frequent pickup with the lovely label and signature red wax seal that graced it circa 2003.

“At that time I was just a youngling when it came to the ways of craft beers and this over-the-top Belgian quad frankly blew my socks off. When I returned to Albuquerque a couple years later and discovered the glorious selection at Jubilation, the Maharaja and White Rascal became frequent and fast friends of mine.

“Something I really love about nearly all of Avery’s brews is just how consistent the mouthfeel and malt balance is across the board. Their standard IPA has plenty of hops for all ye hop heads around and manages to maintain a really good strong malt presence from start to finish.

“Enter the Beast Grand Cru: I picked one of these up on a whim and then promptly forgot about it in the vegetable crisper of my first apartment for approximately a year and a half. At the time I wasn’t too much into high alcohol content drinks of any kind, but finally one day we opened that bomber and yowza, that is a beer worthy of the gods!

In case anyone missed it before, Stoutmeister rather enjoyed the Czar as his final beer on International Stout Day. And yes, he's wearing an old-school Pantera Snakebite Stout shirt.

In case anyone missed it before, Stoutmeister rather enjoyed the Czar as his final beer on International Stout Day. And yes, he’s wearing an old-school Pantera Snakebite Stout shirt.

“White Rascal was the first Belgian white I ever tried and I love it well to this day for the spicy flavors and wonderful profile. Old Jubilation is a fantastic winter beer which warms the bones and the soul and is one of those that will catch up to you for being so damn drinkable. The overall smoothness and drinkability of Avery brews from the 18-percent Beast to the Reverend is a testament to just how well they craft their big, brutal bomber beers and everything in between.

“It was honestly like Christmas when I found out that Avery had returned to the Duke City this week. It was a trip down memory lane to years gone by, many, many good brews ago, and being reacquainted with my old friends from Avery, I have not been disappointed in the slightest. Sometimes the past looks more golden and rosy in retrospect, but these are no fluke, no sir!

“So grab a bomber or a sixer of whatever your fancy may be, and rest assured you will not be disappointed. Here’s hoping that we see many more of the delightful bomber beers like the Beast, the Maharaja, the Kaiser and so on!”

Prost!

— Franz Solo

* * * * *

I couldn’t have put it any better.

That’s all from us for today. We’re working hard on finding stories, but we can always use a little help from our readers. If you have any story ideas, questions, or suggestions, let us know via Facebook, Twitter (@nmdarksidebc), or email (nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com).

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister