Posts Tagged ‘Blue Heron Brewing’

Grow you beautiful hops, grow!

Grow you beautiful hops, grow!

This past weekend, Porter Pounder and I got the opportunity to camp overnight at the Santa Fe Brewing Hop Farm. SFBC sales rep Silas Sims rounded up a small group and led us up there. For those who have no idea where it is at, the farm is located in Rinconada, along the highway between Espanola and Taos. Blue Heron Brewing is right next door, so if you know where that is, the hop farm is just to the east.

We could discuss all that we saw (rabbits!) and heard (really annoying crows at the crack of dawn!) and tasted (so many SFBC beers, some with fresh Neo Mexicanus hops added), but this is one of those stories best told in pictures.

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The camping area is just down the hill from where the hops are growing.

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Billy from 10 Drink Minimum checks out the Rio Grande. Remarkably, no one fell into the water.

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The hop farm is still in its infancy, but some of the plants are already producing quite a lot.

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Insert the lyrics for Social Distortion’s Reach for the Sky here.

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Hello, little friend!

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Now that is a fresh hop IPA.

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It took some work, but Monica, left, and Samantha eventually convinced the dogs to check out the river.

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As the sun began to set, we enjoyed the peaceful tranquility of it all … while listening to Rage Against the Machine.

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The dogs debate whether or not to jump into Porter Pounder’s hammock.

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This was just the beginning of the wood pile for the night’s fire pit.

And good night after another great NM sunset.

And good night after another great NM sunset.

Take note, if you were expecting drunken shenanigan photos, none of that happened until after dark. And our phone batteries died. Hallelujah for that, right?

Thanks again to Silas, Monica, and the rest of our fellow campers. It was a blast. Except for those damn crows. The Brew Crew is not made up of morning people!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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If there was ever a beer perfectly made for a chocolate festival, it's this one.

If there was ever a beer perfectly made for a chocolate festival, it’s this one.

We are a long way from regular festival season, but there are two events this weekend featuring some of our local breweries. Up at Pajarito Mountain above Los Alamos is Skiesta, which Reid previewed earlier this week. Over at the State Fairgrounds is the Southwest Chocolate & Coffee Fest, a two-day event this Saturday and Sunday.

Skiesta will feature Bathtub Row (naturally), Blue Heron, Santa Fe, Second Street, and Taos Mesa. The SCCF will feature Bosque, Boxing Bear, Santa Fe, and Tractor. So far we have beer lists for four of the five Skiesta breweries and three of the SCCF breweries. As others appear, we will update this post. (UPDATE: We have the full Boxing Bear list below; it is downright ridiculous, in a good way.)

Why attend either festival? Well, with Arizona out (damn it) and Arkansas-Little Rock and Yale already blowing up brackets, it’s not like there is much reason anymore to stay home and watch the NCAA Tournament. Right? Right.

Here are the lists, starting with Skiesta.

Bathtub Row: Irish Red, Dry Stout, Sapphire Pilsner

Blue Heron: IPA, Golden Ale, Stout

Santa Fe: TBA

Second Street: Agua Fria Apricot, ESB, 4 Hour Lunch, Kolsch (gluten removed), Cream Stout, Ringwood Red

Taos Mesa: Mosaic IPA, Sappho Amber, Kolsch 45, Great Scot Scottish Ale

And the SCCF breweries.

Bosque: Momma Always Said (on CO2 and nitro), Bosque Lager, Elephants on Parade, Riverwalker IPA, Marzen, Scotia Scotch Ale, Driftwood Oatmeal Stout

Boxing Bear: Chocolate Milk Stout (fresh batch!), Coffee Chocolate Milk Stout, Baltic Bear, Red Glove, Simcoe SMASH, Uppercut IPA, Ambear, Cider, Sucker Punch DIPA

Santa Fe: TBA (but we gotta imagine Java Stout will be going, right?)

Tractor: Cowboy Coffee Stout, Brass Monkey, Berry Cider

Shake off those post-St. Patrick’s Day hangovers and prepare to head out this weekend, either to the Fairgrounds or up the mountain. Some of us in the Crew will likely be at one or the other. Stop by and say hello if you see us around.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

2016 Skiesta Flier JB rev1 texture2 small

As usual, things are busy with Bathtub Row Brewing in Los Alamos. The big one is Skiesta, which will be held this Saturday.  If you’re into skiing and beer (and I bet a healthy percentage of you reading this are), this is an event not to be missed.  It’s getting awfully warm out there, so who knows how much more skiing you’ll be able to do, and there will be lots of good beer and food.  Felix y los Gatos is also an excellent band.  Trust me, you won’t be able to stay sitting down when they start playing!

Other notable upcoming events:

  • Tuesday, March 15: Another beer dinner will be held.  This is obviously short notice, and it could very likely be sold out by the time you see this, but if you’re in the area, at least try to go.  And we’re sorry we told you too late.
  • Thursday, March 17th: From 6-9pm, the Tub will be hosting a St. Patrick’s Day celebration featuring Bronach-Celtic Blues and food offerings from the Los Alamos Cooperative Market.
  • Saturday, Math 19: It’s not just Skiesta this Saturday….  From 11-noon, you can participate in a yoga class at the brewery.  Cost is donation to the instructor, and you get 1/2 off your first post-stretch pint.  Bring your mat and limber up for Skiesta!  (Yoga classes are held the third Saturday of every month.)

Also, plans are underway to transform the adjacent outdoor area into a nice patio, with lighting, shade, and, of course, good beer.  It’ll be a welcome addition in the warmer weather.

Cheers!

Reid

This is the section of Rio Bravo where they have been planning to put in a canning/bottling line.

This is the section of Rio Bravo where they have been planning to put in a canning/bottling line.

After a slew of slow news days regarding the local brewing scene, the intrepid Stephanie Guzman of Albuquerque Business First posted a story today about Rio Bravo Brewing applying for a $5 million county industrial revenue bond. A surprising move? Maybe to some, not to others. Rio Bravo has been talking big since before they opened, planning to dive into packaging in distributing in a way that most breweries in New Mexico have so far avoided.

While the ethics of applying for public money as a private business are debated, the early public reaction seems to be focused on whether or not Rio Bravo should even do this. The line of reasoning is that if established packaging breweries like La Cumbre, Marble, Santa Fe, Sierra Blanca, and Tractor are not doing this, why should a new brewery that is still trying to establish itself? All of it bleeds into the bigger picture about brewing in New Mexico. Has it reached a crossroads of sorts? Is there a bubble forming? And what is the right path from here?

Well, to stoke the fires of public discourse and debate, here is a look at where the industry is now and the many directions it could be heading in the years to come.

The massive expansion at Marble continues to progress.

The massive expansion at Marble continues to progress.

Go big … or go medium … or go small

A salient point in numerous recent discussions between the Crew and our readers (these were in person, not online) was the question of how New Mexico can further establish itself as a craft beer destination. In the opinion of many people, that is best done through more packaging and greater distribution.

No one expects any of our breweries to grow to the size of a New Belgium or a Sierra Nevada or a Stone, but at least many feel they should aim to reach the size of San Diego’s Ballast Point or Colorado’s Upslope or Odell. Reaching more markets outside of New Mexico has not been a major priority for the breweries that do package and distribute. Only Santa Fe has truly extended their reach beyond bordering states. Marble has limited distribution outside of New Mexico, but only in bordering states like Arizona and Southwest Colorado. There is seemingly a market for good beer in neighboring states, though one would certainly argue it would make more sense to aim for West Texas or Arizona than to enter the intensely competitive Colorado market.

Ultimately, though, it does raise the question of whether or not packaging and selling beers in bottles or cans is truly the way to bring more positive attention and more customers and tourists. Some might argue that quality still trumps quantity, and that as some breweries have expanded locally and nationally, the quality has suffered.

As things stand right now, of all the new breweries coming to New Mexico, only Rio Bravo has even gone so far as to say they have packaging/distribution plans. Virtually every other planned brewery, or brewery that has opened in the last two years, has aimed much smaller. A few have kegged their beers and distributed them to bars and restaurants. By and large, though, packaging has not been on the table.

It is that debate of ambition versus caution, of going for it all quickly versus trying to grow naturally, that the brewing scene here must now confront. There is a growing notion among the public that too many breweries are playing it too safe; they are unwilling to grow beyond their current production levels. Of course, then there is the issue of just how fast a place should try to grow. As of right now, Marble and Santa Fe are engaged in major expansions. La Cumbre has just finished a major expansion. We are seeing more limited bottling runs from Bosque, and there is talk of future bottling/canning endeavors, and expansion, for Canteen and Second Street.

Breweries will point to the high excise taxes that they face once they pass a certain point of production as a detriment to growth. In some cases they must debate whether or not they can risk going from full sustainability to going into debt, even for a temporary period, in order to expand. Every brewery likely has a different take on expanding versus staying the course, growing fast versus growing slow. The Crew will be asking these sorts of questions when we start our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series in December.

The battle of tap space at bars and restaurants is taking a new turn for local breweries.

The battle of tap space at bars and restaurants is taking a new turn for local breweries.

Breweries versus bars

I was recently privy to a discussion between a group of bar managers who had gathered for a late-night drink at a local bar that caters to craft beer. It was a fascinating “fly on the wall” kind of moment, hearing them discuss what for them are the positive and negative aspects of the impact of the local brewing scene on their respective businesses.

To a man, and woman, they all agreed that right now, the breweries are far more popular destinations than most bars during traditional happy hour times (roughly 4 to 7 p.m.). The only bars that are seemingly exempt are those with traditionally strong food menus (though they did not mention any by name, I could infer that Two Fools was one of these). Otherwise the breweries are taking business away from the bars. The problem, in their eyes, then lies with the fact the breweries are still trying to sell their beer via those bars.

It certainly is another debatable point. Should bars try to promote local beers ahead of national brands (be they craft or macro), even though the breweries from which those beers are originating are taking away business from those bars? The bar managers said they often have a hard time selling local beers to customers, many of whom would rather just get it “fresh” from the brewery itself. These bar managers all hailed from locally owned establishments, which tend to attract far more locals than chain restaurants with bars (Applebees, Outback, TGI Friday’s, etc.), who tend to get more tourists and newcomers to the state who seek out what amounts to the food they are comfortable with as opposed to the local and unknown (we can all leave out the local vs. national food quality debate, we are sticking to beer here). So again, should the local bars with craft taps focus on NM beers, or out-of-state craft? What is the balance?

Another point they brought up was the new proliferation of taprooms. At this point, more and more taprooms are opening, especially with the new state law that grants breweries permission to have up to three taprooms beyond the central brewery. Bosque has taprooms in Las Cruces and Nob Hill, with a third possible taproom now being rumored for Bernalillo, though ownership would not officially comment on that site. Blue Heron has a taproom now in Espanola. Taos Mesa has a secondary location at Taos Ski Valley. Little Toad Creek does most of their business now in their Silver City taproom. Marble’s Westside location is booming, and they are still in the planning stages for a Northeast Heights taproom. Tractor’s Nob Hill taproom has been around for quite a long time now. Santa Fe just opened their Albuquerque taproom, a second satellite location. Duel, Kaktus, and Red Door have plans to open taprooms in 2016. La Cumbre and Nexus have been discussing taprooms for quite some time, though we still have no concrete details of either signing a lease anywhere.

These taprooms can be a financial windfall to the breweries that own them. The tradeoff is that for every new taproom that opens, particularly in parts of the ABQ area that are “under-served” by craft beer, it takes away from the bars in those areas that have long offered that brewery’s beers on tap. Or at least that is the view of the bar managers, and likely the owners as well.

So it all boils down to this question: What role should bars and restaurants play in helping to grow the craft beer scene? Do they really have any responsibility to help, especially if they feel the breweries are eating into their profits? What kind of relationship should exist here?

Take some time to think about the issues presented here. Then let us know your thoughts, by Facebook, Twitter (@nmdarksidebc), email (nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com), the comments section here, or by finding us in person. Once we have everyone’s comments and thoughts, we will do our best to organize a forum, of sorts, among as many brewers and brewery owners as we can in the near future. We deserve to hear their thoughts on the future of the industry and they deserve to hear yours.

Sound off, New Mexico!

— Stoutmeister

Just embrace the beer and the metal and everything will be just fine during your stay in Albuquerque.

Just embrace the beer and the metal and everything will be just fine during your stay in Albuquerque.

It’s that time of year again, when lots of folks from outside Albuquerque and New Mexico descend upon the Duke City for the Balloon Fiesta. While a lot of us locals grumble about the increase in traffic, even we’re big softies for the Fiesta (assuming we wake up in time). Well, we are, our dogs are not. They’re huddling in the corner thinking the end times are upon us.

Anyway, with all these newcomers visiting ABQ, and balloons not flying 24-7, they will all need something to do. So for our regular readers, there won’t be much here that you don’t already know. But if you have people in from out of town asking you, “What else is there to do here?” well now you have this post to show them that there is more to this town than balloons, green chile, and “Better Call Saul.”

We’ve updated this for 2015, since we’ve added just a few new breweries. If you’re just interested in the current slate of seasonal beers, as always, check out The Week Ahead in Beer. That feature runs every Wednesday.

Breweries near the Fiesta

If you needed proof of how good the beers are at Bosque, how does a gold medal from this year's Great American Beer Festival look?

If you needed proof of how good the beers are at Bosque, how does a gold medal from this year’s Great American Beer Festival look?

Bosque Brewing: (Original location) Located at 8900 San Mateo, Bosque is by far the closest to all the balloon action. Heck, you can walk there if you want to. The easiest way to get to Bosque is to take I-25 and get off at Alameda and go west, just like you would go to Balloon Fiesta Park. San Mateo is the first red light you’ll encounter and if you take a right and go north, Bosque will be ahead on your right. Bosque is not a huge place, so don’t be surprised if it gets crowded around happy hour. They have a menu of sandwiches and other items to munch on to keep your belly full. On the beer side, Bosque has been one of the biggest winners so far in 2015. Their Scale Tipper won both the National IPA Challenge and the New Mexico IPA Challenge (two years in a row). The Acequia IPA just claimed a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in the Wet Hop Ale category. Both are available on tap and are for sale in bombers. Other top options from the regular menu are the Riverwalker IPA, Scotia Scotch Ale, and Driftwood Oatmeal Stout.

Kaktus Brewing: Just to the north of Albuquerque is the small town of Bernalillo, which has one brewery. Located at 471 South Hill Road, you can access it easily from the Highway 550 exit off I-25. Head west on 550 and then take a left and go south at Hill, which is the first red light you will encounter. Kaktus will be down the road on your right. A quaint, unique setting, Kaktus has rotating lineup of quality beers and a small food menu. We recommend the Full Bodied Stout, Berna Brown, and the Helles Lager, which is one of the better lighter (in color, not flavor) beers around. In addition to the Fiesta, you can also celebrate Kaktoberfest this Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. with live music, food specials, and plenty of beer.

Sandia Chile Grill: Located near the intersection of San Antonio and Wyoming, SCG is a restaurant with a small but good selection of beers. If you get off I-25 at San Antonio and head east, there is a shopping center on the northeast corner of SA and Wyoming just a mile-plus up the road. SCG is located near a Subway and the Sports and Wellness, behind the McDonald’s and Walgreens. We endorse the Rio Negro Stout, Red Ranger Irish Red, and Barb’s Barrel Hefeweizen, though the lineup tends to change a lot. If they have any of their meads available, get them, they have won some awards. SCG also has a smoker now, so check out some outstanding smoked meat dishes.

Albuquerque Brewing: The newest brewery in the area, ABC is located along the I-25 frontage road on the east side between Paseo del Norte and Alameda. You can also access the brewery via Wilshire Ave. from San Pedro. They recently changed brewers, so a new lineup should be available soon. They do not have food, but there is often a food truck parked out front.

Breweries in the far Northeast Heights

Lizard Tail: If you feel like getting away from the more crowded areas, head east on Montgomery until you reach the intersection with Eubank. Located in a shopping center on the southeast corner with a Pelican’s and the Dirty Bourbon Dance Hall (for country music lovers only), Lizard Tail is a neighborhood pub. They have a little food, but it’s mostly about the beer, which is more malt-forward than hoppy. The Belgian Abbey and Rye Stout are worth trying. If you do need some hops, go for the IPA or India Black Ale.

Breweries along the I-25 corridor

Most of these breweries can be accessed off the freeway between the Jefferson, Montgomery/Montano, and Comanche/Candelaria exits. Two are visible from the freeway, the others are tucked away but are very much worth making an effort to find.

Chama River: Right next to the Century Rio 24 movie theater is one of ABQ’s oldest and most respected breweries. You can access it via the Jefferson exit and the southbound frontage road. Chama is a restaurant with a full menu featuring a wide array of food. If you’re on a budget, it’s a good place to splurge. Personally, I think they might have the best BBQ ribs in town. On the beer side of things, Chama’s selection is plentiful, but not overly heavy. The Sleeping Dog Stout is a personal favorite. The Jackalope IPA, Rio Lodo Brown Ale, and Rio Chama Amber Ale are also popular. The current seasonal lineup includes the tasty Oxbow ESB ale and the Radioactive IPA.

Nexus Brewery: Located on the east side of the freeway, you can access Nexus via the northbound frontage road just north of the Montgomery/Montano exit. Also a restaurant, Nexus is unique in New Mexico for its soul food-style menu. The chicken and waffles is among the most popular dishes you will find in town. The food alone is well worth a visit, but make sure to try the beer while you’re there. The Scotch Ale, Cream Ale, Chocolate Porter, and IPA are all popular with customers. Nexus tends to be a more malt-forward brewery.

Canteen has a new 15-barrel brewhouse. You would be smiling, too.

Canteen has a new 15-barrel brewhouse. You would be smiling, too.

Canteen Brewhouse: One of two breweries tucked away in an industrial area located between Candelaria to the south and Comanche to the north (officially known as “The Brewery District”), you can find the Canteen Brewhouse (formerly Il Vicino Brewery Canteen) on Aztec Road. If you take the frontage road northbound, Aztec will be on your right as you go from Candelaria to Comanche. Head east a few blocks and the Canteen will be on your left. The Canteen usually has a huge selection of seasonals. There is a small menu of sandwiches (try the Piggly Wiggly, a pulled pork monstrosity) and other snack items. For beer, you can go with the popular IPA, Brown, and Stout. The current seasonal lineup includes the popular Irish Red.

La Cumbre: Just around the corner from Canteen is La Cumbre, one of the most highly regarded breweries in the state. If you love hops, this is your place to visit. The easiest way to find La Cumbre is to take Candelaria east from I-25 and then take a left (north) on Girard, which is the last street before you reach an overpass to cross a diversion channel. La Cumbre will be just north of Candelaria on the left (west) side of the street. Parking is mostly restricted around La Cumbre by the other businesses, so be careful not to park anywhere you might get towed. There is usually a food truck parked out front, but for the most part La Cumbre is a place to enjoy a pint or buy a growler or some bombers or four-packs of cans. The award-winning Elevated IPA tops the list of regular beers on tap, though I would also recommend the burly Malpais Stout. The current seasonal list includes the seasonal VMO #3, an Oktoberfest, and Full Nelson, a monstrous double IPA also available for sale in bombers.

Red Door: One of the newer breweries in Albuquerque, Red Door has become a popular destination at morning or night. It’s on Candelaria just west of I-25 on the north side of the street. There is usually a food truck parked out back for your culinary needs. Inside the spacious taproom, Red Door has a solid lineup of beers including the Roamer Red, Threshold IPA, and Paint it Black Milk Stout (served on nitro). Red Door also has one of the more potent ciders you can find in the Unhinged Cider (7.9% ABV). On the seasonal front, the Anniversary Double Red is a behemoth in flavor.

Distillery 365: Yes, they are first and foremost a distillery, but 365 also brews their own beers. They currently have an ESB and a strong ale. They are located on Stanford just south of Candelaria. Check out their popular Bloody Mary Bar on Sunday morning.

Breweries on the West Side

If you are staying west of the Rio Grande, the beer options are only getting better.

Pi Brewing: The brewery is operational, but all beers are served next door at Nicky V’s Neighborhood Pizzeria (same owners). They have a small but solid lineup, including the Challenge IPA, Amarillo Red, and Robust Porter. Of course, you can also chow down on lots of tasty Italian dishes at Nicky V’s. As for how to get there, Nicky V’s is located on Coors Blvd. just north of Paseo del Norte. The address is 9780 Coors on the east side of the road.

Boxing Bear has an awesome outdoor patio, too.

Boxing Bear has an awesome outdoor patio, too.

Boxing Bear: The biggest joint on the west side is Boxing Bear, which took over the old Elliott’s Bar space in the shopping center on the northeast corner of the intersection of Alameda and Coors/Corrales Road. There is a small menu of sandwiches and snacks. Brewer Justin Hamilton has made an impact with some big, bold beers. The Uppercut IPA packs a punch. The Standing 8 Stout and Hairy Mit Hefe are there if you don’t want to pummel your palate with too many hops.

Cazuela’s Seafood & Mexican Grill: Located on Sara Road just east of Rio Rancho Blvd./Highway 528, this Rio Rancho-based brewery is a full-on restaurant that also brews its own beer. The beer lineup changes from time to time, but at present we know the Chupacabra IPA, Panama Red Ale, Beer for My Horses Oatmeal Stout, and Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale are all on tap. Seasonals include Kilt Kicker, a smoked Scottish ale, and Calabaza, a pumpkin ale.

Turtle Mountain: One of the oldest and most respected breweries around, TMBC is located on Southern Blvd. just west of Highway 528 in Rio Rancho. Offering a full menu of awesome pizzas, calzones, sandwiches, and more, TMBC has plenty of culinary delights to go along with a strong lineup of beer created by new brewer Tim Woodward. Regular favorites include the Heidelberg Helles, Piedra Lisa Porter, Parasol White IPA, and McDay’s Cream Ale. The Oktoberfest tops the current seasonal list.

Marble Westside: The taproom is a hugely popular destination for beer drinkers, offering up most of the same beers as the main brewery downtown. Located just north of McMahon along Unser, they usually have a food truck out front and a lot of live music events.

Breweries in Uptown

The area around Coronado Mall and the Uptown Shopping Center, located between I-40 to the south and Menaul to the north along Louisiana Blvd., this is a popular destination for shoppers. There are not a lot of options here for beer, unfortunately.

ABQ Brew Pub: Featuring beers from Moriarty’s Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca Brewing (for those not in the know, Moriarty is a small town east of the Sandia Mountains along I-40), the Brew Pub has a solid food menu and more. Located on Uptown Blvd. just west of Louisiana, it shares a building with Uptown Sports Bar. Regular beers on tap include Rio Grande Outlaw Lager, Roswell Alien Amber, and the Pancho Verde Chile Cerveza. The Sierra Blanca Bonechiller Brown won a is a two-time medal winner at GABF, so make sure to check it out, too.

B.J.’s: It’s the big chain brewery/restaurant. It’s not local, so you can do better. Support local while you visit ABQ.

Breweries in Nob Hill

This is a very popular area located along Central between Girard on the west and Washington to the east. There are lots of shops and restaurants to visit.

Tractor: While the brewery is located near downtown (see below), the tap room has quickly become one of the most popular destinations in Nob Hill. Located at 118 Tulane SE, you can find Tractor fairly easily if you’re on Central. Just look for the Arby’s and/or Starbucks on the south side of Central. Tractor is located just behind Starbucks. The joint is jumping during happy hour and almost every night after 10 p.m., especially on weekends. Because they do not brew on site, Tractor can stay open until 2 a.m., unlike the breweries where they have to close at midnight. The staff at Tractor is among the friendliest and funniest in town. There is no food on site, but the restaurants around Tractor are no dummies; many will deliver your food straight to the tap room. And there is always at least one food truck outside. On the beer front, the regular menu includes the popular Almanac IPA, Farmer’s Tan Red Ale, and our favorite, the Double Plow Oatmeal Stout. You can also find Tractor’s IPA, Red, and Mustachio Milk Stout in six-packs at local liquor establishments all over town.

Kellys: One of the older and more popular establishments, Kellys features a full restaurant menu of favorite American and Mexican dishes. The insides features dozens of televisions showing sports from around the world, too, though most folks prefer the spacious patio to relax and unwind after a long day or week. The beers are decent, though not our personal favorites. The Red Ale, Scottish, and others are worth sampling. Kellys is best for the atmosphere and if you want to watch your favorite team in action on TV. For great beer, head elsewhere. Kellys is located on the south side of Central on Wellesley.

You can get your Bosque fix in Nob Hill, too.

You can get your Bosque fix in Nob Hill, too.

Bosque Public House: Located on Girard, just south of Central behind the Mannie’s Restaurant and next to a Walgreens, the Bosque taproom is a popular hangout for people of all ages, not just the college students from across the street at UNM. Take note that every Wednesday they try to have one of their beers on cask. The lineup is almost always the same as at the main brewery on San Mateo (see above).

B2B Bistronomy: Located on Central between Richmond and Bryn Mawr, this is a popular burger joint that brews their own beers, including a Coconut Porter. The burgers are not fast food, but gourmet, served in a laid-back atmosphere. They also have a sister location across the street from UNM near Yale and Central called Lobo Beast 101, though that location has far more guest taps than house beers, with a different food menu.

Nob Hill Bar & Grill: Not a brewery, but arguably the best beer bar in the city, with all sorts of awesome, rare beers on tap from around the country. How good is NHBG? When San Diego’s Ballast Point first came to New Mexico, this was the location of their first tap takeover event. When Michigan’s Founders Brewing debuts this coming Wednesday, it will be at NHBG, with nine (!) of their best beers on tap. Oh, and there is food, too, but we imagine your attention is focused almost solely on the beer.

Breweries around downtown

ABQ’s downtown underwent a major cleanup/renovation over a decade ago. There are lot of restaurants and more traditional bars worth checking out. Plus there are some good establishments for live, local music, such as Launchpad, Burt’s Tiki Lounge, and the Sunshine Theater. The best beer bar downtown is Sister, located on Central near 4th Street. It features a wide array of out-of-town (and out-of-country) beers on tap. For local beers, there are five options.

The Marble taproom went through a renovation earlier this year that has made it better than ever.

The Marble taproom went through a renovation earlier this year that has made it better than ever.

Marble: Located on Marble Street just north of Lomas Blvd. along 1st Ave., Marble is the largest local brewery. You can find Marble beers on tap at numerous other bars around town, plus you can buy six-packs and bombers of Marble beers all over the place as well. The downtown pub is attached to the brewery. It features a comfy patio out front with a music stage, and a recently renovated interior. There is a limited in-house menu of food, including chips & salsa, but there is almost always a food truck out front. On the beer front, the IPA, Red Ale, Wildflower Wheat, Double White, and Oatmeal Stout are among the most popular regular beers. For seasonals, make sure to try the Imperial Red, which just won a bronze medal at GABF. Marble also does a special cask beer every Friday.

Back Alley Draft House: Located on Central in the back of J.C.’s New York Pizza Dept., BADH is a small establishment that brews some of its own beers and also offers beers from other local breweries. You can order some pizza from NYPD and they will bring it back to you while you enjoy some solid local offerings as well as some unique out-of-state/country beers on tap. The current BADH lineup includes Hefen or Hell, Kentucky Common, and Berliner Weisse.

Chama River Microbar: In addition to its main location off I-25, Chama has a small tap room located next to the Sunshine Theater on 2nd Ave. just south of Central. Space is very limited, and there is only beer here. Check in via Chama’s main site to see what’s on tap. They usually have four to five regular beers and two seasonals on tap.

Tractor Wells Park: Tractor moved its brewing operation to this huge space at 1800 4th Ave. from Los Lunas, a town south of Albuquerque. While the brewing is humming in the back, the taproom has become a popular place with an external patio as well. Tractor hosts live music and other special events pretty frequently. The beer list here is extensive, with traditional favorites like those listed above with Nob Hill are always on tap. You can also find multiple seasonals, including Traktoberfest, Jack the Sipper, and Cowboy Blend Coffee Pale Stout.

The Draft Station: Located on Central just west of downtown before you get to Old Town is this taproom owned by the same folks as Chama River and Santa Fe’s Blue Corn Brewery. There is a rotating selection of local brews on tap.

Ponderosa: Another more recent addition to the local scene, Ponderosa is owned by the same folks behind Portland’s PINTS Brewery. It opened recently on Bellamah near the Natural History Museum and Explora. The easiest way to get there is to take I-40 to Rio Grande. Head south on Rio Grande and as you approach Hotel Albuquerque on the left, you’ll see the light for Bellamah. Turn left (east) and head to where the road curves south. Before the curve, turn into the parking lot for the brightly colored apartment building/retail complex. Ponderosa is on the first floor. They serve a full menu of food and a wide selection of beers, including Jubilee, their recent smoked amber brewed for their first anniversary.

Say hello to Boese Brothers, one of the newest breweries in town.

Say hello to Boese Brothers, one of the newest breweries in town.

Boese Brothers: One of two breweries to just open, Boese is located on the northwest corner of Gold and 6th Street in the heart of downtown. They have a mid-sized taproom and a small patio. The good folks up the street at Gold Street Caffe will deliver food you order from the comfort of your booth or bar stool at Boese. The beer lineup is a little different, with Dr. Strangehop XPA, Patriot Porter (on nitro), and La Onza White Ale. They may run out of their Oktoberfest by the time you read this. It was that popular.

Rio Bravo: The other newcomer to the area, Rio Bravo is north of downtown on 2nd Street just south of I-40. It is a huge place, with plenty of parking outside. They also rely on food trucks instead of making any of their own. Snakebite IPA, Black Angus Stout, Rio Bravo Amber, and Karl’s Hefeweizen are among some of the top sellers early on for Rio Bravo. They are hosting a four-day Oktoberfest celebration that started this Thursday and running through Sunday.

Breweries in Santa Fe and further north

If you are taking the time to head north to our state’s capital, don’t fret, there are plenty of beer options. Santa Fe Brewing, the oldest and biggest brewery in the state, is located south of the city along I-25 (there is also a second location in town). The tap room is small and cozy and features many of the brewery’s finest beers. You can also find SFBC beers almost everywhere in the state on bar taps or in bottle form at liquor stores. The most popular are the Happy Camper IPA, Nut Brown, and Java Stout. The current seasonal is Oktoberfest.

Within the city limits are two breweries that give you two locations apiece to visit. Blue Corn combines a restaurant and brewery that has recently been racking up the accolades. Blue Corn became the first non-ABQ brewery to win the annual IPA Challenge in 2013. Among its current beers on tap are Gold Medal Oatmeal Stout, End of the Trail Brown Ale, and Good Guys IPA, a triple IPA hop monster.

Best patio in the state? It is hard to argue with Second Street.

Best patio in the state? It is hard to argue with Second Street.

Second Street is a favorite of the Crew and has two locations, one on Second Street and one at the Railyard. While their IPAs are solid, our favorites at Second Street include their Kolsch, Cream Stout, and whatever variety of English bitter that brewer Rod Tweet has come up with. Second Street has a full food menu at both locations.

Duel Brewing is the most unique Santa Fe brewery. Brewing Belgian-style beers, Duel features some (very) high ABV beers, so be careful when you visit. There is a food menu to help you out. We recommend the Dark Ryder, Titian, and Grunewald Imperial Porter.

Another city up north visiting is Los Alamos, home to the famous National Labs, and now home to their first brewery, Bathtub Row. Tucked away near the center of town, they have unleashed a tremendous initial lineup, including Black Point Stout and Hoppenheimer IPA.

If you feel like heading up to Taos, make sure to stop along the way in Rinconada to visit Blue Heron. A small establishment located along the main road on the left/west side, Blue Heron has a small interior and cozy patio in the back. They also sell their beer in bottle form if you don’t have time to enjoy a pint. We highly recommend the La Llorona Scottish Ale, though at present it’s only available in bottles. Make sure to try the Aurora IPA and Penasco Porter if you have time for a pint. There is also a second Blue Heron location that opened in the nearby town of Espanola.

In Taos itself, stop by the Taos Ale House near the north end of town. The beers change fairly frequently, but if they’re available snag a pint of the Porter or Brown Ale. You can also visit Taos Mesa west of town. It’s a popular music venue, so watch out for expensive cover charges, but the beer is solid, particularly their Stout and Kolsch.

* * * *

If you have any questions, leave a message here on our site, or you can contact us on Facebook or Twitter (@nmdarksidebc), or even via email at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

Welcome to ABQ and we hope that you all have a great time this week!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Blue Heron 1

One of the most quaint settings for a brewery anywhere in New Mexico.

While Stoutmeister and the Crew were working feverishly to bring you daily news on ABQ Beer Week, I was up north, enjoying the quiet, the fresh air, and a few Walden’s Pond moments, as well as allowing my liver a brief respite. As it turns out, it’s taken me a couple weeks to get over all the fun we had during Santa Fe’s Outside Bike & Brew Festival. But, as a beer journalist is never not working, I just so happened to discover a local brewery that I’d been passing by for years.

As you’re driving between Espanola and Taos, winding your way through the canyon, you’ll pass through several small valleys right along the river. If you slow down enough to catch a sign, you’ll notice that one of these valleys is called Rinconada, meaning “corner.” To us city-folk, this corner might be thought of as the very definition of middle-of-nowhere, and to us craft beer-enthusiasts, it might seem as far as possible from our budding craft beer industry as nature is likely to get. Yet us city-folk and craft beer enthusiasts couldn’t be more wrong. Filled with fertile farmland, this particular valley plays host to a vineyard, a hop farm, and a small, but potent, brewery.

The brewery I’m talking about is Blue Heron Brewing Co.

Blue Heron 4

It’s OK, you can call it rustic if you want.

Since 2009, this small rural brewery has supplied solid, delicious craft beer (and wine since ‘81) to the local area and beyond. I’ve always wondered how a little brewery with a 3-barrel system can stay in business, especially out in the country, but then I tasted the beer and knew exactly why they had a fighting chance. And though great craft beer does a good job of selling itself, with no need for commercials with boobs and bad slogans, a brewery still needs patrons and visitors, but most importantly, regulars. Along the highway, just off to the side of the road, nestled away in such a small stretch of land, could a brewery like this have regulars? I had just asked myself that very question, when in walked one of the local farmers with two empty growlers in his arms. Even before he said anything, brewer Jami B. took the growlers and guessed that the man would like a pint of his usual, the La Llorona Scottish Ale, coincidentally the very same beer currently chilling in my glass.

Blue Heron 7

The Crew loves the La Llorona Scottish Ale.

As I sipped on the shockingly smooth (for a non-nitro) Scottish Ale, I casually observed the interaction between the two, and could see that this customer was certainly a regular, but more than that, a good regular, one that could tell you what was on tap without even glancing up at the board, and one that would know when his favorite beer was about to kick. He looked like he frequented the brewery as another man might frequent a hardware store.

Blue Heron 10

Blue Heron has their fair share of loyal customers.

“These are the kind of patrons that keep the brewery open during the colder, slower months,” Jami explained. And it’s all the visitors, passing through, or thrill-seeking rafters – as there are several rafting establishments in the area – that bump up business significantly in the warmer months, enough so that Blue Heron was able to open another taproom and restaurant in downtown Espanola in June of last year.

Blue Heron 3

Even the taps are quaint.

How rural is it, you ask? Well, when I’d arrived Jami was searching for a snake that had slithered into the brewhouse. The brewery is smack dab in the middle of Mother Nature’s Playground, NM, USA, but it is certainly a serious beer establishment as well, and they won’t let you forget it. Blue Heron has 21 or so different beers in rotation, year-round, with cores, seasonals, and specialty beers.

Blue Heron 2

A solid selection for the warmer months.

You can always expect one of the IPAs, usually a Pale Ale, and a dark beer, which will most likely be the Scottish Ale, lest the locals revolt, according to Jami. There’s also a malt-bomb of a Maibock that I’m dying to go back and try. And before I forget, there’s the La Loma Session Ale, which is sometimes referred to jokingly as the “Just Beer.” This beer derived its name from the many non-craft beer-aficionados who would sometimes come in and look at the menu and ask, do you have “Just Beer?” Well, this lighter, easier, low-alcohol beer is exactly that, but it’s what Jami calls a “fine example of a simple beer.” And it is, at that. I can certainly see why the locals, who may find themselves a far cry from say, brewery-brimming Albuquerque, have no reservations, and need none to come in for a beer, and a good one at that.

Why you should stop in: Because beer! And they serve it in pints, growlers, and the new baby growlers when you just can’t commit to a full 64 ounces of something delicious. They also have a nice patio out back for enjoying the fresh river air. And they have live music several nights a week, including brewer Jami, who also just happens to be a really nice guy.

Blue Heron 9

The back patio is one of the best places to chill out.

What you should try: Try the Lady Bug IPA if you’re interested trying the waters with IPAs with good hop-utilization, but not quite ready for our more elevated hop monsters of central New Mexico. Try the aforementioned Scottish Ale as it’s, in my humble opinion, pretty damned good.

Blue Heron 5

Getting some goodness to go.

What you should know: If you’re thinking of filling a baby growler, you may want to bring one of your own, as the concept at Blue Heron is still in its infancy. Ha-ha!

And if you don’t like beer? Why are you reading this? I’m kidding. But, you should know that Blue Heron also offers a number of wines by the bottle and by the glass, from their own winery as well as local La Chiripada Winery.

Blue Heron 8

For that weird friend/family member who doesn’t like beer, voila.

Where: Just a ways after the turn-off to Dixon, on the north side of the highway. 2214 Highway 68, Embudo, (505) 579-9188.

Blue Heron’s new taproom, in Española, is located on the plaza at 100 Los Alamos Hwy. (505) 747-4506

* * * * *

So if you’re heading up north of Española, stop in for a beer from a true local roadside gem! Keep to the craft. Think globally and drink locally!

Blue Heron 11

Our man did not come away empty-handed.

Cheers!

— Luke

LukePic2

For more #CraftBeer news and @nmdarksidebc info, follow me on Twitter @SantaFeCraftBro!

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with the reunified edition of The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s four breweries and one newcomer down in Socorro also joining the party. We tried hard to keep the state edition going, but without participation from the breweries outside the I-25 corridor, it was futile.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

So normally folks like to pull out the wild and crazy stuff for the big number anniversaries, like the 10th and 20th and so on. Marble, however, has never followed the crowd, so they are going all out for their seventh anniversary with a week full of events. The biggest of the big stuff we’ll revisit next week, but for now it never hurts to read about what is due up between now and the April 22 edition of The Week Ahead in Beer. First up, Reviva! plays the downtown pub on Monday from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday will feature a special beer dinner at Farm & Table starting at 6 p.m. Remember, the biggest event of all, the huge anniversary party at the El Rey Theater on April 24, already has tickets on sale. You can purchase them in person at all three Marble locations, or online via Marble’s website and the El Rey website. We hope to have a lot more from Marble by the start of next week, but a lot of the staff is up at the Craft Brewers Conference in Portland, Ore., so finding that wonderful, rare time when everyone is free at once could be a challenge.

On the new beer front, things have picked up this week. Bosque has Oak-A-Scotia, a wee heavy version of Scotia, on nitro at the Public House in Nob Hill. Canteen is feeling golden with El Dorado Extra Pale Ale, plus the new S.A.W.-Wheat White IPA is available as well. Chama River is feeling charitable with Connect with MS Pale Ale, plus Smoke Em Out Porter is due soon. La Cumbre has channeled the fury into The Angry Belgian. Before the Marble staff left town, they got Rauchbier and Jarrylo IPA on tap. Tractor will bring back an old favorite in Barnstorm Ale this Friday. Turtle Mountain has gone big with Aphelion Double Stout, plus Adrift IPA and Night at the Roggenbury, a collaboration beer with Nexus.

Up in Santa Fe, the folks at SFBC have a new Belgian Stout. Second Street brings back two favorites in Fulcrum IPA and Mosaic IPA.

And on the subject of cask beers, rather than listing them brewery by brewery in here, we’re doing something a little different. Since oftentimes breweries don’t know what they’re putting on cask until the day of (usually Friday), rather than just put “TBD” down below, instead we’re offering updates via our Facebook page and Twitter feed. Look for the “Firkin Friday” post every week on those social media sites. One of these days when we get around to upgrading the main website we will make it a permanent feature on there, but for now we’ll provide live updates as the breweries get us the information.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of April 13.

To break down each “capsule,” I listed the brewery (with Web page linked), its phone number and hours of operation. Under “Beers” are the new or seasonal beers on tap for this week.

Albuquerque metro area breweries

ABQ Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–midnight, Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–2 a.m., Sunday 10 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Petrus Aged Ale, Petrus Aged Red. Petrus Aged Ale and Red are high alcohol barrel-aged sours from a family-owned brewery in Flanders. Several times a year, ABP serves up the latest creation by local brewing hero and winner of the Samuel Adams Longshot competition, Ben Miller, or seasonal releases by Monks Brewing.

Albuquerque Brewing Co. — no phone (yet)

(Mon–Fri 3-10 p.m., Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun noon-10 p.m.)

Beers: Blonde, Pale Ale, IPA, Imperial Red, Dry Stout. Located at 8620 Pan American Blvd., on the east side of I-25 and between Paseo del Norte and Alameda, ABC is now open and ready for business. In addition to the house beers, there are three guest taps from Bosque and Boxing Bear, plus the plan is to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. Brewer Mike Marsh said they’re in the process of installing a phone line and, for now, the website link is to their Facebook page. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview.

News: Please take note that ABC said on their Facebook page recently they would be closed for “a couple days” due to a plumbing problem. The days are starting to stretch on. Keep an eye on their FB page to see when they reopen.

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

(Hours 4 p.m.-11 p.m. daily)

Beers: Latir Pale Ale, Poth’s Pilsner, Malt Tonic, Pre-Prohibition American IPA. In case you missed it, we interviewed BADH’s new brewer, Brandon Venaglia. There are some exciting times coming, including a possible expansion. The Latir Pale Ale was made with Latir hops given to Brandon by the monks from Abbey Brewing in Abiquiu. Gotta love it when one brewery helps another. Poth’s Pilsner, Malt Tonic, and Pre-Prohibition American IPA are new to taps this week.

Events: Sundays will now be Service Nights at Back Alley, with $2 off all beers for service industry workers. Bring your server’s ID and you will be rewarded.

The Blue Grasshopper — (505) 896-8579

(Noon to 11 p.m. most days, call for more info)

Beers: Golden Amber. The third beer in the Grasshopper’s short history, the Amber went on tap recently. They sold out of their previous beers, Dubbel Dunkel and Beach Bum Pale Ale, in a hurry, so head over to try this one before it runs out. If you have not made it out there yet, the Grasshopper is located at 4500 Arrowhead Ridge Road in Rio Rancho, just off Highway 528.

News: Next up on the beer list are Cherry Bomb and Maibock.

Events: The Grasshopper has live music from 6 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday through Saturday.

Bosque Brewing Company — (505) 750-7596 (main brewery), (505) 508-5967 (Nob Hill Public House), (575) 571-4626 (Las Cruces Taproom)

(Main brewery on San Mateo: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-midnight, Sun noon-8 p.m.; Nob Hill: Mon–Weds 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Thurs 11 a.m.-midnight, Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Sun noon-11 p.m.; Las Cruces: Sun–Thurs noon-11 p.m., Fri–Sat noon-midnight)

Beers: Scale Tipper IPA, It’s Spelt Centennial, Marzen March Lager, Team Coop Golden Ale (Nob Hill and San Mateo), Dry Irish Stout, Oak-A-Scotia on nitro (Nob Hill only), Wake Up & Smell the Stout on nitro (San Mateo only), Origins Spring Ale (Las Cruces only). All beers listed are on tap at all three locations, unless noted. Scale Tipper, the reigning National IPA Champion (and New Mexico IPA Challenge champion), is back on tap at all three locations. It’s a hop blast for the ages. The Team Coop Golden Ale (5% ABV, 20 IBU) comes with the added bonus of where $1 from each pint sold will go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It’s Spelt (5.7% ABV, 50 IBU) is a red ale of a sort with a healthy dose of, well, Centennial hops. The Dry Irish Stout (5% ABV) is a creamy delight. Riverwalker IPA (6.5% ABV, 90 IBU) is now the permanent IPA on tap at all Bosque locations.

Cask: From now on, Bosque will have their firkin filled every Wednesday, available only at Nob Hill. This week’s beer is the Irish Dry Stout.

News: Congratulations to Bosque for winning the Brewing News National IPA Challenge with Scale Tipper. This comes on the heels of last year’s victory in the NM IPA Challenge. It marks the second year in a row a New Mexico brewery won the NIPAC, following La Cumbre’s Project Dank taking the title last year. A fresh batch of Scale Tipper is being brewed and may debut this week.

The Bosque Public House is now open, located on Girard just south of Central. Bosque has also opened a taproom in Las Cruces, located in the former Mimbres Valley space across from New Mexico State at the corner of University Ave. and Espina St.

Bosque has a happy hour running from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and all day on Sunday. Look for special menu items and get $1 off your favorite pints.

Boxing Bear Brewing Company — (505) 897-2327

(Sun-Thurs 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-11 p.m.)

Beers: (Regular) Paw Swipe Pale Ale, Hairy Mit Hefe, Standing 8 Stout, Ambear Ale, Uppercut IPA, Apple Bear Hard Cider; (Seasonal) Sucker Punch DIPA, Body Czech Bohemian Pilsner, Bearzen, Red Knuckle Irish Red, Barnburner IPA, Salute Your Schwarz. New to taps this week is Salute Your Schwarz, which as the name might imply is a German-style schwarzbier. The Red Knuckle (4.7% ABV, 25 IBU) is available only nitro. The Barnburner (6.8% ABV, 80 IBU) is listed as a “specialty IPA.” Bearzen (4.8% ABV, 25 IBU) is Boxing Bear’s take on a traditional German marzen. The Body Czech (4.3% ABV, 40 IBU) is a great way to start your flight. The Standing 8 Stout (6.3% ABV, 45 IBU), which is on tap at all times, claimed the 2015 Stout Challenge, held by the Crew before the last Super Bowl. Head on over to indulge in this beast of a beer. The Apple Bear Hard Cider (5% ABV) is now permanently on tap. The Sucker Punch (8.5% ABV, 125+ IBU), which as the name might imply, could leave you on the floor if you’re careful. The Iron Lung Smoked Porter and Blake Eye-PA have run out, sadly. A new seasonal or two should be on tap soon.

News: Boxing Bear now has a happy hour. 10-, 16-, and 22-ounce beers are all discounted from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Growler Happy Hour then runs from 6 p.m. to close on those nights. Get $2 off a growler fill and $1 off a half-growler (they call ’em “squealers”).

Also, every day at lunchtime (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), for just $10 you can get a pint and a panini of your choice.

Events: Geeks Who Drink will now be held every Wednesday from 8 to 10 p.m. at Boxing Bear.

Broken Bottle Brewery — (505) 890-8777

(Mon–Weds 4-11 p.m., Thurs-Fri 4 p.m.–midnight, Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: Cracked Cork Barley Wine, End of Days Tripel, Twig and Berries Sahti, Tom Selleck Ale, Rip Van Winkle Vanilla Stout, Nacho Brau, Coco-Cabana Coconut Porter, Honey Pot Sour Ale, Stinky Pinky. The Stinky Pinky, a grapefruit hefeweizen, is back for another run by popular demand. The Coco-Cabana and Honey Pot are recent additions. Curious about Twig and Berries? A Sahti is a Finnish style of beer using some unique grains as well as juniper berries. If you’re one of the lucky few to not be allergic to junipers, have at it! The Drunken Hobo Milk Stout has replaced the Mulligan Stout in the regular lineup. Also joining the regular lineup now is the Elixir Vanilla Cream Ale.

Events: B3 has $3 beers every Tuesday from open to close. On Wednesday, B3 will be hosting their open mic from 8-10 p.m., with signups starting at 7:30 p.m. Check out B3’s karaoke night every Thursday starting at 8 p.m.

B3 shows Better Call Saul every Monday at 8 p.m.

Canteen Brewhouse — (505) 881-2737

(Sun–Thurs noon–10 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–midnight)

Beers: Irish Red, Opal Esteem, The Other Red, Edel Helles, Oaked Cascade Pale, El Dorado Extra Pale Ale, S.A.W.-Wheat White IPA. The new additions this week are the El Dorado and S.A.W. Other recent additions are the Oaked Cascade Pale (6.1% ABV, 60 IBU) and Citrus Saison (5.5% ABV, 26 IBU). The Opal Esteem (5.7% ABV, 40 IBU) is a traditional steam-style beer brewed with German Opal hops. The Other Red (5.6% ABV, 26 IBU) is a fairly new addition and quite tasty, just a tad different then the Irish Red. The Edel Helles (5% ABV, 18 IBU) is a light, sweet little beer to start off your day or night just right.

News: Canteen has begun filling Crowlers, 32-ounce aluminum cans that can be filled with any beer on tap. They get sealed up and can last for a lot longer than a regular growler. Then you bring back the Crowlers to be recycled and get some fresh ones.

Cazuela’s Seafood & Mexican Grill — (505) 994-9364

(Open daily 8 a.m.-10 p.m.)

Beers: Papacabra (Double IPA), Panama Red, Acapulco Gold (Mexican Lager), Chupacabra IPA, Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale, Beer for My Horses (Oatmeal Stout), Inebriator (Doppelbock), Primo (Brown Ale). E-Rock and I had a chance to sample the Piedra del Fuego (5% ABV), which we both recommend. According to Cazuela’s menu: “This cream ale uses red-hot stones to super caramelize the sugars, creating a nutty, toffee-like flavor.” The Inebriator (8% ABV) and the Papacabra (9.7% ABV) are the biggest beers in the lineup.

News: Cazuela’s is looking to potentially open a taproom on the east side of ABQ near Canteen and La Cumbre in the Brewery District.

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Ha-Za! DIPA, Wee Bit Loco, Pastime Great American Lager, Connect with MS Pale Ale. If you need some hops to chew on, but in beer form, grab some Ha-Za! (8.8% ABV, 150 IBU). The Wee Bit Loco (7% ABV, 25 IBU) is the opposite, a sweet blast of malty goodness with some peaty overtones. The Pastime Great American Lager (4.5% ABV, 25 IBU) will make you feel like you’re outdoors at a baseball game. For the new Connect, $1 from each pint sold will go to benefit the MS Society.

News: The Wee Bit Loco should run out soon, so when it does, Smoke Em Out (6.3% ABV, 33 IBU) will take its place. No surprise by the name, but it’s a smoked porter.

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

(Hours Mon-Thu 2-9 p.m., Fri-Sat 11:30-10 p.m., Sun 11:30-9 p.m.)

Beers: Helles Lager, Honk If You’re …, James Blonde, Wheat Wood Mac, Amber, IPA, I’m a Little Teapot Short and Stout, Brunette. The James Blonde made its return recently, while the Wheat Wood Mac is new. The regular IPA is back and has been joined by Honk If You’re …, a British-style mild ale. I’m a Little Teapot Short and Stout is Kaktus’ first barrel-aged beer. A bunch of the Crew gathered at Kaktus recently and the Brunette, a sweet, nutty brown ale, was a big hit with all of us. We gotta say, Kaktus is getting pretty good at naming their beers. Kaktus is located at 471 South Hill Road in Bernalillo, for those who have still not made the trek.

Events: Kaktus has several new weekday specials including $3 pints on Monday, $9 growlers on Tuesday, $6 bison nachos on Wednesday, and $8 Frito pie and beer on Thursday.

The Desert Darlings belly dancers perform from 6 to 8 p.m. on almost every Sunday. If you’ve never seen the Desert Darlings in person, you’re missing out.

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: Azacca Pale Ale, The Angry Belgian, VMO #2, Jenny’s Cream Ale, Father Nelson. The blast of hoppy goodness known as Father Nelson (10.6% ABV, 100+ IBU) is back on tap and for sale in bombers at the brewery and other locations. Trust us when we say you need to get yours as fast as possible, it ran out in a hurry last year. The other recent additions to tap are old favorite VMO #2 (5.8% ABV, 29 IBU), a German-style marzen lager, and Jenny’s Cream Ale (5% ABV, 23 IBU). The Imperial Red Ryeot (9% ABV, 100 IBU) may still be available in bombers at LC and other locations, such as Jubilation, but hurry before the last of it runs out. The Azacca (5.5% ABV, 38 IBU) is still hanging around. Oh, and don’t panic about Project Dank and Red Ryeot no longer appearing here as seasonals. They are now part of La Cumbre’s regular lineup. Red Ryeot cans are now for sale around town and at the brewery.

News: La Cumbre’s new and improved website is now up and running. Check it out by clicking the link here. Their online calendar now includes what food trucks will be serving, plus live music and a current draft list.

Events: Odd Dog performs Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m.

Yoga is back at the taproom every Sunday at 10:45 a.m.

Lizard Tail Brewing — (505) 717-1301

(Mon–Weds noon-9 p.m., Thurs–Sat noon-midnight, Sun noon-7 p.m.)

Beers: Whiptail Weisse, Bluetail Blonde, Horned Honey Pale, Reptilian IPA, Chameleon Amber, Basilisk Brown, Sanddigger Dubbel, Desert Night India Black Ale, Black Bearded Rye Stout, Smoot-tailed Oatmeal Stout, Prairie Lizard Porter, Biscochito Brown, Belgian Strong Dark, Chuckwalla Abbey, ESB, Long Nosed Tripel, Gecko Gratzer, Whiptail White, Legless Double IPA. Brace yourselves for the hefty Legless Double IPA (9.2% ABV, 100 IBU) and Long Nosed Tripel (9.2% ABV, 30 IBU). The Gecko Gratzer (3.8% ABV, 30 IBU) is an oak-smoked wheat beer, while the Whiptail White (4.7% ABV, 18 IBU) has hints of citrus, banana, Noble hops, and chamomile. The ESB (6% ABV, 40 IBU), Chuckwalla Abbey (7.1% ABV, 25 IBU) and the Belgian Dark Strong (9.7% ABV, 30 IBU) are other recent additions. So far Lizard Tail has shown themselves to be more malt-forward than hop-centric. The oatmeal stout and porter are solid, while the IBA has shown improvement since its debut.

News: Lizard Tail’s happy hour runs seven days a week from 3 to 6 p.m. You get $1 off food, flights, and pints.

Take note that Lizard Tail now opens at noon every day.

Events: Lizard Tail will host Geeks Who Drink every Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Every Thursday will now feature karaoke from 8 to 11 p.m.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

(Mon–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10:30 p.m.)

Beers: Nitro Sesh, Paddy McNitro, Choice Blanc, Imperial Red, Rauchbier (Downtown only), Jarrylo IPA (Downtown only), Reserve (Westside only), Imperial Stout (Westside only), Double IPA (Santa Fe only), Quad (Santa Fe only). We now have a breakdown of which seasonals are available at the three Marble locations, Downtown, Westside, and Santa Fe. If not otherwise noted, all beers on are on tap at all three locations. New this week, at the Downtown pub only so far, are the Rauchbier (5.2% ABV) and Jarrylo IPA (6.8% ABV). The Choice Blanc (5.6% ABV) is a single-hop pale ale. The Paddy McNitro (4.7% ABV) got a twist this year in that it was barrel-aged before being put on nitro. So that’s where that little kick of bourbon-y vanilla you get in the middle comes from. It’s quite wonderful.

News: Marble has revamped their website. It kinda really kicks ass now. Click the link above to see what we mean.

Events: Brewery tours occur at the Downtown Pub every Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Wagogo performs tonight (Wednesday) at 5 p.m. at the downtown pub. Leftover Soul takes the stage this Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m., while Burque Soul will play Friday from 8 to 11 p.m. and Porter Draw performs Saturday from 8 to 11 p.m. This Sunday will also mark the debut of Arte y Musico en Vivo from noon to 7 p.m., featuring four bands.

Mandy Rowden performs at the Westside Taproom on Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. The Night kNights will be out west Saturday from 6 to 9.

For a first look at the Marble Anniversary Week events, see our intro above.

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Blackberry Hefeweizen, Make It So, Marzen, Irish Red, T.N.G. Porter. The most recent addition is the T.N.G. (6% ABV, 30 IBU), a smoked porter. The Irish Red is really quite excellent this year. Make It So, Marzen might seem out of season, but in my personal opinion, quality German beers are year-round treats. The Blackberry Hefeweizen should have you pining for summer in no time.

Events: Nexus serves up Happy Hour All Day on Tuesday featuring $3 pints. Also on Tuesday, Nexus will be hosting their comedy open mic, Young Dumb and Full of Comedy, starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Sun Room.

Pi Brewing at Nicky V’s Neighborhood Pizzeria — (505) 890-9463

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: PiPA, West Coast Red, Bourbon Vanilla Porter, Pre-Prohibition Pilsner, ESB, Peppermint Porter, Pumpkin Abbey Ale. While Pi Brewing is not open to the public yet, they are able to brew and serve their beers next door at Nicky V’s. The IPA and West Coast Red are both good hoppy beers. We’ll keep tabs on when Pi itself opens. For now, grab a pint and some tasty Italian food. The PiPA will now be a regular beer, replacing the Unchallenged IPA.

Ponderosa Brewing Co. — (505) 639-5941

(Sun 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m.)

Beers: (Regular) Ghost Train IPA, Rip Saw Red, Crosscut Kolsch; (Seasonal) Dunkelblitzen, Weizendoppelbock, Smoky the Beer, The Phantom Conductor DIPA, The Bavarian Belle, Ella Single Hop Pale Ale, Marzen Madness. Ponderosa is located at 1761 Bellamah NW, which is just east of Rio Grande and due north of the NM Natural History Museum, in the bottom floor of a swanky-looking apartment/retail complex (they have a sign atop the building now that you cannot miss). The newest beers on tap are the Weizendoppelbock (6.8% ABV, 18 IBU), Marzen (5% ABV, 24 IBU), and the Conductor (8.2% ABV, 110 IBU). The Belle (4.8% ABV, 15 IBU), a hefeweizen, is back for a second go-around. Smoky the Beer (6.2% ABV, 40 IBU) is a smoked porter, as the name might imply. It should go well with that new meat smoker they have in the kitchen. A recent addition to taps is the Ella (5% ABV, 35 IBU), made with a special Australian hop, the latest in their single-hop series.

Events: Dos Pendejos perform Saturday at 3 p.m.

Red Door Brewing — (505) 633-6675

(Mon–Thurs 2 p.m. to midnight, Fri–Sun noon to midnight)

Beers: (Regular) Gateway Blonde Ale, Roamer Red, Threshold IPA, Paint it Black Milk Stout, Unhinged Cider, Trappe Door Wheat. (Seasonal) Watership Brown, Broken Arrow Pale Ale. The Broken Arrow (5.4% ABV) is the newest addition, made with just Equinox hops for a rather unique, yet multi-faceted, flavor profile. To the rescue for all malt lovers comes Watership Brown (4.9% ABV, 19 IBU), which won ABQ Beer’s holiday brewing competition. It’s a tasty delight, the kind of beer you can just enjoy slowly over the course of a lazy afternoon or evening. Sadly, the Stormtrooper DIPA and O.D.B. have run out.

News: Take note of Red Door’s new weekday schedule as they open at 2 p.m. instead of noon. Weekend hours remain the same.

Events: Felix y Los Gatos will perform tonight (Wednesday) from 7 to 9 p.m.

Saturday morning will mark another round of Beer and Breakfast. From 7 to 10 a.m. you can gather with friends for some food truck-supplied goodies with a pint of beer and a bit of English football on the telly. The big showdown between Arsenal and Liverpool is the early game this Saturday.

There is also yoga at the brewery every Sunday at 11 a.m.

There will be a new musical feature on a weekly basis at Red Door. Monday Blues with Mike Hogan will be every week from 5 to 7 p.m.

Tuesday will feature Triumph of the Wild from 7 to 9 p.m.

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

(Mon–Sat 8 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun 8 a.m.–6 p.m.)

Beers: Irish Red, Rattlesnake IPA, Smoked Stout. We’re still trying to get a current beer list from SCG. If we get one, we’ll update this.

News: Congrats to SCG on sweeping all three medals in the mead category at the 2014 State Fair Pro-Am, while also claiming a silver medal for Barb’s Barrel Hefeweizen.

The Stumbling Steer — (505) 792-7805

(Sunday-Wednesday 11 a.m.-midnight, Thursday-Saturday 11 a.m.-2 a.m.)

Beers: Bang Up Blonde, Hefferweizen, Pig Sticker Pale, Iron Horse IPA, Rawhide Red, Boneyard Brown, Hop Trough (Double IPA), Soiled Dove (Imperial Stout), Black IPA. The DIPA and the Stout are limited to two per customer, due to their high alcohol content (10% and 9.5% ABV, respectively). The Black IPA is the current seasonal beer, plus there are often one or two cask beers.

Tractor Brewing Company — (505) 433-5654 (Nob Hill Tap Room), TBA (Wells Park)

(Nob Hill is open Monday-Wednesday 3 p.m. to midnight, Thursday 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., Friday-Saturday 1 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to midnight; Wells Park is open Monday-Thursday 3 p.m. to close, Friday-Sunday 1 p.m. to midnight.
 Last call 30 minutes before close. 
No package after midnight.
 Brewery tours Saturday at 1 p.m.)

UPDATED >>> Beers: Branding Iron DIPA, Goat Head Hador Doppelbock, C&C IPA, Ebony & Ivory, Billy’s Basil IPA, Cowboy Blend Pale Coffee Stout (Wells Park only), Luna de los Muertos Russian Imperial Stout (Nob Hill only), Berry Cider (Nob Hill only), Double Sickle DIPA (Nob Hill only). Tractor has revamped their beer list and pricing system. All of the Tractor Classics — Farmer’s Tan Red, Double Plow Oatmeal Stout, Almanac IPA, Sodbuster Pale Ale, Haymaker Honey What, plus now Pilsner #15, Mustachio Milk Stout, and Apple Hard Cider — are priced at $4 apiece ($3 for Beer Farmer’s Co-op members). All seasonal/specialty beers will now be $5 ($4 for members). Just about everyone in town has slightly increased prices in the past four months, but an extra 50 cents or a dollar shouldn’t bankrupt anyone, right? Anyway, on the seasonal front, the 2015 batch of Luna (8% ABV) is a dark delight, loaded with flavor and decadently smooth. The Double Sickle DIPA (7.6% ABV, 110 IBU) is not an overwhelming hop bomb, but has a nice malty backbone to balance itself out. The Ebony & Ivory (5.5% ABV, 25 IBU) is a “pale stout,” made with pale malt, pale chocolate malt, and caramel malt. It smells like a stout, but tastes like something a little different. A newer addition to the menu is the Cowboy Blend (5.5% ABV, 25 IBU), a coffee-infused variation on the Ebony. The Branding Iron (7.6% ABV, 110 IBU) is just a wonderful blast of Nelson Sauvin hops. This Friday the popular Barnstorm Ale (5.8% ABV, 41 IBU), a maibock, will be back on tap at both locations.

Events: The Thirsty Thursday Music Series is back at Wells Park as Adam Hooks performs at 8 p.m. It will be followed at 10 p.m. by 3rd Thursday’s Comedy Contest.

Friday will mark Art Fight 6: Animal Instincts! at Wells Park starting at 7 p.m.

This Saturday, prepare for a special show at Wells Park as the Smokin’ Hot “FREAK” Show kicks off at 8 p.m. Check the TWP Facebook page for more details.

Sunday will mark the three-year anniversary for I’ll Drink to That. The variety show kicks off at 4 p.m. and expect lots of surprises.

Tuesday will mark the return of Beer and Bellies at 7 p.m., a special show that combines belly dancing with, well, beer, obviously.

Also, every first Monday of the month at both Tractor locations is Beer for a Better Burque night. For every pint you buy $1 can go to one of four charities that have partnered with Tractor. You can also opt to purchase a special growler with the logo of your favorite charity.

You can grab your own musical instrument and head to Nob Hill for the ultimate jam session. Tractor Tune Up, hosted by the Virginia Creepers, is now an official event happening every Monday starting at 7:30 p.m.

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

(Kitchen hours: Mon–Tues 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Wed–Thurs 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Sun 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Reminder: TMBC closes early when business dictates. Please call.)

Beers: (House) McDay’s Cream Ale, Oku Amber, Parasol White IPA, Hopshell IPA, Heidelberg Helles, Stauffenberg Stout. (Seasonal/specialty) Timber! Oaked IPA, Aphelion Double Stout, Adrift IPA, Night at the Roggenbury. To help us out for now and the future, brewer Tim Woodward broke down what will be the regular beers on tap (under House) and the current list of seasonals. That’s a pretty solid regular lineup. I personally really enjoyed the new Stauffenberg Stout (it replaced the Piedra Lisa Porter in the regular lineup) and Amber, the latter of which trumps most of its genre in terms of flavor. The Heidelberg Helles (5.1% ABV, 25 IBU) has rejoined the regular lineup for good, or so Tim hopes. New to taps this week are the Aphelion, Adrift, and the Roggenbury, which was a collaboration beer brewed with Nexus. Sounds like a trip to Rio Rancho may be in order this weekend.

News: 22-ounce bombers of Wilde Jagd, Turtle Mountain’s first bottled beer, are still for sale at the brewery.

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Irish Red, Friar Bacon’s Mild, Imperial Gose, Wrinkled Kilt. The Irish Red has arrived, ending the run of the Toro Blanco White IPA. The Friar Bacon’s Mild is a modest dark ale. The Wrinkled Kilt (5.6% ABV) is a Scottish export that debuted recently. The new Imperial Gose is on tap at Blue Corn in Santa Fe and at the ABQ Draft Station.

News: The Wrinkled Kilt is nearly out. It will be replaced by Barleywine, though that will only stay on tap until the event below.

Events: The next Thursday at the Brewer’s Table is set for April 23. It will feature a collaboration with Duel! We love collaborations.

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

(Mon–Sat open at 11 a.m., Sun open at 1 p.m.)

Beers: Whistler (Petit Blonde), Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Titian (Golden Strong), Grunewald (Imperial Porter), Stille of the Night (Belgian Dark Sour), Cezanne Printemps (Imperial Saison). The Stille of the Night debuted at WinterBrew to plenty of acclaim from the folks in attendance. The new Cezanne promises to keep up the tradition of big, big beers from Duel. Fiction is back after a short absence.

Events: Happy-hour Monday through Friday 4-6 p.m. (discounts for all draft beer), Growler Saturdays ($3 off growler fills).

Life Drawing every other Sunday beginning on April 19 (11 a.m.-1 p.m.) $22 includes a drink and a waffle. $15 for students (with ID), or if you don’t want a drink & waffle. Everyone draws from a nude model. People can call the brewery to reserve a spot.

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

(Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 2-8 p.m.)

Beers: Belgian Stout, Black IPA, Hefeweizen, Chicken Killer Barley Wine, Freestyle Pilsner. The Belgian Strong is out and the Belgian Stout will replace it. The Kriek, which won a bronze medal at GABF this year, is on sale around the state in bombers, but supplies are low. A new Single Barrel Sour can also be purchased in bombers. A fresh batch of Chicken Killer is now available, too. The Freestyle is now available on tap and in cans across the state.

Events: $1 off growler refills in the tasting room on Mondays. $2 pint Tuesdays at the Eldorado Taphouse. On Wednesday, there is a $2 pint special in the tasting room, and the Sangre de Cristo Craft Brewers’ Meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the tasting room as well on the third Wednesday of every month. On Thursday, there will be $1 off growler refills at the Eldorado Taphouse.

News: SFBC will soon be opening a taproom in Albuquerque. Here are all the details that Luke could find. It sounds promising.

Second Street Brewery — (505) 989-3278 (Railyard), (505) 982-3030 (original location)

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Sunday noon-9 p.m.)

Beers: Kolsch, IPA, Cream Stout, Imperial Stout, St. George IPA, Fulcrum IPA, Mosaic IPA, Bohemian Pilzner, Barrel-Aged Belgian Stout. The Fulcrum and Mosaic IPAs are back on tap this week, taking the spots of the Pivotal IPA and Latona Amber Ale. The Pivotal and Boneshaker Bitter are often available for purchase in four-packs of cans.

Events: Live music is back this week at both locations. At the original location, Bill Hearne plays Friday and Drastic Andrew performs Saturday. Blues Revue will be at the Railyard location Friday followed by Pollo Frito on Saturday.

Every Tuesday night, the Railyard location will have Open Mic Night hosted by Ben Wright.

Every Thursday night, Geeks Who Drink will be at the Railyard at 8 p.m.

Other breweries you need to visit

Twisted Chile Brewing — (575) 835-2949

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sun 11 a.m.–11 p.m.)

Beers: Venom IPA, English Porter, Zia Pilsner, 790 IPA, Hellesmarzen, KC’s Traditional Irish Stout, Swartzbar Black Lager, Hose Company 1 Red Lager. Located in Socorro at 115 Abeyta St. W, Twisted Chile is the first brewery there to brew on site since Socorro Springs outsourced their brewing to Eddyline in Colorado several years ago. I got to head down there recently and enjoyed all the beers I sampled. Kudos to Twisted Chile for bring quality craft beers back to a town that needed ’em. The newest beer on tap is the Red Lager. Other recent additions are the Irish Stout, which came in third in our Stout Challenge, and Black Lager. Also of note are the 790 IPA (7% ABV), while the Zia Pilsner (5.25% ABV) is done in the German style. The Venom IPA (8.2% ABV) is the biggest beer on tap, as the name might imply. The Hellesmarzen is another recent addition.

Events: Tonight (Wednesday) is Open Mic Night hosted by Johnny Dean starting at 6 p.m. There will be food and drink specials.

Mose McCormack and friends perform on the patio from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday.

* * * *

That’s all for this week! If you have any questions or comments, leave them below or contact us on our Facebook page.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

WBCheers

The group toast at WinterBrew, which was a blast of a festival once again.

It’s been a week now, and the dust has finally settled on another successful WinterBrew. New Mexico beer enthusiasts have been back, hard at work, with memories (hopefully) of many great beers, plenty of new friends on their Facebook rosters, and a slew of crazy pictures on their cellphones. From the beer, to the food, to the superbly decorated booths, all breweries, cideries, and vendors really brought it to make this year’s sold-out WinterBrew one of the finest festivals to date.

WBSoldOut

Open, open, open …

Typically, WinterBrew tradition holds that the shattering of the first glass on the concrete floor marks the beginning of the end. Usually, it signifies the start of the slow and steady march of festers through the doors, on their way out to find their cabs and DDs, to head home to warm beds and/or warm pizzas. That’s usually around 8:30 p.m. But not so on Friday. This year’s festival of foam began with a crash. It was the crowd’s chorus of “Ooohhhhs!” that ushered in the celebration of beer beneath the string-lit ceilings of the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market. It was 4:18 p.m., and already I knew this was going to be one for the books.

WBGlasses

It’s like a table of armaments.

The night was filled with many memorable and surprising moments from New Mexico’s finest craftsmen. One such moment was when Santa Fe Brewing Co. poured their Black IPA, but not from just any old tap handle. This brew had just been run through fresh hops and poured from the one of the spouts of R2Beer2. Half-robot, half-Randall, it’s exactly the droid you’re looking for.

WBR2Beer2

Now that’s a proper use of technology.

Afterwards, media spokesman for SFBC, Max Otwell, had this to say, “Overall we were really stoked about how WinterBrew went down this year. I believe we had some incredible options to pour for the thirsty folk, and as I’m sure you recall, we ran out of Kriek. The Black IPA, poured through R2Beer2, was a hit, and I think people loved the Randall-ized fresh-hop-Eldorado-bomb that flowed from those taps. As I walked around the festival I overheard many conversations regarding Santa Fe Brewing, so I think we had a great presence this year.”

I’m inclined to agree. Another great presence was Duel’s display of packaged goods. It was like walking into a bottle shop with only the good stuff on display. For festers, the artisans at Duel talked brewing and barrel-aging, and poured special brews for only those in the know. If you managed to get a taste of the Stille of the Night, let us know what you thought.

WBDuel

Duel brought out the swag and the beer.

The next memorable moment came through a door. It was a door, actually—a Red Door. Their clever booth was a sudden, but welcome reminder that we had some newcomers to the fest this year, and they were as excited to be there as we were to see them.

Wayne Martinez of Red Door Brewing said, “Winter Brew was great! It was nice to have Santa Feans try our beer. We got a lot of great feedback from people who had never heard of us. We also got a lot of great feedback from people who had heard of us, but had not been down to Albuquerque. This state, as a whole, is becoming increasingly more knowledgeable about craft beer, Santa Fe included. We got a lot of in-depth questions about our beer, and it’s nice to geek out on the technical details. After the event we even received a request from Jamie Dufree for our Stormtrooper Imperial IPA to be on tap at the Santa Fe Draft Station. We will definitely be back next year. The entire event was fun.”

Red Door, Ponderosa, and Boxing Bear have already done some Albuquerque events, but each brewery was in great form that night and came ready to serve Santa Fe’s savviest suds-sippers.

WBNewComers

The newcomers all had a blast at WinterBrew.

Justin Hamilton of Boxing Bear said, “We had a great experience introducing our beer to the Santa Fe market and meeting new fans and customers. We had a great response to our products, including a few local bars looking to put our beer on tap! It was great to see people who I’ve known for years as well as new faces at our booth talking about us, and promoting us on social media. It was also great to connect with Santa Fe’s craft beer enthusiasts because some knew of us; others had no idea about this awesome new brewery just down the road. We loved seeing regular customers of ours as well as the Guild making a big impression with another awesome festival. Looking forward to many more!”

Some Veterans to WinterBrew brought tons of great core brews and a handful of specialties that kept your taste buds on their toes. Breweries like Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande, Marble, Turtle Mountain, and Taos Mesa did not disappoint with their showing, representing very different breweries with very different beer styles.

WBVets

WinterBrew veterans brought a wide swath of beer styles.

Tasha of Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande said, “The guys had a fantastic time, we were slamming busy, and they look forward to doing it again next year. We had a great time and really enjoyed the crowd!”

Many brewers brought a solid string of samples, but some absolutely flooded their chalk signs and dry-erase boards with specialty beers and were certainly not stingy with the ABV. I think the award for most beers brought to the festival had to go to Bosque Brewing with Second Street, Duel, and Santa Fe Brewing close behind. With beers ranging wildly across the styles, from Jet Black Winter Imperial Stout on cask, an Imperial Porter on nitro, and a Red so hot it was smokin’, Bosque had really put forth the challenge in a high-noon-style shoot-out. It was only a coincidence, then, that getting a taste from them was like moseying up to a bar in a South-Western saloon with their wood paneled booth. A+ for design, hombres.

WBBosque

Bosque brought more beers than you could shake a stick at.

Abbey Brewing Co. arrived with some delicious special reserve versions of their Dubbel and Tripel, but it was their Dark Ale that threw me off my game. I don’t know what it was, but it wasn’t the same beer that I’d gotten to know only months before. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying much of everything else they had to offer.

WBAbbey

The folks at Abbey Brewing had a few tricks up their sleeves.

Blue Corn was up to their usual antics, but waited to release their last beer until the most opportune moment (See: Pirates of the Caribbean). They actually let me choose which beer to pour. I chose the Gee-Eyed Stout, because, in my opinion, a traditional Dry Irish Stout was going to be much different than the many Russian Imperial Stouts available (which was the other option). My thinking was that at 4.0-percent ABV, that beer would make more of a consumable pint, than a potential compromising situation. And besides, it was so good!

WBBlueCorn

Blue Corn brewer James Warren was excited to pour some Gee-Eyed Stout.

Plus, there were so many Imperial Stouts to try, that if you managed to try them all, you’d need a full meal, a long nap, and a pot of coffee just to carry on coherently. A whole Mardi Gras’ worth of pretzel necklaces couldn’t save you from this sort of Russian tap takeover. Someone even asked me if the Guild had declared a Russian Imperial Stout Theme, to which I couldn’t answer honestly.

By the way, thank the beer gods there was food. For your ‘maunching’ pleasure, there were Bambini’s famous Cheesesteak sandwiches, All-beef Bacon Sliders and other tasties from Blue Corn, and Vietnamese Dip Sammies served by a lady much nicer than my picture depicts.

WBFood

There were plenty of good eats.

From Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots with Boxing Bear, to Bill Murray dressed like the Queen of England … there was no shortage of shenanigans to share in. I can’t wait to see what they do next year!

WBShenans

A little extra fun was had by all.

As always, I talked with a few people at the event to see what they were drinking and what they liked the best.

Justin from Santa Fe was drinking the Dark Demon from Ponderosa when I bumped into him. His favorite beer of the night was either the Penasco Porter from Blue Heron or the Dark Demon, an Imperial Cascadian Dark Ale (a mouthful in every sense).

Jason from Colorado was drinking the Uppercut IPA from Boxing Bear. His favorite beer of the night was Santa Fe Brewing’s Black IPA, the beer he was drinking when he beat his buddy at Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, one booth over.

Lisa from Albuquerque was drinking the Wonder Weisse from Tractor Brewing Co., which was also her favorite beer of the fest. She said it was tart and refreshing, and not too sour.

WB2015Festers

Good beer equals happy people.

Mike Sanchez of Rio Rancho was surprised at how much he enjoyed the cider of Santa Fe Cider Works. He’s typically a beer guy, but that cider would not be his last.

WBSFCiderWorks

When you need a break from the beers.

Margot, a self-proclaimed hophead from San Diego, said her favorite beers were the Fulcrum IPA and Pivotal IPA from Second Street, and the Red Ryeot from La Cumbre. That was one of my favorites, as well.

The Crew’s own Franz Solo had this to say about Winter Brew: “Favorite beers were (Duel’s) Goya, which is vying with Avery, in my mind, for monstrous and decadent beers I have had. Bosque’s Imperial Porter was just wonderful and black as the Dark Lord of the Sith. And how could you forget R2Beer2? It made for an extra special Black IPA strong enough, in the force, to take down a Death Star.”

Our editor, Stoutmeister, added this: “You weren’t kidding about the sheer amount of big imperial beers. They were my downfall. Actually, that and the fact that as the festival went on, my sample pours kept getting bigger and bigger. It’s the good/bad thing about having someone at almost every both recognize me. I did get to have a nice nap in the car when Franz drove us all home. But overall, this is still one of my favorite festivals. I loved so many of the beers, too many to list here, but my chosen pint at the end was Tractor’s Luna de los Muertos Russian Imperial Stout. I really just love that beer every year, and it keeps getting better and better.”

WBNightandDay

From start to finish, WinterBrew was a hit.

After the event, organizer and Beer Ambassador, Chris Goblet said, “WinterBrew 2015 was another exceptional event for NM Brewers Guild and for the patrons who attended. We did notice a few more pint glasses fell to the concrete floor, hopefully not because people disliked the designs. We had a bit of fun with the Game of Thrones theme, which is fair for us Santa Fe folks, since George RR Martin is a local resident. We hope he would agree.

“As the event organizer, I am always looking for a smooth-running, comfortable event, which I believe we achieved. Santa Fe Brewing did an excellent job with the oversized Randall hopping up the Black IPA. Kudos to Duel Brewing for bringing their sour and Stille beers for limited tastings, and congratulations to Bosque for selling the most pints for the night. I hope everyone, particularly the Santa Feans, enjoyed first sips of Ponderosa, Red Door, and Boxing Bear.”

The only downside to the event for Goblet was that he didn’t get to make the rounds and sample as many of the beer as he had hoped to. But don’t worry, guys. He more than makes up for it the other 364 days of the year.

BrewCrewPic1

The Crew in attendance, from left, Stoutmeister (open your eyes next time!), Luke, Mrs. Solo, and Franz Solo. We had fun, if you can’t tell.

Much of the fall and winter, we’d been warned that WinterBrew is coming, the posters promised. Well, WinterBrew came, it poured, it conquered our taste buds, and we’re all better beer drinkers for it. Much thanks to Chris Goblet and the New Mexico Brewers Guild for running yet another fun and memorable uprising in the name of craft beer. Well done, sirs. Well done, all. I’ve been to many fests now, but this time it felt different. Maybe because it was my first big fest writing for The Crew, but it felt like it was a gathering of all my newest close friends, under one roof. And I’m not just talking about the beers. Thank you all for showing up, and showing us that the Force is strong in our beer scene, and our New Mexico beer culture is only growing stronger with each raised pint. We’ll see you all at the next event. Until then, think globally, drink locally!

WBBeer

A fitting end to another great festival.

Cheers!

— Luke

For #CraftBeer info and Dark Side Brew Crew updates follow me on Twitter @SantaFeCraftBro

The first beer festival of 2015 is upon us. WinterBrew is set for Friday at the Santa Fe Farmers Market from 4 to 9 p.m. The event, run by the New Mexico Brewers Guild, has already sold out all 750 of its tickets. So for those 750 lucky people, this preview is for you. For everyone else, um, live vicariously through us?

One of the best festivals every year is set for Friday.

One of the best festivals every year is set for Friday.

As always when we preview festivals, the number one question is “what beers are being poured?” Before we get to that, take note of some important things.

How to get there: You can drive up or take the RailRunner. We recommend the latter, though you won’t be able to attend for the full five hours. It leaves the Downtown ABQ stop at 4:26, Montano at 4:35, and Los Ranchos/Journal Center at 4:41. You’ll arrive at the Santa Fe Railyard at 6:03 p.m. if everything goes to schedule, so that’s still almost three hours of drinking time.

Don’t drink on an empty stomach: There will be food vendors on site, including Blue Corn, Second Street, Santa Fe Culinary Academy, and Bambini Philly Cheese Steaks. Food plates are supposed to range from $2 to $8. If you have the time, though, we always recommend you eat a late lunch to keep your stomach full before all the sampling starts.

Beyond the samples: You do get a ticket for one free pint of your favorite beer. You can purchase additional pints afterward.

WinterBrew does get crowded, but pace yourself and you will get all the beer you need.

WinterBrew does get crowded, but pace yourself and you will get all the beer you need.

Our best advice: Pace yourselves. It’s a fairly confined space, but things tend to move pretty quickly. Whether you are there for all five hours or less, there is plenty of time to try all the beers you want. And it never hurts to ask what may be on tap at the breweries, so you can focus only on the exclusive beers.

All right, without further adieu, here are the beer lists we received for most of the 17 participating breweries. If we get the missing lists in time, this article will be updated, have no fear. (UPDATED: We got Duel and Tractor, look below!)

Abbey — Monks’ Ale, Wit, Dark Ale, Dubbel Reserve, Tripel Reserve, and maybe Kirstall Weissbier (which is brand new and may or may not be ready in time)

Blue Corn — Gee-Eyed Stout, Road Runner IPA, two more TBD

Blue Heron — Aurora IPA, Penasco Porter, two more TBD

Bosque — Slack Jaw Imperial Porter, Slack Jaw on nitro, Jet Black Winter on cask, Mystery Man IPA, Fall Out Pils, Bosque Lager, Pale Ryder, Scotia Scotch Ale, Old Man Jameson

Boxing Bear — Chocolate Milk Stout, Iron Lung Smoked Porter, Paw Swipe Pale Ale, Black Eye-PA, and either Ambear Ale or Uppercut IPA

Duel — Titian, Dark Ryder, Grunewald, Fantin, Bad Amber, Marcel, plus sips only of Goya, Tableaux 15, Still of the Night (there will also be some bottles for sale, including Goya)

La Cumbre — Slice of Hefen, Malpais Stout, Elevated IPA, Project Dank, Cafe Con Leche, Simcoe Pale Ale, Red Ryeot

Marble — Imperial Stout, Double IPA, Red Ale, Double White

Ponderosa — Nikolaus Spiced Lager, Ghost Train IPA, The Dark Demon ICDA, Imperial Sawmill Stout

Red Door — Stormtrooper Imperial IPA, O.D.B., Gateway Blonde, Trappe Door Wheat, Roamer Red, Unhinged Cider

Roosevelt — we did not hear back yet

Santa Fe — Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, Black IPA, Java Stout, Kriek, BB-Aged Imperial Smoked Rye Porter, Double White IPA, Barrel-Aged Sour State Pen Porter

Second Street — Fulcrum IPA, Pivotal IPA, Mosaic IPA, Rod’s Best Bitter, Foreign Extra Stout, Bastogne Special Bitter (featuring Mosaic), Cream Stout, Kolsch

Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande — Milk Stout, Alien Imperial Stout, Pancho Verde Chile Cerveza, Alien Amber, Desert Pils, Bone Chiller Brown Ale, Sun Chaser Pale Ale

Taos Mesa — we did not hear back yet

Tractor — Double Sickle DIPA, Wonder Weisse, Luna de los Muertos Russian Imperial Stout

Turtle Mountain — Heidelberg Helles, Munich Dunkel, Hopshell IPA, Cafe Bella Coffee Porter

Franz Solo, Mrs. Solo, Luke, and I will all see you at the Railyards!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

As noted in the most recent edition of The Week Ahead in Beer, the Crew put out the call for everyone’s favorite beers from New Mexico breweries for 2014. The replies from our readers, not to mention from all of our writers, were fairly diverse. We’re not gonna do an ultimate ranking or anything — you don’t want to get us started when it comes to debating such things — but we thought we would share our favorites, as well as the favorites of our readers.

So without further adieu …

Crew favorites

Bosque's Scale Tipper won the IPA Challenge and naturally popped up on a lot of people's lists.

Bosque’s Scale Tipper won the IPA Challenge and naturally popped up on a lot of people’s lists.

Stoutmeister

Scale Tipper, Bosque: What’s this? A hoppy beer on my list? Well, it did win the IPA Challenge, after all. I do love a hoppy IPA sometimes, but throw in a strong malt backbone the way John Bullard did and, well, win a trophy.

Jet Black Winter, Bosque: This wasn’t barrel-aged, so it wasn’t overwhelmed by bourbon flavors. It wasn’t sweet, either. Just big, thick, and mean. Really mean. Which made it wonderful.

Russian Imperial Stout, Blue Corn: Smooth as hell, hiding its big ABV quite well. It was almost too easy to drink.

La Negra, La Cumbre: The 2014 batch came out early in the year, then they busted out a barrel-aged 2013 version. For all the talk of being the hoppiest brewery in ABQ, La Cumbre does malty monsters well, too.

4th Anniversary Barleywine, La Cumbre: See previous comment about malty monsters at LC. This was a sweet, wonderful barleywine aged in rum barrels for a rather different flavor profile.

We can't wait till the 2015 version of Luna De Los Muertos is tapped.

We can’t wait till the 2015 version of Luna De Los Muertos is tapped.

Stout #2286, Marble: This was a blended stout, a mad science experiment that just turned out so damn decadent. The bourbon flavor was there, but it was not overwhelming.

Bourbon Vanilla Porter, Pi: The best beer at Hopfest was full of sweet bourbon, a little roasted malt, and just enough bourbon.

Preacher’s Share, Second Street: Just darned ridiculous, my favorite beer of the otherwise forgettable Beer Premier. Yet another balanced, boozy, big stout.

Luna de los Muertos, Tractor: This was yet another big, burly, wonderful imperial stout. Can’t wait for the 2015 version. It’s coming soon, right, David? RIGHT?!

Turkey Drool, Tractor: The annual holiday treat did not disappoint this year. It was stronger than the 2013 version, but not as overpowering as the 2012 edition. All the flavors lived together in good balance.

And, yes, I could have put the beers I helped brew this year (Dark Side Baltic Porter at Canteen, Hammer Smashed Stout at Tractor, Obey the Darkside Stout at Chama River), but you already all know how much I love those.

Brandon, right, is just one of many who loved that there Preacher's Share from Second Street.

Brandon, right, is just one of many who loved that there Preacher’s Share from Second Street.

Brandon

Preacher’s Share, Second Street Brewery: This was the find of the day during the Beer Premier event at the Railyards. So good I was almost in tears. It made another appearance during NM Brew Fest, where I was again almost reduced to tears. Such a huge, multi-faceted imperial stout. Hats off to Second Street for cranking it to 11 with this beer.

Scale Tipper, Bosque Brewing: When John Bullard is your head brewer, you can expect quality beers. However, this beer was just a delicious monster. Not bitter enough to go into undrinkable territory, which says a lot given its 110+ IBU’s. Fruity/citrus notes were plentiful, which made it a great warm weather IPA. Well deserving of the win at the 2014 IPA Challenge.

PSA (Pumpkin Spiced Ale), Bosque Brewing: Yet another beer from Bosque, definitely my favorite pumpkin beer to hit the local scene this past fall. A wonderful spice blend that accentuated the pumpkin accompanied a malty ale base. Already looking forward to next year, hoping for another great batch.

Class VI Golden Lager, Chama River Brewing: There is a reason this beer took home the gold medal in its respective category at the 2014 GABF…it is just that damn good. Smooth and crisp, excellent malt profile. Wonderful stuff.

All of us were proud when our Hammer Smashed Stout won the Battle of the Beer Geeks at Tractor.

All of us were proud when our Hammer Smashed Stout won the Battle of the Beer Geeks at Tractor.

E-Rock

As I haven’t had as much time and/or money to follow the New Mexico brewery scene as I used to, I haven’t been keeping track of my favorite beers. The two beers that stick out the most to me were the two beers that I had the opportunity to help make at Tractor and the Canteen Brewhouse. The two beers that I am speaking of are the Hammer Smashed Stout and the Dark Side Baltic Porter brewed in collaboration with Tractor Brewing Company and the Canteen Brewhouse, respectively. The brew crew also did a collaboration beer with Chama River, but I was playing music and visiting friends in Texas when that was being brewed. Check out our stories on each of these brewing adventures.

Even though we brewed the Hammer Smashed Stout on a smaller system than we did on the Baltic Porter, the two beers had certain similarities that I really like in my beers, and I’m happy that I was able to be part of the creation of each. Brandon and Derek helped create the recipe for each beer, with some ingredients changing based on availability at each brewery. As such, I had very little impact on what went into the beers. People said “move that” or “stir this” or “get pizza,” and I said, “OK” and did whatever they said. In both cases, the beers I helped brew were big, dark beers that were also very smooth. I was very happy that we achieved those characteristics, and I would like to thank everyone for the opportunities to have those great experiences. Happy brewing and happy beer drinking!

You can all blame Franz Solo for the supply of Full Nelson running out so quickly.

You can all blame Franz Solo for the supply of Full Nelson running out so quickly.

Franz Solo

Whiteout, Marble: Wonderful balance of Belgian funk and tropical hops. A wonderful experiment which pays dividends in delicious flavors.

Full Nelson, La Cumbre: My pick for local beer of the year. Balanced malt and monster hop profile. Nelson Sauvignon shines brightly in this nearly perfect brew.

Tractoberfest, Tractor: Exactly what I love in a Märzen bier, mild sweetness and wonderful malt balance.

Alpha Reaper, Blue Corn: Hands down my favorite imperial red of the year. Boozy and brash with so many layers of hop bitter and sweet.

Scale Tipper, Bosque: Several versions of this came into existence this year and all were simply outstanding. IPA Challenge ’14 winner indeed.

Vienna Lager, Canteen: I am not usually a lager fan, but this was just wonderful through and through.

That there Paint It Black Milk Stout from Red Door, on the right obviously, was a decadent treat for us all.

That there Paint It Black Milk Stout from Red Door, on the right obviously, was a decadent treat for us all.

Mrs. Solo

She’s a busy paramedic, so she ranked ’em for us real quick.

1. White Out, Marble

2. Scale Tipper, Bosque

3. Bourbon Vanilla Porter, Pi

4. Hairy Not Hefe, Boxing Bear

5. Paint It Black Milk Stout, Red Door

Porter Pounder

He’s busy on a film set and claims he could not remember most of the beers he had in the past year.

* * * * *

And all of the Crew’s other favorites deserved at least a mention here.

Good old Sleeping Dog Stout is one of our reliable favorites on tap year-round.

Good old Sleeping Dog Stout is one of our reliable favorites on tap year-round.

Honorable mention regular beers: Driftwood Oatmeal Stout and Scotia Scotch Ale, Bosque; Standing 8 Stout, Boxing Bear; Irish Red and Slow Down Brown, Canteen; Sleeping Dog Stout, Chama River; ESB, Kaktus; Malpais Stout and Elevated IPA, La Cumbre; Oatmeal Stout and Pilsner, Marble; Chocolate Porter and Scottish Ale, Nexus; Soiled Dove Imperial Stout, Stumbling Steer; Double Plow Oatmeal Stout and Mustachio Milk Stout, Tractor; Gold Medal Oatmeal Stout, Blue Corn; Java Imperial Stout, Santa Fe; Cream Stout, Second Street; La Llorona Scottish Ale, Blue Heron

Honorable mention specialty/seasonal beers: Ladron’s Peak, Back Alley; Prospector Milk Stout, Oktoberfest, and Cottonwood Anniversary Ale, Bosque; Sasquatch Scotch and American Stout, Canteen; Cosmic Dog, Chama River; Holiday Peppermint Stout, Kaktus; Cafe Con Leche, Witch’s Tit, and La Llorona Baltic Porter, La Cumbre; Imperial Stout, 2014 Brew Club Barley Wine, and Reserve Ale, Marble; Beam Me Up Scottish, Nexus; Strong Scotch Ale, Red Door; Black IPA, Stumbling Steer; Chocolate Milk Stout, Tractor; Oktoberfest, Turtle Mountain; Alpha Reaper and Malty-ness Monster, Blue Corn; Goya Imperial Stout, Duel; Oktoberfest, Santa Fe; Cherrywood Smoked Imperial Porter, Second Street

The Bullpen’s favorites

Yes, it was made in 2007, but they didn't tap this St. Bob's until July 2014.

Yes, it was made in 2007, but they didn’t tap this St. Bob’s until July 2014.

Adam

(He’s on vacation, so we just got a list. But what a list.)

St. Bob’s Imperial Stout ’07, Canteen (we counted it since it was tapped this year from the barrel)

Goya Imperial Stout, Duel

Elevated IPA, Full Nelson, Project Dank, La Cumbre

2014 Brew Club Barley Wine, From the Wood IPA, Imperial Stout, Marble

Preacher’s Share, Second Street

Luna de los Muertos, Tractor

AmyO

Bourbon Bacon Stout, Stumbling Steer: I loved it on its own, but it was pretty mind-blowing when eaten with bacon-wrapped dates at Bacon Fest. It could have partially been the festive atmosphere while enjoying all things bacon. But I enjoyed it very much the next day, too, at the restaurant.

East Kent Ale, Boxing Bear: I was pretty stunned that this beer was so good right out of the gate when they opened.

We're not sure if Luke got a cookie with his first pint of Marble Reserve, but we can hope.

We’re not sure if Luke got a cookie with his first pint of Marble Reserve, but we can hope.

Luke

Alpha Reaper, Blue Corn: This beer was big and just about my threshold for a beat-down-by-beer. It was a sign that things have changed at Blue Corn.

Class VI Golden Lager, Chama River: This is a reminder of what smaller craft brewers can do with a typically bigger brewery category. Well-executed, with craft personality, this lager is cold fermented for a month. Time is on this one’s side. Yes it is.

ECS Double White IPA, Santa Fe: This was a big bright breath of fresh-squeezed air from Santa Fe Brewing Co.

Junk Punch, Taos Mesa: Again, damn. This odd style, the Dopple Oktoberfest, comes together well to form one of the larger palate-pummels of the year. Just be careful how you ask for it.

Kriek, Santa Fe: This was a very well-balanced sour, with the right flavors coming through, and none of them overwhelming. Excellent on tap, it is easily my current favorite sour; and I’ve had my share of PNW sours.

Blue Corn's Russian Imperial Stout was delightful for being such a big monster.

Blue Corn’s Russian Imperial Stout was delightful for being such a big monster.

Reserve Ale, Marble: It’s strong and smooth, caramel-y, malty, and reason enough to officially add the word ‘bourbony’ to the dictionary.

Oaked Grunewald, Duel: This big, Belgian-style Imperial Porter is a heavy, dark, oak medium, nuanced with strokes of fruity tartness, spice, chocolate, and wine. It says my German Renaissance Painter shall utterly destroy your German Renaissance Painter.

Red River Ale, Chama River: This probably upset my current champion for ESBs. Balanced and very drinkable, it’s not particularly low on ABV, but it’s what I would call sessionable. Great from growler to glass.

Russian Imperial Stout, Blue Corn: It was exactly what I wanted in a Russian Imperial Stout, which is boozy, dark chocolate, creamy goodness. “And dat browned head, tho.”

Stout Americano, Marble: Almost a five for me, this beer had me heading back to Draft Station several times that week in March.

Reid

Full Nelson, La Cumbre, was his one single favorite. Then he had to get back to work at Los Alamos National Labs.

Readers’ picks

Many of our readers enjoyed this year's batch of the 505 collaboration beer for ABQ Beer Week.

Many of our readers enjoyed this year’s batch of the 505 collaboration beer for ABQ Beer Week.

Lonnie King (a.k.a. Darth Lupulus on Untappd)

My Top Five NM Craftbeers 2014

1. Project Dank, La Cumbre
2. Full Nelson, La Cumbre
3. Red Chile Brown, Canteen
4. Brokenberry Brown, Broken Bottle
5. Berliner Weisse, Tractor

Honorable Mentions

Oyster Stout, Kaktus
Year Two IPA, Broken Bottle
Threshold IPA, Red Door
FYFA IPA, Tractor
Abbey’s Mosiac, Marble
505-2014 (Albuquerque Beer Week Collaboration), various breweries
Odie Scotch, Tractor

Laura Claussen Spies (chief organizer of New Mexico Craft Beer Enthusiasts on Facebook)

Here are my highlights of NM breweries since my move here in October 2014!

A little Dank never hurt anyone, right?

A little Dank never hurt anyone, right?

Project Dank, La Cumbre: Complex IPA with citrus notes, tropical notes, some pine and a sweet, malty finish.

Elevated IPA, La Cumbre: Extremely hoppy! Big, big IPA. Heavy grapefruit and some tropical flavor.

4th Anniversary Barleywine, La Cumbre: Rich, fruity, malty barlywine, caramel and toffee. Big and boozy. Fun beer but a five-ounce pour was plenty.

Reserve Ale, Marble (hubby’s pick): Nice bourbon barrel-aged ale. I thought it was a barleywine. Sweet, malty, and heavy bourbon flavor.

Double White, Marble: Outstanding Belgian white. Orange, lime, lemon, coriander. I could easily drink three pints of this, unlike bigger beers that I love. One of the best witbiers I have tried anywhere. Complexity 8/10. Drinkablity 10/10

Beer for my Horses, Cazuela’s: Everything a perfect oatmeal stout should be. Heavenly chocolate aroma, thick mouthfeel, dark chocolate, and hints of coffee bitterness.

Gracias por Fumar, La Cumbre: Cannot drink a whole pint of this outstanding, barrel-aged smoked porter, but was very fun to try.

Special mention — Red Ryeot, La Cumbre: Fun, easy-drinking Red Rye IPA. Sweet, spicy, hoppy and complex. I order this one at the Blue Grasshopper, a brewpub close by. Hope it takes a while for them to tap out.

* * * * *

OK, that’s all from us. Most of you were too shy to offer your picks. Now you know what you’re up against. Unleash your opinions on all the various commenting forums! And then go drink more great New Mexico beer in 2015.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister