Posts Tagged ‘Spotted Dog Brewery’

Behold, the hopped mysteries of the pint.

Behold, the hopped mysteries of the pint.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

— Julie (with an assist from Stoutmeister)

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Las Cruces' biggest beer festival is back. (Image courtesy of the NM Brewers Guild)

Las Cruces’ biggest beer festival is back. (Image courtesy of the NM Brewers Guild)

The third annual Blazin’ Brewfest will hit Las Cruces this Saturday from 4 to 9 p.m., officially kicking off festival season in New Mexico. The event will be held again on Main Street, with plenty of food trucks and live music to go with the offerings from 15 different breweries, including the event’s four host breweries — Bosque, High Desert, Pecan Grill & Brewery, and Spotted Dog. It will mark the second New Mexico Brewers Guild event of the year, following WinterBrew in Santa Fe back in January. You can buy tickets online or at the breweries/taprooms in Las Cruces, or they will be $20 at the gate. The ticket gets you a souvenir glass and sample tickets.

As we try to do for every major festival, especially those supported by the Guild, we put out the call for beer lists so those attending have advance notice of what they are in for this weekend. Unfortunately, we have not gotten many lists yet, but we will keep updating this post and letting you know when it is updated via social media right up until the event starts. None of the Crew can make the trek southward again this year (it falls on a double birthday weekend, for one thing), but keep an eye out for friend of the Crew and possible future Las Cruces correspondent Eric Dust, who hopefully (HINT) will write up something on the event.

The beer lists, as provided by the breweries.

Bosque: Pale Ryder, Brewer’s Boot Amber Ale, Scotia Scotch Ale, Bosque Pale Lager, Equinox SMASH, Bosque Lager. That’s four quality house beers, plus two seasonals in the Pale Lager (had it Wednesday, should be perfect in the afternoon heat) and the new Equinox SMASH, a single-hop and single-malt ale.

High Desert: IPA, Peach Wheat, Hefeweizen, Bohemian Pilsner, ESB, Brown Ale, Stout, Oktoberfest. Those beers will be there for sure, plus they teased that there may be some surprise beers there as well.

La Cumbre: unknown

Little Toad Creek: unknown

Marble: unknown

Monks’ Ale: unknown

Pecan Grill & Brewery: They dropped the “De La Vega’s” portion of their name, plus they are brewing on site now. All they told us was that they will be bringing a number of specialty beers created at their brewer, not contract-brewed up at Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca in Moriarty.

Ponderosa: unknown

Red Door: Gateway Blonde Ale, Unhinged Cider, Threshold IPA, Roamer Red. Seriously, Las Cruces, for those of you who love ciders, Unhinged may be the best in the state. And because it’s there, you can take your gluten-free friend(s) to the event.

Santa Fe: Happy Camper IPA, Java Stout, Black IPA, Freestyle Pilsner, Pale Ale, State Pen Porter, Nut Brown. All the crowd favorites.

Second Street: unknown

Spotted Dog: Much like Pecan, they are promising to bring some unique beers to the festival, but would not name them. So think of it all as a big surprise. Part two.

Taos Mesa: unknown

Tractor: Farmer’s Tan Red Ale and Mustachio Milk Stout in cans; Apple Cider, Branding Iron DIPA, and Cowboy Blend Coffee Pale Stout on tap. Three staples and two seasonals from opposite ends of the spectrum.

Turtle Mountain: Brohemian Pilsner, Oku Amber, Hopshell IPA, Stauffenberg Stout. In addition to those, there will be limited samples of Wilde Jagd, TMBC’s first bottled beer, plus some bombers for sale.

Sorry we could not get all the breweries’ lists this time around. Hopefully we will have better luck when Bearfest and Blues & Brews go head-to-head in late May. Oh, and for the Outside Bike & Brew Festival in Santa Fe before that. Good lord May is going to be busy.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Spotting a new brewery down south

Posted: September 18, 2014 by porterpounder in New Brewery Preview, Uncategorized
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Recently I, Porter Pounder, was invited to an advance tasting at a new brewery under construction while working down south in Las Cruces. Spotted Dog Brewery is the name, and wheat beer is their very specific game. Jerry Grandle, owner and operator, was kind enough to let me in to watch them brew their first official batch, and give me some insight to their new brewery. Spotted Dog is holding a soft opening this Friday, according to their Facebook page, and will have a grand opening in the weeks to come “after we get all the kinks worked out.”

Say hello to Southern New Mexico's newest brewery.

Say hello to Southern New Mexico’s newest brewery.

Having been home brewing for over 14 years, and having strong ties to Southern New Mexico history, Jerry explained that wheat beer is actually quite common in local history. Located at 2920 S. Avenida de Mesilla in old Mesilla, it’s actually a really great location, close to lots of great food, music, and art. True old New Mexico, so even the location says something about the forthcoming styles of beer.

On that note, that’s why you’re all here, lets talk beer menu! Spotted Dog will be opening boasting six mainstay beers: Belgian Wit (6.5% ABV), Milk Stout (7% ABV), IPA (6.5% ABV), Pale Ale (6.5% ABV), Hefeweizen (6% ABV), and a Red (6.5% ABV). They will also be having themed, seasonal, or specialty beers on rotations, which includes small batch beers, like their 13-percent Imperial Wheat, or the Braggart, which I was lucky enough to get to taste.

Brewer Jerry Grandle has been hard at work in advance of Friday's soft opening.

Brewer Jerry Grandle has been hard at work in advance of Friday’s soft opening.

The two beers that were available during my visit were the aforementioned Braggart, and their mainstay key beer, the Belgian Wit. The Wit was super crisp, with light hop tones to start, and finished with some bitterness that stemmed from the zest from tangerines, grapefruit, and even the hint of coriander. There are four types of hops in it, too, which play really nicely off the zest for the finish. When you get that first scent on the nose of this Wit, you really notice the grapefruit, and that typical Belgian funk that you know and love from the yeast of this beer style. The Wit was still very cloudy, with a decently thick head as well upon pouring that had excellent tight bubble grouping. Once I let it open up to room temperature a lot of flavor came out to play in wonderful harmony. It may not be the boldest Belgian beer you’ll taste all year, but it will make a great summer and fall beer for something a little different and unique.

The Braggart, which was at a much stronger 13 percent ABV, is one of their small batch specialties. This is one that I certainly would be coming back for every tapping before I miss out. The Braggart is somewhere in between beer and mead. I also recommend letting it open up just a touch, then really experience its chewy, heavy glory. The additives are candy ginger and fresh honey, which are perfect for a simple flavor profile to add to this specialty. It had a gorgeous nose up front, especially just hinting at the ginger, and a light, cloudy, caramel color. There really are no hop profiles in this style, and you can expect a very sweet, not alcohol finish. Because of the sweetness, you’ll never quite realize how heavy of a pint you’re actually experiencing. It will definitely remind you of something along the lines of a wee heavy.

And that was my experience at Spotted Dog. They certainly are a much-needed, unique brewery located in a small college town, and we can’t wait to get back down there after opening and give em a taste and see how the other beers fare.

Prost!

— Porter Pounder