Posts Tagged ‘La Cumbre Brewing’

Behold the champion in all its glory! All hail Project Dank! Again!

We realize that not all of you who follow us do so on social media, so of late, there were some newsy tidbits on good old Facebook that some of you might have missed. Think of this as a little social media news roundup while we get the jam-packed Week Ahead in Beer and a feature on Three Rivers ready for the next weeks.

La Cumbre claims National IPA Challenge again

Back in 2014, La Cumbre brought some serious bragging rights to New Mexico when its Project Dank won it all at the Brewing News National IPA Challenge. Over the next two years, it was Bosque and Scale Tipper taking the crown, all while keeping New Mexico in the spotlight. After Scale Tipper was dethroned back in the Round of 32 this year, it seemed as if the title could end up leaving New Mexico. Thankfully, Project Dank was back at full power.

La Cumbre’s hop bomb of hop bombs defeated Lawson’s Finest Liquids’ Hopcelot IPL in the Final Four before overcoming Lynwood Brewing’s Hop Sauce in the championship match on Monday, making it four straight titles for the state of New Mexico.

How impressive is this? Well, prior to this little run of dominance, no state had ever won back to back, no brewery had ever won back to back, and no brewery had won more than one challenge. New Mexico now has four straight titles, with two of its breweries winning two apiece.

To heck with the West Coast IPA style. It’s time to just call it the New Mexico IPA style. It’s the best damn style in America, and it doesn’t need to be from a coast.

Pi Brewing will be closed indefinitely

Now to the bad news of the week, which comes from the West Side brewery. We will just let them tell the story directly from their Facebook page:

As you know, a car crashed into our building on January 1st causing our space to be red tagged by city officials citing safety concerns. After over 10 weeks our landlord has not approved the contractor for the work or have yet to retain a contractor to execute repairs. Once authorized, repairs are quoted to be an additional 10 weeks. The landlord’s blatant disregard for the severity of the forced closure has cost our employees their livelihood and your continued patronage. It seems the big California based property management company and the big Florida based landlord have little concern for our small New Mexico business. That being said, we have made the difficult decision to close and look for a new home.

It has been a pleasure to have been a part of your neighborhood, but the time has come for us to call another place home. In the last 7 years we have seen your children grow up, we have been a part of your first dates and later included in the weddings, even our own children have learned how to ride a bike in the dining room and throw dough in the pizza pit. You have trusted us with your field trips, birthdays and anniversaries. We have met some of the most amazing people through the years, including some of our closest friends today. Thank you for your stories, memories and incredible support!

We have a couple of locations in mind, but if you have suggestions, feel free to PM us. As soon as a new lease is signed, we will let you all know where the party will continue.

Thank you again for the last 7 years,

Greg & Nicole Villareal

Yeah, this is a major bummer. Pi was just seemingly hitting its stride and finding its niche. We wish Greg and Nicole all the luck they will need in finding a new location. It will certainly not be an easy thing to pull off, but we remain confident that they will make every effort to bring their brewery back. It will probably be quite a while, though, before they are making beer again.

New breweries update

Not much has changed since our last edition of Beer Notes, but there are a couple items that we needed to pass along.

First up, add another newcomer to the list, as Switchback Brewery in Cloudcroft has a pending small brewer license. We could not find any additional info on the new operation, not via a Google search or on social media, so at best this one is probably a long, long way off. We just have to wonder if it will really come to fruition with that name, as there is already a Switchback Brewing Co. in Burlington, Vermont. If you think “but that’s so far away, surely they won’t object,” then please go visit Mike Campbell over at Drafty Kilt and ask him what happened with the original Off Kilter name for his brewery. (Yeah, there is always a chance the Vermonters will give it an OK, but don’t hold your collective breath or anything.)

Meanwhile, in similar news to Pi, the not-yet-open Bare Bones Brewing in Cedar Crest is already looking for a new home. We will also let them explain what happened via their Facebook post:

As some of you may have already heard, Bare Bones Brewing has hit a little speed bump with our progress. Our anticipated April 2017 opening date will be pushed further down the road as we explore some new location options. Unfortunately, we were unable to come to an agreement with the new property owners in regards to how we would run our business. We were not given the same lease terms and other businesses within the same complex seemed to have more say over what we could and couldn’t do, which led us to make the very hard decision to cut our losses and move on, to find a location that would be better suited to the friendly, family, community atmosphere we are looking for. We appreciate the many hours that volunteers put into cleaning and renovating the space. It hurts to leave all that hard work behind, but as with everything in life, we live, we learn, and we come out a little better in the end. Stay tuned for updates as we move forward. Cheers!

Let this all be a lesson to anyone who thinks it’s easy to open a brewery in this day and age. We will keep an eye on any future announcements from Bare Bones about a new location.

Anyway, that is all for now. If anyone needs me, I will be at one of the Marble taprooms later to indulge in the new Woodshed Double Red, which is basically a barrel-aged Imperial Red blended with regular Red Ale. That is just the kind of beer to help us all survive a Tuesday.

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 six breweries, one in Socorro, one in Los Alamos, and one in Moriarty 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.

The average high in Albuquerque this time of year should be about 58 degrees, but the projected highs for the next week range from 68 to 75. That makes it a perfect time for Santa Fe Brewing to bring back its best warm-weather seasonal, Freestyle Pilsner. The release party is set for the taproom at Green Jeans Farmery this Saturday. It all kicks off at 2 p.m. and runs until 7. There will be happy hour prices all day, $1 off growler fills, and special raffles all day long. Seth Hoffman will provide some live music from 5 to 7 p.m. Of course, if it is still too soon for you to indulge in a pilsner and let go of the dark beers, La Cumbre is releasing Gracias Por Fumar on tap and in bombers this Friday. The smoked porter was aged in brandy barrels this year, and the noon tapping will come in advance of the bottles being sent out to stores for sale. Or, if you want something a little more pucker worthy, Tractor is releasing their Flanders Red Ale in bombers and on tap this Thursday. It is their first barrel-aged sour, and if you buy it on tap it can come with a special glass from artist Travis Bruce Black you can purchase. That all starts at 7 p.m., with the band Still Closed For Repairs going on at 8 p.m. To sum it up, special beer releases of three wildly different styles on three consecutive days. Enjoy!

On the new beer front this week, there are a few additional options to check out. Boxing Bear should have New Mexikolsch back on tap later this week. Exodus IPA returns to taps at Canteen. Steel Maverick, the Belgian-style red ale collaboration between Steel Bender and Marble, is now on tap at the latter. Marble also has India Wheat Ale available. Nexus has a Strong Ale and Milk Stout available. MacLomas (Dry) Stout is back at Quarter Celtic in advance of St. Patrick’s Day. Starr Brothers is feeling spooky with Phantom Limb Black Rye IPA. Tractor will also have Barnstorm Ale back on tap Friday. Turtle Mountain has a Marzen for March on tap now.

Up in Santa Fe, Duel brings back Manikin and Monomyth, while adding Pulp Fiction and Cezanne Verite. Rowley Farmhouse Ales is feeling hoppy again with Colonel Citra, plus Stout-ish is back.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of March 6.

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

Albuquerque metro area breweries

Ale Republic — (505) 281-2828

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

Beers: Strong Dark and Handsome, Pine Juice IPA, Golden. Say hello to not one, but three new beers on tap. The Handsome (6.6% ABV, 10 IBU) is a Belgian dark strong.

Alien Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

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

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

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

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

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

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

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

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

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

The Blue Grasshopper — (505) 896-8579

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

Beers: Belgian Pale Ale, Paddy Wagon Red, Dunkelweizen. The Dunkelweizen is the most recent addition.

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

News: The Blue Grasshopper taproom on Coors, just north of Montano, is now open! We will have more soon.

Boese Brothers Brewery — (505) 382-7060

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

Beers: Patriot Porter, La Onza White Ale, Dr. Strangehop XPA, Duke City Lager, Double Dead Ale, Comrade Boese, Cascade Grenade. Double Dead Ale and Dr. Strangehop are also available in bombers. Comrade Boese is an oak-aged Russian imperial stout, in case the name wasn’t enough to help you guess its identity.

Live Music: Saturday—Jackie Gillespie, 9 p.m.

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

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

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

Beers: The Gaffer (Barleywine), Jet Black Winter (Imperial Stout), Moon Cannon DIPA, Public House Pale Ale, Peated Scotia, Sangre De Coco. The Sangre is an imperial brown infused with coconut and chocolate. It is quite the dessert beer. Hopheads should indulge in the epic Moon Cannon while it is available.

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

Bow & Arrow Brewing — (505) 247-9800

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

Beers: Flint & Grit (British Mild), Sun Dagger (Saison), Crossed Arrows (Scotch Ale), Hoka Hey (IPA), Jemez Field Notes Lager, Bucking Brown-co, Autumn Archer (Marzen), Wayward Arrow Hefeweizen, Radical Aim IPA, Bock in the Day, Chaco Sunrise. The most recent additions are the Bock in the Day and the Chaco Sunrise, a wine barrel-aged saison. Both were brewed for the recent first anniversary party.

News: Note the new spring hours above.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Bow & Arrow has happy hour every Monday through Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. Get $1 off pints. A new late happy hour starts Thursday at 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m.

Boxing Bear Brewing Company — (505) 897-2327

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

Beers: Vantablack Russian Imperial Stout, Bear Knuckle IPA, Iron Lung Smoked Porter, Featherweight Session IPA, Chocolate Milk Stout, Red Knuckle Irish Red, Simcoe SMASH. You can still buy bombers of Chocolate Milk Stout and The Red Glove, which both took home gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival back in October, as well as Sucker Punch DIPA. New Mexikolsch should be back on tap soon.

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

Weekly Events: Today (Wednesday)—Geeks Who Drink, 8-10 p.m.

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

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

Beers: Otero ESB, Lone Pine Pilsner, Sancho Saison, Double Black IPA, Pepe the Mule. OK, fine, Pepe the Mule counts as a beer, even though it is basically a Moscow Mule, but it was made with beer. Look for it soon in package format. Double Black IPA is the first hop-forward beer from Broken Trail.

Weekly Events (main location): Today (Wednesday)—Cards Against Humanity hosted by 10 Drink Minimum, 7 p.m.; Sunday—Build-your-own Bloody Mary bar, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Tuesday—All hours beers $2 a pint

Canteen Brewhouse — (505) 881-2737 (brewery), (505) 200-2344 (taproom)

(Brewery: Sun–Thurs noon–10 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–midnight; Taproom: Open daily 3–10 p.m.)

Beers: Canteen Lager, Tuttle IPA, Exodus IPA, Kia Ora Strong Pale Ale, Cocoa Leche Suave Milk Stout, Irish Red (on nitro). The most recent additions are the Exodus, super hazy Tuttle, Kia Ora, and the chocolate version of the delicious Leche Suave. The Canteen Lager is a German-style pilsner.

Live Music: Thursday—The Real Matt Jones, 6-9 p.m.; Sunday—Wild Humans, 3-6 p.m.

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

(Open daily 8 a.m.–10 p.m.)

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

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

Beers: Hopmonic Convergence IPA, Alpha Centaur (Wheat Beer), Natalia Polonch’ (Baltic Porter), Lloyd’s Extra Gloves (Sour Winter Warmer). The Natalia (9.5% ABV, 33 IBU) was oak aged, which means it might be the finest Baltic ever made. Get it quickly before it’s gone, which means before we drink it up.

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

Dialogue Brewing — (505) 585-1501

(Open daily noon-midnight)

Beers: Belgian Citrus IPA, Berliner Weisse, Dark Helmet (Swartzbier), American Dark Sour, Scarlet Beh-Gose, Helles Good, When in Doubt (Session Stout), SCH Scotch Lager, Panza Mexican Vienna Lager, Micro Hands Session IPA, SCH Scotch Lager, Lloyd’s Extra Gloves. OK, the last beer, Lloyd’s Extra Gloves, is a reference to the original Dumb and Dumber, but fear not, it is not a joke. It is a sour winter warmer brewed in collaboration with Chama River.

Live Music: Friday—Sloan Armitage, 6 p.m.

Weekly Events: Monday—Service Industry Night, 6 p.m.

News: Kitsune Food Truck will be parked out front every day for lunch.

Drafty Kilt Brewing — (505) 881-0234

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

Beers: Groundskeeper Willie Cream Ale, Wee Beastie Scottish Ale, McWabbit Pale Ale, Campbell Toe IPA, Obliviscaris Oatmeal Stout. Brewer/owner Mike Campbell has five of his own creations on tap at 4814 Hardware Dr. NE, including the Campbell Toe (no snickering). The new Obliviscaris is a burly throwback to the stouts of old.

Happy Hour/Discounts: $1 off pints and 20-ounce pours, Mon-Fri, 3-6 p.m.; “Just Because We Love You Club,” happy hour prices at all times for teachers, first responders, law enforcement, and military with ID; Growler Fill Days on Thu and Sun, $2 off new growlers, $1 off refills

Flix Brewhouse — (505) 445-8500

(Open daily 11 a.m.-midnight)

Beers: January Embers English Barleywine, 50 Shades of Schwarzbier, Stuntman Lager, So It Gose, Mr. Cutty Fingers. January Embers is a delicious, hefty (9.9% ABV) beast of a beer. Get it while it lasts. Mr. Cutty Fingers is a loganberry IPA brewed up for the movie Logan, if you could not guess. Look for Saison DeWalt this weekend.

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

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

Beers: Down and Stout, ESB, Blonde Ale, Helles Lager, Imperial Stout, Black IPA, Oaxford IPA, Ambrosia Amber, Walnut Cider, DjinnJar Kombucha. A recent tap turnover introduced Down and Stout, Blonde Ale, Black IPA, Oaxford IPA, Ambrosia Amber, Walnut Cider, and since then Imperial Stout was able to sneak back onto the list.

Weekly Events (Nob Hill): Thursday—The Desert Darlings, 7 to 9 p.m.

Weekly Events (Bernalillo): Sunday—Brunch, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., The Desert Darlings, 6-8 p.m.

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

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: Angry Belgian, Pecos Porter, Smoking Goat, SCH Scotch Lager, Munchner Dunkel. Smoking Goat is a rauchbock, offering up a lot of malty sweetness with mild smoky hints that do not overpower the palate. Gracias Por Fumar returns Friday (see our intro for more details).

Live Music: Saturday—The Gershom Brothers, 6-9 p.m.

Events: Saturday—Cask Ale Festival, $25 per person, 12:30-5 p.m.

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Lego Night Build Off, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Lizard Tail Brewing — (505) 717-1301

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

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

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

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Geeks Who Drink, 8 p.m.; Thursday—Karaoke, 8-11 p.m.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739 (downtown), (505) 508-4638 (Westside), (505) 323-4030 (Heights)

(Downtown: Mon–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10:30 p.m.; Westside: Mon–Thurs noon–11 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10 p.m.; Heights: Mon–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10:30 p.m.)

Beers: Dang Pale Ale, Dark Strong, All Barke Nein Bitter, Passionate Gose, Choco Mole Lager, American Porter, Double IPA, Northeast by Northeast IPA, Centennial Rye IPA, Bandelier Brown (Heights and Westside), Steel Maverick (Heights and Westside), India Wheat Ale (Heights and Westside), NitrOatmeal Stout (Westside only), Caffe Canela Roja (Westside only) The most recent additions include India Wheat Ale and Steel Maverick, a Belgian-style red ale made in collaboration with the forthcoming Steel Bender Brewyard.

Live Music (Downtown): Friday—Cactus Tractor, 8-11 p.m.; Saturday—Bandwidth No Name, 8-11 p.m.

Live Music (Heights): Friday—Kevin Cummings & Mike Mares, 7-10 p.m.; Saturday—Lone Pinon, 7-10 p.m.

Live Music (Westside): Friday—Todd Tijerina, 8-11 p.m.; Saturday—Pata d’Perro, 8-11 p.m.

Weekly Events (Downtown): Saturday—Brewery tours, 2 p.m.

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100 (brewery), (505) 226-1055 (Silver Taproom)

(Brewery: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.–8:30 p.m.; Silver Taproom: Mon–Fri 4-10 p.m., Sat noon-10 p.m., Sun noon-9 p.m.)

Beers: Milk Stout, Strong Ale, Hibiscus Imperial Cream (brewery only), Ensign Belgo (Silver Taproom only), El Dorado Session Pale Ale (Silver Taproom only). New to the list are the Milk Stout and Strong Ale. Malty goodness in spades!

Happy Hour/Discounts (Brewery): Monday–Friday, $5 appetizers, 3-5 p.m.

Weekly Events (Silver Taproom): Saturday—a live DJ will perform; Sunday—a live band will perform at 2 p.m.

Palmer Brewery and Cider House — (505) 508-0508

(Tues–Sat 3–9 p.m.)

Beers: MWA (Malt With Attitude), Guero (Belgian Wit), Pale Ale, Stout, Cockness Monster (Scotch Ale), Palmergranite Wit, Cafe Pale Ale. Palmer shares a building with Left Turn Distilling on Girard south of Candelaria. We got the full story on their origin and what’s to come in 2017.

Pi Brewing — (505) 890-9463

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

News: Pi is still closed due to a damaged wall. They do not have a re-opening date yet.

Ponderosa Brewing Co. — (505) 639-5941

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

Beers: Oud Bruin, Schwarzbier, IPL, Imperial Brown Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Simcoe Single-Hop Pale Ale. The Oud Bruin, a brown sour, is now on tap and for sale in bombers. You can also still purchase bombers of Sour Saison, Big Belgian IPA, and Preacher’s Daughter (Belgian Golden Strong) at the taproom or at liquor stores around town.

Quarter Celtic Brewpub — (505) 503-1387

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

Beers: All the WITty Names are Taken, A Pale Ale Named Desire, MacLomas (Dry) Stout, #GFF, Phat Tiery. The #GFF, an imperial grapefruit IPA, is nearly out. Phat Tirey, a new Belgian Framboise, A Pale Ale Named Desire, and MacLomas Stout are the most recent additions.

Weekly Events: Saturday—Premier League Viewing Party, 7 a.m.

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

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

Beers: Ottobrau Pilsner, Bock to Basics, Calypso SMaSH Pale Ale, Nieuwe Bruin (downtown taproom only). The Bock is the most recent addition to the lineup. It replaced the Strong Scotch Ale.

News: The Vanilla Cream Ale has been so popular it has been added to the year-round lineup.

Weekly Events (Brewery): Monday—The Draft Sessions, 7-9 p.m.

Weekly Events (Taproom): Tuesday—Geeks Who Drink, 7-9 p.m.

Rio Bravo Brewing Company — (505) 900-3909

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

Beers: Rio Bravo Amber, Weizen, Randy’s Shandy, Dirty Rotten Bastard IPA, Snakebite IPA, Black Angus Stout, Randy’s Red Ale, Duke City Pilsner, Old Town Porter (regular and barrel aged), Barley Wine (regular and barrel aged), Raspberry Sour, Cereza Loco (Cherry Sour), NM Pinon Coffee Porter, Oatmeal Stout, Salted Caramel Belgian Strong Golden, Marzen, Level 3 IPA, Grab ‘Em By the Putin. The Level 3 (7.5% ABV, 120 IBU) should satisfy any hophead. The Putin is, in case you could not guess, a Russian imperial stout, checking in at a whopping 13 percent!

Live Music: Today (Wednesday)—Jill Cohn, 6 p.m.; Friday—Matt Jones, 8 p.m.; Saturday—D’Santi Nava, 8 p.m.

Weekly Events: Today (Wednesday)—Movie Night, 7 p.m.; Friday—Philly Friday, all day; Tuesday—$2 Taco Tuesday, all day

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

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

Beers: Call the brewery for an updated list.

Sidetrack Brewing — (505) 288-6468

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

Beers: Centennial IPA, Stoker Stout, 2926 Steam Lager, The Red Line, Pub Ale. The last three beers debuted for the recent anniversary party. The Stoker Stout, in particular, was delicious.

Cask: The IPA and Pub Ale are in the firkins.

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Taco Tuesday, all day

Starr Brothers Brewing — (505) 492-2752

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

Beers: Starrstruck IPA, L.A. Woman (Blonde), Foggy Monocle (Oatmeal Stout), Thunderr Ale IPA, Red Zepplin, Roisin Dubh (Irish Dry Stout), SCH Scotch Lager, Lampshade Porter, Phantom Limb Black Rye IPA. The most recent additions are the Lampshade and the Phantom Limb, which is a brand-new style. Oh, and in case you missed it recently, the Foggy Monocle claimed the trophy at the Brew Crew’s Stout Challenge VI!

Weekly Events: Saturday—Premier League Viewing Party, 8 a.m.

The 377 Brewery — (505) 934-0795

(Open noon-11 p.m. most days)

Beers: English Best Bitter, Session IPA, Black IPA, Robust Porter, Kolsch, Hefe, Imperial Cream, IPA, Fully Booty Oatmeal Stout, Funky Punky Swartzbier, Red Horse NM Lager, SCH Scotch Lager. Holy moley, they now have multiple house beers on tap, which we recently reviewed. The most recent additions are the Red Horse (4.5% ABV, 14 IBU), IPA (7.2% ABV, 98 IBU), Oatmeal Stout (7.5% ABV, 62 IBU), and Funky Punky (5.5% ABV).

Events: Saturday—Spring Break Kickoff Party, 4 p.m. to midnight, with $1 off beers for anyone with a student or education employee ID, plus live music and more

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

(Nob Hill: Sun–Weds noon–midnight, Thurs noon–2 a.m., Fri–Sat noon–2 a.m.; Wells Park: Mon–Thurs 3 p.m.–close, Fri–Sun 1 p.m.–midnight)

UPDATED >>> Beers: Vulgar Display of Porter, Chocolate Milk Stout, Ghost Ranch IPA, Turkey Drool, Farmer’s Freckles Scottish Export, Berry Cider, Goathead Hador Doppelbock, Golden Ale, Cranberry Ginger Cider, SCH Scotch Lager, Flanders Red Ale, Cowgirl Coffee Stout (Nob Hill only), Mexican Lager (Nob Hill only), Cowgirl Coffee Stout on nitro (Wells Park only), Farmhouse Saison (Wells Park only), Stein Wine (Wells Park only). That there Vulgar Display of Porter (8.8% ABV) is a Baltic made in collaboration with a certain group of beer writers. We hope you all enjoy it. The most recent additions are the Flanders Red, Golden Ale, Stein Weine, Farmhouse Saison, delectable Chocolate Milk Stout, and the Ghost Ranch IPA. The Barnstorm Ale should return to both taprooms this Friday.

Live Music (Wells Park): Thursday—Still Closed For Repairs, 8 p.m.; Saturday—The Squash Blossom Boys, 8 p.m.

Live Music (Nob Hill): Today (Wednesday)—Elle Carpenter, 8:30 p.m.; Saturday—Todd Tijerina, 5 p.m.

Other Events (Wells Park): Today (Wednesday)—Art Fusion for a Cause: Supporting NM Film Foundation, 7 p.m.; Thursday—Travis Bruce Black Glass Release + Art Opening, 7 p.m.

Weekly Events (Wells Park): Monday—Monday Night Film Club, 8 p.m.; Tuesday—Kamikaze Karaoke, 7 p.m.

Weekly Events (Nob Hill): Today (Wednesday)—Writing Wednesdays, 5 p.m.; Monday—Tractor Tune Up, 7:30 p.m.

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

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

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

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

UPDATED >>> Beers: SCH Scotch Lager, McSmack, Encierro Red Ale, Depravity (Barleywine), Oaked Depravity, Can’t Catch Me Copper Lager, Marzen. Depravity (10% ABV) is a beast of a barleywine, and an oaked version is now on tap. The SCH Scotch Lager was brewed for a good cause, with $1 of every pint sold going to help the brother of brewer Mick Hahn in his fight against cancer. You can also find it on tap at a number of other breweries around town. The Marzen just went back on tap.

Cask: Tuesday—Blud Gulden Dunkel (blood orange lager)

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Open daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Tiny Mighty Session IPA, Imperial Stout, Hoppy Red Lager, Belgian Tripel, Belgian Pale Ale. We eagerly await the Imperial Stout making a trek down to the Draft Station in Albuquerque. The two Belgian beers were brewed for the recent 20th anniversary party.

Chili Line Brewing — (505) 500-7903

(Mon–Sat 4–11 p.m., Sun 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m.)

Beers: El Jefe (Rauchweizen), sIPApu (India Pale Lager), Antonio Bandito (Dunkelweizen), Llorona Lager. The sIPApu is back, now as an IPL. The Llorona Lager is the other recent addition to the lineup.

Live Music: Every night at 7 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Reverse happy hour after 9 p.m. includes $1 off pints, $6 appetizers, $10 entrees and pizzas.

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

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

Beers: Bad Amber, Pulp Fiction (IPA), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Cezanne Verite, Rye Goya (Imperial Stout), Stocious (Wee Heavy), Suor Nelli (Barrel-aged Scottish Sour), Manikin (Scottish), Monomyth (Imperial IPA). The most recent additions are the Pulp Fiction, Cezanne Verite, Manikin, and Monomyth.

Happy Hour/Discounts (Brewery): Happy hour Mon–Fri, 4-6 p.m. (discounts for all draft beer), Growler Saturdays ($3 off growler fills).

Happy Hour/Discounts (ABQ taproom): Happy hour Mon–Fri, 5-7 p.m.

Rowley Farmhouse Ales — (505) 428-0719

(Open all week from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

Beers: Fields of Rye, Stout-ish, Saison du Sarlacc, Babyhands, Agent Scully – Season One, Colonel Citra. The Agent Scully is a new series of IPAs which will vary by hop combinations. Colonel Citra is another IPA made with, well, you can probably guess.

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

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

Beers: Snowflake IPA, Hipster Union Red Rye, Adobe Igloo, Nuevo (Blonde Ale), Dysphotic Stout (ECS), Red Dawn Saison (ECS). The latest entry in the Ever Changing Series, Red Dawn Saison, will have you yelling “Wolverines!” or something of that sort. Snowflake IPA is back, now part of a series of seasonal-themed IPAs called the In-and-Out Series. Freestyle Pilsner returns this Saturday (see our intro for more details).

Live Music (ABQ taproom): Saturday—Seth Hoffman, 5-7 p.m.

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

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

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

Beers: Kolsch, IPA, Cream Stout, Outlier Special Bitter, Ringwood IPA, Railyard Red, 4 C’s Porter, Imperial IPA, ESB. The Imperial IPA has reached the Elite Eight of the imperial bracket of the National IPA Challenge.

UPDATED >>> Live Music (Original location): Friday—Blues Revue Band, 6-9 p.m.; Saturday—Ornetcetera, 6-9 p.m.

Live Music (Railyard): Friday—The Busy McCarroll Band, 6-9 p.m.; Saturday—Greg Butera Band, 6-9 p.m.

Weekly Events (Railyard): Thursday—Geeks Who Drink, 8 p.m.

Other breweries you need to visit

Bathtub Row Brewing — (505) 500-8381

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

Beers: The Tripel Lindy, Wit Rock, Crazy Mother IPA, Betty on Brett, Spearmint Stout, Jarrylo Pale Ale, Beedle’s Apple Ale, Catcher ‘n the Rye, Double Barrel Bourbon Brown. The most recent tap turnover went down in Los Alamos with Crazy Mother, Betty, Spearmint, Jarrylo, Beedle’s, and Catcher making their debuts. The Bourbon Brown (8.7% ABV) has now joined them.

Weekly Events: Thursday—Open mic, 6 p.m.

Sierra Blanca Brewing — (505) 832-2337

(Mon–Thurs 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Fri –Sat 11 a.m.–9 p.m.)

Beers: Barrel-aged Whiskey Stout, Cherry Sour, Interstella Vanilla, Cherry Wheat. The Whiskey Stout is back for a short time. The Cherry Sour is back for another run. Cherry Wheat will also now be available in bottles.

Twisted Chile Brewing — (575) 835-2949

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun noon-4 p.m.)

Beers: Zia Pilsner, 790 IPA, Hose Co. 1 Red Lager, Venom IPA, KC’s Irish Stout, Raspberry Wheat, Quebradas Sunrise Amber. The beers are starting to run out, but at $2 per pint from 4 to 9 p.m. every day, it’s easy to see why. It’s all cash only, and TC’s last day of business will be March 25.

* * * *

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

All the firkin fun you need in one place!

All the firkin fun you need in one place!

La Cumbre marketing director Cory Campbell was doing a bit of house cleaning when he stumbled upon a piece of the brewery’s past.

“I cleaned out one of the closets upstairs in one of the offices and found the old poster for it,” Cory said of the first Cask Ale Festival, held in 2011. “I asked Jeff how come we haven’t done this in a while? He goes, well, I don’t know. It was a fairly successful day that first year we were open, so we thought, why not try it again?”

This new edition of the Cask Ale Festival will be held this Saturday from 12:30 to 4 p.m. The first 200 to show up will get in for $25 per person.

“It’s first come, first served,” Cory said. “We have room for 200 people. Of course, our capacity is 150, so hopefully not everyone comes at the same time. It’s $25 at the door, there’s a free Lyft ride in there, there’s a Cask Ale Festival sticker, and there’s tickets to redeem for a pint (of your favorite).”

A total of 11 breweries, including La Cumbre, will have a cask on hand. Boxing Bear was originally scheduled to be there, but it was forced to drop out for undisclosed reasons. La Cumbre will make up for the missing cask with one more of its own.

“12:30 is when we’re going to be mass tapping everything, hopefully,” Cory said. “Hopefully all the brewers come and we can get a nice photo of everyone hitting the spigot.”

La Cumbre, of course, has a past award from the Great British Beer Festival for the top American cask ale for Project Dank. The brewery regularly serves up special casks throughout the week.

“I’m a big cask fan,” Cory said. “I like them a lot. I’ve been to England a few times and always enjoyed them off the bar top or if they’re in beer engines. I’m a real ale fan, for sure.”

Cory said La Cumbre will have Gracias Por Fumar, the smoked porter aged in brandy barrels, in one cask. The other he said will likely be some sort of IPA, possibly the new Ekuanot S.M.A.S.H. coming out soon. (UPDATE: It will be the Ekuanot, dry-hopped with whole-leaf Centennial.)

As for the other breweries, here is the info they provided for us: (UPDATED)

  • Bosque: IPA dosed with Mosaic Lupulin Powder
  • Canteen and Steel Bender (collaboration): Steel Can Porter with coconut
  • Canteen: Mango Exodus IPA
  • Chama River: Class VI Golden Lager
  • Marble: Oaked Out Cholo, a special version of the Cholo Stout aged in oak barrels for three months
  • Nexus: Mango Imperial Cream Ale
  • Palmer: Genevieve Pale Ale with Old Tom Gin botanicals
  • Quarter Celtic: MacLomas Dry Stout with white French oak chips and dry-hopped with Hallertau Mittelfrueh
  • Tractor: Julius Cream Pale Ale
  • Turtle Mountain: Parasol White IPA with tropical additions

The casks will be divided into two flights. Flight One will have the Gracias Por Fumar, plus the entries for Canteen/Steel Bender, Marble, Nexus, Tractor, and Turtle Mountain. Flight Two features the Ekuanot, plus Bosque, Canteen, Chama River, Palmer, and Quarter Celtic.

There may be an award, of sorts, handed out for the favorite cask. There will also be a raffle held for prizes throughout the afternoon.

“We should probably come up with some kind of tally sheet,” Cory said. “We’re also going to be doing some raffles every hour. We’re going to be giving away a growler or a T-shirt. The raffle tickets are included in the little package you get. You don’t have to pay extra for them or anything.”

Enjoy the firkin festivities, everyone!

— Stoutmeister

Thank you to the Guild for sending out this extremely helpful infographic. Legalese translated to English!

Thank you to the Guild for sending out this extremely helpful infographic. Legalese translated to English!

The Friday revelation that members of the New Mexico state legislature were pursuing an increase in excise taxes caught many of us by surprise. Senate Bill 314, an updated version of the same legislation proposed by the neo-prohibitionist group Alcohol Taxes Save Lives and Money, was dropped on an unsuspecting public by State Senator Cisco McSorley, a Democrat whose district includes Nob Hill.

McSorley invited the the public to a town hall meeting at Nob Hill church on Sunday afternoon, prior to the Super Bowl, to discuss all the items he and Democrats from the House of Representatives are dealing with during the current 60-day session. A crowd estimated at 300 people, many of them wearing New Mexico Brewers Guild shirts reading “Support Local Beer,” showed up.

It was contentious from the get-go. As McSorley began speaking of how SB314 would not harm local breweries, La Cumbre owner Jeff Erway yelled “Liar!” prompting a hostile response from the senator, who threatened to have him thrown out if Jeff interrupted again.

“Excuse me! EXCUSE ME, SIR! If you do not shut up, you’re going to have to leave!” McSorley retorted. “You’re allowed to ask questions, but you have to be polite! Do you understand? Do you understand?”

There was no security present, so one had to wonder if McSorley expected his mostly elderly supporters to help, or if he actually expected the police to show up if called. Things calmed down from there as he got on with the rest of the SB314 portion of his speech.

“The point is, it’s $800 million that it costs the state in DWIs, judges, prison, jail, all those things, plus it goes onto your insurance,” he said, clearly stating his case that an increased excise tax is to pay for the state’s DWI problem, as well as making it personal by bringing up people’s own insurance premiums.

“At any rate, I’ve excluded the local breweries from this tax,” he said, to a smattering of applause. “OK? Because, I want them to develop, I want them to have jobs, I want those jobs developed.”

For those who need a refresher course on just what SB314 is and what it will do to our breweries, see the graphic created by the Brewers Guild above. Or, just take these as the key points of the bill as relating to our craft breweries in New Mexico:

(UPDATE: After consulting with several sources, we have come to the conclusion that the mentions of 8 cents per gallon for breweries under 10,000 barrels of production and 28 cents for breweries between 10,000 and 15,000 are the existing excise tax rates, which will not go up under SB314. Translating government legalese to English is hard, people.)

  • Breweries above 15,000 barrels of production per year are subject to a whopping increase of their excise tax from 41 cents to $3.08 per gallon. Santa Fe and Marble would both be hammered by this, as would other breweries looking to surpass it like La Cumbre and, down the line, Bosque.
  • All of these tax increases would then go up even higher, as tied to the federal inflation rate, every four years.
  • The excise tax on cider would also go to $3.08 per gallon, which would all but wipe out the cider industry in this state, including for breweries that produce cider such as Tractor, Boxing Bear, and Red Door.

After going over multiple other bills, a mix of those McSorley thinks will never get by Governor Martinez (whose name was booed every time he said it) and those he said he hopes will get passed. Eventually, after the state reps had their chances to speak, McSorley got back to SB314.

Jeff and an unidentified craft beer supporter were both able to ask more questions. McSorley answered both, though clearly to neither man’s satisfaction, dodging definitive answers in a classic political style.

“All I know is that the industry has been growing,” he told Jeff. “Go to page two of the bill, you will see that you’re excluded, you won’t be touched. I’m thinking about changing the amounts because Santa Fe Brewing is right at the top there, so I’m thinking about making it a little bit bigger for Santa Fe Brewery (sic). … I’m looking at other states who have done this, and we’re looking to see how they’re doing it, and if we can figure out a way, we’ll do it. Is that fair?”

McSorley saying he may raise the number “a little bit” for SFBC will not cut it. SFBC is planning to reach 50,000 barrels in the next couple years with a final goal of 200,000 barrels, 10 times its current output. Raising those numbers “a little bit” will not nearly be enough. It still goes back to the Guild saying this bill will discourage growth by local breweries, and basically stop them where they are now.

When Jeff challenged McSorley’s answer, he snapped back (again) and repeated his claim that the bill would not harm breweries one bit.

“The local breweries are being left alone, except I might raise the limit (of barrel production) on what is the definition of a local brewery,” McSorley said.

Whether he has decided to ignore the Brewers Association guidelines of what constitutes a craft brewery or is simply unaware, well, that is a question for another time.

The mostly older crowd that attended the town hall. By the time it started, there was almost no room to move in the north room of the church.

The mostly older crowd that attended the town hall. By the time it started, there was almost no room to move in the north room of the church.

A soft-spoken person asked the next question, which gave McSorley a chance to show off his tactical plan of attack against his critics and to drum up public support for the bill. The mostly older, mostly Democratic audience laughed and applauded.

“This question was: How do we make sure it’s fair to everybody? Good question,” he said. “I’ll tell you this, you all know that 80 percent of the alcohol is drunk by 20 percent of the drinkers in this country. It’s mostly the cheap alcohol that they’re drinking, and especially young people. We also know, from national surveys and from state (surveys), that young people are very sensitive to cost. So, the more it costs, the less they drink, it’s true. Instead of buying a 12-pack, they buy a six-pack on Friday night with their fake IDs.”

McSorley has made it clear that he believes, or at least publicly states, that the DWI problem is caused by young people with fake IDs. This makes it an old versus young issue, and since the majority of people who vote tend to be older, it again shows off his strategy. He is making it a moral issue, a fiscal issue with education at the center, and now a sort of it-will-stop-bad-young-people issue.

A final supporter challenged McSorley to the wording of his bill, but McSorley dodged the question and repeatedly told the supporter to just read it.

After the town hall concluded, Jeff and McSorley continued their dialogue, in a much calmer and more peaceful tone.

Other people in the crowd approached the clusters of craft beer supporters, including myself and members of the Tractor Brewing staff. One woman, who identified herself only as a teacher with Albuquerque Public Schools, lambasted us for “trying to dominate the discussion.” She said schools are in desperate need of money, and this tax will pay for those needs. She also claimed that teachers make up the majority of craft beer drinkers (really? Wow) and that if the breweries and their supporters do not back off, teachers will en masse boycott breweries.

While what she said might sound silly, do not be surprised if this becomes a new tactic in the supporters of the bill. The number of New Mexicans who want to ban alcohol, even as a means of fighting our DWI problem, are still small. Most are smart enough to realize that prohibition never works. But, switching tactics and making big, bad alcohol the enemy, and poor, suffering teachers and children the victims here, is unfortunately a brilliant strategy. McSorley hinted in his comments that he plans to see the tax money go to schools, and expect him to push that agenda forward.

Save the children at the expense of business. A dirty, underhanded tactic? You betcha, but this is politics, and we cannot be surprised that they would stoop this low.

Throwing more money at the DWI problem will not make it go away. Putting repeat offenders behind bars for good, improving treatment programs for first- and second-time offenders, and improving public transportation throughout the metro area (not just along Central) are all ways to combat what is a real problem. Blaming breweries for the problem and taking away money and jobs is not the answer.

The good news, according to the Guild, is that five of the nine committee members who will hear SB314 have been allies of our craft beer industry in the past. If they hold fast against people trying to moralize a tax increase, SB314 will die before it ever reaches the senate floor. Once there, it remains to be seen which way the political winds are blowing. By all accounts, the Governor will veto any tax increase that Democrats put on her desk.

Spread the word!

Spread the word!

This cannot come down to an alcohol versus kids debate. The breweries, as well as our state’s wineries, cideries, and distilleries, will lose that fight. It has to be a debate about jobs. If SB314 passes, it will stop brewery growth, and job growth, dead in its tracks. It would only offer a short-term revenue boost to the state, because some larger breweries would move away, while smaller ones would simply close up shop. There are nearly 70 craft breweries operational in New Mexico, employing hundreds of locals, and supporting numerous other local businesses and charities. They are generating revenue into the hundreds of millions.

For a one-year tax boost, would this state really wipe out one of its only growing industries? One that is locally owned and now becoming a part of the tourism this state desperately needs, it should be added. Somehow we hope, no, we believe cooler heads will prevail and SB314 will never come to pass.

In two years, though, Martinez will be gone, Democrats will still control the legislature and likely have one of their own in the governor’s office. If New Mexico has not solved its financial woes by then, all bets are off for every industry in this state.

We will keep everyone as updated as possible, starting with the date the committee hearing will be held. We also hope to sit down with Jeff and other key brewery and Guild personnel in the near future so that we may understand this situation even better than we do now.

In the meantime, just keep supporting your favorite breweries in any way you can. Hopefully this storm will pass soon and we can just get back to arguing about who has the best IPA and nicest patio and so on.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Our sixth annual Stout Challenge brought about a sixth different winner.

Our sixth annual Stout Challenge brought about a sixth different winner.

Amid all the seriousness of the weekend, the Brew Crew was still able to gather to hold our annual Stout Challenge before the start of the Super Bowl. While the game featured an improbable rally by the favorite, our blind taste test featured an upset by one of the newer breweries in town.

For the sixth time, we have a new winner. A past winner came oh-so-close to becoming our first two-time champion. We structure the event similar to the IPA Challenge, but with variations. We go around the day of the event, fill our half-growlers (or full growlers for last year’s top finishers), and then bring them to Franz Solo’s house. Our friend Margaret then pours them into numbered glasses out of sight, and we try them one by one, rather than put all on a tray. We take notes and score them from zero to five points in the categories of aroma, flavor, mouthfeel, and finish, and add them up.

We were short quite a few Crew members this year. Illness knocked out Brandon, Luke, and Shawna. E-Rock was unable to make it back from his musical adventures in Texas in time. Shilling was studying. Porter Pounder was on the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise again. Thus, only myself, Franz, Mrs. Solo, Kristin, and guest judge Tim (Margaret’s husband) were available.

Also, after reporting 16 stouts Friday, we ended up two shy, as Bow & Arrow did not open until it was too late for us to pick up their Storm & Hearth, and Twisted Chile was unable to deliver their Irish stout from Socorro.

As always, these are our opinions. We could be wrong.

14. Cazuela’s Beer for my Horses (19.5 points): This was the only truly disappointing stout among the batch. The flavor was almost sour (my opinion) or salty (Franz’s opinion). It was too thin in the mouthfeel. We have no idea what happened with this batch.

13. Santa Fe Dysphotic Stout (45.5): None of us disliked this robust, almost hop-forward stout, it was just that when stacked up against a field of mostly oatmeal variants, it stood out almost as more of a black IPA than anything. Basically, it is a stout that stands alone in the current available field in the ABQ metro area.

12. Rio Bravo Oatmeal Stout (46): While it did not move up in the standings that much, Rio Bravo’s entry scored much better this time around. The aroma scored the highest, with some mixed feelings on the flavor and mouthfeel. Overall it just came off as a bit light for what we look for in a stout.

11. Boxing Bear Standing 8 Stout (47.5): Every year there seems to be one of the top stouts from the previous year that falls way down the ladder. The main complaint here was in the bitter, overly smoky flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel. It was similar to Dysphotic, but with more malt and less hops.

10. Bosque Driftwood Oatmeal Stout (48): We found this batch to be a little on the thin side, with the most negative marks coming in terms of its mouthfeel, or lack thereof. The flavor was good, quite a bit sweet up front, but it faded pretty quickly.

9. Turtle Mountain Stauffenberg Stout (52.5): This was the first stout we sampled, so in many ways, it served as the base line for all that followed. In general everyone liked it, though it was noted as being just a tad short in all four categories. Still, we would call it perfectly drinkable.

8. Sidetrack Stoker Stout (53): A significant improvement on their stout from last year, this batch was quite a bit smokier and more roasted. Those were probably the biggest attributes, good or bad, with our voters.

7. The 377 Full Booty Stout (56): The top word used to describe our newest brewery’s oatmeal stout was “dry,” which accounted for much of the flavor and mouthfeel for folks. Some scored that well, others did not. The thickness of the mouthfeel scored the highest with most of us.

6. Chama River Sleeping Dog Stout (58): The 2016 champion could not pull off the repeat. The flavor and aroma this time around was sweet, with a pronounced vanilla element, but otherwise it lacked enough mouthfeel and overall complexity. It remains quite good, but not quite on par with last year.

5. Marble Oatmeal Stout (59): If there is a stout deserving of the title of “old reliable,” it is our 2012 champion, which still ranks among the best in town. There was a sweet, almost vanilla flavor and aroma at the front. The mouthfeel and finish saw some contrasting opinions with the five of us.

4. La Cumbre Malpais Stout (61): Unlike most La Cumbre beers, this did not have much of an aroma to draw you in. It did have a smokier, heavier flavor, scoring highest in mouthfeel and finish. The 2013 champion remains one of the best in town, though it is definitely not for those who like their stouts sweeter.

3. Canteen Dark n’ Lusty Stout (62.5): No stout has yo-yoed up and down more in our Stout Challenge the last six years than Canteen’s staple. It has finished seventh (out of eight), fifth (out of 10), 10th (out of 10), second (out of 14), 11th (out of 14), and now it’s third. This batch had a lot of chocolate flavor. It was sweet and solid, but just lacked the flavor complexity to claim its first title.

2. Tractor Double Plow Oatmeal Stout (70): My personal favorite in the bunch, it came up just short of being our first two-time winner (2014 was its previous victory). That cookie dough-like flavor was back at the front, with lots of chocolate up front and hints of smoke on the back end. The mouthfeel was solid throughout.

1. Starr Brothers Foggy Monocle (71.5): First Stout Challenge, first victory! Brewer Rob Whitlock said he actually prefers his Roisin Dubh, an Irish dry stout, to this. Guess he will have to change his mind now. The flavor (roasty coffee) and mouthfeel (thick and creamy smooth) scored especially high with our group.

We will have our Stout Challenge helmet trophy ready soon to be presented to Starr Brothers. Congrats to Rob and their entire staff!

As always, here are our individual point totals for each beer, to see where we agreed and disagreed on each.

  • Stoutmeister: 1) Tractor 13.5, 2) Chama River 11, 3) Canteen 10.5, 4) La Cumbre and Marble 9.5, 6) Boxing Bear and The 377 and Starr Brothers 9, 9) Bosque 8.5, 10) Sidetrack and Turtle Mountain 8, 12) Santa Fe and Rio Bravo 7, 14) Cazuela’s 3
  • Franz Solo: 1) Tractor 16.5, 2) Starr Brothers 16, 3) Canteen 15.5, 4) La Cumber 15, 5) Boxing Bear and Sidetrack 13.5, 7) The 377 12.5, 8) Chama River and Turtle Mountain 12, 10) Marble and Santa Fe 11, 12) Bosque and Rio Bravo 7, 14) Cazuela’s 3
  • Mrs. Solo: 1) Starr Brothers 16.5, 2) Tractor 15.5, 3) Canteen and Sidetrack 12, 5) La Cumbre and Marble and The 377 and Rio Bravo 11, 9) Bosque 10.5, 10) Chama River and Turtle Mountain 10, 12) Santa Fe 7, 13) Boxing Bear 6, 14) Cazuela’s 4
  • Kristin: 1) La Cumbre 16.5, 2) Starr Brothers 16, 3) Marble 15, 4) Chama River 13, 5) Rio Bravo and Turtle Mountain 12.5, 7) Bosque 12, 8) Boxing Bear and Canteen 11.5, 10) The 377 and Tractor 11, 12) Sidetrack 10.5, 13) Santa Fe 10, 14) Cazuela’s 5
  • Tim: 1) Starr Brothers 14, 2) Tractor 13.5, 3) Canteen 13, 4) The 377 and Marble 12.5, 6) Chama River 12, 7) Santa Fe 10.5, 8) Bosque and Turtle Mountain 10, 10) La Cumbre and Sidetrack 9, 12) Rio Bravo 8.5, 13) Boxing Bear 7.5, 14) Cazuela’s 4.5

Once again, these are just our opinions. We invite everyone to go out and try all these stouts, whether it’s for the 100th time or the first time. Our local breweries are doing a great job with the darker side of beer, and we couldn’t be happier on the whole.

We will have more on the weekend’s serious news about Senate Bill 314 and the contentious town hall meeting on Tuesday, once we put everything together.

Until then, keep supporting local breweries!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

La Cumbre grows with purchase of adjacent property

Posted: January 12, 2017 by cjax33 in News
Tags:
La Cumbre has purchased the empty building next door, adding 6,000 square feet.

La Cumbre has purchased the empty building next door, adding 6,000 square feet.

Back when we ran our Look Back/Look Ahead Series entry on La Cumbre, Jeff Erway said he was getting close to acquiring “a property very close to here” that would help expand the brewery’s distribution footprint. The only thing Jeff left out was which building, but just about anyone walking down Girard had to notice that the property just north of the brewery was for sale.

Jeff announced on his personal Facebook page late Wednesday afternoon that he had indeed purchased the 6,000-square foot building. A quick follow-up at the brewery led to the succinct, “I bought that f—ing building right there!” from a clearly excited brewer. Jeff had hinted at the possible purchase back in our 2015-16 Look Back/Look Ahead article, and he confirmed the entire process took 18 months.

Finally, though, the building will be his. Jeff said in December the building will house offices for much of his distribution staff, and either he or Scot Nelson, the brewery’s chief financial officer, will also move his office next door. Beyond that, the new building will house one other cool feature (pun intended).

“If we can close on that, we will be adding a 2,500-square-foot cold room in the very near future,” Jeff said last month. “That will be mostly for distribution, but that will open up our 1,000-square-foot cold room out back for a lot more barrel aging. What we realize in the past few years, this has been kind of a learning process for Daniel (Jaramillo) and I, we really don’t like barrel-aged beers, specifically whiskey barrel-aged beers, that have been aged warm in any way. If they’re going to be above 60 degrees, we really don’t like the results. That being said, long, slow cold-aging in a cold room, we like that a lot. So, you could see quite a bit more barrel-aged beers coming out of our place. A few more specialty releases in that vein.”

We will raise our glasses to all of that.

Oh, yeah, and Jeff wrote on Facebook that it will give the brewery 26 new parking spaces. That alone deserves a hallelujah.

Look for other new details from La Cumbre in the near future. Until then, make sure to stop by for a pint and congratulate the staff on their new acquisition.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Taos BMF 2014 Pic 6

We sent Luke up to the Brewmasters Festival in Taos a couple years ago. He had a whole lotta fun!

Happy cold, gray Thursday everyone. If you need some light back in your life, there is some good news for this weekend. The Taos Brewmasters Festival kicks off Saturday at the Ski Valley, marking its 21st annual running below the slopes.

Normally, the festival is held in December, but it was pushed back this year due to a lack of snow on the mountain above. Plus, the decision was made to no longer have the spring-time beer festival, but rather have just one fest. This one kicks off at 4:30 p.m. and runs until 7 at Tenderfoot Katie’s and the Martini Tree Bar, both of which are located at the base of Lift #1. It costs $30 at the door and you receive a complementary mug.

While plenty of you love to go skiing and snowboarding, we know ultimately that it is the pull of the beer that can be the deciding factor. Take note that this year’s fest is populated by a lot more out-of-state breweries brought in by their local distributors. There are not nearly as many breweries from Southern Colorado as in the past, as only Steamworks and Carver made the trip from Durango (neither is distributed here in NM, FYI).

The other out-of-state breweries are Alaskan, Boulder, Deschutes, Firestone Walker, Founders, Four Peaks, Full Sail, Left Hand, Mother Road, New Belgium, Odell, Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada, Upslope, and the Craft Brew Alliance, which we think is that collection of breweries from the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii that is partially owned by the Evil Empire (InBev).

As for the locals, a total of 10 New Mexico breweries will be present. Here is what they are bringing, as reported to us by the breweries themselves:

  • Boxing Bear — Iron Lung Smoked Porter, Standing 8 Stout, Paw Swipe Pale Ale
  • Chama River — UPDATED: Class VI Golden Lager, Sleeping Dog Stout
  • La Cumbre — TBA
  • Marble — Double White, IPA, Priddy Bueno Porter, Spruce Moose
  • Red Door — Gateway Blonde, Calypso SMaSH, Strong Scotch Ale, Paint it Black Milk Stout
  • Santa Fe — UPDATED: Chicken Killer, Java Stout, Pale Ale, Happy Camper, State Pen Porter, SF Gold, Nut Brown, Black IPA, Adobe Igloo, plus two bottles to be released at different hours of Single Barrel Sour, and two bottles of Lemon Skynard also to be released at different hours
  • Sierra Blanca — TBA
  • Taos Mesa — Kolsch 45, 3 Peaks IPA, Tap Dance Barley Wine, BBA Black Diamond Export Stout
  • Three Rivers — TBA
  • Tractor — Farmer’s Almanac IPA, Farmer’s Tan Red, Mustachio Milk Stout, Delicious Red Apple Cider

Marble’s Tony Calder pointed out that this will mark the debut of Spruce Goose, a new stout made with (you guessed it) spruce tips. The Priddy Bueno just went on tap recently at the Marble taprooms here in Albuquerque as well. Iron Lung returned to Boxing Bear late Wednesday.

If any of us in the Crew were able to head up this weekend, we would also be making a beeline for that bourbon barrel-aged Black Diamond Export Stout and the Tap Dance Barley Wine at Taos Mesa’s booth. I suppose we will just have to hope they bring that down for WinterBrew in Santa Fe on Jan. 13. (Please? Pretty please?)

Of course, skiing/snowboarding and then drinking on an empty stomach would be a terrible idea. Five local restaurants — Bavarian, Blonde Bear Tavern, Medley, Rhoda’s, Sagebrush Inn — will be providing food during the festival.

Keep an eye on the weather, of course, but otherwise if your weekend is lacking in anything to do, we would definitely suggest a trip up north to try some quality brews in a beautiful setting.

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 six breweries, one in Socorro, one in Los Alamos, and one in Moriarty 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.

One of our most awarded breweries, La Cumbre, is celebrating a sixth anniversary with an all-day celebration on Saturday. Wow, La Cumbre is six. Time sure flies, huh? Next thing you’re gonna tell me is the Brew Crew turns five in January … oh, wait, we do. Yowza. Anyway, before those shenanigans, you’re all invited to LC for the release of their special new beer, Albus Quercus, a saison aged in Chardonnay barrels. It will be on tap and for sale in bombers. There will also be a slew of additional beers coming out of the archives. A few are being tapped over the course of this week, including barrel-aged Malpais Stout on nitro today (Wednesday), 2014 Barley Wine on Thursday, and Imperial Red Ryeot on nitro on Friday. Don’t worry, there will be more of them for the party. Screen Kings will be on site from noon to 5 p.m., printing commemorative shirts. Hub City Sound System will provide the music from 6 to 9 p.m. See you all over there, and for the love of all that is holy, please carpool or take an Uber or taxi. We all know how fast the parking on Girard disappears!

On the new beer front this week, there are a few new options to check out. Bow & Arrow takes aim at Land of Manana Farmhouse IPA. Boxing Bear brings back Bearcat Altbier for another round. A little collaboration goes down at Broken Trail on Friday as Red Door’s Bourbon Barrel Brown debuts. Canteen introduces a new kettle sour, Social Capital. Dialogue hops over to The Centennial IPA. Get ready for a Dubbel Whammy at Flix Brewhouse. Marble spies 007 Pale Ale at the Heights taproom. Nexus feels logical with Doppel-Spock and El Dorado Session Pale Ale. Amber’s Amber, Kama Citra IPA, Axis of Awesomeness, and It’s So Tinsel add up at Pi. Nikolaus, a holiday ale, debuts at Ponderosa later this week. “Oi!” Kellerbier pops up at Quarter Celtic. Sidetrack is feeling festive with Oat to Joy Pale Ale.

Up in Santa Fe, Duel has churned out fresh batches of Rye Goya, Stocious, Judith, and HMWWA FIACFW. Rowley Farmhouse Ales swings at Homeslice (Brett IPA). The epic Trebuchet is back at Second Street Railyard, plus Chinook Pale Ale is available as well. Down in Socorro, Twisted Chile has brought back 790 IPA after a short absence.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of December 5.

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

Albuquerque metro area breweries

Albuquerque Brewing Co. — (505) 797-1842

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

Beers: High Plains Drafter Blonde, Duke’s Pale Ale, Off the Richter Imperial Red, Dunkelweizen, Tom’s Green Chile Amber Ale, English Oatmeal Stout (nitro only). ABC has updated their permanent lineup with the blonde, pale ale, imperial red, and dunkel, though the pale and red are temporarily out. The special amber is on tap for a limited time. They will also have a nitro tap upon which they always hope to have a darker beer.

Live Music: Friday—John Seusy Acoustic Showcase, 4:30 p.m., Designated Mind, 7 p.m.

Other Events: Saturday—$5 Frito Pie and a Beer Combo Day, all day

Weekly Events: Sunday—Walking Dead (Midseason Finale) Watch Party, 8 p.m.; Monday—Game Night, with blonde pints for $2.50

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

Ale Republic — (505) 281-2828

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

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

Alien Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

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

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

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

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

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

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

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

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

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

The Blue Grasshopper — (505) 896-8579

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

Beers: Belgian Pale Ale, Paddy Wagon Red, Dunkelweizen. The Dunkelweizen is the most recent addition.

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

Boese Brothers Brewery — (505) 382-7060

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

Beers: Patriot Porter, La Onza White Ale, Dr. Strangehop XPA, Duke City Lager, Double Dead Ale, Santa’s Little Helper. Double Dead Ale is also available in bombers. Santa’s Little Helper, the most recent addition, is a raspberry vanilla porter.

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

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

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

Beers: Humo Rojo, Coming to America, Scotia Lager, Dry Acequia, Dry Stout, Double Brown. Red Lightning, Bosque’s fourth anniversary beer, is an imperial red that has been barrel aged, and it is still for sale in bombers. The most recent additions are the Dry Acequia, Double Brown, and Dry Stout.

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

Bow & Arrow Brewing — (505) 247-9800

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

Beers: Flint & Grit (British Mild), Sun Dagger (Saison), Crossed Arrows (Scotch Ale), Hoka Hey (IPA), Jemez Field Notes Lager, Desert Standard Hop Session, Wayward Arrow Hefeweizen, Loosen Your Bolo DIPA, Autumn Archer Marzen, Dark Harvest Dunkelweizen, Storm & Hearth Vanilla Bean Stout, Land of Manana Farmhouse IPA. The most recent additions are the Dark Harvest Dunkelweizen, Loosen Your Bolo DIPA, and Autumn Archer Marzen, with Land of Manana joining the list Thursday. Storm & Hearth Vanilla Bean Stout is back and even better than the first time.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Bow & Arrow has happy hour every Monday through Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. Get $1 off pints. A new late happy hour starts Thursday at 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m.

Boxing Bear Brewing Company — (505) 897-2327

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

Beers: La Flama Blanca, Oso Loco, The Saaz Man Cometh, The Red Glove, Bear Knuckle IPA, Bearcat Altbier, Barrel-Aged Chocolate Milk Stout, Baltic Bear Porter (bombers only). The Oso Loco (4.8% ABV, 25 IBU) is a coffee-infused red ale, made with a blend from Prismatic Coffee, and is also available on nitro. La Flama (7% ABV, 80 IBU) is a white IPA. Fresh batches of Boxing Bear’s gold-medal-winning beers from GABF, The Red Glove and Chocolate Milk Stout, are now on tap, along with Bear Knuckle IPA, the 2016 NM IPA Challenge winner, on tap and for sale in bombers.

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

Weekly Events: Today (Wednesday)—Geeks Who Drink, 8-10 p.m.

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

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

Beers: Otero ESB, Lone Pine Pilsner, Sancho Saison, Generic Red Ale. Keep an eye out for a bourbon barrel sour in the coming weeks.

Live Music (main location): TBA

Other Events: Friday—Red Door’s Bourbon Barrel Brown Release

Weekly Events (main location): Today (Wednesday)—Cards Against Humanity hosted by 10 Drink Minimum, 7 p.m.; Sunday—Build-your-own Bloody Mary bar, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Tuesday—All hours beers $2 a pint

Canteen Brewhouse — (505) 881-2737 (brewery), (505) 200-2344 (taproom)

(Brewery: Sun–Thurs noon–10 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–midnight; Taproom: Open daily 3–10 p.m.)

Beers: Munich Helles, Astro Hound DIPA, Blood Orange Apricot IPA, Smoked Oat Porter, Exodus IPA, Social Capital. The Social Capital is a dry-hopped kettle sour.

Live Music: Thursday—Still Closed For Repairs, 6-9 p.m.; Sunday—Le Chat Lunatique, 4-7 p.m.

News: The Canteen taproom at Tramway and Cloudview is now open. They have all the regular beers and four seasonal taps, plus crowlers and a cooler with six-packs of Exodus and Dougie Style Amber for sale. There is a full menu, too, including flatbread pizzas.

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

(Open daily 8 a.m.–10 p.m.)

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

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

Beers: Dunkelweizen, English Brown Porter. This Dunkelweizen is a solid example of the style, crisp and clean with a tangy little bite.

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

Dialogue Brewing — (505) 585-1501

(Open daily noon-midnight)

Beers: Belgian Citrus IPA, Berliner Weisse, Sour Raspberry, Cream Ale, Saison, Robust Porter, The Centennial IPA. Welcome to the listings, Dialogue! They opened recently at the corner of 1st Street and Kinley, just five blocks north of Marble. Stop by to check out the sculpture garden and try some of their unique beers, including the Sour Raspberry. Other fairly recent additions include the IPA, Cream Ale, Saison, and Robust Porter.

Live Music: Saturday—Dave Twelve: Vinyl DJ Set, 7 p.m.

Weekly Events: Monday—Service Industry Night, 6 p.m.

News: Kitsune Food Truck will be parked out front every day for lunch.

Drafty Kilt Brewing — (505) 881-0234

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

Beers: Groundskeeper Willie Cream Ale, Wee Beastie Scottish Ale. Welcome to the listings, Drafty Kilt! Brewer/owner Mike Campbell has two of his own creations on tap at 4814 Hardware Dr. NE. Check out our review.

Flix Brewhouse — (505) 445-8500

(Open daily 11 a.m.-midnight)

Beers: Blonde Ale, Lupulus IPA, Satellite (Red IPA), 10 Day Scottish Ale, Luna Rose Wit, Umbra Chocostout, The Brown Basilisk, Dubbel Whammy. We can now confirm that all six of the house beers are available, with two seasonals, The Brown Basilisk (5% ABV, 19 IBU), an English brown ale, and Dubbel Whammy (6.8% ABV, 19 IBU). We had more information in our preview. Click the link to their official website to make reservations to see your favorite movies.

News: Upcoming seasonal brews will include Rebel Yell Porter (5% ABV, 35 IBU) on Dec. 16 (for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and Holy Mother of Quad (8.5% ABV, 30 IBU) on Dec. 22.

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

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

Beers: Shhhhhhhtout, ESB, Harry Porter, Harvest Blonde, Helles Lager, Punk’in Dunkel, Rocky Raccoon IPA, Red Fox, DjinnJar Kombucha. A recent tap turnover saw the return of ESB and Helles Lager, plus Shhhhhhhtout, Harvest Blonde, Punk’in Dunkel, and Red Fox.

Weekly Events (Nob Hill): Thursday—The Desert Darlings, 7 to 9 p.m.

Weekly Events (Bernalillo): Sunday—Brunch, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., The Desert Darlings, 6-8 p.m.

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

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

UPDATED >>> Beers: Citrus Pale Ale, Angry Belgian, Ein Bier Bitte!, Blackberry Briar. The Briar is a sour ale that debuted last week. Look for special beers from the archives all week (see our intro above). New in the regular lineup is Ein Bier Bitte!, a German Helles lager.

Live Music: Saturday—Hub City Sound System, 6-9 p.m.

Other Events: Wednesday—Tap Takeover at Draft Station Santa Fe, all day, Savoy Anniversary Beer Dinner, 6:30-10 p.m.; Friday—Pizza Party; Saturday—6th Anniversary Party

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Lego Night Build Off, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Lizard Tail Brewing — (505) 717-1301

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

Beers: Kohatu SHPA, Octoberfest, Saison, Rye Stout. The Kohatu is a single-hopped pale ale.

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

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Geeks Who Drink, 8 p.m.; Thursday—Karaoke, 8-11 p.m.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739 (downtown), (505) 508-4638 (Westside), (505) 323-4030 (Heights)

(Downtown: Mon–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10:30 p.m.; Westside: Mon–Thurs noon–11 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10 p.m.; Heights: Mon–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10:30 p.m.)

Beers: Dang Pale Ale, Reserve Ale, Rye’d Out, Imperial Red, Comet Pale Ale, Pumpkin Noir (Heights and Westside only), Citra Pale Ale (Heights and Westside only), Dunkel (Downtown only), Cholo Stout (Downtown only), Double IPA (Downtown only), 007 Pale Ale (Heights only), White Out (Westside only). A recent addition is Cholo Stout (7.8% ABV), a robust stout with a punch of Pacific Northwest hops. Also, check out Rye’d Out, a collaboration beer between Marble and Telluride Brewing, which is a rye-infused version of White Out.

Live Music (Heights): Friday—Cedric Rogers, 7-10 p.m.; Saturday—The Gershom Brothers, 7-10 p.m.

Other Events (Downtown): Tuesday—CRAVE: A Marbleous Pop Up Dinner Series featuring My Sweet Basil, $40 per person ($35 mug club members), 6-9 p.m.

Other Events (Heights): Sunday—Marble Mouth Off, 4-6 p.m.

Other Events (Westside): Today (Wednesday)—Don’t Starve the Artists Pt. 2, 6:30 p.m.; Saturday—Marble Market, noon

Weekly Events (Downtown): Saturday—Brewery tours, 2 p.m.

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100 (brewery), (505) 226-1055 (Silver Taproom)

(Brewery: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.–8:30 p.m.; Silver Taproom: Mon–Fri 4-10 p.m., Sat noon-10 p.m., Sun noon-9 p.m.)

UPDATED >>> Beers: 2016 Barleywine,, Nitro Chai Chocolate Porter, Ensign Belgo, El Dorado Session Pale Ale, Doppel-Spock. The most recent additions are the El Dorado and the Doppel-Spock, the latter of which has been lagered for three months. They replace the Assimilation White IPA and Equinox.

Happy Hour/Discounts (Brewery): Monday–Friday, $5 appetizers, 3-5 p.m.

Weekly Events (Silver Taproom): Saturday—a live DJ will perform

Palmer Brewery and Cider House — (505) 508-0508

(Tues–Sat 3–9 p.m.)

Beers: MWA (Malt With Attitude), Guero (Belgian Wit), Pale Ale, Stout, Cockness Monster (Scotch Ale). Palmer shares a building with Left Turn Distilling on Girard south of Candelaria. We got the full story on their origin and what’s to come in 2017.

Pi Brewing — (505) 890-9463

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

Beers: Kama Citra IPA, U Down w/ BVP?, Burque Lite, Cardinal Sin Red, AdHd, Amber’s Amber, Axis of Awesomeness, It’s So Tinsel. The Kama Citra (7.2% ABV, 95 IBU) is back for another run. New to the lineup at Axis of Awesomeness (8.1% ABV, 80 IBU), an imperial IPA, and It’s So Tinsel (8.4% ABV, 25 IBU), a Scottish Wee Heavy.

Ponderosa Brewing Co. — (505) 639-5941

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

Beers: Belgian Pale Ale, Imperial Black IPA, Chocolate Pumpkin Porter, Schwarzbier, Mosaic Single Hop Pale Ale. The Schwarzbier and Mosaic were the newest additions, but they will be joined by Nikolaus, a ginger-spiced amber ale. You can also still bombers of Sour Saison, Big Belgian IPA, and Preacher’s Daughter (Belgian Golden Strong) at the taproom or at liquor stores around town.

Quarter Celtic Brewpub — (505) 503-1387

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

Beers: Clark IPA, Mile Hi Blood Orange IPL, Kill or be KILT, “Oi!” Kellerbier. Clark is a hazy, New England-style IPA, and boy is it delicious. Kill or be KILT (9% ABV) is a big Scotch ale that debuted recently. It is just the kind of beer to get you through the holidays.

Weekly Events: Saturday—Premier League Viewing Party, 8 a.m.

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

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

Beers: Nieuwe Bruin, La Calabaza Roja, Damn White IPA, Vanilla Mocha Double Porter, Ottobrau Pilsner, Downtown Pale Ale (downtown taproom only). La Calabaza is a pumpkin red ale. Ottobrau Pilsner is the most recent addition to the lineup.

Live Music (Brewery): Today (Wednesday)—Eryn Bent, 7-9 p.m.; Monday—The Draft Sessions, 7-9 p.m.

Weekly Events (Brewery): Saturday—Beer and Breakfast, 7-10 a.m.

Weekly Events (Taproom): Today—Paint it Black Open Mic, 8-10:30 p.m.; Tuesday—Geeks Who Drink, 7-9 p.m.

Rio Bravo Brewing Company — (505) 900-3909

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

Beers: Rio Bravo Amber, Weizen, Randy’s Shandy, Dirty Rotten Bastard IPA, Snakebite IPA, Black Angus Stout, Randy’s Red Ale, Duke City Pilsner, Old Town Porter (regular and barrel aged), Barley Wine (regular and barrel aged), Oktoberfest, Raspberry Sour, Cereza Loco (Cherry Sour), NM Pinon Coffee Porter, Oatmeal Stout, Belgian Strong Golden. The big new additions are the Oatmeal Stout (5.7% ABV), which is perfect for this weather, and the Belgian Strong Golden (10.5% ABV). The latter is also being aged in barrels upstairs and will debut in that form after New Year’s Day.

Live Music: Thursday—Shane Wallin, 6:30 p.m.; Saturday—Breaks & Brews with Shuga Shane, 1 p.m., Lilah Rose, 8 p.m.

Other Events: Friday—NM Pinon Coffee Porter Release Party, 4 p.m.

Weekly Events: Friday—Philly Friday, all day; Tuesday—$2 Taco Tuesday, all day

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

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

Beers: Call the brewery for an updated list.

Sidetrack Brewing — (505) 288-6468

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

Beers: Pub Ale, Railhead Red, Switchgear IPA, Pullman Porter, 3:10 to Belen Brown, Oat to Joy Pale Ale. The most recent additions are the Pullman Porter, a take on an English brown porter, and Oat to Joy Pale Ale.

Cask: The Red and Pub Ale are in the firkins.

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Taco Tuesday, all day

Starr Brothers Brewing — (505) 492-2752

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

Beers: Starrstruck IPA, L.A. Woman (Blonde), Red Zepplin, Riff Raff Brown Ale, Booby Trap (Milk Stout), St. Pumpkins Eve (Holiday Stout), Weizenheimer, Therecastle. The most recent additions are Weizenheimer, a hefeweizen, and Therecastle, an English-style brown ale.

Weekly Events: Saturday—Premier League Viewing Party, 8 a.m.

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

(Nob Hill: Sun–Weds noon–midnight, Thurs noon–2 a.m., Fri–Sat noon–2 a.m.; Wells Park: Mon–Thurs 3 p.m.–close, Fri–Sun 1 p.m.–midnight)

Beers: Turkey Drool, Traktoberfest, Javi Light Lager, Kolsch (Nob Hill only), Tupac Cali Red, Farmhouse Saison, Farmer’s Freckles Scottish Export, Chiapas Mexican Amber, Big Sipper IPA, Apricot Wheat, Berliner Weisse, Dry Hard Cider, Nitro Milk Stout (Wells Park only). Turkey Drool, our ultimate fall favorite, is on tap and as delicious as ever. Look for our favorite winter offering from Tractor, Luna De Los Muertos, this weekend.

Live Music (Nob Hill): Today (Wednesday)—Alex Maryol, 8:30 p.m.; Saturday—Todd Tijerina, 5 p.m.

Live Music (Wells Park): Thursday—The Kevin Herig Trio, 8 p.m.

Other Events (Nob Hill): Saturday—Danny Hart Design, 3 p.m.

Other Events (Wells Park): Today (Wednesday)—Poetry & Beer, 7 p.m.; Friday—2nd Friday’s Comedy Contest, 8 p.m.; Saturday—Louis Wilcox Art Opening & Glass Release, 8 p.m.

Weekly Events (Wells Park): Tuesday—Kamikaze Karaoke, 7 p.m.

Weekly Events (Nob Hill): Today (Wednesday)—Writing Wednesdays, 5 p.m.; Monday—Tractor Tune Up, 7:30 p.m., ABQ Pens & Pints, 8 p.m.

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

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

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

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

Beers: The Rise of Fall, Cocomilia Robur, Mash Hole (Brown IPA), McSmack, Wooden Teeth, Cargill IPA. The Rise of Fall, an autumnal harvest squash ale, debuted recently. The Cocomilia Robur is a Brett cream ale, aged over plums in a barrel for nine months.

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Open daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Oat DIPA, Lobo Rojo Red Ale, Scotch Ale. The Scotch Ale and Lobo Rojo have joined the tap list recently. The Oktoberfest finally ran out, thus giving up its tap handle to High Altitude Pale Ale, which should be ready Friday.

Chili Line Brewing — (505) 500-7903

(Mon–Sat 4–11 p.m., Sun 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m.)

Beers: Cascada Lager, El Jefe, India Pale Lager, Wheat Porter, Stout, Dunkelweizen, Imperial Pilz. The latter two beers are the newest additions to the revamped lineup. Also, check the website for new menu items.

Live Music: Every night at 7 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Reverse happy hour after 9 p.m. includes $1 off pints, $6 appetizers, $10 entrees and pizzas.

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

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

Beers: Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Non-Fiction (Pale Ale), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Whistler (Belgian Blonde), Cezanne Magnifique, Rye Goya (Imperial Stout), Stocious (Wee Heavy), Judith (Sour Amber), HMWWA FIACFW (Barrel-aged Sour). The most recent additions are the Rye Goya, Stocious, Judith, and the unpronounceable, but tasty, HMWWA FIACFW.

Other Events (ABQ taproom): Thursday—Drink & Draw with The Mothership Alumni, 7 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts (Brewery): Happy hour Mon–Fri, 4-6 p.m. (discounts for all draft beer), Growler Saturdays ($3 off growler fills).

Happy Hour/Discounts (ABQ taproom): Happy hour Mon–Fri, 5-7 p.m.

Rowley Farmhouse Ales — (505) 428-0719

(Open all week from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

Beers: Haole Kook, Homeslice. Say hello to Santa Fe’s newest brewery, which opened this month. They have some guest taps, plus their latest offerings, Haole Kook, a Berliner weisse aged on pineapples, and Homeslice, a Brett IPA.

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

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

Beers: Sangre de Frambuesa, Hipster Union Red Rye, Adobe Igloo, Nuevo (Blonde Ale). The next entry in the Ever Changing Series, Sangre De Frambuesa, is a throwback to one of SFBC’s first medal-winning beers at the Great American Beer Festival back in 1991. Adobe Igloo is back on tap and in six packs.

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

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

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

Beers: Kolsch, IPA, Cream Stout, Cherrywood Smoked Imperial Porter, Schwarzbier, Rauchbier, Rod’s Best Bitter, Red Comet, Scotch Ale, Trebuchet (Railyard only), Chinook Pale Ale (Railyard only). Get some of the big porter while it lasts. The Trebuchet won silver at the World Beer Cup in the Imperial IPA category. It won’t last long on tap.

Live Music (Original location): Friday—Alto Street Band, 6-9 p.m.; Saturday—Bill Hearne Trio, 6-9 p.m.

Live Music (Railyard): Friday—Blues Revue Band (Christmas Special), 6-9 p.m.; Saturday—Alex Maryol, 6-9 p.m.

Weekly Events (Railyard): Thursday—Geeks Who Drink, 8 p.m.

Other breweries you need to visit

Bathtub Row Brewing — (505) 500-8381

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

Beers: Little Boy GFB, Mild at Heart, The Tripel Lindy, Tweed Jacket, Fatman Stout, Dr. Rudi SMASH, Raconteur Belgian Table Beer, Hoppenheimer IPA. The most recent tap turnover went down in Los Alamos with Tripel, Tweed, Fatman, Dr. Rudi, and Raconteur making their debuts.

Weekly Events: Thursday—Open mic, 6 p.m.

Sierra Blanca Brewing — (505) 832-2337

(Mon–Thurs 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Fri –Sat 11 a.m.–9 p.m.)

Beers: Cherry Wheat, Whiskey Stout, Blonde Ale, Cherry Sour, Interstella Vanilla. The folks in Moriarty asked us to be added, thus, here they are. The popular Cherry Wheat is more tart than sweet, and it will soon be bottled. This is a second, improved batch of the Whiskey Stout that debuted earlier this year.

Twisted Chile Brewing — (575) 835-2949

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun noon-4 p.m.)

Beers: Zia Pilsner, 790 IPA, Hose Co. 1 Red Lager, Venom IPA, KC’s Irish Stout, English Porter, Pilabo Pale Ale, Schwarzbar Black Lager, Pumpkin Ale, Lobo Blanco White IPA. The newest addition is the Lobo Blanco. The 790 is back after a short absence.

Live Music: Friday—Mose, Ben & Dave, 7-9 p.m.

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

* * * *

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

New sign, new challenges ahead for La Cumbre.

New sign, new challenges ahead for La Cumbre.

Welcome to the first entry in our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series for 2016-17. Just as we have done the last three years, these stories will be a comprehensive reflection on the year gone by for each of our breweries, while also taking a look at their plans for the coming year.

Just as it was in 2015-16, my first stop was La Cumbre, where I sat down with owner Jeff Erway to discuss how his last year went and what plans he has for the coming year. The good news was his office has been repaired after a mishap with a truck had damaged the outer wall. Or, as Jeff put it best, “Oh, my god, that scared the fucking shit out of me. I was next door. Scot (Nelson) and I looked at each other, ‘What the fuck was that?’ The whole building shook.”

While workers were outside putting up a new barrier to protect the building, Jeff started off by recounting the high points of 2016, which also included a gold medal for BEER at the World Beer Cup in April and a bronze medal for Siberian Silk at the Great American Beer Festival in October.

Office protection comes in many forms.

Office protection comes in many forms.

“It was really cool getting BEER into cans,” he said. “We thought long and hard about what our next can release was going to be. Several of us wanted to see South Peak Pilsner go into cans, but we looked at the sales release data and the movement in our taproom, and for run reason or another it was not moving nearly like BEER does when it was on tap before as a special. Then, to kind of have some affirmation, when we sent it to the World Beer Cup and got a gold medal for it, that was pretty good high point.”

Anyone visiting Denver for GABF who stopped at a local liquor store could also find La Cumbre on the shelves.

“Opening up the rest of Colorado for distribution was definitely a big plus for us,” Jeff said. “We were pretty stoked to do that. We were pretty stoked to find a partner in Crooked Stave Artisan (Ales) that has a real similar outlook on beer in the beer world, building brands, not jumping at sales, but truly building a brand.”

With more beer being sent out, it has in turn created more jobs at La Cumbre.

“We’ve definitely added quite a bit to distribution side,” Jeff said. “On the brewing side, there’s been some movement. We’ve definitely lost some people. We’re about to lose Dave Kimball, he’s about to open his own brewery. … He’s been very, very professional about leaving, gave us plenty of notice. He asked us if he could work some nights and off hours. We said absolutely. He certainly asked me for some advice, but he also clearly doesn’t want to burden me with the issues he’s having. Which I’m sure are numerous right now.

“We’ve added several staff (members), we’ve added several people to the packaging line. Opening up Colorado, we’re definitely doing a lot more packaging than we were a year ago. Definitely a lot of new faces in the taproom, which is good. And we added our marketing director (Cory Campbell).”

There was also one key promotion within the brewing staff that happened just at the end of 2015. Alan Skinner took over the position of head brewer as Daniel Jaramillo transitioned to director of brewing operations. So far, that move has gone “Smashingly!” as Jeff put it.

“Alan was named head brewer a little less than a year ago,” Jeff said. “I always thought that when Alan came on, this was two-and-a-half years ago, (he) was a home brewer and was heading up beer at a local Sprouts and had a degree in biology. I was like, sweet, maybe you can help us with some of our lab stuff. Daniel and I have pretty limited (hard science) backgrounds. I know what all the equipment does, but it’s not like I’m versed in setting up a QAQC program. As soon as we hired him, he doesn’t just have a degree in biology, he’s worked in labs extensively. We’d always kind of just pictured him becoming the QAQC director/lab tech.

“As we lost a few really key brewers, Alan kept on stepping up more and more. Daniel and I started to realize maybe this was what he wanted to do. We had to convince him you’re still going to be heading up the QAQC stuff, you’re still going to be able to oversee the lab procedures, but you can get a lab tech to do all that and you can remain a brewer. Luckily for us, he wanted to do that.”

Head brewer Alan Skinner has been deep into the hops for almost a year now. (Photo by Mario Caldwell)

Head brewer Alan Skinner has been deep into the hops for almost a year now. (Photo by Mario Caldwell)

Alan has managed to remain relatively anonymous in the local scene, which seems just fine for him and Jeff.

“He’s one of the least visible people in the brewing industry right now,” Jeff said. “But, I can’t think of anybody I know of that’s become such a ridiculously expert person in all things brewing in such a quick amount of time. It’s incredible, he’s a sponge.”

As Alan has found his niche at the brewery, Jeff said he feels La Cumbre has formally found its niche in the local scene as well.

“Just speaking for me personally, I feel like I’ve become a little more comfortable with the idea of who we truly are in the market and what our future holds,” he said. “The funny thing is kind of like becoming a little more self-aware and self-reflective, the fact is I like running a production brewery, I like running a wholesaling business. I really enjoy that. I like having this one taproom. We’ve had plenty of opportunities to jump at taproom locations in Albuquerque.”

While a second La Cumbre location is off the table, for now, at least, having the entire market round into form has been a plus for everyone.

“I think the highlight for the brewing industry overall this year in Albuquerque is just a tightening of the local market and breweries trying to figure out where they fit in that local market,” Jeff said. “Marble certainly has figured out where it wants to be in that local market. Bosque certainly has, La Cumbre has. The question is, with all of these new breweries entering, all these new taprooms, where is their business going to fit into that local market?”

Not every brewery will survive, as the recent closing of Firkin BrewHouse shows, and Broken Bottle before that.

“The two breweries in the last few years that have gone out of business, I don’t think anybody was surprised,” Jeff said. “I think there are going to be a couple more this (coming) year, but I don’t think anybody is going to be surprised. I know of five or six new breweries that are supposedly going to be opening in the next year. Is there enough business for them to survive? That’s one of the major reasons we haven’t opened up a taproom. We’re not going to do what Marble did. It worked for Marble to go and spend an enormous amount of money on a new taproom. It looks great. I’m sure it’s doing great business. That’s not what we’re going to do. The new taprooms that are opening up, a lot of them are fighting over $4,000 or $5,000 a week. You’re like, that’s not really a sustainable business.

“A lot of it’s also going to be how are you diversifying your business? I think when Tractor opened in Nob Hill they showed everybody that, first of all, they were reinventing themselves as a business. They were coming in with different beer than they had before, but they showed everybody that, hey, atmosphere in these places really does matter. I haven’t been down to Bow & Arrow or Dialogue, but I’ve heard good things about what they’ve done atmosphere-wise. It will be interesting to see is that (enough).”

More distribution, more space, new beers on tap for 2017

While La Cumbre may not be looking to open a taproom this coming year, there are still plenty of areas for figurative and actual growth.

“For us, we’re going to do our best to continue to be the go-to brand for bars and restaurants in the area,” Jeff said. “We’re really hoping that they fully recognize we are the brewery that’s not actively competing with them. In Colorado, our goal is to hopefully by the end of 2017 to have hired a brand rep, a full-time brand representative.”

Sales in Colorado are solid, which certainly leads to the question of what other states La Cumbre has targeted. There are a couple, though much will depend on finding the type of distribution partners Jeff wants for his brewery.

“And then, we’re going to slowly but surely add markets as we find the distribution partners that we want, that we think are of the same mind as us,” he said. “This has been the biggest challenge to me, finding market (partners). I had always kind of approached like, ‘Of course we’re going to go to Arizona next, why wouldn’t we go to Arizona next? They’re right next door.’ What we never realized was we had no interest in becoming a partner with a distributor who is kind of, of the mind that today’s sale is all that matters. I don’t want to be in a house with 120 other craft breweries. It just doesn’t appeal to me at all. We want to find business partners that are really of the same mind that not all sales are good sales, that old beer is going to ruin our industry, let alone our brand. Really, getting the best beer into the consumer’s hand is the single best way to build both of our companies.”

Normal-sized cans of Elevated can be found in Colorado and possibly other states soon.

Normal-sized cans of Elevated can be found in Colorado and possibly other states soon.

That is a major part of the reason La Cumbre has paired up with Crooked Stave in Central Colorado and Ska Brewing in Southwest Colorado, rather than a more traditional distributor.

“It’s hard,” Jeff said of finding a partner. “I don’t think it’s a mystery why it is that we signed distribution agreements in Colorado with two different craft breweries (Ska and Crooked Stave). From that end, kind of continuing on from there, we have every intention of starting to bring on new brands into New Mexico that are like-minded, but also are complimentary to our own brand. I wouldn’t count on us pulling in any big breweries. I wouldn’t count on us pulling in too many breweries that are going to be selling six-packs in the $8 to $12 range. We want to find specialty brewers that want to do business with another like-minded brewery that’s going to be a good partner, who’s going to care about the beer.”

As for developments closer to home, the ongoing remodeling of the existing brewery taproom could continue if a real estate deal goes through.

“For the taproom, it’s possible we’ll open up a little more indoor space with a couple of the offices upstairs,” Jeff said. “We’re in negotiations to take over a property very close to here which will house a lot more of our distribution staff. I might end up moving my office there, I don’t know. It will either be Scot or me, we’ll draw straws.”

This in turn could lead to more beers, the kind of beers that get the Dark Side Brew Crew excited.

“If we can close on that, we will be adding a 2,500-square-foot cold room in the very near future,” Jeff said. “That will be mostly for distribution, but that will open up our 1,000-square-foot cold room out back for a lot more barrel aging. What we realize in the past few years, this has been kind of a learning process for Daniel and I, we really don’t like barrel-aged beers, specifically whiskey barrel-aged beers, that have been aged warm in any way. If they’re going to be above 60 degrees, we really don’t like the results. That being said, long, slow cold-aging in a cold room, we like that a lot. So, you could see quite a bit more barrel-aged beers coming out of our place. A few more specialty releases in that vein.”

The changes to the taproom's interior have been welcome.

The changes to the taproom’s interior have been welcome.

La Cumbre also quietly added a three-barrel pilot system this year, one that has already produced a small number of beers, including Caber Tosser (Scotch Ale), Can You Drive a Sticke?, and a revamped version of the old favorite South Peak Pilsner.

“We’ll probably add a couple fermenters to the pilot system,” Jeff said. “The cool thing about the pilot system is I think it feeds well into the ADD psyche of many of the craft beer drinkers nowadays. The whole, ‘What’s new, what’s new, what’s new?’ That will mean that we can kick out of a lot of stuff that’s new often, which is fun.”

As if Jeff wanted to ensure that I, in particular, will be spending the winter at La Cumbre, he also added this: “It’s a direct-fire kettle, so this winter you can look forward to some really, really big stouts.”

Then he recalled a recent trip to Bavaria (so jealous), which included a stop in a famous German beer city, and how that has inspired him as well.

“I was in Bamberg, we were staying at Brauerei Fassla when they tapped their doppelbock,” Jeff said. “Fassla is right across the street from Brauerei Spezial, which is one of the oldest breweries, along with Schlenkerla, which we also visited. Yeah, we’re going to brew a smoked bock, it’s going to be out soon.”

So, yes, new beers are coming, some via the pilot system, some via the main brewhouse.

“We’re also looking at new and interesting beers to possibly release as year-round offerings,” he added. “We’ll see.”

Fine, Jeff, just take our money. TAKE IT.

It's like a sign to beckon the hopheads.

It’s like a sign to beckon the hopheads.

To wrap things up, Jeff offered up some positive thoughts on our local beer scene, where it has been, and where it has headed.

“It is such an interesting time to be in the brewing industry,” he said. “For the first time, it truly is in every way competitive. What I am really happy to say is the people that were my dear friends three or four years ago are still my dear friends today. We just might talk a little less shop than we used to. The breweries making great beer three or four years ago are still making great beer today. It’s just competitive, you’re fighting for every handle and for every allocation on the shelf.

“Every year, I believe it today and I think I will always believe it, I hope I will always believe it, good beer will triumph. Bad beer is not going to find too many spots on shelves, it’s going to find less and less on shelves, and good beer will continue to thrive. Luckily for all of you, there’s a lot more of it!”

We are lucky beer drinkers, indeed. Thank you to Jeff for taking the time to chat, as always. We all look forward to the many, many great beers in store for us all in 2017.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Oh, yeah, there is another one coming.

Farewell to Firkin, we hardly knew ye.

In case anyone missed it on social media over the weekend, the long-rumored demise of The Firkin BrewHouse and Grill came to pass, as their own Facebook page communicated the following:

To all of our loyal and wonderful customers, unfortunately I must state that the Firkin BrewHouse and Grill is closed. More info will follow with an official announcement from the owners. Thank you all for your patronage.

The Crew reached out to the owners for comment, but four days later, we have not heard back, nor do we really expect anything. Hey, it’s human nature to try to move quickly past the bad and refocus on the good. We wish them all luck in their future endeavors, whatever those may be.

It is rare these days when breweries close, though it does happen from time to time. If one counts Marble’s opening in 2008 as the start of the current boom, in that span only four other breweries — Hallenbrick, Bad Ass, Stumbling Steer, Broken Bottle — have closed in the Albuquerque area. As per usual, though, any closing creates some sort of “Is the bubble finally bursting?” type of story or comment online.

No, the bubble is not bursting.

The majority of the breweries in the ABQ area are doing just fine, thank you. None of them have had the type of ugly ownership dispute like Firkin did. When four people open a brewery, and it becomes two versus two before even six months have passed, it is not a good sign, needless to say.

Of course, there are plenty who would argue that Firkin was doomed from the beginning. It seemed to have everything lined up against it.

For a new brewery to succeed, it usually needs to be A) in a heavily foot-trafficked area such as downtown or Nob Hill, B) on a major commuter thoroughfare, C) in a brewery-laden area, but offering up something different beer-wise (not just theme-wise) than the other breweries in this area, or D) in an area with no other competing breweries. Comparing it to other breweries that opened in early 2016, Sidetrack is succeeding because it is downtown. Bow & Arrow is succeeding because lots of folks drive up and down 6th Street. Dialogue is succeeding because of its unique beer lineup. Starr Brothers is succeeding quite a ways away from any other notable brewery.

Firkin, on the other hand, was on an isolated street that did not connect to either nearby Comanche or Candelaria, in an industrial area with two award-winning powerhouse breweries (Canteen and La Cumbre) while offering up nothing particularly different in terms of its beer. Conceptually, a Prohibition era-themed brewery was not a bad idea, it was just located in the wrong place. That led to money problems, which led to the ownership dispute, which ultimately led to its untimely demised.

Albuquerque is still a metro area of 900,000 people with some 30 breweries. No, it does not have a great business rating, or a high per capita income, but there are still room for more breweries, and there will be more growth from the existing breweries.

Craft beer in New Mexico is just fine. This is just another minor blip on the screen.

New breweries update

Hops Brewery now has signage up on the front of its Nob Hill location on Central just west of Carlisle. We will head over there to talk to the owner when someone (me) is done submitting the final images and pages for a certain book.

Beer and a movie, anyone? (Photo courtesy of Flix Brewhouse)

Beer and a movie, anyone? (Photo courtesy of Flix Brewhouse)

Flix Brewhouse is still under construction on the West Side, but they have begun brewing their first batches of beer. Brewer Will Moorman and I have been in touch and once other parts of the building are done in about two weeks, the Crew will take a tour of the forthcoming movie theater with its own brewery. As for the beers we could make out from the labels on the Facebook photo of the taps, Satellite Red IPA, Lupulus IPA, Luna Rosa Wit, Umbra Chocostout, 10 Day Scottish Ale, Golden Ale, and Beer of the Dead (Brown Ale) appear to be on deck.

Blue Grasshopper told us that they hope to have their new taproom, on Coors north of Montano, open before the end of the year. We will have more on this for their upcoming entry in our Look Back/Look Ahead Series, which should be kicking off soon.

Drylands Brewing is now officially under construction in Lovington. Southeast New Mexico is still devoid of craft beer outside the existing places in Artesia (Desert Water and The Wellhead), Carlsbad (Milton’s), and Portales (Roosevelt). It is a little bit surprising that Lovington, best known as the hometown of Brian Urlacher, is getting a brewery before the much larger Hobbs or Roswell, but maybe the small town realized the value of beating those bigger towns to the punch.

Quick beer reviews

Again, if you are not following us on social media, you might have missed all the new beers I was able to get to this weekend. More await, of course, but there were too many intriguing newbies, old favorites, and a special one-off to not get out on the town.

A barrel-aged Scotch ale was sighted amid the chaos at Palmer Brewery's grand opening.

A barrel-aged Scotch ale was sighted amid the chaos at Palmer Brewery’s grand opening.

As always, these are my opinions, I am fully aware others may think the exact opposite. Please share your own thoughts on these beers once you have tried them as well.

  • La Negra, La Cumbre: This is the best version of the barrel-aged imperial stout yet. Grab two bombers, one to drink, one to age. Creamy yet boozy yet smooth yet thick, it is a wonderful batch.
  • Cockness Monster, Palmer: The grand opening was a zoo on Saturday, but luckily just as I walked inside I ran into brewer Rob Palmer. He poured me a 13-ounce glass of the rum-barrel-aged version of his Scotch ale. The rum did not overpower the beer, nor the other way around. It just blended beautifully, a good sipping beer amid the chaos. Congrats to Palmer on the opening.
  • Nitro Chai Chocolate Porter, Nexus: Before dinner arrived, I made sure to sample this fresh batch. The good news is the chai does not drown out the beer. On nitro, though, the beer almost came off as a little too thin on the mouthfeel. I would love to try it on CO2 some day. (Hint!)
  • Turkey Drool, Tractor: This is an annual fall favorite, and oh lordy, it did not disappoint. It starts off subtle, then does a mini-circle pit of spices and flavors on your palate. Let it warm just a tad for full effect. As someone else said, it’s everything good about Thanksgiving dessert in a glass.
  • Vanilla Mocha Double Porter, Red Door: Coffee! So. Much. Coffee! At least at the outset, so this is another one to let warm up a bit. The vanilla and mocha flavors are there, too, but the coffee is strong as can be. If nothing else, the small pour had me wide awake in time for that freaky storm to finally reach the brewery from the Lobo football game.
  • Clark IPA, Quarter Celtic: Before venturing off to help Franz Solo brew a beer (and by help I mostly mean stand there and drink and comment on our football teams’ terrible outings), we both visited QC for their New England-style hazy IPA. Breweries like Trillium, The Alchemist, and more have made this juicier, less bitter style of IPA quite popular in the Northeast, and now QC has brought it to the Southwest. We adored this beer. If you have loved some of the sweeter, maltier IPAs that Bosque has been specializing in of late, you will love this, too.

Now, if the breweries would just slow down a bit on releasing these outstanding beers so I can catch up … they won’t, will they? A beer writer’s work is never done.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister