Posts Tagged ‘Kelly’s Brewpub’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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And so it begins!

From towers of sours to beer battles and beer dinners, this is how you start your weekend.

The end is nigh, but there is still much more to drink. Welcome to the second and final weekend of ABQ Beer Week. Friday kicks off with all sorts of events scattered across town as this annual tradition nears its end for 2015. We lead off with the return of the popular Tower of Sour at Back Alley Draft House.

Beyond that there is more fun scheduled for Nob Hill Bar & Grill, Rock & Brews, Two Fools, Jubilation, O’Niell’s Juan Tabo, Kellys Brewpub, Tractor Wells Park, and both Marble locations. Throw in the first ABW event at the new Sinners ‘N Saints (which replaced the short-lived LOCAL Brewhouse), and you have a full Friday ahead of you.

Featured event

Every day we will pick what we consider the biggest, most interesting, most unique event. This does not mean you should go to only this event and ignore the rest. All of them deserve your attention, but realistically, you can probably only attend a few. So we will make our daily pick, and you can either jump on it, or declare the Crew is foolish (we kinda are) and pick your own.

What: Third Annual Tower of Sour. Where: Back Alley Draft House. When: 5 p.m. Cost: $15 for seven samples and a 10-ounce pour of your favorite.

Details: It’s back! The annual adventure in sour beers returns to BADH, this time featuring Marble Brett IPA, Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose, Santa Fe Sour State Pen Porter (aged two years), New Belgium La Folie, and BADH’s homemade trio of Belgian Dark Sour, Berliner Weissbier, and Indigenous Prickly Pear Lambic. It’s the All-American incarnation this year. We doubt anyone will complain.

Why you should go: If you love sour beers, and we know many of you do, this event was made for you. Plus, you can order NY Pizza Department slices and watch Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals on TV. Go Lightning!

All the other great events

What: North Coast Tap Takeover. Where: O’Niell’s Juan Tabo. When: 11 a.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: A bunch of beers from North Coast Brewing will be available. Why you should go: Come on, you’re curious to know which beers. Head over and then let us know.

What: Firkin Friday. Where: Marble (both locations). When: Noon. Cost: No cover charge. Details: We’re anxiously awaiting the list of casks (three Downtown, two Westside) that will be available. Why you should go: Isn’t it already your Friday tradition to visit Marble for a cask ale? Yeah, we thought so.

What: Redd’s Green Apple Ale Tasting. Where: Total Wine (both locations). When: 1 to 3 p.m. (Cottonwood), 4 to 6 p.m. (Uptown). Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Stone Tap Invasion. Where: Rock & Brews. When: 3 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: A bunch of Stone beers will be available, including Stochasticity Project, Ruination 2.0, and Points Unknown IPA, a collaboration between Stone, Ecliptic, and Wick Weed. Why you should go: Because Stone still kicks butt, that’s why. And so does Wicked Weed, so that collaboration IPA sounds wonderful.

What: Marble Tasting. Where: Jubilation. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples, including White Out. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Kellys Special Beer Release. Where: Kellys Brewpub. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The brewers at Kellys have created two new beers, a Saison and Sandia Saison, that will be tapped this afternoon. Why you should go: Go find out the difference between the two variations while relaxing on that giant patio.

What: Avery Special Tapping and Alpine NM Draft Kickoff. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Oh, just a keg of the amazingly epic Uncle Jacob’s Stout from Avery that’s been aging a few extra months. There will also be two Alpine beers making their NM debut in Hoppy Birthday (American Pale Ale) and Duet (American IPA). Why you should go: Please head over and welcome Alpine to ABQ. If you’re not a hops person, trust us, the Uncle Jacob’s has you covered.

What: Smithwick’s Nitro Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Yup, the classic Irish ale has been put on nitro. Why you should go: It was already a smooth beer, now it might just be the smoothest ever.

What: Boulder Beer Sampling. Where: Total Wine Uptown. When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Battle of Fort Albuquerque. Where: Sinners ’n Saints (formerly The LOCAL Brewhouse). When: 6 to 9 p.m. Cost: No cover charge listed. Details: It’s a good old-fashioned beer battle as Colorado’s New Belgium and Odell go up against Bosque and La Cumbre. Why you should go: Lots of great beers to try in a competition format.

What: Odell Beer Dinner. Where: Crown Room at The Downs Casino. When: 6:30 p.m. Cost: $49.99, call (505) 767-7166 to make reservations. Details: Six Odell beers have been paired with a five-course meal — Hawaiian Ahi Poke with Easy Street Wheat; Maryland Crab Cake and Kicked up Hummus with IPA; Baby Field Greens, Fennel, and Duck Salad with Loose Leaf Session IPA; Short Ribs, Cabbage Rolls, and Sausage with Cutthroat Porter and Tree Shaker Imperial Peach IPA; Homemade Double Brazzle Brownie with Brazzle Ale. Why you should go: All that delicious food paired with all that delicious beer.

What: Youngsville CD Release Party. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 8 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Youngsville will be on hand to perform and release their copy of “Drought City,” which is free with a paid bar tab. Bellemah and Slow Jeremiah will open. Why you should go: Support local music while drinking local beer.

Special ongoing events

All throughout Beer Week, these two events will be running.

Brewery Scavenger Hunt at lululemon athletica at ABQ Uptown
Where: lululemon athletica ABQ Uptown and various other participating sites. When: Today through Sunday. What: Pick up a scavenger pass at lululemon and head to six of nine participating locations. Take photos with your pass at the locations and then bring it all back to lululemon to be redeemed for a special pint glass. Participating sites: Routes Bicycle Rentals & Tours, Duke City Trolley, Tractor, La Cumbre, Red Door, Marble, Chama River, The Grain Station, Rock & Brews

Smoked Meats Week
Where: Sandia Chile Grill When: 3 to 8 p.m., from today through Saturday
What: Beer and smoked meat pairing; beers are $3.50 per pint, $6 per 10-ounce mead sample
Today — Stuffed Avocado Street Tacos, Rattlesnake IPA
Saturday — Smoked Meat Sample Platter, Rattlesnake and Red Ranger and Milk Stout ($3 per 10-ounce)

* * * * *

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Blues & Brews is back and will again feature Adam, center, though Stoutmeister will replace Franz Solo on the right. Dr. Brews Banner might sneak in there again, too.

Blues & Brews is back and will again feature Adam, center, though Stoutmeister will replace Franz Solo on the right. Dr. Brews Banner might appear there again, too.

One of the highlight events for ABQ Beer Week every year is Blues & Brews, a gigantic festival held at Sandia Casino. This year’s event is set for Sunday afternoon, starting at 2 p.m. for VIP ticket holders and 3 p.m. for the general public. It is an unlimited sampling event, so make sure to be selective and careful when you are out there. It never hurts to have a designated driver or to call a taxi or Uber. You can still get your tickets online or at the Sandia box office.

There are 70-plus breweries in attendance, a mix of local, national, and international. You can also listen to plenty of live blues music, as the name Blues & Brews might imply.

So with so many places you can visit, you need to make a plan. No, seriously, make a plan, know which beers you want to sample. Some of these lists are from the guide from the B&B site, so they are subject to change.

Local breweries

The in-state breweries have some good offerings besides just their usual stuff.

Abbey Brewing: Monks’ Ale, Dubbel Reserve, Tripel Reserve, Dark Ale, Wit, Strong Pale Ale Reserve. The last beer on the list is a new one, but if that doesn’t fit what you’re looking for, the Tripel Reserve is always a delight.

Canteen: Dougie Style Amber, Wet Mountain IPA, 28M American Wheat. Three classics, so take your pick. Personally, the GABF gold medal-winning Dougie Style is the way to go, but hopheads love their Wet Mountain.

Duel: Marcel, Fiction, Bad Amber, Dark Ryder, Titian, Tantalus, Cezanne Printemp. Five classics from the Marcel (witbier) to the Titian (Belgian golden strong), plus two newer beers in the Cezanne (imperial saison) and the Tantalus, which will be making its debut. Plus, brewer Todd Yocham said he will be bringing some special beers out of the cellar again for this event.

Kellys: Amber, Session IPA. It’s just their two canned beers, as far as we know.

Marble: IPA, Red Ale, Pilsner, Double White, Brett Stout, Weizenbock, Rauchbier, Oatmeal Stout. Some classics plus a few seasonals. Everyone who has been reviewing the Brett Stout has been singing its praises. Here is your chance to do the same. Or if the Brett isn’t your thing, we highly recommend the Rauchbier.

NM Craft Brewing: Xtra Pale Ale, Session IPA, Wry Blonde, Rye Stout. The guys from Las Vegas are bringing some of their staples down. We haven’t tried them in a while, so in this case, pick your favorite genre and go with it. (So, yeah, Rye Stout for me.)

Pi Brewing: TBA

Ponderosa: Brunch Stout, Rosa’s Gose, Ghost Train IPA, Crosscut Kolsch. The Breakfast Stout was awesome. The Brunch Stout is its cousin. Yeah, sounds like a good bet.

Red Door: Gateway Blonde, Broken Arrow Pale Ale, Trappe Door Wheat, Baby Got Bock, Roamer Red, Threshold IPA, Paint it Black Milk Stout, Unhinged Cider. They are taking their whole lineup over, because that is how much the Red Door staff loves us. For the seasonals, hard to go wrong with Baby Got Back. The Paint it Black is our favorite among the regulars. And for the gluten-free/cider-loving crowd, Unhinged might be the best in the state.

Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca: Isotopes Slammin’ Amber, Bone Chiller Brown, Sun Chaser Pale Ale, Pancho Verde, Desert Pils, IPA, Alien Milk Stout. Plenty of staples from RG/SB, but the standout here is the Milk Stout. It was one of the better beers to stand out at WinterBrew back in January.

Sandia Chile Grill: Rattlesnake IPA, Irish Red, Dirty Steve Mead. Brewer Clinton Coker has won numerous medals for his mead. So, yeah, grab a Dirty Steve. That sounds kinda wrong, but rest assured, it’s actually all right.

Santa Fe: Happy Camper IPA, Black IPA, Imperial Java Stout, Freestyle Pilsner, Ever Changing Series #3. The folks at SFBC won’t say what the new ECS is, but we have a feeling it will be excellent. Just in case it’s not to your liking, they are bring four crowd favorites along.

Tractor: Farmer’s Almanac IPA, Farmer’s Tan Red Ale, Mustachio Milk Stout, and TBD specialty beers. Odds are, we will go with one of the specialty beers (if we get an update, we will post it). Otherwise, Mustachio is the way to go.

And …

Firkin Brewhouse: Capo’s Java Stout, Magnum IPA, Giggle Water Wheat Ale. What’s this? A new ABQ brewery is debuting their beers? It appears so. Might have to try all three, but if time is an issue, go with the Java Stout, see how it stacks up against Santa Fe.

National/international breweries

Rather than list every beer they are bringing, it will just be a one-by-one listing of our pick for the best of the bunch. Good luck out there!

Alaskan: Imperial Red

Avery: Out of Bounds Stout

Ballast Point: Sculpin IPA, though pretty much any choice would be good. We expect the line to be long here as the new guys in town typically draw well.

BJ’s: Six choices total, take your pick based on your style preference

Boston Beer/Samuel Adams: Rebel Rouser DIPA

Boulder: Shake Chocolate Porter

Brouwerij St. Bernardus/Verhaeghe: St. Bernardus Abt 12, a clone of arguably the best beer ever made

Deschutes: TBA

Durango: Durango Brewers Reserve

Goose Island: just the standards you get everywhere

Kannah Creek: Broken Oar IPA

Kona: Big Wave is the only one listed

Lagunitas: Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale

Left Hand: Widdershins Barley Wine

Magic Hat: Electric Peel IPA

Mother Road: They are tapping a special firkin right at 3 p.m., whose identity has not been disclosed. Otherwise, Lost Highway Black IPA.

New Belgium: Rampant Imperial IPA

Odell: 90 Shilling

Omission: Just the IPA, but for your gluten-free friend(s), this is the one.

Oskar Blues: Old Chub Nitro

Pagosa: Chile Verde Cerveza (Franz Solo swears it’s the best green chile beer on the planet.)

Pyramid: just the standards you get everywhere

Redhook: they only plan to bring Audible Ale

Sierra Nevada: Hoptimum Whole-Cone Imperial IPA

Sour Power: A collection of foreign sour beers, take your pick if you like the genre

Southern Star: Buried Hatchet Stout

Squatters: Off Duty IPA

Tommyknocker: Maple Nut Brown

Traveler Beer Co.: three citrus-infused beers, take your pick

Upslope: IPL, though again this should be a popular destination for everyone who has never had this newcomer to NM.

Wasatch: Devastator Doppelbock

Widmer Brothers: It’s just Upheaval IPA, but it’s a decent, middle-of-the-road example of the style.

We will update this list for any TBA above. Adam and I will be both be at the event and we will have sign-up sheets for the new NM Brewers Guild Enthusiast Membership. All we are taking down are the names and emails of those interested.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Marchfest5

It might not have been advertised much outside of Santa Fe, but plenty of folks showed up at Buffalo Thunder.

Last Saturday was the second annual Marchfest put on by Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino. Previously, this was an event that many of the Crew had written off due, mostly in part to little to no advertising, except through commercials on the mainstream radio stations (I’d be pretty surprised if the Crew listened to the radio). (We don’t. — S) There was almost no cooperation from the people running the event back then, and from what I did hear from those who attended, most reviews were mixed.

This year, because I’m the new Santa Fe correspondent, I felt it necessary to head out to my “backyard casino” and investigate what could go so wrong with a brewfest. Painful memories of Lions, Tigers, and Beers still bring forth a full-body shudder. Thankfully, for this event, I wasn’t wandering through the woods alone. I had a trusty guide, and I also bumped into Dark Side Bullpen and Los Alamos correspondent, Reid Rivenburgh, at the event. He came with his lovely wife, and this was their second Marchfest. Here were his thoughts on the event:

“We attended the Buffalo Thunder 2014 Beerfest, and as usual, a year later I can really only recall that I was a little “ehhh” about the event. I remember it being quite crowded, for one thing, and it’s never fun to stand in line for five minutes to fill a barely 1-ounce cup. Some friends were planning to go to this year’s event, so we figured we’d give it another chance. We were glad we did! Perhaps the biggest difference was that there weren’t that many attendees, so lines at each table were at worst a few people. It was far from empty, but it still felt comfortable. (And I was also able to catch up with fellow Dark Sider Luke, who I don’t think I had seen since the IPA Challenge.)

“I’m a dedicated IPA fan and will appreciate just about any style of beer, but my wife steers towards the ciders and fruitier/wheatier beers. Well, this was her event. It felt like there were just as many alternative beers as real ones. The makers of her favorite beer, the Pecan from the Pecan Grill and Brewery in Las Cruces, were in attendance. She even found a new favorite, Whiskey Beer. (Too bad we didn’t note who made it despite going back 14 times.) It was a glorious day for her. I certainly had plenty of Real Beers (TM) to try, but it didn’t feel like there were all that many interesting, unusual ones. Still, it was fun, and they were kind enough to offer complimentary sliders and tamale bites, which were much appreciated. And as a final bonus, since the event was at Buffalo Thunder, we were able to go to their buffet after and, ahem, digest our food and drink before driving off. (Plenty of gambling, too, if you’re into that kind of thing.) Overall, two thumbs up!”

My experience was pretty similar, except I was sans significant other this time around. Upon arrival I was greeted by tables full of beer mugs, T-shirts, water bottles, snacks. It felt like somebody had made a brewfest checklist and followed it. Pretzel necklaces, check. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, until one of those items is left unchecked, right?

Inside the main ballroom, it was a very open space full of tents and booths — nothing new, but always a happy sight. The place felt full enough of people, but it certainly wasn’t overcrowded like some Albuquerque venues, cough, BioPark, cough. I never had to wait in line. Not once. The music was mainly bluesy rock, but solid for a fest. The band was called D.U.S.K. (Dirty Urban Sh*t Kickers) and they kept people in the right beer-drinking mood. I can’t taste beer to Death Metal just yet; after all, my Dark Side training is not fully complete. (We have much work to do, clearly. — S)

Marchfest2

D.U.S.K. takes the stage!

Of the breweries, there was a healthy handful. Even La Cumbre showed up, despite previous confusing reports. And only one Marble Brewery showed up, which, if you saw this year’s Marchfest flyer, you’d get the joke. Santa Fe Brewing Co. poured all they’d promised to pour. It was unfortunate not to see more local guys, especially from Santa Fe, but that’s another can of worms I ain’t touchin’. Still, Tractor, Kellys, and Abbey Brewing Co. came to hang out for the day.

It was nice to drink my way from Kannah Creek (Grand Junction, Colo.), to Mother Road Brewing Co. (Flagstaff, Ariz.) ever since our fearless editor came back from his trip out to Flagstaff in June of last year. I ended up with a pint of their Kolsch towards the end. And I’d do it again. Avery, Breckenridge, and Ska were also representing Colorado, so that was nice.

Marchfest4

Some of the sights and beers.

The high-er rollers came out to the casino from the West Coast — Lagunitas, Stone, Deschutes, Sierra Nevada, and Alaskan. They were all welcome sights, as well, and brought some nice offerings and some special stuff. Did I mention Heineken was there? I usually wouldn’t. But, they were touting this crazy new vacuum-suctioned keg contraption that keeps the sunlight and oxidation out of beer. The beer I tasted was nothing like my memories of those dank, smoke-filled pool halls from college. If it could do that for Heineken, imagine the possibilities. Have you ever known a guy who complained about the oxidation in craft brews? I may know a thousand of them. And then there were the weird guys like Montejo and the Traveler Beer Company, both using some curiously odd mixes and mustaches to hide their macro parentage (so that’s where the mustaches came from!). I may have missed some of the breweries, but it was a big room.

As for value, we received a small taster glass with our ticket. Can’t complain about unlimited tastes. But if you wanted the mug and ticket for a “full beer” you had to pay $10 extra. This is a little bit different from NM Brewers Guild events, which, I believe, traditionally comes with a pint glass and ticket for a full pour. I suppose the extra money went to paying all the hotel and casino staff that were working with the brewery staff as additional pourers. Too bad they couldn’t tell you what you were drinking. Not a huge deal. There was at least one person at each booth that could. The total costs came out to what you might expect from a brewfest when you factor in full beers, food, souvenirs, etc. So, no problem there. There was an even a place, off to the side, where you could buy a six packs of all the stuff you liked.

Marchfest1

Look, proof of all the happy people!

Overall, it was a great time. Generally, I go to fests to try new things I’ve never had before, but I was “working,” so I tried a few new things from Mother Road, Stone, Kannah, but I had no problem playing the hits. Happy that Red Ryeot and State Pen Sour Porter were there. But, you see, I suspect it was a different crowd there than we see at ABQ Brew Fest or even Winter Brew. This crowd was very happy to be trying these beers, many of them for the first time. If this was their introduction to non-light macro lagers or Mexican lagers popular around the area, then from the enthusiasm they showed me, it was a huge success. After all, Sierra Nevada doesn’t make for a bad first experience, does it now?

What makes this brewfest worth attending next year? Well, for one thing, it’s a great venue. Come for a brewfest, and stay for a fun night. Drink great beers with your friends, and have a good time. Does every brewfest need to be an Untappd badge raid? I don’t think so. I can’t always go to my favorite brewery and try something new. I go far too often for that. But I go to have fun. And have fun, I did. Everyone had fun. I’m giving the whole experience a B+. The atmosphere was good. The vibe was good. This good time was well worth the price of admission. Let’s see what they can do next year!

Marchfest3

A couple photo IDs amid more attendees: Bullpen writer Reid Rivenburgh and his wife (top right). Event coordinator Emily Brcic (bottom right) is in the red shirt.

After the event I asked Emily Brcic, the event coordinator, a few questions.

DSBC: Overall, how do you think it turned out?

Brcic: I believe that overall the event was a big success, especially for being our second annual Marchfest. We learned many things from the previous year’s event that we applied this year. One example, was that we doubled the size of the room. This allowed more flow through the event, and eliminated crowded walkways and groups of people not being able to go to the booths that they wished to. We ended up having around 2,000 to 2,500 people at the event, which was a great turnout for an event that is still in it’s growing stages!

DSBC: What was the biggest success of this year?

Brcic: I think that our biggest success was the number of vendors/distributors that we had turn out and how great their booths and products looked. They all took a lot of pride in showing their products off to the guests, and I think this translated into a great guest experience. We had over 100 different beers this year, which was an increase from about 60 (I believe) last year, and we hope to increase that by even more for next year!

DSBC: Anything you would do differently next year?

Brcic: If I would change anything for next year’s event, it would be to push the event back a few hours. We struggled both years now with the majority of people not showing up until 1:30 to 2 p.m., when the event starts at noon. If we were to push the start time back, I think this would be beneficial to everyone involved.

* * * * *

All in all, allow me to say, well done Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino. Well done, Emily Brcic, for taking the lessons you learned from the previous event and really putting together something worth coming out for. Everyone I spoke to, and the majority were from Albuquerque (that was surprising), had nothing but positive things to say. I’ll reiterate, everyone had a good time. We can’t always go to Disneyland expecting new rides. Sometimes you just get drunk and ride the teacups, but it’s all good fun in the right place. Stay festy my friends!

Cheers!

— Luke

If you were in attendance, tell us what you thought about Marchfest on our Facebook page.

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

Last week I had the opportunity to watch some awesome history in the making. Santa Fe’s Second Street canned their first beer inside their brewery. “Why is that awesome?” I hear you asking yourself. Besides the fact that we can now pick up a canned version of their Pivotal IPA and take it along on all of our outdoor adventures, it’s awesome because Second Street doesn’t own a canning machine, nor do they have a canning crew. So how did they pull this off? How was I able to take a four-pack of 16-ounce cans home with me that very day? Four words: Mother Road Mobile Canning.

Mother Road Mobile Canning starts the line for Second Street's Pivotal IPA.

Mother Road Mobile Canning starts the line for Second Street’s Pivotal IPA.

On August 14, Mother Road Mobile Canning drove their rig up to Santa Fe and set up shop right in the middle of Rod Tweet’s brewery, and Tweet was nice enough to talk to me about it. With a very much can-do attitude, I thought I’d start with the obvious. “Why the decision to can?” I asked. Tweet replied, “I’ve been interested in the canning format for a while, and with Mother Road available to us, it just seemed like a really good opportunity to see what getting a beer in a can is all about. Also, it gave us a chance to learn how to get beer ready for packaging – which is a pretty different exercise, as we found out than our normal brewpub process. Dissolved O2 levels, C02 levels, temp. etc. and measurement thereof, all more important (when canning). Also, for fun!”

I asked what made them decide to can the Pivotal IPA in particular. Tweet laid it down like this: “The Pivotal is an IPA that we developed over this past fall/winter with this in mind. We put a lot of thought into the formulation and it’s turned out to be a huge seller for us at the pubs. I also have committed a lot of money to getting the hard-to-get hops to support it, so the more we can sell, the better.”

SecondStreetCans

The four-packs are ready to go.

So folks, while supplies last, you can pick up the Pivotal in a can at both Second Street locations (2nd Street and the Railyard). And for our Al(BREW)querque friends, this is a great reason to take the Rail Runner up, visit the downtown pub location, and take home some of those hoppy suds in that sexy green can. And we certainly CAN expect to see another of Tweet’s creations in this format in the near future. Look out for the Boneshaker Special Bitter to be riding down the trails sometime in late September.

I also had the opportunity to spend some time with David Smidt, owner and president of Mother Road Mobile Canning, while he and his stellar crew canned the Pivotal. Over the sputters and whirs of the canning line, we talked a little about what they’re doing and where they’re going.

There's a beer in this selfie, so I guess we'll let it slide.

There’s a beer in this selfie, so I guess we’ll let it slide.

David said Mother Road has been in business for only a few months now, having gotten their equipment from Wild Goose Engineering in Colorado back in March. They started canning here in New Mexico with Kelly’s Brewpub in Albuquerque, and now they’re in three states, soon to be more. The benefits of canning, according to David, are that with cans, you can take them anywhere, hiking, biking, camping, etc. With the new cans, you have a better finished product than the bottle. The plastic lining on the inside of the can eliminates that rough metallic taste that we’d all come to know and loathe. The beer tastes just as good as if it was just poured at the brewery — better than the bottle, because no light can get in to skunk the beer. The canning process also eliminates the bit of air that exists in the bottle, which can change the flavor and carbonation of a bottled beer over time. I mean, come on. No one likes Stale’s Pale Ale. Cans are also economically better for breweries because with less weight, they cost less to ship. And you just can’t get the level of artwork on a bottle that you can with a … well, a can.

Mother Road is currently canning for several accounts, including Tractor Brewing of Albuquerque, Second Street, two others in New Mexico, three in Missouri, and one in Arkansas. When asked if he thought cans would eventually replace bottles, David said that it probably wouldn’t happen, or at least wouldn’t happen for a long while, but he was sure that cans would definitely become much more commonplace in the craft beer industry as breweries realize the benefits. I asked David what Mother Road’s plans were for the future and it was pretty clear that the possibilities were as vast as the open road. They’re always searching for new accounts, new breweries, and cider makers, and there was even mention of canning a wine. Whatever the road has in store for these guys, I want to be along for the ride.

Cheers!

— Luke

The Yards Craft Beer Premier went down Saturday afternoon, but people were still chatting about it throughout the weekend. It is hard to sum up people’s feelings on the event, which were as mixed as the beers themselves. We asked for attendees to weigh in on Facebook and for the most part their general reactions were similar to ours. We liked this event, but it could use a lot of work before the 2015 edition comes around.

The line outside the Beer Premier moved far too slowly for most people in the blazing June sun.

The line outside the Beer Premier moved far too slowly for most people in the blazing June sun on Saturday afternoon.

First up, there were things we did like. The beer was quite good. Ladron’s Peak from Back Alley Draft House was probably the most unique beer. Made with sage, blue corn, and more native New Mexican ingredients, it produced a wonderfully aromatic beer that was popular with the crowd. Other beers that seemed to strike a chord with the crowd were Kaktus’ Choice ESB, Abbey Brewing’s Monks’ Dubbel Reserve, Bosque’s Close to Clever saison, The Stumbling Steer’s Brazilian Soiled Dove, both of Santa Fe’s barrel-aged Porters, and the Crew’s favorite, The Preacher’s Share from Second Street. It was quite a nice surprise to find that imperial stout that I tried out of the mesquite whiskey barrel back in April.

Now for all the things that either did not work or need work before next year’s event.

1. Is it hot in here, or is that just me?

The Yards was a cool venue from an aesthetic perspective, but from a practical perspective, it was toasty. “The space was beautiful, but hot — there were fans that weren’t on, which makes no sense, given the amount of people as the afternoon progressed,” said Alexis Fisher on Facebook. She has a point, the Yards got stuffy. I’m not sure if there is a practical way to cool the place down, but something would be better than nothing. Otherwise they might want to move the event to earlier in the year. Also, leaving the sample glasses out in the sunlight was not a very popular move. They should have been kept in the shade.

2. A little comfort goes a long way

One consistent complaint dealt with water. People wanted free water to both cleanse their palates and to just stay hydrated. One additional suggestion was rinsing stations for glasses. Breweries often had to use their beer to wash out people’s glasses. No one wants to see beer wasted. Dorian Fisk Gilmer said, “Cheers to Taos Mesa Brewing for being the ONLY one offering to cool your pint glass with ice prior to pouring. Cheers to 2nd Street Brewery for the water keg.” Also, lots of folks called for a larger seating area so once they bought their pints, they could get off their feet and relax.

3. Getting in should be easier

The Yards does not have a lot of available parking, and apparently there were issues with the security staff letting people park prior to 4 p.m. “The security initially wasn’t going to allow anyone TO PARK until 4PM until I explained what foolishness this was to a supervisor and he reluctantly relented,” Travelin Man said. The line to get in was very slow moving, but when it comes to properly checking IDs, we know it’s not something that can necessarily be sped up. Still, on an extremely hot day, it was rough on people. We were told at least one woman passed out in line due to the heat. Precautions, like on-site EMTs, might need to be taken in the future.

The Yards had a lot of aesthetic value, but darn it got hot inside. And Stoutmeister's camera phone was blurry because someone got beer on the lens.

The Yards had a lot of aesthetic value, but darn it got hot inside. And Stoutmeister’s camera phone was blurry because someone got beer on the lens.

4. Hope you’re not hungry

The space and size limitations of the Yards meant only three food trucks could fit in the allotted space outside. The time of the event fell right during dinner time for most people, so yeah, it got a bit chaotic by the trucks. The lines took forever (I personally stood without moving more than 10 feet over 30 minutes in the Sebastianos line, at which point I gave up and left the festival to get food). Another suggestion was to not have the mobile bathrooms be right across from the trucks. It got a little smelly later on, we were told.

5. To sample or not to sample

For us in the Crew, we never had issues getting samples. Of course, we’re beer writers known by the breweries thanks to our shirts and having met us many times before. There were numerous people who did not have such an easy time as they reported lots of breweries were either reluctant to offer any samples or in some cases started charging for samples. A big part of this is due to the following …

6. Clarity is the key

There was a lot of confusion among the beer drinkers, the breweries, and just about everyone else about how this event should be run. There was not enough information provided in advance by the Brewers Guild, and it didn’t just seem to be the general public that was confused about the nature of the event. The breweries did not know what to do as far as giving out samples went. It seems as though there was not enough communication going on, nor enough promotion. We in the Crew only found out about the format a week in advance and it was the ABQ Beer Geek who tipped us off to the new format.

It was a far-from-perfect event, but we still managed to have some fun. From left, honorary Crew member Dan Hicks, Stoutmeister photo bombing in the back, and Brandon enjoy the Preacher's Share from Second Street.

It was a far-from-perfect event, but we still managed to have some fun. From left, honorary Crew member Dan Hicks, Stoutmeister photo bombing in the back, and Brandon enjoy the Preacher’s Share from Second Street.

So where do we go from here?

Having a specific set of rules for the breweries to follow as far as sampling/purchasing goes would be a start. Then making sure the general public knows these rules as well more than a week in advance would be an improvement. The Yards is a unique venue, but it’s just too hot in the middle of June at that time of day without providing free water and turning on all of those unused fans. There is not enough parking nor room for enough food trucks to accommodate such a large crowd. Either reduce the number of tickets sold or move the event to a different location (which as we all know is nearly impossible to find in the ABQ metro area; there are not a lot of good beer festival spaces around here, especially with all the restrictions placed on these events by the City and the State of New Mexico).

Personally, I think it needs to go back to the 2013 format in one respect. Every brewery should bring one unique, brand new beer. Leave the other beers at home. That way you have 19 breweries (well, 18, since I did not see Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca anywhere) providing one beer apiece. It would make it more streamlined and help people more easily pick their free pint and make it more understandable to limit sampling. That would make life much easier on the all the brewery reps doing the pouring, too.

As for the event’s pricing structure, well, as Nico Ortiz of Turtle Mountain pointed out to me, in many states now unlimited sampling festivals cost upwards of $50. For the breweries to see any financial profit and for the Guild to get the money it needs to continue to lobby in Santa Fe and promote NM beer across America, this is one possibility discussed. I countered with the fact that when UNM started charging $5 to park at football games and for the use of its parking lots during Isotopes games, people in this town freaked out. We are not a wealthy state, so going to $50 festivals would not work for most people, just the die-hard beer lovers. The alternative is to do an event like this, where you get one free pint and then must pay for additional pints, but keep the cost under $20. There does not seem to be an easy solution to what most people want (unlimited sampling) and what the brewers and the Guild want (at least some tangible profit).

We heard from a number of you on Facebook, but we’d love to hear more suggestions about how to improve this event for next year, especially in terms of the pricing/sampling structure. It should be one of our state’s premier beer events (pun intended there). Let’s continue to work with the Guild and the breweries to make it just that. Keep messaging us via comments here, Facebook, Twitter (@nmdarksidebc), and email (nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com). We’ll pass along your comments to the Brewers Guild. Who knows, maybe one or more of you out there has the best solutions going forward. This is our event, New Mexico. It was pretty good this year, but it could be a great event in the years to come.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

AUTHOR’S NOTE: After originally publishing this story I received an email from Christopher Goblet of the Brewers Guild. He brought up a couple key points that I’ve now added to the story. Perhaps most importantly for everyone, based on people’s responses, is that you can sample the beers before you buy them. Read on for more details. — Stoutmeister

The Yards Craft Beer Premier is the second incarnation of last year’s Beer Premier event, put on by the New Mexico Brewers Guild. This year’s event has a new location, the railyards instead of the Hispanic Cultural Center. You know The Yards, it’s that huge train warehouse where they filmed part of The Avengers and that middling last Terminator movie. Now they’ve fixed it up and are holding farmers markets and other events there, even some MMA fights. This time around, it’s all about the beer.

They always make swanky posters for these events.

They always make swanky posters for these events.

Now, we’re usually not the group that gets overly critical about things, but I have to admit, I’m skeptical of the new format. Rather than your standard “pay a fee, go inside, sample lots of beers” format, the Guild has reset things. For your $15 ticket you get a pint glass and one free pint worth of beer. You can do some sampling, said Christopher Goblet of the Brewers Guild, with the various breweries letting you try stuff before you buy. Just don’t expect to up over and over again or try every single beer they’re offering. All subsequent pint purchases (up to three) are something you have to pay for. There are food trucks present, but you’ll have to pay the usual prices for grub. There is some live music. Still, I’m not sure if you broke down the ticket (say $5 for the beer, $5 for the glass, $5 for the bands) that it’s all truly worth it. I hate saying that about a Guild event, and maybe we’ve all just been spoiled with all these sampling festivals, but I personally like getting a little more with my entry fee than one pint. And was it just me, or did they not spell out the format until much closer to the date? Watching the public reaction when people arrive and realize they have to spend extra and only get one free pint with limited sampling will be interesting, to say the least.

Now, as Goblet pointed out, there have been problems recently with the State of New Mexico’s Special Investigations Division. A lot of breweries have been cited at recent festivals (I can recall multiple incidents at WinterBrew in Santa Fe) for various undisclosed offenses. The idea behind having an event that’s less about random sampling is to try to help curb these citations. I will admit, this is not something that crossed my mind before Goblet e-mailed me about it. Don’t you just love the State’s priorities? They have a million more important things to do to fix our troubled state. But no, let’s pick on breweries. (sigh)

For us (Brandon is coming along) the hardest part will be figuring out what to get for our free pints. There are 19 breweries present (some say 20, but Rio Grande and Sierra Blanca are the same place, basically), and the Guild is estimating that they will bring a total of around 85 beers. Yeah, good luck picking that one freebie from the sea of quality beers. We’re still going to this event, though, so to try and help everyone, we contacted the majority of the breweries to get lists of what they’re bringing. Only seven responded so far; we’ll keep updating just in case anyone sends us a late list. We’re highlighting the actual new beer that’s premiering (hence the event’s title), and including a few other beers that places are bringing if they gave us those.

Back Alley Draft House: The premiering beer is called Ladron’s Peak. It’s brewed with New Mexico blue corn, mesquite honey, juniper, sage and Mormon tea. This might be the most unique beer we’ve heard about.

Bosque: The word is they’re bringing a new saison for their premier. Also coming along for the ride is the fairly new Fisticuffs IPA, which is one of the best new IPAs I’ve had in town (and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t consider himself an IPA guy).

Chama River: The premiering beer is Gone Awrye, a hybrid of a rye and steam beer. If that’s a little much or not your genre, they’re bringing Jackalope IPA, Sleeping Dog Stout, and Hop the Pond ESB.

Kaktus: Appropriately enough for summer, they are bringing James Blond, a beer that fits the season, not too mention has an amusing name. If that newbie is not your cup of tea, er, beer, then you can aim for the Choice ESB or the Amber.

La Cumbre: The premiering beer is the 2014 version of Saison d’Hommel. Brewer Jeff Erway sent us this description: “Brewed with French Pilsner malt, utilizing a step infusion mash, hopped with French Aramis and NZ Dr. Rudi’s and fermented with 3 different farmhouse strains (2 Belgian, 1 French). Resulting beer is hugely aromatic with a nose of black pepper, eucalyptus, orange zest and honey. The palate is creamy, yet minerally and bone-dry with a moderate but firm bitterness.” If you miss the Beer Premier, this one will soon be for sale in bombers.

Second Street: Four beers are coming down from Santa Fe in the form of Boneshaker Bitter, Pivotal IPA, Railyard Red, and Bohemian Pilsner. I’d personally be curious to try the Boneshaker and see what sets it apart from Rod’s Best Bitter.

Tractor: In addition to a Cider and Marzen, they’re bringing “a surprise of an IPA.” We have no idea what that means, but we’re intrigued.

Turtle Mountain: There are two new ones en route from Rio Rancho in the Dog Daze of Summer and Stars and Stripes Lager. You can also get McDay’s Cream Ale, Hopshell IPA, Piedra Lisa Porter, and The Fitzgerald (session IPA).

Other breweries participating are Abbey Brewing (Monks), BJ’s Brewhouse, Blue Corn, Cazuela’s, Kellys Brewpub, Marble, Nexus, Santa Fe, Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande, The Stumbling Steer, and Taos Mesa. We’ll keep working on finding out what they’re bringing.

See you all Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

So many events down, so many beers consumed. C’mon, troopers, let’s gear up. The end to this glorious time is nearly in sight. We shall not go out with a whimper, but a cosmic bang worthy of the elder gods. To that end, Friday is Day Nine of Ten, and it shall be a valiant conclusion to our beer-drinking efforts.

There be casks on the horizon Friday, plus plenty of final rounds of tastings and tappings.

There be casks on the horizon Friday, plus plenty of final rounds of tastings and tappings.

Featured event

UPDATED >>>> What: Cask Ale Night. Where: Marble Downtown and West Side. When: All day. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Marble will be tapping lots of casks as per their Friday tradition, only it will be more than one. We finally got the list — 505-2014 Collaboration, Pilsner, and Rye Bretta. The 505 will be the only cask on the West Side. We also know that The Grateful Dead tribute band, Let It Grow, will be playing music from 8 to 11 p.m. Why you should go: Marble is one of the best in town when it comes to cask beers. Go drink a lot of them (unless you’re driving, in which case pick one or two or just get small samples). And it will help prepare you for Saturday’s Cask Festival at Il Vicino.

All the other great events

What: Tractor Brewing Tasting. Where: Total Wine Uptown. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: All three Tractor cans — IPA, Milk Stout, Red — will be on hand for sampling. Plus, you can meet artist David Santiago, who designed the cans’ unique look. Why you should go: Grab a sample, get an artist autograph, then take a sixer home.

What: Kellys Beer Tasting. Where: Total Wine Cottonwood. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The two styles from Kellys Brewpub that have been canned, Amber and IPA, will be sampled. Why you should go: Give ’em a try, let us know how Kellys is doing with canning.

What: Birra del Borgo Special Tapping. Where: Imbibe Cigar Bar. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: Unknown. Details: Some crazy beer called the Zymatore 25 Dodici, which is a Belgian-style dark strong ale but made in Italy, will be tapped. This particular batch was aged in wine and whiskey barrels, and then mixed with a fresh batch of the same original beer. That sounds … insane. Why you should go: We gotta admit, there’s a good chance we’ll never see this particular beer in ABQ ever again. Or anywhere on earth, for that matter.

What: Left Hand Special Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The most unique beer from Wednesday’s tasting at Jubilation, the Ambidextrous, makes its way over to Two Fools. This is a smoked doppel weizenbock. It’s heavy on the smoke, but with a different sort of finish than you might expect. It’s another unique beer, and it won’t be coming out in bottles anytime soon, so this might be your last chance to try it. Why you should go: If you missed it Wednesday’s at O’Niell’s, this is a second chance you can’t pass up.

UPDATED >>> What: Goose Island Tasting. Where: Jubilation. When: 4 to 6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Jubilation released a new list, and it’s a doozy. They have Lolita, a wild ale made with raspberries and then aged in Cabernet Sauvignon casks for eight months. Sofie, a saison, is made up of 80 percent ale and 20 percent ale aged in wine barrels with citrus peel. Class of ’88 is a Belgian ale with Riesling and Pinot Noir grapes added, with the mixture then aged in Muscat wine barrels. Oh, and there’s also Ogden, a Belgian tripel, and the brand new Endless IPA. Why you should go: Need proof that Goose Island can still make some kick-ass beers? Here’s your chance.

Got any updates or additional info for the Crew? Email us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com or contact us via Facebook or Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy Day Nine! Just remember to pace yourselves and be responsible.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Day Two of ABQ Beer Week 2014 will feature eight different events, including two devoted to that heavily debated beer style — the dreaded/beloved sour ale! Viva Friday!

Oh, and by the way, thank you to everyone that came out for the Battle of the Beer Geeks on Thursday. We’ll have a little more on that, including which beer group won, a little later today.

Pucker up, folks, sours rule Day Two.

Pucker up, folks, sours dominate Day Two.

Featured event

What: 2nd Annual Tower of Sour. Where: Back Alley Draft House, Central and 2nd Street. When: 5 to 10 p.m. Cost: $12 for flights of four beers, plus a pint of your favorite. Details: The good folks at Back Alley have put together an impressive lineup for the discerning sour lover. There will be two flights, priced separately, of the following eight beers — Petrus Aged Pale, Petrus Aged Red, Ichtegems Grand Cru, Moylan’s Lonely Tart Club, Silly Sour, Alvinne Phi, Professor Fritz Briem Grodziskie, and New Belgium La Follie. Come decide which is the best of the best. And if you want some sour-to-go, there will be 750ml bottles of Goose Island’s Lolita for just $20. Why you should go: Back Alley brewer Addison Poth knows his sours, so you can rest assured he has picked an epic lineup. And if you can’t hack the sours, well, you’ll be at Back Alley, which has a great lineup of house beers, other New Mexico brews, and some additional beers from around the world. And on top of that, you can order food from New York Pizza Department next door and have it delivered to your table.

All the other great events

What: Wonderful World of Sours. Where: Total Wine Cottonwood. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: Unknown. Details: This special class will feature beers from Petrus and Monk’s Cafe. That’s all the details we got, but we’ll update if more arrive. Call (505) 890-8467 for more information. Why you should go: If you’re just getting into sours or are not sure yet about them, this is a good introduction to the style.

You can sample Tractor's new cans today at Total Wine.

You can sample from Tractor’s new cans today at Total Wine on the west side.

What: Tractor Brewing Tasting. Where: Total Wine Cottonwood. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Tractor’s new cans will be poured with all three styles present — Farmer’s Tan Red Ale, Farmer’s Almanac IPA, and Milk Mustachio Stout. Why you should go: If you were wondering how canning would affect three of your favorites from Tractor, this will give you a chance to try them out before purchasing. Though we’re still confident you’ll buy them anyway.

What: Kellys Brewpub Tasting. Where: Total Wine Uptown. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Kellys has released two beers, its Amber and IPA, in cans and they will be poured for you to sample. Why you should go: If you don’t want to deal with Nob Hill on a Friday afternoon/evening but still want some Kellys beer, here ya’ go.

What: Caip-beer-inha’s. Where: Imbibe Cigar Bar. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: We’ll admit to never having had a Caipirinha, which is some sort of mixed drink. In this case the bartenders at Imbibe are mixing three beers with other ingredients to create some unique concoctions. There will be three Caip-beer-inha’s — Raspberry (with Wittekerke Raspberry Frambois), Orange Blossom (with Indian Wells Orange Blossom Amber), and Summertime (with Wittekerke Wheat). Why you should go: If you still have that one friend who won’t make the switch from mixed drinks to beer, then take him/her to this and begin his/her training to eventually reach the heights of ambers and pilsners.

What: Goose Island Special Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 4 to 8 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The Ogden, a Belgian-style triple, will be poured for your drinking pleasure. Why you should go: If you prefer draft to bottle, and prefer powerful triples, this is your chance. Plus, chow down on some Beef Boxty and watch rugby highlights on the telly.

What: New Belgium Tap Takeover. Where: Gecko’s on Academy. When: 5 p.m. to midnight. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Once again, beers from NB will be poured all night for you to enjoy with your tapas dishes. Why you should go: Food, beer, and if you’re too worn out from a long week to leave the Northeast Heights, you don’t have to now.

What: Oskar Blues Special Tapping. Where: Horse & Angel Tavern. When: 6:30 p.m. to midnight. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Another Northeast Heights bar is jumping into the fray with some selections from the great Colorado brewery. Among the beers expected to be poured are Gubna Imperial IPA, Old Chub Scottish Ale on Nitro, and Fat Slim, the collaboration beer OB brewed with La Cumbre. Why you should go: Old Chub on Nitro? Do you really need a reason beyond that?

Got any updates or additional info for the Crew? Email us at nmdarksidebrewcrew.com or contact us via Facebook or Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy Day Two! Just remember to pace yourselves and be responsible.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Happy Friday everyone. Stoutmeister here with a grab-bag of beer news and notes. I would ask if you all had a fun Halloween, but it seemed strangely quiet out there. Save for a show at Sister Bar and the kids trick-or-treating, putting the great holiday on a Thursday meant a lot of folks put it off till Saturday. Or at least it did for us in the Crew. We were not a festive bunch, but we will try to make up for it this weekend.

Anyway, there are some beer-related goings-on this weekend and a recap of stuff from last weekend.

Dia de la Cerveza

Las Cruces gets its own fall beer festival. Rejoice, southerners!

Las Cruces gets its own fall beer festival. Rejoice, southerners!

Las Cruces usually has little to celebrate on Saturdays, what with the New Mexico State football team being just about the worst program in America. So for a second time this year, the NM Brewers Guild is doing something about that with another beer festival.

The Dia de la Cerveza will take place in downtown Cruces on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. There are 11 breweries signed up and you can still get tickets online for just $15. There will also be food trucks and live music present.

So what breweries will be in attendance? Of course High Desert will be there, plus Deming’s Mimbres Valley, which has a taproom across the street from NMSU now. Others on hand will include Little Toad Creek, from the mountains near Silver City, and a full-on northern invasion featuring Abbey Brewing, Blue Corn, Bosque, La Cumbre, Marble, Santa Fe, Second Street, and Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande.

None of the Crew can make it down, but if anyone wants to share pictures or write a guest post review, contact us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or via our Facebook page.

Beers for the Dead

The mad scientists at Il Vicino have created a beer called Day of the Dead. It’s a Belgian Dark Strong aged in bourbon barrels. This beer won’t just put hair on your chest, it will probably turn you into a Sasquatch. It debuts today at the Canteen, so keep an eye out for the Crew. We’ll almost certainly stop by to try some of this monstrosity, which should be well over 10-percent ABV.

Meanwhile, if you have a hops craving, head over to La Cumbre for some of their “Chinookered” IPA on cask. Head over quickly, since last week’s batch only lasted a few hours.

Up in Santa Fe, there will also be a firkin present at Second Street’s original location as their Cask and Curry series returns for 2013, starting today.

Hopfest favorites

The voting totals are in for the best of fest, plus the best of the home brews. For the latter, the Dukes of Ale were happy to pass along (via the always awesome Marne Gaston) that Brian Ausderau’s Green Chile Pumpkin Beer won the people’s vote as the best of the five home brews offered up at their booth in the southeast corner of Hopfest’s main room. Both Brandon and Derek greatly enjoyed this unique take on a pumpkin beer. Ben Miller’s IPA was a very close second, which should come as no surprise since A) this state loves IPAs, and B) Ben is a former winner of the Samuel Adams Longshot Competition. The man can brew, people.

Anyway, Hopfest also released the people’s choice for Best of Fest, which went to a full brewery rather than a specific beer (because we all know that was Uinta’s Labyrinth). The people’s choice for the fourth straight year was Marble. No wonder Ted was smiling all day.

Checking in at a very close second was New Mexico Craft Brewing, whose Wet-n-Wild IPA was one of the biggest hits at Hopfest. Il Vicino and Tractor came in third and fourth, so it was very nice to see that people continue to vote and support local breweries first and foremost.

Since I guess some folks needed a break from beer, Angry Orchard was fifth. There was a three-way tie for sixth between Alaskan, Dukes of Ale, and Woodchuck. This mad love for cider is … unexpected. Kona, Santa Fe, and Uinta tied for seventh. Eel River and Indian Wells tied for eighth. Ninth was a five-way tie between heavyweights Abita, Anderson Valley, Clown Shoes, Left Hand, and Odell. Kellys, Red Hook, and Widmer Bros. all tied for 10th place.

We can’t complain too much about those selections, as we enjoyed at least one beer from each of those breweries (leaving out the two cider joints, of course; it’s a beer festival, we drink beer).

* * * *

Anyway, that’s it from a surprisingly newsy Friday. If there is ever some breaking beer news that slips past us, please contact us at the email we listed above or Facebook or Twitter (@nmdarksidebc) or just leave a message here. And if you see us at a brewery, you can tell us there, too.

See some of you around the breweries this weekend. And a happy birthday on Saturday to Broken Bottle’s Chris Chavez!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister