Posts Tagged ‘New Mexico Brewers Guild’

It was an informative gathering inside Tractor’s brewery area, with (from left) Bosque’s Jess Griego, Tractor’s David Hargis, La Cumbre’s Jeff Erway, Tractor’s Skye Devore, Senator Martin Heinrich, Taos Mesa’s Jayson Wylie, Canteen’s Jamie Schwebach, and higher up, Hollow Spirits’ Frank Holloway and NM Brewers Guild executive director Leah Black. Oh, and some beer writer on the far right.

Senator Martin Heinrich was in Albuquerque last week, and representatives of the New Mexico Brewers Guild were able to set up a meeting with him to talk all things craft beer in regards to the federal government.

Tractor Brewing co-owner/president Skye Devore spearheaded the event, which was held inside the brewery at Wells Park. The Senator certainly seemed to appreciate the informal nature of the event, which featured a sizable charcuterie tray and free drinks for all, not to mention being free of the usual political debate.

Over the course of a half-hour, numerous topics were discussed between the Senator and a group that included Skye, Tractor co-owner/brewmaster David Hargis, La Cumbre owner Jeff Erway, Hollow Spirits owner Frank Holloway, New Mexico Brewers Guild executive director Leah Black, Guild board members Jayson Wylie (Taos Mesa), Jamie Schwebach (Canteen), and Jess Griego (Bosque), and one beer writer who was there to chronicle it all.

The meeting featured both the Guild members asking questions of the Senator, and the Senator in turn asking questions of them.

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One last time into the breach, dear friends, one last time!

Well, this is it. Eleven days of fun have come down to one final day’s worth of events.

The final slate includes a sold-out golf tournament, a breakfast special, a brunch, an anniversary party, a celebration of casks, a unique charity drive, and one final sensory experience to close it all out. Thanks for being along for the ride with us!

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: Le Cask Lunatique. Where: Steel Bender Brewyard. When: Noon. Cost: No cover charge.

Details: Once again, the Steel Bender brewers have gone a little overboard (in a good way) with six special casks on the patio bar. The Witty Gin is made from The Village Wit infused with the same botanicals and spices that Left Turn Distilling uses for its Old Tom Gin. Mulvaney’s Old Fashioned features the Irish red infused with cinnamon, orange peel, nutmeg, clove, allspice, and sweet cherries. Compa-rinha uses Compa Los Ranchos Lager conditioned with palm sugar, lime zest and juice. Stay Golden Sunrise utilizes the new Stay Golden Ale with maraschino cherries and fresh orange zest and juice. Funky George Porter adds a little brettanomyces for some proper funk. Finally, we cannot wait for Blue Bullet’s Wood-Aged Irish Whiskey, where the brewers took oak chips soaked in Left Turn’s NM Blue Corn Whiskey and added them to a cask of the Irish dry stout. Oh, and Le Chat Lunatique will be playing inside from 3:30 to 5:30.

Why you should go: If you can’t find a cask you like here, we’re not sure you really like beer.

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Get thee to Las Cruces this Friday!

There are only a few beer festivals left in New Mexico that no one from the Crew has attended. One was the Blazin’ Brewfest, but I will be heading down this Friday since it is not falling on my birthday or opposite a metal show this year (it was rather uncanny how many times that happened in past years).

This annual celebration of craft beer takes over Main Street and Plaza de Las Cruces, starting at 5 and running until 9 p.m. Tickets are still available online. General admission is $15 and designated drivers get in for $5, and they typically sell out in advance (though Guild executive director Leah Black said a few will be held back for sale at the gate), so it would be wise not to risk showing up expecting a ticket unless you arrive at the outset.

Blazin’ is a New Mexico Brewers Guild event, and it has drawn 18 breweries from around New Mexico, including all five Las Cruces breweries. Pecan Grill Brewery will be in attendance, but it does not have any beers available as brewer David Allan is currently undergoing treatment for cancer. Eight other breweries are donating beers to be sold by the pint at the Pecan Grill tent, with proceeds going to help the Allan family. Marble will be sending Passionate Gose, while Canteen, La Cumbre, Little Toad Creek, Palmer Brewery, Santa Fe, Sierra Blanca, and Steel Bender will also contribute.

There will be music from DJ D-monic and a number of food trucks on site.

As for the beer lists for the 17 breweries, here is what we have so far. If any others update us between now and the start of the festival, we will share those here.

  • Bosque: Pistol Pete’s 1888, Bosque IPA, Elephants on Parade, Scotia Scotch Ale, Open Space Haze, Pale Ryder, Sour Songs (blood orange and cranberry kettle sour), Rebble Pebble (cocoa pebble brown ale)
  • Canteen: Cabana Lager, Radiohead IPA, La Luz Wheat, Dougie Style Amber
  • Cloudcroft: TBA
  • High Desert: Mango Gose, New England IPA, Cerveza, Ekuanot Pale Ale, Peach Wheat
  • Icebox: Frostbite IPA, Black Ice Lager, Rasp-brrry Wheat, Cold-Hearted Cream Ale
  • La Cumbre: Elevated IPA, A Slice of Hefen, Acclimated APA, El Jugo, Strawberry Gose
  • Little Toad Creek: Smart Blonde Ale, Grumpy Old Troll IPA, Pendejo Porter
  • Lost Hiker: TBA
  • Marble: Double White, Double White Triple Berry, Desert Fog, Cerveza
  • Picacho Peak: Munich Helles, Bitchin Brown, Hefeweizen, Saison, NEIPH, Twisted Windmill (DIPA)
  • Red Door: Unhinged Cider, New England IPA, Vanilla Cream Ale, Irish Red Ale
  • Santa Fe: Pepe Loco, 7K IPA, Happy Camper IPA, Social Hour
  • Sierra Blanca: Alien IPA, Cherry Wheat, Green Chile Cerveza, Desert Pilsner
  • Spotted Dog: TBA
  • Steel Bender: Skull Bucket IPA, Raspberry Dynamite, Lloyd’s 3 O’Clock Kolsch, Compa Los Ranchos Lager
  • Tractor: Haymaker Honey Wheat, Blood Orange Cider, Stonewall Brut IPA with grapefruit
  • Truth or Consequences: Hot Springs Lager, Buckhorn IPA, Paddleboard Pale Ale, Irish Red

Hopefully I will see many of you at the festival. Look for me roaming about or over at the Brewers Guild tent.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Toadfest at Little Toad Creek in Silver City is always worth the drive.

The New Mexico Brewers Guild and Little Toad Creek Brewery and Distillery are teaming up for their annual event, Toadfest, this Saturday in Silver City from 2 p.m. to midnight. This free event will feature 21 different beers and ciders from 12 different breweries, all packed into the LTC taproom at 200 N. Bullard Street.

The setup of Toadfest has 10 beers poured on the back patio and the other 11 at the main bar inside. There will also be some live music indoors, and some fun and games in the alleyway behind the taproom (the other side of the alley is actually the creek that runs through the town, making for a lovely afternoon/evening setting). Luke and I got to go to Toadfest back in 2017 and we had a blast, so we highly recommend the drive down. Silver City is a very charming town, and worth the visit anytime of the year.

Guild executive director Leah Black was kind enough to send us the list of the beers/ciders, though we are all still waiting on Boxing Bear to identify which offerings they are sending south. UPDATE: See below.

Patio pours

  • Bosque Open Space Haze
  • Bosque Beyond the Trees (Cider)
  • Canteen Fill in the Blanco (White IPA)
  • Marble Double White Triple Berry
  • Sierra Blanca Green Chile Cerveza
  • Sierra Blanca Alien IPA
  • Steel Bender Compa Los Ranchos Lager
  • Boxing Bear Uppercut IPA
  • Truth or Consequences Cosmic Blonde
  • Rio Bravo Freak Juice (Hazy IPA)

Bar pours

  • La Cumbre Elevated IPA
  • Picacho Peak Green Chile Amber
  • Steel Bender Raspberry Dynamite
  • Canteen High Plains Pilsner
  • Tractor Blood Orange Cider
  • Little Toad Creek Grumpy Old Troll IPA
  • Rio Bravo Squirrel Nuts (Peanut Butter Hazelnut Brown)
  • Boxing Bear Ambear
  • Marble Cerveza
  • T or C Buckhorn IPA
  • Little Toad Creek Copper Cream Ale

For those of you that can go, remember this is an event that benefits the Brewers Guild, as well as our friends at Little Toad Creek. Have a great weekend!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Senate Bill 413 passed the Roundhouse and obtained the Governor’s signature.

The good news broke Wednesday night at the top of the page listing bills signed into law by Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham. Senate Bill 413, which we profiled just recently, got the signature that craft breweries were hoping for and will become effective on July 1.

To sum up the benefits of the bill, breweries will now be able to sell beer at 11 a.m. on Sundays (no more waiting until almost halftime of NFL games); they can have private celebration permits for events like weddings, graduation parties, and so on; there will be minimum standards (50 barrels a year or 50 percent of all sales coming from beer brewed on site) for businesses to hold a small brewer license; and the excise tax has been ironed out, with breweries paying $.08 per gallon on the first 30,000 barrels produced. There are also benefits for cider producers and craft distillers.

In a legislative session crammed with so many bills, and an uncertain environment with the change in governors, no one was quite sure if the bill would pass. Thanks to State Rep. Javier Martinez and Senator Mimi Stewart, Guild lobbyists Al Park and Jason Weaks, and the tireless work of Tractor Brewing co-owner/president Skye Devore (who publicly spearheaded the Brewers Guild’s efforts), this bill not only passed both houses, but it reached the governor’s desk. At that point, all everyone could do was wait and hope it would not come down to Friday’s final deadline.

Thankfully, that wait ended Wednesday night, as Rep. Martinez tweeted out the news of the bill being signed, and a whole lot of online congratulations followed throughout the New Mexico craft beer community.

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All supporters of craft beer owe a huge thank you to SB413 sponsors Rep. Javier Martinez and Senator Mimi Stewart.

Senate Bill 413 is one of many sitting on the desk of New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham after the completion of the 2019 Legislative Session. It is, however, the one that will specifically affect our craft breweries, in a very good way, if it obtains her signature.

I sat down with Tractor Brewing co-owner/president Skye Devore, who spearheaded the effort on behalf of the New Mexico Brewers Guild, on Friday morning to go over what SB413 will mean to breweries if it is passed into law. The bill is pretty much as originally described by outgoing executive director John Gozigian, combining everything our breweries had hoped for into one bill in this legislative session. It passed the Senate by a 36-2 margin and the House by a 54-10 margin.

“I’m really proud of this because I feel like it has something in there for everyone in our membership,” Skye said. “It’s not a bill for the big breweries, or something that will just benefit the small ones. It had widespread support throughout our organization. I don’t think I got a single person saying I have a problem with any piece of this bill. And, that’s true across beer, cider, and spirits. We really all came together.”

Here is everything in the bill, summed up:

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The New Mexico Brewers Guild Board of Directors has selected Marble’s Leah Black as its next executive director.

The next step in the evolution of the New Mexico Brewers Guild will come with the appointment of its new executive director, who just happens to be someone familiar to most people involved in the local craft beer community.

Marble Brewery public relations and social media director Leah Black will officially succeed John Gozigian on March 25. The Board of Directors chose Leah based on her connections throughout the industry, her marketing background, and her enthusiasm for, well, just about everything.

“Social media is my passion, but the beer industry (as a whole) is my passion,” Leah said. “It’s really hard, because I have a big chunk of my heart here (at Marble). But, I also am a firm believer in paying attention to what the universe brings to you.”

Initially, Leah did not apply for the job. The Board eventually reached out to her and others who seemed like good candidates.

“We advertised that the position was available, we advertised through our newsletter, on Indeed, and also on Brewbound dot com,” John said. “A lot of the resumés we were getting through employment websites, nobody really had relevant experience. We did get a handful of resumés from the local beer community and we actually had several good candidates. It was a tough decision, actually.

“When we weighed each candidates’ skills and personality, reputation within the community, everything gelled around Leah. We didn’t get much through our traditional sources. What the Board decided to do was reach out to people in the community that they thought would be good candidates.”

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The fourth annual Stout Invitational at Bathtub Row Brewing was a smash hit.

For the first time in four years, Stoutmeister made it to the Stout Invitational up at Bathtub Row Brewing in Los Alamos this Saturday. This annual New Mexico Brewers Guild event brings stout lovers together from across the state in a unique setting atop the mountain in a perfect stout weather kind of day.

The winner of the public vote for this fun competition was El Choco by Lost Hiker Brewing from Ruidoso. It earned 24 votes, beating out Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Imperial Stout (18) and Blue Corn’s Whiteout Stout (16). The best performance by an Albuquerque brewery was Tractor’s Chocolate Milk Stout, which was fourth with 13 votes (it was my choice out of the group, FYI).

Lost Hiker brewmaster Dan Carey holds his first major beer award.

For Lost Hiker, it was the first major award for the young brewery.

“It’s just unbelievable, I’m blown away,” brewmaster Dan Carey said. “We’re so excited. There’s so much good beer in New Mexico for us to come out on top, I drank 16 different beers, and they were all fantastic. This was a great honor.”

Here are the final public voting totals:

  1. Lost Hiker El Choco 24 votes
  2. Roosevelt Bull Moose 18
  3. Blue Corn Whiteout Stout 16
  4. Tractor Chocolate Milk Stout 13
  5. Bombs Away Fat Man Stout 11
  6. Truth or Consequences Dark Skies 11
  7. Bathtub Row Imperial Stout 7
  8. Flix Brewhouse Rubus Nucifera 6
  9. Red River Midnight Meadows 5
  10. The 377 Mimosa Delight 5
  11. Blue Heron Prieto Real 2
  12. Chili Line New Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout 2
  13. Nexus Hot Chocolate Milk Stout 2
  14. Steel Bender Brickie American Stout 2
  15. Red Door Paint it Black Nitro Milk Stout 1
  16. Rio Bravo Barrel-Aged Grab ‘Em By the Putin 1

Unlike the Stout Challenge that the Brew Crew holds, the Invitational features all sorts of stouts, from imperials to coffee stouts to others with special adjuncts. The format is similar, though, with the beers numbered as a blind taste test. It lacks the competitive ferocity of the IPA Challenge, but still manages to be an entertaining event, as it shows the variety in what people want in a stout. Whiteout Stout, for instance, is a pale stout, and it truly stood out on the tray (not unlike that one year someone put a black IPA in the NMIPAC).

Blue Corn’s Whiteout Stout was the visual standout on the tray of 16 stouts.

It was pretty packed inside the ‘Tub, but the staff kept things flowing well, with the Brewers Guild volunteers running the show in an efficient manner between the three separate judging shifts (noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m.) due to the limited seating. It was also more than a bit cold outside, so unless you could find a spot along the fire pit, stays on the patio were short.

In the end, it was a good day atop the hill. Enjoy some additional photos of the event!

A huge thank you to John Gozigian and the Guild volunteers, the staff at Bathtub Row, and all the patrons. Raise those dark elixirs high in celebration of winter!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The new project from outgoing Brewers Guild executive director John Gozigian.

The news that New Mexico Brewers Guild executive director John Gozigian was stepping down at the end of March did not catch us by complete surprise when it was announced last week. We were aware of John being involved in a new project coming to replace the Bosque San Mateo taproom/brewery, and seeing as how the Guild bylaws prohibit the director from having a financial stake in any brewery, that meant his time would eventually be up.

That time is almost here, so I sat down with John over lunch on Monday to talk about his new project, La Reforma, as well as his time with the Guild and what is coming down the line.

“It’s been in the works for a little while,” he said. “When Bosque announced that they were going to developing the Open Space (location), and I learned that they were basically going to leave the space on San Mateo, it got me to thinking. I never intended to get back into the brewing industry. Even less so, was I interested in getting back into the restaurant business.

“But, from an entrepreneurial point of view, you look at a second generation restaurant/brewery space becomes available, and you can potentially cut in half the cost of developing it for that use. The infrastructure is already there.”

John said he talked to managing director Gabe Jensen and ended up “shocked” that no one had approached Bosque about taking over the space. That led to John making a call to an old friend.

“I ran the idea by my former Marble and Santa Fe Dining partner Jeff (Jinnett) about his level of interest in getting back into the brewery/restaurant business,” John said. “Jeff was kind of the same mind I was after we left Marble, don’t need to do (another) brewery, don’t need to do a restaurant. It’s like the Mob, you know, every time you try to get out, they pull you back in. We tend to gravitate back to what we know and what our area of expertise is.”

Our first photo of John Gozigian as Guild executive director was snapped at Starr Brothers three years ago. My, how time flies.

It was Jeff who came up with the idea for La Reforma, which will bring a new theme and approach to a brewery in a town loaded with options.

“Over the years, Jeff had always talked about the restaurants he went to when he was a kid in Mexico City, because he grew up there,” John said. “He would go to these carnitas restaurants, these huge places that specialized in carnitas and tacos, and it was a real family (friendly) thing. There was beer, too. We had talked over the years that if we ever did a brewery again, we would do a Mexico City-style culinary experience, and do some Mexico-style beers, lagers, obviously.”

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Whether in Denver at the Great American Beer Festival, or in Santa Fe at the State Legislature, or in Albuquerque at multiple events, Brewers Guild executive director John Gozigian is one of the hardest working people in our local scene.

New Mexico Brewers Guild executive director John Gozigian and the board of directors had a busy, but fairly by-the-numbers year in 2018. That figures to change a lot in 2019, both in terms of events and at the legislative session in Santa Fe.

I sat down with John over lunch at Nexus last week to recap how the past year went and what is to come when the calendar flips in a few weeks for our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series. While the more immediate changes with events will affect the beer-loving crowd more right away, the more lasting changes for the entire industry will come when the state legislature meets in January.

“It’s going to be a busy session for us,” John said. “We’ve had an economic turnaround in the state, where our state government is not starved for funding. (That) means that we can go after some of the issues that have been in our back pocket for many years that it just had not been an opportune time to address.”

The first change the breweries hope to make is in the state excise tax. New Mexico breweries currently pay more than their counterparts in any other neighboring state, save for Utah. The current excise tax setup will end in 2023, but the Guild hopes to negotiate new terms now.

“We’d like to make that permanent so our small breweries can continue to benefit from a lower excise tax rate that allows them to grow,” John said, “And, it’s also a tax rate that’s in line with our surrounding states, as opposed to being double, or triple, or quadruple what our counterparts pay. So that’s on the agenda.”

A lower tax will allow the breweries to continue to grow, add more staff, and continue to make what is currently a sizable, positive economic impact upon the state. There are no guarantees, however, that it will pass in this session, even with state revenues in the black for the first time in a long time.

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