Posts Tagged ‘Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca Brewing’

Taos BMF 2014 Pic 6

We sent Luke up to the Brewmasters Festival in Taos a couple years ago. He had a whole lotta fun!

Happy cold, gray Thursday everyone. If you need some light back in your life, there is some good news for this weekend. The Taos Brewmasters Festival kicks off Saturday at the Ski Valley, marking its 21st annual running below the slopes.

Normally, the festival is held in December, but it was pushed back this year due to a lack of snow on the mountain above. Plus, the decision was made to no longer have the spring-time beer festival, but rather have just one fest. This one kicks off at 4:30 p.m. and runs until 7 at Tenderfoot Katie’s and the Martini Tree Bar, both of which are located at the base of Lift #1. It costs $30 at the door and you receive a complementary mug.

While plenty of you love to go skiing and snowboarding, we know ultimately that it is the pull of the beer that can be the deciding factor. Take note that this year’s fest is populated by a lot more out-of-state breweries brought in by their local distributors. There are not nearly as many breweries from Southern Colorado as in the past, as only Steamworks and Carver made the trip from Durango (neither is distributed here in NM, FYI).

The other out-of-state breweries are Alaskan, Boulder, Deschutes, Firestone Walker, Founders, Four Peaks, Full Sail, Left Hand, Mother Road, New Belgium, Odell, Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada, Upslope, and the Craft Brew Alliance, which we think is that collection of breweries from the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii that is partially owned by the Evil Empire (InBev).

As for the locals, a total of 10 New Mexico breweries will be present. Here is what they are bringing, as reported to us by the breweries themselves:

  • Boxing Bear — Iron Lung Smoked Porter, Standing 8 Stout, Paw Swipe Pale Ale
  • Chama River — UPDATED: Class VI Golden Lager, Sleeping Dog Stout
  • La Cumbre — TBA
  • Marble — Double White, IPA, Priddy Bueno Porter, Spruce Moose
  • Red Door — Gateway Blonde, Calypso SMaSH, Strong Scotch Ale, Paint it Black Milk Stout
  • Santa Fe — UPDATED: Chicken Killer, Java Stout, Pale Ale, Happy Camper, State Pen Porter, SF Gold, Nut Brown, Black IPA, Adobe Igloo, plus two bottles to be released at different hours of Single Barrel Sour, and two bottles of Lemon Skynard also to be released at different hours
  • Sierra Blanca — TBA
  • Taos Mesa — Kolsch 45, 3 Peaks IPA, Tap Dance Barley Wine, BBA Black Diamond Export Stout
  • Three Rivers — TBA
  • Tractor — Farmer’s Almanac IPA, Farmer’s Tan Red, Mustachio Milk Stout, Delicious Red Apple Cider

Marble’s Tony Calder pointed out that this will mark the debut of Spruce Goose, a new stout made with (you guessed it) spruce tips. The Priddy Bueno just went on tap recently at the Marble taprooms here in Albuquerque as well. Iron Lung returned to Boxing Bear late Wednesday.

If any of us in the Crew were able to head up this weekend, we would also be making a beeline for that bourbon barrel-aged Black Diamond Export Stout and the Tap Dance Barley Wine at Taos Mesa’s booth. I suppose we will just have to hope they bring that down for WinterBrew in Santa Fe on Jan. 13. (Please? Pretty please?)

Of course, skiing/snowboarding and then drinking on an empty stomach would be a terrible idea. Five local restaurants — Bavarian, Blonde Bear Tavern, Medley, Rhoda’s, Sagebrush Inn — will be providing food during the festival.

Keep an eye on the weather, of course, but otherwise if your weekend is lacking in anything to do, we would definitely suggest a trip up north to try some quality brews in a beautiful setting.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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

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

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

In case anyone has not checked the calendar, Halloween falls on a Monday this year, which is kind of a bummer and all. Then again, it really just means that night can be for the kiddos, while the grown-ups get a whole weekend to play. Luckily for you festive types who can actually come up with a viable, cost-effective costume, the breweries have you covered with all sorts of Halloween-themed events this weekend. Friday night will feature a Political Clowns Party at Albuquerque Brewing at 5 p.m., where you are encouraged to show up dressed as your favorite (or least favorite) politician, or a clown, or combine them, because politics is pretty much a circus these days. Another option that night is Pumpkins’N’Beer at Broken Trail at 6 p.m., with a pumpkin carving contest for just $5 entry. There will be live music and happy hour prices all night long. Meanwhile, down at Tractor Wells Park at 8 p.m., the lovely and talented Desert Darlings return for the Hallow-Freaking-Ween edition of Hops & Dreams.

Saturday’s events are all over the place. The Great Pumpkin Bear Party kicks things off early at 11 a.m. at Boxing Bear, featuring a pumpkin carving contest with cash prizes, plus live music in the evening. The FirkinStein Freakshow starts at Firkin Brewhouse at noon, featuring a costume contest, pumpkin carving contest, free hot dogs for kids under 12, and the release of two new beers. You can also take the kiddos out to Sierra Blanca in Moriarty for the Halloween Spook-tacular from 2 to 9 p.m. There will be a costume contest with cash prizes, live music, a build-your-own caramel apple bar, and lots of games. Nocturnal adventures will take place at Dialogue, with a costume contest and a live DJ starting at 6 p.m. Another event will be at Duel ABQ as Enchanted PopUp presents Strangers with Candy starting at 7 p.m. Bow & Arrow will have a Stranger Things-themed Halloween bash starting at 8 p.m. There will be a s’mores bar on the patio, a costume contest with prizes, and an overall 80s theme with the music, decor, and more. Finally, to finish the weekend for the four-legged family members, head to Marble downtown on Sunday for the Mutt Masquerade Canine Costume Contest from noon to 2 p.m.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few new options to check out. Paddy Wagon Red races to tap at the Blue Grasshopper. Bosque brings back an old favorite with a coffee twist in the form of Olde Bosky Cafe. Fresh batches of Irish Red and Exodus IPA are available at Canteen. Firkin will debut a new Lager and Pumpkin Stout on Saturday. Nexus’ decadent Nitro Chai Chocolate Porter hits taps today (Wednesday). Don’t spill any Riff Raff Brown on the rug at Starr Brothers, it really ties the room together.

Up in Santa Fe, Oat DIPA pops up at Blue Corn. Rowley Farmhouse Ales should have a new Grapefruit Berliner Weisse available this weekend. Santa Fe enters a strong contender for beer name of the year with Hipster Union Red Rye. Second Street rolls out Schwartzbier at the Railyard location only. Down in Socorro, Pumpkin Ale arrives just in time for the season at Twisted Chile.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of October 24.

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

Albuquerque metro area breweries

Albuquerque Brewing Co. — (505) 797-1842

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

Beers: High Plains Drafter Blonde, Duke’s Pale Ale, Off the Richter Imperial Red, Dunkelweizen, Tom’s Green Chile Amber Ale, English Oatmeal Stout (nitro only). ABC has updated their permanent lineup with the blonde, pale ale, imperial red, and dunkel. The special amber is on tap for a limited time. They will also have a nitro tap upon which they always hope to have a darker beer.

Events: Friday—Political Clowns Party, 5 p.m.

Weekly Events: Sunday—Walking Dead Watch Party, 8 p.m.; Monday—Game Night, with blonde pints for $2.50

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

Ale Republic — (505) 281-2828

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

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

Alien Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

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

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

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

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

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

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

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

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

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

The Blue Grasshopper — (505) 896-8579

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

Beers: Belgian Pale Ale, Paddy Wagon Red. The Paddy Wagon just went on tap this week.

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

Boese Brothers Brewery — (505) 382-7060

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

Beers: Patriot Porter, La Onza White Ale, Dr. Strangehop XPA, Duke City Lager, Sour Strangehop, Ichabod’s Revenge, Oktoberfest. The Sour Strangehop is also for sale in bombers at the brewery and at Jubilation. Ichabod’s Revenge is a pumpkin ale, but the supply is nearly out.

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

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

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

Beers: Just Goofin’, Olde Bosky Cafe, Moon Cannon IPA, PSA (Pumpkin Spice Ale), Bosque IPA X2, Humo Rojo. The Olde Bosky Cafe is a coffee-infused version of the brewery’s classic porter. Moon Cannon was third at the Alpha King Challenge in Denver recently, an annual showdown of some of the hoppiest beers in the country. The IPA X2 is another hop bomb DIPA.

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

Bow & Arrow Brewing — (505) 247-9800

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

Beers: Flint & Grit (British Mild), Sun Dagger (Saison), Crossed Arrows (Scotch Ale), Hoka Hey (IPA), Jemez Field Notes Lager, Desert Standard Hop Session, Wayward Arrow Hefeweizen, Council Fire Imperial “Smoke”toberfest, Loosen Your Bolo DIPA, Autumn Archer Marzen, Dark Harvest Dunkelweizen. The most recent additions are the Dark Harvest Dunkelweizen, Loosen Your Bolo DIPA, and Autumn Archer Marzen. Make sure to get over there and try the Council Fire, it’s delicious.

Events: Saturday—Stranger Things Halloween Party, 8-11:30 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Bow & Arrow has happy hour every Monday through Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. Get $1 off pints. A new late happy hour starts Thursday at 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m.

Boxing Bear Brewing Company — (505) 897-2327

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

Beers: Oktobearfest, La Flama Blanca, Bearcat Altbier, Pumpkin Oso, Pineapple Kolsch, Oso Loco, Strawberry Wheat, Baltic Bear Porter (bombers only). The Oso Loco (4.8% ABV, 25 IBU) is a coffee-infused red ale, made with a blend from Prismatic Coffee. La Flama (7% ABV, 80 IBU) is a white IPA. Fresh batches of Boxing Bear’s gold-medal-winning beers from GABF, The Red Glove and Chocolate Milk Stout, are in the works.

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

Weekly Events: Today (Wednesday)—Geeks Who Drink, 8-10 p.m.

Events: Saturday—The Great Pumpkin Bear Party, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

Live Music: Saturday—Melissa Rios, 6-8 p.m.

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

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

Beers: Otero ESB, Lone Pine Pilsner, Sancho Saison,, Dry Pine Pilsner. The Dry Pine is a small batch, so get it while you can. As the name implies, it is a dry-hopped version of the regular pilsner. Keep an eye out for a bourbon barrel sour in the coming weeks.

Live Music (main location): Friday—Billy Belmont, 6-9 p.m.

Events (main location): Friday—Pumpkins’N’Beer, 6-9 p.m.

Weekly Events (main location): Today (Wednesday)—Cards Against Humanity hosted by 10 Drink Minimum, 7 p.m.; Sunday—Build-your-own Bloody Mary bar, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Tuesday—All hours beers $2 a pint

Canteen Brewhouse — (505) 881-2737 (brewery), (505) 200-2344 (taproom)

(Brewery: Sun–Thurs noon–10 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–midnight; Taproom: Open daily 3–10 p.m.)

Beers: Irish Red, Honey Sage Saison, Grundy Thunder, Exodus IPA, Falconer’s Arm Pale Ale, Sichler Lager, Clean Livin’ IPL. The Sichler is a special lager made with red and green chiles. The Grundy Thunder is a brown porter.

Live Music: Thursday—Good Green, 6-9 p.m.; Sunday—Keith Sanchez, 4-7 p.m.

News: The Canteen taproom at Tramway and Cloudview is now open. They have all the regular beers and four seasonal taps, plus crowlers and a cooler with six-packs of Exodus and Dougie Style Amber for sale. There is a full menu, too, including flatbread pizzas.

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

(Open daily 8 a.m.–10 p.m.)

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

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

Beers: Festbier, Sturer Bock, Vermilion, Hefen Can Wait. Sorry if you missed the Pumpkin Ale this year, it went by in the blink of an eye. This is a special batch of Sturer Bock that has been lagering for six months.

News: Chama now has a rotating nitro tap. Call to see what is available this week.

Dialogue Brewing — (505) 585-1501

(Open daily noon-midnight)

Beers: Belgian Citrus IPA, Belgian Dark Strong, Berliner Weisse, Zwickelbier, Lychee Wheat, Sour Brown. Welcome to the listings, Dialogue! They opened recently at the corner of 1st Street and Kinley, just five blocks north of Marble. Stop by to check out the sculpture garden and try some of their unique beers, including the new Sour Brown.

News: Kitsune Food Truck will be parked out front every day for lunch.

Events: Friday—Double Art Opening with Cloacas, DJ Randy, DJ J-Slay, 6 p.m.; Saturday—Costume contest with DJ Chach, 6 p.m.

The Firkin Brewhouse — (505) 881-0702

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

Beers: Burque Vanilla Nut Brown, Blackout Stout, Hop Ness Monster IPA, Grapefruit Mafia IPA, Olympic Gold Ale. The Blackout is back after a short absence. A new lager and a pumpkin stout will debut this Saturday.

Events: Saturday—FirkinStein Freakshow, noon-6 p.m.

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

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

Beers: Stout, Dunkelweizen, London Porter, Roggen Rye, Basil Lager, Brown Suit, Rocky Raccoon IPA, Wet Hop Amber, Cider, DjinnJar Kombucha. A whole bunch of old favorites like London Porter and Basil Lager are back, plus newcomers like Brown Suit, Rocky Raccoon, and Wet Hop Amber.

Events: Kaktoberfest returns with $4 pints and $8 German food plates, plus dancers, music, and more. It will be held at the Nob Hill taproom on Friday starting at 5 p.m., then in Bernalillo on Saturday, also starting at 5 p.m.

Weekly Events (Nob Hill): Thursday—The Desert Darlings, 7 to 9 p.m.

Weekly Events (Bernalillo): Sunday—Brunch, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., The Desert Darlings, 6-8 p.m.

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

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: Siberian Silk, VMO #3, Citrus Pale Ale, Angry Belgian, Caber Tosser Scotch Ale. You can still find Full Nelson for sale in bombers around town, but only for a limited time. Siberian Silk brought home a bronze medal at GABF.

Live Music: Saturday—The Bus Tapes, 7-10 p.m.

Lizard Tail Brewing — (505) 717-1301

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

Beers: Kohatu SHPA, Octoberfest, Saison, Rye Stout. The Kohatu is a single-hopped pale ale.

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

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Geeks Who Drink, 8 p.m.; Thursday—Karaoke, 8-11 p.m.

Marble Brewery — (505) 243-2739 (downtown), (505) 508-4638 (Westside), (505) 323-4030 (Heights)

(Downtown: Mon–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10:30 p.m.; Westside: Mon–Thurs noon–11 p.m., Fri–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10 p.m.; Heights: Mon–Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10:30 p.m.)

Beers: Pumpkin Noir, Pumpkin Ale, Dang Pale Ale (Downtown and West only), Dubbel (Downtown and Heights only), Americano Fudge Sunday (Downtown and West only), White Out (Westside and Heights only). The Americano Fudge Sunday is served on nitro, so get this decadent treat while you can. The regular Pumpkin Ale is back for a limited time on tap only, while you can find Noir on tap and for sale in bombers.

Live Music (downtown): Thursday—Vibestrong, 7-10 p.m.; Friday—Last to Know, 8-11 p.m.; Saturday—Detroit Lightning, 8-11 p.m.; Sunday—Halcyon Nights of Summer, 5-8 p.m.

Live Music (West Side): Friday—Next Three Miles, 8-11 p.m.; Saturday—Hub City Sound System, 8-11 p.m.

Live Music (Heights): Friday—Todd Tijerina, 8-11 p.m.; Saturday—Lenin & McCarthy, 8-11 p.m.

Events (downtown): Sunday—Marble’s Mutt Masquerade Canine Costume Contest, noon-2 p.m.

Weekly Events (Downtown): Thursday—Brewery tours, 5:30 p.m.

Nexus Brewery — (505) 242-4100 (brewery), (505) 226-1055 (Silver Taproom)

(Brewery: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.–8:30 p.m.; Silver Taproom: Mon–Fri 4-10 p.m., Sat noon-10 p.m., Sun noon-9 p.m.)

Beers: Assimilation White IPA, 2015 Barleywine, Equinox, Nitro Chai Chocolate Porter. The Equinox, a spiced brown ale, is back for another autumn run. The Nitro Chai Chocolate Porter, means that, yes, Nexus has a nitro tap! It debuts today (Wednesday).

Events (Silver Taproom): Today (Wednesday)—Brew-ha-ha, 6 p.m. (sold out)

Happy Hour/Discounts (Brewery): Monday–Friday, $5 appetizers, 3-5 p.m.

Weekly Events (Silver Taproom): Saturday—a live DJ will perform

Palmer Brewery and Cider House — (505) 508-0508

(Tues–Sat 3–9 p.m.)

Beers: MWA (Malt With Attitude), Guero (Belgian Wit), Pale Ale, Stout. Palmer still has not had a full-on grand opening (that is scheduled for Nov. 5), but they are brewing over in the building they share with sister company Left Turn Distilling.

Pi Brewing — (505) 890-9463

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

Beers: Discordia IPA, U Down w/ BVP?, Amber’s Amber, 40 to 5, Scotty Doesn’t Know, Manhattan Project, Burque Lite, Sleepy Hollow, Trinity, Cardinal Sin Red. Debuting this week are Sleepy Hollow, a funky farmhouse cousin to Pumpkin Pi, which has run out for now. Trinity is a golden sour aged with local organic white peaches and apricots.

Ponderosa Brewing Co. — (505) 639-5941

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

Beers: Oatmeal Stout, Oktoberfest, Belgian Pale Ale, Imperial Black IPA, Chocolate Pumpkin Porter. The Chocolate Pumpkin Porter is the newest addition. May the Schwarz Be With You is on deck. You can also still bombers of Sour Saison, Big Belgian IPA, and Preacher’s Daughter (Belgian Golden Strong) at the taproom or at liquor stores around town.

Events: Saturday—2nd Anniversary Party, 4-9 p.m., wear a costume, get free candy, also a magician will be on hand, there will be live bands, food specials, and the release of a special aged barleywine.

Quarter Celtic Brewpub — (505) 503-1387

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

Beers: Knotted Blonde, Dusk’s Early Light, Diabhal’s River, MacLomas Stout, Gondola Party Starter IPA. The Diabhal’s (11% ABV, 30 IBU) is a massive Belgian golden strong that is not for the faint of heart. Get a hold of the delicious Gondola Party Starter while you can. There has been a change to the regular lineup, as Pedro O’Flanagan’s Mexican Lager will be available year round, while Knotted Blonde becomes a seasonal.

Weekly Events: Saturday—Premier League Viewing Party, 5:30 a.m.

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

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

Beers: Vanilla Cream Ale, Nieuwe Bruin, Oktoberfest, Damn White IPA, Downtown Pale Ale (downtown taproom only). The Nieuwe (6.7% ABV, 20 IBU) is a variation on an Oud Bruin, a tart and sour dark beer. The Damn White IPA is the most recent addition.

Live Music (Brewery): Thursday—The Draft Sessions, 7-9 p.m.; Monday—The Draft Sessions, 7-9 p.m.

Live Music (Taproom): Thursday—The Draft Sessions, 7-9 p.m.

Weekly Events: Saturday—Beer and Breakfast, 7-10 a.m.

Rio Bravo Brewing Company — (505) 900-3909

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

Beers: Rio Bravo Amber, Weizen, Randy’s Shandy, Dirty Rotten Bastard IPA, Snakebite IPA, Black Angus Stout, Randy’s Red Ale, Duke City Pilsner, Old Town Porter (regular and barrel aged), Barley Wine (regular and barrel aged), Oktoberfest, Raspberry Sour. Rio Bravo recently celebrated its first anniversary, with the Oktoberfest going on tap. We had more on the new Raspberry Sour before its debut last week.

Live Music: Thursday—Saep Fire, 3:30 p.m.

Events: Saturday—Oktoberfest, 4-10 p.m.

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

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

Beers: Call the brewery for an updated list.

Sidetrack Brewing — (505) 288-6468

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

Beers: Pub Ale, Railhead Red, Switchgear IPA, Dark Engine Stout, Wheat Ale, Cascade Pale Ale. The Wheat Ale replaced the Shoofly Wheat. Two new beers should be on tap next week.

Cask: Stout will be in the firkins all week. The Sidetrack staff added coconut and vanilla beans to the stout because they love us all.

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Taco Tuesday, all day

Starr Brothers Brewing — (505) 492-2752

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

Beers: Starrstruck IPA, L.A. Woman (Blonde), Motorbrreath (Smoked Porter), Jack Tooth Grin, Don’t Fear the RIPA (Red IPA), Riff Raff Brown Ale. The Jack Tooth is Starr Brothers’ take on a pumpkin spice ale. The Riff Raff is the most recent addition to the lineup.

Weekly Events: Saturday—Premier League Viewing Party, 8 a.m.

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

(Nob Hill: Sun–Weds noon–midnight, Thurs noon–2 a.m., Fri–Sat noon–2 a.m.; Wells Park: Mon–Thurs 3 p.m.–close, Fri–Sun 1 p.m.–midnight)

Beers: Traktoberfest, Jack the Sipper, Javi Light Lager, Maibock, Cerveza Mexican Lager, Summer En Blanc Belgian Witbier, Barrel-Aged Barley Wine (Wells Park only), Kolsch, Tupac Cali Red, Nitro Coffee Stout (Wells Park only), Ebony & Ivory Pale Stout, Hillario DIPA (Wells Park only), Farmhouse Saison, Farmer’s Freckles Scottish Export, Chiapas Amber Lager, Big Sipper IPA. The annual pumpkin favorite, Jack the Sipper, has returned alongside its fall sibling, Traktoberfest.

Live Music (Wells Park): see events below

Live Music (Nob Hill): Saturday—Setting the Tone: Sloan Armitage, 5 p.m.

Other Events (Wells Park): Friday—Hops & Dreams: Halloween Edition, 8 p.m.; Saturday—Toast to Ta-Tas with DJ Mello, 6-10 p.m.; Sunday—Fundraising for Standing Rock, 4-8 p.m.

Weekly Events (Wells Park): Monday—Mondays on the Mic, 6 p.m.; Tuesday—Kamikaze Karaoke, 7 p.m.

Weekly Events (Nob Hill): Monday—Tractor Tune Up, 7:30 p.m., ABQ Pens & Pints, 8 p.m.

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

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

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

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

Beers: Oktoberfest, Wooden Teeth, Bien Tu Helles Bock, Red Rye Redux, The Rise of Fall. The Rise of Fall, an autumnal harvest squash ale, debuted last week. ‘Sno Siberian, a new Baltic porter, is available on nitro and will soon be on CO2 whenever either the Bock or Wooden Teeth run out.

Events: Tuesday—Brewmaster’s Dinner, $50 per person (call for reservations), five courses paired with five beers, 6 p.m.

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Open daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Oat DIPA, Pope Porter, Wet Hop American Strong Ale, Oktoberfest. The burly Oat DIPA has joined the tap list this week. The Wet Hop is for anyone who is a fan of strong ales.

Chili Line Brewing — (505) 500-7903

(Mon–Sat 4–11 p.m., Sun 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m.)

Beers: Cascada Lager, El Jefe, India Pale Lager, Wheat Porter, Stout, Dunkelweizen, Imperial Pilz. The latter two beers are the newest additions to the revamped lineup. Also, check the website for new menu items.

Live Music: Every night at 7 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Reverse happy hour after 9 p.m. includes $1 off pints, $6 appetizers, $10 entrees and pizzas.

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

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

Beers: Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Grunewald (Imperial Porter), Monomyth (Belgian DIPA), Duchamp (Farmhouse Witbier), Whistler (Belgian Blonde), Cezanne Magnifique, Cezanne Denouement. One of the most recent additions here is the aptly named Monomyth, which checks in at 9-percent ABV and 90 IBUs. In addition to those beers, you can also get sample pours of Goya ’14, Rye Goya ’14, and Tableux ’16, or a Cezanne flight featuring Origine ’15, Magnifique ’16, and Denouement ’15 and ’16.

Live Music (ABQ taproom): see events below

Other Events (ABQ taproom): Thursday—Drag Queen Trivia, 8 p.m.; Saturday—Enchanted PopUp Presents: Strangers with Candy, 7 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts (Brewery): Happy hour Mon–Fri, 4-6 p.m. (discounts for all draft beer), Growler Saturdays ($3 off growler fills).

Happy Hour/Discounts (ABQ taproom): Happy hour Mon–Fri, 5-7 p.m.

Rowley Farmhouse Ales — (505) 428-0719

(Open all week from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

Beers: Fields of Rye. Say hello to Santa Fe’s newest brewery, which opened this month. They have some guest taps, plus their third offering, Fields of Rye. It will likely be done at the end of the week, at which point they hope to have Grapefruit Berliner Weisse on tap by Saturday.

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

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

Beers: Oktoberfest, Autonomous Collective DIPA, Idaho? IPA, Sangre de Frambuesa, Hipster Union Red Rye, Sour Kickin’ Chicken (ABQ only), Amalia Wet Hop Nut Brown (brewery only). The Sour Kickin’ is a tart variant of the barrel-aged barleywine. The next entry in the Ever Changing Series, Sangre De Frambuesa, is a throwback to one of SFBC’s first medal-winning beers at the Great American Beer Festival back in 1991.

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

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

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

Beers: Kolsch, IPA, Cream Stout, 2920 Pale Ale, St. George IPA, Old Pecos Porter, Red & Yellow Armadillo (Brewery only), Amber Ale (Railyard only), Railyard Red (Railyard only), Schwartzbier (Railyard only). The Armadillo is a delicious, hoppy imperial red ale. The most recent additions are the 2920 Pale Ale, Railyard Red, and Schwartzbier.

News: Second Street has pumpkins available for carving on the patio at the brewery. Bring your best Jack-o-lantern skills to bear!

Live Music (Original location): Friday—Zoltan & the Fortune Tellers, 6 p.m.; Saturday—Welsh & Watts, 6 p.m.

Live Music (Railyard): Friday—Greg Butera & Band, 7 p.m.; Saturday—Halloween Bash with Cloacas, 7 p.m.

Weekly Events (Railyard): Thursday—Geeks Who Drink, 8 p.m.

Other breweries you need to visit

Bathtub Row Brewing — (505) 500-8381

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

Beers: Little Boy GFB, Mild at Heart, The Tripel Lindy, Tweed Jacket, Fatman Stout, Dr. Rudi SMASH, Raconteur Belgian Table Beer, Hoppenheimer IPA. Another big tap turnover recently went down in Los Alamos, with Tripel, Tweed, Fatman, Dr. Rudi, and Raconteur making their debuts.

Weekly Events: Thursday—Open mic, 6 p.m.

Sierra Blanca Brewing — (505) 832-2337

(Mon–Thurs 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Fri –Sat 11 a.m.–9 p.m.)

Beers: Cherry Wheat, Whiskey Stout, Oktoberfest, Interstella Vanilla. The folks in Moriarty asked us to be added, thus, here they are. The popular Cherry Wheat is more tart than sweet. This is a second, improved batch of the Whiskey stout that debuted earlier this year.

Events: Saturday—Halloween Spook-tacular, 2-9 p.m.

Twisted Chile Brewing — (575) 835-2949

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun noon-4 p.m.)

Beers: Zia Pilsner, 790 IPA, Hose Co. 1 Red Lager, Venom IPA, KC’s Irish Stout, McFadden’s Scotch, English Porter, Pilabo Pale Ale, Schwarzbar Black Lager, Oktoberfest, Pumpkin Ale. Got a chance to try the Oktoberfest while passing through Socorro recently. It is a solid example of the style, just sweet enough without going overboard.

Live Music: TBA

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

* * * *

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

This year's many, many IPA entries.

This year’s many, many IPA entries.

And we are off! The preliminary round of the 2016 New Mexico IPA Challenge is complete, with 16 15 breweries advancing to the three main rounds that will begin next weekend at Santa Fe Brewing. This came out of the 28 beers that were sampled in a blind taste test Saturday afternoon at Rio Bravo.

Editor’s note: We have been updated by the Guild that Rio Bravo does not advance.

Were there surprises? Of course, both in some of the breweries that scored well and in some that did not. One of the new wrinkles in NMIPAC is that the three host breweries — Santa Fe, 3 Rivers, Tractor — were guaranteed to advance no matter their voting totals. In the end, only the first needed that bye to advance, as 3 Rivers (nine votes) and Tractor (seven votes) would have qualified regardless.

The results of the preliminary round, with the breweries listed by their numbers on the left, voting totals on the right.

The results of the preliminary round, with the breweries listed by their numbers on the left, voting totals on the right.

Every brewery that was eliminated garnered less than seven votes. Those are, with voting totals included, Bathtub Row (4), Cazuela’s (1), Chama River (2), Enchanted Circle (2), Kaktus (2), Little Toad Creek (4), Lizard Tail (3), Marble (6), Rio Bravo (3), Roosevelt (4), Sierra Blanca (6), Spotted Dog (1), and Turtle Mountain (2). While some of those breweries are newer or in more remote locations, seeing big names like Chama, Marble, Sierra Blanca, and Turtle were all surprising.

The advancing breweries, including the hosts, are Blue Corn (10), Bosque (13), Boxing Bear (33), Canteen (33), Chili Line (10), La Cumbre (13), Quarter Celtic (24), Red Door (7), Santa Fe (3), Second Street (7), Sidetrack (7), Starr Brothers (17), Taos Mesa (13), 3 Rivers (9), and Tractor (7). In terms of the two trays, numbered 1-14 and 15-28, the leaders were Boxing Bear and Canteen for the first tray and Quarter Celtic for the second tray. It was nice to see some of the newcomers, all of whom opened this year, make the final cut in Chili Line, Quarter Celtic, Sidetrack, and Starr Brothers.

In the interest of full disclosure, Brandon had the first tray and picked Canteen. I had the second tray and picked Starr Brothers, though it was close between their offering and Quarter Celtic.

The next round of NMIPAC will be Saturday, July 16, at Santa Fe, followed by a stop at 3 Rivers in Farmington on July 20, and the grand finale at Tractor Wells Park on July 23. Luke will have the SFBC stop covered for us, and the rest of the Crew will see you all at Wells Park.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

p.s. Kudos to the staff at Rio Bravo for putting on such a smoothly-run event. All of us attendees appreciated your hard work!

Now that looks like a relaxing place to enjoy a pint outdoors.

The Sierra Blanca Beer Garden will be packed this Saturday for their 20th anniversary party.

Sierra Blanca Brewing is celebrating their 20th anniversary this Saturday with a big party at the brewery in Moriarty. From 2 to 9 p.m., the beer garden will be hopping (pun intended) with live music, food trucks, a kids zone, and more.

There is a $5 cover, but kids 12 and under get in for free. Dirty Modine and Stanley Cattle Guards will provide the musical entertainment. All of the Sierra Blanca, Rio Grande, and Alien beers will be available, plus a few special surprises, including the Whiskey Barrel Aged Stout.

Head on out there Saturday and wish the entire staff a happy anniversary!

New taprooms update

Good news on the taproom front, Red Door will be opening their downtown location next week. Yours truly will have an advance look at the place, so look for some pics and more info on Monday.

For those who may have forgotten, the taproom will be located in the lobby of the Simms Building at 4th and Gold. The grand opening will be Thursday starting at 11 a.m.

As for the other taprooms, there is nothing official on opening dates yet, but both Canteen (I-40 and Tramway) and Marble (Montgomery east of Eubank) have said they hope to open by the end of July.

New breweries update

Construction continues at Dialogue Brewing near downtown. (Photo courtesy of Dialogue Brewing)

Construction continues at Dialogue Brewing near downtown. (Photo courtesy of Dialogue Brewing)

There are still 12 breweries on the way with the small brewer licenses pending with the state. First, for the ABQ-area breweries, here are the latest tidbits we know.

  • We shared the link from ABQ Business First last week about Flix Brewhouse, which is making progress on the West Side. They are still a long ways from opening, but certainly there is already a lot of excitement, judging by everyone’s reactions to the post. When we know more about the specific brewing aspects, we will share them.
  • Drafty Kilt, formerly OffKilter, is getting close to opening. Mike Campbell, formerly of Tractor and Cazuela’s, will be ready to brew as soon as all the permits come through. We hope to get a tour soon.
  • There is nothing new on the Nob Hill-based Hops Brewery, nor the Steel Bender Brewyard in the North Valley. Neither has any significant online presence yet, so we have to guess they are further away. Ditto The 377 Brewery near the Sunport.
  • Progress continues on Dialogue Brewing on 1st Ave. north of Marble. They have had a lot of pictures of their progress in construction, but it does show they are still a ways from being open.
  • New to the listings for pending licenses is the Bombs Away Beer Company. We have searched for more info, but come up empty. All that is known is that it is somewhere in the 87123, which could put it up near the Foothills and the Canteen taproom, or it could be the fabled Four Hills brewery that folks have been whispering about for a while. If anyone out there has contact info for this new endeavor, please send it our way.
  • Palmer Brewery and Cider House has an active license now. We were told they are not at fully brewing capacity yet, but some of their beers are being tapped at Left Turn Distilling.

As for the breweries outside the ABQ metro area …

  • Construction progress continues at a good pace for Ale Republic in Cedar Crest. We figure a fall opening is likely, though they could surprise us.
  • Sleeping Dog Tavern in Santa Fe has now applied for a small brewer license. We will try to find out more on their plans, see if they are going small like Chili Line or aiming for something bigger.
  • Route 66 Junkyard Brewery in Grants is still aiming for a July 1 grand opening. There is a story in the Gallup Independent, but it is subscriber-only, so we can’t share the link.
  • Milton’s Brewing in Carlsbad is inching closer to opening. Their small brewer license is active, so now it is just a matter of finishing the buildout and getting the beer flowing.

That is all from us for this week. Check back next week when we should have some more substantial info on the new brewer at Blue Corn, updates on the progress of Second Street’s new brewing facility, and more.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The small batch menu (upper right corner) is a big reason to visit the Alien Brew Pub in Uptown.

The small batch menu (upper right corner) is a big reason to visit the Alien Brew Pub in Uptown.

This week, I had the pleasure of briefly speaking with Ben Couger and John Gonzales at Alien Brew Pub to get an update on their small batch program. I am really glad I stopped by, because there is exciting news. John tells me that ABP will be starting a Firkin Friday (hopefully beginning next week, in fact), and we can all use a little more of that in our lives.

Ben said he is a fan of vanilla and milk stouts, so hopefully we can see more of that type of beer in their future. John added that future plans also include beer and food parings with local chefs. If we get any more information, we will pass it along.

Brewer Ben Couger is quite proud of the 1-barrel system they use to create small batches at the Alien Brew Pub.

Brewer Ben Couger is quite proud of the 1-barrel system they use to create small batches at the Alien Brew Pub.

I was able to get a look at the 1-barrel system they have in place at ABP. Basically, Ben explained that it mimics the full system they have out at the Sierra Blanca Brewery in Moriarty. Ben said they have a really good time brewing up experimental batches on a smaller system. Coming up, they are going to brew some IPAs on the system. They have some experimental hops, the ones with numbers for names, numbers that mean nothing whatsoever to me.

I was fortunate enough to try the 20th Anniversary Whiskey Barrel Aged Stout when I was at the Beer Premier and Matanza. The Wild Turkey barrels used to make that beer were cleaned out and are now being used for cherry and cranberry sours. Speaking of their 20th anniversary, the big party is this Saturday at their Beer Garden in Moriarty. If you haven’t had a chance to check out their recently upgraded venue, this is a great opportunity to head out and help them celebrate 20 years of brewing craft beer in New Mexico.

Cheers!

— AmyO

One IPA to rule them all!

One IPA to rule them all!

The announcement went out on Tuesday, and hopheads across the state rejoiced, for the New Mexico IPA Challenge is returning to the land. Now 28 breweries will do battle, as all seek to remove the three-time king, John Bullard, from his iron throne.

OK, fine, it is a bit of Game of Thrones there, but that is the theme this year, said NM Brewers Guild director John Gozigian. We met for some pints and a good old information download at Bosque Brewing on Wednesday afternoon.

“We’re kind of running with a Game of Thrones theme,” John said. “It all makes sense. The brewing community in New Mexico is kind of incestuous, it really is. Everybody’s worked here and there. All the houses have been mixed, kind of, so it kind of lends itself to that.

“You’ve got a guy like John Bullard who’s won it three years in a row for two different breweries. He’s the guy that everybody wants to dethrone. You’ve got all these usurpers out there that would love nothing better than to make him pay.”

Bullard has won three in a row, the last two at Bosque and two before that Blue Corn. His title defense starts on Saturday, July 9, at Rio Bravo for the preliminary round. After that, the scoring rounds will be at Santa Fe Brewing on July 16, at Three Rivers Brewery in Farmington on July 16, and the grand finale will be at Tractor Wells Park on July 23.

The other 27 combatants who will face off with Bosque are, deep breath, as follows (* = confirmed first-time participant): Bathtub Row, Blue Corn, Boxing Bear, Canteen, Cazuela’s, Chama River, Chili Line*, Enchanted Circle*, Kaktus, La Cumbre, Little Toad Creek, Lizard Tail, Marble, Quarter Celtic*, Red Door, Rio Bravo*, Roosevelt, Santa Fe, Second Street, Sidetrack*, Sierra Blanca, Spotted Dog, Starr Brothers*, Taos Mesa, Three Rivers, Tractor, Turtle Mountain

Last year there were 23 participants, so to get to 28 is immense in and of itself. Rather than copy the same format as the VIPA Challenge, there will instead be a new format for the opening round at Rio Bravo.

“It’s going to be a little different though it’s going to accomplish the same end,” John said. “Last year was the first time that we had to winnow the field down to a manageable amount of beers to take on the road, so attendees at the subsequent stops got all of them in one sitting.

“We capped it this year at 28 breweries. They can only enter one beer. It all goes back to the lunch lady trays that we’ve always used. You can fit 14 of those plastic tumblers on one of those trays. You can fit 2-to-3 ounces in there, a big enough sample where you can reasonably evaluate the beer. So, that limits it to 14 in a flight. Plus, given the quantity of each one, you can’t go less than 2 ounces, so that ends up (28) ounces of beer per flight, plus you get the complimentary pint. We don’t want people to over-consume.”

The format now will feature two separate trays, labeled A and B. One will have beers numbered one through 14, the other 15 through 28. Each attendee will only receive one of the two trays, and will rank the beers on his/her tray only. An equal number of the two trays will be distributed so all beers will have an equal chance, regardless of which tray they are on.

“We’re going to be smart, the ones that have done well in the past, they’re not going to all be on one flight,” John said. “They’re going to be spread out in a way that makes sense. We’re going to take the top 12 to 14 out of that first round at Rio Bravo and then take those to the next stops.”

Yes, you and your best friend/significant other/old drinking buddy can each get a different tray and sample from the other, but you can only vote for one. Basically, drink up as much as you want off your tray first for proper voting, then, if your palate can take it, try from the other tray.

“So, the first one is going to be fun,” John said. “That’s where we get the field down to where it’s supposed to be. Even with 28, there’s going to be some good IPAs that get left behind. There are a lot of good IPAs out there now. For sure, those top 12 or 14, they’re going to be some great beers.”

Tickets for all four rounds are now on sale online, and paper tickets will begin appearing at the breweries (full list TBA) in the next couple of weeks.

Get them early this year. Even as big as Rio Bravo is, and Tractor WP will be (they are going to close the front parking lot along 4th for additional capacity), there will be ticket caps. This should be the biggest NMIPAC ever, both in terms of participating breweries and attendees.

After the opening round, the remaining rounds should be what you have come to expect, 12 to 14 beers numbered on a tray for a proper blind tasting. As attendance outside of Albuquerque has always lagged behind, the folks at Three Rivers are trying something new this year to get their numbers on par with at least Santa Fe.

“Actually, those guys are going to try to get people from Durango,” John said. “They’re going to put up posters at the breweries in Durango. I hope we get some attendance from there because, I think New Mexico’s beers, especially the IPAs, are well enough known now, at least in our neighboring states, it’ll be worth the 30-mile trip for somebody from Durango to come check out. Especially when we have gold medal winners and National IPA Challenge winners all submitting beers.”

Start doing your hop homework people. Prep those palates, get your ticket(s), and the Crew will see many of you at Rio Bravo and/or Tractor sooner than later.

One IPA to rule them all! We can get behind this theme.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Arguably the best event of Beer Week was the Beer Premier.

Arguably the best event of Beer Week was the Beer Premier.

Friday night’s New Mexico Brewers Guild Beer Premier and Matanza was a unique event and it was my first time attending this festival. It turned out to be my favorite event of Beer Week. As is the case with any event, there were some bumps in the road, but overall it was fantastic.

All the advertising for the event stated the doors would open at 5:30, but the organizers were unaware of this and so some of us were left standing outside waiting for about 20 minutes. However (even though nobody had any beer yet), nobody was overly concerned, and this mellow mood continued throughout the night. I don’t think I have ever seen such a laid-back crowd in Albuquerque, even at a beer festival.

We were very happy to be one of the first ones in the gate, because we were able to secure a table for two in the shade. It was a very warm afternoon and evening, so I felt very grateful for that table and chairs. It’s a beautiful venue, and it was a nice place to spend some quality time with those you love, or those who just love beer. (Note to self: Next time bring insect repellent; I didn’t, and I got a lot of bites right at dusk.)

Good beer to your right!

Good beer to your right!

A few minutes later, the beer began to pour. There were two beer “stations,” one on the south side and one on the north side, with two beer professionals pouring four beers each. I did hear some mild “complaining” about an inability to interact (as advertised) with the brewery staffs. There was representation from breweries, but they were often either roaming around, or not actually pouring their own beer. Again, since everyone was mellow, it came across as comments for improvement rather than actual griping.

It was a slow start for the south side beer station as they had problems with some of the lines, but everyone just gravitated to the north end while that was being fixed. Also, the south side did not have beer lists at the beginning, so nobody really knew for sure what they were ordering. Someone passed out beer information sheets to all the attendees after I was almost halfway through what I most wanted to taste. This probably should be done upon entry.

The beer — oh, the beer! It could be a pretty risky proposition having only never-before-released beers at a festival. On the other hand, it’s a nice change of pace, because having mostly the breweries’ regular beers can get a little stale, so to speak. If this festival was any indication, we have now reached yet another pinnacle in the Albuquerque brewing community. The brewers are at the level where even the more “experimental” beers are so damn good, I would seek out and drink at least 80 percent of them. I started with some of the lighter beers and worked my way to the darker ones. On his third sample, my boyfriend Dave looked at me wide-eyed and exclaimed, “Three for three!” It continued on in this fashion.

Happy beer drinkers as far as the eye could see!

Happy beer drinkers as far as the eye could see!

I decided to rank the beer I tried on a 1.0-to-5.0 scale, as one might on one of the popular beer ranking sites. Two of my fellow Brew Crew Bullpen members were in attendance, and Kristin remarked about having to manually input all the beers into Untappd. Good for you, Kristin, that’s a lot of work! (Since these were never before released, they would not be on there yet.)

There were so many good ones there that I will just relay some of my highest, as well as my lowest scores. Keep in mind in this case, that the lower scores could be affected by a comparison issue because I was sampling so many types of beers. If anyone out there attended the event and wants to share his/her ratings, please email us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com or leave us a message via any social media site. We want to know what you thought about the beers, and the event as a whole!

Higher Scores

  • WINNER (for me): La Cumbre Nitro Barrel-Aged Malpais Stout 4.8 (Just outstanding!)
  • Chama River Heavy Cream Ale 4.4
  • Sierra Blanca Whiskey Stout 4.3 (I heard very positive feedback around me as well for this beer, which actually debuted in four-packs of bottles at Jubilation before Beer Week.)
  • Tractor Summer en Blanc Witbier 4.2
  • Bosque What the Dunkel? Dunkelweisen 4.0

Lower Scores

  • Quarter Celtic Dusk’s Early Night Black Lager 3.8 (On its own it would be pretty good, and it did have some good flavor. There was nothing off about this beer, it just couldn’t stand up to some of the bigger ones for me.)
  • Canteen Grapefruit Hop Baller IPA 3.2 (So many people loved this one, but I wasn’t one of those people. I’m not a big IPA person, but Dave is, and we both had some issues which resulted in a fairly lengthy discussion about this beer. I think this had five hop varieties. To me, I was understanding the Citra and Amarillo hops, but the earthy Mosaic was a strange combination with such a citrusy beer. Your opinion could very well vary.)
  • Blue Corn (“Mystery Belgian” as described by the person pouring) Barrel-Aged Brett Cherry Ale 3.0. It was an oaky, smoky Belgian sour that just wasn’t my thing. Personal preference.

I have to give a shout-out to the mellow crowd. I heard more informed questions and intelligent beer discussion among attendees than I ever have at a local beer event. (Late development — I just got another email from Kristin and she commented on the same thing. It must have been pretty noticeable! We both felt that people really cared about the beer and were not just trying to slam as much beer as possible.)

The food lines got a bit long.

The food lines got a bit long.

Since this is mostly about the beer, I saved my food comments for the end. The staff did a good job of making up tacos in easy-to-walk-away-with containers, but the way the condiments were set up at the end made for a complete logjam. At one point I located one person I knew near the back of the food line and timed that it took them 24 minutes from start to finish to pick up their tacos. The line ended up getting very long for a while, because you would get your tacos, but you had to stand there and hold up any progress while you added your salsa, etc., and the line would stop moving. The line also started to interfere with the north beer station line.

If you could have taken your tacos to another table out of the way where people could go to either side to add toppings, it would have flowed better. I was worried that some people would just decide not to bother with the food. That was a little scary with all the beer that was flowing. I also felt a little disappointed in the selection of toppings. Something I read gave me the impression there would be more things available than one type of salsa (green), loaded with lots of big chunks of onion and cilantro, crema, and more raw white onions and more cilantro. I’m not a fan of raw onions or cilantro. The pork tacos themselves tasted good.

Kristin also noted that there was no vegetarian option. This could easily have put quite a few more people off from eating anything since this was the only food available. It would have been nice to have roasted vegetables for veggie tacos, and some rice along with the beans. (I don’t know if the beans were vegetarian, because I am allergic and cannot eat them).

Hey, look, there's Kristin! And Adam! And the back of Silas' head!

Hey, look, there’s Kristin! And Adam! And the back of Silas’ head! And Karl in a bright orange suit!

Final random thoughts: my other fellow Bullpen attendee Adam and I both thought it may have been our first beerfest that had a DJ. And, I was happy to see Marne and her new cutie-pie baby!

Cheers!

— AmyO

Time for some epic new beers to roll out!

Time for some epic new beers to roll out!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers to that!

— Stoutmeister

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

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

Welcome to the single biggest day of Beer Week.

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

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

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

Featured event

Every day we will pick what we consider the biggest, most interesting, most unique event. This does not mean you should go to only this event and ignore the rest. All of them deserve your attention, but realistically, you can probably only attend a few. So we will make our daily pick, and you can either jump on it, or declare the Crew is foolish (we kinda are) and pick your own.

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

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

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

All the other great events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

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