Posts Tagged ‘Sierra Nevada Brewing’

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 seven breweries, one in Los Alamos, one in Moriarty, one in Red River, and one in Las Cruces 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.

Giving Tuesday has come and gone, but the opportunity to support a good cause still lies ahead. On that day, Canteen, Marble, Rowley Farmhouse Ales, and Steel Bender joined breweries across the country in making a batch of Resilience IPA. (Edit: RFA is still awaiting the arrival of the hops, but expects to brew Thursday.) The recipe hails from Sierra Nevada, which temporarily had to shut down its main brewery in Chico, California, as the Camp Fire burned its way to the city limits. Seeking to help those who lost everything, particularly the residents of the now-destroyed town of Paradise, Sierra Nevada created this new IPA with all proceeds going to help rebuild the communities affected by the wildfire. We tip our hats to Canteen, Marble, RFA, Steel Bender, Sierra Nevada, and every other brewery to participate in this venture. When the IPA is ready to tap locally, we will be sure to let everyone know. Yeah, even we can take a break from the big, bold, beautiful stouts for a change this holiday season.

We could have led off with the grand opening of the Boese Brothers Brewpub on Tramway this weekend, but fear not, I am on my way to interview George and Sam Boese to preview that event and also complete the entire Look Back/Look Ahead Series article on Boese Brothers. Look for that on Thursday afternoon, which I hope to post in between my interviews with the (many) Marble command staff members for their upcoming LB/LA entry.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque was able to sneak in some Chai Hard and Autumn Red while we weren’t looking. Bow & Arrow has another bottle release this Saturday with Dream Mesa, a golden sour ale. Canteen has a fresh batch of North 14 Pale Ale. La Cumbre rolls out more Pecos Porter, Noche De Paz, and Gracias Por Fumar. Marble unveils Cryogenic Pale Ale and Ye’ Olde Ale. Nexus pours some dessert in the form of Blueberry Sweetart at the Silver Taproom only (for now). Ponderosa should have some fresh ESB by the weekend. Red Door will be Pining for Maple Breakfast Brown on Thursday. Sidetrack has a fresh batch of Pub Ale on tap. Steel Bender kicks off the 4 Casks of Christmas on Saturday, with each cask featuring a different version of Brickie American Stout, and this week’s version is Peppermint Mocha.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn hops to it with Lord Lupulin IPA.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of November 26.

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Beer dinners, special tappings, archived beers, a movie event, and a brewing grudge match highlight this busy day!

If you are reading this, it means we survived the Insomnium show in Denver last night. As you read this, we will be flying back down Interstate 25, because there is beer business to take care of in ABQ.

After all, we’ve got Battle of the Beer Geeks to attend, but it’s not the only option today. If we weren’t at Tractor, we might be at one of two beer dinners, or perhaps the screening of Beerfest at Flix, or diving into that archive tapping at Marble Westside, or … well, you get the point, it’s gonna be a fun day.

Featured Event

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

What: Battle of the Beer Geeks V. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 5-8 p.m. Cost: $10 for tray and pint.

Details: Once again, five local beer enthusiast groups (us included) went and each brewed up a beer at Tractor. Now you get a tray filled with all five beers to try, with a pint of your favorite awaiting you at the end. It’s a blind taste test, and in the end all the public votes will count for 50 percent of the vote, with the other half coming from a judging panel. The winner gets an awesome Rock Em Sock Em Robots trophy, plus bragging rights. This year’s beer theme is single hop.

Why you should go: The Babes in Brewland have won enough times in a row. Come help us or one of the other groups dethrone them at last!

All the other great events

What: Sierra Nevada Special Sampling. Where: Jubilation. When: 4-6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Brewery representative Keith Hymes is bringing Pale Ale, Sidecar Orange IPA, Otra Vez with lime and agave, Sierraveza Lager, German-Style Kolsch Ale, and Hoptimum DIPA. Why you should go: There’s hoppy, malty, and a bit of tart to perk up your afternoon, and the best part is, the samples are free.

What: Exodus IPA on Nitro Release. Where: Canteen Taproom. When: 5-10 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Enjoy one of the classic IPAs in a different format. Why you should go: Hey, if you’re already up in the foothills and have no desire to drive back down anywhere, then this is just the beer for you.

What: Marble Archive Tapping. Where: Marble Westside. When: 5-11 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Enjoy any of a quartet of archived beers that the Marble staff have pulled out of storage — Cherry Brune, From the Wood Saison, Quad, 2017 Reserve Ale. Why you should go: Quad and Reserve? First you had our curiosity, now you have our attention.

What: Odell Double Sour Tapping. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 5-7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Pucker up for a double blast of Sunny Rain Golden Tart and Green Coyote Tomatillo Sour. Why you should go: If you love sours, you gotta try these two, plus you can grab dinner.

What: Canteen Beer Dinner. Where: Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. When: 6-8 p.m. Cost: $80. Details: This elegant five-course meal will be paired with some of Canteen’s finest beers, including High Plains Pilsner, Dougie Style Amber, and more. Call (505) 884-3350 to make your reservation. Why you should go: If you’ve been saving up for an ultimate feast, this is the time you cash in.

What: Beer Pairing Dinner. Where: Ponderosa Brewing. When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Cost: $40 ($35 for mug club members). Details: A four-course meal will feature some of Ponderosa’s finest beers. A sweet pepper salad is paired with Big Belgian, French onion soup is paired with Rip Saw Red, roasted orange marmalade pork loin is paired with Blood Orange Wit, and a finishing course of fine cheeses and truffles are paired with Tart Cherry Chocolate Porter. Why you should go: If you haven’t been saving up for an ultimate feast, then this is a more affordable beer dinner option.

What: Beerfest Movie Party and Collaboration Beer Release. Where: Flix Brewhouse. When: 7-10 p.m. Cost: $7 for movie ticket. Details: Come celebrate a special screening of the cult comedy classic Beerfest, which was filmed here in Albuquerque. Flix is throwing a party starting at 7, with screenings at 8 and 8:30. Expect games, trivia, and more, plus the release of Schnitz ’N Giggle, a Dortmunder lager brewed in collaboration with Steel Bender. Why you should go: A hilarious movie, a new beer, and all sorts of shenanigans that we’ll miss while at Battle of the Beer Geeks. Honor us with your best efforts.

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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

Rock & Brews will host a special beer dinner Tuesday night. (Photo courtesy of Rock & Brews)

Beer dinners are plentiful in this day and age, but they are almost always limited to a single brewery’s offerings. Well, the folks at Rock & Brews decided that it was time to pair up some of their excellent food with beers from more than one brewery.

The dinner will take place Tuesday night at 7, costing $40 per person, or two for $70. Guests will be greeted with a welcome pint of Santa Fe’s Freestyle Pilsner. The four-course meal will feature the following pairings with local and regional beers.

  • Cheese (goat, green chile cheddar, gouda) and cracker trio, paired with Great Divide’s Roadie Grapefruit Radler
  • Braeburn apple salad adorned with Strongbow Cherry Blossom Cider vinaigrette, paired with Sierra Nevada’s Hazy Little Thing IPA
  • Surf (garlic butter shrimp) and turf (grilled Asian-marinated tri-tip) with braised local greens and carrot ginger mash, paired with Bosque’s Scotia Scotch Ale
  • Pineapple upside-down cake with vanilla stout creme anglaise atop vanilla ice cream, paired with Avery’s Tweak

Tickets are available at Rock & Brews, but as the time goes closer make sure to call first at (505) 340-2953.

Thanks to Angelo Orona of Craft King Consulting for putting this together, and for the heads up.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The spacious Sister Bar will be filled with sour beer lovers on April 11. (Photo courtesy of Sister)

The spacious Sister Bar will be filled with sour beer lovers on April 11. (Photo courtesy of Sister)

Sour beers are the final frontier of the industry for a lot of folks. For some people, they are a unique and cherished style, never to be missed when available. For others, they are a style to be avoided, so different from the rest of the beer universe. And for a third group, they remain a mystery, something not readily available in most places.

It is that third group, plus the first of course, that is being targeted for the upcoming Tart at Heart, a sour beer tasting event set for Sister Bar in downtown ABQ on April 11 from 4 to 8 p.m. Tickets are available online by clicking here. The cost is $35 and it gets you a sample of all 20, plus three additional samples of your favorites. The event will feature 20 rare sour beers, many of them barrel aged, from around the country and around the world. Among the local breweries, Blue Corn will send Pucker Up, their strawberry sour, while Tractor will send Wonder Weisse. Santa Fe is sending Kriek, Sour State Pen Porter, and the new Single Barrel Sour. Marble will bust out a sour from its reserves. There will also be exclusive beers from national heavyweights New Belgium, Odell, Sierra Nevada, and Stone, plus beers from Belgium that have never been tapped before in New Mexico.

The man organizing all of this is Angelo Orona, who currently works as the sales rep for Abbey Brewing and Santa Sidra Cidery and was formerly at Marble. I sat down with him over lunch at Nexus on Tuesday to get some additional details.

Q: So how did you guys come up with the idea?

Angelo: It’s kind of modeled after some of the other sour-centric beer fests that are around. Specifically, the format that happens during GABF up in Denver. I came up with the idea to feature these nice, high-end, esoteric beers so that Albuquerque could also enjoy a festival that has type of theme to it.

Q: Was Sister a natural place to partner with, especially considering the size of it and all the available taps?

Angelo: Sister is sort of becoming a destination for really eccentric, high-end beers, so they’re a natural partner for us. They’re also trying to bolster their reputation as a beer-centric bar and sort of a place where people can seek out hard-to-find and rare beers from local or national breweries.

Q: So what are some of the beers you’re bringing to this event?

Angelo: We have several new beers that are debuting at the fest, including Stone Passion Project, which will be its first time in the state. They’re only sending one keg for the festival. It has two pounds of Stone passion fruit per barrel. So it’s (a) really nice, sort of fruit-centric sour, barrel-aged offering. Odell’s raspberry sour, Golden Raspberry Ale. We’ve got some beer from overseas as well, Belgian-style lambic and also a beer from Italy that’s a collaboration between Birrifico del Ducato and Fontaine, which is from Belgium as well.

Q: What is your take on sours? They’re kind of divisive. Some people love them to pieces and others are saying no way. Is this one of these events for those on the fence to come out and help make up their minds?

Angelo: Yeah, the idea is to make the event educational as well as enjoyable from an aspect of bringing all these unique flavors. I think one thing about sour beers is, you’re right, they’re divisive, because people don’t have knowledge about the styles and the history of those styles. So part of our festival will be to have an educational component to it. So there will be an AV projector which will have descriptions of the beers and the styles that will be featured at Tart at Heart.

Q: All right, anything else you’d like to add?

Angelo: There’s limited space. There’s only like 150 seats total. So we started selling like a week ago and they’re selling pretty rapidly. People should buy their tickets in advance. They’re $35 (online) and $40 at the door.

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Assuming none of the rest of you have to cover the Albuquerque Isotopes game that night, this sounds like a fun event, especially for people who love sours or want to learn more about them. If we get any additional updates on some of the special beers being tapped, we will list them on our Facebook page. Thanks to Angelo for the information (and for lunch).

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Beer festivals are usually held at hotels, casinos, convention centers, parking lots, and a whole lot of other nondescript places. So whoever thought “we should have a festival at the ABQ BioPark Zoo” deserves a medal. One of the most unique settings we have ever heard of will host Lions, Tigers, & Beers this Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m.

Grab a brew at the zoo!

Grab a brew at the zoo!

Proceeds will benefit the ABQ BioPark Society, a non-profit group that supports the Zoo, Aquarium, Botanical Garden, and Tingley Beach. You can purchase your tickets online. For $25 you get a sampling glass, beer samples, and admission to the Zoo, plus there will be food available for separate purchase. For $45 you get Suds and Grub, which gets you both food and beer. Taking a big group? A six-pack of tickets can be had for a discounted $135. There is also a $10 designated driver ticket. This is a 21-and-over-only event, so sorry, you can’t let the kids wave at the lions while you sample IPAs.

As we do with any festival preview, we get a list of the participating breweries and a list of the beers they’re bringing. Only Ponderosa Brewing did not have a list for the event organizers, but they said on Facebook they are bringing four beers (hopefully one of those will be their new pumpkin beer).

Here’s who’s coming and what they are reportedly bringing.

Abbey Brewing: Monks’ Ale, Monks’ Tripel

Ace Ciders: Perry Cider, Joker Cider, Pumpkin Cider

Big Sky: Moose Drool Brown Ale, Slow Elk Oatmeal Stout, Scape Goat Pale Ale

Black Diamond: White Witch IPA, Mosaic IPA

Boulder: Shake Chocolate Porter, Hazed & Infused, Sweaty Betty

Breckenridge: Vanilla Porter, Lucky U IPA

Bridgeport: Kingpin Red, Trilogy #2 IPA

Deschutes: Fresh Squeezed IPA, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Twilight Ale

Full Sail: Amber, Cascade Pils, Session Red

Lagunitas: Daytime IPA, Imperial Red

Leinenkugels: Orange Shandy, Sunshine Wheat

Magic Hat: IPL, Wilhelm Screamer

Marble: IPA, Red, Pilsner

New Belgium: beers will be from their current Folly Pack

Nuevo: Nuevo (whatever this is, we have no idea)

Oskar Blues: Dale’s Pale Ale, Mama’s Little Yellow Pils, Old Chub Scotch Ale

Pedernales: Lobo Lager, Lobo Lito, Lobo Negro, Lobo Hefe

Ponderosa: four beers TBA

Pyramid: IPA, Oktoberfest

Radeberger: Shoefferhofer, Pilsner

Samuel Adams: Oktoberfest, Harvest Pumpkin

Santa Fe: Happy Camper IPA, State Pen Porter

Shiner: Bohemian Black Lager, Oktoberfest

Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande: Bonechiller Brown, Sun Chaser Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada: Pale Ale, Torpedo IPA

Squatters/Wasatch: Wee Peat Scotch Ale, Bumper Crop

Stone: Coffee Milk Stout, Hibiscusicity (Belgian-style ale), IPA

Have fun out there. Just remember, tigers don’t drink beer. But they will eat people, so don’t go stumble into their enclosure.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The 16th annual San Juan Brewfest took place on Saturday, August 23, in beautiful downtown Durango. Benefiting the United Way of SW Colorado, the brewfest had a great turnout, despite the rain that threatened to dampen the mood. Held at Buckley Park near the northern tip of Main Street, there couldn’t be an easier event to find, or find your way home from.

There was quite the crowd at the San Juan Brewfest.

There was quite the crowd at the San Juan Brewfest.

There were over 50 breweries, with 35 from Colorado, six from New Mexico, and nine were from breweries ranging from the east coast to the west coast, including a few macrobreweries. Macros always reminded me of the old guy at the college parties. “Dude are you like, a professor or something?” But I kid the big guys. With all that the San Juan Brewfest had to offer, you could sample a beer poured by a familiar face from the likes of Turtle Mountain or Taos Mesa, you could get to know your northern neighbors’ beers a bit better, or you could try a few swallows from far away lands like Boston, Juneau, or Petaluma. (A full list of breweries is below.)

As far as brewfesters go, everyone was very friendly and laid back in that Colorado kinda way. On occasion, there were those folks who were a bit over-excited to talk about their interests, like trail-riding or ciders. Where did that cider guy come from? But there’s nothing wrong with that. Passion is what fuels the craft beer industry, am I right? So keep on keepin’ on, cider guy!

Fans dance to the Hill Stompers.

Fans dance to the Hill Stompers, a band from Los Alamos.

Everyone enjoyed themselves, sampling, noshing on German sausages straight from the grill, and dancing wildly inappropriately (in front of children) to the rockin’ local bands. One of those local bands happened to be local to New Mexico. Have you guys heard the Hill Stompers from Los Alamos? Well do it, already! They’re like a circus marching band fueled by candy corn and cerveza.

Getting to the beer, there were over a hundred beers to try at the brewfest, including some breweries bringing more than the promised two. It was impossible to try them all, or maybe we didn’t try hard enough. With the free taster glass and a handy notepad, we set out to pulverize our palates. And boy did we! My Untappd App sure got a workout the next day. As for my personal favorites, Great Divide had a fantastic dark, roasted, powerful warrior of a beer called the Claymore Scotch Ale (7.7% ABV) that just knocked my hop-socks off. I also really enjoyed Upslope Brewing Co.’s Belgian Style Pale Ale (7.5% ABV), the Face Down Brown by Telluride Brewing Co. (5.7% ABV), and of course the Kriek from Santa Fe Brewing was way up there on my list.

Marble's tent was a popular spot for beer lovers.

Marble’s tent was a popular spot for beer lovers.

There was also a beer that I won’t name that I really liked but couldn’t put my finger on why. Then it dawned on me as I finished that last swig; it REALLY reminded me of something racked from one of La Cumbre’s tanks. Was it one of Elevated IPAs long-lost sisters? I couldn’t tell! I could, however, go on and on about the beers, but there were so many different styles. Most breweries brought an IPA and a pale ale, others brought reds, Belgians, and there were a handful of saisons and sours. But why not just grab my Untappd name and take a look at my journey? LukeDukeSF. Now, I’ll try not to say too much more about this, but after sampling so many IPAs, I can definitely say I prefer New Mexico IPAs to Colorado IPAs. Nuff said.

The competition that day was as hot as the sun, when it did decide to come out. For the Judge’s Choice, Left Hand Brewing Company won third place for their Milk Stout Nitro. Our very own Marble Brewery won second place with their already-award-winning Pilsner. “505! 505!” I chanted silently in my head as I heard the news. Best beer of the fest went to Elevation Beer Company’s Avis IV. And finally, winning People’s Choice for best beer was the Brown Bear Ale from Aspen Brewing Co.

With great weather, great beers, and great company, it was a brewfest to remember, or try REALLY hard to remember. Thanks, Durango, for a great time. See you next year!

Cheers,

Luke!

Everyone was left smiling at the end of the brewfest.

Everyone was left smiling at the end of the brewfest.

2014 San Juan Brewfest Breweries

AC Golden (Golden, CO), Alaskan Brewing (Juneau), Aspen Brewing (CO), Avalanche Brewing (Silverton, CO), Blue Moon Brewing (Golden, CO), Boston Beer, Bottom Shelf Brewery (Bayfield, CO), Boulder Beer (CO), Breckenridge Brewery (CO), Brew Pub and Kitchen (Durango), Bristol Brewing (Colorado Springs), Carver Brewing (Durango), Durango Brewing, Elevation Beer (Poncha Springs, CO), Eske’s Brew Pub & Eatery (Taos), Fort Collins Brewery (CO), Great Divide Brewery (Denver), Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing (Chippewa Falls, WI), Kannah Creek Brewing (Grand Junction, CO), Lagunitas Brewing (Petaluma, CA), Left Hand Brewing (Longmont, CO), Lumberyard Brewing (Flagstaff, AZ), Marble Brewery, Moab Brewery (UT), Mr. Grumpy Pants Brewing (Ouray, CO), New Belguim Brewing (Fort Collins, CO), Oak Creek Brewing (Sedona, AZ), Odell Brewing (Fort Collins, CO), Oskar Blues Brewery (Longmont, CO), Ouray Brewery (CO), Pagosa Brewing and Grill (Pagosa Springs, CO), Palisade Brewing (Palisade, CO), Riff Raff Brewing (Pagosa Springs, CO), Roaring Fork Beer (Carbondale, CO), Rocky Mountain Brewery (Colorado Springs, CO), San Luis Valley Brewing (Alamosa, CO), Santa Fe Brewing, Shock Top Brewing (St. Louis), Sierra Nevada Brewing (Chico, CA), Ska Brewing (Durango), Steamworks Brewing (Durango), Strange Craft Beer (Denver), Taos Mesa Brewing, Telluride Brewing (CO), Three Barrel Brewing (Del Norte, CO), Three Rivers Brewery, Turtle Mountain Brewing, Two Rascals Brewing (Montrose, CO), Upslope Brewing (Boulder, CO), Wolfe Brewing (Pagosa Springs, CO)

It was fun to get back to ABQ Beer Week on Wednesday and meet some new beer lovers at the Left Hand tasting at O’Niell’s Nob Hill. With all that done, it’s time to move on to a busy Day Eight on Thursday. Yours truly will be at Tractor Nob Hill, plus maybe some other events.

Satisfy your sweet tooth along with your beer tooth on Thursday.

Satisfy your sweet tooth along with your beer tooth on Thursday, plus there are tastings galore.

Featured event

What: Casks & Cupcakes. Where: Tractor Nob Hill. When: 4 to 6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Get your sweet tooth satiated with this little pairing of two cask beers with six different styles of cupcakes from Caked by Bittersweets. It’s $5 for a combo, where you get three cupcakes and one cask beer. If you just want the beer, it’s $4 for a 12-ounce pour. Or if you are the designated driver, it’s $4 for a cupcake trio. The beers on cask are Milk Mustachio Stout and and the Saison. The Stout will be paired with Caramel Macchiato, Dark Chocolate Chile Decadence, and Cinnamon Toast with Bacon. The Saison will be paired with Fresh Lemon with local grown honey, Cherry Limeade, and Nacho Libre. Come grab dessert before dinner! Hey, you’re an adult, you’re allowed to do that now. Why you should go: A little sugary goodness never hurt anyone. Besides, you can walk it off going to all of the other great events around Nob Hill tonight.

All the other great events

What: Lagunitas Tap Takeover. Where: The Stumbling Steer. When: 4 p.m. to close. Cost: No cover charge. Details: There will be beers aplenty once again at The Steer. Undercover Shutdown, Nighttime Cascade (Black) IPA, Maximus IPA, Hop Stupid Ale, Lil Summpin’ Summpin’, and Day Time: A Fractional IPA will all be on tap. The Shutdown is a big, burly strong ale, while the rest should satisfy any and all hopheads. Why you should go: If you’re on the west side and already hungry and thirsty, there’s no better place to visit.

What: Santa Fe Brewing Tasting. Where: Total Wine Uptown. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: We assume all (or most) of Santa Fe’s bottled and/or canned beers will be available for sampling. Why you should go: Remind yourself of your favorite(s) and then take some home for the weekend.

What: Pyramid Tasting. Where: Total Wine Cottonwood. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: We don’t know what Pyramid beers will be available for sampling. Why you should go: Come on, you’re curious as to what they’ll have.

What: Stone Brewing Tasting. Where: Jubilation. When: 4 to 6 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: We just got the list of Stone beers that will be available for sampling. They will include the Collective Distortion IPA, which is brewed with elderberries and coriander, plus the Saison, Smoked Porter with Chipotle, Cali-Belgique IPA, Arrogant Bastard, and the newest entry in the Stochasticity Project, the Quadro Triticale, a Belgian-style quad. Why you should go: Always support local, and Jubilation is just that. Plus that Quadro just sounds like a beast that must be tamed.

What: New Belgium Special Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The rather uniquely named I Believe I Wood! will be available for purchase. It’s listed as a blackberry whiskey barrel beer. That, plus the usual Two Fools food excellence, should compel you to visit. Why you should go: Oh, come on, like you really need an excuse to visit Two Fools.

What: Marble Beer & Cheese Pairing. Where: Marble Downtown Pub. When: 4 to 7 p.m. Cost: $20. Details: One of the favorite annual events of many folks around town, Marble will again pair up some of its finest beers with some distinct styles of cheese. We did not get the lineup, but we will update this if we can. Why you should go: Nothing says serious beer drinker more than attending beer and cheese pairing.

What: Boulder Beer Tasting. Where: O’Niell’s Juan Tabo. When: 5 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Some of Boulder’s top beers will be available for sampling. We did not get a list, sadly. Why you should go: If you’re in the Heights and curious as to what they’ve got, stop on by.

What: Sierra Nevada Tap Takeover. Where: O’Niell’s Nob Hill. When: 5 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: We did get the list for this one! (Hallelujah) Collective Distortion Double IPA, Summerfest, Hoptimum, and the ubiquitous Pale Ale will all be available. The Pale Ale was a gateway craft beer for many, myself included. So see what else Sierra Nevada has to offer nowadays. Why you should go: Grab a pint, grab some grub, and enjoy the patio before the weather heats up anymore than it already has.

What: Nexus Beer Dinner. Where: Prairie Star. When: 6 to 9 p.m. Cost: $39. Details: This late addition to Beer Week will feature four Nexus beers paired up with some of Prairie Star’s dishes. The Cream Ale, IPA, Chocolate Porter, and Beam Me Up Scottish will all be on hand. Why you should go: Food plus beer. Plus you can meet Nexus owner Ken Carson and brewer Kaylynn McKnight.

What: Big Sky Sampling. Where: Gecko’s on Academy. When: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: They will have Moose Drool (brown ale) on draft, plus samples of their IPA, Scape Goat Pale Ale, and Bobo’s Robust Porter. Why you should go: If you’re in the Heights and don’t feel like going too far, enjoy the craft beer experience close to home.

What: New Belgium Mini Tap Takeover and Rolle Bolle Game Night. Where: Adieux Cafe. When: 7 p.m. to midnight. Cost: Unknown. Details: Rolle Bolle is apparently a game like bocce ball (we think). You can play it and win some prizes, plus there will be a selection of New Belgium beers on tap. Adieux Cafe is located on the southeast corner of Central and 5th Street downtown. Why you should go: Admit it, you want to know what Rolle Bolle is and see if you can dominate the game and rule the world. Or at least the cafe.

Got any updates or additional info for the Crew? Email us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com or contact us via Facebook or Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy Day Eight! Just remember to pace yourselves and be responsible.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Greetings! This is Stoutmeister. During ABQ Beer Week 2014 there are so many events that the members of the Brew Crew cannot cover, so we’ve enlisted some special correspondents to report back on the events they attend. First up are the Montoyas (@NMbeerlovers on Twitter) with a review of the Sierra Nevada beer and cheese pairings from O’Niell’s on Thursday night.

I can’t think of a better way to start ABQ Beer Week than sipping beers with the Sandia Mountains as a back drop. This didn’t seem to be an event that attracted craft drinkers to come out to. They ended up missing out. Sierra Nevada/O’Niell’s served up six different beers and seven cheeses with suggested pairings. A lot of these were spot on as they ended up drawing out flavors in the beer that were not apparent before. The pairings were as follows.

All the tasty cheeses brought out some unique flavors in the Sierra Nevada beers.

All the tasty cheeses brought out some unique flavors in the Sierra Nevada beers.

Beer #1: Summerfest with Port Salut Semi, a soft cow’s milk cheese from Pays de la Loire France. Mild but mature.

Beer #2: Kellerweis with Camembert, a soft, creamy, surface-ripened cow’s milk cheese. First made in the late 18th century at Camembert, Normandy. Comparable to Brie.

Beer #3: Ovila Saison with Mandarin-Goat cheese. Cheese #1 was California soft goat cheese. Sharp bite to mild finish. Cheese #2 was  Dubliner, an Irish Pastuerized hard cheddar. Sharp bite with nutty finish.

Beer#4: Pale Ale with Gjeitost, a pure goat’s milk cheese and pronounced “Yay-toast”. Hints of caramel, acid, and salt. Considered the cheese that’s closest to peanut butter.

Beer #5: Torpedo IPA with Blue Stilton, a King of Blue veined cheese. Strong flavor and odor. Only made in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Nottingham, England.

Beer #6: Harvest Hop #291 with Havarti, a Danish cheese that is always served young. Buttery flavor with hazelnut notes.

The best pairing off the suggested list that I had was the Sierra Nevada Harvest Single Hop IPA with the Havarti. The dill in the cheese was a perfect compliment to the beer and might not have been as good if it was just a standard Havarti.

The worst pairing was the Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA with the Blue Stilton cheese.  The veins of mold in the Stilton were just too much for this beer. It was overpowering my palate.

Probably the best pairing was when I had the Ovila Saison with mandarin, and Gjeitost cheese. The Gjeitost was exactly as described on the pairing sheet. There is nothing to say except it reminded me of peanut butter all the way down to mouthfeel. When paired with the saison, it tasted like burnt caramel with orange Belgian candy sugar.

The thing I took away from this event was a new found appreciation for various non-IPA beers and food. It’s pretty damn hard to get anything but (insert favorite IPA here) and pizza, or IPA and anything else for that matter. The European beer styles took my beliefs to task tonight by exceeding the IPAs in cheese pairing. Hopefully everyone will make sure to get to the Marble cheese pairing as this was every bit as interesting as any full-blown beer dinner I’ve ever been to.

Cheers,

Guest writer -G

There was a bittersweet feeling as the Crew left Hopfest on Saturday afternoon. It stemmed not from any disappoint in the event — it was quite the opposite, in fact — but instead it came with the realization that beer festival season in 2013 was coming to a close. Even though the year itself is far from being over, in a way another chapter of our lives in beer has come to a close. In that respect, we all raise our sample glasses one more time in honor of a year that began with a fun experiment (New Mexico Cup), had a middle chock full of adventure (ABQ Beer Week), and ended with the biggest bang of all at Hopfest.

Stoutmeister, Brandon, and Porter Pounder all tackled Hopfest. Hey, half the Crew in one room is an accomplishment.

Stoutmeister, Brandon, and Porter Pounder all tackled Hopfest. Hey, half the Crew in one room is an accomplishment.

So enough sepia-tinted nostalgia of times past. Let us get to the important thing: How was all that beer, guys? There was much beer. And it was good. So good.

We begin with a careful analysis of … ah, to hell with it. LABYRINTH! LABYRINTH! LABYRINTH! LABYRINTH! LABYRINTH! LABYRINTH! The quadruple black ale of godliness stole the show. Only this time we weren’t the only ones to think so. Post-event buzz centered around this monster from Uinta, this wonderful beast that blasted our palates and made our tastebuds dance. Yes, Labyrinth, you were the best of show. Now please, somebody, help Uinta start putting that on the shelves of Jubilation and other fine New Mexico liquor stores. PLEASE!!!!

Ahem, anyway, amid the 62 breweries and thousands of beer lovers, we (this is Stoutmeister, and Porter Pounder and Brandon were along for the ride this time) found a few favorite beers, some off-beat beers, and overall enjoyed the heck out of our Saturday. This is our stab at a breakdown of what we had or remembered having (though there was no Nexus brewer around this time constantly refilling our sample glasses with two-year-old barley wine, so we were much more lucid than after Brew Fest).

Stoutmeister’s favorites (besides Labyrinth)

New Mexico beers: Well, first off, one of the major highlights were the home brews served up by the Dukes of Ale and Southwest Grape & Grain. Ben Miller’s Belgian Trippel and Mike Griesmeyer’s Milk Stout were quite wonderful at the Dukes booth. The former found a nice balance between sweetness and strength, while the latter was smooth as silk and not overly sweet. I also felt the Octoberfest at the SWG&G booth was comparable to any brewery’s Marzen.

Las Vegas’ New Mexico Craft Brewing brought a couple of top-notch beers to tap. The Wet-N-Wild Ale, made with wild hops picked in the Sangre de Cristo mountains, was a wholly unique beer with a strong vanilla flavor amid the hops, which had a Cascade-like aroma and feel. The uniquely named F Your Black IPA Dry-Hopped Porter tasted like a hybrid between a dry, bitter black IPA and a smooth, coffee-and-chocolate-heavy porter.

Back Alley Draft House also unveiled two big, tough beers in the hop-bomb Triple IPA and the burly Imperial Russian Stout. BADH doesn’t brew huge batches, so head down there ASAP before they disappear from the taps.

Marble’s Pumpkin Noire offered up a nice mix of a smoky porter base with some pumpkin spices. Also of note, Tractor’s more classic pumpkin ale, Jack the Sipper, and Sandia Chile Grill’s always excellent Rio Negro smoked milk stout.

In case we haven't said it enough already, Uinta's Labyrinth is one of the greatest beers ever brewed.

In case we haven’t said it enough already, Uinta’s Labyrinth is one of the greatest beers ever brewed.

Out-of-state beers besides Labyrinth: A lot of breweries busted out their big guns (by ABV and/or IBUs), but Clown Shoes’ Blaecorn Unidragon, a 12.5-percent Russian Imperial Stout that is every bit the behemoth it sounds like. Seriously, if Godzilla were real, he would drink this beer. And then smash Tokyo to bits looking for more of it. For us mere mortals, it’s often available at Total Wine; just drink with caution.

Keeping with the big beer theme, Anderson Valley’s Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout offered up a kung-fu kick to the face. Indian Wells’ Whiskey Barrel Amber took a style not usually associated with barrel-aging and made it into a rough-and-tumble beer in its own right. Sierra Nevada did not bring the excellent Narwhal Imperial Stout, but they made up for it with the Bigfoot barley wine, aged for over a year. I only had one this time, I swear.

For those who are looking for something a little lower on the ABV chart, you could go seasonal with Bridgeport’s Witch Hunt or Deschutes’ Jubelale. Durango’s Dark Lager is always a solid standby, while Eel River’s Certified Organic Amber packed a lot more flavor than most regular ambers. Kona’s Pipeline Porter exceeded my expectations (Franz Solo should enjoy it when he’s in Hawaii soon). Another staple of my autumn beer diet, Left Hand’s Oktoberfest, showed up in place of Fade to Black. Oh. Darn. And speaking of seasonals, Ska brought down its Vernal Minthe Stout, which is basically dessert in a glass. A chocolate mint made into a beer? Sure, why not?

And the award for the strangest beer went to Twisted Pine’s Roots Revival Carrot IPA. I’m not sure if I tasted the carrot in there. I’m not sure what I tasted period. It was a beer that cannot be categorized. It’s not bad, just … different.

Oh, and beers I wanted to try but ran out of time to get to included Pedernales’ Lobo Negro, Green Flash’s Green Bullet, and Odell’s Isolation Ale. Looks like a trip to Jubilation is in my near future.

Brandon’s favorite beers (besides Labyrinth)

New Mexico beers: A majority of our state’s breweries have been unleashing their latest offerings over the past few weeks, so there were only a few new things to check out. The majority of my praise has to go to the home brews from the Dukes of Ale. There were several pleasant surprises in the mix at their table, of which the public got to vote on their favorite beer. This truly was a tough choice, as all had qualities that I really appreciated. Here’s a quick breakdown.

Sandia Chile Grill definitely got into the season with their beer board.

Sandia Chile Grill definitely got into the season with their beer board.

Belgian Pale Ale: This hybrid-style gave a pale ale some refreshingly crisp character from the Belgian malts and enough yeasty character to please this guy’s palate. Add a hop profile that held a slight bit of citrus and pine without being overwhelming and you had a very delicious take on a unique style.

Milk Stout: Well, what can I say? You had me at milk stout. This was quite the creamy delight, actually, as I have high expectations of this style. Lots of chocolate and roasted malt, with a hefty dose of sweetness from the lactic sugars that was still somehow not overpowering. Wonderful job with this beer.

IPA: This was a really interesting beer for one big reason, which is that is was NOT a hop bomb … however, the nose on it said otherwise. Lots of grapefruit and pine, with a touch of citrus. The body? Light, almost floral throughout the front and middle, and slightly resiny in the back. It didn’t leave me with a lack of taste buds for the rest of the day, which is good. Unexpected but very tasty.

Belgian Trippel: A creation of noted homebrewer Ben Miller, the Belgian Trippel stood tall among the other entries. A rich and smooth malt bill was balanced out with a slight bitterness, and finished with a subtle sweetness. Subtle spice hints and complex yeast aromatics made this a great brew, though deceptively easy drinking (as most trippels are). One of my favorite beers of the day.

Green Chile Pumpkin: Yes, you read that right. Odd, huh? Well, I’m all for experimentation when it comes to beer. This was actually a very tasty brew, with fresh green chile prominent in the front and middle, along with a slightly sweet malt bill and spices. The pumpkin comes in mainly at the end, but does lend to the overall creamy mouthfeel of this beer. Judging from the patrons I spoke with this was a pretty polarizing beer, but most people enjoyed it. I will include myself in that group.

Now, on to the breweries! Marble brought two pumpkin beers, the Pumpkin Noire being my favorite of the two. A very natural pumpkin flavor is met with slightly burnt/toasted malts to give the flavor of a baked pumpkin pie. Wonderful stuff really, it was one of my favorites of the pumpkin season.

The good folks at NM Craft Brewing brought the hops to Hopfest. F Your Black IPA was a dry-hopped porter with a bit of smokiness and a dry finish. Plenty of dark and roasted malts gave it a rich body with a nice hop kick. For those of you not big on the dark malts, the Rye PA was plenty smooth with floral and pine hints, and a nice light/medium malt body, making this an easy drinking IPA variation.

Back Alley Draft House had their Russian Imperial Stout and Triple IPA flowing. The IPA was an expected onslaught on the senses with loads of floral, grapefruit, and pine, and a subtle fruity hint, and a strong nose to boot. I’m glad I only had a taste, but man was it good.

Sandia Chile Grill brought out their Rio Negro stout for the event. Strong and malty with a nice sweetness, there is lots of chocolate-y goodness to be found in this brew, so make sure to stop in for a pint.

We have no idea why some dude dressed as Batman and came to Hopfest. But he did, and we hope he enjoyed it more than Porter Pounder enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises.

We have no idea why some dude dressed as Batman at Hopfest. But he did, and we hope he enjoyed it more than Porter Pounder enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises.

Out-of-state beers: The breweries from around the region were in full effect at Hopfest. Clown Shoes brought the big guns out in the form of Blaecorn Unidragon. A huge amount of malt complexity, lots of chocolate and slightly burnt malt with coffee and mild hop kick. All the things one would expect from the style are here in droves in this Russian imperial stout, quite a wonderful brew.

Green Flash brought out their Green Bullet Triple IPA that I’ve heard so much about. As one who has grown to love a nice dank IPA, this one made me utter a brief string of obscenities … in a good way. Huge grapefruit and pine notes, with a punch of citrus and fruit around the middle, and slight resin and more citrus in the finish. Not for the faint of hops … er, heart.

Big Sky came from Montana with their limited release Heavy Horse Scotch Ale. More of a traditional “wee heavy” style, it had a wonderful malt body, with a dash of earthy hops and a slight smokey touch to it. This needs to be a year-round beer.

A pleasant find of the day was Indian Wells’ Whiskey Barrel Amber. One of the smoothest libations I had the pleasure of sampling, the whiskey character was prominent and smooth with oak and vanilla spread all through and slight caramel, almost butterscotch flavors. A delightful amber that just wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t aged. I’m glad it was, though.

We of course took time to get a taste of some of our old favorites from breweries like Left Hand (Oktoberfest), Ska (who brought their Mole and Vernal Minthe Stouts, two excellent seasonals), Oskar Blues (hello, G’Knight!), Deschutes (Jubelale, a tasty winter ale), Durango Brewing Company (Dark Lager), and Sierra Nevada (Bigfoot Aged Barley Wine). So many beers were tried that I know we will miss some, but all in all it was a great day filled with delicious beers.

Porter Pounder’s favorite beers (besides Labyrinth)

As this was my first Hopfest, I finally had the opportunity to try a staggering amount of beers that the rest of the Crew has enjoyed from GABF and other such festivals. Here’s some of my high points in no particular order.

Many of the best beers from outside NM were found on the patio outside the casino.

Many of the best beers from outside NM were found on the patio outside the casino.

Big Sky’s Heavy Horse Scotch Ale: Really full-bodied Scotch Ale, which I am a big fan of always; it was just nice and rich. I love root cellar temp-fermented beers. It gives styles like this that nice thick body and a creamy tone off the top.

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse’s Pumpkin Ale: I was quite surprised I liked this one, to be honest. But in the end, out of all the Pumpkin Ales I tried at Hopfest, this one really had some of the best balance between pumpkin flavor and pie spice, blended to make it creamy with a smooth finish.

Clown Shoes’ Blaecorn Unidragon: One of the highest ABV beers at the show, and clearly an all-around winner for the NMDSBC alongside the Labyrinth that we call can’t stop raving about. This was also my first time experiencing Clown Shoes beer. It was also one of the first things I tried. I figured go big or go home and no regrets my friends, this beer was worth every sip. So thick you could cut it with a knife and fork and amazingly enough, it finished relatively clean, so despite how bold it was it didn’t ruin your palate for your next samples.

Ska’s Vernal Minthe Stout: I never thought about doing mint in a stout, and all you get is what it claims, a bold, rich, perfect stout with just the right amount of mint that adds this throat-and-palate-cleanse at the end. It’s like eating girl scout cookies, but even better, cause cookies don’t get you buzzed. I’m officially sold on Ska after this and their Mole Chile Stout.

Milk Stout, Dukes of Ale (Brewed by Mike Griesmeyer): Welcome to the Indie Awards! The fine folks with the Dukes of Ale had brewed five brews for their own mini-competition. This was my runner up. I drink a lot of stouts, and I’ve brewed at least one of my own, and they are trickier to get just right than a lot of other lighter beers. This was bold and rich, actually almost like a punch in your mouth, but it’s because you joined Fight Club on purpose, so it’s exactly what you came for. Full-bodied with a bold nose off the top with the added richness from the milk sugars. Definitely a highlight on independent brewing.
Green Chile Pumpkin Beer, Dukes of Ale (Brewed by Brian Ausderau): Exactly what it claims to be. Many chile beers have an inherently vinegary tone to them which isn’t that pleasant. This is all about natural roasted chile flavors. Keeping it to a crisp light ale is usually the best way to go with this category to balance it, but then this fine fellow decided to try something new — add pumpkin. Strangely it works really well. It makes this lighter beer almost creamy, which was wonderful to follow the hotness of the chile, and then all you’re left with in the end is a nice pumpkin flavor to finish it and remain. This is the one that got my vote.
Octoberfest, SW Grape & Grain: Second up on the indie beer brewing tastings for me was this wonderful local beer supplies store’s offering of an Octoberfest. They hosted five beers for this event, and this was my favorite. I tried quite a few Octoberfest beers during this event, and this one really stood out for me being particularly crisp. It had a little extra body which I find nice, and a clean finish without being overly bold or alcoholic so you could just eat and drink at an event all day long and never need to take a break, just enjoy!
New Mexico Craft Brewing's booth was full of unique beers and some unique characters serving those beers.

New Mexico Craft Brewing’s booth was full of unique beers and some unique characters serving those beers.

New Mexico Craft Brewing’s F Your Black IPA Dry-Hopped Porter: Our other indie brewing category friends brewed a really damn delicious beer. Honestly, the only way to write to you all how bad ass this beer was, is to steal directly from the write up they submitted for the Hopfest guide: “Oh what am I? Am I a roasty beer? Am I an IPA? I suck at being both. Nope. I am a fat-balled dry-hopped porter. So shut up.” Damn right!

And Finally probably my favorite of all of Hopfest goes to …
Indian Wells’ Whiskey Barrel Amber: This beer is exactly what I came to this festival for. I love whiskey or bourbon barrel-aged beers, but what sets this aside from the rest is one simple fact. It was a dried in the direct sun until the whiskey was sweated out. The difference in doing this from the others — and as good as the others are they are SO overly bold with the alcohol flavor — is that you have to sip your beer like it is a fine scotch, or brace yourself and take your beer in shots. This style Indian Wells tried gives it an edge, because you still taste some great whiskey, but it’s so mellow and well blended into an already excellent beer that you can enjoy it like you would any other smooth drink. It definitely has a decent alcohol content that will sneak up on you in the end, but I could drink this all day, winter or summer.

The beers that ran out before I got to try or somehow weren’t available to try for other reasons were Brigdeport’s Bear Hug (Cherry Chocolate Stout) and Clown Shoes’ Crunkle Sam (American Barlyewine).

* * * *

Well, as we said at the beginning, that’s it for beer festival season in the ABQ area (there is one more fest down in Las Cruces this coming Saturday, but we’ll be sitting that one out). A huge thanks to the always awesome Marne Gaston and her entire volunteer staff, everyone at Isleta Casino that helped out, and all the brewery staff members present. Everything went smoothly, just like many of the beers we had. And thank you to all of the other attendees; once again, you were a great crowd united in the pursuit of having a good time without anyone going overboard.

The big fests may be over, but there is still plenty of beer news out there for the Crew to cover. We will be back soon with our advance preview of The Stumbling Steer, including our samples of some of their forthcoming beers, plus a whole lot more as the rest of 2013 draws to a close.

Because after all, what else are we going to do? Sit around and watch our football teams? (They’re a combined 11-18 and probably only going to get worse.)

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Hopfest is big. There are 62 breweries serving up samples for thousands of beer lovers. In other words, it is not the place to just walk into and wander about. Nope, you need a plan, a battle plan. Luckily, the Dark Side Brew Crew is here to provide one. It’s what we do.

Hopfest is tougher than he looks. You need a battle plan before entering.

Hopfest is tougher than he looks. You need a battle plan before entering.

In terms of physical layout, Hopfest is divided in three. There is the side room, where the Premier Stage is located; the main room, where over half the breweries will be stationed; and the outdoor area, where the Project Acoustic Preview Stage is located. There is also a VIP area, but we don’t have VIP tickets and most of you probably do not, either, so we’ll skip that place.

The two smaller areas should be your first two targets. They can get crowded quickly. In fact, if you are a serious beer drinker, that additional $10 for Extra Hoppy Hour tickets is a must. That initial hour is an excellent time to not only try more beers with fewer people in line, but it is also a chance to actually converse with some of the brewery reps behind the counters.

Upon arrival we are heading for the side room first. It features three in-state breweries, eight from out-of-state, and two from outside the country. What order you go in is up to you, and in the end that is likely to be determined by the beers they have on hand and your personal preference by style. Luckily, we have the list that the breweries passed along to Hopfest, though as always things will be subject to change.

Abita: The Louisiana brewery is bringing two of its standard bearers, Turbo Dog and Purple Haze, so the one we’re interested in is Andygator (8% ABV), a high-gravity maibock-style beer.

Cazuela’s: The Rio Rancho brewery is bringing five beers to Hopfest. For hopheads, you have to go with the Papa Cabra DIPA (9.2% ABV, 100+ IBUs). If you fall on the maltier side of the spectrum, check out the Piedra Del Fuego (5% ABV), a stoned cream ale.

Clown Shoes: Make sure to thank Total Wine for bringing this Massachusetts-based brewery to town. And they’re not coming bearing anything wimpy. Both the Crunkle Sam (11% ABV), an American barleywine, and Blaecorn Unidragon (12.5% ABV), a monstrous Russian imperial stout, will be available. This is why you take the Rail Runner down to Isleta, so you can sample beers like this. Do not go all imperial-crazy and expect to drive afterward, OK?

Durango Dark Lager will be one of the featured beers at Hopfest. Huzzah!

Durango Dark Lager will be one of the featured beers at Hopfest. Huzzah!

Durango Brewing: Ska gets a lot of the attention out of Southwest Colorado, but this little gem of a brewery was a favorite of mine and E-Rock when we visited last year. They’re bringing one of our favorites, Durango Dark Lager (5.4% ABV) along for the ride. There will also be Hop Hugger (6.7% ABV) for you IPA lovers.

Eel River: Gotta admit, have not had too many certified organic beers over the years. This Fortuna, Calif.-based brewery will bring three of those, an IPA, amber, and a blonde, for us to sample.

Indian Wells: Another California brewery, you can find their Lobotomy Doppelbock (typically shortened to the NM-friendly Lobo Bock) around town. It’s not a personal favorite, but we do intend to give their Whiskey Barrel Amber a shot. For all the stouts/porters/browns/Belgians that get the whiskey barrel treatment, we gotta admit, we have not heard of anyone doing that with an amber.

Lost Coast: Not to be confused with Left Coast (see below), this Northern California institution is one of the only female-owned-and-operated breweries in the country. They are bringing three of their primary beers, Indica IPA, Great White, and Downtown Brown.

Mad River: It’s practically a California invasion in the side room. Mad River is bringing three of its standard beers as well in Steelhead DIPA, Steelhead Extra Pale Ale, and Jamaica Red Ale.

New Mexico Craft Brewing: The Las Vegas, NM, brewery is unleashing four hop-centric brews — Starvation Peak AIPA (6.3% ABV, 80 IBUs), Anti-Imperial AIPA (9% ABV, 100+ IBUs), RyePA (6.6% ABV, 85 IBUs), Wet-n-Wild Ale (7.3% ABV, 100+ IBUs) — with the last one made with wild hops picked here in NM. In addition, there’s the early candidate for “most unique beer name” at Hopfest in the F Your Black IPA Dry-Hopped Porter (5.8% ABV, 60 IBUs).

Petrus: The Belgian brewery is bringing its Aged Pale Ale and Aged Red Ale to tap. If you’re a Belgian beer fan, this place is one of the big guns in that country.

Rio Negro is big and burly, yet very smooth.

Rio Negro is big and burly, yet very smooth.

Sandia Chile Grill: Feeling dark? Yet smooth? Then a sample of Rio Negro smoked milk stout on nitro should fit you perfectly. If you want to stay on the light side, the award-winning Gold Rush Pilsen should more than suffice.

Twisted Pine: This will mark the first visit (we think) to a NM beer festival for the Boulder-based brewery. Twisted Pine is not coming light, either, bringing its wholly unique Roots Revival Carrot IPA (6.9% ABV, 51 IBUs), plus Bishop’s Elbow ESB (5.2% ABV).

Van Steenberge: This Belgian brewery is bringing Gulden Draak, which is not a character in the upcoming “Hobbit” film, but instead a Dark Triple Ale that checks in at 10.5-percent ABV.

All right, so that’s the side room. Now head to the small outside area on the south side of Isleta Casino, where 11 breweries, all from outside New Mexico.

Anderson Valley: Another of Northern California’s finest breweries will grace our presence with four beers. While the seasonal Winter Solstice (6.9% ABV) sounds nice and all (if a bit early), the one we have our eye on is the Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout (6.9% ABV).

Big Sky: Montana’s biggest brewery will bring three beers to sample, with the Heavy Horse Scotch Ale (6.7% ABV) as the highlight.

Boulder Beer: Colorado’s oldest microbrewery will feature four of its primary beers, including the popular Hazed & Infused and the Flashback India Brown Ale.

Deschutes isn't bringing Obsidian Stout (sniff), but you can still celebrate their beers the way I celebrated the Pirates' 82nd victory a few months ago.

Deschutes isn’t bringing Obsidian Stout (sniff), but you can still celebrate their beers the way I celebrated the Pirates clinching their first winning season in 20 years back in August.

Deschutes: Bend, Oregon’s most famous brewery will have four beers to try, including two regulars in River Ale (4% ABV) and Hop Trip (5.5% ABV) pale ale, plus the seasonal Jubelale (6.7% ABV) and Chasin’ Freshies IPA (7.2% ABV).

Left Coast: Poor Left Coast has probably been mixed up with Lost Coast (see above) and Left Hand (see right below) plenty of times. This Southern California brewery will try to set itself apart with four beers on hand in the Una Mas amber lager (6.4% ABV), Hop Juice DIPA (9.7% ABV), Voo Doo American Stout (8.5% ABV), and a fourth TBA beer. (We heard it was called Lucky Buddha, but the official Left Coast site has no info on such a beer.)

Left Hand: The Longmont, Colo., brewery racked up multiple medals at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival. They are best known for their Milk Stout, which will be among the regular beers they are scheduled to bring down. Sawtooth Ale, an ESB-style beer, will also be present, as will whichever current edition of Fade to Black they have available. That has been a porter, a black IPA, and various other dark genres in the past. Guess we’ll have to go and find out what this version is.

New Belgium: Another Colorado institution, they will have regular beers Fat Tire, Rampant Imperial IPA, Shift Pale Lager, and the seasonal Pumpkick.

Oskar Blues: It’s all about Colorado breweries on the patio. They will have five of their regular beers on hand, including two of our favorites in G’Knight, an imperial red, and Old Chub, a Scotch ale.

Pedernales: Another brewery making its ABQ debut is this Fredericksburg, Texas, outfit. They have a series of Lobo beers, so that should appease the local sports fans. Lobo Lager, Lobo Lito (a pilsner), and Lobo Negro (a black lager) will be on hand for many of us to try for the first time.

Tommyknocker: This Colorado brewery has made a recent push into NM and gotten some good reviews from folks around the state. They will have the dry-hopped IPA and a Half (7% ABV, 85 IBUs) for all you hopheads. Seasonal lovers can try the Pumpkin Harvest Ale or the Maple Nut Brown Ale.

Dear lord, thank you for Uinta's Labyrinth, a quadruple black ale.

Dear lord, thank you for Uinta’s Labyrinth, a quadruple black ale.

Uinta: Another brewery that has arrived in force in NM, this Utah-based group will have the wonderful, magnificent, still-not-available-for-sale-here (damn it) Labyrinth Quadruple Black Ale. If you did not have this wonder at Blues & Brews back in May, now you must try it. No, seriously, TRY LABYRINTH!

All right, now it’s time to tackle the main room. Odds are, you’ll be arriving just as the general admission crowd is walking in. So get strategic, target the places you absolutely want to try first; if a brewery only brought some classics, hold off and wait until you’ve cleared your must-haves, then pick the shortest lines and go wild.

Alaskan: Sadly, no seasonals are expected, just the four regular beers you can find in six-packs all around town. Still, if you have not tried the Amber or the Freeride APA, now is a good chance. They are both worth it for malt lovers and hopheads.

Angry Orchard/Crispin/Woodchuck: It’s all ciders. Have fun if you’re into that sort of thing any of these three booths.

Back Alley Draft House: Addison is bringing two monsters, his Imperial Russian Stout (9.6% ABV) and Triple IPA (10.5% ABV, 100+ IBUs), to clobber us all. We had the stout at Brew Fest and it was excellent. Just not for the faint of heart. If you can’t take those behemoths, go with the Pumpkin Ale. It’s only 8-percent ABV.

Batch 19/Blue Moon/Third Shift: Don’t let the cute names fool you, these are macrobrewery-owned places trying to masquerade as microbreweries.

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse: It’s a beer chain. There’s one by Winrock. In a better world, we would have gotten the superior Rock Bottom first. Oh, well.

Boston Beer Co. (Samuel Adams): The biggest of all microbreweries in America, they have a bunch of their usual stuff. The only I (Stoutmeister) have not had before is the Hazel Brown (5.2% ABV). I’ll give it a shot if there’s time.

Breckenridge: A staple in Colorado, they are only bringing their two most popular regular beers, the Vanilla Porter and Lucky U IPA.

Bridgeport: The Oregon brewery got some pub when the final season of TNT’s “Leverage” was filmed there. While their IPA and Hop Czar have been here before, this may very well be the debut of Bear Hug, a cherry chocolate stout. Sample it and then head over to Il Vicino to see how things stack up.

Dukes of Ale: Definitely make time to stop by the home brewers’ booth, where they will have samples of some of the best locally made beers you will have Saturday. There should be a big variety.

Goose Island: The Chicago brewery is not, sadly, bringing us more of that Bourbon County Coffee Stout like they did back during ABQ Beer Week. Instead we just get three of their regulars, IPA, Honker’s Ale, and 312 Urban Wheat Ale.

Green Flash: San Diego’s up-and-coming brewery will have two blasts for hopheads. Their West Coast IPA is a good start. Then they will clobber you with the Green Bullet, a triple IPA. See how it compares to Back Alley’s Triple IPA.

Milk Chocolate Cherry Stout from Il Vicino goes perfectly with ... everything.

Milk Chocolate Cherry Stout from Il Vicino goes perfectly with … everything.

Il Vicino: Our favorite local mad scientists will have some more Milk Chocolate Cherry Stout for us all to enjoy. There will also be Hell(y)es, Dark American Lager, and Wet Mountain IPA, but you can still get those at the Canteen.

Isotopes Beer: It’s the two beers you can get during baseball games, the Slammin’ Amber and Triple-A Blonde. They are made by Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca (see below).

Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing: The popular Wisconsin brewery will have their Hoppin’ Helles. That’s all they’re listing, for now. At least they’re not bringing the Summer Shandy, which one Twitter feed considered a form of torture under the Geneva Convention.

Kellys Brewpub: The Nob Hill institution will have its Session IPA, Scottish Ale, Apricot Ale, and Pumpkin Ale. It’s been so long since we have been there we have no idea if three of those beers are new or if they have been on tap for a while (we know the Scottish is a regular).

Kona Brewing: Hawaii’s biggest brewery will bring three of its regulars to town in the Longboard Lager, Pipeline Porter, and Big Wave, a golden ale. I’ll give the porter a shot since it was never on tap at any of the bars I was at in Honolulu about eight years ago. We’ll have Franz Solo seek out Hawaii beers when he is out there for a cousin’s wedding next month.

Lagunitas: These hopheads from California are just bringing their IPA and Undercover Shutdown Ale. Not that there’s anything wrong with those, but we can go buy ’em at Jubilation. Bring us something new!

Magic Hat: The Vermont brewery has also made a fairly recent push into NM. It’s beers tend to be all over the place. Along for the ride at Hopfest are #9, a “not quite pale ale,” the HI.P.A., Seance (a Saison), and deVeiled Red Ale. These appear to be all the beers available in their current variety pack that you can pick up at Jubilation.

What mystery kegs will Marble bring to Hopfest? We will find out soon.

What mystery kegs will Marble bring to Hopfest? We will find out soon.

Marble: They’re bringing … no one knows! As per usual, Marble seems to be throwing together its beer list at the last second. We are sure there will be some good ones, some company standards, and hopefully a surprise or two.

Odell: There’s nothing too new from this Colorado brewery, just the debut of Isolation Ale, their annual winter seasonal.

Omission: Widmer owns this gluten-free line of beers. For that gluten-free friend of years who just can’t take another cider, their Pale Ale will be on tap.

Redhook: Three of their standards will be available from Seattle, the ESB, Longhammer IPA, and Audible Ale. Actually, that last one is new. They brewed it with former ESPN anchor Dan Patrick. Yeah, you read that right.

Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande: The Moriarty brewery will have all of its crowd favorites on hand, including the Sierra Blanca Nut Brown Ale, which has won silver and gold, respectively, at the last two Great American Beer Festivals.

Santa Fe: Three regulars and Octoberfest. About what we expected.

Sierra Nevada: If you haven’t tried the Narwhal Imperial Stout, this is your chance.

Ska: Decadent Imperial IPA beckons hopheads everywhere. But where are the excellent stouts? WHERE?!

Spoetzl Brewery (Shiner): They are only bringing their Ruby Redbird. Have at it, fruit beer lovers.

Squatters/Wasatch: For hopheads only. These two Utah breweries are bringing Squatters IPA, Hop Rising DIPA, and Ghostrider White IPA.

SW Grape & Grain: They will have some home-brewed beers to sample, just like Dukes of Ale. See whose collection is superior. Hey, there’s an Octoberfest on their list! See Monica, not everyone brewed pumpkin beers instead this fall!

It's always a party at the Tractor booth with Skye and Dave, or whoever they send.

It’s always a party at the Tractor booth with Skye and Dave, or whoever they send.

Tractor: It’s pretty much what you’d get over at the Nob Hill tap room (IPA, DIPA, Red, Cortijo, Stout are listed, though I thought the Cortijo, a farmhouse ale, ran out a while ago), but they’re always a fun bunch to stop by and say hello to. And if you are one of those weird people who still hasn’t been to tractor, grab yourself a sample of the Double Plow Oatmeal Stout and see what you have been missing.

Widmer Bros.: Hopfest’s sponsoring brewery, so at least stop by and say “thanks!” Their Hefeweizen (4.9% ABV) and Alchemy Ale (5.8%) will be on hand. The latter is a result of an ongoing experiment to create a “perfectly balanced, perfectly hopped ale.” We love when breweries go all mad scientist on us.

So that’s the entire lineup (Duel will only be pouring in the VIP room, darn it), but as we said, it’s all subject to change. You can go clockwise or counter-clockwise around the rooms, or just dart about, picking shorter lines as the event gets more crowded. Whatever approach works for you, go with it. Just pick the beers or breweries that sound like your kind of places, and hit ’em up first. Everyone at these events has traditionally been polite and courteous, but still, please be on your best behavior. I think we have all seen enough videos on Deadspin of drunk sports fans battering each other. That bad behavior has never spilled over into Hopfest or any other beer festival, so don’t let it start. Smile and remember, it’s all about having a good time and lots of good beer.

However you choose to go, just don’t overdo it, please. Getting a designated driver or taking the Rail Runner is a must for this event. We will be doing the latter, so we’ll see some of you on the train.

On behalf of myself, Brandon, Porter Pounder, and associate Brew Crew member Corporal Hicks, we hope you enjoy Hopfest tomorrow half as much as we do!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister