Posts Tagged ‘Turtle Mountain Brewing’

The ups and downs of having a full kitchen, or not, continue to vex many local breweries.

A small news item crossed our desk today (Monday) when we found out that Turtle Mountain is adding new items to its food menu. This is something that happens all the time in the restaurant business, where the palates of diners and their interests ebb and flow, often unpredictably. While several of the dishes look like things we have to try (hello, Ruidoso Ribs), it got us thinking again about the ongoing issue of breweries and food.

A few years back, the success of Marble and La Cumbre seemingly heralded the new model would be kitchen-free, relying instead on food trucks and neighboring restaurants. The brewpub was a dying breed, but a funny thing happened on the way to all of this happening. The brewpub did not die, it just had to be revamped and reborn, much like the restaurant industry as a whole (though that whole is far slower to adapt to change, as we see in the current decline in the national chains as more and more close here in ABQ and other parts of the country).

The most recent trend has seen breweries that previously had little or no food expanding to full kitchens. Bosque just had a few appetizers and panini-press sandwiches, until the decision was made to go the full kitchen route. The opening of the second, larger Las Cruces taproom saw the arrival of a full kitchen down south, while Nob Hill has recently expanded into the old Wise Pies space so it can also have a full kitchen, much like the original San Mateo location (and that full kitchen will head to the new mothership location being built along the Interstate 25 frontage road).

Boxing Bear expanded its kitchen and menu, while Tractor added a small food menu to its new Four Hills taproom. Now comes the word that Tractor will turn the old merchandise nook at Wells Park into a small food area as well (if you went to the Stranger Things Arcade Carnival before Halloween, you saw a preview of this).

Rio Bravo had long ago kept a space for a future kitchen, located just on the south side of the main bar area. After struggling with food trucks (more on that below) for a while, the decision was finally made to essentially outsource the in-house food production to The Burger Stand, which already had locations in Taos and Santa Fe.

As more new breweries seek to open, most, if not all, are advertising that they will indeed have in-house food. The most recent new brewery to open, Bombs Away Beer Company, did not open with any food, but its owner already mentioned that he has a space set aside for what seems like an inevitable addition of a small food prep area.

The need for in-house food is seemingly being driven by two things. First, the consumer demand is there. Second, the food truck situation in town has been slipping, from what a number of brewery owners have told us. Many of the best food trucks have either shut down or been so successful that they have been able to open brick-and-mortar restaurants. The best of what remain are now stretched thin across the metro area due to the proliferation of so many taprooms and breweries. While established, large breweries like La Cumbre, Marble, and Tractor are still able to keep the best of the best food trucks parked outside, other breweries have struggled immensely to fill out their schedules with reliable trucks.

Food is still a tricky thing for breweries. A kitchen, whether limited or full, adds another layer of inspections and regulations, many of them even tighter than what exists for beer production. Having food on site is no guarantee of increased business. It certainly did not save the Firkin Brewhouse or Albuquerque Brewing, or perhaps most prominently, Chama River. Even places with well-established reputations for having top-notch kitchens, like Nexus and Turtle Mountain, are constantly having to adjust and adapt to the changing tastes of consumers. One could debate whether or not people are even pickier about food than beer, but it often seems that way around Albuquerque.

It can also be debated as to where the food-versus-no-food debate falls geographically. Desert Valley opened its West Side taproom with a full kitchen and has gone to great lengths to promote it as a food-first establishment. After initially opening the Nexus Silver taproom sans food, the decision was recently made to begin serving food there. It can be argued that food is almost necessary in areas with a denser neighborhood population, like Nob Hill or the Northeast Heights, as opposed to the more nightlife-oriented aspects of downtown, the Brewery District, and Wells Park (though things are changing at some of the breweries located in that district).

The issue can then become how customers view and treat brewpubs versus breweries. Reading the less-than-kind comments online for many brewpubs, they often seem to focus mainly on the food itself and the service, rather than the beer. Food seems to be more polarizing than beer, while the expectation of service is often higher in what many regard as more of a restaurant than bar setting. It often seems that for every benefit about having a kitchen, there is a significant drawback as well. Finding the balance in between is an ongoing challenge, with no easy answers.

What is the future of the brewpub model? Cantero Brewing is gambling that it will be of the popular farm-to-table variety, as the forthcoming brewery fights to overcome the fact it took over the old Firkin space, one of the least desirable physical locations for any brewery. The other newcomers will have to make up their own minds.

As always, we want to know what all of you think, so we designed a rather simple poll below. Add your comments here or on social media. The more the breweries know about what we want from them in terms of food is better for everyone involved.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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Hello, NMBF, you were wonderful again!

While I was at work Saturday afternoon, a trio of Crew members joined a gaggle of our friends and other beer lovers at the eighth annual New Mexico Brew Fest. Held at Expo New Mexico, it moved back out to Main Street instead of being in the more cramped Villa Hispana. Here are their thoughts and a few photos from the fest I missed (at least agreeing to work Saturdays came with a raise).

AmyO: I really like this particular brew fest, and I am always sad when I can’t go because it often conflicts with a Lobo game or a trip out of town. Happily, I was able to attend this year. I love the super local feel of this one. It reminds me of some of the smaller brew fests in Portland back in the day before they began to get out-of-control crowded. Some people even wore costumes, and many of the attendees seemed pretty beer savvy.

The weather sure cooperated; although it was starting to get pretty warm in the late afternoon, there is always some shade at this venue. I appreciated the food selection this year. I ate the “special” at the barbecue food truck (Nomad’s BBQ). This was a hot link in a bun covered with a TON of pulled pork. It’s exactly the kind of food you need to soak up so much beer. And, it went really well with some of the spicier/fall-style beers. I also saw someone with a really great looking poke bowl. Very different, and a healthier option!

Raise the horns!

My overall favorite beer was probably the Raspberry Nitro Stout from Marble. First of all, having nitro at a festival always rates high for me. The beer was heavy on the raspberry, but not at all sweet. There was a cocoa powder flavor and mouthfeel that also added to the uniqueness. The Tripel Reserve from Monks’ did not disappoint, either.

The best name has to go to Canteen’s Oompa Lupulin DIPA, but it’s even harder to say after you have had some!

Surprises for me as far as beers I did not expect to enjoy as much as I did were the Das Roggen Weiner from Marble, and Palmer’s Double IPA (because there was much less sweetness to it than I thought there would be). A really great palate cleanser after multiple heavy beers was Ponderosa’s Ecliptic Wet Hop Ale.

My big disappointment was that I never got to try Blue Corn’s Imperial Stout. Blue Corn was late to arrive because sadly they had a tire blowout on the way down to Albuquerque. When they finally did get set up, they held the stout to a 4 p.m. tapping. Everyone was ready to leave by that time, so I never got to try it. I did have their oak-aged Scotch and that was lovely.

Franz Solo found his fellow vikings.

Franz Solo: What I loved best about this particular festival was just how local and friendly the whole thing was. Drinking beer under cottonwoods on the old fairgrounds with a great crowd of people and some fantastic local offerings, both beer-wise and food-wise, was simply magical. Highlights for me were Turtle Mountain’s Depravity barleywine which has aged extremely well since last winter; Canteen’s Oompa Lupulin DIPA, which was simply a hop screamer straight out of the gates of hop heaven; Monks’ Tripel Reserve, which is incredibly smooth and clear for a monster of a beer; and the pair of ludicrous offerings from Blue Corn, which brought its ’16 Scotch and ’15 Russian Imperial Stout, which were both stupendous. Having so many Oktoberfest Marzens as well was a real treat to cleanse the palate between some of the bigger brews, and on the whole they were all quite tasty. A grand event for the NM Brewers Guild and for local breweries and local food offerings alike. I look forward to returning to this wonderful NM Brew Fest.

The Crew and friends did a good job of wiping out that ’15 Imperial Stout from Blue Corn.

Brandon: The brewery list seemed smaller this year, but I can’t blame more places for not participating in this event, with just having wrapped up GABF and all. That being said, the breweries in attendance made sure to bring some standout brews, so here’s what popped for me:

  • Featherweight Session IPA, Boxing Bear: Fresh off a bronze medal at GABF. Lighter but crisp malt backing, with grassy, floral, and citrus zest notes. The low ABV made this one a good choice for the warm weather of the day. Who says session beers can’t pack a flavor punch?
  • Depravity Barleywine 2016, Turtle Mountain: Not a palate-crushing, hop-forward incarnation, like some versions of the style. Tons of caramel, burnt caramel, and toffee.  Chewy as all hell, but not a lot of alcohol warmth. A deceptively dangerous barleywine, loved it.
  • 2015 Imperial Stout, Blue Corn: “Oh what a surprise, the DSBC liked a dark beer”… if you expected less, you don’t know our lives. This beer is a beast, it has about four different types of chocolate notes present — dried fruit, oak and vanilla, and warms you to the core. We want more of this black fire in a glass!
  • V.M.O.M.G., Steel Bender: This one was released a few days prior to NM Brew Fest, but this was my first chance to taste it.  Was quite surprised.  Not that I thought it would be a bad beer, but I didn’t expect this to be THAT good. A damn fine take on a traditional seasonal style. Crisp, sweet malt, good spice from hops. Very solid.
  • Oktoberfest, La Cumbre: I’m going to be blunt here … if you missed this one, you’re f****d.  Cans are gone or close to gone, and all kegs are already gone in distribution. If you find any of this lovely beer, drink it while you can.

That is all from us. Thank you to Kevin Hopper for the tickets, and thank you to all the breweries for bringing some of their finest offerings!

Cheers!

— The Crew

The variety in beers is impressive this year!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Turtle Mountain is getting the (anniversary) party started next week!

Sometimes it can be hard to squeeze all the important details about upcoming events into The Week Ahead in Beer, thus forcing some separate, but short stories. This is one of those, as we felt you all needed more details on the upcoming 18th anniversary events at Turtle Mountain.

The Rio Rancho institution is celebrating another milestone birthday with a few beer specials, plus a heck of a brewmaster’s dinner this coming Wednesday.

First up, they are tapping Coconut McSmack on Friday. Head brewer Mick Hahn spent about four hours toasting 75 pounds of coconut in the TMBC wood-fired oven to add to his popular Scottish ale. It should be a delicious weekend treat.

Then on Tuesday, look for a special cask of SCH Scotch Lager, which has run out on CO2.

The big fun then comes Wednesday. For this dinner of epic proportions, there will be plenty of beer-and-food pairings. It costs $50 per person, and seating is limited, so please call (505) 995-9497 as soon as possible to make your reservation.

What does that $50 get you?

  • Aperitif cask of Marzen
  • Appetizer: Tropical shrimp cocktail with pineapple-habanero salsa and roasted coconut flakes, paired with Coconut McSmack
  • Salad: Asparagus spring salad with roasted beets, hard-boiled quail egg parmesan crisp, house beer mustard vinaigrette, and seasonal greens, paired with Consensual Sensations 18th Anniversary DIPA
  • Entree: Lager-marinated and smoked prime rib, Marzen-steamed lobster tail, browned butter herbed fingerling potatoes, and agave glazed carrots, paired with Oaked Depravity Barley Wine
  • Dessert: House-made Irish stout ice cream with chocolate pine nut brittle, stout caramel drizzle, paired with Snakedriver Irish Stout

That all just sounds ridiculously amazing. Get on over to TMBC next week and celebrate one of our best breweries.

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 six breweries, one in Socorro, one in Los Alamos, and one in Moriarty 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.

Most of the time, I start this story with an intro to something fun going on. This time around, it’s a lot more serious. For those that do not know, Steve Hahn, the brother of Turtle Mountain head brewer Mick Hahn, is in the fight of his life against brain cancer. To help his family, Mick has brewed SCH (8% ABV, 30 IBU), a hearty Scotch lager that is the “big brother” to TMBC’s popular McSmack. One dollar from every pint sold will be donated to the Hahn family. For those who want to help, but live far, far away from Rio Rancho, other breweries are stepping up to the plate and purchasing kegs to sell it all across the metro area. So far, Mick said Canteen, Marble, Nexus, Red Door, Starr Brothers, and Tractor have already pre-ordered and will have their kegs delivered a week from today. Other breweries may also be added to the list. UPDATE: Sidetrack has been added! The Crew will keep everyone updated on social media when it goes on tap at each location. Let’s all head out next week and raise a couple pints of SCH to Steve and Mick. It’s the least we can do.

Up in Santa Fe, Chili Line will be filling the void of breweries celebrating their anniversaries for us this weekend. They will have $4 pints, special raffles, and merchandise for sale. There will be live music, too. It all kicks off at 4 p.m. Saturday and runs until closing at midnight. Oh, and then Green Jeans Farmery as a whole will be celebrating its first anniversary the same day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Santa Fe Brewing will have a special tapping of the Single Barrel Sour, plus there will be live music and more (see their entry below).

Also, take note, the National IPA Challenge is getting underway. There are 20 (!) entries from New Mexico in the main bracket, plus another six in the Imperial IPA bracket, five in the Session IPA bracket, and four in the Specialty IPA bracket. Want to follow along? Go here, and then see the next paragraph. Any beer with a * is a NIPAC entry!

On the new beer front this week, there are a few new options to check out. Bear Knuckle IPA* is back with a serious hop punch at Boxing Bear. Canteen rolls out a beer for every flavor, with Canteen Lager, Leche Suave Milk Stout, and Hop Baller IPA*. La Cumbre goes dark with Molinillo Stout, which gets a release party Friday. Marble has tapped its Saison From the Wood, plus Caffe Canela Roja, Nitro Lush, and All Barke, Nein Bitter. Ponderosa has a new Simcoe Single-Hop Pale Ale. The popular Pub Ale will be back at Sidetrack by the end of the week. Tractor is feeling sweet with a new Chocolate Milk Stout, and a bit spooky hoppy with Ghost Ranch IPA. Turtle Mountain will also have an oaked version of their Depravity barleywine on later this week.

Up in Santa Fe, Second Street has fresh batches of the hoppy Red and Yellow Armadillo* and Imperial IPA*, which will no longer be called Trebuchet, but we will still love it anyway.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of February 6.

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

Albuquerque metro area breweries

Albuquerque Brewing Co. — (505) 797-1842

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

Beers/News: ABC is closed indefinitely. We will have further updates when they are available.

Ale Republic — (505) 281-2828

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

Beers: Best Coast IPA, Saison IPA, Blonde Ale. Hooray, we have the current beer lineup for our friends in Cedar Crest! Next up is the Strong Dark and Handsome, a Belgian dark strong.

Alien Brew Pub — (505) 884-1116

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

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

Back Alley Draft House — (505) 766-8590

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

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

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

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

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

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

The Blue Grasshopper — (505) 896-8579

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

Beers: Belgian Pale Ale, Paddy Wagon Red, Dunkelweizen. The Dunkelweizen is the most recent addition.

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

News: The Blue Grasshopper taproom on Coors, just north of Montano, is now open! We will have a story up shortly.

Boese Brothers Brewery — (505) 382-7060

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

Beers: Patriot Porter, La Onza White Ale, Dr. Strangehop XPA, Duke City Lager, Double Dead Ale, Santa’s Little Helper, Comrade Boese. Double Dead Ale and Dr. Strangehop are also available in bombers. Comrade Boese is an oak-aged Russian imperial stout, in case the name wasn’t enough to help you guess its identity.

Events: Saturday—Love is in the Beer with $10 pitches, 1-9 p.m.

Live Music: Saturday—Clark Andrew Libbey, 9-11 p.m.

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

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

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

Beers: Dry Stout, Vienna Amber, The Gaffer (Barleywine), Jet Black Winter (Imperial Stout), Tone It Down Pale Ale. The most recent additions include the massive barleywine, The Gaffer (11.5% ABV), and Jet Black Winter (9.5% ABV), a roasty toasty imperial stout. There is also a rotating nitro tap, which sometimes features house beers or specialty pints. Contact your nearest location to find out what’s available.

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

Bow & Arrow Brewing — (505) 247-9800

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

Beers: Flint & Grit (British Mild), Sun Dagger (Saison), Crossed Arrows (Scotch Ale), Hoka Hey (IPA), Jemez Field Notes Lager, Storm & Hearth Vanilla Bean Stout, Land of Manana Farmhouse IPA, Bucking Brown-co, Autumn Archer (Marzen), Wayward Arrow Hefeweizen, Radical Aim IPA. The most recent additions are the Hefe and Radical Aim IPA. Storm & Hearth Vanilla Bean Stout is back and even better than the first time.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Bow & Arrow has happy hour every Monday through Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. Get $1 off pints. A new late happy hour starts Thursday at 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m.

Boxing Bear Brewing Company — (505) 897-2327

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

Beers: Vantablack Russian Imperial Stout, The Saaz Man Cometh, Bear Knuckle IPA, Munich Ale, Iron Lung Smoked Porter, Featherweight Session IPA, Chocolate Milk Stout (on nitro). A recent addition is the monstrous Vantablack (10.2% ABV, 80 IBU), which is back for a second epic run. Bear Knuckle is back as well, with bombers coming soon. Bombers of The Red Glove (7.2% ABV, 105 IBU), a gold medal winner at GABF, are still on sale at the brewery and other fine establishments like Jubilation. Chocolate Milk Stout is also for sale in bombers as well as being on tap.

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

Weekly Events: Today (Wednesday)—Geeks Who Drink, 8-10 p.m.

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

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

Beers: Otero ESB, Lone Pine Pilsner, Sancho Saison, Pepe the Mule. OK, fine, Pepe the Mule counts as a beer, even though it is basically a Moscow Mule, but it was made with beer. Look for it soon in package format.

Live Music (main location): TBA

Weekly Events (main location): Today (Wednesday)—Cards Against Humanity hosted by 10 Drink Minimum, 7 p.m.; Sunday—Build-your-own Bloody Mary bar, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Tuesday—All hours beers $2 a pint

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

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

Beers: Canteen Lager, Irish Red, Exodus IPA, Oud Bruin, Hop Baller IPA, Leche Suave Milk Stout. The new Canteen Lager is a German pilsner. The Hop Baller is back, while Leche Suave makes its debut. They also have a Cherry Dark ‘n Lusty Stout on nitro.

Live Music: Thursday—The Real Matt Jones, 6-9 p.m.; Sunday—The Porter Draw, 4-7 p.m.

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

(Open daily 8 a.m.–10 p.m.)

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

Chama River Brewing Company — (505) 342-1800

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

Beers: Hopmonic Convergence IPA, Alpha Centaur (Wheat Beer), Natalia Polonch’ (Baltic Porter), Lloyd’s Extra Gloves (Sour Winter Warmer). The Natalia (9.5% ABV, 33 IBU) was oak aged, which means it might be the finest Baltic ever made. Get it quickly before it’s gone, which means before we drink it up.

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

Dialogue Brewing — (505) 585-1501

(Open daily noon-midnight)

UPDATED >>> Beers: Belgian Citrus IPA, Berliner Weisse, Sour Raspberry, Centennial IPA, Golden Ale, Dark Helmet (Swartzbier), Dubbel, American Dark Sour, Scarlet Gose, Helles Good, When in Doubt (Session Stout), Lloyd’s Extra Gloves. OK, the last beer, Lloyd’s Extra Gloves, is a reference to the original Dumb and Dumber, but fear not, it is not a joke. It is a sour winter warmer brewed in collaboration with Chama River. Due up soon, Panza, a New Mexican Vienna Lager.

Events: Tuesday—A Match Made in Pairings: Craft Brews & Chocolate, 5-11 p.m.

Weekly Events: Monday—Service Industry Night, 6 p.m.

News: Kitsune Food Truck will be parked out front every day for lunch.

Drafty Kilt Brewing — (505) 881-0234

(Sun–Thu 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight)

Beers: Groundskeeper Willie Cream Ale, Wee Beastie Scottish Ale, McWabbit Pale Ale, Campbell Toe IPA. Welcome to the listings, Drafty Kilt! Brewer/owner Mike Campbell has three of his own creations on tap at 4814 Hardware Dr. NE, including the new Campbell Toe (no snickering). Check out our review.

Happy Hour/Discounts: $1 off pints and 20-ounce pours, Mon-Fri, 3-6 p.m.; “Just Because We Love You Club,” happy hour prices at all times for teachers, first responders, law enforcement, and military with ID; Growler Fill Days on Thu and Sun, $2 off new growlers, $1 off refills

Flix Brewhouse — (505) 445-8500

(Open daily 11 a.m.-midnight)

Beers: (house) Golden Ale, Lupulus IPA, Satellite (Red IPA), 10 Day Scottish Ale, Luna Rose Wit, Umbra Chocostout; (seasonals) Radegast American Pale Ale, Rebel Yell Porter, Holy Mother of Quad, Word is Blond Belgian, January Embers English Barleywine. The newest seasonals are the Word is Blond and January Embers, replacing The Brown Basilisk. Starting next week, we will trust you all have the six house beers memorized and we will be listing the seasonals only.

Kaktus Brewing — (505) 379-5072

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

Beers: Down and Stout, ESB, Blonde Ale, Helles Lager, Imperial Stout, Black IPA, Oaxford IPA, Ambrosia Amber, Walnut Cider, DjinnJar Kombucha. A recent tap turnover introduced Down and Stout, Blonde Ale, Black IPA, Oaxford IPA, Ambrosia Amber, Walnut Cider, and since then Imperial Stout was able to sneak back onto the list.

Weekly Events (Nob Hill): Thursday—The Desert Darlings, 7 to 9 p.m.

Weekly Events (Bernalillo): Sunday—Brunch, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., The Desert Darlings, 6-8 p.m.

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

La Cumbre Brewing — (505) 872-0225

(Open every day at noon)

Beers: Angry Belgian, Pecos Porter, Cafe Con Leche, Centennial SMASH, Munchner Dunkel. The Cafe Con Leche is back on tap and for sale in bombers, but only for a limited time. It is delicious this time around. The most recent additions are the Centennial and Munchner. Molinillo Stout goes on tap this Friday, and it will be for sale in bombers.

Live Music: Saturday—The Boondoggles, 6-9 p.m.

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Lego Night Build Off, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Lizard Tail Brewing — (505) 717-1301

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

Beers: Contact the brewery for an updated list.

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

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Geeks Who Drink, 8 p.m.; Thursday—Karaoke, 8-11 p.m.

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

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

Beers: Fit Bird IPA, Dang Pale Ale, White Out, Double IPA, Howlin Down Brown, Saison From the Wood, Nitro Lush, Barkin’ Clark Dark (Downtown and Heights), All Barke, Nein Bitter (Downtown and Heights), Caffe Canela Roja (Downtown and Heights), Dark Strong (Downtown and Westside), Pumpkin Noir (Heights and Westside), Rouge L’Orange (Heights and Westside), Eastside Special Bitter (Heights and Westside), Equinaut DIPA (Heights only), Spruce Moose (Westside only). The constantly shifting lineups at each location promise plenty of fun, no matter which one you visit. The most recent additions include All Barke, Nein Bitter, the Saison From the Wood, Caffe Canela Roja (a coffee red ale), and Nitro Lush, which is a heavenly blend of Oatmeal Stout, Imperial Stout, and Reserve Ale.

Live Music (Heights): Saturday—Next Three Miles, 7-10 p.m.

Live Music (Westside): Friday—Hub City Sound System, 8-11 p.m.; Saturday—Blue Room, 8-11 p.m.

Other Events (Westside): Tuesday—Brushes & Brews, $40 sign-up includes two beers and a meal from Ohana Hut, 6-9 p.m.

Weekly Events (Downtown): Saturday—Brewery tours, 2 p.m.

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

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

Beers: Double Bird IPA, Hibiscus Imperial Cream, Ensign Belgo (Silver Taproom only), El Dorado Session Pale Ale, Doppel-Spock. A couple beers popped up recently with the return of Hibiscus and the arrival of the new Double Bird IPA, which, as the name might suggest, is a double-strength version of the popular Bird of Prey IPA.

Happy Hour/Discounts (Brewery): Monday–Friday, $5 appetizers, 3-5 p.m.

Weekly Events (Silver Taproom): Saturday—a live DJ will perform; Sunday—a live band will perform at 2 p.m.

Palmer Brewery and Cider House — (505) 508-0508

(Tues–Sat 3–9 p.m.)

Beers: MWA (Malt With Attitude), Guero (Belgian Wit), Pale Ale, Stout, Cockness Monster (Scotch Ale), Palmergranite Wit, Cafe Pale Ale. Palmer shares a building with Left Turn Distilling on Girard south of Candelaria. We got the full story on their origin and what’s to come in 2017.

Pi Brewing — (505) 890-9463

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

Beers: Kama Citra IPA, U Down w/ BVP?, Burque Lite, Cardinal Sin Red, AdHd, Amber’s Amber, Axis of Awesomeness, It’s So Tinsel. The Kama Citra (7.2% ABV, 95 IBU) is back for another run. Recent additions to the lineup include Axis of Awesomeness (8.1% ABV, 80 IBU), an imperial IPA, and It’s So Tinsel (8.4% ABV, 25 IBU), a Scottish Wee Heavy.

News: Pi is temporarily closed due to a damaged wall. They do not have a re-opening date yet.

Ponderosa Brewing Co. — (505) 639-5941

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

Beers: Oud Bruin, Schwarzbier, Nikolaus, Amber Ale, Simcoe Single-Hop Pale Ale. The Oud Bruin, a brown sour, is now on tap and for sale in bombers. You can also still purchase bombers of Sour Saison, Big Belgian IPA, and Preacher’s Daughter (Belgian Golden Strong) at the taproom or at liquor stores around town.

News: Up next on the beer menu is an Oatmeal Stout.

Events: Saturday—Pints & Prestidigitation with magician Chris Zaccara, 6-9 p.m.

Quarter Celtic Brewpub — (505) 503-1387

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

Beers: All the WITty Names are Taken, “Oi!” Kellerbier, Clark IPA, Bruce Dark IPA, Count Stoutula, #GFF. Back on tap is Clark, a hazy New England-style IPA, and now its “nemesis,” Bruce Dark IPA, has joined the lineup. The #GFF, an imperial grapefruit IPA, is back for another run as well.

Weekly Events: Saturday—Premier League Viewing Party, 8 a.m.

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

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

Beers: Ottobrau Pilsner, Strong Scotch Ale, Calypso SMaSH Pale Ale, Nieuwe Bruin (downtown taproom only). The Calypso is the most recent addition to the lineup. The Strong Scotch, which offers up a lovely blend of malty sweetness and smoky peat, is back for another run.

News: The Vanilla Cream Ale has been so popular it has been added to the year-round lineup.

Live Music (Brewery): Today (Wednesday)—Mike Hogan, 7-9 p.m.

Weekly Events (Brewery): Monday—The Draft Sessions, 7-9 p.m.

Weekly Events (Taproom): Tuesday—Geeks Who Drink, 7-9 p.m.

Rio Bravo Brewing Company — (505) 900-3909

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

Beers: Rio Bravo Amber, Weizen, Randy’s Shandy, Dirty Rotten Bastard IPA, Snakebite IPA, Black Angus Stout, Randy’s Red Ale, Duke City Pilsner, Old Town Porter (regular and barrel aged), Barley Wine (regular and barrel aged), Raspberry Sour, Cereza Loco (Cherry Sour), NM Pinon Coffee Porter, Oatmeal Stout, Belgian Strong Golden, Level 3 IPA, Grab ‘Em By the Putin. The Level 3 (7.5% ABV, 120 IBU) should satisfy any hophead. The Putin is, in case you could not guess, a Russian imperial stout, checking in at a whopping 13 percent!

Live Music: Friday—Julian Wild, 8 p.m.; Saturday—Fair Trade Fusion, 8 p.m.

Weekly Events: Today (Wednesday)—Movie Night, 7 p.m.; Friday—Philly Friday, all day; Tuesday—$2 Taco Tuesday, all day

Sandia Chile Grill — (505) 798-1970

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

Beers: Call the brewery for an updated list.

Sidetrack Brewing — (505) 288-6468

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

Beers: Switchgear IPA, Crossbuck Pale Ale, Stoker Stout, 2926 Steam Lager, The Red Line. The last three beers debuted for the recent anniversary party. The Stoker Stout, in particular, was delicious. Pub Ale will be back by the end of the week.

Cask: The IPA and Pale Ale are in the firkins.

Weekly Events: Tuesday—Taco Tuesday, all day

Starr Brothers Brewing — (505) 492-2752

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

Beers: Starrstruck IPA, L.A. Woman (Blonde), Foggy Monocle (Oatmeal Stout), Lampshade Porter, Don’t Fear the RIPA, Roisin Dubh (Irish Dry Stout). The most recent additions are the RIPA, a red IPA, and Roisin Dubh. Oh, and in case you missed it Monday, the Foggy Monocle claimed the trophy at the Brew Crew’s Stout Challenge VI!

Weekly Events: Saturday—Premier League Viewing Party, 8 a.m.

The 377 Brewery — (505) 934-0795

(Open noon-11 p.m. most days)

Beers: English Best Bitter, Session IPA, Black IPA, Robust Porter, Kolsch, Hefe, Imperial Cream, IPA, Fully Booty Oatmeal Stout, Funky Punky Swartzbier. Welcome to the listings, 377! Holy moley, they now have multiple house beers on tap, which we recently reviewed. The most recent additions are the IPA (7.2% ABV, 98 IBU), Oatmeal Stout (7.5% ABV, 62 IBU), and Funky Punky (5.5% ABV).

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

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

Beers: Vulgar Display of Porter, Chocolate Milk Stout, Ghost Ranch IPA, Turkey Drool, Javi Light Lager, Farmer’s Freckles Scottish Export, Berliner Weisse, Berry Cider, Goathead Hador Doppelbock, Partridge in a Pine Tree IPA, Cranberry Ginger Cider, Barrel-aged Luna De Los Muertos, Chiapas Mexican Amber (Nob Hill only), Apricot Wheat (Nob Hill only), Cowgirl Coffee Stout (Nob Hill only), Cowgirl Coffee Stout on nitro (Wells Park only). That there Vulgar Display of Porter (8.8% ABV) is a Baltic made in collaboration with a certain group of beer writers. We hope you all enjoy it. The most recent additions are the Chocolate Milk Stout and the Ghost Ranch IPA.

Live Music (Wells Park): Thursday—Lorin Walker Madsen, 8 p.m.; Saturday—Eryn Bent, 8 p.m.

Live Music (Nob Hill): Today (Wednesday)—Garry Martin Beasley, 8:30 p.m.; Friday—Joe Kaplow, 5 p.m.; Saturday—Dave Martinez, 5 p.m.

Other Events (Wells Park): Today (Wednesday)—Art Fusion for a Cause, 7 p.m.; Thursday—Kelly Williams Art Opening + Glass Release, 7 p.m.; Friday—Drag Queen Bingo: Valentine’s Day Edition, 8 p.m.

Other Events (Nob Hill): Saturday—Craft + Beer: Begin-Again, 3 p.m.

Weekly Events (Wells Park): Monday—Monday Night Film Club, 8 p.m.; Tuesday—Kamikaze Karaoke, 7 p.m.

Weekly Events (Nob Hill): Today (Wednesday)—Writing Wednesdays, 5 p.m.; Monday—Tractor Tune Up, 7:30 p.m.

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

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

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company — (505) 994-9497

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

Beers: El Toro Rojo, Mashhole (Brown IPA), McSmack, Encierro Red Ale, Depravity (Barleywine), Can’t Catch Me Copper Lager. The El Toro (8.5% ABV) is a burly imperial red, but it is nearly out. Depravity (10% ABV) is a beast of a barleywine, and an oaked version will soon be on tap. See our intro for more info on SCH, the Scottish lager brewed for a good cause that will debut Tuesday.

News: Wooden Teeth has been promoted to the regular lineup, replacing the Helles.

Cask: Tuesday—Hopshell IPA

Santa Fe breweries

Blue Corn Brewery — (505) 438-1800

(Open daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)

Beers: Captain Omar’s Boat Beer (Dortmunder Export), High Altitude Pale Ale, Hoppy Red Lager, Dry-hoppped Imperial Stout. We eagerly await the Imperial Stout making a trek down to the Draft Station in Albuquerque. That and the Hoppy Red Lager are the most recent additions.

Chili Line Brewing — (505) 500-7903

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

Beers: El Jefe (Rauchweizen), sIPApu (India Pale Lager), Antonio Bandito (Dunkelweizen), Llorona Lager. The sIPApu is back, now as an IPL. The Llorona Lager is the other recent addition to the lineup.

Live Music: Every night at 7 p.m.

Events: See our intro for more on this Saturday’s anniversary party that starts at 4 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts: Reverse happy hour after 9 p.m. includes $1 off pints, $6 appetizers, $10 entrees and pizzas.

Duel Brewing Company — (505) 474-5301

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

Beers: Bad Amber, Fiction (IPA), Non-Fiction (Pale Ale), Fantin (Double Pale Ale), Whistler (Belgian Blonde), Cezanne Magnifique, Rye Goya (Imperial Stout), Stocious (Wee Heavy), Judith (Sour Amber), HMWWA FIACFW (Barrel-aged Sour). The most recent additions are the Rye Goya, Stocious, Judith, and the unpronounceable, but tasty, HMWWA FIACFW.

Events (ABQ taproom): Saturday—Vintage Nights “Love Me Not,” 7 p.m.

Happy Hour/Discounts (Brewery): Happy hour Mon–Fri, 4-6 p.m. (discounts for all draft beer), Growler Saturdays ($3 off growler fills).

Happy Hour/Discounts (ABQ taproom): Happy hour Mon–Fri, 5-7 p.m.

Rowley Farmhouse Ales — (505) 428-0719

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

Beers: Stout-ish (Session Oatmeal), Fields of Rye, Greyscale, Josephus. Santa Fe’s newest brewery has a solid mix of guest taps, plus their latest offerings, Fields of Rye, Greyscale, and Josephus, all of which were part of a recent tap takeover at Violet Crown Cinemas.

Santa Fe Brewing Company — (505) 424-3333

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

Beers: Snowflake IPA, Hipster Union Red Rye, Adobe Igloo, Nuevo (Blonde Ale), Dysphotic Stout (ECS). The latest entry in the Ever Changing Series, Dysphotic Stout, is basically the Black Beast of AAAAHHHH. Snowflake IPA is back, now part of a series of seasonal-themed IPAs called the In-and-Out Series. Adobe Igloo is back on tap and in six packs.

Live Music (ABQ taproom): Saturday—He-Goat, 5 p.m., Raven Rutherford & Her Sweet Potato Pie Band, 7 p.m.

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

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

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

Beers: Kolsch, IPA, Cream Stout, Rod’s Best Bitter, Zig Zag Pale Ale, Brown Ale, Cereza Negra, Red and Yellow Armadillo, Imperial IPA. The Cereza Negra is on nitro at the original location, and boy, is it delicious! Make sure to try two of Second Street’s National IPA Challenge entrants, the Armadillo and Imperial IPA.

Live Music (Original location): Friday—TBA; Saturday—TBA

Live Music (Railyard): Friday—TBA; Saturday—TBA

Weekly Events (Railyard): Thursday—Geeks Who Drink, 8 p.m.

Other breweries you need to visit

Bathtub Row Brewing — (505) 500-8381

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

Beers: The Tripel Lindy, Wit Rock, Crazy Mother IPA, Betty on Brett, Spearmint Stout, Jarrylo Pale Ale, Beedle’s Apple Ale, Catcher ‘n the Rye. The most recent tap turnover went down in Los Alamos with Crazy Mother, Betty, Spearmint, Jarrylo, Beedle’s, and Catcher making their debuts.

Weekly Events: Thursday—Open mic, 6 p.m.

Sierra Blanca Brewing — (505) 832-2337

(Mon–Thurs 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Fri –Sat 11 a.m.–9 p.m.)

Beers: Barrel-aged Whiskey Stout, Cherry Sour, Interstella Vanilla. The Whiskey Stout is back for a short time. The Cherry Sour is back for another run. Look for Cherry Wheat in bottles in the coming weeks.

Twisted Chile Brewing — (575) 835-2949

(Mon–Thurs 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun noon-4 p.m.)

Beers: Zia Pilsner, 790 IPA, Hose Co. 1 Red Lager, Venom IPA, KC’s Irish Stout, Raspberry Wheat, Pilabo Pale Ale, Schwarzbar Black Lager, Quebradas Sunrise Amber, Lobo Blanco White IPA. They have added Raspberry Wheat “just in time for Valentine’s Day.” I still prefer stouts on V-Day because of my black, black heart. But, who am I to judge?

Live Music: Friday—Lorin Walker Madsen, 7-9 p.m.

Weekly Events: Today (Wednesday)—Open mic, 6:30-9 p.m.

* * * *

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

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Our sixth annual Stout Challenge brought about a sixth different winner.

Our sixth annual Stout Challenge brought about a sixth different winner.

Amid all the seriousness of the weekend, the Brew Crew was still able to gather to hold our annual Stout Challenge before the start of the Super Bowl. While the game featured an improbable rally by the favorite, our blind taste test featured an upset by one of the newer breweries in town.

For the sixth time, we have a new winner. A past winner came oh-so-close to becoming our first two-time champion. We structure the event similar to the IPA Challenge, but with variations. We go around the day of the event, fill our half-growlers (or full growlers for last year’s top finishers), and then bring them to Franz Solo’s house. Our friend Margaret then pours them into numbered glasses out of sight, and we try them one by one, rather than put all on a tray. We take notes and score them from zero to five points in the categories of aroma, flavor, mouthfeel, and finish, and add them up.

We were short quite a few Crew members this year. Illness knocked out Brandon, Luke, and Shawna. E-Rock was unable to make it back from his musical adventures in Texas in time. Shilling was studying. Porter Pounder was on the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise again. Thus, only myself, Franz, Mrs. Solo, Kristin, and guest judge Tim (Margaret’s husband) were available.

Also, after reporting 16 stouts Friday, we ended up two shy, as Bow & Arrow did not open until it was too late for us to pick up their Storm & Hearth, and Twisted Chile was unable to deliver their Irish stout from Socorro.

As always, these are our opinions. We could be wrong.

14. Cazuela’s Beer for my Horses (19.5 points): This was the only truly disappointing stout among the batch. The flavor was almost sour (my opinion) or salty (Franz’s opinion). It was too thin in the mouthfeel. We have no idea what happened with this batch.

13. Santa Fe Dysphotic Stout (45.5): None of us disliked this robust, almost hop-forward stout, it was just that when stacked up against a field of mostly oatmeal variants, it stood out almost as more of a black IPA than anything. Basically, it is a stout that stands alone in the current available field in the ABQ metro area.

12. Rio Bravo Oatmeal Stout (46): While it did not move up in the standings that much, Rio Bravo’s entry scored much better this time around. The aroma scored the highest, with some mixed feelings on the flavor and mouthfeel. Overall it just came off as a bit light for what we look for in a stout.

11. Boxing Bear Standing 8 Stout (47.5): Every year there seems to be one of the top stouts from the previous year that falls way down the ladder. The main complaint here was in the bitter, overly smoky flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel. It was similar to Dysphotic, but with more malt and less hops.

10. Bosque Driftwood Oatmeal Stout (48): We found this batch to be a little on the thin side, with the most negative marks coming in terms of its mouthfeel, or lack thereof. The flavor was good, quite a bit sweet up front, but it faded pretty quickly.

9. Turtle Mountain Stauffenberg Stout (52.5): This was the first stout we sampled, so in many ways, it served as the base line for all that followed. In general everyone liked it, though it was noted as being just a tad short in all four categories. Still, we would call it perfectly drinkable.

8. Sidetrack Stoker Stout (53): A significant improvement on their stout from last year, this batch was quite a bit smokier and more roasted. Those were probably the biggest attributes, good or bad, with our voters.

7. The 377 Full Booty Stout (56): The top word used to describe our newest brewery’s oatmeal stout was “dry,” which accounted for much of the flavor and mouthfeel for folks. Some scored that well, others did not. The thickness of the mouthfeel scored the highest with most of us.

6. Chama River Sleeping Dog Stout (58): The 2016 champion could not pull off the repeat. The flavor and aroma this time around was sweet, with a pronounced vanilla element, but otherwise it lacked enough mouthfeel and overall complexity. It remains quite good, but not quite on par with last year.

5. Marble Oatmeal Stout (59): If there is a stout deserving of the title of “old reliable,” it is our 2012 champion, which still ranks among the best in town. There was a sweet, almost vanilla flavor and aroma at the front. The mouthfeel and finish saw some contrasting opinions with the five of us.

4. La Cumbre Malpais Stout (61): Unlike most La Cumbre beers, this did not have much of an aroma to draw you in. It did have a smokier, heavier flavor, scoring highest in mouthfeel and finish. The 2013 champion remains one of the best in town, though it is definitely not for those who like their stouts sweeter.

3. Canteen Dark n’ Lusty Stout (62.5): No stout has yo-yoed up and down more in our Stout Challenge the last six years than Canteen’s staple. It has finished seventh (out of eight), fifth (out of 10), 10th (out of 10), second (out of 14), 11th (out of 14), and now it’s third. This batch had a lot of chocolate flavor. It was sweet and solid, but just lacked the flavor complexity to claim its first title.

2. Tractor Double Plow Oatmeal Stout (70): My personal favorite in the bunch, it came up just short of being our first two-time winner (2014 was its previous victory). That cookie dough-like flavor was back at the front, with lots of chocolate up front and hints of smoke on the back end. The mouthfeel was solid throughout.

1. Starr Brothers Foggy Monocle (71.5): First Stout Challenge, first victory! Brewer Rob Whitlock said he actually prefers his Roisin Dubh, an Irish dry stout, to this. Guess he will have to change his mind now. The flavor (roasty coffee) and mouthfeel (thick and creamy smooth) scored especially high with our group.

We will have our Stout Challenge helmet trophy ready soon to be presented to Starr Brothers. Congrats to Rob and their entire staff!

As always, here are our individual point totals for each beer, to see where we agreed and disagreed on each.

  • Stoutmeister: 1) Tractor 13.5, 2) Chama River 11, 3) Canteen 10.5, 4) La Cumbre and Marble 9.5, 6) Boxing Bear and The 377 and Starr Brothers 9, 9) Bosque 8.5, 10) Sidetrack and Turtle Mountain 8, 12) Santa Fe and Rio Bravo 7, 14) Cazuela’s 3
  • Franz Solo: 1) Tractor 16.5, 2) Starr Brothers 16, 3) Canteen 15.5, 4) La Cumber 15, 5) Boxing Bear and Sidetrack 13.5, 7) The 377 12.5, 8) Chama River and Turtle Mountain 12, 10) Marble and Santa Fe 11, 12) Bosque and Rio Bravo 7, 14) Cazuela’s 3
  • Mrs. Solo: 1) Starr Brothers 16.5, 2) Tractor 15.5, 3) Canteen and Sidetrack 12, 5) La Cumbre and Marble and The 377 and Rio Bravo 11, 9) Bosque 10.5, 10) Chama River and Turtle Mountain 10, 12) Santa Fe 7, 13) Boxing Bear 6, 14) Cazuela’s 4
  • Kristin: 1) La Cumbre 16.5, 2) Starr Brothers 16, 3) Marble 15, 4) Chama River 13, 5) Rio Bravo and Turtle Mountain 12.5, 7) Bosque 12, 8) Boxing Bear and Canteen 11.5, 10) The 377 and Tractor 11, 12) Sidetrack 10.5, 13) Santa Fe 10, 14) Cazuela’s 5
  • Tim: 1) Starr Brothers 14, 2) Tractor 13.5, 3) Canteen 13, 4) The 377 and Marble 12.5, 6) Chama River 12, 7) Santa Fe 10.5, 8) Bosque and Turtle Mountain 10, 10) La Cumbre and Sidetrack 9, 12) Rio Bravo 8.5, 13) Boxing Bear 7.5, 14) Cazuela’s 4.5

Once again, these are just our opinions. We invite everyone to go out and try all these stouts, whether it’s for the 100th time or the first time. Our local breweries are doing a great job with the darker side of beer, and we couldn’t be happier on the whole.

We will have more on the weekend’s serious news about Senate Bill 314 and the contentious town hall meeting on Tuesday, once we put everything together.

Until then, keep supporting local breweries!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

After being stuck in place for the last three years, Turtle Mountain has big plans for 2017.

After being stuck in place for the last three years, Turtle Mountain has big plans for 2017.

Franz Solo here. At long last, I’ve had a chance to actually get to my remaining Look Back/Look Ahead Series articles. Life sometimes has other plans for you than you desire and that’s definitely a good bit of what kept these on the backburner. Without further ado, I was able to hang out with both head brewer Mick Hahn and owner Nico Ortiz for Turtle Mountain’s entry in the series for 2016-17. This is a bit of a tale of purgatorio and, with a bit of luck, the first steps towards a bit of paradiso in the year to come. I ended up doing this in two sessions, so first we will have my conversation with Mick and thereafter my time with Nico.

We began over a tray of most of the brews on tap, as I had not had many of them in a while. I wanted to get my feet wet with some of the possible differences in the beers stemming from the 2016 change in brewers at Turtle, when Mick came over from Marble to replace Tim Woodward, who is now with Bosque.

(Editor’s note: This interview was trimmed due to its length and because much of it relates to events in December. — S)

Solo: So, look back, look ahead, you were here for half of this past year?

Mick: Yeah, I was here for about half the year.

Solo: Are you making any big changes?

Mick: I don’t know if I’m making any big changes. There’s a couple beer lineup changes that are happening. We did get rid of the Oku Amber as a regular, and we’re bringing in the Red Rye Redux as a throwback nod to a classic style that was a staple of our house for a long time, and it was good to bring it back. We had one batch that sold out way too quickly, so I’ve got a double batch that I brewed last week and hopefully it stays on tap for a month or so. Since the Oku was our only gluten-reduced beer, the Red Rye is taking place of that. We’ve also stepped that up and have our cream ale, which is (now) gluten reduced. Right now we have two gluten-reduced beers and we’re looking to have at least three of them on at any given time.

Solo: Yeah, I can’t say that gluten-free beers have been my favorite in the past, but these are quite palatable and taste spot-on to the style.

Mick: So, really with the White Labs enzyme it doesn’t do much to the flavor of the beer, it just makes it palatable for those people who can’t handle the gluten. It’s worthwhile especially for a couple of beers or so.

Solo: So, I don’t actually know much about your brewing background at this point.

Mick: I worked at Marble for about three years prior to getting pulled up here. I started on the packaging line sorting bottles, and I was on the brewhouse for the last year and a half there. The one beer I got out while I was there under my own volition was the (Mick’s Mack), and so I brought that up here and have the McSmack as a nice secondary take on it.

Solo: Any particular stylistic things you want to do or are kind of your forte?

Mick: I’d say I haven’t been brewing long enough to have a forte. So, I’m really just going for everything that I do know how to brew, and have a few things that I’ve wanted to brew and haven’t yet had a chance to. I’m going to do a double-batch barleywine (He means Depravity, which is still on tap.) so that’ll be pretty good.

Since somebody forgot to take a picture with the interview, Mick was kind enough to send us a brewery selfie, which is really the only acceptable kind of selfie.

Head brewer Mick Hahn has not had too much of a hair-raising experience at TMBC.

After discussing other beers that are now available at TMBC, including the two red ales, we spoke about the Cocomilia Robur, the first brett beer that Mick has brewed.

Mick: Right now we’ve got a bit of a backup on specials. We’re not going to have anything go offline for four weeks, so this will be what we have for awhile. The first that will probably go out is the Cocomilia Robur, which is our brettanomyces plum cream ale that was aged nine months in our barrels, with the second generation of brett that those barrels have had. We then filled up those barrels each with something different, so they’re running two different projects right now. Hopefully this summer we will have two different beers that turn out and have some more funky brett.

Solo: (after a taste of the plum brett) I like that it’s actually a little milder than other sours I’ve had.

Mick: Yeah, it’s got a good bit of brett on the nose, but it’s not overly tart, it’s soft, it’s fruity, and you get a little bit of honey (and) a little bit of vanilla from wood. It’s a good beer. I’m really happy with how that turned out, even though I didn’t have a damn thing to do with the production of it. All I said was all right, it’s time to come out.

Another seasonal no longer on tap that I tried was the Rise of Fall, which was made with butternut squash instead of traditional pumpkin. If Mick goes through with some tweaks to the recipe this fall, he may enter it at the Great American Beer Festival.

Mick: Yeah, actually we did 50 pounds of butternut squash and roasted it in the wood-fired oven, and then threw that in the mash, and then did one pound of pumpkin spice. I’m pretty happy with that, but next year I want to up the butternut squash, and try and cut out the spice and see if we can get away with just a nice squash beer.

Solo: Sounds good to me.

Mick: They had the squash and yam beer category at GABF and they had just 10 entries into it.

Solo: So, is that something you’re aiming for?

Mick: If it’s that small of a category, why not? Especially given that they didn’t award a gold or a silver, they only awarded the bronze for it because other people put pumpkin spice in it. If we can get away with just doing butternut squash and have a solid beer that has a little creamy field flavor to it, I’d be happy with that. I’m happy with how that beer turned out. I was reluctant to do a pumpkin beer, but for an autumnal seasonal I think it’s a good one.

Solo: I like the change-up with the squash instead of pumpkin.

Mick: Yeah a lot of people use butternut squash in their pumpkin pies as a filler, which is good because pumpkin is a very overwhelming flavor. How many breweries have a wood fired oven so we have that opportunity to do it and why the hell would we not? The last two (samples) on the tray are our Hopshell (IPA) and our Cargill IPA. We tried some malt from a new distributor in Denver called Cargill, so that’s where that comes from. We gave an entirely different hop build to it. I’m really happy with where the Hopshell is at right now.

Solo: Agreed, this honestly has come a ways in the past couple of years. I know you pulled some better hop contracts in the past year so that is definitely paying off.

Mick: Tim left me with a lot of good hops. Hopshell has been selling out the past two batches, and I’ve gone from like three or four days from having it on tap between batches and they just keep selling faster and faster, which is an excellent problem to have.

Solo: What hops are you using in that one?

Mick: So, that one has got Columbus, Summit, Mosaic, Southern Cross, Comet, and Simcoe. And then, the dry hop is Simcoe, Mosaic, Comet.

Solo: Yeah definitely got that wonderful Simcoe/Mosaic balance going on there.

Mick: Most of the time I really feel that those two, especially Mosaic needs Simcoe (to) balance it. I think Simcoe can stand alone by itself pretty well, but Mosaic is such an intense hop and it leaves so much behind. And then this one (Cargill) has got Azacca, Mosaic, Equinox, Simcoe, and Citra. And then, dry hopped with Azacca, Simcoe, Citra.

Solo: “Kang” (yes that was my reaction, typical of a cornucopia of hops assaulting my pallet), good stuff man.

The winter beer lineup at Turtle Mountain has been strong. (Photo courtesy of TMBC)

The winter beer lineup at Turtle Mountain has been strong. (Photo courtesy of TMBC)

Mick: Yeah, I like it a lot, it just came out Friday. That’ll probably be the first one to go offline.

Solo: Yeah, I would say so. Spicy, piney, grapefruit, pineapple …

Mick: That one’s good. I think Cargill is really tasty. 7.3 percent on that one and 7.1 percent on our house IPA.

Solo: Which is right where you want to be.

Mick: Yeah I don’t want to have a house IPA that’s lower than 6.7 percent. Seven percent is a great place to keep it at.

Solo: Especially since you want to have a base that will hold up to massive amounts of hopping. Are you guys still looking to do more distribution?

Mick: We are still looking into it. It’s been a fun transition since me coming in here, but one of my plans is hopefully at the first of the year to get our beer pouring at at least half-a-dozen other places in town. I know there was a lot in the past that held that up, but I don’t see any reason for that to be the truth now.

Solo: Yeah, I kind of figured this would be a little bit of a slower year, just recovering from the fiasco that was the parking lot and the fire suppression system.

Mick: Yeah, so I’m ready to start pushing my beer. One of the things I wanted was to wait to get a solid lineup so that I know I can take this beer to a bar and say, hey this is what we have, this is what we’re going to be having, this is what you can expect from us without having to worry about having a significant change down the road. I wanted to make sure that the beers were something that I was proud of and would be happy taking door to door.

Solo: Did a bit of tweaking, I’m sure.

Mick: Yeah, for most of them. I really think the cream ale I haven’t really done anything with except for making it gluten free. The Helles I haven’t done anything with, but it’s actually leaving our lineup, this is its last batch for a while. I’ll probably do something next spring with it. We are bringing the Wooden Teeth up into a full time position. Yeah, I like the Wooden Teeth, it’s a good lager.

Solo: Yeah, it’s interesting seeing the shift now that craft lager is a thing.

Mick: I’m going to have an amber lager, a copper lager coming out in about a month. (Can’t Catch Me is now available.) I’ll be brewing that one this week, too. That’s the Cargill malt as well. That one got a fun all-German hopping, I got some Taurus off the spot market, so that was the base and then Hallertau Blanc and then Mittelfruh.

Solo: Do you think you are going to do anything a la the bottling you did a couple of years back at some point?

Mick: Absolutely, the (only) question is when. So, I would like to get to the point where we are bottling like twice, or three times a year, and doing some 22-(ounce bottles). Really the hard thing is we don’t have the space in here to do that most of the time. So, yeah, I’d really like to get some bottles out there, the question is what style as well. We need to make sure that we have something that’s worth putting into bottles. I mean, we also still have a case or case and a half left of the Wilde Jagd. Nico keeps talking about starting up canning as well, which we currently do not have a space for. But, that would take some changes to the set-up, but I have some ideas about how we might make that work. If we want to start pushing more beer outside these walls we need to step up our game.

Solo: So, about the same place we were last year around this time, we’re just one removed and aimed for the same goals?

Mick: Yeah, thankfully the switch over didn’t include too many steps backwards. I got to work with Tim for three weeks before he went to Bosque, so it was a good transition. I’m happy with it and I’m pretty sure he’s happy with it.

Now that this is done, it's time to move on to bigger and better things! (Photo courtesy of TMBC)

The parking lot was a drain on time and resources, but now the brewery can move forward. (Photo courtesy of TMBC)

With that we ended our conversation and I returned the following week to talk with Nico.

Solo: All righty, another Look Back/Look Ahead, here we are.

Nico: Look back, man, 2016 was a good year in some respects, not as good as Boxing Bear’s year, but the good year had nothing to do with the brewery, so to speak. We didn’t win any awards, we did a lot of major upgrades to the brewery that were sort of delayed maintenance projects that will enable Nick and Evan to more easily make better beer. So, that was positive. It’s not glamorous, it didn’t win any medals, there’s no accolades for that, and it’s going to cost money instead of make money. The big thing for 2016 was our parking lot. That was just a ridiculously large project. It was $350,000 that I could have spent any number of ways that would have made me happier and would have actually generated money. I did not have a choice in this matter so that’s sort of, while everyone else here was opening taprooms, that hobbled me and did not allow me to open up a taproom.

So, looking back, I’m glad it got done, but I’m also pretty upset that Turtle has not had the ability to utilize any of its taproom licenses thus far. But, in 2017, we’re hoping that’s going to change. So, looking back is not so important as the looking forwards. Looking forwards to 2017, I’m going to put in for our wholesaler’s license. We fought so hard two years ago to get that distributor’s license for restaurant breweries, you know for Rod (Tweet of Second Street), for me, for anybody that has that beer and wine license attached to their business. And, we got that through and I had thought about putting in for the license right away, but then Tim told me, well, it’s not just the license, it’s the cooperage, it’s a delivery vehicle, it’s another staffed person. If you want to actually, honestly distribute beer, it’s expensive, and so that obviously got back-burnered while we had that parking lot issue.

I want to at least be able to take our beer in draft form to local accounts. I’m not talking about citywide distribution or anything, well, maybe Rio Rancho citywide, but not metro city wide. At least be able to have the license, that way I get it and all I have to do is renew it, because everybody and their brother is distributing now, so I need to be able to stay on even par. It’s going to mean some minimal cooperage. I don’t know if we’re going to justify a delivery vehicle, but that’s definitely on the plans for 2017 as well as a taproom, utilizing one of our taproom licenses. We haven’t figured out where, we have a few ideas in mind, but we have three of them (licenses), and for restaurant breweries that’s the way you generate money.

Beer is the highest margin product that we sell. (In) the restaurant business, the food service is only getting more expensive and more complicated. The beer business continues to be actually more fun to be a part of, so that’s kind of where we’re looking is none of this restaurant stuff small footprint, probably going to have a pizza oven because Turtle, just like Nexus, is tied to its food. So, the curse of having been a restaurant brewery for 18 years is that everybody associates the pizza and the beer. They don’t look at either without the other. I actually don’t have a problem with putting in a pizza oven, but we’re not going to be doing any kind of a massive footprint place like this. I’ve been to most of the taprooms, the little Canteen taproom up in the heights, I like something like that — small, maybe (room for) 50 or 60 people, 70 people, something modest. It isn’t a big deal to stick a pizza oven in the back, something modest, and just do that. It’s where you start talking about massive coolers and hoods and things like that. Probably most of the prep work for this will be the first half of 2017, sometime in the second half of 2017 we may start to see a lot of this stuff come to fruition.

Solo: Amen to all of the above. If anyone deserves to have a streak of success and good luck it is assuredly Turtle. I, for one, am stoked at the prospect of a Turtle taproom/pizza oven combination, combined with distribution and the delicious results of good hop contracts and good house beer changes and creations.

Nico: I hated to be on the sidelines for the last three years. The whole parking lot started in 2014 and now we’re at the end of 2016. So, for all of 2014, 15 and 16 I’ve had to be on the sidelines. And, that has not made me happy. However, it certainly has enabled me to take a closer look at the market and everything that has been going on, and seeing where people are looking, and seeing what quality of beer is out there. It’s enabled me to gather a lot of intel, I’d rather benefit from other people’s successes and or failures than actually the first one who’s out the gate. For that reason, we’re somewhat happy. Things haven’t changed that much.

Getting Turtle Mountain tap handles at other locations is a priority for 2017. (Photo courtesy of TMBC)

Getting Turtle Mountain tap handles at other locations is a priority for 2017. (Photo courtesy of TMBC)

Solo: Overall, the market has not changed much and this is about what I had figured, considering what you have gone through in the last several years.

Nico: If you look at Second Street, too, Second Street turned 20 (in December) and Rod, they opened up the taproom downtown, which was four or five years ago. But, it took them, they’re 20 years old and they’re now just getting ready to expand. Whereas if you look at somebody like Marble and La Cumbre, six years old they’re already where Rod is 20 years down the road. So, the first 10 years of our life was spent in a market that was not like it is now. The last 10 years, well, probably since Marble came around really (in 2008), that right there is probably the resurgence and the point zero of the current beer market. When Marble opened up, that was point zero, so you have to look at everything since that time.

The fact that we’re still open after 18 years come March is great, but we need to leverage that and we need to make sure that people come out here. There’s still a lot of people here in Albuquerque, I saw there’s a trolley doing a tour of breweries downtown, there’s a lot of breweries downtown, but no trolley is ever going to come out to Rio Rancho. Even Justin (Hamilton of Boxing Bear) down the hill, he’s in Albuquerque so you could hit Alameda and do Boxing Bear and Bosque, but you don’t just come bend up the hill to come to Rio Rancho. So, we’re still after 18 years kind of the hinterlands, the outpost. Which is fine, we do well out here and if you want to come out here, you’ll find a way. We’re not that far away from Albuquerque.

Solo: Not a far drive at all given what we Burqueñas and Burqueños are used to, and well worth it, in my humble opinion. Turtle is a great joint for a pint, a pint and a pizza, hockey (only if the Pens are playing, ha!), soccer, and all the other good sports. The addition of the parking lot has made a world of a difference. Gone are the days of worrying about backing up into that blasted circular wall or finding that cherished striped spot. In the lap of luxury we house our steeled steeds, and drink we will of Mick’s fine brews.

Nico: I’m happy to see Flix Brewhouse opening up. The west side has always been sort of dry. I mean there’s 250,000 people that live on this side of town and there’s precious few breweries on this side of the river, so that’s where we’re looking. So, we’re not looking on the other side of the river for expansion just yet. I mean, we still have a few people from the (northeast) heights coming over here, but just as much as I don’t like crossing the river to their side, they don’t like crossing over here to my side. It’s that psychological barrier. So, we’re going to stick to our side of town. We have a few ideas as far as where we’re going to go. Definitely look for Turtle Mountain to do something in the second half of 2017.

Mick and Evan have been having fun with the beers in the back. Our minimal barrel aging program still (continues); we have our brett plum ale on now. We will be continuing on with that. He’s crafting new recipes and I kind of give him wide latitude to do what he wants back there. The other impetus for some minimal distribution and a taproom is that it gets frustrating with having 13 serving tanks in the back, but we only have one place to sell the beer.

Look for more new and innovative seasonals this year. (Photo courtesy of TMBC)

Look for more new and innovative seasonals this year. (Photo courtesy of TMBC)

Solo: Yeah, and he (Mick) was explaining the same thing — I might have all this stuff ready to go, but until something kicks, I have no space to put it.

Nico: We have 13 taps and if a beer is really really good, but doesn’t sell all that quickly, it sits back there and takes up a tank from a beer that would otherwise be able to sell really quickly. If we can keg it down and take it offsite, then we could actually put it on tap either at an offsite account or at a taproom. It would enable more throughput of the beer and more throughput generates more money, which enables us to add more infrastructure into the brewery, and anybody that has taprooms understands that. The brewery itself is a lot of fun in terms of Mick gets to order grain and hops, Tim got them (hop contracts) in place, and now Mick is benefiting from it.

Solo: Definitely, and I remember exactly talking to Tim and saying, OK, so you’ve got this on line, this on line, this on line, and then that’s going into your Hopshell, your other specialties, and it’s fantastic.

Nico: We got the Mosaic, we got the Citra, we got some of the hard-to-find hops and the contracts are solid. So, Mick now actually has … you know the tough thing about tweaking recipes is that well Tim was constantly having to modify recipes based on the hops we had available. It’s a little hard though once you find a sweet spot, if your hop contract runs out, and you don’t have that kind of hop, well then, you’ve got to modify the recipe. In a brewpub environment it’s not that bad because certain minimal changes to recipes are expected, but if you’re going to can it and put it out on the market you need to have that consistency. We’ve definitely benefited from consistency as a restaurant-brewery. We never really had house beers before Tim came on, so we’ve modified them a little bit, but five of the six beers that Tim developed are still here. We are still tweaking and we will continue to have those. At some point in the future I would consider canning, but it is getting awfully crowded out there, and New Mexico still does not have that many people, and the shelves are getting crowded with beers.

Solo: Left and right, you know, people are coming in every day. We’ve got Great Divide coming down, we’ve got everything else coming in. Shelf space is at a premium and getting filled with lots of really good offerings and a fair number of equally subpar offerings.

Nico: Oh, yeah, there’s going to be some sort of shakeout where you have a whole bunch of beer vying for the same spaces. I’d rather do taprooms, max out my taprooms, and get the $5 pint type of a thing than I would invest in a $100,000 canning line and a big ol’ facility. It is nice, but a lot of it is glory and ego. There is a lot of marketing to it, but I also don’t have a 30-barrel brewhouse.

You get that catch-22 of you need to have the money to invest in the infrastructure in order to make the beer, but the sale of the beer is the stuff that generates the money to invest in the infrastructure, but you can’t sell the beer unless you have the infrastructure you need to make the beer to sell the beer. And, you start chasing your tail like this. That’s the curse of this business is you have to have a ready source of capital and if you have to wait until it comes from operations it takes you time.

As far as 2017 goes we got a lot of the burden off of our shoulders (already). We’re busy paying off some stuff, capital will free up during the year, so that we can finally actually make some strides. We are looking forward to it. Finally, after what amounted to being in orbit without doing anything for three years, we’re finally going to leave orbit and take off and continue our 18-year mission to explore strange new business adventures and such. We were in orbit for three years and it broke my heart to see all of these people doing all of this expansion, and all of this stuff, and my hands were tied and it was frustrating. But, it also meant that I couldn’t make any mistakes or rash decisions.

This has been well thought out over three years. I think we certainly have all of the raw materials we need. We have the excess capacity in the system. We (still) have to get some new cooperage. We have to do a little more work in the brewery, but we have the ability to easily service one taproom, probably two, with the given system that we’ve got. I know Mick would love to have more throughput on the beer so he can make more beer. We’re bottlenecked by how quickly the beer sells, and if we weren’t necessarily bottlenecked by that we could have more styles on tap. Mick could go in new and different directions. It’s finally just exciting to not be stuck and not have to worry about watching from the sidelines, to be able to be back in the game.

* * * * *

With that we end another edition of Look Back/Look Ahead for Turtle Mountain. Here’s to a successful mission to explore new potential taprooms, and hopefully the subsequent advent of even more delightful brews by extension. May the coming months ring true for these well thought out plans as we west-side beer aficionados would love to see more successful ventures in our neck of the woods.

Prost!

— Franz Solo

Since somebody forgot to take a picture with the interview, Mick was kind enough to send us a brewery selfie, which is really the only acceptable kind of selfie.

Since somebody forgot to take a picture with the interview, Mick was kind enough to send us a brewery selfie, which is really the only acceptable kind of selfie.

Back in May, the Crew learned that brewer Tim Woodward was leaving Turtle Mountain for a job at Bosque. That in turn necessitated a replacement for Tim in the form of Mick Hahn, who had been working as an assistant brewer at Marble.

After letting Mick get his bearings at Turtle Mountain over the last two-plus months, I trekked out to Rio Rancho to finally sit down and get to know the man in charge of one of New Mexico’s oldest breweries.

Mick said he did not come from a craft beer background.

“Let’s start with the fact that I’ve seen my dad drink three beers in his life, 98 percent of which was Miller Lite,” he said with a laugh. “Turning 21 and getting into beer, I was pretty apprehensive. I was down in Socorro at New Mexico Tech, I got my degree in chemical engineering and I minored in partying while I was down there. I found plenty of delicious, off-the-menu beers that I wasn’t aware existed, stuff that tasted a lot better than Miller Lite.”

That led to the inevitable — home brewing.

“I got a home brew kit just before graduation,” Mick said. “I think I did three batches before I realized this was something I could really enjoy, and be good at, and make minimal money doing it! (But) I have a fun job that I enjoy going to every day, that makes a big difference.”

Of course, armed with an engineering degree from Tech, Mick was first looking for something closer to his field of study.

“During the whole course of that (post-college life), I was looking for engineering jobs and the markets were very slim,” he said. “They were looking for three to five years experience, which is hard to do when all you have is a degree.”

That led Mick to try and kick down the door to a brewery, metaphorically, at least.

“I started bugging Ted (Rice) and Jeff (Erway) right around New Year’s of 2012,” Mick said. “I was trying to get in. I bugged them once a month. I went to the Siebel Institute that April for their new crash course of introduction to brewing technology. I met a lot of cool people from all around the place, plus I learned some great lessons.

“I came back and it was still another two months before I ran into Ted at a beer dinner and finally got to meet him face to face. I told him I was still looking to get into the market. He said call me tomorrow and I got an interview and started up cleaning floors and not even running the packaging line, just bottling beer and moved my way up. I had a lot of fun doing it.”

Once he moved up to assistant brewer, Mick’s first beer that he poersnally created at Marble was the popular one-off Mick’s Mac, a Scottish ale. Even though he had plenty of fun being part of the brewing team there, when the chance came to take over at Turtle Mountain, Mick jumped at the chance.

“I had to take it, immediately,” he said. “I didn’t even have Tim’s number, he didn’t have mine. I got a text from Andrew (Krosche) saying, ‘Hey, Tim needs to get a hold of you. You should call him. It would be in your best interest!’

“I called (Tim) like two minutes later. He said, ‘I’m leaving and we need someone good to take this over. You’re my first choice.’ I pretty much said hell yeah right then. I came over, checked it out, met Nico (Ortiz), that’s about it.”

Mick started working alongside Tim on May 9 as they started the transition. Mick officially took over on June 1.

Once that was done, Mick learned the challenge of being a head brewer goes beyond just making all the beer. As Nico, TMBC’s owner, pointed out at a smaller brewpub like theirs, Mick does not have an accounting department or anyone else to fill in the many roles like they do over at Marble.

“It hasn’t been too bad,” Mick said. “The biggest challenge with it is to keep stock of everything. When you’re working at Marble, the one to two areas I was working in each day, I had a limited amount of tasks. Now it’s just me and (assistant brewer) Evan, and everything falls onto our plates. We’ve got a lot to manage all at once and make sure nothing slips through the cracks. It’s a lot of keeping your eyes everywhere.”

With almost three months under his belt, Mick has been able to put his stamp on some of the TMBC seasonals, including the current Scottish ale, McSmack.

“I definitely think we’ve had some really delicious specials in the past three months and more to come,” he said. “I’m working bit by bit on the house beers. I had a really good baseline to start with. I had a few tweaks to start with last week. We went through all of them, gauged where we feel each one is at, what we can do with it and where we feel they can go. We’re also figuring if they’re worthy of remaining house beers.”

The first major beer competition of Mick’s career is looming in October as TMBC will be sending entries to the Great American Beer Festival. Rather than just send the usuals, Mick is gambling in some smaller, but still tough categories.

“We’re entering all lagers into it,” he said. “Four different ones — we’ve got our house Helles; Bien Tu Helles Bock, a really tasty maibock that Tim actually brewed a while ago and it’s been sitting back there lagering; Oktoberfest; and what was Hockey Teeth, but we’ve renamed it Wooden Teeth. It’s Tim’s recipe and we’re giving him a little nod in that fashion. I can manipulate Wooden Teeth as I see fit, give it a new start.”

Brandon and I will have to stop by and check on those beers when we provide live coverage of GABF, including the awards ceremony.

Until then, keep up the good work, Mick! We encourage everyone to visit Turtle Mountain and let him know how he’s doing. Just talk in between bites of delicious TMBC pizza, please. We don’t want anyone to choke to death on pepperoni.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

This year's many, many IPA entries.

This year’s many, many IPA entries.

And we are off! The preliminary round of the 2016 New Mexico IPA Challenge is complete, with 16 15 breweries advancing to the three main rounds that will begin next weekend at Santa Fe Brewing. This came out of the 28 beers that were sampled in a blind taste test Saturday afternoon at Rio Bravo.

Editor’s note: We have been updated by the Guild that Rio Bravo does not advance.

Were there surprises? Of course, both in some of the breweries that scored well and in some that did not. One of the new wrinkles in NMIPAC is that the three host breweries — Santa Fe, 3 Rivers, Tractor — were guaranteed to advance no matter their voting totals. In the end, only the first needed that bye to advance, as 3 Rivers (nine votes) and Tractor (seven votes) would have qualified regardless.

The results of the preliminary round, with the breweries listed by their numbers on the left, voting totals on the right.

The results of the preliminary round, with the breweries listed by their numbers on the left, voting totals on the right.

Every brewery that was eliminated garnered less than seven votes. Those are, with voting totals included, Bathtub Row (4), Cazuela’s (1), Chama River (2), Enchanted Circle (2), Kaktus (2), Little Toad Creek (4), Lizard Tail (3), Marble (6), Rio Bravo (3), Roosevelt (4), Sierra Blanca (6), Spotted Dog (1), and Turtle Mountain (2). While some of those breweries are newer or in more remote locations, seeing big names like Chama, Marble, Sierra Blanca, and Turtle were all surprising.

The advancing breweries, including the hosts, are Blue Corn (10), Bosque (13), Boxing Bear (33), Canteen (33), Chili Line (10), La Cumbre (13), Quarter Celtic (24), Red Door (7), Santa Fe (3), Second Street (7), Sidetrack (7), Starr Brothers (17), Taos Mesa (13), 3 Rivers (9), and Tractor (7). In terms of the two trays, numbered 1-14 and 15-28, the leaders were Boxing Bear and Canteen for the first tray and Quarter Celtic for the second tray. It was nice to see some of the newcomers, all of whom opened this year, make the final cut in Chili Line, Quarter Celtic, Sidetrack, and Starr Brothers.

In the interest of full disclosure, Brandon had the first tray and picked Canteen. I had the second tray and picked Starr Brothers, though it was close between their offering and Quarter Celtic.

The next round of NMIPAC will be Saturday, July 16, at Santa Fe, followed by a stop at 3 Rivers in Farmington on July 20, and the grand finale at Tractor Wells Park on July 23. Luke will have the SFBC stop covered for us, and the rest of the Crew will see you all at Wells Park.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

p.s. Kudos to the staff at Rio Bravo for putting on such a smoothly-run event. All of us attendees appreciated your hard work!