Posts Tagged ‘NM Brewer’s Guild’

Arguably the best event of Beer Week was the Beer Premier.

Arguably the best event of Beer Week was the Beer Premier.

Friday night’s New Mexico Brewers Guild Beer Premier and Matanza was a unique event and it was my first time attending this festival. It turned out to be my favorite event of Beer Week. As is the case with any event, there were some bumps in the road, but overall it was fantastic.

All the advertising for the event stated the doors would open at 5:30, but the organizers were unaware of this and so some of us were left standing outside waiting for about 20 minutes. However (even though nobody had any beer yet), nobody was overly concerned, and this mellow mood continued throughout the night. I don’t think I have ever seen such a laid-back crowd in Albuquerque, even at a beer festival.

We were very happy to be one of the first ones in the gate, because we were able to secure a table for two in the shade. It was a very warm afternoon and evening, so I felt very grateful for that table and chairs. It’s a beautiful venue, and it was a nice place to spend some quality time with those you love, or those who just love beer. (Note to self: Next time bring insect repellent; I didn’t, and I got a lot of bites right at dusk.)

Good beer to your right!

Good beer to your right!

A few minutes later, the beer began to pour. There were two beer “stations,” one on the south side and one on the north side, with two beer professionals pouring four beers each. I did hear some mild “complaining” about an inability to interact (as advertised) with the brewery staffs. There was representation from breweries, but they were often either roaming around, or not actually pouring their own beer. Again, since everyone was mellow, it came across as comments for improvement rather than actual griping.

It was a slow start for the south side beer station as they had problems with some of the lines, but everyone just gravitated to the north end while that was being fixed. Also, the south side did not have beer lists at the beginning, so nobody really knew for sure what they were ordering. Someone passed out beer information sheets to all the attendees after I was almost halfway through what I most wanted to taste. This probably should be done upon entry.

The beer — oh, the beer! It could be a pretty risky proposition having only never-before-released beers at a festival. On the other hand, it’s a nice change of pace, because having mostly the breweries’ regular beers can get a little stale, so to speak. If this festival was any indication, we have now reached yet another pinnacle in the Albuquerque brewing community. The brewers are at the level where even the more “experimental” beers are so damn good, I would seek out and drink at least 80 percent of them. I started with some of the lighter beers and worked my way to the darker ones. On his third sample, my boyfriend Dave looked at me wide-eyed and exclaimed, “Three for three!” It continued on in this fashion.

Happy beer drinkers as far as the eye could see!

Happy beer drinkers as far as the eye could see!

I decided to rank the beer I tried on a 1.0-to-5.0 scale, as one might on one of the popular beer ranking sites. Two of my fellow Brew Crew Bullpen members were in attendance, and Kristin remarked about having to manually input all the beers into Untappd. Good for you, Kristin, that’s a lot of work! (Since these were never before released, they would not be on there yet.)

There were so many good ones there that I will just relay some of my highest, as well as my lowest scores. Keep in mind in this case, that the lower scores could be affected by a comparison issue because I was sampling so many types of beers. If anyone out there attended the event and wants to share his/her ratings, please email us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com or leave us a message via any social media site. We want to know what you thought about the beers, and the event as a whole!

Higher Scores

  • WINNER (for me): La Cumbre Nitro Barrel-Aged Malpais Stout 4.8 (Just outstanding!)
  • Chama River Heavy Cream Ale 4.4
  • Sierra Blanca Whiskey Stout 4.3 (I heard very positive feedback around me as well for this beer, which actually debuted in four-packs of bottles at Jubilation before Beer Week.)
  • Tractor Summer en Blanc Witbier 4.2
  • Bosque What the Dunkel? Dunkelweisen 4.0

Lower Scores

  • Quarter Celtic Dusk’s Early Night Black Lager 3.8 (On its own it would be pretty good, and it did have some good flavor. There was nothing off about this beer, it just couldn’t stand up to some of the bigger ones for me.)
  • Canteen Grapefruit Hop Baller IPA 3.2 (So many people loved this one, but I wasn’t one of those people. I’m not a big IPA person, but Dave is, and we both had some issues which resulted in a fairly lengthy discussion about this beer. I think this had five hop varieties. To me, I was understanding the Citra and Amarillo hops, but the earthy Mosaic was a strange combination with such a citrusy beer. Your opinion could very well vary.)
  • Blue Corn (“Mystery Belgian” as described by the person pouring) Barrel-Aged Brett Cherry Ale 3.0. It was an oaky, smoky Belgian sour that just wasn’t my thing. Personal preference.

I have to give a shout-out to the mellow crowd. I heard more informed questions and intelligent beer discussion among attendees than I ever have at a local beer event. (Late development — I just got another email from Kristin and she commented on the same thing. It must have been pretty noticeable! We both felt that people really cared about the beer and were not just trying to slam as much beer as possible.)

The food lines got a bit long.

The food lines got a bit long.

Since this is mostly about the beer, I saved my food comments for the end. The staff did a good job of making up tacos in easy-to-walk-away-with containers, but the way the condiments were set up at the end made for a complete logjam. At one point I located one person I knew near the back of the food line and timed that it took them 24 minutes from start to finish to pick up their tacos. The line ended up getting very long for a while, because you would get your tacos, but you had to stand there and hold up any progress while you added your salsa, etc., and the line would stop moving. The line also started to interfere with the north beer station line.

If you could have taken your tacos to another table out of the way where people could go to either side to add toppings, it would have flowed better. I was worried that some people would just decide not to bother with the food. That was a little scary with all the beer that was flowing. I also felt a little disappointed in the selection of toppings. Something I read gave me the impression there would be more things available than one type of salsa (green), loaded with lots of big chunks of onion and cilantro, crema, and more raw white onions and more cilantro. I’m not a fan of raw onions or cilantro. The pork tacos themselves tasted good.

Kristin also noted that there was no vegetarian option. This could easily have put quite a few more people off from eating anything since this was the only food available. It would have been nice to have roasted vegetables for veggie tacos, and some rice along with the beans. (I don’t know if the beans were vegetarian, because I am allergic and cannot eat them).

Hey, look, there's Kristin! And Adam! And the back of Silas' head!

Hey, look, there’s Kristin! And Adam! And the back of Silas’ head! And Karl in a bright orange suit!

Final random thoughts: my other fellow Bullpen attendee Adam and I both thought it may have been our first beerfest that had a DJ. And, I was happy to see Marne and her new cutie-pie baby!

Cheers!

— AmyO

After four years of faithful service, Chris Goblet is no longer executive director of the NM Brewers Guild.

After four years of faithful service, Chris Goblet is no longer executive director of the NM Brewers Guild.

Earlier today (Friday) we posted a link to the Albuquerque Business First story about a change at the top of the New Mexico Brewers Guild. Chris Goblet is out and John Gozigian is in as executive director of the Guild. Goblet had been running things since the Guild formed in 2012, but the board of directors opted to go in a different direction with Gozigian, who was formerly one of the owners of Marble Brewery.

The Guild sent us this official press release this afternoon.

Albuquerque, NM – February 5, 2016 – The New Mexico Brewers Guild announced today the departure of Chris Goblet and the hiring of John Gozigian as the new Executive Director.

Chris steered the NM Brewers Guild from its formal organization in 2012 through the very successful annual Winterbrew Festival in Santa Fe in January of 2016.  During the four years under Chris’ guidance the Guild has held countless profitable events, represented our state at the Great American Beer Festival and the Craft Brewers Conference, held 2 technical conferences and engaged our state legislature in positive ways that no one would have ever thought possible.  The Guild helped pass laws that re-evaluated the way that New Mexico’s breweries are taxed, ensured that all New Mexico breweries are allowed to both fill growlers and self-distribute, and that secured the practices of alternating proprietorships and contract brewing within the state.

Board President Nico Ortiz says of Chris that “the NM Brewers Guild would not be in the place that it is today had we not had Chris at the helm, and every Board member and member brewery owes him a sincere debt of gratitude.  Our further growth and maturation as an organization comes from the foundation that he has helped us to build over the last 4 years, and he should take great pride in knowing that.”

Taking over for Chris as Executive Director will be John Gozigian.  John is a co-founder of Marble Brewery and a past President of the NM Brewers Guild Board.  His many years in the NM brewing community and past work with the Guild make him uniquely qualified to be the person to build upon the work begun by Chris and to lead the NM Brewers Guild into the future.

The Crew will, of course, be following up on this story. We have an interview with the new executive director set for early next week, and will do our best to keep everyone updated on any additional potential changes involving the Guild in the future.

Until then, we would ask that everyone raise a pint this weekend in Chris Goblet’s honor. He did a hell of a lot for craft beer in New Mexico over the last four years. We send him our eternal gratitude.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The setting along Main Street at Expo NM was proper for this festival.

The setting along Main Street at Expo NM was proper for this festival.

The sudden appearance of colorful balloons in the skies over Albuquerque, along with the occasional onset of cooler weather (hey, this is New Mexico) is always a sign that the end of beer festival season is in sight here in these parts. One local festival always looms large over this time of year, and this year was no different, as the NM Brewers Guild held the 6th Annual New Mexico Brew Fest this Saturday at Expo NM. Stoutmeister, Porter Pounder, AmyO, and I were in attendance with friends and spouses in tow for another year of tasty libations. And yes, we were more coherent than during last year’s barrel-aged beer fiasco … (My head still hurts thinking about that one. — S)

Dark Side, dark beer: come on, do you expect anything less from us?

Dark Side, dark beer: come on, do you expect anything less from us?

As the NM Brew Fest has grown with each passing year, this year saw more changes to the festival with the move from the Villa Hispana to Main Street to accommodate more patrons. This definitely made for a great flow, less crowding, more shade, and more accommodation for breweries, distilleries, and food trucks. Yes, you read that right, distilleries; while New Mexico craft beers are always the focus of the festival, local spirits were also highlighted from places like Algodones, Distillery 365, Left Turn, and others. Food trucks were plentiful with the new location to fill bellies with something other than libations, with Soobak Korean Seoul, Irrational Pie, and about a half-dozen others.

As per usual, the folks holding early entry tickets were allowed to storm the gates at 11:30 and were treated to first crack at pours from breweries, as well as being treated to special beverages such as Beermosas and Bloody Marys. Moreso, this allowed for a relaxed pace, as there was a solid selection of new or special beers being offered from various breweries.  Here is a quick breakdown of some of the standouts from DSBC members:

Porter Pounder: (in no particular order) Turtle Mountain’s Gourd Dammit Pumpkin ale, Tractor Brewing Company’s Tractoberfest, Nexus’ Equinox, and Boxing Bear’s Chocolate Milk Stout.

Amy O: Back Alley Cali Common because I love a steam beer and they were out the last two times I tried to get it at the taproom. Turtle Mountain’s Hopshell IPA, and (still a favorite from when I tasted it at the beer fest at Cazuela’s) is Red Door’s Ryeson Sun Saison.

Stoutmeister: In no particular order, other than the order I drank them in … Rio Bravo’s Oktoberfest: good, traditional light marzen lager, true to style, one of their better offerings to date; Blue Corn’s Oktoberfest: another solid example of the style, good, clean, and crisp; Bosque’s The Rabble: massive, boozy pumpkin beer, but I could still taste the pumpkin amid the spices; Ponderosa’s Zaftig (Oatmeal Stout): roasted, chocolate, smooth goodness; Duel’s Goya (2015): massive monstrosity of a Belgian stout, thanks to Trent and Todd for the special preview of this as-yet-unreleased beer; Taos Mesa’s Great Scot Scottish: chewy, malty, more big-bodied than a lot of their beers; And of course Second Street’s Preacher’s Share (see below for more).

Giant Jenga: testing the sobriety of patrons.

Giant Jenga: testing the sobriety of patrons.

Me (Brandon): Bosque Brewing’s The Rabble: burly imperial pumpkin ale that gets the pumpkin and spice balance, boozy and bold.

Red Door Anniversary Double Red: yes, I am way behind on this one, but the hectic working dad life has me strapped for time. Regardless, this is a big ol’ West Coast-style red that is resiny as hell. I could probably only do a 6- to 8-ounce pour, but only because I need my taste buds. Delicious stuff.

Santa Fe Brewing Company Nut Brown (R2Beer2’ed with pinon): that pinon was a nice touch. Wonderful flavor and aroma.

Boxing Bear Chocolate Milk Stout: GABF silver medal winner. Need I say more?? Awesome beer.

Second Street’s Preacher’s Share: the general consensus among the Crew was that we would drink this dry, if it wouldn’t kill us of course. Amazing, developed well with age.

The NM Brew Fest attracted quite a large crowd this year, and it is always a favorite for newcomers to the craft beer world and veterans alike. Several of us talked with patrons from all around the state who traveled from places like Roswell, and even Lincoln! Both festival attendees and the folks from the breweries always seem to enjoy the festival, as witnessed in the camaraderie between all the brewery staffs. The love of great beer is our common thread, after all.

Feel free to let us know what your picks were for any standout beers, or your thoughts on the festival, and as always we can pass them along to the Guild. In the meantime, this brings the festival season to a close for this year. Now to retire to our caves for some strong ales and sports (provided our teams can ever again win some games …).

Until next time …

Prost!

— Brandon Daniel