Posts Tagged ‘Quarter Celtic Brewpub’

A summer jaunt to Quarter Celtic

Posted: July 24, 2017 by Franz Solo in Beer Review
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Clark is back and juicier than ever.

Editor’s note: Somebody was supposed to finish his Hops Brewery article the other night. Instead, he ended up reviewing the beers he was drinking while not really working on that. I guess I’ll let it slide. — S

I suppose it was just to be, as I headed to Quarter Celtic on rumors of an even more “Juiced” version of Clark IPA, and happened upon a lovely Berliner Weiße as well.

Clark Juiced* IPA

Grapefruit and tangerine aroma with sweet orange. Wonderful full flavor elements of juicy Valencia orange, sweet lemon, and grapefruit pith. Hints of fresh pine from the hops takes my palate to the frosted forests of the northern realms, with a soundtrack of Wintersun and Wolfheart. This is an incredibly quaffable IPA of the eastern slant, with the local 505 high explosives of hops very much present to carry your palate beyond the bitter realms to the warm lands of the Desert Vipers and Dornish … er, Granada, Spain. The gardens of the Alhambra with oranges dripping from the trees, and rows of roses of every color and scent you could imagine. That is where I am transported to in this moment with this last pint of the dying day. Ride forth in numbers and storm the gates, er, doors and procure this gem of a beer before it fades like summer into autumn.

It’s a stoplight of deliciousness!

While you bathe your tastebuds and olfactory senses in the hops of the Clark, or perhaps before, try a lovely Berliner Weiße with classic flavorings and quaff your thirst in the heat of July. This traditional German-style sour of light alcohol, and thus immensely quaffable proportions, is just the ticket at the end of a good, honest day toiling in the sun. A cool, crisp concoction with two flavoring options (raspberry and woodruff) is sure to please your parched palate in these days of the unpredictable monsoon and spectacular sunsets. A quintessential post-yard-work beer, this Berliner Weiße finishes quite crisp on its own, clearing the throats of the dusty dryness of our desert home after a hard day in the sun. We have two distinct variations with the pair of flavor additions, so try one of each and discover what you like best.

There are more of these seasonal brews which beg trying, but the time of this day is spent, so I entreat you to go forth and enjoy what your heart desires of any of these, be it the Berliner, the Juiced* Clark, or another. May your beers ne’er empty, nor your mirth ever fade.

Until we meet again,

Skål!

— Franz Solo

The variety in beers is impressive this year!

As most of you should know by now, BearFest returns this Saturday, now at the Albuquerque Convention Center downtown. VIP entry is at 12:30 p.m., general admission is at 2 p.m., and it all runs until 6 p.m. General admission tickets are still available online and VIP tickets are still available at Boxing Bear.

Much like any other beer festival, the biggest question of all remains what brews will be available. Well, 15 of the 20 participating breweries sent us their lists, and if the other six get theirs to us, we will add them here right up until the doors open.

  • Ale Republic: TBA
  • Bathtub Row: TBA
  • Blue Corn: Ginger Braggot, Back to Cali Common, Hella Humulus Collaboration IPA, Imperial Chocolate Porter
  • Bosque: Lager, IPA, Hefe, Driftwood Oatmeal Stout, Blonde Ale, EOP Fruited Wheat Ale, Grasping at Straws Extra Pale Ale, All the Rage IPA
  • Boxing Bear: Body Czech Pilsner, HairyMit Hefe, Ambear Ale, Paw Swipe Pale Ale, Uppercut IPA, Standing 8 Stout, Apple Bear Cider, Chocolate Milk Stout, Blood Orange Pale Ale, Barn Burner Wheat IPA, Guava Gose, New England IPA, plus maybe one more
  • Canteen: High Plains Pils, Exodus IPA, Tuttle IPA, Strawberry Basil Gose
  • Chama River: Kolsch, Maibock, Gose, IPA special
  • Dialogue: Biere de Mars, Berliner Weisse, BC IPA, Sour Rapsberry
  • Flix Brewhouse: TBA
  • La Cumbre: Project Dank IPA, Strwaberry Gose, Elevated IPA, Slice of Hefen, BEER
  • Marble: Double White, Pilsner, Cranberry Gose, Flower Digger Pale Ale
  • Nexus: TBA
  • Quarter Celtic: Pedro O’Flanagan’s Mexican Lager, Mangose, Blood Orange Hefe, Crimson Lass, Gondola Party Starter NE-style IPA
  • Santa Fe: Long Game IPA, Hefe’d Up, Nut Brown, Pale Ale, Freestyle Pilsner (cans), Happy Camper (cans)
  • Second Street: 2920 IPA, Eldorado IPA, Red and Yellow Armadillo, Summer Rain Raspberry Sour, 2920 Pils, Civil Rye
  • Starr Brothers: Starrgazm IPA, Brown Chicken Brown Cow, Starrphire Pilsner, Bloodshot
  • Steel Bender: Skull Bucket IPA, Red Iron Red, The Village Wit, Lloyd’s 3 O’Clock Kolsch
  • Taos Mesa: TBA
  • Turtle Mountain: Yum Yum Colada, Can’t Catch Me, Lil’ Shelly, Hopshell IPA, My Kolsche

That is a lot of beer to try. If you like the hazy, New England-style IPAs, you are in luck as Bosque, Boxing Bear, Canteen, and Quarter Celtic are all bring their editions. Fans of sours and goses are clearly in luck as well. We are quite excited to try some of the new beers from Blue Corn (Hella Humulus and Imperial Chocolate Porter) and Second Street (Red and Yellow Armadillo is delicious), plus we await whatever Bathtub Row and Taos Mesa will be bringing.

Now, if you are wondering where Rowley Farmhouse Ales went off to, do not fret. The difference between them and the rest is their jockey box only has two handles, so they will be rotating beers on the second handle every hour or so. The Citra dry-hopped Fields of Rye will occupy the first handle. Here is the second handle pouring schedule.

12:30-2 p.m.: Meier (Meyer Lemon Gose)
2-3 p.m.: Germophile (Berliner Weisse)
3-4 p.m.: Reinheitsgenot (Lime Kolsch)
4-5 p.m.: Ab Initio dry-hopped with Citra/Mosaic
5-6 p.m.: Ab Initio with apricot

So, yeah, pucker up, people! It is gonna be a heck of a day.

And, remember, yours truly will be signing copies of Albuquerque Beer: Duke City History on Tap, over at the NM Brewers Guild booth. It is only $20, cash preferred.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

It’s time for the third edition of BearFest, only this time no one will get sunburned!

BearFest, the annual local-only craft beer festival hosted by Boxing Bear, returns for a third go-around this Saturday. The big change this year, besides pushing it back and away from ABQ Beer Week and Blues & Brews, is moving the fest out of the brewery parking lot to the Albuquerque Convention Center. Unless you are going to walk or bike to the event, leave the sunscreen at home!

The event will run from 2 to 6 p.m. for general admission, with a special 90-minute VIP period before that starting at 12:30 p.m. General admission tickets cost $25 in advance and can be purchased online here. They will be $30 at the door. VIP tickets can only be purchased in advance for $40 at Boxing Bear, going up to $45 the day of at the Convention Center.

To get the full story behind the change, I sat down with Boxing Bear head brewer/co-owner Justin Hamilton and general manager John Campi on Monday afternoon.

“A good thing for us will be that this has been a rain-or-shine event the previous two years and it almost got rained out the first year, we’re going to have a good attendance and a good time, either way,” Justin said. “That’s going to be one of the first things that’s a plus for us. But, I think that as far as what we’ve done in the past that we’re going to continue, and we’re going to expand on a few different things. We have 20 breweries, we have three wineries and two distilleries.”

The breweries, in alphabetical order, are Ale Republic, Bathtub Row, Blue Corn, Bosque, Boxing Bear, Canteen, Chama River, Dialogue, Flix Brewhouse, La Cumbre, Marble, Nexus, Quarter Celtic, Rowley Farmhouse Ales, Santa Fe, Second Street, Starr Brothers, Steel Bender, Taos Mesa, and Turtle Mountain. The wineries are Black Mesa, New Mexico Hard Cider, and St. Clair, while Left Turn and Santa Fe Spirits are the distilleries on hand.

As John noted, the entire event is “100 percent local to New Mexico.”

“Yes, that’s another thing we really want to push here is that this is an absolute local event,” Justin added. “There’s no outside distributors. There’s no random (anything). This will all be from New Mexico, beers and vendors. It will be nice to share some of the other breweries that a lot of folks haven’t been up to see, (like) Bathtub Row and Rowley Farmhouse Ales, a lot of these guys are definitely part of that brewing community that a lot of the Albuquerque scene doesn’t get out to get and see.”

The vendors on hand will all be local as well, ranging from New Mexico Flameworks to Metal The Brand to YogaZo to Mother Road Mobile Canning. The New Mexico Brewers Guild will have a booth, of course, and a certain local author will also be on hand to sign and sell copies of his book, Albuquerque Beer: Duke City History on Tap, for $20 apiece (no, I will never stop with the shameless self promotion at this point).

Gamers Anonymous will have a booth as well, with video games for patrons to play, ranging from Street Fighter to GoldenEye to Mario Kart and more. Unlike last year, when it seemed like the chairs were half in the sun all day, it will all be inside and air conditioned. There will also be a cornhole tournament thanks to the owner of The Local Brewhouse, who donated his boards for the day.

There will be a charity that will benefit from the event as well.

“This is a benefit for the Animal Humane Society,” John said. “Animal Humane will be split into two sections. They’ll have a little adoption booth, if possible with actual, live puppies there. Then we’re going to have a booth set up with a little game (washer toss) and people will pay a dollar or so. That money will go directly to Animal Humane. They can win a prize, and I think every brewery is going to pitch in a shirt or a hat or something.”

Local bands will include Isaac Aragon during the VIP-only time (12:30-2 p.m.) and Pawn Shop Poster Boys after that. Another band is also expected to be announced soon.

“That and it will be nice that our music will have an actual audio guy this year,” Justin said. “Last year we were leaving it up to the bands, which isn’t a problem as far as the audio itself goes, but as far as the setup of the audio we hope to have seamless music throughout the event. Last year we had these breaks between our VIP and our start. We want people to be able to hear music (as they come in).”

The beer, though, is the biggest draw. The Crew should have full lists for all attending breweries no later than Thursday, but a few special beers of note have already been listed by Boxing Bear on Facebook.

  • Blue Corn, thankfully, goes to the dark side with Imperial Chocolate Porter.
  • Bosque is expected to bring a new variant in their Elephants on Parade specialty series.
  • Canteen will debut their Strawberry Basil Gose and bring back Tuttle IPA, a hazy New England-style hop bomb.
  • La Cumbre is bring Strawberry Gose and the latest batch of Project Dank.
  • Marble counters with a Cranberry Gose. Yes, there is a gose theme here.
  • Quarter Celtic has Mangose (yup, theme) and a new Blood Orange Hefeweizen.
  • Rowley Farmhouse Ales is bringing six beers, each of which will be served at special times (see our next story Thursday for that serving schedule).
  • Second Street will tap Summer Rain Raspberry Sour.
  • Starr Brothers is brewing a special batch of Starrgasm IPA just for the festival.
  • Turtle Mountain will have Yum Yum Colada and Lil Shelly Pale Ale.

Unlike other festivals, this is not an unlimited sampling event. VIP and general admission both get four 4-ounce samples and one full pint for free. Additional samples and/or pints can be purchased from the breweries.

“Most breweries, we kind of leave it up to them if they want people to purchase a sample or not,” Justin said. “Last year, just about every brewery was up for it, so my guess that will probably be the thing. Every now and then you’ll see a beer where if it’s a high-end beer or if it’s in a bottle, it’s just not going to be available for sample, which is understandable. I would say almost everything is going to be available for sample and purchase. We definitely don’t want to limit on what people are able to try, but what we want to do is not just turn it into a free-for-all.”

While bigger packaging breweries can often write off free samples as a marketing expense, that is almost impossible for the smaller brewpubs. This helps the breweries not feel as if they are giving away nothing but free beer.

“It’s one of those things where if we put multiple good breweries into a caravan (and) not only show them a good time, but if they get a little something back, they’re going to consistently show up every year for us,” Justin said. “That way we always get the best local breweries showing up consistently every year, which is great for the consumers. That was the original BearFest idea was going for, it’s for the patrons, it’s for the breweries, and it’s for everyone in between.”

Putting BearFest in a more convenient location is another way for Boxing Bear to give back to the patrons and attending businesses.

“It will also be in a nice central location, which is another good part about the Convention Center,” Justin said. “Other than competing with other festivals that were going on, it’s hard getting people to come across the river for anything. It will be right in downtown where people know, with quick access to (two freeways). Uber and Lyft, no matter where you are in the city, it will be probably be pretty affordable, and we always encourage that.”

For those looking to bike over, take note of your options in the area.

“Last year we did a bike valet,” John said. “We were unable to get that this year. The valet company had a prior event. However, there is still ample bike parking. Right now the Plaza is under construction and they have Third (Street) blocked off on both ends, but the Plaza is actually gated off because they’re doing the Shakespeare events with bike racks. There’s hundreds of spots over there.”

The Crew always encourages everyone to travel safely and responsibly to and from beer festivals.

We will have those full beer lists on Thursday. After that, we will see you at BearFest!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Day Ten pushes us closer to the end. (sniff)

The end is almost here. It’s OK to be a little melancholy about Beer Week being almost over.

After all, you will only have our 30-plus amazing local breweries to keep you happy through the rest of the summer.

Oh, darn.

Anyway, all sarcasm aside, there are a lot of varied events today, with plenty of beer-and-food offerings, special releases, and the ultimate ode to cider.

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: Great Divide Special Tapping. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 5 p.m. to close. Cost: No cover charge.

Details: Join the Crew and other lovers of the dark side of beer for the tappings of two beers never before served in New Mexico. We shall indulge in Barrel-Aged Chocolate Yeti and She Said, I Brew, a barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout. Great Divide is one of our favorite Colorado breweries, or just breweries period, and these should be two amazing examples of just why we believe that.

Why you should go: Tell summer to go to hell and let your mind travel back to the dead of winter, to the olden days of the Norsemen with Amon Amarth as your soundtrack!

All the other great events

What: Yappy Hour with Watermelon Mountain Ranch. Where: Cazuela’s. When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Head to the Cazuela’s patio for a special fundraiser and adoption event for WMR. Why you should go: Get a beer, get a bite to eat, go home with a new best friend.

What: Special Release of Mangose. Where: Quarter Celtic. When: 11 a.m. to close. Cost: No cover charge. Details: QC releases their new mango gose, which debuted during Blues & Brews, to the general public. Why you should go: Admit it, you’re curious as to just how a mango and gose go together.

What: Ladies Loving Beer Luncheon. Where: Marble Westside. When: 12-2 p.m. Cost: $30 per person. Details: Join the women of Marble for an interactive discussion about beer while enjoying a special four-course meal from Ohana Hut. There will be goody bags and a special surprise announcement at the end of the event. Why you should go: Women invented beer, so they definitely deserve their own event.

What: Food Truck Battle. Where: Red Door. When: 12-4 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: A slew of food trucks will be parked at the Candelaria location, offering up their finest dishes for you to judge. A winner will be crowned at the end. Why you should go: We don’t have a list of the attending trucks, but we’re guessing it will be many of the local heavyweights.

What: Beer and Tapas Pairing. Where: Ponderosa. When: 4-7 p.m. Cost: $7 per pairing. Details: A different beer and tapas pairing will be available each day. Why you should go: You need some food in your belly to go with all this beer.

What: Sierra Nevada and Girl Scout Cookie Pairing. Where: O’Niell’s Heights. When: 4-6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Flights of Sierra Nevada beers are paired with Girl Scout Cookies. Need we say more? Why you should go: Cookies and beer!

What: Cider Day Night Fever. Where: Tractor Nob Hill. When: 5-10 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: DJ Wae Fonkey will provide the disco tunes, you wear the costume and bring your love of ciders. There will be five Tractor ciders, two each from Red Door, Santa Fe Cider Works, The Craft Room, NM Hard Cider, and Palmer Brewery & Cider House, and one from Skarsgard Farms. That’s 16 if math is not your strong suit. Why you should go: If you love ciders and don’t go, well, then there’s no hope for you.

What: Jodie Herrera Art Opening, Glass and Beer Release. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 7-10 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Artist Jodie Herrera designed a special glass for the Berry Cider, plus her art will be on the walls and the Blank Tapes will provide the music starting at 8 p.m. Why you should go: Celebrate a local artist and local band with local brews and ciders.

What: Upslope Beer Dinner. Where: M’tucci’s Market and Deli. When: 7-10 p.m. Cost: $55 per person. Details: Feast upon an epic five-course meal paired with Upslope beers. The dessert is paired with the barrel-aged imperial stout with coffee, which is reason enough to go. Why you should go: Five dishes upon which to feast, five beers to wash them down. Victory is yours!

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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

Day Seven features real ale, more tappings, more tastings, more food, more fun.

We are past the halfway point of Beer Week, but it is hardly time to slow down.

Today’s events are mostly of the special tapping/sampling/tap takeover variety, scattered all over town. There will also be a mini cask festival at Quarter Celtic, a beer-and-food-and-wine pairing at Tractor Wells Park, and an early 90s party with Upslope at The Grain Station.

Oh, yeah, and there’s a hockey game on TV tonight you might want to check out.

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: Mini Cask Beer Festival. Where: Quarter Celtic Brewpub. When: 5-10 p.m. Cost: $5 for sample flight.

Details: QC will have four casks out on the patio featring Rye’t Side of Dublin dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin, Kill or be KILT, Vanilla Cream Quarter Porter, and Chocolate Hefeweizen. You can get a sample flight of all four, or a pint of your favorite (13-ounce pours for KILT). Grab some dinner and enjoy your evening in proper pub style! Plus, hockey will be on at least one TV, which is where you will find Franz Solo and I.

Why you should go: Besides getting the chance to watch yours truly endure Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals (reportedly I am quite entertaining to watch during games, or so say the QC staff), this one is all about some delicious beers in a wonderful setting.

All the other great events

What: Marble Special Keg Tapping. Where: Rock & Brews. When: 11 a.m. to close. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The Idaho 7 Pale Ale is the beer of choice that shall be tapped. Why you should go: Be among the first in town to try this new beer made with a special new hop.

What: Abita Special Tapping. Where: Gecko’s Nob Hill. When: 11 a.m. to close. Cost: No cover charge. Details: We are working on finding out what beer this will be … it’s the Strawberry Lager! Why you should go: A little sweet, fruity goodness to start your day.

What: Marble Brett IPA Tap and Bottle Release. Where: Marble (all locations). When: Noon to close. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The hoppy, funky classic is back. Order a pint or take it home or, heck, do both. Why you should go: If you are a fan of IPAs with a Belgian twist, this one is hard to beat.

What: Firestone Walker Sampling and Giveaway. Where: Jubilation. When: 4-6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The final sampling of ABW at Jubilation will feature Firestone’s finest, including Fortem Unfiltered DIPA and Bretta Rose, plus more beers. There will also be a special giveaway of a FW longboard to one lucky person. Why you should go: Free beer and (maybe) free stuff? Sign us up.

What: Odell Sampling and Giveaway. Where: Total Wine Uptown. When: 4-6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Taste the entire Odell packaged lineup and potentially walk away with some additional goodies. Why you should go: Free beer!

What: Woodchuck Cider Sampling. Where: Total Wine Uptown. When: 4-6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Enjoy the entire Woodchuck packaged lineup. Why you should go: Free cider!

What: Odell Tap Takeover. Where: Freight House. When: 4-8 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Odell will bring old favorites 90 Shilling and IPA plus newcomers Drumroll APA and Brazzle. Why you should go: Grab a bite to eat and a pint if you’re up in the Bernalillo vicinity.

What: Beer and Tapas Pairing. Where: Ponderosa. When: 4-7 p.m. Cost: $7 per pairing. Details: A different beer and tapas pairing will be available each day. Why you should go: You need some food in your belly to go with all this beer.

What: Early 90’s Night with Upslope. Where: The Grain Station. When: 5-9 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Go retro with live DJs spinning classic tunes from 20-plus years ago, with a costume contest with prizes for the top three, and of course lots of Upslope beers. Why you should go: We can only imagine the costumes that some of you can dig up.

What: Beer and Food Truck Pairing. Where: Drafty Kilt. When: 5-9 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Illusion Food Truck will be creating some specialty dishes that pair up with the different Drafty Kilt beers. Why you should go: When the food is made specifically to go with the beer, that’s a win-win.

What: Founders Tapping. Where: The Barley Room. When: 6-9 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Choose from a lineup of PC Pils, All Day IPA, and Imperial Stout in the far Northeast Heights. Why you should go: Grab a bite to eat, watch some hockey, and enjoy three very different but wonderful beers.

What: Beer, Wine & Food Pairings with Gruet Winery and Cheese & Coffee. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 7-11 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Choose from five different food dishes, each paired with a different Tractor beer and a different Gruet wine. See how the food fits with both alcoholic beverages. You can pick and choose or order all of them. Why you should go: Feast like a king or queen.

* * * * *

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

Pregame the big event with several low-key tastings on Day Four.

Yes, it is Blues & Brews day, but there are still some other options for those either not attending or just looking for a little pre-game fun.

We posted the beer lists for Blues & Brews on Saturday, so click that link if you’re curious.

Otherwise, kick back and enjoy! You earned the break.

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: Quarter Celtic and Dialogue Collaboration Release. Where: Quarter Celtic. When: Noon. Cost: No cover charge.

Details: We do love the collaboration beers, and here comes another one from two of our newer breweries. The beer will be available at QC, plus it will be at the QC booth at Blues & Brews.

Why you should go: Yeah, it’s slim pickings outside the festival, but you need to fuel up on food beforehand, so do that and grab a taste of this new beer as well.

All the other great events

What: Deschutes Tap Takeover. Where: Gecko’s Nob Hill. When: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Enjoy many of Oregon’s finest ales all day. Why you should go: Revisit some old friends on tap.

What: Rio Bravo Pints, Planks & Pups. Where: Rio Bravo. When: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Stop in for yoga, and maybe leave with a best friend as Animal Humane will have adorable dogs on hand for adoption. Also, $1 from all pints sold between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. will be donated to Animal Humane. Why you should go: Get some exercise and a pup and a pint.

What: Goose Island Sisters Brunch. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: Chow down on delicious food while enjoying the GI Sour Sisters series of beers. Why you should go: Wake up with beer!

What: Founders Barrel-Aged Beer and Cigar Pairing. Where: Imbibe. When: 12-11 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Get a pour of KBS 2017 paired up with the cigar of your choice. There will also be a special pint glass giveaway. Why you should go: Barrel-aged stout goodness goes quite well with a fine cigar.

What: Mother Road Sampling and Special Tapping. Where: Whole Foods Academy/Sandia Saloon. When: 12-2 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Stop by the market for samples of Mother Road’s packaged lineup, plus there will be a special keg tapped at Sandia Saloon with growler fills available until 9 p.m. Why you should go: It’s more than just free beer!

What: Defying Gravity — Cruisin’ for a Brewzin’. Where: Ponderosa. When: 1-4 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The Defying Gravity Car Club events everyone to join them at Ponderosa for a car show. The daily beer and tapas pairing will also be available during this time. Why you should go: See some awesome automobiles while enjoying a pint and a bite to eat.

* * * * *

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

Quarter Celtic comes up big Down Under

Posted: May 19, 2017 by cjax33 in News
Tags:

Quarter Celtic head brewer/co-owner Brady McKeown now has another five medals to smile about. (Photo courtesy of Quarter Celtic)

Thursday proved to be a very good day for Quarter Celtic Brewpub as the staff learned the results of the Australian International Beer Awards competition. QC racked up a total of five medals — one gold, three silvers, one bronze — out of the six entries they submitted to the competition, which features beers from around the world. QC was the only New Mexico brewery to compete.

I briefly chatted with co-owner/assistant brewer David Facey over a pint of Crimson Lass, which took gold in the Irish Red category. It was the only beer to win gold in that category, as the AIBA scores things slightly differently than, say, the Great American Beer Festival. Basically, everything is graded on a points scale. A beer that earns between 14 and 15.4 points receives a bronze, between 15.5 and 16.9 earns silver, and 17 and above earns gold. Thus, there can be multiples of each medal per category. Still, to say that Crimson Lass was the only beer to exceed 17 points in its category was fairly remarkable.

Bringing home silver were Quarter Porter in the Robust Porter category, Morbuck IPA in the Imperial/Double IPA category, and Clark IPA in the Australian Pale Ale category. Bronze went to Kill or be KILT in the Scotch Ale category, where no beer earned a gold medal (tough crowd).

David said a big reason for QC to enter a competition like this is to get a good idea of just where its beers fit in terms of categories. Nowadays there are so many to choose from, it can behoove a brewery to start long before GABF rolls around to try and figure out where it has the best chance to win a medal. As an example, Marble moved its Pilsner into the Keller or Zwickelbier category and continues to rack up the medals, rather than assign it to a German or Bohemian Pilsner category.

Regardless of the intent, anytime a brewery in just its second year of existence can pull in some hardware is a good thing, and testing the waters, so to speak, in advance of a major competition is always a good thing.

Next up on the awards docket? David was stopping by the brewpub to ship out QC’s entries to the upcoming North American Beer Awards, which should be announced some time in early June. That will be the last major national/international competition until GABF in October.

Congrats to Quarter Celtic on these awards. We forecast many more in the future!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Set your calendars!

We are T-minus one month and one day until the annual madness of ABQ Beer Week is upon us once again. The Crew received a copy of the final printed schedule that you will soon be able to find (almost) everywhere there is craft beer. More events figure to be added between now and May 25, but those will appear online only. Fear not, as we done every year since 2012, we will have full coverage every day, previewing every event and recapping the big ones.

As we have done in years past, we are also gonna unveil a way-too-early preview of the events that jump out to us. These are our picks, and merely suggestions. In the end, chart your own Beer Week path. Just enjoy it safely and responsibly.

Day One: Thursday, May 25

  • Event: Girl Scout Cookie & Beer Pairing Flight at O’Niell’s Nob Hill — Sierra Nevada beers paired with Girl Scout cookies? Uh, yeah, we’re down for that.
  • Others to consider: Pork and Brew Big Sipper IPA Can Launch with The Silver String Band at Tractor Wells Park; Beer, Coffee & Chocolate Pairings at Rio Bravo; Upslope Special Release Tapping and Beer Week Kickoff at M’tucci’s Moderno

Day Two: Friday, May 26

  • Event: Sour Hour with Rowley Farmhouse Ales plus Hops and Dreams Beer Week Edition at Tractor Wells Park — This is your opportunity to try RFA’s unique beers in ABQ, plus you can stick around and watch the Desert Darlings shimmy their way to glory.
  • Others to consider: ABQ Trolley Co. The Hopper — Hop-on, Hop-off Brew Cruise; Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout and Cooper Project tapping at Nob Hill Bar & Grill

Day Three: Saturday, May 27

  • Event: Beer Olympics at O’Niell’s Juan Tabo — We have no idea what a Beer Olympics looks like, but if it’s something like the movie Beerfest, the Crew may have to assemble a team.
  • Others to consider: (This day was insanely hard to pick just one event, FYI.) Mother Road and Tractor Collaboration Beer Release with Le Chat Lunatique; Pig Roast and Marble Special Release Keg Tapping at Freight House; Santa Fe’s ABQ Beer Week Bash at Green Jeans Farmery

Day Four: Sunday, May 28

  • Event: Blues & Brews — It’s back at Sandia Resort & Casino, and the best part this year is you do not have to pick between it and BearFest, which has been moved to June 17. You can do both, with plenty of time to recover in between!
  • Others to consider: Founders Barrel-Aged Beer & Cigar Pairing at Imbibe; Mother Road Sampling and Special Keg Tapping at Sandia Saloon (Whole Foods Academy)

Day Five: Monday, May 29 (Memorial Day)

  • Event: Beer Geeks Trivia at Tractor Nob Hill — Shameless self promotion time! The Crew is hosting this five-round test of your beer knowledge. There will even be a tasting round. It’s never too early to start studying. Our archives are a good place to start.
  • Others to consider: Memorial Day Music Fest at Marble Downtown

Day Six: Tuesday, May 30

  • Event: Beer Geek Trivia Night at Marble Westside — Just in case you miss us the day before, you can join the Marble staff for their version. We may even send a team to see if their questions are harder than ours!
  • Others to consider: Firestone Walker Beer Dinner at Nob Hill Bar & Grill

Day Seven: Wednesday, May 31

  • Event: Quarter Celtic Mini Cask Fest — We don’t know what constitutes “mini,” but it’s a cask festival, and those are far too hard to pass up.
  • Others to consider: Marble Brett IPA Tap and Bottle Release at all locations; Tractor Beer vs. Wine Food Pairing with Gruet

Day Eight: Thursday, June 1

  • Event: Battle of the Beer Geeks at Tractor Wells Park — OK, here we go again with the shameless self promotion. Come join us, The Babes in Brewland, The Dukes of Ale, and more local groups to see how our beers stack up against each other. The Babes have taken the last two titles after we won the first in 2014. This time around, there will be a twist, every beer will be a variation of a wheat beer. Be warned, we still went overboard.
  • Others to consider: Cascade Tapping of Sang Royal and Elderberry at Nob Hill Bar & Grill; Upslope Beer Dinner at Freight House

Day Nine: Friday, June 2

  • Event: Tower of Sour at JC’s NYPD Pizza and Back Alley Draft House — We know how much some of you love the beers that make you pucker up, so rejoice, this annual event is back. The organizers have already told us you should expect a very different lineup than what was at Tart at Heart 3, but equally good.
  • Others to consider: Oskar Blues Secret Stash at Nob Hill Bar & Grill

Day Ten: Saturday, June 3

  • Event: Yappy Hour with Watermelon Mountain Ranch at Cazuela’s — This is another brutally tough day to pick out one event, but then Cazuela’s went and held a fundraiser/adoption event for the animals rescued by the good folks at WMR and, well, how could we resist?
  • Others to consider: 3rd Annual Food Truck Battle at Red Door; Ladies Loving Beer Luncheon at Marble Westside; Quarter Celtic “Mangose” Release; Jodie Herrera Art Opening, Glass and Beer Release with Blank Tapes at Tractor Wells Park

Day Eleven: Sunday, June 4

  • Event: 9th Annual Brewers Guild Golf Tournament at Santa Ana Golf Course — Dust off those clubs and hit the links in support of the Guild. For more info, go to the official site.
  • Others to consider: Goose Island Sisters Brunch at Nob Hill Bar & Grill; End of Beer Week Brunch with Upslope at M’tucci’s Italian; Joe S. Sausage Super Sunday Sampler at Marble Downtown

OK, before any of you panic and scream “Where is the 505 Collaboration beer release?!” fear not! The exact release date has not been scheduled, but we have confirmed they will be brewing the 505 this coming Saturday at one of our local breweries. It will be back.

Once again, there are a lot of events still to be posted to the website. Keep checking back there or with us for more info.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

It sure looks like Hops Brewery is getting close to opening in Nob Hill.

Goodness gracious, beer notes on a Friday. Whatever has come over me?

Brewers Association takes a stand against offensive labels

An emerging point of contention for craft beer has been the use of blatantly sexist or offensive labels and imagery by certain breweries. Luckily, New Mexico breweries have largely managed to avoid these sorts of things, but it has become a battleground issue in other states.

Well, the Brewers Association weighed in on all of it at the just-wrapped Craft Brewers Conference in Washington D.C. To say that the BA brought the hammer down might be a bit of an over-simplification, as it remains to be seen how it will all play out in terms of penalties and the like, but it is a big step forward to getting craft beer away from a juvenile mindset. Craft beer is still an industry dominated by white males working on the production side. That does not mean it should act like a stereotypical bad college fraternity.

Here is the exact wording the BA sent out in a press release Thursday:

“The BA updated its Marketing and Advertising Code to help brewers maintain high standards and act as responsible corporate citizens. New language has been included to address that beer advertising and marketing materials should not use sexually explicit, lewd, or demeaning brand names, language, text, graphics, photos, video, or other images that reasonable adult consumers would find inappropriate for consumer products offered to the public. Any name that does not meet the Marketing and Advertising Code that wins a BA produced competition including the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) or World Beer Cup will not be read on stage or promoted in BA materials, and will not be permitted to use the GABF or World Beer Cup intellectual properties in their marketing. Additionally, the BA has convened an Advertising Complaint Review Board should an issue arise that warrants further review and action.”

This should make for a fascinating GABF in October, especially if multiple medal winners are not read aloud during the awards ceremony. More information can be found on the official BA website.

If you want to share your thoughts or ask questions about all of this, please do so via any of our social media outlets. Or, if you would prefer to contact us directly, use nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

Southwest Bacon Fest returns

We almost completely forgot about the Bacon Fest until Marble shared the fact it is taking the aptly named Bacon’s Best Friend to the event, which runs this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Balloon Fiesta Park.

Unlike the Food Truck Festival organizers, we were never contacted by the Bacon Fest P.R. people, so it slipped through the cracks. In a late scramble, we sent out an email to 11 of the 14 attending breweries for whom we have current contact information. Unfortunately, many key brewery staffers are still en route back from the aforementioned CBC, so we only heard back from three (so far). If any others update us with their lists, we will add them here.

  • Marble: Bacon’s Best Friend (Rauchbier), Double White, IPA, Red Ale, Pilsner, DANG Pale Ale
  • Quarter Celtic: Pedro O’Flanigan, Crimson Lass, Quarter Porter, Clark IPA
  • Rio Bravo: La Luz Lager, Snakebite IPA, Lemongrass Wit, Cherry Sour, Pinon Coffee Porter

We still hope to hear back from Bosque, Boxing Bear, Canteen, Chama River, Kaktus, Palmer, Starr Brothers, and Tractor. We do not currently have contact info for Abbey, Cottonwood (Desert Water), or Santa Fe.

Hops Brewery looks like its almost ready

Based on that photo way up at the top, it sure looks like Hops Brewery is getting ready to open soon in Nob Hill. The current Albuquerque Rapid Transit construction should not get in the way too badly, so the Crew will be keeping an eye out if an official announcement appears. It has been a long, long road for Hops, which we first heard about as far back as early 2013. Let us hope only a few final touches need to be applied before they can start serving beer.

Otherwise there is nothing new to report on the new brewery front. We have not heard that Bare Bones Brewing has found a new home in the Cedar Crest area after their initial space fell through over issues with a new landlord. Bombs Away Beer Company has joined the NM Brewers Guild, but beyond that and a physical address near Moon and Central, there is nothing new there, either.

Oh, and Desert Valley Brewing officially has an active small brewer license. The main operation is still located next to the Craftroom near Menaul and the I-25 frontage road. The old Stumbling Steer space they are taking over will be an off-site taproom. They have a pending license for that with the state now.

If anyone out there hears about news involving new or forthcoming breweries, please send it to us using the usual ways (email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

See some of you downtown Saturday for the Easter Beer Hunt and/or Tart at Heart 3.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

We have to say, we are excited for this place to open.

It has been quite the wild ride in Quarter Celtic’s first year of operation.

At long last I’ve managed to get to this delightful Look Back/Look Ahead Series article with Ror McKeown, David Facey, and Brady McKeown of the nearly one-year-old Quarter Celtic Brewpub. Stoutmeister and I were in attendance on a fine day earlier this winter for a lengthy interview.

(Editor’s note: It was a fun time, but in the end the interview was more than 40 minutes long, and the first draft was 6,700 words, so parts of the interview were trimmed out for the sake of brevity. We left the good stuff in, though. — S)

Solo: So, Look Back/Look Ahead gentlemen, good things, bad things, year behind, and what to look forward to this year?

Ror: Well, one of the good things was being open and things have been going really well. The trick was to get this neighborhood to realize that there was something in this mall again. When we first opened we existed off of all of the people who have been following Brady along, so we had all of the beer connoisseurs, and then finally got the neighborhood to buy in to that there’s something here. So now we’ve got a lot of new regular faces that just live in the neighborhood, which is perfect. That was kind of what we were shooting for was trying to cultivate new craft beer drinkers, because you can’t just keep going to the well with the other guys or you are going to saturate the market. We’ve got a ton of people that started coming in drinking Pedro O’Flannigan (Lager), or sometimes we get them on IPA and they never go back, so we’re doing our part to grow the craft beer drinkers. Since we are a pub and we have food, a lot of people are coming in just because they are grabbing something to eat, but it’s 50/50 everyone that’s coming in to eat is getting something to drink. We are getting a lot of beer out the door for one spot. How many barrels are we at now?

(Discussion between the three ensued)

David: Well, so about 700 barrels for the year so far, we could get to 900 barrels for the year possibly. So, that’s a representation that people are definitely drinking your beer.

Solo: Never a bad thing to be ahead of your expectations.

David: I think that’s, as we get more into the look back, the goal of the company.

Ror: And, the other part (was) just making our own identity. We came over from where we’d been with a company (Canteen/Il Vicino) for our whole entire adult life pretty much, and you’re just associated with that place. Now it’s not that place and so some people like it and some people don’t. But, that’s okay. Now after the first couple of months of being compared, now we’re actually just having people come here because they like this place, and that’s kind of what the goal was the whole time.

Solo: That’s always a hard split, especially with a longstanding location.

Ror: It is. We still love those guys, obviously we’re still friendly, but we’re not with them anymore. It was kind of an ambiguous beginning, everyone just kind of assumed that a new Il Vicino opened. But, it was nice because we had been in the industry long enough to where we got to pretty much cherry pick who came over (with us). We didn’t solicit anybody from anywhere, but a lot of people knew that we were opening, so they came and it was nice to hire somebody with whom you have a rapport, versus just X off the application. So, I think that we had a great crew to start with, (we are) super pleased with the kitchen. I knew the beer was going to be great, but the food was a complete question mark and I think these guys did a great job, so I’m very pleased with that.

Because a couple somebodies forgot to take new pictures, we're just borrow ones like this of David, left, and Brady. (Courtesy of Quarter Celtic)

Because a couple somebodies forgot to take new pictures, we’re just borrow ones like this of David, left, and Brady. (Courtesy of Quarter Celtic)

Solo: And, I know that that was something that you were interested in the past, so it’s cool to see that come to fruition, and I for one am definitely happy with the results.

David: It was nice because I think with what we all have under our belts, when we opened I think we had to be responsible for, and had a lot of input for the staff that we did hire. We kind of gave them the ball and said hey, run with it. If it doesn’t work then we’ll halt you, but if it works, we’re going to ride that wave. So for us, I think, it was really kind of cool to see the direct correlation between empowering people, empowering your staff and saying hey, you’re a part of this, and seeing it come to fruition. Pretty rewarding, not only do we feel that we have pretty good food, but you’re selling a lot of it as well so it’s not just us.

Solo: It’s always good to just be able to give that rein, within reason of course, but give that rein to employees or anyone under you and say hey, do what you think is right, make it happen and the result shows.

Ror: And, besides us starting a new venture it’s almost like we’re also instantly ingrained in the neighborhood, which is what we wanted to do, and we’re also bringing back a pretty much dead property, bringing it back to life. They’ve already signed four leases since we’ve opened and they’ve got two more pending, and I think this thing will be full probably by summer.

So at the corner there (of Lomas and San Mateo) they are tearing down that old pigeon coop and it looks like the digital sign that they promised is coming in, because we are hidden in plain sight. So, thank god for word of mouth and social media, that’s been great for us because we walked out in the neighborhood and hung door handle hangers, 2,500 of them in the four corners and we were expecting a 2-percent return, like 50 households know that we’re here and that’s a great start. We had over 650 of them back and so we were able to track it, and that kind of got the neighborhood on board, which is great. The word is getting out because, kind of the look back look forward, the look forward with the group we picked, they also wanted to grow with the company.

So, a lot of people that started with the company, (and) we are going to be tasking them with growing the company so we have our meeting probably in a week or two with the city to start doing our wholesaling. We’ve already got the lease, got our spot, and the reason we did it was because we have a clipboard in the office that’s like three pages deep of just people who have come to us that said when you get it, we want it or if you ever do it we want it so those will be the ones we go to first. But, there were enough names on there that we were like let’s just do it. We don’t even need to go sell ourselves, we just have to call and say we’re ready.

Solo: You’ve already got the brand established.

Ror: Yeah, which is kind of nice, and the great thing about the way it is set up now where breweries can sell to (other) breweries and wineries is that we’re at 12 accounts just brewery to brewery, which is kind of nice. (It was) completely unexpected, because it’s not what we were planning on doing. Our model was not to take over the state one can at a time, we just wanted to open a neighborhood brewpub. This (brewhouse) has more capacity than we are using it (for), so it is time to at least get out there in the keg market. So, we’re going to be selling kegs to anyone who has a restaurant license. It is nice that places like right down the street here (Jubilation) might pick up some crowler cans or some quarter cans. Since we’ve been in the business so long, we know so many people.

Why use this photo of Brady

Why use this photo of Brady “eating” a fake fish taco? Why not? (Courtesy of QC)

David: The other cool thing is that so many people that are opening new breweries right now, they know the reputation of Brady, so they may open and they have three or four of their own beers, but they need some guest taps, so they don’t hesitate to come and say, ‘Hey, for the first couple of weeks or months, can we have your beer on tap?’ Which is a nice correlation between that.

Solo: One hand washes the other.

David: And, like every craft beer enthusiast, you check out the new place and it’s nice for us to have that enthusiast go to brewery X that’s new and a consistent thing, Quarter Celtic is on (at) all of these new places. We are definitely doing our part to help out the industry, but also putting our brand out there.

Ror: Yeah, we finally got some (logo) tap handles. The guys at the Craftroom, people thought it was theirs because it just said Pedro O’Flannigan and we just gave them a silver knob, so now we can actually claim that beer. That’s been nice. Looking forward, we are definitely looking on the wholesale distribution thing. That location has potential for a taproom in it, and it’s a taproom where we don’t really need to have a ton of sales in it. As long as we can cover our fixed costs over there, then that’s really all we are looking for. So, it can be something like we used to be at (Il Vicino) way back in the day that just had a generic name and it was a little hole in the wall. And, we are fine with that because that was actually really fun.

David: The identity of it is still kind of up in the air. I mean, we’ve talked around the idea of doing kind of a growler filling station with limited seats or very specialty, only local, bottle shop. But, we don’t know, we really don’t know what the potential for that small location will be.

Ror: We are going to let that one take its own direction. Right now we are just focused on getting beer in and out of there to different places. It’s got a nice spot to work with. It’s also fun looking at other properties where if we do want to exercise a couple more taproom licenses we could do it. So, life is good. We’re like successful poor — things we wanted to do in year four we are doing in month nine, (even though) we only have nine months of revenue to fund those things. So, we’re still just a couple of guys that put a heel lock on a house, you know. We’re not backed by anyone who has a trust fund, but we are doing what we like and having a good time doing it.

David: I think that’s super important to us. I don’t know if anybody talks about that enough, (but) what we do is pretty fun. At the end of the day, I think we all can go home with stresses and staff stuff and running out of beer. I think at least once a week we can look at each other and say man, we have got one of the best jobs in the world, if not the best.

Ror: When you’re coming in, high fiving each other and texting funny things back and forth from work, to the guy who is sitting at home wishing he was at work because, ah, I missed what? So, I think it accomplished what we wanted. We wanted to work in a place we wanted to hang out at and it’s becoming that, which is nice.

Solo: And, you have the autonomy to run it the way you want it and all the rest of that.

David: I can’t speak for everybody else, but for me that was not necessarily a struggle, but something that I had to learn to apply, so to speak. Once we gained that perspective, it’s awesome. It’s just great to do what’s best for the company, because it directly correlates to your partners. It’s not just for this faceless brand, it’s for the people that you see on a daily basis and their families and your staff and that kind of thing. Complete autonomy is nice. (Aside to Brady) Why’d it take you so long?

Stoutmeister: So, on the beer front with the Pedro coming in to replace the Knotted Blonde, that was one change that happened. But, changes are inevitable the first year that you are open. I mean, your customers can tell you, this should be house, this should be special, and that sort of thing. From the beer perspective, what were you guys able to do this year? What were you proud of and what were the things where you were like, if I had a chance I’d go back and do that over again and I will?

Ror: Well, I didn’t brew it, but it was part of these guys (at) GABF, they had three that made it past the first round and had great comments. Two we put in the wrong category, but still had good comments. If you think about it, as soon as you had to send those beers in, we had only been brewing for five months before we had to send those in. We had some recipes we just started with.

David: We had to register for August. One of the beers we entered we had never brewed before with, the (McLomas) dry stout, which was really good. But, yeah, as far as on the beer front is concerned, I think we opened with the idea of let’s just get as many beers as we can possibly get on in the time allotted when we were allowed to brew, and when we could put it on tap. So, that’s kind of where the blonde came into because it was an ale, which we knew we could turn around pretty quickly.

Ror: And, we also waited on opening a couple of weeks because we didn’t want to open without any beer.

David: And then, we brought a Mexican lager strain in house. We brewed Pedro O’Flannigan for the first time, and the actual first batch which we produced we entered in the North American beer awards and it won a silver. So, from there it kind of when it started growing, manipulating house beer versus the fact that it is one of our biggest sellers. A nice light Mexican lager is one of our biggest sellers, so for us in the business mindset was that the blonde sold really, really well, but we also wanted to always have a lager strain in house.

Brady shows off his silver medal from the North American Beer Awards for that there Pedro O'Flanagan. (Courtesy of QC)

Brady shows off his silver medal from the North American Beer Awards for that there Pedro O’Flanagan. (Courtesy of QC)

Ror: And, we’re also not in brewery row or anything. We are in a neighborhood, so you need your gateway beer. So, that is an easy, non-offensive, easy drinking beer, so it just made sense to move it over. We were brewing backwards, so we were brewing by not planning what we want and brewing it we were like okay, we have a tank open now. So, it was a storage issue which was dictating how we were growing. We got a new cooler upstairs, so we have more storage up there, and then we are going to have another cooler at the Bogen spot, so now that we have more storage, now we can do it right. We can say we are going to brew this, this, this, and this, and have a place to put it. Where before we were going backwards like, hey, tank is almost empty, are we ready to brew another batch? It was totally backwards out of necessity. This has a lot of space and the kitchen is way bigger than we need, but even by picking up space upstairs there’s just no storage space. So, we are working on that.

David: So that (upstairs cooler) just opens up space for Brady and I.

Ror: Well, it’s going to open up this side of the board (for seasonals). Our real struggle was don’t run out of a house beer. But, now that we’ve got this cooler going that should start to change.

David: And, that’s the funny thing kind of like checks and balances kind of a thing with our company is, don’t give Brady and I too much time to start talking and getting excited about things and we will just push (other) things off to the side. This (house beers) is really important to us. What people come in and they know and understand and are familiar with, let’s keep that consistent. Then, when we have time, then get the creative juices flowing.

Ror: Now that we have storage space here comes the fun stuff. We’re an Irish place and when you think of Irish coffee, we are going to do an Irish coffee stout.

David: An imperial milk stout that we will infuse with coffee that we will actually barrel age in our whiskey barrels. Everyone does a coffee stout, especially around this town, and a lot of people do it really well. But, to fit in our theme we figured an Irish coffee stout would be the way to go.

Ror: We were even thinking about getting like a cool …

Brady: Irish coffee mugs.

Ror: Yeah, a nice glass.

Brady: 10-percent-plus alcohol, so a smaller glass.

Solo: Yeah, we will still drink you dry on that one.

David: So, that’s just one of the things and now that we have a better grasp on the demand for house beers and what we can do as far as seasonals and specialties. I think towards the end of this year Brady and I have really been kind of toying around with techniques more than really (doing) crazy recipe developments or crazy one-off beers. We’ve been really focusing on different brewing techniques on how to bring different characteristics towards beers.

Ror: Well, I think Clark was a good example of that because the Clark was more technique than …

David: Anything else. And, there was also an element of something new. What’s not happening in this town is happening in other parts of the country that are beer meccas? The New England IPA was one of the things that we heard people who had attempted it, but never really advertised it as so, and never really went full bore with both feet in the deep end, so to speak. So, we spent probably three weeks, almost a month just kind of doing research and hop utilization and different techniques. Then we brewed it and then we figured, well, let’s advertise it and it was better received than we thought. We had really high hopes for it, and we knew that it was a really good quality beer. But, the reception on it had kind of been inspiring, so to speak. We should toy around with things more.

Brady: Well, it’s been split. Quite a few people really liked it, but, well it’s not New England so, what’s more New England? Clam chowder?

Ror: We are still trying to find what we are going to hang our hat on. Because now that we are a new place, I know Brady left a hundred different recipes over there (at Canteen) you know, intellectual property, and that’s fine. But, how do you do great beer again without someone saying, oh, you copied? You just come up with it. When we were doing construction, it was funny because we were saying, Brady, so you learned one way and that’s the way you do it. So, I told Brady, but you’ve got no recipes and he says up here (points to his head) I’ve got it, and slams his head against that pole, and I’m saying, oh no, it’s all gone! (Everyone laughs) Starting fresh is refreshing, but it is difficult, because you’ve done a lot of things well and you just don’t want to copy yourself. So, we are trying not to copy ourselves, which is really weird

Quarter Celtic will be hopping come St. Patrick's Day. (Courtesy of QC)

Quarter Celtic will be hopping come St. Patrick’s Day. (Courtesy of QC)

We eventually steered the conversation toward this year. Lots of wild and crazy new beer ideas are being bandied about.

David: I think Ror is absolutely right about (how) 2017 is concerned. We have a whiteboard upstairs and when Brady and I are working up in the cold room, any cold room work you get kind of a little crazy going on, and then you start talking and listening to loud music. So, we have a whiteboard of just interesting beer styles that we want to bring on and different techniques that we want to use and then go from there. That’s kind of the best thing about being a pub brewer, and we will say this all day every day.

Stoutmeister: You’re not beholden to your distributor coming to you and saying we need more of this.

David: Yeah, that’s the best, and there are times where we come to the guys and say, hey, we are thinking about this really outside of the box beer and pretty much 10 times out of 10 they are like, hey, let’s see how it works.

Ror: The fun part is you can walk upstairs where Brady bought a Bose Soundsystem, so he’s got 5-foot big ol’ speakers up there, (and) he’s got 2-foot speakers in the cold room. You’ll walk up and see these guys doing like kids at play and you’re like, this is awesome.

David: The funny thing I think about this group, whether it’s from Canteen or Quarter Celtic, is as you guys know, we have a good time. There’s no reason not to do that, there’s really not because what we do is pretty fun.

Solo: And, you bring a lot of fun to everyone else.

David: Yeah, and it’s really not going to stop.

Ror: We’re working on an event for St. Patty’s Day weekend where we are going to have all our patio space and have a two-day event where we have some special beers and food, music, and so on. And, just have a good time and embrace our Quarter Celtic-ness and have some fun with it. So, that will be our kind of our thing. Hopefully it will be an annual thing for us.

David: Looking forward, we opened on the 24th of February, but it’s so close to St Patrick’s Day, it’s so close to our theme that definitely the debut of some brand new barrel-aged beers is going to happen, and that day or that weekend, one of which we’ve already told you about (Irish coffee stout). Maybe two or three are possible, we will let you know.

Ror: We are also going to, we like to have fun with facial hair so we will be all shaved, we are thinking about a time, X amount of time out from St Paddy’s Day and everyone will grow out the … it’s the one where you’re missing this piece and …

Stoutmeister: That’s like the mutton chops.

David: Yeah, kind of, it’s very Irish.

Ror: We’re just trying to think of a bunch of things that get people to come in, and we’re also trying to make some beer events out of thin air, which I think are some of the most fun ones. Because we have a little list going in the office of just, oh that’s pretty fun. How can we spin that? So, we’re going to have some fun things going on.

David: There’s (still) a lot of serious stuff that happens in any business, I would think.

Ror: And, I didn’t even realize until a couple of days ago when I was messing around on Untappd. Well, it says we have 25 beers, but there’s like 20-something different styles we’ve done in the past year. #GFF was really good, I was pleased with how GFF came out. I’m not a really big IPA drinker and I was drinking that.

David: Then the beer that we did for the Brewers Association for American Craft Beer Week, the Biggest Small Beer, that imperial porter.

Ror: And then, we brewed Mile High for our neighborhood association. They renamed Fair Heights to Mile High. We said we would name a beer after them, so we are really happy with that and we love the neighborhood so we definitely wanted to give back.

Solo: That’s awesome, because it’s not always so easy.

David: I think that was a big driving force of why we moved in to this spot that was abandoned, that was, so to speak, run down, is to be a part of that neighborhood.

Ror shows off the popular Quarter Cans. (Courtesy of QC)

Ror shows off the popular Quarter Cans. (Courtesy of QC)

Ror: But as I was looking through that (Untappd) people were already saying, when are you going to brew this beer again? When we had Single Action Kolsch, we really enjoyed that one. County Down Brown was another one where people asked for that back. Looking back at the board there’s only seven beers, but we’ve done a bunch.

The other fun thing about looking forward, looking back is that when we opened, we didn’t open with everything we wanted. We didn’t have that Quarter Can machine, but now we have (it) and we’re having a good time with it. Another one, everyone wants live music here, so do we, but we have no elbow room. So, we’re going to go up and so we are going to put a stage on top of this (wall where the beer boards currently reside), and we are going to put a little trap door there so they can come up.

One (other) thing that we wanted was a cover outside. That’s not going to happen this year, so we are trying to figure out how we can get a little heat out there because we are dog friendly. So, if we maybe put a temporary tent or sort of wall this in a little bit, but by probably this time next year we expect to have this whole thing covered with radiant heating, lights, and everything. … I think it’s really cool that we have a patio, but the improvements are getting pushed out a little bit.

David: Being part of the (New Mexico Brewers) Guild and being part of the community and being part of the industry, I think as a company there’s a few thank you’s that we need to do — La Cumbre is a really big one for helping us out letting us wash our kegs there for awhile. Boxing Bear, Bosque, Canteen, Nexus, Chama (also) really helped us. Whether it’s one bag of grain here or letting us wash our kegs or anything like that, we are super humble to be a part of the Guild, and when we did our own thing to really maintain that representation of being part of the Guild.

Ror: And, we still enjoy the personal connection to all of those breweries, too, so that’s part of the fun of doing this is that you’ve got some friends that are kindred spirits doing the same thing.

David: So, all of those places, they’ve really helped us out and we’ve worked with them, and Brady in turn has helped them out in the past. So, I don’t know if it’s a pay-it-forward or pay-it-back kind of situation, but that’s super humbling. We are blessed to have that sense that we know and we understand that we are part of something bigger.

* * * * *

So, for somewhat of a conclusion for the brave and the adventuresome who have dared to delve all the way to the end of this grand encounter, in short, it was a great first year for the lads and lasses at Quarter Celtic. The beer was good, the food was good, and the venue itself was good, with a tall ceiling for possibilities and a boon for the community around it. The foundation for strong distribution has been made with the procurement of a space dedicated to that purpose. Taprooms may well be on the horizon and one thing is for sure, the delightfully boisterous shenanigans we have all come to know and love are certainly here to stay. One good year under the belt (nearly to the day), and many bright years lie ripe for the taking.

Skål!

— Franz Solo