Posts Tagged ‘Toltec Brewing’

The Crew ventured far and wide for beer over the weekend, but at least two of our members found themselves at the new Tractor Westside Taproom.

For the first time in a while, the Crew is trying out a new weekly feature. We may, or may not, keep the name Weekend Beer-cap, but the idea is that each of us in the Crew will relate a quick tale of our favorite beer-related experience from the prior weekend. In the future, this will usually run on Mondays, at least in those weeks where enough of us have something to write about.

On with the show.

West Side is the best side?

This past week was filled with hot dogs, fireworks, and a slew of interesting occurrences. Some of the more delightful of those included making it over to Tractor Brewing’s new Westside Taproom. The entire venue is open to natural light, with massive vaulted ceilings and windows to match. We were able to stop by Toltec Brewing as well this week, enjoying their Altbier for the first time, with impressive and complex malt character as ABQ endured the heavy rain.

— Jerrad

Holiday bonus

Check out the new pilsner at Rio Bravo if you get the chance.

This was an unusual week with a holiday right in the middle. It was like having half a weekend extra, which did not suck. It was not enough time to go away somewhere, but we did spend the night of July 3 at Route 66 Casino, just for something silly to do. I can happily report that Thunder Road Steakhouse & Cantina inside off the casino floor has multiple (it looked like around 10) local beer taps. So we enjoyed some of those as well as nachos.

When we checked out of the hotel the next morning, we continued our mini-staycation with a road trip up Unser to the new Tractor on the west side. That is one great space! All three of us road trippers chose the Imma Pale Ale. Then we trekked over to Nexus on Pan American to get a snack to hold us over until a 6 p.m. holiday barbecue. At Nexus we filled up growlers of Red and IPA for the night’s festivities. All in all, a very nice holiday.

On Friday evening, we went to Rio Bravo to see a friend play music. The brewery was more crowded than I have seen it on previous visits. We sampled some of the newer beers, and they were pretty good. The pilsner, in particular, was super clean. But, me being me and all, I still ordered a barrel-aged stout.

Saturday night we went to Dukes retro night at Isotopes Park and sadly watched the “Dukes” lose a nail biter to the Tacoma Rainiers. I drank Odell, sorry!

— AmyO

Don’t waffle on visiting Bow & Arrow

The picture may be slightly out of focus, but the Waffle Bandit Stout was on point.

This is not a time of year for many special releases on the darker side of the beer spectrum, so it was quite nice to see Bow & Arrow recently release its new Waffle Bandit Stout. With a spot of free time available, I finally headed over to the brewery to check it out. At only 5.7-percent ABV, one can enjoy more than a single pour, but man oh man, I do hope they craft an imperial version and barrel age that sucker. For now, the current iteration will do just fine. The nose is all maple and waffle dough, and the initial flavor is almost overpowering in the sweetness. As the beer warms, though, it creates a three-layered approach. The maple holds up front, though it is not cloying or overpowering. In the middle is the big stout roast, chewier than the ABV would indicate. On the back end, the Belgian yeast esters pop to the surface. There is a lot going on in this beer, and I will certainly head back to Bow & Arrow for a second tasting just to make sure my palate did not play any tricks on me.

— Stoutmeister

* * * * *

That’s all from us for this week. Expect lots of tales of hops, or possibly of getting away from hops, next week!

Cheers!

— The NMDSBC

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The best selfies always involve Charlie Papazian. Congrats to Quarter Celtic on bringing home a World Beer Cup bronze! (Photo courtesy of Quarter Celtic)

Last night, the Crew paid a visit to Toltec Brewing to try the beer and food for the first time at an invite-only soft opening in advance of Saturday’s grand opening. We also brought along a laptop to watch the live stream of the World Beer Cup awards ceremony, which was going down in Nashville where the Craft Brewers Conference is taking place this year.

Category after category was announced, but no New Mexico breweries heard their names called. In the end, only Quarter Celtic earned a medal, taking a bronze in the International-Style Pilsner category for Pedro O’Flannigan. It was a stunning turnaround from the last WBC held in 2016, when seven New Mexico breweries claimed seven medals, including gold medals for Nexus (Honey Chamomile Wheat), La Cumbre (BEER), and Boxing Bear (Chocolate Milk Stout).

There are a few ways to look at these results, or lack thereof. First, congratulations to Quarter Celtic on claiming its biggest award to date, a tremendous accomplishment in a tough category to win. That is the most positive thing we can say.

As for everyone else being shut out, perhaps it is best to simply look at the lack of medals as motivation. While industry giants like Firestone Walker again cleaned up with multiple medals, there were numerous breweries popping up seemingly out of nowhere to take gold, silver, and bronze. Revision Brewing from Sparks, Nevada, took gold in the American-Style IPA category and silver in the Imperial IPA category. Honestly, we had never heard of Revision until those awards were announced (but yes, we are adding it to the list of places we need to visit). There are more than 6,000 craft breweries in the United States alone, so now more than ever, our local breweries will have to continue pushing the envelope if they want to break through and win more medals against an increasingly crowded field.

The countdown to the Great American Beer Festival starts now.

Speaking of Toltec

The first flight of beers at Toltec, from left, Imperial Agave Wheat, IPA, Hazy Pale, and Altbier.

We did enjoy the fun of trying the new brewery for the first time. Head brewer Kaylynn McKnight had four of her planned six house beers on the menu — Hazy Pale, Imperial Agave Wheat, Toltec IPA, Altbier — while the kitchen was churning out its full menu.

Kaylynn told us that mastering her new 7-barrel brewhouse has proven to be a bit of a challenge. The beers she wanted to have higher ABVs came in lower than expected (notably the IPA), while others ended up higher in alcohol (wheat, altbier). As such, the flavors are not quite where she wants them, but we found the Altbier and Hazy Pale to be perfectly drinkable for a brand-new brewery. The IPA is a bit rough and bitter, and she told us that future batches will be more balanced between the malts and hops. The Imperial Agave Wheat was the favorite of many other customers, so while Kaylynn said she hoped for a more sessionable wheat beer, it looks like that recipe is going to stay as is for the foreseeable future.

Hmm, on second thought, the best beer selfies are taken with Toltec head brewer Kaylynn McKnight.

On the food front, just about everything we tried was quite delicious. There is a beast of a burger called the Royale, and yes, you can order it with cheese. The BBQ bacon burger was my personal choice, and it was perfectly cooked, with a heaping side of seasoned fries. There are numerous other options, including personal pizzas, salads for all you healthy types, and there is even dessert. The kitchen staff and the servers did a good job of getting the food out in a timely manner, which is impressive for any brewpub right out of the gates.

The brewery has 11 televisions up and running, so we all had a great view of the NHL playoffs. Overall, Toltec is exactly the kind of comfortable brewpub that we expected. We will be back many times to see how the beers evolve. Oh, and since the Penguins won last night, it is also now part of our list of good-luck breweries for the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions.

Sampler tray

  • Drafty Kilt Brewing has officially been renamed Kilt Check Brewing. This ends a bit of a tumultuous run for the brewery, which had run afoul of the copyright a brewery in Atlanta had put on the name Drafty Kilt for its bottled Scotch ale. Make sure to head over and check out the new logo, but otherwise it will still be the same lineup of quality beers and laid-back atmosphere.
  • Route 66 Junkyard Brewery announced on Facebook that it has permanently closed. The Grants brewery did not offer up any sort of explanation for the decision, but it was also embroiled in a legal battle over the usage of Route 66 in its name. If the mysterious Elkins Brewing ever comes to fruition (it still has an active small brewer license), then Grants will not go thirsty for local craft beer for long.
  • There are four new pending small brewer licenses listed with the State of New Mexico. We had previously heard that Blu Dragonfly is on its way to Cimarron, so now that looks more official. The long-rumored Rail Brewery is coming to the Santa Fe Railyard some time in the future. Ravenswing Farm in Silver City has applied for a license. Then there is Black Cock Brewery in Roswell, which seems unlikely to open with that provocative name, as there is already a Black Cock Brewing Company in Orange, Calif.
  • The Little Toad Creek taproom in downtown Las Cruces looks like it will open next week, just in time for Blazin’ Brewfest, which is set to go down Friday, May 11. For tickets and more information, head over to the NM Brewers Guild website.

That is all from us for this week. As always, if you have any beer news, notes, or tidbits you would like to share, drop us a line at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or on any of our social media sites.

I am off to enjoy my 40th birthday today, which I refuse to turn into any sort of somber event. Instead, there will be many barrel-aged stouts, piles of delicious food, probably a round or two of Cards Against Humanity, and lots and lots of metal out by the fire pit.

May the 4th be with you!

— Stoutmeister

The newest addition to the ABQ craft beer scene is on the west side.

A first visit to a new brewery often includes meeting a lot of new faces. My visit to the forthcoming Toltec Brewing this week, on the other hand, included a couple of familiar faces in key roles.

This was by design for Toltec owners Robert and Diana Navarrette, who sought plenty of advice from other brewery owners, which included hiring the most experienced staff possible.

“Very important,” Diana said. “We don’t know anything about (making beer). We know good beer when we taste it and good food when we taste it.”

To that end, they hired former Nexus head brewer Kaylynn McKnight to run the brewhouse, while also picking up former Turtle Mountain/Marble/Bosque manager Adam Galarneau to oversee the front-of-house staff. Throw in chef David Ruiz, formerly of the Pueblo Harvest Cafe, and Toltec has a strong team to lead it right from the start.

The brewery is considerably bigger than it looks from the outside.

The brewery is located at the corner of Cottonwood and Old Airport Road on the west side of Albuquerque. That puts it close to Boxing Bear, Desert Valley, and Matanza in what is becoming a crowded area for craft beer. Having an experienced staff was essential.

“We’ve had consultants that have helped us and kind of showed us the way,” Robert said. “We pursued them knowing that they knew what they were doing and they were proving. We started with Kaylynn and we knew that she won awards. We wanted someone just like that, because we didn’t want to be some run-of-the-mill place. We want some place that’s a favorite place to come.

“With David, we felt the same way. He’s going to try to outdo the beer because he’s very self-motivated. Adam came highly recommended, and of course having done this (before), most specifically at Turtle Mountain, we needed that experience. It was imperative that we put together a good team because as owners, we’re here to provide what is needed, but we need the input of these three individuals to make this place go. That’s our goal, to basically showcase the service, the food, and of course the beer.”

The commitment of the owners made each of the staff members eager to sign on board.

Kaylynn was gracious enough to recreate the pose from her first picture at Nexus several years ago.

“I really liked the idea of working with Robert and Diana,” Kaylynn said. “You guys are awesome people. It’s always a huge perk to work with good people. When they told me all the equipment was going to be brand-spanking new and shiny and awesome, so that was a definite draw. It seemed like a good move, the next step (in my career).”

Getting back to the west side was important for Adam, but not the only factor.

“Being close to home was key,” Adam said. “I looked in the windows and saw the space and thought this would be a lot of fun. And then I got a phone call from Robert and we met and (they’re) two of the nicest people I’ve met. I was pretty stoked at the opportunity to come over here, and then I heard Kaylynn was working here and I was happy for that, too.”

The lure of starting something new appealed to David as well.

“I think especially after meeting with Robert, kind of hearing what his plan was for this place, having a brand-new kitchen,” David said. “I did some research on Adam and Kaylynn and heard nothing but great things about them. Cooking here (in Albuquerque) for five years now, the biggest thing I’ve noticed is that you can go to a place that has really great beer, but sometimes the food really doesn’t match. My goal was to get into this beer market by having excellent food to match great beer.”

There will be a patio on the west side of the brewery that can fit 40 to 45 people, Adam said.

David said his menu is taking shape.

“The style that we’re definitely going to be doing is more of a gastropub,” he said. “Basically bar food that’s been elevated. One of the dishes I’m excited about is green eggs and ham. You’re taking things from our childhood and things that are whimsical but actually making it functional for the restaurant. We’ll of course be doing some amazing burgers. All the beef will be pulled out of New Mexico. We’re going to be working with some farmers in the co-op as well. We’ll be doing wings, burgers, a couple sandwiches, and a couple elevated salads as well. I’m really, really excited to be able to showcase a livelier menu, I guess you could say, for a brewery.”

As for Kaylynn, she is also eager to get started on creating her beer menu.

“I’ve got a couple ideas,” said Kaylynn, who will be working on a brand-new, 7-barrel brewhouse. “I definitely want to do an amazing IPA. That’s mandatory in New Mexico and Albuquerque. It’s the owners’ favorite (style), so it’s got to be a bad-ass IPA. I’ll probably do a house altbier; I love altbiers. A rye lager, I’m going to try that out, see if it works, just a light lager with some rye spice in it. We’ll see if people like that, and if they don’t, we can change it. What else? Agave wheat, stout, and pale ale, I think. That’s the lineup, plus four rotating seasonals.”

David and Kaylynn said they are planning out some beer dinners in the future. “I’m soooo excited to be doing beer dinners,” she said.

The tanks are ready inside the walk-in cooler.

The buzz has been building about Toltec for a while now, not just among the public but among the other breweries. As for when the brewery will open, well, that is still up in the air as the final inspections have to take place. The hope is for an early May opening, Robert said.

“We’ve been trying to be patient about putting word out simply because we’ve been delayed a few times in opening,” Robert said. “So now that we’re getting a little closer, we’ll push a little harder. From the brewing community especially, from the brewpubs that we visit, they’re (asking) when are you opening. They’re really excited for us to be open. It’s exciting to have their backing.”

Having a gold medal-winning brewer like Kaylynn at the helm has certainly helped in getting that support from the industry.

“Lots of the other brewers in town have offered help,” Kaylynn said. “If you need a bag of grain or yeast or anything, come on over. We have it, you can borrow it. They’ve been really supportive. They want us to open, they want us to start making good beer for the community.”

The brewing area is nearly ready to start production.

The Crew will keep everyone up to date on just when Toltec gets that final green light to open. Until then, we will wait patiently for what should be another standout addition to our local scene.

A big thanks to Robert, Diana, Kaylynn, Adam, and David for taking the time to sit down for a chat.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Hey, we know that brewer! Toltec’s Kaylynn McKnight and co-owner Diana Navarrette are getting the brewery ready for an opening this spring. (Photo courtesy of Toltec Brewing)

It has been a while since we busted out some Beer Notes, but the news was piling up in our inbox, so here we go again.

New brewery updates

By our count, there are 20 forthcoming breweries, plus one that just opened. Alas, there is also another that closed, as we note below. First up, the breweries with active small brewer licenses.

  • Callahan West Brewery (Mosquero): The brewery is open in this small town in Northeast New Mexico. It is located at 22 Main Street, on the west side of town, next to the Headquarters Restaurant. Details are scarce at this point, but there is a fledgling Facebook page, and we suppose it could make for an interesting summer road trip.
  • Cantero Brewing (ABQ-Brewery District): Slow but steady progress is apparent, with the brewing system now set up. We will drop the owners another line and see if we can get an advance tour/preview.
  • Elkins Brewing (Grants): There is still no website, no social media, or anything else about this brewery. If anyone out there has information, please send it over.
  • Red River Brewing: The staff seems to be putting the finishing touches on the interior of the completed building. Hey, someone had to benefit from the mild winter up north. It should be only a matter of time before we add Red River to our next Taos Trek (which we are way, way overdue to do again).
  • Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery (Santa Fe): Plenty of positive signs abound to the point of where we have to imagine it will be the next to open. Tumbleroot has begun brewing and distilling, and in addition is starting to book musical acts for its stage. Look for a preview in the coming weeks.

The snow finally showed up, but not before most of this new brewery was built. (Photo courtesy of Red River Brewing)

Now for all the breweries with pending small brewer licenses, who are, by and large, further away from opening.

  • 1933 Brewing (Rio Rancho): Located in the old Fat Squirrel building on Southern, we have seen construction getting underway. There is also a Facebook page and a website, finally, though neither have any real information.
  • BLUE (ABQ-Downtown area): We have no new updates about this brewery, which a source told us would be located somewhere along Broadway near Lead/Coal, similar in size and scope to Sidetrack.
  • Bonito Valley (Lincoln): The brewery’s Facebook page said it hopes to open by the summer along Highway 380 in Southeast New Mexico.
  • Brewstillery (ABQ-UNM area): We still have no information on this place.
  • Casa Vieja (Corrales): The existing event space may look to do some small batch beers, but will mainly use the license to sell beer and wine at the events it hosts.
  • Cloudcroft Brewing: Formerly known as Switchback Brewery, it will instead be named for the town it will call home in the mountains in Southern New Mexico. A full build-out is now underway, with a very rustic look to the site, which is quite appropriate.
  • Hollow Spirits (ABQ-Wells Park): The distillery/brewery has hired a head distiller, Trey Allen, but no projected opening date (or even month) has been listed.
  • Hopscotch Brewing (Artesia): First, the good news is that Deepwell Brewing is alive and well under a new name. The bad news is that it will take over the building previously occupied by Desert Water Brewing, which closed recently. Still, soon Artesia will be back to having two breweries, and that is a good thing.
  • Icebox Brewing (Las Cruces): There is a Facebook page, but beyond the address of 2825 W. Picacho Ave., there is no additional info.
  • Leaf & Hive (Santa Fe): One of two places looking to open in the capital city that will offer up mainly products that require a brewing license, but are not necessarily beer. The Facebook page says it will be honeybrew, a “heirloom cultured sparkling tea.”
  • Sourdough Mine Restaurant and Brewery (Socorro): Located in the old Twisted Chile space off the main plaza, the restaurant is already up and running.
  • Tall Pines Beer and Wine Garden (Ruidoso): This beer/wine bar has been in operation for a while. It remains to be seen how much (if any) beer it plans to brew.
  • Toltec Brewing (ABQ-West Side): The exterior signage is now covering all the entrances at 10250 Cottonwood Park NW. Inside, the brewery area appears ready, while the the taproom area is getting the final paint job. We can also confirm that former Nexus brewer Kaylynn McKnight will be running the brewhouse, while Adam Galarneau, formerly of Bosque, Marble, and Turtle Mountain, will be the general manager. Those are two talented and experienced people, a good sign of the commitment of the Toltec owners to putting their brewery on the map from the get-go.

That’s some swanky signage! (Photo courtesy of Toltec Brewing)

There are three other breweries we know are on the way, but have not yet applied for a license. We recently previewed Ex Novo Brewing and its plans to open in Corrales. HoneyMoon Brewery, a kombucha-centric operation, is coming to Santa Fe. Blu Dragonfly is coming to the northern town of Cimarron and has already joined the NM Brewers Guild far in advance of its opening.

If there are any other new breweries out there that we missed, please let us know.

We can also report that Guadalupe Mountain (Carlsbad) and Lost Hiker (Ruidoso) are now open and serving their own beers.

Politics and beer don’t mix here or anywhere

Well, so much for this legislative session.

One of the best things about breweries is how they are (usually) delightfully free of the venomous political discourse that has infected our country. Sadly, politics has a way of getting into the beer, and it rarely turns out well for any beer drinker, regardless of his/her affiliation.

Here in New Mexico, even after it passed both houses in the legislature, Senate Bill 204 died with a whimper when outgoing Governor Martinez killed it with a pocket veto. SB204 was designed to give breweries the ability to obtain private celebration permits. Currently, only distributors have these permits. Who knows why the governor did not like this bill, which had bi-partisan support.

It could be worse, however, as craft brewers in Maryland suffered a devastating defeat in Annapolis. Small breweries in Maryland face significant restrictions in how much beer they can brew and sell. Efforts to lift many regulations have failed, as the combination of macrobreweries and distributors have been opposed to giving craft breweries any advantages. Hopefully more progressive politicians will take another look at the situation next year.

Meanwhile, the announcement of pending tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum imports have left some in the craft beer industry worried. Those worries may be valid, as this story in the Wall Street Journal shows. (Thanks to Boxing Bear’s David Kim for the link.) A rise in the price of American steel and aluminum would benefit the manufacturers, but not everyone in the market may be able to afford those increases. That could hamper an industry that uses a hell of a lot of both metals. Ultimately, though, it is still early in the process, and time will tell what the full impact will be on the brewing industry.

Sampler tray

  • Little Toad Creek got some good news when its first taproom outside Silver City cleared a major hurdle. The City of Las Cruces has given its approval for the location at 119 N. Main St. Now all that remains is for state approval, which hopefully will come in advance of the Blazin’ Brewfest in May.
  • Red Door is looking to hire a new head brewer. We are working on finding out the details behind the departure of founding brewer Wayne Martinez.
  • Tart at Heart is returning to Sister for a fourth time on April 14. We will have more details as we get closer to this fun annual event.
  • Second Street will host the first Pilsner and Crab Fest at the Rufina Taproom on June 16-17. It will not be a competition, but a celebration of the style. We would love to see what other breweries bring to at least give us all the opportunity to do a side-by-side tasting.
  • Rejoice, haze lovers, for the Brewers Association has heard your cries. Three new hazy or juicy ale categories (pale, IPA, double IPA) have been added to the official ranks of the Beer Style Guidelines. Other categories have been added as well to reflect the ongoing evolution of craft beers. Click that link for more details.

That clears out the notebook for now. If anyone out there ever has any craft beer news to share, big or small, drop us a line at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or just tapping on a Crew member’s shoulder if you spot one of us out and about at a brewery, taproom, or beer bar.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Cheers to the BA for all it does.

Yeah, it is definitely that time of year. The recaps and top 10 lists are being posted, the year-in-review stories are rolling along (like, uh, our Look Back/Look Ahead Series). When it comes to recapping the year in craft beer for the entire country, no one sums it up best quite like the Brewers Association.

It was another big year for craft beer, to say the least.

“Craft brewers continue to thrive, if at a slower pace, fueled by a passionate community dedicated to bringing innovation, jobs and beer across America—on Main Street and beyond,” said Bart Watson, the chief economist of the Brewers Association, in a press release. “Today, 83 percent of the population lives within 10 miles of a local brewery, meaning that the positive impact of breweries is being felt in communities all over the country.”

OK, that is pretty cool. What other stats does the BA have for us?

  • The number of breweries nationwide has now surpassed 6,000, with 98 percent of those falling under the craft banner. By the Crew’s count, 68 of those are in New Mexico, with at least six more active licenses for places that have yet to open their doors, but should in the next couple months (more on that down below).
  • All those breweries have created 456,373 jobs, a 7.5-percent increase from 2014. In turn, that has generated $67.8 billion for the U.S. economy, a 21.7-percent increase. Craft breweries in turn donated $73.4 million to charities.
  • The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act has support from both parties and will potentially pass through both houses of Congress and become law during this current session. So, yeah, I guess we will have to say that Congress will do one good thing.
  • It appears the term “beercation” is becoming more and more of a reality. The average craft beer drinker visits 3.5 breweries near home and 2.5 breweries within two hours driving distance (take note: the press release did not say whether this was 3.5 per week, per month, or per year; for the Crew, it would certainly be per week, sometimes even per day, when we are feeling frisky with our Lyft/Uber accounts). A survey by the BA found that 64 percent of craft drinkers like to visit breweries to try new beers on a regular basis. We will raise one to that.
  • The New Mexico stats on the BA website are for 2016, but they still tell a positive story. By the end of that year, there 57 breweries, ranking 26th in the country. More notably, the 3.9 breweries per capita (100,000 adults) ranks 11th nationwide. Breweries had an economic impact of $333 million (40th) or $226.26 per capita (35th). A total of 111,237 barrels (32nd) were produced, amounting to 2.3 gallons consumed per adult (21st).

Yeah, it is still a good era for craft beer. Here is hoping it continues into 2018 and beyond.

Embrace the darkness at beer bars, too

The quality of dark beers around town is straight fire.

Our friends over Rock & Brews wanted you all to know that the current dark beer lineup is fairly epic. As fun as it is to hit up the breweries first, don’t forget the beer bars, as they often pull in some exclusive styles from out of state that you can usually only get in bottles or cans.

Rock & Brews currently has Dogfish Head’s Vanilla Oak-Aged Worldwide Stout, which is otherwise a pricey purchase in four-pack bottles. The ubiquitous Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout lines up next to Worldwide. There is also the most recent iteration of the ultimate beer geek beer, Stone’s Imperial Farking Wootstout. The real surprise gem, though, is Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout. No, really, it is on tap. If that hefty price tag for a bomber is scaring you off, but you really want to know if it is worth it (we think so, but we’re biased), head over to Rock & Brews to try it first before you commit to a 22-ounce bottle or two.

Down at Sister Bar, at least as of the Gatecreeper show this past Monday (gotta say, impressive crowd showing, ABQ-area metalheads), there is still some of La Cumbre’s La Negra on tap. It has been out at the brewery for a while, so get some while it lasts (if it’s even still there, we apologize if it is gone by now).

Nob Hill Bar & Grill has a strong lineup, which you can find anytime via Untappd. The current black beasts of ahhh available are Bell’s Black Note and Kalamazoo Stout, plus 2016 and 2017 Bourbon County Brand Stout, and two old favorites in Oskar Blues Ten FIDY and Stone Xocoveza.

So much dark beer, so little time.

New breweries update

Hello to a new small town brewery!

Sticking with tradition in beer notes, here are the most recent updates on all the forthcoming breweries across New Mexico. As always, we only list breweries with pending or active small brewer licenses with the State.

  • BLUE (Albuquerque): Nothing new on this small brewery located somewhere near Broadway and Lead/Coal.
  • Bonito Valley Brewing (Lincoln): A newcomer to the list located in a small, historic town west of Roswell along Highway 380. There is a Facebook page that says the owners are aiming for a summer 2018 opening.
  • Brewstillery (Albuquerque): We still have no info on this combo operation in the Southeast.
  • Callahan West Brewery (Mosquero): The small town brewery has been in touch with the NM Brewers Guild about joining up in 2018, so it appears to be a go.
  • Cantero Brewing (Albuquerque): Now armed with an active license, the final parts of construction are underway.
  • Elkins Brewing (Grants): We have no new info on this business.
  • Glencoe Distillery and Brewery (Ruidoso): The license is active, but there is still no website that we can find, nor any social media. It remains a mystery.
  • Guadalupe Mountain Brewing (Carlsbad): The license is active here, too, and beer is now being brewed. We await the announcement of opening, which could come any week now.
  • High and Dry Brewing (Albuquerque): Construction appears to be mostly complete down near Adams and Lomas. The Crew is in touch with the ownership and we are working to set up an advance tour when they are ready.
  • Hollow Spirits (Albuquerque): Construction continues on this new combo spot in the Wells Park neighborhood. It is the brainchild of former Red Door co-owner Frank Holloway.
  • Lava Rock Brewing (Albuquerque): The West Side brewery is getting closer and closer to opening on Unser just north of Ladera.
  • Lost Hiker Brewing (Ruidoso): Yes, the license is active, now only a few final touches must be completed and there will be local beer in the mountains down south. Keep track of the progress on the Lost Hiker Facebook page.
  • 1933 Brewing (Rio Rancho): Another newcomer to the list, we have no info beyond a name and a zip code for RR. It is unknown if this brewery is related in any way to the former 1933 Brewing of Fort Collins, Colo., which closed at the end of 2016.
  • Red River Brewing: All this mild winter is not helping the ski industry up north, but it should enable RRB to finish construction and remain on track for an early 2018 opening.
  • Switchback Brewery (Cloudcroft): There is still no info online on this place. We would like to remind everyone, though, that there is a Switchback Brewing in Vermont, so a name change may ultimately be necessary.
  • Toltec Brewing (Albuquerque): The forthcoming West Side brewery took a big step by hiring a head brewer, but we have been asked not to reveal the identity of this individual just yet. Let us just say, however, that we are excited.
  • Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery (Santa Fe): There are lots of construction photos on Facebook, so it looks like a good bet to open sooner than later. The small brewer license is now active.
  • The pending licenses for off-site taprooms remains as follows — Little Toad Creek in Las Cruces (new!); Ponderosa at El Vado Motel redevelopment (getting close); Santa Fe Downtown Taproom; Starr Brothers Alehouse (location TBA); Tumbleroot in Santa Fe (they will not sell beer out of the production facility down the street). Also, the Milton’s taproom in Roswell has an active license, but it is not yet open as far as we know.

That is all for now. As always, if you know anything about anything, please drop us a line at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com or contact us via direct message on Facebook or Twitter.

Have a great weekend, and good luck with any last-minute Christmas shopping!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

It is curtains for Draft Station’s Albuquerque location. (Photo courtesy of Draft Station)

Well, it’s Friday, and the little bits of news are starting to bunch up. Here we go …

R.I.P. Draft Station, and Sandia Chile Grill, too?

It appears that two more local beer spots have closed their doors. One is now confirmed, the other seems likely but is not official.

First up, Draft Station ABQ posted on Facebook that they were closing again due to problems caused by the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project on May 5. Since then, there were no posts, and multiple people told us that the taproom appeared to be permanently closed. We were then told by another brewery that their orders for future beers have been canceled. A final confirmation then came in when we contacted an executive with parent company Santa Fe Dining, and he emailed us back to confirm that yes, Draft Station ABQ is now permanently closed.

It was always a tough sell for the local version of the big hit up in Santa Fe. While that location is in prime real estate overlooking the Plaza, the ABQ location was stuck too far from the other downtown breweries/taprooms and then just a bit too far from Old Town. Throw in the impact of A.R.T. on business (you could not turn into the parking lot from westbound Central), and it proved to be the final coup de grace. There is always the chance that Draft Station could live again (scroll down), but for now, may it rest in peace.

Meanwhile, as I posted in The Week Ahead in Beer (no worries if you missed it), by all accounts Sandia Chile Grill is closed as well. Efforts to reach them by phone have failed as the number listed has been disconnected. They have not made a social media update in some time, but then again they never were very active online. A quick drive past the location found the doors closed, but the signs were still up, including their new T-shirts in the window. The tables and chairs were still inside as well.

However, we checked the State of New Mexico website and found that their small brewer license is listed as expired. There are no applications pending for a new or renewed license under either Sandia Chile Grill or Oso Loco Brewery.

If anyone out there knows the full story with SCG, please contact us.

More new places? More new places

Meanwhile, there are three new small brewer licenses pending. The Sandbar Brewery and Grill will indeed be making its own beer in the location at 4100 San Mateo. For those thinking, “hey, that location is familiar,” it was formerly home to Sneakerz, a sports bar probably best known for having (you guessed it) sand volleyball courts on the premises.

UPDATE: We previously wrote — The prior location of the Sandbar was up near Journal Center. Many, many moons ago we reported on how they were teaming up with the long-since-defunct New Mexico Craft Brewing out of Las Vegas to serve their beer at the indoor sand volleyball facility. That partnership did not last, but we are glad to see the Sandbar owner(s) sticking with craft beer. — But, as it turns out, this Sandbar has no relationship to the previous Sandbar. Our apologies for the mistake.

The stated goal of Sandbar is to open this summer. We will keep everyone updated as to their progress.

Another new name on the list is Toltec Brewing, which has a zip code listing of 87114. That is the West Side, running from the river to Albuquerque’s western city limits. The northern boundary is Rio Rancho, the southern boundary is roughly Paseo del Norte. Currently, Marble Westside and Boxing Bear are in this zip code, so clearly Toltec could be just about anywhere out there that commercial properties exist. There is no additional information online that we could find, social media or otherwise. If anyone out there knows more about Toltec, please drop us a line.

The final newcomer is another place we knew about in advance. Guadalupe Mountain Brewing is set to become the second operational brewery in Carlsbad. We have already been in touch with their owner/brewer, so expect a story from us in the coming months. You can already follow them on Facebook.

The great mystery taproom speculation begins

A reader alerted us to the fact that the developers of the Snow Heights Promenade are planning on adding a 2,800-square-foot taproom to the complex located on the southwest corner of Eubank and Menaul.

Our friends at the Albuquerque Journal followed up on the Snow Heights Facebook post with this tasty morsel about a “soon-to-be announced ‘award-winning local brewery’ that’s looking to open a 2,800-square-foot taproom at the site.”

All right, let us play the guessing game. We can rule out just about any brewery that has opened since the start of 2016, since none of them are really in position financially to open a taproom yet. We can then throw out any brewery that has maxed out its number of taprooms (Bosque), has a taproom somewhat nearby (Marble, Canteen), or a forthcoming taproom nearby (Red Door, Tractor). Taking the award-winning comment above, we gotta figure it is a brewery that has won multiple major medals/awards, which to the general public usually starts with the Great American Beer Festival. So who does that leave?

  1. Boxing Bear: The reigning GABF Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year is a logical candidate. The taproom would certainly bring their beers to a new audience. This one almost makes too much sense, doesn’t it? Still, nothing official yet from the BBB staff.
  2. Chama River: If the Draft Station is truly closed, maybe it is due to moving here. Technically, it was always under Chama’s license, so that could work. But, then again, it would not come with the name of the award-winning brewery attached.
  3. La Cumbre: Well, now, wouldn’t that be interesting? It’s pretty far from the main brewery, though certainly not as far as Boxing Bear. Owner Jeff Erway has talked in the past about the reasons he has not opened a taproom, ranging from not wanting a location too close to a bar or restaurant that has carried LC beers since the beginning, to wanting a good landlord tenant relationship (if not outright ownership of the taproom building). We will call LC the dark horse candidate.

Could it be another brewery besides these? Sure, anything is possible, but these are the most logical candidates. Good ahead and speculate away in the comments or on social media. We will see what the final is when the developers and brewery in question are ready to announce it to the public.

More new brewery tidbits

These are all the other breweries or off-site taprooms with pending licenses with the state.

  • Bare Bones Brewing is closing in on a new location after their original space fell through in Cedar Crest. It will still be somewhere along Highway 14 in the East Mountains.
  • Bombs Away Beer Company is busy with the buildout of their space near Central and Moon. We await a chance to visit when they are ready, so yes, we are in contact with head brewer David Kimbell.
  • Drylands Brewing continues with its buildout in Lovington. Search for their Instagram page and you can keep track of their progress. It is looking good.
  • Hops Brewery in Nob Hill remains in limbo. We have no idea what the current delay is about.
  • Lava Rock Brewing continues with its buildout on Unser north of Ladera, as does Truth or Consequences Brewing down south. The latter now has an active license, but is not yet open.
  • We have nothing new to add on Glencoe Distillery and Brewery in Ruidoso (license active, but no other info), Switchback Brewery in Cloudcroft, or Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery in Santa Fe. If anyone out there has info, as always, please contact us.

That is all from us for now. Got a tip? Want to share something without announcing it to the world? Direct message us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or via email at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister