Posts Tagged ‘Canteen Brewhouse’

From circa 1995, a young Ty Levis, left, now of Rio Bravo, and his father Michael Levis, right, the founder of Santa Fe Brewing, pose with The Beer Hunter, Michael Jackson, at the old Galisteo location for SFBC. (Photo courtesy of Ty Levis)

New Mexico is back in the winners bracket at the Great British Beer Festival. After back-to-back years without a medal, two Albuquerque breweries shared bronze in the Michael Jackson Awards for best American cask beer. Both are new winners at the GBBF.

Canteen and Rio Bravo wound up in the third place tie with two wildly different beers. Canteen sent its Strawberry Basil Gose, while Rio Bravo sent its Grab Em By the Putin, a Russian imperial stout.

“What are the chances? Obviously better than we thought,” said Canteen head brewer Zach Guilmette of the tie. “I think it’s just fantastic that I tied with a brewery that’s right down the road from all of us. That’s thrilling, especially when it’s here in Albuquerque, you feel be proud that you can be a part of some of the successes that the more well-known breweries are achieving.”

New Mexico had three past winners from La Cumbre (gold in 2014) and Marble (gold in 2012, silver in 2013).

“We couldn’t get farther opposite,” said Rio Bravo head brewer Ty Levis. “You put that (stout) next to the Strawberry Basil Gose. I didn’t try it, but it sounds amazing. You can just imagine it being really good if it’s well done. You look in there, it’s 100 casks (competing). We’re happy to get our name on the board, seriously.”

Most American breweries still IPAs to England, where the hoppier American style is gaining more popularity. Sierra Nevada won the silver with its Hoptimum. Still, the gold went to Franklin Brewery’s Dragon Queen, a Belgian golden strong, followed by two more non-hop-forward beers sharing the bronze.

“It’s really thrilling because it’s not often that we send over send beer over to London,” Zach said. “It’s fun to try something new. We’re so used to doing beers the way we drink them here in America. To try and create something that you think that they may like in London, it’s just a fun challenge. To me it’s about finding a trend as well. I think that fruited goses have been trendy this year. There are breweries here in town that have done well with IPAs in years past. This year Sierra Nevada got silver with an IPA. But you can start to see the diversity in who’s winning.”

Ty said he was also looking for something different to send over as well.

“We put in Level 3 (IPA) last year,” he said. “That was our very first entry in the IPA Challenge. We took the same cask and added extra hops in the cask and then sent it. It made it. We got some good feedback. When I was thinking of a cask ale (for this year) I knew this was sleeping upstairs. We’re almost out of the regular non-(barrel-aged). I decided it was time to pull them down and check. I was like, wow, this is amazing.”

Both beers were highlighted by the folks behind the American cask bar on Twitter, a group that includes Albuquerque native Carlos Garcia, who handles the organizing and shipping of the beers to England. Strawberry Basil Gose was actually the first cask to run dry on the opening day of the event, a good sign if there ever was one. Zach was aware, but said he was not trying to pay too much attention.

“I’d heard through the grapevine that the cask had blown early or what not,” Zach said. “But at the end of it, I can’t pay attention. It gets me so nervous to watch stuff. I’d rather just wait and see what happens. I was actually at home Saturday, smoking a brisket and drinking some beer on the porch. That’s when I found out, so I was pretty excited.”

Ty said it was lucky that the beers got there at all. They were transported first to Boston, where a dock workers strike had them sitting around for a while before things were finally settled and they went on to London.

Luckily, the beers made it over just fine, and now some hardware will be coming back to both breweries soon.

“I like that, it really shows that it’s as much the flavor of the beer as it is the balance and the style itself,” Zach said. “I think what’s fun is that when we enter beers at GABF, we’re going against all these other beers in the same style. The cask event is pretty fun because it’s whatever you feel like doing, whatever creation comes to mind, you’re going up against great breweries from across the country. We’re putting in lots of different things, interesting stuff.”

The last of the barrel-aged Putin is still on tap at Rio Bravo, but the supply is limited. There is probably a decent chance that Canteen may bring back Strawberry Basil Gose for another run in the near future.

Until then, thanks to Zach and Ty for taking time out of their busy schedules. Congratulations to both breweries.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Advertisements

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 six breweries, one in Los Alamos, and one in Moriarty 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.

Well, the IPA Challenge is behind us, so now we can look forward to … more hops?! Yes, National IPA Day is upon us officially this Thursday, with plenty of our breweries participating that day or at other points during the week. This final salute to summer and hops includes specials at Canteen, La Cumbre, and Quarter Celtic, while numerous other breweries are still fielding hop-forward-heavy lineups. Boxing Bear still has the two-time NMIPAC winner Bear Knuckle on tap, plus TKO Triple IPA is still around as well (Franz Solo has a review of both coming Thursday). As for Canteen, all week one can get a Hop Kwon Do flight featuring five variants of Exodus IPA. In addition to regular Exodus, there will be Gin Exodus, Coffee Exodus, Mango Exodus, and Nitro Exodus. A tray with pours of all five will be available for $6, but it is for this week only. As for Quarter Celtic, it will also have a sample tray for $6, featuring Clark “Juiced,” which came in third at NMIPAC, plus Mor-buck IPA, Rye’t Side of Dublin, and a cask-conditioned Rye’t. There will also be IPA-related food specials, including IPA filled Beignet, IPA brined beef brisket, Mor-buck mashed potatoes with chez-x sauce, chez-x ale soup, and poutine with chez-x sauce. If Thursday doesn’t wear out your palate, La Cumbre is bringing back Full Nelson on tap and in bottles this Friday. Unleash the final hop fury of summer!

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out besides just IPAs. Ale Republic has a new batch of Red Mountain on tap. Bosque brings back Old Man Jameson Scottish Export, while also introducing Fruited All the Rage. Bow & Arrow will have another double tapping this Saturday, with Black Chandelier (Belgian Stout) and Sour Sumac debuting. Dialogue rolls out Blood Orange Berliner Weisse, plus their batches of Dialectic DIPA, Sour Pale, Coffee Lager, and Das Palabra (Zwickelbier) are still fresh. La Cumbre also has a Mosaic SMASH if the Full Nelson is too much for you. Marble is releasing Farmhouse 111 at all three locations on tap and in bottles today (Wednesday), plus Raspberry Gose is available along with the new Wave On Lager. Nexus will bring back Kaylynn’s Altbier by this weekend. The massive D.D.U. (Double Down Under) IPA should be on tap at Ponderosa by this weekend. Rio Bravo has a Belgo IPA that went on tap last weekend. Starr Brothers will roll out more Thunderr Ale (IPA) and the new Piney the Apple, a pineapple wheat, later this week. Steel Bender is feeling sessionable with Spell Bender Pils on Thursday.

Up in Santa Fe, Duel has more of its sour wit, Duchamp, on tap, plus a fresh batch of Oui Lourd, an imperial Scottish ale. Rowley Farmhouse Ales has Ab Initio – Passion Fruit on tap, plus it will be selling a limited run of Sanctuario – Blackberry bottles today (Wednesday) for $36 apiece at the brewery only, or you can just enjoy a freshly tapped keg of the beer starting at 4 p.m.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of July 31.

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

Ale Republic — (505) 281-2828

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

Beers: Brune, Blonde, Strong Dark and Handsome, Diablo del Oro, Parasol, Red Mountain. The most recent additions were the Red Mountain (7.5% ABV, 80 IBU), Parasol (4.5% ABV, 20 IBU), and Diablo (9.7% ABV, 20 IBU), which is a hefty Belgian golden strong.

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.

Bistronomy B2B — (505) 262-2222

(Mon–Tues 4-9 p.m., Weds noon-9 p.m., Thurs–Sat noon-9:30 p.m., Sun noon-9 p.m.)

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: El Jeffe Hefeweizen, Frias Belgian-Style Single, June Bock German Lager. Rejoice, for Blue Grasshopper is brewing again! The Friars and June Bock are the more recent additions.

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: La Onza White Ale, Dr. Strangehop XPA, Duke City Lager, Washington’s Hatchet, Zeus Juice White IPA, Betchin Little Pale Ale, Cherry Bomb, Sour Relationship, Sour Strangehop. The Zeus Juice can also be purchased in bombers. Sour Relationship, a special collaboration with Milton’s, NM Cider Co., and Sidetrack, is now available.

Live Music: Friday—DJ Clout, 9 p.m.; Saturday—Paul Hunton, 9 p.m.

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.

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: Desert Kaleidoscope IPA, Don’t Call it a Comeback IPA, Beernana Split, Center Fielder (Extra Pale Ale), Old Man Jameson (Scottish Export), Fruited All the Rage. The Comeback was Bosque’s NMIPAC entry that finished second by just three votes. Fruited All the Rage is pretty much as it sounds, a fruited hazy IPA.

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, Wayward Arrow Hefeweizen, Sun-Bleached Berliner Weisse, El Breakfast Stout, Biere de Garde, Desert Dynamo IPL, Way Out West Farmhouse Sour. The most additions to the lineup were Way Out West, Biere de Garde, Sun-Bleached, Desert Dynamo, and El Breakfast Stout, Cosmic Arrow Brett Saison, Hoodoo Monster Imperial Red. Bow & Arrow is wasting little time adding to their menu after just introducing Cosmic Arrow and Hoodoo Monster last week. This Saturday will feature the debut of Black Chandelier, a Belgian-style stout, and Sour Sumac.

Events: Saturday—Bear Ears National Monument Update, 7-9 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Bow & Arrow has happy hour every Monday through Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. Get $1 off pints. A new late happy hour starts Thursday at 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m.

Boxing Bear Brewing Company — (505) 897-2327

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

Beers: Chocolate Milk Stout (also on nitro), Tropic Thunder IPA, Eastern Standard IPA, Bear Knuckle DIPA, TKO Triple IPA, Barril de Oso, Barrel-aged Chocolate Milk Stout. The most recent additions were the TKO, Barril de Oso, and BA CMS, all of which went on tap for the third anniversary party last month. Bear Knuckle just won back-to-back NM IPA Challenge titles.

Weekly Events: Today (Wednesday)—Geeks Who Drink, 8-10 p.m.

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.

Broken Trail Brewery & Distillery — (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, Double Black IPA, Sancho de la Sierra, Pepe the Mule, Trailworks IPA. OK, fine, Pepe the Mule counts as a beer, even though it is basically a Moscow Mule, but it was made with beer. The Sancho de la Sierra is a rye version of the saison made in collaboration with Jubilation. The Trailworks was made in collaboration with Bikeworks, a neighboring business, with a portion of the proceeds going to trail maintenance in the metro area.

Events: Thursday—An Evening of Smoked Cocktails, 6-9 p.m.

Weekly Events (main location): Today (Wednesday)—Cards Against Humanity hosted by 10 Drink Minimum, 7 p.m.; Sunday—Build-your-own Mule bar, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Tuesday—All house beers are $2 a pint

Canteen Brewhouse — (505) 881-2737 (brewery), (505) 200-2344 (taproom)

(Brewery: Sun–Thurs noon–10 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–midnight; Taproom: Open daily 3–10 p.m.)

Beers: Exodus IPA, Gin Exodus IPA, Coffee Exodus IPA, Mango Exodus IPA, Nitro Exodus IPA, Laid Back Lager, Social Capital, Blood Orange Wheat. Those first five Exodus variants make up this year’s Hop Kwon Do tray for $6 (see our intro).

Live Music: Thursday—TBA, 6-9 p.m.; Sunday—TBA, 4-7 p.m.

Events: Today (Wednesday)—Brain Gang Trivia, 6 p.m.; Monday—Brain Gang Trivia, 6 p.m.

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: Deuces IPA, Ginger Braggot, Kolsch, Gose. The Deuces is a two-hop IPA, the first in a series, made with Amarillo and Simcoe. It tasted great at BearFest. The Ginger Braggot is a collaboration made with Blue Corn.

Dialogue Brewing — (505) 585-1501

(Open daily noon-midnight)

Beers: Belgian Citrus IPA, Berliner Weisse, Sour Raspberry, Boyz N Berry N the Hood, Dialectic DIPA, Blood Orange Berliner Weisse, Sour Pale, Das Palabra (Zwickelbier). The most recent additions are the Dialectic, Blood Orange BW, Sour Pale, and Das Palabra.

Weekly Events: Monday—Service Industry Night, 6 p.m.

Drafty Kilt Brewing — (505) 881-0234

(Sun 11 a.m–10 p.m., Mon 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Tues–Thu 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Groundskeeper Willie Cream Ale, Wee Beastie Scottish Ale, McWabbit Pale Ale, Campbell Toe IPA, Obliviscaris Oatmeal Stout, McRojo or No (Irish Red). Brewer/owner Mike Campbell has five of his own creations on tap at 4814 Hardware Dr. NE, including the Campbell Toe (no snickering). The Obliviscaris is a burly throwback to the stouts of old. The Covfefe Hefe is the most recent addition.

Live Music: Sunday—Funky FUNday with Bob, 3 p.m.

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Geeks Who Drink, 7 p.m.; Thursday—Blues Jam with the Rudy Boy Experiment, 7-10 p.m.; Sunday—Blues Jam with Bob Bolz with Ale-Tail Cocktails, 2-6 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: $1 off pints and 20-ounce pours, Mon-Fri, 3-6 p.m.; “Just Because We Love You Club,” happy hour prices at all times for teachers, first responders, law enforcement, and military with ID; Growler Fill Days on Thu and Sun, $2 off new growlers, $1 off refills

Flix Brewhouse — (505) 445-8500

(Open daily 11 a.m.-midnight)

Beers: Baby You’re Much Too Fast (Irish Red), Gettin’ Caught in the Rain, Brewhouse Shandy, Tart and Soul (Guava Berliner Weisse), Killer Bee Honey Wheat, Tripel Whammy. Gettin’ Caught in the Rain is a pina colada wheat brewed in collaboration with Bosque. The most recent addition is the Tripel Whammy.

Hops Brewery — (505) 369-1378

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

Beers: Dad Joke (California Common), Tipsy Cow (Milk Stout), Warm Scottish Nights, An Irish Tan (English Bitter), Honey Wheat, Chica (Pale Ale). Welcome to the listings, Hops! They have started out with these six beers on tap, but they also have 32 more guest taps, just in case you don’t find one to your liking. Here is our first review.

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: German Porter, Lil Red, Cori and Her Wheat, German Pilsner, Helles Lager, Maibock, Honk Ale, Oaxford IPA, Walnut Cider, DjinnJar Kombucha. The most recent additions are the German Porter and Pilsner. Sounds like a hearty “Prost!” is in order.

Weekly Events (Nob Hill): Thursday—The Desert Darlings, 7-9 p.m.

Weekly Events (Bernalillo): Sunday—Brunch, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., The Desert Darlings, 6-8 p.m.

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.

Kellys Brew Pub — (505) 262-2739

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

Beers: (house) Apricot Ale, Blonde, Farm House Ale, IPA, Red, Scotch Ale, Session IPA; (seasonal) Hefeweizen, Farmhouse Apricot, Mars DIPA. The recent change in ownership at Kellys has led to some seriously improved beers and food, so we decided it was high time to add it to the listings. The summer seasonals are the Hefeweizen and Farmhouse Apricot, replacing the Rye Pale Ale and Dry Stout, plus the Mars DIPA.

Live Music: Every Wednesday 6-9 p.m. and Sunday 3-6 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Thursday Pint night $1 off pints.

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: El Jugo, VMO #2, Mosaic SMASH, All That I Need Kellerbier, An Extra Slice of Hefen. The VMO #2 is a lovely Marzen. Full Nelson returns this Friday on tap and in bottles.

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

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Trivia or Loteria (alternates by week), 6:30-8:30 p.m. (NOTE: It will be Simpsons trivia this coming Tuesday!)

Lizard Tail Brewing — (505) 717-1301

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

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

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.

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Geeks Who Drink, 8 p.m.; Thursday—Karaoke, 8-11 p.m.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739 (downtown), (505) 508-4638 (Westside), (505) 323-4030 (Heights)

(Downtown: Mon–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10:30 p.m.; Westside: Mon–Thurs noon–11 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10 p.m.; Heights: Mon–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10:30 p.m.)

Beers: 111 Farmhouse, Wheels of Soul Pale Ale, Belgo Petite, Wave On (Lager), DANG Pale Ale, Cherry Gose, Peach Gose, Mango Gose, Strawberry Gose, Raspberry Gose, Passionate Gose (Heights only), Plum Gose (Westside only), Imperial Red (Westside only), Pilsner Anejo (Westside only). There are so, so many beers between the three locations. Don’t feel bad if you can’t get to them all. The newest additions are the Raspberry Gose and Wave On, at least until 111 Farmhouse joins them on tap, plus for sale in bottles at all three locations. For the Wheels of Soul Pale Ale, a portion of the proceeds will go to charity.

Live Music (Downtown): Today (Wednesday)—Detroit Lightning, 7-10 p.m.; Thursday—Red Sage, 7-10 p.m.; Friday—Mondo Vibrations, 8-11 p.m.; Saturday—Baracutanga with Banda Atomica, 8-11 p.m.

Live Music (Heights): Friday—Kyle Martin, 7-10 p.m.; Saturday—Delphia, 7-10 p.m.

Live Music (Westside): Friday—TBA, 8-11 p.m.; Saturday—TBA, 8-11 p.m.

Weekly Events (Downtown): Saturday—Brewery tours, 2 p.m.

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100 (brewery), (505) 226-1055 (Silver Taproom)

(Brewery: 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.; Silver Taproom: Mon–Fri 4-10 p.m., Sat noon-10 p.m., Sun noon-9 p.m.)

Beers: Beam Me Up Scotty, Kolsch, Double Bird of Prey, Imperial Pilsner, 505 Collab (Silver only), Darker Fare (Silver only). The most recent additions are the Kolsch, Double Bird, and Imperial Pilsner. Kaylynn’s Altbier should be on tap at both locations by this weekend, if not sooner.

Happy Hour/Discounts (Brewery): Monday–Friday, $5 appetizers, 3-5 p.m.

Weekly Events (Silver Taproom): Saturday—a live DJ will perform; Sunday—a live band will perform at 2 p.m.

Palmer Brewery and Cider House — (505) 508-0508

(Tues–Sat 3–9 p.m.)

Beers: MWA (Malt With Attitude), Guero (Belgian Wit), Pale Ale, Cockness Monster (Scotch Ale), Palmergranite Wit, Cafe Pale Ale, Switch Stance Stout. Palmer shares a building with Left Turn Distilling on Girard south of Candelaria.

Ponderosa Brewing Co. — (505) 639-5941

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

Beers: Vic’s Secret Pale Ale, Hoppy Pilsner, Hop Burst Ale, Saison, Imperial Brown, Rapsberry Saison. The Imperial Brown and Raspberry Saison are the most recent additions, taking one spot vacated by Spanglish. The D.D.U. (Double Down Under) IPA will join them by this weekend.

Live Music: Today (Wednesday)—The Draft Sessions, 7-9 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: Denali SMASH Pale Ale, Saoirse Hefe, Gondola Party Starter IPA, Berliner Weisse, Mike’s Beer (American Pilsner), Clark (Juiced) IPA. The amped-up version of Clark on tap is QC’s NMIPAC entry. The Berliner and Mike’s Beer are the other recent additions. There will also be a special cask-conditioned version of Rye’t Side of Dublin available long with Clark, Mor-buck IPA, and regular Rye’t for National IPA Day this Thursday (see our intro).

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: Blackberry Hefeweizen, Dog Days Kolsch, White AF IPA, Rye Steam (downtown only), Open Saison (downtown only). The Dog Days Kolsch and White AF IPA are the most recent additions. The latter was brewed for NMIPAC.

Weekly Events (Brewery): Monday—The Draft Sessions, 7-9 p.m.

Weekly Events (Taproom): Tuesday—Geeks Who Drink, 7-9 p.m.

Rio Bravo Brewing Company — (505) 900-3909

(Mon noon–10 p.m., Tues–Thu noon–11 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–1 a.m., Sun 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Rio Bravo Amber, Weizen, Randy’s Shandy, Dirty Rotten Bastard IPA, Snakebite IPA, Roadkill Red Ale, La Luz Lager, Old Town Porter (regular and barrel-aged), Vanilla Porter, NM Pinon Coffee Porter, Oatmeal Stout, Barrel-aged Belgian Strong Golden, Level 3 IPA, Imperial Russian Stout (regular and barrel-aged), Lemongrass Wit, Peach Gose, Cherry Sour, Kolsch, Hibiscus Mojito, Penguin Lager, Belgian Blonde, Cherry Wheat, Belgo IPA. A portion of the Penguin Lager proceeds are going to the new exhibit at the ABQ Bio Park. There are now three barrel-aged beers on tap in the Porter, RIS, and Belgian Strong. Belgo IPA is the most recent addition.

Live Music: Thursday—Seth Hoffman, 8-10 p.m.; Friday—Felix y los Gatos, 8-10 p.m.

Other Events: Friday—Headliners Comedy presents Friday Night Fools ($5 cover, event only), 9:30 p.m.; Saturday—Fast NM Furious Beer and Wine Tasting ($10 cover, event only), 5-10 p.m.

Weekly Events: Today (Wednesday)—Movie Night, 7 p.m.; Thursday—Girls Pint Out, all day; Sunday—Pints & Planks with Yoga Zo

Sidetrack Brewing — (505) 832-7183

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

Beers: Sidetrack Pilsner, Downshift Pale Ale, Switchgear IPA, Golden WHEELS Ale, Pub Ale, Railhead Red. The most recent addition is the Downshift Pale Ale. A portion of the proceeds from the Golden WHEELS Ale will go to helping the WHEELS Museum open its doors soon.

Cask: The Switchgear and Downshift are in the firkins.

Live Music: Saturday—Alex Maryol, 7 p.m.

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Taco Tuesday, all day

Starr Brothers Brewing — (505) 492-2752

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

Beers: Starrstruck IPA, L.A. Woman (Blonde), Red Zepplin, Lampshade Porter, Electric Sun American Wheat, Starrphire Pilsner, Starrgazm IPA 2.0, A Roll in Ze Hay (Hefeweizen), Brown Chicken Brown Cow. A Roll in Ze Hay channels the best from Young Frankenstein. Thunderr Ale (IPA) and Piney the Apple, a pineapple wheat, will be on tap by this weekend.

Steel Bender Brewyard — (505) 433-3537

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

Beers: (house) Skull Bucket IPA, Red Iron Red, Sparkfitter Amber, Lloyd’s 3 O’Clock Kolsch, Blue Bullet Stout, The Village Wit; (seasonals/specialties) Misfitter Altbier, 505 Collaboration, Wheels of Soul Black (Hole Sun) IPA, Skull Crusher DIPA, The Village Tart Blood Orange, Hibiscus Gose. Say hello to the Skull Crusher, SBB’s NMIPAC entry. The Village Tart and Hibiscus Gose were the most recent additions, at least until Spell Bender Pils debuts Thursday.

The 377 Brewery — (505) 934-0795

(Open noon-11 p.m. most days)

Beers: (house) 377 IPA, Dieterhosen Hefe, Project El CuCuy (DIPA), Fat Brown Guy (Porter), Red Horse NM Lager, Swartzbier; (seasonals) English Best Bitter, Red Rocket (Double Red), Black Ops Hops, Kolsch, Full Booty Stout (on nitro), Scottish Ale, Summer Saison, Plum Sour, Berliner Weisse. Thanks to the magic of Untappd, we now have a breakdown of The 377’s beers. The Berliner Weisse is the most recent addition.

Events: Saturday—AHCC Get Crafty with your Business, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

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

(Nob Hill: Sun–Weds noon–midnight, Thurs noon–2 a.m., Fri–Sat noon–2 a.m.; Wells Park: Mon–Thurs 3 p.m.–close, Fri–Sun 1 p.m.–midnight)

Beers: Barnstorm Ale, Holstein & Hops, Minute-4, Cascara Cider, Apricot Wheat, Half Acre Hefe, Tupac Cali Red, Thai Basil Mint Cider, Berry Cider, Big Sipper IPA, Scout Golden Ale, Delicious Golden Dry Cider, Ghost Ranch IPA (Nob Hill only), Flanders Red Ale (Wells Park only), Milk Stout on nitro (Wells Park only). The Thai Basil Mint Cider was the most recent addition until Scout Golden Ale debuted and a fresh batch of Big Sipper IPA joined the list. Now Ghost Ranch IPA returns as well.

Live Music (Wells Park): Thursday—Melissa Rios, 8 p.m.; Saturday—Julian Wild, 8 p.m.

Live Music (Nob Hill): Today (Wednesday)—Jacob Chavez, 8:30 p.m.; Saturday—Alex Maryol, 5 p.m.

Other Events (Wells Park): Today (Wednesday)—Poetry and Beer, 7 p.m.; Saturday—Celeste Spoken Art Opening and Glass Release, 7 p.m.

Other Events (Nob Hill): Saturday—Santi Rivera Art Opening, 6 p.m.

Weekly Events (Wells Park): Monday—Monday Night Film Club, 8 p.m.; Tuesday—Kamikaze Karaoke, 7 p.m.

Weekly Events (Nob Hill): Today (Wednesday)—Writing Wednesdays, 5 p.m.; Monday—Tractor Tune Up, 7:30 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.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Tractor now has a late happy hour from 9 p.m. to midnight on Mondays with $2.25 classic beers and $3.25 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: Stuccon Saison, Lil’ Shelly (Pale Ale), Keller Collab, Yum Yum Colada, Yum Yum OG, My Kolsche. The Yum Yum Colada is a pina colada kettle sour. The My Kolsche and Yum Yum OG are the most recent additions.

Cask: Tuesday—TBA

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Open daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Hella Humulus Collaboration IPA, Hefeweizen, Gatekeeper IPA, Merry Prankster’s Sour Ale. The Gatekeeper was Blue Corn’s entry in NMIPAC.

Chili Line Brewing — (505) 500-7903

(Mon–Sat 4–11 p.m., Sun 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m.)

Beers: El Jefe (Rauchweizen), sIPApu (India Pale Lager), Antonio Bandito (Dunkelweizen), Llorona Lager, Pineapple IPA, Porter, Vienna Lager, La Bamba (Rauchbier), Stada Baba (Oak Smoked Polish Gratzer). The last five beers there are the most recent additions to the lineup.

Live Music: Every night at 7 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Reverse happy hour after 9 p.m. includes $1 off pints, $6 appetizers, $10 entrees and pizzas.

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

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

Beers: Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Oui Lourd, WWWMD (Barrel-Aged Whistler), Manikin (Scottish), Cezanne Origine, Ensor (Sour), Turncoat, Monomyth, Marcel, Sans Titre (Amber Sour), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Duchamp (Sour Wit). The Origine is the current spring saison from Duel. The Duchamp, Oui Lourd (Imperial Scottish), Fantin, Sans Titre, Turncoat (Sour Scotch), Monomyth (DIPA), and Marcel (Wit) are the most recent additions. The WWWMD acronym stands for What Would Whistler’s Mother Do.

Events (ABQ taproom): Friday—Vintage Nights: Summer of Love Edition, 7 p.m.

Live Music (ABQ taproom): Saturday—Syncopation: Techno Sessions, 8-11 p.m.

Weekly Events (ABQ taproom): Tuesday—Bike-In Brew, 7 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts (Brewery): Happy hour Mon–Fri, 4-6 p.m. (discounts for all draft beer), Growler Saturdays ($3 off growler fills).

Happy Hour/Discounts (ABQ taproom): Happy hour Mon–Fri, 5-7 p.m.

Rowley Farmhouse Ales — (505) 428-0719

(Open all week from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

Beers: Fields of Rye, Saison du Sarlacc, Agent Scully – Season One, Episode Three (IPA),  Germophile (Berliner Weisse), Ab Initio with Passion Fruit, Meier (Meyer Lemon Gose), No BU For You (Zero IBU IPA). The Agent Scully is a new series of IPAs which will vary by hop combinations. This is a new batch of Fields of Rye dry-hopped with Citra. Today (Wednesday) at 4 p.m., a single keg of Sanctuario – Blackberry will be tapped, with a limited number of bottles for sale as well at $36 apiece.

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: Freestyle Pilsner, Autonomous Collective IPA. We haven’t gotten an update from SFBC in so long we really have no idea what’s on tap at this point. We’re sure it’s good, but beyond that, it’s all a mystery.

Events (ABQ taproom): Saturday—Adoption Event with Watermelon Mountain Ranch, 11 a.m.-2 p.m

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, 2920 Pale Ale, IPA Challenge IPA, 2920 IPA, English Summer Ale, Rail Runner Pale Ale, Railyard Red. The most recent additions are the 2920 IPA, Railyard Red, and English Summer Ale.

Live Music (Original location): TBA

Live Music (Railyard): TBA

Weekly Events (Railyard): Today (Wednesday)—Geeks Who Drink, 8 p.m.

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: The Tripel Lindy, Wit Rock, Crazy Mother IPA, Betty on Brett, Spearmint Stout, Jarrylo Pale Ale, Beedle’s Apple Ale, Catcher ‘n the Rye, Double Barrel Bourbon Brown. The most recent tap turnover went down in Los Alamos with Crazy Mother, Betty, Spearmint, Jarrylo, Beedle’s, and Catcher making their debuts. The Bourbon Brown (8.7% ABV) has now joined them.

Sierra Blanca Brewing — (505) 832-2337

(Mon–Thurs 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Fri –Sat 11 a.m.–9 p.m.)

Beers: Barrel-aged Whiskey Stout, Cherry Sour, Interstella Vanilla, Cherry Wheat, Single Hop IPA. The Whiskey Stout is back for a short time. The Cherry Sour is back for another run. Cherry Wheat is also now available in six packs.

* * * *

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

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.

* * * * *

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!

* * * * *

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