Posts Tagged ‘Second Street Brewing’

Here are your results from round two of the NM IPA Challenge!

The IPA Challenge continued today in Santa Fe at Second Street’s brand new third location on Rufina Street. That’s right, THIRD LOCATION! Second Street hasn’t quite opened fully to the public, but they are just about ready for business, and without spoiling anything (because we’ll have the whole full review after they open), it’s one fantastic space with a ton of potential. But, since this a post about the NM IPA Challenge, I’ll get straight to the results:

Brewery – Tray# — Total votes

Boxing Bear – #14 – 52 (1st)

Canteen – #15 – 42 (2nd-tie)

Quarter Celtic – #1 – 42 (2nd-tie)

Bosque – #3 – 39 (4th)

Starr Brothers – #6 – 34

Marble – #11 – 31

Tractor – #10 – 30

Second Street – #8 – 28

Bow & Arrow – #2 – 26

Steel Bender – #4 – 21

La Cumbre – #13 – 16

Ponderosa – #9 – 12

Picacho Peak – #12 – 7

The 377 – #5 – 7

Blue Corn – #7 – 5

Choices, choices, choices …

These are the aggregate totals, so the big winners of the round were defending champion Boxing Bear (37 votes), Quarter Celtic (33), Canteen (29), Starr Brothers (24), and Bosque and Tractor (23 apiece). Those who found Second Street to be a much tougher venue included Steel Bender (4, after 17 in the first round), as well as Blue Corn (4) and The 377 (4), which led in the elimination round, but has not made an impact so far with the voters in Las Cruces or the City Different.

It was a another well-run event by the NM Brewers Guild. Everyone in attendance had a great time. It was definitely tougher than usual to choose a winner. Of course, there were some outliers on both sides of the coin, but another great testament to how good and diverse our IPAs are in New Mexico.

Why yes, Second Street’s Rufina location is awesome!

Someone asked me during the event if we’ve reached a saturation point. I think that with more breweries, more people have a greater opportunity of trying good beers, and becoming more discerning. The more discerning we become, the harder our brewers have to work at keeping up the quality. Quality floats, in my opinion. But, with these results, we see some familiar names.

Plus, we all know the rules always change on the last leg in Albuquerque. See you at Steel Bender next Saturday!

To all of our great New Mexico IPAs and the fearless brewers who brew them, cheers!

— Luke

If the first-round results are any indication, this is gonna be a close battle to the end! (Photo courtesy of Skye Devore)

First off, pardon the fact I did not publish this last night. I actually received the photo above while driving on I-40 back home (pulled off at Clines Corners to do the social media post) from Tractor co-owner Skye Devore (thank you!). Anyway, let us delve into the first-round results of the NM IPA Challenge, held Wednesday night at Picacho Peak Brewing in Las Cruces.

There was quite a bit of social media commotion after the elimination round last weekend, when many folks seemed to object to the fact all three hosts of the main rounds get byes. As if the universe needed to slap them upside the head with irony, Steel Bender, which only got six votes in the preliminaries but still advanced, ended up leading everyone in Cruces. So, yeah, all that griping that the final-round host didn’t belong? Good job, universe!

It was not a runaway win, however, as Steel Bender nabbed only 17 votes. Lurking right behind were two heavyweights, with two-time champion Bosque (2014-15) picking up 16 votes and defending champion Boxing Bear snagging 15 votes.

Three breweries then tied for fourth place with 13 votes. It was a good showing from Marble, which surprisingly never won this event, while four-time champion Canteen was right there, as was relative newcomer Bow & Arrow. Another fairly young brewery took seventh place as Starr Brothers earned 10 votes.

Quarter Celtic and Second Street, the host of the second round, tied for eighth with nine votes apiece. Tractor was 10th with seven votes, while La Cumbre had six votes for 11th place. Ponderosa, which was Brandon’s pick off his tray in the elimination round, only got four votes for 12th place. The 377, which racked up the most votes in the elimination round, only earned three votes from the folks in Las Cruces. Tying for 14th place with just one vote apiece was Blue Corn, a past champion, and host Picacho Peak.

Overall, 137 votes were cast, which is a pretty good showing for Las Cruces, or anywhere outside of Albuquerque. The second round, set for Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at Second Street’s new Rufina location, should get around the same, or hopefully even higher. It will be fascinating to see how the Santa Fe faithful vote in comparison to their southern brethren (which included a lot of folks making the drive up from El Paso). Rarely has the first-round leader held onto that distinction after round two.

The elimination round in Albuquerque had about 300 votes cast, so we fully expect a massive turnout on July 29 at Steel Bender, likely with well more than twice as many votes cast as the first two rounds. A lot will still be decided, but for now at least, some breweries have to be feeling good about their chances, while others figure to be heading back to the drawing boards for 2018.

As for the ongoing complaints on social media, we agree that the NMIPAC is not a perfect setup. It is designed first and foremost to be the single largest fundraiser for the NM Brewers Guild, not to be the perfect competition. That is the primary reason host breweries are willing to give up four hours-plus of business in the middle of their busiest season, all while offering up what is likely the single most expensive beer they brewed all year long for people to drink for free. They know that the Guild needs this money to fight the good fight against the anti-alcohol and tax-everything-to-death forces in the State Legislature. For a small but vocal minority of beer drinkers to spend all their time on social media trying to tear down this event, you are doing a disservice to the entire brewing community. It is one thing to offer up suggestions on future improvements (we, for one, believe that the other two host breweries should have followed Picacho Peak and not participated in the elimination round at all, thus freeing up those 18 votes that went to Second Street and Steel Bender to be distributed to the other 33 competing breweries), but it is another to rant about non-existent bias, to call this whole thing flawed. Is it perfect? Again, no, but it is the setup we have and what we must deal with until/if the Guild membership votes to make changes.

In other words, get out there and have some fun, damn it! Craft beer is all about that, right?

Thanks to everyone down south for heading out to vote and to Picacho Peak for hosting. Thanks to John Gozigian for his tireless work every round, and again, thanks to Skye for keeping us updated, even when on the (literal) road.

Luke will be covering the second round for us from Santa Fe, so look for his updates Saturday afternoon. A whole slew of us will then be at the finale.

Until then, I need a really, really long nap.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The variety in beers is impressive this year!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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The crowds will be out in force again this weekend for the annual Outside Bike & Brew Festival in Santa Fe.

Hey, everyone! Luke and Julie here from Dark Side Brew Crew, Santa Fe squad. This weekend, the fourth annual Outside Bike & Brew Festival returns to Santa Fe with four more days of cycling and craft beer events.

This great week-long beer-meets-adventure bash officially begins Wednesday with a kickoff party at Santa Fe’s still-fresh venue, The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing, and continues with guided brewery bike tours during the day and beer dinners in the evening. Each event brings bikes and beers together in the perfect union of suds and sun (hopefully), and culminates this Saturday with a celebration of all things outside, with food trucks, music, and good breweries that love the great outdoors!

If you like beer, bikes, and getting outside, this event is not one to miss! While there are plenty of cycling events to choose from for the whole family, we know you’re here for the beer, so let’s get down to business. If you’re more interested in ABV than RPM, the following is a roundup of what you can expect from this week’s event.

Wednesday

Bike to Work Week with Second Street Brewery (all locations)

“Wednesday is Bike to Work Week, and all three of our locations are part of a “first annual” SSB scavenger hunt cooked up by new Rufina front-of-house manager, Mariah Scee, in cooperation with the City of Santa Fe. We will be having an outdoor area to gather in, along with souvenirs and snacks that will be given away at the Rufina location. The Railyard and Original locations will be the places to go for full service eating and drinking.” — Rod Tweet, Owner/President, SSB

Marble Brewery Tap Takeover

Fire & Hops Gastropub, 5 p.m.

Food specials and limited brews from Marble’s NE Heights Brewery

Benefit for Velo New Mexico, a nonprofit promoting and celebrating cycling in New Mexico

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Bikes, brews, and tunes, too.

Thursday

Bike & Brew Kickoff Party

The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing, 7 p.m.

Enjoy Santa Fe Brewing craft beers with dirty, organic California soul music from Orgone

Tickets can be purchased here.

Beer Dinner Feature: Bodega Prime featuring a selection from Rowley’s Farmhouse Ales

Enjoy a great beer dinner at Bodega Prime with beers from RFA, before heading out to The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing for the Kickoff Party!

On the menu:

  • Fields of Rye Saison with snapper, crab, peas & celeriac
  • Saison du Sarlacc with roasted carrots with harissa & pistachios
  • Ab Initio with spring duck, morels & grass
  • Ab Initio – Boysenberry with charred onion salad with walnut salsa
  • Agent Scully IPA with smoked bliss potato & egg yolk ravioli, pork & asparagus
  • Sin Barreras Nutella with chocolate bouchon with caramelized beer ice cream & coff­ee

Reservations are required. Call (505) 303-3535. The cost is $65 per person.

Bodega Prime is located at 1291 San Felipe Ave., Suite A, Santa Fe, NM 87505

Cowgirl Tap Takeover & Beer Dinner featuring Sierra Nevada

The Cowgirl is located at 319 S. Guadalupe St. For more information, call (505) 982-2565 or check out their website.

Loyal Hound Pub featuring a selection from Canteen Brewhouse

The Loycal Hound is located at 730 St. Michaels Dr. For more information, call (505) 471-0440 or check out their website.

Friday, May 19

Tour de Brewer

Start times: 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m.

Saddle up at the Santa Fe Railyard Park for a round trip ride with stops at Rowley’s Farmhouse Ales, Duel Brewing and the newest Second Street Brewery location in the Rufina District.

Rod also says lucky cyclists may indeed get to take a peek at the new brewing facility on Rufina, and sample a few of the new beers! What!? So, lace up those, um, bike shoes … and shorts!

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.

Dr. Field Goods featuring Deschutes Brewery

Dr. Field Goods is located at 2860 Cerrillos Road, Suite A1. For more information, call (505) 471-0043 or check out their website.

Handcrafted Bike & Beer Show

Santa Fe Farmers Market Building, 5-9 p.m.

The first 500 people receive a custom Bike & Brew logo stainless cup.

Breweries include: Deschutes, Broken Trail, La Cumbre, Red Door, Santa Fe Brewing, Second Street, Starr Brothers

Tickets are $15 to $25 and can be purchased here.

Saturday, May 20

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2016 Tour de Brewer, SFBC

Tour de Brewer

Start times: 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m.

Saddle up at the Santa Fe Railyard Park for a round trip ride with stops at Second Street Brewery, Blue Corn Brewery and Santa Fe Brewing Company. Cyclists will speak with head brewers and sample beers along the way with a tour of the new Santa Fe Brewing facility and a cold beer fresh off the canning line.

Tickets cost $20 and can be purchased here.

Tour de Brunch

10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

This tour includes stops at Ohori’s Coffee, CheeseMongers of Santa Fe, and Barrio Brinery to check out how the local artisanal food scene is evolving. We wrap up the ride at HQ Santa Fe for some savory bites and a beverage.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here.

Concert & Beer Garden

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Bike & Brew 2015, Railyard Park

Railyard Park, 5-9 p.m.

This evening features food trucks, a bicycle expo, and music by DJ Spinifex and Hello Dollface. The first 500 people receive a custom Bike & Brew logo stainless cup.

Breweries include: Deschutes Brewery, Broken Trail Brewing, La Cumbre Brewing, Red Door Brewery, Santa Fe Brewing Co., Second Street Brewery, Starr Brothers Brewing

Tickets are $15 to $25 and can be purchased here.

* * * * *

Julie: A great way for locals to take advantage of this weekend’s events is to pick up a Locals Pass for $20, which allows entry to both Friday and Saturday night’s main beer events. The passes can be picked up at Whole Foods Market at 753 Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe. The beer dinners listed will likely require reservations, so we advise you to plan ahead.

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In 2015, the weather stopped no one from pouring the good stuff!

Luke: I’ve been to three of these now, and I’ve always had a good time. One year I was even interviewed by the Beer TrALE, the first of the Drink it Interns, about New Mexico IPAs, and I said some mostly factual things. Don’t bother looking for the video. You probably won’t find it. Only now am I more interested in getting on a bike, especially with a chance to huff it between some new breweries (lookin’ at you, Rufina and RFA!). And, with no chance of a BUI (Oregon and Colorado, you know what I’m talkin’ about), I’m sold. Still, drink responsibly. Bike responsibly. Don’t be an asshat. Sadly, I don’t own a bike, but the beer side of these events has always been a great experience, and even if the weather hasn’t always cooperated, the outdoorsy type of folks that dig this particular brand o’ shindig don’t mind a little rain and mud while they get down with the gettin’ down.

Cheers!

— Julie and Luke

Full event listings are available at www.outsidesantafe.com/events.

Luke123 Steel Bender

For more #CraftBeer news and @nmdarksidebc info, follow me on Twitter @SantaFeCraftBro!

 

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Thanks for the shots, Duel!

Greetings fellow, ale-ficionados! Man, do we have something special for you happening up in Santa Fe! Tomorrow (Thursday), Blue Corn Brewery is hosting a special cask festival at their southside location, featuring ALL six Santa Fe breweries under one roof. To get your palate wet, I’ve got a list of beers, as well as the skinny on the chow. Read on to see what you’ll be enjoying, or sorely missing.

Blue Corn Brewery – Heffeweizen on honey. 15 IBUs, 5.4% ABV

Chili Line Brewing Company – Smoked Porter or a cask Lager.

Duel Brewing – Duel’s classic Fiction IPA inoculated with sour beer from their cellar and seven pounds of Apricots.

Rowley Farmhouse Ales – Irish Stout on Madagascar vanilla bean, primed with organic molasses.

Santa Fe Brewing Company – Western Bloc (re-)dry-hopped with Huell Melon and Chinook hops. 75 IBUs, 6.7% ABV

Second Street Brewery – U2 Dry Stout, Second Street’s traditional Irish dry stout with a luscious mouth feel, and a bit more complexity than the archetype. O.G. 1.054, 32 IBUs, 5.7% ABV

And of course, a Blue Corn beer event wouldn’t be complete without great food for pairing. Even though Chef David Sundberg has moved on to bigger and better things, the evening’s entrees are in the very capable hands of Chef Memo. Make sure to bring an appetite for the following:

  • Fried avocado topped with pico de gallo and a jalapeno-cilantro aioli
  • Cauliflower wings served with bleu cheese and hot sauce
  • Deep-fried goat cheese-stuffed jalapeno poppers
  • Short rib wonton mini tostadas
  • Salmon mousse mini crackers

For $30, each guest will receive a seven-ounce glass, which includes a pour of each brewery’s cask beer, as well as servings of all the delicious bites. For reservations, call (505) 438-1800. 6PM.

Why should you go? As if a fun cask beer event falling on a Thirsty Thursday isn’t reason enough on its own, consider the following. How many opportunities do you get to enjoy great beer from all six Santa Fe breweries, while also getting the chance to speak to the brewers directly about their craft, current beers, and upcoming projects in a more intimate setting than, say, a grand casino ballroom? Fewer than you’d think. Also, this will be Chef Memo’s first event, so we’ll be getting a taste of what’s in store for Blue Corn’s future menus. Listen, take my word for it, Blue Corn knows how to host a swinging swig-shindig. You don’t want to miss this one if you can help it. I know I won’t. I hope to see you there, and remember to keep thinking globally and keep drinking locally.

Cheers!

— Luke

Luke123 Steel Bender

For more @nmdarksidebc info and #CraftBeer news, follow me on Twitter @SantaFeCraftBro!

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Shiny pic of the new tanks. (Courtesy of Rod Tweet)

Our Look Back/Look Ahead Series continues from Santa Fe with Second Street Brewery. Back in July, I did an article on the new brewing facility and taproom under construction at 2920 Rufina St. Recently, I sat down with president/brewmaster Rod Tweet and talked about how this year went, how the big expansion is progressing, and what new and exciting changes to expect for Second Street in 2017.

“Business has been good,” Tweet said. “We started construction on the Rufina site in April. That’s moving along pretty well, (but) not quite as fast as we would like. But, we were going into a building, which is a great building for what we want to do, and was pretty affordable, but it had no infrastructure.”

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Rod Tweet during the early phases of construction.

It took Second Street about three months to get proper power, water, plumbing, and sewage, basically everything you need to turn an empty warehouse into a brewing facility. They had to put in their own transformers, a new water heater, and even a fire suppression system. Around the middle of November, the new brewing equipment arrived on four trucks from Portland, Oregon. Tweet said it’s a great system, and it’s different equipment from the original brewpub on Second Street. It’s a proper three-vessel system, with a 20-barrel brewhouse with 60-barrel hot liquor and 60-barrel cold liquor tanks. Right off the line, it’s set up to support multiple brews. With its internal calandria, it’s anticipated to make a big difference in their utilization from the old system.

Tweet said everyone in the brewery was excited with the arrival and installation of the brewing equipment. “It was sort of a lifetime moment,” he said. Second Street had only ever worked with used equipment which they had pieced together. “This was the first time we’ve been able to design it, design all the parameters just the way we want, so that’s been a really fun experience for John and I.”

The brewery also has a decent number of fermenters and brite tanks to start out with, Tweet said. All of the ancillary equipment is here and currently being installed as well. As I’m writing this, the only thing that hasn’t arrived yet is their new Wild Goose WGC 250 (four-head filler) canning line, and Ska Fab Depalletizer, but those will likely be in by the time you read this story.

As one can imagine with all expansions, there were a few minor setbacks and obstacles, but nothing major that delayed their plans. I asked if there was anything they might have done differently when planning a major expansion/building of a brand-new brewing facility and taproom, and Tweet replied, “When you’re in these projects, if there’s one thing that I probably would have done differently, it would be this. You spend a lot of the time getting the funds together, and then you need the design work, and the engineering has to be done. There’s a lot of pressure to submit for building permits. So, you’re under lots of stress to get the architecture and engineering done, to submit because that’s a critical path item. You have to wait, so there’s a lot of focus on getting them in as soon as possible. So, I think, slowing down a bit and spending more time at the design and engineering phase saves some headaches down the line that cost you time anyway. So, any time you saved by rushing the submission in, it all comes back to you. Go fast, but not too fast. You’re burning money on it. You’re paying rent, and you don’t want to waste time, but the more thorough you can be during the design and engineering phase, it will save you money.”

For the most part it has been business as usual at the original Second Street and Second Street Railyard locations, with one major change in staff to note. Longtime front-of-house manager Colleen Sager will be moving on soon to utilize her graduate degree in sports psychology. Everyone is happy for her, but she will definitely be missed, that’s for sure. But, worry not, the ever-capable Eileen Loy will continue on as manager, and Second Street’s service will be second to none.

In addition to the expansion this year, Second Street received a couple of medals. Trebuchet Imperial IPA won silver at the World Beer Cup out of 181 entries. Trebuchet, which will be renamed their Imperial IPA, also received honorable mention at GABF (Great American Beer Festival) after making it into the final round of judging. Another big achievement Tweet added was that the 25-cent drink tax was tabled when it was introduced as a non-binding resolution for the Santa Fe County Commission, a sign that it stands little chance of passing in the upcoming state legislative session. That’s good news for everybody. Cheers to that!

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Imperial IPA, a.k.a. Trebuchet

The coming year will bring many new challenges and opportunities for Second Street as the new facility opens up. Tweet said that Second Street is not really going to focus on the packaging at the beginning of 2017. Instead, they’ll be working on getting their brewing equipment up and running, getting the new beers going, and preparing a 4,000-square foot taproom for the public. Though it hasn’t been built yet, Tweet said he is proud of the architectural design for the new taproom done by DNCA/Davendra Contractor Architects out of Albuquerque, as well as the all of small touches that Tweet and his building crew will add to it, such as custom woodwork and light fixtures, and the ever-important 24 taps.

Second Street has worked hard selecting beer, wine, and cider for the new site, including guest handles, to make good use of their small brewer license. At the Rufina site, packaging beer is certainly a priority, and is a means for upping their capacity, but that doesn’t mean the taproom was at all an afterthought. As anyone who’s ever been to a Second Street location will attest, Tweet and company know how to put together a great public house for beer, food, and entertainment.

The new Rufina space will not be similar to either of Second Street’s two current taprooms/brewpubs. Tweet made that abundantly clear. “We very intentionally want it to be its own thing, a whole different experience,” he said. The new space on Rufina will have its own food menu put together by Chef Milton. They’re going to book music differently as well, shifting from routine weekly bookings to slightly larger shows. As far as occupancy goes, the capacity will be somewhere around 220 inside and whatever number can fit comfortably within a 1,000-square foot patio outside. As of now, that number hadn’t quite been worked out yet.

Second Street has begun to hire for the new space, currently hand-picking people for key roles, before they begin actively hiring the rest of the staff. Santa Fe record label owner and social media guru, Eliza Lutz, will be handling the music booking. And, new to the scene, but very qualified, Mariah Scee joins the Second Street team as front-of-house manager at Rufina. “I think she’s really going to be a force of nature there,” Tweet said emphatically. “It’s all starting to come together. The people you hire for all of those positions are just as important as the building.”

At the original location, Tweet assured me that they will keep the original brewing system, as it’s great at what it does. They’re brewing just under a couple thousand barrels a year on it, and it’s supplying beer to the original and Railyard locations just fine.

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Business as usual at Second Street tastes delicious as always.

Second Street is currently transitioning to where head brewer John Walker has been spending a lot more time at the new location. Tweet will join him in another few weeks. Scee will join after that as the taproom begins to take shape. Tom Ludzia and Brendan Lopez will continue as assistant brewers, traveling between both breweries until everything is set in place.

On the packaging end, they already have art for the new core beers; they’re just in the process of finalizing everything. They’ve worked hard on some new beers for Rufina. “We have a flagship IPA and an American pale ale formulated,” Tweet said. “We’ve got four or five other beers formulated for that property between John and I. And, we’ve kind of stopped trying to do more right now, because that’s sort of enough for us to get started with that system. But, we both have a lot of ideas on paper, like a pilsner. John has a stout (recipe put) together, the LVL Stout. We have enough for package product and for a core lineup.” Tweet added they will be on the shelves wherever they can. At this point, they’re just waiting on approval from the TTB.

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Approved!

“In the craft beer market, the world has changed for the better, meaning the market can support more product than it ever used to be able to, by leaps and bounds, and it’s still growing,” Tweet said. “And, the world has changed, and it’s a good time for us to change along with it. We’re going to have abilities with the new venue that we’ve not been able to fully realize here. We’ll have two brewhouses in operation. We’ll have more skilled employees in the brewery, more ideas, more of the idiosyncratic stuff, sours and barrel-aged. So, I think for the consumer, an expansion like this is nothing but good. They’ll just have more products from us than ever. For us as a company, along with the beer, it’s going to add a landmark venue to the city that doesn’t exist right now. Within the city limits of Santa Fe, this is going to be something entirely different that this town has never seen.”

* * * * *

Despite what 2016 was for most of us, it was a productive year for Second Street Brewery. So much time and effort went into the planning and construction of the new space, and 2017 is going to reap the rewards of all of their hard work. As far as timelines go for the Rufina space, a February opening is the goal, but Tweet took a sip of his beer and said with a chuckle, “Let’s call it March.” And, as with all construction projects we’ve kept our eye on in the industry, I’d say, let’s call that fair. To more beer, new taprooms, and a swift death to the drink tax, raise ‘em up!

Cheers!

— Luke

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

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

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

A lot of the time this weekly feature ends up being pretty Albuquerque-centric. Part of that is due to the majority of New Mexico breweries being located within the metro area, and many of the festivals. Every now and again, it is nice to highlight a series of events in other towns as well. This weekend, if you allow us to say a weekend starts on Thursday, Santa Fe will be the place to be for lots of beer events. First up, the first Fiesta Brew Fest is set for Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Luna Building at 505 Cerrillos Road. Tickets cost $10 and it will feature four breweries and one cidery. Chili Line is the local Santa Fe brewery (we are hoping to belatedly add them to the listings below), plus New Mexico Hard Cider, Red Door, Boxing Bear, and Bosque will be present. There will be a food truck and live music. For more details, check the Santa Fe Reporter. Oh, and there is more …

  • If a fest isn’t your thing, head over to Blue Corn for their final Beer Garden of the summer out on the patio this Thursday. They will be releasing their Wet Hop American Strong Ale (8% ABV). There will be food specials as well.
  • For Friday, hit up any Santa Fe Brewing location (even down here in ABQ) for the release of the new Estate-grown Neo-1 Wet-hop Pale Ale. It is a mouthful, so hopefully the flavor will live up to that descriptive name.
  • Then on Saturday, head over to Second Street for the annual RescueFest, which benefits Atalaya Search and Rescue. It runs all day and will feature plenty of live music and more.
  • Finally, there will be a special tap takeover Sunday at Rowley Farmhouse Ales. Ballast Point is bringing 11 special beers, many available in New Mexico for the first time. There will also be a raffle of some rare, specialty beers, plus other goodies, all in the name of Chantal Leyh’s Cancer Fund. Check their Facebook page for more details, but it kicks off at noon and runs until closing at 10 p.m.

On the new beer front this week, there are some new options to check out. The El Dorado S.M.A.S.H. debuted at Bosque over the past weekend. Canteen brought back Tail Waggin’ IPA, this time on CO2, and added Grapefruit Exodus IPA. The Monzon Wet-Hop Pale Ale debuted at La Cumbre back on Friday on tap and in bombers. There is a fresh batch of Double IPA at two of three Marble locations, plus Pumpkin Noir is also back in time for the season. Nexus swoops in with Bird of Prey IPA and Kaylynn’s Altbier also returns. Cascade Pale Ale makes its debut at Sidetrack. Wooden Teeth, formerly Hockey Teeth, is back at Turtle Mountain.

Up in Santa Fe, I mentioned a couple of the new ones above. Santa Fe also has Idaho?! IPA, an experiment of sorts. Second Street brought back Golden Ale and added XX Extra Special Bitter. Over in Los Alamos, Bathtub Row introduced Caldera Sundown Hoppy Wheat, Northern English Browne, and White Room Cream.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of September 5.

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

Albuquerque metro area breweries

Albuquerque Brewing Co. — (505) 797-1842

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

Beers: Tilted Windmill IPA, High Plains Drafter Blonde, Duke’s Pale Ale, Imperial Red, Session IPA, Bayou Smash Saison, American Golden Stout, Vienna Amber. The Tilted Windmill is now the permanent IPA on tap at ABC. The Vienna Amber is the newest addition.

Live Music: TBA

Other Events: Every Monday will now be game night at ABC, with everything from Pokemon to Cards Against Humanity. Also, all Blonde pints are just $2.50.

Saturday will feature the Tom’s Green Chile Amber release party, starting at 1 p.m. We had a little feature on the origins of this special beer last year.

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

Ale Republic — (505) 281-2828

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

Welcome to the listings, Ale Republic! In case you missed their opening in Cedar Crest, we covered it a short while back. We were remiss in getting them into the listings here, but at last, here they are. Check their website and Facebook page for constant updates on all the goings on at the only brewery in the East Mountains.

Alien Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

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

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

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

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

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

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

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

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

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

The Blue Grasshopper — (505) 896-8579

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

Beers: June Bock, Kreem Ale. Well, look at that. Two house beers on tap, both brewed especially for summer.

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

Boese Brothers Brewery — (505) 382-7060

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

Beers: Patriot Porter, La Onza White Ale, Dr. Strangehop XPA, Duke City Lager, Cherry Bomb, Sour Strangehop, 101 Anniversary DIPA, Clockwork Orange DIPA. The two DIPAs are the most recent additions to the lineup.

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

News: They have a website at last! Click the link above for more info.

Also, Oktoberfest, the beer and the celebration, return to Boese Brothers on Sept. 17.

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

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

Beers: Scale Tipper, Hot Bosque, El Dorado S.M.A.S.H., Old Man Jameson, In Memory of Cyp, 8 Days of Wheat. The Cyp (4.5% ABV, 15 IBU) is an American-style lager, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity, while the 8 Days of Wheat (5.6% ABV, 12 IBU) is pretty self-explanatory. Scale Tipper is back and the supply will not last long, especially in bombers, though those are now for sale at multiple liquor stores around town, including Jubilation!

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

Bow & Arrow Brewing — (505) 247-9800

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

Beers: Flint & Grit (British Mild), Sun Dagger (Saison), Crossed Arrows (Scotch Ale), Hoka Hey (IPA), Jemez Field Notes Lager, Desert Standard Hop Session, Wildorado Unfiltered Wild Rice Pale Ale, Bury My Heart (Belgian Pale Ale), Wayward Arrow Hefeweizen. The most recent additions are the Wildorado, Bury My Heart, and the Desert Standard Hop Session.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Bow & Arrow has happy hour every Monday through Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. Get $1 off pints.

Boxing Bear Brewing Company — (505) 897-2327

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

Beers: Centennial S.M.A.S.H., Kerfuffle British IPA, Featherweight Session IPA, Bearcat Altbier, New MexiKolsch, Pineapple Kolsch, Red Glove, Strawberry Wheat, Bearfuzz Peach Sour (bombers only), Baltic Bear Porter (bombers only). The New MexiKolsch (4.8% ABV, 20 IBU) is back by popular demand. Also returning for another run is the Red Glove (7.2% ABV, 100 IBU), a powerful double red.

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

Events: Geeks Who Drink is held every Wednesday from 8 to 10 p.m. at Boxing Bear.

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

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

Beers: Otero ESB, Lone Pine Pilsner, Sancho Saison. New names, same (good) beers.

Live Music (main location): TBA

Other Events: 10 Drink Minimum host a Cards Against Humanity night at the main location every Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Broken Trail has a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar at the main location. You can purchase three bloodies for just $20.

Every Tuesday all house beers are just $2 a pint.

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

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

Beers: Mongrel DIPA, Panama Joe Coffee Stout, Cheeky Codswallop ESB, Tail Waggin’ IPA, Grapefruit Exodus IPA, Fill in the Blanco IPA, Exodus IPA (on nitro). Fill in the Blanco is a white IPA, if you couldn’t guess. Welcome back to one of our all-time favorites, Panama Joe! Beware, this batch will wake you up.

Live Music: Thursday—The Real Matt Jones, 6 to 9 p.m.; Sunday—Russell James Pyle and Dry Heat, 4 to 7 p.m.

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

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

(Open daily 8 a.m.–10 p.m.)

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

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

Beers: The Lighter Fare, Heavy Cream, Diabhal’s River, Smokey the Brown. These are special batches of Heavy Cream and The Lighter Fare (ESB), both of which were brewed for the competition at the upcoming Great American Beer Festival. Diabhal’s is a collaboration Belgian strong ale made with Quarter Celtic.

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

The Firkin Brewhouse — (505) 881-0702

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

Beers: Burque Vanilla Nut Brown, Blackout Stout, Ombibulous IPA, Prohibition Mash Ale, Olympic Gold Ale.

News: We went to Firkin recently and found out they are still open. Note the new hours above.

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

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

Beers: Stout, Helles Lager, Honk Ale, Maibock, Brumoso Hefe, Guy IPA, Red Card, Scotch Ale, DjinnJar Kombucha, Albuquerque Rapid Transit Ale. The Albuquerque Rapid Transit Ale is a pickle juice porter, with proceeds going to the fight against the project that would tear up Central. Drink it if you dare, like our own Reid did, and he lived to tell the tale.

Events: The Desert Darlings belly dancers perform from 7 to 9 p.m. on almost every Thursday at the Nob Hill taproom and then Sunday in Bernalillo from 6 to 8 p.m. If you’ve never seen the Desert Darlings in person, you’re missing out.

Every Sunday in Bernalillo, Kaktus is hosting a brunch special from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with breakfast pizzas and drink specials.

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

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: Arrogant Bastard, Dunkel Jefe, Monzon Wet-Hop Pale Ale. The Monzon is available on tap and in bombers. You can still find State Fair Cream Ale in cans all around town.

Live Music: TBA

Other Events: Yoga is back at the taproom every Sunday at 10:45 a.m.

Lizard Tail Brewing — (505) 717-1301

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

Beers: Call the brewery for an updated list.

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

Events: Lizard Tail will host Geeks Who Drink every Tuesday at 8 p.m. Every Thursday features karaoke from 8 to 11 p.m.

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

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

Beers: Dang Pale Ale, Double IPA (Downtown and Westside), Pumpkin Noir (Westside and Heights), Stout Americano (Heights only), Imperial Stout (Heights only). Whoa, wait, Pumpkin Noir is back? Apparently so at two of three locations. Last year’s batch went quick, so get it now!

Live Music (downtown): Friday—MoonHat, 8 to 11 p.m.; Saturday—The Higgs, 8 to 11 p.m.

Live Music (West Side): Friday—Gabe Tafoya, 8 to 11 p.m.; Saturday—Alex Maryol, 8 to 11 p.m.

Live Music (Heights): Friday—Stacy & Kay Kay Mac, 8 to 11 p.m.; Saturday—Eryn Bent, 8 to 11 p.m.

Other Events: Brewery tours occur at the Downtown Pub every Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

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

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

Beers: Salted Caramel Stout, Bird of Prey IPA, Kaylynn’s Altbier, Wrath of Kolsch (Silver taproom only). We are downright shocked that you all have yet to drink up the Salted Caramel Stout. Shocked! Welcome back to the Bird of Prey and

Happy Hour/Discounts: Monday–Friday, 3 to 5 p.m., get $5 off appetizers at the brewery.

Pi Brewing — (505) 890-9463

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

Beers: Discordia IPA, U Down w/ BVP?, Pineapple Express, Amber’s Amber, Zinister Dichotomy, Cardinal Sin Red, 40 to 5, Scotty Doesn’t Know. The Zinister (6.3% ABV) is a potent red sour. The 40 to 5 is an American pale wheat ale.

Ponderosa Brewing Co. — (505) 639-5941

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

Beers: Enkel Biter Belgian Wheat, Azacca Pale Ale, Preacher’s Daughter, Alt the Hoople, Manzano Milk Stout, Cascadian Pilsner. The Preacher’s Daughter is for sale on tap and in bombers, both at the brewery and at Jubilation.

Quarter Celtic Brewpub — (505) 503-1387

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

Beers: Pedro O’Flanagan’s Mexican Lager, Dusk’s Early Light, You Reek of Pale Ale, Vienna Lager, #GFF, Diabhal’s River. GFF stands for Grapefruit Forver, so you can guess what they added to this IPA. The Diabhal’s (11% ABV, 30 IBU) is a massive Belgian golden strong that is not for the faint of heart. This is what happens when you put Brady McKeown and Chama River’s Andrew Krosche together on the same brewhouse for a collaboration.

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

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

Beers: Vanilla Cream Ale, Downtown Pale Ale, Blackberry Hefeweizen, Nieuwe Bruin. The Downtown Pale Ale (5.6% ABV, 37 IBU) was brewed in honor of the new downtown taproom, but fear not, it is available at both locations. The Nieuwe (6.7% ABV, 20 IBU) is a variation on an Oud Bruin, a tart and sour dark beer.

Live Music (main location): Monday—The Draft Sessions, 7 to 9 p.m.

Other Events: Saturday morning will mark another round of Beer and Breakfast at the main brewery. From 7 to 10 a.m. you can gather with friends for some food truck-supplied goodies with a pint of beer. Thank the sports gods, a full slate of games is back this weekend. The Manchester Derby kicks things off way too early, so DVR that one, then head over for some additional big matchups like Arsenal vs. Southampton and Stoke vs. Tottenham at 8 a.m., followed by Liverpool vs. Leicester City at 10:30 a.m.

Rio Bravo Brewing Company — (505) 900-3909

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

Beers: Rio Bravo Amber, Weizen, Randy’s Shandy, Dirty Rotten Bastard IPA, Snakebite IPA, Black Angus Stout, Randy’s Red Ale, Duke City Pilsner, Old Town Porter (regular and barrel aged), Barley Wine (regular and barrel aged), Winterfest Marzen, Level 3 IPA. The popular Karl’s Sommer Bier is back on tap as well.

Live Music: Today (Wednesday)—Shane Wallin, 6:30 p.m.; Thursday—Ely Write, 6:30 p.m.; Friday—Eileen and Cross Country Band, 7 p.m.; Saturday—The Dregz, 7 p.m.

Other Events: Saturday—Cornhole Tournament, noon

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

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

Beers: Call the brewery for an updated list.

Sidetrack Brewing — (505) 288-6468

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

Beers: Pub Ale, Railhead Red, Switchgear IPA, Dark Engine Stout, Shoofly Wheat, Cascade Pale Ale. The Cascade replaces the departed Zoso S.M.A.S.H. Take note, Switchgear is currently out, but the new batch should be on tap Friday.

Cask: Pub Ale and Stout, with cocoa nibs added, will be in the firkins all week.

Starr Brothers Brewing — (505) 492-2752

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

Beers: Starrstruck IPA, Double Live Jonzo, Red Zepplin, Electric Sun, LampShade Porter, L.A. Woman, Rosin Dubh. Rosin Dubh is a new Irish dry stout. The Porter and L.A. Woman (blonde ale) are also recent additions to tap.

Events: Starr Brothers will open at 8 a.m. every Saturday for Premier League soccer games, with breakfast specials and more. See the Red Door entry above for some of this weekend’s big matchups.

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

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

Beers: Berry Cider, Maibock, Grapefruit Wheat, Cerveza New Mexico Lager, Summer En Blanc Belgian Witbier, Barrel-Aged Barley Wine (Wells Park only), Kolsch, Tupac Cali Red, Nitro Coffee Stout (Wells Park only), Ebony & Ivory Pale Stout, Hillario DIPA, Dank Johnson DIPA, You’re Fired DIPA. Tractor’s take on a Kolsch is a bit different, but still tasty. They dry hopped it with Mosaic, giving it a different aroma.

Live Music (Wells Park): Thursday—The Lymbs acoustic session, 8 p.m.; Saturday—Eileen & the In-Betweens, 8 p.m.

Live Music (Nob Hill): Today (Wednesday)—Solos on the Hill: Cali Shaw, 8:30 p.m.; Saturday—Setting the Tone: Holly Durante, 5 p.m.

Other Events: Poetry and Beer is back today (Wednesday) at Wells Park starting at 7 p.m.

Nob Hill will host the Barry Schwartz Art Opening on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Drag Queen Bingo returns to Wells Park on Friday at 8 p.m.

Every Monday at Wells Park you can now find Mondays on the Mic starting at 6 p.m.

Kamikaze Karaoke is back at Wells Park on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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

You can grab your own musical instrument and head to Nob Hill for the ultimate jam session. Tractor Tune Up, hosted by the Virginia Creepers, is now an official event happening every Monday starting at 7:30 p.m. Then at 8 p.m., ABQ Pens & Pints is a new weekly event!

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

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

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

Beers: McSmack, Blueberry Yum Yum, Jac’s Elope Raspberry Pale Ale; One, If By Land. The McSmack is a Scottish ale, in case you could not guess by the name. The malty sweet McSmack demands a visit to TMBC, before it runs out like the Kiwi Killer Southern Hemisphere IPA just did.

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Open daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Ginger Plum Saison, Rakau Pale Ale, Chaparral IPL, Pope Porter, Wet Hop American Strong Ale. The Chaparral, an India Pale Lager, is now available. The new Strong Ale debuts Thursday on the patio. See our intro for more details.

Chili Line Brewing — (505) 500-7903

(Mon–Sat 4–10:30 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m.)

UPDATED >>> Beers: Lager, Jefeweizen, sI.P.A.papu, Pineapple sI.P.A.papu, India Pale Lager, PG IPA, Smoked Wheat Porter, Stout. Chili Line specializes in smoked beers, and trust us, we had their smoked IPA, and it is very, very different than what you are used to (and not necessarily in a bad way). They also have rotating specialty beers in addition to the core lineup, which we have added here in the Pineapple sI.P.A.papu and the IPL. They also have four guest taps, including a cider.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Buy two beers and a pizza and get another pizza free.

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

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

Beers: Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Titian (Golden Strong), Grunewald (Imperial Porter), Dark Ryder (Dark Strong), Cezanne Origine (Spring Saison), Hair of the Wolf (Experimental), Harmonia (Barrel-Aged Sour IPA), Monomyth (Belgian DIPA). The most recent addition here is the aptly named Monomyth, which checks in at 9-percent ABV and 90 IBUs.

Events (ABQ taproom): Thursday—Drink & Draw featuring Cloudface, 7 p.m.; Saturday—Enchanted PopUp Presents: ArtBeats, 5 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Happy-hour Monday through Friday 4-6 p.m. (discounts for all draft beer), Growler Saturdays ($3 off growler fills).

Rowley Farmhouse Ales — (505) 428-0719

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

Beers: Notorious BdG. Say hello to Santa Fe’s newest brewery, which opened last weekend. They have some guest taps, plus their first offering, “a malt-forward biere de garde that was fermented solely with Brettanomyces Bruxellensis var. Drei,” as described on their Facebook page. The kitchen is in full swing, too. Head on over!

Events: See our intro above for the Ballast Point tap takeover on Sunday.

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

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

Beers: Oktoberfest, Autonomous Collective DIPA, Sunset Limited, Idaho?! IPA. The Sunset Limited, a collaboration with a Louisiana brewery, debuted recently. Oktoberfest is back on tap and in six-packs. Get some, it’s a wonderful batch this year. The Idaho?! is an IPA made with experimental hops.

Events: The new Estate-grown Neo-1 Wet-hop Pale Ale will debut at all three locations on Friday.

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

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

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

Beers: Kolsch, IPA, Cream Stout, Trebuchet DIPA, Rod’s Best Bitter, International Steam Pale Ale, XX Extra Special Bitter, Golden Ale, British Mild. The new one here is the XX Extra Special Bitter, which just sounds delightful. Get some Trebuchet, a silver medal winner at the World Beer Cup, before the supply runs out.

Live Music (Original location): Thursday—Patio Series: Welsh & Watt; Friday—Half Broke Horses; Saturday—multiple bands will be at the Atalaya RescueFest (see our intro for more details)

Live Music (Railyard): Friday—Alex Maryol; Saturday—Barbwire; Sunday—Patio Series: Lone Pinon

Other Events: Every Tuesday night, the Railyard location will have Open Mic Night hosted by Ben Wright. Every Thursday night, Geeks Who Drink will be at the Railyard at 8 p.m.

News: Second Street is moving ever closer to opening their third location, which will feature a taproom and a full production facility.

Other breweries you need to visit

Bathtub Row Brewing — (505) 500-8381

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

Beers: Little Boy GFB, Mild at Heart, Caldera Sundown Hoppy Wheat, Northern English Browne, White Room Cream. Another big tap turnover recently went down in Los Alamos, with Caldera, Northern English, and White Room making their debuts.

Events: Thursday—Open mic, 6 p.m.

Twisted Chile Brewing — (575) 835-2949

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

Beers: Zia Pilsner, 790 IPA, Hose Co. 1 Red Lager, Venom IPA, KC’s Irish Stout, McFadden’s Scotch, English Porter, El Camino ReAle Summer Pale, Love Potion Peach, Schwarzbar Black Lager. The most recent addition is the English Porter. Before that came old favorite Schwarzbar and the new Love Potion, a peach wheat.

Live Music: TBA

Other events: Today (Wednesday)—Open mic, 6:30 to 9 p.m.

* * * *

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Pic 01

A brewmaster and his new playground.

A while back in our Look Back/Look Ahead Series story on Second Street Brewery, we learned that they already had plans in the works for quite a large expansion. More recently, Second Street made it official in a Santa Fe New Mexican article, and the cat was officially out of the bag. We in the Crew don’t mind being scooped, so to speak, as long as we get to tell the story that’s important to our readers, the beer truth, if you will. We don’t necessarily care about how the project was funded, though we’ll cover that, too. We care about what new beers will be on draft, and what the new packaging hall will produce and how far that beer will reach. Will Second Street’s new cans make it to the Albuquerque market? Those are the questions we ask at the Dark Side Brew Crew.

To answer those questions, I met with owner/president/brewmaster Rod Tweet to talk about the very near future of Second Street Brewery. Over a couple of their latest delicious creations, Rod told me about how they’d come to choose the space. It was about two-and-a-half years ago when they started looking for another site. At that point it was a good time for them to make that move. They were particularly interested in the Rufina part of town because it was within city limits.

“If you’re looking for relatively cheap space, and within city limits, that part of town is where it’s at right now,” Rod said. He also noted that Rufina Street had good traffic patterns for a taproom. I think that Duel, which is just down the street, will attest to that. Rod chose the spot even before the now-famous Meow Wolf set up their all-ages acid-trip experience in the neighborhood. With two breweries and a wonderland built into the old bowling alley, this area could certainly be argued as becoming a kind of an entertainment district, but it’s too soon to say that out loud. “We had no knowledge about everything else going in there,” Rod said. “But, we’re obviously thrilled about it.”

DSC_0001

It looks like a warehouse so far.

Rod and SSB’s head brewer, John Walker, had looked at a couple spaces before they chose the 20,000-square foot, rectangle-shaped warehouse. Rod said they were looking for something smaller, actually, but it was affordable and a few things lined up just right. They knew they could make a lot of spaces work, but Rod liked the site and saw potential in it. Of course, as with most warehouse spaces, it lacked the infrastructure for everything a brewery needs — plumbing, an adequate water supply, dedicated transformers, fire suppression, etc., but that’s all being put in place now.

Pic 04

From here to the metal studs is the new taproom space.

The space itself will be sectioned off by walls, separating a taproom, a cellar, office space, a lab, as well as the packaging hall and the brewhouse. Once the loading dock area is added, the new taproom space will be about 4,000 square feet. They aim to replace the two large overhead doors with modern glass ones, which will lead out onto a raised patio, complete with attractive outdoor seating overlooking the district. Inside, as with Rod’s past successful projects, he will again build the bar. There will be 16 taps, including one or two guest taps, he said. Rod’s vision for the overall experience of the taproom is that he wants it to have a more informal feel, he said, with a generous amount of community tables, both inside and out. This time, he’s aiming for less of a restaurant vibe than the other locations, but there will definitely be food there, which Chef Milton Villarrubia III has carefully crafted the menu. All I’m allowed to say about the menu at this point is that it will certainly be different from the other two locations.

The other 16,000 square feet will be dedicated to a new 20-barrel, 3-vessel system. There will be a large walk-in cooler and supporting rooms, like an office, a lab, and a mill room, of course. Rod’s particularly excited about having a conference room for the first time. It’s a huge undertaking, one much larger than Second Street’s previous projects. The architect for this one is DNCA Architects/Devendra Contractor out of ABQ.

“They have done all of our projects going back about a dozen years,” Rod said. And, to clarify a little misinformation floating around out there, the funding for the project came primarily from a loan with LANB, as well as some internal fundraising through the sale of equity (i.e., shares).

Pic 05

Office and conference space.

The canning line will find a home, as well, somewhere in the huge new space. The machine itself will be a four-head filler from Wild Goose Engineering in Boulder, Colo. “The plan right now is to go to market with 16-ounce tall cans,” Rod said.

When it’s up and running, it should be doing about 40 cans per minute. Rod said they will be self-distributing at first, and perhaps hiring a sales team later on as they hit their groove. In order to do this, they’ve applied for the limited wholesaler’s license, which was part of the legislation a few years ago. With that, they’ll also be able to retain their restaurant beer and wine license, as well, and they’ll be running their own wholesale shop out of the new space.

“We’re probably going to roll out one flagship brand in draft and package,” Rod said. But, fear not, they’ve already got two more beers planned. The can art is already in the works. The cans will be available at all of their locations as well as a few accounts that Second Street is working on acquiring, or have already acquired. Think Jubilation, for starters.

Pic 03

Behind where those fellas are standing is about where the barrel-projects will go.

At this point, Rod turned around and pointed to one of the corners and talked about wanting to do some barrel-aging over there, which he explained they hadn’t really been able to do before due to space limitations. “John, in particular, is pretty keenly interested in getting a sour program going,” Rod said. My tart taste buds perked up at the prospect. At the current facility they have about seven barrels aging, but Rod explained that to do a proper barrel program, you really need something more like 80 barrels.

DSC_0046

Get into one of Second Street’s taprooms now to try one of the 2920 beers. They may just end up as one of the new flagships at the new place!

Walker and Tweet are currently working on flagships that will be unique to that location. This is indeed an exciting thing to hear. Their intention is to expand their portfolio, with some of those beers brewed at the new facility making their way to the other two locations, as well as a few popular beers from the “Oldery” making their way to the newest taproom. Rod explained that a lot of the 2920 beer series currently on tap are formulations that they’re experimenting with, which have a good chance of becoming one or some of the flagships at the new place. A busy brewpub with a 10-barrel system makes experimentation like that possible. Rod said they can do four or five different iterations of something (10 barrels) in five or six months. With that in mind, they’ve just about locked down their formula for their new flagship IPA, which should be the first new beer off the line.

Right now, Second Street does about 1,800 barrels per year, selling pints only. With the new site and its packaging capabilities, they want to reach near 10,000 to 12,000 per year. “We have the space that if there’s opportunity, we can go past that,” Rod said. The aim is to have the doors open to the taproom by January, rolling out their first flagship product fairly quickly after that.

The production staff, however, should already be brewing and producing beer within the mid-fourth quarter of 2016. They’ll be looking to hire new staff for brewing/cellaring and packaging/warehouse pretty soon, but as with all expansions, it’s one of those wait till the last second kind of things. Rod said he expects that John will be down at the new facility, full-time, by October.

You could definitely see the excitement in Rod’s eyes when he talked about the expansion. “That front room is a big deal to us, and we’ll run it right,” he said. “We’ve put a lot of effort into making it an attractive place, a place you want to go. And, that’s the business we know. We’re good at it, at this point. It’ll be a nice room. We’ll have some good food there. We are always family friendly. We get a lot of family business, and that business is important to us.

“I think it’s going to be a really quality addition to what’s going on in Santa Fe that doesn’t really exist right now. It’s a reasonably big-sized space, so we can also do things with music there that we can’t do now. As far as the beers themselves, we’ve been somewhat contained by our footprint here, and this third site’s going to let us grow and expand our portfolio in ways that we haven’t done so far. And, I think that’s going to be really exciting.

“And, we’re going to have a flagship lager, too. We’ve always done lagers, but they’ve never played a big role in our portfolio, and there will be a couple flagship lagers at this taproom, and there’s a good chance one of them is going to be a package product. And, the barrel-aging, pursuing sours, with all of what we’ll be able to do, as far as the beer world and the consumers it’s going to give us a chance to offer a lot more. And, with the extra space, we have a lot more room to grow.”

Pic 06

An artist’s rendering of the new patio and front of building.

From zero to 40 cans a minute, from 60 to about 100 staff, from 1,800 to 10,000 to 12,000 barrels a year, Second Street has made it clear that they’re not just opening Second Street Part III. This new facility and taproom will be a brand new craft beer experience in the City Different. It’ll have that classic Second Street feel, but with all new flavor, so to speak. Rod’s success at running brewpubs will certainly transfer over to the new site, and should solidify their place in the brand new entertainment district that nobody saw coming.

And, cheers to having a little room to grow!

— Luke (Craft Crusader)

Lukemon

For more #CraftBeer info and more @nmdarksidebc info, follow me on twitter @SantaFeCraftBro.

Amid a sea of people taking pics on their cell phones, the Boxing Bear brewing team holds their NMIPAC trophy aloft!

Amid a sea of people taking pics on their cell phones, the Boxing Bear brewing team holds their NMIPAC trophy aloft!

Another year, another IPA Challenge is in the books. Only for the first time in a while, there will be a new champion holding onto the trophy.

Boxing Bear held off Canteen and 3 Rivers in the closest vote in NMIPAC history. The final round was decided by hundreds of beer lovers/hopheads on a (very) toasty afternoon at Tractor Wells Park. When everything was counted, Boxing Bear had 81 votes, Canteen finished with 79, and 3 Rivers garnered 68. That ended the two-year reign of Bosque as champion, as well as the three-year reign of brewer John Bullard, who had previously won at Blue Corn in 2013.

The final totals, for those who are interested in such numbers.

The final totals, for those who are interested in such numbers.

A whole lotta folks asked us about which beer was which. Here is the list (we did not get a photo, sorry) of the beers by their number on the tray.

  1. Red Door
  2. Taos Mesa
  3. Quarter Celtic
  4. Starr Brothers
  5. Bosque
  6. Sidetrack
  7. Santa Fe
  8. Tractor
  9. Canteen
  10. Chili Line
  11. La Cumbre
  12. Boxing Bear
  13. Second Street
  14. Blue Corn
  15. 3 Rivers

As for the victorious head brewer, Justin Hamilton was all smiles after he got to hold the trophy aloft with assistant brewer Dylan Davis.

“I think it’s great, honestly,” Justin said. “The reaction to it is a little bit of stunned, but we’re also super happy to represent New Mexico. All of us have been locals for a long time. I grew up here, so did Dylan. For the fact that we’re local brewers, that we’ve been involved in the brewery scene for a long time, we were able to bring it home to our new place, that’s really awesome.

“Being that I was a part of the IPA Challenge for the last decade, and not being able to bring one home, this is hard. A lot of these guys it’s their first year, second or third year, I’ve been doing it for a long time. After years of contention it’s nice to have that boy sitting on our bar top.”

A big thank you to the tireless efforts of Tractor co-owner Skye Devore, left, and Brewers Guild director John Gozigian.

A big thank you to the tireless efforts of Tractor co-owner Skye Devore, left, and Brewers Guild director John Gozigian.

Starting last September, the accolades have been rolling in for Boxing Bear. First came the silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival for Chocolate Milk Stout. Then came a gold at the World Beer Cup for the same beer. Being able to hang their hat on a totally different style for Boxing Bear is huge, as it shows they are not just a one-trick pony of a sort.

“It’s great to bring it home,” Justin said. “It feels good that we have hopefully set our niche in the fact that New Mexico has good beer and that we’re one of the really good breweries here in New Mexico that’s up and coming and we put a lot of pride into our beer. I think people saw that.”

Do not expect Justin or Dylan or anyone else at Boxing Bear to kick back and rest on the laurels of their victories in the last 10 months.

“This is a thing you see with breweries — you win things in a row, then you won’t win (anything) for years,” Justin said. “It’s good we’re doing well, but at the same time all of us have a very similar viewpoint in our breweries that we want things to be good, and if they’re not good we want them to be better. We are constantly looking for a way to improve our product, even if people say it’s good. Even if people tell us our products are good, we can tell if they need to be done better. I think that’s one of the reasons we are having a really good year.”

Justin credited his small, tight-knit staff for the victory. In a way, he said, being a bit smaller in size has helped Boxing Bear establish themselves alongside the state heavyweights.

“I think the fact we’re all pointing in the same direction, everyone in our building is contending for (creating) the best product that we possibly can (and) great service from the pub viewpoint,” Justin said. “And also we really want to show Albuquerque, New Mexico, in general that we’re here for beer, we’re here to put out a great product, we’re here to put out what New Mexico expects as beer as far as what you’ve seen from Marble, what you’ve seen from La Cumbre, what you’ve seen from Bosque. We want to be on the same level of amazing beer that is known locally, nationally, and worldwide. That’s our goal.”

There were tough calls all around on this tray.

There were tough calls all around on this tray.

Justin has worked at a number of breweries over the years, so he has shared in past glories. This one, though, is his own.

“We’re having a great year,” he said. “For me, my thing is, I’ve been a part of a lot of great breweries. And it’s nice to kind of carve my own niche right now. It’s nice to get recognition for that. I’ve worked for lots of great breweries, but this is mine now, this is ours now.”

Now it is just a matter of getting everyone else out there to continue to recognize just how good we have it with our local breweries in New Mexico.

“I think that’s the thing about New Mexico and Albuquerque in general — we have literally some of the best beer in the world,” Justin said. “There’s not a lot of states that can say that. Our city alone, not only our city, but our state has literally some of the best beer in the world. People are drawn to that, no matter where (they) are. I think that things like this are great for locals, and for people that are involved with it, but when we win stuff on an international and national scale, and it brings it back home and then we win a local event, it makes it even better.

“It just really brings it full circle because we still get the question of where are you, who are you, which is fine. People still ask that question about Bosque. But it’s a lot less people. This is a great thing that will let people know we are a great force of good beer in New Mexico and we will continue to do that.”

We will raise a pint (or two) to that sentiment!

Another IPA Challenge is complete. We look forward to the 2017 version.

Before that happens, however, we have a few special thank yous to hand out for the finale: to Brewers Guild director John Gozigian; to his hard-working team of volunteers who poured the beer (including Angelo Orona); to Skye Devore, David Hargis, and every single staff member at Tractor (Lauren, Melissa, Nicole, and on and on); and finally, to all of you, our fellow beer drinkers! We (barely) beat the heat and had a great time, all while reminding people just how strong and vibrant our local beer scene really is.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister