Posts Tagged ‘News’

Stoutmeister here. Shilling has kept track of some local beer news of note while E-Rock and I were in Durango. Speaking of Durango, we will have our next post (Ska Brewing) up shortly. We hit three breweries on Wednesday alone and were not in shape to do much in the way of write-ups that day. We spent Thursday traveling, followed by E-Rock playing a gig at Low Spirits last night. Yay to not having anything to do today (except laundry).

Just in time for July 4, La Cumbre’s Elevated IPA is now available in four packs! La Cumbre’s first canned beer is available at the brewery for about $11 for a quartet of 16-ounce cans of goodness. It will also be available soon at Jubilation and Kelly Liquors on Juan Tabo.

And don’t forget to head over to La Cumbre on Saturday night to catch the Squash Blossom Boys, starting at 7 p.m.

Go beat the heat with some tasty summer beer this weekend!

Elsewhere, a couple of special beers will be available Friday to help folks beat the oppressive heat. Turtle Mountain has kept a keg of Cosmic Imperial Stout aging for the last year-and-a-half. Stop by for a 12-ounce glass before it’s gone.

Marble has its top-selling Red Ale on cask as well. It is reggae night at Marble, with Shimani playing on the patio stage from 8 to 11 p.m., hopefully when it has finally cooled down outside.

Tractor will be open early so folks watching the Pride Parade in Nob Hill do not go thirsty on Saturday. Tractor will also be serving its beer at The Kosmos as part of the daylong celebration.

The IPA Challenge is coming up in July and tickets are now on sale for $25 apiece. Participating breweries Nexus, Il Vicino and Blue Corn will have tickets on site, while Three Rivers will start selling next week. Or you can just go online to nmbeer.org and get it the new-fashioned way.

The Challenge schedule is as follows: Nexus, Sunday, July 22 at noon; Three Rivers, Tuesday, July 24 at 4 p.m.; Blue Corn, Thursday, July 26 at 4 p.m.; Il Vicino Canteen, Saturday, July 28 at noon.

Today is like Christmas Eve for craft beer lovers. Yes, here on May 16, an otherwise average Wednesday, the community braces itself for the start of ABQ Beer Week on Thursday. The NMDSBC is preparing for the onslaught of flavorful delights that are coming our way over the next 11 days (which, yes, I realize makes “Week” a bit of a misnomer, but bonus beer days are always welcome). Despite the fact we have one member (Shilling) who has gone MIA, the rest of us will do our best to preview and review as many events as we can.

So many events … so much beer … it’s Beer-vana!

I will be at Isotopes games most of the time (the longest homestand of the season exactly coincides with A.B.W., of course), but from my command chair in the press box I will be rapidly editing posts and keeping the Crew on track.

Now take note that we are not wealthy beer drinkers, so a lot of the more expensive beer dinners will not be covered, but we will be at a lot of the tastings and other events, all culminating in celebrating Franz Solo’s 30th birthday at the massive Blues & Brews beer festival at Sandia Casino on May 27.

Here is the massive schedule of Beer Week, with some details included. You can also go to the official site for more info.

Thursday

  • Chama River will be playing host to the kickoff beer dinner ($45 per person, reservations required) at 6:30 p.m. I will skip this to cover baseball, but I will visit Chama tonight (Wednesday) to finally get my hands on some 3 Dog Night Baltic porter.
  • For the young, or the young-at-heart, live or relive your college days with a beer pong tournament at Spectators, starting at 7 p.m.
  • As the ABQ Beer Geek put it best “bust your best Izod out of the closet” and head for Imbibe, where Durango’s Ska Brewing will have a special release of its DIFF, a flavor-loaded Belgian Wit.
  • E-Rock plans to be in attendance for the Beer 101 class being held at Marble from 6 to 8 p.m. Reservations are required and it costs $10, but hey, you get to try 10 beers along the way, so that works out.
  • Three local bars — Billy’s Long Bar, Stone Face Tavern, Horse and Angel Tavern — will all have the Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock on tap. It is a rare release of a quality beer from the craft brewing pioneers.

Friday

  • Imbibe is at it again, this time with a special release of a beer from Green Flash Brewing, one of the newer and more successful breweries in the San Diego area. No details have been released as to exactly what kind of beer they are unveiling, so Franz Solo said he would try to investigate.
  • The Whole Foods at Carlisle and Indian School, which employs a lot of local musicians during the day and thus deserves your support, will be playing host to a tasting event from 5 to 7 p.m. No further details have been released as to who or what will be on tap, so stay tuned.
  • As E-Rock noted in his last post, the 505 Five Collaboration beer is set to be released Friday at all five of the breweries that created it. So stop on by Chama, Il Vicino Canteen, La Cumbre, Marble or Nexus and enjoy a pint or two.

Saturday

  • Just as a side note, do the world a favor and root for Bayern Munich to crush Chelsea in the Champions League final (it’s Europe’s Super Bowl, for those who don’t follow soccer), which airs at 12:30 p.m. on Fox. Odds are a lot of breweries will be showing the game, so stop on by and double up on the enjoyment.
  • The Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival is back at Balloon Fiesta Park for the weekend and there will be a craft brewers tent, filled with lots of Celtic-themed beers. The Craic Festival will feature beers from Abby Brewing, Blue Corn, Chama River, Il Vicino, La Cumbre, Marble, Santa Fe, Second Street, Tractor and Turtle Mountain. The entire festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. You can buy a one-day pass for $15 or a two-day pass for $20. The beer is not totally free, you can get samples to pick your favorite and then pints are $4 apiece.
  • The ABQ Trolley’s Ale Trail is back again this year, but sadly it is all sold out, and even the Crew did not manage to get a ticket in time. Good luck to all of those who are hopping on board.
  • Tractor Brewing’s Tap Room in Nob Hill will be playing host to the Pint-for-Pint event, a blood drive donation co-sponsored by Isotopes Brewing Co. If you stop by Tractor to donate blood, you will get an Isotopes pint glass, a $5 Tractor gift certificate and other beer coupons. We just don’t recommend you start drinking after giving blood. But your needle-phobic friends can always stop by and enjoy themselves while they wait for you. The event starts at noon and runs until about 4:30. Reservations are going fast, so click here and put your name in if you can.

Sunday

  • Our little Nexus Brewery is growing up fast! Come celebrate the one-year anniversary with a beer brunch at 11 a.m. and a BBQ at 2 p.m. There will be live music, a special imperial Scottish ale will be on tap and there will be plenty of excellent food. The BBQ will feature Nexus’ original red chili BBQ sauce, so those with strong tastebuds should start lining up.
  • Another trendy Nob Hill joint, Zinc, will be playing host to a Marble beer dinner at 6 p.m. Get your reservations in, but remember it is $35 and since it’s Zinc, hopefully you have another Izod handy.
  • Two Fools Tavern, an old favorite in Nob Hill, will be the home of multiple special tappings during Beer Week. First up will be a TBA offering from Il Vicino, beginning at 5 p.m. and continuing until they run out.

Monday

  • Like beer? Like cheese, too? Then you are in luck as Marble brings back its beer & cheese pairings from 4 to 7 p.m. The cost is $15.
  • Local legend Ben Miller, who won the Sam Adams longshot competition a few years back, will unveil his new Belgian Dark Strong at ABQ Brew Pub in uptown. The beer will go on tap at noon, while Miller himself will stop by to talk to the masses around 5 p.m.
  • Two Fools will tap the Widmer Brothers Brrrrbon ’11, a 9.5-percent ABV beast. If you love bourbon barrel-style beers, drop by to check this one out.
  • O’Niell’s Nob Hill will play host to the first of its tasting events, this one brought by the good folks from Colorado’s Odell Brewing, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Tuesday

  • Think you know beer? Round up some friends and head down to Tricklock Theater Co.’s space on Gold and 2nd Street (next to The Box) at 7 p.m. for Tractor’s Tournament of Trivia! Make sure you sign up first at the tap room; the cost is $10 per person. As a bonus, Tractor’s Lauren and Nathan (who are both actors currently performing in the rock musical F8, though you probably know Lauren from her YouTube role as Lynette in the S@#$ Burquenos Say videos) will be hosting in character, whatever that means.
  • O’Niell’s Nob Hill will have a La Cumbre tasting from 5 to 7 p.m., while Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum IPA will be tapped at Two Fools starting at 5 p.m.
  • Il Vicino Canteen will be serving both its excellent Sasquatch Scotch on cask as well as unveiling a special IPA, “Albuquerque Hops-pitality.”
  • We are not sure what it is, but the trendy Nob Hill Bar & Grill will be playing host to an event called New Belgium vs. “New Belgium.” Um, OK, sure. When more details are available, we will post them.

Wednesday, May 23

  • This may go down as the ultimate tapping/tasting night. Red Hook’s Pilsner will be on tap at Two Fools, Marble will have Real Ale Night (details TBA), Billy’s Long Bar has Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum IPA on tap if you missed the previous night’s event, New Belgium tasting will be at O’Niell’s Nob Hill and Rogue Ales tasting will be at O’Niell’s Juan Tabo. Phew. Got all that? That’s a lot of great beer. Franz Solo promises he will be with his beloved Rogue (he once told us we can scatter his ashes at the brewery in Oregon).
  • There are two exclusive beer dinners as well this night. The Fat Squirrel Pub welcomes La Cumbre for a $45 beer dinner, while Quarters on Wyoming has the North Coast Old Stock Vertical dinner, which is limited to all of 10 people, so get your reservation in ASAP if you are interested in this NorCal brewery.

Thursday, May 24

  • More tastings: Oregon’s awesome Deschutes Brewery will be unleashing the goodness at O’Niell’s Juan Tabo while Rogue Ales will head to O’Niell’s Nob Hill for a second night of greatness. Both are from 5 to 7 p.m.
  • Two Fools will have a special tapping of Left Hand’s Week Sauce, a burly coffee porter, starting at 5 p.m.
  • The Red Hook Tap Takeover will occur at yet another trendy spot, Ibiza, in Nob Hill from 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Kelly’s Brew Pub in Nob Hill will have a special beer release of its own. Details to come.

Friday, May 25

  • Imbibe will have both a beer trivia event (starting at 6 p.m., details TBA) and welcome Santa Fe Brewing’s Chicken Killer barleywine and Black IPA to the taps from 5 to 7 p.m.
  • New Belgium and Montana’s Big Sky will have special tappings at Two Fools, starting at 5 p.m. New Belgium will unveil Cocoa Mole’, a beer with chocolate and spicy ingredients, while Big Sky’s release is TBA.
  • Colorado’s Oskar Blues will have a tasting at O’Niell’s Juan Tabo while SoCal’s Stone Brewing will be at O’Niell’s Nob Hill. Both are from 5 to 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 26

  • If you cannot make it to Tractor for Pint-for-Pint this Saturday, there is another up the freeway at Santa Fe Brewing. Check back for more details.
  • Southwest Grape and Grain will have a homebrewing demonstration. Check back for more details, as I imagine will be sending the Crew’s homebrewer extraordinaire, Cryptogrind, to this event.
  • Oskar Blues will have a tasting at O’Niell’s Nob Hill from 6 to 8 p.m., while Odell Brewing will be over at Billy’s Long Bar with all of its beers available for $3 a pint all day and night.

Sunday, May 27

  • The big one finally arrives: ABQ Blues & Brews kicks off for the masses at 3 p.m. and runs until 6 p.m. (unless you paid extra for a VIP ticket, then you get in at 2 p.m.) Sandia Resort and Casino is the host for this 30-plus brewery event. Just make sure you have a designated driver on hand, or else grab a hotel room upstairs. We are hoping to have the entire Crew at this event, so keep an eye out for us (E-Rock is working on our T-shirts now for easier identification). And don’t forget to find our friend and inspiration for this blog, the ABQ Beer Geek, who should be present as well.

That is all from the Crew for now. Check back here often as we will do our best to cover as much of Beer Week as we can!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Tractor passes penultimate hurdle

Posted: April 12, 2012 by cjax33 in News
Tags: ,

Tractor Brewing took another big step toward being able to sell growlers again after the Environmental Planning Commission approved an amendment to the Nob Hill zoning plan Thursday afternoon.

Soon you may be able to take Tractor's Mustachio Milk Stout home!

The EPC voted unanimously in favor of altering the Nob Hill Highland Sector Redevelopment Plan as there was no public opposition during the meeting. The key was altering the text to allow businesses to sell “locally-produced beer and wine for off-premises consumption.” This means any establishment that brews its own beer or makes its own wine, as per the state liquor-licensing laws, is eligible to now sell that product for people to take home, whether it’s growlers or any other item.

The next and final step will be for the Albuquerque City Council to vote on the amendment, which could happen as early as June 2. Considering how the political process tends to work in ABQ, along with just about every other municipality in the country, it is optimistic to think that Tractor will at least have growler-selling capability by the July 4 holiday.

The only minor issues that the EPC had dealt with the wording in the amendment in regard to the phrase “locally-produced beer and wine,” but this was eventually cleared up as it was pointed out that a specific type of liquor license was already necessary from the State of New Mexico to even enable an establishment to sell its alcohol products in take-home form.

If the amendment passes the Council it will benefit not just Tractor but Kelly’s and Il Vicino’s Nob Hill location, both of which would then be able to refill/sell growlers.

As more updates on the ongoing process become available, the NMDSBC will provide them.

For now, raise a pint to celebrate a victory for Tractor, local business, and beer lovers everywhere!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Ah, spring time.  Warm weather, shorts, sunlight till 8 p.m., hurricane-force winds, and intense sneezing attacks (when in NM … sometimes).  After a freak snow storm earlier this week, the weather is warm again with a slight breeze, which means local watering holes now have patios, which also means summer beers are coming on tap.

Well, our good friends at Tractor have blessed us with a pilsner to kick off the windy season.

For those who don’t know what a pilsner is, Budweiser is a pilsner, Miller is a pillsner, PBR is a pilsner, etc.  Well, if you’re looking for a super light brew, just drink Tractor’s version instead of those.

The pilsner is light and refreshing, with just enough hops to get you by, but instead of the normal can of Bud, this bad boy hits you at 6-percent ABV.  So it is drinkable, but will get you feeling happy much quicker than the macro brews you get at the grocery store.

So come on out and enjoy Tractor’s patio space, order a slice (or a whole pie) from Slice Parlor next door, and a pilsner.  You can’t go wrong with that combination!

Note: it’s warming up now.  Dust off those bikes, folks!  Lots of available bike space here at Tractor.

Cheers!

— Shilling

After a really busy week, just about every member of the Crew is looking forward to this weekend. Anyone that reads this blog probably realized that, considering we did not come with a single post since the previous Beer Weekend entry that went up last Friday. Rest assured, Shilling and Cryptogrind will have multiple posts up soon (or so their editor hopes).

Rather than just hang around ABQ all weekend, I, Stoutmeister, will accompany E-Rock to Northern New Mexico, where four breweries have been crying out for us to visit. Well, maybe not crying out, but we like to think that the beer gods do sometimes summon us to take beer treks beyond the metro area.

The Scottish Ale on tap here is among the best beers in the state.

Before anybody starts screaming “don’t you love ABQ breweries anymore?!” I would like to point out that I have visited La Cumbre, Tractor, and Il Vicino while also enjoying Marble Monday at Old Town Pizza Parlor since I returned from Arizona. This weekend, though, represents one of the last opportunities for some time to trek northward to the Taos area to check out the breweries there (I cover the Isotopes in addition to the Lobo baseball team, and the season opener is next week, which tends to cut into my weekend availability). So E-Rock and I will hit the winding road Saturday morning to visit Blue Heron Brewing, which sits along Highway 68 en route to Taos, before a side trek to Comanche Creek Brewing north of Eagle Nest, and finally stops at Taos’ two in-town breweries, Eske’s Brew Pub and the Taos Ale House. I have never had beers from either Comanche Creek or the Ale House, so I am very much looking forward to trying both. Blue Heron’s online menu lists the La Llorona Scottish Ale as being back on tap; Shilling and I voted it our favorite, not just in that style, but overall at Marble’s Septemberfest last year. A growler or at least a 22 oz. bottle will be coming home from that stop. We look forward to trying all four breweries and hope that they will come down to ABQ for the Blues & Brews mega-event that caps Beer Week on May 27.

Taos Ale House, the area’s newest brewery, will have an Imperial IPA, a Dunkelweizen and an English pale ale on tap, along with something that sounds so intriguing we just have to try it: a honey raspberry porter. Brewer/owner Jesse Cook said he hopes to have it on tap when we are there, but we understand if he was not able to get it ready in time (fatherhood takes precedence over beer). If it is on tap, man, we’ll just have to sample that curious mix of flavors.

Comanche Creek has an IPA, amber, and a pale ale listed on the Web site, but if any surprises are in store, well gosh we will just have to live with drinking those, too.

As for Eske’s, the “grandaddy” brewery of the region, their last Facebook photo of their beer board (cheaper and more efficient than constantly updating their Web site) showed some intriguing beers like Victory Bitter, Black Cat Ale, Turbinator, Doobie Rock Heller Bock, and Seco Stout. Eske’s also has a tendency to display lots of photos of their culinary creations on Facebook, so Saturday might very well mark a great time to indulge in some food as well.

The rest of the Crew will be around town, visiting local breweries and trying the latest creation, a homebrewed chocolate stout, from our good friend Derek. We are also happy to report the return to health of Franz Solo, who will be back posting soon after a long beerless drought.

Stay safe and have fun this weekend!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

La Cumbre is at it again. Just when beer lovers thought the hops were in full command of the brewery, Jeff Erway and company flipped the script and concocted an Irish red ale and an oatmeal stout, perfect for March. With Shilling and the Professor Emeritus of Beer in tow, I dropped on by LC on Thursday afternoon after the weekly UNM baseball press conference. It sure felt like spring outside at Isotopes Park, where the grass is greener, the players are more upbeat (winning six of seven will do that), and the winds are (temporarily) at bay.

The Professor Emeritus finishes his Irish Red Ale as the Chew and Swallow oatmeal stout arrives at La Cumbre.

Over at the brewery, we tried the Irish Red Ale first. It is a smooth, crisp beer, offering up only a slight hint of its East Kent Golding hops. The red offers up tremendous drinkability, similar to many of the styles I tried in Arizona, but with more flavor. As far as reds go, it is very different than Marble’s red, much closer to the Irish red over at Il Vicino, just a bit less sweet. The caramel and roasted malt flavors blend together nicely, finishing with a little dry kick. Unlike many La Cumbre beers, it is also very light from an ABV standpoint, checking in at just 4.6 percent. This is definitely a kick-back-and-relax beer, not the kind that would start an old-fashioned Irish bar brawl, despite the fact it is made entirely with British ingredients. Grab a few pints and catch up on the Premier League action this weekend. (Go Newcastle!)

For our second helping, we picked up the uniquely named Chew and Swallow, an oatmeal stout. This is a smooth, thick, delicious beer that would likewise feel at home in a pub with football (soccer) on the telly. It does not have the bite or bitterness commonly associated with stouts, including La Cumbre’s Malpais Stout. This is not a chocolate stout, but instead an obsidian elixir that just redefines the term “smooth” for beers. For those who usually do not drink stouts, this one will give you the illusion of filling you up. It is certainly thicker than, say, Guinness, but it is just an illusion. You can drink two of these (at 6.5 percent ABV, I would not recommend three unless you pass off your car keys to a friend/significant other) and still avoid having to go run five miles the next day to work it off.

Other seasonal beers on tap right now are the VMO #2, a German-style lager, plus the Dubbel Entendre, the hyper-flavored Belgian that is nearing the end of its run, and Barley’s Wine, the 10.8-percent ABV powerhouse of the brewery. When the Dubbel runs out, prepare for the arrival of Acclimated IPA, a new double IPA that is sure to unleash a furious hop onslaught of joy upon the many fans of the style.

It is a set to be a gorgeous weekend outside, but still take the time to head over to La Cumbre to indulge in these tasty seasonal beers, or go over, fill your growler, and enjoy from the comfort of you backyard.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

It always helps to have other members of the Crew around at certain times.

In this latest update in the Brewology series, I will take you through the bottling process, which is arguably the simplest step in brewing your own beer, as I found out.  It also turns out to be a great way to gather friends together; what better way to promote bonding than by helping out with bottling some delicious home brewed beer?

After approximately a week in the secondary fermenter, the ESB was ready to take the leap into bottling.  The majority of time was spent with Shilling and myself doing our prep work, which meant sterilizing all of our equipment, bottles, etc. As a first-time homebrewer, I can tell you once again that cleaning and sterilization is going to be one of your main keys to getting the best tasting beer.  There are a lot of products available to aid in this process, and I’ll discuss them further on.  As a time-saving tip, I would recommend doing your cleaning and sterilization well ahead of time; you don’t want to spend hours cleaning bottles and gear when you were planning to start bottling early in the evening.  Needless to say, we found this out the hard way, as we started much later then we had planned.  But trial and error can lead to good lessons for future use.

My new bottling hat. We take ourselves very seriously.

We proceeded to siphon the brew into my bottling bucket from the glass carboy in order to filter out the last bit of sediment that was remaining.  After this, we simply took the priming sugar, which was dissolved in warm water, and slowly stirred it in the beer.  Again we started a siphon and were ready to begin bottling.  This went very quickly, as we started a DIY assembly line with myself filling bottles and Shilling capping them; it was as easy as that.  The brewing kit I purchased came with a large bag of caps and a dual lever capper, as well as the bottle filling attachment.

From start to finish, the bottling itself took about a half an hour, after which we stored the bottles away in cases and in a cool part of the house where they will be sitting for about another week to attain adequate carbonation.  Now we simply play the waiting game again, and we shall finally get to reap the benefits of all the hard work and enjoy a (hopefully) delicious ESB!

Shilling demonstrates proper technique

The rest of the Crew and a few friends will be having a BBQ to taste my brew, as well as my good friend Derek’s chocolate stout that is carbonating at the same time.  Next time I will be doing a quick review of the beers, as well as discussing recipes and equipment for future use as well.  So to my brothers and sisters of beer, I bid you farewell, until next time …

Prost!

— Cryptogrind

This week has been just a tad chaotic. At least for the sports writer in this group, who has barely had a chance to breathe while spending hours at the Pit and Santa Ana Star Center.

The good news is the weekend is almost upon us, which means the high school basketball tournament is almost over, and it means the first great beer road trip for Crew members is about to kick off.

Along with my trusty right-hand man, E-Rock, I will be trekking to our neighboring state of Arizona on Sunday to begin a week of baseball games and brewery visits. Starting with Flagstaff’s ubiquitous Beaver Street Brewery and continuing through the many breweries of Maricopa County and then Tucson, E-Rock and Stoutmeister’s Excellent (Beer) Adventure is about to begin.

As for the rest of the Crew, well, they’ll still be around to hold down the fort in Albuquerque. Here are the weekend plans for those staying in NM, and for E-Rock and Stoutmeister before they blaze a trail westward …

E-Rock, left, and the Stoutmeister will hit the road for baseball and beer in Arizona this weekend.

Stoutmeister: If I have time, I will try to visit a brewery Saturday night. I’d go somewhere Friday after the Lobo baseball game (yeah, doing that on top of daytime hoops, I am probably insane) but a few bands I know are playing at non-beer establishments and I should stop by to say hello to my musician friends. Otherwise, in addition to Beaver Street on Sunday the plan is to head up from our crash-pad in Chandler to one of the breweries in Tempe that isn’t Four Peaks — always a favorite, but the idea is to visit some new places this trip.

E-Rock: I am headed off to Arizona with Stoutmeister for some out-of-state brews, but before that I am probably going to drop by Bad Ass Brewery on Saturday to check out some of their newest creations.  I am also looking to make some time to check out the new Mustachio Milk Stout over at Tractor.

Franz Solo: One of those evil viruses, the kind that make a person too sick to drink beer, has attacked one of our own this week.  We hope Franz feels better soon.  A week without beer is a week too long for any man.

Shilling: This weekend is looking to be a busy one for me which is pretty much normal.  As usual, the spring weather here in the Duke City is unpredictable (70’s earlier this week with light winds and 30’s and low 40’s later in the week with Hurricane Jorge blowing outside) which makes it hard to plan for a bike ride or enjoy anything outside.  I am looking to spend a little bit of time at the Tractor Taproom with Cryptogrind and grabbing bottles for his ESB that is currently in secondary fermentation.  Also, I’m hoping to get an interview in with Chris and Donavan over at the new Broken Bottle Brewery out on Albuquerque’s Westside.

Cryptogrind: Well, it looks to be a chilly weekend … which only calls for a nice, warming brew. This means I shall be spending some time warming my limbs and palate with some of Tractor’s new milk stout. And Sunday … well I think that calls for a nice brunch, featuring a Scottish ale and a big tasty plate of chicken and waffles courtesy of Nexus. Mouth … is … already … watering …

That’s all for us. Hope all of you have a great weekend and for those who get to enjoy it, a great spring break week! Look for some Arizona and local posts in the coming week!

Cheers!

— The Crew

It’s been a busy week already, but before I became a semi-permanent resident of both The Pit and the Santa Ana Star Center for the state basketball tournament, I managed to trek out to try a couple new beers here in ABQ.

First up was the Shadow Boxer Black IPA at Chama River. It appears to be the season for black IPAs, as both Turtle Mountain (Ironman) and Tractor (no special name, just a special taste) also have this style on tap right now. The Shadow Boxer is comparable to both, though it has a flavor all its own. Unlike a lot of IPAs, there is no stinging bite at the start of a pint. There are a lot of hops that come up mid-palate, giving a burst of comforting flavor that reminds you that, yes, this is an IPA. It does not overwhelm, however, nor does it leave any bitter aftertaste, just a warm, dry feeling until the next sip. It does not have the power of Ironman, nor the mix of different flavors found at Tractor, but it is a solid beer in its own right. This is the type of black IPA one can enjoy at a slow, relaxing pace. It also has a lower alcohol content, 6.2 percent ABV, when compared to Turtle (6.8) and Tractor (7.5). Each of these outstanding black IPAs is worth more than worth trying; they are a wonderful indulgence while we all take refuge from the March winds and the juniper pollen they are spreading across the metro area.

The Mustachio Milk Stout may be Tractor's finest creation to date.

After dinner, I zipped on down the freeway and headed for Nob Hill to visit Tractor Brewing for their Growl at the Moon promotion. Since that pesky city ordinance will not be lifted until August (or so everybody hopes), the folks at the taproom have come up with a unique promotion to still make use of all those unsold growlers that would otherwise be gathering dust in the cabinet. Folks can visit Tractor and effectively use the growlers like a pitcher, enjoying vast quantities of Tractor beers (so long as the growlers never leave the premises). The new beer that everybody should have been filling their growlers with was the Mustachio Milk Stout, a long-awaited new dark elixir that ties into the now annual “Mustache March” charity campaign, where people grow mustaches for various charities. A month-long series of events in ABQ called “March Moustache Madness” is being organized by Glad Castle, culminating in the Moustachio Bashio at the El Rey on March 31, a concert with Lost Lingo headlining. In between there will be a bicycle pub crawl that starts at Tractor on March 22 at 6 p.m. Check Facebook for even more details.

Anyway, back to the beer — Mustachio Milk Stout may be the best beer Tractor has ever brewed. No, seriously, as anybody can attest, I spend a lot of time at the Taproom, so if I’m willing to engage in such hyperbole, get on down there and try this exquisite stout. If one uses Left Hand’s Milk Stout as the standard for this stout style, then Mustachio may even outrank the national champ. This is a sweeter stout; there is no bitterness here, unlike that which is found in the more common oatmeal or Irish dry styles. This stout is exceptionally smooth with a clean finish. It is not as heavy or as creamy as Left Hand (which, by the way, is available on tap down the street at Two Fools for comparison’s sake). Now, for some it might be too light, but for me it was just about perfect. I could go swimming in a lake of this beer and drown happy. If not for all the basketball, I probably would spend every night at Tractor this week until I finished off every last drop in the inventory. But as I have a job to do, and I don’t want my liver sending me a move-out notice, I will hold off and allow the rest of ABQ to indulge in the milk stout goodness.

Elsewhere on the good news front, owner/master brewer Jeff Erway has updated the La Cumbre Blog to let us all know about his plans to increase brewing capacity even further, to start canning the gold medal-winning Elevated IPA, and offer up a preview of some new beers, including an oatmeal stout and an Irish red for St. Patrick’s Day. As someone who will be out of the state for that wonderful holiday, I can only hope the rest of you don’t drink every last drop before I get back to try some.

So unless you’re attending HS hoops this week, head over to Chama and Tractor to try their new beers, brace yourselves for more La Cumbre goodness, watch and root on the Lobos in the Mountain West tournament, and stay out of that darned wind!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Clearing out the beer files…

In case you haven’t noticed, every Monday members of the Crew gather at various watering holes to kick off the week the right way.  Why Mondays? Well, who honestly enjoys that first day back to work after a two days away? (and Stoutmeister’s freelance gig for the local paper doesn’t schedule him for prep sports, because high schools don’t play on most Mondays).

Follow us on twitter and like us on Facebook to see where we’ll be on Beer Mondays and all other outings.

This week, as in today, we will be at Chama River to try their new Shadow Boxer Black IPA and Barely Legal Barley Wine. After dinner we will be heading down to Tractor Brewing in Nob Hill for their Growl at the Moon promotion, where patrons can bring their growlers into Tractor. The catch is that you have to drink all the beer in the growler before departing. Don’t worry, enough of us will be there that no one will be KO’d by the new milk stout. Look for reviews on these new beers soon!

Cheers to a great week!

— Shilling

Malt Madness returns

The staff at Il Vicino are geniuses with this promotion. Geniuses, we say!

The mad scientists at Il Vicino Canteen are once again combining two favorites — beer and bracketology! The IV crew has brought back Malt Madness, a “tournament” of beers where a 24-beer bracket is created, pitting IV’s regular and specialty beers against one another in a battle to the death. Well, not death, but a battle to be IV’s top beer (Wet Mountain IPA is almost certain to be the No. 1 seed after winning the IPA Challenge).

The brackets come out today and fans have until next Monday to come in and fill out their brackets. For further details, check out the picture of the official rules page we have here, or just head over to the Canteen and sign up.

Here’s hoping my personal favorites, the Irish Red, Slow Down Brown, Passtout, and the Vanilla Porter make the 24-beer list.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Coming soon to a beer blog near you

Keep an eye out this week for more bomb(ers) away from Franz Solo; madcap beer mixing in E-Rock’s Lab; the next lesson in Brewology from Professor Cryptogrind; a full list of the breweries in New Mexico outside the ABQ metro area from Stoutmeister; and plenty more before Stoutmeister and E-Rock’s Excellent Arizona Adventure begins on Sunday!