Posts Tagged ‘Boxing Bear Brewing Co.’

The new Hops Taproom in Los Ranchos is ready for its grand opening this weekend.

Now that I am back at work (yay, money), the beer news is starting to pile up, so let us get to a few pertinent items.

First, though, in a moment of self-promotion, I will be giving a free talk about the history of brewing in Albuquerque this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the Special Collections Library, which is located on the northwest corner of Central and Edith, directly across from the Artichoke Cafe. I will have copies of Albuquerque Beer: Duke City History on Tap for sale ($20, cash only), and this talk will include the story of how an Old West shootout impacted the first Southwest Brewery in 1884.

Moving along …

Here a taproom opening, there a taproom opening

We already chronicled how the third Blue Grasshopper location at Summer and Second Street opened its doors during ABQ Beer Week. It was far from alone among new offsite taprooms holding soft openings.

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No, we did not ask Mayor Tim Keller to wear that shirt, he did it on his own, and we approve.

Sometimes, to get what you want, it really is all about who you know. In our case, we just needed long-time friend-of-the-Crew Carlos Contreras’ help to land an interview with Mayor Tim Keller. After a careful negotiation of our schedules (mainly his), we were able to sit down with our Metal Mayor over a pint of Munich Dunkel at Dialogue Brewing to discuss all things craft beer in Albuquerque.

“Well, I think at a very surface level, it’s something we’re very good at,” Keller said of our craft brewing industry. “This is a pride thing for us. I forget the exact publication or ranking, but we’re top 10 or top 25 in all of them. I think in one we’re top five. That’s just a great thing for our city in general.

“I think there’s a lot of things that people take for granted, like our open space, our outdoors, and our culture. And, in some ways now, it’s our brewing scene. I think we’ve come to expect it (to always be there) and we don’t realize it’s actually something special.”

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Boxing Bear head brewer/co-owner Justin Hamilton with his new pride and joy (at work, anyway), the brewery’s first canning line.

The last few weeks have been exceptionally busy for the staff at Boxing Bear Brewing. It has not just been the mad rush to finish the brewery’s first offsite taproom, which opens today (Wednesday) at 1710 Central Ave. SW, next door to Amore Pizza. There has also been the arrival of a new canning line, plus additional equipment in the brewery, and the time needed to learn how to use some of that.

Oh, and did we also mention that head brewer/co-owner Justin Hamilton’s wife is about two weeks from her due date? Add it all up and it was a wonder that Justin found the time to sit down for the better-later-than-never Boxing Bear entry in our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series.

“It’s been a crazy ride in 2019,” Justin said. “I’ve definitely been packing the brewery. Last week we got three more 20-barrel fermenters and a 20-barrel serving vessel. (Today), actually we have another bright tank and another fermenter coming. Since we ordered that much equipment that comes on two different shifts, which kind of screwed us a little bit, because it would have been nice to put everything in at the same time last week.

“It’s been a whole lot of madness. We literally pulled in those four tanks, it was the second exact time the Wild Goose employee showed up to train us. We moved four tanks inside and then proceeded to set up the canning line in the same day. It was pretty nuts. That being said, we did all right.”

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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 seven breweries, one in Los Alamos, one in Moriarty, and one in Red River 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.

We are totally done with winter, right? No more straining our lower backs shoveling snow, right? Hey, we can all hope for warmer days ahead, and the wonderful porch beers that come along with those days. Bosque is feeling a bit springy with Resto Hazy Pale Ale, which debuts in cans and on tap this Friday at all locations. Resto will be the flagship beer at the forthcoming Restoration Pizza, which will open in March. It’s a single-hop, two-grain beer, perfectly refreshing for the dawn of spring. Across town, Boxing Bear is also sticking with the hops and haze on Friday. Totally Cereal Hazy IPA, made with rolled oats, will debut on tap. If haze is not really your thing, Bow & Arrow is releasing Rad Vista Pilsner on tap Friday. It’s the first single-hop pilsner in a new series, this one using Vic Secret hops. Both beers should feel quite nice on a warm day on the patio.

Another awesome beer-and-food pairing is going down this week at Ponderosa. The brewpub is teaming up with Rebel Donut today and Thursday from opening at 11 a.m. until the donut bite supply runs out. The pairings will feature donut bites made with the same beers they’re paired with, so it’s Blood Orange Wit, Bellamah Brown, and the brand-new Red Velvet Ale. Presale tickets are $10, while tickets at the door are $12.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque also has its collaboration beer with Ex Novo now on tap, Frenemies, a West Coast pilsner made with experimental hops. Boxing Bear varies up one of its standards with Black and Blue Milk Shake. Canteen brings back Tuttle IPA and Social Capital, with the latter made with pomegranate and cardamom. Kaktus kicks over the taps with Solstic Pale Ale, Amber, Oatmeal Stout, Belgian Golden, and Darlings Doppelbock, named in honor of the Desert Darlings. Marble is feeling smooth with Marble Lager, and a big naughty with Safeword IPA. Quarter Celtic rolled out the beastly Never Cry Wolf-Dragon, a hazy IPA that was originally brewed for the canceled National IPA Challenge. Rio Bravo went ahead and made a peanut butter hazelnut brown ale and called it Squirrel Nuts, because why the heck not? Sidetrack has put its Pub Ale with Earl Grey Tea on draft, not just in the cask (but it’s there, too), plus there is more Turntable IPA and regular Pub Ale available. Toltec puts its NIPAC entry, Guapo Hoppo, on tap as well. Turtle Mountain tunes up a new Brut IPA called Toxic Masculinity.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn and Beer Creek are releasing a collaboration, Santa Faze IPA. Rowley Farmhouse Ales introduces the new raspberry Oud Bruin, Fromabozen, and Agent Scully – Season Two, Episode Six (IPA).

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of February 25.

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Flix Brewhouse’s Unbreakable Glass earned one of four medals at the Best of Craft Beer Awards. (Photo courtesy of Will Moorman)

Here on this blustery Friday, it feels like a good time to stay indoors and catch up on some local beer news as we empty the notebook yet again.

Flix picks up four medals at Best of Craft Beer Awards

If there is a theme early on in 2019 to some of the beer competitions going around, it is that Flix Brewhouse has come to make a statement.

The brewery/movie theater, which makes all of its beers on premises in Albuquerque, earned four medals at the recent Best of Craft Beer Awards. Three other local breweries brought home another four medals, as well.

Flix earned gold in the Baltic-style Porter category with Darth Malt, and another gold in Belgian-style Witbier for Luna Rosa, which is a year-round beer. Flix also picked up a silver for James Blond in the Belgian-style Blonde Ale or Pale Ale category, and a bronze for Unbreakable Glass in the American-style Cream Ale category.

Those medals follow up a strong performance at the Beer Army Beer Wars last month. Congrats to Flix for making New Mexico proud again!

As for the other local winners, Sierra Blanca won gold for its Green Chile Cerveza in the Chili Pepper Beer category (that was how the competition spells Chili, so please don’t yell at us), and a bronze for Cherry Wheat in the Fruit Wheat Beer category. Rio Bravo brought home a silver for its Amber/ESB in the British Bitters category, while Abbey Brewing snagged bronze for its Monks’ Dark Ale in the English-style Mild or Brown Ale category.

Congrats to one and all!

New brewery updates: Things are moving again

Another new brewery is coming to the East Central/Foothills area. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Carlson)

The end of the partial shutdown has several of the pending breweries around town back on track. Here is the latest that we know about each.

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Remember when Marble shared this photo of happy brewery representatives in Washington D.C.? Yeah, gonna guess they are not too happy with the government right now.

Most of us are aware of, yet personally unaffected by, the current partial shutdown of the federal government. Leaving the politics aside, it has nonetheless made things difficult on both federal employees and those businesses and people who rely on certain federal agencies. It did not occur to any of us in the Crew how this might affect breweries until we saw a tweet by a brewer out of town who complained about the shutdown of the TTB.

The TTB (Tax and Trade Bureau) is the government agency that handles almost everything related to breweries, and many other businesses, at the federal level. It has the greatest impact on breweries that package and forthcoming breweries, which of course means it has an impact all around New Mexico. To figure out just what that impact has been, I emailed two people who have extensive knowledge of such affairs, NM Brewers Guild executive director John Gozigian and La Cumbre president/master brewer Jeff Erway.

“The shutdown affects breweries in planning with pending brewer’s notices and existing breweries with label approval applications in the pipeline,” John explained. “Brewer’s notices (federal brewers permit) and COLAs (certificates of label approval) are both issued by the TTB, which is a federal agency.”

That is not good news for breweries in planning.

“Any federal brewers notice is in limbo right now and they will be set back by this,” Jeff wrote.

It also has a negative impact on packaging breweries such as La Cumbre.

“If a beer is to be sent out of state, it needs a COLA and those are also in limbo,” Jeff wrote. “We are having to hold on shipping a few beers to AZ and CO specifically because of this shutdown.”

To sum it up: The shutdown is bad for breweries. Just like it is for everything else.

New breweries update

Originally, we were just going to lead Beer Notes with this list, but obviously events in Washington are putting all of these places on hold, to some degree. Nonetheless, here is every brewery with either a pending state small brewer license or an active one that is not yet open. Here are the breweries projected to open in the ABQ metro area in 2019. We realize there are probably more than these, but no pending license means we will not include it yet.

  • Black Snout Brewhouse (pending): We already took a tour of this new brewery located in a shopping center on the southeast corner of Menaul and Juan Tabo. The brewery had hoped to be open by the end of the month, but that seems unlikely now.
  • BLUE/Gang of Four (pending): This very small brewery is set to open on Broadway next to the Exhibit 208 gallery, just south of Gold.
  • Brew Lab 101 (pending): The next brewery to open in Rio Rancho is moving along. Located on Southern near Unser, its owner has already contacted us and we are in the process of setting up our first visit/interview.
  • Brewstillery (active): We still have no info about this brewery/distillery combo that is set to open somewhere in the 87106 zip code (physical addresses are not provided beyond zip codes, FYI), or how it relates to the next entry.
  • Differential (pending): Listed as owned by Brewstillery, we do not know how this entry, located in the same zip code, differs from the other.
  • Colonia/San Mateo Beer Co. (pending): It appears as though this new brewery will move into the current Bosque Brewing location on San Mateo when that is relocated to the forthcoming Open Space Project. In other words, it seems to be a long ways off.
  • Ex Novo Brewing (pending): We just toured this forthcoming brewery in Corrales.
  • Looking Glass Spirits & Long Lost Brewing (pending): The newest addition to the list, we have been contacted by one of the owners and are working on setting up an interview time. It will be located somewhere in the downtown area.

Red River was not the last new brewery to open in the outskirts of New Mexico in 2018, and more are on the way in 2019.

2018 saw a lot of new breweries open up across the state, well outside the Albuquerque/Santa Fe corridor. Among the many were Blu Dragonfly in Cimarron, Bonito Valley in Lincoln, Cloudcroft Brewing, Hopscotch Brewing in Artesia, Red River Brewing, and Second Alarm Brewhouse in Jemez Springs. There are still a few more coming down the pipeline.

  • B3-BBQ, Burgers and Beer (pending): This Las Vegas-based restaurant is already open. We do not know if its owners plan to actually brew beer, or if they are going to use the license to keep guest taps flowing.
  • 575 Brewing (pending): Alamogordo is getting its first brewery in many years, but we do not know the exact location or its current progress.
  • Icebox Brewing (active): The newest Las Cruces brewery will be located on Picacho Avenue, east of Picacho Peak Brewing and basically due west of High Desert. No opening date has been announced.
  • Leaf & Hive (active): The latest addition to the Santa Fe scene has a soft opening scheduled for this Saturday.
  • Public House 28 (pending): We know nothing beyond the name for this brewery in Anthony, on the Texas border.
  • Rail Brewery (pending): This Santa Fe project for the Railyards area has been pending for a long time now. We do not know its status.
  • Santa Fe Spirits (pending): The existing distillery is either going to start making beer, or it just wants to be able to sell beer.

New taprooms update

Yes, 2018 was basically the year of the off-site taproom, but there are still more on the way. Someday, every commercial space in the state will be a taproom. (Hey, we can dream, right?) All of these are pending licenses.

  • Boxing Bear on Central: We already wrote about the brewery taking over the former 5 Star Burgers space on West Central.
  • Desert Valley: There are two pending licenses for DV taprooms, one located in the 87110 zip code, and the other in 87111. It is certainly ambitious, though not unprecedented, to open two taprooms at once.
  • Enchanted Circle ABQ: The Angel Fire-based brewery is opening a taproom in the shopping center on the northwest corner of San Mateo and Osuna.
  • Nexus Blue Smokehouse and Taproom: The long-awaited BBQ version of Nexus is getting closer to finally opening on Broadway south of Cesar Chavez. We will get more details in our forthcoming Look Back/Look Ahead Series on Nexus.
  • Quarter Celtic on Juan Tabo: We already wrote about the first off-site location, which will be on the west side of the road between Indian School and Menaul.
  • Red Door Clovis: Once again, we already wrote about the first bowling alley-based taproom, which will also be the first craft beer-specific place in the eastern town.
  • Starr Brothers Alehouse: This one has been pending for quite a while now, so we do not know if it is still happening or not. If it does, it will be somewhere near UNM.
  • Tall Pines Beer and Wine Garden Alamogordo: The Ruidoso-based small brewery is opening a second location down the mountain.

Got info on any of these pending breweries or taprooms, or any we missed? Drop us a line at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

A good deed note

Tractor has named the four nonprofits for its annual Beer for a Better Burque (BBB) program. The New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus, New Mexico Horse Rescue at Walkin N Circles Ranch, Three Sisters Kitchen, and Albuquerque Area Firefighters Random Acts will be the beneficiaries for 2019. There will be special BBB nights on Tuesdays throughout the year where patrons can donate, plus special quarterly beer releases for each nonprofit sees $1 donated per pint, and other special themed events. You can donate at all four Tractor locations.

Good on ya, Tractor.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Get festive with merch gifts from your favorite breweries, including Marble.

As we did the last four years, the Crew has put together a brewery merchandise guide for all of you just in time for your last-minute holiday shopping. Hey, it might be nice to just buy people beer, but sometimes they need more in life, like cool shirts, hoodies, growlers, and other specialty items carrying the logos of their favorite breweries. To make all of your lives easier and save you time in terms of searching the web or driving all over the place, we compiled the local breweries’ merch lists into one place. Now you can find out what is where, what is online, what it all costs, and any other additional info you might need.

The breweries are listed in alphabetical order, starting with the ABQ metro area breweries, then the breweries from outside the metro listed below that (those from both regions that sent us info, at least). We will be updating this list throughout the holiday season, so if you do not see a brewery here, once their info arrives, we will share it. Thank you to all the brewers, owners, and other key brewery staffers who helped us put this together. Whether via email or in person, it was greatly appreciated!

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Boxing Bear is preparing to open its first taproom in West Downtown, but the brewery is not necessarily planning to stop with just that location.

In the blink of an eye, a little rumor recently whispered to us became reality this week when Boxing Bear Brewing officially announced it was opening a taproom in the former 5 Star Burgers space on West Central.

To get a little better idea of how it all came together this quickly, I sat down with head brewer/co-owner Justin Hamilton.

“So after 5 Star closed, we saw the building (at 1710 West Central),” he said. “We’ve been hunting (for) taprooms. It wasn’t like 5 Star approached us. We were actively looking for taprooms, not just one, but multiple for a long time.”

Boxing Bear was given a short time to make a decision on leasing the space.

“The timeline was really quick,” Justin said. “Five Star was one of our accounts, so that gave us the heads up. That spurred our interest in that location and that allowed us to pursue (it). We also know there’s lots of breweries looking for that perfect taproom space, so we had to really try to harness it as quickly as possible. I love that location. It’s so much culture, a really, really up-and-coming area. It’s right down the street from the revitalized El Vado (Motel), it’s literally across the street from Albuquerque staple Duran’s, and we’ll be right next to Amore Pizza. All those things are a sure fit for us.”

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The beer fridge overflows with all the stout-y goodness.

Thanksgiving was kinda fuzzy, man. At least that seems to be the case for most of us, as the sheer number of holiday brews left the bulk of the Crew speechless (or, at least, unable to write). It was a tad overwhelming.

First up, Wednesday saw a quick trip to Tractor for a four-pack of Turkey Drool. Yeah, didn’t need the half-growler this year. It’s been my personal tradition to always make the TD the first beer of every Thanksgiving. It makes the bad Lions and Cowboys football go down so much easier.

After that little treat, Friday brought a shorter-than-usual line at Jubilation for the annual Black Friday cellar sale. The barrel-aged Expedition Stout from Bell’s topped my personal list, so I walked out with two of those, one 2016 Uncle Jacob’s from Avery, a 2015 Barrel-Aged Narwhal from Sierra Nevada, and, yeah, had to get one Bourbon County Brand Stout and see if it still holds up (Jubilation did not receive any variants, which was disappointing this year).

Since I still have a huge stout haul from a friend’s cellar sale a few months back, I limited myself to just those five bottles. Oh, but alas, the locals beckoned me back out in the afternoon.

I joined Franz Solo at Boxing Bear for the always excellent VantaBlack Russian Imperial Stout, with this year’s batch in bottles, and a 3-year-old barrel-aged version on tap only. I am sad to report that the BA is out, but you can still buy bottles at the brewery, as I made sure to do. Next time around, head brewer Justin Hamilton assured us, he will make sure to bottle some of the barrel-aged batch, too.

The good folks at Bosque were simultaneously spreading the word over social media that their Fresh Start Breakfast Stout was on tap, so I hit up the San Mateo location on my way back. It’s just as good as ever, a sweet treat that paired oh-so-well with leftover dessert. A four-pack of that accompanied me home.

It was back to work for me on Saturday, after which I really needed more beer. My original plan was to stay in, drink some of those stouts, and watch terrible movies, but friends dragged me out to Quarter Celtic. The Oat Face Killer (Oatmeal Stout) was delightful, tasting way heavier more than a 5.1-percent beer should.

As for the rest of the Crew, only AmyO was able to put her thoughts together in printed form, which is remarkable considering the Lobo-sized headache she dealt with after another dismal season of hand-egg just ended.

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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 seven breweries, one in Los Alamos, one in Moriarty, one in Red River, and one in Las Cruces 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.

Forget about self restraint this week, and we are not just talking about eating too much on Thanksgiving. No, Black Friday has become a beer holiday, enabling all of us sensible people the right to escape shopping madness and settle down with some delicious stouts and porters. We already previewed the awesome Blackest Friday event at Rowley Farmhouse Ales, so please click that link to refresh your memory and make that commitment to drive to Santa Fe. If you cannot leave ABQ for whatever reason, there are still plenty of local options. Starr Brothers has happy hour prices all day. Bosque is releasing its wonderful Fresh Start Breakfast Ale, a maple and coffee stout, in four-pack cans at all locations. Jubilation has its annual Black Friday cellar sale starting at 10 a.m. Line up early if you want to grab the good stuff, which will include the annual Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout release (plus variants) and should see other great beers including the ultra-rare Barrel-Aged Expedition Stout from Bell’s. I will be in line with the rest of the crazies before heading to Santa Fe. Again, though, if you are not headed to RFA, then Boxing Bear is going all out with its own selection of dark and malt-forward beers, including the release (finally) of Vantablack Russian Imperial Stout in bottles. Vantablack will also be on tap, in both the regular and 2-year-barrel-aged versions (whoa). There will also be Barrel-Aged Oso Otoño (2 years) and Chocolate Milk Stout (18 months) on tap, and yes, you can fill growlers of those. Iron Lung Smoked Porter is also back, and there is a limited supply of bottles of Barrel-Aged Standing 8 Stout available to take home as well. UPDATE: If you are headed south instead, stop at Truth or Consequences Brewing for a special release of six bottles. A kind person might be willing to pick up a bottle of the barrel-aged Truth Serum Barleywine and bring it back here for the Crew to sample.

In terms of hours, every brewery appears to be closed Thanksgiving except Blue Corn, which will be open and serving food and beer from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Red Door, which will be filling discounted growlers from noon to 4 p.m. at the brewery on Candelaria. Apparently everyone will be right back to normal operating hours Friday. As for tonight (Wednesday), a few breweries could close early if the crowds die down, so take note when heading out to fill your growlers or pick up packaged beer directly from the source.

Do not forget, all of our breweries count as small businesses, so keep them in mind when shopping on Small Business Saturday. They have plenty of merchandise beyond just the beer (our annual Merch Guide will be out soon, we promise). Marble Westside will have a holiday market at noon and Boxing Bear will have a pop up market at 1 p.m.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque is also feeling tropical with Guavango. Bow & Arrow has a limited supply of its barrel-aged barleywine, Thief of Time, back on tap. Canteen spices it up with more Sichler Chile Lager, plus Wee Bit Loco, a Scottish Wee Heavy. Marble put Joe Pumpkin on nitro, while more cans of Imperial Red will soon be available. Ponderosa brings back Hop-Mosa, a hazy IPA, on Saturday. Sidetrack has more Railhead Red available, plus the new C4 IPA. Starr Brothers quickly got Brown Chicken Brown Cow back on tap. Steel Bender has Ich Bin Cranberry Kettle Sour on tap (for real this time), plus this Saturday will see a double-bottle release of Ned’s Sour Pail and Ned’s Sour Pail with Boysenberry, as well as an on-tap release of The Whole Shoe, a Belgo IPA. Toltec has special new beer-and-food pairings every Wednesday, and today will feature the arrival of the new Vienna Lager. Tractor brings back a seasonal favorite of ours, Turkey Drool!

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn pops a new porter, Black by Popular Demand.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of November 19.

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