Posts Tagged ‘Rowley Farmhouse Ales’

There are only four events to choose from, so choose wisely today.

It’s kinda weird that a Friday would end up being the quietest day of Beer Week, but here we are.

There are just four events today, and one of those is actually just a monthly event that happens to fall during all of these festivities. At least each of the four looks fun, especially for those of you like your beers a little tart and funky.

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: Firestone Walker Barrelworks Tap Takeover. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge.

Details: Barrelworks in Buellton, Calif., is a magical place. Now a few of its finest aged beers are arriving here on tap. Take your choice between Agrestic (American Wild Red Ale), Bretta Rose (Wild Ale fermented with raspberries), Bretta Weisse (Berliner Style Wheat Beer), Krieky Bones (Wild Ale fermented with sour cherries), and UnderCurrants (Wild Ale fermented with black currants). Pucker up, people!

Why you should go: Unless you’re planning to visit Barrelworks itself just off the 101 in Central California, this is your best chance to try these beers on draft.

All the other great events

What: La Cumbre Beer Tap Takeover and Cheese Tasting. Where: Whole Foods Academy. When: 1-3 p.m. (tasting), 1-close (tap takeover). Cost: No cover charge. Details: La Cumbre is taking over the taps at the Sandia Saloon inside Whole Foods all day, but for the first two hours there will be a special beer and cheese pairing featuring Blackberry Briar, Miles from Cologne, Mosaic SMASH, Elevated IPA, A Slice of Hefen, and more. Why you should go: Delicious beer paired with delicious cheese. It’s been a theme this year, but you haven’t had LC beers with that cheese yet.

What: Sour Funk Beer Tasting. Where: Jubilation. When: 4-6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Rowley Farmhouse Ales, Steel Bender, Cascade Brewing, and more will be on hand to offer up samples of some of their funkiest, strangest, and most creative concoctions. Why you should go: Free beer. Free sour beer. Just keep those elbows down, beer geeks, and form a single-file line.

What: First Fridays Comedy Contest Beer Edition. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 8-10 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: It’s standup comedy with a beer theme to the jokes. Why you should go: Come for the seasonal beers, stay for the Budweiser jokes.

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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Day One will see the return of Beer, Cheese & More at Marble, Sour Hour at Tractor, and more!

All right, people, it’s go time! Again!

Make sure you have your Lyft and/or Uber accounts up to date, and then start checking off the events you can’t miss. The Crew will be here for you every day with info on every single event.

Look for one or more of us at Nexus, Steel Bender, Marble, and (hopefully) Tractor Wells Park today. We’re going all-out to start this year’s series of events!

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: Beer, Cheese & More. Where: Marble Brewery Downtown. When: 5-8 p.m. Cost: $25.

Details: A tray of five specialty cheeses from Whole Foods Market, plus other delicious munchies, are paired up with five Marble beers — BBBerry Gose, Tickle Factory, Chillsner, Red Ale, and Cholo Stout. Get your tickets at the taproom ASAP before they run out.

Why you should go: This is always a fun event to challenge your palate with some truly terrific pairings. Aren’t you just curious as to what cheese could stand up to the gold-medal-winning Cholo Stout? Also, The High Desert Playboys will provide the music starting at 7 p.m.

All the other great events

What: Homegrown Pils Collaboration Release and Food Pairing. Where: Steel Bender Brewyard. When: All day. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The Homegrown Pils is back, this time made with a new malt from the Colorado Malting Company. To celebrate, it will be paired with a special turkey sausage dish. Why you should go: Delicious food and beer always go together.

What: Nexus Notorious BUN (Big Ugly Nasty) IPA Release. Where: Nexus Brewery. When: All day. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Owner Ken Carson wanted new brewer Randy King to create a heck of an IPA. So, he did. Why you should go: Enjoy this new hop bomb before the joint gets packed for the anniversary party on Saturday and Sunday.

What: Boxing Bear and Rio Bravo Sampling. Where: Jubilation. When: 4-6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Before stocking up for the weekend on beers, make sure to stop by this double brewery tasting, featuring Boxing Bear’s Chocolate Milk Stout, Red Glove, Sucker Punch DIPA, Barrel-Aged Standing 8 Stout, and Coffee Chocolate Stout, plus Rio Bravo’s NM Pinon Coffee Porter and Snakebite IPA. Why you should go: That’s a whole lot of different beers to try and enjoy, plus, they might make your shopping decisions easier.

What: Beer Walk, Run or Crawl. Where: Rio Bravo, Dialogue, Tractor Wells Park, and Bow & Arrow. When: 4-7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: This fundraising event starts and ends at Rio Bravo, with stops at the other three breweries. Get a commemorative T-shirt and $1 off pints at all locations. Wrap it up with a concert at Rio Bravo. Why you should go: With all of the food events going on, you can use the exercise.

What: Sour Hour with Rowley Farmhouse Ales. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 5-8 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The good dudes from RFA in Santa Fe are bringing five sours down for your sampling pleasure, including three new Ab Initios made with blueberry and pomegranate, merlot grapes, and methley plums. Why you should go: Pucker up for this rare and wonderful chance to try some RFA beers without having to drive 60 miles.

What: Canteen Social Capital Beer Release. Where: Canteen Taproom. When: 5-10 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: This batch of Social Capital was made with pink guava, kaffir leaf, and dry-hopped with Citra. Why you should go: Get funky in the Foothills, all while chilling out far, far away from the rest of the madness.

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

It was a festive atmosphere at Tart at Heart last year.

Sour lovers can rejoice for the fourth time as Tart at Heart is set to return to Sister on April 14 from 2 to 5 p.m. To get the scoop, I sat down with organizer Angelo Orona of Craft King Consulting over beers this week.

“It’s going to be a similar approach as the (three) last years,” Angelo said. “Of course, we have a couple tricks up our sleeve. We’ve got really great beers. We’ve got some local breweries, some regional breweries, and of course we’ve got some stuff from Europe as well. We’ve got some ringers.”

VIP tickets are $50 apiece and available online only. That is so customers can order the right size commemorative T-shirt that comes with the ticket. VIP gets customers in one hour early at 1 p.m. with a custom beer glass and unlimited tastings.

General admission tickets cost $35 apiece and can also be purchased online, or at Sister itself or Jubilation. Angelo said that if there are any tickets remaining on the day of the event they will be sold at the door, but Tart at Heart is limited to 300 tickets total. Last year, only about two tickets were available at the door.

One complaint from last year was how jammed it felt inside, so Angelo said they will correct that this time around.

“Last year we got some feedback about how crowded it was,” he said. “Obviously Sister Bar has limited space. They’re known for being a pretty intimate concert venue that has great beer and great food now. But, what we noticed is last year we invited 300 people to Tart at Heart, we’re going to have the same number of tickets, but we’re going to spread the breweries out over a larger area so they’re not all in that U-shape inside the dance floor. Hopefully that will get some better flow in there, spread the crowd out a little bit, so everyone is not bumping while mingling. That was probably the most consistent feedback I heard from last year.”

Fans should expect a little more elbow room at Sister this year.

The popularity of sours has not ebbed since the first Tart at Heart in 2015, and if anything the availability of the style has increased significantly, especially on a local level. Angelo said it would be nice to believe that has event has helped broaden the palates of local beer drinkers, but he explained that it probably goes beyond that.

“We’d like to think so, but honestly it’s really about I think the beer IQ of the common craft beer drinker is way higher than it was when we started,” he said. “I think people go through phases of wanting the highest ABV, hoppiest IPA that they could find. Eventually I noticed a lot of them end up at sours as they progress at stuff. I think the natural evolution of a craft beer drinkers’ palate is to gravitate towards more esoteric and unique beers as they get more experienced.”

The rise of dedicated sour programs at local breweries means more local entries will be present this year.

“This year Dialogue is sending us some beer,” Angelo said. “They’re going to send us a blood orange gose. We have Rowley Farmhouse (and) they’re going to send us three separate beers. They’re going to be pouring out of bottles. They’ll have one beer that’s exclusive to VIP. They’re keeping some of those under wraps, they’re pretty special, (and) they want to keep it a surprise until the event. Marble is going to send us two archived beers that they’re being a little tight-lipped about as well, which is good for us, we like the surprise element of that.”

Angelo said that Steel Bender is also confirmed to attend, and others are lined up, but have yet to confirm.

Among the international entries, one of note is Brewski’s Beet Me With Passion, Honey!, a Berliner Weisse from Sweden made with beets, passionfruit, and honey. Some of the others that have been confirmed are as follows (we will update this list as more beers are announced).

  • Goose Island Madame Rose and Foudre Project #2
  • Bell’s La Pianiste
  • New Belgium Apple Felix (Love Series)
  • Birra Toccalmato’s Salty Angel (from Italy)

There will also be a charity component to the event, with a portion of the proceeds going to a local family that has two children who have been diagnosed with Gaucher disease, a genetic disorder.

Get those tickets fast before they are gone.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

My Post-42

This Friday, Blue Corn is hosting their second annual Cask Festival at the southside location, bringing together at least half of the operational breweries north of La Bajada hill. OK, Burqueños, that’s that big hill between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Blue Corn organized this special event with seven excellent breweries on the roster, including one brand-new, not-yet-open (as of the writing of this article) place, Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery. Blue Corn has always been a great host for beer dinners. If you’ve read my articles, you’d already know it’s going to be an excellent way to spend your Friday night.

Why cask ales, you ask? Well, we all have mixed opinions about cask ales. Some of us enjoy them, some of us are indifferent. Some brewers don’t like to serve beer in them, but they’re a part of the industry, and some would argue it’s draught beer at its best. And, though the process has been around for ages, it’s not likely to go away any time soon, because it’s a part of beer history, and another interesting way to experience something we love.

With cask ales, something else is going on in the beer that makes it different and special, not just a foamy pour from a tap. You see, the active yeast used to carbonate the beer in these metal vessels continues to age the beer all the way until it has been tapped. As the beer ages and conditions, the CO2 created by the yeast will dissolve into the beer, smoothing out the flavors, blending as a painter does colors, and toning down the sharpness of the hops.

Oftentimes, and in a few of the cases below, brewers will add special ‘extras’ to these beers to give them a significant change in flavor profile, something they (as businesses) couldn’t do on a much larger scale, such as additions of fruit, extra dry-hops, honey, and so on. These flavors continue to condition with the beer, and give it more complexity than it had at the outset. Perhaps it loses something in the mouthfeel and in the warmer temperature, but it is still a fun way to test your palate with new flavors. Just imagine, for a minute, that if you could just cut straight through some of the high rocky peaks, you could discover the dense and beautiful vegetation at the bottom of the valley. And, there’s a history lesson in the process, if you really want to get into it. But, let that be your icebreaker at the event.

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Casks from the first Cask Festival at Blue Corn Brewery last year.

Blue Corn Brewery is no stranger to cask beers. As the title of the festival suggests, it’s not the first rodeo for the brewery. In fact, it’s not even the second. Blue Corn has held a few of these sorts of events in the past, and to great success. At one time, the brewery even used to release cask beers every Friday at the Draft Station in downtown Santa Fe. (Ah, the good ole’ days.) The best part of this event is that seven breweries are coming together on one night, to chill out, to laugh, to talk about everything from brewing process to mash paddle size … er, you know, brewer stuff. And, they’re totally accessible to you, the customers, if you’re not shy.

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Dave “Merkin,” head of R&D at Santa Fe Brewing Co., pours us a beer.

Go up to the guys with beards, glasses, or fruit-forward shirts. You’ll find them in the corners of the event — they’re the ones laughing the loudest, and having the most fun because they’re all buddies. They know how to enjoy these things, but, it’s not an exclusive club. These guys are friendly and will absolutely tell you about their favorite beer styles, favorite (other) breweries, favorite brewed beers, and so on. And, if you’re not feeling as chatty as I am after a couple beers, just ask them which brewery they brew for, and thank them for the hard work they do. Not all heroes wear capes, my friends.

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An appetizer from last year’s event.

Included in the price of these seven cask ales are seven appetizers of Blue Corn’s chef’s creation. In my experience, these bites have always been worth the price of admission, even without the beer.

Menu:

Blue Corn Brewery: Barrel Aged Imperial Stout with Cherries

            -Black Cherry Mousse with Chocolate Shavings

Santa Fe Brewing Co.: 7K All Day IPA

            -Marinated Pork Taco with Pickled Onions, Lime Cabbage and Cilantro

Duel Brewing: Fiction Belgian IPA with French Oak and Kaffir Lime Leaves

            -Salmon Ceviche with Habanero and Mango

Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery: Dry Irish Stout with Honey

            -Traditional Irish Stew

Second Street Brewery: XX ESB dry-hopped with Chinook and EKG

            -Beer Battered Alaskan Cod with Malt Vinegar Crisps

Bathtub Row Brewing Coop: Hoppenheimer IPA with Lemondrop Hops

            -Apple-Lemon Mini Cupcake with Mint

Rowley Farmhouse Ales: Biere de Garde with Brettanomyces

            -Gorgonzola Grilled Cheese with Herbed Portobello

Blue Corn was gracious enough to host this event, and we have a good number of participating breweries, but one is so new, that they haven’t sold a single beer in public, to my knowledge. Friday night at Blue Corn Brewery will be your first guaranteed chance to try a beer from Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery. I reached out to Jason Fitzpatrick, co-founder and manager of business operations, and asked him a few welcome-aboard questions.

DSBC: What does it mean to Tumbleroot to officially join the Santa Fe (as well as the whole New Mexico) beer scene?

Fitzpatrick: Joining the ranks of the talent brewers and operators in New Mexico is quite an honor. (Jason) Kirkman and I hatched the idea that was to become Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery two-and-a-half years ago, and the road was tough to get to this point. After many ups and downs throughout the process, we certainly have a greater appreciation for all of those who paved the way.

DSBC: What do you look forward to most about becoming part of this very vibrant scene? And, what are your hopes for your new establishment?

Fitzpatrick: We look forward to bringing something new and exciting to Santa Fe and New Mexico. We are inspired by bits and pieces of our experiences at taprooms, bars, restaurants, cocktail parties, family gatherings, concerts, and travels, and aim to bring all the best of those into one community-centric space. With a capacity for 400 people, our taproom can serve many different experiences at once. We hope that we have succeeded. We hope to become a second home for Santa Feans, and to inspire others to explore and connect with the community.

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Tumbleroot is here, as we saw with Jason Kirkman at Winterbrew 2018.

Why you should go?

For one thing, it’s always fun to taste a beer that’s exclusive to one event. It’s not something everyone can say they’ve had. And, it’s not something you’re likely to find again. The cask beers are usually very interesting, and certainly on the ‘extra’ end of the spectrum.

The food will be excellent and inspired, as it always is, because Blue Corn has a reputation to uphold for its beer dinners. I haven’t been let down yet.

Finally, this is a great opportunity to actually go up to and speak with brewers about what they do, how they make your beer, and what kind of beers they might be making next. Who knows? Your crazy suggestion might just end up in one of their fermenters and on the chalkboards. Or, as in my case, you might convince the brewer to brew something you once loved that’s no longer in the rotation.

The second annual Santa Fe Cask Fest is THIS Friday at 6:30 p.m. The cost of $30 per guest gets you a pour of each cask ale and seven appetizers, and a chance to shake the hand of most of the Santa Fe brewers. It’s a ticket with a built-in VIP pass, and you’re cordially invited. I look forward to seeing you there! To more beer beer events in Santa Fe, and a rapidly growing independent craft scene, we raise them up, cheers!

For reservations call 505-984-1800, or email manager@bluecornbrewery.com.
Address: 4056 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87507

— Luke

2017NMIPACround2-3

If you see me at the event, say, “Hey!” I promise to be on my most reasonable behavior.

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Give ski season a proper farewell with craft beer on a mountain!

This Saturday, the Los Alamos Ski Club is hosting its 70th (!) annual Skiesta festival at Pajarito Mountain, just outside of Los Alamos. Given the extremely dry winter that’s wrapping up, the notion of a festival celebrating skiing may elicit a sigh or a yawn, but rest assured the show will go on! There will be skiing and snowboarding, of course, as well as:

  • Food from the cafeteria.
  • The band Escape on a Horse (alt-country/Americana), playing from 2 to 5 p.m.
  • A 1940s-themed costume contest.
  • And, you guessed it, local craft beer (served roughly from noon to 5 p.m.).

Breweries that will be attending and plying their wares include Bathtub Row, Blue Corn, Rowley Farmhouse Ales, Santa Fe, and Second Street. We were told that Taos Mesa had to bail out at the last minute, which was too late to change the event poster above. At my request, Stoutmeister asked the breweries for their beer lists. The theme clearly seems to be more malt-forward than hop-forward to fit the colder conditions, plus a few Irish-style beers for St. Patrick’s Day. If any other breweries send their lists, we will update this post.

  • Bathtub Row: California Common, AK Pale Ale, Mexican Lager, Irish Red
  • Blue Corn: Peaches ’n Cream, Glasgow Garnet Scotch Ale, Atomic Blonde, Road Runner IPA
  • Rowley Farmhouse Ales: TBA
  • Santa Fe: TBA
  • Second Street: Imperial Stout, U2 Irish Stout, Jordy’s Irish Red, Kohatu IPA, Kolsch, and one more TBA

As usual, complimentary bus service will be running from Sullivan Field next to Los Alamos High School every 30 minutes between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., so take advantage of that.

Cheers!

— Reid

My Post-16

Calling all beer geeks! Many of you have tried, or at least heard of the amazing beer, “Bomb!” from Prairie Artisan Ales (Tulsa, Oklahoma). Maybe some of you haven’t, but that’s OK, too. I’m not calling you out. If you haven’t heard of it, Bomb! is a huge, 13-percent ABV imperial stout aged on chocolate, coffee, vanilla beans, and ancho chile peppers. According to Prairie, “The peppers add just the right amount of heat to complement the intense coffee and chocolate flavors.” For those of you who have had this, you know it’s a big, chewy, complex-yet-pretty-balanced beer.

This Sunday, Rowley Farmhouse Ales is hosting an event at the brewery surrounding this crazy amalgamation of four separate flavorful imperial stouts. It’s not like any beer event I’ve ever been to in New Mexico. It’s called Prairie Bomb! Deconstructed. Is RFA just tapping Bomb!? No sir/ma’am! These mad scientists are messing with the very fabric of creation itself! Well, not exactly.

Other bars and taprooms have hosted similar Bomb! Deconstructed events, tapping all four variants and letting the public blend to their hearts’ content, but this is where the mad science of RFA comes in. According to chef and co-owner Jeff Kaplan, they have the actual recipe straight from Prairie.

Bomb! is made up of a blend of four different imperial stouts with four different flavor components and RFA has a keg of each.

Deconstructed Bomb! Chocolate – Imperial Stout with cacao nibs (13% ABV)

Deconstructed Bomb! Coffee – Imperial Stout with Spaceship Earth coffee (13% ABV)

Deconstructed Bomb! Vanilla – Imperial Stout with vanilla beans (13% ABV)

Deconstructed Bomb! Chile – Imperial Stout with ancho chile peppers (13% ABV)

During this event, you’ll get a flight including each deconstructed stout, plus the constructed Bomb! and of course, a beaker, you know, for science! With that flight full of Bombs! (wow, that’s something you can’t say near a TSA agent), you’ll get a chance to blend your Deconstructed Bomb! variants together, and Rowley and Kaplan will take it back to “the lab.” Then, whoever gets closest to the official artisan blend will win a couple of Rowley bottles and achieve supreme beer geek fame for all time.

rowleyBomb!

Now, it wouldn’t be a Rowley event without puppies. That’s right, this, as with many of Rowley Farmhouse Ales events, supports a local nonprofit to help make life better for our furry friends, something very near and dear to the Rowley crew. This event in particular is supporting NM Pets Alive, a local nonprofit life-saving program for at-risk doggos and kitties. They’re will also have some adoptable puppies on-site during the afternoon.

The event is all Sunday afternoon beginning at 11:30 a.m. To more Bomb!-ass beer events for great causes, cheers!

— Luke

2017NMIPACround2-3

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.

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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!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Help out our furry friends by enjoying a pint or two this Sunday!

We have noted before that sometimes stories slip past us. This latest edition of The Week Ahead in Beer, we focused on Tractor restarting its Beer For Burque program, while missing out on Rowley Farmhouse Ales preparing to restart its charity endeavor for 2018. Let us rectify that.

Pulls for Pups kicks off again this Sunday at 11:30 a.m. The basic setup is that RFA sets aside one tap handle where $1 from every full pour will go to a charity involved with animals. The charities change on a quarterly basis throughout the year. The first one this year will be New Mexico Pets Alive/NextGen Animal Shelter Project.

As RFA wrote on its Facebook page: “This is a truly remarkable, progressive organization that helps more animals find forever, loving homes through innovative means. Their methods are truly exciting, and we can’t wait to introduce them to Santa Fe!”

La Cumbre is donating a keg of Elevated IPA, as well as other beers (including La Negra!) for a tap takeover. All sales from the Elevated keg will go to the charity. For the rest of the next three months, there will be the one designated tap handle rotating between numerous standout beers.

Oh, and there will be animals available for adoption from 1 to 5 p.m., just in case you wanted to take a furry friend home, too.

Get out there and do some good this weekend while still enjoying some great beer.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

To everyone that got tickets in time, we will see you Friday night!

The good news is that the beer lineup at WinterBrew looks excellent. The bad news is that the event is sold out. For those who got tickets, well, here ya go, the full slate of beers that have been reported to the Crew.

There are 18 local breweries attending from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Santa Fe Farmers Market. Most of the Crew will be taking the Rail Runner north, which departs the Los Ranchos station at approximately 4:41 p.m., dropping us off around 6. If you are going, and want to hang on the train, we will be in the last car.

Anyway, what you really want is a list of the beers being poured. We have 17 of the 18 breweries so far, and will continue to update this as more lists appear in our email inbox. To help everyone out, we are picking the top beer on our list for each brewery, either one we have had before or one we are dying to try. Remember, that’s just our opinion, you are totally free to disagree and drink something else instead.

Blue Corn

Top pick: La Santa Oscura. Luke swears by this holiday-themed dark lager. Cocoa nibs, lactose, cinnamon, and Chimayo red chile add to the fun.

The rest: Blue Corn Mexican Lager, Roadrunner IPA, Oatmeal Stout

Bombs Away

Top pick: Coffee Stout. This one is so new it doesn’t even have an official name, but it could wind up being called Shockwave. Or, we’ll just probably go with delicious.

The rest: Willie Pete Wit, BABC IPA, Bombshell IPL

Bosque

Top pick: Fresh Start Breakfast Ale. We have sung the praises of this maple-and-coffee delight of a stout many times. This is the last of it, so be prepared to fight us for the last pour.

The rest: (deep breath) Lager, 1888 Blonde Ale, Elephants on Parade, Scotia, IPA, Down in the Hollow Brown, Open Space Haze 120 West and 41 South, Honey Porter, Nathan Ginger Red Ale, Galaxy Far Far Away

Bow & Arrow

Top pick: Coyote Waits. The barrel-aged imperial mole stout is back, with that wonderful kick of spice mixed in.

The rest: Savage Times Sour IPA, Thirsty Land Foraged Series (Grisette with Navajo Tea), Nomadico IPA

Boxing Bear

Top pick: Low Rye-der IPA. Hey, it’s new for us, so we will jump on a new dose of hops with copious amounts of rye mixed in, at least as a break from the big and malty.

The rest: Featherweight Session IPA, Iron Lung Smoked Porter, Uppercut IPA, Chocolate Milk Stout

Duel

Top pick: Grunewald Imperial Porter. It has been a while since we have had this behemoth of a beer. The best part is if we like it as much as the last batch, we can always head to the brewery (or taproom) to pick up a bomber to take home. Take note, this and the Titian will not be tapped until after 6:30 p.m.

The rest: Bad Amber, Duchamp, Fiction, Cezanne Magnifique, Dark Ryder, Titian

La Cumbre

Top pick: Business Hammock. Yet another tasty, hazy IPA, this one will make its debut mere hours after another, In the Money, goes on tap and for sale in bombers down at the brewery. Double up on the juice!

The rest: A Slice of Hefen, Malpais Stout, Project Dank, Mind Phoq

Marble

Top pick: Galactica DIPA. OK, so apparently the big, hoppy beers are not as rare as we anticipated. That being said, of course we will snag some of this out-of-this-world hop bomb.

The rest: Double White, Pilsner, Imperial Red, Cholo Smooth

Rio Bravo

Top pick: Level 3 IPA. The brewery just redid the recipe for this one, so we are intrigued to see what the staff has created.

The rest: Snakebite IPA, Roadkill Red, La Luz Lager, Pinon Coffee Porter, Grab ‘Em By the Putin, BA Cherry Wheat Cuvee, Lemongrass Wit, plus possibly Cascade Pale Ale and either Blueberry Gose or Ruby’s Ruckus

Roosevelt

Top pick: Green Chile Beer. Hmm, bringing the spice from the plains? That’s a bold thing to do in Santa Fe.

The rest: Portales Pale Ale, Clovis Point IPA, Happy Heifer Hefeweizen

Rowley Farmhouse Ales

Top pick: Sin Barreras. The imperial stout is back, this batch made with coconut and maple. It is always a delight.

The rest: Aromatherapy (IPA), Ab Initio Festivus, Cote-d’Or Cerise Redux

Santa Fe

Top pick: 14K IPA. Wait, what is this? A single keg of 7K that has been amped up so much that the brewery staff dubbed it 14K? Sold!

The rest: 7K IPA, Lustgarten, Imperial Pastry-Free Porter, Black IPA 2.0, Freestyle Pilsner

Second Street

Top pick: Breaking Plaid Scotch Ale. The first beer made at Rufina is a malty beast. We look forward to finally getting some in our glasses.

The rest: Cereza Negra, Agua Fria Pils, 2920 IPA, Civil Rye, Low Winter Sun Sour, XX ESB

Sidetrack

Top pick: Dark Engine Stout. Yes, there will be a cask of this wonderful elixir. They added dark chocolate and coconut. Hey, ever festival needs a proper dessert beer.

The rest: 3:10 to Belen Brown, Buzz Bomb, Pub Ale, Turntable IPA

Steel Bender

Top pick: The Judy. Snag a bottle pour of this saison, aged in chardonnay barrels with brett and peaches. There are not many bottles left at SBB.

The rest: Red Iron Red, Skull Bucket IPA, Brickie American Stout, Die Dunkel Seite

Taos Mesa

All beers TBA

Tractor

Top pick: Russian Imperial Stout. Oh, hello there Luna de los Muertos. We have missed you!

The rest: Mustachio Milk Stout, Spiced Cider, Turkey Drool, Delicious Red Apple Cider

Turtle Mountain

Top pick: Infinitesimus Imperial Stout. A big beast of darkness to finish things off (alphabetically speaking).

The rest: Arsenal Porter, SCH, Depravity Barleywine, Count Hellesarius

* * * * *

A big thanks to the breweries who responded promptly when we asked for their lists. It is always appreciated.

Enjoy the festival!

— Stoutmeister

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Say, Brettanomyces!

Our Look Back/Look Ahead Series continues today with Rowley Farmhouse Ales in Santa Fe. I wanted to find out how their first big year went, talk about their current brewer situation, and find out what direction RFA will take in 2018.

Directly after my interview with Blue Corn, I drove five minutes up the road to RFA, which was holding its Blackest Friday event, and I didn’t want to miss that. I had the day off, and I definitely had another interview in me.

Pulling up to RFA, just a ways down Maclovia Street, located somewhat behind Santa Fe’s best Indian restaurant (in my humble opinion), India House, I immediately noticed the parking lot was full, and cars were parked up and down the street. This didn’t make finding a spot difficult, however, and it certainly wasn’t a bad thing. I soon found owner John Rowley working with assistant brewer Tyler King, and friend and wife of Chef Jeffrey Kaplan, Elissa Ritt. Even on an event day, operations were underway.

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Assistant brewer Tyler King and all-around badass Elissa Ritt

It was a bustling scene. Folks were getting tours, while the brewhouse was firing on all pistons. Everyone was all smiles as it was a good day to be a craft beer fan and a good day to be a craft beer engineer. For the interview, Rowley led me away from the madness to the solitude of the barrel room down below. I felt like Maxwell Smart, and almost expected the cone of silence to descend from the ceiling. Instead, in true down-and-dirty brewery style, we grabbed a couple of crates and faced off between rows of barrels. It was hard not to feel at home.

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Folks gatherin’ ’round for the Black-est Friday event.

Rowley Farmhouse Ales opened on Labor Day Weekend 2016. The staff just celebrated their one-year anniversary.

“It’s been good, pretty steady,” John said. “We had a great summer; summer is kind of the bread and butter of Santa Fe’s lifeblood.”

In Santa Fe, the breweries I’ve chatted with over the years talk of the sales downturn in winter, which sets in typically after the Labor Day mark. There’s a marked slowing of foot traffic and a general thinning of the out-and-about crowd. Perhaps it is because precious beer money is reserved for shopping, or maybe the cold keeps Santa Feans in their cozy homes and drives the tourists away, but whatever it is, it’s pervasive of the scene, and business generally won’t pick up again until after the thaw.

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Looks more like a bottle share than a one-year anniversary party, but I did say they were beer geeks! (Photo courtesy of RFA)

To combat this sort of hibernation period, RFA has continued to have fun events like the Blackest Friday barrel-aged rare beer event, but also keeping the taps fresh with plenty of hard-to-get beers. The thinking here is, John said, beer geeks don’t stop wanting good beer just because it’s cold outside.

“We’ve focused on that as part of our gastropub side of the business,” John said. “We wanted to bring in, not just our own beer, but beer that’s really fucking cool.”

Beer they want to drink, in other words.

“And that’s the bottom line,” John said. “If I wanted to drink it, I would bring it in.”

But, it’s a group effort at RFA, as it always has been. Both Kaplan and Ritt have been integral in curating the tap list to create a haven for true beer geeks in all forms of weather. The outdoor patio, which is actually where the bulk of the seating lies, has evolved to be a good, warm place to get a cold one on a winter’s eve.

Part of the issue Santa Fe breweries have is awareness. For most of them, being established as a go-to place to get a brew has taken time. The locals know about the older guys like Blue Corn and Second Street, and as a result make them their choice Friday-night-with-the-family destination. The new guys, including Second Street’s Rufina location, have the tough task of just getting their name out there, making sure people know implicitly that we can go grab a beer there.

This year, Rowley Farmhouse Ales really got its name out there, being part of some great festivals, including two really big fests held out of state. The annual Midwest Belgian Beer festival in St. Louis, put on by Perennial Artisan Ales, included more than 60 top-tier breweries, and RFA was one of them. There, the staff poured Meier, a Meyer Lemon Gose, named after a fella, Troy Meier, who runs one of the homebrew clubs in St. Louis, in homage to his “Meierlemonparty.org” and clearly his sour sense of humor.

“We poured that beer at Side Project Brewing. For us it was a huge honor to pour at such a cool place,” John said.

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Pints for Prostates Denver Rare Beer Tasting IX. (Photo courtesy of Rowley Farmhouse Ales)

The more recent big pouring for RFA was at the Pints for Prostates Denver Rare Beer Tasting 9.

“That was a huge hit for us,” John said, as RFA poured an Oud Bruin, which had 80 pounds of raspberries in the barrel, and was one of the first beers to pour out at that event. “For us, as a new brewery, that means a lot.”

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Quite a line for Rowley Farmhouse Ales at WinterBrew.

Pouring locally, RFA started off at WinterBrew, which, for the staff, is one of their favorite events in Santa Fe or anywhere. They also did Skiesta up at Pajarito Mountain this year, as well as Pajarito’s Summerfest, which John likened to pouring on the moon.

“At Summerfest, you’re pouring in the dirt and there’s a fine dust that gets allover everything,” John said. “Your legs get all dirty, it’s just everywhere. But, Skiesta is great because we’re on the deck.”

RFA also did BearFest in Albuquerque; they just happened to be pouring right next to the speakers and the brewery got blasted.

“I love Kevin (Davis), and I love Boxing Bear,” John said. “Those guys are great. Hey Kevin, if you’re (reading), don’t leave it at 11. Turn it down to nine or eight.”

RFA’s IPA was also a big hit at Hopfest this year.

At home base, RFA has its own special events and brewery features. The staff is continuing to support the local animals with their Pulls for Pups, where they choose a new animal shelter every quarter and donate a $1 per pour of the designated tap. The beer may change, but the support hasn’t. They typically raise around $1,200 for the shelters and charities, per quarter from your generosity, so cheers to that!

The staff has also continued with a slew of tap-takeovers from big names like Great Divide, Firestone Walker, New Belgium, and the list goes on. Tap takeovers are truly a beautiful thing.

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RFA has grown a lot in a short time.

This year, RFA has worked hard at increasing its beer production. But, the kind of beers RFA is making aren’t the kind that have a quick turnaround. Naturally, it’s taken a bit of time getting a real pipeline going. Beers that needed time to age and condition are becoming more available, as the staff didn’t want to rush anything.

“Next year we’ll have more wood down here,” John said. “We’re not there yet, but we’re getting closer. We want to fill this place up and have more beer aging at all times.”

In the last year, the set of core beers has become a steady set, worthy of the good chalk and the big wall. Agent Scully, RFA’s flagship IPA, has a farmhouse grain bill with flaked oats and malted wheat, with a little ginger marmalade added to keep their Scully a true ginger, as well it should be. The hops have rotated from season to season, but in any event, it’ll turn the largest skeptics into believers.

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They do brew a good-looking beer at RFA.

Another beer kept in the pipeline is the Fields of Rye Saison. This beer has remained pretty consistent in flavor from my first tasting at Santa Fe Brewing’s Oktoberfiesta about a year ago. It’s subtle changes come mostly in ABV, to be a bit more crushable in the summer, John said.

Rowley’s Germophile, a clean Berliner Weisse, has enjoyed great feedback from the local crowd. It’s a refreshing staple at the brewery with malted wheat and pilsner malt, soured with lactobacillus, and finished with a saison yeast.

Ab Initio is a Brett Berliner Weisse, which is one of Rowley’s favorites to play around with. From the dry-hopping to the fruiting, RFA is keeping the promise of changing and evolving beers to keep their tastes fresh and interesting to the crowd and to the staff.

Saison Du Sarlacc is a Citra-Mosaic hopped-up Brett Saison that’s worthy of several more Untappd check-ins itself.

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And there will only be more, soon.

But for Rowley, it’s what’s in the barrels that are ‘The Cat’s Ass.’

“If I could only brew this beer, I would. But we can’t,” John said. “You can’t just live off mixed-fermentation saison, and think that everyone’s going to want to drink it. We’ve got to keep the lights on.”

Rowley’s is not the place to go if you want the same old beer, every time. There are places for that.

“This isn’t cheers,” John said. “I’m not Norm. You come here when it’s time for something fun. Go to a place you can get something fun and new. That’s our philosophy.”

Blackest Friday

We hope they do this again next year.

At the time of the interview, RFA was hosting an event with nine heavy-hitting barrel-aged stouts — impressive, interesting, and some much harder to get a hold of than others, from the likes of Deschutes, Great Divide, Dogfish Head, Odell, Marble, La Cumbre, North Coast, Firestone Walker, and Oskar Blues. It was a must-attend event, and there were a ton of people who got that message.

“It’s the most I’ve seen in a long time,” John said of their first (and hopefully annual) Black-est Friday event. “There were people waiting here when we opened.”

Knowing Santa Fe’s beer scene, I count that as a huge win, and a good start. Rowley was reminded of the Postcards from Hell release at La Cumbre.

“There were a lot of people,” he recalled, “and there was a sell-out in 90 minutes. We’re not California, but we’re getting there. Congratulations to La Cumbre and Modern Times; they did a great job. Loved that beer, and it’s setting up something new here in New Mexico.”

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Jami Nordby was super for RFA earlier in 2017.

Before we started looking torward to the future of RFA, we had to address the present situation. Recently RFA lost their head brewer, Jami Nordby, who is heading off to start up a new brewery.

“Jami has been a fantastic brewer for me,” John said. “He’s a standalone guy, he can just work without any guidance. He’s been with us from the beginning, and he’s leaving at the end of (November). I’m sad to see him go, but at the same time, I really want him to be successful. I’ve known him for a really long time. He’s a good friend. He’s the guy that can run the business and not need any help or hand-holding. He can be the guy, and he will be the guy at his new place.”

Without too many early details, Jami will be opening up a place of his own with friend Rich Headley off of Highway 14. (Editor’s note: Franz Solo will have more on this soon. — S) There he’ll be doing what he does so well, brewing.

“Jami has always been a part of the beer community, and he always will be. It was blow to us, of course, but we have to move on. The beer must flow on,” John said.

Changes await in 2018

Starting off the new year, RFA is currently (casually) looking for a qualified, hard-working, friendly individual with a background in mixed-fermentation and sours. But, until then, John said he is confident that he and the very capable assistant brewer, Tyler King, will tow the line. As a reminder, King has been there from the start as well, and he, too, has been one of their hardest working, intelligent assets. And, they’ve got a good amount of inventory to keep the lines full for a while.

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Work to be done.

New hires aside, Rowley said 2018 will be another year of steady growth, filled with events, festivals, and finding more ways to get the brewery name out there. In 2018, RFA plans to represent New Mexico at the Midwest Belgian Beer Fest again, and it is already slated to be the featured beer at the Rare Beer Tasting X up in Denver, brewing a special beer for the Rare Beer Club. The staff has already been working on an unusual recipe for a smoked juniper Gotlandsdricka, akin to Jester King’s beer, of which Rowley said he found inspiration. They will aim to brew at least 200 cases of bottles for that particular event. It’s a very limited event, so buy your tickets … yesterday.

Speaking of bottles, RFA will continue its current bottling program, selling 750-ml bottles to select local shops and out of the brewery on a smaller scale for now, but that could change as it grows.

As far as expansion plans, it’s more about barrels than square feet. RFA plans to buy a couple of 30-barrel oak foeders.

“We’re going to treat them like a solera,” John said, “where we’re going to pull seven barrels out, put seven barrels in, because we have a 7-barrel brewhouse. We’ll have to brew a lot, at first, to fill them. Over time we’ll have a lot more beer that way, because we’ll have a golden sour base beer to work from, and we’ll have a mixed-fermentation saison to work from.”

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These kegs will be filled in 2018.

Rowley Farmhouse Ales isn’t going to shy away from any beer style in 2018. Rowley told me that he currently has an imperial stout in the tank that he plans to barrel age. And, the staff will also be brewing an award-winning barleywine recipe from homebrew club friends, Jim Steinbach and Kent Steinhaus, appropriately called Steinwine (at the moment). I would personally Google the name, depending on the size of their batch, just to be cease-and-desist safe. (Yeah, Tractor might have something to say about that. — S)

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Kaffeeklatsch: a social coming together over coffee.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the delicious-sounding collaboration RFA did with Iconic Coffee Roasters.

“A Kaffeeklatsch is a social ‘coming together’ over coffee,” John said. “We collaborated with our good friends Chase and Dylan over at Iconik Coffee Roasters for this beer, and we went down a lesser traveled, but super fun path. Most coffee beers are stouts or porters, but we went to the opposite end of the spectrum for this beer. We started with our Germophile base, and hopped it lightly to 5 IBU in the boil with German Hersbrucker hops. We then whirlpooled this beer with a healthy charge of Lake Toba Sumatra, and then co-fermented with a blend of B. Brux var Drei, L. Delbrueckii, and German ale yeast. After a long rest, we dry-hopped the beer with more Lake Toba Sumatra. ABV is a bit high for the style, but we figured since it is coming into winter, this would be a good bonus. Special thanks to Chase and Dylan for helping us brew this beer, and to Iconik Coffee Roasters for the fun collaboration!”

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From left: Sarah Ritchie, John Rowley (RFA), Jay Mead, Noel Garcia of 12 West Brewing Co. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Ritchie, Craft Beer Betty)

Another collaboration RFA just did was with 12 West Brewing Co. in Gilbert, Ariz., on December 6.

“Sarah Ritchie is kind of the force behind them,” John said. (Big shout out to our favorite Craft Beer Betty!) “They also have a really good sour guy, named Jay Mead down there.”

Rowley said they are looking at putting something into the coolship that 12 West just built, and sometime after Christmas they’ll be brewing something interesting with Wren House Brewing Co. in Phoenix. It seems that RFA is really bearing down on Arizona at the moment, but that’s where Rowley’s folks live, and where he spent his college days, so it just makes sense all around, and, rumor has it they plan to be sending some beer down to Arizona pretty soon.

Next year, Rowley said he does plan to get more beer out closer to home in Santa Fe or Albuquerque. More beer capacity at the brewery means more opportunities to do just that.

With three spare tanks, look for new beers to hit Untappd lists soon, such as a French almost witbier called Petit Blanche. RFA will also be bringing back its mixed-fermentation saison brewed with Earl Grey Frances tea, from Artful Tea, called Tea for Two. And, RFA will also go through its list of successful small batches and see what else the staff wants to put in the tank. The public will taste new beers, and get another chance at beers folks may have missed in 2017. It appears that 2018 is going to be funky, and fresh, or funky fresh, if you will.

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I always feel like a baller at RFA. I’m not, but it’s a good feeling nonetheless. This was a great end to a great day of interviews. Look for more soon from the Crew!

“If you’re in town, come and try our kick-ass beer,” John said. “Welcome! Our doors are always open, we’re open seven days a week. We always try to give a great experience. If we don’t, call us out, we’ll fix it. Because, that’s what it’s all about — growing, learning, and doing better. We’ve got great food, and we’ll always have some cool new beers for you to try.”

* * * * *

Growing from special small releases of their own beers, to keeping them regularly on the menu, Rowley Farmhouse Ales has become the kind of brewery the staff first envisioned when they were beneath their first rose banner. Of course, RFA is always growing in barrelage and in seating options, and the beers are constantly evolving, so it’s a brewery that you should never make up your mind about in one sitting. You’ll have to come back, again and again, before you decide who and what Rowley Farmhouse Ales is. If not just to see what new fun beers are on rotation, or what exciting dish Chef Kaplan has just added to the menu, or if you’re simply interested in which fruits they’ve added to Ab Initio, there are plenty of reasons to return.

There’s a saying in New Mexico. If you don’t like the weather, just wait 10 minutes. Well, if there’s not a beer you like yet on the menu (seems impossible), give it a week. And, speaking of which, every Wednesday they tap something special. So, during the winter lull, it really falls on us, my fellow beer drinkers, to patronize these establishments that are working so hard to stay interesting, stay fun, stay fresh, and stay open. Today, we raise ’em up to better beer options for folks searching for something different in the City Different!

Cheers!

— Luke

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Post IPA Challenge Selfie.

Buy me a beer; I’ll buy you two. And subsequently, I’ll probably pay for our Uber. Approach beer-writers responsibly.