Posts Tagged ‘Bosque Brewing’

Tractor’s Nob Hill taproom is back behind those trees, away from much of the construction for the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project.

The Albuquerque Draft Station shut its doors on April 3, through no fault of its own. The Albuquerque Rapid Transit project had torn up Central Avenue outside, and during the construction a water line was ruptured, forcing the craft beer bar to shut its doors. Draft Station would not reopen until April 12. Nine days of revenue were lost.

It was perhaps the most extreme example of the negative effects of the ongoing construction, which has hampered businesses not only in the stretch of Central west of downtown, but also in Nob Hill, which has been torn to pieces for months. The Crew reached out to the breweries and off-site taprooms in the affected areas. While Bosque and Draft Station never got back to us, I did have a chance to sit down with Kaktus owner Dana Koller, Kellys head brewer Dan Cavan, and Tractor marketing director Jeremy Kinter. Each of their respective Nob Hill locations has had a different experience with A.R.T.

Kaktus only opened its taproom on December 31, 2015, making it one of the more recent new additions to the neighborhood.

“We only opened a few months before we really started getting into that (construction),” Dana said. “We don’t have numbers to compare it to, but it’s definitely been an uphill battle. We feel there’s a (clear) reason for that. We’re getting our high ratings, people love what we’re doing up there, but it has been really difficult to get that walk-in traffic. We see our numbers going up slowly, really slowly, but they are going up. I think we would be about 35 to 40 percent stronger if the construction wasn’t there.”

Kellys has also had a hard time discerning the exact impact of the construction, as the longtime brewpub recently went through an ownership change. Now under Santa Fe Dining’s umbrella, Kellys has revamped its food and beer menu.

“Honestly, I think it’s just slightly less than business than usual,” Dan said. “Probably the changeover had more impact than this on our sales.”

Tractor has been the most established and stable of the three, but that has not meant it has avoided a drop in sales.

“It’s been interesting, but surprisingly enough A.R.T. hasn’t impacted us as deeply as we expected,” Jeremy said. “We’ve held our own. Sales have been down, yes. We have noticed a drop, but it has not been significant by any means. We’re one of the lucky few.”

Tractor does have a couple things in its favor. First off, it has its own established parking lot out front, and many customers over the years have learned to park on the side streets like Silver and Tulane. The taproom also has a loyal clientele from the residential neighborhood to the south.

“What’s nice about our Nob Hill location is it’s more like a Cheers (style) bar,” Jeremy said. “There’s a ton of regulars and those regulars still come, mostly from around the neighborhood.”

Parking issues are still there for everyone, however.

“We’re one of the lucky few where we have parking, unlike areas like Harvard, for instance, in the Bricklight District,” Jeremy said. “That’s a lot tougher. Getting there is really tough, getting in and out is really tough. I know Winnings (Coffee) is having a tough time. They have the Indiegogo campaign for $10,000. It’s really sad to see that it’s impacting those bigger businesses as well. I don’t want to see Off-Broadway go out of business. AstroZombies won’t go out of business, but they’ve taken a hit. Everyone has taken a hit. Nob Hill Bar & Grill, they’ve taken a hit. Even Two Fools.”

It is that drop in support for all businesses in Nob Hill that has Tractor concerned.

“All in all, it has impacted us, but not bad,” Jeremy said. “We’re more concerned with the neighborhood in general. That’s our biggest concern right now, concerned with the other businesses shutting down like Red Wing (Shoes), Hey Johnny, the furniture store. We’re worried about the impact on Nob Hill in general, because that impacts all of us.”

These sorts of signs are becoming all too common in Nob Hill, worrying the breweries and taprooms.

Kaktus has made moves to try to combat that by bringing the various businesses together.

“We’ve been trying to get involved wherever we can,” Dana said. “We did that passport program recently to encourage business and encourage the businesses to come together and build that excitement. I’m happy to see that our numbers are going up, because that means we’ll probably make it, even though it’s been a struggle. Chances are high we’ll make it, especially after the construction is done. We should see some strong numbers.”

The passport program involved 19 businesses on or near Central, where patrons could get a small booklet and receive a stamp every time they made a purchase. They could then turn them in to be part of a drawing for $700 in prizes.

“It got us some positive exposure in the media,” Dana said. “It’s the perception that people are getting more than anything else, if we kind of create events, they’ll make their way down. That was pretty successful for the first one. The biggest thing was we got positive news. It was in the Journal. KOAT covered it.”

Kaktus may look to do a second go-around with the passport program, Dana said, as construction is expected to continue through July. Those construction plans extending into summer is where the Nob Hill locations could start to see a major impact.

As Dan noted for Kellys, “we’re patio driven, so we’re also weather driven,” meaning the coming weeks and months will truly show whether or not the construction will have a tangible effect on the brewpub.

“They’ll probably finish the bulk of the construction during our slow season,” Dan said. “(But) it will be interesting to see what happens when they’re working on the sidewalk on our side of the street.”

The bulk of the sidewalk construction is currently along the north side of Central in Nob Hill. It has created headaches for locations such as Il Vicino, Two Fools, Matanza, and more. Once it reaches the south side, where it could begin to affect Tractor, Kellys, Nob Hill Bar & Grill, and even close to Bosque.

The sidewalk construction is creeping closer toward Kellys.

One major casualty, events wise, has been the loss of the annual Pride Parade, which will move to Lomas this year. The uncertain end date for construction means that Route 66 Summerfest could also be in jeopardy of being relocated.

“That’s a huge loss for us, especially for Tractor and our involvement in the LGBTQR community,” Jeremy said. “That’s one of our big demographics. We have Drag Queen Bingo and we do events sometimes with the social club. At Pride we do a float and people come to Tractor (afterwards). That was a big loss for us and we weren’t too happy about it moving to Lomas, but we understood. You can’t do that on Central right now.”

Tractor still intends to be involved with the parade.

“The word as of now is next year it will move back to Central, which is good,” Jeremy said. “Also, they’re working with me to let Tractor to close down a portion of the street or block in Nob Hill and host a post-Pride Parade party. That’s a nice stipulation that they gave us. They’re working with us and Nob Hill Bar & Grill.”

The Tractor staff is thinking positive thoughts about Summerfest staying put. So far, city officials have not officially committed to keeping it in place, nor have they officially said it would be moved. That call may not come for another few weeks, so the city can better analyze the state of the construction and its progress.

“What we were concerned with, and we just had a meeting with the economic development (committee), and our biggest concern has been the loss of Summerfest,” Jeremy said. “As you know, Summerfest is a huge event in Nob Hill. It’s our number one day for sales. That’s the case for a lot of the businesses in Nob Hill. There has been some talk of Summerfest moving away from Nob Hill, but that hasn’t happened. We’re very fortunate for that.”

Kellys, likewise, will miss having the Pride Parade around and hopes that Summerfest is not going anywhere.

“Those are huge bumps,” Dan said. “Losing Pride from Central, we’re busy from 7:30 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon. That will definitely impact us. Summerfest is huge, that’s the largest event on Central. Just keep it rolling, get (the construction) done by Summerfest.”

For now, the Nob Hill breweries will keep their fingers crossed that things will keep trending in a positive direction as the construction gets closer to completion. None have been hit so hard that they are in danger of closing shop, but not every business in the district can make the same claim.

“We’re more concerned about the neighborhood in general than ourselves,” Jeremy said. “Tractor will be fine. We do things to try to drive traffic there. We have music two nights a week. We have art openings. We have those events to generate our own traffic. Scalo, I think, is bringing back music as well. It’s about that time of year. We opened our patio. Once the warmer weather is back we’ll see more traffic.”

The Crew will keep an eye on the status of all the breweries and taprooms up and down Central, as well as the ultimate fate of Summerfest.

In the meantime, get back out to the affected areas and show your support for all the businesses in Nob Hill, East Downtown, West Downtown/Old Town, and downtown itself whenever the construction finally reaches there. Let us focus on helping our local small businesses, whether they sell beer or not, keep their doors open, regardless of the status of old Route 66. Lomas and Lead/Coal are our friends!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Behold the champion in all its glory! All hail Project Dank! Again!

We realize that not all of you who follow us do so on social media, so of late, there were some newsy tidbits on good old Facebook that some of you might have missed. Think of this as a little social media news roundup while we get the jam-packed Week Ahead in Beer and a feature on Three Rivers ready for the next weeks.

La Cumbre claims National IPA Challenge again

Back in 2014, La Cumbre brought some serious bragging rights to New Mexico when its Project Dank won it all at the Brewing News National IPA Challenge. Over the next two years, it was Bosque and Scale Tipper taking the crown, all while keeping New Mexico in the spotlight. After Scale Tipper was dethroned back in the Round of 32 this year, it seemed as if the title could end up leaving New Mexico. Thankfully, Project Dank was back at full power.

La Cumbre’s hop bomb of hop bombs defeated Lawson’s Finest Liquids’ Hopcelot IPL in the Final Four before overcoming Lynwood Brewing’s Hop Sauce in the championship match on Monday, making it four straight titles for the state of New Mexico.

How impressive is this? Well, prior to this little run of dominance, no state had ever won back to back, no brewery had ever won back to back, and no brewery had won more than one challenge. New Mexico now has four straight titles, with two of its breweries winning two apiece.

To heck with the West Coast IPA style. It’s time to just call it the New Mexico IPA style. It’s the best damn style in America, and it doesn’t need to be from a coast.

Pi Brewing will be closed indefinitely

Now to the bad news of the week, which comes from the West Side brewery. We will just let them tell the story directly from their Facebook page:

As you know, a car crashed into our building on January 1st causing our space to be red tagged by city officials citing safety concerns. After over 10 weeks our landlord has not approved the contractor for the work or have yet to retain a contractor to execute repairs. Once authorized, repairs are quoted to be an additional 10 weeks. The landlord’s blatant disregard for the severity of the forced closure has cost our employees their livelihood and your continued patronage. It seems the big California based property management company and the big Florida based landlord have little concern for our small New Mexico business. That being said, we have made the difficult decision to close and look for a new home.

It has been a pleasure to have been a part of your neighborhood, but the time has come for us to call another place home. In the last 7 years we have seen your children grow up, we have been a part of your first dates and later included in the weddings, even our own children have learned how to ride a bike in the dining room and throw dough in the pizza pit. You have trusted us with your field trips, birthdays and anniversaries. We have met some of the most amazing people through the years, including some of our closest friends today. Thank you for your stories, memories and incredible support!

We have a couple of locations in mind, but if you have suggestions, feel free to PM us. As soon as a new lease is signed, we will let you all know where the party will continue.

Thank you again for the last 7 years,

Greg & Nicole Villareal

Yeah, this is a major bummer. Pi was just seemingly hitting its stride and finding its niche. We wish Greg and Nicole all the luck they will need in finding a new location. It will certainly not be an easy thing to pull off, but we remain confident that they will make every effort to bring their brewery back. It will probably be quite a while, though, before they are making beer again.

New breweries update

Not much has changed since our last edition of Beer Notes, but there are a couple items that we needed to pass along.

First up, add another newcomer to the list, as Switchback Brewery in Cloudcroft has a pending small brewer license. We could not find any additional info on the new operation, not via a Google search or on social media, so at best this one is probably a long, long way off. We just have to wonder if it will really come to fruition with that name, as there is already a Switchback Brewing Co. in Burlington, Vermont. If you think “but that’s so far away, surely they won’t object,” then please go visit Mike Campbell over at Drafty Kilt and ask him what happened with the original Off Kilter name for his brewery. (Yeah, there is always a chance the Vermonters will give it an OK, but don’t hold your collective breath or anything.)

Meanwhile, in similar news to Pi, the not-yet-open Bare Bones Brewing in Cedar Crest is already looking for a new home. We will also let them explain what happened via their Facebook post:

As some of you may have already heard, Bare Bones Brewing has hit a little speed bump with our progress. Our anticipated April 2017 opening date will be pushed further down the road as we explore some new location options. Unfortunately, we were unable to come to an agreement with the new property owners in regards to how we would run our business. We were not given the same lease terms and other businesses within the same complex seemed to have more say over what we could and couldn’t do, which led us to make the very hard decision to cut our losses and move on, to find a location that would be better suited to the friendly, family, community atmosphere we are looking for. We appreciate the many hours that volunteers put into cleaning and renovating the space. It hurts to leave all that hard work behind, but as with everything in life, we live, we learn, and we come out a little better in the end. Stay tuned for updates as we move forward. Cheers!

Let this all be a lesson to anyone who thinks it’s easy to open a brewery in this day and age. We will keep an eye on any future announcements from Bare Bones about a new location.

Anyway, that is all for now. If anyone needs me, I will be at one of the Marble taprooms later to indulge in the new Woodshed Double Red, which is basically a barrel-aged Imperial Red blended with regular Red Ale. That is just the kind of beer to help us all survive a Tuesday.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Our sixth annual Stout Challenge brought about a sixth different winner.

Our sixth annual Stout Challenge brought about a sixth different winner.

Amid all the seriousness of the weekend, the Brew Crew was still able to gather to hold our annual Stout Challenge before the start of the Super Bowl. While the game featured an improbable rally by the favorite, our blind taste test featured an upset by one of the newer breweries in town.

For the sixth time, we have a new winner. A past winner came oh-so-close to becoming our first two-time champion. We structure the event similar to the IPA Challenge, but with variations. We go around the day of the event, fill our half-growlers (or full growlers for last year’s top finishers), and then bring them to Franz Solo’s house. Our friend Margaret then pours them into numbered glasses out of sight, and we try them one by one, rather than put all on a tray. We take notes and score them from zero to five points in the categories of aroma, flavor, mouthfeel, and finish, and add them up.

We were short quite a few Crew members this year. Illness knocked out Brandon, Luke, and Shawna. E-Rock was unable to make it back from his musical adventures in Texas in time. Shilling was studying. Porter Pounder was on the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise again. Thus, only myself, Franz, Mrs. Solo, Kristin, and guest judge Tim (Margaret’s husband) were available.

Also, after reporting 16 stouts Friday, we ended up two shy, as Bow & Arrow did not open until it was too late for us to pick up their Storm & Hearth, and Twisted Chile was unable to deliver their Irish stout from Socorro.

As always, these are our opinions. We could be wrong.

14. Cazuela’s Beer for my Horses (19.5 points): This was the only truly disappointing stout among the batch. The flavor was almost sour (my opinion) or salty (Franz’s opinion). It was too thin in the mouthfeel. We have no idea what happened with this batch.

13. Santa Fe Dysphotic Stout (45.5): None of us disliked this robust, almost hop-forward stout, it was just that when stacked up against a field of mostly oatmeal variants, it stood out almost as more of a black IPA than anything. Basically, it is a stout that stands alone in the current available field in the ABQ metro area.

12. Rio Bravo Oatmeal Stout (46): While it did not move up in the standings that much, Rio Bravo’s entry scored much better this time around. The aroma scored the highest, with some mixed feelings on the flavor and mouthfeel. Overall it just came off as a bit light for what we look for in a stout.

11. Boxing Bear Standing 8 Stout (47.5): Every year there seems to be one of the top stouts from the previous year that falls way down the ladder. The main complaint here was in the bitter, overly smoky flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel. It was similar to Dysphotic, but with more malt and less hops.

10. Bosque Driftwood Oatmeal Stout (48): We found this batch to be a little on the thin side, with the most negative marks coming in terms of its mouthfeel, or lack thereof. The flavor was good, quite a bit sweet up front, but it faded pretty quickly.

9. Turtle Mountain Stauffenberg Stout (52.5): This was the first stout we sampled, so in many ways, it served as the base line for all that followed. In general everyone liked it, though it was noted as being just a tad short in all four categories. Still, we would call it perfectly drinkable.

8. Sidetrack Stoker Stout (53): A significant improvement on their stout from last year, this batch was quite a bit smokier and more roasted. Those were probably the biggest attributes, good or bad, with our voters.

7. The 377 Full Booty Stout (56): The top word used to describe our newest brewery’s oatmeal stout was “dry,” which accounted for much of the flavor and mouthfeel for folks. Some scored that well, others did not. The thickness of the mouthfeel scored the highest with most of us.

6. Chama River Sleeping Dog Stout (58): The 2016 champion could not pull off the repeat. The flavor and aroma this time around was sweet, with a pronounced vanilla element, but otherwise it lacked enough mouthfeel and overall complexity. It remains quite good, but not quite on par with last year.

5. Marble Oatmeal Stout (59): If there is a stout deserving of the title of “old reliable,” it is our 2012 champion, which still ranks among the best in town. There was a sweet, almost vanilla flavor and aroma at the front. The mouthfeel and finish saw some contrasting opinions with the five of us.

4. La Cumbre Malpais Stout (61): Unlike most La Cumbre beers, this did not have much of an aroma to draw you in. It did have a smokier, heavier flavor, scoring highest in mouthfeel and finish. The 2013 champion remains one of the best in town, though it is definitely not for those who like their stouts sweeter.

3. Canteen Dark n’ Lusty Stout (62.5): No stout has yo-yoed up and down more in our Stout Challenge the last six years than Canteen’s staple. It has finished seventh (out of eight), fifth (out of 10), 10th (out of 10), second (out of 14), 11th (out of 14), and now it’s third. This batch had a lot of chocolate flavor. It was sweet and solid, but just lacked the flavor complexity to claim its first title.

2. Tractor Double Plow Oatmeal Stout (70): My personal favorite in the bunch, it came up just short of being our first two-time winner (2014 was its previous victory). That cookie dough-like flavor was back at the front, with lots of chocolate up front and hints of smoke on the back end. The mouthfeel was solid throughout.

1. Starr Brothers Foggy Monocle (71.5): First Stout Challenge, first victory! Brewer Rob Whitlock said he actually prefers his Roisin Dubh, an Irish dry stout, to this. Guess he will have to change his mind now. The flavor (roasty coffee) and mouthfeel (thick and creamy smooth) scored especially high with our group.

We will have our Stout Challenge helmet trophy ready soon to be presented to Starr Brothers. Congrats to Rob and their entire staff!

As always, here are our individual point totals for each beer, to see where we agreed and disagreed on each.

  • Stoutmeister: 1) Tractor 13.5, 2) Chama River 11, 3) Canteen 10.5, 4) La Cumbre and Marble 9.5, 6) Boxing Bear and The 377 and Starr Brothers 9, 9) Bosque 8.5, 10) Sidetrack and Turtle Mountain 8, 12) Santa Fe and Rio Bravo 7, 14) Cazuela’s 3
  • Franz Solo: 1) Tractor 16.5, 2) Starr Brothers 16, 3) Canteen 15.5, 4) La Cumber 15, 5) Boxing Bear and Sidetrack 13.5, 7) The 377 12.5, 8) Chama River and Turtle Mountain 12, 10) Marble and Santa Fe 11, 12) Bosque and Rio Bravo 7, 14) Cazuela’s 3
  • Mrs. Solo: 1) Starr Brothers 16.5, 2) Tractor 15.5, 3) Canteen and Sidetrack 12, 5) La Cumbre and Marble and The 377 and Rio Bravo 11, 9) Bosque 10.5, 10) Chama River and Turtle Mountain 10, 12) Santa Fe 7, 13) Boxing Bear 6, 14) Cazuela’s 4
  • Kristin: 1) La Cumbre 16.5, 2) Starr Brothers 16, 3) Marble 15, 4) Chama River 13, 5) Rio Bravo and Turtle Mountain 12.5, 7) Bosque 12, 8) Boxing Bear and Canteen 11.5, 10) The 377 and Tractor 11, 12) Sidetrack 10.5, 13) Santa Fe 10, 14) Cazuela’s 5
  • Tim: 1) Starr Brothers 14, 2) Tractor 13.5, 3) Canteen 13, 4) The 377 and Marble 12.5, 6) Chama River 12, 7) Santa Fe 10.5, 8) Bosque and Turtle Mountain 10, 10) La Cumbre and Sidetrack 9, 12) Rio Bravo 8.5, 13) Boxing Bear 7.5, 14) Cazuela’s 4.5

Once again, these are just our opinions. We invite everyone to go out and try all these stouts, whether it’s for the 100th time or the first time. Our local breweries are doing a great job with the darker side of beer, and we couldn’t be happier on the whole.

We will have more on the weekend’s serious news about Senate Bill 314 and the contentious town hall meeting on Tuesday, once we put everything together.

Until then, keep supporting local breweries!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

That's two more silver medals for Bosque on another banner day for New Mexico breweries.

Pedal to the medal(s)? It was that kind of year at Bosque Brewing in 2016.

It was another banner year over at Bosque Brewing, as everyone might have noticed. There were additional medals and awards, the arrival of six-pack cans, taproom renovations, and more. Do not expect things to slow down anytime soon, either.

I had the chance to meet with head brewer John Bullard, owners Gabe Jensen and Jotham Michnovicz, and Jessica Griego, the director of culture and engagement, at the San Mateo taproom earlier this week. We discussed the ongoing whirlwind of their business over a few pints on a rare quiet day for the quartet.

2016 actually got off to a fairly quiet start, save for two major awards. Bosque became the first brewery to ever repeat as champion of the National IPA Challenge, with Scale Tipper going back to back in March. Bosque then claimed a bronze medal at the World Beer Cup in April for its IPA. After that, well, then things really got busy.

“Since June we’ve had our foot on the gas pedal,” Jotham said. “It was going along easy for the first half of 2016, then it was pedal to the metal.”

“It was like a whole year was jammed into six months,” Jessica added. “At least that’s how I feel.”

No brewery in America has ever pulled off back-to-back victories.

No brewery in America has ever pulled off back-to-back victories.

One major project completed by June was the expansion and renovation of the San Mateo taproom. Bosque’s original location earned a much-needed makeover, easing its crowded space, at least on most days.

“This was such a big win for us, too, because we were able to get a feel for what our style going forward is going to be,” Jotham said. “The decor in here, we feel like we nailed it. We’re excited about putting it in Bernalillo and Las Cruces, and eventually in Nob Hill.”

Speaking of taprooms, Las Cruces was finding itself packed beyond capacity on a regular basis. That quickly led the command staff to figure out they needed a larger space down south. Luckily for them, one was open in the same shopping center across the street from New Mexico State University as the current taproom. Not so lucky was getting that ball rolling.

“Yes, Cruces ground has been broken,” Gabe said. “Four architects later … once they got started, our current architect has been great. I think they’re pretty close to (being) on schedule.”

Construction started at the new, larger Las Cruces taproom in October. (Photo courtesy of Bosque)

Construction started at the new, larger Las Cruces taproom in October. (Photo courtesy of Bosque)

Jessica said they should be open in January in the new space, which should come as a welcome relief not just for the command staff, but also their many, many patrons in Las Cruces and nearby El Paso.

“What’s kind of nice is we actually have a template now for how we open taprooms now,” Jessica said. “We’re not flying by the seat of our pants anymore. I’m excited to see how it’s going to pan out.”

John said all the credit should go to Jessica for the overall taproom experience.

“A lot of the focus has gone into the taprooms, too,” John said. “That’s Jess’ hard work. That’s why they look so good, that’s why the service is so good. Like you said, the experience is great.”

Bosque also rolled out its first three beers in cans — IPA, Scotia, Lager — far sooner than expected. With construction finally underway in Bernalillo for the upcoming production facility — “Ground’s broke!” John exclaimed with a fist pump — that forced Bosque to look for an alternative means to grabbing some shelf space. Enter Sleeping Giant, a contract brewery in Denver. In turn, that led to Bosque signing a distribution agreement with Admiral.

It will no longer be called Riverwalker, but it will still be the same delicious recipe.

Take some hops home with you!

Despite a couple early hiccups, it has been fairly smooth sailing for Bosque as far as packaging has gone so far.

“At the beginning there were a couple people that got some low fills or something,” Gabe said. “Those were (vocal) Untappd people, so we’re like, oh, man. That first week I was freaking out, oh my gosh, if these two people got it like that, everyone could. Then that was it, nothing happened.”

“Those cans that he’s talking about, that was a different can manufacturer than Sleeping Giant had used before, so that led to a couple complications,” John added. “The same thing would have happened if we were packaging.”

The real surprise in the cans has been in sales, specifically which of the beers has stood out.

“Scotia is selling better than I expected, better than any of us expected,” Gabe said.

At first, the command staff was unsure of whether or not to even can the popular Scotch ale. Their sales manager convinced them it had to be done.

“I think the only person who truly believed that is Jesse (Hiott),” Jessica said. “He knows (the market). The rest of us, we wanted to do it, we just didn’t know.”

Gabe said even the folks at Admiral wanted Scotia, backing up Jesse. That finally pushed things over the top, and to market it went. Scotia became the first packaged Scotch/Scottish-style ale in New Mexico, which might have helped.

“It’s selling about the same rate as Lager,” Gabe said. “IPA is still, I think, 50 percent of our sales. The other two are 25 and 25, which is weird. We expected that to be a little more skewed toward IPA taking a larger portion of the sales.”

We cannot wait to get a six-pack of this malty behemoth.

The Crew knew in advance this would sell quite well in package, and we’re standing by that.

Gabe and Jessica said there has been a learning curve in terms of working with a distributor for the first time.

“It’s not about Admiral’s learning curve, it’s (ours),” Gabe said. “Now someone else has control of what’s getting sold in a lot of places we’ve never been, like Roswell. We didn’t know anything about Roswell, now it’s our fourth biggest market.

“I feel overall it’s been good. We’ve moved a lot of beer.”

Jotham said Bosque chose Admiral over the other major New Mexico distributors for a reason.

“That was one of the big reasons why we went with Admiral, because we liked the fact that they would be they were willing to work with us,” he said. “We told them we never want to short them on product if at all possible. We don’t want to run out at our taprooms, we want to keep the same rotating specialty beers. They were all for that. They had a very similar mindset.”

John and the brewing team have enjoyed the relationship as well.

“Without Admiral, we couldn’t have expanded into a lot of these markets if we still self distributed,” John said. “It would really have been impossible for us to do that. Roswell, we wouldn’t be there. Admiral’s been great.

“Then, we we take back our packaging, we’re already out there. That’s half the reason why we did it.”

All of the success in the market would not come without a strong, stable brewing team. John has spoken throughout the year about what a solid group Bosque has assembled.

“The team is really dialed in back there,” John said. “We’ve had a lot of success with competitions this year as well, and that’s because those guys are working together so well. They’re doing what they love doing.

Head brewer John Bullard talks about his beers with the crowd.

Head brewer John Bullard raises a glass to the hard work of his brewing team.

The team got a boost from the arrival of Tim Woodward, the former head brewer at Turtle Mountain, who joined them in May.

“Tim’s doing a great job,” John said. “He’s taking over a lot more as Jackalope is pushing forward so I can work on that more.”

Another long-time staff member earned a promotion as well.

“Ira (Strain-Bey), we just promoted him to brewer,” John said. “He’s been here since day one. He’s been our lead cellarman. He’s really taking off in a brewer position.”

All the hard work of the brewing team paid off again in October when Bosque claimed two silver medals at the Great American Beer Festival for Acequia IPA and the Lager. Winning for the latter, a house beer as opposed to a seasonal/specialty, was an amazing accomplishment.

“That silver in Lager, I jumped up at that one,” Gabe said.

“That one was the one where we were all looking at each other (shocked),” Jessica added.

John could only smile at the memory.

“That was huge,” he said. “That’s Bosque’s biggest accomplishment and probably my biggest accomplishment of my career so far. I’m more proud of that than any other (award).”

Win medal, add to can label. Simple as that.

Win medal, add to can label. Simple as that.

The World Beer Cup bronze for IPA and the GABF silver for the Lager are both displayed on the cans themselves.

“That was pretty huge that we (were able) to do that with (Lager) and IPA, two of the three can styles,” Jotham said.

Overall, 2016 will go down as another successful year for Bosque.

“It’s been a fun year, but it’s been a different kind of year than last year,” Gabe said.

“We’ve been dialing in everything, really, in preparation for improving the taproom experience at Las Cruces and Bernalillo,” Jessica added.

2017 will start big

As noted above, the completion of the new Las Cruces taproom is first on the agenda for Bosque in 2017. After that, the production facility and taproom in Bernalillo will take center stage.

“2017 is all about these few projects we have and then deciding what to do (next),” Gabe said.

The new Las Cruces taproom will have a full kitchen, just like the San Mateo taproom, with a nearly identical food menu, Gabe said. Overall, there will be 2,900 square feet of indoor space, including the kitchen, and a 1,500-square-foot patio outside.

The plans for the Bernalillo taproom and production facility have not changed.

The plans for the Bernalillo taproom and production facility have not changed.

Once that is complete in the first month or two of the year, the staff will be diving headfirst into the construction in Bernalillo. Part of the delay up there was due to issues with Highway 550. Bosque is the anchor tenant of a large retail complex, which will necessitate having its own red light along the busy road. That in turn kept construction from getting going until the State of New Mexico and Sandoval County could figure out where to specifically put the light. With that issue now solved, the same construction company that just wrapped up Flix Brewhouse on the West Side is beginning work on renovating and expanding the old Jackalope building.

“The timing is actually working out nicely that we don’t have to be involved yet in Bernalillo,” Jessica said. “I don’t know how we would do it if they were happening at the same time.”

So far, there have been no changes to the plans to the facility.

“It’s going to be substantially similar to what we’ve seen in the renderings,” Gabe said. “We’ve been hammering out details. The experience there will be different than any other place that we have, for sure. I don’t know how much we want to say right now. It will really be wrapped around the brewery aspect of it. My favorite thing is when you walk in, there will be a 30-foot wide, 12-foot high glass wall that looks into the brewery. I really think that encapsulates what we’re trying to do there. It’s about the beer.”

The taproom will still occupy the south and part of the east side of the structure. There will be a mezzanine level where patrons can also look down into the brewery.

“And then, on top of that, we get to have a Bosque Brewing Company in the Bosque, which was always a dream of all of ours,” Gabe said with a laugh. “To actually be able to do that, we’re excited about that.”

Soon, John will have space to brew. So much space!

Soon, John will have space to brew. So much space!

The thought of having a ton of space, especially compared to the current cramped brewing quarters of San Mateo, led to a joke about John being able to ride a Segway around. He could only laugh at the idea.

On a more serious note, John said he expects to hit the ground running as soon as the facility is ready for brewing.

“We’re going to be busier there when we first start than what we previously thought,” he said. “We’re going to have more equipment than what we previously thought. That’s all thanks to the Sleeping Giant and Admiral partnership.”

Overall, 2017 should start out as a busy year with the two construction projects. Once that is done, it is hard to say what will pop up next for Bosque. Based on recent history, though, it can only be more good times for one of the best breweries in New Mexico.

A huge thank you to Gabe, Jessica, John, and Jotham for taking time out of their busy schedules to sit down and chat. The Dry Stout and Double Brown were delicious, too.

Until the next big Bosque story breaks, the Look Back/Look Ahead Series will continue with even more brewery entries over the coming weeks.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Brewess Anna Kornke and the Marble staff were kept plenty busy throughout GABF.

Brewess Anna Kornke and the Marble staff were kept plenty busy throughout GABF.

My first experience as a member of the working press at the Great American Beer Festival was a bit up and down. It can be a bit hard to do everything by yourself, for one thing, but in the end it is difficult to drink a lot of beer and then have any desire whatsoever to sit down and write up anything. Oh, and yeah, next year for any live videos we will try to bring something (a tripod?) so I do not end up creating something with a worse shaky cam experience than Blair Witch.

Next year I will have this whole thing planned out a bit better, rest assured. Still, I ended up with a bunch of little news tidbits that I still wanted to share, so voila, here is a notebook to wrap up GABF for 2016 and look ahead to 2017.

Now let us just hope I remembered everything.

NM breweries have support from Brewers Association

The sizable media contingent gathered to ask questions of the Brewers Association leadership.

The sizable media contingent gathered to ask questions of the Brewers Association leadership.

One of the more interesting parts of the fest that I was able to attend was a special press conference featuring the high-ranking members of the Brewers Association. After a series of speeches by the members, all of us in the media (there were hundreds of us, believe it or not) were able to ask questions. I wound up third in line, knowing full well what my question would be for BA president Bob Pease.

Q: In New Mexico right now we have a proposal coming up for our state legislature to raise taxes on our craft breweries to the highest level in the nation. If it passes, it would effectively end craft brewing in our state. With many states currently facing massive revenue shortfalls, how concerned is the Brewers Association with this happening in more states than just New Mexico? And, what can the Brewers Association do to help our state and others fight such proposed tax increases?

A: The Brewers Association is aware of what is happening. That is why, for the last 10 years, we have encouraged and helped in the formation and strengthening state guilds in all 50 states. Now there is a strong state guild in New Mexico and many other states. The next step we have been working on is to make sure that every state has a paid, full-time executive director. To ensure this, we have allotted up to $500,000 in grants to state guilds to hire and pay the best people to represent these guilds. We will then do everything in our power to help those state guilds activate and create a strong support base when it comes to helping them in situations such as the one New Mexico is facing. Working with the state guild in New Mexico and the American Homebrewers Association, we need to make sure people understand that any such proposal would be a job-killing proposal that would not create revenue. Not many legislators these days want to be seen as job killers. We have to make sure politicians are aware of this in our fight to prevent it from happening.

So, yeah, the BA is fully aware of what is happening in New Mexico and will back up our Guild and our breweries as much as they can. That’s cool.

Stats upon stats upon stats

Some nifty statistics about GABF, from the same press conference.

  • This was the 35th anniversary of GABF, for which Charlie Papazian was later honored at the awards ceremony. The first one, back in 1982, had 800 attendees. There are now 780 breweries with booths upstairs. The estimated 7,300 beers in competition this year were more than there were attendees at the 10th annual GABF in 1991.
  • Courtesy of Bart Watson, the BA’s top economist, craft breweries produced $55.7 billion in revenue in 2014, accounting for 424,000 full-time-equivalent jobs across America.
  • GABF brings in $28.6 million for the city of Denver, or about 2 percent of the city’s entire GDP.
  • The meteoric growth of craft breweries has slowed, somewhat, down to 8 percent by the middle of 2016.
  • There are more than 4,800 operational craft breweries, as defined by the BA, currently in the U.S.
  • There are 6,720 registered breweries with the TTB, meaning another 1,900-plus are planning on opening some time in the near future.
  • Beercations are becoming more and more popular. Of people who identify themselves as craft beer drinkers, 4 percent (roughly 40 million) visited 10 or more breweries while on vacation. On my last big vacation I visited Firestone Walker Barrelworks, Figueroa Mountain, The Brewhouse (Santa Barbara), Noble Ale Works, The Bruery, Tustin Brewing, Smog City, The Dudes’ Brewing, King Harbor Brewing, and El Segundo Brewing in California, and Mother Road in Flagstaff. So, yeah, I guess I fit in that 4 percent.
  • There are now 80 BA members exporting internationally. A small number? Yeah, but think about how small most craft breweries are and then imagine it is not all simply driving across the border into Mexico or Canada, but sending it across the ocean.

Awards notes

When you have 1,700-plus breweries entered for awards, you get a pretty crowded theater.

When you have 1,700-plus breweries entered for awards, you get a pretty crowded theater.

Some tidbits from the ceremony on Saturday.

  • Bosque’s Acequia IPA took home its third consecutive medal, following a bronze in the Fresh or Wet Hop category in 2014 and a gold in 2015. It is the third beer from a New Mexico brewery to ever win three medals, and the first to win three in a row. The other triple-winners are Marble’s Imperial Red (2012 silver, 2014 gold, 2015 bronze) and Pilsner (2011 bronze, 2013 silver, 2016 bronze).
  • New Mexico breweries have pulled off 30 medals in the last five years, with four in 2012, eight each in 2013 and 2014, four in 2015, and six in 2016.
  • There were officially 7,227 entries this year from 1,752 breweries in 96 categories. Only 264 judges were used. I pity some of those palates.
  • For anyone wondering what is now the overall tally of medals for our breweries, Canteen/Il Vicino still leads the way with 12 (two gold, six silver, four bronze). Marble is second with nine (two gold, two silver, five bronze) and Chama River is third with eight (five gold, one silver, two bronze). For history buffs, there were two breweries that won medals in the 1990s that have since closed. Santa Fe’s Wolf Canyon won four (one gold, two silver, one bronze) and Las Cruces’ O’Ryan’s Tavern won two gold.

Surviving the session

Men in kilts were drawn to La Cumbre all weekend.

Men in kilts were drawn to La Cumbre all weekend.

If you do not like huge crowds, GABF is not the place for you. I can handle them up to a point, but I have to admit, Friday night was downright claustrophobic after a while. Thankfully, people were mostly polite and there to have fun. The best advice I can give is to make use of the My GABF app on your phone. Map out the breweries you want to visit and stick to a plan.

The longest brewery lines were no surprise, as Dogfish Head, Wicked Weed, Cigar City, Founders, Southern Tier, Bell’s, Breakside, Fat Head’s, Stone, Victory, The Lost Abbey, Russian River, New Glarus, and Jester King were packed. The good news was so was La Cumbre, which had an awesome end-of-row booth. Plenty of folks were enthusiastic about New Mexico beers, notably during the Saturday afternoon members-only session, which is a must for anyone serious about trying a lot of beers without the heinous lines and immovable crowds. Following the awards ceremony did not hurt as many people purposely go looking for the beers that just earned medals.

Hopefully more New Mexico breweries can grab end booths in 2017. Oh, and the dates for GABF 2017 are October 5-7. Start setting aside some money and request your vacation time.

If anyone has any questions or comments, please drop me a line at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com or via any of our social media sites.

Until next year, it is back to local news starting Wednesday with The Week Ahead in Beer.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

That's two more silver medals for Bosque on another banner day for New Mexico breweries.

That’s two more silver medals for Bosque on another banner day for New Mexico breweries.

UPDATED: See below.

Well, that was chaotic.

At first glance, attending the annual Great American Beer Festival awards ceremony with all the New Mexico brewers seems like a great thing. I envisioned quick and easy brewer interviews after they won their medals.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Anyway, I will be tracking down those brewers in the days ahead. Because four of them brought six more medals home to New Mexico.

Leading the way was Boxing Bear, where The Red Glove and Chocolate Milk Stout both captured gold medals. The former claimed the top spot in the Double Red Ale category (78 entries) while the latter snagged another medal in the Sweet Stout or Cream Stout category (71 entries), one year after taking silver. Congratulations to Justin Hamilton and his entire staff on what has been a banner year for the West Side brewery.

Oh, and then this happened about 7 p.m. local time, when an email from the Brewers Association showed up in my inbox.

“During competition registration, Karl Strauss Brewing Co. self-identified their San Diego location as a Mid-Size Brewpub. After the award ceremony, GABF competition staff realized that this was inaccurate: this location is, in fact, a Mid-Size Brewing Company. Karl Strauss, while it operates brewpubs, is classified as a production facility by GABF competition guidelines.

After reassigning Karl Strauss to the Mid-Size Brewing Company category, and recalculating the Brewery of the Year results, it resulted that Karl Strauss was the winner of the Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year category. In addition, Boxing Bear Brewing Co. is the resulting winner of the Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year category.

All of us with the Great American Beer Festival and the Brewers Association deeply regret this error. Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon, which had originally been identified as the Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year, had a very strong performance in the competition, winning a gold medal in the German-Style Wheat Ale category, a silver medal in Other Strong Beer, and a bronze medal in Fresh or Wet Hop Ale. They were among the top medal-winning breweries in the 2016 competition.

Congratulations to all of the winners in the most-entered Great American Beer Festival competition ever.”

So, to sum that up, BOXING BEAR IS THE 2016 MID-SIZE BREWPUB OF THE YEAR!!! This marks the second time in the last three sessions that a New Mexico brewery has been named brewery/brewpub of the year in its size classification (Marble won in 2014, in case you forgot). A humongous congratulations to Justin Hamilton and his entire team at the Bear. Looks like that trophy wall will need to be expanded!

Many of the New Mexico brewery staffers sat together at the awards ceremony.

Many of the New Mexico brewery staffers sat together at the awards ceremony.

Meanwhile, Bosque Brewing continued its seemingly unending run of success. Acequia IPA snagged silver in the Fresh or Wet Hop Ale category (45 entries), one year after taking gold in that same category. Meanwhile, Bosque Lager earned its first medal, a silver in the German-Style Pilsner category (115 entries) just weeks before it rolls out in six-pack cans.

La Cumbre snagged a bronze medal in the Baltic-Style Porter category (41 entries) for Siberian Silk, a first medal for that popular seasonal. On the other hand, Marble Pilsner earned its third medal, a bronze in the Kellerbier or Zwickelbier category (69 entries).

Overall, through three sessions (the last is pending tonight), it has been a hell of a time for New Mexico breweries. La Cumbre’s booth on the end of one of the Southwest rows has been a huge hit. Boxing Bear ran out of Chocolate Milk Stout on Saturday afternoon. Overall, the word of excellent beer in New Mexico is spreading further and further to a national and international audience.

Cheers to New Mexico beers from the Canteen staff (and a random volunteer).

Cheers to New Mexico beers from the Canteen staff (and a random volunteer).

We will raise a glass or two to that. Well, OK, more than two. I will have a whole lot more from GABF in the days to come. Until then, I am off to load up the trunk with rare beers to bring home.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Bosque cans are coming sooner than expected

Posted: September 23, 2016 by cjax33 in Beer-to-go, News
Tags:
We cannot wait to get a six-pack of this malty behemoth.

We cannot wait to get a six-pack of this malty behemoth.

Bosque Brewing’s Bernalillo packaging facility is still a ways from opening, yet Bosque six-pack cans will be on shelves by mid-October.

Wait, what?

To clear up any confusion about what is going on, the command staff at Bosque invited me over for beers and a big old information download on Thursday afternoon. Bosque is teaming up with Sleeping Giant Brewing Co. in Denver to begin canning three flagship beers — Bosque IPA, Bosque Lager, Scotia Scotch Ale.

“That’s really been a lot of what’s sparked this,” said director of operations Jotham Michnovicz. “We know we need to be in the market. We want to be on shelves. There’s been some delays with Bernalillo, and this gives us the opportunity to get to market a lot faster than waiting around for things to finish up.”

Bosque also posted a blog post to help fill in some gaps, but they wanted to go into further detail about the decision to do contract brewing. Not only will this get Bosque cans on the shelves faster, it will also better prepare them for what they will need at the Bernalillo facility once construction ramps up.

“That’s definitely one of the great things about this is we can really dial in our production at Bernalillo,” Jotham said, “get that pristine and then once you move into package, we’ve already had a chance to see what the market is doing with our beer at that time. We’ll base our decisions on what equipment to buy right away, all that stuff.”

“We can even test out the demand, and decide what kind of canning line we need,” said managing director Gabe Jensen. “Do we start off with this little tiny thing or do we need something bigger? We have the numbers to back up why.”

The Crew had heard a rumor last week that this was coming, but even we did not realize how quickly the process is moving along.

“The first beers are fermenting (in Denver) right now,” Jotham said. “The artwork has gone through all of its revisions, so we’re in the process of printing all of our labels. We should have finished product sometime in October, probably mid-October.”

Head brewer John Bullard made sure to do his homework about letting someone else handle his beer.

“Gabe and John already flew out to Denver, because we were super skeptical about using a third party in the beginning,” Jotham said. “John doesn’t want anybody touching his beer. Once they flew out there and met the president (Matt Osterman) and vice president of brewing operations (Robert Kuntz), it was very clear that these guys were committed to a super-high quality product with state of the art technology. They got to taste a bunch of the beers and they were all excellent.”

“And (they were) committed to doing it our way, which shocked them, blew them away,” Gabe added. “‘Did you do the math right on those hops?’ ‘Yes, we did, and that’s what we want.’ We’ve been doing this for a while.”

The equipment at Sleeping Giant impressed John.

“That’s the thing about doing this, our entire ability to be profitable through this is that state-of-the-art equipment that nobody in this state has,” John said. “Really nice stuff. That’s what leads to the quality of the cans.”

Porch beer!

Porch beer!

Bosque will still turn a profit even without doing the canning themselves. They have an initial order for 600 barrels worth of beer.

“Yeah, this is not a play to grab shelf space,” Gabe said. “We wouldn’t do it if we couldn’t make money off of it, just to be honest. Like you said, the market is getting crowded and more crowded all the time. That’s what plays into this, getting some shelf space before Jackalope is finished.”

Gabe said they still expect to hear some criticism.

“There’s going to be some backlash,” he said. “I’m guessing there will be some people who hem and haw, snicker. ‘Oh, that’s not their beer anymore.’ We just encourage them to try it because John’s spent hours on the found, with Robert, their VP of brewing operations.”

“That guy’s legit,” John added. “He came from Coors, so he knows how to do production and efficiency. It’s kind of his specialty.”

There are other breweries in New Mexico that do not package in-house. Probably the most notable example is Abbey Brewing, which packages all of the Monks beers at Sierra Blanca in Moriarty. Pecan Grill also packages its flagship Pecan Ale at SB.

“Outside of this market it’s done all over the place,” Gabe said. “This is a pretty typical thing, it has been for a long time. We just felt we should be up front about it. … For us, this is what we’re doing and why. If you try to hide it, then it must not be legitimate.”

Once Bernalillo is up and running — and the good news is they just received a key permit from the Department of Transportation to begin interior construction — then Bosque will handle all of its own packaging.

“We have every intention of taking this back, as well, when things kick off at Bernalillo,” John said. “That’s when we’ll be able to evaluate what equipment we’ll need.”

It will no longer be called Riverwalker, but it will still be the same delicious recipe.

It will no longer be called Riverwalker, but it will still be the same delicious recipe.

In another note, the IPA will officially change from Riverwalker to Bosque IPA starting today.

“We’re changing Riverwalker to Bosque IPA, due to trademark,” Jotham said. “We probably could have gotten a trademark on it, but we won an award under Bosque IPA this year. It got the bronze at the World Beer Cup. We entered Bosque IPA into GABF as well. That win kind of solidified the change for us.”

Whatever it is called, it figures to fly off the shelves in October.

All of us in the Crew look forward to grabbing a six-pack or two or three and taking Bosque beer home. Those should look good in our beer fridges next to all of those Jet Black Winter bombers we have been saving.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s four breweries and one down in Socorro and the other in Los Alamos also joining the party.

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.

Remember when we presented our guide to all of the upcoming beer festivals? Well, it included the fact that the NM Brew Fest, one of our favorites, would have an Early Bird Ticket Party. That party is almost here, in fact, it will go down Thursday at Marble downtown from 5 to 9 p.m. You can grab discounted tickets to the festival, just $20 apiece, plus some cool T-shirts for just $10. There will be live music (see Marble’s entry below) and food trucks, of course, because it’s Marble and all. The seventh edition of NMBF will be back at Villa Hispana inside the State Fairgrounds on Oct. 1. That’s the weekend before the Great American Beer Festival, so get on out there and support a fest that features a whole lot of New Mexico breweries, food trucks, musicians, and more!

Thursday also marks the return of the award-winning Scale Tipper IPA to Bosque. To kick off the return of this popular hop bomb, Bosque Insiders can head to the brewery on San Mateo to sample the new batch and by some bombers. The event runs from 5 to 7 p.m. Not a Bosque Insider? Next time you are at any of their locations, make sure to ask how to sign up.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few new options to check out. Bosque also has a couple lighter styles on tap in the 8 Days of Wheat and Cyp, an American-style lager. Boxing Bear is closing out summer with Strawberry Wheat. Summer Strong, a burly barley wine, is back at La Cumbre. Marble has brought back Dang Pale Ale, plus there is a limited supply of Imperial Stout, Reserve Ale, and Hey Porter! on tap at the Heights taproom. Pi adds up 40 to 5, an American pale wheat, and the popular Scotty Doesn’t Know is back. Starr Brothers goes dark with Rosin Dubh, an Irish dry stout. Turtle Mountain unveils Jac’s Elope Raspberry Pale Ale.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn debuts the new Chaparral IPL on Thursday. Duel goes big with Monomyth, a Belgian-style DIPA. Second Street has fresh batches of Mosaic IPA and Rod’s Best Bitter. Over in Los Alamos, Bathtub Row has a whole new set of beers on tap, including old favorites Wit Rock and Red Hammer, plus Mild at Heart, Little Boy GFB, Tres Litros Saison, and Simons Says Drink Green Chile Pils.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of August 22.

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

Albuquerque Brewing Co. — (505) 797-1842

(Mon–Fri 3-10 p.m., Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun noon-8 p.m.)

Beers: Tilted Windmill IPA, High Plains Drafter Blonde, Duke’s Pale Ale, Imperial Red, Session IPA, Bayou Smash Saison, American Golden Stout, Vienna Amber. The Tilted Windmill is now the permanent IPA on tap at ABC. The Vienna Amber is the newest addition.

Live Music: TBA

Other Events: Every Monday will now be game night at ABC, with everything from Pokemon to Cards Against Humanity. Also, all Blonde pints are just $2.50.

Saturday marks the NM Desert Kings Pizza N Cars Show starting at 7 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Monday–Saturday, 3 to 6 p.m.; Sunday, all day

Alien 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: Call the number above for details on any small-batch beers currently available. They change frequently. The rest of the lineup is from the Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande family of beers.

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

(Sun–Weds 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thurs–Sat 4 p.m. to midnight)

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Sundays are Service Nights at Back Alley, with $2 off all beers for service industry workers. Bring your server’s ID and you will be rewarded. All beers are $1 off on Tuesdays.

Bistronomy B2B/Lobo Beast 101 — (505) 262-2222 (B2B), (505) 247-2116 (Lobo)

(B2B: Mon–Tues 4-9 p.m., Weds noon-9 p.m., Thurs–Sat noon-9:30 p.m., Sun noon-9 p.m.; Lobo: open every day 4 p.m. to close)

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

The Blue Grasshopper — (505) 896-8579

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

Beers: June Bock, Kreem Ale. Well, look at that. Two house beers on tap, both brewed especially for summer.

Live Music: Bands perform from 6 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday through Saturday. Click the link for the schedule.

Boese Brothers Brewery — (505) 382-7060

(Hours: Mon–Thurs 3 p.m.–midnight, Fri 3 p.m.–2 a.m., Sat noon–2 a.m., Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: Patriot Porter, La Onza White Ale, Dr. Strangehop XPA, Duke City Lager, Cherry Bomb, Sour Strangehop, 101 Anniversary DIPA, Clockwork Orange DIPA. The two DIPAs are the most recent additions to the lineup.

Live Music: Saturday—David Chavez and Nate Guyre, 10 p.m. to midnight

Happy Hour/Discounts: Boese will have a happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, with $3 pints. You can also get $3 pints all day Tuesday and $6 growler fills all day Wednesday.

News: They are still working on building their website. You can follow them on their Facebook page.

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: Imperial Popcorn Pilsner, Hot Bosque, Simcoe S.M.A.S.H., Old Man Jameson, Cyp, 8 Days of Wheat. The Cyp (4.5% ABV, 15 IBU) is an American-style lager, while the 8 Days of Wheat (5.6% ABV, 12 IBU) is pretty self-explanatory. Scale Tipper returns Thursday for Bosque Insiders and should be on tap for everyone else, and for sale in bombers, soon after.

Happy Hour/Discounts: 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.

Bow & Arrow Brewing — (505) 247-9800

(Mon-Weds 3–10 p.m., Thurs 3–11 p.m., Fri-Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–9 p.m.)

Beers: Flint & Grit (British Mild), Sun Dagger (Saison), Crossed Arrows (Scotch Ale), Hoka Hey (IPA), Jemez Field Notes Lager, Desert Standard Hop Session, Wildorado Unfiltered Wild Rice Pale Ale, Rustic Oak Robust Porter, Belgian Pale Ale, Wayward Arrow Hefeweizen. The most recent additions are the Wildorado, Rustic Oak, Belgian Pale, and the Desert Standard Hop Session. The hefeweizen is back after a short absence.

Events: Sunday—Bow & Basil Pop-Up: Harvest Brunch, 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Bow & Arrow has happy hour every Monday through Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. Get $1 off 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: Centennial S.M.A.S.H., Kerfuffle British IPA, Featherweight Session IPA, Bearcat Altbier, New MexiKolsch, Pineapple Kolsch, Red Glove, Strawberry Wheat, Bearfuzz Peach Sour (bombers only), Baltic Bear Porter (bombers only). The New MexiKolsch (4.8% ABV, 20 IBU) is back by popular demand. Also returning for another run is the Red Glove (7.2% ABV, 100 IBU), a powerful double red.

Happy Hour/Discounts: 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 is held every Wednesday from 8 to 10 p.m. at Boxing Bear.

Broken Trail Brewery & Distillery (formerly Distillery 365) — (505) 221-6281

(Mon-Thu 3-9 p.m., Fri 3-10 p.m., Sat noon-10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.-8 p.m.)

Beers: Otero ESB, Lone Pine Pilsner, Sancho Saison. New names, same (good) beers.

Live Music (main location): Sunday—Sloan, noon to 2 p.m.

Other Events: 10 Drink Minimum host a Cards Against Humanity night at the main location every Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Broken Trail has a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar at the main location. You can purchase three bloodies for just $20.

Canteen Brewhouse — (505) 881-2737

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

Beers: Mongrel DIPA, Solana Summer Ale, Sol Quest Saison, Peach Vanilla Wheat, Canteen Cabana, Fill in the Blanco IPA, Grundy Thunder (on nitro). Fill in the Blanco is a white IPA, if you couldn’t guess. Grundy Thunder is a delicious English porter with hints of chocolate.

Live Music: TBA

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

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

Beers: Papacabra (Double IPA), Acapulco Gold (Mexican Lager), Chupacabra IPA, Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale, Beer for My Horses (Oatmeal Stout). These are the regular house beers. Call the number above for an updated seasonal list.

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

Beers: Dubble-Monic, Diabhal’s River, Libertad Lager, Smokey the Brown. The Dubble-Monic (7.1% ABV, 90 IBU) is a mix of IPA and the Dubbel Tap, creating a Belgian-style hoppy beer. Diabhal’s is a collaboration Belgian strong ale made with Quarter Celtic.

News: Chama now has a rotating nitro tap. Call to see what is available this week.

The Firkin Brewhouse — (505) 881-0702

(Mon closed, Tues-Thurs 3-9 p.m., Fri-Sat noon–11 p.m., Sun noon–9 p.m.)

We went to Firkin recently and found out they are still open. Contact the brewery for an updated beer list. Note the new hours above.

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

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

Beers: Stout, Helles Lager, Honk Ale, Maibock, Brumoso Hefe, Guy IPA, Red Card, Scotch Ale, DjinnJar Kombucha, Albuquerque Rapid Transit Ale. The Albuquerque Rapid Transit Ale is a pickle juice porter, with proceeds going to the fight against the project that would tear up Central. Drink it if you dare, like our own Reid did, and he lived to tell the tale.

Events: The Desert Darlings belly dancers perform from 7 to 9 p.m. on almost every Thursday at the Nob Hill taproom and then Sunday in Bernalillo from 6 to 8 p.m. If you’ve never seen the Desert Darlings in person, you’re missing out.

Every Sunday in Bernalillo, Kaktus is hosting a brunch special from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with breakfast pizzas and drink specials.

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

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: Arrogant Bastard, No, You’re a Dort, ‘Merica, Dunkel Jefe, State Fair Cream Ale, Summer Strong. The Summer Strong is a powerful barley wine. The SFCA is back for another run on tap and in cans. Look for it at Jubilation and other fine venues.

Live Music: Saturday—Jade Masque, 6 to 9 p.m.

Other Events: 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: New Zealand IPA, Apricot Wheat, Scottish 80, Hefeweizen, Long Nosed Tripel. There are three recent additions in the Scottish, Hefe, and Tripel. The latter is an old favorite, but beware the ABV (9.2%), for it will sneak up on you.

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

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: Red Light Lager (Downtown and West Side), White Out (Downtown and West Side), Imperial Red (Downtown and West Side), Stout Americano (Downtown and West Side), Dang Pale Ale (Downtown only), Nitro Amarillo (West Side only), Reserve Ale (Heights only), Imperial Stout (Heights only), Hey Porter! (Heights only). The Red Light Lager (4.7% ABV) is a refreshing summer session offering. The supply of the Reserve, Imperial Stout, and Hey Porter! at the new Heights taproom is limited, so hurry over to get some before they are gone.

Live Music (downtown): Thursday—The Outer Vibe, 7 to 10 p.m.; Friday—The Porter Draw, 8 to 11 p.m.; Saturday—Nathan Fox, 8 to 11 p.m.

Live Music (West Side): Friday—Eryn Bent, 8 to 11 p.m.; Saturday—Alex Maryol, 8 to 11 p.m.

Live Music (Heights): Friday—Le Chat Lunatique, 8 to 11 p.m.

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

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.–8:30 p.m.)

Beers: Salted Caramel Stout, Wrath of Kolsch, Blood Orange Worf-a-Weizen. We are downright shocked that you all have yet to drink up the Salted Caramel Stout. Shocked!

Happy Hour/Discounts: Monday–Friday, 3 to 5 p.m., get $5 off appetizers at the brewery.

Pi Brewing — (505) 890-9463

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

Beers: Discordia IPA, U Down w/ BVP?, Pineapple Express, Amber’s Amber, Zinister Dichotomy, Cardinal Sin Red, 40 to 5, Scotty Doesn’t Know. The Zinister (6.3% ABV) is a potent red sour. The new 40 to 5 is an American pale wheat ale.

Ponderosa Brewing Co. — (505) 639-5941

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

Beers: Enkel Biter Belgian Wheat, Azacca Pale Ale, Preacher’s Daughter, Alt the Hoople, Manzano Milk Stout, Cascadian Pilsner. The Preacher’s Daughter is for sale on tap and in bombers, both at the brewery and at Jubilation.

Events: Saturday—Crafts & Drafts with Da Terra Meiga, 4 to 9 p.m.

Quarter Celtic Brewpub — (505) 503-1387

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

Beers: Pedro O’Flanagan’s Mexican Lager, Dusk’s Early Light, You Reek of Pale Ale, Vienna Lager, #GFF, Diabhal’s River. GFF stands for Grapefruit Forver, so you can guess what they added to this IPA. The Diabhal’s (11% ABV, 30 IBU) is a massive Belgian golden strong that is not for the faint of heart. This is what happens when you put Brady McKeown and Chama River’s Andrew Krosche together on the same brewhouse for a collaboration.

Red Door Brewing — (505) 633-6675 (brewery), (505) 990-3029 (downtown taproom)

(Brewery hours: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri 11 a.m. to midnight, Sat 7 a.m. to midnight, Sun 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Downtown taproom hours: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m. to midnight, Sun 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

Beers: Vanilla Cream Ale, Downtown Pale Ale, Blackberry Hefeweizen, Nieuwe Bruin. The Downtown Pale Ale (5.6% ABV, 37 IBU) was brewed in honor of the new downtown taproom, but fear not, it is available at both locations. The Nieuwe (6.7% ABV, 20 IBU) is a variation on an Oud Bruin, a tart and sour dark beer.

Live Music (main location)—Today (Wednesday): Eryn Bent, 7 to 9 p.m.

Other Events: Saturday morning will mark another round of Beer and Breakfast at the main brewery. From 7 to 10 a.m. you can gather with friends for some food truck-supplied goodies with a pint of beer. Oh, yeah, and soccer is back, so get there early for Arsenal vs. Watford, Chelsea vs. Burnley, and Leicester City vs. Swansea.

Rio Bravo Brewing Company — (505) 900-3909

(Mon–Thu noon–10 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–11 p.m., Sun noon–9 p.m.)

Beers: Rio Bravo Amber, Weizen, Randy’s Shandy, Dirty Rotten Bastard IPA, Snakebite IPA, Black Angus Stout, Randy’s Red Ale, Duke City Pilsner, Old Town Porter (regular and barrel aged), Barley Wine (regular and barrel aged), Winterfest Marzen, Level 3 IPA. The popular Karl’s Sommer Bier is back on tap as well.

Live Music: Today (Wednesday)—Eli Berry, 7:30 p.m.; Thursday—Eryn Bent, 7 p.m.; Friday—Ely Write, 7 p.m.; Saturday—Roger Lewis All-Star Blues Band, 6:30 p.m.

Other Events: Tuesday—Two Dollar Tuesdays, noon

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

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

Beers: Call the brewery for an updated list.

Sidetrack Brewing — (505) 288-6468

(Mon–Thurs 3–11 p.m., Fri 3 p.m.–midnight, Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: Pub Ale, Railhead Red, Switchgear IPA, Zoso SMASH, Dark Engine Stout, Shoofly Wheat. The Zoso is the most recent addition.

Cask: IPA and Zoso will be in the firkins all week.

Starr Brothers Brewing — (505) 492-2752

(Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day)

Beers: Starrstruck IPA, Double Live Jonzo, Red Zepplin, Electric Sun, LampShade Porter, L.A. Woman, Rosin Dubh. Rosin Dubh is a new Irish dry stout. The Porter and L.A. Woman (blonde ale) are also recent additions to tap.

Events: Starr Brothers will open at 8 a.m. every Saturday for Premier League soccer games. We like this new trend among our breweries, even if my team was relegated this year. Woe be unto you, oh, Newcastle.

Tractor Brewing Company — (505) 433-5654 (Nob Hill Tap Room), (505) 243-6752 (Wells Park)

(Nob Hill is open Sunday-Wednesday noon to midnight, Thursday noon to 2 a.m., Friday-Saturday noon to 2 a.m.; 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.)

Beers: Berry Cider, Maibock, Grapefruit Wheat, Verano New Mexico Lager, Summer En Blanc Belgian Witbier, Berliner Weisse, Barrel-Aged Scotcholate, Barrel-Aged Barley Wine, Kolsch, Et Tu Brute Cider (Wells Park only), Nitro Coffee Stout (Wells Park only), Ebony & Ivory Pale Stout (Wells Park only). Tractor’s take on a Kolsch is a bit different, but still tasty. They dry hopped it with Mosaic, giving it a different aroma.

Live Music (Wells Park): Today (Wednesday)—Tractor Summer Tour Series: Buggaboo, 8 p.m.; Thursday—pLoud Music Series: Step in Blues, 8 p.m.; Saturday—Fred Johnson, 8 p.m.

Live Music (Nob Hill): Saturday—Setting the Tone: Tres Pendejos, 5 p.m.

Other Events: Every Monday at Wells Park you can now find Mondays on the Mic starting at 6 p.m.

Kamikaze Karaoke is back at Wells Park on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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. Then at 8 p.m., ABQ Pens & Pints is a new weekly event!

Happy Hour/Discounts: Tractor now has a late happy hour from 9 p.m. to midnight on Mondays with $2 classic beers and $3 seasonals.

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: McSmack, Kiwi Killer Southern Hemisphere IPA, Blueberry Yum Yum, Jac’s Elope Raspberry Pale Ale; One, If By Land. The McSmack is a Scottish ale, in case you could not guess by the name. The malty sweet McSmack and hop-heavy Kiwi Killer demand a visit to TMBC now, before they run out!

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Ginger Plum Saison, Rakau Pale Ale, Chaparral IPL. The Chaparral, an India Pale Lager, debuts on Thursday. Sadly, the Coffee Imperial Stout has run out at the brewery.

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

(Brewery hours: Mon–Sat open at 11 a.m., Sun open at 1 p.m.; ABQ taproom hours: Mon–Thurs 2 p.m. to midnight; Fri–Sun noon to midnight)

Beers: Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Titian (Golden Strong), Grunewald (Imperial Porter), Dark Ryder (Dark Strong), Cezanne Origine (Spring Saison), Hair of the Wolf (Experimental), Harmonia (Barrel-Aged Sour IPA), Monomyth (Belgian DIPA). The new addition here is the aptly named Monomyth, which checks in at 9-percent ABV and 90 IBUs.

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

Live Music (ABQ): Friday—Mr. Melty’s Cosmic Swirl, 9 p.m.

Other Events (ABQ): Thursday—Drink & Draw, 7 p.m.

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

(Main taproom: Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 2-8 p.m.; ABQ taproom: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–11 p.m.; Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight; Sun 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Oktoberfest, Autonomous Collective DIPA, Sunset Limited. The Sunset Limited, a collaboration with a Louisiana brewery, debuted recently. Oktoberfest is back on tap and in six-packs. Get some, it’s a wonderful batch this year.

Happy Hour/Discounts: $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. On Thursday, there will be $1 off growler refills at the Eldorado Taphouse.

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, Trebuchet DIPA, Mosaic IPA, Rod’s Best Bitter, International Steam Pale Ale, Centennial Pale Ale, 2920 Pilsner. Welcome back, Trebuchet, a silver medal winner at the World Beer Cup.

Live Music (Original location): Thursday—Patio Series: The Santa Fe Revue; Friday—Zoltan & the Fortune Tellers; Saturday—The Bus Tapes

Live Music (Railyard): Friday—Alto Street Band; Saturday—Busy McCarroll Band

Other Events: 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.

News: Second Street is moving ever closer to opening their third location, which will feature a taproom and a full production facility.

Please note, Second Street will be closed (both locations) on Sunday for their employee party.

Other breweries you need to visit

Bathtub Row Brewing — (505) 500-8381

(Mon–Weds 2–10 p.m., Thurs 2–11 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–11 p.m., Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: Red Hammer Ale, Wit Rock, Tres Litros Saison, Little Boy GFB, Mild at Heart, Simon Says Drink Green Chile Pils. Another big tap turnover recently went down in Los Alamos, with old favorites Red Hammer, Mild at Heart, and Wit Rock returning alongside three newcomers.

Events: Thursday—Open mic, 6 p.m.

Twisted Chile Brewing — (575) 835-2949

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun noon-8 p.m.)

Beers: Zia Pilsner, 790 IPA, Hose Co. 1 Red Lager, Venom IPA, KC’s Irish Stout, McFadden’s Scotch, English Porter, El Camino ReAle Summer Pale, Love Potion Peach, Schwarzbar Black Lager. The most recent addition is the English Porter. Before that came old favorite Schwarzbar and the new Love Potion, a peach wheat.

Live Music: TBA

Other events: Today (Wednesday)—Open mic, 6:30 to 9 p.m.

* * * *

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

Amid a sea of people taking pics on their cell phones, the Boxing Bear brewing team holds their NMIPAC trophy aloft!

Amid a sea of people taking pics on their cell phones, the Boxing Bear brewing team holds their NMIPAC trophy aloft!

Another year, another IPA Challenge is in the books. Only for the first time in a while, there will be a new champion holding onto the trophy.

Boxing Bear held off Canteen and 3 Rivers in the closest vote in NMIPAC history. The final round was decided by hundreds of beer lovers/hopheads on a (very) toasty afternoon at Tractor Wells Park. When everything was counted, Boxing Bear had 81 votes, Canteen finished with 79, and 3 Rivers garnered 68. That ended the two-year reign of Bosque as champion, as well as the three-year reign of brewer John Bullard, who had previously won at Blue Corn in 2013.

The final totals, for those who are interested in such numbers.

The final totals, for those who are interested in such numbers.

A whole lotta folks asked us about which beer was which. Here is the list (we did not get a photo, sorry) of the beers by their number on the tray.

  1. Red Door
  2. Taos Mesa
  3. Quarter Celtic
  4. Starr Brothers
  5. Bosque
  6. Sidetrack
  7. Santa Fe
  8. Tractor
  9. Canteen
  10. Chili Line
  11. La Cumbre
  12. Boxing Bear
  13. Second Street
  14. Blue Corn
  15. 3 Rivers

As for the victorious head brewer, Justin Hamilton was all smiles after he got to hold the trophy aloft with assistant brewer Dylan Davis.

“I think it’s great, honestly,” Justin said. “The reaction to it is a little bit of stunned, but we’re also super happy to represent New Mexico. All of us have been locals for a long time. I grew up here, so did Dylan. For the fact that we’re local brewers, that we’ve been involved in the brewery scene for a long time, we were able to bring it home to our new place, that’s really awesome.

“Being that I was a part of the IPA Challenge for the last decade, and not being able to bring one home, this is hard. A lot of these guys it’s their first year, second or third year, I’ve been doing it for a long time. After years of contention it’s nice to have that boy sitting on our bar top.”

A big thank you to the tireless efforts of Tractor co-owner Skye Devore, left, and Brewers Guild director John Gozigian.

A big thank you to the tireless efforts of Tractor co-owner Skye Devore, left, and Brewers Guild director John Gozigian.

Starting last September, the accolades have been rolling in for Boxing Bear. First came the silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival for Chocolate Milk Stout. Then came a gold at the World Beer Cup for the same beer. Being able to hang their hat on a totally different style for Boxing Bear is huge, as it shows they are not just a one-trick pony of a sort.

“It’s great to bring it home,” Justin said. “It feels good that we have hopefully set our niche in the fact that New Mexico has good beer and that we’re one of the really good breweries here in New Mexico that’s up and coming and we put a lot of pride into our beer. I think people saw that.”

Do not expect Justin or Dylan or anyone else at Boxing Bear to kick back and rest on the laurels of their victories in the last 10 months.

“This is a thing you see with breweries — you win things in a row, then you won’t win (anything) for years,” Justin said. “It’s good we’re doing well, but at the same time all of us have a very similar viewpoint in our breweries that we want things to be good, and if they’re not good we want them to be better. We are constantly looking for a way to improve our product, even if people say it’s good. Even if people tell us our products are good, we can tell if they need to be done better. I think that’s one of the reasons we are having a really good year.”

Justin credited his small, tight-knit staff for the victory. In a way, he said, being a bit smaller in size has helped Boxing Bear establish themselves alongside the state heavyweights.

“I think the fact we’re all pointing in the same direction, everyone in our building is contending for (creating) the best product that we possibly can (and) great service from the pub viewpoint,” Justin said. “And also we really want to show Albuquerque, New Mexico, in general that we’re here for beer, we’re here to put out a great product, we’re here to put out what New Mexico expects as beer as far as what you’ve seen from Marble, what you’ve seen from La Cumbre, what you’ve seen from Bosque. We want to be on the same level of amazing beer that is known locally, nationally, and worldwide. That’s our goal.”

There were tough calls all around on this tray.

There were tough calls all around on this tray.

Justin has worked at a number of breweries over the years, so he has shared in past glories. This one, though, is his own.

“We’re having a great year,” he said. “For me, my thing is, I’ve been a part of a lot of great breweries. And it’s nice to kind of carve my own niche right now. It’s nice to get recognition for that. I’ve worked for lots of great breweries, but this is mine now, this is ours now.”

Now it is just a matter of getting everyone else out there to continue to recognize just how good we have it with our local breweries in New Mexico.

“I think that’s the thing about New Mexico and Albuquerque in general — we have literally some of the best beer in the world,” Justin said. “There’s not a lot of states that can say that. Our city alone, not only our city, but our state has literally some of the best beer in the world. People are drawn to that, no matter where (they) are. I think that things like this are great for locals, and for people that are involved with it, but when we win stuff on an international and national scale, and it brings it back home and then we win a local event, it makes it even better.

“It just really brings it full circle because we still get the question of where are you, who are you, which is fine. People still ask that question about Bosque. But it’s a lot less people. This is a great thing that will let people know we are a great force of good beer in New Mexico and we will continue to do that.”

We will raise a pint (or two) to that sentiment!

Another IPA Challenge is complete. We look forward to the 2017 version.

Before that happens, however, we have a few special thank yous to hand out for the finale: to Brewers Guild director John Gozigian; to his hard-working team of volunteers who poured the beer (including Angelo Orona); to Skye Devore, David Hargis, and every single staff member at Tractor (Lauren, Melissa, Nicole, and on and on); and finally, to all of you, our fellow beer drinkers! We (barely) beat the heat and had a great time, all while reminding people just how strong and vibrant our local beer scene really is.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The Brewers Guild posted this photo of the results from the 3 Rivers round of the IPA Challenge.

The Brewers Guild posted this photo of the results from the 3 Rivers round of the IPA Challenge.

The NM IPA Challenge continued Wednesday night at 3 Rivers Brewery in Farmington, with 80 people coming out to partake and vote for their favorite. The hometown brewery had a respectable showing with 11 votes to give it 22 through two rounds, but Quarter Celtic was the round winner with 18 votes (26 total).

Boxing Bear, though, maintained their lead with another 13 votes to raise their total to 32. The breweries are listed below their voting totals from the first round at Santa Fe Brewing on Saturday and the second round at 3 Rivers.

  1. Boxing Bear: 19 + 13 = 32
  2. Quarter Celtic: 8 + 18 = 26
  3. Blue Corn: 17 + 5 = 22
  4. Starr Brothers: 11 + 11 = 22
  5. 3 Rivers: 11 + 11 = 22
  6. Bosque: 17 + 1 = 18
  7. Canteen: 12 + 4 = 16
  8. La Cumbre: 12 + 1 = 13
  9. Santa Fe: 10 + 2 = 12
  10. Second Street: 9 + 3 = 12
  11. Tractor: 10 + 1 = 11
  12. Chili Line: 8 + 2 = 10
  13. Red Door: 7 + 3 = 10
  14. Sidetrack: 6 + 4 = 10
  15. Taos Mesa: 6 + 1 = 7

The most shocking results from the round were Bosque, the two-time defending champion, and La Cumbre and Tractor getting just one vote apiece after stronger showings at SFBC. Starr Brothers continued to shine among the newcomers, doubling their voting total. (Yes, Quarter Celtic is a new brewery, too, but they have one of the most experienced brewers in the state at the helm.)

Brandon and I will be at the final round Saturday, which starts at noon, to provide live updates and blurry photos and the like. Do remember, Tractor is closing off the front parking lot for the event in case the crowd spills over from inside the brewery. Take this into account if you’re driving over. As always, Uber, a designated driver, or at least a carpool is your best bet.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister