Posts Tagged ‘Canteen Brewhouse’

A delicious crowler of liquid gold hops. The book in the background is also worth checking out, Albuquerque Beer, written by our own Stoutmeister.

As we watch the last embers of spring fade and the blazing heat of the summer solstice approach, three beer-related themes come to my mind. The season of hops approaches with our local NM IPA Challenge, but it is still a month away and there are some opportunities to sample some of what might grace our palates at that particular hop battle over the next few weeks.

Secondly, this is the season of what I have liked to call “yard work beer,” or hoppy but light pilsners, lagers, session IPAs of around 5-percent ABV or so, and simple light farmhouse saison ales.

Thirdly, it is the time of year that I bottle my annual batch of mead sourced from a local beekeeper, and ponder what I might do with this year’s batch. I heartily recommend an ice cold mead at the end of a day spent working in the yard with a few “yard work beers” to boot. I will be detailing more on the subject of mead in a later writ, as at present my focus is on the season of hops and a brew that has blasted my palate into nigh the oblivion next door.

We are blessed in New Mexico to have multiple “challenge caliber” IPA seasons, owing to the occurrences of the National IPA Challenge in the spring, the New Mexico IPA Challenge in the summer, and of course the Great American Beer Festival in the fall. As we in the 505 are known to be of some merit in the alchemy of hops, owing to the seemingly ever-growing list of awards and accolades from festivals for our local brewed IPAs, the competition at the local level is quite heated and we, the connoisseurs of hops, are glad beneficiaries.

It has been some time since I found a brew of singular merit and uniqueness possessing of the “wha-tang!” factor as far as hop presence, and felt like I needed to share my enjoyment of it with you, dear reader. I present Dragline IPA from Canteen Brewing.

This is not the first brewing of an IPA under this moniker as we had a version which appeared in May of last year, and my Untappd feed reminded me how much I enjoyed that particular iteration. The present vintage has ascended, in my opinion, to something greater still and I will henceforth describe for you what wonders I daresay it holds.

The initial aroma is of orange candy grapefruit, with a sweet pine finish almost minty and soft in character. We have the traditional dank hop character one would expect from a New Mexico IPA, but melded with layers of different and distinct, sometimes subtle citrus, mango, and peach. The mouthfeel is wonderfully full, yet balanced and with somewhat of a chewy character owing to a strong liquid gold-colored malt backbone pushing 8-percent ABV. The head is perfectly white, which contrasts well with the deep golden amber ocean enveloping a plethora of hops within.

Hops upon hops upon hops grace this glorious elixir!

Were I to classify this as a newer or older style of IPA, I would say that is is certainly both, taken to 11, and then given the best mixing and mastering job that any metal record has had. Wait, were we talking metal or beer? But, I digress. With stronger IPAs as well as with any barrel aged beer of merit, I will always delineate between the initial flavors which appear and those which rise to prominence as the beer warms over time. The best brews will stand up to this test and open up with some increased temperature, while any imperfections or imbalances will show their true colors in the same vein.

For the initial flavor impressions I get a blast of tart grapefruit, then pine, then a lemon-orange candy mid-palate, with a strong and crisp pine finish likely owing to the presence of African Queen hops as one of four in the brew. As it warms, I get a tad more sweet pine on the forefront, with a blood orange and grapefruit finish.

In short, I adore this brew, from fore hop to back hop to blue line hop to, er … let’s go Penguins! A splendid season it was for hockey, and thank the gods for hop bombs as we are in the dry season for sporting and other entertainment indoors, away from the delightful dry heat of summer in ‘Burque.

This beer makes me want to see Goatwhore again and mosh till the end of days, down another pint, and do it all over once more. I would also recommend an early morning or late evening hike in the mountains, or by the Rio Grande, or perhaps a jaunt into El Malpais, aka “Mordor” itself, appended by a quaffing of this delectable hop leviathan. But ,don’t take my word for it, go out and try a pint on its own or side-by-side with Exodus IPA or Flashback IPA, and see what you think.

Or, better yet, continue your hop-devastated palate destruction by trying the numerous other extreme hopped offerings around our fair abode, for there are many worth a draught or 11. Of note, I would recommend (in no particular order) Dragline and Exodus from Canteen, the Mother Road/Tractor Brewing collaboration DIPA, Challenge IPA 2.0 from Bosque, Uppercut IPA from Boxing Bear Brewing (this latest batch is Simcoe-tastic!), Flora Colossus DIPA from Flix Brewhouse, Project Dank (as always and NIPAC 2017 champion) from La Cumbre, and I’ve heard splendid things about this Mosaic IPA from Marble, but need to make my way over there stat!

So, go forth and enjoy the bounty of the summer of hops, and crack open a yard work brew or two while you’re at it. Until we meet again, keep the metal loud, the hops extreme, and the sun blazing. See you all at the 2017 IPA Challenge!

Skål!

— Franz Solo

This writ is dedicated in part to our recently fallen dear friend Justin Shearer who was a marvelous human being and fellow lover of metal and all things hopped to the extreme. Eternal Hails!

The variety in beers is impressive this year!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Day Eight features the local beer geeks taking center stage with their own brews.

Four years ago, the Dark Side Brew Crew stunned everyone (mostly ourselves) by winning the inaugural Battle of the Beer Geeks at Tractor Wells Park.

Then, the Babes in Brewland kicked our butts two years in a row.

Well, the time has come … for all of you to probably vote for them again. But, just in case, we are unveiling another monster beer that we hope can lead to another upset. All that and more in Day Eight of Beer Week!

Featured Event

Every day we will pick what we consider the biggest, most interesting, most unique event. This does not mean you should go to only this event and ignore the rest. All of them deserve your attention, but realistically, you can probably only attend a few. So we will make our daily pick, and you can either jump on it, or declare the Crew is foolish (we kinda are) and pick your own.

What: Battle of the Beer Geeks IV. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 6-8 p.m. Cost: $10 for tray of all five beers and a pint of your favorite.

Details: For the fourth time, all the local beer appreciation groups have brewed up something special at Tractor. Now it’s time for the public to decide who made the best. Come on down and vote for your favorite from the offerings made by the ABQ Craft Beer Drinkers, The Wort Hogs, Dukes of Ale, the two-time defending champion Babes in Brewland, and of course the 2014 champion Dark Side Brew Crew. This year had a theme of wheat beers, but naturally we each got to put our own spin on that.

Why you should go: Support the local amateurs and Tractor at the same time. Have a bit of fun, listen to all the (mostly friendly) smack talk, and see who takes home the Rock-Em-Sock-Em Robots trophy!

All the other great events

What: Marble Special Release Keg Tapping. Where: Sandia Saloon. When: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The Guava Gose is the special beer of choice that will be served at the pub inside Whole Foods Academy. Why you should go: Another new Marble beer? Yup. Guess everyone has to try it (the Crew got a sneak peek on Tuesday).

What: Beer & Food Pairing. Where: Canteen Taproom on Tramway. When: 3-10 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: There’s no info available, but we’re guessing they’re going to pair up their delicious food items with specific beers. Why you should go: Learn how you’ve probably been missing some amazing combos all this time.

What: Beer and Tapas Pairing. Where: Ponderosa. When: 4-7 p.m. Cost: $7 per pairing. Details: A different beer and tapas pairing will be available each day. Why you should go: You need some food in your belly to go with all this beer.

What: Odell Sampling and Giveaways. Where: Whole Foods Carlisle. When: 4-6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Taste the Odell packaged lineup and maybe get some free stuff. Why you should go: Free beer!

What: Cascade Brewing Special Tapping. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 5-9 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Enjoy some true sours from the Pacific Northwest, including rare tappings of 2013 Sang Royal and the limited Elderberry. Why you should go: If you dig on sours, these are two of the finest made anywhere in the country.

What: Odell Tap Takeover. Where: Grain Station. When: 6-8 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Look for 90 Shilling, IPA, Cutthroat Porter, and St. Lupulin Extra Pale Ale. There will also be special giveaways. Why you should go: Enjoy some delicious beers, maybe pick up some swag, and grab a bite to eat.

What: Marble Beer Dinner. Where: Bien Shur at Sandia Resort & Casino. When: 6 p.m. Cost: $65 per person. Details: Join Marble at Bien Shur for an epic five-course meal paired with different beers. The welcome reception pairs a blue lump crab tater tot with avocado aioli with Pilsner. The first course of the main dinner features a blue cheese and baby heirloom beet salad with Brett IPA. The second course is a grilled lemon parsley rubbed escolar with White Out. The main course features wild boar loin paired with Bacon’s Best Friend. The finale duo consists of a meyer lemon semifreddo and summer berry tart paired with Blackberry Gose. Why you should go: Go ahead, be decadent, we won’t judge. We’ll just be jealous.

What: La Cumbre Special Tapping. Where: Gecko’s Nob Hill. When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: One TBA beer will actually be on tap when Gecko’s opens at 11 a.m., but at 6:30 a LC representative will be on hand to talk about it, and the Passionfruit Wit will also be available (it sold out fast at the Sister Tap Takeover last week). Why you should go: Increase your beer knowledge, like we do every time we talk with someone from La Cumbre.

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Got any questions, comments, complaints, send them to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or leave them here on our site, on Facebook, or on Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy yourselves out there, but please, do it responsibly.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Day Five is the ultimate take-it-easy day for your body, but we will still challenge your mind.

Now that the holiday is over, Beer Week starts to crank back up again with nine big events.

Today will feature an epic tasting at Jubilation, but also a whole lot of beer-and-food combo events. There will be beer with Taco Tuesday, beer with food trucks’ offerings, beer dinners, hell, just beer and food everywhere. But, if that’s all too much, there’s also beer trivia, part two.

Hope you all brought your appetite! (And your trivia-loving minds.)

Featured Event

Every day we will pick what we consider the biggest, most interesting, most unique event. This does not mean you should go to only this event and ignore the rest. All of them deserve your attention, but realistically, you can probably only attend a few. So we will make our daily pick, and you can either jump on it, or declare the Crew is foolish (we kinda are) and pick your own.

What: Saison Tasting and Broken Trail Collaboration Tapping. Where: Jubilation. When: 4-6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge.

Details: Come get the funk! Jubilation is celebrating all things saison/farmhouse with a unique tasting from multiple breweries. In addition, they are releasing Sancho de la Sierra, a collaboration brewed between the staff of Jubilation and Broken Trail. It will also be available for growler fills. They added rye malt and the native plant Oregano de la Sierra to the original Sancho Saison recipe for an added spicy kick. The other beers available for sampling are Rowley Farmhouse Ales Saison du Sarlacc, Saison Dupont, St. Feuillien Dry-Hopped Saison, Thiriez Extra, Blackberry Farm Brewing Classic Saison, St. Somewhere Traditionnel & Serge, North Coast Puck Petite Saison, Prairie Artisan Ales Prairie Ace, Off Color Apex Predator, and Stillwater Artisanal Rockstar Farmer.

Why you should go: If you love this style, don’t you have to go? I mean, if you don’t, you’re out of the saison fan club.

All the other great events

What: Special Release of Social Capital. Where: Canteen. When: Noon to close. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The new release of the popular kettle sour was made with basil, lemongrass, and coconut. Why you should go: Pucker up and get your day started when they open at noon.

What: Upslope Canarchy at Taco Tuesday. Where: Sister. When: 4-7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Upslope takes over Taco Tuesday at Sister with cans of Citra Pale Ale paired up with some unique tacos. Why you should go: Tacos and beer are just such a true Burqueno pairing.

What: Central Biz Happy Hour. Where: Tractor Nob Hill. When: 5-7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Tractor wants to show some love to its fellow Central Avenue businesses impacted by A.R.T. If you have a receipt from any business on old Route 66 that’s less than a week old, bring it to the taproom and get $1 off your first pint. Why you should go: Support other businesses, support yourself with less expensive beer.

What: Cheese and Beer Pairing with Cheesy Street. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 5-9 p.m. Cost: $13 per tray. Details: This fan favorite event is back. Buy a tray of four assorted mini-grilled cheeses from Cheesy Street and they will be paired up with the proper beers. Why you should go: Do we need to really say more than beer and cheese? Gooey, melty cheese? Didn’t think so.

What: Four Peaks Beer Dinner. Where: Farina Alto. When: 5-7 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: There don’t seem to be any details anywhere about this one, which is weird. Why you should go: Um, we’ll get back to you on that one if we ever find some information.

What: Beer and Food Truck Pairing. Where: Drafty Kilt. When: 5-9 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Illusion Food Truck will be creating some specialty dishes that pair up with the different Drafty Kilt beers. Why you should go: When the food is made specifically to go with the beer, that’s a win-win.

What: Beer Geek Quiz. Where: Marble Westside. When: 6-9 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: If you missed our trivia at Tractor Nob Hill on Monday, redeem yourselves across the river! There will be six rounds with eight questions apiece. Create a team of four that you can rely upon. There will be a limit of 20 teams, so register at the taproom in advance if you can. There will be prizes awarded to the top teams. Why you should go: Test your beer knowledge at the taproom with the most taps in town!

What: Firestone Walker Barrelworks Beer Dinner. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 6:30-9 p.m. Cost: $40 per person. Details: A delightful four-course meal will be paired with four special beers from Firestone Walker. The appetizer will be shrimp corn dogs with sweet chile dipping sauce paired with Krieky Bones. The salad will be paired with Leo vs. Ursus: Fortem. The main entree will be a stuffed pork loin over asparagus, caramelized onions, and polenta, topped with balsamic roasted peaches and au jus, paired with Luponic Distortion. The dessert of house-made gingerbread cake topped with vanilla bean ice cream, paired with Parabola. Why you should go: That just looks way too good. We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!

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Got any questions, comments, complaints, send them to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or leave them here on our site, on Facebook, or on Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy yourselves out there, but please, do it responsibly.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Day Three will show you no mercy, but it will show you plenty of fun.

After Friday’s events, we can understand if some of you want to take it easy today.

Beer Week, though, has no concept of mercy, because it’s gonna be a big one. The 505 Collaboration beer is releasing all over town, O’Niell’s is throwing a Beer Olympics, Santa Fe is having a party, Rio Bravo is having a music festival, the Hash House Harriers are running amok, there’s food pairings everywhere … back on your feet, people!

There is fun to be had.

Featured Event

Every day we will pick what we consider the biggest, most interesting, most unique event. This does not mean you should go to only this event and ignore the rest. All of them deserve your attention, but realistically, you can probably only attend a few. So we will make our daily pick, and you can either jump on it, or declare the Crew is foolish (we kinda are) and pick your own.

What: Beer Olympics. Where: O’Niell’s Juan Tabo. When: 1-5 p.m. Cost: $10 per player.

Details: I stopped by O’Niell’s a while back to ask them about this fun-looking event. Basically it involves teams of four people, each with a special skill to win one of four events. There will be trivia, so take your most knowledgeable beer geek friend. There’s cornhole, and we’re sure you have that one friend who just dominates that game. There’s an obstacle course, which will be similar to bussing tables, so take your friend with the most server experience. Finally, there will be a mini-keg toss, so take your friend who’s either from Scotland or just spends a lot of time at the gym. There will also be beer specials from four Colorado breweries — Boulder Beer, Left Hand, New Belgium, and Oskar Blues.

Why you should go: Sure, you can just sit around and drink beer all day, but why not put your talents to use in a better way? (And still drink beer while doing it.)

All the other great events

What: Candemonium Charcuterie with Upslope. Where: M’tucci’s Italian. When: 11 a.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Stop by and get cans of different Upslope beers paired with different charcuterie offerings. This is an all-day event. Why you should go: Fuel up before everything else starts.

What: Odell Special Tapping. Where: Gecko’s (both locations). When: 11 a.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: St. Lupulin Extra Pale Ale shall be tapped and there will also be pint glass giveaways. Why you should go: Holy hops bless you to start the day.

What: Santa Fe Brewing ABQ Beer Week Bash. Where: Green Jeans Farmery. When: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: All of Green Jeans will be permitted, so grab your beer and wander about, but the biggest party is on the SFBC rooftop deck where Chef Marie Yniguez of Bocadillos will be overseeing a cookout. There will be live music from Eugene (5-7 p.m.) and Garry Martin Beasley (8-10 p.m.), with lots of special tappings and giveaways. Watermelon Mountain Ranch will also be on hand looking for good homes for rescued pets. Why you should go: Feast, dance, drink, and maybe even find a new best friend.

What: 505 Collaboration Beer Release. Where: Bosque, Boxing Bear, Broken Trail, La Cumbre, Marble, Ponderosa, Quarter Celtic, Red Door, Starr Brothers, Steel Bender, Tractor. When: All day. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The annual release of this Brewers Guild benefit beer is upon us! A team of ABQ brewers got together at Steel Bender last month to create a Golden Strong (8.74% ABV, 25 IBU) that will rock your world. Why you should go: Celebrate collaboration and help raise funds for the Guild.

What: Passing the Torch Festival. Where: Rio Bravo. When: 1-7 p.m. Cost: $12 for adults, $8 for ages 12 and under. Details: The RBBC patio will become a music fest as The Big Spank, Keith Sanchez and the Moon Thieves, Red Light Cameras, and Le Chat Lunatique perform. There will be food trucks, live art, craft vendors, a kids tent, and more. It all benefits the NMARB youth music program. Why you should go: Support local music, both what’s here now and the talent coming up through the pipeline.

What: Pig Roast and Marble Special Tapping. Where: Freight House. When: 1-10 p.m. Cost: $15 per person. Details: Head up to Bernalillo and enjoy a whole pig roast, with Marble providing a special keg of a one-of-a-kind beer. Why you should go: Explore the mystery of the beer and feast.

What: Founders Sampling. Where: Jubilation. When: 2-4 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Sample a slew of new Founders beers, including Doom, a barrel-aged imperial IPA. There’s also a chance to enter a giveaway for a counter-top grill. Why you should go: Free beer! Free stuff!

What: Hash House Harriers Brewery Run/Walk. Where: Canteen Brewhouse (starting point). When: 2-7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Join our friends Matt and Dana (of Babes in Brewland fame) as they lead the HHH team and folks of all running/walking skill levels on a 5-kilometer trek to breweries starting at the Canteen on Aztec. Why you should go: Get some exercise with your beer today, just remember to wear lots of sunscreen.

What: Beer and Tapas Pairing. Where: Ponderosa. When: 4-7 p.m. Cost: $7. Details: A different beer and tapas pairing will be available each day. Why you should go: You need some food in your belly to go with all this beer.

What: Family Style Dinner featuring Upslope. Where: Eclectic Urban Pizzeria and Tap House. When: 7 p.m. Cost: $25 per person. Details: Get a full meal of delicious food paired with Upslope beers. There will be live music by Anna Rudolph. Why you should go: It’s not like you actually want to make dinner tonight, right?

What: Mother Road and Tractor Collaboration tapping with Le Chat Lunatique. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 7-11 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The two breweries made two beers, an Altbier and a Double IPA, and now we all get to enjoy them while grooving along to some gypsy jazz. Why you should go: Great music and new beers to try.

* * * * *

Got any questions, comments, complaints, send them to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or leave them here on our site, on Facebook, or on Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy yourselves out there, but please, do it responsibly.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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

It was a big year for Albuquerque's oldest brewery.

It was a big year for Albuquerque’s oldest brewery.

Canteen Brewhouse has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the back room of the Il Vicino in Nob Hill in 1994. This year marked some big changes for the oldest brewery in Albuquerque, ranging from the opening of its first taproom to canning its beers and earning another major medal to add to its long list of awards. To recap it all, and to look ahead to what is in store for 2017, I sat down with head brewer Zach Guilmette at the end of last week.

“It’s tough to put it into a little nutshell, but it was a pretty exciting year for us,” Zach said. “Starting right off the bat for me, I arrived (back) here January 4. World Beer Cup (entries) were due one-and-a-half months later, or two months later. We sent the High Plains Pils, which is a Bohemian-style Czech pilsner. Just winning that silver at the World Beer Cup this year was just an amazing way to start the year off.”

That WBC medal was a great start to things for Zach, who had previously worked as an assistant brewer at Canteen before leaving to take over at Chama River. After Brady McKeown departed to open Quarter Celtic last fall, Zach returned to run the show.

“There was a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of motivation here,” Zach said. “For me, it was just fun to be back, because the culture, the people here were still the same. It’s just a really nice place to brew, a nice place to have a beer, the customers are just really fun to hang out with.”

Brewers Doug Cochran, left, and Zach Guilmette react at Canteen after learning their High Plains Pils won a silver medal at the World Beer Cup.

Brewers Doug Cochran, left, and Zach Guilmette react at Canteen after learning their High Plains Pils won a silver medal at the World Beer Cup. (Courtesy of Brad Weddell)

Even as the dust settled from the WBC, there was more to do for the Canteen staff.

“After the World Beer Cup, of course, the next focus, the next major event is the New Mexico IPA Challenge,” Zach said. “Actually, before that, in April we started our canning run then. We were in cans with Exodus IPA and Dougie Style Amber. That was a big change for us to see our beers in cans around town, and up at the Triangle Grocery in Cedar Crest for me, which is fun to drive down the street and buy a six-pack of the beer I made.”

Canteen in cans proved to be a hit, bringing their beer to new customers around the city and state. It also helped further spur the decision to add a second Canteen location on Tramway.

“Following the canning run, opening a taproom in August,” Zach said. “The taproom opened and that’s just been a huge push for us. That part of town with Four Hills and off Tramway, being on the east side has been good for us. That whole market … for me, I almost recognize everybody who drinks here. It’s fun to say hi and talk to them. When I went up there, I didn’t recognize many people. That was nice. It’s a whole new group of people trying out Canteen beers and getting to know us.”

The Canteen taproom on Tramway has brought in many new customers.

The Canteen taproom on Tramway has brought in many new customers.

In between the canning launch and the taproom opening, there was that matter of the NMIPAC. The final round was held at Tractor Wells Park in July and featured the closest finish in the history of the event. Boxing Bear won with 81 votes, followed by Canteen with 79 and 3 Rivers with 68.

“That was a big one, I enjoyed that,” Zach said. “We all had fun. We finished second by just a handful of votes. This year I thought it was the best lineup of IPAs from the brewers that we have ever seen. So, much like the competition is getting tougher across the nation, right here at home the competition is getting tougher. It’s just fun to see that all unfold.

“Hopefully we’ll win in 2017. It’s always tough. Finishing second is nice, but nobody remembers who finished second. I really can’t tell you who finished second the previous four years.”

As for the brewery itself, there were no major changes or additions of equipment in the back. Out front, though, two new beer programs started.

“We started a nitro program here in the last year as well,” Zach said. “I’ve been happy with that. That’s been fun trying different beers. People are willing to try anything on nitro. IPAs on nitro are a big hit. It’s been fun to see that. I think a few years ago people didn’t drink anything on nitro besides dark beers. People are trying saisons and all sorts of stuff on nitro.”

The crowds are still buzzing around the original taproom.

The crowds are still buzzing around the original taproom.

December saw the introduction of a new style at Canteen, one that Zach hopes will catch on in popularity.

“The other thing for me is bringing sours here,” Zach said. “We’ve got Social Capital sour, which for me is going to be a revolving sour. The malt bill won’t change. We brought that on at the end of this year. We’ll bring it back every few months, and bring it back with a different version. The beer itself will maintain a similar characteristic. The first one was dry hopped. The one we’re releasing (Friday) will be Social Capital with dark sweet cherries aged on French oak. The third one coming out in the spring, early spring will be orange peel and coriander, brewed with a Belgian yeast strain. For the next year, it will be fun to play around with that one, keep reinventing it.”

That figures to be a major theme in 2017, experimenting with different beer styles and having fun. There are no major construction projects in the works. Zach noted that there has been talk in the past of adding a full kitchen to the original location, but nothing recently, so if it ever happens it will not be for some time. There will be one new piece of equipment coming to the brewery.

“We’re bringing that 30-barrel fermenter in, just to help expand our canning,” Zach said. “I hope that next year we continue to see more IPA and amber in cans selling around the state. Right now we’re talking about introducing a third and maybe a fourth canned beer. Really, that’s just beginning. That conversation is just starting. Some of the ideas we have are spring and summer seasonal cans, then bring out another canned beer for the fall and winter season, or having a third that sells year round. All of us, our owners and managers will get together and decide what works best.”

Exodus making its, um, exodus from Canteen in can format! (Photo courtesy of Canteen Brewhouse)

More canned Canteen beers should be coming in 2017. (Photo courtesy of Canteen Brewhouse)

Let it be known that the Crew will vote for Panama Joe in cans. Or, just having that on tap more regularly. Speaking of regular beers, there are no plans to change anything in the core lineup right now, but Canteen will be adding another semi-regular beer soon.

“We’ll release Canteen Lager in a couple months,” Zach said. “That will be a German pilsner. It will be kind of a pseudo house beer like the Irish Red. It will come out every few months. If we had the fermentation capacity I’d love to have both all the time. Whenever we can fit it in, it will definitely be on.”

Zach noted that “2016 was the big year where everyone decided to push and grow,” but that 2017 looms more as a year to get back to basics and have a little fun. All of us in the Crew have been having fun at Canteen for many years now, and we look forward to a lot more in the coming year.

Oh, and before I forget, today (Monday) marks the arrival of Solstice Blackout, the annual awesomeness of five selected dark beers for just $5. This year the lineup will consist of Dark & Lusty, Smoked Oat Porter, Operation Black Hops IPA, Panama Joe, and the special Mexican Chocolate Panama Joe on nitro. See you all there later today!

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