Posts Tagged ‘Picacho Peak Brewing’

Welcome to Icebox Brewing, the newest addition to the Las Cruces craft beer scene.

Las Cruces is the second largest city in New Mexico, but for years, its craft beer scene was far behind Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and even some smaller towns.

There was High Desert Brewing, which had followed in the footsteps of O’Ryan’s Tavern (closed in 2000), and the Pecan Grill was contract brewing with Sierra Blanca, and that was about it. Then along came Spotted Dog Brewing, Picacho Peak Brewing, and most recently Icebox Brewing.

The north came south when Bosque Brewing opened a taproom across the street from New Mexico State, the alma mater of its owners. Bosque has since expanded to two locations in the same complex, with rumors of a third location now in the works. Silver City’s Little Toad Creek Brewing and Distilling saw an opportunity and pounced, putting a taproom on Main Street. Truth or Consequences Brewing now has plans to open a taproom in town, and Icebox is already eyeing its first offsite taproom.

Craft beer real estate is filling up fast in the city with a metro area population of 200,000 (and counting). Prior to ABQ Beer Week, when I was already in town for the Blazin’ Brewfest, I stopped to chat with representatives of High Desert, Icebox, and Spotted Dog about how their scene is evolving, how a sense of local camaraderie has already taken hold, and what the future portends.

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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

Say hello to the forthcoming Thirsty Eye Brewing, under construction now at Broadway and Gold. (Photo courtesy of Thirsty Eye)

It is a relatively quiet week out there, spring winds aside, so it felt like a good time to dust off the old beer notebook.

New brewery updates

We keep waiting for the number of forthcoming breweries to dwindle down, but that has not happened yet. There are currently five breweries with active small brewer licenses around the state which have yet to open their doors, another nine with pending licenses, and a handful of places adding a brewing license to an existing business.

  • 575 Brewing, Alamogordo (pending): This new brewery is being built from the ground up, with foundation construction having commenced on April 19 at 234 W. 8th Street.
  • B2B Garden Brewery, Albuquerque (pending): We do not have any updates on this space, located on Comanche just west of Wyoming.
  • Beer Creek Brewing, outside Santa Fe (pending): Our last trip out there found that business was going well and the brewing system was finally in place. For now, stop by and enjoy a pizza, guest beers, and even some collaboration beers made at other local breweries.
  • Black Snout Brewhouse, Albuquerque (active): The Crew will be stopping in early next week, which means that this brewery is nearly ready to open its doors on Menaul just east of Juan Tabo.
  • Boogie’s Brewery and Distillery, Deming (pending): There are no new updates for this long-awaited successor to Mimbres Valley Brewing.
  • Brew Lab 101, Rio Rancho (active): The projected timetable is for a late May opening. For more info, see our last story.
  • Ex Novo Brewing, Corrales (active): The first test batches are now running in the brewery hall, while renovations continue on the adjacent taproom building across the parking lot. We expect to return soon for a final preview story.
  • La Reforma Brewing, Albuquerque (active): The goal of opening in early June in the old Bosque location, on San Mateo north of Alameda, has not changed.
  • Lauter Haus Brewing, Farmington (pending): Progress continues on this new brewery, spearheaded by former Three Rivers head brewer Brandon Beard. The fun news? They have purchased some vintage arcade games for the taproom.
  • Looking Glass Spirits & Long Lost Brewing, Albuquerque (pending): We finally dug up an address for this newcomer, which will be located at 1803 Sixth Street NW, just three blocks south of Bow & Arrow. There is still no social media with which to follow the progress, so we will remain patient.
  • Piedra Blanca Brewing, White Rock (pending): We have no updates at this time on this brewery located in the town next to Los Alamos.
  • Public House 28, Anthony (pending): Other than the fact that this newcomer has already joined the NM Brewers Guild, we have no new info. It will be located outside Anthony at 10108 Highway 28.
  • Rail Brewery, Santa Fe (pending): We have no new updates.
  • Thirsty Eye Brewing, Albuquerque (active): The Crew has made contact with the owners and we hope to make our first trip over to 206 Broadway Blvd. SE sooner than later. You can follow their progress on Facebook.
  • Turquoise Trail Brewing, Albuquerque (pending): We have no new updates on this brewery, located on Central near Juan Tabo.

In addition to those breweries with pending or active licenses, we did learn more about the mysterious Context Brewing that popped up on the Brew to Do list that we wrote about recently. It is apparently the brewery going into a space at 816 Third Street NW. Former Brewers Guild executive director John Gozigian tipped us off to a possible brewery going into that space, but again, there is no pending license yet, so it figures to be a ways off.

New taproom updates

The home of the future Truth or Consequences Brewing taproom in Las Cruces. (Photo courtesy of T or C Brewing)

Yes, there are also more off-site taprooms still in the pipeline. Because of course there are, right?

  • Blue Grasshopper, Albuquerque (pending): Located in Wells Park, we wrote on this one before, and when there is more news to share, we will head back. We assume a license for the brewery half of the building is still in the works.
  • Boese Brothers, Los Alamos (pending): Our man Reid still has not figured out where this taproom is going to be located.
  • Desert Valley, Albuquerque (active): Progress continues on Wyoming near Comanche, which is where this taproom is replacing the former Red Door spot.
  • Desert Valley, Albuquerque (pending): Wait, what? There are two DV taprooms in the works? Yes, we have now confirmed a second one is indeed happening at 5231 San Mateo Blvd. NE. Located a block south of Osuna and the next taproom listed below, this space was under construction/renovation the last time we drove by.
  • Enchanted Circle, Albuquerque (active): The last batch of construction photos show the bar is in place, and states that the taproom is about two weeks away from being ready for opening at Osuna and San Mateo, in the shopping center on the northwest corner of the intersection.
  • Icebox Brewing, Las Cruces (pending): Even though the main brewery opened only recently, an off-site taproom is already in the works, though its exact location has not been revealed.
  • Picacho Peak, Alamogordo (pending): We have no new updates on this first off-site taproom for the Las Cruces brewery.
  • Quarter Celtic, Albuquerque (active): Construction continues apace up on Juan Tabo between Menaul and Indian School, but no opening date has been set.
  • Truth or Consequences, Las Cruces (pending): Yes, T or C is heading south to Las Cruces for its first off-site taproom, as that city is suddenly filling up fast. It will be located on East Lohman, not too far west from Interstate 25.

We will do our best to keep everyone up to date on all of these forthcoming places, as well as keeping an eye on the news at the existing places. May is going to be one heck of a busy month, including the Blazin’ Brewfest in Las Cruces (which will now be preceded by the new Las Cruces Beer Week!) on May 17 and then ABQ Beer Week, which begins May 23. Throw in some expected openings from some of the places above, and there will be no rest for the weary Crew this coming month.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Head down to Las Cruces this weekend for good beer for a good purpose.

Having a charity as a component of a beer festival is a fairly common occurrence in New Mexico. Having that charity be a brewer battling cancer is not common, but that is the case at Beer for a Cause, a special festival taking place this Sunday in Las Cruces.

Pecan Grill head brewer David Allan has been diagnosed with brain cancer, and the medical bills are understandably quite hefty. His fellow brewers are joining forces to help him out by hosting the festival at Picacho Peak from 3 to 8 p.m. For those who have not been down to visit a brewery in Las Cruces, this is a good opportunity for a good cause to do so (Picacho Peak is located at 3900 W. Picacho Ave., to further help you out).

“He is not only a great brewer and mentor but a genuinely amazing person to have in your life,” High Desert brewer David White said in a press release. “Family and friends are raising money to help in this fight. … Every little bit makes a difference.”

Tickets are just $5 apiece and available at the door. The first 500 people get a commemorative pint glass. This is not a traditional no-limit sampling event, so all pints are $5, though we are fairly certain most of the beers can be tasted before you buy (ask politely). There will also be food trucks, a silent auction, and live music from Jackson Lane, The Smokin’ Blue Band, Triple Jack, and the Derrick Harris Band. All of the proceeds will go to help David in his fight against cancer.

“You should be there, because if you are lucky enough to truly call Dr. Wackadoodle Dave your friend, then you are lucky enough,” his friend, homebrewer Dennis Talley, wrote to us in an email. “I’ve called him that for years because he’s never brewed a ‘normal’ beer in his life! Just like Dave, his beers are truly unique and brewed with passion and detail. My brother without DNA.”

A total of 15 New Mexico breweries are sending one or more kegs to the event. We will update the list as more are identified.

  • Bosque: Elephants on Parade, IPA
  • Cloudcroft: Railspike Imperial Red, Sahti Finnish Ale
  • High Desert: White Walker Stout, Cerveza
  • Icebox: TBA
  • La Cumbre: Elevated IPA, A Slice of Hefen
  • Little Toad Creek: Hop-a-Long Rye IPA
  • Lost Hiker: Ruidoso Blonde
  • Marble: Double White, Cerveza
  • Pecan Grill: Peanut Butter Pecan Porter
  • Picacho Peak: Bitchin Brown
  • Ponderosa: Schwarzbier
  • Sierra Blanca: American Style Lager
  • Spotted Dog: Bier de Chien (Farmhouse Ale), and second beer TBA
  • Tractor: TBA
  • Truth or Consequences: Good Juju (American Brown Ale)

For anyone in the Albuquerque or Santa Fe areas, this is a good opportunity for a quick trip south to try some beers unique to the area, while also supporting a worthy cause.

A big thanks to Deanna Green for sending us the information and for helping to organize this festival on David’s behalf.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Flix Brewhouse’s Unbreakable Glass earned one of four medals at the Best of Craft Beer Awards. (Photo courtesy of Will Moorman)

Here on this blustery Friday, it feels like a good time to stay indoors and catch up on some local beer news as we empty the notebook yet again.

Flix picks up four medals at Best of Craft Beer Awards

If there is a theme early on in 2019 to some of the beer competitions going around, it is that Flix Brewhouse has come to make a statement.

The brewery/movie theater, which makes all of its beers on premises in Albuquerque, earned four medals at the recent Best of Craft Beer Awards. Three other local breweries brought home another four medals, as well.

Flix earned gold in the Baltic-style Porter category with Darth Malt, and another gold in Belgian-style Witbier for Luna Rosa, which is a year-round beer. Flix also picked up a silver for James Blond in the Belgian-style Blonde Ale or Pale Ale category, and a bronze for Unbreakable Glass in the American-style Cream Ale category.

Those medals follow up a strong performance at the Beer Army Beer Wars last month. Congrats to Flix for making New Mexico proud again!

As for the other local winners, Sierra Blanca won gold for its Green Chile Cerveza in the Chili Pepper Beer category (that was how the competition spells Chili, so please don’t yell at us), and a bronze for Cherry Wheat in the Fruit Wheat Beer category. Rio Bravo brought home a silver for its Amber/ESB in the British Bitters category, while Abbey Brewing snagged bronze for its Monks’ Dark Ale in the English-style Mild or Brown Ale category.

Congrats to one and all!

New brewery updates: Things are moving again

Another new brewery is coming to the East Central/Foothills area. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Carlson)

The end of the partial shutdown has several of the pending breweries around town back on track. Here is the latest that we know about each.

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It’s time to gather with 700 of your closest beer-loving friends at WinterBrew.

WinterBrew 2019 is so close we can almost taste all the great beers that will be poured at the Santa Fe Farmers Market on Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. If you were not one of the lucky 700 to get a ticket, well, you might be able to land the extra pass the Crew has in hand for the festival.

I love tapping into New Mexico beer history, so the first person to correctly answer the following question will be the winner. Since this event is in Santa Fe, we stuck with a theme for that town.

Q. What current Santa Fe landmark was a brewery way back in the 19th century? Hint: It currently has a connection to someone famous beyond just New Mexico.

Send us an email at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com with your answer. We will announce when the contest is over on social media (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram), so keep an eye out there. The winner will be informed directly via email. If you are the winner, just meet the Crew out front at 5 p.m. (we will have our shirts on for easy identification). This is just one small way to give back to you, our loyal readers.

UPDATE: The question was answered correctly on Thursday at 5:30. It was the Jean Cocteau Theater, owned by George R.R. Martin. He’s kinda famous, right?

Now, for everyone that is going, we present the beer lists for 16 of the 18 attending breweries. Hopefully we get the other two before long.

  • Abbey: Monks’ Ale, Monks’ Dark Chocolate, Monks’ Tripel Reserve, Monks’ Grapefruit Wit
  • Bosque: Driftwood Oatmeal Stout, Open Space Haze, Elephants on Parade Tart, Frostbit Wit, Fistful of Churros, Bosque Cider
  • Bow and Arrow: TBA
  • Chili Line: TBA
  • Cloudcroft: Chai Spiced Porter, Oatmeal Stout, Railspike Red Ale, Trainwreck IPA
  • HoneyMoon: Camellia Flor, Camellia Blanco, Cidrucha
  • Lost Hiker: Snowpocolipse (Winter Warmer), Midnight Squirrel Stout, Rye Knot (Belgian Pale w/ Rye), Connectivity IPA
  • Marble: Desert Fog, Double White, Coffee Porter (NEW! Replacing Cholo Smooth), Sympathy for the Pork Chop (Smoked Marzen)
  • Picacho Peak: I Heart Chocolate Porter, Twisted Windmill (DIPA), 575 Scottsman, Dirty Blonde, Javelina Black (American Stout)
  • Red River: Lazy Bear Blonde, Midnight Meadows Oatmeal Stout, Back 40 Farmhouse Ale, Super Bad Medicine Bourbon Barrel-Aged Honey DIPA
  • Rowley Farmhouse Ales: No B.U. IPA, Petite Blanche (available from 5 to 6:10 p.m.), Cote d’Or Double Cerise (6:10-7:20), Sin Barreras Mole Barrel-Aged Stout with fresh raspberries (7:20-9)
  • Santa Fe: 7K IPA, Getta Witness (Witbier), Pepe Loco (Dark Lager), Chicken Killer 2.0
  • Second Street: 2920 IPA, Jackplane Imperial Porter, Agua Fria Pilsner, Boneshaker Special Bitter, 2018 Anniversary Ale, 2018 Skookum (Barleywine), Barrel-Aged Skookum, Chin Gose, Kolsch, MBV Stout
  • Sidetrack: Hobo King Lager, Dark Engine Stout, Turntable IPA, Buzz Bomb, plus cask of Dark Engine with cacao nibs and coffee
  • Starr Brothers: There Gose Them Boyzz, Brown Chicken Brown Cow, Lost City of Gold (Hazy IPA), Zombies in the Manger (Biscochito Stout)
  • Truth or Consequences: Bad Santa (Spiced Winter Ale), Good Juju (American Brown Ale), Irish Red, Palomas Porter, Supernova Hazy DIPA, Truth Serum (Barleywine, in bottles)
  • Tumbleroot: Captain SMASH (Rum Barrel-Aged SMASH Barleywine), Orange Chocolate Stout (nitro), Farmhouse Saison, Pale Ale
  • Turtle Mountain: Tiempo Mañana IPL, Darker than Darkness (Schwarzbier), Stockholm Syndrome (Baltic Porter), Deep Depravity (Barleywine), plus the archived 2016 Depravity and then 2017 Infinitesimus

Those are a lot of big, malty, chewy beers, so make sure to pace yourselves. WinterBrew is always a blast of an event, whether you take the Rail Runner or drive and spend the night in Santa Fe (please do not drive up and back if you are drinking). There will be food inside, but it might not hurt to load up at Second Street Railyard next door beforehand.

See you all tomorrow night.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The last beer festival at Isleta Pavilion was the lone Blues & Brews to appear there back in 2013.

Friends of friends were happy to inform us that the upcoming Sabroso Festival, scheduled for this Sunday at the Isleta Pavilion, was a fun event in its California stops. The setup for the Albuquerque edition, however, has hit some bumps in the road, as breweries have reported major issues with getting their permits approved due to problems the event organizers are having with New Mexico laws.

Of the 18 listed breweries on the event website, three have confirmed they will not attend — Eske’s, Kaktus, and Starr Brothers — due to permitting issues. Four have yet to respond to our inquiries, so their status is unknown at this time (though Sierra Blanca did say on an Instagram post that it will be there). Here are the beer lists for those who did get back to us.

  • UPDATED—Ale Republic: Parasol, Bernalillo Weisse, Blonde, Double Trouble, Zero to Hero (Zero IBU IPA), Sombra (American Stout)
  • Bosque: Bosque Lager, Elephants on Parade, Bosque IPA, Scotia Scotch Ale
  • Bow & Arrow: Denim Tux Lager, Desert Rambler Hefeweizen, Savage Times Sour IPA, Nomadico IPA
  • Boxing Bear: Cider, Ambear, Paw Swipe Pale Ale, Uppercut IPA, Chocolate Milk Stout
  • Canteen: Flashback IPA, High Plains Pils, Dougie Style Amber, Rapsberry Wheat, Exodus IPA, Laid Back Lager
  • Little Toad Creek: Copper Ale, E9 Pale Ale, Grumpy Old Troll IPA, Pendejo Porter
  • Marble: Passionate Gose, Cholo Stout, Imperial Red, Double IPA, Pilsner, Double White
  • Picacho Peak: Picacho Lite, New England IPA, Black IPA, Dunkelweizen, Chocolate Porter
  • Red Door: Vanilla Cream Ale, Roamer Red, Threshold IPA, Unhinged Cider
  • Steel Bender: Skull Bucket IPA, Steel Bender Lager, The Village Wit, Raspberry Dynamite, Out to Pasture Brett Saison, Zest Out

The unknown breweries besides Sierra Blanca are Abbey Brewing, Santa Fe, and Tractor.

There is also something called Revolver Brewing, which is owned by Miller Coors, a subsidiary of ABInBev, so we do not consider that a craft brewery worth listing here.

All that being said, this still has the potential to be a fun event. It will run from 1 p.m. (noon for VIP ticket holders) until 10 p.m. The event is 21 and over from 1 to 3, then all ages after that. Craft beer tastings last until 4 p.m., then you have to pay by the pint. There may still be tickets online, but reports say it will be sold out by Sunday, so do not wait to try to get your tickets at the gates.

The music is headlined by 90s SoCal punk bands The Offspring and Pennywise, with Los Kung Fu Monkeys (3-3:30), Unwritten Law (3:55-4:30), Lit (5-5:45), and Street Dogs (6:15-7) in support. Pennywise follows from 7:30 to 8:30, with The Offspring finishing it all off from 9 to 10:05.

The website says there will be 24 different taco vendors on hand. There will also be Luche Libre wrestling matches for your entertainment, starting at 12:30 p.m., with the championship match at 3:30.

Hopefully this all goes off without a hitch and we all have fun this Sunday.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

If the first-round results are any indication, this is gonna be a close battle to the end! (Photo courtesy of Skye Devore)

First off, pardon the fact I did not publish this last night. I actually received the photo above while driving on I-40 back home (pulled off at Clines Corners to do the social media post) from Tractor co-owner Skye Devore (thank you!). Anyway, let us delve into the first-round results of the NM IPA Challenge, held Wednesday night at Picacho Peak Brewing in Las Cruces.

There was quite a bit of social media commotion after the elimination round last weekend, when many folks seemed to object to the fact all three hosts of the main rounds get byes. As if the universe needed to slap them upside the head with irony, Steel Bender, which only got six votes in the preliminaries but still advanced, ended up leading everyone in Cruces. So, yeah, all that griping that the final-round host didn’t belong? Good job, universe!

It was not a runaway win, however, as Steel Bender nabbed only 17 votes. Lurking right behind were two heavyweights, with two-time champion Bosque (2014-15) picking up 16 votes and defending champion Boxing Bear snagging 15 votes.

Three breweries then tied for fourth place with 13 votes. It was a good showing from Marble, which surprisingly never won this event, while four-time champion Canteen was right there, as was relative newcomer Bow & Arrow. Another fairly young brewery took seventh place as Starr Brothers earned 10 votes.

Quarter Celtic and Second Street, the host of the second round, tied for eighth with nine votes apiece. Tractor was 10th with seven votes, while La Cumbre had six votes for 11th place. Ponderosa, which was Brandon’s pick off his tray in the elimination round, only got four votes for 12th place. The 377, which racked up the most votes in the elimination round, only earned three votes from the folks in Las Cruces. Tying for 14th place with just one vote apiece was Blue Corn, a past champion, and host Picacho Peak.

Overall, 137 votes were cast, which is a pretty good showing for Las Cruces, or anywhere outside of Albuquerque. The second round, set for Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at Second Street’s new Rufina location, should get around the same, or hopefully even higher. It will be fascinating to see how the Santa Fe faithful vote in comparison to their southern brethren (which included a lot of folks making the drive up from El Paso). Rarely has the first-round leader held onto that distinction after round two.

The elimination round in Albuquerque had about 300 votes cast, so we fully expect a massive turnout on July 29 at Steel Bender, likely with well more than twice as many votes cast as the first two rounds. A lot will still be decided, but for now at least, some breweries have to be feeling good about their chances, while others figure to be heading back to the drawing boards for 2018.

As for the ongoing complaints on social media, we agree that the NMIPAC is not a perfect setup. It is designed first and foremost to be the single largest fundraiser for the NM Brewers Guild, not to be the perfect competition. That is the primary reason host breweries are willing to give up four hours-plus of business in the middle of their busiest season, all while offering up what is likely the single most expensive beer they brewed all year long for people to drink for free. They know that the Guild needs this money to fight the good fight against the anti-alcohol and tax-everything-to-death forces in the State Legislature. For a small but vocal minority of beer drinkers to spend all their time on social media trying to tear down this event, you are doing a disservice to the entire brewing community. It is one thing to offer up suggestions on future improvements (we, for one, believe that the other two host breweries should have followed Picacho Peak and not participated in the elimination round at all, thus freeing up those 18 votes that went to Second Street and Steel Bender to be distributed to the other 33 competing breweries), but it is another to rant about non-existent bias, to call this whole thing flawed. Is it perfect? Again, no, but it is the setup we have and what we must deal with until/if the Guild membership votes to make changes.

In other words, get out there and have some fun, damn it! Craft beer is all about that, right?

Thanks to everyone down south for heading out to vote and to Picacho Peak for hosting. Thanks to John Gozigian for his tireless work every round, and again, thanks to Skye for keeping us updated, even when on the (literal) road.

Luke will be covering the second round for us from Santa Fe, so look for his updates Saturday afternoon. A whole slew of us will then be at the finale.

Until then, I need a really, really long nap.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

And festival season is a go!

And festival season is a go!

The unofficial kickoff to festival season is upon us once again as Blazin’ Brewfest returns to downtown Las Cruces on Saturday. This annual event, put on by the NM Brewers Guild, is definitely the biggest and most important festival for craft beer lovers in Southern New Mexico and surrounding areas.

The festival runs from 5 to 9 p.m. at 211 Main Street. There will be 15 breweries present, plus food trucks, and live music. The cost is $15 in advance or $20 at the gate. You can still buy tickets at High Desert, Spotted Dog, the Bosque taproom, Main Street Bistro, and of course online.

While the Crew will be otherwise occupied Saturday up here in ABQ, we will have correspondents writing about the fest and the best beers to seek out after it’s over. That, of course, leads to the question of what will be served at the festival. We only heard back from eight nine of the participating breweries, but if anyone else sends us a late list, we will update this story.

Abbey: TBA

Bosque: Riverwalker IPA, Driftwood Oatmeal Stout, Brewer’s Boot Amber Ale, Scotia Scotch Ale, Bosque Lager, Elephants on Parade, Amber Rye, Beermosa

High Desert: TBA

La Cumbre: BEER, Elevated, Red Ryeot, Malpais, Slice of Hefen, plus there will be a special tapping of Project Dank at 7 p.m.

Little Toad Creek: TBA

Marble: Double White, Pilsner, Red, IPA

Pecan Grill: TBA

Picacho Peak: Javelina Black IPA, La Bruja Porter, High Noon Hefeweizen, Sunset Summer Saison, Smooth ‘n’ Stout

Ponderosa: Ghost Train IPA, Spanglish New Mexican Lager, Manzanita Milk Stout, Saison Chat Sauvage

Red Door: Unhinged Cider, Roamer Red, Shift Ender Golden Lager, Bad Moon Ryesing

Santa Fe: Gold, Black IPA, Nut Brown, Happy Camper, Western Bloc IPA

Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande: Pancho Verde Chile Cerveza, Red Beer, Bone Chiller Brown, Rio Grande IPA, Rio Grande Desert Pilsner, Alien Stout, plus a limited pour of Cranberry Sour

Spotted Dog: Milk Stout, Hop Dog, Prickly Beaver Wheat, Angry Beaver Wheat, Shep Farmhouse Ale

Taos Mesa: TBA

Tractor: TBA

Remember, this is a Brewers Guild event, so it needs all the support our community of beer lovers can provide!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The last and arguably best NM beer festival of the year is this weekend!

The last and arguably best NM beer festival of the year is this weekend!

If your favorite brewery’s staff has a little extra kick in their step these days, it is probably because they all know that the final festival of the season is almost upon us. NM Brew Fest 6 is set for this Saturday at the State Fairgrounds from 1 to 6 p.m. (or 11:30 a.m. if you get a VIP ticket).

To get the lowdown on what is new and/or different this year from years past, I talked to NM Brewers Guild director Chris Goblet a while back.

“New Mexico Brew Fest 6, we got through five years, which is a great milestone for the Guild,” Goblet said. “This year the Guild has partnered with Hoppervision, who created New Mexico Brew Fest back in 2009. I kind of took the reins this year again and decided to follow the trail of legislation that we passed and focus on the reciprocity bill. So we’ve got four distilleries, a cider maker and a winery, and we’ll have 25 breweries. It kind of plays off this whole idea of drink local, which is our theme this year.”

A huge question with any VIP/early entry type of ticket is always what does someone get as a bonus with the extra money paid. Last year it was access to some rare, barrel-aged beers, that left a few of us (myself included) feeling a little overwhelmed later on.

“So for your early-bird entry, in addition to a number of specialty beers, you’re also going have your choice of a Blood Mary or a Beermosa to start the day,” Goblet said. “A beer festival that starts you off with a cocktail or champagne-beer concoction, not a bad way to begin the day.  Instead of being limited to a single beer station, Early Birds will have access to all of the breweries, wineries, and distilleries for that first hour.

“I really wanted to hype up the fact that we’re all manufacturing centers working together, playing together. We want this to become the largest local libations festival in New Mexico, so that every year we can grow and feature the new start-up producers. Our festival is a showcase of New Mexico-made alcohol.”

Another past problem with NMBF has been alleviated in terms of the space allotted.

“The big other change this year is we’re no longer in Villa Hispana,” Goblet said. “We’re going to move the festival to main street. It’s going to give us more square footage to accommodate up to 10,000 people. And we can have all the brewery trucks drive right into the festival to park.”

Of course, we know a major part of any event preview is to track down who is pouring what beers. The good news is that three of the four NM beers that won medals at the Great American Beer Festival will be available, as well as beers from BJ’s that won medals. These are all the lineups we received from attending breweries:

  • Abbey: Monks’ Ale, Wit, Dark, Dubbel, Tripel
  • Back Alley: Landon’s Lager (malt liquor), California Common, Hefen or Hell, Octoberfest
  • Blue Corn: Brown Paper Bag, Oktoberfest, Gold Medal Oatmeal Stout, Roadrunner IPA
  • Boese Brothers: La Onza White Ale, Steampunk Lager
  • Bosque: Riverwalker IPA, Brewer’s Boot Amber, Pale Ryder, Driftwood Oatmeal Stout, Scotia Scotch Ale, Bosque Lager, Oktoberfest, Humo Rojo
  • Boxing Bear: Body Czech Pilsner, Hairy Mit Hefe, Uppercut IPA, Standing 8 Stout, Oktobearfest, Noble Pale Ale, Body Slam Imperial Pilsner, Not Your Mom’s Cream Soda, and a special 1 p.m. tapping of the GABF silver-medal-winning Chocolate Milk Stout
  • Canteen: Dark and Lusty Stout, Dougie Style Amber, IPA, Pilsner
  • Cazuela’s: Acapulco Gold, Kilt Kicker, Calabaza, Papacabra
  • Chama River: Jackalope IPA, Pumpkin Ale, Sleeping Dog Stout, Rio Amber
  • Distillery 365: ESB, 4th of July Ale (plus Holy Ghost Vodka, Horsethief Rum)
  • Duel: Titian, Dark Ryder, Grunewald, Ara Pacis, Fiction, Bad Amber, Cezanne Denoument, plus a sneak peek beer
  • La Cumbre (which will be split between two tents): State Fair Cream Ale, A Slice of Hefen, Elevated IPA, Red Ryeot, Malpais Stout, Project Dank, Full Nelson, Witch’s Lit, VMO #3, Summer Strong
  • Lizard Tail: Belgian Abbey, ESB, Strawberry IPA, Biscochito Brown, India Black Ale
  • Marble: Wildflower Wheat, Farmhand Pale Ale, Red Ale, Imperial Red (2015 GABF bronze medal winner), Oatmeal Stout, Double White, Get Stoked, Mick’s Mac
  • Nexus: Honey Chamomile Wheat (2015 GABF silver medal winner), Cream Ale, Scottish Ale, Equinox
  • Picacho Peak: TBA, but we know they are bringing four kegs
  • Ponderosa: Rip Saw Red, Ghost Train IPA, Jubilee, Zatfig (Oatmeal Stout)
  • Red Door: Ryeson Sun Saison, Broken Arrow Pale Ale, Anniversary Double Red, Vanilla Cream Ale
  • Rio Bravo: Oktoberfest, Karl’s Hefeweizen, Rio Bravo Amber, Level 1 DRB IPA
  • Rio Nuevo: TBA
  • Santa Fe: Booth #1 — Happy Camper, Oktoberfest, Duke’s Anniversary Lager; Booth #2 — Nut Brown, Java Stout, Chicken Killer, and R2Beer2 will Randall the Nut Brown through roasted pinon (SFBC will also have one brewer at each booth to talk to customers about the beers being poured)
  • Second Street: Pivotal IPA, Fulcrum IPA, Trebuchet DIPA, Kolsch, Brown Ale or Red Comet, Boneshaker Special Bitter, The Preachers Share
  • Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande: TBA
  • Taos Ale House: TBA
  • Taos Mesa: 3 Peaks IPA, Cross Eye Rye, Great Scot Scottish, Wheeler Peak Wheat
  • Tractor: Almanac IPA, Farmer’s Tan Red Ale, Mustachio Milk Stout, Delicious Red Hard Apple Cider, The Ruggles, Traktoberfest
  • Turtle Mountain: Kosmonaut Kolsch, Altbier, Hopshell IPA, After Midnight Schwarzbier, Gourd Dammit

If I absolutely had to pick one beer that is not to be missed, it would be The Preachers Share, a barrel-aged imperial stout, at Second Street. Of course, that is probably the beer that did in the Crew in years past, so be careful.

All TBA lists above will be updated as soon as we get them, even the morning of the event, so if we are missing your favorite place, keep checking back. We will try to announce updates via Twitter and/or Facebook.

The Crew will be out for the VIP session, so if you see us, stop by and say hello.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister