Posts Tagged ‘Lagunitas’

Food trucks, beer, and (hopefully) nice weather are in store for this weekend. (Photo courtesy of Food Truck Festivals of America)

Food trucks, beer, and (hopefully) nice weather are in store for this weekend. (Photo courtesy of Food Truck Festivals of America)

The Great New Mexico Food Truck Festival returns to the grounds of the Balloon Museum on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. General admission tickets cost $5 in advance and $10 at the gate. There is also a VIP option for $20/$25 that gets you in at 11 a.m. (tickets were said to be limited, but there was nothing on their Facebook page about those selling out as of Friday afternoon).

In addition to all of the food trucks present, there will be quite a few craft beer options as well. It’s a distributor-controlled event, so there is not much local beer available. Abbey Brewing is sending Monks’ Ale, Dubbel, and Tripel. The De La Vega’s Pecan Beer is going to be there, along with a Hoppy Wheat. That mysterious Nuevo beer will be present. Rio Bravo is sending three beers, DRB IPA, Randy’s Red, and Old Town Porter.

As for the regional/national breweries, as provided by the event organizers (subject to change):

Avery — White Rascal, Ellie’s Brown, Raja DIPA, Lilikoi
Ballast Point — Pineapple Sculpin, Mango Even Keel, Watermelon Dorado
Boston Beer Co. — Sam Adams Grapefruit IPA, Nitro Belgian, Rebel Rouser IPA, Traveler Shandy
Breckenridge — IPA, Vanilla Porter, Oatmeal Stout
Guns and Oil — TBA
Lagunitas — IPA, Pilsner, Undercover Shutdown, Lil’ Sumpin’ Sumpin’
Latis (Belgium) — Rodenbach Grand Cru, Shoefferhofer, Radeberger
Leinenkugel — Summer Shandy, Blue Moon
SanTan — Moon Juice IPA, Hopshock IPA, Devil’s Pale Ale, Mr. Pineapple
Shiner — Kingpin Red, Wicked IPA, Prickly Pear
Sierra Nevada — Otra Vez Gose, Pale Ale, Torpedo IPA, Tropical IPA
Ska — Modus Mandarina, True Blonde, Mexican Logger
Squatters — Devastator Doppelbock, Hop Rising DIPA, Polygamy Nitro Porter
Upslope — Pale Ale, IPA, Craft Lager, Belgian Pale Ale
Wasatch — Apricot Wheat, Ghost Rider White IPA

Of course, we also figure you want the food truck list, so here is what they sent us:

  • Ay K Rico
  • Basil’s Home Cooking
  • Bill’s BBQ & Kettle Corn
  • Big Dogs BBQ
  • Brooke’s Carryout
  • Calle Ocho
  • Castaneda’s Kitchen and Catering
  • Europa Roaming Kitchen
  • Fresco New Mexico
  • GOTTAHAVSUM
  • Hot Stuff Hawaiian Shaved Ice
  • Irrational Pie
  • Karibu Café
  • Kimo’s Hawaiian BBQ
  • My Sweet Basil
  • Mystique
  • O’Bean’s Coffee Cruiser
  • Ready to Roll
  • Rescue Pizza
  • Snow Cone Xpress
  • Street Food Institute
  • StreetFoodBlvd
  • TeddyLu Concessions
  • Texas Roadside Diner LLC
  • The Lunch Box

Just don’t forget your sunscreen, and carpooling is recommended if anyone remembers the parking situation from the last few festivals in that area.

Have fun this weekend, everyone!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

How I really won in Vegas

Posted: August 28, 2015 by amyotravel in News, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,
The beer is better, the lighting is not. Ah, casinos!

The beer is better, the lighting is not. Ah, casinos!

Hello, all. I just got back from Vegas and I have some exciting news for you. I had heard a rumor just before I left for my trip that Mandalay Bay casino was starting to serve craft beers on the casino floor. I could barely contain my excitement. Of course, this beer traveler had to take one for the team and check it out in person. (Oh, yeah, that’s taking one for the team, going to Vegas and all. — S)

I can confirm from my own personal experience this week that this is indeed true. Now, usually, when gambling at any of the Vegas casinos, the selection of free-while-gambling-beer is very limited. We consider it pretty “lucky” when we have more choices than Corona, Heineken, or Bud Light. If I can get a Dos Equis, I will on occasion settle for that, but usually I just get a vodka drink instead.

The craft beer list now available at Mandalay Bay.

The beer list now has some outstanding craft entries available at Mandalay Bay.

As excited as I was about this new development, I did start to question my sanity after having a couple of excellent (read: also much higher ABV) craft beers while gambling. The good thing is that since I somehow wisely didn’t carry a wallet/purse with me that afternoon. I was limited to spending only the cash I had in my pockets. Whew, that saved me from what might have been really dangerous.

If this works out for the Mandalay Bay Casino like I think it will, the practice will likely spread pretty quickly throughout the Strip. That would be great fun for craft beer lovers; but I do advise you to please proceed with caution, dear readers! Stay safe and practice responsible gaming.

Winning!

— AmyO

And so it begins!

Beyond the usual tastings and tappings, you can learn more about beer from the brewers themselves today.

It can be hard to single out a theme on each day of Beer Week, but sometimes there are things that stand out amid all the various tappings, tastings, and food/beer pairings. For instance, today there are two chances to learn from brewing representatives about the beer you are drinking. Head to Chama River to learn about the process of brewing their sour, Plum Goodness, from brewer Zach Guilmette. (We will have a full preview later today.) Or you can go to Torino’s and learn about the various Abbey Brewing creations from their representatives.

Beyond that there is more fun scheduled for Nob Hill Bar & Grill, El Pinto, Rock & Brews, Gecko’s, Two Fools, Cazuela’s, Jubilation, O’Niell’s Nob Hill, Sister, and our featured event at Ponderosa. So many events, so little time. Divide and conquer!

Featured event

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

What: Rauchfest. Where: Ponderosa Brewing. When: All day. Cost: No cover charge.

Details: A festival of smoke! Ponderosa will be hosting Rauchfest, debuting a traditional Rauchweizen. Comprising of mostly smoked wheat (oak smoked), some smoked barley (beech smoked), and Munich malt with a banana/clove flavor from the hefeweizen yeast. It should come in around 5.5-percent ABV with a low IBU, but it will be a truly smoked beer, with lots of flavor. You can play cornhole all day and Chef Tanner will have smoked brats and some other smoked goodies to accompany the beer. Plus, Ponderosa will have Dos Pendejos performing live in the evening from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Why you should go: Live music, a new beer, and excellent Ponderosa food. There are worse ways to spend part of your evening. Or go earlier for just the beer and food.

All the other great events

What: Santa Fe Brewing Special Tapping. Where: Gecko’s (both locations). When: 11 a.m. Details: The new Session Ale will be tapped at Gecko’s in Nob Hill and the one on Academy. Why you should go: New beer (it was popular at Blues & Brews) plus awesome food. Happy lunch break!

What: Thirsty Thursday Beer & Pizza Special. Where: Cazuela’s. When: 2 to 6 p.m. Cost: $7.99. Details: You get an 8-inch pizza of your choice paired with either Acapulco Gold, Piedra del Fuego (our pick), or Panama Red. Why you should go: If you are out on the west side and looking for something to eat and drink before heading into town for the other events, how can you beat this offer?

What: Tractor Tap Takeover and Special Release. Where: Rock & Brews. When: 3 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: There will be lots of Tractor beers on tap. We have no idea which ones. Why you should go: It’s a mystery! Go indulge.

What: Odell Sampling. Where: Jubilation. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager Tasting. Where: Total Wine (both locations). When: 4 to 6 p.m. (both locations) Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Dogs Drink Free Happy Hour. Where: El Pinto. When: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: No, that’s not a typo, your dogs can drink for free on the patio at El Pinto from today through Thursday. They will have Bowser Beer, a special alcohol-free beer made specifically for dogs. As for humans, there will be four Lagunitas beers for you — Cappuccino Stout, Equinox Pale Oat Ale, Brown Shugga’ Barleywine, and the special limited release of Waldo 4/20. Why you should go: Awesome new Lagunitas beers and old favorites, plus a chance to relax with your best friend. Throw in some delicious El Pinto food and it all adds up to a great afternoon.

What: Odell Special Tapping and Takeover. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Once again, NHBG makes us all proud. In addition to stalwart 90 Schilling, you can get French{hop}Connection (saison), Perle White IPA, Fernet Aged Porter, and the exclusive Barrel Thief Imperial IPA aged in oak barrels. Why you should go: With that lineup, everyone should go home happy. Throw in food and sports on TV and you’re a winner, guaranteed.

What: Boulder Beer Special Tapping. Where: Sister Bar. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: An unknown Boulder Beer will be tapped at Sister. Why you should go: Solve the mystery.

What: Plum Goodness Release Party. Where: Chama River. When: 5 to 6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: See our separate preview that will run later today. Why you should go: Enhance your beer knowledge while drinking beer. Plus, lots of food options and sports on TV.

What: Marble Beer Dinner. Where: Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm. When: 5:30 to 9 p.m. Cost: The event is sold out, but contact Los Poblanos (505-344-9297) to get on their waiting list. Tickets are $65. Details: Live music, specials, unique beers, and more at Los Poblanos, with a reception from 5:30 to 6 and dinner afterward. Why you should go: Take a chance, see if you can make the list, then enjoy great food paired with great beer.

What: Alaskan Tap Invasion. Where: Bubba’s 33. When: 6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Alaskan beers will be on tap at the eatery along I-25 near Chama River. Why you should go: If you love Alaskan beers and classic American food, go for it.

What: Second Annual New Belgium Frozen T-Shirt Contest. Where: Monte Vista Fire Station. When: 6 p.m. Cost: Inquire at the door. Details: For the second time, the folks from New Belgium are giving folks a chance to win a special NB bicycle. All you have to do is unwrap a completely frozen T-shirt faster than everyone else. Why you should go: We had some friends who nearly won this last year. So go test your frozen-shirt-unwrapping skills. It’s harder than it looks.

UPDATED >>> What: Odell Special Firkin Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Friend of the Crew Tony Calder informs us that it will be a Mango Habanero IPA in the cask tonight. Well now, that just sounds like a flavor combo for the ages. Why you should go: Unleash this crazy beer upon your taste buds, plus snag some good food while you are there.

What: Second Annual Sierra Nevada Sausage & Cheese Tasting. Where: O’Niell’s Nob Hill. When: 6 to 8 p.m. Cost: $5 for sausage and cheese tray (beer not included). Please reserve tickets by calling (505) 255-6782. Details: Buy a tray of sausage and cheese, then go off the list of suggestions with which Sierra Nevada beers go best with which food items. Why you should go: Expand your palate, but fear not if you are unconvinced, we have a review of the previous event at O’Niell’s Juan Tabo up on our site today from one of our new correspondents.

What: Beer on the Patio. Where: Torino’s. When: 6:30 p.m. Cost: $25 per person, call Torino’s at (505) 797-4491 to reserve your spot. Details: Torino’s is hosting a four-course pairing of Monks’ Ales with cured meats, cheeses, and fine breads. Featured beers will include Monks’ Ale, Tripel, Dubbel, and Golden Ale (Krystal Weisse). Abbey Brewing reps will be on hand to give a master speech and answer your questions. Why you should go: Learn more about these unique beers while enjoying some delicious food.

What: Beer Bike 5K. Where: Civic Plaza. When: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Cost: $30, with tickets available online here. Details: Hope on board the Duke City Pedaler at Civic Plaza and ride it around to Marble, Tractor Wells Park, and Back Alley Draft House. You get member prices at each location. This even will repeat Wednesday and Thursday. Why you should go: Burn off some beer calories while, um, adding more beer calories! Hey, it’s a win-win, plus it is one of the most fun and unique ways to enjoy a mini-pub crawl. Just be prepared, it’s a little over 3 miles in length and the DCP is tougher to pedal than it looks. You’ll get a good workout plus good beer.

What: pLOUD Music Series. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 8 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Felix y Los Gatos will perform live. Why you should go: Chill out with some good music and beer.

Special ongoing events

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

Brewery Scavenger Hunt at lululemon athletica at ABQ Uptown
Where: lululemon athletica ABQ Uptown and various other participating sites. When: Today through May 31. What: Pick up a scavenger pass at lululemon and head to six of nine participating locations. Take photos with your pass at the locations and then bring it all back to lululemon to be redeemed for a special pint glass. Participating sites: Routes Bicycle Rentals & Tours, Duke City Trolley, Tractor, La Cumbre, Red Door, Marble, Chama River, The Grain Station, Rock & Brews

Smoked Meats Week
Where: Sandia Chile Grill When: 3 to 8 p.m., from today through Saturday, May 30
What: Beer and smoked meat pairing; beers are $3.50 per pint, $6 per 10-ounce mead sample
Today — Smoked Salmon Platter, Red Ranger Irish Red
Friday — Stuffed Avocado Street Tacos, Rattlesnake IPA
Saturday — Smoked Meat Sample Platter, Rattlesnake and Red Ranger and Milk Stout ($3 per 10-ounce)

* * * * *

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

And so it begins!

So much food and beer combos today, we’ll almost need another Brew Dash to work it all off.

If Tuesday got you back into the swing of things for ABQ Beer Week, then Wednesday is about to punch you in the face. There are a ton of events today, from tastings to a whole lot of beer dinners or special beer/food pairings. Picking one out of the bunch was difficult, if not impossible, so despite the headline above our featured event is not actually a beer/food event. But hey, you can still go experience the fun at Marble Westside, 5 Star Burgers in the NE Heights, and the Sandia and Downs Casinos.

Beyond all that there is more fun scheduled for Nob Hill Bar & Grill, The Grain Station, El Pinto, Rock & Brews, M’Tucci’s, Gecko’s, Two Fools, both Tractor locations, and our pick at Canteen Brewhouse. Now is the time to call in that favor for a designated driver, or cough up the money for a cab or Uber. There is just too much going on today. Deep breath. Ready?

Featured event

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

What: Canteen Barleywine 2012 Release. Where: Canteen Brewhouse. When: Noon to close. Cost: No cover charge.

Details: This is the first of several special beer releases at Canteen beyond last week’s Hopspitality IPA and 505 Collaboration session IPA. First up, they have dipped into the cellar and found some of their Barleywine from 2012. This is almost-three-year-0ld beer. It’s big, it’s malty, and it’s been aged, and as anyone who loves beer knows, the bigger and maltier the better it ages. This is decadence in a glass, and it’s only the start of what they have to offer to close out Beer Week.

Why you should go: Grab a sandwich or a beer sponge, snag a glass of this aged wonder, and enjoy your afternoon. Oh, come on, work can wait.

All the other great events

What: Schofferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen Tasting. Where: Total Wine (both locations). When: 1 to 3 p.m. (Cottonwood), 4 to 6 p.m. (Uptown). Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Santa Fe Sampling. Where: Total Wine Cottonwood. When: 3 to 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Santa Fe Special Cask and Widmer Brothers Tapping. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 4 p.m. (SFBC), 6:30 p.m. (Widmer). Cost: No cover charge. Details: First up, a hopped-up cask of delicious Black IPA, with a SFBC rep on hand to chat about that beer and more. After that, Widmer’s Russian Imperial Stout with raspberries will be on tap. Why you should go: Drink great beer and learn about great beer. Throw in some food and sports on TV and you have it made.

What: Beer, Cheese, & More. Where: Marble Westside. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: $20, make reservations in advance via the Marble website. Details: Just like they did downtown last week, Marble will be busting out trays of food paired with their beers. The pairings are the same as last time, but we know many of you missed it, so head on over. As a bonus, Le Chat Lunatique will provide the music. Why you should go: Seriously, if you missed round one, you missed a great time. Get on over there.

What: Odell Sampling. Where: Total Wine Uptown. When: 4 to 6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Widmer Brothers Tap Takeover. Where: The Grain Station. When: 4 to 6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Widmer’s famous Hefe will be on tap, along with Upheaval IPA and the new Hefe Shandy. Why you should go: If you like Widmer beers and brats, you’ll pretty much be in heaven here.

What: Dogs Drink Free Happy Hour. Where: El Pinto. When: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: No, that’s not a typo, your dogs can drink for free on the patio at El Pinto from today through Thursday. They will have Bowser Beer, a special alcohol-free beer made specifically for dogs. As for humans, there will be four Lagunitas beers for you — Cappuccino Stout, Equinox Pale Oat Ale, Brown Shugga’ Barleywine, and the special limited release of Waldo 4/20. Why you should go: Awesome new Lagunitas beers and old favorites, plus a chance to relax with your best friend. Throw in some delicious El Pinto food and it all adds up to a great afternoon.

What: Lagunitas Tap Takeover. Where: Rock & Brews. When: 5 to 9 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: There will be an unknown number of Lagunitas beers on tap at R&B on Montgomery just west of San Mateo. Why you should go: Rock out with some Lagunitas. Plus, solve the mystery of what they’re bringing by going and telling the rest of us.

What: Tractor Specialty Beer Release. Where: M’Tucci’s Kitchina Italian Restaurant. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The new batch of Berliner Weisse will make its debut. Why you should go: Grab some delicious Italian food with a tart pint of Berliner.

What: Red Door Tap Takeover. Where: Gecko’s (both locations). When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: A selection of Red Door beers will on tap at Gecko’s Nob Hill and Gecko’s Academy. Why you should go: Get some tapas and see how it pairs up with one of our best local breweries’ creations.

What: New Belgium Special Tapping. Where: Two Fools. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Old favorite 1554 Black Ale, plus a Lips of Faith series beer, and a third, experimental style will all be tapped. Why you should go: Figure out the mystery beers, or just enjoy some 1554, while chowing down on fish and chips or beef boxty, depending on your preference.

What: 5 Star Burgers Event. Where: 5 Star Burgers at Academy and Wyoming. When: 6 p.m. Cost: $18, plus optional dessert for $2 extra. Details: It’s another food-and-beer pairing event, so prep your palate. Chile strips with La Cumbre South Peak Pilsner; Sweet potato fries with Marble Double White; Green Chile Turkey Slider with La Cumbre Elevated IPA; BBQ pork slider with Marble Red; Burger slider with Santa Fe Nut Brown. Why you should go: Look at all that wonderful food paired with wonderful beer. These things don’t happen often in the Northeast Heights, so head on over.

What: Beer Bike 5K. Where: Civic Plaza. When: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Cost: $30, with tickets available online here. Details: Hope on board the Duke City Pedaler at Civic Plaza and ride it around to Marble, Tractor Wells Park, and Back Alley Draft House. You get member prices at each location. This even will repeat Wednesday and Thursday. Why you should go: Burn off some beer calories while, um, adding more beer calories! Hey, it’s a win-win, plus it is one of the most fun and unique ways to enjoy a mini-pub crawl. Just be prepared, it’s a little over 3 miles in length and the DCP is tougher to pedal than it looks. You’ll get a good workout plus good beer.

What: Art Fight hosted by James Montoya. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Come watch some of the best visual artists in the city create paintings live. Buy some beer to win a chance to vote for your favorite painting. At the end of the show, the painter with the most votes wins and gets to collect the entry fees from everyone else. Why you should go: Support the local arts community with a pint or two in hand. Sounds like a win-win.

What: Alaskan Beer Dinner. Where: Council Room at Sandia Casino. When: 7 p.m. Cost: None listed, call (505) 798-3961 for RSVP and price. Details: It’s a beer dinner featuring Alaskan beers. Beyond that, there was no other information listed. Why you should go: It’s a mystery as to the food and beer pairings. Go solve it for us.

What: Monks’ Ale Beer Dinner. Where: The Crown Room at the Downs Casino. When: 7 p.m. Cost: $44.99, call (505) 767-7166 for reservations. Details: A four-course beer dinner will be paired with five different beers from Abbey Brewing. Why you should go: Once again, it’s a mystery as to the food-beer pairings, so go solve it for those of us who are too pour to spend that much money.

What: Tractor Special Beer Release. Where: Tractor Nob Hill. When: 8:30 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Dos Pendejos (Jerel Garci and Buddha Benavidez of Reviva!) will perform live, while Tractor puts a special mystery beer on tap. Why you should go: Once again, solve the mystery, plus listen to some great tunes.

Special ongoing events

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

Brewery Scavenger Hunt at lululemon athletica at ABQ Uptown
Where: lululemon athletica ABQ Uptown and various other participating sites. When: Today through May 31. What: Pick up a scavenger pass at lululemon and head to six of nine participating locations. Take photos with your pass at the locations and then bring it all back to lululemon to be redeemed for a special pint glass. Participating sites: Routes Bicycle Rentals & Tours, Duke City Trolley, Tractor, La Cumbre, Red Door, Marble, Chama River, The Grain Station, Rock & Brews

Smoked Meats Week
Where: Sandia Chile Grill When: 3 to 8 p.m., from today through Saturday, May 30
What: Beer and smoked meat pairing; beers are $3.50 per pint, $6 per 10-ounce mead sample
Today — Stuffed Avocado Street Tacos, Gold Rush Pilsner
Thursday — Smoked Salmon Platter, Red Ranger Irish Red
Friday — Stuffed Avocado Street Tacos, Rattlesnake IPA
Saturday — Smoked Meat Sample Platter, Rattlesnake and Red Ranger and Milk Stout ($3 per 10-ounce)

* * * * *

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

And so it begins!

Get your geek-on with the Crew!

Anyone else need a vacation after the three-day weekend? Yeah, it was jam-packed with beer events, from the two festivals Sunday to Monday’s Battle of the Beer Geeks II (congrats to the Babes in Brewland on their victory). Now it’s back to a simpler slate of tastings and tappings across town.

Today features special events at The Grain Station, El Pinto, Farm & Table, 5 Star Burgers, Bistronomy B2B, and more usual haunts such as Two Fools, Rock & Brews, Tractor Wells Park, and Nob Hill Bar & Grill.

Featured event

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

What: Lagunitas and Upslope Special Tappings. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge.

Details: Once again, bar manager Thomas DeCaro is pulling out all the stops to bring us great beer. Upslope is bringing two new beers to tap here in ABQ in the form of the Yirgacheffe Coffee Dubbel, a coffee-infused Belgian-style beer brewed in collaboration with Dragonfly Coffee Roasters (which is adjacent to one of Upslope’s taprooms in Colorado). That will be paired alongside the Japanese Dry Lager, made with jasmine and Sorachi Ace hops. At the same time, Lagunitas has their IPA, double dry-hopped, on cask.

Why you should go: Two brand-new beers to New Mexico, plus a hopped-up version of a hugely popular IPA. Throw in some great NHBG food and you have a good way to spend an otherwise quiet Tuesday evening.

All the other great events

NEW EVENT >>> What: Santa Fe Special Tapping. Where: Gecko’s (both locations). When: 11 a.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: SFBC’s new Session Ale will be tapped at both Gecko’s, NE Heights and Nob Hill. Why you should go: A new beer that’s big on flavor, light on ABV, would pair nicely with Gecko’s food for lunch.

What: Stone Stochasticity Project Tasting. Where: Total Wine (both locations). When: 1 to 3 p.m. (Cottonwood), 4 to 6 p.m. (Uptown). Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Santa Fe Sampling. Where: Total Wine Uptown. When: 2 to 4 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Alaskan Sampling. Where: Total Wine Uptown. When: 3 to 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Tupac Tuesday with Tractor. Where: The Grain Station. When: 3 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Tractor has brewed up a fresh batch of Tupac Cali Red and is taking it over to The Grain Station, where they will have it on tap to go with their great food. There will be some live art as well. Why you should go: Enjoy a quality beer with some quality food and pull of a two-for-one in terms of supporting local businesses.

What: Dogs Drink Free Happy Hour. Where: El Pinto. When: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: No, that’s not a typo, your dogs can drink for free on the patio at El Pinto from today through Thursday. They will have Bowser Beer, a special alcohol-free beer made specifically for dogs. As for humans, there will be four Lagunitas beers for you — Cappuccino Stout, Equinox Pale Oat Ale, Brown Shugga’ Barleywine, and the special limited release of Waldo 4/20. Why you should go: Awesome new Lagunitas beers and old favorites, plus a chance to relax with your best friend. Throw in some delicious El Pinto food and it all adds up to a great afternoon.

What: Alaskan Tap Takeover and Special Release. Where: Rock & Brews. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Music for What ALES You. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Local musician Casey Mraz will provide the tunes, while you can purchase special beer and grilled cheese pairings from the Cheesy Street outside for just $13. Why you should go: Delicious grilled cheese offerings paired with Tractor beers while live music is playing. Sounds like a chill out and relax kind of event, if you ask us.

What: Kona, Redhook, and Widmer Brothers Sampling. Where: Total Wine Uptown. When: 5 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Marble and Farm & Table Beer and Food Pairings. Where: Farm & Table. When: 6 p.m. Cost: $50 for six beer tickets and a four-course meal. Details: Farm & Table will host a Spring BBQ event with five different Marble beers on tap — Pilsner, Wildflower Wheat, Oatmeal Stout, Maibock, IPA. There will be stationary appetizer trays of cheeses, chicken wings, and other finger foods. There will also be house-made brats, with baked beans, potato salad, and fresh green salad. There will also be dessert in the form of double chocolate cupcakes with a stout caramel cream (yum). In addition to the food and beer, there will be some games in the courtyard and a live band, Next Three Miles. Why you should go: Food, games, beer, music, it’s like a midweek party that you’ll probably need. Call (505) 503-7123 or email reserve@farmandtable.com for reservations.

What: Goose Island Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 6 to 8 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: We are blessed again to have more Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout on tap at the tavern. Why you should go: The Bourbon County series is the best thing that Goose Island makes, plus you can chow down on some great food while you enjoy a glass.

What: 5 Star Burgers presents an evening with Craft King. Where: 5 Star Burgers Old Town (next door to the Draft Station). When: 6 to 9 p.m. Cost: $20. Details: How about five delicious food items paired with craft beer, plus having Albuquerque’s Craft King (our friend Angelo Orona) on hand to answer all of your beer questions? Sounds like a great way to spend your evening. The food/beer pairings are Potato Chips topped with a gorgonzola drizzle paired with Bosque Lager; Taos Slider paired with Marble Red; Teriyaki Slider paired with Boxing Bear Paw Swipe Pale Ale; BBQ Slider paired with Santa Fe Nut Brown; Sweet Potato served with a Sweet Maple Cream paired with Oskar Blues Old Chub Scotch Ale. Why you should go: Expand your beer knowledge while drinking delicious beers and eating amazing food.

What: Beer Bike 5K. Where: Civic Plaza. When: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Cost: $30, with tickets available online here. Details: Hope on board the Duke City Pedaler at Civic Plaza and ride it around to Marble, Tractor Wells Park, and Back Alley Draft House. You get member prices at each location. This even will repeat Wednesday and Thursday. Why you should go: Burn off some beer calories while, um, adding more beer calories! Hey, it’s a win-win, plus it is one of the most fun and unique ways to enjoy a mini-pub crawl. Just be prepared, it’s a little over 3 miles in length and the DCP is tougher to pedal than it looks. You’ll get a good workout plus good beer.

What: Burgers and Brews. Where: Bistronomy B2B. When: 7 p.m. Cost: None listed. Details: Enjoy some great burgers and some of B2B’s best beers paired together. If you buy a B2B beer, you get a special Yelp! glass. The B2B brewers will be on hand to talk about their creations. Why you should go: B2B always has great food, plus some really unique and different beers. If you have never gone, head over to Central.

Special ongoing events

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

Brewery Scavenger Hunt at lululemon athletica at ABQ Uptown
Where: lululemon athletica ABQ Uptown and various other participating sites. When: Today through May 31. What: Pick up a scavenger pass at lululemon and head to six of nine participating locations. Take photos with your pass at the locations and then bring it all back to lululemon to be redeemed for a special pint glass. Participating sites: Routes Bicycle Rentals & Tours, Duke City Trolley, Tractor, La Cumbre, Red Door, Marble, Chama River, The Grain Station, Rock & Brews

Smoked Meats Week
Where: Sandia Chile Grill When: 3 to 8 p.m., from today through Saturday, May 30
What: Beer and smoked meat pairing; beers are $3.50 per pint, $6 per 10-ounce mead sample
Today — Potato Stuffer, Barb’s Barrel Hefeweizen
Wednesday — Stuffed Avocado Street Tacos, Gold Rush Pilsner
Thursday — Smoked Salmon Platter, Red Ranger Irish Red
Friday — Stuffed Avocado Street Tacos, Rattlesnake IPA
Saturday — Smoked Meat Sample Platter, Rattlesnake and Red Ranger and Milk Stout ($3 per 10-ounce)

* * * * *

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Marchfest5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marchfest2

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

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

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

Marchfest4

Some of the sights and beers.

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

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

Marchfest1

Look, proof of all the happy people!

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

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

Marchfest3

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

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

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

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

DSBC: What was the biggest success of this year?

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

DSBC: Anything you would do differently next year?

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

* * * * *

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

Cheers!

— Luke

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

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

Beer festivals are usually held at hotels, casinos, convention centers, parking lots, and a whole lot of other nondescript places. So whoever thought “we should have a festival at the ABQ BioPark Zoo” deserves a medal. One of the most unique settings we have ever heard of will host Lions, Tigers, & Beers this Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m.

Grab a brew at the zoo!

Grab a brew at the zoo!

Proceeds will benefit the ABQ BioPark Society, a non-profit group that supports the Zoo, Aquarium, Botanical Garden, and Tingley Beach. You can purchase your tickets online. For $25 you get a sampling glass, beer samples, and admission to the Zoo, plus there will be food available for separate purchase. For $45 you get Suds and Grub, which gets you both food and beer. Taking a big group? A six-pack of tickets can be had for a discounted $135. There is also a $10 designated driver ticket. This is a 21-and-over-only event, so sorry, you can’t let the kids wave at the lions while you sample IPAs.

As we do with any festival preview, we get a list of the participating breweries and a list of the beers they’re bringing. Only Ponderosa Brewing did not have a list for the event organizers, but they said on Facebook they are bringing four beers (hopefully one of those will be their new pumpkin beer).

Here’s who’s coming and what they are reportedly bringing.

Abbey Brewing: Monks’ Ale, Monks’ Tripel

Ace Ciders: Perry Cider, Joker Cider, Pumpkin Cider

Big Sky: Moose Drool Brown Ale, Slow Elk Oatmeal Stout, Scape Goat Pale Ale

Black Diamond: White Witch IPA, Mosaic IPA

Boulder: Shake Chocolate Porter, Hazed & Infused, Sweaty Betty

Breckenridge: Vanilla Porter, Lucky U IPA

Bridgeport: Kingpin Red, Trilogy #2 IPA

Deschutes: Fresh Squeezed IPA, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Twilight Ale

Full Sail: Amber, Cascade Pils, Session Red

Lagunitas: Daytime IPA, Imperial Red

Leinenkugels: Orange Shandy, Sunshine Wheat

Magic Hat: IPL, Wilhelm Screamer

Marble: IPA, Red, Pilsner

New Belgium: beers will be from their current Folly Pack

Nuevo: Nuevo (whatever this is, we have no idea)

Oskar Blues: Dale’s Pale Ale, Mama’s Little Yellow Pils, Old Chub Scotch Ale

Pedernales: Lobo Lager, Lobo Lito, Lobo Negro, Lobo Hefe

Ponderosa: four beers TBA

Pyramid: IPA, Oktoberfest

Radeberger: Shoefferhofer, Pilsner

Samuel Adams: Oktoberfest, Harvest Pumpkin

Santa Fe: Happy Camper IPA, State Pen Porter

Shiner: Bohemian Black Lager, Oktoberfest

Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande: Bonechiller Brown, Sun Chaser Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada: Pale Ale, Torpedo IPA

Squatters/Wasatch: Wee Peat Scotch Ale, Bumper Crop

Stone: Coffee Milk Stout, Hibiscusicity (Belgian-style ale), IPA

Have fun out there. Just remember, tigers don’t drink beer. But they will eat people, so don’t go stumble into their enclosure.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Oh, Hopfest, you lovely giant beer festival, you have returned. It’s Lucky No. 7 for Hopfest, which returns to the Isleta Casino this Saturday. Tickets are still available online today (Friday). They go up in price at the door ($35 for general admission, $45 for Extra Hoppy Hour), so we highly recommend you get them online while you still can. And if any are left (it was 85-percent sold out Thursday morning), get those Extra Hoppy Hour tickets. It’s worth it to pay a little extra to have an hour (2-3 p.m.) of shorter lines. Pick out the beers or breweries you absolutely, positively have to try and hit those first.

So many beers, so little time. Again.

So many beers, so little time. Again.

Event organizer Marne Gaston had to put together a lot of this from afar — her family actually moved to Sarasota, Florida, earlier this year — but she said no one should worry, all is well.

“Well, we started a year ago, so the long-distance part just started happening,” she said. “I mean, it’s gone really well. It’s lucky number seven, we have 70 breweries, seven bands … actually, we have 74 breweries. That’s 12 more than last year.”

Ah, but what beers are out there? There’s over 70 breweries present at Hopfest this season, so it’s a lot to sort through. Being Hopfest veterans, the Crew is here to help, as always. Hopfest is divided into two rooms and an outdoor area. We prefer to hit the smaller room on the right side as you walk down the main hall. It gets really crowded once the GA folks are let inside, so hit those breweries first. From there, pick your favorites in the huge main room on the left side. As the GA folks pour in at 3 p.m., head to the outside and enjoy the fresh air and good beers out there.

So by room, here are the breweries to visit and the beers they’re expected to bring. We realize a lot of these beers lists may change by the time the kegs are tapped.

“Part of the problem is I’m bugging them to get their information way in advance so we can get it in the event program,” Marne said. “Whatever information we can get in advance, it helps people plan their day, makes it more fun.”

We did our best to make sure we had up-to-date lists for all the New Mexico breweries present, but a few of them did not have time to get back to us. Nonetheless, this is a listing of the beers we’re targeting. It does not include every brewery present, so there are some you may wish to seek out in addition to these.

UPDATED: As I was helping Marne set things up at Hopfest on Friday, we all found out that Cazuela’s is no longer attending, but Ponderosa is. So where it shows Cazuela’s on the map inside your program, that’s now Ponderosa. Also, we got an updated list from Pi Brewing.

Premier Stage/Side room breweries

Durango Brewing: They’re bringing Durango Dark Lager. That’s all I need.

Eel River: They’re that brewery that does all organic beers. Gotta admit, kinda curious what the heck an Organic Acai Berry Wheat tastes like.

These three lunkheads will be back at Hopfest. Will you?

These three lunkheads will be back at Hopfest. Will you?

Erdinger/Krombacher: These two classic German breweries are bringing some of their wares overseas. Erdinger specializes in weissbier. Krombacher has a weizen as well, plus a pilsner and a dark lager.

Grain Hopper: The Rio Rancho-based home brewing store has concocted a trio of beers. White Knight (Belgian Wit), Over the Pond (Pale Ale), and Hoptoberfest will be available. Looking forward to the last of those three.

Mad River: Never pass up Steelhead Extra Stout. Never.

Mother Road: The Lost Highway Black IPA is some epic stuff. I’m also quite intrigued to try the Red Rye IPA. Beyond those, a Mother Road rep contacted us to say they’re also bringing something special in a Randall, something else in a cask, and a third beer that’s been barrel aged. Oh, you are much to good to us, supreme lord of the Flagstaff brewing scene. WE’RE NOT WORTHY!

Ponderosa: They just signed up Friday. We don’t know what they’re bringing, but we’ll stop by and see what they’ve got.

Total Wine collective: The jumbo beer store is bringing three unique beers — Clown Shoes’ Crunkle Sam (barleywine), Pike’s Naughty Nelly (a gold artisinal ale, whatever that means), and Laughing Dog’s Sneaky Pete, which sounds like a DIPA and checks in at 10 percent ABV.

Cider-palooza: You know that Johnny Appleseed badge on Untappd? You can start leveling up on that there’s so many cideries here. There are going to be four alone in the side room, including Green Goblin and Thistly Cross.

Main room breweries

Alaskan: We’ve always enjoyed the Amber and Freeride APA. The seasonal they’re bringing is their Pumpkin Porter.

Back Alley: Addison actually ran out of beer downtown because he was saving up for Hopfest. He didn’t get us an updated list, but we have a feeling it will be more than just the Soroche IPA and Berliner Weisse.

Black Diamond: The NorCal brewery with a brewer from ABQ (he and Franz Solo actually went to high school together … this town is so small) is bringing four of its best. If you have never tried the Fracas Imperial Red or the Peak XV Imperial Porter, you’ve been missing out.

Bridgeport: The Oregon brewery has something called Trilogy #2 Aussie Salute, an IPA made with two American hops and two Australian hops. Fair enough, we’ll give it a try.

In 2012, the crazy lines were for Boar's Nest. We expect Pi and Red Door to get huge lines this time.

In 2012, the crazy lines were for Boar’s Nest. We expect Pi and Red Door to get huge lines this time.

Chama River: The Brew Crew’s hefeweizen challenge champion, Hefe Nice Day! will be available, along with the delicious Hardscrabble ESB.

Dukes of Ale: They usually bring several top-notch home brews for us all to try, with patrons getting to vote for the favorite as best of show.

Lagunitas: An Imperial Red, you say? Why yes, I’d love to see what this hop-centric California brewery does with one of those.

Magic Hat: These guys always get points for sheer naming creativity. The scored again with Wilhelm Screamer, their seasonal pumpkin release.

NM Craft Brewing: There’s no entry in the event program, but fear not, the NMCBC folks got back to us on the five beers they have coming down from Las Vegas. On the way are a Session IPA, Rye Pale Ale, Wet and Wild IPA (made with fresh-picked hops; last year’s batch was wholly unique and awesome), Porter, and Cream Ale. Guess we’ll have to try ’em all. Shucks.

Odell: Just when I thought I had all of their beers, they go and bust out Gramps Oatmeal Stout. That sounds surly and mean. Woots.

Pagosa: Mrs. Solo and her dear husband (who’s stuck at the Apple Store during iPhone release weekend; raise a pint in his honor wherever you are) have long sworn by this lovely brewery from southern Colorado. How much do they love it? They claim Pagosa has a better Chile Verde Cerveza than any NM brewery. The good news is you can see if they’re right, because it’s on the menu.

Pi: Hey, remember a couple years ago when the lines for Boar’s Nest were crazy as everyone eagerly anticipated it was opening soon? Well, sadly, it never did, but Pi is one of two new ABQ breweries at Hopfest this year that actually is open already. They’re bringing their West Coast Red, Unchallenged IPA, Apricot Wheat, and a special Bourbon Vanilla Porter.

Red Door: The other new brewery in town is already seeing huge crowds and positive buzz, even among the most discerning of beer drinkers. The Trapdoor Wheat was listed in the event program, but as it’s not ready at the brewery, it won’t be present at Hopfest, either. Don’t fret, the excellent Roamer Red, Threshold IPA, and Unhinged Cider will still be there for your tasting enjoyment.

Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca: The award-winning Nut Brown and the Alien Imperial Stout, their two best beers in our humble opinion, will be present.

Sandia Chile Grill: The Rattlesnake IPA will not be available, as listed in the program. Brew Crew Bullpen member Amy O had stopped by SCG to get a list (and a try a pint or two). They will be bringing their Smoked Stout and Barb’s Barrel Hefeweizen, plus two of Clint’s award-winning meads. Be forewarned, the melomel mead checks in at 14 percent ABV.

Santa Fe: It looks like they’re just bringing the usual suspects (Java Stout, Happy Camper IPA, Oktoberfest, Nut Brown), but it’s always worth stopping by to see if anything special is lurking.

Ska: It’s been a while since I had a Pinstripe Red Ale, so I suppose I can stop by. Would rather have a Steel Toe Stout, which isn’t listed.

Squatters/Wasatch: Been meaning to try the Squatters Wee Peat Scottish Ale, so here’s a good opportunity.

Stumbling Steer: Get your hop bomb on with the Hop Trough DIPA. Or remain standing and go with the Iron Horse IPA. Either way, you can’t lose.

Tractor: It’s a lot of the old favorites (all three canned varieties, plus Apple Cider and Berliner Weisse), but Tractor does list a “surprise beer,” so we’ll have to go by and be surprised and all.

Cider-palooza part two: There are another six cideries scattered around the main room, including Crispin, Strongbow, Johnny Appleseed, Woodchuck, and Angry Orchard. Seriously, if you don’t pick up at least two or three levels on that Untappd badge, you’re not even trying.

Outdoor area breweries

Big Sky: Well, hello there Slow Elk Oatmeal Stout. You sound like our kind of beer.

There will be plenty of beer goodness packed outside.

There will be plenty of beer goodness packed outside.

Boulder: When you need dessert, Shake Chocolate Porter should suffice.

Deschutes: Fresh Squeezed IPA will be available, but not Obsidian Stout. Boo (to the latter, not the former, which is pretty darned tasty for hop lovers).

Left Hand: Milk Stout, Oktoberfest, and Sawtooth (ESB) in one place. Thank you, Left Hand, thank you.

Marble: The list in program has changed considerably, or so Leah Black told us. The popular Double White will still be there, but it will now be joined by the Double IPA, Galaxy IPA, and Pilsner instead of the regular IPA, Red, and Barley Wine. She did not say whether those two “special brews” were still coming. Guess we’ll have to go find out. Oh, darn.

Oskar Blues: The Old Chub Scotch Ale is listed. Please be on nitro. Please, please, PLEASE.

Santa Sidra: Remember how a cider beat out all the beers at the State Fair Pro-Am? Here’s your chance to try this super cider. And further pad your Untappd stats.

Taos Mesa: They listed their tasty Kolsch 45 and Three Peaks IPA, plus the latest incarnation in their Sessions (IPA) series.

* * * * *

All right, that’s just about everything. Get those pretzel necklaces ready, don’t forget the RailRunner times if you’re taking that, and prep your palates. Come Saturday at 2 p.m., it’s go time!

And yes, you can say hello if you see us. We’ll be the bearded lunkheads in black. Plus Mrs. Solo. Hey, we gotta class up this trip at least somewhat, right?

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

It was fun to get back to ABQ Beer Week on Wednesday and meet some new beer lovers at the Left Hand tasting at O’Niell’s Nob Hill. With all that done, it’s time to move on to a busy Day Eight on Thursday. Yours truly will be at Tractor Nob Hill, plus maybe some other events.

Satisfy your sweet tooth along with your beer tooth on Thursday.

Satisfy your sweet tooth along with your beer tooth on Thursday, plus there are tastings galore.

Featured event

What: Casks & Cupcakes. Where: Tractor Nob Hill. When: 4 to 6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Get your sweet tooth satiated with this little pairing of two cask beers with six different styles of cupcakes from Caked by Bittersweets. It’s $5 for a combo, where you get three cupcakes and one cask beer. If you just want the beer, it’s $4 for a 12-ounce pour. Or if you are the designated driver, it’s $4 for a cupcake trio. The beers on cask are Milk Mustachio Stout and and the Saison. The Stout will be paired with Caramel Macchiato, Dark Chocolate Chile Decadence, and Cinnamon Toast with Bacon. The Saison will be paired with Fresh Lemon with local grown honey, Cherry Limeade, and Nacho Libre. Come grab dessert before dinner! Hey, you’re an adult, you’re allowed to do that now. Why you should go: A little sugary goodness never hurt anyone. Besides, you can walk it off going to all of the other great events around Nob Hill tonight.

All the other great events

What: Lagunitas Tap Takeover. Where: The Stumbling Steer. When: 4 p.m. to close. Cost: No cover charge. Details: There will be beers aplenty once again at The Steer. Undercover Shutdown, Nighttime Cascade (Black) IPA, Maximus IPA, Hop Stupid Ale, Lil Summpin’ Summpin’, and Day Time: A Fractional IPA will all be on tap. The Shutdown is a big, burly strong ale, while the rest should satisfy any and all hopheads. Why you should go: If you’re on the west side and already hungry and thirsty, there’s no better place to visit.

What: Santa Fe Brewing Tasting. Where: Total Wine Uptown. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: We assume all (or most) of Santa Fe’s bottled and/or canned beers will be available for sampling. Why you should go: Remind yourself of your favorite(s) and then take some home for the weekend.

What: Pyramid Tasting. Where: Total Wine Cottonwood. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: We don’t know what Pyramid beers will be available for sampling. Why you should go: Come on, you’re curious as to what they’ll have.

What: Stone Brewing Tasting. Where: Jubilation. When: 4 to 6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: We just got the list of Stone beers that will be available for sampling. They will include the Collective Distortion IPA, which is brewed with elderberries and coriander, plus the Saison, Smoked Porter with Chipotle, Cali-Belgique IPA, Arrogant Bastard, and the newest entry in the Stochasticity Project, the Quadro Triticale, a Belgian-style quad. Why you should go: Always support local, and Jubilation is just that. Plus that Quadro just sounds like a beast that must be tamed.

What: New Belgium Special Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The rather uniquely named I Believe I Wood! will be available for purchase. It’s listed as a blackberry whiskey barrel beer. That, plus the usual Two Fools food excellence, should compel you to visit. Why you should go: Oh, come on, like you really need an excuse to visit Two Fools.

What: Marble Beer & Cheese Pairing. Where: Marble Downtown Pub. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: $20. Details: One of the favorite annual events of many folks around town, Marble will again pair up some of its finest beers with some distinct styles of cheese. We did not get the lineup, but we will update this if we can. Why you should go: Nothing says serious beer drinker more than attending beer and cheese pairing.

What: Boulder Beer Tasting. Where: O’Niell’s Juan Tabo. When: 5 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Some of Boulder’s top beers will be available for sampling. We did not get a list, sadly. Why you should go: If you’re in the Heights and curious as to what they’ve got, stop on by.

What: Sierra Nevada Tap Takeover. Where: O’Niell’s Nob Hill. When: 5 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: We did get the list for this one! (Hallelujah) Collective Distortion Double IPA, Summerfest, Hoptimum, and the ubiquitous Pale Ale will all be available. The Pale Ale was a gateway craft beer for many, myself included. So see what else Sierra Nevada has to offer nowadays. Why you should go: Grab a pint, grab some grub, and enjoy the patio before the weather heats up anymore than it already has.

What: Nexus Beer Dinner. Where: Prairie Star. When: 6 to 9 p.m. Cost: $39. Details: This late addition to Beer Week will feature four Nexus beers paired up with some of Prairie Star’s dishes. The Cream Ale, IPA, Chocolate Porter, and Beam Me Up Scottish will all be on hand. Why you should go: Food plus beer. Plus you can meet Nexus owner Ken Carson and brewer Kaylynn McKnight.

What: Big Sky Sampling. Where: Gecko’s on Academy. When: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: They will have Moose Drool (brown ale) on draft, plus samples of their IPA, Scape Goat Pale Ale, and Bobo’s Robust Porter. Why you should go: If you’re in the Heights and don’t feel like going too far, enjoy the craft beer experience close to home.

What: New Belgium Mini Tap Takeover and Rolle Bolle Game Night. Where: Adieux Cafe. When: 7 p.m. to midnight. Cost: Unknown. Details: Rolle Bolle is apparently a game like bocce ball (we think). You can play it and win some prizes, plus there will be a selection of New Belgium beers on tap. Adieux Cafe is located on the southeast corner of Central and 5th Street downtown. Why you should go: Admit it, you want to know what Rolle Bolle is and see if you can dominate the game and rule the world. Or at least the cafe.

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Greetings beer aficionados, Brandon here with another edition of the Saturday Night Sixer! As always the Sixer is here to help you at those times where you just seem to be staring at coolers of beer, unsure of which is going to best please your palate. Well, look no further than our weekly recommendation found right here; remember that all the brews here can be found at your local fine packaged liquor store. Now, onward to beer!

Finally, a beer that screams "good morning!": Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout

Finally, a beer that screams “good morning!”: Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout

We here in New Mexico have been spoiled by our plethora of wonderful craft breweries around the state, so sometimes we forget about the wonderful beers from out of state that we might not have access to … hey, we’re only human, OK? That being said, we’ve been somewhat deprived of the beers from Lagunitas Brewing Company until recently. They have been absent from the shelves of Albuquerque’s retail beer establishments for a while. Well, lo and behold, an e-mail came across the NMDSBC account, advising us that the folks at one of our local liquor stores finally had Lagunitas beers in stock!

After setting up shop back in 1993, the Petaluma, Calif.-based brewery has been winning over craft beer fans all over the country with their stable of awesome beers and enjoyably quirky beer labels. They currently have distribution in over 30 states and are poised to expand even further in time. I was personally quite excited for their Albuquerque arrival, as it had been a while since I’d been able to indulge in one of their beers. Currently their famous IPA, its hopped-up-a-level big brother Maximus IPA, the easy-drinking Pils, and others can be found in town; you can also get yourself bombers of this week’s Sixer feature, the Cappuccino Stout. This big beer is the product of stout brewing combined with local coffee beans. According to the website, “We get some help from our friends/neighbors at Sebastopol’s Hardcore Coffee just up the road. The coffee beans are freshly ground when we drop them into the brew kettle and whirlpool, giving that deep coffee flavor without taking away from that even deeper beer flavor.” Thirsty yet? Read on and you will be.

The Cappuccino Stout has all the typical stout qualities one looks for right off the bat. It pours rich with a thick, tan head that is akin to that of a milk or cream stout, and possesses the deep brown/near-jet-black (coffee bean) colors as well. The head sticks around for a bit then dissipates to a thin coating with subtle lacing underneath. Aroma-wise, it is fairly mild. The coffee smells wonderful and is certainly prominent, with a slight earthy spice hop profile.

When you get to the palate and taste this beer it gets a bit different than what you might expect. It has a very rich mouthfeel that coats the whole palate, which again feels similar to a cream or possibly an oatmeal stout. Those tastes are quite awesome; the coffee beans are certainly there all through this beer, but they aren’t overwhelming at all. The chocolate and caramel malts play well with the beans and give it the “cappuccino” that is on the label. There is a subtle sweetness in the middle, along with those earthy hops in the back, and it finishes with more coffee. There is a bitterness from the hops and roasted malt in the back, but the sweetness in the beer balances this perfectly and keeps it from being overpowering. I could ramble on more about how balanced this beer is; the coffee beans are not overpowering and are an excellent complement with the chocolate and roasted malts.

Lagunitas, New Mexico is happy to have you.

Lagunitas, New Mexico is happy to have you.

The Cappuccino Stout is a big beer at 9.2-percent ABV, but it has almost no alcohol bite, making it one to enjoy with caution. It is quite rich, and as such you probably will want to enjoy only one as it is. Although you may be tempted to pour another one, as it is simply so full of flavor that you will want to enjoy again and again.

Overall this is one of the most delicious stouts I’ve had the pleasure of tasting this season … and believe me, I’ve tried a lot of stouts this year! I would wager that this is a stout that most will enjoy; it has the creaminess that someone just warming up to dark beers would appreciate, with enough malts and complex flavors elsewhere to keep everyone else happy. For those in the Albuquerque area, you can currently find Lagunitas exclusively at Jubilation Wine & Spirits. The Cappuccino Stout is a limited release, though, so make sure to get it while it lasts. Lagunitas certainly lit the lamp with this brew, and it will certainly put a jolt in your system, so enjoy!

Until next time …

Prost!

— Brandon Daniel