Posts Tagged ‘La Cumbre Brewing’

The Crew was represented at the NM Brew Fest by, from left, Andrew, Reid, and AmyO.

Well, that was quite the weekend. Of all the Crew, I may have done the least craft beer drinking, which is quite weird. Hey, I am single and do not have a kid, but I also have a screwy work schedule and missed the ninth annual New Mexico Brew Fest. Boo.

Anyway, I did get around a little bit. My quest to try all the local Oktoberfest-style beers continued with stops at Ponderosa (quite good, quite traditional) and Bow & Arrow (also quite good, but a little more bready and dry). I also found some of the last remaining cans of Steel Bender’s OktoberFiesta at Jubilation when I was sent on a beer run for a post-NMBF party.

Then the weather changed and it became stout season. That is a story for next week, however.

Here are the rest of the Crew’s weekend adventures. Let’s just say they all had a lot of fun, and a lot of beers, and everyone survived to tell the tales.

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You know it is truly autumn when the New Mexico Brew Fest returns to the State Fairgrounds.

One of our favorite annual beer festivals, the New Mexico Brew Fest, is back at the State Fairgrounds this Saturday afternoon. The ninth edition starts at 1 p.m. (noon for early entry ticket holders) and runs until 6. Tickets are available online here.

What makes this a favorite fest of ours? Well, to start with, it’s outdoors. Formerly in the Villa Hispana courtyard, it has now moved out onto Main Street, due to a combination of poor access for the breweries to bring in the kegs, and because it was getting a wee bit too crowded in Villa Hispana. The weather is usually beautiful, so cross your fingers that those projected morning rains are long gone by the time this year’s fest kicks off.

Another fun part is that this festival is made up of only New Mexico breweries. A total of 21 are listed as attending, ranging from stalwarts like Bosque, Boxing Bear, Canteen, La Cumbre, Marble, and Santa Fe, plus breweries from far corners of the state, including Lost Hiker (Ruidoso) and Taos Mesa.

There will be plenty of food trucks (Nomad’s BBQ, Street Food Institute, Soo Bak, and more), live music (Cali Shaw Band, The Big Spank, DJ Flo Fader), and some additional fun games and activities.

Of course, the most pertinent question always comes down to what beers are being poured. Well, we can confirm that three beers that recently won medals at the Great American Beer Festival will be available — Turtle Mountain’s Wooden Teeth (gold), Bosque’s Pistol Pete’s 1888 (bronze), Starr Brothers’ Lampshade Porter (bronze) — plus one medal winner from the Great British Beer Festival in The 377’s Schwartzbier (bronze).

These lists were provided by the breweries and are always subject to last-minute changes, depending on availability. For any breweries that have not reported their lists yet, we will add them as they come in right up until the start of the festival.

  • Abbey: TBA
  • Bosque: IPA, Brewer’s Boot, Pistol Pete’s 1888, Elephants on Parade, TBD seasonal
  • Bow & Arrow: TBA
  • Boxing Bear: Uppercut IPA, Black and Blue Tart, Coffee Chocolate Milk Stout, Das Bear German Pilsner, Apple Bear Cider
  • Broken Trail: Double Black, Trailworks IPA, Arroyo Blanco Wheat, Goathead Brown
  • Canteen: Oktoberfest, Exodus IPA, Pecos Trail Brown Ale, Laid Back Lager
  • Desert Valley: TBA
  • Dialogue: Oktoberfest, 3x Tripel
  • Kaktus: TBA
  • La Cumbre: Elevated IPA, A Slice of Hefen, BEER, Witch’s Tit, Project Dank
  • Lost Hiker: TBA
  • Marble: Double White, Passionate Gose, Pumpkin Ale, Westside IPA
  • Nexus: Scotch Ale, Bird of Prey IPA, Coffee & Cream Ale, Imperial “Tribble” Red Ale
  • Palmer: TBA
  • Santa Fe: 7K IPA, Oktoberfest, Freestyle Pilsner, Western Bloc IPA, Hefeweizen
  • Starr Brothers: Lampshade Porter, Rosé Gose, Hanky Spanky, Starrphire Pilsner
  • Steel Bender: Brickie American Stout, Lloyd’s 3 O’Clock Kolsch, Blackberry Dynamite, Skull Bucket IPA
  • Taos Mesa: TBA
  • The 377: Schwartzbier, 377 IPA, Plumberry Sour, Ginger Beer
  • Tractor: Pumpkin Cider, Traktoberfest, Double Plow Oatmeal Stout
  • Turtle Mountain: Wooden Teeth*, Vienna SMLSH, Tropical Menagerie, Turb Majeure (NEIPA), Yum Yum Noir

Also, take note that Left Turn Distilling will be on hand alongside its sibling brewery, Palmer.

Got any questions or comments? Drop us a line.

This is one of those fests where we highly recommend that everyone utilize a designated driver, Lyft, Uber, or other means of transportation than driving yourself if you plan to drink. Stay safe out there!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

This is one event you cannot miss … unless you bought tickets to a metal show in Denver months ago.

Timing is everything in life. For instance, this Saturday is both Marblefest here in Albuquerque and the Amorphis/Dark Tranquillity/Omnium Gatherum/Moonspell metal show in Denver. Many of us in the Crew bought our tickets to the latter a while ago, so we are northbound again, but that just means the rest of you will have more beer to drink at 111 Marble Avenue this weekend.

Marble’s marvelous marketing and events coordinator Geraldine Lucero invited me to stop by the Heights taproom before GABF to talk about this awesome festival that I will personally miss. (Sniff) We were joined by brewmaster Josh Trujillo to discuss the beers as well.

The event begins with a VIP sampling session from noon to 2 p.m., followed by the general admission festival from 2 until 11. It costs $20 for VIP tickets and $5 for GA. General admission tickets will be on sale at the door only. Tickets for VIP are available at all three taprooms, or you can order VIP online. Those go up to $25 on the day of the event, so get ’em early. Geraldine said that the VIP gets you a commemorative tasting glass, six 4-ounce pours, a food pairing, and you get to enjoy music from Red Light Cameras.

“That’s going to be really exciting because we’re limiting the amount of tickets we’re selling to that,” Geraldine said. “We want it to be a lot smaller where people (won’t) wait in lines, taste as much beer as they want, talk to the brewers on hand. We’re trying to give them an awesome VIP experience.”

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A lot of tired brewers and brewery owners came to life when their names were announced at the GABF Awards Ceremony!

DENVER — The 2018 Great American Beer Festival awards ceremony was another good one for New Mexico breweries. The Saturday morning event saw 2,404 breweries enter 8,864 beers, judged by 193 people, and spread across 102 categories, plus a new collaboration and the Pro-Am competition.

Eight New Mexico breweries shared in seven medals, a significant improvement from the World Beer Cup earlier this year, when only Quarter Celtic brought home a single bronze medal for its Pedro O’Flanagan.

“It means we make good beer still,” said John Gozigian, the executive director of the New Mexico Brewers Guild. “What did we win (at WBC), one medal? It was an anomaly. We always tend to medal disproportionately to our population.”

We were lucky in that Turtle Mountain head brewer Mick Hahn, left, found us at the session after the awards ceremony.

Turtle Mountain earned its first gold medal in the International-style Pilsner category with Wooden Teeth. The year-round offering is a huge win for brewer Mick Hahn and owner Nico Ortiz, beating out 85 other entries.

Mick was not in attendance when the award was announced.

“I was at our AirBnB, not quite sipping the champagne yet, but enjoying the hell out of it,” he said. “We didn’t go to the awards ceremony but we were streaming it at the house. When they announced it we just exploded. It was fantastic. I couldn’t be happier. There was a liquor store right across from the house so I ran across the street to get some champagne.”

After 19 years in business, this was the first major competition medal for Turtle Mountain.

“That’s just awesome,” Gozigian said. “For a new brewery to win is great, but to see one of the stalwarts of our brewing scene to come out of the woodwork and win in a very competitive category, I’m very happy for them.”

Mick said he was over the moon after hearing his beer’s name called on the internet broadcast.

“It means so much,” Mick said. “Turtle deserves so much more (praise) than what they have right now, in my opinion. I hate hearing people say, ‘I love it, but I never go out to Rio Rancho.’ It’s a drop in the bucket, I’m sure, but every little bit helps. A gold medal for our house lager? Yeah.”

La Cumbre’s Jeff Erway chews on another silver medal for his Malpais Stout.

There were two silver medals awarded to local breweries. La Cumbre’s Malpais Stout took second in the Export Stout category, while Rowley Farmhouse Ales earned its first medal with Germophile in the Berliner-style Weisse category, which had 115 entries.

“Always the runner up,” said La Cumbre owner/master brewer Jeff Erway. “It’s my third silver. I’m really stoked to not go home empty handed. I tasted this batch and said this is about as good as that beer ever gets. I’m really pleased with the whole team. It gets increasingly harder as the brewery gets bigger to make sure that every person back there is engaged. I’m kind of in awe of Daniel (Jaramillo) and Alan (Skinner) and how they manage the team back there. I’m real proud of everybody. Probably 20 people touch this beer. The fact that no one screwed it up is awesome.”

Bronze was the color of the day with five breweries bringing home four medals. How did that work? Well, Quarter Celtic and Palmer Brewery earned bronze in the Collaboration Beer category with Mocha Hipster Bomb.

“Brady (McKeown, head brewer) is battling in that brewhouse and it’s starting to show,” said Quarter Celtic co-owner Ror McKeown. “We’re fortunate that Rob (Palmer) was a super cool guy and has some talent himself. He was willing to jump in with us. I told him, first GABF, first beer you entered, first medal, you set the bar real high. It was a good time, but unfortunately Brady will never get to come again, since we figured out the trick was to take his cutout instead of him.”

Yes, Quarter Celtic really did take a cardboard cutout of Brady up on stage.

The Brady McKeown cutout made it to the stage at the awards ceremony, courtesy of his brother Ror.

“You never expect to win, but you want to come prepared,” Ror said. “I took that cutout. It was nice, especially since this is (Charlie) Papazian’s last year. It was our last chance to get a fist bump from him.

“(Papazian) was laughing. We went up early enough so he wasn’t tired. He told us that’s awesome. Usually you can’t get too many words out of him. He had a pretty big grin on his face.”

For Palmer, this was his first major award.

“I’ll probably never enter another beer again,” Rob said. “First beer, medal, done.”

He was actually luck to even make it into the awards ceremony at all.

“I didn’t expect the collab category to be (early), I thought it would be in the middle somewhere,” Rob said. “I’m all hungover as shit. We were at the gentlemen’s club last night. I didn’t have a pass to get in. Canteen gave me an extra pass. I sat down, tried not to throw up, and then I heard the name called. It was fucking awesome. Getting to fist bump Charlie Papazian, man, best thing ever. I’m super stoked.”

Rob Palmer’s hangover disappeared quickly thanks to his bronze medal.

Starr Brothers brought home its first medal with a bronze in the Other Strong Beer category with Lampshade Porter, another year-round beer.

Sierra Blanca’s Cherry Wheat medaled for the second straight year, this time taking bronze in the Fruit Wheat category (it won gold last year).

Bosque’s Pistol Pete’s 1888 finished third out of 127 entries in the Golden or Blonde Ale category.

“It’s awesome,” said Bosque co-owner/director of brewing operations John Bullard. “We did the same thing with Bosque IPA (medaling), that was cool, too. That really drove sales. I’m really hoping this will continue to drive sales. We’re having a hard time keeping up with this beer already, but it can’t hurt, right?”

The Crew will try to catch up with the other medal winners while we are all here in Denver, but just in case we cannot find them, we will interview them upon our return to New Mexico this coming week.

Congrats to one and all, and thank you for always representing New Mexico in such a positive way.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

After two years, it was nice to drink you again, Irish Handcuffs.

Before we dive into our latest round of beer adventures, a little business comes first. Starting Thursday, the Crew will have live coverage from the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. Yours truly, plus Franz Solo and Luke, all have press passes that will get us into the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday afternoon sessions, plus the awards ceremony Saturday morning. We will get you all the news you need as it happens, so long as we have not consumed too much beer as to render our brains useless.

Life is a struggle, sometimes.

We do have the list of competition beers from the New Mexico breweries, which will we will publish in advance of the awards ceremony so you all can follow along. Look for that no later than Saturday morning.

Wish us luck up there. It is rather easy to get completely overwhelmed, but with enough of us attending, we should stay on track this time around.

As for this past weekend, I actually made it out to quite a few places. Friday lunch was at Canteen, where the Piggly Wiggly remains one of my all-time favorite pulled pork sandwiches. I washed it down with some Hank ESB, which is just as biscuity and English as ever. Eli, forever an awesome bartender and fellow metalhead, also gave me a sample of the Wet Hop Pale Ale, which sure tastes like a much, much bigger beer, with a delightful blast of both piney and berry hop flavors.

After the Lobo men’s soccer game on Friday night, I popped in at La Cumbre and faced a vexing decision between Make IPA Clear Again and Wet-Hopped Elevated. The former won out, and it remains an excellent example of a tough, bitter old-school West Coast IPA (Luke reviews the latter down below). For Saturday, I took a trip to Red Door, where I lucked out and found a car leaving its parking space (it pays to gamble sometimes). Once inside, I did the smart thing and hung out with head brewer Matt Meier, and we were later joined by Bombs Away head brewer David Kimbell. We consumed some of the not-too-sweet, not-too-boozy Double Vanilla Cream Ale, sampled the latest batch of the New England IPA, and then I personally capped my night with some Dunkel, which AmyO also tried when she was there earlier (see below).

Following a rough day at work on Monday, I was able to make it to the Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day Festival at Quarter Celtic, where there was still just a little bit left of the 2016 Irish Handcuffs Imperial Stout. Man, aging is doing that beer wonders, just highlighting all the barrel flavors and how they blend beautifully with the strong, thick base stout. I cannot wait to try it again on the actual St. Patrick’s Day.

Enough from me, here is what a couple of the others found around their respective towns this weekend. As always, these are just our suggestions. Let us know what some of your favorite beers/places of the weekend are in the comments!

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Ah, Arizona football, driving Stoutmeister to drink for more than 20 years.

A holiday weekend provides plenty of chances for members of the Crew to explore our local beer scene. From beers-to-go to visiting breweries to the ages old blend of football and beer, we had some fun out there.

My weekend actually runs Wednesday and Thursday, but this week I found myself out and about on Friday as well. For lunch, I swung by La Cumbre to try the new batch of Oktoberfest that had just been released. It is a wonderful batch, available in cans as well as on tap. I was also quite pleased that my gamble about My Sweet Basil having German-themed food to go with the beer also panned out.

Later that night, after work, I hit up Bosque, but alas, all the Scale Tipper IPA cans had long since sold out. There was still some on tap, at least. From there, it was off to Red Door’s Wyoming taproom, which was in its surprise last night of business. Most of the beer had already been consumed, but I snagged a final pour of Paint it Black Milk Stout. It was a shame to see the place close, as it was packed many nights, and it certainly went out with a bang.

Finally, I was trying to be good Saturday, but then the Arizona football team went out and, well, played like usual, choking against BYU in the season opener. Thus, I opened a 2018 Founders KBS. Oh, Wildcats, once again you have me looking ahead to basketball season.

Speaking of beer and football, here are the rest of the Crew’s adventures.

Keeping it local at the tailgate

If Incarnate Word football fans existed, they would have seen lots of local beers at the tailgate.

I would venture to say my holiday weekend was likely a little different than most of yours. It’s all about opening weekend for tailgating and football. We tailgated Friday overnight and all day and into the night after the game on Saturday. Sunday was recovery and Monday means catching up on errands and things around the house. It was a rainy, misty, awesomely cool day on Saturday. The picture reflects this perfectly. Our tradition is to get at least one type of Santa Fe Brewing “Zia cans” to show off to visiting teams. Sadly, we never met any Incarnate Word tailgaters on Saturday. It doesn’t matter, though, it still always tastes great.

— AmyO

Holiday bites and brews

There are worse ways to spend Labor Day.

Starr Brothers Brewery was open for business on Labor Day and I took full advantage. I’ll confess that the main purpose for the visit was a quick snack to hold me over till dinner, but that always couples well with a nice beer. I have always enjoyed their food and this time I was specifically aiming for tacos. They are small and a little bit gourmet, but quite tasty and on-point. I had a chicken taco and a steak taco. My mom, who was visiting from Chicago for the weekend, enjoyed her fish taco. I started with a pint of There Gose Them Boyzz, which is a cleverly named and tasty boysenberry gose. It was a fruitier than the average gose, but was still tart with a tinge of salt, as it should be. I also enjoyed a pint of Bottoms Up Kolsch. This kolsch gave me exactly what I wanted from the style. It was no frills, but it checked the kolsch box that needed checking. Never unhappy after a visit to Starr Brothers Brewery. Cheers!

— Andrew

The new big boys (?) on the block

This is not Brandon’s fridge, but it could be. (Photo courtesy of Steel Bender Brewyard)

Can Steel Bender become a new powerhouse brewery in NM? Recently, in discussing the brewing industry here in the state with a friend, this question was posed to me. Honestly, I didn’t have an answer, as any answer would be fairly complex. As I enjoyed a few nighttime ales this weekend, it struck me that, aside from my 2016 KBS that I had opened, each of the other beers I had enjoyed WERE FROM STEEL BENDER. That’s right, Red Iron, Skull Bucket, and Tangerine Dream. That got me thinking that, at least in terms of sales, packaging, and distribution, perhaps the answer could be yes. Now I know some will argue that they are still a new kid on the scene and lack the cred in terms of accolades (GABF, WBC, etc., hardware is always lovely when you bust your ass as a brewer!), but if more and more people are buying and enjoying their beers, that says a lot about this brewery that is only over a year into existence. Therefore, I’m of the opinion that this distinction is on the horizon for the taking for the SBB crew, and good on them for that.

— Brandon

A rhapsody of a pilsner

There is nothing frightening about this Bohemian pilsner. Right, Galileo?

This past week saw some wonderful new projects come to fruition for ABQ’s beer community. Luckily that meant stopping by La Cumbre’a new westside location. The Thunderbolts and Lightning Pilsner by far stole the spotlight among the expanded tap list with its brilliant clarity, and clean, pleasant light citrus, and refined, distinctive malt character. The excitement is certainly building as we enter Oktoberfest season as well- keep an eye out for all the new releases!

— Jerrad

Red Door abruptly closed its taproom on Wyoming last Friday, but patrons were able to enjoy one last pint or two.

The last month-plus has seen good and bad news coming out of several off-site taprooms around Albuquerque, ranging from two openings to two closings to other potential developments that have left folks wondering if the bubble is bursting. As a public service, we tried to sort through the rumors and figure out the solid facts.

On the good front, La Cumbre Westside and Tractor Westside are both humming along. Tractor opened first on McMahon, just east of Unser, and quickly captured the vibe of its other locations. La Cumbre opened to huge crowds with a touch of the original location blended with a more modern atmosphere. We also got good news that Quarter Celtic will open its first taproom in early 2019.

Then, there was everything else. First came the news at the end of July that Monks’ Corner was closing its doors. The location at Third and Silver was never able to draw in the crowds like Abbey Brewing had hoped, and in the end, the decision was made to shut down that taproom. Whether or not a replacement ever opens is something that will be decided at a later time.

Of course, since then, events might have given Abbey a reason to pause. All of us in the Crew were as surprised as anyone when Red Door abruptly announced the closure of its Northeast Heights taproom at Wyoming and Comanche. The taproom was packed with folks on Friday night, answering the call to help drink up as much of the beer on hand as possible. By the time I arrived around 9 p.m., there were only four house beers and the cider left on tap. All the seasonals were long gone.

I missed owner Matt Biggs by mere minutes, he later told me, but we will be meeting this week to discuss Red Door’s upcoming fourth anniversary. The reason given by Red Door in its social media posts was “a landlord dispute,” which sadly is not all that shocking around Albuquerque. Anyone remember when Pi Brewing had to shut down after its corporate landlord put off repairs to the damaged building for six months? (It had been hit by an out-of-control pickup truck that crashed off Coors.)

The specter of a bad landlord, or something similar, then seemed to crop up with the Soo-bak food truck posted that it was no longer going to park outside Tractor Nob Hill due to an unexplained dispute with the new property owner. That, in turn, led many to suspect Tractor would also shut down its original Albuquerque location, which has been serving folks since 2011. I contacted president/co-owner Skye Devore via email, and she said no one should panic, that Tractor is not closing the taproom.

“The building was purchased last year and we are working on adjusting to the new dynamic, which includes having a cafe next door, but we have no intention of shutting it down,” she wrote. “The food truck situation is delicate. In no way does Tractor want food trucks to cease service and their food will always be welcome in our Nob Hill location.”

So far, it seems this is an isolated incident rather than a radical change to the long symbiotic relationship between Tractor and the food trucks. Considering that the new landlord was also helping Tractor out by giving the brewery the space to expand its walk-in cooler and add more bathrooms, overall the relationship seems to be OK.

Now that everyone is breathing easy again, we feel that we can now report that the Duel taproom in downtown Albuquerque is closing some time in the near future. Real estate ads, like this one on Craigslist, have shown that the space is up for lease, though there has been no official announcement from the brewery in Santa Fe. Events are still listed through Saturday, September 15 on the taproom’s Facebook page, so it seems the closure is not necessarily imminent. We will keep an eye on the situation as it develops.

Before anyone starts screaming that the bubble is popping around here, most of these closures appear unconnected. It is possible to draw the line between Duel and Monks’ Corner, and the general difficulty of staying open downtown. People can point to the crime and other issues there, but we have long felt that downtown is simply a different animal as far as the crowd goes. It is not an area populated with craft beer lovers who want to kick back and relax, but is instead a more high-energy area of rising and falling trends. Basically, the downtown crowd is incredibly fickle, and with a few exceptions (Anodyne, looking at you), it can be very hard for any bar or taproom to gain a foothold there. Then throw in the issues with crime and the ongoing exodus of businesses from the area (which impacts lunchtime and happy hour crowds), and it pretty much conspired to kill Monks’ Corner and, apparently, Duel.

The boom times may be coming to a close, that is true, but it does not necessarily mean a massive contraction is at hand. Breweries and taprooms will not be shutting down en masse, but fewer and fewer are on the docket to open. At present, there are only three confirmed breweries pending for the ABQ metro area, plus three off-site taprooms.

In other words, yes, we have seemingly hit our saturation point. The remaining areas in town that lack craft beer are either too expensive in terms of rent, or too stricken by poverty. Darn, guess we will have to live with the award-winning breweries that are already here, instead of always looking to see who is coming next.

If anyone out there ever has any information for us on our local breweries, please, never hesitate to send it to us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or contact us via our social media pages.

Until next time, stay positive, Burque.

— 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 seven breweries, one in Los Alamos, one in Moriarty, one in Red River, and one in Las Cruces 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.

At this point, when Friday rolls around and there is no special canned beer release somewhere in the metro area, that is what seems like the anomaly. Thankfully, this is one of those now-normal Fridays, with a special treat as two of our favorites from the past make a triumphant return. La Cumbre is bringing back its delicious Oktoberfest as soon as the doors open at noon. Bosque, in the meantime, is making the long-awaited transition from bottles to cans with Scale Tipper IPA. The two-time New Mexico and National IPA Challenge winner will be available in the 16-ounce cans in four packs at all Bosque taprooms this Friday at opening. The two beers are such a delightful contrast, malty versus hoppy, that we will easily make room in our beer fridges for some of both.

A big event for the upcoming three-day weekend will see Santa Fe Brewing bring its ongoing 30th anniversary celebration to Albuquerque. The taproom at Green Jeans, from open to close, will be one big party site this Saturday. There will be live music, beer specials, and more, with $1 from every pint sold going to New Mexico Autism Society and Watermelon Mountain Ranch. There is also the return of Marble’s Labor Day El Festival on Monday at the downtown location. Scroll down to the Marble entry for the full lineup of bands.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Ale Republic has more Diablo de Oro, Bug Juice, Blonde, and Strong Dark and Handsome. Bombs Away heats up the sweet with Meltdown Vanilla Brown. Bosque also gets a little hazy with Lomas and Open Space, and a little malty with Down in the Hollow and the spectacular Fresh Start. Boxing Bear digs up some Guava Gose and will add Pineapple Milk Shake later this week. Canteen brings back Hank ESB. Marble unearths some Abbey Gold. Ponderosa has fresh Oatmeal Stout at last. Red Door resurrects Lemongrass Pilsner on Friday. Sidetrack tunes it up with Turntable IPA Track 4, plus Sunburst Pale Ale is back and Crystal Cream Ale debuts. Steel Bender will have more Manaña Tropical IPA.

Up in Santa Fe, Rowley Farmhouse Ales scrolls ahead with Agent Scully – Season Two, Episode 3, plus Sonora Weisse and Greyscale are available. Over in Red River, RRBC brings back Bad Medicine Honey DIPA and adds Amarillo SMASH.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of August 27.

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It’s go time today at noon!

It is rare that we write “Happy Monday!” at any point during the year, but we will make an exception today. That is because the La Cumbre Westside Taproom is opening at noon, and last night I was one of the lucky folks who was invited to a secret soft opening.

The space is spacious, even if one of the LC staff told me he already thinks they should lease the empty space to the west and knock out the wall. That could still be an option, of course, but for now it should be able to hold plenty of thirsty beer lovers who have grown weary of crossing the Rio Grande to get their favorite LC beers.

The taproom is situated toward the southern end of the large shopping complex anchored by Sprouts on the southeast corner of Coors and Montaño. You can enter from either road, though certainly there will be advantages to driving up from the south or from west to east. The building is slightly askew, so the front windows and entrance are at a slight north-by-northeast angle. The patio is located somewhat to the northeast corner, sticking out a bit away from the main building. There is plenty of seating out there, and yes, plenty of shade.

Inside, the bar is in an L shape, with the longer part facing toward the west. There were 18 (!) taps available, including some new beers like the tasty Thunderbolts and Lightning (Bohemian pilsner). Yes, there may have been a quick singalong between one of the beertenders and I after she asked me what beer I had tried. The Dortmunder was the other refreshing lighter beer for a hot day, but fear not, because all you hopheads will have plenty of Project Dank, Sun Fade, and Full Nelson, plus a new session hazy IPA called Carmen. The sour, Mood, is also available, along with many other beers. There is a cooler filled with cans if you want to take some beer home, too.

There are tall tables by the front window, shorter tables in the center, and booths along the west wall. Throw in plenty of bar stools, and while it will certainly be crowded today and likely for a while, there should be enough room to keep everyone happy.

The staff is a veteran group, with quite a few faces that will probably be familiar to you from other breweries. There are quite a few Bosque expatriates, including Adam, Tony, and Mindy. It is the right group of people to handle what will likely be a significant crush of people. There is plenty of parking in the shopping center as well, so that should not be a problem. Just be careful driving through, what with all the shoppers going to and fro.

Above all, just remember to have fun today, or whenever you are making your first visit to the taproom. It is a slick, swanky place, staffed by good people, and filled with good beer. Be patient and polite as they deal with the onrush of what should be many, many folks this week.

Congrats to Jeff, Laura, Jenn, Cory, Alan, Daniel, and everyone else at La Cumbre, and thank you for the chance to be among the first to try out your awesome new space.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

La Cumbre’s new taproom is ready to go!

Franz Solo here on the cusp of your weekend to announce the opening of La Cumbre’s taproom this coming Monday, the 20th of August. Located on Albuquerque’s west side at the new shopping center on the southeast corner of Coors and Montaño, this is quite a lovely addition to those of us who live in the Taylor Ranch neighborhood and surrounding areas.

The exterior is complete.

To say that I’m just a little excited for this is entirely an understatement. Since moving into Taylor Ranch in 2012, one of the few things that was missing from our neck of the woods was a stellar taproom, and we always hoped one would land right around Coors and Montaño. Our hopes have been answered, and man, I’m happy to have La Cumbre here. I had a few moments to chat with owner Jeff Erway and snap a few photos of the nearly completed space, so without further ado …

It’s mighty cozy inside.

Franz Solo: All right, so we finally got a taproom. So what does this mean for La Cumbre and how excited are you?

Jeff: You know, I wasn’t excited when we got started, but I’m pretty darn excited now, because it’s that feeling of accomplishment. Except this time, it wasn’t the vast majority of it just being my wife (Laura) and myself getting it all done. It has been a total team effort and the place looks really good because of that. Everybody came up with plenty of stupid ideas and amongst those stupid ideas a few really good ones rose to the top, and we took those and ran with them.

Owner Jeff Erway is one happy man with that beer menu in place.

Yeah, I’m really proud of the way it looks and how it came out. The general contractor did a great job and as much as anything I’m really excited to see — we know our clientele at our original taproom, it’s hardcore beer geeks — obviously we know that many of them will be coming here as well, but we also know that there will be a totally different group of people coming here as well, which I’m excited to see who that is.

Solo: Heck of a nice patio with the hop-themed metalwork.

Jeff: Thank you very much. We are really pleased with how it came out.

The hop design is quite fun outside.

Solo: I also like that this is quite modern, but you kind of kept the rustic look of the original alongside it.

Jeff: I did. I tried as much as I could. We used lots of recycled wood. We’ve got an arcade game over there with 1,100 different games or something, every single awesome game you played in the 80’s and 90’s we’ve got there. We have a shuffleboard table because it’s something I’ve always loved when I was up in Taos, playing late night shuffleboard. We found a woodworker at Real Woodworks, John, that we really wanted to partner with and I think he just did a killer job creating exactly what we were trying to go for.

Classic arcade games? Oh, the hours we will spend playing these!

Gonna be playing a lot of this as well.

* * * * *

So starting next week, we on the Westside have our own taproom at which to “Get Elevated” and I for one could not be more excited. From the start, there will be 18 distinct beers on tap and also of note, this is the first taproom I’ve seen that has incorporated outlets with USB ports at every booth, along the wall, and under the bar as well to suit our modern device needs for constant power, which is a very nice touch. Head over this coming week and check out the long awaited La Cumbre taproom in all its glory. 

Soon, all those tables and booths will be packed!

Skål!

— Franz Solo