Posts Tagged ‘Roosevelt Brewing’

The visually stunning Cloudcroft Brewing was one of several that AmyO visited on her trip south.

Last September, my other half and I thought a quick overnight road trip was in order. We ventured up north to visit some northern New Mexico breweries we had not been to. At that time, we were trying to decide whether to do a northern or a southern route. The time of year pulled us north, then, so it was now time for us to head back out to venture to a few breweries down south.

DISCLAIMER: In the story for the northern tour, I stated that we knew we would not be able to get to everything in the time we had, and the distance we would need to cover. Yet, several readers still commented on how we “missed” one brewery or another. We didn’t miss them. Either they weren’t open when we were in that area, they took us too far off our route, or we just couldn’t fit them in and get where we needed to be in a reasonable amount of time. So, I am going to add a disclaimer here and hopefully people will read it. On this trip we did not go to Las Cruces, because that should be its own trip. We also did not make it to Artesia or Carlsbad because I have already covered The Wellhead in Artesia, the new Hopscotch Brewing north of Artesia is not open on Sundays, Guadalupe Mountain in Carlsbad is also closed on Sundays, and Milton’s in Carlsbad does not open until 2 p.m. on Sundays. For these reasons, and the fact that hotel prices were flat out exorbitant in Carlsbad/Artesia, we altered our originally intended route to instead head back north from Roswell to Clovis and Portales, before returning to ABQ Sunday evening.

We began our journey Friday late afternoon, heading south on I-25, making our first stop at Owl Cafe in San Antonio for a quick break before heading on to Truth or Consequences. FYI, though they make a good burger at the Owl, they sadly have no craft beer game at all. Like zero.


The Crew had just a wee bit of fun at WinterBrew.

After taking Monday off due to the holiday, we are back today with a look at what were the best beers that we tried up at WinterBrew back on Friday. It was another outstanding event, one that every craft beer lover in New Mexico should attend at least once. The sell-out crowd of 700 was a jovial bunch, enjoying the many unique beers being poured from 18 New Mexico breweries.

As for the Crew, well, we all had our favorites. If the others want to chime in here at some point, I will add them to the story. In the interest of not going two weekdays in a row without content, here are a few of my picks for the best of the fest. (Note: Due in part to the Rail Runner arriving in Santa Fe about 10 minutes late and then the decision by security to close all booths 30 minutes before the event was supposed to end, I did not get to all 18 breweries.)

A crowd of 700-plus enjoyed beers from 18 breweries.

La Santa Oscura, Blue Corn: This is a delightful spiced holiday black lager that is still on tap at the brewery in Santa Fe. Flavors of chocolate and cherry mix in with the Chimayo red chile for a nice, warm kick at the end.

Coyote Waits, Bow & Arrow: At last, I got my hands on the barrel-aged version of this imperial mole stout. It is a big, thick beast of a beer, and the barrel effects bring out more and more of the spice, yet it never overwhelms the palate. It is still available at the brewery.

Galactica DIPA, Marble: Apparently this single-hop, double IPA thing is becoming a trend. Even with just Galaxy, this is a complex, wonderfully big beer. It is not yet on tap at any Marble location, so drink up the rest so a handle becomes available.

Sin Barreras, Rowley Farmhouse Ales: Alas, this specialty imperial stout does not appear to be available at the brewery, but everyone can hope for its eventual appearance. Big flavors of coconut and maple left us all wondering, is it a breakfast beer or a dessert beer?

14K IPA, Santa Fe: This one was a bit of a one-off joke, but it still leaves us hopeful for a future edition of an imperial-strength version of the hugely popular 7K. We would also like to thank the SFBC staff for donating a couple of sixers of 7K to our beer fridges.

XX ESB and Breaking Plaid Scotch Ale, Second Street: A pair of big, malty brews from the new Rufina brewhouse caught our eye. The latter is more sweet than peaty, akin to a heftier version of the Scottish at Nexus. The best news, besides being on tap, is that some of the Plaid is being saved for barrel aging.

Dark Engine Stout on cask, Sidetrack: If you have never had any of the cask beers at Sidetrack, now is the time. There is a batch currently available with dark chocolate added to the beer for an even more decadent flavor.

The Judy, Steel Bender: At some point a break was needed from the big malts and hops, so this seemed like a perfect time to try this sweet saison made with peaches and brett, then aged in Chardonnay barrels. There are still a few bottles left for sale at the brewery, so get them fast, as they are quite worth it. Drink this and dream of spring.

2017 Barleywine, Taos Mesa: Our friends from the north came down not with White Walkers, but instead a different beast. It is big, boozy, and not for the faint of heart. On your next ski trip (assuming we ever get snow), make sure to check this one out.

Infinitesimus Imperial Stout, Turtle Mountain: One of the first big beers we tried was this heavy, chocolate-y behemoth. This is more than worth the trip out to Rio Rancho for anyone living on the East Side of Albuquerque. Or the West Side. Or the South Valley. Or, really, anywhere in the state.

We’re pretty sure Karim liked most of the beers he tried.

As for the rest of the Crew, as their thoughts trickle in, I will share them here:

Jerrad: WinterBrew 2018 was certainly a memorable night, perhaps a bit fuzzy after tasting a few of the killer imperial/double styles available. The libations that stood out for me at this event would have to be Bow & Arrow’s Coyote Waits BA Stout, with its smooth touch of spicy heat on oak and dark/roasty malts. On the other end of the spectrum, Bombs Away Brewing Company’s B.A.B.C. IPA was wonderful with its hazy, softer NE-style IPA approach. A few other notable mentions would go to Rowley Farmhouse Ale’s Aromatherapy IPA, Steel Bender Brewing’s The Judy saison, and Rio Bravo Brewing’s Grab ‘Em by the Putin Imperial Russian stout.

Kristin: While I couldn’t try that many beers since I was working the event, I loved Second Street’s Breaking Plaid Scottish. The smooth malty flavor masked its 9.1-percent ABV. This is both a good and bad thing.

* * * * *

That is all from us. Hope those of you that went enjoyed it as much as we did, while for the rest of you, make sure to get those tickets for 2019!


— Stoutmeister

Our trip to visit the breweries of Southeast New Mexico began in this charming town.

Weird spring weather be damned, the Crew did indeed set out on our planned trip to visit the breweries in Southeast New Mexico over this past weekend. Luke and I hit the road and were able to make stops at Roosevelt Brewing in Portales, Desert Water and The Wellhead in Artesia, Milton’s in Carlsbad, and then head to the southwest for a stop at Little Toad Creek.

We found that craft beer culture is alive and well in these smaller towns, though it is often quite different from what most of us are used to in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Despite the small sizes of the towns and the breweries, we found five places all looking to move forward and further expand the reach of craft beer to all corners of our state.

Matt Boin, the brewer at The Wellhead, said the southern half of New Mexico is ripe for a craft beer boom similar to what the north has already experienced.

“I definitely think it is,” Matt said. “I’ve been talking to our owner about possibly expanding our footprint, possibly into one of the nearby towns like Carlsbad. We have a lot of people down here working in the oil fields, natives and people coming from (out of state). Just seeing Milton’s being packed all the time, I think people are literally and figuratively thirsty. … I think we’re definitely on the cusp of coming into our own. I’m excited for it.”

To keep this story from rivaling, or likely surpassing, The Week Ahead in Beer in length, we have split it into three parts, all in the order that we visited the breweries. First up, Roosevelt and The Wellhead.

Roosevelt speaks softly and carries big flavors

Located in an old JC Penny storefront in downtown Portales, Roosevelt has quickly made a name for itself.

Our journey started on Interstate 40 until we reached Santa Rosa, where we took Highway 84 southeast toward Fort Sumner. From there, it was a straight shot east on Highway 60 to Clovis, then southwest on Highway 70 to Portales. Roosevelt is located in the middle of the town, diagonally across the street from the county courthouse that dominates the small downtown.

To simply call Roosevelt quaint would be selling it short. It is one of the more unique setups for a New Mexico brewery, simultaneously charming and sensible. The building gives it a long, rectangular shape from the front entrance to the kitchen and brewing area in the back. It sports high ceilings, but despite a sizable lunch crowd made up of locals, tourists, and college students from Eastern New Mexico, it was not as loud as some ABQ breweries tend to get.

The brewery equipment is visible from the dining area. The kitchen is to the right of the frame.

It is all one open space, save for the mostly enclosed kitchen and then an office on a second floor in the far back. The brewers were not on hand Friday, but on the days they are working one could sit around, enjoy a beer and/or eat a meal, and watch them work. The brewhouse was small, though listed at 10 barrels, with four fermenters and a small mill. In what was likely not a coincidence, there were four beers on tap, plus four guest taps from Bosque, Marble, Santa Fe, and Tractor. Our server told us the Clovis IPA is their most popular offering, showing us that hopheads are not limited solely to the I-25 corridor. Of course, being so popular, it was not available when we visited.

Roosevelt boasts a full menu, with a number of specialty burgers and pizzas listed alongside the appetizers and other sandwiches. Patrons also have the option to build their own burger or pizza. The food was good and filling, made to order, and cooked just right. As Milton’s would show us later in the trip, a small-town brewery does not necessarily have to be a brewpub, but Roosevelt took that form and it has worked out well. The mixed crowd seemed pleased with what was offered.

The hefe, stout, and food were all solid offerings.

We met briefly with owner Justin Cole, who was busy coming and going. The weekend rush was likely on his mind. Cole was originally from Clovis, but attended school at New Mexico Tech in Socorro. He was inspired by Socorro Springs Brewery to start a brewpub in a smaller college town. It has worked out for him, his staff, and Portales since Roosevelt opened in 2012.

The four beers on tap were Golden Lager, Happy Heifer (Hefeweizen), Coffee Porter, and Softly Spoken Stout. The lager was clean and crisp, with just enough sweetness. It is definitely the kind of beer to get a land of macro drinkers interested in craft. The hefe hit the notes one would expect, lots of banana and clove, with a light mouthfeel and a definite easy-drinking status. The porter was good for just being a porter, but the coffee did not pop out very much. The stout was of the sessionable variety (4.6% ABV), so the mouthfeel was light as well, but it did have a fair amount of roasty flavor, with a slight creaminess to it.

The staff of Roosevelt will bend over backwards to help.

Overall, we both enjoyed Roosevelt. It is certainly a brewery we look forward to revisiting in the future. So yes, it is quite worth the 3-hour drive from Albuquerque.

The Wellhead aims to drill up new business

The Wellhead looks simple from the outside, but is quite the raucous local hot spot inside.

We left Portales via Highway 70, continuing on to Roswell, where we merged onto Highway 285. We did want to see the town as we passed through, but good lord, the traffic lights are not timed there in the least. It delayed our arrival in Artesia by nearly a half hour. Our need to get to The Wellhead was to help out brewer Matt Boin, who told us he only had a limited window to meet up due to some car (well, truck) trouble. As it turns out, Matt was able to work things out and meet us in downtown Artesia’s long-standing brewpub.

The Wellhead came into being in 2000, when Frank Yates of Yates Petroleum decided to open a brewpub along Main Street. His brother, Mike Stegall, was the first brewer. Many other brewers have come and gone since, with Matt being the latest to join the brewery back at the start of 2016.

“We’re still growing,” Matt said. “We’ve got a lot of blonde drinkers and wheat drinkers. There’s nothing wrong with that. I try to push the boundaries a little bit, one beer at a time. I made the IPA a little hoppier, made the dark beers a little darker. Milton’s has definitely helped out with that in Carlsbad. I think all together we’re starting something down here.”

The beer lineup during our visit to The Wellhead.

The story that Matt told us was similar to what we used to hear from the brewers just starting out in Albuquerque many years ago. He learned to home brew from his brother-in-law, and it became his primary hobby/passion project. When he got the chance to brew on a commercial level, Matt jumped at the chance.

Oh, but there is a twist one does not find in the northern reaches of the state.

“I actually moved down here for an oil field job,” Matt said. “I do that during the day and I do this in the evening. I’m pretty busy.”

Matt said the chemical process between working in the oil fields and working in a brewery are not all that different. The mechanical process has similarities as well, all of which fit his interests.

Plenty of regulars were filling the seats at The Wellhead during happy hour.

Currently, The Wellhead offers up six house beers and three rotating seasonals. The latter are all Matt’s recipes, with a Black Rye IPA, Brown Ale, and Winter Warmer currently on tap. Slowly but surely, hops are becoming popular, but the primary customers in Artesia are more in favor of beers with less kick.

“I definitely think there’s more of a vibe for IPAs with the younger crowd,” Matt said. “(But) I think the major challenge is people are set in their ways of drinking Miller and Dos Equis. I’ve got a lager strain going right now. I’ve got a Mexican lager fermenting right now. I hope to compete for our Dos Equis crowd. I’m doing a SMASH lager, Vienna and Saaz, which I hope to compete with the Budweiser crowd. I hope to open the door that way.”

The good news for Matt and The Wellhead is that after 17 years, the brewery has quite the loyal customer base, even as the oil jobs surge up and then decline with the fluctuating price of crude on the market.

“There’s definitely some awesome loyalty,” Matt said. “There are guys who have their beer. When I got here, they said I like this beer, we’ve had brewers before who’ve tried to change things, don’t do that, especially with the wheat and the blonde. I’ve definitely been learning to be more consistent.”

The menu offers up a wide variety of foods to pair with the beer.

The Wellhead offers up a full menu with a variety of dishes, ranging from high-end steaks and seafood to more traditional pub fare. Because it has a restaurant license, it also offers wine and hard liquor. The happy hour crowd in the bar was boisterous, a mix of locals and oil field workers, plus a few families, though most of those were in the separate dining room to the right (east) of the bar area. The place was plenty crowded, though many people were skipping the pints of house beers for cans of macro brews and other drinks. Those that did order a house beer went with either the Cisco Canyon Blonde Ale or Indian Basin Wheat.

For now, Matt will keep plugging away. We wish him luck in his quest to push for an off-site taproom, whether in Carlsbad or Roswell or anywhere in the area. The more craft beer, the better, and the more converts Matt and all the breweries of the southeast get only improves our state.

A big thanks to Matt for hanging out and chatting while we downed our samples. The Black Rye IPA had a nice kick from his addition of Citra hops to the mix. The Roughneck Red and Crude Oil Stout were our top picks among the house beers. I guess our palates are a bit different than the folks in Artesia, but we still respect that they are drinking at least some craft.

* * * * *

Roosevelt and The Wellhead offered up two wildly different vibes, but in a way, both fit their towns. The former was in a laid-back farming and college town. The latter was in a booming oil town. Overall, both managed to impress us in their different ways.

Our next two stops brought us to two more wildly different places. Check back Tuesday for our visits to Desert Water and Milton’s.

Until then, if you have a little time off coming up and a hankering to get out of town, you can also look to the south for a craft beer trip. Just a suggestion.


— Stoutmeister

Yes, we are finally visiting Milton’s and the other breweries in Southeast New Mexico. Because we didn’t stick the NM in front of our name for nothing.

Back in the fall, the New Mexico Brewers Guild took several of its members from the Albuquerque area down to the southeastern part of the state to visit the breweries far from the metro area. Yours truly was invited, but I had to finish up a book (due out June 5, FYI) on Albuquerque’s beer history, and could not attend. All these months later, Luke and I have made plans to follow in their footsteps.

This Friday, we are intent on visiting Roosevelt Brewing in Portales, Desert Water Brewing outside Artesia, The Wellhead in downtown Artesia, and Milton’s Brewing in Carlsbad. Our goal is to take in the atmosphere at these places, try their beers, their food (if they serve), and see how they compare to our “big city” breweries. We will be kind, of course, in terms of rating the beers. Our purpose to is to introduce all of you to these places, which we know many of our primary readers have never visited before. We do not intend to be overly critical and compare these places to the much larger and better-funded breweries along I-25, but instead we will judge them on their own merits in the context of the smaller towns they inhabit.

If possible, we will have a story for each brewery that will run next week and beyond. We will be posting on all three of our social media outlets (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) live as we go.

The Crew made a pledge to get out to the breweries beyond the ABQ and Santa Fe areas, and we intend to follow through. We have already run Andrew’s stories on Three Rivers Brewery and 550 Brewing in the northwest, now it is time to catch up with the breweries in the opposite corner of the state. Then, schedules permitting, we will head up to the Taos area this summer, and down to Las Cruces at some point in later summer/early fall.

Of course, weather may not be our friend this weekend, but we will endure what we can. The catch may come Saturday, when we will try to be crazy and drive all the way from Carlsbad to Silver City in time to catch Toad Fest. This street party (weather-permitting) in downtown Silver City has been on our list of “must attend” events. Plus, we have never actually visited Little Toad Creek’s location in Silver City, so we can pull off a two-for-one there.

And, if we are really lucky, we may be able to stop by Truth or Consequences Brewing and meet their owners, as they have told us they are just a month or so away from opening.

Wish us luck, and good weather.


— 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.


— 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!

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.


— Stoutmeister

A 2016 membership card taken atop the laptop that this story was being written on ... it's the most meta photo of all time.

A 2016 membership card taken atop the laptop that this story was being written on … it’s the most meta photo of all time.

A while back we asked for info on every brewery’s membership/mug club for 2016.

And we waited.

And we waited some more.

So here, with much fanfare, we finally present our annual guide, as we could not wait any longer. It only features 11 breweries, two of which share the same membership card, and only one outside the ABQ metro area (Roosevelt Brewing in Portales sent us their info without us even asking). Sorry we could not get more, but if they are not going to provide the info, there’s nothing much we can do.

Of course, if anyone not listed here happens to see this and wants their brewery’s information included, email it to us ASAP.

Canteen Brewhouse
Cost: $35
Start date (if any): Jan. 1-Dec. 31
Discounts: $.50 off pints, $.75 off 22-ounce beers,
Swag: Mug Club T-shirt or filled 64-ounce growler
Special events: four members-only events throughout the year

Chama River/Blue Corn/Draft Station
Cost: $10
Start date (if any): Jan. 1-Dec. 31
Discounts: 22-ounce beers are pint price, $1 off pints, 10% off kegs, $1 off growler refills, $.50 off half growler refills
Swag: none
Special events: none
Notable: Your discount will be honored at Chama River, Blue Corn’s two locations in Santa Fe, and both the ABQ and Santa Fe Draft Stations.

La Cumbre
Cost: $35
Start date (if any): Jan. 1-Dec. 31
Discounts: 20-ounce beers for pint price, for other discounts, ask the brewery
Swag: 22-ounce bomber of your choice with purchase
Special events: TBA

Cost: $30
Start date (if any): good for one year from date of purchase
Discounts: $1 off 16- and 22-ounce beers, $.50 off 10-ounce beers, $1 off growler fills, 10% off kegs
Swag: 32-ounce growlers filled with a classic style
Special events: member merchandise discount days, plus special releases for members and private parties (new for 2016)

Nexus “Nexus Neighbor”
Cost: $35 (single), $50 (couple)
Start date (if any): from day of sign-up, now for lifetime
Discounts: $1 off 16- or 20-ounce beer, $1 off growler refills, 10% off keg purchases
Swag: choose between Nexus logo T-shirt, Nexus logo cap, free growler filled with beer of your choice, or two Nexus logo glasses
Special events: invitations to exclusive members-only events are included
Note: $5 of every membership (or $10 for couples memberships) goes to the community fund for non-profits

Cost: $25
Start date (if any): one year from date of sign-up
Discounts: money off on pints and growlers
Swag: special designed growler filled
Special events: unique releases for mug club members, raffles for winning a name the beer contest, or to make a beer with the brewer

Rio Bravo “Adventure Club”
Cost: $35
Start date (if any): good for one year from date of sign-up
Discounts: $1 off pints, 25% off growler refill on your birthday, 10% off growler refills, special discounts on beer purchases
Swag: pint glass or shot glass with logo, 64-ounce growler filled, T-shirt or hat, monthly newsletters
Special events: private members-only tastings and holiday parties

Roosevelt Brewing
Cost: $100
Start date (if any): Jan. 1-Dec. 31
Discounts: 25% more beer all year (20-ounce beers for pint price), 25% off apparel
Swag: specialty mug, free specialty pizza or burger, full growler, logo pint glass
Special events: none

Tractor Brewing Company “Beer Farmers Co-Op”
Cost: $35
Start date (if any): Jan. 1-Dec. 31
Discounts: $1 off pints, $1 off package (no discounts on half growlers), 10% off kegs
Swag: 64-ounce growler
Special events: invitations to and discounts for events

Turtle Mountain
Cost: $35
Start date (if any): Jan. 1-Dec. 31
Discounts: $1 off pints and growlers, $10 coupon for every $100 spent on food and beer, 10% off merchandise
Swag: Mug Club steins for in-house use, VIP cards to keep track of purchases
Special events: none

* * * *

We hope that helps with your holiday shopping for 2015-16. If you have questions, contact us or the individual breweries. There are direct links to all the breweries here on our site.


— Stoutmeister

Yeah, we had fun. As if you couldn't have guessed that beforehand.

Yeah, we had fun. As if you couldn’t have guessed that beforehand.

Well, that was fun! The Brew Crew was part of the 90-plus judges who took part in the inaugural VIPA Challenge on Sunday afternoon at the Sandia Casino. This preliminary round of the annual New Mexico IPA Challenge was designed to narrow what has become a crowded field of 25 IPAs down to the 14 the masses will taste at the regular three-round NMIPAC that starts this coming Saturday.

Did it go off without a hitch? No, but overall it was an outstanding event. It was efficient, well-organized, and went smoothly for those of us who were judging. For the record, the Crew was represented by myself, Franz Solo, Mrs. Solo, Brandon, Adam, and Laura. We were joined at our table by Dana, the organizer of Babes in Brewland, and her husband Matt (two of our more frequent partners in crime, for the record). As a collective, we mostly agreed on the top seven or eight beers.

And about those seven or eight, it is going to be a heck of an upcoming NMIPAC. It is a tight, vicious field, filled with so much hop-tastic excellence that we can only pray most of you have an easier time than we did (we didn’t have to rank them 1-14, but most of us did anyway).

The beers were sent out in batches of eight. We also had lots of food and water to help cleanse our palates.

The beers were sent out in batches of eight. We also had lots of food and water to help cleanse our palates.

Now for the part you have all been waiting for, here are the full results from the VIPA. The number in parentheses is what the beer was numbered on our trays. The top 14 advance to the regular NMIPAC.

  1. Chama River (9) 94 votes
  2. Bosque (19) 91 votes
  3. Canteen (4) 89 votes
  4. Marble (18) 85 votes
  5. Boxing Bear (13) 84 votes
  6. Blue Corn (11) 79 votes
  7. La Cumbre (7) 73 votes
  8. Turtle Mountain (3) 68 votes
  9. Second Street (20) 62 votes
  10. Ponderosa (10) 60 votes
  11. Three Rivers (23) 56 votes
  12. Spotted Dog (1) 54 votes
  13. Back Alley (17) 46 votes
  14. (tie) Pi (8) 45 votes
  15. Taos Mesa (6) 45 votes — so yes, both will participate
  16. Lizard Tail (5) 41 votes
  17. Red Door (21) 36 votes
  18. Bathtub Row (12) 28 votes
  19. Sierra Blanca (22) 25 votes
  20. Tractor (14) 21 votes
  21. High Desert (15) 20 votes
  22. Kaktus (2) 19 votes
  23. Roosevelt (16) 16 votes

Yes, there were supposed to be 25 breweries, but something happened (we were unclear) and Sandia Chile Grill’s IPA was not available. It may be allowed into the main NMIPAC, but that is to be determined. UPDATE: We received an email from the Guild about what happened to SCG. This is what Chris Goblet had to say: “I just wanted to let you know that Mick and Clinton Coker did deliver their keg and it was our oversight that kept them from participating today. I want to be sure that I, meaning Chris Goblet as the representative of the the Guild, am accountable for the mistake.

“I have offered Mick and Clinton the opportunity to put their beer forward to be judged as the rest. It may seem unfair to some, but all beers are judged in the IPA Challenge for their merit, and every Challenger’s beer deserves to be judged. I am not certain if Mick and Clinton will choose to continue but I honestly hope they do. Please note the Guild is taking the responsibility for this oversight if you make any updates or further comments.”

As for the 25th entry, Santa Fe’s IPA simply would not pour. We got a sorta-sample and smelled … something bad. Something went horribly wrong with a beer that Luke told us was downright epic when he had it at SFBC itself.

Besides that, as I said before, this was an excellent event. Kudos to Chris Goblet and everyone else from the NM Brewers Guild who put it together. We were happy to help in our small way, getting people to sign up and doing our best to promote the event. It was fun getting to meet some of our readers for the first time.

Cheers to the first VIPA Challenge!

Cheers to the first VIPA Challenge!

Oh, and the best part is the whole thing ended in time for us to see Carli Lloyd go straight Gojira on poor Japan in the Women’s World Cup final. U-S-A, U-S-A!

The Crew will have full coverage of the next three rounds of the NMIPAC. Look for our writers in Santa Fe, Las Cruces (hopefully), and finally at Boxing Bear here in Albuquerque on July 18, where the next IPA champion will be crowned.


— Stoutmeister

Behold, the hopped mysteries of the pint.

Behold, the hopped mysteries of the pint.

“In the broader sense, I’m wondering how many medals New Mexico will score at Great American Beer Festival,” said New Mexico Brewers Guild director Christopher Goblet. “IPA is only one section within GABF, but let’s wave that ‘NMIPA’ flag proudly.”

He’s right. I make a formal motion for all of us to turn that flag into a formal #NMIPA hashtag and brandish it proudly. Full disclosure — I’m a fan of hops. I know it’s trendy, and I accept all the responsibility (and the chance I may be called a hipster) that goes along with declaring myself an IPA fan. But there’s something notable happening here in New Mexico. These hoppy beers that we get to order at the local pub are being recognized nationally.

Christopher Goblet, the Beer Ambassador for New Mexico, tests a sip of Second Street's IPA entry in this year's glassware

Christopher Goblet, the Beer Ambassador for New Mexico, tests a sip of Second Street’s IPA entry in this year’s glassware

So what’s the big deal with the VIPA Challenge? And, wait … isn’t there an IPA Challenge coming up? Yes, there is. The bigger question is how do we narrow down all of this hoppy goodness to just 14 samples on a tray when there are 25 New Mexico breweries entering their finest concoctions? That’s where you come in. This is your chance to put your hops knowledge to the test and make it count. By attending the VIPA Challenge this Sunday, you will be casting your vote for those final 14 brews that make it onto next week’s tasting trays. Then, when your friends show up for the IPA Challenge later this month, you can say you had a part in deciding who was on (or off) the island.

Some of our own Dark Side Brew Crew members will be official judges at the VIPA Challenge. I thought it prudent to ask a few of them what their hops preferences tended towards, just so you know what you may be up against should you choose to show up and cast your vote.

Brandon: “What I like most is an IPA that has some complexity in its makeup with the malt bill and hop profile, and a hop profile that shows different dimensions of each strain used.”

Franz: “I am a lover of hops in all forms. American style is by far my favorite over English and I love both brutal bitter and aromatic tropical creations. Currently I’m on a tropical sweet trend as my own batch of Sturmbrau Blitzhammer double IPA will attest.”

Adam: “Grew up English style, convert to the way of the West Coast in recent years.”

Laura: “My IPA preferences are citrus and tropical fruit with a great malt balance. But any well-made, complex, balanced IPA is very much appreciated by my palate.”

Brewers beware. And hops fans, you’ve been warned! The hop-sophisticates this Crew represents could be a veritable tipping point for the VIPA Challenge.

For $40 (single entrance ticket) or $70 for two, you’ll enjoy the right to be an official hops snob alongside the judges and cast your vote for the best hoppy brews from around the state. To sweeten the pot, you’ll get a T-shirt, the official IPA Challenge glass, an insulated six-pack cooler, plus $5 off admission to any New Mexico Brewer’s Guild event for the remainder of the year. Learn more at (Editor’s note: This is the Enthusiast Membership we were helping people to sign up for during ABQ Beer Week. — S)

Cast your vote for your favorite hops concoction on Sunday, and help usher in the next phase of #NMIPA. Our state has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to hops, and we humbly plead for your help.

nmipaThe full list of breweries who will be participating in the VIPA, as provided by the Guild (subject to change).

  1. Back Alley Draft House
  2. Bathtub Row
  3. Blue Corn
  4. Bosque (defending champion)
  5. Boxing Bear
  6. Canteen
  7. Chama River
  8. High Desert
  9. Kaktus
  10. La Cumbre
  11. Lizard Tail
  12. Marble
  13. Pi
  14. Ponderosa
  15. Red Door
  16. Roosevelt
  17. Sandia Chile Grill
  18. Santa Fe
  19. Second Street
  20. Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande
  21. Spotted Dog
  22. Taos Mesa
  23. Three Rivers
  24. Tractor
  25. Turtle Mountain

The format of the event, for those participating, is as follows. The doors at Sandia Casino, ballrooms A & B, will open at 11:45 a.m. Settle in and grab a table with friends. Bring your ticket(s) and a valid ID. At 12:15 p.m. things will begin with some opening remarks from the Guild, at which point you will receive the first tray of 13 IPAs. There will be palate-cleansing snacks, water, and other finger food available to keep the hops from hammering you into submission. Take some serious notes, then pick your seven favorites from that tray. After a break, you will get a second tray of 12 beers. Take your time, take some notes, keep your palate as fresh as possible, and ultimately pick another seven. These 14 beers will be your choices to reach the main rounds of the IPA Challenge. Please remember, you do not have to finish every sample, not even the ones you really like. Dump buckets will be available.

Above all, have fun, enjoy the camaraderie of your fellow hopheads, and may the best IPAs win!


— Julie (with an assist from Stoutmeister)

The first beer festival of 2015 is upon us. WinterBrew is set for Friday at the Santa Fe Farmers Market from 4 to 9 p.m. The event, run by the New Mexico Brewers Guild, has already sold out all 750 of its tickets. So for those 750 lucky people, this preview is for you. For everyone else, um, live vicariously through us?

One of the best festivals every year is set for Friday.

One of the best festivals every year is set for Friday.

As always when we preview festivals, the number one question is “what beers are being poured?” Before we get to that, take note of some important things.

How to get there: You can drive up or take the RailRunner. We recommend the latter, though you won’t be able to attend for the full five hours. It leaves the Downtown ABQ stop at 4:26, Montano at 4:35, and Los Ranchos/Journal Center at 4:41. You’ll arrive at the Santa Fe Railyard at 6:03 p.m. if everything goes to schedule, so that’s still almost three hours of drinking time.

Don’t drink on an empty stomach: There will be food vendors on site, including Blue Corn, Second Street, Santa Fe Culinary Academy, and Bambini Philly Cheese Steaks. Food plates are supposed to range from $2 to $8. If you have the time, though, we always recommend you eat a late lunch to keep your stomach full before all the sampling starts.

Beyond the samples: You do get a ticket for one free pint of your favorite beer. You can purchase additional pints afterward.

WinterBrew does get crowded, but pace yourself and you will get all the beer you need.

WinterBrew does get crowded, but pace yourself and you will get all the beer you need.

Our best advice: Pace yourselves. It’s a fairly confined space, but things tend to move pretty quickly. Whether you are there for all five hours or less, there is plenty of time to try all the beers you want. And it never hurts to ask what may be on tap at the breweries, so you can focus only on the exclusive beers.

All right, without further adieu, here are the beer lists we received for most of the 17 participating breweries. If we get the missing lists in time, this article will be updated, have no fear. (UPDATED: We got Duel and Tractor, look below!)

Abbey — Monks’ Ale, Wit, Dark Ale, Dubbel Reserve, Tripel Reserve, and maybe Kirstall Weissbier (which is brand new and may or may not be ready in time)

Blue Corn — Gee-Eyed Stout, Road Runner IPA, two more TBD

Blue Heron — Aurora IPA, Penasco Porter, two more TBD

Bosque — Slack Jaw Imperial Porter, Slack Jaw on nitro, Jet Black Winter on cask, Mystery Man IPA, Fall Out Pils, Bosque Lager, Pale Ryder, Scotia Scotch Ale, Old Man Jameson

Boxing Bear — Chocolate Milk Stout, Iron Lung Smoked Porter, Paw Swipe Pale Ale, Black Eye-PA, and either Ambear Ale or Uppercut IPA

Duel — Titian, Dark Ryder, Grunewald, Fantin, Bad Amber, Marcel, plus sips only of Goya, Tableaux 15, Still of the Night (there will also be some bottles for sale, including Goya)

La Cumbre — Slice of Hefen, Malpais Stout, Elevated IPA, Project Dank, Cafe Con Leche, Simcoe Pale Ale, Red Ryeot

Marble — Imperial Stout, Double IPA, Red Ale, Double White

Ponderosa — Nikolaus Spiced Lager, Ghost Train IPA, The Dark Demon ICDA, Imperial Sawmill Stout

Red Door — Stormtrooper Imperial IPA, O.D.B., Gateway Blonde, Trappe Door Wheat, Roamer Red, Unhinged Cider

Roosevelt — we did not hear back yet

Santa Fe — Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, Black IPA, Java Stout, Kriek, BB-Aged Imperial Smoked Rye Porter, Double White IPA, Barrel-Aged Sour State Pen Porter

Second Street — Fulcrum IPA, Pivotal IPA, Mosaic IPA, Rod’s Best Bitter, Foreign Extra Stout, Bastogne Special Bitter (featuring Mosaic), Cream Stout, Kolsch

Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande — Milk Stout, Alien Imperial Stout, Pancho Verde Chile Cerveza, Alien Amber, Desert Pils, Bone Chiller Brown Ale, Sun Chaser Pale Ale

Taos Mesa — we did not hear back yet

Tractor — Double Sickle DIPA, Wonder Weisse, Luna de los Muertos Russian Imperial Stout

Turtle Mountain — Heidelberg Helles, Munich Dunkel, Hopshell IPA, Cafe Bella Coffee Porter

Franz Solo, Mrs. Solo, Luke, and I will all see you at the Railyards!


— Stoutmeister