Posts Tagged ‘Blue Corn Brewing’

The Crew had just a wee bit of fun at WinterBrew.

After taking Monday off due to the holiday, we are back today with a look at what were the best beers that we tried up at WinterBrew back on Friday. It was another outstanding event, one that every craft beer lover in New Mexico should attend at least once. The sell-out crowd of 700 was a jovial bunch, enjoying the many unique beers being poured from 18 New Mexico breweries.

As for the Crew, well, we all had our favorites. If the others want to chime in here at some point, I will add them to the story. In the interest of not going two weekdays in a row without content, here are a few of my picks for the best of the fest. (Note: Due in part to the Rail Runner arriving in Santa Fe about 10 minutes late and then the decision by security to close all booths 30 minutes before the event was supposed to end, I did not get to all 18 breweries.)

A crowd of 700-plus enjoyed beers from 18 breweries.

La Santa Oscura, Blue Corn: This is a delightful spiced holiday black lager that is still on tap at the brewery in Santa Fe. Flavors of chocolate and cherry mix in with the Chimayo red chile for a nice, warm kick at the end.

Coyote Waits, Bow & Arrow: At last, I got my hands on the barrel-aged version of this imperial mole stout. It is a big, thick beast of a beer, and the barrel effects bring out more and more of the spice, yet it never overwhelms the palate. It is still available at the brewery.

Galactica DIPA, Marble: Apparently this single-hop, double IPA thing is becoming a trend. Even with just Galaxy, this is a complex, wonderfully big beer. It is not yet on tap at any Marble location, so drink up the rest so a handle becomes available.

Sin Barreras, Rowley Farmhouse Ales: Alas, this specialty imperial stout does not appear to be available at the brewery, but everyone can hope for its eventual appearance. Big flavors of coconut and maple left us all wondering, is it a breakfast beer or a dessert beer?

14K IPA, Santa Fe: This one was a bit of a one-off joke, but it still leaves us hopeful for a future edition of an imperial-strength version of the hugely popular 7K. We would also like to thank the SFBC staff for donating a couple of sixers of 7K to our beer fridges.

XX ESB and Breaking Plaid Scotch Ale, Second Street: A pair of big, malty brews from the new Rufina brewhouse caught our eye. The latter is more sweet than peaty, akin to a heftier version of the Scottish at Nexus. The best news, besides being on tap, is that some of the Plaid is being saved for barrel aging.

Dark Engine Stout on cask, Sidetrack: If you have never had any of the cask beers at Sidetrack, now is the time. There is a batch currently available with dark chocolate added to the beer for an even more decadent flavor.

The Judy, Steel Bender: At some point a break was needed from the big malts and hops, so this seemed like a perfect time to try this sweet saison made with peaches and brett, then aged in Chardonnay barrels. There are still a few bottles left for sale at the brewery, so get them fast, as they are quite worth it. Drink this and dream of spring.

2017 Barleywine, Taos Mesa: Our friends from the north came down not with White Walkers, but instead a different beast. It is big, boozy, and not for the faint of heart. On your next ski trip (assuming we ever get snow), make sure to check this one out.

Infinitesimus Imperial Stout, Turtle Mountain: One of the first big beers we tried was this heavy, chocolate-y behemoth. This is more than worth the trip out to Rio Rancho for anyone living on the East Side of Albuquerque. Or the West Side. Or the South Valley. Or, really, anywhere in the state.

We’re pretty sure Karim liked most of the beers he tried.

As for the rest of the Crew, as their thoughts trickle in, I will share them here:

Jerrad: WinterBrew 2018 was certainly a memorable night, perhaps a bit fuzzy after tasting a few of the killer imperial/double styles available. The libations that stood out for me at this event would have to be Bow & Arrow’s Coyote Waits BA Stout, with its smooth touch of spicy heat on oak and dark/roasty malts. On the other end of the spectrum, Bombs Away Brewing Company’s B.A.B.C. IPA was wonderful with its hazy, softer NE-style IPA approach. A few other notable mentions would go to Rowley Farmhouse Ale’s Aromatherapy IPA, Steel Bender Brewing’s The Judy saison, and Rio Bravo Brewing’s Grab ‘Em by the Putin Imperial Russian stout.

Kristin: While I couldn’t try that many beers since I was working the event, I loved Second Street’s Breaking Plaid Scottish. The smooth malty flavor masked its 9.1-percent ABV. This is both a good and bad thing.

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That is all from us. Hope those of you that went enjoyed it as much as we did, while for the rest of you, make sure to get those tickets for 2019!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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To everyone that got tickets in time, we will see you Friday night!

The good news is that the beer lineup at WinterBrew looks excellent. The bad news is that the event is sold out. For those who got tickets, well, here ya go, the full slate of beers that have been reported to the Crew.

There are 18 local breweries attending from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Santa Fe Farmers Market. Most of the Crew will be taking the Rail Runner north, which departs the Los Ranchos station at approximately 4:41 p.m., dropping us off around 6. If you are going, and want to hang on the train, we will be in the last car.

Anyway, what you really want is a list of the beers being poured. We have 17 of the 18 breweries so far, and will continue to update this as more lists appear in our email inbox. To help everyone out, we are picking the top beer on our list for each brewery, either one we have had before or one we are dying to try. Remember, that’s just our opinion, you are totally free to disagree and drink something else instead.

Blue Corn

Top pick: La Santa Oscura. Luke swears by this holiday-themed dark lager. Cocoa nibs, lactose, cinnamon, and Chimayo red chile add to the fun.

The rest: Blue Corn Mexican Lager, Roadrunner IPA, Oatmeal Stout

Bombs Away

Top pick: Coffee Stout. This one is so new it doesn’t even have an official name, but it could wind up being called Shockwave. Or, we’ll just probably go with delicious.

The rest: Willie Pete Wit, BABC IPA, Bombshell IPL

Bosque

Top pick: Fresh Start Breakfast Ale. We have sung the praises of this maple-and-coffee delight of a stout many times. This is the last of it, so be prepared to fight us for the last pour.

The rest: (deep breath) Lager, 1888 Blonde Ale, Elephants on Parade, Scotia, IPA, Down in the Hollow Brown, Open Space Haze 120 West and 41 South, Honey Porter, Nathan Ginger Red Ale, Galaxy Far Far Away

Bow & Arrow

Top pick: Coyote Waits. The barrel-aged imperial mole stout is back, with that wonderful kick of spice mixed in.

The rest: Savage Times Sour IPA, Thirsty Land Foraged Series (Grisette with Navajo Tea), Nomadico IPA

Boxing Bear

Top pick: Low Rye-der IPA. Hey, it’s new for us, so we will jump on a new dose of hops with copious amounts of rye mixed in, at least as a break from the big and malty.

The rest: Featherweight Session IPA, Iron Lung Smoked Porter, Uppercut IPA, Chocolate Milk Stout

Duel

Top pick: Grunewald Imperial Porter. It has been a while since we have had this behemoth of a beer. The best part is if we like it as much as the last batch, we can always head to the brewery (or taproom) to pick up a bomber to take home. Take note, this and the Titian will not be tapped until after 6:30 p.m.

The rest: Bad Amber, Duchamp, Fiction, Cezanne Magnifique, Dark Ryder, Titian

La Cumbre

Top pick: Business Hammock. Yet another tasty, hazy IPA, this one will make its debut mere hours after another, In the Money, goes on tap and for sale in bombers down at the brewery. Double up on the juice!

The rest: A Slice of Hefen, Malpais Stout, Project Dank, Mind Phoq

Marble

Top pick: Galactica DIPA. OK, so apparently the big, hoppy beers are not as rare as we anticipated. That being said, of course we will snag some of this out-of-this-world hop bomb.

The rest: Double White, Pilsner, Imperial Red, Cholo Smooth

Rio Bravo

Top pick: Level 3 IPA. The brewery just redid the recipe for this one, so we are intrigued to see what the staff has created.

The rest: Snakebite IPA, Roadkill Red, La Luz Lager, Pinon Coffee Porter, Grab ‘Em By the Putin, BA Cherry Wheat Cuvee, Lemongrass Wit, plus possibly Cascade Pale Ale and either Blueberry Gose or Ruby’s Ruckus

Roosevelt

Top pick: Green Chile Beer. Hmm, bringing the spice from the plains? That’s a bold thing to do in Santa Fe.

The rest: Portales Pale Ale, Clovis Point IPA, Happy Heifer Hefeweizen

Rowley Farmhouse Ales

Top pick: Sin Barreras. The imperial stout is back, this batch made with coconut and maple. It is always a delight.

The rest: Aromatherapy (IPA), Ab Initio Festivus, Cote-d’Or Cerise Redux

Santa Fe

Top pick: 14K IPA. Wait, what is this? A single keg of 7K that has been amped up so much that the brewery staff dubbed it 14K? Sold!

The rest: 7K IPA, Lustgarten, Imperial Pastry-Free Porter, Black IPA 2.0, Freestyle Pilsner

Second Street

Top pick: Breaking Plaid Scotch Ale. The first beer made at Rufina is a malty beast. We look forward to finally getting some in our glasses.

The rest: Cereza Negra, Agua Fria Pils, 2920 IPA, Civil Rye, Low Winter Sun Sour, XX ESB

Sidetrack

Top pick: Dark Engine Stout. Yes, there will be a cask of this wonderful elixir. They added dark chocolate and coconut. Hey, ever festival needs a proper dessert beer.

The rest: 3:10 to Belen Brown, Buzz Bomb, Pub Ale, Turntable IPA

Steel Bender

Top pick: The Judy. Snag a bottle pour of this saison, aged in chardonnay barrels with brett and peaches. There are not many bottles left at SBB.

The rest: Red Iron Red, Skull Bucket IPA, Brickie American Stout, Die Dunkel Seite

Taos Mesa

All beers TBA

Tractor

Top pick: Russian Imperial Stout. Oh, hello there Luna de los Muertos. We have missed you!

The rest: Mustachio Milk Stout, Spiced Cider, Turkey Drool, Delicious Red Apple Cider

Turtle Mountain

Top pick: Infinitesimus Imperial Stout. A big beast of darkness to finish things off (alphabetically speaking).

The rest: Arsenal Porter, SCH, Depravity Barleywine, Count Hellesarius

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A big thanks to the breweries who responded promptly when we asked for their lists. It is always appreciated.

Enjoy the festival!

— Stoutmeister

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Blue Corn’s dynamic duo of head brewer Paul Mallory, right, and new assistant brewer Andy Lane.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That’s right, it’s Stout Season, and if you’ve been keeping up with us all these years, you know that also means it’s time for the Crew’s annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series. Not unlike Salvation Army Santas, it’s our busiest time of the year, as we scramble frantically to bring you the scoop on as many breweries as we can physically cover.

At the end of November, instead of boxing out old ladies at the Black Friday sales, I decided to side-step the shopping lines of Santa Fe’s Southside and slip into one of the city’s best local smile suppliers, Blue Corn Brewery.

My goal is simple, to catch up with the new brewing team, see how their year went, and see what they’ve got planned for 2018. Most of my articles for Blue Corn are about a new manager, or a new assistant brewer, a changing of the guard, if you will. I know the song by heart by now. Blue Corn’s been quite a revolving door since John Bullard was there, and probably even before him (If only someone had written a book detailing some of that. — S). But, I know, with fresh talent comes fresh ideas, and I wanted to get what’s flowing down the line into your glass.

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The copper icons are feeling a bit festive.

With a quick smile, I told the hostess I was meeting with the brewers, and that I was going to find a place at the bar. That statement means much more to me than it does to her, I realize. I greeted my tall copper friends, as if they’re glad to have me back in house, and took my usual spot at the bar, where I always wait a few minutes before I text the brewer to let him know I’ve arrived. Nothing says, “It’s show time,” like a taster tray of new Blue Corn seasonals.

After a few minutes head brewer Paul Mallory invited me back into the dining room. He and new assistant brewer Andy Lane were kind enough to let me interrupt their lunch. There were buffalo wings on the table, and for some reason, they made me think of Chama River. (R.I.P.)

2017 was a turbulent year for Blue Corn Brewery. Docked in the Capitol City, Blue Corn may have just missed the sudden tsunami that hit poor Chama River (also owned by Santa Fe Dining), but they endured their own share of rough waters and suffered a few men overboard themselves. Yet, Blue Corn Brewery proved, once again, that with a cool-headed captain, a solid crew, and keeping to the course, they are a sturdy ship that can weather the worst of storms.

Despite the difficulties, Blue Corn had plenty of highlights to mention

One of the big changes this year was getting Andy Lane (formerly of Santa Fe Brewing) in the brewery at the busiest time of the year.

“Andy’s been a kick-ass assistant, bringing lots of ideas to the table with beer and how to change the process,” Paul said.

Lane has been waiting for a chance like this. He cut his teeth as a beer sales rep for a craft beer distributor back in Texas, his home state, getting beer to the hard-to-penetrate niche markets as well as homebrewing in his spare time. With the dream of someday opening his own brewery, he took a risk and moved to New Mexico, starting at the bottom of the industry, packaging at Santa Fe Brewing. “I just want to learn everything I can,” I remember him saying back then. You might remember him from that one episode of Vice’s Beerland that made a brief stop in our state. After his 15 minutes of fame, Lane’s doing what he loves at Blue Corn.

“To have this opportunity is exactly what I wanted,” Lane said. “It’s a dream come true.”

After a brief period of adjustment, learning each other’s style and personalities, the chemistry is good. Though Lane is newer to the process, Mallory made sure to utilize his assistant’s unique sales experience.

“He definitely helps me choose the styles,” Paul said. “I could come up with beer ideas I want to brew, all day, but as for will they sell? That’s where I get Andy to weigh in.”

As for beer this year, Blue Corn focused a lot on doing collaborations with local suppliers, sourcing everything from malts and hops, to chocolate and whiskey barrels. Blue Corn, which has had a long-standing relationship with Santa Fe Spirits, put their Imperial Chocolate Porter in a Colkegan Whiskey Barrel to great success. They’d also done a really hoppy collaboration with Del Cielo Brewing Co. from Martinez, Calif., likely a connection Mallory made during his time brewing by the bay.

Mallory’s favorite beer in 2017 was an easy drinking Oktoberfest, which they were able to lager for a later release in the season. As it turned out, folks only complain when the Oktoberfest is released too early, if they complain at all. The beer showcased a malt sourced from nearby Proximity Malt’s Colorado location.

In ‘17, Blue Corn was not a bit shy with trying new things. One such beer was a Honey Ginger Braggot, which was one of Lane’s favorites to work on. He said,

“It was unusual, heavily drinkable, a perfect kind of crowd-pleaser,” Lane said.

It was their last collaboration with Chama River, as it turned out.

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Blue Corn Brewery has a solid core line-up, but it’s the constantly rotating beers that keep folks coming back again and again.

Speaking of which, it was not all smooth sailing for the Santa Fe Dining Fleet, with that one particular heavy-medaled flagship sinking into the history pages of Stoutmeister’s book. There was a change on the wind, says I, and for some, it blew harder than others.

Chama closed. Blue Corn lost their previous assistant brewer to a bout of school. Two delivery drivers walked the plank. Former Admiral of the Fleet, James Warren, left to join the pirates at Santa Fe Brewing. And Chef “D,” David Sundberg, moved on to make new waves as well.

“We’ve had a lot of turnover,” Mallory said, soberly. “And, I think we just do our best to keep this ship afloat. And, I think we’ve done a really good job with that. Hopefully no one up front noticed. We kept the beer flowing, and kept the beer tasting good.”

Gathering from the jubilant crowd that I had left back in the bar area, I would say they’ve done just that.

In 2018, the Blue Corn staff promised that their famous (Brew Crew Approved) beer dinners will continue. They aren’t sure what will happen as of yet with the uncertainty of the new chef hire, but a change in the guard has never set Blue Corn back before.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any expansion plans in the works. They said they definitely want more fermenters, and perhaps a grain silo. I can think of one that’s just sitting there off of I-25, probably still filled, floor-to-tip, with 2 Row.

I asked if there was any word on Chama River, but Mallory’s lips were shut tighter than a mermaid’s non-disclosure agreement.

As for beers in 2018, BCB may be planning to do a Smash Pale Ale, with Single Malt, And Seven Hops. That counts in my book. Blue Corn’s Russian Imperial Stout is currently in the tank, a beast of the abyss, just waiting to surface.

Something probably only Santa Feans know on the regular is that Blue Corn gets its hands on a barrel every now and then, and certainly fills it with something worth driving 40 minutes or taking the Rail Runner to try. The staff is looking at putting some of their Imperial Stout in the barrel and aging it a bit. Blue Corn isn’t rushing to barrel-age anything and everything at the moment. The staff is not looking to sour anything for the sake of souring, either.

“We’re going to try to keep it small, make sure we do it right,” Mallory said. “Because I think a lot of breweries, especially smaller breweries, run before they can walk. And, that’s not what we want to do. We want to keep them nice and clean. We want to do a few of them and do them right.”

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My current favorite beer at Blue Corn Brewery is their La Santa Oscura Black Lager. It was like a refreshing Mexican Hot Chocolate. They didn’t pull any punches on the spice, but it’s so easily drinkable it borders on dangerous. Delight yourself responsibly.

One of the very few they’ve been working on was a saison brewed last year, which should be ready any day now. (Farmhouse Funkalicious is now on tap. — S) They gave it a pinch of sour cherries and a dash of sour ale, to give it just a little bit of tartness, Mallory said. They did a little bit of blending and gave it a good amount of time on the brettanomyces.

I asked both Lane and Mallory what upcoming project most excites them for 2018.

Lane: “I think a little bit of everything. (Laughs) For me, getting to the point where I’m more involved with the recipe writing and stuff like that and actually creating beers. That’s what I’m excited for.”

Mallory: “I want to keep up the collaborations, build up on what we started last year. Then, one of our first beers will be a Mexican Lager. It usually calls for rice or corn to lighten up the body. We’re going to do locally sourced blue corn, to keep with the farm-to-table attitude of the restaurant. We also want to build on some of the relationships we’ve made in the past year with the chocolate and coffee makers. We look forward to getting the beer dinners up and running and tap into the local community with more events. And, people should expect to see us at more local beer events as well.”

Mallory’s parting words: “I think a lot of people have their mind made up about Blue Corn Brewery, because we’ve been around for 20 years. I think they should come by and check it out. If you’re a fan, or not a fan, I say come by and see what we’re working on. I guarantee, it’s different than last time.”

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I say farewell to my friends for now. As soon as they were finished, they caught up to me at Rowley Farmhouse Ales to sample some of the darkest barrel-aged beers ever arrayed on tap in one location, a black hole of beers with a gravitational pull too strong for any of us to resist. This year for Thanksgiving, among family and friends, I was thankful for New Mexico’s beer scene and the strong community surrounding it. To you and your health, my friends, cheers!

— Luke

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If you see me at the bar, say, “Hey.” Let’s talk beer!

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Tonight (Thursday), Blue Corn is hosting another epic beer and cocktails dinner, with Santa Fe Spirits, at their south side location. Because we’ve had so much fun at these dinners in the past, we wanted to give you a quick look at what you’ll be enjoying tonight.

APPETIZER (1st Course) Paired with gin and tonic with Mosaic hop bitters
Crispy kale croquettes served with a herbal aioli

CHEF’S SALAD (2nd Course) Paired with Atapiño brown ale cocktail
Citrus-marinated chicken breast, roasted piñon nuts, orange segments and caramelized red onions on a bed of spring mix, with a sweet and tangy vinaigrette

ENTREES (3rd Course) Paired with a brandy honey wheat cocktail
Farm-raised Atlantic salmon poached in herb-infused extra virgin olive oil with baby carrots and 40K Honey Wheat jasmine rice

DESSERT (4th Course) Paired with a barrel-aged imperial porter, aged in a used Kolkeegan Whisky Barrel from Santa Fe Spirits
Chocolate volcano-molten bundt cake topped with vanilla ice cream and roasted-spiced pecans

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Why you should go: Aside from the always excellent food and beer, mixed with the award-winning guest-showcase of cocktails, these beer dinners serve as a great chance to mingle with other people who love crafted beverages as much as you. Personally, in addition to seeing plenty of other friends in the industry at these things, I’ve always met someone new, and each and every time made a new friend. Hell, I met the guy I bought my house from at one of these beer dinners at Blue Corn.

Also, in a fun, intimate setting, you get to sample special unique creations not usually found on your regular weeknight menu. You get to see the best of what these chefs and brewers have to offer, and then talk to them about it! It is completely underrated, being able to talk to a brewer about the passion he or she puts into their work. Better still, the brewers actually have a spare moment to sit and chat. Any event where the brewers and/or chefs/distillers will walk around and talk with you about what they’re trying to achieve, and the process involved, is worth its weight in gold. It will change your dining/drinking experience forever. To me, that’s worth the price of entry.

You might look at $45 per person as being pricey, but you certainly get your value from these events. Four-course dinners alone fall along that range. Pair them with craft beer, craft cocktails, and good conversation, and the experience is a steal. Get your tickets. Drink some craft. Make some friends. Here’s to keeping it local!

Cheers!

— Luke

For reservations, email manager@bluecornbrewery.com or call (505) 438-1800. The event is from 6-9 p.m.

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Twitter: @santafecraftbro

Untappd: SantaFeLuke

Hello, NMBF, you were wonderful again!

While I was at work Saturday afternoon, a trio of Crew members joined a gaggle of our friends and other beer lovers at the eighth annual New Mexico Brew Fest. Held at Expo New Mexico, it moved back out to Main Street instead of being in the more cramped Villa Hispana. Here are their thoughts and a few photos from the fest I missed (at least agreeing to work Saturdays came with a raise).

AmyO: I really like this particular brew fest, and I am always sad when I can’t go because it often conflicts with a Lobo game or a trip out of town. Happily, I was able to attend this year. I love the super local feel of this one. It reminds me of some of the smaller brew fests in Portland back in the day before they began to get out-of-control crowded. Some people even wore costumes, and many of the attendees seemed pretty beer savvy.

The weather sure cooperated; although it was starting to get pretty warm in the late afternoon, there is always some shade at this venue. I appreciated the food selection this year. I ate the “special” at the barbecue food truck (Nomad’s BBQ). This was a hot link in a bun covered with a TON of pulled pork. It’s exactly the kind of food you need to soak up so much beer. And, it went really well with some of the spicier/fall-style beers. I also saw someone with a really great looking poke bowl. Very different, and a healthier option!

Raise the horns!

My overall favorite beer was probably the Raspberry Nitro Stout from Marble. First of all, having nitro at a festival always rates high for me. The beer was heavy on the raspberry, but not at all sweet. There was a cocoa powder flavor and mouthfeel that also added to the uniqueness. The Tripel Reserve from Monks’ did not disappoint, either.

The best name has to go to Canteen’s Oompa Lupulin DIPA, but it’s even harder to say after you have had some!

Surprises for me as far as beers I did not expect to enjoy as much as I did were the Das Roggen Weiner from Marble, and Palmer’s Double IPA (because there was much less sweetness to it than I thought there would be). A really great palate cleanser after multiple heavy beers was Ponderosa’s Ecliptic Wet Hop Ale.

My big disappointment was that I never got to try Blue Corn’s Imperial Stout. Blue Corn was late to arrive because sadly they had a tire blowout on the way down to Albuquerque. When they finally did get set up, they held the stout to a 4 p.m. tapping. Everyone was ready to leave by that time, so I never got to try it. I did have their oak-aged Scotch and that was lovely.

Franz Solo found his fellow vikings.

Franz Solo: What I loved best about this particular festival was just how local and friendly the whole thing was. Drinking beer under cottonwoods on the old fairgrounds with a great crowd of people and some fantastic local offerings, both beer-wise and food-wise, was simply magical. Highlights for me were Turtle Mountain’s Depravity barleywine which has aged extremely well since last winter; Canteen’s Oompa Lupulin DIPA, which was simply a hop screamer straight out of the gates of hop heaven; Monks’ Tripel Reserve, which is incredibly smooth and clear for a monster of a beer; and the pair of ludicrous offerings from Blue Corn, which brought its ’16 Scotch and ’15 Russian Imperial Stout, which were both stupendous. Having so many Oktoberfest Marzens as well was a real treat to cleanse the palate between some of the bigger brews, and on the whole they were all quite tasty. A grand event for the NM Brewers Guild and for local breweries and local food offerings alike. I look forward to returning to this wonderful NM Brew Fest.

The Crew and friends did a good job of wiping out that ’15 Imperial Stout from Blue Corn.

Brandon: The brewery list seemed smaller this year, but I can’t blame more places for not participating in this event, with just having wrapped up GABF and all. That being said, the breweries in attendance made sure to bring some standout brews, so here’s what popped for me:

  • Featherweight Session IPA, Boxing Bear: Fresh off a bronze medal at GABF. Lighter but crisp malt backing, with grassy, floral, and citrus zest notes. The low ABV made this one a good choice for the warm weather of the day. Who says session beers can’t pack a flavor punch?
  • Depravity Barleywine 2016, Turtle Mountain: Not a palate-crushing, hop-forward incarnation, like some versions of the style. Tons of caramel, burnt caramel, and toffee.  Chewy as all hell, but not a lot of alcohol warmth. A deceptively dangerous barleywine, loved it.
  • 2015 Imperial Stout, Blue Corn: “Oh what a surprise, the DSBC liked a dark beer”… if you expected less, you don’t know our lives. This beer is a beast, it has about four different types of chocolate notes present — dried fruit, oak and vanilla, and warms you to the core. We want more of this black fire in a glass!
  • V.M.O.M.G., Steel Bender: This one was released a few days prior to NM Brew Fest, but this was my first chance to taste it.  Was quite surprised.  Not that I thought it would be a bad beer, but I didn’t expect this to be THAT good. A damn fine take on a traditional seasonal style. Crisp, sweet malt, good spice from hops. Very solid.
  • Oktoberfest, La Cumbre: I’m going to be blunt here … if you missed this one, you’re f****d.  Cans are gone or close to gone, and all kegs are already gone in distribution. If you find any of this lovely beer, drink it while you can.

That is all from us. Thank you to Kevin Hopper for the tickets, and thank you to all the breweries for bringing some of their finest offerings!

Cheers!

— The Crew

It’s go-time for New Mexico breweries at the Great American Beer Festival this week!

The Great American Beer Festival returns this Thursday through Saturday at the Denver Convention Center, and once again New Mexico breweries will be well represented. This year the Crew is dispatching yours truly, plus Franz Solo, via the magic of press passes (Luke will also be there, but as a civilian, and we just want him to focus on having fun and not worry about work). We will be on hand for the sessions on Thursday and Friday nights, plus Saturday afternoon, and the awards ceremony before that.

For those who have never been, GABF is a massive event. It takes over a convention center several times the size of ours here in Albuquerque. In fact, the total space for the festival is equivalent to seven football fields. Breweries from around the United States will be on hand, some represented at hundreds of booths, others are just on hand for the competition.

There will be 12 New Mexico breweries represented, plus Marble gets a second booth this year (ah, the benefits of having two small brewer licenses between downtown and the Heights location). The majority (Bathtub Row, Bosque, Boxing Bear, La Cumbre, both Marble, Santa Fe, Sierra Blanca, Starr Brothers) are in the Southwest region, grouped with breweries from Arizona, Texas, and Louisiana. Dialogue Brewing will be in the Meet the Brewer area, while Blue Corn, Canteen, and Quarter Celtic will be in the Brewpub Pavilion. The New Mexico Brewers Guild will also have a booth along with the other state guilds, pouring beers from breweries without their own booths.

A lot of this probably does not mean much to many of you, who did not get (or even try to get) tickets to the event. For most folks back home, us going up and talking about what a great time we are having is almost a little callous. Our main goal with this event is to provide coverage of the awards ceremony, while also letting everyone in Denver know about the greatness of our breweries (more tourists can be a good thing), and of course trying lots of new beers that you can either seek out on your next vacation or via distribution.

Speaking of the awards ceremony, this year we have been privy to the competition beer lists for most of our local breweries. The awards ceremony happens Saturday at 10 a.m., and will be broadcast live over the internet. You can go to the GABF website that morning and find the link, but be forewarned, it is a notoriously fickle broadcast. We will have live updates via all three of our main social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). We also hope to have some live FB videos from the event. Since there are two of us, it should go a little smoother than last year. (Sorry again about the shaky cam motion sickness, Lonnie.)

Here are the competition lists we were sent from the Guild or directly from some breweries. Some may be incomplete, or are missing a key bit of info (name of beer, or which category that beer is being judged in). We are listing them by awards category, so you know which ones to pay attention to and which ones to run over and refill your coffee mug.

  • 4 Fruit Wheat Beer: Bosque Elephants on Parade, Sierra Blanca Cherry Wheat
  • 8 Chili Beer: Sierra Blanca Green Chile Cerveza
  • 9 Herb and Spice Beer: Blue Corn Ginger Braggot, Chama River Haru, Red Door Vanilla Cream Ale
  • 11 Coffee Beer: Blue Corn Apparition Pale Coffee Ale, Rio Bravo Pinon Coffee Porter
  • 15 Honey Beer: Nexus Honey Chamomile Wheat, Turtle Mountain Pour les Abeilles
  • 17 Session IPA: Boxing Bear Featherweight
  • 18a Other Strong Beer: Marble Double White, Nexus Imperial Cream Ale
  • 19a Experimental Beer: La Cumbre Hibiscus Quercus
  • 20 Fresh or Wet Hop Ale: Bosque Acequia IPA, Quarter Celtic Clark
  • 23 Belgo American Pale Ale: Second Street Diablo Canyon
  • 24 American-Style Sour Ale: Ponderosa Sour Belgian Brown
  • 26 Brett Beer: Flix Brewhouse Eater of Worlds
  • 28b Wood and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer: La Cumbre Ryeot on Bourbon,
  • 29 Wood Aged Strong Beer: Bow & Arrow Cosmic Arrow Brett Saison, Chama River Natalia Polnoch’
  • 34b Zwicklebier: Marble Pilsner, Rio Bravo La Luz Light Lager
  • 36a American-Style Pilsner: Canteen Laid Back Lager
  • 36b International-Style Pilsner: La Cumbre BEER, Quarter Celtic Pedro O’Flannigan’s
  • 40b American Amber Lager – California Common: Second Street Rod’s Steam Bitter,
  • 41 German-Style Pilsner: Bow & Arrow Jemez Field Notes, Santa Fe Freestyle Pilsner, Sierra Blanca Desert Pilsner
  • 42 Bohemian Pilsner: Boxing Bear Body Czech Bo Pils, Canteen High Plains Pils, Dialogue Bo Pils, Sidetrack Pilsner
  • 47a Munich-Style Dunkel: Marble Dupy’s Dunkel
  • 49b German-Style Bock: Marble Maibock
  • 50a Doppelbock: Flix Brewhouse Now and Later, Nexus Doppelspock, Turtle Mountain SCH
  • 52 Blonde Ale: Starr Brothers L.A. Woman
  • 53 German-Style Kolsch: Canteen Kolsch, Chama River Kolsch, Steel Bender Lloyd’s 3 O’Clock Kolsch
  • 56 English-Style IPA: Santa Fe Happy Camper IPA
  • 58 American-Style Pale Ale: Marble Pale Ale
  • 59 American Strong Pale Ale: Second Street 2920 IPA, Santa Fe 7K IPA
  • 60 American-Style IPA: Starr Brothers Starrstruck, La Cumbre Project Dank
  • 61 Imperial IPA: Second Street Imperial IPA, Canteen Astro Hound
  • 62 American-Style Amber/Red Ale: Red Door Roamer Red
  • 63 Double Red Ale: Steel Bender Red Iron Red, Boxing Bear The Red Glove, Bosque IRA, Starr Brothers Red Zepplin
  • 64 Imperial Red: Marble Imperial Red
  • 66b Special Bitter: Sidetrack Pub Ale
  • 67a American-Style Extra Special Bitter: Rio Bravo Amber
  • 67b Extra Special Bitter: Steel Bender Sparkfitter Amber
  • 69 Irish-Style Red Ale: Sidetrack Railhead Red, Quarter Celtic Crimson Lass
  • 70 English-Style Brown Ale: Sierra Blanca Bone Chiller, Santa Fe Nut Brown
  • 71 American-Style Brown Ale: Blue Corn End of the Trail Brown Ale, Ponderosa Bellamah Brown
  • 72 American-Style Black Ale: Bosque Fifth Value, Quarter Celtic Bruce
  • 73 Berliner Weisse: Bow & Arrow Way Out West Sour, Dialogue Berliner Weisse
  • 74b Contemporary Gose: Marble Passionate Gose, Rio Bravo Peach Gose
  • 79 Witbier: Flix Brewhouse Luna Rosa, Red Door Trapdoor White Ale
  • 80 Classic Saison: Bow & Arrow Sun Dagger
  • 85 Belgian Tripel: Flix Brewhouse Tripel Whammy
  • 86a Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale: Ponderosa Preacher’s Daughter
  • 89 Robust Porter: Starr Brothers Lampshade Porter
  • 90 Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout: Steel Bender Blue Bullet Stout
  • 92 American-Style Stout: Marble Cholo Stout
  • 93 Sweet or Cream Stout: Boxing Bear Chocolate Milk Stout, Red Door Paint it Black Milk Stout
  • 94 Oatmeal Stout: Blue Corn Gold Medal Oatmeal Stout, Chama River Sleeping Dog Stout, Sidetrack Dark Engine Stout
  • 96a Scottish Ale: Nexus Scotch Ale

The American-Style IPA category is always announced last, due to the fact it is the biggest (270-plus entries last year). And, yes, Chama River was still able to enter beers even though it technically no longer exists. Not sure how that works, but it does.

Among the beers with mystery categories, there is Dialogue’s Biere de Mars and Sour Raz, Rowley Farmhouse Ales’ Saison du Sarlacc, and Turtle Mountain’s Hard Bock Life. We can probably guess the categories, but for now we will just list them as unknown. We also know that Spotted Dog has beers in categories 57a (Australian or International-Style Pale Ale), 80 (Classic Saison), and 93 (Sweet Stout or Cream Stout), just not the name of any of those beers.

If any other New Mexico breweries have beers entered, we will find out one way or the other.

How well have our breweries done in the past? Well, Boxing Bear was the Mid-Size Brew Pub of the Year in 2016 and Marble Brewery was the Small Brewery of the Year in 2014. Canteen/Il Vicino has won 12 medals since 1995, Marble has won nine medals since 2011, and Chama River will try to add one or more to its total of eight since 2002. New Mexico has routinely ranked in the top percentage of medals in relation to state population and number of breweries.

If any of you are headed up and spot us amid the crowd (it can happen, just ask Michael Waddy from Kaktus), come over and say hello. We will always be more than willing to share what great beers we have found in our wanderings.

Some final tips if you are going.

  • Download the GABF app for your phone if you have not already. Tag the breweries you want to visit, and they will show up on your map. This is invaluable.
  • Keep an eye out for timed releases. Many of your favorite breweries will have small runs of some of their most exclusive beers. They will likely be announced on social media, so make sure you follow your favorites.
  • Hydrate! There are water stations everywhere. They are not just for washing out your glasses. Yes, it might send you to the bathroom faster than you want, but unless you are a human camel, you will have to go sooner or later.
  • Do not drive downtown. This is not just a safety issue, it is to spare you from the chaos of thousands of pedestrians in different states of inebriation, Uber/Lyft drivers, hundreds of taxis, one-way streets, and a whole lotta police. Leave the car at your hotel/friend’s house/Air BnB, wherever you are staying. Oh, and the cost of parking in downtown Denver goes through the roof during GABF, if you can even find a spot.
  • Check the main website for all the off-site events, and do a quick Google search for others. This could be especially relevant if you are not attending all the sessions, or you need something to do during the day besides wander aimlessly around downtown. Some of these are as fun as GABF itself, some might be even more fun if you are into certain beer styles that are represented at their own events.
  • There are too many good food options to possibly list here in Denver, but a few of our favorites include Jelly for brunch/breakfast, and then Rhein Haus, Freshcraft, Wynkoop, Rock Bottom (for a chain, they’re quality), and Breck on Blake (great guest beer menu) for lunch/dinner. There are plenty of food options within the convention center as well, so please do not attempt to get through a session on little or nothing but beer in your belly. It will not end well.
  • Breweries within spitting distance of downtown include some of our favorites, like Prost, TRVE, Great Divide, Our Mutual Friend, Ratio, and Spangalang, plus Crooked Stave if you love sours. Also, Bierstadt Lagerhaus, which is up by Crooked Stave, comes with the seal of approval of La Cumbre’s Jeff Erway. In fact, we fear that if we did not recommend you go there, Jeff would probably disown us and abandon us somewhere in the wilderness.

OK, that is all from us for now. If you have any questions at any point this weekend, whether you are going to be in Denver or are staying home, do not hesitate to contact us via the usual ways.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The annual autumnal festival returns to the mountains above Los Alamos. Skal!

The days are getting shorter, and there’s a bit of a nip in the air here in the higher elevations. Fall will be here soon, officially, and with it the prospect of snow. To many people, snow means skiing, but, only if there’s enough of it! To please Ullr, the Norse god of snow and winter, Pajarito Mountain Ski Area and the Los Alamos Ski Club host a festival each fall in the hope of bringing abundant snow. And, if you’re going to host a Nordic-themed festival, then you’re certainly going to include an abundance of beer.

This year’s ULLR Fest will be taking place Saturday at the Pajarito Mountain above Los Alamos. The weather has been very nice, so it should be a very pleasant afternoon (though being a mountain, you have to prepare for nearly anything, so dust off those hoodies). Being a themed event, there will be a costume contest, so bring your finest Viking garb.

Several New Mexico breweries will be in attendance to satisfy your thirst, and wine will also be available. For $15, you get a souvenir glass, unlimited tastings, and a pint of your favorite beer. Pints will also be available for purchase (cash only, please). Bring your ID! The beer portion of the event will begin at noon and run until 5 p.m.

Stoutmeister has been hard at work putting together beer lists for the attending breweries, and so far most have responded. Hopefully we hear back from the last three breweries before the festival begins.

  • Bathtub Row: Hoppenheimer IPA, Kritical Kolsch, Flat Cap Brown
  • Blue Corn: Apparition Pale Coffee Ale, Saison aged with Brett, Gold Medal Oatmeal Stout, Ginger Braggot
  • Bosque: Elephants on Parade, Oktoberfest, Pistol Pete’s 1888 Blonde Ale, Bosque IPA
  • UPDATED–> Boxing Bear: Uppercut IPA, Ambear, Chocolate Milk Stout, Pineapple Upside Down Beer, Cider
  • La Cumbre: TBA
  • Marble: Double White, IPA, Pilsner, Marblefest (making its debut!)
  • Red Door: Blackberry Hefeweizen, White AF IPA, Roamer Red, Oktoberfest
  • Santa Fe: Santa Fe Gold, 7K IPA, Happy Camper IPA, Nut Brown
  • Second Street: Fulcrum IPA, Atalaya Altbier, LVL Stout, Summer Rain Sour, Double X ESB, Kolsch
  • Taos Mesa: Mosaic IPA, Black Widow Porter, Kolsch 45, Great Scot Scottish
  • The 377: TBA

There are numerous other fun events planned for the day:

  • Disc Golf tournament begins at 10 a.m. at the Lodge; entry is $20. There are Pro/Advanced/Novice/Female Divisions. Cash payout for top three players in each division.
  • STRAVA self-timed downhill mountain bike race (download the app and time your run as many times as you want, prizes for the best time at the end of the day). This event is free.
  • Pajarito Poker Run mountain bike ride (pick a card as you board the lift each time, take any run you want, best two hands at the end of the day wins a prize). This event is also free.
  • NEW THIS YEAR: Downhill Mountain Bike Rentals and free lessons all weekend.
  • Lift Served Biking and Hiking 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

On top of that, there will be some great music provided by Bronach and Felix y Los Gatos.  The cafeteria will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to soak up the beer.

As usual, a shuttle will run between Sullivan Field (adjacent to Los Alamos High School) and the ski area every 30 minutes, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Also, shuttle service will be available to the White Rock Visitor Center. Call 661-RIDE (7433) to arrange that service.

Cheers!

— Reid

The variety in beers is impressive this year!

As most of you should know by now, BearFest returns this Saturday, now at the Albuquerque Convention Center downtown. VIP entry is at 12:30 p.m., general admission is at 2 p.m., and it all runs until 6 p.m. General admission tickets are still available online and VIP tickets are still available at Boxing Bear.

Much like any other beer festival, the biggest question of all remains what brews will be available. Well, 15 of the 20 participating breweries sent us their lists, and if the other six get theirs to us, we will add them here right up until the doors open.

  • Ale Republic: TBA
  • Bathtub Row: TBA
  • Blue Corn: Ginger Braggot, Back to Cali Common, Hella Humulus Collaboration IPA, Imperial Chocolate Porter
  • Bosque: Lager, IPA, Hefe, Driftwood Oatmeal Stout, Blonde Ale, EOP Fruited Wheat Ale, Grasping at Straws Extra Pale Ale, All the Rage IPA
  • Boxing Bear: Body Czech Pilsner, HairyMit Hefe, Ambear Ale, Paw Swipe Pale Ale, Uppercut IPA, Standing 8 Stout, Apple Bear Cider, Chocolate Milk Stout, Blood Orange Pale Ale, Barn Burner Wheat IPA, Guava Gose, New England IPA, plus maybe one more
  • Canteen: High Plains Pils, Exodus IPA, Tuttle IPA, Strawberry Basil Gose
  • Chama River: Kolsch, Maibock, Gose, IPA special
  • Dialogue: Biere de Mars, Berliner Weisse, BC IPA, Sour Rapsberry
  • Flix Brewhouse: TBA
  • La Cumbre: Project Dank IPA, Strwaberry Gose, Elevated IPA, Slice of Hefen, BEER
  • Marble: Double White, Pilsner, Cranberry Gose, Flower Digger Pale Ale
  • Nexus: TBA
  • Quarter Celtic: Pedro O’Flanagan’s Mexican Lager, Mangose, Blood Orange Hefe, Crimson Lass, Gondola Party Starter NE-style IPA
  • Santa Fe: Long Game IPA, Hefe’d Up, Nut Brown, Pale Ale, Freestyle Pilsner (cans), Happy Camper (cans)
  • Second Street: 2920 IPA, Eldorado IPA, Red and Yellow Armadillo, Summer Rain Raspberry Sour, 2920 Pils, Civil Rye
  • Starr Brothers: Starrgazm IPA, Brown Chicken Brown Cow, Starrphire Pilsner, Bloodshot
  • Steel Bender: Skull Bucket IPA, Red Iron Red, The Village Wit, Lloyd’s 3 O’Clock Kolsch
  • Taos Mesa: TBA
  • Turtle Mountain: Yum Yum Colada, Can’t Catch Me, Lil’ Shelly, Hopshell IPA, My Kolsche

That is a lot of beer to try. If you like the hazy, New England-style IPAs, you are in luck as Bosque, Boxing Bear, Canteen, and Quarter Celtic are all bring their editions. Fans of sours and goses are clearly in luck as well. We are quite excited to try some of the new beers from Blue Corn (Hella Humulus and Imperial Chocolate Porter) and Second Street (Red and Yellow Armadillo is delicious), plus we await whatever Bathtub Row and Taos Mesa will be bringing.

