Posts Tagged ‘Quarter Celtic Brewpub’

The first competition of the year is in the books.

The first national beer competition of the year is in the books, and once again, New Mexico breweries have pulled off a strong showing. The Beer Army Beer Wars awards were announced last week, with five local breweries bringing home 20 medals.

Flix Brewhouse came in seventh overall with one gold, four silvers, and one bronze. Quarter Celtic added one gold, two silvers, and one bronze, while Three Rivers tacked on two silvers and three bronzes. Rounding out the list were Santa Fe (one gold, one silver) and Steel Bender (three silvers).

“It felt pretty darn good, man, I’m not going to lie,” Flix head brewer Will Moorman said. “We entered six beers, too, and well, all of them got a medal. I can’t complain about that at all. We were thoroughly surprised.”

Will said he learned from Steel Bender brewmaster Bob Haggerty, who had gotten an early look at the medal winners.

“It was good to see, there were some heavy-hitting breweries in there, too,” Will said. “It wasn’t just a pay-to-play kind of thing. Even in the small categories, they didn’t award medals if there wasn’t something that was worthy. It was nice to see that lend credence to how they operated a slightly smaller competition.”

The full list of winners by category is below.

  • International Pale Lager: Quarter Celtic’s Pedro O’Flanagan’s (bronze)
  • International Dark Lager: Quarter Celtic’s Dark Pedro (silver)
  • Festbier: Quarter Celtic’s VP30 (gold), Three Rivers’ Festbier (silver)
  • German Exportbier: Quarter Celtic’s Come to the Dort Side (silver), Three Rivers’ The Hoff (bronze)
  • Baltic Porter: Flix’s Darth Malt (silver)
  • English IPA: Santa Fe’s Happy Camper (gold)
  • Dark Mild: Flix’s Brown Basilisk (bronze)
  • Wee Heavy: Three Rivers’ Chuckerout (bronze)
  • English Barleywine: Santa Fe’s Chicken Killer (bronze)
  • American Pale Ale: Three Rivers’ Merica (silver)
  • California Common: Three Rivers’ Common (bronze)
  • Belgian IPA: Steel Bender’s The Whole Shoe (silver)
  • Witbier: Flix’s Luna Rosa (silver)
  • Belgian Blond Ale: Flix’s James Blond (silver)
  • Belgian Dubbel: Flix’s H-E-Dubbel Hockey Sticks (gold)
  • Mixed Fermentation Sour Beer: Steel Bender’s Ned’s Sour Pail (silver)
  • Fruit Beer: Flix’s Oasis (silver)
  • Specialty Fruit Beer: Steel Bender’s Raspberry Dynamite (silver)

Will said smaller competitions like this one can still have a lot of value for a brewer, especially for someone who is still relatively new to a head brewer position.

“For me, personally, part of my goal in my career is to brew highly stylistically accurate beers,” he said. “Sales are obviously super important, customer popularity is a huge thing, too, but I feel this is a really great benchmark to hit. You can brew that medals on a set of commonly accepted style guidelines, then you’re doing all right.

“I’m still relatively new. This will be my third year as a head brewer. For me as a new guy, I want to make sure my base beer is solid before we make it smoked and soured and add some chocolate cake.”

For outgoing Three Rivers head brewer Brandon Beard, the medals were a fitting final salute to his time at the Farmington institution. He will be opening Lauter Haus Brewing in town in the future.

“Well, it feels great, I’m super happy that I have put together a good team that will continue to strive and grow at 3RB,” he said. “One of the beers that medaled was flagship from before me. One was a collaboration between Patrick and I, and the other three were my recipes. When I started brewing 10 years ago, I was like every beginning brewer and was all about the hops. Over the years, I grew out of that. When I started brewing at 3RB, we only did one lager a year (Oktoberfest), but I really wanted to start brewing lagers. So about four years ago, I made it a personal goal to start brewing more lagers.

“I love that three of the five beers were lagers that medaled. I don’t think I stand alone when I say a lot of brewers really want the lager to blow up like some of these other styles have in the last year. You can’t hide any flaws in a lager; that’s why I want to brew more and more of them. Now that I’m going out on my own, it shouldn’t be a surprise with the name we chose for our brewery (Lauter Haus) that we will be pushing lagers on people. But, I know that 3RB is in good hands it was just time for me to do my own thing.”

The next set of awards are the Best of Craft Beer Awards, which are set for February 11.

Congrats to all of the New Mexico winners of this event. It is good to see 2019 starting off on the right note, competition-wise.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Remember when Marble shared this photo of happy brewery representatives in Washington D.C.? Yeah, gonna guess they are not too happy with the government right now.

Most of us are aware of, yet personally unaffected by, the current partial shutdown of the federal government. Leaving the politics aside, it has nonetheless made things difficult on both federal employees and those businesses and people who rely on certain federal agencies. It did not occur to any of us in the Crew how this might affect breweries until we saw a tweet by a brewer out of town who complained about the shutdown of the TTB.

The TTB (Tax and Trade Bureau) is the government agency that handles almost everything related to breweries, and many other businesses, at the federal level. It has the greatest impact on breweries that package and forthcoming breweries, which of course means it has an impact all around New Mexico. To figure out just what that impact has been, I emailed two people who have extensive knowledge of such affairs, NM Brewers Guild executive director John Gozigian and La Cumbre president/master brewer Jeff Erway.

“The shutdown affects breweries in planning with pending brewer’s notices and existing breweries with label approval applications in the pipeline,” John explained. “Brewer’s notices (federal brewers permit) and COLAs (certificates of label approval) are both issued by the TTB, which is a federal agency.”

That is not good news for breweries in planning.

“Any federal brewers notice is in limbo right now and they will be set back by this,” Jeff wrote.

It also has a negative impact on packaging breweries such as La Cumbre.

“If a beer is to be sent out of state, it needs a COLA and those are also in limbo,” Jeff wrote. “We are having to hold on shipping a few beers to AZ and CO specifically because of this shutdown.”

To sum it up: The shutdown is bad for breweries. Just like it is for everything else.

New breweries update

Originally, we were just going to lead Beer Notes with this list, but obviously events in Washington are putting all of these places on hold, to some degree. Nonetheless, here is every brewery with either a pending state small brewer license or an active one that is not yet open. Here are the breweries projected to open in the ABQ metro area in 2019. We realize there are probably more than these, but no pending license means we will not include it yet.

  • Black Snout Brewhouse (pending): We already took a tour of this new brewery located in a shopping center on the southeast corner of Menaul and Juan Tabo. The brewery had hoped to be open by the end of the month, but that seems unlikely now.
  • BLUE/Gang of Four (pending): This very small brewery is set to open on Broadway next to the Exhibit 208 gallery, just south of Gold.
  • Brew Lab 101 (pending): The next brewery to open in Rio Rancho is moving along. Located on Southern near Unser, its owner has already contacted us and we are in the process of setting up our first visit/interview.
  • Brewstillery (active): We still have no info about this brewery/distillery combo that is set to open somewhere in the 87106 zip code (physical addresses are not provided beyond zip codes, FYI), or how it relates to the next entry.
  • Differential (pending): Listed as owned by Brewstillery, we do not know how this entry, located in the same zip code, differs from the other.
  • Colonia/San Mateo Beer Co. (pending): It appears as though this new brewery will move into the current Bosque Brewing location on San Mateo when that is relocated to the forthcoming Open Space Project. In other words, it seems to be a long ways off.
  • Ex Novo Brewing (pending): We just toured this forthcoming brewery in Corrales.
  • Looking Glass Spirits & Long Lost Brewing (pending): The newest addition to the list, we have been contacted by one of the owners and are working on setting up an interview time. It will be located somewhere in the downtown area.

Red River was not the last new brewery to open in the outskirts of New Mexico in 2018, and more are on the way in 2019.

2018 saw a lot of new breweries open up across the state, well outside the Albuquerque/Santa Fe corridor. Among the many were Blu Dragonfly in Cimarron, Bonito Valley in Lincoln, Cloudcroft Brewing, Hopscotch Brewing in Artesia, Red River Brewing, and Second Alarm Brewhouse in Jemez Springs. There are still a few more coming down the pipeline.

  • B3-BBQ, Burgers and Beer (pending): This Las Vegas-based restaurant is already open. We do not know if its owners plan to actually brew beer, or if they are going to use the license to keep guest taps flowing.
  • 575 Brewing (pending): Alamogordo is getting its first brewery in many years, but we do not know the exact location or its current progress.
  • Icebox Brewing (active): The newest Las Cruces brewery will be located on Picacho Avenue, east of Picacho Peak Brewing and basically due west of High Desert. No opening date has been announced.
  • Leaf & Hive (active): The latest addition to the Santa Fe scene has a soft opening scheduled for this Saturday.
  • Public House 28 (pending): We know nothing beyond the name for this brewery in Anthony, on the Texas border.
  • Rail Brewery (pending): This Santa Fe project for the Railyards area has been pending for a long time now. We do not know its status.
  • Santa Fe Spirits (pending): The existing distillery is either going to start making beer, or it just wants to be able to sell beer.

New taprooms update

Yes, 2018 was basically the year of the off-site taproom, but there are still more on the way. Someday, every commercial space in the state will be a taproom. (Hey, we can dream, right?) All of these are pending licenses.

  • Boxing Bear on Central: We already wrote about the brewery taking over the former 5 Star Burgers space on West Central.
  • Desert Valley: There are two pending licenses for DV taprooms, one located in the 87110 zip code, and the other in 87111. It is certainly ambitious, though not unprecedented, to open two taprooms at once.
  • Enchanted Circle ABQ: The Angel Fire-based brewery is opening a taproom in the shopping center on the northwest corner of San Mateo and Osuna.
  • Nexus Blue Smokehouse and Taproom: The long-awaited BBQ version of Nexus is getting closer to finally opening on Broadway south of Cesar Chavez. We will get more details in our forthcoming Look Back/Look Ahead Series on Nexus.
  • Quarter Celtic on Juan Tabo: We already wrote about the first off-site location, which will be on the west side of the road between Indian School and Menaul.
  • Red Door Clovis: Once again, we already wrote about the first bowling alley-based taproom, which will also be the first craft beer-specific place in the eastern town.
  • Starr Brothers Alehouse: This one has been pending for quite a while now, so we do not know if it is still happening or not. If it does, it will be somewhere near UNM.
  • Tall Pines Beer and Wine Garden Alamogordo: The Ruidoso-based small brewery is opening a second location down the mountain.

Got info on any of these pending breweries or taprooms, or any we missed? Drop us a line at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

A good deed note

Tractor has named the four nonprofits for its annual Beer for a Better Burque (BBB) program. The New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus, New Mexico Horse Rescue at Walkin N Circles Ranch, Three Sisters Kitchen, and Albuquerque Area Firefighters Random Acts will be the beneficiaries for 2019. There will be special BBB nights on Tuesdays throughout the year where patrons can donate, plus special quarterly beer releases for each nonprofit sees $1 donated per pint, and other special themed events. You can donate at all four Tractor locations.

Good on ya, Tractor.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

You can also get Resilience IPA at Canteen, Steel Bender, Rowley Farmhouse Ales, and starting Friday at Quarter Celtic!

Gonna keep this edition short on my part due to time constraints. As mentioned a while back in The Week Ahead in Beer, several of our local breweries have joined others around the country in making Resilience IPA, a Sierra Nevada recipe, to help the victims of the terrible fires in Northern California. For every participating brewery, 100 percent of all proceeds will go to the charities helping the fire victims.

I snagged a pint at Marble Heights on Monday night, and it was quite the delightful beer. It recalls a time when IPAs still had a piney element opposite the citrus fruit sweetness that now dominates the genre, whether hazy or not. It is, in a sense, an old-school IPA, but it has more than enough malt backbone to keep it from drying out completely. It should have just the right amount of hops to please the crazier hopheads, while not going overboard for those who prefer a more drinkable IPA.

Marble is far from alone in having it available locally. A batch already went on tap before that at Rowley Farmhouse Ales in Santa Fe. Cloudcroft Brewing will have a batch on in the near future. Elsewhere in the metro area, Canteen and Steel Bender have their batches going on tap today (Tuesday). Quarter Celtic’s batch should be ready Friday. We encourage everyone to visit their personal favorites among the breweries and make sure to get at least one pint of Resilience. Heck, you can even try them from brewery to brewery and see if you can pick up on any slight variations in flavor. We would be curious to know what others find.

As for the rest of the Crew, a couple of them checked in with their recent beer adventures from outside of Albuquerque (way outside, in one case).

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Get festive with merch gifts from your favorite breweries, including Marble.

As we did the last four years, the Crew has put together a brewery merchandise guide for all of you just in time for your last-minute holiday shopping. Hey, it might be nice to just buy people beer, but sometimes they need more in life, like cool shirts, hoodies, growlers, and other specialty items carrying the logos of their favorite breweries. To make all of your lives easier and save you time in terms of searching the web or driving all over the place, we compiled the local breweries’ merch lists into one place. Now you can find out what is where, what is online, what it all costs, and any other additional info you might need.

The breweries are listed in alphabetical order, starting with the ABQ metro area breweries, then the breweries from outside the metro listed below that (those from both regions that sent us info, at least). We will be updating this list throughout the holiday season, so if you do not see a brewery here, once their info arrives, we will share it. Thank you to all the brewers, owners, and other key brewery staffers who helped us put this together. Whether via email or in person, it was greatly appreciated!

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The beer fridge overflows with all the stout-y goodness.

Thanksgiving was kinda fuzzy, man. At least that seems to be the case for most of us, as the sheer number of holiday brews left the bulk of the Crew speechless (or, at least, unable to write). It was a tad overwhelming.

First up, Wednesday saw a quick trip to Tractor for a four-pack of Turkey Drool. Yeah, didn’t need the half-growler this year. It’s been my personal tradition to always make the TD the first beer of every Thanksgiving. It makes the bad Lions and Cowboys football go down so much easier.

After that little treat, Friday brought a shorter-than-usual line at Jubilation for the annual Black Friday cellar sale. The barrel-aged Expedition Stout from Bell’s topped my personal list, so I walked out with two of those, one 2016 Uncle Jacob’s from Avery, a 2015 Barrel-Aged Narwhal from Sierra Nevada, and, yeah, had to get one Bourbon County Brand Stout and see if it still holds up (Jubilation did not receive any variants, which was disappointing this year).

Since I still have a huge stout haul from a friend’s cellar sale a few months back, I limited myself to just those five bottles. Oh, but alas, the locals beckoned me back out in the afternoon.

I joined Franz Solo at Boxing Bear for the always excellent VantaBlack Russian Imperial Stout, with this year’s batch in bottles, and a 3-year-old barrel-aged version on tap only. I am sad to report that the BA is out, but you can still buy bottles at the brewery, as I made sure to do. Next time around, head brewer Justin Hamilton assured us, he will make sure to bottle some of the barrel-aged batch, too.

The good folks at Bosque were simultaneously spreading the word over social media that their Fresh Start Breakfast Stout was on tap, so I hit up the San Mateo location on my way back. It’s just as good as ever, a sweet treat that paired oh-so-well with leftover dessert. A four-pack of that accompanied me home.

It was back to work for me on Saturday, after which I really needed more beer. My original plan was to stay in, drink some of those stouts, and watch terrible movies, but friends dragged me out to Quarter Celtic. The Oat Face Killer (Oatmeal Stout) was delightful, tasting way heavier more than a 5.1-percent beer should.

As for the rest of the Crew, only AmyO was able to put her thoughts together in printed form, which is remarkable considering the Lobo-sized headache she dealt with after another dismal season of hand-egg just ended.

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This building on Tramway near Paseo del Norte will soon host a Boese Brothers taproom.

As a public service, anytime we publish a story about one new brewery or off-site taproom opening, questions appear about any additional ones coming down the pipeline. As a public service, here are some tasty beer notes with info on what is on tap for Albuquerque and beyond.

Boese Brothers head for the foothills

We have known for a while that Boese Brothers Brewing was going to open a taproom somewhere in town, but the obvious question of where went unanswered. Thankfully, a magical little moment happened on Instagram and, with some help from a good friend in the industry, we tracked down the location.

The new taproom will open soon at 7849 Tramway Blvd. NE, which puts it just south of the intersection with Paseo del Norte. While Tractor and Canteen covered the southern end of Tramway with their taprooms, Boese Brothers will be the first to move into the far northern end of the corridor.

This will be the second off-site location for Boese Brothers, which also co-owns the Desert Dogs Taproom in Santa Fe. We will be in touch with George and Sam Boese to hopefully get an advance look at the place and learn a little more about it before it opens.

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This is one event you cannot miss … unless you bought tickets to a metal show in Denver months ago.

Timing is everything in life. For instance, this Saturday is both Marblefest here in Albuquerque and the Amorphis/Dark Tranquillity/Omnium Gatherum/Moonspell metal show in Denver. Many of us in the Crew bought our tickets to the latter a while ago, so we are northbound again, but that just means the rest of you will have more beer to drink at 111 Marble Avenue this weekend.

Marble’s marvelous marketing and events coordinator Geraldine Lucero invited me to stop by the Heights taproom before GABF to talk about this awesome festival that I will personally miss. (Sniff) We were joined by brewmaster Josh Trujillo to discuss the beers as well.

The event begins with a VIP sampling session from noon to 2 p.m., followed by the general admission festival from 2 until 11. It costs $20 for VIP tickets and $5 for GA. General admission tickets will be on sale at the door only. Tickets for VIP are available at all three taprooms, or you can order VIP online. Those go up to $25 on the day of the event, so get ’em early. Geraldine said that the VIP gets you a commemorative tasting glass, six 4-ounce pours, a food pairing, and you get to enjoy music from Red Light Cameras.

“That’s going to be really exciting because we’re limiting the amount of tickets we’re selling to that,” Geraldine said. “We want it to be a lot smaller where people (won’t) wait in lines, taste as much beer as they want, talk to the brewers on hand. We’re trying to give them an awesome VIP experience.”

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A lot of tired brewers and brewery owners came to life when their names were announced at the GABF Awards Ceremony!

DENVER — The 2018 Great American Beer Festival awards ceremony was another good one for New Mexico breweries. The Saturday morning event saw 2,404 breweries enter 8,864 beers, judged by 193 people, and spread across 102 categories, plus a new collaboration and the Pro-Am competition.

Eight New Mexico breweries shared in seven medals, a significant improvement from the World Beer Cup earlier this year, when only Quarter Celtic brought home a single bronze medal for its Pedro O’Flanagan.

“It means we make good beer still,” said John Gozigian, the executive director of the New Mexico Brewers Guild. “What did we win (at WBC), one medal? It was an anomaly. We always tend to medal disproportionately to our population.”

We were lucky in that Turtle Mountain head brewer Mick Hahn, left, found us at the session after the awards ceremony.

Turtle Mountain earned its first gold medal in the International-style Pilsner category with Wooden Teeth. The year-round offering is a huge win for brewer Mick Hahn and owner Nico Ortiz, beating out 85 other entries.

Mick was not in attendance when the award was announced.

“I was at our AirBnB, not quite sipping the champagne yet, but enjoying the hell out of it,” he said. “We didn’t go to the awards ceremony but we were streaming it at the house. When they announced it we just exploded. It was fantastic. I couldn’t be happier. There was a liquor store right across from the house so I ran across the street to get some champagne.”

After 19 years in business, this was the first major competition medal for Turtle Mountain.

“That’s just awesome,” Gozigian said. “For a new brewery to win is great, but to see one of the stalwarts of our brewing scene to come out of the woodwork and win in a very competitive category, I’m very happy for them.”

Mick said he was over the moon after hearing his beer’s name called on the internet broadcast.

“It means so much,” Mick said. “Turtle deserves so much more (praise) than what they have right now, in my opinion. I hate hearing people say, ‘I love it, but I never go out to Rio Rancho.’ It’s a drop in the bucket, I’m sure, but every little bit helps. A gold medal for our house lager? Yeah.”

La Cumbre’s Jeff Erway chews on another silver medal for his Malpais Stout.

There were two silver medals awarded to local breweries. La Cumbre’s Malpais Stout took second in the Export Stout category, while Rowley Farmhouse Ales earned its first medal with Germophile in the Berliner-style Weisse category, which had 115 entries.

“Always the runner up,” said La Cumbre owner/master brewer Jeff Erway. “It’s my third silver. I’m really stoked to not go home empty handed. I tasted this batch and said this is about as good as that beer ever gets. I’m really pleased with the whole team. It gets increasingly harder as the brewery gets bigger to make sure that every person back there is engaged. I’m kind of in awe of Daniel (Jaramillo) and Alan (Skinner) and how they manage the team back there. I’m real proud of everybody. Probably 20 people touch this beer. The fact that no one screwed it up is awesome.”

Bronze was the color of the day with five breweries bringing home four medals. How did that work? Well, Quarter Celtic and Palmer Brewery earned bronze in the Collaboration Beer category with Mocha Hipster Bomb.

“Brady (McKeown, head brewer) is battling in that brewhouse and it’s starting to show,” said Quarter Celtic co-owner Ror McKeown. “We’re fortunate that Rob (Palmer) was a super cool guy and has some talent himself. He was willing to jump in with us. I told him, first GABF, first beer you entered, first medal, you set the bar real high. It was a good time, but unfortunately Brady will never get to come again, since we figured out the trick was to take his cutout instead of him.”

Yes, Quarter Celtic really did take a cardboard cutout of Brady up on stage.

The Brady McKeown cutout made it to the stage at the awards ceremony, courtesy of his brother Ror.

“You never expect to win, but you want to come prepared,” Ror said. “I took that cutout. It was nice, especially since this is (Charlie) Papazian’s last year. It was our last chance to get a fist bump from him.

“(Papazian) was laughing. We went up early enough so he wasn’t tired. He told us that’s awesome. Usually you can’t get too many words out of him. He had a pretty big grin on his face.”

For Palmer, this was his first major award.

“I’ll probably never enter another beer again,” Rob said. “First beer, medal, done.”

He was actually luck to even make it into the awards ceremony at all.

“I didn’t expect the collab category to be (early), I thought it would be in the middle somewhere,” Rob said. “I’m all hungover as shit. We were at the gentlemen’s club last night. I didn’t have a pass to get in. Canteen gave me an extra pass. I sat down, tried not to throw up, and then I heard the name called. It was fucking awesome. Getting to fist bump Charlie Papazian, man, best thing ever. I’m super stoked.”

Rob Palmer’s hangover disappeared quickly thanks to his bronze medal.

Starr Brothers brought home its first medal with a bronze in the Other Strong Beer category with Lampshade Porter, another year-round beer.

Sierra Blanca’s Cherry Wheat medaled for the second straight year, this time taking bronze in the Fruit Wheat category (it won gold last year).

Bosque’s Pistol Pete’s 1888 finished third out of 127 entries in the Golden or Blonde Ale category.

“It’s awesome,” said Bosque co-owner/director of brewing operations John Bullard. “We did the same thing with Bosque IPA (medaling), that was cool, too. That really drove sales. I’m really hoping this will continue to drive sales. We’re having a hard time keeping up with this beer already, but it can’t hurt, right?”

The Crew will try to catch up with the other medal winners while we are all here in Denver, but just in case we cannot find them, we will interview them upon our return to New Mexico this coming week.

Congrats to one and all, and thank you for always representing New Mexico in such a positive way.

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 seven breweries, one in Los Alamos, one in Moriarty, one in Red River, and one in Las Cruces 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.

It has to be a first that we are choosing back-to-back Monday events as our featured lead, but we are not gonna argue with either one. After a Metal Monday show at Tumbleroot last week, this time around you can stay in ABQ and enjoy the Half Way to St. Patrick’s Day Festival at Quarter Celtic this Monday from open to close. The revamped patio is complete and Los Radiators will perform traditional Celtic music from 6 to 9 p.m. out there. There will all sorts of Irish food specials, plus of course some proper beers on tap, including Scottish Manny, Kill or be Kilt Scotch Ale, and a special batch of Irish Handcuffs Imperial Stout that has been aged for two years. You can all probably guess which one I will be sipping on after work.

There are plenty of other fun events as well, starting today (Wednesday). Marble is hosting a rematch of its last round of the Brews & Bites Challenge at the Heights Taproom (the competitors finished in a tie last round). That kicks off at 6 and tickets are going fast. You can also head over to Tractor Wells Park at 7:30 for the Poetry Slam City Championship. Friday will feature Red Door’s 4th Anniversary Bash at the brewery, which Franz Solo will have a full preview of later today. Trek out to Moriarty on Saturday for Sierra Blanca’s annual Oktoberfest celebration, with food, music, and plenty of beer in the spacious beer garden out back.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Ale Republic brings back Parasol. Boese Brothers roll out Summer Ale, Oktoberfest, and Clockwork Blood Orange IPA. Bombs Away already has American Wheat available, and Oktoberfest should be ready Thursday. Bosque is feeling colorful with Oat Gold and Wet Hop Red. Bow & Arrow resurrects a seasonal favorite in Wolf Eyes Marzen on Saturday. Boxing Bear sticks with the haze with Murky Milkshake IPA on Friday. Canteen freshens up with Wet Hop Pale Ale, Citranova Lager, and Strawberry Basil Gose. La Cumbre brings back Make IPA Clear Again, its collaboration with Denver’s Comrade Brewing, in cans and on tap this Friday. Marble unveils the 2018 edition of Pumpkin Noir on tap and in bottles at all three locations today. Nexus has more Coffee & Cream on tap. Ponderosa hopes to have its Oktoberfest later this week. Quarter Celtic also brings back an old favorite in Dark Pedro. Red Door will have Double Vanilla Cream for the anniversary party Friday. Starr Brothers wants everyone to Shake Yerbouti with its new milkshake stout. The 377 has a crazy new Berliner Weisse that was aged for five months on organic mangoes and strawberries and then finished with cedar chips added before kegging.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn hopes to bring back Gatekeeper IPA by Saturday. Rowley Farmhouse Ales goes fresh with Brut IPA – Wet Hop Chinook.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of September 10.

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Red Door abruptly closed its taproom on Wyoming last Friday, but patrons were able to enjoy one last pint or two.

The last month-plus has seen good and bad news coming out of several off-site taprooms around Albuquerque, ranging from two openings to two closings to other potential developments that have left folks wondering if the bubble is bursting. As a public service, we tried to sort through the rumors and figure out the solid facts.

On the good front, La Cumbre Westside and Tractor Westside are both humming along. Tractor opened first on McMahon, just east of Unser, and quickly captured the vibe of its other locations. La Cumbre opened to huge crowds with a touch of the original location blended with a more modern atmosphere. We also got good news that Quarter Celtic will open its first taproom in early 2019.

Then, there was everything else. First came the news at the end of July that Monks’ Corner was closing its doors. The location at Third and Silver was never able to draw in the crowds like Abbey Brewing had hoped, and in the end, the decision was made to shut down that taproom. Whether or not a replacement ever opens is something that will be decided at a later time.

Of course, since then, events might have given Abbey a reason to pause. All of us in the Crew were as surprised as anyone when Red Door abruptly announced the closure of its Northeast Heights taproom at Wyoming and Comanche. The taproom was packed with folks on Friday night, answering the call to help drink up as much of the beer on hand as possible. By the time I arrived around 9 p.m., there were only four house beers and the cider left on tap. All the seasonals were long gone.

I missed owner Matt Biggs by mere minutes, he later told me, but we will be meeting this week to discuss Red Door’s upcoming fourth anniversary. The reason given by Red Door in its social media posts was “a landlord dispute,” which sadly is not all that shocking around Albuquerque. Anyone remember when Pi Brewing had to shut down after its corporate landlord put off repairs to the damaged building for six months? (It had been hit by an out-of-control pickup truck that crashed off Coors.)

The specter of a bad landlord, or something similar, then seemed to crop up with the Soo-bak food truck posted that it was no longer going to park outside Tractor Nob Hill due to an unexplained dispute with the new property owner. That, in turn, led many to suspect Tractor would also shut down its original Albuquerque location, which has been serving folks since 2011. I contacted president/co-owner Skye Devore via email, and she said no one should panic, that Tractor is not closing the taproom.

“The building was purchased last year and we are working on adjusting to the new dynamic, which includes having a cafe next door, but we have no intention of shutting it down,” she wrote. “The food truck situation is delicate. In no way does Tractor want food trucks to cease service and their food will always be welcome in our Nob Hill location.”

So far, it seems this is an isolated incident rather than a radical change to the long symbiotic relationship between Tractor and the food trucks. Considering that the new landlord was also helping Tractor out by giving the brewery the space to expand its walk-in cooler and add more bathrooms, overall the relationship seems to be OK.

Now that everyone is breathing easy again, we feel that we can now report that the Duel taproom in downtown Albuquerque is closing some time in the near future. Real estate ads, like this one on Craigslist, have shown that the space is up for lease, though there has been no official announcement from the brewery in Santa Fe. Events are still listed through Saturday, September 15 on the taproom’s Facebook page, so it seems the closure is not necessarily imminent. We will keep an eye on the situation as it develops.

Before anyone starts screaming that the bubble is popping around here, most of these closures appear unconnected. It is possible to draw the line between Duel and Monks’ Corner, and the general difficulty of staying open downtown. People can point to the crime and other issues there, but we have long felt that downtown is simply a different animal as far as the crowd goes. It is not an area populated with craft beer lovers who want to kick back and relax, but is instead a more high-energy area of rising and falling trends. Basically, the downtown crowd is incredibly fickle, and with a few exceptions (Anodyne, looking at you), it can be very hard for any bar or taproom to gain a foothold there. Then throw in the issues with crime and the ongoing exodus of businesses from the area (which impacts lunchtime and happy hour crowds), and it pretty much conspired to kill Monks’ Corner and, apparently, Duel.

The boom times may be coming to a close, that is true, but it does not necessarily mean a massive contraction is at hand. Breweries and taprooms will not be shutting down en masse, but fewer and fewer are on the docket to open. At present, there are only three confirmed breweries pending for the ABQ metro area, plus three off-site taprooms.

In other words, yes, we have seemingly hit our saturation point. The remaining areas in town that lack craft beer are either too expensive in terms of rent, or too stricken by poverty. Darn, guess we will have to live with the award-winning breweries that are already here, instead of always looking to see who is coming next.

If anyone out there ever has any information for us on our local breweries, please, never hesitate to send it to us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or contact us via our social media pages.

Until next time, stay positive, Burque.

— Stoutmeister