Posts Tagged ‘Steel Bender Brewyard’

The Crew was represented at the NM Brew Fest by, from left, Andrew, Reid, and AmyO.

Well, that was quite the weekend. Of all the Crew, I may have done the least craft beer drinking, which is quite weird. Hey, I am single and do not have a kid, but I also have a screwy work schedule and missed the ninth annual New Mexico Brew Fest. Boo.

Anyway, I did get around a little bit. My quest to try all the local Oktoberfest-style beers continued with stops at Ponderosa (quite good, quite traditional) and Bow & Arrow (also quite good, but a little more bready and dry). I also found some of the last remaining cans of Steel Bender’s OktoberFiesta at Jubilation when I was sent on a beer run for a post-NMBF party.

Then the weather changed and it became stout season. That is a story for next week, however.

Here are the rest of the Crew’s weekend adventures. Let’s just say they all had a lot of fun, and a lot of beers, and everyone survived to tell the tales.

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You know it is truly autumn when the New Mexico Brew Fest returns to the State Fairgrounds.

One of our favorite annual beer festivals, the New Mexico Brew Fest, is back at the State Fairgrounds this Saturday afternoon. The ninth edition starts at 1 p.m. (noon for early entry ticket holders) and runs until 6. Tickets are available online here.

What makes this a favorite fest of ours? Well, to start with, it’s outdoors. Formerly in the Villa Hispana courtyard, it has now moved out onto Main Street, due to a combination of poor access for the breweries to bring in the kegs, and because it was getting a wee bit too crowded in Villa Hispana. The weather is usually beautiful, so cross your fingers that those projected morning rains are long gone by the time this year’s fest kicks off.

Another fun part is that this festival is made up of only New Mexico breweries. A total of 21 are listed as attending, ranging from stalwarts like Bosque, Boxing Bear, Canteen, La Cumbre, Marble, and Santa Fe, plus breweries from far corners of the state, including Lost Hiker (Ruidoso) and Taos Mesa.

There will be plenty of food trucks (Nomad’s BBQ, Street Food Institute, Soo Bak, and more), live music (Cali Shaw Band, The Big Spank, DJ Flo Fader), and some additional fun games and activities.

Of course, the most pertinent question always comes down to what beers are being poured. Well, we can confirm that three beers that recently won medals at the Great American Beer Festival will be available — Turtle Mountain’s Wooden Teeth (gold), Bosque’s Pistol Pete’s 1888 (bronze), Starr Brothers’ Lampshade Porter (bronze) — plus one medal winner from the Great British Beer Festival in The 377’s Schwartzbier (bronze).

These lists were provided by the breweries and are always subject to last-minute changes, depending on availability. For any breweries that have not reported their lists yet, we will add them as they come in right up until the start of the festival.

  • Abbey: TBA
  • Bosque: IPA, Brewer’s Boot, Pistol Pete’s 1888, Elephants on Parade, TBD seasonal
  • Bow & Arrow: TBA
  • Boxing Bear: Uppercut IPA, Black and Blue Tart, Coffee Chocolate Milk Stout, Das Bear German Pilsner, Apple Bear Cider
  • Broken Trail: Double Black, Trailworks IPA, Arroyo Blanco Wheat, Goathead Brown
  • Canteen: Oktoberfest, Exodus IPA, Pecos Trail Brown Ale, Laid Back Lager
  • Desert Valley: TBA
  • Dialogue: Oktoberfest, 3x Tripel
  • Kaktus: TBA
  • La Cumbre: Elevated IPA, A Slice of Hefen, BEER, Witch’s Tit, Project Dank
  • Lost Hiker: TBA
  • Marble: Double White, Passionate Gose, Pumpkin Ale, Westside IPA
  • Nexus: Scotch Ale, Bird of Prey IPA, Coffee & Cream Ale, Imperial “Tribble” Red Ale
  • Palmer: TBA
  • Santa Fe: 7K IPA, Oktoberfest, Freestyle Pilsner, Western Bloc IPA, Hefeweizen
  • Starr Brothers: Lampshade Porter, Rosé Gose, Hanky Spanky, Starrphire Pilsner
  • Steel Bender: Brickie American Stout, Lloyd’s 3 O’Clock Kolsch, Blackberry Dynamite, Skull Bucket IPA
  • Taos Mesa: TBA
  • The 377: Schwartzbier, 377 IPA, Plumberry Sour, Ginger Beer
  • Tractor: Pumpkin Cider, Traktoberfest, Double Plow Oatmeal Stout
  • Turtle Mountain: Wooden Teeth*, Vienna SMLSH, Tropical Menagerie, Turb Majeure (NEIPA), Yum Yum Noir

Also, take note that Left Turn Distilling will be on hand alongside its sibling brewery, Palmer.

Got any questions or comments? Drop us a line.

This is one of those fests where we highly recommend that everyone utilize a designated driver, Lyft, Uber, or other means of transportation than driving yourself if you plan to drink. Stay safe out there!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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.

Ready to get in shape while still enjoying a few pints? The Sixth Occasional Beer Run is going down this Saturday starting at 2 p.m. The course will begin on the Rio Grande and Paseo Bike Path where Rio Grande goes over Paseo del Norte (so take note to access the starting point via RG, it will be on the south side of the bridge). From there, participants will run east toward Second Street to Steel Bender Brewyard, about a 1.4-mile distance. After a pint or drink of your choosing, runners will then head north to Alameda and west to Boxing Bear (3.8 miles). Then it will be a quicker pair of jaunts over to Desert Valley on Ellison and Toltec on Old Airport Road. From there, make sure someone picks you up, because you probably should not drive. The run is open to anyone interested, and you do not have to run the entire course. Start and stop anywhere along the way. Mostly, though, it is just a chance to have some fun and get a little exercise in a way besides just lifting pint glasses.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque’s taps are moving quick these days, so a trifecta of newcomers are now available in Spoondriver DIPA, Bellbird Pale Ale, and Wheat, Pray, Love, plus this Friday you can get Open Space Haze in 4-pack cans. Canteen has another batch of Wet Hop Pale Ale available. Marble rolls out some Tangerine Gose, plus look for cans of Desert Fog soon. Nexus should have more Bird of Prey IPA available by this weekend. Sidetrack hops to it with Turntable IPA and Switchback IPA, plus Dark Engine Stout returns. Steel Bender is throwing a release party for Blackberry Dynamite this Thursday, with 6-pack cans available and a special cask with coffee added.

Up in Santa Fe, things are quiet. Too quiet. Get up there and drink those taps dry!

Do not forget about the Great American Beer Festival medal winners. Currently on tap are Wooden Teeth (gold medal) at Turtle Mountain, Malpais Stout (silver) at La Cumbre, Germophile (silver) at Rowley Farmhouse Ales, Pistol Pete’s 1888 (bronze) at Bosque, Cherry Wheat (bronze) at Sierra Blanca, Lampshade Porter (bronze) at Starr Brothers, and the collaboration Mocha Hipster Bomb (bronze) at Palmer and Quarter Celtic.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of October 8.

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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.

Brace yourselves, the bad traffic in Burque is about to get a whole lot worse. Yup, the Balloon Fiesta is back starting Saturday, which is great for the local economy and all, but can also be a headache for many of us when it comes to getting to our favorite breweries and taprooms. The good news is Steel Bender and Marble are the first two breweries to really tie themselves into the Fiesta. Marble is hosting a Balloon Brunch on Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon. Street Food Institute is catering, Danny Harps is providing the music, and there will be Beermosas galore, with Gruet Winery also on hand. This is all being held on the rooftop deck. Tickets cost $35 and are available online. For that price, you get the buffet, two beers or beermosas, and a grand finale tour of the brewery.

As for Steel Bender, the popular Balloons & Brews is back every day of the Fiesta. The patio will be open every morning at 7, with beers available right then, save for Sundays (it is still noon because the State of New Mexico lives in the dark ages). There will be beer, beermosas, bloody beers, and wine available. Steel Bender will serve breakfast burritos and Bender Sunrise Sandwiches. There will also be local pastries from Pastian’s Bakery, local “Wake the Dead” coffee from Pour Vida Coffee Roasters, and Manny’s Now-Famous Hot Cocoa. Considering the location in Los Ranchos, there might even be some balloons landing in the area. Pick a day and head on out there!

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bosque is catching up to the season with its Oktoberfest. Canteen likewise adds its Oktoberfest on tap, plus Tuttle IPA and Sichler Chile Lager return, and Saving 2nd Base, a boysenberry wheat made for charity, is also available. La Cumbre will have cans of Space Manatee, a pomegranate kettle sour, available on Friday. Marble pays tribute to the brewer at Spoetzel with Jimmy Bock. Ponderosa rolls out some Hoppy Pilsner. Quarter Celtic also added its Oktoberfest on tap. Starr Brothers is into some Hanky Spanky Simcoe Pale Ale. Steel Bender has Alewitch Pumpkin Ale and Gris Gris available on Thursday. The 377 brings back its Great British Beer Festival bronze-medal winner, Schwartzbier. Toltec has, you probably guessed it, its Oktoberfest on tap. Turtle Mountain sticks with the theme and adds its Oktoberfest.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn keeps the marzen flowing with its Oktoberfest, plus Brut IPA should be on tap by the weekend. Second Street puckers up with Freja Harvest Sour, while also adding Slight of Haze.

Do not forget about the Great American Beer Festival medal winners. Currently on tap are Wooden Teeth (gold medal) at Turtle Mountain, Malpais Stout (silver) at La Cumbre, Germophile (silver) at Rowley Farmhouse Ales, Pistol Pete’s 1888 (bronze) at Bosque, Cherry Wheat (bronze) at Sierra Blanca, Lampshade Porter (bronze) at Starr Brothers, and the collaboration Mocha Hipster Bomb (bronze) at Palmer and Quarter Celtic.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of October 1.

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The pretzels were on point at Marblefest.

This was one of those weekends where most of us should have been in recovery mode, but the beer events (and metal shows) would not allow us to rest.

For me, the in-town fun was this past Thursday, when I took a trip out to Turtle Mountain to celebrate owner Nico Ortiz’s “39th” birthday and the recent gold medal that head brewer Mick Hahn brought home from the Great American Beer Festival. I thought we were just going to raise a pint of the Wooden Teeth and then I could head out, but noooooo, Mick had to go and bust out a whole bunch of beers from various places for us all to try. Darn it, Mick. Darn, darn, darn. Anyway, the Wooden Teeth tasted great, as a gold-medal winner should, and it was nice to see so many of Nico’s longtime friends and customers stop by to wish him a happy birthday and congrats on the medal.

From there, it was off to Steel Bender for the OktoberFiesta. The chef and his kitchen staff should be applauded for a delicious jaegerschnitzel, which is not an easy thing to make, especially as the place filled up and more and more folks stormed in wanting a plate. I was also happy to be one of the last people to get a commemorative mug, even though I need another piece of glassware (or ceramic-ware, in this case) like I need a hole in the head. Sadly, we also drank up all the OktoberFiesta beer. Who thinks we should petition the brewing staff to make another batch? Huh, even my parents have their arms raised.

Anyway, for the rest of the Crew (minus poor Luke, too sick to drink this weekend), here are their latest adventures in beer.

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This is one event you cannot miss … unless you bought tickets to a metal show in Denver months ago.

Timing is everything in life. For instance, this Saturday is both Marblefest here in Albuquerque and the Amorphis/Dark Tranquillity/Omnium Gatherum/Moonspell metal show in Denver. Many of us in the Crew bought our tickets to the latter a while ago, so we are northbound again, but that just means the rest of you will have more beer to drink at 111 Marble Avenue this weekend.

Marble’s marvelous marketing and events coordinator Geraldine Lucero invited me to stop by the Heights taproom before GABF to talk about this awesome festival that I will personally miss. (Sniff) We were joined by brewmaster Josh Trujillo to discuss the beers as well.

The event begins with a VIP sampling session from noon to 2 p.m., followed by the general admission festival from 2 until 11. It costs $20 for VIP tickets and $5 for GA. General admission tickets will be on sale at the door only. Tickets for VIP are available at all three taprooms, or you can order VIP online. Those go up to $25 on the day of the event, so get ’em early. Geraldine said that the VIP gets you a commemorative tasting glass, six 4-ounce pours, a food pairing, and you get to enjoy music from Red Light Cameras.

“That’s going to be really exciting because we’re limiting the amount of tickets we’re selling to that,” Geraldine said. “We want it to be a lot smaller where people (won’t) wait in lines, taste as much beer as they want, talk to the brewers on hand. We’re trying to give them an awesome VIP experience.”

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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.

The Crew has returned from Denver. We are mostly alive. Beer will help revive us, especially when you tie it in with some Oktoberfest fun. The good news is two local breweries are hitting us with those sort of good times, and thankfully, it will not be in competition with one another. First up, Steel Bender is hosting OktoberFiesta at the Brewyard on Thursday. The fun kicks off at 5 p.m. with the return of the OktoberFiesta beer, plus Misfitter Altbier is also back. The kitchen will be dishing out some jaegerschnitzel with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, and braised red cabbage, plus Pastian’s Bakery is serving up some tasty strudel for dessert. Throw in live music from the Nathan Fox Quartet starting at 6, and what else could you need? Oh, how about a 20-ounce ceramic mug for $15, with your first pour on the house? That will do, Steel Bender, that will do.

Marblefest then takes over the downtown brewery on Saturday. We are gonna have a lot more in a separate story thanks to pre-fest interviews with marketing director Geraldine Lucero and brewmaster Josh Trujillo. There will be beers from multiple breweries, including one epic collaboration, plus food trucks and a huge band lineup with Red Light Cameras starting things off at noon for the VIP tasting (regular admission is just $5 and starts at 2). Hey, when RLC is the opener, you know it is a big event.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bow & Arrow hits the mark again with Desert Punch Hazy DIPA. Dialogue is feeling the season with its own Oktoberfest, plus 3x Tripel. La Cumbre rolls out cans of Autumn Project Dank on Friday. Marble gets innovative with Dryspell, a barrel-aged amber with brett, and Glowstick Juice, a new New England-style IPA. Ponderosa hopes to have Belgian Dubbel on tap by the weekend. Sidetrack also sneaked in an Oktoberfest. Starr Brothers goes all Young Frankenstein on us with Therewolf, its own take on an Oktoberfest. Steel Bender will also have more Brickie American Stout this week. The 377 is aiming to have a new Porter on tap soon, plus a small, experimental batch of Prickly Pear Porter.

Up in Santa Fe, Second Street rolls out a slew of new beers including Rod’s Steam Bitter, MBV Dry Stout, Imperial IPA, Saison, and Imperial IPA, with even more on deck, including Atalaya Altbier this Saturday. Further north in Red River, RRBC also jumps on the German trend with Tucker-Brau Oktoberfest Marzen.

Do not forget about the Great American Beer Festival medal winners. Currently on tap are Wooden Teeth (gold medal) at Turtle Mountain, Malpais Stout (silver) at La Cumbre, Germophile (silver) at Rowley Farmhouse Ales, Pistol Pete’s 1888 (bronze) at Bosque, Cherry Wheat (bronze) at Sierra Blanca, Lampshade Porter (bronze) at Starr Brothers, and the collaboration Mocha Hipster Bomb (bronze) at Palmer and Quarter Celtic.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of September 24.

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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.

Man, there is so much to cover again this week, what shall be the lead? Well, if you have been following us for the past six-plus years … OF COURSE IT’S THE METAL SHOW. Yes, metal is back at a brewery, only this time it is up in Santa Fe at Tumbleroot’s location on Agua Fria. This special Black Metal Takeover on Monday opens at 7:30, with tickets costing a measly $10. That gets you in to see Santa Fe’s own malevolent masters of metal, Dysphotic, as well as the new local group, Heretical Sect, featuring members of Superstition and ex-Predatory Light. Two traveling bands will also be on hand, with both hailing from the frozen wasteland, er, picturesque Midwestern state of Minnesota. Ashbringer and Amiensus are coming a long way to melt some faces, so make sure to load up your crew and head to Santa Fe for this epic set. Plus, it is a perfectly good excuse to finally try Tumbleroot if you have not been there yet.

As we noted, that is hardly the only big event this weekend. High and Dry is hosting Second Street as its guest brewery of the month, and there will be a special launch party tonight. Today will also feature a special ticket party for Saturday’s Albuquerque Hopfest, hosted by Steel Bender. That fun kicks off at 4 p.m. Friday night will see the First Friday Artwalk in downtown ABQ, with Boese Brothers, Sidetrack, and the Duel taproom all participating with art shows and live music. Saturday will of course feature Hopfest taking over the Isleta Casino, and we will have a full preview of that later this week. Finally, Sunday will see the new Crafts, Crops & Hops Autumn Beer Market at Canteen from noon to 7, with live green chile roasting, live music, multiple vendors, and, of course, delicious beer. No rest for the wicked this week, people.

On the new beer front this week, there are a few options to check out. Bow & Arrow is releasing Peach Cosmic Arrow on tap and in bottles on Saturday. Boxing Bear sticks with its haze phase with MurkQueño Hazy IPA going on tap this Friday. Canteen brings back Raspberry Wheat and Fill in the Blanco (White IPA). Dialogue has a trio of newbies in What’s Golden Ale, Strazberry Berliner, and Young Guns Dank Wet Hop IPA. Kilt Check resurrects two old favorites in Covfefe Hefe and McRojo or No?. La Cumbre rolls out Quick and Easy Pale Ale, plus that delicious Dortmunder is on at both taprooms now. Marble added more Desert Fog, plus the Eastside IPA is now on tap. Sidetrack has more CO-MO IPA to keep everyone happy. Steel Bender goes big with the double release of Black (Hole Sun) IPA and OktoberFiesta on Thursday. The 377 should have more Ginger Beer and its Oktoberfest on tap by Friday. Toltec added a Mojito Kettle Sour a little while ago, and Dr. Rudi Single Hop should be out today. Tractor tapped this year’s batch of Traktoberfest on Tuesday, so get it while it’s fresh. Turtle Mountain has Tropical Menagerie and Macaulay Kolschin ready to go as soon as a couple taps open up, which should be this week.

Up in Santa Fe, Blue Corn lightens up with some Covhefe.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of September 3.

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Ah, Arizona football, driving Stoutmeister to drink for more than 20 years.

A holiday weekend provides plenty of chances for members of the Crew to explore our local beer scene. From beers-to-go to visiting breweries to the ages old blend of football and beer, we had some fun out there.

My weekend actually runs Wednesday and Thursday, but this week I found myself out and about on Friday as well. For lunch, I swung by La Cumbre to try the new batch of Oktoberfest that had just been released. It is a wonderful batch, available in cans as well as on tap. I was also quite pleased that my gamble about My Sweet Basil having German-themed food to go with the beer also panned out.

Later that night, after work, I hit up Bosque, but alas, all the Scale Tipper IPA cans had long since sold out. There was still some on tap, at least. From there, it was off to Red Door’s Wyoming taproom, which was in its surprise last night of business. Most of the beer had already been consumed, but I snagged a final pour of Paint it Black Milk Stout. It was a shame to see the place close, as it was packed many nights, and it certainly went out with a bang.

Finally, I was trying to be good Saturday, but then the Arizona football team went out and, well, played like usual, choking against BYU in the season opener. Thus, I opened a 2018 Founders KBS. Oh, Wildcats, once again you have me looking ahead to basketball season.

Speaking of beer and football, here are the rest of the Crew’s adventures.

Keeping it local at the tailgate

If Incarnate Word football fans existed, they would have seen lots of local beers at the tailgate.

I would venture to say my holiday weekend was likely a little different than most of yours. It’s all about opening weekend for tailgating and football. We tailgated Friday overnight and all day and into the night after the game on Saturday. Sunday was recovery and Monday means catching up on errands and things around the house. It was a rainy, misty, awesomely cool day on Saturday. The picture reflects this perfectly. Our tradition is to get at least one type of Santa Fe Brewing “Zia cans” to show off to visiting teams. Sadly, we never met any Incarnate Word tailgaters on Saturday. It doesn’t matter, though, it still always tastes great.

— AmyO

Holiday bites and brews

There are worse ways to spend Labor Day.

Starr Brothers Brewery was open for business on Labor Day and I took full advantage. I’ll confess that the main purpose for the visit was a quick snack to hold me over till dinner, but that always couples well with a nice beer. I have always enjoyed their food and this time I was specifically aiming for tacos. They are small and a little bit gourmet, but quite tasty and on-point. I had a chicken taco and a steak taco. My mom, who was visiting from Chicago for the weekend, enjoyed her fish taco. I started with a pint of There Gose Them Boyzz, which is a cleverly named and tasty boysenberry gose. It was a fruitier than the average gose, but was still tart with a tinge of salt, as it should be. I also enjoyed a pint of Bottoms Up Kolsch. This kolsch gave me exactly what I wanted from the style. It was no frills, but it checked the kolsch box that needed checking. Never unhappy after a visit to Starr Brothers Brewery. Cheers!

— Andrew

The new big boys (?) on the block

This is not Brandon’s fridge, but it could be. (Photo courtesy of Steel Bender Brewyard)

Can Steel Bender become a new powerhouse brewery in NM? Recently, in discussing the brewing industry here in the state with a friend, this question was posed to me. Honestly, I didn’t have an answer, as any answer would be fairly complex. As I enjoyed a few nighttime ales this weekend, it struck me that, aside from my 2016 KBS that I had opened, each of the other beers I had enjoyed WERE FROM STEEL BENDER. That’s right, Red Iron, Skull Bucket, and Tangerine Dream. That got me thinking that, at least in terms of sales, packaging, and distribution, perhaps the answer could be yes. Now I know some will argue that they are still a new kid on the scene and lack the cred in terms of accolades (GABF, WBC, etc., hardware is always lovely when you bust your ass as a brewer!), but if more and more people are buying and enjoying their beers, that says a lot about this brewery that is only over a year into existence. Therefore, I’m of the opinion that this distinction is on the horizon for the taking for the SBB crew, and good on them for that.

— Brandon

A rhapsody of a pilsner

There is nothing frightening about this Bohemian pilsner. Right, Galileo?

This past week saw some wonderful new projects come to fruition for ABQ’s beer community. Luckily that meant stopping by La Cumbre’a new westside location. The Thunderbolts and Lightning Pilsner by far stole the spotlight among the expanded tap list with its brilliant clarity, and clean, pleasant light citrus, and refined, distinctive malt character. The excitement is certainly building as we enter Oktoberfest season as well- keep an eye out for all the new releases!

— Jerrad

The metal frame of the future brewery building at Steel Bender, just west of the existing building.

Anyone stopping by Steel Bender Brewyard recently may have noticed a bit of construction going on just west of the brewpub. The Crew certainly noticed, so I swung by to talk to owners Ethan and Shelby Chant and head brewer Bob Haggerty about just what is going on in Los Ranchos.

The brewery, which is not even a year-and-a-half old yet, is already expanding its brewing space to keep up with customer demand.

“It’s honestly because we’re moving a lot quicker than we thought,” Ethan said. “There are some opportunities that we were presented with that we really weren’t able to take advantage of. Bob has just been working, making this work, and it’s just too small (in the brewery), but he’s been doing a heck of a job.”

The new 8,000-square-foot building will serve as the primary brewing area, double the size of the existing brewing space.

“It’s going to have lots of fancy space, lots of square footage,” Ethan said with a smile. “It’s 8,000 square feet, with a section of offices, and the brewer’s office. Then most everything else is just brewing space, canning space, keg washing space.”

It is a bit crowded inside the existing brewery space.

Bob, whose current work space has gotten a bit compact, is all too eager to be able to stretch out again.

“We’re going to move the brewhouse over and we’re going to add a whirlpool vessel and add potentially some extra hot liquor storage,” he said. “The idea is to be able to basically bring that brewhouse up to everything it can produce. … A 15-barrel brewhouse can pump out a lot of beer, if you do it right. With the addition of a whirlpool vessel, we should be able to easily push out three turns in a day, but what I’m hoping for is four.”

To help make that happen, 60-barrel fermenters will also be installed alongside a canning line for Steel Bender.

“We got Mother Road (Mobile Canning) in to do our canning for us,” Bob said. “We have plans for our own canning line to come in very soon and then we’ll be moving it over into the new building when that is complete. That’s projected to be complete early next year.”

At the current rate of progress, things could be done even sooner than that.

“To be conservative I was thinking the first of the year, but the building is moving a lot faster than anticipated,” Ethan said.

As for the current brewing space, that will not go unused.

“The existing brewery space will be populated with barrels, hopefully some foeders, then the production will all take place in the new building,” Bob said.

The trench drain is already in place for the new building.

Things have certainly accelerated for Steel Bender so far in 2018. Six-pack cans of Red Iron Red, Skull Bucket IPA, Lloyd’s 3 O’clock Kolsch, and Steel Bender Lager have all been hitting the shelves. The popularity of Raspberry Dynamite and its cousin, Tangerine Dynamite, have also necessitated canning runs.

“The Tangerine, we got enough to do two batches, so we were always going to do two batches,” Bob said. “It was a question of where those two batches were going to land, whether it was going to be two draft or if we’re going to allocate some to package. As soon we put it out on draft, we immediately got people asking if we could package it. Since we had planned for the second batch anyway, we just allocated a little bit to package. The labeling of the cans allows us to be flexible in what we’re canning. Thanks to no small bit of scrambling on Shelby’s part to get the labels designed, ordered, and in, we were able to get that onto the shelves.”

More packaged beers are on the way in the coming weeks, so Shelby will not be any less busy. With the help of Calindo Creative, the labels will be ready when it comes time to package the beers.

“Being able to be that flexible, it’s still crazy, creative work running at the last minute, but it’s working,” Shelby said. “We’re getting the process down. We just had to crank out one more last week that we’re getting ready to can. We’re canning the Compa (Los Ranchos Lager) a week from tomorrow. Then the following week is our Oktoberfest, which we’re calling Oktoberfiesta. That one it’s a funky label for sure.”

Shelby added that the popular Balloons & Brews event will be repeated this year, where patrons can sit on the patio at Steel Bender during the Balloon Fiesta and watch the mass ascensions while enjoying beer and breakfast.

Even in a crowded brewery, there is room for more new beers set to debut in the coming weeks and months.

Bob also had some additional news on more packaged products coming down the pipeline.

“We’re into the cider game at this point,” he said. “We have our house cider recipe down, Steel Bender Cider #4. We’re working on our sweet cider, which is going to be a Perry. It’s going to be called Perry Maison. That’s in fermentation right now. We are also working with a local orchard. We’ll be putting up as much local cider as we can. Pressing is going to start next Friday. We are going to be pressing and bottling all of those. The draft cider that we’ve got on right now will continue to be as it is, and then the local apples will all go into bottles.”

The more eclectic beers will not be disappearing from the Steel Bender lineup, as more of those are also on the way in bottles.

“We’ve got five different bottle releases to keep an eye out for,” Bob said. “Three mixed culture releases. We’ve got a Flanders-style amber, we’ve got a Belgian single aged in brandy barrels, and then we’ve got the same Flanders-style amber aged with boysenberry. Those are mixed-culture sours. We’re also doing a Grissette with Amarillo and Pearl hops. Then we’re also doing a collaboration with Jubilation, the Belgian-style double aged in fresh Taos Lightning barrels. Those are all conditioning and waiting for release. We’ll be releasing all of those over the next four to six months. Keep your eyes out, those will all be coming out soon.”

With all of those packaged products coming out on top of the regular draft beers, the need for an expanded brewing space is quite apparent. Having all of it come so quickly after opening has left the Steel Bender staff with little time to breathe.

“We don’t have time to be surprised,” Bob said. “Yeah, it is surprising that we opened with such a bang and it has continued to bang. We’re all very grateful.

“We’re pretty ambitious to have the number of draft offerings that we do. So we’re trying to keep up the taproom along with the distribution model. It’s just learning how to do all that.”

It’s blue skies ahead for Steel Bender.

The new brewery building will be the key.

“We’re building this building anyway, so we just decided make it big enough so that we can grow into it,” Ethan said. “We plan to, but we’re not delusional and expect that we’re going to kill it right away. We just want to make sure we have the ability to grow into it. We just want to be prepared.”

Congratulations to everyone at Steel Bender for the amazing job they have done so far. We cannot wait to see what will be in store in the future.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister