Posts Tagged ‘Red Door Brewing’

The Pining for Breakfast Maple Brown at Red Door joins the pantheon of wonderful dessert beers in town.

The weekend was humming along at such a nice pace, and then the Steelers went out and f@#$ed it all up for me. It’s hard being a sports fan, but these days it’s easy being a beer lover. My weekend actually kicked off back on Thursday with trips to Marble Downtown and Marble Heights to interview a number of staff members for an upcoming Look Back/Look Ahead Series article. Naturally, I also got to partake in a few beers, because that’s the reward in advance for the hours of upcoming transcription.

First up, Ye’ Olde Ale is a delicious concoction made in collaboration with the Marble Beers in Manchester, England. A proper, 9.7-percent ABV English strong ale was aged in port wine barrels, with a little bit of brettanomyces thrown in for fun. The result is a complex beer that, in many ways, probably should not work together, but the warming alcohol and thick malt mixes wonderfully with the funky brett and sweet wine flavors. Also available were the Northside IPA and Alpha Acid Trip (Triple IPA), both of which had many of the best characteristics of what I still love in the style, with a piney touch to go with the more fruity and floral hops, plus enough of a malt backbone to keep them from drying out the palate. I also had more Reserve Ale, which has already run its course in bottle form, but remains on tap for now. It is a delightful batch this year, so if you have not had it, you are dead to me. (Just kidding. Well, maybe.)

From there, I grabbed a friend and headed over to Red Door for the release of the new Pining for Breakfast Maple Brown. I have had my fair share of maple-infused stouts in recent years, but for a lighter beer in color and mouthfeel, this brown held up well and did not allow the maple to turn it into a sugar bomb. The folks at New Mexico Piñon Coffee supplied the beans that brought in a nice coffee character to help balance everything out. Red Door has been churning out some quality seasonals for a while now, so make sure to snag a pint of this one and raise it high in honor of head brewer Matt Meier and his staff.

For Friday night, I trekked to the west side to catch up with a good friend and finally indulge in a long overdue pizza-and-beer night. We found room at the bar at the Blue Grasshopper location off Coors. While a number of the beers I wanted to drink had run out, the remainder (Boxing Bear’s Body Czech, La Cumbre’s BEER and Dunkelweizen) were more than enough. Throw in some really good pizza and even better company (thanks, Jess!), and it was a good night.

I picked up a trifecta of excellent brews from a beer-trading friend (thanks, Majin!) and stayed in on Saturday, a little too worn out from work to venture beyond the confines of home. As for Sunday, well, at least I didn’t punch the TV or anything. How a team blows a 23-7 lead at home is beyond me.

As for the rest of the Crew, two of them ended up joining forces for part of their weekend, while another ventured out of town for one of her favorite annual festivals.

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We borrowed this image from Red Door since we have never been to the bowling alley that will house the new taproom in Clovis.

Red Door Brewing has set its sights a bit further east than ever before. The brewery’s next taproom will not even be in Albuquerque, but instead in a town that has no local brewing of its own.

“I was in Clovis at one point,” owner Matt Biggs said. “When you’re down in a place like Clovis there’s a definite lack of options for people there. When you tell them you’re down there and you’re with a brewery, they get really excited for you to go out there. We went down for a bit and we had been looking there for a year now, but nothing had worked out.”

Even as its Northeast Heights taproom closed, Matt kept hoping for something to come together in Clovis. It turned out that another brewery failing to close the deal left the proverbial door wide open for Red Door.

“Roosevelt Brewing was supposed to move into the bowling alley there,” Matt said. “That fell through last minute and the bowling alley had met our events person, Norah (Doss), and they called us because they knew we were interested in the city. It kind of worked out for us. The bowling alley had changed ownership and he didn’t want to do food and beverage service, so he reached out to us. That will be our first out-of-city taproom.”

Hooks’ Alley, formerly Main Line Bowl, will be the new home of a Red Door taproom. It marks the first time a brewery has taken on such an endeavor, and the first real craft beer presence in Clovis.

“I think figuring out the needs of the market (comes first), and then after the first few months and just have a presence,” Matt said. “When you have a remote (taproom), you have to have a good manager that you can trust down there, and making sure we’re making the trip frequently to keep them on it.”

Since Red Door has had its eye on Clovis for a while, Matt has already gotten a pretty good idea of what the market wants.

“We went there and did a couple of events,” he said. “The first one we did we took four half-barrels for a one-night event that was going to be four hours long, and we ran out of beer after about two hours. We had a 40-person-deep line the whole time. We went to our distributor who had a warehouse nearby and picked up a couple of sixtels and we were fine.”

The actual process of converting the bowling alley cafe into a taproom will not be nearly as hard as it was to set up the two previous Red Door taprooms.

“It’s pretty much ready to go, it definitely needs some aesthetic upgrades, so that’s primarily what we’re going to be doing,” Matt said. “We’re not going to be doing major construction, which is super nice. It was a bowling alley cafe, so it’s got a place for beer, wine, it’s got a full kitchen. We’re not stressing out the design of it.”

At this point it is all about waiting on the approval of the State of New Mexico.

“It’s more about the permitting,” Matt said. “We’ve never had to deal with the New Mexico Health Department because Albuquerque has its own. They’re very similar to AGD, so the permitting can take some months. But, basically once we’re permitted we can take beer down there and start serving it. We’re really looking forward to it.”

Matt said the Side Door Kitchen, the company-owned food truck at the main brewery location, has already helped Red Door prepare for how to handle the kitchen in Clovis.

“Our manager here (Ali Cattan) has an extensive food background, menus, pricing stuff out, getting supplies, it’s a pain, but you see everybody is trending toward food at this point,” he said. “I think there’s the realization that beer (alone) doesn’t cover the bills.”

All of us in the Crew wish Red Door the best of luck tapping into the untapped market of Clovis. The next time we are out that way, we will have to hit up the bowling alley for a couple games and a couple pints.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

After two years, it was nice to drink you again, Irish Handcuffs.

Before we dive into our latest round of beer adventures, a little business comes first. Starting Thursday, the Crew will have live coverage from the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. Yours truly, plus Franz Solo and Luke, all have press passes that will get us into the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday afternoon sessions, plus the awards ceremony Saturday morning. We will get you all the news you need as it happens, so long as we have not consumed too much beer as to render our brains useless.

Life is a struggle, sometimes.

We do have the list of competition beers from the New Mexico breweries, which will we will publish in advance of the awards ceremony so you all can follow along. Look for that no later than Saturday morning.

Wish us luck up there. It is rather easy to get completely overwhelmed, but with enough of us attending, we should stay on track this time around.

As for this past weekend, I actually made it out to quite a few places. Friday lunch was at Canteen, where the Piggly Wiggly remains one of my all-time favorite pulled pork sandwiches. I washed it down with some Hank ESB, which is just as biscuity and English as ever. Eli, forever an awesome bartender and fellow metalhead, also gave me a sample of the Wet Hop Pale Ale, which sure tastes like a much, much bigger beer, with a delightful blast of both piney and berry hop flavors.

After the Lobo men’s soccer game on Friday night, I popped in at La Cumbre and faced a vexing decision between Make IPA Clear Again and Wet-Hopped Elevated. The former won out, and it remains an excellent example of a tough, bitter old-school West Coast IPA (Luke reviews the latter down below). For Saturday, I took a trip to Red Door, where I lucked out and found a car leaving its parking space (it pays to gamble sometimes). Once inside, I did the smart thing and hung out with head brewer Matt Meier, and we were later joined by Bombs Away head brewer David Kimbell. We consumed some of the not-too-sweet, not-too-boozy Double Vanilla Cream Ale, sampled the latest batch of the New England IPA, and then I personally capped my night with some Dunkel, which AmyO also tried when she was there earlier (see below).

Following a rough day at work on Monday, I was able to make it to the Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day Festival at Quarter Celtic, where there was still just a little bit left of the 2016 Irish Handcuffs Imperial Stout. Man, aging is doing that beer wonders, just highlighting all the barrel flavors and how they blend beautifully with the strong, thick base stout. I cannot wait to try it again on the actual St. Patrick’s Day.

Enough from me, here is what a couple of the others found around their respective towns this weekend. As always, these are just our suggestions. Let us know what some of your favorite beers/places of the weekend are in the comments!

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Red Door soars toward year number four

Posted: September 12, 2018 by Franz Solo in Events, News
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Red Door brewer Matt Meier has a new beer ready for us on Friday!

Another year has passed for Red Door — wait, how did this year just, wasn’t it just GABF, ahem, never mind! — and they will be celebrating this Friday at the Candelaria brewery location (we recommend utilizing Lyft and such as parking is at a premium). Stoutmeister and I sat down with head brewer Matt Meier, owner Matt Biggs, and taproom manager Ali Cattin to get all of the details.

Solo: So you have a fourth anniversary coming up.

Cattin: So for the actual day of we are doing anniversary pint glasses as we do every year. We have a logo for this year that we think looks like a Zia, which has the Red Door logo in each of the four quadrants. The company that does our T-shirts, Risen, (is) coming to do a live screen printing of that anniversary logo. We are not going to do a run of shirts, so if you want that four-year logo on anything, you have to come on Friday the 14th. We will start giving away pint glasses at 5 o’clock, music will start at 8 p.m., Ryan Painter and Jake Phillip’s band will be here, and we will do a big set up with the doors to the patio open so there will be a good indoor/outdoor experience happening. Our food truck, the Side Door Kitchen, will have some specials that night and we are also bringing in Nomad’s BBQ as well. 

Solo: He’s the best. 

Cattin: Albuquerque Axe, our neighbors over here, are bringing their mobile unit so we are super excited about that. So we will have Nomad’s and Albuquerque Axe out back, music inside, pint glasses, T-shirt printing, (and) the Cornavore will also be here with a special birthday blend for us. 

Biggs: 94 Rock will be here promoting the Storehouse Hops for Hunger event, too. They will do some live broadcasting from 5 to 7 p.m. 

Meier: We will be releasing a Double Vanilla Cream Ale which is going to GABF, as well.

* * * * *

That all sounds good to us, so head on down this Friday evening for a night of great beer, including the awesome-sounding Double Vanilla Cream, excellent food and BBQ, anniversary pint glasses, T-shirt screening, music, local popcorn, 94 Rock, and one of my personal favorites, axe throwing!!!! Also of note, $1 from each pint of Dunkel (delicious German wheat) will go to the Storehouse, so do some good while enjoying a pint. 

See you all there and Skål!

— Franz Solo

The Red Door taproom in simpler times. And no, we don’t know what happened to all those floating red doors.

The abrupt closure of Red Door’s taproom at Wyoming and Comanche caught many people by surprise last Friday, but it had actually been the culmination of a month-long disagreement. During a stop at the main brewery to talk about the upcoming fourth anniversary party on Sept. 14, I learned a little more about the reason behind the taproom’s closure from owner Matt Biggs.

It all boiled down to a clause in the lease with 3517 Wyoming LLC, the landlord, that stated that Red Door would have the only taproom in the complex, Matt said. Meanwhile, next door, Poki Poki Cevicheria was expanding into adjacent suites in the building, but it was not a restaurant expansion. Poki Poki put in a boba bar in one suite, and what appeared to be a taproom in the next.

In the eyes of Red Door, that was a violation of the lease, Matt said. Red Door and the landlord tried to work a resolution for pretty much the entire month of August, but when they reached an impasse, Matt made the decision to shut down the taproom. Red Door filed a complaint in district court on Tuesday, beginning a lengthy legal process to reach a solution with 3517 Wyoming LLC. The LLC’s listed manager is Steve Coe, of the developer Coe & Peterson.

It is another sign of the difficulties in leasing commercial properties in Albuquerque.

To counter the bad news, Red Door also had some good news to share. Matt said the brewery recently signed an agreement for distribution with Premier.

“We balanced the pain of losing our taproom with this agreement,” Matt said.

For now, it will only be keg distribution, but Matt said “they want us to put the beer in cans.” That will take time to set up, but the current plan will be to start with Mother Road Mobile Canning and go from there. Matt and head brewer Matt Meier are working with Premier to figure out which beers to can, and then they will see what sells best and stick with that going forward.

We wish Red Door the best of luck going forward, both with distribution and with sorting out everything with its former taproom landlord. We will have more on the upcoming anniversary party next week.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Ah, Arizona football, driving Stoutmeister to drink for more than 20 years.

A holiday weekend provides plenty of chances for members of the Crew to explore our local beer scene. From beers-to-go to visiting breweries to the ages old blend of football and beer, we had some fun out there.

My weekend actually runs Wednesday and Thursday, but this week I found myself out and about on Friday as well. For lunch, I swung by La Cumbre to try the new batch of Oktoberfest that had just been released. It is a wonderful batch, available in cans as well as on tap. I was also quite pleased that my gamble about My Sweet Basil having German-themed food to go with the beer also panned out.

Later that night, after work, I hit up Bosque, but alas, all the Scale Tipper IPA cans had long since sold out. There was still some on tap, at least. From there, it was off to Red Door’s Wyoming taproom, which was in its surprise last night of business. Most of the beer had already been consumed, but I snagged a final pour of Paint it Black Milk Stout. It was a shame to see the place close, as it was packed many nights, and it certainly went out with a bang.

Finally, I was trying to be good Saturday, but then the Arizona football team went out and, well, played like usual, choking against BYU in the season opener. Thus, I opened a 2018 Founders KBS. Oh, Wildcats, once again you have me looking ahead to basketball season.

Speaking of beer and football, here are the rest of the Crew’s adventures.

Keeping it local at the tailgate

If Incarnate Word football fans existed, they would have seen lots of local beers at the tailgate.

I would venture to say my holiday weekend was likely a little different than most of yours. It’s all about opening weekend for tailgating and football. We tailgated Friday overnight and all day and into the night after the game on Saturday. Sunday was recovery and Monday means catching up on errands and things around the house. It was a rainy, misty, awesomely cool day on Saturday. The picture reflects this perfectly. Our tradition is to get at least one type of Santa Fe Brewing “Zia cans” to show off to visiting teams. Sadly, we never met any Incarnate Word tailgaters on Saturday. It doesn’t matter, though, it still always tastes great.

— AmyO

Holiday bites and brews

There are worse ways to spend Labor Day.

Starr Brothers Brewery was open for business on Labor Day and I took full advantage. I’ll confess that the main purpose for the visit was a quick snack to hold me over till dinner, but that always couples well with a nice beer. I have always enjoyed their food and this time I was specifically aiming for tacos. They are small and a little bit gourmet, but quite tasty and on-point. I had a chicken taco and a steak taco. My mom, who was visiting from Chicago for the weekend, enjoyed her fish taco. I started with a pint of There Gose Them Boyzz, which is a cleverly named and tasty boysenberry gose. It was a fruitier than the average gose, but was still tart with a tinge of salt, as it should be. I also enjoyed a pint of Bottoms Up Kolsch. This kolsch gave me exactly what I wanted from the style. It was no frills, but it checked the kolsch box that needed checking. Never unhappy after a visit to Starr Brothers Brewery. Cheers!

— Andrew

The new big boys (?) on the block

This is not Brandon’s fridge, but it could be. (Photo courtesy of Steel Bender Brewyard)

Can Steel Bender become a new powerhouse brewery in NM? Recently, in discussing the brewing industry here in the state with a friend, this question was posed to me. Honestly, I didn’t have an answer, as any answer would be fairly complex. As I enjoyed a few nighttime ales this weekend, it struck me that, aside from my 2016 KBS that I had opened, each of the other beers I had enjoyed WERE FROM STEEL BENDER. That’s right, Red Iron, Skull Bucket, and Tangerine Dream. That got me thinking that, at least in terms of sales, packaging, and distribution, perhaps the answer could be yes. Now I know some will argue that they are still a new kid on the scene and lack the cred in terms of accolades (GABF, WBC, etc., hardware is always lovely when you bust your ass as a brewer!), but if more and more people are buying and enjoying their beers, that says a lot about this brewery that is only over a year into existence. Therefore, I’m of the opinion that this distinction is on the horizon for the taking for the SBB crew, and good on them for that.

— Brandon

A rhapsody of a pilsner

There is nothing frightening about this Bohemian pilsner. Right, Galileo?

This past week saw some wonderful new projects come to fruition for ABQ’s beer community. Luckily that meant stopping by La Cumbre’a new westside location. The Thunderbolts and Lightning Pilsner by far stole the spotlight among the expanded tap list with its brilliant clarity, and clean, pleasant light citrus, and refined, distinctive malt character. The excitement is certainly building as we enter Oktoberfest season as well- keep an eye out for all the new releases!

— Jerrad

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

An updated image of artist Matt Anderson’s mural at Red Door.

Editor’s note: Every now and again we get a request for a guest post. In this case, it came from Carlos Contreras, a long-time friend of the Crew. He wanted to highlight a local artist who has painted the first large-scale mural at Red Door Brewing, so of course we said yes. — S

“I have been drawing since I was a kid,” says Matthew Anderson. Anderson has been honing his craft since birth – and it’s paid off. He has now “given birth” to a larger than life “stamp” on the side of a notable building when it comes to the brewery scene here in Burque. The next time you roll on in to Red Door Brewing on Candelaria, you’ll get to pay witness to Anderson’s creation/new addition to the outdoor ambiance, thanks to a “mural a la Matt.”

In his day job, Anderson works at a local jewelry supply company.

“I get to work in the jewelry industry with some amazing metal smiths. My days at Rio Grande are spent working with the folks that make jewelry components in silver and gold,” he said. Silver and gold, eh? Perhaps that explains Anderson’s affinity with robots – metal … who knows. What we do know, is if you head on over you’ll see what we are talking about … hint, hint…

You know, anything to get Burque brew scene regulars and newbies out for a beer. If that’s not a good enough reason — perhaps you’ll take the reason for the mural in the first place, worthy of you lending some support local love to this site for suds.

“Red Door supports local artists by hanging work for a month and taking only a small percentage – 10 percent. They gave me my first opportunity and the response was overwhelmingly positive. I’ve shown here there three times,” said Anderson.

“Ali, Chaya and Whitney, the three women that I’ve worked with here are all very generous and supportive. Ali really likes my work and one day I posted on Facebook that I wanted to do a mural. I think I had a response from Ali in a day working out details.”

So there you have it — sometimes it really is just meant to be. We won’t say “easy,” because judging from the progress shots — in this summer heat, Anderson’s feat has been anything but easy. Although pathing a path as an artist is anything but easy in any scene. Anderson talked a bit about how his successes and opportunities in the Albuquerque brewery and art scenes have been enjoyable and encouraging.

“I’ve also had my work featured at O’Niell’s and Boxing Bear. I’ve also done paint classes at M’tucci’s Moderno and Steel Bender Brewyard that have been huge successes. I’m planning more later this summer,” he said.

It hasn’t just “worked” for Anderson, though; he touched on this reality as well, noticing a growth in our local economy that seems to support quite a few creatives and their endeavors.

“The craft beer explosion has brought soul and community to Albuquerque. Before craft beer, places served tasteless beer and focused on turning tables. Now you can hang out, meet new people and have a unique experience in your neighborhood,” he said.

So if you’re in the neighborhood sometime soon, you ought to check out the FIRST of Anderson’s murals. That’s right, it’s the first of its kind.

That’s exciting right? For Matt, it’s both exciting and nerve wracking.

“What an incredible amount of trust they’re putting in me. If it all goes south I can always paint over it,” he joked.

We say joked because we know the outcome is going to be stunning and fun all at the same time.

“I hope people smile when they sit next to it. I want kids to imagine they can do something like that too,” said the fun-loving artist.

“It means the world. I will have something the public can see for years. I am deeply indebted to Red Door for all they’ve done to support me and art in Albuquerque,” he added.

We asked him to add to the conversation, a bit about his future plans – he said, “I am always available for more work. I also paint canvasses and wood panels to be sold. I also take my creations and put them on T-shirts. I would love to get together with a group of kids for a community project.”

Hmm, something tells us he might be getting a few phone calls, every time a community minded person sits on Red Door’s patio and has a few Pilsners while thinking about public art…

We sure hope we’re right — and we know you do too.

Cheers!

— Carlos

It’s back for the 15th time! (Photos courtesy of Alex Archuleta)

The 15th annual Pork & Brew Festival is returning to the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho from June 29 through July 1. The Crew sat down with SASC director of marketing Alex Archuleta to get all the details for all of you beer and barbecue lovers.

“We call it New Mexico’s original food festival,” Alex said. “It’s been around for 15 years, so it’s kind of stood the test of time. Rio Rancho’s real proud of it.”

The goal of the organizers this year is to make the event more friendly to customers. The first change, Alex said, was to change the hours on the opening Friday from all day to 3 to 9 p.m.

“Something a little different we’re doing on Friday is running it from 3 to 9, so hopefully we’ll capture more of that after-work crowd,” he said, while also noting that it tends to be the least crowded day, if huge crowds are not your thing. “If we’re on a date that’s not as packed, it will be Friday, because people get off work and go home, and once you get home, you stay home.”

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Gear up for one last big Saturday before it all ends for this year.

As we approach the end of Beer Week for 2018, the temperatures are a rising, so staying cool in the shade with a good pint or two is a must. Thankfully, there will be plenty to try today at events across town, from special releases to food pairings to even a mini lager festival.

Take note, however, the Crafts, Crops and Hops Beer Farmer’s Market scheduled for Canteen today has been postponed until later this summer. The special beer release set for today is still on, thankfully.

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 Lager Fest. Where: Ponderosa Brewing. When: Noon-4 p.m. Cost: $15.

Details: Seven breweries are gathering at Ponderosa for this festival celebrating the (underrated?) style. Your ticket gets you a sample of all the lagers, plus a pint of your favorite and a commemorative pint glass. Choose between Bosque Lager, Bow & Arrow’s Denim Tux Lager, Dialogue’s Maibock, Kellys’ American Pilsner, Marble’s Dortmunder Export, the Steel Bender/Flix Brewhouse collaboration Schnitz N Giggle, and a TBA lager from the hosts. There may also be an eighth brewery on hand, though that was not yet confirmed.

Why you should go: Lagers are perfect in these hot, dry days. Now you can either confirm that your favorite is the best in town, or discover a new lager that demands to be kept in your fridge via bottle, can, crowler, or growler.

All the other great events

What: Steel Bender Tap Takeover and Wild & Sour Charcuterie Pairing. Where: M’tucci’s Market and Pizzeria. When: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: A slew of big, funky beers are heading to the restaurant, including Ingenio, The Judy, and Bullet’s Reserve. They will be paired up with charcuterie boards. Why you should go: Satisfy your craving for some perfectly paired beers and food items.

What: Lawn Ninja Collaboration Beer Release. Where: Quarter Celtic Brewpub/Palmer Brewery. When: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Lawn Ninja is a rice ale, an easy-drinking beer that’s perfect for summer. Why you should go: Keep encouraging more collaborations between breweries by drinking their combined offerings.

What: Zafado Groove Beer Release. Where: Canteen Brewhouse. When: Noon-3 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Enjoy this Belgian ale with passionfruit aged in chardonnay barrels with brettanomyces. Why you should go: It’s big, sweet, and funky. Perfect for the patio.

What: Third Annual Food Truck Battle. Where: Red Door Brewing (Candelaria). When: Noon-4 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Five food trucks will be going head to head for the title of the Best of Albuquerque. You try the food and decide the winner, all while washing it down with some delicious Red Door beers. Why you should go: Who doesn’t like a good competition where the audience is the biggest winner? Because that’s what this is.

What: “Breakfast with the Boiz” Beer Release and Bash. Where: Santa Fe ABQ Taproom. When: Noon-3 p.m. Cost: $12. Details: Come enjoy brunch with two of Santa Fe’s top brewers, Bert and Dave, as they present a new beer made in the style of a traditional brass monkey. There will also be a Bloody Mary beer bar. For the ticket, you get a pint glass, one beer, and either a breakfast burrito from Chumlys or a stuffed, beer-battered jalapeno from Rockin’ Taco. Why you should go: Beer, bloody beer, food, and a chance to talk with the brewers. Sounds like a good start to the day.

What: 90s Beer Prom. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 8 p.m.-midnight. Cost: $25. Details: The theme is Under the Sea, dressing up 90s style is highly encouraged, and dancing like a fool is pretty much a requirement. It all supports TEDxABQ. Why you should go: Oh, just get goofy and let loose. Though the first of you to say “how old were people who went to prom in the 90s” gets dragged out and shot in the parking lot. (Kidding, just kidding. … Maybe.)

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister