Posts Tagged ‘Milton’s Brewing’

Cheers to the BA for all it does.

Yeah, it is definitely that time of year. The recaps and top 10 lists are being posted, the year-in-review stories are rolling along (like, uh, our Look Back/Look Ahead Series). When it comes to recapping the year in craft beer for the entire country, no one sums it up best quite like the Brewers Association.

It was another big year for craft beer, to say the least.

“Craft brewers continue to thrive, if at a slower pace, fueled by a passionate community dedicated to bringing innovation, jobs and beer across America—on Main Street and beyond,” said Bart Watson, the chief economist of the Brewers Association, in a press release. “Today, 83 percent of the population lives within 10 miles of a local brewery, meaning that the positive impact of breweries is being felt in communities all over the country.”

OK, that is pretty cool. What other stats does the BA have for us?

  • The number of breweries nationwide has now surpassed 6,000, with 98 percent of those falling under the craft banner. By the Crew’s count, 68 of those are in New Mexico, with at least six more active licenses for places that have yet to open their doors, but should in the next couple months (more on that down below).
  • All those breweries have created 456,373 jobs, a 7.5-percent increase from 2014. In turn, that has generated $67.8 billion for the U.S. economy, a 21.7-percent increase. Craft breweries in turn donated $73.4 million to charities.
  • The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act has support from both parties and will potentially pass through both houses of Congress and become law during this current session. So, yeah, I guess we will have to say that Congress will do one good thing.
  • It appears the term “beercation” is becoming more and more of a reality. The average craft beer drinker visits 3.5 breweries near home and 2.5 breweries within two hours driving distance (take note: the press release did not say whether this was 3.5 per week, per month, or per year; for the Crew, it would certainly be per week, sometimes even per day, when we are feeling frisky with our Lyft/Uber accounts). A survey by the BA found that 64 percent of craft drinkers like to visit breweries to try new beers on a regular basis. We will raise one to that.
  • The New Mexico stats on the BA website are for 2016, but they still tell a positive story. By the end of that year, there 57 breweries, ranking 26th in the country. More notably, the 3.9 breweries per capita (100,000 adults) ranks 11th nationwide. Breweries had an economic impact of $333 million (40th) or $226.26 per capita (35th). A total of 111,237 barrels (32nd) were produced, amounting to 2.3 gallons consumed per adult (21st).

Yeah, it is still a good era for craft beer. Here is hoping it continues into 2018 and beyond.

Embrace the darkness at beer bars, too

The quality of dark beers around town is straight fire.

Our friends over Rock & Brews wanted you all to know that the current dark beer lineup is fairly epic. As fun as it is to hit up the breweries first, don’t forget the beer bars, as they often pull in some exclusive styles from out of state that you can usually only get in bottles or cans.

Rock & Brews currently has Dogfish Head’s Vanilla Oak-Aged Worldwide Stout, which is otherwise a pricey purchase in four-pack bottles. The ubiquitous Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout lines up next to Worldwide. There is also the most recent iteration of the ultimate beer geek beer, Stone’s Imperial Farking Wootstout. The real surprise gem, though, is Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout. No, really, it is on tap. If that hefty price tag for a bomber is scaring you off, but you really want to know if it is worth it (we think so, but we’re biased), head over to Rock & Brews to try it first before you commit to a 22-ounce bottle or two.

Down at Sister Bar, at least as of the Gatecreeper show this past Monday (gotta say, impressive crowd showing, ABQ-area metalheads), there is still some of La Cumbre’s La Negra on tap. It has been out at the brewery for a while, so get some while it lasts (if it’s even still there, we apologize if it is gone by now).

Nob Hill Bar & Grill has a strong lineup, which you can find anytime via Untappd. The current black beasts of ahhh available are Bell’s Black Note and Kalamazoo Stout, plus 2016 and 2017 Bourbon County Brand Stout, and two old favorites in Oskar Blues Ten FIDY and Stone Xocoveza.

So much dark beer, so little time.

New breweries update

Hello to a new small town brewery!

Sticking with tradition in beer notes, here are the most recent updates on all the forthcoming breweries across New Mexico. As always, we only list breweries with pending or active small brewer licenses with the State.

  • BLUE (Albuquerque): Nothing new on this small brewery located somewhere near Broadway and Lead/Coal.
  • Bonito Valley Brewing (Lincoln): A newcomer to the list located in a small, historic town west of Roswell along Highway 380. There is a Facebook page that says the owners are aiming for a summer 2018 opening.
  • Brewstillery (Albuquerque): We still have no info on this combo operation in the Southeast.
  • Callahan West Brewery (Mosquero): The small town brewery has been in touch with the NM Brewers Guild about joining up in 2018, so it appears to be a go.
  • Cantero Brewing (Albuquerque): Now armed with an active license, the final parts of construction are underway.
  • Elkins Brewing (Grants): We have no new info on this business.
  • Glencoe Distillery and Brewery (Ruidoso): The license is active, but there is still no website that we can find, nor any social media. It remains a mystery.
  • Guadalupe Mountain Brewing (Carlsbad): The license is active here, too, and beer is now being brewed. We await the announcement of opening, which could come any week now.
  • High and Dry Brewing (Albuquerque): Construction appears to be mostly complete down near Adams and Lomas. The Crew is in touch with the ownership and we are working to set up an advance tour when they are ready.
  • Hollow Spirits (Albuquerque): Construction continues on this new combo spot in the Wells Park neighborhood. It is the brainchild of former Red Door co-owner Frank Holloway.
  • Lava Rock Brewing (Albuquerque): The West Side brewery is getting closer and closer to opening on Unser just north of Ladera.
  • Lost Hiker Brewing (Ruidoso): Yes, the license is active, now only a few final touches must be completed and there will be local beer in the mountains down south. Keep track of the progress on the Lost Hiker Facebook page.
  • 1933 Brewing (Rio Rancho): Another newcomer to the list, we have no info beyond a name and a zip code for RR. It is unknown if this brewery is related in any way to the former 1933 Brewing of Fort Collins, Colo., which closed at the end of 2016.
  • Red River Brewing: All this mild winter is not helping the ski industry up north, but it should enable RRB to finish construction and remain on track for an early 2018 opening.
  • Switchback Brewery (Cloudcroft): There is still no info online on this place. We would like to remind everyone, though, that there is a Switchback Brewing in Vermont, so a name change may ultimately be necessary.
  • Toltec Brewing (Albuquerque): The forthcoming West Side brewery took a big step by hiring a head brewer, but we have been asked not to reveal the identity of this individual just yet. Let us just say, however, that we are excited.
  • Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery (Santa Fe): There are lots of construction photos on Facebook, so it looks like a good bet to open sooner than later. The small brewer license is now active.
  • The pending licenses for off-site taprooms remains as follows — Little Toad Creek in Las Cruces (new!); Ponderosa at El Vado Motel redevelopment (getting close); Santa Fe Downtown Taproom; Starr Brothers Alehouse (location TBA); Tumbleroot in Santa Fe (they will not sell beer out of the production facility down the street). Also, the Milton’s taproom in Roswell has an active license, but it is not yet open as far as we know.

That is all for now. As always, if you know anything about anything, please drop us a line at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com or contact us via direct message on Facebook or Twitter.

Have a great weekend, and good luck with any last-minute Christmas shopping!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Get ready to raise those La Cumbre pints soon, Arizona!

It was clearly time to clear out the old notebook once again …

La Cumbre expands distribution to the west

Last year, when I sat down with owner/master brewer Jeff Erway for our Look Back/Look Ahead Series article, he said that Arizona was definitely his next target for out-of-state distribution. The only thing he was lacking at the time was a distributor. Well, it appears he found one.

La Cumbre announced on social media that it will indeed expand to the Grand Canyon state, debuting in the Phoenix area on October 9 and moving out to the rest of the state in the weeks that follow.

“The responses on our Twitter account and Facebook and things like that has been overwhelmingly from Arizona,” Jeff told the Albuquerque Journal. “Arizona seems like the state that’s most thirsty for La Cumbre beer.”

La Cumbre will become the third New Mexico brewery to distribute in Arizona, joining Marble and Santa Fe. It also distributes in Colorado.

The Roswell mystery solved

For all the growth in craft beer in New Mexico, the fifth largest municipality in the state still has not attained its own craft brewery. Roswell, smaller only than Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, and Santa Fe, has oddly been a craft beer dessert. If nothing else, it seemed like at some point, maybe an out-of-town brewery would at least put a taproom there. Well, that day is about to arrive.

Milton’s Brewing, headquartered in Carlsbad, has officially announced on social media that it will be opening a taproom in Roswell. Milton’s Off Main is slated to open at 315 N. Main St. later this year. It will mark the first off-site taproom for Milton’s and, as noted above, the first true craft taproom in town.

Obligatory forthcoming breweries update

Yeah, we dig that logo. As local as local can be.

As per usual, here is the latest info (if we have any) on the next wave of breweries. Take note, we only list those who have a pending small brewer license with the State of New Mexico.

  • Bare Bones Brewing now has an active license with the state, but the Cedar Crest brewery has yet to open. There are no updates on the brewery Facebook page, either, but we gotta imagine it is getting close. Keep an eye out.
  • Bombs Away Brewing also has an active license. We feel confident in saying it will be the next brewery to open. Stay tuned for an update sooner than later.
  • The only new pending license since our last check is for a place calling itself the Brewstillery. It is located somewhere in the 87106 zip code in the southeast part of town. If anyone out there has information on this new addition to the list, please contact us.
  • Cantero Brewing has its equipment now in place, per its social media. Looks like it is getting close and may be able to open before the year is out.
  • Guadalupe Mountain Brewing has also received its equipment down in Carlsbad. It should be getting close as well.
  • We solved two mysteries with one Instagram inquiry the other day. It turns out that High and Dry Brewing, which has an account, is one and the same with Volume 31 Brewing, a mystery pending license holder we spotted a few weeks back. The brewery will go by the former name, with a nice hot air balloon motif (surprisingly, a first for a local brewery, as far as we can recall). High and Dry will be located at 529 Adams St., which is just south of Lomas.
  • Lava Rock Brewing has a “coming soon” sign now posted outside the building on Unser just north of Ladera. We will take that as a good sign (pun intended).
  • Lost Hiker Brewing has a public hearing pending with Ruidoso Downs residents and officials on October 10. After that, it should be good to go to bring local craft to the mountain town.
  • Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery is also making progress in Santa Fe, per its social media pages. It is in the market for a brewer/distiller and bottle shop/market manager. If you have interest in either position, email the Crew and we can forward your info to the owners.
  • We do not have anything new on the following forthcoming breweries: BLUE (Albuquerque), Elkins Brewing (Grants), Glencoe Distillery and Brewery (Ruidoso), Switchback Brewery (Cloudcroft), and Toltec (Albuquerque).

As always, if there are any news tidbits we have missed, please drop us a line via social media or at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

BigBrew2015.4

From Big Brew 2015 at Santa Fe Brewing

Greetings, craft beer fans! This one’s for all the homebrewers out there, and, of course, any and all folks interested in learning more about beer. If you haven’t already heard, National Homebrew Day is fast approaching, and we don’t want you to miss out on any events here in New Mexico.

In 1988, it was announced before Congress that May 7 would forever be known as National Homebrew Day, and since then, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) has held events the first Saturday of May to celebrate the huge community of homebrewers, who, in large part, helped bring craft beer back to America after the that dark period when we felt prohibited to speakeasy about it. (Ahem.)

This year, on Saturday, May 6, large homebrew events will be held across the nation, and you can find them all on the AHA Website. And, because we’re just as serious about beer here in our state, we have a few events planned for you, New Mexican Brewquenos, as well.

The following lists all the AHA-registered events for our state:

Milton’s Cavern City Big Brew Day (brewery) – “Come hang out with the local homebrew club, Cavern City Brewers at Milton’s Brewing. A number of homebrewers will have their personal brewing systems in the outdoor area of the brewery demonstrating a homebrewer’s brew session.” Contact Brad Carlsen at caverncitybrewers@gmail.com to RSVP. Location: 108 E. Mermod, Carlsbad, NM.

Santa Fe Brewing Company (brewery) – “We will be hosting 2017 Big Brew in the brewery. Please come out to join us. RSVP to the email address so we can buy enough food for people.” Contact Ted Bolleter at jtbolleter@yahoo.com to RSVP. Location: 35 Fire Place, Santa Fe, NM.

Southwest Grape & Grain and Worthogs Homebrew Club (homebrew supply shop) – “Homebrewers from the Worthogs Homebrew Club of NM will be brewing some All- Grain, Extract and BIAB recipes at Southwest Grape & Grain homebrew shop. They will be ready and eager to talk to anyone interested in learning how to brew, answer questions, and share their experiences. This event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 505-332-2739 (SWGG) or 505-289-0123 (Worthogs).” Contact Donavan Lane/Ariel Figueroa at worthogsNM@gmail.com to RSVP. Location: 2801-N Eubank Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM.

Victors Home Brew (homebrew supply shop) – “We will have home brewers out on the porch brewing with their different types of equipment and eager to talk to anyone interested in learning to brew, answer questions, and share stories. Dukes of Ale brew club members will be participating and offering presentations on making mead, cider, and different kinds of brewing equipment. The event will run from 10 (a.m.) to 4 (p.m.). Come have samples, pizza, and refreshments. Call 505-883-0000 for more information.” Contact Jens Deichmann at jens@victorshomebrew.com to RSVP. Location: 2436 San Mateo Pl. NE, Albuquerque, NM.

To RSVP directly and for additional details for these events, just click this LINK! Do it!

MIlton's Brewery Logo

Feature: Milton’s and Cavern City Brewers Big Brew Day

From co-owner/head brewer Lucas Middleton: “This Saturday, Cavern City Brewers will be participating in the American Homebrewers Big Brew 2017 at Milton’s brewing on the patio (out back). We will be opening at 2 p.m. for locals to come and check out the brewing process and get the word out about the Homebrew club.

“The Friday before (May 5), Tractor is coming down to supply us with a new beer called Minute-4, a smoked lager they brewed for the firefighters in Carlsbad. We will be donating proceeds from this beer to help the team out.

“Carlsbad’s team, with Fire Chief Rick Lopez, won the world championship, the national championship, and set the world tandem record during 2016’s Scott Firefighter Challenge. The team members include Brad Carlsen (of the Cavern City Brewers), Jay Carter, Todd Vannatter, Geronimo Ontiveros and Casey Collins.”

BIBBrew1

Big Brew with the Babes in Brewland, SFBC 2015

Feature: Big Brew at Santa Fe Brewing Company

This year, on Saturday, May 6, beginning at 9:30 a.m., Santa Fe Brewing Company will once again host Big Brew with, well, a big brew session in their big brewery. Santa Fe’s fine homebrew club, the Sangre De Cristo Craft Brewers homebrew club, will be there to talk beer, brewing, and the craft of craft-beermanship. Food will be provided to those who RSVP, and SFBC R&D manager, David Ahern-Seronde (of current Santa Fe Reporter cover page fame) will be offering tours of the entire grounds, including the new packaging hall, barrel cave, and The Bridge. It’s sure to be a rockin’ good time, so RSVP now.

Before SFBC had nixed the event in 2016, I had been to a couple Big Brews in the past before writing for the NMDSBC. It is actually at one of these, where I met with the Sangres, learned a thing or two about how to brew, and got started homebrewing, which expanded on my passion for craft beer as well as brewing industry network, which eventually landed me this sweet writing gig. So, folks, homebrewing, not fear, was the path to the Dark Side for me.

What to know: Santa Fe Brewing will provide hot and cold liquor for brewing. Food will be handled by the Sangre De Cristo Craft Brewers, that is, if you RSVP.

What to bring: Bring all your equipment! If you’re not feeling like bringing out the whole rig for an all-grain brew, then that’s fine, too. Feel free to do an extract brew, and just come out and have a good time. If you’re not sure what all-grain or extract brews are, then you could definitely benefit from coming out to Big Brew!

BigBrew2015.5

Peaches for the brew, SFBC 2015.

Homebrewing is a great gateway into the craft beer industry. Homebrewing channels passion, fosters creativity, and maybe above all, teaches technique. At the top level, homebrewing has even led many folks in the state to open up their own facilities, where you currently enjoy a hand-crafted experience, and at its lowest level of achievement, homebrewing teaches a much better understanding and appreciation for that carbonated beverage we love so much.

I highly recommend going to any of these special events, even if you don’t plan to brew, or to take up homebrewing. You’ll get to talk homebrewers about DIY projects of the beer-related kind, and also you’ll get to speak with pro brewers about their favorite thing to chat about, and I’ll give you a hint — it’s not distribution and licensing. You can ask them all you want about making the good stuff.

So, I hope you go out, and maybe one of you will decide to learn to homebrew after this weekend, and maybe one of you will achieve greatness and open up the brewery that turns the New Mexico brewing industry upside down, all because you stopped in to check things out on a Saturday. Who knows? Hope you can make it out to one of the events! And, remember folks, fear might lead to anger. Anger might lead to hate. Hate usually leads to suffering. But, the Dark Side Brew Crew will always lead you to beer.

Cheers!

— Luke

Luke123 Steel Bender

For more #CraftBeer news, @nmdarksidebc info, and Untappd Badge-whoring, follow me on Twitter @santafecraftbro!

 

Things were hopping at Milton’s when we visited.

Our trip to the southeastern part of New Mexico continued over this past weekend with stops at Desert Water Brewing on the northern edge of Artesia, followed by Milton’s Brewing in the heart of Carlsbad. For the recap of our visits to Roosevelt Brewing in Portales and The Wellhead in Artesia, click here.

These two breweries were just as different in vibe and approach as the prior two that we visited. The one thing they both had was a definite following among locals. Milton’s, in particular, has really generated a huge buzz for craft beer in Carlsbad, a town booming with the better fortunes of the oil industry. That, in turn, has created quite the ambitious goals for the staff at the young brewery.

“My goal is for Milton’s to be the brewery that bridges the gap between north and south,” co-owner/head brewer Lucas Middleton said.

Now that is something we would truly like to see.

Desert Water enters period of transition

The outside belies the inside decor at Cottonwood/Desert Water.

Up on the north end of Artesia, just off Highway 285, Desert Water Brewing opened in 2013 as the beer-centric half of Cottonwood Winery. The outside building is fairly nondescript, but the inside is a unique little taproom. Wine is clearly the primary business, with dozens upon dozens of bottles for sale. It boasts a definite country/western theme. There is no kitchen, but a food truck was parked outside while we visited. The crowd appeared to be made up mainly of locals, all of whom knew the staff.

The big news when we arrived: Desert Water is not currently brewing beer. There was an explanation, of course. Owner Mike Mahan and his wife required outside investors to help open Cottonwood and then Desert Water. From the beginning, their goal was to eventually buy out those investors and take full control of the business. Well, the good news is that they have done just that. In one of those technicalities, though, it required them to apply for a new small brewer license with the State of New Mexico. While that license is pending, they cannot brew for the time being.

Our samples of the milk stout were accompanied by some Bosque Lager, one of the guest taps.

That being said, Mike was nice enough to go to his last remaining keg, which featured a roasty, not overly sweet milk stout, and pour us a couple of samples to try. It had the thickest mouthfeel of any beer we had on our trip. It also showed us that once Desert Water is brewing again, it will be worth the return trip to see what else Mike has to offer. Until then, he will rely on guest taps from across the state, plus of course the many, many wines on the shelves.

Milton’s is the place to be in Carlsbad

It was rather crowded at Milton’s the night we visited, but we’re told that’s a regular occurrence.

We were told by more than one other brewer or brewery owner over the course of our trip that Milton’s would be jam-packed whenever we arrived there. After a quick drive down Highway 285, followed by a stop at our hotel, and a bite to eat, we arrived at the small brewery at the west end of Mermod Street, just a couple blocks off the main downtown area. As was predicted, the joint was full of lively locals, listening to a touring band from Tucson, and enduring a sudden uptick in the wind that was making life interesting on the patio on the north side of the building.

The building was once a storage facility, with a pair of garage doors on the north and sound ends. It had a long rectangular shape, but without the high ceilings of Roosevelt. Heck, one could fit all of Milton’s inside Roosevelt with room to spare. In this small space, the layout is similar, minus the kitchen (food trucks, again, provide the sustenance). The main taproom area is up front, with the brewing equipment along the east wall. The equipment, well, shows the relative youth of the brewery, which has been around for just about a year now. The mash tun and the boil kettle are both square-shaped, and open on top. We have heard of open fermentation at some breweries, but not an open brewhouse. The fermenters are small and plastic.

Yes, that is a square, open mash tun.

The good news is that Milton’s is on the verge of expansion, which will mean not just new, modern equipment, but also a much larger brewing space. The Frito Lay distribution building, located just to the west of the brewery along the train tracks, will become Milton’s new brewery building. They will soon have a 10-barrel brewhouse setup, with stainless steel fermenters, and more. It will open up more space in the taproom (which they need), and keep the brewing area clear of everything from customers to strong gusts of wind whipping through in the evening, as to get to the north patio, one has to walk past the brewhouse.

Lucas, once the staff alerted him to our arrival, and then once he finished talking with some of the regular patrons, spoke to us about all of it. My phone, however, did not record most of it, so I had to go off the somewhat blurry memories of the end of the night and what it did record, which ended up being a lot of random conversation about craft beer in general.

The most important thing Lucas told us about the aftermath of the expansion will be this: “I want to get our beer in cans. We’ll roll in the Mother Road (Mobile Canning) guys. My goal is for us to be in Albertson’s here in Carlsbad by the end of the year.”

Milton’s already has its kegs ready to go.

What will go in those cans is still to be determined. One of the most popular beers they have made so far is a red chile-infused stout.

“We were doing a Frijole Mole, but I had to take it off,” Lucas said. “We were using a bunch of different chiles. The first two batches did great. People were drinking the shit out of it in the middle of the summer. … It didn’t go the way I wanted to (last brew). I’ll do the (Mullet) Milk Stout for now, then get back to it.”

Milton’s was able to take it to WinterBrew back in Santa Fe in January, where it proved to be a hit. It was the first major festival for the brewery, but more are right on the horizon with the Blazin’ Brewfest in Las Cruces on Saturday and then the Microbrew Festival on the Pecos, right in Carlsbad, on May 13. It will mark the first time a local brewery will be able to attend in full.

They have one of those ever popular buy a friend a beer boards here, too.

Lucas said he found an advertisement from the early 20th Century saying that Carlsbad was ripe for a brewery and ice company. It did not happen then, but it has now (minus the ice).

“It took from 1908 to 2015 to get a brewery in this town,” Lucas said.

By all accounts, it was worth the wait. The other beers on tap during our visit were the Red Stapler Red Ale (bonus points for the Office Space reference), Hoprunner’s Hefe, and the 62/180 IPA. The latter is named for the highway that connects the town to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. That tourist draw has left Milton’s with quite the mixed crowd to date.

“We get a lot of tourists, we get a lot of people from all over the U.S.,” Lucas said, later adding that he knows his brewery might be the first introduction to New Mexico craft beer for many travelers from other states and even other countries. It is a task that Milton’s seems ready to take on in full in 2017 and beyond.

That’s brewer Lucas Middleton, Stoutmeister, Dan Middleton and his awesome beard, and Luke from left to right.

We would like to thank Lucas, his father Dan, and the rest of the staff at Milton’s for their hospitality on such a busy, windy night. We admire their ambition and dedication to the craft, and for so quickly creating a thriving craft culture hundreds of miles from the bulk of this state’s breweries.

Good luck to Milton’s in 2017 and beyond.

* * * * *

That visit wrapped up our time in Southeast New Mexico. With the bad weather closing in, we called it a night. The next day we set out on the aforementioned Highway 62/180, down past the caverns, into Texas, and eventually all the way to El Paso. We will chronicle the final leg of the trip, highlighted by our visit to Little Toad Creek’s new production facility, on Wednesday.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Yes, we are finally visiting Milton’s and the other breweries in Southeast New Mexico. Because we didn’t stick the NM in front of our name for nothing.

Back in the fall, the New Mexico Brewers Guild took several of its members from the Albuquerque area down to the southeastern part of the state to visit the breweries far from the metro area. Yours truly was invited, but I had to finish up a book (due out June 5, FYI) on Albuquerque’s beer history, and could not attend. All these months later, Luke and I have made plans to follow in their footsteps.

This Friday, we are intent on visiting Roosevelt Brewing in Portales, Desert Water Brewing outside Artesia, The Wellhead in downtown Artesia, and Milton’s Brewing in Carlsbad. Our goal is to take in the atmosphere at these places, try their beers, their food (if they serve), and see how they compare to our “big city” breweries. We will be kind, of course, in terms of rating the beers. Our purpose to is to introduce all of you to these places, which we know many of our primary readers have never visited before. We do not intend to be overly critical and compare these places to the much larger and better-funded breweries along I-25, but instead we will judge them on their own merits in the context of the smaller towns they inhabit.

If possible, we will have a story for each brewery that will run next week and beyond. We will be posting on all three of our social media outlets (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) live as we go.

The Crew made a pledge to get out to the breweries beyond the ABQ and Santa Fe areas, and we intend to follow through. We have already run Andrew’s stories on Three Rivers Brewery and 550 Brewing in the northwest, now it is time to catch up with the breweries in the opposite corner of the state. Then, schedules permitting, we will head up to the Taos area this summer, and down to Las Cruces at some point in later summer/early fall.

Of course, weather may not be our friend this weekend, but we will endure what we can. The catch may come Saturday, when we will try to be crazy and drive all the way from Carlsbad to Silver City in time to catch Toad Fest. This street party (weather-permitting) in downtown Silver City has been on our list of “must attend” events. Plus, we have never actually visited Little Toad Creek’s location in Silver City, so we can pull off a two-for-one there.

And, if we are really lucky, we may be able to stop by Truth or Consequences Brewing and meet their owners, as they have told us they are just a month or so away from opening.

Wish us luck, and good weather.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Bosque's bid for back-to-back NIPAC banners is still going strong, but other NM breweries are in the hunt as well! (Photo courtesy of Bosque)

Bosque’s bid for back-to-back NIPAC banners is still going strong, but other NM breweries are in the hunt as well! (Photo courtesy of Bosque)

Lots of little news tidbits demand a roundup, thus, Beer Notes is back!

Locals keep rolling at NIPAC

Five of the six remaining New Mexico entries advanced to the fourth round of the Brewing News National IPA Challenge. Of course, only five could advance since Bosque’s Scale Tipper and Boxing Bear’s Uppercut were going head to head. Scale Tipper moved on to continue to defend its championship.

The four other victors in the main bracket were Turtle Mountain’s Adrift, Boxing Bear’s Bear Knuckle, and Second Street’s 4 Hour Lunch and Fulcrum. Adrift defeated Flying Bison’s Buffalo IPA; Bear Knuckle knocked out Reuben’s Brewing’s Cirkey IPA; 4 Hour Lunch ousted one of the big boys, Firestone Walker’s Union Jack; Fulcrum struck out Half Moon Bay’s Full Swing.

The fourth-round matchups will be Adrift vs. Karl Strauss’ Aurora Hoppyalis, Bear Knuckle vs. Barley Brown’s WFO, Scale Tipper vs. Fat Heads’ Head Hunter, 4 Hour Lunch vs. Lawson’s Finest’s Triple Play, and Fulcrum vs. Odd13’s Codename: Superfan.

As for the other two brackets, the Session and Imperial, one New Mexico entry remains in each. Bosque’s Southwest Session defeated Fremont Brewing’s Session Pale Ale to reach the quarterfinals. Southwest Session will take on a heavyweight next in Stone’s Go To IPA.

Over in the Imperial bracket, Boxing Bear’s Sucker Punch was KO’d by Comrade’s Hop Chops, while Old Schoolhouse’s Plutopia Triple IPA was too much for Bosque’s Just For Fun. The lone survivor of the third round was Second Street’s Trebuchet, which eliminated Tricksters’ Hops on Parade. Next up for Trebuchet in the fourth round will be Melvin Jackson’s Drunken Master.

Congrats to those that advanced and good luck in the next round!

Java vs. Java

The original Capo's Java Stout, left, and the newer, more coffee-centric version.

The original Capo’s Java Stout, left, and the newer, more coffee-centric version.

One of the perks of being in the Crew is that sometimes you get to try a new beer before the general public. Brewer Aaron Walters invited me over to Firkin Brewhouse last week to try a sort of Version 2.0 of the Capo’s Java Stout. It was pretty different than the first batch they rolled out (as an aside, yes, Firkin’s beers are now properly carbonated, so for those who tried them early on, head back over to see how much better they all taste). Since my visit they posted on Facebook a “name the beer” contest as they seek to give this new Java Stout a proper branding.

The original Capo’s used Kahlua Coffee, which gave it that overly sweet, almost chocolate flavor that left little room for any stout/coffee roasted malts. I got to compare the two side by side, and I can assure everyone, the new version is much more in line with what you might think of as a true coffee stout.

Prosim Coffee Roasters, a local company, provided the five-bean blend of Brazilian, Costa Rican, Ethiopian, Mexican, and Sumatran. Together they create a smooth, yet still coffee-crisp flavor, sharp but not bitter. There is minimal sweetness this time around; you’ll have to bring your own cream. It’s not as thick as Santa Fe’s Java Stout (which is an imperial, after all), so you can drink a few of these and not have to summon an Uber to get home.

Just for fun, I even combined a small amount of the two versions to see what it would taste like together (Firkin still has some Kahlua left). Basically it’s like a mild shot of chocolate cream, but the old version does not overpower the roastiness of the new. Overall, kudos to Firkin for being willing to keep experimenting with their beers to make them better.

New breweries update

This was the original location in Nob Hill that was supposed to be the home of Hops Brewery.

This was the original location in Nob Hill that was supposed to be the home of Hops Brewery.

Even with four breweries opening since the start of this year, folks keep asking us who’s next down the pipeline. Well, the long-rumored Hops Brewery is now listed as having an active small brewers license by the State of New Mexico. Hops was originally going to be in Nob Hill, but had run into issues over the lack of a dedicated parking lot. If anyone out there has info on where Hops might be opening, or at least who to contact, please send it to us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

Among those breweries with listed pending state licenses, progress continues at Palmer Brewery and Ciderhouse (which is owned by the same folks as Left Turn Distilling and will share part of that building). The new Monk’s Lab is moving along on 1st Street north of Marble; they will be the second New Mexico brewery to focus on Belgian-style beers. We have heard that OffKilter, the brewery from former Cazuela’s/Tractor brewer Mike Campbell, has to undergo a name change. Drafty Kilt is the rumored new moniker after they found out someone else had beaten them to registering the name OffKilter.

There are still no pending licenses for the other rumored new places around, including Sugar House in the old Stumbling Steer building, Steel Bender Brewyard on 2nd Street near Paseo del Norte, and The 377 Brewery near Gibson and Yale. We still cannot confirm rumors of a brewery somewhere on Paseo between San Pedro and Wyoming. There are also rumors of a brewery looking to open on the corner of San Pedro and Marble.

Outside of the Albuquerque metro area, things are progressing for Rowley Farmhouse Ales (formerly Sub Rosa) to open in Santa Fe later this year. Ale Republic, in Cedar Crest, continues construction on their brewery. Enchanted Circle Brewing in Angel Fire is now listed as having an active small brewers license. Milton’s Brewing in Carlsbad has found their location and has begun the buildout. Colfax Ale Cellar in Raton is moving forward. The Farmington HUB Brewery and Grill is now open. There are also unconfirmed rumors of a new brewery looking to open in Portales, giving Roosevelt Brewing some local competition.

Sampler tray

  • Cazuela’s now has 10 taps, thanks to brewer Brandon Venaglia. That means more beers will be available, including some old favorites that he has brought out of the cellar. Look for the full list on Wednesday in The Week Ahead in Beer.
  • The kombucha craze continues, with Kaktus joining Bow & Arrow and Bathtub Row. Guess I might have to send one of the Crew out to do a story on this new trend.
  • We’ve heard a rumor that we will have to follow up on that Back Alley Draft House has a new brewer. Hopefully they will get some stability over there.
  • Bosque is inching ever closer to completing the expansion of the San Mateo taproom. We’ll share some pictures when it’s done.
  • Boxing Bear is trying to claim the title of “King of Dark Beers” with another awesome release. Baltic Bear Porter is now for sale in bombers and on tap at the brewery.
  • Rio Bravo looks to share a little love, er, grain with their fellow breweries. Once their silo is filled in a couple weeks, they will be offering grain sales and custom milling with their four-roller mill. This should help those breweries without their own mills who don’t want to pay high prices for pre-milled malt. Thanks to brewer Ty Levis for the heads up.
  • There are some breweries in a hiring mode right now. Turtle Mountain is looking for a new floor manager, they said on Facebook. Head over to the brewery to apply if you think you have the experience and desire to take on one of the busiest jobs in Rio Rancho (or anywhere, really). La Cumbre posted on their website openings for multiple positions, including a new marketing guru, delivery driver, brand representative, and beer tender. Marble is looking to fill two part-time cleaning positions at their taprooms. Email Barbie Gonzalez at barbie@marblebrewery.com if you are interested.

That’s all for now. If anyone has any beer news or notes to share with us, please, never hesitate. Big or small, we’ll get it out there.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

OffKilter took delivery of their equipment back in June and say they will open in December. They are one of many new places scheduled to open in the coming months. (Courtesy of their Facebook page)

OffKilter took delivery of their equipment back in June and say they will open in December. They are one of many new places scheduled to open in the coming months. (Courtesy of their Facebook page)

A while back we had a story where I quoted a reliable source who said there are 31 applications for either breweries or taprooms in Albuquerque alone. Needless to say, this got some people fairly stirred up. Taking away the four pending taprooms we know about (Duel in downtown, Kaktus in Nob Hill, Marble in the NE Heights, Red Door in downtown), that leaves 27 potential places. Let us take stock of what is known, what is rumor, and try to figure out just what it all means. Oh, and we do have some updates on places outside of ABQ as well.

Confirmed forthcoming ABQ breweries

We know these places are coming because either A) we’ve visited them, B) they have a Facebook page/official website, or C) they have active or pending licenses via the State of New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department website.

1. Bow & Arrow Brewing (6th Street just south of I-40): We know the build-out is underway because someone emailed us photos, but those disappeared from our Facebook page not long after they appeared. Word is the owner is being very cautious and secretive, trying not to drum up too much hype/expectations too far in advance of their opening. We were told they hired a professional brewer from outside of NM, which can work (see James Warren at Blue Corn), instead of hiring an existing brewer from here in the state. At the pace they are on, an early 2016 opening is likely. You can check their website as they are not yet on social media.

2. Firkin Brewhouse & Grill (Brewery District on Columbia): In case you missed it, friend of the Crew Mario Caldwell took a lot of photos of Firkin. We tried their beers at Blues & Brews back in May and enjoyed them. I ran into some of their staff at NM Brew Fest over the weekend and they said a circa Nov. 1 opening is the plan. We will have a formal, full preview over there as soon as we can set up a time to visit. Until then, keep track on their Facebook page or their website.

This was the proposed location of Hops Brewery in Nob Hill, which may now be a dead project.

This was the proposed location of Hops Brewery in Nob Hill, which may now be a dead project.

3. Hops Brewery (Nob Hill): Back in early 2014 we saw the permit application posted in the window of a storefront in Nob Hill, across the street from Gecko’s on Central. Since then there have been rumors of issues involving the lack of parking, possible opposition from neighborhood businesses, and more. The pending application is still listed on the State website, though it dates from Oct. 31, 2013. This may be a dead project. One interesting detail on the application is the listed owner is “Los Ranchos Brewing LLC.” A possible Plan B? Any connection to a rumored brewery (see below) in the Los Ranchos area? There are more questions than answers here.

4. OffKilter Brewing (near San Mateo and McLeod): As we have noted before, this is the brewery owned by Mike Campbell, formerly of Cazuela’s and Tractor. While we have been unsuccessful in terms of contacting them, their official website now lists an opening month of December. If we finally hear back, we will get over there and get a preview posted before then.

Palmer Brewery and Cider House will share space with Left Turn Distilling. (Courtesy of their Facebook page)

Palmer Brewery and Cider House will share space with Left Turn Distilling. (Courtesy of their Facebook page)

5. Palmer Brewery and Cider House (inside Left Turn Distilling): For those not familiar with Left Turn’s location, it is at 2924 Girard, basically due south of La Cumbre on the other side of Candelaria. We know little about Palmer, but they do have a website up and a Facebook page.

6. Quarter Celtic Brewpub (inside ACE Courtyard at Lomas and San Mateo): Just in case you missed it, we already did a big preview of this potentially awesome new place.

7. Sidetrack Brewing (2nd Street between Lead and Coal): Meet another place that we already wrote up.

8. Starr Brothers Brewing (San Antonio west of San Pedro): Good lord, my father will be able to walk to this place from his house. Sorry, mom. Located in the more easterly of the two buildings that make up San Antonio Commons, this is just up the road from I-25. We have been in touch with them via email and they recently started their build-out. They still hope to open before the year is out, projecting mid-November. Look for a preview sooner than later. Until then, they are on Facebook and have a website.

AmyO got this photo of the brewing equipment in the old Stumbling Steer space.

AmyO got this photo of the brewing equipment in the old Stumbling Steer space. It will finally be used by a new brewing operation.

9. Sugar House Brewing (inside the former Stumbling Steer): OK, Sugar House is the name we heard, but we have also heard Sugar Water. Either way this place will be using the leftover equipment and space that was never used by the Steer. The folks behind Vernon’s Speakeasy, Vernon’s Open Door, and Wise Pies are the owners of this location. The story from the Journal a while back said the brewery would produce beers for all of those restaurants. We do not know if they will sell beers directly from the brewery.

10. The 377 Brewery (near Yale and Gibson): Brewery consultant JD Cummins told us there was a brewery going in south of UNM a while back. Nexus’ Kaylynn McKnight then told us it would be run by the second female head brewer in the state. This Saturday we met Lyna, the brewer herself, and exchanged business cards. Look for more on this brewery in the near future as we set up a time for an interview/tour.

Unconfirmed ABQ breweries

1. Flix Brewhouse and Movie Theater (somewhere on Coors): We heard a rumor that this chain, think Alamo Drafthouse, is moving in on the West Side. Basically it is a movie theater with its own brewpub, with beers brewed on site. Clearly this is something ABQ has been missing, and it goes one step beyond Violet Crown Cinemas in Santa Fe (which just has taps from area breweries). We will seek out more info.

2. Steel Bender Brewyard (2nd Street near Paseo del Norte): The rumors of a brewery opening in the Los Ranchos area have been persistent for a while. A source we trust passed along this name, but so far there is no additional info available, no website, Facebook page, or application to the state for a small brewers license.

3. Ventura Brewing (Paseo del Norte near San Pedro): The name comes from an old map of future breweries, so it may or may not be there. We are hearing rumors of a brewery in the area, though exactly where is unknown. One possibility is a building being constructed from the ground up near Chick-Fil-A, though that was idle speculation between myself and a reporter from the Journal. Just recently one of our Bullpen members heard of a brewery near Paseo and Wyoming; not sure whether it is this or not.

Even if those three unconfirmed places come to fruition, that still leaves a whopping 14 other breweries about which we have heard nothing. Unless they are extremely spread out and in the various corners of ABQ that are currently under-served (think far West Side, far NE Heights, and so on), we could be looking at oversaturation in the next couple years. That will likely produce more Broken Bottle-style casualties than we would like to see, but such is the nature of the industry.

* * * *

As promised, we also have news on breweries around the state. This is all pretty much taken from the State website, plus there are some Facebook pages and the like.

1. Ale Republic (Cedar Crest): We talked to the Republic guys a while back, when they were still in the midst of their Kickstarter campaign. Now they have their location, but alas (or hooray) it is not in Albuquerque, but instead on the east side of the Sandias in Cedar Crest. When they are ready for us to come visit, we will drop in and do a formal write-up.

2. Colfax Ale Cellar (Raton): After being told this was a dead or massively delayed project, a reader with connections to the owners informed us that things are progressing and Colfax hopes to open early in 2016. I guess the Crew will be stopping by during one of our future sojourns to Colorado. They are still listed as having a pending license on the state site, though it calls them Colfax Ave Cellar.

Farmington will be getting their second brewery soon.

Farmington will be getting their second brewery soon.

3. Farmington HUB — Brewery & Grill: This could be interesting with another Hub (see below), so this name may or may not stick. Or we could have a full-on brouhaha over naming in the state. Anyway, we know next to nothing about them, though they do have a website and a Facebook page. Guess we will stop in the next time we go to and from Durango.

4. The Grant Brewing Co. (Chama): They are listed on the state website as a pending application since May 6, but we cannot find any info beyond that. There is no website or social media page. Anyone know if this project is still in existence?

5. Hub City Brewing at the Rail Cafe (Belen): This application to the State was made back in 2013, so it may be a dead project. The Rail Cafe is located at 202 DeSoto Ave. in Belen, but they don’t have a website or a Facebook page that we can find. We are not even sure the cafe is open, much less that they are still planning a brewery.

They aren't open yet, but Milton's in Carlsbad already has merch for sale. (Courtesy of their Facebook page)

They aren’t open yet, but Milton’s in Carlsbad already has merch for sale. (Courtesy of their Facebook page)

6. Milton’s Brewing (Carlsbad): The last time we asked about new breweries, these guys responded right away. They have a website and a Facebook page up and running. The brewery is looking at a 2016 opening, but lord knows this part of the state needs more craft beer, so the wait should be worth it. When they get closer to opening, a road trip will beckon.

7. Pizzeria Da Lino (Santa Fe): Located at 204 N. Guadalupe, just off the Plaza, they are listed as having applied for a Small Brewer License on June 24. Luke or Julie, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to head over and see what is up with them making their own beer.

8. Sub Rosa Cellars (Santa Fe): Luke already wrote up a preview of this forthcoming, wholly unique new brewery.

We did hear that the seemingly dormant Rincon Brewing in Aztec may be revived under a different name. There is also talk of a brewery taking over the old Jackalope space in Bernalillo on Highway 550 near the Santa Ana Star Casino. We do know there will be a taproom of sorts opening in Bernalillo in the old Flying Star space, though as of right now we have not heard if they plan to brew their own. The combined coffeehouse/brewery in EDO on Central is apparently dead, at least at that location. If Theory manages to resurface elsewhere, we will track them down.

We're gonna need a bigger map soon.

We’re gonna need a bigger map soon.

So that is the info that we have right now. Have more details for us? Know of additional places? Please contact us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

Until these places come to fruition, you should have plenty of local options for quality craft beer to keep you satiated.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister