Posts Tagged ‘La Cumbre Brewing’

Gazing down upon a Taos Brewmasters Festival from years past.

If there is such a thing as a white whale among New Mexico beer festivals, for me it is the Taos Brewmasters Festival. It has been around for 23 years counting this Saturday’s event, and yet I have never managed to time my own schedule to where I can thanks to either my day job or my other job as a freelance sportswriter.

Just because I cannot go, however, does not rule out the rest of you from visiting this classic beer festival nestled in the confines of the Taos Ski Valley. The fest runs from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, with $35 tickets available at the door. There will be 22 breweries present from around the country, including nine from New Mexico, plus one distillery and one place that focuses on kombucha.

The Blonde Bear Tavern, Bavarian, Common Fire, Rhoda’s, and more will provide the food to make sure no one is drinking on an empty stomach.

We asked all nine participating New Mexico breweries for their beer lists. Here are the ones who responded. If the others respond before the festival begins, we will update this list.

  • Bosque: IPA, Lager, Scotia Scotch Ale, Elephants on Parade, Pistol Pete’s 1888
  • La Cumbre: Big Door Prize, Project Dank, Ryeot IPA, Elevated IPA, A Slice of Hefen, Malpais Stout
  • Marble: Wildflower Wheat (in new cans), IPA, Desert Fog, Double White, Cholo Stout, Imperial Stout
  • Rio Bravo: TBA
  • Santa Fe: TBA
  • Sierra Blanca: Cherry Wheat, Vanilla Milk Stout, Alien Amber, Desert Pilsner, Bone Chiller Brown, Whiskey Stout
  • Steel Bender: Skull Bucket IPA, Raspberry Dynamite, Compa Los Ranchos Lager, Lloyd’s 3 O’Clock Kolsch, Gris-Gris, Ned’s Sour Pail (with and without boysenberry), Viejo Agrio
  • Taos Mesa: TBA
  • Tractor: Almanac IPA, Farmers Tan Red Ale, Delicious Red Hard Apple Cider, Milk Mustachio Stout

The other participating breweries from outside the state are 10 Barrel, Bell’s, Firestone Walker, Four Peaks, Full Sail, Heineken USA, Left Hand, New Belgium, Odell, Sierra Nevada, Steamworks, Stone, and Upslope.

Grab a brew and enjoy some time on the slopes! Just probably in the opposite order.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s 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.

They say giving is greater than receiving during the holiday season, but we rather enjoy receiving lots of new beers, especially the kind we can take home. In case anyone missed it, Second Street’s Jack Plane Porter, a wonderful cherrywood-smoked beer that was previously only available on tap, is now for sale in six packs. Joining this holiday treat on shelves this week and next are three more beers, with one hoppy/hazy favorite returning to break up the parade of beautiful darkness. First up, Marble is putting Imperial Stout in 12-ounce cans and selling them to all of us today. We will miss the bottles, but drinking one of those 22-ounce beasts tended to end our nights early unless we shared (and we never really wanted to share, it’s so good). It is also on tap, of course, at all three Marble locations, and there will be a food pairing around 5 p.m., if you can wait that long. Speaking of waiting, the lines should be back outside La Cumbre on Friday for the return of Big Door Prize, the tasty hazy double IPA that locals could not get enough of last year. In this case, show up at the brewery at noon, because it might not be there by sundown. Once those beers have gotten you through the weekend, make your way to Canteen on Tuesday for the release of six-packs of Panama Joe Coffee Stout. We already have a friend in North Carolina begging us to send her some, and we gotta imagine the local demand will be high for this award-winning elixir. Clear those beer fridges, people, for more delicious fresh beer has arrived!

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque leaves a little something on your pillow in the form of Chocolate Mint Stout. Dialogue keeps it light with Baby Wenzel Session IPA, while also teaming up with Rio Rancho’s 1933 Brewing on 70 Shilling Scottish Ale. Kaktus has a decadent Imperial Chocolate Stout available. Marble wants summer back with Raspberry Peach Pale Ale, while also getting tough with Vünderland, a Belgian strong. The 377 puckers up with Adalie, a strawberry sour aged 10 months in barrels. Toltec rolls out its first Double IPA on Thursday. Tractor brings back crowd favorite Blood Orange Cider, while also adding Belgian Winter White and bringing back Luna de Los Muertos in bottles. Turtle Mountain resurrects a classic in Mr. Hoover’s Steam, while also getting Darker Than Darkness, a new schwarzbier.

Up in Santa Fe, things are quiet, but likely not for long.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of December 10.

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It’s definitely not the best picture of our always-in-motion Metal Mayor, but we were happy to see him at a local brewery.

A long winter nap is becoming more and more tempting, but there are beers to drink, and the Crew kept after them this past weekend.

My weekend started early, as per usual, but it was more of a working weekend, with trips to Marble and Tractor to interview staffers for our Look Back/Look Ahead Series. After leaving Wells Park on Wednesday, I made my way to La Cumbre, as an old friend of the Crew tipped us off that Mayor Tim Keller would be making an appearance. I was not able to bend his ear, but I did still get to enjoy some Pecos Porter and catch up with some readers who were enjoying some afternoon beers. Though the Pecos does not get the hype of other LC beers, it remains a solid, sessionable dark beer that fits the winter chill.

There are two more special Brickie Stout casks to come at Steel Bender.

After a proper metal show with birthday boy Derek on Thursday night, I took it easy Friday night. By Saturday, it was time to head out again. Steel Bender has again had its 4 Casks of Christmas series every Saturday in December. They take the Brickie American Stout and infuse it with some other tasty elements, stick ’em in a cask, and watch everyone enjoy. This edition was special, as our own Franz Solo and old friend David Facey developed the French Toast Brickie. It was a delicious beer, with the sweetness of the maple syrup working in concert with the roasty malts. This Saturday will see another version, Fruity Chocolate Tart. Make sure to grab one or more of these wonderful brews while you still can this holiday season.

Speaking of the holiday season, Crew members found reasons for giving, and reasons to avoid the mass marketing rush and instead indulge in local beer and food.

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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.

My, how time flies in these parts. It seems like just the other day La Cumbre Brewing had opened its doors and introduced us to Elevated IPA and Malpais Stout. This week, the award-winning brewery celebrates its eighth anniversary, introducing us to Ocho Anniversary Ale on Saturday. The Ocho is red wine barrel-aged sour brewed with cherries, plus it is totally fair game to unleash every quotable line from Dodgeball while you are drinking it (or so we declare). The all-day party will also feature live screen printing from Screen Kings from 1 to 5 p.m., followed by the band Moonhat performing from 7 to 10. Other events include tap takeovers at Fire & Hops in Santa Fe today at 5 p.m. and at Tap That in ABQ on Friday at 5. La Cumbre will also be selling One Albuquerque T-shirts starting today, with the potential for a special appearance by a certain metalhead around 5 p.m. (no, not just me, someone a bit more famous and well-liked in these parts). Happy anniversary, and thanks for all the brews, La Cumbre!

UPDATE: We missed this initially, but Second Street is also celebrating its anniversary this Saturday. From 5 p.m. onward, a special menu from all three locations’ chefs will be available, featuring dishes like New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp as an appetizer, plus seared blackened scallops with green chile risotto, 24-hour pot roast, chicken piccata, stuffed poblano pepper, and New Orleans beignets for dessert. Check the Facebook page of the original location for more details. There will also be the tapping of the 2018 Anniversary Ale, plus Half Broke Horses play the original at 7 p.m.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque drops two new brews in Gone Crazy Hazy DIPA and Three Point No, a fruited wheat. Bow & Arrow has a fresh batch of Cosmic Arrow Brett Saison, plus the burly new Buffalo Plaid Baltic Porter debuts Friday. Boxing Bear throws a combo with Murkito Hazy Pale Ale and then the CeleBEARtion on Saturday, with the latter being a hoppy, bourbon barrel-aged ale being released on tap and in bottles. Canteen tunes it up with Radiohead IPA. Kaktus has a slew of new brews including One is the Loneliest IPA, Bock, Oatmeal Stout, Brown Porter, Paleo Pale Ale, and Thurvaytha. La Cumbre also has some Limon Quercus on tap, plus bottles of the Pina Quercus. Marble can’t be stopped with the Doppelator. Quarter Celtic plays it up with Xylophone Rock, an American pilsner. Sidetrack shines a little light on some more Sunburst Pale Ale. Starr Brothers stays up late with Rock ‘n Roll Hazy Nights IPA, plus Zombies in the Manger, the biscochito stout, returns later this week. Steel Bender, by popular demand, brings back a limited amount of Figgy Pudding on Thursday. The 377 gets a little crazy with The Duke, a vanilla graham cracker porter sour. Tractor rolls out more Chocolate Milk Stout and adds some Veruca Salt, a gose.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn brings light to the dark with Whiteout Stout on Friday. Rowley Farmhouse Ales spaces out with The Petit Blanche – Galaxy. Second Street soars through the sky with Red Comet.

Out in Moriarty, Sierra Blanca sticks with tradition and goes dark with more Whiskey Stout.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of December 3.

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It was another banner year for La Cumbre, and more is yet to come for 2019.

It is tradition around these parts to start our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series, which focuses on the year gone by and the year to come at almost every New Mexico brewery, with La Cumbre Brewing. I managed to catch up with owner/master brewer Jeff Erway just before he left on a well-earned vacation to talk about another big year for his award-winning brewery.

“You know, it’s funny, we have seen really steady growth the last few years,” Jeff said. “We’re never trying to hit a home run with our yearly growth. We just keep on hitting singles and doubles. Some of our specials this year were home runs, our seasonal releases. I feel like we’ve continued to do probably a better job of that than anybody as far as getting things out there that the public gets really excited about.”

The specialty beers may have stirred the pot in 2018, but the biggest move of the year was the long-awaited opening of an off-site taproom. La Cumbre Westside opened in August to huge crowds and positive reviews.

“We opened up a new taproom,” Jeff said. “That was about as much ambition as I’ve put toward anything since we opened La Cumbre. It’s been a very good year for us as a company and I feel like it’s been a great year for our management team both professionally and personally.”

The La Cumbre taproom took a lot of hard work to get open back in August.

Of course, with such a recent opening, there is little chance that La Cumbre is eyeing a third location this soon. Right?

“I won’t lie, I am actively seeking out that next right taproom location,” Jeff said. “I know I move a little slower than some would on this, but I don’t like the idea of swinging and missing. I take my sweet time about things like that. When I find the right one, I’ll pursue that.”

Fire up the speculation engines, people! There is no pending license or anything like that, so we believe Jeff when he says he is looking, but has not yet set things in stone.

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Andrew, center, found fellow Crew member Reid, right, and former Crew member Julie at the Beer Premiere.

It was quite the busy weekend for the Crew, so naturally in trying to type this up, ye ole work wi-fi would crap out on me at lunchtime. Sigh, that is what you get sometimes for not getting this all done the night before. Anyway, fear not, The Week Ahead in Beer is coming later today, then we will be back on our usual schedule.

My beer weekend was actually fairly light. The combination of Halloween-related events and the final (sniff) Lobo men’s soccer game took up my time. I did end up on 3,999 unique beers on Untappd, so I had to come up with a worthy beer for 4,000. After examining the archives, I dug up an Old Perseverance, a monstrous (18.5% ABV) old ale from Avery. After a rather terrible Monday at work, it was the perfect antidote.

Yeah, not terribly exciting, but with some awesome beers all debuting Thursday, I will be back at the breweries next weekend.

As for the rest of the Crew, they were all over the place, again. Andrew even sent in a double post, of sorts.

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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