Posts Tagged ‘Cazuelas’

The time has come to feast once again at Pork & Brew! (Photo courtesy of Alex Archuleta)

The annual feast festival that is Pork & Brew returns to the Rio Rancho Star Center this weekend, with three local breweries joining in on the fun.

Tractor and Turtle Mountain went so far as to do their first collaboration beer (that we know of) in the form of the Chicharrón Red Lager. Per an email from TMBC head brewer Mick Hahn, the lager checks in at 5.3-percent ABV and 34 IBU, hopped with Chinook and Sorachi Ace.

“It is juicy up front and finishes with a spiciness that should complement BBQ really nicely,“ Mick wrote.

Star Center director of marketing Alex Archuleta got to visit TMBC on the day of brewing back in May.

“It was cool for those guys to do a collaboration,” Alex asaid. “I got to go over there and check it out. You guys know about brewing, but I’ve only seen it a few times. It’s awesome. It’s such a science and it’s cool.”


It’s back for the 15th time! (Photos courtesy of Alex Archuleta)

The 15th annual Pork & Brew Festival is returning to the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho from June 29 through July 1. The Crew sat down with SASC director of marketing Alex Archuleta to get all the details for all of you beer and barbecue lovers.

“We call it New Mexico’s original food festival,” Alex said. “It’s been around for 15 years, so it’s kind of stood the test of time. Rio Rancho’s real proud of it.”

The goal of the organizers this year is to make the event more friendly to customers. The first change, Alex said, was to change the hours on the opening Friday from all day to 3 to 9 p.m.

“Something a little different we’re doing on Friday is running it from 3 to 9, so hopefully we’ll capture more of that after-work crowd,” he said, while also noting that it tends to be the least crowded day, if huge crowds are not your thing. “If we’re on a date that’s not as packed, it will be Friday, because people get off work and go home, and once you get home, you stay home.”


We gotta admit, that is one excellent logo.

The July 4 weekend is almost here, which means it is once again time for Pork & Brew in Rio Rancho at the Santa Ana Star Center. I sat down with Noah Trujillo and Alex Archuleta from the Rio Rancho Convention and Visitors Bureau to see what is up with the 14th annual edition of this popular beer-and-food festival, set for Saturday, July 1, through Monday, July 3.

“Looking back to last year, that was the best the event has ever done,” Noah said. “Our attendance numbers were up, but people also seemed to be spending (more) money. The vendors did realy well, both food and beer. To put it mildly, the event was packed. On Saturday and Sunday, the Fourth was a Monday last year, it was a little slower that day, but Saturday and Sunday were insane. Hopefully that happens again.”

As always, they wanted to remind folks this is a family friendly event. The same three local breweries as last year — Cazuela’s, Red Door, Tractor — will be in attendance. It is a purchasing event, not a sampling event. Each brewery was kind enough to send us their beer lists this far in advance.

Tractor brewed up the official beer of the festival, Big Sipper IPA, which is still on sale in cans around the state. In addition, Tractor will have Haymaker Honey Wheat, Delicious Red Apple Cider, New Mexican Lager, Mustachio Milk Stout, and Berry Cider.

Cazuela’s will once again bring Porky’s Malt Liquor, their special entry for the festival, plus Acapulco Red, Pilsner, Idaho SMASH IPA, and their Beergaritas.

Red Door will have their specialty entry, Sowbelly Blonde, plus Trapdoor White Ale, Roamer Red, and Open Saison. Noah also said that the brewery tent has been expanded this year, with more seating for patrons to enjoy.

In addition to the beer, there will be plenty of BBQ for people to sample. The competition will no longer take place, freeing up time and space. There will be a special BBQ 101, hosted by the Texas Bib Rangers, an award-winning husband-and-wife duo who have won more than 1,000 major show awards. They will show you how to make the best BBQ from start to finish. It will take place every day from 3 to 4 p.m.

“Barbecue 101 is one of those (new) things,” Noah said. “We’ve never had a cooking demo at this event, so people can see how their food is made and the process it goes through. We’re having those cooking demos every day.”

The Cooking Channel show Carnival Eats will also be on hand for the first time, filming all day Saturday and Sunday, for a future episode. It is the top-ranked show on the cable station.

For the kids, Galloping Grace Youth Ranch will be back with an even bigger setup.

“Galloping Grace Youth Ranch, they’ll be back at the event, but they’re expanding,” Noah said. “They kind of do the midway. They’re expanding that into more interactive games for the kids. They’ll have their petting zoo. They’re also using this to get ready for fair season, showing off their animals and things like that.”

There will also be a daily raffle for a Traeger Smoker, plus every day after BBQ 101 is over, a raffle will be held for a Charbroil Smoker. In other words, win a smoker, which will win you many more friends. Perhaps even the Crew, for we love smoked meats.

Plenty of local musicians will also be on hand, many of which are regulars on brewery stages. Here is the updated schedule.

Saturday, July 1

  • The Gershom Brothers (Brew Tent Stage), 11 a.m.
  • Toby McBrooks (SASC Stage), 12:30 p.m.
  • Rippy and the Sillyettes (Brew Trent Stage), 3:15 p.m.
  • The Noms (SASC Stage), 3:30 p.m.
  • Avenge Apollo (Brew Tent Stage), 5 p.m.
  • Twist & Shout (SASC Stage), 5:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 2

  • Toby McBrooks (SASC Stage), 11 a.m.
  • Bosque Blues (Brew Tent Stage), 11 a.m.
  • Eileen and the Cross Country Stage (SASC Stage), 12:30 p.m.
  • Ancient Bones (Brew Tent Stage), 3:15 p.m.
  • Red Wine (SASC Stage), 3:45 p.m.
  • Split Decision (SASC Stage), 5:30 p.m.

Monday, July 3

  • Toby McBrooks (SASC Stage), 11 a.m.
  • Danny the Harp (Brew Tent Stage), 11 a.m.
  • Mungo Mike (SASC Stage), 12:30 p.m.
  • Red Wine (SASC Stage), 3:30 p.m.

The event times are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on July 1-2, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 3. There will be events going on inside the Star Center, if you need a break from the parking lot heat, or should a random monsoon drop in like it did two years ago.

Tickets are $6 per day for adults, $4 for children ages 4-12 and for seniors 65 and over, and children 3 and under get in free. Active duty and retired military also get in for $4 with ID.

Grab some sunscreen, take your appetite, and have fun out there next weekend!


— Stoutmeister

Day Ten pushes us closer to the end. (sniff)

The end is almost here. It’s OK to be a little melancholy about Beer Week being almost over.

After all, you will only have our 30-plus amazing local breweries to keep you happy through the rest of the summer.

Oh, darn.

Anyway, all sarcasm aside, there are a lot of varied events today, with plenty of beer-and-food offerings, special releases, and the ultimate ode to cider.

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: Great Divide Special Tapping. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 5 p.m. to close. Cost: No cover charge.

Details: Join the Crew and other lovers of the dark side of beer for the tappings of two beers never before served in New Mexico. We shall indulge in Barrel-Aged Chocolate Yeti and She Said, I Brew, a barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout. Great Divide is one of our favorite Colorado breweries, or just breweries period, and these should be two amazing examples of just why we believe that.

Why you should go: Tell summer to go to hell and let your mind travel back to the dead of winter, to the olden days of the Norsemen with Amon Amarth as your soundtrack!

All the other great events

What: Yappy Hour with Watermelon Mountain Ranch. Where: Cazuela’s. When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Head to the Cazuela’s patio for a special fundraiser and adoption event for WMR. Why you should go: Get a beer, get a bite to eat, go home with a new best friend.

What: Special Release of Mangose. Where: Quarter Celtic. When: 11 a.m. to close. Cost: No cover charge. Details: QC releases their new mango gose, which debuted during Blues & Brews, to the general public. Why you should go: Admit it, you’re curious as to just how a mango and gose go together.

What: Ladies Loving Beer Luncheon. Where: Marble Westside. When: 12-2 p.m. Cost: $30 per person. Details: Join the women of Marble for an interactive discussion about beer while enjoying a special four-course meal from Ohana Hut. There will be goody bags and a special surprise announcement at the end of the event. Why you should go: Women invented beer, so they definitely deserve their own event.

What: Food Truck Battle. Where: Red Door. When: 12-4 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: A slew of food trucks will be parked at the Candelaria location, offering up their finest dishes for you to judge. A winner will be crowned at the end. Why you should go: We don’t have a list of the attending trucks, but we’re guessing it will be many of the local heavyweights.

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: Sierra Nevada and Girl Scout Cookie Pairing. Where: O’Niell’s Heights. When: 4-6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Flights of Sierra Nevada beers are paired with Girl Scout Cookies. Need we say more? Why you should go: Cookies and beer!

What: Cider Day Night Fever. Where: Tractor Nob Hill. When: 5-10 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: DJ Wae Fonkey will provide the disco tunes, you wear the costume and bring your love of ciders. There will be five Tractor ciders, two each from Red Door, Santa Fe Cider Works, The Craft Room, NM Hard Cider, and Palmer Brewery & Cider House, and one from Skarsgard Farms. That’s 16 if math is not your strong suit. Why you should go: If you love ciders and don’t go, well, then there’s no hope for you.

What: Jodie Herrera Art Opening, Glass and Beer Release. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 7-10 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Artist Jodie Herrera designed a special glass for the Berry Cider, plus her art will be on the walls and the Blank Tapes will provide the music starting at 8 p.m. Why you should go: Celebrate a local artist and local band with local brews and ciders.

What: Upslope Beer Dinner. Where: M’tucci’s Market and Deli. When: 7-10 p.m. Cost: $55 per person. Details: Feast upon an epic five-course meal paired with Upslope beers. The dessert is paired with the barrel-aged imperial stout with coffee, which is reason enough to go. Why you should go: Five dishes upon which to feast, five beers to wash them down. Victory is yours!

* * * * *

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

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


— 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!


— Stoutmeister

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

Due to work commitments, most of the Crew will not be at Hopfest this year. Raise a glass and the horns in our honor while you are there.

Ah, late August, when the hints of cooler weather arrive, the kids go back to school, football (both American and international) revs up, and Hopfest takes over Isleta Casino. Hey, at nine years old, we can pretty much declare Hopfest an annual tradition.

The largest beer festival in New Mexico returns this Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. If you not bought your tickets yet, get them now, particularly if you want VIP or extra hoppy hour, which we highly recommend. For tickets and info, click on the event website.

There are 18 breweries from our state that will send beers to the event this year. We did our best to get you the beer lists, or at least confirm if the event program has the right beers listed. We will update this post if we get any late corrections/additions.

  • Albuquerque Brewing: Imperial Red Ale, Duke’s Pale Ale
  • B2B: Coconut Porter, Raspberry Wheat
  • Bathtub Row: Red Hammer Ale, Hoppenheimer IPA, Wit Rock, Green Chile Pilsner
  • Cazuela’s: Agave (American Wheat), Acapulco Gold, Panama Red, Papacabra DIPA
  • Duel: TBA
  • Enchanted Circle: Hells Bells Lager, ESB, Red River Red Ale, Session IPA, Glory Hole IPA
  • Eske’s: Rat Queen DIPA, Wheat IPA
  • Kellys: Amber, Session IPA, Apricot Ale
  • Marble: Double White, Imperial Red, Dang Pale Ale, Stout Americano
  • Oso Loco Brewery (Sandia Chile Grill): Irish Red, Chocolate Brown
  • Pi: Discordia IPA, Scotty Doesn’t Know, Pineapple Express, Cardinal Sin
  • Ponderosa: Berliner Weisse, Cascadian Pilsner, Wry Ale, Crosscut Kolsch
  • Quarter Celtic: Pedro O’Flangan, Dusk’s Early Night, MacLomas Stout, #GFF
  • Red Door: Trapdoor Belgian Wit, Roamer Red, Threshold IPA, Paint It Black Milk Stout, Unhinged Cider, Vanilla Cream Ale, Blackberry Hefeweizen, Nieuwe Bruin
  • Rio Bravo: Karl’s Krystal Weizen, Duke City Pilsner, Rio Bravo Amber, Dirty Rotten Bastard IPA, Snakebite IPA, RoadKill Red, Old Town Porter
  • Santa Fe: Oktoberfest, Autonomous Collective IPA, Imperial Java Stout
  • Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande: IPA, Pancho Verde Chile Cerveza, Sun Chaser Pale Ale, Bone Chiller Brown Ale
  • Tractor: Farmer’s Almanac IPA, Farmer’s Tan Red Ale, Milk Mustachio Stout, Delicious Red Hard Apple Cider, Dank Johnson DIPA, Hillario DIPA, Kolsch

Definitely take the time to try Enchanted Circle, they just opened in Angel Fire back in April. Eske’s has new ownership, so it might be interesting to see what that has done to their beers. Otherwise, among the beers worth trying are Hoppenheimer IPA (Bathtub Row), Stout Americano (Marble), Scotty Doesn’t Know (Pi), MacLomas Stout (Quarter Celtic), Nieuwe Bruin (Red Door), Old Town Porter (Rio Bravo), Autonomous Collective (Santa Fe), and Dank Johnson DIPA (Tractor). Or, try as many as you safely can, and let us know what were your favorites.

Also present, of course, will be the Dukes of Ale. You need to visit their booth to try all the excellent home brews and help vote for a winner.

Broken Trail will also be there, but they are only listed as bringing their rum and vodka, no beer. If you are into ciders, Sandia Hard Cider will be present.

As for the many, many national brands, a few have some beers worth checking out. BJ’s has Hop Pact IPA, a collaboration with Green Flash. Boston Beer (Samuel Adams) has the new (?) Toasted Caramel Bock. Firestone Walker, still fairly new to our state, has the wondrous Luponic Distortion. Mother Road usually brings something extra from Flagstaff beyond the usual beers, though Tower Station IPA and Lost Highway Black IPA are worth your time if you have not had them before. If you have been remiss in checking out the Imperial IPA from Upslope, here is your chance. Also, new to the state is The Dudes Brewing Co. No beers were listed for them in the program, but I tried a DIPA at the brewery in Torrance, Calif., two months ago and it would stand up to our local hop bombs. There are many other beers to try, as well, from old favorites to seasonals to new ones, so please, sample away and let us know which are your favorites.

Above all else, have fun, try not to go overboard, and celebrate craft beer this Saturday. Do it because I cannot, since the Isotopes suddenly decided they want to win their division and I have to be out here covering them.


— Stoutmeister

This year's many, many IPA entries.

This year’s many, many IPA entries.

And we are off! The preliminary round of the 2016 New Mexico IPA Challenge is complete, with 16 15 breweries advancing to the three main rounds that will begin next weekend at Santa Fe Brewing. This came out of the 28 beers that were sampled in a blind taste test Saturday afternoon at Rio Bravo.

Editor’s note: We have been updated by the Guild that Rio Bravo does not advance.

Were there surprises? Of course, both in some of the breweries that scored well and in some that did not. One of the new wrinkles in NMIPAC is that the three host breweries — Santa Fe, 3 Rivers, Tractor — were guaranteed to advance no matter their voting totals. In the end, only the first needed that bye to advance, as 3 Rivers (nine votes) and Tractor (seven votes) would have qualified regardless.

The results of the preliminary round, with the breweries listed by their numbers on the left, voting totals on the right.

The results of the preliminary round, with the breweries listed by their numbers on the left, voting totals on the right.

Every brewery that was eliminated garnered less than seven votes. Those are, with voting totals included, Bathtub Row (4), Cazuela’s (1), Chama River (2), Enchanted Circle (2), Kaktus (2), Little Toad Creek (4), Lizard Tail (3), Marble (6), Rio Bravo (3), Roosevelt (4), Sierra Blanca (6), Spotted Dog (1), and Turtle Mountain (2). While some of those breweries are newer or in more remote locations, seeing big names like Chama, Marble, Sierra Blanca, and Turtle were all surprising.

The advancing breweries, including the hosts, are Blue Corn (10), Bosque (13), Boxing Bear (33), Canteen (33), Chili Line (10), La Cumbre (13), Quarter Celtic (24), Red Door (7), Santa Fe (3), Second Street (7), Sidetrack (7), Starr Brothers (17), Taos Mesa (13), 3 Rivers (9), and Tractor (7). In terms of the two trays, numbered 1-14 and 15-28, the leaders were Boxing Bear and Canteen for the first tray and Quarter Celtic for the second tray. It was nice to see some of the newcomers, all of whom opened this year, make the final cut in Chili Line, Quarter Celtic, Sidetrack, and Starr Brothers.

In the interest of full disclosure, Brandon had the first tray and picked Canteen. I had the second tray and picked Starr Brothers, though it was close between their offering and Quarter Celtic.

The next round of NMIPAC will be Saturday, July 16, at Santa Fe, followed by a stop at 3 Rivers in Farmington on July 20, and the grand finale at Tractor Wells Park on July 23. Luke will have the SFBC stop covered for us, and the rest of the Crew will see you all at Wells Park.


— Stoutmeister

p.s. Kudos to the staff at Rio Bravo for putting on such a smoothly-run event. All of us attendees appreciated your hard work!

Pork & Brew is back at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, featuring three local breweries in the beer tent.

Pork & Brew is back at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, featuring three local breweries in the beer tent.

It is another Fourth of July weekend, which means it is once again time for Pork & Brew. The 13th annual edition of this Rio Rancho-based event will take place this Saturday through Monday at the Santa Ana Star Center. Just like last year, there will be quite a bit of craft beer on tap.

“This is not a (traditional) beer fest, but the beer vendors do just fine,” said Noah Trujillo of the Rio Rancho Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It’s more of a family event.”

Local beer will be available in the beer tent outdoors, plus there should be some additional national brands available on tap inside the Star Center. Cazuela’s and Red Door will be back, while Tractor joins the fun. Not attending this year are Kaktus and Turtle Mountain.

Cazuela’s will have the new Porky’s Malt Liquor, plus old favorites Chupacabra IPA, Panama Red, Piedra del Fuego Cream Ale, and Acapulco Gold Mexican Lager. They will also be making beer-garitas.

Red Door again made the Sowbelly Blonde just for the event. It will be joined by Roamer Red, Paint It Black Milk Stout, and Trapdoor Belgian Wit.

Tractor joins the fun with the new Sam’s Honey Glazed Shandy, plus they will Delicious Red Apple Cider, Cerveza Mexican Lager, and Haymaker Honey Wheat on tap. You can also purchase cans of Almanac IPA, Farmer’s Tan Red, and Milk Mustachio Stout.

“One thing I kind of like to let people know when they come to the event, you’re not going to find long lines, you’re not going to wait 45 minutes for food,” Noah said. “I’ve heard that’s been happening at a lot of events. You’ll be able to go get beer, go get food, and sit down inside or outside. The indoor/outdoor layout lends itself to comfort. If it rains for a little bit, you can go inside. We’ve been doing the event for long enough where we’ve kind of mastered short lines and people being able to actually enjoy the event rather than standing in line for 30 to 45 minutes.”

In addition to the beer, here is the music lineup between the two stages.

“We’ll have live music both inside and outside,” Noah said. “Last year was the first year we did an outdoor stage in the beer area and obviously it went over well. A lot of local bands will be playing outside. Obviously we’re going to build on that.”

  • Saturday (Brew Tent Stage)—Bosque Blues, 11:30 a.m., Gershom Brothers, 4 p.m.
  • Saturday (SASC Stage)—Toby McBrooks, 12:30 p.m., Split Decision, 3:30 p.m., Twist & Shout, 5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday (Brew Tent Stage)—Danny the Harp, 11 a.m., Ancient Bones, 3:15 p.m.
  • Sunday (SASC Stage)—Toby McBrooks, 11 a.m., Bob Farrell & Brushfire, 12:30 p.m., Red Wine, 5:30 p.m.
  • Monday (Brew Tent Stage)—Bosque Blues, noon
  • Monday (SASC Stage)—Toby McBrooks, 11 a.m., 3rd Element, 12:30 p.m., Red Wine, 3:45 p.m.

There will be special eating contests, watermelons for kids and pies for adults, on the main stage every day. They will start at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, 2 p.m. on Sunday, and 2:15 p.m. on Monday.

The BBQ Award Ceremony will be Sunday at 4 p.m.

“On the kids’ side, there are two components that we hope will draw people in,” Noah said. “Galloping Grace Youth Ranch will have a petting zoo and a pig race.

“This year we’re doing a mascot day on Saturday. Orbit will be there. I did not know this until a couple weeks ago, but CNM has a mascot. The Sun Cat will be there. There will be a few others. It looks like we’ll have eight to 10 mascots floating around the event. That’s a little bit different.”

The exact hours for all three days will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday. It costs $6 for general admission, but active duty military (with ID), seniors over 65, and kids between 4 and 12 only cost $4. Kids 3 and under are free.

Just don’t forget the sunblock, and enjoy the weekend!


— Stoutmeister

One IPA to rule them all!

One IPA to rule them all!

The announcement went out on Tuesday, and hopheads across the state rejoiced, for the New Mexico IPA Challenge is returning to the land. Now 28 breweries will do battle, as all seek to remove the three-time king, John Bullard, from his iron throne.

OK, fine, it is a bit of Game of Thrones there, but that is the theme this year, said NM Brewers Guild director John Gozigian. We met for some pints and a good old information download at Bosque Brewing on Wednesday afternoon.

“We’re kind of running with a Game of Thrones theme,” John said. “It all makes sense. The brewing community in New Mexico is kind of incestuous, it really is. Everybody’s worked here and there. All the houses have been mixed, kind of, so it kind of lends itself to that.

“You’ve got a guy like John Bullard who’s won it three years in a row for two different breweries. He’s the guy that everybody wants to dethrone. You’ve got all these usurpers out there that would love nothing better than to make him pay.”

Bullard has won three in a row, the last two at Bosque and two before that Blue Corn. His title defense starts on Saturday, July 9, at Rio Bravo for the preliminary round. After that, the scoring rounds will be at Santa Fe Brewing on July 16, at Three Rivers Brewery in Farmington on July 16, and the grand finale will be at Tractor Wells Park on July 23.

The other 27 combatants who will face off with Bosque are, deep breath, as follows (* = confirmed first-time participant): Bathtub Row, Blue Corn, Boxing Bear, Canteen, Cazuela’s, Chama River, Chili Line*, Enchanted Circle*, Kaktus, La Cumbre, Little Toad Creek, Lizard Tail, Marble, Quarter Celtic*, Red Door, Rio Bravo*, Roosevelt, Santa Fe, Second Street, Sidetrack*, Sierra Blanca, Spotted Dog, Starr Brothers*, Taos Mesa, Three Rivers, Tractor, Turtle Mountain

Last year there were 23 participants, so to get to 28 is immense in and of itself. Rather than copy the same format as the VIPA Challenge, there will instead be a new format for the opening round at Rio Bravo.

“It’s going to be a little different though it’s going to accomplish the same end,” John said. “Last year was the first time that we had to winnow the field down to a manageable amount of beers to take on the road, so attendees at the subsequent stops got all of them in one sitting.

“We capped it this year at 28 breweries. They can only enter one beer. It all goes back to the lunch lady trays that we’ve always used. You can fit 14 of those plastic tumblers on one of those trays. You can fit 2-to-3 ounces in there, a big enough sample where you can reasonably evaluate the beer. So, that limits it to 14 in a flight. Plus, given the quantity of each one, you can’t go less than 2 ounces, so that ends up (28) ounces of beer per flight, plus you get the complimentary pint. We don’t want people to over-consume.”

The format now will feature two separate trays, labeled A and B. One will have beers numbered one through 14, the other 15 through 28. Each attendee will only receive one of the two trays, and will rank the beers on his/her tray only. An equal number of the two trays will be distributed so all beers will have an equal chance, regardless of which tray they are on.

“We’re going to be smart, the ones that have done well in the past, they’re not going to all be on one flight,” John said. “They’re going to be spread out in a way that makes sense. We’re going to take the top 12 to 14 out of that first round at Rio Bravo and then take those to the next stops.”

Yes, you and your best friend/significant other/old drinking buddy can each get a different tray and sample from the other, but you can only vote for one. Basically, drink up as much as you want off your tray first for proper voting, then, if your palate can take it, try from the other tray.

“So, the first one is going to be fun,” John said. “That’s where we get the field down to where it’s supposed to be. Even with 28, there’s going to be some good IPAs that get left behind. There are a lot of good IPAs out there now. For sure, those top 12 or 14, they’re going to be some great beers.”

Tickets for all four rounds are now on sale online, and paper tickets will begin appearing at the breweries (full list TBA) in the next couple of weeks.

Get them early this year. Even as big as Rio Bravo is, and Tractor WP will be (they are going to close the front parking lot along 4th for additional capacity), there will be ticket caps. This should be the biggest NMIPAC ever, both in terms of participating breweries and attendees.

After the opening round, the remaining rounds should be what you have come to expect, 12 to 14 beers numbered on a tray for a proper blind tasting. As attendance outside of Albuquerque has always lagged behind, the folks at Three Rivers are trying something new this year to get their numbers on par with at least Santa Fe.

“Actually, those guys are going to try to get people from Durango,” John said. “They’re going to put up posters at the breweries in Durango. I hope we get some attendance from there because, I think New Mexico’s beers, especially the IPAs, are well enough known now, at least in our neighboring states, it’ll be worth the 30-mile trip for somebody from Durango to come check out. Especially when we have gold medal winners and National IPA Challenge winners all submitting beers.”

Start doing your hop homework people. Prep those palates, get your ticket(s), and the Crew will see many of you at Rio Bravo and/or Tractor sooner than later.

One IPA to rule them all! We can get behind this theme.


— Stoutmeister

We are off and running with 14 events on the opening day!

Ready for event overload? Because it’s today, people!

Welcome to the single biggest day of Beer Week.

Don’t believe us? Scroll below. Yeah, that’s 23 events. Twenty. Three.

Now more than ever, you need a plan of attack. Go by time. Go by geographic location. Go by whatever you can do safely (if driving, or even Ubering).

Just remember to carve out some time to visit Battle of the Beer Geeks and vote. Hopefully you vote for our beer (clearly I won’t be there to offer up hints), but since it’s a blind taste test this year, we just want you to pick the best one.

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 III. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 5 to 8 p.m. Cost: $10 for a tray of all five beers, plus a 12-ounce pour of your favorite.

Details: It’s time for war! Again! Battle of the Beer Geeks is back as the Crew (2014 champs) and three other beer groups (Dukes of Ale, ABQ Craft Beer Drinkers, Wort Hogs) try to dethrone the Babes in Brewland. This year there are some changes to the format. First up, you will get your tray that will identify the beers, but not the identity of the groups that brewed them. That should make it a little more objective (maybe). Pours start at 5 and end at 7:30, with the winners announced at 8. There will be a people’s choice award and a professional judges’ best of show.

Why you should go: We need your votes! Even if we cannot tell you which beer is ours. Odds are, though, you’ll figure it out (but to be fair, please only vote for it if it’s truly the best of the bunch).

All the other great events

What: Outside the 505 Tap Takeover. Where: Cazuela’s. When: 8 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: We can’t imagine this actually starts that early, but word is it will involve NM breweries from outside the ABQ metro area and their beers. Why you should go: You can always hope for something from outside ABQ other than Santa Fe or Sierra Blanca.

What: Ballast Point Tap Takeover. Where: The Barley Room. When: 11 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Sea Monster, Mango Even Keel, and Calm Before the Storm are expected to be available. Why you should go: Lunch breaks in the NE Heights need beer.

What: Santa Fe Special Release. Where: M’Tucci’s Market & Deli. When: 11 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: The Western Bloc IPA will be on tap. Why you should go: You don’t have to leave the West Side to try this SFBC seasonal.

What: Marble Special Tapping. Where: Gecko’s (both locations). When: 11 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Saison #1 will be tapped. Why you should go: Another beer-plus-lunch opportunity.

What: Second Annual Food Truck Battle. Where: Red Door. When: 2 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: It’s a casual competition between several food trucks, who will have scaled-down menus, with many items paired with Red Door beers. Pick your favorite truck and dish and see if they win. Why you should go: Chow down, drink up, don’t feel guilty. It’s a win-win.

What: Barrel-Aged Release and Chocolate Pairings. Where: Rio Bravo. When: 2 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Get a flight of BA beers (Stout, Porter, Barleywine, Belgian Dark Strong) for $7, or a chocolates tray for $4. Better yet, combine them both for $10. Why you should go: Dude, chocolate and barrel-aged beer. If you need any reason beyond that, then you’re just too needy.

What: Bow & Arrow Special Release. Where: Bow & Arrow. When: 3 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Wild Rice Pale Ale will debut. Why you should go: New beer alert!

What: Santa Fe/Broken Trail Collaboration Release. Where: Santa Fe ABQ Taproom. When: 3 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Say hello to Horse Thief Porter, a barrel of State Pen aged on rum-soaked pecans, oak chips, and molasses. Why you should go: They are the best of neighbors, aren’t they? Celebrate with them at Green Jeans.

What: Ponderosa Special Bottle Release. Where: Ponderosa. When: 3 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Say hello to Ponderosa’s first special bottle release — Saison Petite Souris. Why you should go: Grab a beer and go, drink at your leisure.

What: La Cumbre Special Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Strawberry Gose will be available on regular CO2, while Malpais Stout will be on nitro. Why you should go: Malpais on nitro? Goes great with Beef Boxty.

What: Sierra Blanca Special Release. Where: Alien Brewpub. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: The Whiskey Barrel-Aged Stout will go on tap for the first time anywhere. Why you should go: It’s their official anniversary beer, and if you like it on tap, you can still buy four-packs at Jubilation while they last.

What: Mother Road Sampling. Where: Jubilation. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Taste the full lineup from Flagstaff’s finest, including the Anniversary Barleywine and the delectable Tower Station IPA. Why you should go: Free beer!

What: Odell Tap Invasion. Where: Mezcal (formerly Stereo Bar). When: 5 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Remember when we all thought Ballast Point went crazy with 15 taps? Well, Odell is matching them with (deep breath) 90 Shilling, IPA, St. Lupulin, Myrcenary, Loose Leaf, 5 Barrel, Cutthroat Porter, Easy Street, Levity, Tree Shaker, Splice Session IPA, The Meddler, Prop Culture, Lugene, and Friek. Why you should go: If you love Odell, this is your event. If you don’t love Odell, go anyway, and then you will love them.

What: Beer and Food Pairings. Where: Sandia Chile Grill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: Green chile chicken enchiladas will be served with a hefeweizen. Why you should go: You gotta eat at some point, NE Heights residents.

What: Alaskan Tap Takeover. Where: Bubba’s 33. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Get all your favorites from Alaskan with a burger or more. Why you should go: Again, eating is good, eating while drinking craft beer is better.

What: Goose Island Special Tapping. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 6 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Bourbon County Stout is the beer in question. Why you should go: Come on, you know you want more BCBS in your life.

What: Mother Road Tap Invasion. Where: O’Niell’s Juan Tabo. When: 6 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Remember those Mother Road beers you loved at Jubilation? Get them in pint form. Plus, there will be a special firkin. Why you should go: Admit it, you’re far too curious about what’s in the firkin.

What: Marble Beer Dinner. Where: Torino’s @ Home. When: 6 p.m. Cost: $45 per person, call (505) 797-4491 for reservations. Details: We covered this event, along with the entire menu, a while back. Why you should go: Great beer plus great food equals happiness. It’s scientific fact.

What: Steal the Pint Night. Where: Canvas Artistry. When: 6 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: The description simply reads “join us for a night of thievery and steal all the pint glasses we have.” Um, OK, sounds like fun. Throw in beer and food specials and it should be a treat. Why you should go: Someone please go and find out just what the heck this crazy thing actually is.

What: 3rd Annual Sierra Nevada Sausage and Cheese Tasting. Where: O’Niell’s Nob Hill. When: 6 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: Head over to the second iteration of this annual event, featuring sausage and other foods paired with on-tap entries from the 2016 Beer Camp Across America. Why you should go: The BCAA beers are delicious this year, and the food is always good, so how can you possibly go wrong?

What: New Belgium Frozen T-Shirt Contest. Where: Monte Vista Fire Station. When: 6:30 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: It’s year three of this crazy event, where folks get to try and untwist a wet, frozen T-shirt in a timed contest. The winner gets a special cruiser bike from NB. Why you should go: Win a bike!

What: Brews and Blues with Roger Lewis All-Stars. Where: Albuquerque Brewing. When: 7 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: It’s another jam session on the patio; all musicians are welcome. Why you should go: Support local music.

* * * * *

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

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


— Stoutmeister