Posts Tagged ‘Draft Station’

It is curtains for Draft Station’s Albuquerque location. (Photo courtesy of Draft Station)

Well, it’s Friday, and the little bits of news are starting to bunch up. Here we go …

R.I.P. Draft Station, and Sandia Chile Grill, too?

It appears that two more local beer spots have closed their doors. One is now confirmed, the other seems likely but is not official.

First up, Draft Station ABQ posted on Facebook that they were closing again due to problems caused by the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project on May 5. Since then, there were no posts, and multiple people told us that the taproom appeared to be permanently closed. We were then told by another brewery that their orders for future beers have been canceled. A final confirmation then came in when we contacted an executive with parent company Santa Fe Dining, and he emailed us back to confirm that yes, Draft Station ABQ is now permanently closed.

It was always a tough sell for the local version of the big hit up in Santa Fe. While that location is in prime real estate overlooking the Plaza, the ABQ location was stuck too far from the other downtown breweries/taprooms and then just a bit too far from Old Town. Throw in the impact of A.R.T. on business (you could not turn into the parking lot from westbound Central), and it proved to be the final coup de grace. There is always the chance that Draft Station could live again (scroll down), but for now, may it rest in peace.

Meanwhile, as I posted in The Week Ahead in Beer (no worries if you missed it), by all accounts Sandia Chile Grill is closed as well. Efforts to reach them by phone have failed as the number listed has been disconnected. They have not made a social media update in some time, but then again they never were very active online. A quick drive past the location found the doors closed, but the signs were still up, including their new T-shirts in the window. The tables and chairs were still inside as well.

However, we checked the State of New Mexico website and found that their small brewer license is listed as expired. There are no applications pending for a new or renewed license under either Sandia Chile Grill or Oso Loco Brewery.

If anyone out there knows the full story with SCG, please contact us.

More new places? More new places

Meanwhile, there are three new small brewer licenses pending. The Sandbar Brewery and Grill will indeed be making its own beer in the location at 4100 San Mateo. For those thinking, “hey, that location is familiar,” it was formerly home to Sneakerz, a sports bar probably best known for having (you guessed it) sand volleyball courts on the premises.

UPDATE: We previously wrote — The prior location of the Sandbar was up near Journal Center. Many, many moons ago we reported on how they were teaming up with the long-since-defunct New Mexico Craft Brewing out of Las Vegas to serve their beer at the indoor sand volleyball facility. That partnership did not last, but we are glad to see the Sandbar owner(s) sticking with craft beer. — But, as it turns out, this Sandbar has no relationship to the previous Sandbar. Our apologies for the mistake.

The stated goal of Sandbar is to open this summer. We will keep everyone updated as to their progress.

Another new name on the list is Toltec Brewing, which has a zip code listing of 87114. That is the West Side, running from the river to Albuquerque’s western city limits. The northern boundary is Rio Rancho, the southern boundary is roughly Paseo del Norte. Currently, Marble Westside and Boxing Bear are in this zip code, so clearly Toltec could be just about anywhere out there that commercial properties exist. There is no additional information online that we could find, social media or otherwise. If anyone out there knows more about Toltec, please drop us a line.

The final newcomer is another place we knew about in advance. Guadalupe Mountain Brewing is set to become the second operational brewery in Carlsbad. We have already been in touch with their owner/brewer, so expect a story from us in the coming months. You can already follow them on Facebook.

The great mystery taproom speculation begins

A reader alerted us to the fact that the developers of the Snow Heights Promenade are planning on adding a 2,800-square-foot taproom to the complex located on the southwest corner of Eubank and Menaul.

Our friends at the Albuquerque Journal followed up on the Snow Heights Facebook post with this tasty morsel about a “soon-to-be announced ‘award-winning local brewery’ that’s looking to open a 2,800-square-foot taproom at the site.”

All right, let us play the guessing game. We can rule out just about any brewery that has opened since the start of 2016, since none of them are really in position financially to open a taproom yet. We can then throw out any brewery that has maxed out its number of taprooms (Bosque), has a taproom somewhat nearby (Marble, Canteen), or a forthcoming taproom nearby (Red Door, Tractor). Taking the award-winning comment above, we gotta figure it is a brewery that has won multiple major medals/awards, which to the general public usually starts with the Great American Beer Festival. So who does that leave?

  1. Boxing Bear: The reigning GABF Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year is a logical candidate. The taproom would certainly bring their beers to a new audience. This one almost makes too much sense, doesn’t it? Still, nothing official yet from the BBB staff.
  2. Chama River: If the Draft Station is truly closed, maybe it is due to moving here. Technically, it was always under Chama’s license, so that could work. But, then again, it would not come with the name of the award-winning brewery attached.
  3. La Cumbre: Well, now, wouldn’t that be interesting? It’s pretty far from the main brewery, though certainly not as far as Boxing Bear. Owner Jeff Erway has talked in the past about the reasons he has not opened a taproom, ranging from not wanting a location too close to a bar or restaurant that has carried LC beers since the beginning, to wanting a good landlord tenant relationship (if not outright ownership of the taproom building). We will call LC the dark horse candidate.

Could it be another brewery besides these? Sure, anything is possible, but these are the most logical candidates. Good ahead and speculate away in the comments or on social media. We will see what the final is when the developers and brewery in question are ready to announce it to the public.

More new brewery tidbits

These are all the other breweries or off-site taprooms with pending licenses with the state.

  • Bare Bones Brewing is closing in on a new location after their original space fell through in Cedar Crest. It will still be somewhere along Highway 14 in the East Mountains.
  • Bombs Away Beer Company is busy with the buildout of their space near Central and Moon. We await a chance to visit when they are ready, so yes, we are in contact with head brewer David Kimbell.
  • Drylands Brewing continues with its buildout in Lovington. Search for their Instagram page and you can keep track of their progress. It is looking good.
  • Hops Brewery in Nob Hill remains in limbo. We have no idea what the current delay is about.
  • Lava Rock Brewing continues with its buildout on Unser north of Ladera, as does Truth or Consequences Brewing down south. The latter now has an active license, but is not yet open.
  • We have nothing new to add on Glencoe Distillery and Brewery in Ruidoso (license active, but no other info), Switchback Brewery in Cloudcroft, or Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery in Santa Fe. If anyone out there has info, as always, please contact us.

That is all from us for now. Got a tip? Want to share something without announcing it to the world? Direct message us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or via email at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parking issues are still there for everyone, however.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The sidewalk construction is creeping closer toward Kellys.

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

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

Tractor still intends to be involved with the parade.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Draftstation2

It’s just a wee bit more spacious.

Just when you thought there was no place for 20-somethings/Millennials to play in Santa Fe, Draft Station has expanded, adding a large gaming space to their quite lucrative taproom. This new hall includes such games as ping pong, darts, foosball, air hockey, a giant Connect Four, and the possibility of more to come. I stopped into the popular pour house the day they officially opened to snap some shots to show you, beer readers, what you can expect from the remodel. Of course, if you’ve been following Draft Station’s page on Facebook, you’ve already received a couple of nice teasers of what’s in store. But, as a dedicated beer journalist, I also had to get the skinny on how they plan to run things in the new space.

Draftstation5

Oh, foosball, the bane of table games according to Stoutmeister.

For those of us worried that this will change the quality of the serious suds-slinging establishment that we’ve all come to know and love, we can all relax. It won’t.

Draftstation1

Things are still the same in the bar area of Draft Station.

Piping hot pies from Rooftop Pizzeria can also be ordered from within the new gaming space, and will still be delivered right to your seats and tables, of which there are now many more. Some of the best beer from around New Mexico will still be available for your palate’s pleasure, and you can now sip on those pints between dart-throws, ping-pong volleys, or while watching sports on the new flat-screens sporadically spaced along the wall. The only folks that may take some time adjusting to the new space, it seems, are the bartenders, as they now have to watch the beer walk out the front door toward the game space. Stay left!

Draftstation7

Draftstation6 There it is, a giant Connect Four (top) and an air hockey table (bottom). Sheesh, we need this in ABQ now.

Draftstation4

It wouldn’t be a proper pub without darts.

As for operation, it’s going to be somewhat of an experiment with much more room to cover and potentially many more people, as the remodel nearly doubled occupancy. “For now, we’re kind of seeing how it goes,” said Jamie Durfee of Draft Station. She assures me that if they find that they need to hire more staff to handle the change, they’ll absolutely do so.

DraftStation3

Ping pong! The Beerfest jokes are gonna fly.

As far as pricing goes, we’re looking at a $5-an-hour-system similar to the pool tables at Cowgirl. Ping-pong balls, pucks, paddles, foosballs, and darts can all be rented at the bar for a mere Lincoln, and I was told that all the Connect Four costs is a smile. And don’t forget that their Geeks Who Drink event happens every Monday at 8 p.m. With all that activity in one place, and, dare I say, the best beer list of any bar in the City Different, Draft Station makes a solid last stop for Santa Fe’s entertainment needs. As for the foosball table, I got next.

Draftstation8

It just keeps getting better.

Cheers!

— Luke

LukePic1

 
For more #CraftBeer news and @nmdarksidebc follow me on Twitter @SantaFeCraftBro.

AnnieSiegel1

Service with a smile!

It’s indisputable that women are important to the craft beer scene. I think the NM Dark Side Brew Crew has made a nice case for that with our NM Women in Craft Brewing series. As we’ve shown, women work in every aspect from brewing to managing, serving, and bartending. You name it, women do it, and they are great at it. Something interesting I’ve noticed from my interviews is that many women that work in the industry started in a similar place, namely behind the bar. Perhaps it’s because behind the bar is where they gained much of their first real knowledge of the industry. It may have been where they got to know the crowd they spent so much time with. Perhaps from behind the bar, they learned to lead, manage a space, learned to be tough when they had to, and compassionate at other times. Whatever the case, in the craft beer industry, I think that tending bar becomes more than just a paycheck. It’s where many of these women discovered their passion for craft beer. For my fourth article in the series, I sat down with Draft Station craft beer-tender, Annie Siegel.

NMDSBC: How long have you been bartending?

Siegel: Now? God, probably about five years. I’ve only been in the “Beertending” business, as we like to call it, for a little over two.

NMDSBC: How did you get started?

Siegel: I was a server. I started as a host. I’ve kind of done a lot of different things in restaurants. But yeah, I started as a host, then I got a serving job when I was 19. And, I did it kind of seasonally, through college, and then once I finished college, it was like, at least I can make money and I have a job.

NMDSBC: Was there any sort of transition from cocktail bars to craft beer bars?

Siegel: Oh yeah, absolutely! It’s a totally different game. I mean, I think when I got hired at Marble (before it was Draft Station), basically, I’d been coming in here. I was one of the regulars, beforehand. And (the manager) asked me if I still needed a job. And he pretty much hand-picked his staff, so we were really close. All the staff was really close. But, yeah, it’s a totally different ballgame. Craft beer is so much more community oriented. So, you get that feel, whereas serving at a regular bar where you’re just serving drinks and a full menu, you don’t get that same type of interaction.

NMDSBC: Now, I know you know your stuff. Did you have to go through special training to serve craft beer at Marble? Or did you just kind of learn on the job?

Siegel: I kind of learned on the job at Marble. We did a brewery tour. I knew, essentially, the very basics of styles of beers, but yeah, when we moved over to Draft Station, we did have a couple of beer classes. And you know, I talked to the brewers at Blue Corn a lot. I’ve talked to a lot of brewers, so you kind of just pick things up as you go along. And if you’re interested in it, you want to know more about it.

NMDSBC: You were the one who would describe all the beers to us when I’d bring my craft beer tours though here. How did you gain your expert knowledge? Was it sampling? Was it memorizing descriptions? Or a sort of mix of both? Just familiarizing yourself with the beers you serve and drink?

Siegel: For me at least, it’s been through experience and talking to other purveyors. I’ve also definitely gone out of my way to seek some of that knowledge out. Most of it, for me, is just that I’ve been all over the country tasting craft beers and figuring out what styles work for me and what styles don’t. Especially for more European styles of beers, I didn’t have a lot of knowledge about those, until I really started tasting that kind of stuff.

NMDSBC: And I imagine tasting in your travels, all over the country, was very different from your experience with beer here in NM.

Siegel: Yeah, we’re definitely more West Coast feel here. So, a lot of the West Coast styles of producing beer, is very much the style of what we have here. Once you get a little more Midwest and Northeast, it’s very different. People have very different styles, and the palates are very different there.

NMDSBC: Here in Santa Fe, especially at the Draft Station, you have a lot of people, tourists, coming in from all over, so what they’re seeking in terms of beer, might be very different from what we brew here, right?

Siegel: Yeah, I think it’s definitely dependent on the beer drinker. If they come from more West Coast or Pacific Northwest, man, they want those hoppy beers. But, if they’re not coming from there, you know, it can really go either way.

NMDSBC: What about an average Joe just coming in off the street? What beer would you recommend to him on a really cold Santa Fe day?

Siegel: On a really, really cold day, I would definitely go for the darker beers, you know, stouts, porters — we haven’t gotten a ton of porters, though, actually, which is kind of sad, because I really like porters. Reds, usually, too. Anything that’s kind of medium bodied, kind of middle ground to the kind of dark stuff.

NMDSBC: Couldn’t agree more. What would you recommend to someone on a hot day when the pilsner and lager taps have already kicked?

Siegel: I would always go (Marble’s) Double White. That’s a fan favorite, for sure. I also kinda like all these session beers that we’ve been getting lately. I’m also really into SMaSH (Single Hop and Single Malt) beers, too, and all of the session pale ales we’ve been getting. They’re all really nice and light, and low ABV so you can just kind of enjoy your lazy Sunday afternoon and hang out.

NMDSBC: And what would you recommend to a guy who’s causing a ruckus in your bar?

Siegel: (Laughs) Generally speaking, I give you the warning, and then you gotta get outta here.

NMDSBC: To the door with him.

Siegel: Yeah, exactly, to the door. It depends on what he’s doing and if he’s disturbing the other guests, because the guests are my first priority, obviously.

NMDSBC: Right. So have you ever had to deal with an unruly late-night crowd? Ever have to mix it up and throw a few punches?

Siegel: Um, you know? Late night doesn’t actually tend to get that bad. It’s when it’s really, really high season and it’s super hectic in here, and there’s someone …

NMDSBC: It’s the day drinkers.

Siegel: It is kind of the day drinkers! It’s guys that, it’s like 5 (o’clock) and they’ve already been to four other bars, and they’re getting rowdy on the patio, and they want to smoke out there, and you tell them no, and you cut them off, and it’s a whole thing. But generally, our clientele is pretty good and pretty respectful of our policies, so …

NMDSBC: The location doesn’t hurt. What sorts of advantages do you think women have in the industry?

Siegel: That’s a really good question. I think women get underestimated. I think men are surprised by the amounts of knowledge that women can have about beer and brewing, and that can work in their favor. And women just bring a different skillset, a different set of talents than men.

NMDSBC: What advice do you have for women just starting out bartending at a craft beer bar?

Siegel: Try everything. Be open to everything. I think a lot of people try to pigeon-hole themselves and try to be snobby about the things they drink, and what I found is that, there are just so many beers that you can suit different palates. And also it’s so much better when you know about different styles of beers and you can tell people about them and recommend them, especially when someone comes in and says, ‘I drink this,’ or ‘This is what I would normally drink. What would I like?’

My palate has just gotten so much wider, and I’ve experienced so many great, great beers, and I think that’s the one thing, don’t be somebody who says, ‘These are the only styles I drink.’

NMDSBC: That won’t get you very far, because then you can’t recommend certain styles to people who’ve never had them before.

Siegel: Exactly! Exactly. It just better suits your service. Usually I can bring someone three samples and be right on the mark with one or two of the three.

NMDSBC: And you can always push them to try something a bit different.

Siegel: Yeah, exactly.

NMDSBC: So, let’s talk about women and their drinking and ordering habits. What’s a common misconception about women and beer?

Siegel: I think a lot of people like to think that women will go straight for the lighter, kind of more floral and fruity beers. And it’s kind of all over the place. Obviously, there are definitely women out there who don’t really like beer that much, so that’s not what they’re gonna drink, but there are a ton of women out there that will drink all the high-octane stuff. They’ll drink the IPAs and the imperial stouts and the imperial reds. I think it just depends on how much experience they’ve had with craft beer.

NMDSBC: You’ve seen all sorts of people come in here, from all ages. Have you noticed any trends in how women drink beer? Do younger women drink more of a certain style or …? Or are you ever surprised?

Siegel: Yeah, it constantly surprises me. People go all over the place. Last night I had a girl … she was probably about 23 years old. She had had two Elevated (IPAs) and then she switched over and had a Wildflower Wheat, and I was like OK, wow, you’re totally going from A to C! It’s all over the map.

NMDSBC: So when people come in here, do you see more of the younger women drinking the beer, or is it just …?

Siegel: Yeah, more of the young women want to be in here. They know what it is. They’re looking for that type of experience, whereas like, there are a lot of older women that come in here that they don’t really know what it is. And those type of people tend to be more of the touristy type. In general, it’s the younger people who are looking for this type of thing.

NMDSBC: What’s your response when someone says, “Craft beer bars and taprooms are for dudes only?”

Siegel: I would probably just laugh at them, because that’s just completely untrue. It wasn’t always this way but it’s progressing.

NMDSBC: So what do you say then to the person who says, “Girls only drink beer to impress a guy?”

Siegel: I could definitely see that, but like I said, it’s a community driven thing. And I think now, especially with craft beers, especially the fact that anyone can homebrew, and many women do, now, that particular view is a pretty shortsighted, limited view on what craft brewing and craft beer is, because at its core that is the point, to share it. Craft beer is social. And it doesn’t matter what gender you are to enjoy it.

NMDSBC: What do you think is appealing about beer to the modern woman? The woman who maybe five years ago would have said, “Oh, I don’t drink beer.”

Siegel: I think it’s just the variety. And it’s the passion that gets put into craft brewing in general. And it’s just how fast the palate can move. And how many different styles you can create. Especially if you come into a place like this where you have this huge variety of stuff on draft and you can try a little bit of everything and decide for yourself what works for you and what doesn’t.

NMDSBC: So beer is versatile and can meet any level of sophistication and palate.

Siegel: Exactly.

NMDSBC: What direction do you think women are going in craft beer, whether working in the industry?

Siegel: It’s getting more integrated now, as women take on and fulfill positions in the back of the house and in the front of the house. Here (in New Mexico), there’s plenty of women who manage taprooms, who are brewers, who are chemists, or on the production side, on the sales side, on the advertising side, and as we go along, we’re just going to see more of that.

NMDSBC: It’s becoming a level playing field, at least what’s available.

Siegel: Yeah, and it’s going to even itself out eventually.

NMDSBC: Let’s hope. Finally, what’s your favorite style of beer to drink at the end of the day?

Siegel: Oh, my god. That is the hardest question. It changes. It can depend on the situation.

NMDSBC: Rough day, double shift, you’re just done with the brain work for the evening. You’re in need of an attitude adjustment, as my mom calls a happy hour, and you’re at a craft beer bar. What’s in the glass, Siegel?

Siegel: I’m always gonna have an IPA. I’m always gonna go for something bitter and hoppy, (like) hop-forward reds, but I’ve gotten a lot more into pilsners lately too, which has kind of been a strange kick for me, but I’m really liking it, lower ABV. But yeah, I mean, every brewery that I’ve been to, across the country, the one thing that I’m always gonna try is one of their IPAs. It’s a consistent staple that I have.

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A pilsner at the end of the day is never a bad thing.

* * * * *

We’re still in the middle of the Craft Beer Revolution, and women are very much a part of it. We have not quite come full circle from the days of the brewsters and the Babylonian goddess, but the trends of women working in the craft beer industry, as well as women’s drinking habits, are changing at a rapid pace. Women are drinking more craft beer than they ever were. Instead of just red or white, they’re asking for Imperial Red and Double White, and so much more. More women are finding careers in an ancient industry, and maybe because we’re playing by a more modern set of rules. Perhaps the shift has come from the fact that women see the potential of the industry, the fast growth, the fun, the excitement, the endless learning, the creativity, the social components, the welcoming community, the craft itself. Those are all fine reasons, but perhaps sometimes it’s simpler than that, perhaps in some cases women took the jobs, worked extremely hard, expanded their knowledge and perfected their art for something more basic, for the love of beer. For all of the above, Annie Siegel, and all other women craft beer-tenders, the NM Dark Side Brew Crew salutes you!

Cheers!

— Luke

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For more #CraftBeer info and @NMDarkSideBC news follow me on Twitter @SantaFeCraftBro