Posts Tagged ‘High Desert Brewing’

Welcome to Icebox Brewing, the newest addition to the Las Cruces craft beer scene.

Las Cruces is the second largest city in New Mexico, but for years, its craft beer scene was far behind Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and even some smaller towns.

There was High Desert Brewing, which had followed in the footsteps of O’Ryan’s Tavern (closed in 2000), and the Pecan Grill was contract brewing with Sierra Blanca, and that was about it. Then along came Spotted Dog Brewing, Picacho Peak Brewing, and most recently Icebox Brewing.

The north came south when Bosque Brewing opened a taproom across the street from New Mexico State, the alma mater of its owners. Bosque has since expanded to two locations in the same complex, with rumors of a third location now in the works. Silver City’s Little Toad Creek Brewing and Distilling saw an opportunity and pounced, putting a taproom on Main Street. Truth or Consequences Brewing now has plans to open a taproom in town, and Icebox is already eyeing its first offsite taproom.

Craft beer real estate is filling up fast in the city with a metro area population of 200,000 (and counting). Prior to ABQ Beer Week, when I was already in town for the Blazin’ Brewfest, I stopped to chat with representatives of High Desert, Icebox, and Spotted Dog about how their scene is evolving, how a sense of local camaraderie has already taken hold, and what the future portends.


Get thee to Las Cruces this Friday!

There are only a few beer festivals left in New Mexico that no one from the Crew has attended. One was the Blazin’ Brewfest, but I will be heading down this Friday since it is not falling on my birthday or opposite a metal show this year (it was rather uncanny how many times that happened in past years).

This annual celebration of craft beer takes over Main Street and Plaza de Las Cruces, starting at 5 and running until 9 p.m. Tickets are still available online. General admission is $15 and designated drivers get in for $5, and they typically sell out in advance (though Guild executive director Leah Black said a few will be held back for sale at the gate), so it would be wise not to risk showing up expecting a ticket unless you arrive at the outset.

Blazin’ is a New Mexico Brewers Guild event, and it has drawn 18 breweries from around New Mexico, including all five Las Cruces breweries. Pecan Grill Brewery will be in attendance, but it does not have any beers available as brewer David Allan is currently undergoing treatment for cancer. Eight other breweries are donating beers to be sold by the pint at the Pecan Grill tent, with proceeds going to help the Allan family. Marble will be sending Passionate Gose, while Canteen, La Cumbre, Little Toad Creek, Palmer Brewery, Santa Fe, Sierra Blanca, and Steel Bender will also contribute.

There will be music from DJ D-monic and a number of food trucks on site.

As for the beer lists for the 17 breweries, here is what we have so far. If any others update us between now and the start of the festival, we will share those here.

  • Bosque: Pistol Pete’s 1888, Bosque IPA, Elephants on Parade, Scotia Scotch Ale, Open Space Haze, Pale Ryder, Sour Songs (blood orange and cranberry kettle sour), Rebble Pebble (cocoa pebble brown ale)
  • Canteen: Cabana Lager, Radiohead IPA, La Luz Wheat, Dougie Style Amber
  • Cloudcroft: TBA
  • High Desert: Mango Gose, New England IPA, Cerveza, Ekuanot Pale Ale, Peach Wheat
  • Icebox: Frostbite IPA, Black Ice Lager, Rasp-brrry Wheat, Cold-Hearted Cream Ale
  • La Cumbre: Elevated IPA, A Slice of Hefen, Acclimated APA, El Jugo, Strawberry Gose
  • Little Toad Creek: Smart Blonde Ale, Grumpy Old Troll IPA, Pendejo Porter
  • Lost Hiker: TBA
  • Marble: Double White, Double White Triple Berry, Desert Fog, Cerveza
  • Picacho Peak: Munich Helles, Bitchin Brown, Hefeweizen, Saison, NEIPH, Twisted Windmill (DIPA)
  • Red Door: Unhinged Cider, New England IPA, Vanilla Cream Ale, Irish Red Ale
  • Santa Fe: Pepe Loco, 7K IPA, Happy Camper IPA, Social Hour
  • Sierra Blanca: Alien IPA, Cherry Wheat, Green Chile Cerveza, Desert Pilsner
  • Spotted Dog: TBA
  • Steel Bender: Skull Bucket IPA, Raspberry Dynamite, Lloyd’s 3 O’Clock Kolsch, Compa Los Ranchos Lager
  • Tractor: Haymaker Honey Wheat, Blood Orange Cider, Stonewall Brut IPA with grapefruit
  • Truth or Consequences: Hot Springs Lager, Buckhorn IPA, Paddleboard Pale Ale, Irish Red

Hopefully I will see many of you at the festival. Look for me roaming about or over at the Brewers Guild tent.


— Stoutmeister

Head down to Las Cruces this weekend for good beer for a good purpose.

Having a charity as a component of a beer festival is a fairly common occurrence in New Mexico. Having that charity be a brewer battling cancer is not common, but that is the case at Beer for a Cause, a special festival taking place this Sunday in Las Cruces.

Pecan Grill head brewer David Allan has been diagnosed with brain cancer, and the medical bills are understandably quite hefty. His fellow brewers are joining forces to help him out by hosting the festival at Picacho Peak from 3 to 8 p.m. For those who have not been down to visit a brewery in Las Cruces, this is a good opportunity for a good cause to do so (Picacho Peak is located at 3900 W. Picacho Ave., to further help you out).

“He is not only a great brewer and mentor but a genuinely amazing person to have in your life,” High Desert brewer David White said in a press release. “Family and friends are raising money to help in this fight. … Every little bit makes a difference.”

Tickets are just $5 apiece and available at the door. The first 500 people get a commemorative pint glass. This is not a traditional no-limit sampling event, so all pints are $5, though we are fairly certain most of the beers can be tasted before you buy (ask politely). There will also be food trucks, a silent auction, and live music from Jackson Lane, The Smokin’ Blue Band, Triple Jack, and the Derrick Harris Band. All of the proceeds will go to help David in his fight against cancer.

“You should be there, because if you are lucky enough to truly call Dr. Wackadoodle Dave your friend, then you are lucky enough,” his friend, homebrewer Dennis Talley, wrote to us in an email. “I’ve called him that for years because he’s never brewed a ‘normal’ beer in his life! Just like Dave, his beers are truly unique and brewed with passion and detail. My brother without DNA.”

A total of 15 New Mexico breweries are sending one or more kegs to the event. We will update the list as more are identified.

  • Bosque: Elephants on Parade, IPA
  • Cloudcroft: Railspike Imperial Red, Sahti Finnish Ale
  • High Desert: White Walker Stout, Cerveza
  • Icebox: TBA
  • La Cumbre: Elevated IPA, A Slice of Hefen
  • Little Toad Creek: Hop-a-Long Rye IPA
  • Lost Hiker: Ruidoso Blonde
  • Marble: Double White, Cerveza
  • Pecan Grill: Peanut Butter Pecan Porter
  • Picacho Peak: Bitchin Brown
  • Ponderosa: Schwarzbier
  • Sierra Blanca: American Style Lager
  • Spotted Dog: Bier de Chien (Farmhouse Ale), and second beer TBA
  • Tractor: TBA
  • Truth or Consequences: Good Juju (American Brown Ale)

For anyone in the Albuquerque or Santa Fe areas, this is a good opportunity for a quick trip south to try some beers unique to the area, while also supporting a worthy cause.

A big thanks to Deanna Green for sending us the information and for helping to organize this festival on David’s behalf.


— Stoutmeister

And festival season is a go!

And festival season is a go!

The unofficial kickoff to festival season is upon us once again as Blazin’ Brewfest returns to downtown Las Cruces on Saturday. This annual event, put on by the NM Brewers Guild, is definitely the biggest and most important festival for craft beer lovers in Southern New Mexico and surrounding areas.

The festival runs from 5 to 9 p.m. at 211 Main Street. There will be 15 breweries present, plus food trucks, and live music. The cost is $15 in advance or $20 at the gate. You can still buy tickets at High Desert, Spotted Dog, the Bosque taproom, Main Street Bistro, and of course online.

While the Crew will be otherwise occupied Saturday up here in ABQ, we will have correspondents writing about the fest and the best beers to seek out after it’s over. That, of course, leads to the question of what will be served at the festival. We only heard back from eight nine of the participating breweries, but if anyone else sends us a late list, we will update this story.

Abbey: TBA

Bosque: Riverwalker IPA, Driftwood Oatmeal Stout, Brewer’s Boot Amber Ale, Scotia Scotch Ale, Bosque Lager, Elephants on Parade, Amber Rye, Beermosa

High Desert: TBA

La Cumbre: BEER, Elevated, Red Ryeot, Malpais, Slice of Hefen, plus there will be a special tapping of Project Dank at 7 p.m.

Little Toad Creek: TBA

Marble: Double White, Pilsner, Red, IPA

Pecan Grill: TBA

Picacho Peak: Javelina Black IPA, La Bruja Porter, High Noon Hefeweizen, Sunset Summer Saison, Smooth ‘n’ Stout

Ponderosa: Ghost Train IPA, Spanglish New Mexican Lager, Manzanita Milk Stout, Saison Chat Sauvage

Red Door: Unhinged Cider, Roamer Red, Shift Ender Golden Lager, Bad Moon Ryesing

Santa Fe: Gold, Black IPA, Nut Brown, Happy Camper, Western Bloc IPA

Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande: Pancho Verde Chile Cerveza, Red Beer, Bone Chiller Brown, Rio Grande IPA, Rio Grande Desert Pilsner, Alien Stout, plus a limited pour of Cranberry Sour

Spotted Dog: Milk Stout, Hop Dog, Prickly Beaver Wheat, Angry Beaver Wheat, Shep Farmhouse Ale

Taos Mesa: TBA

Tractor: TBA

Remember, this is a Brewers Guild event, so it needs all the support our community of beer lovers can provide!


— Stoutmeister

It's almost here!

It’s almost here!

The first Mountain West Brew Fest is almost upon us. It kicks off Saturday at noon and runs till 6, then repeats that schedule on Sunday in Bernalillo. If you have not bought your tickets yet, go here and get ’em. And remember, if you are unsure of a Premium Ticket, you can upgrade at the fest for just $10.

As always with any festival, we know the number one question is the same: “What beers are being poured?” Well, we would love to share it with you, but we were unable to get much info. Like, at all. It is unfortunate. We would think the breweries, this being a Brewers Guild event and brand new and all, would want to promote things as much as possible. But we get it, sometimes they get too busy and are pretty much just grabbing any kegs they can find the day of an event. Or perhaps they just want you all to be surprised.

(Probably not.)

Anyway, at the very least the Guild did provide us with the list of available beers in the Premium Tent. We also know specialty out-of-state beers Admiral will be pouring on Saturday (waiting on Sunday, will update if we get that list). Sadly, National Distributing will not be participating, so we lose out on some of their products.

We also learned that Las Vegas’ New Mexico Craft Brewing will not be attending, and Duel has informed us they will only be present on Sunday. If any other breweries are withdrawing or cutting back to a single day and inform us, we will update this post ASAP.

Fear not, though, there should still be a lot of great beer out there this weekend. For the Premium Pass Beer Lineup, the Guild has assembled some potentially delicious selections.

  • Abbey Brewing: Monks’ Dubbel Reserve
  • Blue Corn: Barleywine
  • Chama River: WOOT! Saison, Blueberry Kolsch
  • High Desert: IPA
  • La Cumbre: Fievre d’Abricot, Project Dank, Summer Strong (Pale Barleywine)
  • Marble: Saison, Apricot Sour
  • Pecan Grill: Imperial Smoked Lager
  • Spotted Dog: ESB
  • Three Rivers: Imperial IPA, Nitro Scotch Ale
  • Tractor: Berry Cider
  • Turtle Mountain: After Midnight, AmeriKriek

These beers will only be available inside the air-conditioned tent with a Premium Pass upgrade. We gotta admit to being curious about an Imperial Smoked Lager, plus it’s been ages since we had a beer from Three Rivers. Spotted Dog will be coming to the northern half of the state for just the second time (first was NMIPAC). That Summer Strong from LC is new, and it’s always hard to pass up on Monks’ Dubbel Reserve and Blue Corn’s Barleywine.

The Saturday lineup for the Range Cafe/FR8 House booth, provided by Admiral:

  • Avery White Rascal
  • Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin
  • Breckenridge Nitro Vanilla Porter
  • Green Flash Le Freak
  • Lagunitas Brown Sugga
  • Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest
  • Ska Vinifera
  • Squatters Ghost Rider White IPA
  • Upslope Imperial IPA
  • Wasatch Apricot Wheat

So what do we have for the in-state breweries at their booths? Not much, but what we do have should excite your palates.

  • Blue Corn: Night Train Schwarzbier, Drone Wars (Braggot), Alpha Reaper 2.0, Brown Paper Bag (Malt Liquor)
  • NEW Bosque: Bosque Lager, Riverwalker IPA, Brewer’s Boot Amber Ale, Scotia Scotch Ale, Driftwood Oatmeal Stout, Scale Tipper IPA, Stoked on Oak
  • Boxing Bear: Bohemian Pilsner, Hairy Mit Hefe, Uppercut IPA, Black and Blue Sour, Cucumber Saison
  • Distillery 365: 4th of July American Ale, 365 ESB, Trail Ride Bicycle Beer
  • Kaktus: Darkness Falls Stout, Target IPA, Yard Sale IPA, Tasty Red, Berna Brown, Wit, Basil Lager, Sweet and Dry Apple Cider
  • La Cumbre: A Slice of Hefen, Elevated IPA, Red Ryeot, Malpais Stout, State Fair Cream Ale, Male Stripper, Acclimated IPA, plus a special cask at 2 p.m. on Sunday of Elevated wet-hopped with Chinook
  • NEW Rio Bravo: Dirty Rotten Bastard IPA, Roadkill Red, Black Angus Stout, Karl’s Hefe
  • NEW Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca: Alien Milk Stout, Alien Amber, Guns & Oil, Bone Chiller Brown Ale, Sun Chaser Pale Ale, Pancho Verde, Desert Pils, IPA
  • Turtle Mountain: Kosmonaut Kolsch, Oku Amber, Hopshell IPA, Stauffenberg Stout

We are still waiting on and hoping for lists from Abbey, Back Alley, Bathtub Row, Boese Brothers, Canteen, Cazuela’s, Chama River, Duel, Marble, Nexus, Pi, Ponderosa, Red Door, Santa Fe, Second Street, and Tractor. When we get them, if we get them, they will be posted above.

For transportation, we recommend the Rail Runner. Train #702 heads north from Downtown ABQ (11:17 a.m.), Montano (11:26), Los Ranchos/Journal Center (11:32), and arrives in Bernalillo at 11:48, just before the start of the festival (it is a less-than-12-minute walk). Train #707 then leaves Bernalillo at 6:30 p.m., heading southbound only. For Santa Fe patrons, Train #703 leaves the SF Depot at 10:44 a.m. and will get you to Bernalillo by 11:43 a.m. You will have a longer wait until you can go back as Train #706 leaves Bernalillo at 7:24 p.m. and arrives at the SF Depot at 8:24, so plan accordingly.

Most of the Crew will be there when the gates open Saturday. If you see us and want to say hello, please do so.


— Stoutmeister

Yeah, we had fun. As if you couldn't have guessed that beforehand.

Yeah, we had fun. As if you couldn’t have guessed that beforehand.

Well, that was fun! The Brew Crew was part of the 90-plus judges who took part in the inaugural VIPA Challenge on Sunday afternoon at the Sandia Casino. This preliminary round of the annual New Mexico IPA Challenge was designed to narrow what has become a crowded field of 25 IPAs down to the 14 the masses will taste at the regular three-round NMIPAC that starts this coming Saturday.

Did it go off without a hitch? No, but overall it was an outstanding event. It was efficient, well-organized, and went smoothly for those of us who were judging. For the record, the Crew was represented by myself, Franz Solo, Mrs. Solo, Brandon, Adam, and Laura. We were joined at our table by Dana, the organizer of Babes in Brewland, and her husband Matt (two of our more frequent partners in crime, for the record). As a collective, we mostly agreed on the top seven or eight beers.

And about those seven or eight, it is going to be a heck of an upcoming NMIPAC. It is a tight, vicious field, filled with so much hop-tastic excellence that we can only pray most of you have an easier time than we did (we didn’t have to rank them 1-14, but most of us did anyway).

The beers were sent out in batches of eight. We also had lots of food and water to help cleanse our palates.

The beers were sent out in batches of eight. We also had lots of food and water to help cleanse our palates.

Now for the part you have all been waiting for, here are the full results from the VIPA. The number in parentheses is what the beer was numbered on our trays. The top 14 advance to the regular NMIPAC.

  1. Chama River (9) 94 votes
  2. Bosque (19) 91 votes
  3. Canteen (4) 89 votes
  4. Marble (18) 85 votes
  5. Boxing Bear (13) 84 votes
  6. Blue Corn (11) 79 votes
  7. La Cumbre (7) 73 votes
  8. Turtle Mountain (3) 68 votes
  9. Second Street (20) 62 votes
  10. Ponderosa (10) 60 votes
  11. Three Rivers (23) 56 votes
  12. Spotted Dog (1) 54 votes
  13. Back Alley (17) 46 votes
  14. (tie) Pi (8) 45 votes
  15. Taos Mesa (6) 45 votes — so yes, both will participate
  16. Lizard Tail (5) 41 votes
  17. Red Door (21) 36 votes
  18. Bathtub Row (12) 28 votes
  19. Sierra Blanca (22) 25 votes
  20. Tractor (14) 21 votes
  21. High Desert (15) 20 votes
  22. Kaktus (2) 19 votes
  23. Roosevelt (16) 16 votes

Yes, there were supposed to be 25 breweries, but something happened (we were unclear) and Sandia Chile Grill’s IPA was not available. It may be allowed into the main NMIPAC, but that is to be determined. UPDATE: We received an email from the Guild about what happened to SCG. This is what Chris Goblet had to say: “I just wanted to let you know that Mick and Clinton Coker did deliver their keg and it was our oversight that kept them from participating today. I want to be sure that I, meaning Chris Goblet as the representative of the the Guild, am accountable for the mistake.

“I have offered Mick and Clinton the opportunity to put their beer forward to be judged as the rest. It may seem unfair to some, but all beers are judged in the IPA Challenge for their merit, and every Challenger’s beer deserves to be judged. I am not certain if Mick and Clinton will choose to continue but I honestly hope they do. Please note the Guild is taking the responsibility for this oversight if you make any updates or further comments.”

As for the 25th entry, Santa Fe’s IPA simply would not pour. We got a sorta-sample and smelled … something bad. Something went horribly wrong with a beer that Luke told us was downright epic when he had it at SFBC itself.

Besides that, as I said before, this was an excellent event. Kudos to Chris Goblet and everyone else from the NM Brewers Guild who put it together. We were happy to help in our small way, getting people to sign up and doing our best to promote the event. It was fun getting to meet some of our readers for the first time.

Cheers to the first VIPA Challenge!

Cheers to the first VIPA Challenge!

Oh, and the best part is the whole thing ended in time for us to see Carli Lloyd go straight Gojira on poor Japan in the Women’s World Cup final. U-S-A, U-S-A!

The Crew will have full coverage of the next three rounds of the NMIPAC. Look for our writers in Santa Fe, Las Cruces (hopefully), and finally at Boxing Bear here in Albuquerque on July 18, where the next IPA champion will be crowned.


— Stoutmeister

Behold, the hopped mysteries of the pint.

Behold, the hopped mysteries of the pint.

“In the broader sense, I’m wondering how many medals New Mexico will score at Great American Beer Festival,” said New Mexico Brewers Guild director Christopher Goblet. “IPA is only one section within GABF, but let’s wave that ‘NMIPA’ flag proudly.”

He’s right. I make a formal motion for all of us to turn that flag into a formal #NMIPA hashtag and brandish it proudly. Full disclosure — I’m a fan of hops. I know it’s trendy, and I accept all the responsibility (and the chance I may be called a hipster) that goes along with declaring myself an IPA fan. But there’s something notable happening here in New Mexico. These hoppy beers that we get to order at the local pub are being recognized nationally.

Christopher Goblet, the Beer Ambassador for New Mexico, tests a sip of Second Street's IPA entry in this year's glassware

Christopher Goblet, the Beer Ambassador for New Mexico, tests a sip of Second Street’s IPA entry in this year’s glassware

So what’s the big deal with the VIPA Challenge? And, wait … isn’t there an IPA Challenge coming up? Yes, there is. The bigger question is how do we narrow down all of this hoppy goodness to just 14 samples on a tray when there are 25 New Mexico breweries entering their finest concoctions? That’s where you come in. This is your chance to put your hops knowledge to the test and make it count. By attending the VIPA Challenge this Sunday, you will be casting your vote for those final 14 brews that make it onto next week’s tasting trays. Then, when your friends show up for the IPA Challenge later this month, you can say you had a part in deciding who was on (or off) the island.

Some of our own Dark Side Brew Crew members will be official judges at the VIPA Challenge. I thought it prudent to ask a few of them what their hops preferences tended towards, just so you know what you may be up against should you choose to show up and cast your vote.

Brandon: “What I like most is an IPA that has some complexity in its makeup with the malt bill and hop profile, and a hop profile that shows different dimensions of each strain used.”

Franz: “I am a lover of hops in all forms. American style is by far my favorite over English and I love both brutal bitter and aromatic tropical creations. Currently I’m on a tropical sweet trend as my own batch of Sturmbrau Blitzhammer double IPA will attest.”

Adam: “Grew up English style, convert to the way of the West Coast in recent years.”

Laura: “My IPA preferences are citrus and tropical fruit with a great malt balance. But any well-made, complex, balanced IPA is very much appreciated by my palate.”

Brewers beware. And hops fans, you’ve been warned! The hop-sophisticates this Crew represents could be a veritable tipping point for the VIPA Challenge.

For $40 (single entrance ticket) or $70 for two, you’ll enjoy the right to be an official hops snob alongside the judges and cast your vote for the best hoppy brews from around the state. To sweeten the pot, you’ll get a T-shirt, the official IPA Challenge glass, an insulated six-pack cooler, plus $5 off admission to any New Mexico Brewer’s Guild event for the remainder of the year. Learn more at (Editor’s note: This is the Enthusiast Membership we were helping people to sign up for during ABQ Beer Week. — S)

Cast your vote for your favorite hops concoction on Sunday, and help usher in the next phase of #NMIPA. Our state has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to hops, and we humbly plead for your help.

nmipaThe full list of breweries who will be participating in the VIPA, as provided by the Guild (subject to change).

  1. Back Alley Draft House
  2. Bathtub Row
  3. Blue Corn
  4. Bosque (defending champion)
  5. Boxing Bear
  6. Canteen
  7. Chama River
  8. High Desert
  9. Kaktus
  10. La Cumbre
  11. Lizard Tail
  12. Marble
  13. Pi
  14. Ponderosa
  15. Red Door
  16. Roosevelt
  17. Sandia Chile Grill
  18. Santa Fe
  19. Second Street
  20. Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande
  21. Spotted Dog
  22. Taos Mesa
  23. Three Rivers
  24. Tractor
  25. Turtle Mountain

The format of the event, for those participating, is as follows. The doors at Sandia Casino, ballrooms A & B, will open at 11:45 a.m. Settle in and grab a table with friends. Bring your ticket(s) and a valid ID. At 12:15 p.m. things will begin with some opening remarks from the Guild, at which point you will receive the first tray of 13 IPAs. There will be palate-cleansing snacks, water, and other finger food available to keep the hops from hammering you into submission. Take some serious notes, then pick your seven favorites from that tray. After a break, you will get a second tray of 12 beers. Take your time, take some notes, keep your palate as fresh as possible, and ultimately pick another seven. These 14 beers will be your choices to reach the main rounds of the IPA Challenge. Please remember, you do not have to finish every sample, not even the ones you really like. Dump buckets will be available.

Above all, have fun, enjoy the camaraderie of your fellow hopheads, and may the best IPAs win!


— Julie (with an assist from Stoutmeister)

Las Cruces' biggest beer festival is back. (Image courtesy of the NM Brewers Guild)

Las Cruces’ biggest beer festival is back. (Image courtesy of the NM Brewers Guild)

The third annual Blazin’ Brewfest will hit Las Cruces this Saturday from 4 to 9 p.m., officially kicking off festival season in New Mexico. The event will be held again on Main Street, with plenty of food trucks and live music to go with the offerings from 15 different breweries, including the event’s four host breweries — Bosque, High Desert, Pecan Grill & Brewery, and Spotted Dog. It will mark the second New Mexico Brewers Guild event of the year, following WinterBrew in Santa Fe back in January. You can buy tickets online or at the breweries/taprooms in Las Cruces, or they will be $20 at the gate. The ticket gets you a souvenir glass and sample tickets.

As we try to do for every major festival, especially those supported by the Guild, we put out the call for beer lists so those attending have advance notice of what they are in for this weekend. Unfortunately, we have not gotten many lists yet, but we will keep updating this post and letting you know when it is updated via social media right up until the event starts. None of the Crew can make the trek southward again this year (it falls on a double birthday weekend, for one thing), but keep an eye out for friend of the Crew and possible future Las Cruces correspondent Eric Dust, who hopefully (HINT) will write up something on the event.

The beer lists, as provided by the breweries.

Bosque: Pale Ryder, Brewer’s Boot Amber Ale, Scotia Scotch Ale, Bosque Pale Lager, Equinox SMASH, Bosque Lager. That’s four quality house beers, plus two seasonals in the Pale Lager (had it Wednesday, should be perfect in the afternoon heat) and the new Equinox SMASH, a single-hop and single-malt ale.

High Desert: IPA, Peach Wheat, Hefeweizen, Bohemian Pilsner, ESB, Brown Ale, Stout, Oktoberfest. Those beers will be there for sure, plus they teased that there may be some surprise beers there as well.

La Cumbre: unknown

Little Toad Creek: unknown

Marble: unknown

Monks’ Ale: unknown

Pecan Grill & Brewery: They dropped the “De La Vega’s” portion of their name, plus they are brewing on site now. All they told us was that they will be bringing a number of specialty beers created at their brewer, not contract-brewed up at Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca in Moriarty.

Ponderosa: unknown

Red Door: Gateway Blonde Ale, Unhinged Cider, Threshold IPA, Roamer Red. Seriously, Las Cruces, for those of you who love ciders, Unhinged may be the best in the state. And because it’s there, you can take your gluten-free friend(s) to the event.

Santa Fe: Happy Camper IPA, Java Stout, Black IPA, Freestyle Pilsner, Pale Ale, State Pen Porter, Nut Brown. All the crowd favorites.

Second Street: unknown

Spotted Dog: Much like Pecan, they are promising to bring some unique beers to the festival, but would not name them. So think of it all as a big surprise. Part two.

Taos Mesa: unknown

Tractor: Farmer’s Tan Red Ale and Mustachio Milk Stout in cans; Apple Cider, Branding Iron DIPA, and Cowboy Blend Coffee Pale Stout on tap. Three staples and two seasonals from opposite ends of the spectrum.

Turtle Mountain: Brohemian Pilsner, Oku Amber, Hopshell IPA, Stauffenberg Stout. In addition to those, there will be limited samples of Wilde Jagd, TMBC’s first bottled beer, plus some bombers for sale.

Sorry we could not get all the breweries’ lists this time around. Hopefully we will have better luck when Bearfest and Blues & Brews go head-to-head in late May. Oh, and for the Outside Bike & Brew Festival in Santa Fe before that. Good lord May is going to be busy.


— Stoutmeister

Put away those sample glasses. Don’t worry about what’s being served. Festival season for 2014 is over (well, save for one event, see below) and as such, the beer news is grinding (almost) to a halt. It’s the quiet period, which usually lasts from now through the holidays, and it can be maddening for a group of beer writers to keep finding things to write about.

Cheers to Tractor on their 15th anniversary and to this rather scrumptious Little Red Rye-ding Hood.

Cheers to Tractor on their 15th anniversary and to this rather scrumptious Little Red Rye-ding Hood.

Luckily it’s not too quiet, so there are still some things to keep us (and you, dear readers) entertained. This past weekend marked two celebrations as Santa Fe held their annual Oktoberfiesta and Tractor celebrated their 15th anniversary. We sent Luke, our Santa Fe correspondent, to the former, but it was his actually his birthday, so we told him that he didn’t need to work, just have fun (we think he did, but he may still be nursing a hangover, so we’re not about to call him or anything).

As for Tractor, work schedules and the like conspired to keep us away until later in the evening. Franz Solo and I popped in and found a random table in the hallway next to the brewery, between the taproom and the bathrooms. It made for a nice spot to people watch, as well as give us a chance to actually hear each other talk. The DJ was playing away in the main taproom, and other than a brief usage of The Song of Evil (if anyone follows me on Twitter @topeswriter, you know what song that is), it wasn’t too bad of a song selection. We did miss what Melissa told us was a rather epic drunk dance-off, but instead we got to enjoy hearing some stories from brewer David Hargis. We also enjoyed the Little Red Rye-ding Hood and Bulls Eye PA, while Franz alone got to have the Ruby Red Wheat. It was actually a relaxing couple of hours amid the festivities. Kudos to you and your wonderful staff, Tractor. Here’s to another 15 years.

Anyway, on with the random little tidbits of beer news for the week and beyond …

One more festival, then we rest

The NM Brewers Guild is again holding the Dia de la Cerveza down in Las Cruces on Sunday, Nov. 2. We have been trying to set things up to have a Las Cruces-area correspondent to join our Bullpen, but that’s still up in the air right now. Anyway, we know Bosque, which is opening a taproom soon in LC, and local boys High Desert will be there. We’ll work on getting a list of other breweries from the Guild as we get closer to the event.

After that, there’s nothing until the always awesome WinterBrew up in Santa Fe on Jan. 23, 2015. For more info, visit the Guild’s website.

We'll always come try a new porter, but when it's for a good cause, we guarantee our attendance.

We’ll always come try a new porter, but when it’s for a good cause, we guarantee our attendance.

Beer for a cause

There are a number of beers with eye-popping names being released right now, but all with a good cause behind them. Chama River’s Rasp-booby Wheat and Turtle Mountain’s Brown Ale for Boobies have both been out for a little while. Both beers were made to help breast cancer awareness this month (in case there were five of you left on earth wondering why all those NFL players are wearing pink lately).

La Cumbre is jumping into the mix with a release party this Wednesday for Peek-a-Boob Porter. LC will donate $1 from every pint sold to the YWCA to benefit early cancer screenings for women. The porter will be tapped at noon and there will be live music from The Rudy Boy Experiment from 6 to 9 p.m., while Adoughbe Pizza’s truck will be parked outside.

Then on Saturday at La Cumbre, the Cerveza for a Cause event will be hosted by The Q Active 20-30 Club. Again $1 from every pint sold will go to charity, in this case children’s charities, and this time it will work for any beer purchased between noon and 4 p.m. There will also be a charity art auction and a free brewery tour for the first 30 people to sign up. There will be a Dia de los Muertos theme, plus Django Rhythm Meat Grinder will perform. A&J BBQ Food Truck will be parked outside.

Deutschland meets Burque

The new Heimat House will be opening this weekend near the corner of Louisiana and Montgomery (right near a certain middle school that I used to attend). This German-themed restaurant will have a special Oktoberfest celebration Saturday. They will also have some 30 beers on tap, including many you can’t find anywhere else in New Mexico. We’ll be stopping in to visit them when they have a few free minutes to talk this week. Look for that preview soon.

But not, we’re still not gonna bust out the lederhosen. Franz Solo might have some hidden in the back of a closet, but the rest of us aren’t that brave to try to wear any.

Who will be the king of pumpkin beers in the ABQ area? We hope to find out soon.

Who will be the king of pumpkin beers in the ABQ area? We hope to find out soon.

Pumpkin challenge or not to pumpkin challenge?

We were originally gonna do a double beer challenge a few weeks ago along with the area’s selection of Oktoberfest beers, but there were so many different pumpkins scattered around we worried about palate destruction or just general drunkenness distorting our results. If everything breaks right with our collective crazy schedules, we may finally try to do a pumpkin beer challenge this weekend. It ought to be an interesting one, due to all the variations of pumpkin beers. This year we’ve seen pumpkin porters, pumpkin saisons, and there are still more pumpkin beers due out this week and beyond. It’s time to see what really is the best way to make a beer with pumpkin in it. Even if we know some of you despise pumpkin beers, it’s clearly a style that’s here to stay.

Sensory panels and big beers to brew

We were recently invited to participate in some of Tractor’s upcoming sensory panels, particularly in that’s dark beer season and our palates tend to be tuned to those. Whenever we figure out with the good Tractor folks how to set that all up, expect a story or two.

There’s also a good chance you may some Brew Crew beers on tap in the months ahead, and not just from small batch productions, either. We’ve had conversations with Canteen Brewhouse, Chama River, and Tractor about potential future brews on their main system. When I told the others, I’m not sure “ecstatic” is enough to describe their reactions. We’ll have more on all of that as it comes together.

Anything we’ve forgotten?

This is the time of year when we rely on outside input more than ever to let us know what’s going on out there. It can be anything from story ideas to news items big and small to pretty much anything dealing with beer.

For instance, here was a neat little item shared with us by reader Natalie B via our Facebook page: “So, with all the pumpkin beer talk I though I would pitch this to you guys and see if you think we would have any takers here. I just got back from a trip to the New England area to see the fall foliage and to, of course drink a beer or two. The very first place that we visited was a place called, Beer Works – across the street from Fenway Park. I have been a fan of Pumpkin beer since I first tasted it at Socorro Springs probably 6 or 7 years ago… well, they had a “Pumpkin Works” on their tap list and I ordered it. It came in a chilled glass rimmed with cinnamon and a little sugar, not crazy on the sugar but tastable. I know that it sounds strange but it tastes amazing!! Pretty much every tap room back there when you ordered pumpkin beer asked if you wanted a rimmed glass.. so this wasn’t just a single tap room fluke. Some places moistened the rimmed with water, a few with lemon or lime – not my favorite… but then we hit a tap room in Plymouth, MA and that is where the best was served. In this tap room they rimmed the glass with honey and then dipped it in the cinnamon/sugar… oh my goodness. It tastes pretty awesome. … I think you all seem to know EVERYONE and might have a better idea of someone that has pumpkin that might be open to the idea of trying something new. Even the guys that were with us thought that it tasted good so even though this might lean a little more to the girl side of beer drinking I think you might be surprised at just how many people would love a rimmed glass with their pumpkin beer!! Anyway, just something I wanted to share!!”

We had to admit, that’s a brilliant, creative way to serve a seasonal beer that the folks in New England came up with, and it’s something one of our local breweries (HINT) might want to try.

But that is the kind of stuff we’re looking for right now, even little creative tidbits in addition to news about brewery expansions or new places opening or staffs being shuffled or anything like that. We don’t have to fill our site with BIG NEWS all the time. Sometimes it’s the fun stuff that works out.

Anyway, thanks as always for reading. You can send us comments or news items or story suggestions via the comments section here, via Facebook, via Twitter (@nmdarksidebc), and via email ( Or just come up and say hello if you ever spot any of the bearded wanderers out at the breweries. We’ll be nice, we promise. Well, unless you’re singing along to anything by Neil Diamond. Isotopes season is over, we don’t have to listen to The Song of Evil anymore.


— Stoutmeister

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with the second half of the now-divided Week Ahead in Beer. This edition covers all the breweries outside of Bernalillo and Sandoval Counties. From Taos to Santa Fe to Farmington to Las Vegas in the north, to Portales, Artesia, Silver City, and Las Cruces in the south, this edition will keep you up to date every week with as many breweries as we can reach.

Fear not, fans of Santa Fe's breweries, your listings will join with the breweries in the ABQ metro area next week.

Fear not, fans of Santa Fe’s breweries, your listings will join with the breweries in the ABQ metro area next week.

This is the last time we will run a State Edition for the foreseeable future. As I explained last week, we simply haven’t gotten enough responses from breweries outside the four in Santa Fe. Those four breweries will be folded into what has been the Metro Edition, which will continue to run every Wednesday as a single edition. If the breweries outside this portion of the I-25 corridor start contacting us, or we somehow establish more reliable communication, we can always restart the State Edition at a later time. What we don’t want is to be running outdated or incorrect information for all of you. These weekly features were designed to make life easier for beer drinkers, by giving them all the information they need in one place, and for the breweries, who could focus on beer and not worry about updating their own websites or Facebook pages. When I emailed the breweries below about this being the final edition without their protest/help, none of them responded, so that tells you pretty much everything you need to know.

The four Santa Fe breweries gave us updates for this week. For the other breweries, we are giving them one last listing, noting whether the information taken from their websites or our most recent visits are old or at least somewhat up to date. High Desert and Three Rivers tend to be the best at updating their own websites. For the rest, if you need the info, we’ll always have links to their official sites on the NMDSBC front page. If you’re passing through and have a desire to know what’s on tap, call them to find out. (And if you want, subtly remind them that you used to get all your info from us until they stopped providing it.)

To further help people organize any brewing adventures, rather than list the breweries alphabetically here as we do in the Metro Edition, they’re grouped by geographic region: Northwest (Farmington), Santa Fe area, Taos area, Northeast (Las Vegas), East (Portales), Southeast (Artesia), Southwest (Las Cruces, Silver City).

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of Sept. 8.

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.

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Berliner Weiss, Funkadelic Dunkel, Night Train (Schwarzbier), Scorched (smoked olde ale). The most recent German-style beer addition is the Night Train (5% ABV, 32 IBU), a darker lager made with two types of German malts and noble hops. The Funkadelic (5.8% ABV, 30 IBU) is a Bavarian-style brown ale, with Crystal hops added to balance the big malt bill. Scorched debuted last week. I got the chance to try both Funkadelic, which is exceptionally smooth, and Scorched, which is exactly the big old smoky blast you would expect.

News: In the works is an imperial red wet hop beer using 50 pounds (!) of Chinook hops from Colorado. An Oktoberfest and a pumpkin ale are in the works, while further down the line we are really looking forward to an imperial stout and a barley wine.

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

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

Beers: Study Series: Brown (Belgian-style Sour Brown Ale), Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Synne (Pale Ale), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Marcel (Witbier), Whistler (Blonde), Manikin Small Scottish-style Dark Ale, Oaked Grunewald (Barrel Aged Imperial Porter). Duel brewer Todd Yocham described the latest Study Series entry (5% ABV) like this, “A very malt forward light bodied brown ale, soured with Lactobacillus and accentuated by the fruity esters from our Trappist yeast.” The Fantin (7.5% ABV), which I tried and liked at Pajarito Summerfest, gets this summary, “Aromas of strawberry and pineapple accentuated by our Trappist yeast will keep you wanting more.” Todd also said his supply of the Oaked Grunewald is very limited, so hurry over before it runs out.

Events: The life drawing session is $25 and is held each Sunday morning from 11-1 (although they are not open to the drinking public till 1 p.m. on Sun). You get the beverage of your choice, a Brussels-style waffle made with their own yeast and beer and then served with a Grunewald Syrup. Everyone then draws from a nude model. People can sign up through the website or call the brewery to reserve a spot.

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

(Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., closed on Sunday)

Beers: Oktoberfest, Carne’s Peachy Camper. The Peachy Camper is this week’s entry for Small Batch Saturday, where peaches were added to some Happy Camper IPA, as the name might imply. Kriek, SFBC’s popular sour, is not on tap, but it is available in bombers around the state. The first beer in the new Ever Changing Series will be a Double White IPA, which potentially will debut late next week.

Events: $1 Off Growler Refills in the Tasting Room on Mondays. $2 Tuesdays at the Eldorado Taphouse. On Wednesday, there is a $2 Pint Special in the SFBC Tasting Room, and the Sangre de Cristo Craft Brewers’ Meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Tasting Room as well on the third Wednesday of every month. On Thursday, there will be $1 Off Growler Refills at the Eldorado Taphouse.

There will be two major homebrewing events at SFBC this weekend. Luke, our Santa Fe-based Bullpen member, has all of that covered.

News: SFBC will be providing beer at the Telluride Bands and Brews festival all weekend. SFBC will also be at the Los Alamos Science, Beer, and Bands event from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday. And, as they have been the last two weeks, SFBC will be at the Santa Fe Ski Basin Fall Gold sale, which will be held this Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

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, Cream Stout, Rod’s Best Bitter, Citra Weizen, Scotch Ale, Pajarito Pale Ale, Boneshaker Bitter, IPA, Steam Bitter. The ESB, Railrunner Pale Ale, and Railyard Red have run out, but Citra Weizen and Scotch Ale are back. This year’s Scotch Ale is a cherry wood smoked aged beer, which gives it a smoky yet sweet flavor profile, without being too much of either. It’s a big, thick, tough beer that’s not for the faint of heart.

Events: SSB Thursday’s Patio series features Bill Hearne. Catahoula Curse is playing Friday. Saturday will be Rescuefest, benefiting the Atalaya Search and Rescue. The event will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with multiple bands playing. It will also mark the seasonal debut of Atalaya Altbier, brewed in honor of the group.

Shows at the Railyard include Hot Club on Friday and Crazy 88’s on Saturday.

The Farmer’s Market Pavillion will be hosting the Green Chile Smackdown on Saturday. SSB’s Alien Burger will be among the competitors and SSB will host a beer garden for the event.

SSB will also have a beer garden for Sunday’s AHA Rally at the Railyard.

Every Wednesday night, both SSB locations host Game Night. SSB has game boards and dominoes or bring your own … oh yeah, they also have discounted pitchers!

Taos-area breweries

Blue Heron Brewery — (505) 579-9188 (original location), (505) 747-4506 (Espanola taproom)

(Original location: Sun-Tues noon–6 p.m., Wed-Sat 10 a.m.–8 p.m.)

(Espanola taproom, 100 Los Alamos Hwy: Wes-Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.–8 p.m., happy hour Weds-Fri 4 p.m.–6 p.m.)

Beers: Embudo Gold Golden Ale, Lava Rock Pale Ale, Tarantula Trek Red Ale, Ladybug IPA, Prieta Real Imperial Stout. These were the beers on tap at the original location during the Crew’s visit there earlier this summer.

Comanche Creek Brewing Company — (575) 377-2337

(Wed-Sat noon–6 p.m.)

Beers: Scully Mountain IPA, Deadman Pale Ale, Homestead Amber Ale, Iron Mountain Porter, Belgian Blond. These were the last beers updated a few months ago.

Eske’s Brew Pub — (575) 758-1517

(Mon–Thurs 4 p.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sun noon-10 p.m.)

Beers: Taos Green Chile Beer, The Chemist (Gluten-free), Blonde Betty, Artist Ale (English bitter), Millennium IPA, Red-Handed Ale, Naked Ape (Fruit beer). Reader 8BitHitman sent us this list a while back when he visited Eske’s.

Taos Ale House — (575) 758-5522

(Mon–Fri 4 p.m.-10 p.m., Sat noon-10 p.m., Sunday noon-8 p.m.)

Beers: Mosaic Lollipop Pale Ale, Mogul Imperial IPA, Simple Porter. These were the beers on tap during the Crew’s last visit.

Taos Mesa Brewing — (575) 758-1900

(Daily 11 a.m. – close)

Beers: Amarillo Rojo, Great Scot Scottish, Fall Down Brown, Superstitious Stout, Kolsch 45, 3 Peaks IPA. These came from the last email update a few weeks ago.

Northeast breweries

New Mexico Craft Brewing Co. — (505) 426-6079 (brewery), (203) 521-7908 (pub)

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

Beers: Oatmeal Stout, Kolsch, Dry-hopped Pale Ale, Cider, Red. We pulled these beers off their Facebook page a few weeks ago.

Northwest breweries

Three Rivers Brewery — (505) 325-6605

Beers: India Pale Ale, Sandstone Wheat, SHIPA – Citra, Papa Bear’s Golden Honey Ale, Red Mountain Wheat, Red Apple Flyer Cider, Orchard Street Raspberry Wheat, King Colona, NM Colona, 3 Rivers Scottish Ale, Arroyo Amber Ale, Thode’s Fat Dog Stuck in the Door Stout. This lineup was just updated on their website, which tends to receive bi-weekly updates from the staff. The NM Colona was the only new addition. It replaced the Longshot Light.

Eastern breweries

Roosevelt Brewing — (575) 226-2739

(Sun 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Mon closed, Tues–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Eleanor’s Blonde Ale, Portales Pale Ale, Clovis Point IPA, Dirt Town Brown Ale, Happy Heifer Hefeweizen, Big Stick Stout, Black Water Draught Porter, Green Chile Lager, Wild Cherry Stout, Roosevelt Golden Lager, Wagon Wheel Wheat. These are the beers from their website.

Southeast breweries

Desert Water Brewing — (888) 959-9342

(Tues-Sat noon-9 p.m.)

Beers: Hard Cider, Porter, Pilsner, Amber, Pale Ale. These are the beers listed on their website.

The Wellhead — (575) 746-0640

Beers: Cisco Canyon Blonde, Indian Basin Wheat, Wellhead Pale Ale, Crude Oil Stout, Roughneck Red, Wildcat IPA. These were the beers on tap when Amy O from the Bullpen visited Artesia a few months ago.

Southwest breweries

High Desert Brewing Company — (575) 525-6752

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

Beers: Kolsch, IPA, Black IPA, Anniversary IPA, Octoberfest, Stout, Barley Wine. These are the beers currently listed on the HDBC website, which is updated pretty frequently.

Little Toad Creek Brewery & Distillery — (575) 956-6144

(Open Wednesday through Monday (closed Tuesday) from 11 a.m.-11 p.m., staying open late on Friday/Saturday.)

Beers: Helles Lager, IPA, Amber Ale, Robust Porter, Oatmeal Stout. These are their regular beers, via their website.

* * * *

That’s all for this week! If you have any questions or comments, leave them below or contact us on our Facebook page.


— Stoutmeister