Now, if you are wondering where Rowley Farmhouse Ales went off to, do not fret. The difference between them and the rest is their jockey box only has two handles, so they will be rotating beers on the second handle every hour or so. The Citra dry-hopped Fields of Rye will occupy the first handle. Here is the second handle pouring schedule.

12:30-2 p.m.: Meier (Meyer Lemon Gose)
2-3 p.m.: Germophile (Berliner Weisse)
3-4 p.m.: Reinheitsgenot (Lime Kolsch)
4-5 p.m.: Ab Initio dry-hopped with Citra/Mosaic
5-6 p.m.: Ab Initio with apricot

So, yeah, pucker up, people! It is gonna be a heck of a day.

And, remember, yours truly will be signing copies of Albuquerque Beer: Duke City History on Tap, over at the NM Brewers Guild booth. It is only $20, cash preferred.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

It’s time for the third edition of BearFest, only this time no one will get sunburned!

BearFest, the annual local-only craft beer festival hosted by Boxing Bear, returns for a third go-around this Saturday. The big change this year, besides pushing it back and away from ABQ Beer Week and Blues & Brews, is moving the fest out of the brewery parking lot to the Albuquerque Convention Center. Unless you are going to walk or bike to the event, leave the sunscreen at home!

The event will run from 2 to 6 p.m. for general admission, with a special 90-minute VIP period before that starting at 12:30 p.m. General admission tickets cost $25 in advance and can be purchased online here. They will be $30 at the door. VIP tickets can only be purchased in advance for $40 at Boxing Bear, going up to $45 the day of at the Convention Center.

To get the full story behind the change, I sat down with Boxing Bear head brewer/co-owner Justin Hamilton and general manager John Campi on Monday afternoon.

“A good thing for us will be that this has been a rain-or-shine event the previous two years and it almost got rained out the first year, we’re going to have a good attendance and a good time, either way,” Justin said. “That’s going to be one of the first things that’s a plus for us. But, I think that as far as what we’ve done in the past that we’re going to continue, and we’re going to expand on a few different things. We have 20 breweries, we have three wineries and two distilleries.”

The breweries, in alphabetical order, are Ale Republic, Bathtub Row, Blue Corn, Bosque, Boxing Bear, Canteen, Chama River, Dialogue, Flix Brewhouse, La Cumbre, Marble, Nexus, Quarter Celtic, Rowley Farmhouse Ales, Santa Fe, Second Street, Starr Brothers, Steel Bender, Taos Mesa, and Turtle Mountain. The wineries are Black Mesa, New Mexico Hard Cider, and St. Clair, while Left Turn and Santa Fe Spirits are the distilleries on hand.

As John noted, the entire event is “100 percent local to New Mexico.”

“Yes, that’s another thing we really want to push here is that this is an absolute local event,” Justin added. “There’s no outside distributors. There’s no random (anything). This will all be from New Mexico, beers and vendors. It will be nice to share some of the other breweries that a lot of folks haven’t been up to see, (like) Bathtub Row and Rowley Farmhouse Ales, a lot of these guys are definitely part of that brewing community that a lot of the Albuquerque scene doesn’t get out to get and see.”

The vendors on hand will all be local as well, ranging from New Mexico Flameworks to Metal The Brand to YogaZo to Mother Road Mobile Canning. The New Mexico Brewers Guild will have a booth, of course, and a certain local author will also be on hand to sign and sell copies of his book, Albuquerque Beer: Duke City History on Tap, for $20 apiece (no, I will never stop with the shameless self promotion at this point).

Gamers Anonymous will have a booth as well, with video games for patrons to play, ranging from Street Fighter to GoldenEye to Mario Kart and more. Unlike last year, when it seemed like the chairs were half in the sun all day, it will all be inside and air conditioned. There will also be a cornhole tournament thanks to the owner of The Local Brewhouse, who donated his boards for the day.

There will be a charity that will benefit from the event as well.

“This is a benefit for the Animal Humane Society,” John said. “Animal Humane will be split into two sections. They’ll have a little adoption booth, if possible with actual, live puppies there. Then we’re going to have a booth set up with a little game (washer toss) and people will pay a dollar or so. That money will go directly to Animal Humane. They can win a prize, and I think every brewery is going to pitch in a shirt or a hat or something.”

Local bands will include Isaac Aragon during the VIP-only time (12:30-2 p.m.) and Pawn Shop Poster Boys after that. Another band is also expected to be announced soon.

“That and it will be nice that our music will have an actual audio guy this year,” Justin said. “Last year we were leaving it up to the bands, which isn’t a problem as far as the audio itself goes, but as far as the setup of the audio we hope to have seamless music throughout the event. Last year we had these breaks between our VIP and our start. We want people to be able to hear music (as they come in).”

The beer, though, is the biggest draw. The Crew should have full lists for all attending breweries no later than Thursday, but a few special beers of note have already been listed by Boxing Bear on Facebook.

  • Blue Corn, thankfully, goes to the dark side with Imperial Chocolate Porter.
  • Bosque is expected to bring a new variant in their Elephants on Parade specialty series.
  • Canteen will debut their Strawberry Basil Gose and bring back Tuttle IPA, a hazy New England-style hop bomb.
  • La Cumbre is bring Strawberry Gose and the latest batch of Project Dank.
  • Marble counters with a Cranberry Gose. Yes, there is a gose theme here.
  • Quarter Celtic has Mangose (yup, theme) and a new Blood Orange Hefeweizen.
  • Rowley Farmhouse Ales is bringing six beers, each of which will be served at special times (see our next story Thursday for that serving schedule).
  • Second Street will tap Summer Rain Raspberry Sour.
  • Starr Brothers is brewing a special batch of Starrgasm IPA just for the festival.
  • Turtle Mountain will have Yum Yum Colada and Lil Shelly Pale Ale.

Unlike other festivals, this is not an unlimited sampling event. VIP and general admission both get four 4-ounce samples and one full pint for free. Additional samples and/or pints can be purchased from the breweries.

“Most breweries, we kind of leave it up to them if they want people to purchase a sample or not,” Justin said. “Last year, just about every brewery was up for it, so my guess that will probably be the thing. Every now and then you’ll see a beer where if it’s a high-end beer or if it’s in a bottle, it’s just not going to be available for sample, which is understandable. I would say almost everything is going to be available for sample and purchase. We definitely don’t want to limit on what people are able to try, but what we want to do is not just turn it into a free-for-all.”

While bigger packaging breweries can often write off free samples as a marketing expense, that is almost impossible for the smaller brewpubs. This helps the breweries not feel as if they are giving away nothing but free beer.

“It’s one of those things where if we put multiple good breweries into a caravan (and) not only show them a good time, but if they get a little something back, they’re going to consistently show up every year for us,” Justin said. “That way we always get the best local breweries showing up consistently every year, which is great for the consumers. That was the original BearFest idea was going for, it’s for the patrons, it’s for the breweries, and it’s for everyone in between.”

Putting BearFest in a more convenient location is another way for Boxing Bear to give back to the patrons and attending businesses.

“It will also be in a nice central location, which is another good part about the Convention Center,” Justin said. “Other than competing with other festivals that were going on, it’s hard getting people to come across the river for anything. It will be right in downtown where people know, with quick access to (two freeways). Uber and Lyft, no matter where you are in the city, it will be probably be pretty affordable, and we always encourage that.”

For those looking to bike over, take note of your options in the area.

“Last year we did a bike valet,” John said. “We were unable to get that this year. The valet company had a prior event. However, there is still ample bike parking. Right now the Plaza is under construction and they have Third (Street) blocked off on both ends, but the Plaza is actually gated off because they’re doing the Shakespeare events with bike racks. There’s hundreds of spots over there.”

The Crew always encourages everyone to travel safely and responsibly to and from beer festivals.

We will have those full beer lists on Thursday. After that, we will see you at BearFest!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

OBB20172

The crowds will be out in force again this weekend for the annual Outside Bike & Brew Festival in Santa Fe.

Hey, everyone! Luke and Julie here from Dark Side Brew Crew, Santa Fe squad. This weekend, the fourth annual Outside Bike & Brew Festival returns to Santa Fe with four more days of cycling and craft beer events.

This great week-long beer-meets-adventure bash officially begins Wednesday with a kickoff party at Santa Fe’s still-fresh venue, The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing, and continues with guided brewery bike tours during the day and beer dinners in the evening. Each event brings bikes and beers together in the perfect union of suds and sun (hopefully), and culminates this Saturday with a celebration of all things outside, with food trucks, music, and good breweries that love the great outdoors!

If you like beer, bikes, and getting outside, this event is not one to miss! While there are plenty of cycling events to choose from for the whole family, we know you’re here for the beer, so let’s get down to business. If you’re more interested in ABV than RPM, the following is a roundup of what you can expect from this week’s event.

Wednesday

Bike to Work Week with Second Street Brewery (all locations)

“Wednesday is Bike to Work Week, and all three of our locations are part of a “first annual” SSB scavenger hunt cooked up by new Rufina front-of-house manager, Mariah Scee, in cooperation with the City of Santa Fe. We will be having an outdoor area to gather in, along with souvenirs and snacks that will be given away at the Rufina location. The Railyard and Original locations will be the places to go for full service eating and drinking.” — Rod Tweet, Owner/President, SSB

Marble Brewery Tap Takeover

Fire & Hops Gastropub, 5 p.m.

Food specials and limited brews from Marble’s NE Heights Brewery

Benefit for Velo New Mexico, a nonprofit promoting and celebrating cycling in New Mexico

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Bikes, brews, and tunes, too.

Thursday

Bike & Brew Kickoff Party

The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing, 7 p.m.

Enjoy Santa Fe Brewing craft beers with dirty, organic California soul music from Orgone

Tickets can be purchased here.

Beer Dinner Feature: Bodega Prime featuring a selection from Rowley’s Farmhouse Ales

Enjoy a great beer dinner at Bodega Prime with beers from RFA, before heading out to The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing for the Kickoff Party!

On the menu:

  • Fields of Rye Saison with snapper, crab, peas & celeriac
  • Saison du Sarlacc with roasted carrots with harissa & pistachios
  • Ab Initio with spring duck, morels & grass
  • Ab Initio – Boysenberry with charred onion salad with walnut salsa
  • Agent Scully IPA with smoked bliss potato & egg yolk ravioli, pork & asparagus
  • Sin Barreras Nutella with chocolate bouchon with caramelized beer ice cream & coff­ee

Reservations are required. Call (505) 303-3535. The cost is $65 per person.

Bodega Prime is located at 1291 San Felipe Ave., Suite A, Santa Fe, NM 87505

Cowgirl Tap Takeover & Beer Dinner featuring Sierra Nevada

The Cowgirl is located at 319 S. Guadalupe St. For more information, call (505) 982-2565 or check out their website.

Loyal Hound Pub featuring a selection from Canteen Brewhouse

The Loycal Hound is located at 730 St. Michaels Dr. For more information, call (505) 471-0440 or check out their website.

Friday, May 19

Tour de Brewer

Start times: 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m.

Saddle up at the Santa Fe Railyard Park for a round trip ride with stops at Rowley’s Farmhouse Ales, Duel Brewing and the newest Second Street Brewery location in the Rufina District.

Rod also says lucky cyclists may indeed get to take a peek at the new brewing facility on Rufina, and sample a few of the new beers! What!? So, lace up those, um, bike shoes … and shorts!

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.

Dr. Field Goods featuring Deschutes Brewery

Dr. Field Goods is located at 2860 Cerrillos Road, Suite A1. For more information, call (505) 471-0043 or check out their website.

Handcrafted Bike & Beer Show

Santa Fe Farmers Market Building, 5-9 p.m.

The first 500 people receive a custom Bike & Brew logo stainless cup.

Breweries include: Deschutes, Broken Trail, La Cumbre, Red Door, Santa Fe Brewing, Second Street, Starr Brothers

Tickets are $15 to $25 and can be purchased here.

Saturday, May 20

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2016 Tour de Brewer, SFBC

Tour de Brewer

Start times: 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m.

Saddle up at the Santa Fe Railyard Park for a round trip ride with stops at Second Street Brewery, Blue Corn Brewery and Santa Fe Brewing Company. Cyclists will speak with head brewers and sample beers along the way with a tour of the new Santa Fe Brewing facility and a cold beer fresh off the canning line.

Tickets cost $20 and can be purchased here.

Tour de Brunch

10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

This tour includes stops at Ohori’s Coffee, CheeseMongers of Santa Fe, and Barrio Brinery to check out how the local artisanal food scene is evolving. We wrap up the ride at HQ Santa Fe for some savory bites and a beverage.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here.

Concert & Beer Garden

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Bike & Brew 2015, Railyard Park

Railyard Park, 5-9 p.m.

This evening features food trucks, a bicycle expo, and music by DJ Spinifex and Hello Dollface. The first 500 people receive a custom Bike & Brew logo stainless cup.

Breweries include: Deschutes Brewery, Broken Trail Brewing, La Cumbre Brewing, Red Door Brewery, Santa Fe Brewing Co., Second Street Brewery, Starr Brothers Brewing

Tickets are $15 to $25 and can be purchased here.

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Julie: A great way for locals to take advantage of this weekend’s events is to pick up a Locals Pass for $20, which allows entry to both Friday and Saturday night’s main beer events. The passes can be picked up at Whole Foods Market at 753 Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe. The beer dinners listed will likely require reservations, so we advise you to plan ahead.

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In 2015, the weather stopped no one from pouring the good stuff!

Luke: I’ve been to three of these now, and I’ve always had a good time. One year I was even interviewed by the Beer TrALE, the first of the Drink it Interns, about New Mexico IPAs, and I said some mostly factual things. Don’t bother looking for the video. You probably won’t find it. Only now am I more interested in getting on a bike, especially with a chance to huff it between some new breweries (lookin’ at you, Rufina and RFA!). And, with no chance of a BUI (Oregon and Colorado, you know what I’m talkin’ about), I’m sold. Still, drink responsibly. Bike responsibly. Don’t be an asshat. Sadly, I don’t own a bike, but the beer side of these events has always been a great experience, and even if the weather hasn’t always cooperated, the outdoorsy type of folks that dig this particular brand o’ shindig don’t mind a little rain and mud while they get down with the gettin’ down.

Cheers!

— Julie and Luke

Full event listings are available at www.outsidesantafe.com/events.

Luke123 Steel Bender

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