Posts Tagged ‘Kaktus Brewing’

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s four breweries and one down in Socorro and the other in Los Alamos also joining the party.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Remember recently when I noted how it seems like all the brewery anniversaries tend to sneak up on us? Well, here we go again! Boxing Bear celebrates their second birthday on Saturday with a festive party both inside and on the patio. The Real Matt Jones will be on the patio performing from 2 to 4 p.m., then DJ Young Native will spin from 7 to 9. On the beer front, there will be special beer and food pairings with My Sweet Basil that will begin at 4 p.m. (a full list will be up later this week, which the Crew will share, of course). Saturday will also mark the debut of Bearfuzz Peach Sour Ale, which sounds like one of the crazier beers they have created. There will be some additional new beers and some old favorites coming out of the cellar as well. Oh, and of course you can ask if you can get your picture taken with the IPA Challenge trophy, assuming Justin has let go of it yet. As more details emerge, we will share them!

Speaking of things to share, in case anyone has missed it, a whole lotta businesses along Central are pretty mad about this whole Albuquerque Rapid Transit (A.R.T.), and Kaktus is expressing their particular distaste for it all with a new beer at their Nob Hill taproom. Now, be forewarned, the point of this beer is to be as disgusting as the (potential) boondoggle of a project. It is named, aptly enough, the Albuquerque Rapid Transit Ale. What kind of beer is it? It is a pickle juice porter. That is the kind of beer you basically dare someone to try.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few other options to check out. Bosque shakes things up with River Lager, plus their IPA Challenge offering, The Strip Mall Struggle, is also on tap. Bow & Arrow taps their new Desert Standard Hop Session on Thursday. Pi brings back Cardinal Sin Red while adding Purple Haze Lavender Honey and Burque Lite Cream Ale. Turtle Mountain unleashes some New Zealand hops in the new Kiwi Killer Southern Hemisphere Session IPA.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn unveils Rakau Rye Pale on Thursday. Over in Los Alamos, Bathtub Row unleashes five new beers in the 3-Hop IPA, Honey DIPA, The Belgian Biscuit, Julie’s GFB, and Brexit Summer Bitter. Down in Socorro, Twisted Chile has a fresh batch of Schwarzbar and the new Love Potion Peach.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of July 25.

To break down each “capsule,” I listed the brewery (with Web page linked), its phone number and hours of operation. Under “Beers” are the new or seasonal beers on tap for this week.

Albuquerque metro area breweries

Albuquerque Brewing Co. — (505) 797-1842

(Mon–Fri 3-10 p.m., Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun noon-8 p.m.)

Beers: Tilted Windmill IPA, High Plains Drafter Blonde, Duke’s Pale Ale, Imperial Red, Session IPA, Bayou Smash Saison, American Golden Stout, Vienna Amber. The Tilted Windmill is now the permanent IPA on tap at ABC. The Vienna Amber is the newest addition.

Live Music: Friday—String Dinner, 7 p.m.; Saturday—Alex & Nick, 7 p.m.

Other Events: Every Monday will now be game night at ABC, with everything from Pokemon to Cards Against Humanity. Also, all Blonde pints are just $2.50.

Tobyriffic Karaoke is tonight (Wednesday) at 7.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Monday–Saturday, 3 to 6 p.m.; Sunday, all day

Alien Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–midnight, Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–2 a.m., Sunday 10 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Call the number above for details on any small-batch beers currently available. They change frequently. The rest of the lineup is from the Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande family of beers.

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

(Sun–Weds 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thurs–Sat 4 p.m. to midnight)

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Sundays are Service Nights at Back Alley, with $2 off all beers for service industry workers. Bring your server’s ID and you will be rewarded. All beers are $1 off on Tuesdays.

Bistronomy B2B/Lobo Beast 101 — (505) 262-2222 (B2B), (505) 247-2116 (Lobo)

(B2B: Mon–Tues 4-9 p.m., Weds noon-9 p.m., Thurs–Sat noon-9:30 p.m., Sun noon-9 p.m.; Lobo: open every day 4 p.m. to close)

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

The Blue Grasshopper — (505) 896-8579

(Noon to 11 p.m. most days, call for more info)

Beers: June Bock, Kreem Ale. Well, look at that. Two new house beers on tap, both brewed especially for this scorcher of a weekend coming up.

Live Music: Bands perform from 6 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday through Saturday. Click the link for the schedule.

Boese Brothers Brewery — (505) 382-7060

(Hours: Mon–Thurs 3 p.m.–midnight, Fri 3 p.m.–2 a.m., Sat noon–2 a.m., Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: Patriot Porter, La Onza White Ale, Old Shonie Scottish Ale, Dr. Strangehop XPA, Duke City Lager, Zeus Juice White IPA, Lawnmower Lager, Orange Peel IPA, Cherry Bomb. The newest beer here is the Cherry Bomb. The Lawnmower Lager is an American interpretation of a German Kolsch.

Events: Every Thursday will now feature a special Small Batch Beer. This week’s entry is TBA.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Boese will have a happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, with $3 pints. You can also get $3 pints all day Tuesday and $6 growler fills all day Wednesday.

News: They are still working on building their website. You can follow them on their Facebook page.

Bosque Brewing Company — (505) 750-7596 (main brewery), (505) 508-5967 (Nob Hill Public House), (575) 571-4626 (Las Cruces Taproom)

(Main brewery on San Mateo: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-midnight, Sun noon-8 p.m.; Nob Hill: Mon–Weds 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Thurs 11 a.m.-midnight, Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Sun noon-11 p.m.; Las Cruces: Sun–Thurs noon-11 p.m., Fri–Sat noon-midnight)

Beers: Imperial Popcorn Pilsner, Hot Bosque, Riverbank Brown, Belgian Golden Strong, River Lager, The Strip Mall Struggle. The River Lager (6.5% ABV, 90 IBU) is a variation of the Riverwalker IPA made in a lager style. The Strip Mall Struggle (6% ABV, 100 IBU) was Bosque’s entry in the IPA Challenge.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Bosque has a happy hour running from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and all day on Sunday. Look for special menu items and get $1 off your favorite pints.

Bow & Arrow Brewing — (505) 247-9800

(Mon-Weds 3–10 p.m., Thurs 3–11 p.m., Fri-Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–9 p.m.)

Beers: Flint & Grit (British Mild), Sun Dagger (Saison), Crossed Arrows (Scotch Ale), Hoka Hey (IPA), Jemez Field Notes Lager, Bison Eye Rye, Desert Standard Hop Session, Citrus Lager, Wildorado Unfiltered Wild Rice Pale Ale, Rustic Oak Robust Porter, Belgian Pale Ale. The most recent additions are the Wildorado, Rustic Oak, and the Belgian Pale. They will be joined by the Desert Standard Hop Session this Thursday.

Events: Saturday—Bow & Arrow Brewtique, with Spectacle Caravan and Lauren Tobey Jewelry, 3 to 7 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Bow & Arrow has happy hour every Monday through Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. Get $1 off pints.

Boxing Bear Brewing Company — (505) 897-2327

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

Beers: Centennial S.M.A.S.H., Kerfuffle British IPA, Bare Knuckle IPA, Featherweight Session IPA, Watermelon Gose (nitro only), Chocolate Milk Stout, Baltic Bear Porter (bombers only). Bear Knuckle was the winning entry at the IPA Challenge, so get some before it disappears again. The CMS is back after winning gold at the World Beer Cup, and it’s for sale in bombers around town.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Every day at lunchtime (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), for just $10 you can get a pint and a panini of your choice.

Events: Geeks Who Drink is held every Wednesday from 8 to 10 p.m. at Boxing Bear.

See our intro above for the 2-Year Anniversary Party on Saturday.

Broken Trail Brewery & Distillery (formerly Distillery 365) — (505) 221-6281

(Mon-Thu 3-9 p.m., Fri 3-10 p.m., Sat noon-10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.-8 p.m.)

Beers: Otero ESB, Lone Pine Pilsner, Sancho Saison. New names, same (good) beers.

Live Music (main location): Sunday—Eryn Bent, noon to 2 p.m.

Live Music (Green Jeans taproom): TBA

Other Events: 10 Drink Minimum host a Cards Against Humanity night at the main location every Wednesday at 7 p.m.

This Friday, Outdoor Movie Night returns at 7 p.m. with a special screening of Beetlejuice! Remember to bring your own chairs.

Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Broken Trail has a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar at the main location. You can purchase three bloodies for just $20.

Canteen Brewhouse — (505) 881-2737

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

Beers: Fete Lager, Mongrel DIPA, Solana Summer Ale, Sol Quest Saison, Gose Plum Crazy, Irish Red (also on nitro). The Fete Lager (5.5% ABV, 25 IBU) is a special summer beer that has been lagered for five months. The Solana is loaded with Citra hops

Live Music: Thursday—Upstate Rubdown, 6 to 9 p.m.; Sunday—Keith Sanchez, 4 to 7 p.m.

Cazuela’s Seafood & Mexican Grill — (505) 994-9364

(Open daily 8 a.m.-10 p.m.)

Beers: Papacabra (Double IPA), Acapulco Gold (Mexican Lager), Chupacabra IPA, Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale, Beer for My Horses (Oatmeal Stout). These are the regular house beers. Call the number above for an updated seasonal list.

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

Beers: Hopmonic-Convergence, Dubble-Monic, Heavy Cream. The Heavy Cream (6.3% ABV, 23 IBU) is an export rendition of a traditional American cream ale. The Hopmonic (7.7% ABV, 100+ IBU) is a fancy-sounding IPA, with the Dubble-Monic (7.1% ABV, 90 IBU) is a mix of the IPA and the Dubbel Tap, creating a Belgian-style hoppy beer.

News: Chama now has a rotating nitro tap. Call to see what is available this week.

The Firkin Brewhouse — (505) 881-0702

(Mon closed, Tues-Thurs 3-9 p.m., Fri-Sat noon–11 p.m., Sun noon–9 p.m.)

We went to Firkin recently and found out they are still open. Contact the brewery for an updated beer list. Note the new hours above.

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

(Bernalillo hours Mon-Thu 2-9 p.m., Fri-Sat 11:30-10 p.m., Sun 11:30-9 p.m.)

Beers: Stout, Helles Lager, Honk Ale, Maibock, Brumoso Hefe, Guy IPA, Red Card, Scotch Ale, DjinnJar Kombucha. Another recent tap turnover featured the return of the hugely popular Helles, a perfect summer beer. Look out for Albuquerque Rapid Transit Ale, a pickle juice porter, this Thursday. (See our intro for why anyone would make such a beer.)

Events: The Desert Darlings belly dancers perform from 7 to 9 p.m. on almost every Thursday at the Nob Hill taproom and then Sunday in Bernalillo from 6 to 8 p.m. If you’ve never seen the Desert Darlings in person, you’re missing out.

Every Sunday in Bernalillo, Kaktus is hosting a brunch special from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with breakfast pizzas and drink specials.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Kaktus has several new weekday specials in Bernalillo, including $3 pints on Monday, $9 growlers on Tuesday, $6 bison nachos on Wednesday, and $8 Frito pie and beer on Thursday.

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: VMO #2, Arrogant Bastard, No, You’re a Dort, ‘Merica, Fievre de Abricot. The ‘Merica is an American-style pale ale that debuted last summer and has returned with a fresh batch.

Live Music: Saturday—Ziatron, 6 to 9 p.m.

Other Events: Yoga is back at the taproom every Sunday at 10:45 a.m.

Lizard Tail Brewing — (505) 717-1301

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

Beers: New Zealand IPA, Apricot Wheat, Scottish 80, Hefeweizen, Long Nosed Tripel. There are three recent additions in the Scottish, Hefe, and Tripel. The latter is an old favorite, but beware the ABV (9.2%), for it will sneak up on you.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Lizard Tail’s happy hour runs seven days a week from 3 to 6 p.m. You get $1 off food, flights, and pints.

Events: Lizard Tail will host Geeks Who Drink every Tuesday at 8 p.m. Every Thursday will now feature karaoke from 8 to 11 p.m.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

(Mon–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10:30 p.m.)

Beers: Both locations — Wheels of Soul Pale Ale, Double IPA, Nitro Amarillo; Downtown only — none; Westside only — none. The Wheels of Soul (7.5% ABV) was brewed in honor of an upcoming music tour making a stop in ABQ. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Newday Youth and Family Services.

Live Music (downtown): Thursday—Thieves & Gypsys, 7 to 10 p.m.; Friday—The Gershom Brothers Album Release Party with Tres Pendejos, Vibestrong, The Riddims and The Gershom Brothers, 6 to 11 p.m.; Saturday—The Saturday Night Fever Blisters, 8 to 11 p.m.; Sunday—Halcyon Nights of Summer, 5 to 8 p.m.

Live Music (West Side): Friday—Cowboys & Indian Trio, 8 to 11 p.m.; Saturday—Sloan Armitage, 8 to 11 p.m.

Other Events: Brewery tours occur at the Downtown Pub every Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.–8:30 p.m.)

Beers: E.S.A. (Extra Special Amber), Beam Me Up Scottish, Imperial Pilsner, Salted Caramel Stout, Wrath of Kolsch. Oh, rejoice, those who live on the East Side, for Salted Caramel is now on tap at the main brewery. Do not fret, West Side residents, you still have it at the Silver taproom as well.

News: If you have not gone, we got an early look at Nexus’ impressive west-side taproom, Nexus Silver.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Monday–Friday, 3 to 5 p.m., get $5 off appetizers at the brewery.

Pi Brewing — (505) 890-9463

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

Beers: Discordia IPA, U Down w/ BVP?, Pineapple Express, Amber’s Amber, Zinister Dichotomy, Cardinal Sin Red, Purple Haze Lavender Honey, Burque Lite Cream Ale. The Zinister (6.3% ABV) is a potent red sour.

Ponderosa Brewing Co. — (505) 639-5941

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

Beers: Enkel Biter Belgian Wheat, Azacca Pale Ale, Preacher’s Daughter, Alt the Hoople, Manzano Milk Stout. The new Preacher’s Daughter is for sale on tap and in bombers, both at the brewery and at Jubilation.

Events: Saturday—Summer Music Series, with Alex Maryol and Pata D’ Perro, 4 to 9 p.m.

Quarter Celtic Brewpub — (505) 503-1387

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

Beers: Pedro O’Flanagan’s Mexican Lager, Dusk’s Early Light, You Reek of Pale Ale, Vienna Lager. The name You Reek is a joke, of sorts, but the flavor is not. It’s a single-hop pale made with Eureka.

News: Congrats to QCB for winning a silver medal at the North American Beer Awards. Not bad for a place that has only been open for three months!

Red Door Brewing — (505) 633-6675 (brewery), (505) 990-3029 (downtown taproom)

(Brewery hours: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri 11 a.m. to midnight, Sat 7 a.m. to midnight, Sun 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Downtown taproom hours: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m. to midnight, Sun 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

Beers: Vanilla Cream Ale, Downtown Pale Ale, Blackberry Hefeweizen. The Downtown Pale Ale was brewed in honor of the new downtown taproom, but fear not, it is available at both locations.

Live Music (main location)—Today (Wednesday): Eryn Bent, 7 to 9 p.m.

Other Events: Saturday morning will mark another round of Beer and Breakfast at the main brewery. From 7 to 10 a.m. you can gather with friends for some food truck-supplied goodies with a pint of beer.

Rio Bravo Brewing Company — (505) 900-3909

(Mon–Thu noon–10 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–11 p.m., Sun noon–9 p.m.)

Beers: Rio Bravo Amber, Weizen, Randy’s Shandy, Dirty Rotten Bastard IPA, Snakebite IPA, Black Angus Stout, Randy’s Red Ale, Duke City Pilsner, Old Town Porter (regular and barrel aged), Barley Wine (regular and barrel aged), Winterfest Marzen, Level 3 IPA. The popular Karl’s Sommer Bier is back on tap as well.

Live Music: Saturday—Big K & Blue Train, 7 p.m.

Other Evens: Tuesday—Two Dollar Tuesdays, noon

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

(Mon–Sat 8 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun 8 a.m.–6 p.m.)

Beers: Call the brewery for an updated list.

Sidetrack Brewing — (505) 288-6468

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

Beers: Pub Ale, Railhead Red, Switchgear IPA, Zoso SMASH, Dark Engine Stout, Shoofly Wheat. The Zoso is the most recent addition.

Cask: IPA and Pub Ale will be in the firkins all week.

Starr Brothers Brewing — (505) 492-2752

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

Beers: Starrstruck IPA, Double Live Jonzo, Red Zepplin, Planet of the Ape-rricots. The taps are turning over pretty frequently at Starr Brothers, but that’s because people are drinking them up at a rapid pace. So if you see a favorite listed above, head over now, before this batch runs out.

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

(Nob Hill is open Sunday-Wednesday noon to midnight, Thursday noon to 2 a.m., Friday-Saturday noon to 2 a.m.; Wells Park is open Monday-Thursday 3 p.m. to close, Friday-Sunday 1 p.m. to midnight.
 Last call 30 minutes before close. 
No package after midnight.
 Brewery tours Saturday at 1 p.m.)

Beers: Berry Cider, Maibock, Grapefruit Wheat, Verano New Mexico Lager, Summer En Blanc Belgian Witbier, Berliner Weisse, Barrel-Aged Scotcholate, Barrel-Aged Barley Wine, Barrel-Aged Luna De Los Muertos (Wells Park only), Et Tu Brute Cider (Wells Park only), Nitro Coffee Stout (Wells Park only), Ebony & Ivory Pale Stout (Wells Park only). All three of the barrel-aged behemoths are now on tap, plus there should still be bombers for sale. We highly recommend you try the Luna before it runs out.

Live Music (Wells Park): Thursday—Thirsty Thursdays: Lindy Vision + DJ Karma Shims, 8 p.m.

Live Music (Nob Hill): Saturday—Setting the Tone: Melissa Rios, 5 p.m.

Other Events: Every Monday at Wells Park you can now find Mondays on the Mic starting at 6 p.m.

Kamikaze Karaoke is back at Wells Park on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Also, every first Monday of the month at both Tractor locations is Beer for a Better Burque night. For every pint you buy $1 can go to one of four charities that have partnered with Tractor. You can also opt to purchase a special growler with the logo of your favorite charity.

You can grab your own musical instrument and head to Nob Hill for the ultimate jam session. Tractor Tune Up, hosted by the Virginia Creepers, is now an official event happening every Monday starting at 7:30 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Tractor now has a late happy hour from 9 p.m. to midnight on Mondays with $2 classic beers and $3 seasonals.

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

(Kitchen hours: Mon–Tues 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Wed–Thurs 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Sun 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Reminder: TMBC closes early when business dictates. Please call.)

Beers: Session Red, Kiwi Killer Southern Hemisphere Session IPA, Blueberry Yum Yum; One, If By Land; Two, If By Sea. So the Land and Sea are two unique beers. The former is a refreshing pale ale from a recipe by current brewer Mick Hahn. The latter is a burly, yet sweet, DIPA from former brewer Tim Woodward. Buy two beers, salute two brewers.

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Coffee Imperial Stout, The Gatekeeper IPA, Blueberry Gose, Rakau Pale Ale. The Gatekeeper is Blue Corn’s entry in the IPA Challenge. The Coffee Imperial Stout was made with coffee from a local company.

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

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

Beers: Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Titian (Golden Strong), Grunewald (Imperial Porter), Dark Ryder (Dark Strong), Cezanne Origine (Spring Saison), Hair of the Wolf (Experimental), Harmonia (Barrel-Aged Sour IPA). With the release of the Cezanne Origine, Duel has brought out all of their 2015 saisons out of the cellar and is now offering a flight of five at both locations.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Happy-hour Monday through Friday 4-6 p.m. (discounts for all draft beer), Growler Saturdays ($3 off growler fills).

Live Music (ABQ): Thursday—Lone Pinon, 8 p.m.; Saturday—Enchanted Pop-Up Presents: Street Smarts, 7 p.m.

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

(Main taproom: Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 2-8 p.m.; ABQ taproom: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–11 p.m.; Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight; Sun 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Freestyle Pilsner, Autonomous Collective DIPA, Sunset Limited. The Sunset Limited, a collaboration with a Louisiana brewery, debuted recently.

Happy Hour/Discounts: $1 off growler refills in the tasting room on Mondays. $2 pint Tuesdays at the Eldorado Taphouse. On Wednesday, there is a $2 pint special in the tasting room. On Thursday, there will be $1 off growler refills at the Eldorado Taphouse.

Second Street Brewery — (505) 989-3278 (Railyard), (505) 982-3030 (original location)

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Sunday noon-9 p.m.)

Beers: Kolsch, IPA, Cream Stout, 2920 IPA, Rod’s Best Bitter, 2920 Vienna Lager, The Quark and Berries, Railrunner Pale Ale, Little Blackbird IPA. Say hello to Little Blackbird, which might just be the first session black IPA ever created by a New Mexico brewery.

Live Music (Original location): Thursday—Patio Series: Jeez La Weez; Friday—The Josh Martin Trio; Saturday—Ometcetera

Live Music (Railyard): Saturday—Half Broken Horses; Sunday—Patio Series: The Shiners Club

Other Events: Every Tuesday night, the Railyard location will have Open Mic Night hosted by Ben Wright. Every Thursday night, Geeks Who Drink will be at the Railyard at 8 p.m.

This Friday at the Railyard Plaza is the Santa Fe Reporter Block Party, with SSB hosting the beer tent.

Other breweries you need to visit

Bathtub Row Brewing — (505) 500-8381

(Mon–Weds 2–10 p.m., Thurs 2–11 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–11 p.m., Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: Hoppenheimer IPA, 3-Hop IPA, Barley Wine, Honey DIPA, The Belgian Biscuit, Julie’s GFB, Brexit Summer Bitter. Another big tap turnover recently went down in Los Alamos, with the most excellently named Brexit Summer Bitter topping the list. It was joined by the 3-Hop, Honey DIPA, Belgian Biscuit, and Julie’s GFB.

Events: Bathtub Row hosts an Open Mic Night every Thursday at 6 p.m.

Twisted Chile Brewing — (575) 835-2949

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun noon-8 p.m.)

Beers: Zia Pilsner, 790 IPA, Hose Co. 1 Red Lager, Venom IPA, KC’s Irish Stout, McFadden’s Scotch, Quebradas Summer Amber, El Camino ReAle Summer Pale, Love Potion Peach, Schwarzbar. The most recent additions are old favorite Schwarzbar, a black lager, and the new Love Potion, a peach wheat.

Live Music: Friday—Miles McCormack, 7 to 10 p.m.

Events: Today (Wednesday)—Open mic, 6:30 to 9 p.m.

* * * *

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Now that's a party!

Now that’s a party!

Oh, Nob Hill. You wonderful little place, except for your lack of parking. Home to three taprooms, several beer bars, and that place with the nice patio. This Saturday, it will also be home to one small-but-awesome event, and one very large event. Then comes Tuesday, with another small-but-awesome.

First up, Ballast Point will be celebrating their 20th anniversary locally at Nob Hill Bar & Grill. As the beer list above shows, they are bringing out all the big guns available this time of year. The real highlight is the collection of five beers from their R&D team. The Schwarzbier and DIPA caught our eye, while the Tripel could be a beast. All of that taps starting flowing at 1 p.m., so stop in, grab lunch, and then consume. Just do so quickly, because Saturday is also …

Route 66 Summerfest

The biggest of all the Summerfests is the one in Nob Hill, and it begins at 2 p.m. There will be three stages for music (find the full list here on Facebook), including one in the Cork & Tap area, where local breweries and wineries will be pouring their finest. Cork & Tap will be located at Central and Montclair, which is two blocks west of O’Niell’s.

This is not a sampling event. You get a wristband with the ID check, head in, and pay for your beers. Please drink responsibly. Traffic getting in and out of Nob Hill will be about 10 times as bad as normal, and expect a heavy police presence for your safety.

Nine breweries were listed by the City of ABQ as attending, but Abbey Brewing will not be there. Of the remaining eight, seven got us their lists. If the other one happens to share between the time you read this and Saturday, we will update their list.

  • Boxing Bear: Uppercut IPA, Hairy Mit Hefe, Ambear, Cider, Bearzen, New Mexikolsch, Chocolate Milk Stout
  • Broken Trail: Lone Pine Pils, Otero ESB, Sancho Saison, Pepe the Mule (not a beer, but we will list it anyway for them)
  • Canteen: TBA
  • Kaktus: GuyPA (IPA), Redcard, Dunkelweizen
  • La Cumbre: Slice of Hefen, Elevated IPA, Malpais Stout, Fievre d’Abricot, ‘Merica, Red Ryeot
  • Marble: Double White, Pilsner, IPA, Red Ale
  • Red Door: Roamer Red, Threshold IPA, Vanilla Cream, Unhinged Cider
  • Santa Fe: Autonomous Collective DIPA, Pale Ale, Java Stout, Freestyle Pilsner, Nut Brown, Hefeweizen

The nice thing here is that some of the breweries are not just bringing their usual house beers. Boxing Bear is bringing their award-winning Chocolate Milk Stout, plus the new New Mexikolsch. Broken Trail has their new Sancho Saison (we approve of the name, Matt). Kaktus plucked three current favorites from their constantly rotating taps. La Cumbre has current seasonals ‘Merica, a pale ale, and Fievre d’Abricot. Red Door has their summer-friendly Vanilla Cream. Santa Fe rolls out a hop bomb in the Autonomous Collective. Cheers to all of those!

And, of course, you can always duck into Bosque, Kaktus, or Tractor for fresh beers on tap. With air conditioning. Yeah, they will all be pretty crowded until the sun goes down.

But wait, there is more …

Welcome to New Mexico, Firestone Walker!

We will drink them all. ALL.

We will drink them all. ALL.

At long last, FW arrives in our fair state. This Tuesday, Nob Hill Bar & Grill will once again host a potentially epic launch party starting at 5 p.m. If you fall in love with some of those beers, go load up the trunk the following day when they go on sale at Jubilation.

First, though, that list … Parabola. PARABOLA. PARABOLA ON TAP. PARABOLA ON TAP IN ALBUQUERQUE!!!!

Ahem, yes, well, one of my all-time favorite barrel-aged imperial stouts is worth celebrating. Yet there are also the Double Jack, Wookey Jack, Nitro Merlin Milk Stout, and that 19th Anniversary behemoth. Bring lots of friends with you so that you can all try as many as possible. Then get an Uber.

UPDATE: As for the Jubilation list, we just got it from our own Adam Auden, the wonderful beer manager — Union Jack, Easy Jack, Wookey Jack, Luponic Distortion, DBA, Pivo Pils, Opal, and the variety 12-pack. There might be an extra special or two that made it on the truck, but we will have to wait and see.

So, yeah, parking be damned, scorching weather be damned, it is gonna be a fun stretch in Nob Hill. See you all out there.

Cheers!

— 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.

Cheers!

— 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!

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.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s four breweries and one down in Socorro and the other in Los Alamos also joining the party.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Back at the start of the year, Kaktus said they were instituting a barrel-aging program for the first time. Mainly they talked about doing sours, but lo and behold, their first offering will be out this Friday at both locations in the form of Ship’s Hull IPA. We gotta admit, there have not been a lot of barrel-aged IPAs out there, so it should be fascinating to see how this one turns out. It can be fun, and maybe kinda nervy, when a brewery pushes boundaries beyond what we all expect from them. Speaking just for myself, I like it when places get experimental, take some risks, and sometimes crazy good things can happen. Or, they can hear from a lot of folks “you should go back to the drawing board.” However it turns out, we won’t know until we actually try it. Let’s keep encouraging our breweries to push forward, and offer up the best constructive criticism if it doesn’t work out.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque is also trying something slightly different with Bosque Ale, a companion beer to Bosque Lager. Exodus is back on tap and now it’s on nitro for Canteen. Pi is traveling back in time with Prohibition Pilsner. Ponderosa is swimming with Shark Bite Red Rye Lager. Tractor gets in the summer spirit early with Grapefruit Wheat.

Up in Santa Fe, Second Street brings back an old favorite in Otowi Pale Ale.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of May 9.

To break down each “capsule,” I listed the brewery (with Web page linked), its phone number and hours of operation. Under “Beers” are the new or seasonal beers on tap for this week.

Albuquerque metro area breweries

Albuquerque Brewing Co. — (505) 797-1842

(Mon–Fri 3-10 p.m., Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun noon-8 p.m.)

Beers: Tilted Windmill IPA, High Plains Drafter Blonde, Duke’s Pale Ale, Dunkelweizen, Imperial Red, Session IPA, Bayou Smash Saison, Handlebars Stout. The Tilted Windmill is now the permanent IPA on tap at ABC.

News: ABC is now serving their in-house pizza starting at 5 p.m. every day, running till 8 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday and till 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Other Events: Every Monday will now be game night at ABC, with everything from Pokemon to Cards Against Humanity. Also, all Blonde pints are just $2.50.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Monday–Saturday, 3 to 6 p.m.; Sunday, all day

Alien Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–midnight, Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–2 a.m., Sunday 10 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Call the number above for details on any small-batch beers currently available. They change frequently. The rest of the lineup is from the Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande family of beers.

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

(Sun–Weds 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thurs–Sat 4 p.m. to midnight)

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Sundays are Service Nights at Back Alley, with $2 off all beers for service industry workers. Bring your server’s ID and you will be rewarded. All beers are $1 off on Tuesdays.

Bistronomy B2B/Lobo Beast 101 — (505) 262-2222 (B2B), (505) 247-2116 (Lobo)

(B2B: Mon–Tues 4-9 p.m., Weds noon-9 p.m., Thurs–Sat noon-9:30 p.m., Sun noon-9 p.m.; Lobo: open every day 4 p.m. to close)

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

The Blue Grasshopper — (505) 896-8579

(Noon to 11 p.m. most days, call for more info)

Beers: Call the brewpub for an updated list.

Live Music: Bands perform from 6 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday through Saturday. Click the link for the schedule.

Boese Brothers Brewery — (505) 382-7060

(Hours: Mon–Thurs 3 p.m.–midnight, Fri 3 p.m.–2 a.m., Sat noon–2 a.m., Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: Patriot Porter, La Onza White Ale, Old Shonie Scottish Ale, Dr. Strangehop XPA, Duke City Lager, Zeus Juice White IPA. The Zeus Juice is the newest seasonal at Boese.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Boese will have a happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, with $3 pints. You can also get $3 pints all day Tuesday and $6 growler fills all day Wednesday.

News: They are still working on building their website. You can follow them on their Facebook page.

Bosque Brewing Company — (505) 750-7596 (main brewery), (505) 508-5967 (Nob Hill Public House), (575) 571-4626 (Las Cruces Taproom)

(Main brewery on San Mateo: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-midnight, Sun noon-8 p.m.; Nob Hill: Mon–Weds 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Thurs 11 a.m.-midnight, Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Sun noon-11 p.m.; Las Cruces: Sun–Thurs noon-11 p.m., Fri–Sat noon-midnight)

Beers: Mosaic S.M.A.S.H., Tu-Bock Shakur, Beermosa, Double Ditch, Team Dave, Amber Rye, Bosque Ale (San Mateo and Las Cruces), Just For Fun (bombers only). The latest addition is the Bosque Ale, which is the same recipe as Bosque Lager, but brewed instead with ale yeast. They invite people to try the same beers side by side to learn the subtle, and not-so-subtle, differences.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Bosque has a happy hour running from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and all day on Sunday. Look for special menu items and get $1 off your favorite pints.

Bow & Arrow Brewing — (505) 247-9800

(Mon-Thurs 3–10 p.m., Fri-Sat noon–11 p.m., Sun noon–9 p.m.)

Beers: Flint & Grit (British Mild), Tumbling Waters (Pale Wheat), Sun Dagger (Saison), Crossed Arrows (Scotch Ale), Hoka Hey (IPA), Dust Up (Pale Ale), Jemez Field Notes Lager, Bison Eye Rye. The Bison Eye Rye is an unfiltered pale ale made with rye, as if you could not guess by the name. It is the second in a series of four specialty pale ales from Bow & Arrow.

Boxing Bear Brewing Company — (505) 897-2327

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

Beers: Vantablack Russian Imperial Stout, Baltic Bear Porter (bombers only), Kodiak Brown, Bearzen, Red Glove, Chocolate Milk Stout, Black and Blue Sour, K.O. Kolsch, Mosaic S.M.A.S.H. The Vantablack (10.2% ABV, 80 IBU) is a beautiful behemoth, not for the meek. Franz Solo composed some viking poetry to honor this dark overload from the halls of Valhalla.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Every day at lunchtime (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), for just $10 you can get a pint and a panini of your choice.

Events: Geeks Who Drink is held every Wednesday from 8 to 10 p.m. at Boxing Bear.

Broken Trail Brewery & Distillery (formerly Distillery 365) — (505) 221-6281

(Mon-Thu 3-9 p.m., Fri 3-10 p.m., Sat noon-10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.-8 p.m.)

Beers: 365 ESB, Happenstance All-Day Blonde, Happenstance Better Red Than Dead. The All-Day Blonde is the first in a new series of beers created by Broken Trail’s new brewing partners, and the Better Red Than Dead is their second.

Events: 10 Drink Minimum will host a Cards Against Humanity night every Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Can you believe it’s already been a year? Broken Trail celebrates their first anniversary with a party on Saturday from 3 to 10 p.m. The music and other specials will be announced soon on Facebook.

Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Broken Trail has a build-your-own bloody mary bar. You can purchase three bloodies for just $20.

Canteen Brewhouse — (505) 881-2737

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

Beers: Hank ESB, Marzen, Kira Ora New Zealand Session IPA, Sundance Kolsch, Blood Orange Hefe, Exodus IPA. It seems like no brewery wants summer to get here more than Canteen, what with beers like the Sundance, Kira Ora, and Blood Orange. Those are definitely warm weather beers. Also, take note that Exodus is on nitro this week.

Live Music: TBA

Cazuela’s Seafood & Mexican Grill — (505) 994-9364

(Open daily 8 a.m.-10 p.m.)

Beers: Papacabra (Double IPA), Acapulco Gold (Mexican Lager), Chupacabra IPA, Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale, Beer for My Horses (Oatmeal Stout), Inebriator (Doppelbock), Kilt Kicker (Smoked Scottish), Festival (Oktoberfest), Primo with spruce tips (Brown Ale), Blood Brothers (Prickly Pear Berliner Weisse), Agave (American Hefe). Cazuela’s has now expanded to having 10 taps on site, so they have brought four old favorites from the cellar in the Festival, Primo, Blood Brothers, and Agave.

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

Beers: Vermilion, River Gose, Chamiso Mexican Lager, Caramel Kolsch. The Vermilion is a red ale that lies somewhere between the maltier Irish style and the hop-forward West Coast style.

News: Congratulations to Chama River, the winner of this year’s Stout Challenge with Sleeping Dog Stout.

The Firkin Brewhouse — (505) 881-0702

(Mon-Thu 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri-Sat 11:30 a.m.–midnight, Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: Ombibulous IPA, Bootleggers Vanilla Nut Brown, Jailhouse Java Stout, McFinnigan’s Ale, The Dawn of the Red, 11th Hour, What’s Up Beech. After a slight delay, The Dawn of the Red (7.7% ABV, 49 IBU), is on tap. It’s a bigger-than-average Irish red. Another recent addition is the 11th Hour (8.1% ABV, 100+ IBU), a white IPA.

Live Music: Saturday—Boss Hogg, 6 p.m.

Other Events: Monday—Poker Night, 7 to 10 p.m.; Tuesday—Geeks Who Drink, 7 p.m.; Thursday—Cards Against Humanity, 7 p.m.; Friday—Brewers Crew Happy Hour, 4:30 p.m.

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

(Bernalillo hours Mon-Thu 2-9 p.m., Fri-Sat 11:30-10 p.m., Sun 11:30-9 p.m.)

Beers: Milk Stout, London Porter, Honk Ale, Maibock, Classic Amber, Wheat IPA, Red Card, German Pilsner, Cider, DjinnJar Kombucha. Rejoice, for the popular London Porter is back on tap. Other recent additions are the Maibock and Wheat IPA. See our intro for the info on Friday’s release of the Ship’s Hull Barrel-Aged IPA.

Events: The Desert Darlings belly dancers perform from 7 to 9 p.m. on almost every Thursday at the Nob Hill taproom and then Sunday in Bernalillo from 6 to 8 p.m. If you’ve never seen the Desert Darlings in person, you’re missing out.

Every Sunday in Bernalillo, Kaktus is hosting a brunch special from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with breakfast pizzas and drink specials.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Kaktus has several new weekday specials in Bernalillo, including $3 pints on Monday, $9 growlers on Tuesday, $6 bison nachos on Wednesday, and $8 Frito pie and beer on Thursday.

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: It’s Not EVEN Brown, La Llorona, Cascade Hop Back, Mind Phoq, VMO #2, Arrogant Bastard, Cafe Con Leche (available in bombers only). You crazy hopheads already wiped out the entire supply of Father Nelson. Yes, both on tap and in bombers. If you need something, anything to tide you over, mellow out with some VMO #2 paired with My Sweet Basil’s sausage and pretzels at the brewery on Friday.

Live Music: Saturday—Moonhat, 6 to 9 p.m.

Other Events: Yoga is back at the taproom every Sunday at 10:45 a.m.

Lizard Tail Brewing — (505) 717-1301

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

Beers: New Zealand IPA, Apricot Wheat, Scottish 80, Hefeweizen, Long Nosed Tripel. There are three recent additions in the Scottish, Hefe, and Tripel. The latter is an old favorite, but beware the ABV (9.2%), for it will sneak up on you.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Lizard Tail’s happy hour runs seven days a week from 3 to 6 p.m. You get $1 off food, flights, and pints.

Events: Lizard Tail will host Geeks Who Drink every Tuesday at 8 p.m. Every Thursday will now feature karaoke from 8 to 11 p.m.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

(Mon–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10:30 p.m.)

Beers: Both locations — Rita!, Pilsner Anejo; Downtown only — none; Westside only — Abricot. Marble created not one but two anniversary beers in the Rita (4.3% ABV), a kettle-soured ale with lime and salt, while the Pilsner Anejo (4.9% ABV) was aged in tequila barrels with brettanomyces.

Live Music (downtown): Wednesday—Temporary Tattoos, 6 to 9 p.m.; Thursday—Pherkad, 7 to 11 p.m.; Friday—Merican Slang, 8 to 11 p.m.; Saturday—The Higgs, 8 to 11 p.m.

Live Music (West Side): Today (Wednesday)—Nikkie Talley, 6 to 9 p.m.; Friday—Kyle Martin, 6 to 9 p.m.; Saturday—The Gershom Brothers, 6 to 9 p.m.

Other Events: Brewery tours occur at the Downtown Pub every Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.–8:30 p.m.)

Beers: Hibiscus Imperial Cream, The Dark Fare, Imperial Pilsner. Say hello to the Imperial Pilsner (8.7% ABV, 32 IBU). Nexus has always done the big malty beers well, and this beer is no different.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Monday–Friday, 3 to 5 p.m., get $5 off appetizers

Pi Brewing — (505) 890-9463

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

Beers: Prohibition Pilsner, U Down with BVP? (Bourbon Vanilla Porter), Hoppy Ending IPA, Scotty Doesn’t Know, Pineapple Express, Red Headed Stranger, 5 O’Hop Somewhere. The most recent additions are the Red Headed Stranger (6.3% ABV, 65 IBU) and a session IPA called 5 O’Hop Somewhere (5.1% ABV, 60 IBU). Also, take note the Scotty is nearly out, so get it while you can.

News: Nicky V’s Pizzeria has been completely re-branded as Pi Brewing. We have the full story here.

Ponderosa Brewing Co. — (505) 639-5941

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

Beers: Saison Chet Sauvage, Berliner Weisse, Stage One DIPA, Manzanita Milk Stout, Spanglish. The Manzanita is a tasty milk stout that is not overly sweet. The lactose and roasted malts exist in good balance.

Events: This Thursday, the Shark Bite Red Rye Lager will be released in conjunction with a new display about sharks at the nearby Natural History Museum. Professor Spencer Lucas will give a talk about all of it at 2 p.m., if you would like a little science with your beer.

Live Music: Thursday—Jeff Noel, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Quarter Celtic Brewpub — (505) 503-1387

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

Beers: Knotted Blonde, Rye’t Side of Dublin, Mor-buck IPA, Quarter Porter, Crimson Lass, County Down Brown, Irish Extra Stout, Cranberry Sangria Wheat, Pedro O’Flanagan’s Mexican Lager. The Pedro is QCB’s first lager, so give it a try and let them know how it turned out.

Red Door Brewing — (505) 633-6675

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri 11 a.m. to midnight, Sat 7 a.m. to midnight, Sun 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

Beers: Shift Ender Golden Lager, Vanilla Cream Ale, Bad Moon Ryesing, Gluten Removed IPA, Belgian Dubbel. The Bad Moon (6.3% ABV, 51 IBU) is a burly black rye pale ale. There is nothing sweet about this beer, it’s just a dark beast that is not for the weak of palate.

Live Music: Monday—The Draft Sessions Open Mic, 7 to 9 p.m.

Other Events: Saturday morning will mark another round of Beer and Breakfast, with Barclays Premier League soccer on the telly! From 7 to 10 a.m. you can gather with friends for some food truck-supplied goodies with a pint of beer.

Rio Bravo Brewing Company — (505) 900-3909

(Mon–Thu noon–10 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–11 p.m., Sun noon–9 p.m.)

Beers: Rio Bravo Amber, Weizen, Randy’s Shandy, Dirty Rotten Bastard IPA, Snakebite IPA, Black Angus Stout, Randy’s Red Ale, Duke City Pilsner, Old Town Porter (regular and barrel aged), Barley Wine (regular and barrel aged), Winterfest Marzen, Darkside Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout. Yes, we helped make that monstrosity of a barrel-aged imperial. It’s a decadent 11-percent ABV, so be careful when consuming.

Live Music: Thursday—Eryn Bent, 4 p.m.; Friday—Friday Night Beach Party with The Noms and special guests Leah Leyva & the Band, 7 p.m.

Other Events: Friday—ABQ Brew Dash Packet Pickup, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

(Mon–Sat 8 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun 8 a.m.–6 p.m.)

Beers: Call the brewery for an updated list.

Sidetrack Brewing — (505) 288-6468

(Mon–Thurs 3–10 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–10 p.m., Sun noon–8 p.m.)

Beers: Pub Ale, Railhead Red, Switchgear IPA, Crossbuck Pale Ale, Dark Engine Stout, Shoofly Wheat. The new Shoofly replaces the 3:10 to Belen Brown in the lineup, just in time for the warmer weather.

Cask: Two of the three of Railhead, Crossbuck, and/or Dark Engine will be on cask all week.

Starr Brothers Brewing — (505) 492-2752

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

Beers: Starrstruck IPA, Thunderr Ale, Lampshade Porter, Electric Sun, Riff Raff Brown Ale. Meet the first four beers from Starr Brothers. We had a quick review posted recently.

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

(Nob Hill is open Sunday-Wednesday noon to midnight, Thursday noon to 2 a.m., Friday-Saturday noon to 2 a.m.; Wells Park is open Monday-Thursday 3 p.m. to close, Friday-Sunday 1 p.m. to midnight.
 Last call 30 minutes before close. 
No package after midnight.
 Brewery tours Saturday at 1 p.m.)

Beers: Berry Cider, Et Tu Brute Cider, Stein Wine, Cowboy Blend Coffee Stout, Veruca Salt Gose, Half-Acre Hefe, Maibock, Desert Flower IPA, Hop Splitter IPA, Grapefruit Wheat. Tractor has a double dose of hops on tap, with the Desert Flower being the more unique of the two. It is heavy in Mosaic, so if that’s your hop, go get a pint or two.

Live Music (Wells Park): Thursday—pLoud Music: Roger James & The Jaded Hearts, 7 p.m.; Saturday—Sometimes it Snows in April: An Evening Dedicated to Prince, 7 p.m.

Live Music (Nob Hill): Saturday—Setting the Tone: Sloan Armitage, 5 p.m.

Other Events: The Grapefruit Wheat release party starts at noon today (Wednesday) at both locations.

Every Monday at Wells Park you can now find Mondays on the Mic hosted by Kyle Ruggles starting at 6 p.m.

Kamikaze Karaoke is back at Wells Park on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Also, every first Monday of the month at both Tractor locations is Beer for a Better Burque night. For every pint you buy $1 can go to one of four charities that have partnered with Tractor. You can also opt to purchase a special growler with the logo of your favorite charity.

You can grab your own musical instrument and head to Nob Hill for the ultimate jam session. Tractor Tune Up, hosted by the Virginia Creepers, is now an official event happening every Monday starting at 7:30 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Tractor now has a late happy hour from 9 p.m. to midnight on Mondays with $2 classic beers and $3 seasonals.

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

(Kitchen hours: Mon–Tues 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Wed–Thurs 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Sun 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Reminder: TMBC closes early when business dictates. Please call.)

Beers: Marzen, Gose With The Flow, Amethyst Brett Stout, For the Bees, Hemisphere Hopper ESB. To celebrate their 17th anniversary, TMBC brewed up a wowzer of a beer in the Amethyst Brett Stout (9.3% ABV). It started as a double stout that was then aged in wine barrels for a year and dosed with Brett Lambicus. It sells in 13-ounce tulip glasses for $6.

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Cherry Smoke, Barleywine, Continual IPA, Two Lanterns ESB. The Continual (7.2% ABV, 100+ IBU) is so named because it was continuously hopped throughout the brewing process. Columbus was the hop of choice, so head over and “discover” this IPA. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

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

Beers: Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Titian (Golden Strong), Grunewald (Imperial Porter), Dark Ryder (Dark Strong), Cezanne Printemps (Spring Saison), Hair of the Wolf (Experimental), Harmonia (Barrel-Aged Sour IPA). Say hello to the Harmonia and Cezanne Printemps. They are available at the brewery and at the ABQ taproom.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Happy-hour Monday through Friday 4-6 p.m. (discounts for all draft beer), Growler Saturdays ($3 off growler fills).

News: Duel’s Albuquerque taproom has opened, and they are serving food from their European-style deli in addition to the beer. For more info, check out our recent story.

ABQ Live Music: Friday—Enchanted PopUp Presents: Homegirls Records-Vinyl Party, 7 p.m.

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

(Main taproom: Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 2-8 p.m.; ABQ taproom: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–11 p.m.; Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight; Sun 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Black IPA, Chicken Killer, Santa Fe Gold, Adobe Igloo 2.0 (Winter Warmer), La Bete Noire, Chaiway to Hell (ECS), Irish Red, Snowflake DIPA (ABQ only), Freestyle Pilsner, EXP-ESB, Western Block IPA. The EXP-ESB is named such because it features an experimental hop numbered 345. This trial batch checks in at 6.6-percent ABV and 35 IBUs and you can try it at every SFBC location.

Happy Hour/Discounts: $1 off growler refills in the tasting room on Mondays. $2 pint Tuesdays at the Eldorado Taphouse. On Wednesday, there is a $2 pint special in the tasting room. On Thursday, there will be $1 off growler refills at the Eldorado Taphouse.

Second Street Brewery — (505) 989-3278 (Railyard), (505) 982-3030 (original location)

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Sunday noon-9 p.m.)

Beers: Kolsch, IPA, Cream Stout, Agua Fria Apricot, St. George IPA, 2920 Pale Ale, Red Comet, Otowi Pale Ale, Schwarzbier. Darn it, the supply of Trebuchet is out just after it won a silver medal at the World Beer Cup. Tide yourselves over with some St. George, or go more sessionable with the 2920 or Otowi.

Live Music (Original location): Friday—Josh Martin Trio; Saturday—Alex Maryol, 2 to 5 p.m., Les Gens Bruyants, 6 to 9 p.m.

Live Music (Railyard): Friday—Blues Revue Band; Saturday—Swing Soleil

Other Events: Every Tuesday night, the Railyard location will have Open Mic Night hosted by Ben Wright. Every Thursday night, Geeks Who Drink will be at the Railyard at 8 p.m.

This Saturday and Sunday is the annual Crawfish Boil at the original location.

Other breweries you need to visit

Bathtub Row Brewing — (505) 500-8381

(Mon–Weds 2–10 p.m., Thurs 2–11 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–11 p.m., Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: Adam Bier, Hoppenheimer IPA, Kristy Kream, Fitz’s Cherry Quad on Rye, Rubber Ducky Red, Don’t Touch Maibock, Becquerel on Brett. Another big tap turnover just went down in Los Alamos, with some truly creative names alongside old stalwart Hoppenheimer. Kristy Kream is a vanilla cream ale.

Events: Bathtub Row hosts an Open Mic Night every Thursday at 6 p.m.

Twisted Chile Brewing — (575) 835-2949

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun noon-8 p.m.)

Beers: Pilabo Pale Ale, Zia Pilsner, 790 IPA, Hose Co. 1 Red Lager, Venom IPA, Twisted Black IPA, KC’s Irish Stout Orgazzberry.

Events: Today (Wednesday)—Open mic, 6:30 to 9 p.m.

* * * *

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Kaktus is still adjusting to life with a second location.

Kaktus is still adjusting to life with a second location.

Kaktus Brewing made the big leap into opening a second location at the very end of 2015. Since then, they have had to endure a few ups and downs, and some resulting adjustments, to finding their place in Nob Hill. To catch me up on all that has happened, I sat down with owner Dana Koller on a recent afternoon over a pint of Irish Stout.

The first thing I noticed upon entering the Nob Hill taproom was that one-third of it was closed. While the main bar area, to the right of when you walk in, and the rooftop patio are still open. The area with the booths and tables, to your left as you walk in, is closed pending renovations.

“One of the things that we learned and why you’re seeing a change in the bar area is that people started reviewing us more as a restaurant than a brewery,” Dana said. “And, to me, that was really not our goal. We want to provide food, a good, high quality food, but we didn’t want that to be the focus. So, what we’ve changed is we’ve closed down the side that looks like a restaurant, just keeping the rooftop patio and the bar side.”

Dana said profits were starting to go to a 60-40 split between beer and food, whereas he wants it to be at least 65-35 or higher.

“We’re going to put our full focus on expressing the fact we’re first and foremost a brewery,” he said. “I think where some people got confused, we’re still getting our variance to sell growlers, which will probably happen around June 1. People just not seeing that, no growlers, and (not enough) promotion of the beer, I feel like that’s where the confusion was. What we’re trying to do right now is fix that confusion.”

They moved the furniture around in the downstairs bar area, too.

They moved the furniture around in the downstairs bar area, too.

Now, before anyone thinks that Kaktus is ditching their food menu completely in favor of having just beer, that is not the case. The menu is unchanged, and some more items could actually be on the way, all at the behest of customers.

“We actually might add small items; people want french fries,” Dana said. “Just like a bar food menu, fish and chips, french fries, that was a conversation we had earlier. We’re definitely going to keep the menu, we’re proud of our food, (but) we just want people to know we’re a brewery, first and foremost and food is a plus. We just want to get that across before it’s too late, before we actually become a restaurant. We’ve seen it happen. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s not our goal.”

Kaktus has nonetheless become a popular spot in Nob Hill, which in turn has helped set the company’s focus moving forward.

“We actually finally decided on our slogan, which is ‘Kaktus Brewery, Balanced Beer, Balanced Life,’” Dana said. “And, so that’s the direction we’re going as a company. Our big focus is on an active lifestyle, a healthy lifestyle, with the reward of beer. We knew that we were going to kind of hold out on defining ourselves for a while to make sure it complemented who our customers are and who are employees are, and this does.”

Of course, the biggest adjustment has just been in terms of production. Producing enough beer to fill the taps at the original location in Bernalillo was something brewer Michael Waddy had mastered long ago. Adding all the new taps in Nob Hill has meant an increase in production and production costs.

“We did have to up our system production a bit,” Dana said. “We just spent over $3,000 on adding to our existing system. We’ll be able to produce enough with clean water to produce enough beer. We’re slowly investing in more equipment to keep up with demand. For a while there, we would be down to seven beers instead of eight, and a couple times it was down to six beers for only a couple days, but still. We got that fixed, we’re up again where it gives us a little bit in stock. But, a big event like during the Summerfests could potentially could give us a run on our system, so to speak.”

If you're gonna have an official slogan, make sure no one will miss it.

If you’re gonna have an official slogan, make sure no one will miss it.

Nob Hill also brings a different crowd of beer drinkers to Kaktus than the ones in Bernalillo.

“We definitely saw a lot more IPA (sell) up here than anything else,” Dana said. “Our lighter styles like our pilsners and lagers, they’re still selling well, but definitely the IPA. The Irish Red sold fast. So, those are our best sellers up here, whereas in Bernalillo it’s more of the house lager, the pilsner, the malty-style beers.

“But, people are loving the beers, really. The feedback is they’re all solid. What we hear a lot is they love going through a flight, and they’d be happy to drink every single one of them, not just two or three. They’re super-drinkable and that’s the feedback, people like that. They like that nothing is too over the top.”

There will be some new developments on the beer front in the coming months as well.

“We’ve been waiting on our oak barrels,” Dana said. “They’re a little bit behind schedule, but we’re excited about doing a couple aged beers to lead us into our sours. Our Kombucha is on tap, which has been a fun alternative for people. We’ll be doing a hemp ale soon, which we’re excited about. Those are probably the most fun and original things we’re doing right now. Everything else stays within our tradition of what we’ve done the past couple of years.”

Dana added that Kaktus will be participating in all four editions of Summerfest (Downtown, Nob Hill, Northeast Heights, West Side), plus the Bacon Fest, IPA Challenge, and potentially a few other events, including the Thirsty Thursday Music Series at Balloon Fiesta Park.

They will also be focusing a lot of attention on the popular rooftop patio, which figures to only get more crowded as the weather gets nicer.

“People do love it up there,” Dana said. “We’re finding areas where we need to make small improvements. We’re going to add some plants this week, well, this week is almost over, so next week we’ll add plants. Basically, you’ll see changes all summer long. We’re going to be invested in our patio all summer long. I have a particular vision of half lounge, half like communal seating, so we really want to get this fun (atmosphere). I don’t know how to say it, we want it playful up there, but comfortable at the same time.”

All of us in the Crew realize not everything always goes to plan, but it sounds like Kaktus is rolling with all of the adjustments. We look forward to seeing what else they have in store in the future.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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

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

We are still alive, still chasing down beer news. Due to various factors in life, none of it was ready for publication today, but next week is gonna be busy.

Catching up on the canning lines

In case anyone missed their Facebook post, the gang over at Canteen has begun canning Dougie Style Amber and Exodus IPA. They will be selling it out of Whole Foods exclusively for the first two weeks, then it will expand to other locations. We will have to make time to stop in there and chat with the staff about this exciting development.

Meanwhile, yours truly sat down with brewers Ty Levis and John Seabrooks over at Rio Bravo this week. I still have to sort out the news from our rambling, 1-hour recorded conversation (apologies to Ty’s wife if I kept him in ABQ for too long), but suffice it to say they are excited about their canning line, which is now in place and ready to start soon. Throw in the recent addition of an outdoor stage, plus some more barrel-aging beers in the works, and things are looking up over on 2nd Street. I will have the full interview posted by Monday, barring anything unexpected sucking up my time this weekend.

Luke’s not dead, either

Our Santa Fe writer has a ton of content coming down the pipeline. Assuming he gets enough free time away from his duties at SFBC to type it all up, he will have stories coming along on the massive SFBC expansion project, new developments at Blue Corn and Duel, and a review of Santa Fe’s newest brewery.

Yes, that’s right, there is a new brewery in Santa Fe. Chili Line Brewing is operating out of Pizzeria Da Lino, with a handful of new creations available, including two IPAs, a stout, a Rauchbier, and more. I guess this gives the ABQ-based portion of the Crew another excuse to make an overdue visit to Santa Fe this spring.

New brewery updates

Palmer Brewery already has their first beer on tap at Left Turn Distilling, a pale ale. They should have everything up and running sooner than later.

Starr Brothers Brewing has been open for a while with guest taps, but at last, their own beer is coming on tap! Friday, April 8 will be the debut date for their first four house beers — Lampshade Porter, Red Zepplin, Starrstruck IPA, and Thunderr Ale. We will endeavor to get over there beforehand to sample those four and let everyone know what to expect.

Enchanted Circle Brewing in Angel Fire will have their grand opening on April 16. They have a head brewer in place and are working hard on having their beers ready from day one. We are hoping to set up an interview this weekend to preview ECB, while I have to see if anyone in the Crew could head up there that weekend (it’s Isotopes opening weekend, so I will be at The Lab).

Just in case you missed it

It’s not April Fools, Founders KBS is back in town! Jubilation has a limited supply of 2016 KBS four-packs (they had 2015 earlier today, but we have been told those are already gone). Also, tonight (Friday) at Nob Hill Bar & Grill, they will tap the only keg in the state at 6 p.m. See many of you over there!

Sampler tray

  • Yes, there are changes coming to the food truck schedule at Marble Westside. I am meeting with the command staff Monday to find out about that, plus all the big details on Marble’s upcoming eighth anniversary celebration.
  • We will also be checking in with Kaktus Brewing next week, assuming owner Dana Koller has kicked the flu/cold he has been battling. I feel his pain, considering I also had a bad cold recently and then my allergies returned with the wind, leaving me with a persistent cough.
  • Dust Up Pale Ale will debut at Bow & Arrow on Saturday. It will be the first in a rotating series of four different pale ales.
  • Franz Solo and I will be heading up to Denver to see Iron Maiden on April 13. We will of course be visiting favorites in the area like Avery, Great Divide, Prost, and TRVE, but if anyone out there knows of a smaller place we absolutely, positively have to visit, please let us know. Just remember, we like stouts and IPAs, so places with great sours (Crooked Stave) are not our thing.

That is all for now, but fear not, we should have the site chock-full of stories next week. As always, if you know of any beer news, drop us a line at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Bosque's bid for back-to-back NIPAC banners is still going strong, but other NM breweries are in the hunt as well! (Photo courtesy of Bosque)

Bosque’s bid for back-to-back NIPAC banners is still going strong, but other NM breweries are in the hunt as well! (Photo courtesy of Bosque)

Lots of little news tidbits demand a roundup, thus, Beer Notes is back!

Locals keep rolling at NIPAC

Five of the six remaining New Mexico entries advanced to the fourth round of the Brewing News National IPA Challenge. Of course, only five could advance since Bosque’s Scale Tipper and Boxing Bear’s Uppercut were going head to head. Scale Tipper moved on to continue to defend its championship.

The four other victors in the main bracket were Turtle Mountain’s Adrift, Boxing Bear’s Bear Knuckle, and Second Street’s 4 Hour Lunch and Fulcrum. Adrift defeated Flying Bison’s Buffalo IPA; Bear Knuckle knocked out Reuben’s Brewing’s Cirkey IPA; 4 Hour Lunch ousted one of the big boys, Firestone Walker’s Union Jack; Fulcrum struck out Half Moon Bay’s Full Swing.

The fourth-round matchups will be Adrift vs. Karl Strauss’ Aurora Hoppyalis, Bear Knuckle vs. Barley Brown’s WFO, Scale Tipper vs. Fat Heads’ Head Hunter, 4 Hour Lunch vs. Lawson’s Finest’s Triple Play, and Fulcrum vs. Odd13’s Codename: Superfan.

As for the other two brackets, the Session and Imperial, one New Mexico entry remains in each. Bosque’s Southwest Session defeated Fremont Brewing’s Session Pale Ale to reach the quarterfinals. Southwest Session will take on a heavyweight next in Stone’s Go To IPA.

Over in the Imperial bracket, Boxing Bear’s Sucker Punch was KO’d by Comrade’s Hop Chops, while Old Schoolhouse’s Plutopia Triple IPA was too much for Bosque’s Just For Fun. The lone survivor of the third round was Second Street’s Trebuchet, which eliminated Tricksters’ Hops on Parade. Next up for Trebuchet in the fourth round will be Melvin Jackson’s Drunken Master.

Congrats to those that advanced and good luck in the next round!

Java vs. Java

The original Capo's Java Stout, left, and the newer, more coffee-centric version.

The original Capo’s Java Stout, left, and the newer, more coffee-centric version.

One of the perks of being in the Crew is that sometimes you get to try a new beer before the general public. Brewer Aaron Walters invited me over to Firkin Brewhouse last week to try a sort of Version 2.0 of the Capo’s Java Stout. It was pretty different than the first batch they rolled out (as an aside, yes, Firkin’s beers are now properly carbonated, so for those who tried them early on, head back over to see how much better they all taste). Since my visit they posted on Facebook a “name the beer” contest as they seek to give this new Java Stout a proper branding.

The original Capo’s used Kahlua Coffee, which gave it that overly sweet, almost chocolate flavor that left little room for any stout/coffee roasted malts. I got to compare the two side by side, and I can assure everyone, the new version is much more in line with what you might think of as a true coffee stout.

Prosim Coffee Roasters, a local company, provided the five-bean blend of Brazilian, Costa Rican, Ethiopian, Mexican, and Sumatran. Together they create a smooth, yet still coffee-crisp flavor, sharp but not bitter. There is minimal sweetness this time around; you’ll have to bring your own cream. It’s not as thick as Santa Fe’s Java Stout (which is an imperial, after all), so you can drink a few of these and not have to summon an Uber to get home.

Just for fun, I even combined a small amount of the two versions to see what it would taste like together (Firkin still has some Kahlua left). Basically it’s like a mild shot of chocolate cream, but the old version does not overpower the roastiness of the new. Overall, kudos to Firkin for being willing to keep experimenting with their beers to make them better.

New breweries update

This was the original location in Nob Hill that was supposed to be the home of Hops Brewery.

This was the original location in Nob Hill that was supposed to be the home of Hops Brewery.

Even with four breweries opening since the start of this year, folks keep asking us who’s next down the pipeline. Well, the long-rumored Hops Brewery is now listed as having an active small brewers license by the State of New Mexico. Hops was originally going to be in Nob Hill, but had run into issues over the lack of a dedicated parking lot. If anyone out there has info on where Hops might be opening, or at least who to contact, please send it to us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

Among those breweries with listed pending state licenses, progress continues at Palmer Brewery and Ciderhouse (which is owned by the same folks as Left Turn Distilling and will share part of that building). The new Monk’s Lab is moving along on 1st Street north of Marble; they will be the second New Mexico brewery to focus on Belgian-style beers. We have heard that OffKilter, the brewery from former Cazuela’s/Tractor brewer Mike Campbell, has to undergo a name change. Drafty Kilt is the rumored new moniker after they found out someone else had beaten them to registering the name OffKilter.

There are still no pending licenses for the other rumored new places around, including Sugar House in the old Stumbling Steer building, Steel Bender Brewyard on 2nd Street near Paseo del Norte, and The 377 Brewery near Gibson and Yale. We still cannot confirm rumors of a brewery somewhere on Paseo between San Pedro and Wyoming. There are also rumors of a brewery looking to open on the corner of San Pedro and Marble.

Outside of the Albuquerque metro area, things are progressing for Rowley Farmhouse Ales (formerly Sub Rosa) to open in Santa Fe later this year. Ale Republic, in Cedar Crest, continues construction on their brewery. Enchanted Circle Brewing in Angel Fire is now listed as having an active small brewers license. Milton’s Brewing in Carlsbad has found their location and has begun the buildout. Colfax Ale Cellar in Raton is moving forward. The Farmington HUB Brewery and Grill is now open. There are also unconfirmed rumors of a new brewery looking to open in Portales, giving Roosevelt Brewing some local competition.

Sampler tray

  • Cazuela’s now has 10 taps, thanks to brewer Brandon Venaglia. That means more beers will be available, including some old favorites that he has brought out of the cellar. Look for the full list on Wednesday in The Week Ahead in Beer.
  • The kombucha craze continues, with Kaktus joining Bow & Arrow and Bathtub Row. Guess I might have to send one of the Crew out to do a story on this new trend.
  • We’ve heard a rumor that we will have to follow up on that Back Alley Draft House has a new brewer. Hopefully they will get some stability over there.
  • Bosque is inching ever closer to completing the expansion of the San Mateo taproom. We’ll share some pictures when it’s done.
  • Boxing Bear is trying to claim the title of “King of Dark Beers” with another awesome release. Baltic Bear Porter is now for sale in bombers and on tap at the brewery.
  • Rio Bravo looks to share a little love, er, grain with their fellow breweries. Once their silo is filled in a couple weeks, they will be offering grain sales and custom milling with their four-roller mill. This should help those breweries without their own mills who don’t want to pay high prices for pre-milled malt. Thanks to brewer Ty Levis for the heads up.
  • There are some breweries in a hiring mode right now. Turtle Mountain is looking for a new floor manager, they said on Facebook. Head over to the brewery to apply if you think you have the experience and desire to take on one of the busiest jobs in Rio Rancho (or anywhere, really). La Cumbre posted on their website openings for multiple positions, including a new marketing guru, delivery driver, brand representative, and beer tender. Marble is looking to fill two part-time cleaning positions at their taprooms. Email Barbie Gonzalez at barbie@marblebrewery.com if you are interested.

That’s all for now. If anyone has any beer news or notes to share with us, please, never hesitate. Big or small, we’ll get it out there.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

So many stouts, so little time. But we did it, again. Clockwise from left, Shilling, Porter Pounder, E-Rock, Stoutmeister, Mrs. Solo (Picture by Franz Solo)

We’ll be missing a couple of these smiling faces this year, but we’ll still have plenty of stout.

Super Bowl Sunday is almost upon us once again, and while folks will pick between the old (Denver and Peyton) and the new (Carolina and Cam), all of us in the Crew will choose something even more important. Namely, who has the best stout in the ABQ metro area.

As we have done four times before, we will hold a blind taste test of the best regular or “house” stouts. Be they oatmeal, foreign export, American, or even cream/milk stouts, these are the ones available (almost) year round, their darkness calling to us whether it’s warm or cold outside.

Every year the Stout Challenge gets a little bigger with more and more breweries opening. This year we project to have 15 stouts, one more than last year. There are a few stouts gone from last year’s 14 — Drunken Hobo Milk Stout (Broken Bottle, which closed), Dry Stout (Nexus, unavailable this year), KC’s Traditional Irish Stout (Twisted Chile, unavailable this year). Those stouts finished ninth, fifth, and third last year, so they will be missed. Here is this year’s projected lineup, with last year’s finish in parentheses.

  • Albuquerque Brewing’s Handlebars Stout (new)
  • Bosque’s Driftwood Oatmeal Stout (12th)
  • Boxing Bear’s Standing 8 Stout (1st)
  • Canteen’s Dark & Lusty Stout (2nd)
  • Cazuela’s Beer For My Horses Oatmeal Stout (7th)
  • Chama River’s Sleeping Dog Stout (10th)
  • Kaktus’ Stout (8th)
  • La Cumbre’s Malpais Stout (6th)
  • Lizard Tail’s Oatmeal Stout (in a mix-up last year, we got the Rye Stout, which was 13th)
  • Marble’s Oatmeal Stout (14th)
  • Ponderosa’s Zaftig Oatmeal Stout (new)
  • Rio Bravo’s Black Angus Stout (new)
  • Sidetrack’s Dark Engine Stout (new)
  • Tractor’s Double Plow Oatmeal Stout (4th)
  • Turtle Mountain’s Stauffenberg Stout (11th)

Assuming are available, we will face quite the challenge this year. Part of that has to do with only six of us being available to drink these obsidian elixirs. Porter Pounder is on a cruise ship with heavy metal bands (no, really, he is), E-Rock is playing music on the other side of the country, and Kristin is the only member of the Bullpen who can make it over Sunday. That leaves her, plus yours truly, Brandon, Shilling (he lives!), Franz Solo, and Mrs. Solo. If anyone asks why we’re going to mostly only fill half-growlers, well, now you know why.

As we have done in the past, it will be a blind taste test. We rank the stouts on a point system in different categories, then total up the scores.

This could be the first year we have a repeat winner, or even a second-time winner, or perhaps someone different will take the fifth crown. To recap the previous years’ winners:

2015: Boxing Bear KOs the competition

2014: Tractor double plows the field

2013: La Cumbre conquers all

2012: Marble rolls to the opening win

We shall see who claims top honors this time, and then we will stack up our results against the upcoming Stout Invitational at Bathtub Row on Feb. 20.

So many stouts, so little time. Viva Super Bowl Sunday!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Kaktus' new Nob Hill taproom has been a hit.

Kaktus’ new Nob Hill taproom has been a hit.

My latest story for our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series took me to two different towns. That is what happens when Kaktus Brewing moves out of just their cozy space in Bernalillo and opens a taproom in Nob Hill. That alone was the big move of 2015 for Kaktus, but it was far from the only story they had to tell. I sat down with owner Dana Koller at the taproom and then met with brewer Michael Waddy at the original location to discuss the crazy finish to last year and what they have planned here in 2016.

“Oh, man, 2015 was great,” Dana said. “It was basically our second year doing business. It was our year to actually make some incredible improvements, both food-wise and beer-wise, since we serve both.”

Even before the Nob Hill taproom opened, Kaktus was expanding their brewing capacity.

“We upped our brewing system,” Dana said. “We started getting prepared for a 5-barrel system instead of a 2-barrel system, starting with (more) fermenters. As most people know, all of our equipment came from Germany, but we found a company that’s basically mimicking the German equipment out of Texas. So it’s a lot more affordable to find pretty much the same equipment made by another company in Texas.”

Even with increased production, Kaktus has not changed their overall philosophy.

“With the improvements, our style is the same,” Dana said. “We haven’t had to make any sacrifices so far now that the system is bigger. What we are finding is we want to stay within our 5-barrel system with our two locations and probably not grow further than that. One of the reasons is because the way we brew our beer, we might have to make sacrifices if we (expand further). But we’re excited about that. That’s kind of our business model, to have two locations. Everyone else is going into bottling, but we’re not encouraged to do that. We want to stay focused where it’s all in house, all on tap, and stay there.”

For Bernalillo, that meant an extended, improved patio cover for the winter months that has been well received by customers (and staff, one would imagine). Kaktus has also continued to churn out some interesting, innovative beers.

“We are excited about 2016,” Dana said. “We did do some fun experiments in 2015. We did the smoked chipotle porter. We did the Villa Miriyam collaboration with the coffee schwarzbier. We did the basil lager again.”

Dana also said that 2016 will mark the first time Kaktus will dive into sour beers. With barrels from a local cooperage set to be delivered on Feb. 1, they will begin production in the coming months.

“We’ve been wanting to do, mostly Dana and Mark (Matheson), have been wanting to do sours for a while,” Michael said. “Out here in Bernalillo, I don’t know if there’s a huge market for that really. Now that we have the Nob Hill location, I’m thinking there might be more of an opportunity to get out into those types of beers. It just kind of worked out that the new local cooperage (is here) and we’re looking to have fun with those types of beers.”

Michael said he will move cautiously with what can be a tricky style.

“The first one we’ll do will have a basic, maybe like a Flanders Red,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to jump too crazy into it right away. Nothing really, really weird. We will be getting the barrels Feb. 1. Pretty much as soon as we get the barrels, maybe even before that we’ll brew one and start the primary fermentation. Several months (until release); it’s going to be a while.”

Dana said fans should continue to expect Kaktus to have multiple unique styles on tap, though Michael said there could be a few more constants on tap.

“I think we are going to maybe move into kind of an area where we’re starting to have more standards, more staples,” Michael said. “Right now, we’re just like whatever. We always have something lighter, something malty, something hoppy. Within those categories, I’ve been switching it around. Now that we have the second location I think we might move into where we have this is our IPA, this is that, and have rotating taps along with that. We’ve never really had that.”

Some beers, like the Helles Lager and London Porter, are already on tap almost all the time. As for IPAs, those have always been fairly experimental for Kaktus. In many ways, the Nob Hill taproom will now be the ground where Kaktus will truly see how their IPAs are received.

“That’s what’s going to be interesting to see, how our IPAs are going to be received (in Nob Hill),” Michael said. “Eighty IBUs is the highest we do, except for our competition one, that was over 100. But, our normal IPA is 80 IBUs, and so most everybody else in that area is doing big IPAs and things. So far, it’s been good, but we’ve only been open a week. If we start seeing a decline in IPA sales, we might have to play with the big boys.”

So far, Dana said the reception in Nob Hill has been a warm one.

“It’s been very positive,” he said. “We have had the feedback we’re not hoppy enough, but it’s only been a few people. The majority of people have been very positive. Usually we hear people like two or three beers out of the lineup; the majority of responses here have been ‘I’ll drink any of these.’ So, we’re excited about that. We were bringing kind of a different style and we were curious, too, about how it would be received by the younger crowd. So far they’re excited to see the lower alcohol content. They’re excited to see a maltier style and than a hoppier style.”

Kaktus has started to find their niche in their new location.

“We do set ourselves apart,” Dana said. “I think we’ve become a quick starting point for people in their evening. Then they move on to other places that they’re used to. Our spot, one of the things that defines us, is just the fact that we have a place that’s really unique and our spot has the rooftop patio. It appears everyone is happy since we’ve opened and we’re just an addition to the scene; we’re not a threat to anybody, that’s for sure.”

The Nob Hill taproom opened with a hugely popular party on New Year’s Eve, something that will surely be repeated in 2016.

“We get to celebrate this anniversary every New Year’s Eve,” Dana said. “We did the Chile Drop, which looks to me to be a big Nob Hill favorite. People are already looking to have reserved spots for next year. You can rely on the fact we’re going to be doing that every year.”

Beyond that, Michael said he has a Czech pale ale due out soon as the next beer on the docket. Kaktus will also continue to do their popular beer and truffle pairings, now at both locations. They will have a three-course beer dinner for Valentine’s Day (more info on that as we get closer to the event). Nob Hill will also have a college night every Monday, where anyone with a college ID (student or staff) can get 25 percent off food, plus special events from 7 to 9 p.m. and maybe some free appetizers.

All told, it looks like smooth sailing ahead for Kaktus. The more beer, the merrier, right?

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister