Posts Tagged ‘Ponderosa Brewing’

It was a happy holiday, and a happy year, at Ponderosa.

It was a happy holiday, and a happy year, at Ponderosa.

Editor’s note: It is time for us to resume our Look Back/Look Ahead Series. We only knocked out 13 of the 40 or so breweries in November and December, so now it is time to start with all that remain, beginning with Shawna’s trip to Ponderosa from a couple weeks back. — S

For this installment of the Look Back/Look Ahead Series, I had a chance to sit down with the head brewer of Ponderosa Brewing, Antonio Fernandez, who has had quite the remarkable year. Antonio took over as head brewer in July, coming into the commercial brewing industry for the first time. He is on a mission to create nothing less than great quality beer. As you can imagine, it has been an interesting and exciting ride for Fernandez, who has been busy experimenting with flavors and fine tuning the existing brews.

Dark Side: “What would you say was your biggest challenge taking over this position?”

Fernandez: “The most challenging thing for me was getting used to the schedule, and adapting to the customer’s needs. For instance, Ghost Train (IPA) is our biggest seller. I end up brewing a batch of that every couple weeks just to keep up with demand.”

Dark Side: “Is there a beer that you are particularly proud of?”

Fernandez: “As far as beer is concerned, I think I’m the most proud of the Oktoberfest. It’s the first beer we’ve had that has sold as well or better than the IPA, which I thought was really impressive for this town. The brown has become really popular, as well. I made some tweaks to the malt bill on that one. People really seem to be liking it. I’ve been trying to tweak the recipes here and there to make them a little more my own.

“I’ve been really impressed with some of the seasonals we’ve had. The Oktoberfest, the Belgian Pale Ale, and the Oatmeal Stout all went over really well. We currently have a single-hop Mosaic Pale Ale, and the reception has been really nice, so I think we’re going to keep that going as a steady series. We also just debuted our gingerbread spice lager called Nikolaus. That will be available through December, too.”

Brewer Antonio Fernandez has kept a positive outlook for Ponderosa.

Brewer Antonio Fernandez has kept a positive outlook for Ponderosa.

Dark Side: “What would you say were the biggest highlights of 2016?”

Fernandez: “Well, for me, getting the job here was definitely the highlight of my year! I got to take over from Bob Haggerty, who is starting his own project over at Steel Bender (Brewyard). Everyone here has been really supportive. It’s a great crew to work with and the community has been very supportive. We have a strong set of regulars here. I really enjoy that. And, it’s only getting better. The neighborhood around here is really picking up with all the new construction, which includes shops and more places to eat and fun stuff like that. We have the new hotel going in down the street. And, in the area across from us is going to be a nice little recreation area. They’re going to put a park and pond in there, which we are really looking forward to.

“We’ve done the bottle releases before, but now we are offering those as a holiday gift pack. So, you can get all three of the beers plus one of our local pint glasses for $25. They’re available here or at Jubilation right now.

“We’ve actually added quite a bit to our distribution lineup. Last I counted, I think we were at 22 other places around the Albuquerque metro that are carrying our beer on tap. So, that’s really exciting.

“Business has really been picking up this year, which is really awesome. That just means I get to brew more beer and make more specials!”

The crowds are still coming in at Ponderosa.

The crowds are still coming in at Ponderosa.

Dark Side: “What can we look forward to in 2017?”

Fernandez: “We’re going to keep bottle releases going. We have a new sour brown that is about to go out. (Editor’s note: It so happens that beer is being released today.) We plan to make the pricing a lot more affordable, as well.

“Personally, one of my big goals is to participate in as many beer festivals as possible. I’ve only been here for five months, but I want to be a really active member of the brewing community. I want to meet more brewers and maybe discuss the idea of collaborating. I want to get involved in more competitions both locally and nationally. GABF and World Beer Cup are definitely on my radar for 2017 (and 2018). So, going forward, hopefully you will start seeing us at more festivals.

“For me, it’s mostly about brewing beer. We have a lot fun beers that we plan to release! We have an Amber, an Imperial Pale Lager, an Imperial Smoked Baltic Porter, and an Imperial Brown Ale coming up early in the year.

“One thing that we have coming up immediately is a beer pairing dinner we will be having here on January 10 at 6 p.m. That will be the standard five-course meal with beers and other fun surprises. I hope we can do beer pairings on a regular basis.”

All of us in the Crew look forward to what Ponderosa has to offer this year.

Cheers!

— Shawna

Head on down to Ponderosa this Saturday for some aged barley wine and lots of additional fun.

Head on down to Ponderosa this Saturday for some aged barley wine and lots of additional fun.

Ponderosa Brewing is about to celebrate their second anniversary with a party on Saturday. The festivities include a special release, a 2014 barley wine that has been aging for 18 months. The impressive, or at least unique, fact is that beer was made four brewers ago. Ponderosa has seen a lot of change in two years, so on a recent, spectacularly beautiful fall day in Burque, I met the new head brewer, Antonio Fernandez.

In these two years, Ponderosa has had four brewers. But, to be fair, initial brewer Matt Kollaja was basically meant to be on a short-term loan, if you will, to get things started up, Fernandez said. His successor, Andrew Krosche, could not pass up the head brewer job at Chama River, and the most recent brewer, Bob Haggerty, has moved on to the massive Steel Bender project, which aims to open in early 2017.

Antonio Fernandez is the fourth brewer in Ponderosa's short history.

Antonio Fernandez is the fourth brewer in Ponderosa’s short history.

Readers may ask, “Who is this Antonio guy?” Fernandez is a newcomer to the Albuquerque brewing scene, and in this writer’s opinion he arrived in a really cool and unique way. I did not expect the answer I got when I asked what his background was.

Fernandez was born and raised in Albuquerque and has had several careers. His first was actually in music as a trained classical guitarist, but playing all different types of music. Hopefully, someday he will have time to play at Ponderosa, but as a head brewer with no assistant brewers, he said it might be a while before that happens.

Following that, he was a sous chef at Trombino’s in Albuquerque for seven years. (Developing a strong palate, no doubt.) The restaurant cut back on staff when they stopped doing lunch, and Fernandez was laid off. He was a home brewer for a lot of years and was really interested in beer — he is also a certified BJCP beer judge — so he decided to apply to the American Brewer’s Guild. The program started right after he got laid off, so the timing was right. After completing the program, he was working at a home brew shop in Rio Rancho, the Grain Hopper out by Intel. It closed in April. Fernandez decided that was the impetus he needed to go out and get a serious brewing job.

“I was applying for a bunch of things and I figured I was going to be an assistant, go and wash kegs, and things like that for a while,” Fernandez said. “I had the degree and all that and experience in restaurants and everything. You know, I applied for a bunch of jobs and then I got the call over here and they were like, ‘Yeah, we would like to interview you.’ I was like, cool. I had met Bob quite a few times, actually, and he’s a nice guy, good brewer.”

I asked Fernandez if he knew he was interviewing for head brewer or if he thought he was interviewing as an assistant.

“You know, I kind of thought I was interviewing for assistant, actually, because they just had … the posting was for brewer, that’s all it said,” Fernandez said. “You know, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that would happen … Bob was here, and Alan, one of the owners, was in town.”

The Ponderosa patio should be packed this weekend.

The Ponderosa patio should be packed this weekend.

During the interview, Fernandez found out that Haggerty was leaving. The interview ended up going on for about four hours, Fernandez said. It clearly went well.

At this point, it was time to taste some of Fernandez’s beer. Because Ponderosa has quite a few beers on tap, I decided to limit the tasting to one of the regular beers, and each of the seasonals. Overall, I was impressed. Fernandez said he actually enjoys brewing the more involved beers with bigger malt bills and more hop additions.

I wanted to try his version of the Ghost Train IPA (6.2% ABV, 70 IBU), since that is the style that locals favor. It has been a while since I had the Ghost Train. It’s still not an over-the-top hop bomb, which is perfectly OK with me, but the malt bill seems to have been mellowed, allowing the hops to shine a little more.

Fans of lighter styles will enjoy the Belgian Pale Ale (5.2% ABV, 30 IBU), which Fernandez said is probably his favorite to drink right now, and the Oktoberfest (5.8 % ABV, 30 IBU), a traditional, lighter, Munich-style beer brewed according to the German Purity Law. The Oatmeal Stout (5.8% ABV, 25 IBU) was flat out delicious, with an abundance of coffee, cocoa, and caramel notes, next to no bitterness, and only subtle sweetness. The carefully managed sweetness continued in the Imperial Black IPA (8.2% ABV, 110 IBU). Their version of a fall pumpkin beer is the Chocolate Pumpkin Porter (5.6% ABV, 30 IBU). Fernandez said he is not a fan of heavily-spiced beers, so this is a rich, only slightly spicy offering.

A seasonal flight and the Ghost Train IPA were well worth trying.

A seasonal flight and the Ghost Train IPA were well worth trying.

Quality control is one of his biggest concerns, Fernandez said. He said he is a fanatic about it. He said he likes the fact that without any assistants, from grain-to-glass, he has absolute control.

Fernandez said he soon plans to brew a single-hop Mosaic Pale Ale. He also said he thinks it is kind of strange that Ponderosa has never had a regular Amber, so there are plans for that as well. There is a sour Belgian Brown in the works, too. And, what I am most looking forward to is an upcoming Smoked Imperial Baltic Porter in late winter.

Fernandez said also hopes to increase the frequency of the bottle releases. There are tentative plans to collaborate with the forthcoming Hotel Chaco down the street, perhaps providing them with their own beer and having other Ponderosa beers on tap.

Ponderosa will be hosting a beer dinner in mid-November. Fernandez promised more details on that event soon.

Cheers!

— AmyO

Hello again, Hopfest!

Hello again, Hopfest!

Newcomers and summery, fresh-tasting, hoppy beers helped to keep interest alive for the ninth annual Albuquerque Hopfest. Each year the crowds get larger, and each year I wonder how in the world Marne Gaston puts on such a large production. But, she does, flawlessly, and I am in complete awe of her. I would be a quivering puddle of goo. But, Marne is the calm in the eye of a hurricane (there is currently a Hurricane Gaston in the Atlantic that reformed on the day of Hopfest; I can’t even make this stuff up). Our heartfelt thanks, once again, to Marne and her staff and volunteers for another fantastic event.

As always, it was “so many beers, so little time,” so for me it was all about being selective. I focused on mostly local beers I have not tried and those that are not readily available at taprooms. A few of those beers stood out, and some were big surprises.

Enchanted Circle made a positive debut at Hopfest.

Enchanted Circle made a positive debut at Hopfest.

Even before the doors opened, a musician friend of mine who was setting up to play on one of the outdoor stages told me, “You have got to try the Enchanted Circle ESB if you like malty beers.” Well, yes, I do, and yes, I did! It really was very good. In fact, I thought in general the Enchanted Circle beers out of Angle Fire were one of the two biggest surprise hits of Hopfest. Even though IPAs are not my favorite, I was extremely impressed with their IPA (7.3% ABV). For such a new brewery, they have really done well with a solid beer to please the West Coast-style IPA lover. I also want to thank them for actually displaying the stats (O.G., IBU, and ABV) as well as the names. Not too many did, and I wish more of the breweries would have.

The Dukes of Ale booth was a big hit again.

The Dukes of Ale booth was a big hit again.

The second big surprise (based on consensus among my group of four attendees; one of whom is very much a hophead) was not an IPA. It didn’t come from a big name. Heck, it wasn’t even from a local brewery. It was the German Hefeweisen from the Dukes of Ale Homebrew Club.

Other favorites included Quarter Celtic’s McLomas Dry Stout and #GFF (Grapefruit Forever) IPA, Ponderosa’s Wry Ale, and Red Door’s Nieuwe Bruin. Albuquerque Brewing Company’s Dunkleweisen did not disappoint. It’s one of their semi-regular beers, but it seems it is always out when I stop by. It was wonderful to be able to finally taste it on Saturday. Surprisingly, I quite enjoyed the Green Chile Pilsner from Bathtub Row, because I don’t usually care much for pilsners or chile beers. This one was an outstanding version.

The Quarter Celtic staff left everyone else smiling, too, with their new stout.

The Quarter Celtic staff left everyone else smiling, too, with their new stout.

Notably missing from the vendors was B2B. They had a table set up, but there was no B2B beer and nobody from their brewery manning the spot. Also, I believe Firkin was in the program but I did not find them in the room or outside. If I missed them somehow, I apologize. (You did not miss them, they informed me that they were withdrawing late last week. — S)

Since I was unable to attend the New Mexico Brewers Guild Sensory Analysis Seminar presented by Craft King Consulting, LLC, the Crew would welcome and appreciate any feedback on that portion of the event from our readers.

The VIP beer list was quite impressive.

The VIP beer list was quite impressive.

I tried a few, but not all, of the beers in the VIP room. Mother Road’s Coffee Lost Highway, Founders’ Devil Dancer Triple IPA, and Sierra Nevada’s Narwahl Imperial Stout were my favorites. I didn’t attend the VIP pouring of Hop Pact from BJ’s Brewhouse because there was also a limited supply out in the main room, and I had it on Monday night at a Green Flash beer dinner at BJ’s. Hopefully many attendees were able to sample this fantastic collaboration beer between BJ’s Brewhouse and Green Flash. It is completely unique and refreshing, with more subtle hops, crazy amounts of floral notes, and the ability to cleanse your palate.

Speaking of palates, near the end I was suffering major palate fatigue. I started to slow down just as the rain chased the outdoor flock into the already crowded main room. At about 5:40 p.m., we gathered our swag (why do I keep collecting so many pint glasses? I could pretty much open a store at this point) and headed for the shuttle to the Railrunner, awash with post-festival beer glow.

Cheers!

— AmyO

Just embrace the beer and the metal and everything will be just fine during your stay in Albuquerque.

Due to work commitments, most of the Crew will not be at Hopfest this year. Raise a glass and the horns in our honor while you are there.

Ah, late August, when the hints of cooler weather arrive, the kids go back to school, football (both American and international) revs up, and Hopfest takes over Isleta Casino. Hey, at nine years old, we can pretty much declare Hopfest an annual tradition.

The largest beer festival in New Mexico returns this Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. If you not bought your tickets yet, get them now, particularly if you want VIP or extra hoppy hour, which we highly recommend. For tickets and info, click on the event website.

There are 18 breweries from our state that will send beers to the event this year. We did our best to get you the beer lists, or at least confirm if the event program has the right beers listed. We will update this post if we get any late corrections/additions.

  • Albuquerque Brewing: Imperial Red Ale, Duke’s Pale Ale
  • B2B: Coconut Porter, Raspberry Wheat
  • Bathtub Row: Red Hammer Ale, Hoppenheimer IPA, Wit Rock, Green Chile Pilsner
  • Cazuela’s: Agave (American Wheat), Acapulco Gold, Panama Red, Papacabra DIPA
  • Duel: TBA
  • Enchanted Circle: Hells Bells Lager, ESB, Red River Red Ale, Session IPA, Glory Hole IPA
  • Eske’s: Rat Queen DIPA, Wheat IPA
  • Kellys: Amber, Session IPA, Apricot Ale
  • Marble: Double White, Imperial Red, Dang Pale Ale, Stout Americano
  • Oso Loco Brewery (Sandia Chile Grill): Irish Red, Chocolate Brown
  • Pi: Discordia IPA, Scotty Doesn’t Know, Pineapple Express, Cardinal Sin
  • Ponderosa: Berliner Weisse, Cascadian Pilsner, Wry Ale, Crosscut Kolsch
  • Quarter Celtic: Pedro O’Flangan, Dusk’s Early Night, MacLomas Stout, #GFF
  • Red Door: Trapdoor Belgian Wit, Roamer Red, Threshold IPA, Paint It Black Milk Stout, Unhinged Cider, Vanilla Cream Ale, Blackberry Hefeweizen, Nieuwe Bruin
  • Rio Bravo: Karl’s Krystal Weizen, Duke City Pilsner, Rio Bravo Amber, Dirty Rotten Bastard IPA, Snakebite IPA, RoadKill Red, Old Town Porter
  • Santa Fe: Oktoberfest, Autonomous Collective IPA, Imperial Java Stout
  • Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande: IPA, Pancho Verde Chile Cerveza, Sun Chaser Pale Ale, Bone Chiller Brown Ale
  • Tractor: Farmer’s Almanac IPA, Farmer’s Tan Red Ale, Milk Mustachio Stout, Delicious Red Hard Apple Cider, Dank Johnson DIPA, Hillario DIPA, Kolsch

Definitely take the time to try Enchanted Circle, they just opened in Angel Fire back in April. Eske’s has new ownership, so it might be interesting to see what that has done to their beers. Otherwise, among the beers worth trying are Hoppenheimer IPA (Bathtub Row), Stout Americano (Marble), Scotty Doesn’t Know (Pi), MacLomas Stout (Quarter Celtic), Nieuwe Bruin (Red Door), Old Town Porter (Rio Bravo), Autonomous Collective (Santa Fe), and Dank Johnson DIPA (Tractor). Or, try as many as you safely can, and let us know what were your favorites.

Also present, of course, will be the Dukes of Ale. You need to visit their booth to try all the excellent home brews and help vote for a winner.

Broken Trail will also be there, but they are only listed as bringing their rum and vodka, no beer. If you are into ciders, Sandia Hard Cider will be present.

As for the many, many national brands, a few have some beers worth checking out. BJ’s has Hop Pact IPA, a collaboration with Green Flash. Boston Beer (Samuel Adams) has the new (?) Toasted Caramel Bock. Firestone Walker, still fairly new to our state, has the wondrous Luponic Distortion. Mother Road usually brings something extra from Flagstaff beyond the usual beers, though Tower Station IPA and Lost Highway Black IPA are worth your time if you have not had them before. If you have been remiss in checking out the Imperial IPA from Upslope, here is your chance. Also, new to the state is The Dudes Brewing Co. No beers were listed for them in the program, but I tried a DIPA at the brewery in Torrance, Calif., two months ago and it would stand up to our local hop bombs. There are many other beers to try, as well, from old favorites to seasonals to new ones, so please, sample away and let us know which are your favorites.

Above all else, have fun, try not to go overboard, and celebrate craft beer this Saturday. Do it because I cannot, since the Isotopes suddenly decided they want to win their division and I have to be out here covering them.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s four breweries and one down in Socorro and the other in Los Alamos also joining the party.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Before we all take our palates into battle at the final round of the IPA Challenge (tickets still available online) at Tractor Wells Park this Saturday, there are quite a few other special beer options and events going on this week. First up, head over today (Wednesday) to Nexus Silver on the West Side for the debut of the Wrath of Kolsch. Think of it as the beer to get you ready for the release of Star Trek Beyond in theaters this week. Then on Thursday, head over to Ponderosa for their second bottle release. This time around it’s Preacher’s Daughter, a Belgian golden strong. Buy it in the bomber or drink it on tap, your choice! Then on Saturday, for those not going to NMIPAC, head over to Broken Trail for the release of the super limited Tres Pistoles Bourbon. It’s the first bourbon ever made in New Mexico. You gotta make reservations online, so check out their Facebook page. Then, follow it all up with the annual Rock Solid Fest at Marble downtown. All day music from multiple local bands. See their entry below for all the details.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque brings back their popular Riverbank Brown, plus they added a hefty Belgian Golden Strong. Boxing Bear swings away with Centennial S.M.A.S.H. and Kerfluffle British IPA. The Double IPA is back at Marble, along with Nitro Amarillo. Quarter Celtic kicked up some Vienna Lager. Starr Brothers swings by with Planet of the Ape-rricots. Turtle Mountain has the aptly named Blueberry Yum Yum.

Up in Santa Fe, Second Street is feeling funky with The Quark and Berries.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of July 18.

To break down each “capsule,” I listed the brewery (with Web page linked), its phone number and hours of operation. Under “Beers” are the new or seasonal beers on tap for this week.

Albuquerque metro area breweries

Albuquerque Brewing Co. — (505) 797-1842

(Mon–Fri 3-10 p.m., Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun noon-8 p.m.)

Beers: Tilted Windmill IPA, High Plains Drafter Blonde, Duke’s Pale Ale, Imperial Red, Session IPA, Bayou Smash Saison, American Golden Stout, Vienna Amber. The Tilted Windmill is now the permanent IPA on tap at ABC. The Vienna Amber is the newest addition.

Live Music: TBA

Other Events: Every Monday will now be game night at ABC, with everything from Pokemon to Cards Against Humanity. Also, all Blonde pints are just $2.50.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Monday–Saturday, 3 to 6 p.m.; Sunday, all day

Alien Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–midnight, Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–2 a.m., Sunday 10 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Call the number above for details on any small-batch beers currently available. They change frequently. The rest of the lineup is from the Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande family of beers.

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

(Sun–Weds 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thurs–Sat 4 p.m. to midnight)

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Sundays are Service Nights at Back Alley, with $2 off all beers for service industry workers. Bring your server’s ID and you will be rewarded. All beers are $1 off on Tuesdays.

Bistronomy B2B/Lobo Beast 101 — (505) 262-2222 (B2B), (505) 247-2116 (Lobo)

(B2B: Mon–Tues 4-9 p.m., Weds noon-9 p.m., Thurs–Sat noon-9:30 p.m., Sun noon-9 p.m.; Lobo: open every day 4 p.m. to close)

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

The Blue Grasshopper — (505) 896-8579

(Noon to 11 p.m. most days, call for more info)

Beers: June Bock, Kreem Ale. Well, look at that. Two new house beers on tap, both brewed especially for this scorcher of a weekend coming up.

Live Music: Bands perform from 6 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday through Saturday. Click the link for the schedule.

Boese Brothers Brewery — (505) 382-7060

(Hours: Mon–Thurs 3 p.m.–midnight, Fri 3 p.m.–2 a.m., Sat noon–2 a.m., Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: Patriot Porter, La Onza White Ale, Old Shonie Scottish Ale, Dr. Strangehop XPA, Duke City Lager, Zeus Juice White IPA, Lawnmower Lager, Orange Peel IPA, Cherry Bomb. The newest beer here is the Cherry Bomb. The Lawnmower Lager is an American interpretation of a German Kolsch.

Events: Every Thursday will now feature a special Small Batch Beer. This week’s entry is TBA.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Boese will have a happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, with $3 pints. You can also get $3 pints all day Tuesday and $6 growler fills all day Wednesday.

News: They are still working on building their website. You can follow them on their Facebook page.

Bosque Brewing Company — (505) 750-7596 (main brewery), (505) 508-5967 (Nob Hill Public House), (575) 571-4626 (Las Cruces Taproom)

(Main brewery on San Mateo: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-midnight, Sun noon-8 p.m.; Nob Hill: Mon–Weds 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Thurs 11 a.m.-midnight, Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Sun noon-11 p.m.; Las Cruces: Sun–Thurs noon-11 p.m., Fri–Sat noon-midnight)

Beers: In Bruges, Summer in Hallertau, Imperial Popcorn Pilsner, Hot Bosque, Riverbank Brown, Belgian Golden Strong. The Summer in Hallertau (5% ABV, 20 IBU) was brewed for a charitable endeavor, with $1 of every pint sold going to Camp Enchantment, a camp for children who have or have had cancer. Drink a pint for a good cause!

Happy Hour/Discounts: Bosque has a happy hour running from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and all day on Sunday. Look for special menu items and get $1 off your favorite pints.

Bow & Arrow Brewing — (505) 247-9800

(Mon-Weds 3–10 p.m., Thurs 3–11 p.m., Fri-Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–9 p.m.)

Beers: Flint & Grit (British Mild), Sun Dagger (Saison), Crossed Arrows (Scotch Ale), Hoka Hey (IPA), Jemez Field Notes Lager, Bison Eye Rye, Hefeweizen, Citrus Lager, Wildorado Unfiltered Wild Rice Pale Ale, Rustic Oak Robust Porter, Belgian Pale Ale. The most recent additions are the Wildorado, Rustic Oak, and the Belgian Pale.

Events: Saturday—Bow & Arrow Brewtique, with Spectacle Caravan and Lauren Tobey Jewelry, 3 to 7 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Bow & Arrow has happy hour every Monday through Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. Get $1 off pints.

Boxing Bear Brewing Company — (505) 897-2327

(Sun-Thurs 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-11 p.m.)

Beers: Centennial S.M.A.S.H., Kerfluffle British IPA, Black Eye-PA, Bearzen, Bare Knuckle IPA, Featherweight Session IPA, Watermelon Gose (nitro only), Chocolate Milk Stout, New Mexikolsch, Baltic Bear Porter (bombers only). Bear Knuckle is back after its run to the semifinals of the National IPA Challenge. The CMS is back after winning gold at the World Beer Cup, and it’s for sale in bombers around town.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Every day at lunchtime (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), for just $10 you can get a pint and a panini of your choice.

Events: Geeks Who Drink is held every Wednesday from 8 to 10 p.m. at Boxing Bear.

Broken Trail Brewery & Distillery (formerly Distillery 365) — (505) 221-6281

(Mon-Thu 3-9 p.m., Fri 3-10 p.m., Sat noon-10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.-8 p.m.)

Beers: Otero ESB, Lone Pine Pilsner, Sancho Saison. New names, same (good) beers.

Live Music (main location): TBA

Live Music (Green Jeans taproom): TBA

Other Events: 10 Drink Minimum host a Cards Against Humanity night at the main location every Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Broken Trail has a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar at the main location. You can purchase three bloodies for just $20.

Paint-n-Pint Night will be at the main location Tuesday at 7 p.m. Check the Facebook page for more details.

Canteen Brewhouse — (505) 881-2737

(Sun–Thurs noon–10 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–midnight)

Beers: Fete Lager, Mongrel DIPA, Solana Summer Ale, Sol Quest Saison, Gose Plum Crazy, Irish Red (on nitro). The Fete Lager (5.5% ABV, 25 IBU) is a special summer beer that has been lagered for five months. The Solana is loaded with Citra hops

Live Music: Thursday—Alex Maryol, 6 to 9 p.m.; Sunday—Dusty Low, 4 to 7 p.m.

Cazuela’s Seafood & Mexican Grill — (505) 994-9364

(Open daily 8 a.m.-10 p.m.)

Beers: Papacabra (Double IPA), Acapulco Gold (Mexican Lager), Chupacabra IPA, Piedra del Fuego Stoned Cream Ale, Beer for My Horses (Oatmeal Stout). These are the regular house beers. Call the number above for an updated seasonal list.

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Hopmonic-Convergence, Dubble-Monic, Heavy Cream. The Heavy Cream (6.3% ABV, 23 IBU) is an export rendition of a traditional American cream ale. The new Hopmonic (7.7% ABV, 100+ IBU) is a fancy-sounding IPA, with the Dubble-Monic (7.1% ABV, 90 IBU) is a mix of the IPA and the Dubbel Tap, creating a Belgian-style hoppy beer.

News: Chama now has a rotating nitro tap. As of last week, River Gose was the selection.

The Firkin Brewhouse — (505) 881-0702

(Mon closed, Tues-Thurs 3-9 p.m., Fri-Sat noon–11 p.m., Sun noon–9 p.m.)

We went to Firkin recently and found out they are still open. Contact the brewery for an updated beer list. Note the new hours above.

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

(Bernalillo hours Mon-Thu 2-9 p.m., Fri-Sat 11:30-10 p.m., Sun 11:30-9 p.m.)

Beers: Stout, Helles Lager, Honk Ale, Maibock, Brumoso Hefe, Guy IPA, Red Card, Scotch Ale, DjinnJar Kombucha. Another recent tap turnover featured the return of the hugely popular Helles, a perfect summer beer.

Events: The Desert Darlings belly dancers perform from 7 to 9 p.m. on almost every Thursday at the Nob Hill taproom and then Sunday in Bernalillo from 6 to 8 p.m. If you’ve never seen the Desert Darlings in person, you’re missing out.

Every Sunday in Bernalillo, Kaktus is hosting a brunch special from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with breakfast pizzas and drink specials.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Kaktus has several new weekday specials in Bernalillo, including $3 pints on Monday, $9 growlers on Tuesday, $6 bison nachos on Wednesday, and $8 Frito pie and beer on Thursday.

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: VMO #2, Arrogant Bastard, No, You’re a Dort, ‘Merica, Fievre de Abricot. The ‘Merica is an American-style pale ale that debuted last summer and has returned with a fresh batch.

Live Music: TBA

Other Events: Yoga is back at the taproom every Sunday at 10:45 a.m.

Lizard Tail Brewing — (505) 717-1301

(Mon–Weds noon-9 p.m., Thurs–Sat noon-midnight, Sun noon-7 p.m.)

Beers: New Zealand IPA, Apricot Wheat, Scottish 80, Hefeweizen, Long Nosed Tripel. There are three recent additions in the Scottish, Hefe, and Tripel. The latter is an old favorite, but beware the ABV (9.2%), for it will sneak up on you.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Lizard Tail’s happy hour runs seven days a week from 3 to 6 p.m. You get $1 off food, flights, and pints.

Events: Lizard Tail will host Geeks Who Drink every Tuesday at 8 p.m. Every Thursday will now feature karaoke from 8 to 11 p.m.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739

(Mon–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10:30 p.m.)

Beers: Both locations — Wheels of Soul Pale Ale, Double IPA; Downtown only — Nitro Amarillo; Westside only — Dang Pale Ale, Saison #2. The Dang is nearly out, so head west to get the last of it.

Live Music (downtown): Thursday—Broken Rules Band, 7 to 10 p.m.; Friday—Group Therapy, 8 to 11 p.m.; Saturday—Merican Slang, 8 to 11 p.m.; Sunday—Rock Solid Fest: Gabe Tafoya, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., Chris Raven, 3 to 4 p.m., Lilah Rose, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Kevin Herig, 6 to 7 p.m.

Live Music (West Side): Friday—Hub City Sound System, 8 to 11 p.m.; Saturday—Lone Pinon, 8 to 11 p.m.

Other Events: Brewery tours occur at the Downtown Pub every Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.–8:30 p.m.)

Beers: E.S.A. (Extra Special Amber), Beam Me Up Scottish, Imperial Pilsner, Salted Caramel Stout, Wrath of Kolsch. Oh, rejoice, those who live on the East Side, for Salted Caramel is now on tap at the main brewery. Do not fret, West Side residents, you still have it at the Silver taproom as well.

News: If you have not gone, we got an early look at Nexus’ impressive west-side taproom, Nexus Silver.

Events: Wrath of Kolsch debuts today (Wednesday) at Nexus Silver at 4 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Monday–Friday, 3 to 5 p.m., get $5 off appetizers at the brewery.

Pi Brewing — (505) 890-9463

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Prohibition Pilsner, Discordia IPA, 5 O’Hop Somewhere, U Down w/ BVP?, Unwindulax, Pineapple Express, Amber’s Amber, Zinister Dichotomy. The Zinister (6.3% ABV) is a potent red sour.

Ponderosa Brewing Co. — (505) 639-5941

(Sun 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m.)

Beers: Enkel Biter Belgian Wheat, Azacca Pale Ale, Summer Break Blonde, Alt the Hoople, Manzano Milk Stout.

Events: The Preacher’s Daughter Bottle Release Party is Thursday starting at 11 a.m.

Quarter Celtic Brewpub — (505) 503-1387

(Sun–Thurs 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.)

Beers: Pedro O’Flanagan’s Mexican Lager, Dusk’s Early Light, You Reek of Pale Ale, Vienna Lager. The name You Reek is a joke, of sorts, but the flavor is not. It’s a single-hop pale made with Eureka.

News: Congrats to QCB for winning a silver medal at the North American Beer Awards. Not bad for a place that has only been open for three months!

Red Door Brewing — (505) 633-6675 (brewery), (505) 990-3029 (downtown taproom)

(Brewery hours: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri 11 a.m. to midnight, Sat 7 a.m. to midnight, Sun 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Downtown taproom hours: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m. to midnight, Sun 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

Beers: Shift Ender Golden Lager, Vanilla Cream Ale, Bad Moon Ryesing, Gluten Removed IPA, Belgian Dubbel, Downtown Pale Ale. The Bad Moon (6.3% ABV, 51 IBU) is a burly black rye pale ale. There is nothing sweet about this beer, it’s just a dark beast that is not for the weak of palate.

Live Music (main location)—TBA

Other Events: Saturday morning will mark another round of Beer and Breakfast at the main brewery. From 7 to 10 a.m. you can gather with friends for some food truck-supplied goodies with a pint of beer.

Rio Bravo Brewing Company — (505) 900-3909

(Mon–Thu noon–10 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–11 p.m., Sun noon–9 p.m.)

Beers: Rio Bravo Amber, Weizen, Randy’s Shandy, Dirty Rotten Bastard IPA, Snakebite IPA, Black Angus Stout, Randy’s Red Ale, Duke City Pilsner, Old Town Porter (regular and barrel aged), Barley Wine (regular and barrel aged), Winterfest Marzen, Level 3 IPA. The popular Karl’s Sommer Bier is back on tap as well.

Live Music: Thursday—The Blunns/Eileen & Cross Country, 5:30 p.m.; Friday—Eryn Bent Trio, 7 p.m.; Saturday—National Day of the Cowboy, 6 p.m.

Other Evens: Tuesday—Two Dollar Tuesdays, noon

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

(Mon–Sat 8 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun 8 a.m.–6 p.m.)

Beers: Call the brewery for an updated list.

Sidetrack Brewing — (505) 288-6468

(Mon–Thurs 3–11 p.m., Fri 3 p.m.–midnight, Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: Pub Ale, Railhead Red, Switchgear IPA, Zoso SMASH, Dark Engine Stout, Shoofly Wheat. The Zoso is the most recent addition.

Cask: IPA and Shoofly will be in the firkins all week.

Starr Brothers Brewing — (505) 492-2752

(Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day)

Beers: Starrstruck IPA, Thunderr Ale, Problem Child Porter, Red Zepplin, Electric Sun Wheat, Plane of the Ape-rricots. The taps are turning over pretty frequently at Starr Brothers, but that’s because people are drinking them up at a rapid pace. So if you see a favorite listed above, head over now, before this batch runs out.

News: Next up on the beer docket is L.A. Woman California Blonde.

Tractor Brewing Company — (505) 433-5654 (Nob Hill Tap Room), (505) 243-6752 (Wells Park)

(Nob Hill is open Sunday-Wednesday noon to midnight, Thursday noon to 2 a.m., Friday-Saturday noon to 2 a.m.; Wells Park is open Monday-Thursday 3 p.m. to close, Friday-Sunday 1 p.m. to midnight.
 Last call 30 minutes before close. 
No package after midnight.
 Brewery tours Saturday at 1 p.m.)

Beers: Berry Cider, Maibock, Grapefruit Wheat, Verano New Mexico Lager, Summer En Blanc Belgian Witbier, Berliner Weisse, Barrel-Aged Scotcholate, Barrel-Aged Barley Wine, Barrel-Aged Luna De Los Muertos (Wells Park only), Et Tu Brute Cider (Wells Park only), Nitro Coffee Stout (Wells Park only), Ebony & Ivory Pale Stout (Wells Park only). All three of the barrel-aged behemoths are now on tap, plus there should still be bombers for sale. We highly recommend you try the Luna before it runs out.

Live Music (Wells Park): Saturday—In the Mix: Homegirls Records, 8 p.m.

Live Music (Nob Hill): Today (Wednesday)—Solos on the Hill: Todd Tijerina, 8:30 p.m.; Saturday—Setting the Tone: Sloan Armitage, 5 p.m.

Other Events: Stop in at Wells Park on Thursday at 7 p.m. for the Young Creatives Panel with Jake Runestad.

Friday at Wells Park will feature a Drag Queen Review at 8 p.m.

Every Monday at Wells Park you can now find Mondays on the Mic hosted by Little Bobby Tucker starting at 6 p.m. No word if you get a stuffed animal for participating.

Kamikaze Karaoke is back at Wells Park on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Also, every first Monday of the month at both Tractor locations is Beer for a Better Burque night. For every pint you buy $1 can go to one of four charities that have partnered with Tractor. You can also opt to purchase a special growler with the logo of your favorite charity.

You can grab your own musical instrument and head to Nob Hill for the ultimate jam session. Tractor Tune Up, hosted by the Virginia Creepers, is now an official event happening every Monday starting at 7:30 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Tractor now has a late happy hour from 9 p.m. to midnight on Mondays with $2 classic beers and $3 seasonals.

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

(Kitchen hours: Mon–Tues 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Wed–Thurs 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Sun 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Reminder: TMBC closes early when business dictates. Please call.)

Beers: Session Red, Konventional Kolsch, Blueberry Yum Yum; One, If By Land; Two, If By Sea. So the Land and Sea are two unique beers. The former is a refreshing pale ale from a recipe by current brewer Mick Hahn. The latter is a burly, yet sweet, DIPA from former brewer Tim Woodward. Buy two beers, salute two brewers.

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Coffee Imperial Stout, The Gatekeeper IPA, Blueberry Gose. The Gatekeeper is Blue Corn’s entry in the IPA Challenge. The Coffee Imperial Stout was made with coffee from a local company.

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

(Brewery hours: Mon–Sat open at 11 a.m., Sun open at 1 p.m.; ABQ taproom hours: Mon–Thurs 2 p.m. to midnight; Fri–Sun noon to midnight)

Beers: Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Titian (Golden Strong), Grunewald (Imperial Porter), Dark Ryder (Dark Strong), Cezanne Origine (Spring Saison), Hair of the Wolf (Experimental), Harmonia (Barrel-Aged Sour IPA). With the release of the Cezanne Origine, Duel has brought out all of their 2015 saisons out of the cellar and is now offering a flight of five at both locations.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Happy-hour Monday through Friday 4-6 p.m. (discounts for all draft beer), Growler Saturdays ($3 off growler fills).

Live Music (ABQ): Thursday—Godzilla, 8 p.m.; Friday—Free Fall, 9 p.m.

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

(Main taproom: Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 2-8 p.m.; ABQ taproom: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–11 p.m.; Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight; Sun 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Freestyle Pilsner, Western Bloc Wheat IPA, Lemon Skynyrd (ECS), Sunset Limited. The Sunset Limited, a collaboration with a Louisiana brewery, debuted recently.

Happy Hour/Discounts: $1 off growler refills in the tasting room on Mondays. $2 pint Tuesdays at the Eldorado Taphouse. On Wednesday, there is a $2 pint special in the tasting room. On Thursday, there will be $1 off growler refills at the Eldorado Taphouse.

Second Street Brewery — (505) 989-3278 (Railyard), (505) 982-3030 (original location)

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Sunday noon-9 p.m.)

Beers: Kolsch, IPA, Cream Stout, 2920 IPA, Rod’s Best Bitter, 2920 Vienna Lager, The Quark and Berries, Railrunner Pale Ale, Little Blackbird IPA. Say hello to Little Blackbird, which might just be the first session black IPA ever created by a New Mexico brewery.

Live Music (Original location): Thursday—Patio Series: Jeez La Weez; Friday—Zoltan & The Fortune Tellers; Saturday—The Bus Tapes

Live Music (Railyard): Friday—Lone Pinon; Saturday—AMP Concert: Cash’d Out (SSB will have a beer garden on the RY Plaza); Sunday—Patio Series: The Shiners Club

Other Events: Every Tuesday night, the Railyard location will have Open Mic Night hosted by Ben Wright. Every Thursday night, Geeks Who Drink will be at the Railyard at 8 p.m.

Other breweries you need to visit

Bathtub Row Brewing — (505) 500-8381

(Mon–Weds 2–10 p.m., Thurs 2–11 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–11 p.m., Sun noon–10 p.m.)

Beers: Hoppenheimer IPA, Organic Farmhouse, Barley Wine, Pink Panther, Big Bird Belgian Blonde, Irish Dry Stout, Barrel Project X. Another big tap turnover recently went down in Los Alamos, with the mysterious Barrel Project X (some sort of stout) standing out. Also new are the Barley Wine, Big Bird, Dry Stout, and Pink Panther, a hibiscus wheat.

Events: Bathtub Row hosts an Open Mic Night every Thursday at 6 p.m.

Twisted Chile Brewing — (575) 835-2949

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun noon-8 p.m.)

Beers: Zia Pilsner, 790 IPA, Hose Co. 1 Red Lager, Venom IPA, KC’s Irish Stout, McFadden’s Scotch, Quebradas Summer Amber, El Camino ReAle Summer Pale. The newest addition is the El Camino ReAle, one of the more clever names we’ve seen this year.

Live Music: Friday—Jones and Miles, 7 to 10 p.m.

Events: Today (Wednesday)—Open mic, 6:30 to 9 p.m.

* * * *

That’s all for this week! If you have any questions or comments, leave them below or contact us on our Facebook page.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

We are off and running with 14 events on the opening day!

Nearing the end on Day Ten, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had.

The party isn’t over yet, so it’s time to gear up for one last Saturday full of events.

There are two big fundraisers today, one at Tractor Wells Park and the other at Marble Westside.

Throw in some more beer releases, special tappings, sampling events, and more, and you should stay plenty busy as we wind down to the end.

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: Planned Parenthood Beer & Bands Annual Fundraiser. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 5 p.m. Cost: $15.

Details: Tractor is turning the entire front parking lot into an event space. All proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood. There will be live music from Keith Sanchez, Le Chat Lunatique, and more, plus performances by the Desert Darlings, the ABQ Aerialist Collective, and more. Music, art, beer, all in one place.

Why you should go: It’s a big old block party. Go have some fun.

All the other great events

What: Marble Special Release. Where: 5 Star Burgers Central. When: 11 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: They’re tapping another keg of Saison #1. Why you should go: Beer, burgers, bliss.

What: Sidewalk Chalk Contest. Where: Ponderosa. When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost: $20. Details: They provide the chalk, you make the art. All contestants get a T-shirt. The prizes are a $20 gift card for third place, a 1-year mug club membership for second, and a $100 gift card for first. Why you should go: Make some art, drink some beer, win some swag.

What: Albuquerque Brewing Tour. Where: Albuquerque Brewing. When: Noon. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Brewer Carnie will give a tour of the inner workings of ABC. Why you should go: See how they make the beer, then drink the beer.

What: Barrel-Aged Beer Release. Where: Tractor Nob Hill. When: Noon. Cost: $12 for a flight. Details: For the first time, the general public gets to try Tractor’s three new barrel-aged beers, Scotcholate, Barley Wine, and Luna de los Muertos. Why you should go: Because barrel-aged beers are delicious. And a limited number of bombers will be available for purchase.

What: Car Show & Live Music. Where: Rio Bravo. When: Noon. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Check out a car show outside and then listen to Reverend Catfish at 4 p.m. and Dirty Brown Jug Band at 6 p.m. Why you should go: If you love cars and/or tunes, this is for you.

What: Beer Baked Goods Cake Walk and Circus Day. Where: Albuquerque Brewing. When: 1 to 4 p.m. Cost: $5 per person. Details: Bring a baked dish made with beer to participate. Why you should go: Enjoy some food and beer on the patio.

What: Upslope Tasting. Where: Jubilation. When: 2 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Come check out the full lineup of Upslope beers. Why you should go: Free beer!

What: Watermelon Mountain Ranch Fundraiser. Where: Marble Westside. When: 2 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: There will be live music and a portion of proceeds will be donated to Watermelon Mountain Ranch. Why you should go: Support a good cause while enjoying a beer or two.

What: Raven and Co. Where: Santa Fe ABQ Taproom. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Live music at Green Jeans. Why you should go: Support local music.

What: Sierra Nevada Special Tapping. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: They are tapping three heavyweights in Five Hop DIPA, Bigfoot Barley Wine, and Hoptimum Imperial IPA. Why you should go: Big hops or big malts, you can’t lose.

(Five stars)

Got any questions, comments, complaints, send them to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or leave them here on our site, on Facebook, or on Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy yourselves out there, but please, do it responsibly.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Time for some epic new beers to roll out!

Time for some epic new beers to roll out!

The time has come to get out there and support the NM Brewers Guild. The fun part is supporting means drinking new and unique beers.

The Beer Premier is back for a third time, kicking off Friday at 5 p.m. at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Tickets cost $35, for which you get unlimited samples from 16 breweries, plus the good folks at M’Tucci’s Cocina Grill will be cooking up pork shoulders in the matanza pits.

For more details on all of it, I sat down with Brewers Guild director John Gozigian before my trip to California.

“This will be third time we’ve done it,” John said. “The first one (in 2013) was at the National Hispanic Cultural Center at the Salon Ortega patio, which is where we’re doing it (again) this year. Unfortunately, I though the concept was great, we brought in all these breweries for a mass release of new styles and it was a great setting, but we did it the same day at the Nob Hill Summerfest and of course everybody was there. It wasn’t well attended.”

Round two was in 2014 at the Rail Yards Market, but that one had a whole heck of a lot of problems for attendees. Thus, back to the NHCC.

“That setting is just so nice,” John said. “We want it to be a little more exclusive and small. It’s going to max out at, let’s say 200 people. But, literally, it’s going to be capped at 300 glasses. That’s the maximum number of people that can go.”

John was working on getting some VIPs to be present for patrons to interact with over the course of the night.

“I’ve invited brewmasters and brewery owners to attend, too, because I really want this to be a really special event,” John said. “If you go, you get unlimited sampling in this really cool glass of 16 breweries’ beers that nobody’s ever tried before. It’s including a matanza. M’Tucci’s has the concession there and they have matanza pits outside. They’re going to be slow roasting pork shoulder in these matanza pits all day long. Then, just in time for the festival, there’s going to be super tender pork shoulder that’s going to be served with tortillas, pico de gallo, to go along with all of these exceptional beers.”

Speaking of the exceptional beers, a lot of the breweries want to keep them a secret and surprise everyone at the event. Still, nine of the 16 participants were willing to give us at least the names of their creations.

  • Boxing Bear: Session IPA
  • Chama River: Heavy Cream (Cream Ale Export)
  • La Cumbre: Rum Barrel-Aged Malpais Stout on nitro
  • Ponderosa: Manzano Double Chocolate Stout
  • Quarter Celtic: Dusk’s Early Night (Dark American Lager)
  • Rio Bravo: Barrel-aged Belgian Dark Strong
  • Sierra Blanca: Whiskey Barrel-Aged Stout
  • Tractor: Summer en Blanc Witbier
  • Turtle Mountain: Pollywog’s Pride IPL

That still leaves Blue Corn, Bosque, Bow & Arrow, Canteen, Marble, Santa Fe, and Second Street to surprise you. Though to be honest, I am really, really jealous of everyone that gets to attend this event. (I will have to make do with Firestone Walker Barrelworks being up the street.) Those beers look rather amazing.

“I’m really excited about it,” John said. “It’s going to be a unique opportunity for people to have a different kind of festival — I almost wouldn’t even call it a festival. It’s more of an intimate tasting event. It’s small. There’s not going to be distributors pouring beers. There’s going to be the actual people.”

Tickets can be purchased online at nmbeer.org or they can be picked up at La Cumbre, the Santa Fe ABQ Taproom, both Tractor locations, and Turtle Mountain.

Remember, this is a Guild event, so get out there and support our entire craft beer scene with your purchase!

“I just want to sell it out, everybody go, and have a great time,” John said. “It’s a super value.”

Cheers to that!

— Stoutmeister

We are off and running with 14 events on the opening day!

Ready for event overload? Because it’s today, people!

Welcome to the single biggest day of Beer Week.

Don’t believe us? Scroll below. Yeah, that’s 23 events. Twenty. Three.

Now more than ever, you need a plan of attack. Go by time. Go by geographic location. Go by whatever you can do safely (if driving, or even Ubering).

Just remember to carve out some time to visit Battle of the Beer Geeks and vote. Hopefully you vote for our beer (clearly I won’t be there to offer up hints), but since it’s a blind taste test this year, we just want you to pick the best one.

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: Battle of the Beer Geeks III. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 5 to 8 p.m. Cost: $10 for a tray of all five beers, plus a 12-ounce pour of your favorite.

Details: It’s time for war! Again! Battle of the Beer Geeks is back as the Crew (2014 champs) and three other beer groups (Dukes of Ale, ABQ Craft Beer Drinkers, Wort Hogs) try to dethrone the Babes in Brewland. This year there are some changes to the format. First up, you will get your tray that will identify the beers, but not the identity of the groups that brewed them. That should make it a little more objective (maybe). Pours start at 5 and end at 7:30, with the winners announced at 8. There will be a people’s choice award and a professional judges’ best of show.

Why you should go: We need your votes! Even if we cannot tell you which beer is ours. Odds are, though, you’ll figure it out (but to be fair, please only vote for it if it’s truly the best of the bunch).

All the other great events

What: Outside the 505 Tap Takeover. Where: Cazuela’s. When: 8 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: We can’t imagine this actually starts that early, but word is it will involve NM breweries from outside the ABQ metro area and their beers. Why you should go: You can always hope for something from outside ABQ other than Santa Fe or Sierra Blanca.

What: Ballast Point Tap Takeover. Where: The Barley Room. When: 11 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Sea Monster, Mango Even Keel, and Calm Before the Storm are expected to be available. Why you should go: Lunch breaks in the NE Heights need beer.

What: Santa Fe Special Release. Where: M’Tucci’s Market & Deli. When: 11 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: The Western Bloc IPA will be on tap. Why you should go: You don’t have to leave the West Side to try this SFBC seasonal.

What: Marble Special Tapping. Where: Gecko’s (both locations). When: 11 a.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Saison #1 will be tapped. Why you should go: Another beer-plus-lunch opportunity.

What: Second Annual Food Truck Battle. Where: Red Door. When: 2 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: It’s a casual competition between several food trucks, who will have scaled-down menus, with many items paired with Red Door beers. Pick your favorite truck and dish and see if they win. Why you should go: Chow down, drink up, don’t feel guilty. It’s a win-win.

What: Barrel-Aged Release and Chocolate Pairings. Where: Rio Bravo. When: 2 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Get a flight of BA beers (Stout, Porter, Barleywine, Belgian Dark Strong) for $7, or a chocolates tray for $4. Better yet, combine them both for $10. Why you should go: Dude, chocolate and barrel-aged beer. If you need any reason beyond that, then you’re just too needy.

What: Bow & Arrow Special Release. Where: Bow & Arrow. When: 3 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Wild Rice Pale Ale will debut. Why you should go: New beer alert!

What: Santa Fe/Broken Trail Collaboration Release. Where: Santa Fe ABQ Taproom. When: 3 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Say hello to Horse Thief Porter, a barrel of State Pen aged on rum-soaked pecans, oak chips, and molasses. Why you should go: They are the best of neighbors, aren’t they? Celebrate with them at Green Jeans.

What: Ponderosa Special Bottle Release. Where: Ponderosa. When: 3 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Say hello to Ponderosa’s first special bottle release — Saison Petite Souris. Why you should go: Grab a beer and go, drink at your leisure.

What: La Cumbre Special Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Strawberry Gose will be available on regular CO2, while Malpais Stout will be on nitro. Why you should go: Malpais on nitro? Goes great with Beef Boxty.

What: Sierra Blanca Special Release. Where: Alien Brewpub. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: The Whiskey Barrel-Aged Stout will go on tap for the first time anywhere. Why you should go: It’s their official anniversary beer, and if you like it on tap, you can still buy four-packs at Jubilation while they last.

What: Mother Road Sampling. Where: Jubilation. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Taste the full lineup from Flagstaff’s finest, including the Anniversary Barleywine and the delectable Tower Station IPA. Why you should go: Free beer!

What: Odell Tap Invasion. Where: Mezcal (formerly Stereo Bar). When: 5 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Remember when we all thought Ballast Point went crazy with 15 taps? Well, Odell is matching them with (deep breath) 90 Shilling, IPA, St. Lupulin, Myrcenary, Loose Leaf, 5 Barrel, Cutthroat Porter, Easy Street, Levity, Tree Shaker, Splice Session IPA, The Meddler, Prop Culture, Lugene, and Friek. Why you should go: If you love Odell, this is your event. If you don’t love Odell, go anyway, and then you will love them.

What: Beer and Food Pairings. Where: Sandia Chile Grill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: Green chile chicken enchiladas will be served with a hefeweizen. Why you should go: You gotta eat at some point, NE Heights residents.

What: Alaskan Tap Takeover. Where: Bubba’s 33. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Get all your favorites from Alaskan with a burger or more. Why you should go: Again, eating is good, eating while drinking craft beer is better.

What: Goose Island Special Tapping. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 6 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Bourbon County Stout is the beer in question. Why you should go: Come on, you know you want more BCBS in your life.

What: Mother Road Tap Invasion. Where: O’Niell’s Juan Tabo. When: 6 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Remember those Mother Road beers you loved at Jubilation? Get them in pint form. Plus, there will be a special firkin. Why you should go: Admit it, you’re far too curious about what’s in the firkin.

What: Marble Beer Dinner. Where: Torino’s @ Home. When: 6 p.m. Cost: $45 per person, call (505) 797-4491 for reservations. Details: We covered this event, along with the entire menu, a while back. Why you should go: Great beer plus great food equals happiness. It’s scientific fact.

What: Steal the Pint Night. Where: Canvas Artistry. When: 6 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: The description simply reads “join us for a night of thievery and steal all the pint glasses we have.” Um, OK, sounds like fun. Throw in beer and food specials and it should be a treat. Why you should go: Someone please go and find out just what the heck this crazy thing actually is.

What: 3rd Annual Sierra Nevada Sausage and Cheese Tasting. Where: O’Niell’s Nob Hill. When: 6 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: Head over to the second iteration of this annual event, featuring sausage and other foods paired with on-tap entries from the 2016 Beer Camp Across America. Why you should go: The BCAA beers are delicious this year, and the food is always good, so how can you possibly go wrong?

What: New Belgium Frozen T-Shirt Contest. Where: Monte Vista Fire Station. When: 6:30 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: It’s year three of this crazy event, where folks get to try and untwist a wet, frozen T-shirt in a timed contest. The winner gets a special cruiser bike from NB. Why you should go: Win a bike!

What: Brews and Blues with Roger Lewis All-Stars. Where: Albuquerque Brewing. When: 7 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: It’s another jam session on the patio; all musicians are welcome. Why you should go: Support local music.

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Got any questions, comments, complaints, send them to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or leave them here on our site, on Facebook, or on Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy yourselves out there, but please, do it responsibly.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

We are off and running with 14 events on the opening day!

There are some tough choices to make on the beer front this Tuesday.

Now that the holiday has come and gone, things are starting to rev up again.

From a competition, of a sort, between two breweries, to lots of new food-and-beer pairings, more samplings/tastings, a beer dinner, and an educational class on off flavors, the afternoon and evening are packed with lots of fun.

Good luck picking out which events you want to attend.

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: Battle of the Breweries. Where: The Grain Station. When: 6 p.m. Cost: No entry fee.

Details: It’s a Kill the Keg competition between Santa Fe’s Freestyle Pilsner and Upslope’s Craft Lager. Whichever beer runs out first, that brewery is the victor. There will some swag on hand and you can chat with SFBC and Upslope reps. Plus, of course, The Grain Station’s awesome menu of delectable food will be available.

Why you should go: We can’t really let a Colorado brewery defeat a New Mexico brewery on our turf, right?

All the other great events

What: Beer & Cheese Pairings with Cheesy Street. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 3 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: The folks at Cheesy Street food truck will have trays of grilled cheese slideres, each paired up with a specific selection of Tractor beers. What those are were a mystery at press time, so go find out and let us know if they are as tasty as we expect them to be. Why you should go: Dude, grilled cheese and beer. It’s so American it’s scary.

What: Japanese Beer Tasting. Where: Jubilation. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Jubilation will have beers from Hitachino, Coedo, and Miyazaki Hideji for everyone to sample. Why you should go: It’s no longer all about Sake in Japan these days, see what they have to offer.

What: New Belgium Lips of Faith One Off Tasting. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Oscar Worthy Coffee Barrel is the beer of choice today, and it will be served on nitro. There will also be additional NB beers on special. Why you should go: Sometimes you just have to see if a beer is worthy of its name. This is one of those times.

What: Beer and Food Pairing. Where: Sandia Chile Grill. When: 5 to 8 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: SCG will serve up some smoked brisket with their Red Ranger Irish Red. Why you should go: Beer and food for hungry/thirsty residents of the Northeast Heights.

What: Lagunitas Special Tapping. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: From the One Hitter Series comes GravensTime Apple-esque Beer, one of those grand rarities that must be tried. Why you should go: It’s the 2015 vintage, so go check it out before it’s gone forever.

What: Tuesday Brewsday Marble Special Tapping. Where: Rock & Brews. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Marble is bringing Saison #1 to tap once again. Why you should go: For all you in the Heights, this is your chance to experience this new creation from Marble.

What: Beer & Taco Night. Where: Rio Bravo. When: 5:30 p.m. Cost: No entry. Details: Order tacos from the Taco Lady for $1 and wash them down with $5 flights of Pilsner, Sommer, DRB, and Red. Why you should go: Next to pizza, tacos may be our favorite food to pair with beer.

What: Ballast Point Special Tapping and Pairing. Where: Canvas Artistry, 3120 Central Ave. SE. When: 6 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: We are working on getting details about this event. Why you should go: TBA.

What: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Beer. Where: Albuquerque Brewing. When: 6 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: Brewer John “Carnie” Bevz will host a tasting/sampling even to discuss off flavors and more that makes your beer good or bad. Why you should go: Get an education while enjoying some beer.

What: Chef’s Pairing. Where: Ponderosa. When: 7 p.m. Cost: $45 per person ($40 mug club members). Details: Brewer Bob Haggerty and executive chef Knoulan Tanner are teaming up for their first beer dinner featuring Sour Saison paired with a charcuterie plate, Crosscut Kolsch paired with scallop salad, Red Rye Lager paired with a wild mushroom risotto with braised lamb, and Chocolate Stout paired with a pot de creme. Why you should go: Hopefully you signed up, because the deadline was Saturday. Call Ponderosa at (505) 639-5941 to see if there are any late openings.

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Got any questions, comments, complaints, send them to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or leave them here on our site, on Facebook, or on Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy yourselves out there, but please, do it responsibly.

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