Posts Tagged ‘Turtle Mountain Brewing’

One big beer year at Turtle Mountain will blend into another in 2018.

Franz Solo here, recapping when I headed up the hill to Rio Rancho for Turtle Mountain’s entry in our Look Back/Look Ahead Series on an unsuspecting Wednesday, and was greeted with a splendid variety of seasonal beers ranging from the tartest pink cranberry sours to the maltiest of burly smooth barleywines. My first interview was with head brewer Mick Hahn.

Solo: So, another year has passed and here we are looking back and looking ahead. You’ve been through a year, what have you learned? What are your successes? What would you like to do better, and what goals do you have for the coming year?

Mick: I’ve definitely learned a lot. I would say I take each batch with the notion of what can I learn from this. We just brewed a new batch of Hopshell IPA yesterday that I completely renovated the hop bill on it based on how we brewed Capspackler DIPA. Capspackler was a very adventurous imperial IPA for us to brew, it got close to 10 pounds of hops per barrel.

Solo: So you’re shooting the upper echelon of what other breweries are doing with their IPAs here in town.

Mick: With Hopshell we’re definitely not pushing up to that, but the way that we allocated those hops in the brew of Capspackler, that had more of an effect on what I’m doing with Hopshell now. How can we make it a little more balanced, a little more flavorful without losing a whole lot? It had a first-wort hop addition, a 90-minute hop addition, and then a 15 and a whirlpool. I don’t understand why we had it so split on the two ends of the boil. It was at 100 IBUs and about 60 IBUs were (lost) in the very beginning of the boil. That seems just wasteful to me; it gives it us real strong bitter punch that lingers as bitterness, but it really doesn’t fill out the flavor of that beer. And then, the hops on the back end gave it a bit of a ‘poof’ of flavor, but it subsides really quickly. So we kind of drew it out and dropped down on the early additions. We dropped the 90-minute addition and brought in a 60-minute addition, brought in a 30-minute addition and built up those hops towards the end instead of just having them on two sides of the brew. I think it will be much more appealing, much more of a consistent beer.

Solo: I’m doing somewhat of the same thing on the homebrewing front where I’m learning that there is a definite rhyme and reason to having a hop addition at one time versus another time, and what different variations in timing and quantity can really do to craft a particular flavor profile in different styles of beer. Especially these days in IPAs where you are likely going for that super juicy and fruit or floral flavor. Now it’s additions at 60 minutes or later and split, so that most additions are made closer to the end of your boil time so you aren’t losing that resin, that passionfruit or mango, and so forth in the face of too much bitterness.

Mick: Yesterday, we got our first round of the new hop bill of Hopshell done and it’s just a 10-barrel batch. Usually the Hopshell is being done in double batches and so we are going to brew another batch next week, (and then) do a double batch and kind of swing the hop bill back to where it was previously, but try to find a good middle ground between the two practices.

Solo: (After taking a sip of Capspackler DIPA) Good lord! What did you have in mind making this one?

Mick: So I did that one as a collaboration with Andrew Krosche (currently at Kellys, formerly of Chama River and Marble), and really we just did it kind of as a way to play around with hops and use a massive quantity of them and see what we could do. So each of us contributed two varieties of hops and we split the allocation, so it was even amounts of each of the four hops throughout. We did a first wort, a 60, a 30, a 15, and a whirlpool addition, and increased the amount of them each time. We started with half a pound of each of them at first wort, a pound of them at 60, two pounds at 30, and then just kept escalating until it was 10 pounds of each for the dry hop, so a 40-pound dry hop in a 10-barrel batch.

Solo: Craziness.

Mick: We yielded a little over seven barrels from it. Ten pounds per barrel is what it ended up being. It is my favorite IPA that I’ve made yet, and it excites me to make more experimental IPAs and really play with hop combinations and see what can evoke. Because for that one we did Summit, Mosaic, Amarillo, and Sorachi Ace, four of the stinkiest hops you can get. And then, they come together to make this insanely juicy fruity beer with resiny pine as an undertone. Capspackler is fantastic and it hides 9.5-percent ABV really well. I’ve heard a few of the servers in here fall in love with it who hate IPAs saying, yeah, this is pretty good. I was the same way, I never liked IPAs until I started drinking double IPAs or imperial IPAs. I think they are a much better balanced beer that showcase the hops in a much better way than most IPAs out there. Really, with Hopshell I’m trying to get it to the point where it’s as balanced and delicious as most of the double IPAs out there. Keeping it at 7-to-7.2-percent ABV, which is still a high-end IPA.

Solo: (After taking a deep quaff of Capspackler) That’s an interesting combination with the Sorachi Ace especially. The other three kind of make sense together, and then you throw that in there and it’s something really unique.

Mick: The Summit and the Amarillo are the two that I threw in, and Andrew had the Sorachi Ace and the Mosaic. We said alright, let’s go!

Solo: Let’s make an interesting tapestry of things that probably hasn’t been done very often if at all.

Mick: I get a little bit of grassiness from the Sorachi Ace and probably from the Summit, too. But, I don’t think it’s like taking a bag of grass clippings and adding them, I think it’s more like your neighbor just mowed their lawn and you can still catch a hint of that aroma and flavor.

Solo: It’s kind of like you went to an orchard and picked a little bit of every type of fruit that they had, and took a bite of each with each sip that you are taking. Pretty cool. It’s like the everlasting gobstopper of IPAs.

Mick: So what else did I learn and enjoy this year? Really, I have had so much fun brewing all of the beers this year. We’ve had a really diverse set of stuff coming out from the three different Yum Yums (kettle sours) we did over the summer, finishing with the Cosmic Yum Yum. We did two beers earlier this year playing around with toasted coconut, those were both a lot of fun, especially the Yum-Yum Colada. I thought that was a fantastic play on kettle sours and fruited beers, that was one of my favorites that I’ve ever brewed. I’m excited to brew that one again this year. We have some ideas for more kettle sours to try and keep expanding with what we’ve got going on. Tying into how we can best utilize our kitchen with the brewhouse, that’s one of my favorite advantages I think we have over a lot of other breweries is having a full-functioning kitchen that is adventurous and knowledgeable and is willing to help us. They get excited about pairing different beers with different food ideas. I want to get their help on more cask ideas and cask preparation, so that we can do some really good combinations of flavors.

Solo: Set up a good meal to go with a good cask.

Mick: Or to say, I picked up different clove, nutmeg, and ginger and oranges this morning, so that I can dose a cask. I think it would be great to have the kitchen on board to either give me those ideas or help in the preparation of the ingredients for the cask. A lot of what I’ve learned this year is the organization of the brewery, things coming in and things going out, timelines. How to maximize the efficiency of the brewery and keep everything looking great and tasting delicious.

Solo: Last year, there wasn’t particularly much in the way of maintenance on the brewery. You had it pretty well dialed in for what you were wanting.

Mick: There was a little bit of stuff where we got our steam piping renovated, because that was around a decade old. We got a new condenser, as well, and I think it has definitely improved the performance of our boiler and our steam jackets.

Head brewer Mick Hahn has had fun playing around with hops in the past year.

We then looked at what beers were being sent to this year’s World Beer Cup.

Solo: So, you’ve got two lagers (Wooden Teeth and Can’t Catch Me), a porter, and a barleywine.

Mick: We’ll do another batch of the porter before we send that one in. We’ve got a couple of tweaks on that one, but I’m pretty happy with how that came out this time.

Solo: Yeah, you’ve got a good solid base on this one. It’s very porter-y, it is not stoutish, it’s a porter for sure. You get that strong first half on your palate, and then the rest just washes back very nicely and cleanly as a good porter should.

Mick: It gives you a lot of fruit, a good amount of chocolate, and a little bit of coffee without getting too roasted.

Solo: In which case this would be a stout. (After a sip of Depravity Barleywine) I remember having this one just before it came out last year and then at this year’s New Mexico Brewfest, it has definitely changed in character over the course of a year.

Mick: I think I’m going to take be taking a keg of it to WinterBrew as well. I love that beer. (Editor’s note: He did take some. It was glorious. — S)

After trying a few other samples and discussing the merits of different types of red or amber lagers, which we both thoroughly enjoy (check out Can’t Catch Me if you haven’t!), we forged ahead looking at Turtle’s successes this past year.

Mick: Probably our biggest success this past year was the acquisition of our distribution license. We finally got that in, it took, coming up on 19 years now. We finally got some kegs that say Turtle Mountain on them. I think we’ve already doubled our total keg count since getting them initially. So we do have our beer pouring at Indigo Crow, that’s so far the only real expansion we’ve done with the distribution license, but little by little we are starting to pour beer elsewhere than the pub itself, and hopefully we will get some more tap handles out and get Turtle Mountain a little more recognized. It is amazing how often at festivals and whatnot (that) we still get people that say, “I’ve never even heard of you.” We’ve been in the same place for almost 20 years, or at least within a quarter mile of the same exact location.

Here be the kegs for TMBC’s first run at distribution.

Solo: People in this town, being that there is so much sprawl and not much mass transit, that is one of the biggest problems for getting out to new places. You’re on one side of town (and) if you don’t have a presence on the other side of town, then often people aren’t going to know about you. It’s just kind of the name of the game for business in this town, which is unfortunate because we have so many gems that get hidden on the hill.

Mick: But, I do enjoy us being a fairly, like you said, a hidden gem. It’s nice to not be overcrowded and be able to actually stand at the pub and have a beer without having to recluse myself to the brewery to escape everyone and too many things going on.

Solo: Yeah, the nice thing about here is that it has maintained that comfortable pub vibe in spite of the onset of changing times.

Mick: Even when we are 20 tickets deep, it is still a comfortable environment and I don’t feel overwhelmed here. Another big success was being able to nix pumpkin beer from our lineup this year and not have to brew that. That made me happy. Really, that just came down to the timeline, we were already backed up on specials coming into September and so that was the easiest thing to swap out.

Solo: We’re going to do a proper Oktoberfest instead.

Mick: Exactly! I would much rather do an Oktoberfest, and then we had the porter coming out and I think Cosmic Yum Yum is a really fantastic take on kind of a holiday beer. It goes great with cranberry sauce. You could sit down and have a turkey leg and a glass of the Yum Yum and be pretty content. We had a lot of fun brewing the Rise of Fall last year and doing a bunch of butternut squash in the oven, but I had a few things we wanted to tweak on that and didn’t really solidify any of them in time to do it. So now, I have a whole other year to make sure our pumpkin beer is great and we will do our best to schedule with some of the farmers so we can get butternut squash (at) the beginning of August. That will be fantastic, so that we can get that beer out by September and not have it sell out before Thanksgiving. That would make me quite happy.

Another big success, I would say, is the updating of the (food) menu. They got that out a couple of weeks ago with some fantastic dishes on there. The ribs are quite tender, you can just pull the bone straight out of the meat, it makes you happy. The fish tacos are fantastic, (and) the pork skewers with the pineapple habanero glaze that they’ve got whipped up is also available on the wings now. They’ve got a couple of other new wing sauces on there. We’ve got our charcuterie board on there, called turtle tidbits, with a variety of cheeses including house-made mozzarella which we are making daily. They’ve also been featuring that fresh cheese on one of the pizzas as well with the pomodoro sauce. We’ve also added the pomodoro sauce and an alfredo sauce both added to the pizza menu, so you can use those sauces as a base and build your own pizza in addition to the couple of new pizzas that have those featured. So we’ve got a handful of new options.

As for the year ahead, our biggest challenge is going to be construction on Southern Boulevard. They’ll be working on it pretty much all year starting in February and going through December. They will tear up on half of the road for six months, and then it will be one lane in each direction for the better part of 2018. Which is not going to make it easy to get in and out of here, so we are working on what we can to make sure that business stays steady through it and it doesn’t affect us too much. I believe Turtle has a loyal enough following that it won’t deter that many people. Hopefully we can win some medals at World Beer Cup and inspire some people to want to come in.

As far as the beer lineup is concerned, I’m really happy with the diversity of it. We’ve got lots of options in beers ranging from 4-percent up to 10-percent ABV, and from 18 IBUs up to 125 or more. We’ve got some stops all throughout it, a bunch of different colors, even pink.

Solo: There’s nothing wrong with pink. This last year was at least here in town an explosion of the kettle sour and it was just everywhere all year round.

Mick: I’ve been doing my best with the Yum Yum variants to keep the kettle sours exciting and not just, well, it’s a fruited gose. I want something with a little more depth, and so I’ve definitely tried with the Yum Yums to push the boundaries of what I can make a beer to be. I love hearing people say, “Whoa, this is beer?” and I say, “Hell yeah, this is beer.”

* * * * *

Shortly after speaking with Mick, I was able to sit down with owner Nico Ortiz and get his take on 2017-2018 for Turtle Mountain.

Solo: So, another year, another look back, look ahead for Turtle Mountain.

Nico: 2017 was a good year. We had Mick for his first full year so the beers are solid. Production remains flat with us being a one-unit place; we don’t have any offsite taprooms to bolster production. We got a new menu out, a revised menu which is good. (In) 2017 we didn’t open any new taprooms, no new much of anything, but I guess with Chama’s closure we now remain the oldest brewpub/restaurant brewery in the (metro area). We have somewhat of a source of pride for that. In 2018, we are finally going to sink some roots in for our taproom. We are still looking just like everybody else is saying, we are still looking at a place. I’d like to keep it on the west side, but the west side from our experience, looking at available spaces is tough. You either have the issue of churches or schools (nearby), and you’ve also got the issue of flat out, there’s just not a lot of available commercial space that is suitable for taprooms. There are issues of zoning; Rio Rancho is pretty uncomplicated with zoning, but we looked at one place that had three different zoning classes in one strip mall.

Solo: Which does happen here.

Nico: One of them allowed the sale of alcohol, but one of them required a restaurant license, no taproom licenses. It was crazy and I said this is the same center, but there were three different sets of rules. It is definitely complicated, but the big thing for 2018 is that the City of Rio Rancho is going to be completely rebuilding Southern Boulevard starting in March and going through March of 2019. That’s going to seriously restrict traffic here. I don’t think it is going to be as bad as the ART project, but 36th Place (where the brewpub is located) only has one way in and one way out, that’s the problem.

The rest of Southern Boulevard, the reconstruction zone you can get at from side streets from the north or south, and so we are busy working with the city to try to get access to the parking lot by the library that we used to have. The timeliness of the taproom is key because as revenue goes down here, we need to bring in the revenue from somewhere else, because a place this big cannot simply cut revenues and expect it to still function. So it is very very important for us to get a portion of that lost revenue back from a taproom because just the mortgage on this place is big. So that’s our big thing for the year. Also Mick, just like Tim (Woodward), is frustrated because we only have one place. The throughput on the beer is really regulated by how much beer we can sell here, whereas if we could kick beer off and sell it to a taproom then that’s good, because he can actually get more beer through the pipeline and have more specials and things like that.

We have our wholesaler license in place. We’re slowly establishing some accounts locally in Corrales and a few in Rio Rancho. We got an order of kegs in so we have some stuff going on, but along with the kegs you have to have a delivery vehicle, you have to have a person cleaning lines, and then you have to have the accounting set up. So it’s not just as easy as simply filling kegs and selling them. The license was the easy part.

Solo: It is setting up the infrastructure as we’ve discussed.

Feast upon the new food items on the TMBC menu.

Nico: Exactly, so 2018 that will definitely happen and we will be peddling more of our wares around the area. In March, we will turn 19, so we are not quite at the 20-year club, but 19 years is still pretty solid. I should have probably been a little farther ahead than where I am right now, but we had a couple of issues. We had a taproom in the East Mountains from ’03 to ’05 that was silly, but I was young at that point. We had a restaurant taproom out in the Mariposa subdivision which was a little too far afield, and then we ran into the 2008 recession. So that was kind of bad timing. The next taproom is going to be well thought out, it is not going to be a calculated risk or an educated guess. We are going to put it someplace where it is going to work. I figure after 19 years I should know what the hell is going on. It took Rod up at Second Street Brewing awhile to get a taproom as well. They are (21) years old and they just finally got their Rufina Street facility.

Solo: Any plans for the anniversary as of yet?

Nico: Yeah, Mick and I are still working on the anniversary, but I think we are going to go back to our very first anniversary beer which was called Amnesia. It was a recipe actually built for us by one of our assistant brewers, kind of an Arrogant Bastard-inspired beer, so it was 8-percent ABV, 80 IBUs (that) used exclusively German Northern Brewer, and it had the unique quality of you have two or three pints of it and you would just forget the evening. It was weird in that I don’t know why it did it only being an 8-percent beer, not like 10- or 13-percent. Mick and I were going through the old recipe book and trying to figure it out. Everyone likes to do IPAs, double IPAs for their anniversary to the point that it’s kind of passé to do an IPA for an anniversary beer. I thought, let’s try something different, so Turtle having 19 years of brewing history, we have a lot of old recipes we can go through. The Amnesia is one of those beers where the last time we made it was years back, and we’ve kind of been integrating some throwback beers into our lineup.

Solo: Arsenal Porter for one.

Nico: Yeah, Arsenal Porter and the (Mr. Hoover’s) Steam, (plus) the Red Rye was an original beer. So it is kind of fun and it takes a little pressure off of Mick to dream up something interesting. The Amnesia is a solid beer and it does hearken back to the people that have been coming into Turtle Mountain all of these years. They will recognize it and it will be good. Then, in 2019 we have our 20th anniversary, so at that point we will have something much bigger. But, for this year we will have a brewer’s dinner, we will have the usual celebration. Not kind of like a week-long celebration that other breweries can get away with, but we will definitely have something good out here.

* * * * *

Good things are definitely in the works for the coming year, with great brews in the pipeline, an updated (and delicious) menu, a taproom hopefully nailed down by summertime, and the 19th anniversary coming in just a few short weeks. Cheers to another successful year on the hill, Turtle!

Skål!

— Franz Solo

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The Crew had just a wee bit of fun at WinterBrew.

After taking Monday off due to the holiday, we are back today with a look at what were the best beers that we tried up at WinterBrew back on Friday. It was another outstanding event, one that every craft beer lover in New Mexico should attend at least once. The sell-out crowd of 700 was a jovial bunch, enjoying the many unique beers being poured from 18 New Mexico breweries.

As for the Crew, well, we all had our favorites. If the others want to chime in here at some point, I will add them to the story. In the interest of not going two weekdays in a row without content, here are a few of my picks for the best of the fest. (Note: Due in part to the Rail Runner arriving in Santa Fe about 10 minutes late and then the decision by security to close all booths 30 minutes before the event was supposed to end, I did not get to all 18 breweries.)

A crowd of 700-plus enjoyed beers from 18 breweries.

La Santa Oscura, Blue Corn: This is a delightful spiced holiday black lager that is still on tap at the brewery in Santa Fe. Flavors of chocolate and cherry mix in with the Chimayo red chile for a nice, warm kick at the end.

Coyote Waits, Bow & Arrow: At last, I got my hands on the barrel-aged version of this imperial mole stout. It is a big, thick beast of a beer, and the barrel effects bring out more and more of the spice, yet it never overwhelms the palate. It is still available at the brewery.

Galactica DIPA, Marble: Apparently this single-hop, double IPA thing is becoming a trend. Even with just Galaxy, this is a complex, wonderfully big beer. It is not yet on tap at any Marble location, so drink up the rest so a handle becomes available.

Sin Barreras, Rowley Farmhouse Ales: Alas, this specialty imperial stout does not appear to be available at the brewery, but everyone can hope for its eventual appearance. Big flavors of coconut and maple left us all wondering, is it a breakfast beer or a dessert beer?

14K IPA, Santa Fe: This one was a bit of a one-off joke, but it still leaves us hopeful for a future edition of an imperial-strength version of the hugely popular 7K. We would also like to thank the SFBC staff for donating a couple of sixers of 7K to our beer fridges.

XX ESB and Breaking Plaid Scotch Ale, Second Street: A pair of big, malty brews from the new Rufina brewhouse caught our eye. The latter is more sweet than peaty, akin to a heftier version of the Scottish at Nexus. The best news, besides being on tap, is that some of the Plaid is being saved for barrel aging.

Dark Engine Stout on cask, Sidetrack: If you have never had any of the cask beers at Sidetrack, now is the time. There is a batch currently available with dark chocolate added to the beer for an even more decadent flavor.

The Judy, Steel Bender: At some point a break was needed from the big malts and hops, so this seemed like a perfect time to try this sweet saison made with peaches and brett, then aged in Chardonnay barrels. There are still a few bottles left for sale at the brewery, so get them fast, as they are quite worth it. Drink this and dream of spring.

2017 Barleywine, Taos Mesa: Our friends from the north came down not with White Walkers, but instead a different beast. It is big, boozy, and not for the faint of heart. On your next ski trip (assuming we ever get snow), make sure to check this one out.

Infinitesimus Imperial Stout, Turtle Mountain: One of the first big beers we tried was this heavy, chocolate-y behemoth. This is more than worth the trip out to Rio Rancho for anyone living on the East Side of Albuquerque. Or the West Side. Or the South Valley. Or, really, anywhere in the state.

We’re pretty sure Karim liked most of the beers he tried.

As for the rest of the Crew, as their thoughts trickle in, I will share them here:

Jerrad: WinterBrew 2018 was certainly a memorable night, perhaps a bit fuzzy after tasting a few of the killer imperial/double styles available. The libations that stood out for me at this event would have to be Bow & Arrow’s Coyote Waits BA Stout, with its smooth touch of spicy heat on oak and dark/roasty malts. On the other end of the spectrum, Bombs Away Brewing Company’s B.A.B.C. IPA was wonderful with its hazy, softer NE-style IPA approach. A few other notable mentions would go to Rowley Farmhouse Ale’s Aromatherapy IPA, Steel Bender Brewing’s The Judy saison, and Rio Bravo Brewing’s Grab ‘Em by the Putin Imperial Russian stout.

Kristin: While I couldn’t try that many beers since I was working the event, I loved Second Street’s Breaking Plaid Scottish. The smooth malty flavor masked its 9.1-percent ABV. This is both a good and bad thing.

* * * * *

That is all from us. Hope those of you that went enjoyed it as much as we did, while for the rest of you, make sure to get those tickets for 2019!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

To everyone that got tickets in time, we will see you Friday night!

The good news is that the beer lineup at WinterBrew looks excellent. The bad news is that the event is sold out. For those who got tickets, well, here ya go, the full slate of beers that have been reported to the Crew.

There are 18 local breweries attending from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Santa Fe Farmers Market. Most of the Crew will be taking the Rail Runner north, which departs the Los Ranchos station at approximately 4:41 p.m., dropping us off around 6. If you are going, and want to hang on the train, we will be in the last car.

Anyway, what you really want is a list of the beers being poured. We have 17 of the 18 breweries so far, and will continue to update this as more lists appear in our email inbox. To help everyone out, we are picking the top beer on our list for each brewery, either one we have had before or one we are dying to try. Remember, that’s just our opinion, you are totally free to disagree and drink something else instead.

Blue Corn

Top pick: La Santa Oscura. Luke swears by this holiday-themed dark lager. Cocoa nibs, lactose, cinnamon, and Chimayo red chile add to the fun.

The rest: Blue Corn Mexican Lager, Roadrunner IPA, Oatmeal Stout

Bombs Away

Top pick: Coffee Stout. This one is so new it doesn’t even have an official name, but it could wind up being called Shockwave. Or, we’ll just probably go with delicious.

The rest: Willie Pete Wit, BABC IPA, Bombshell IPL

Bosque

Top pick: Fresh Start Breakfast Ale. We have sung the praises of this maple-and-coffee delight of a stout many times. This is the last of it, so be prepared to fight us for the last pour.

The rest: (deep breath) Lager, 1888 Blonde Ale, Elephants on Parade, Scotia, IPA, Down in the Hollow Brown, Open Space Haze 120 West and 41 South, Honey Porter, Nathan Ginger Red Ale, Galaxy Far Far Away

Bow & Arrow

Top pick: Coyote Waits. The barrel-aged imperial mole stout is back, with that wonderful kick of spice mixed in.

The rest: Savage Times Sour IPA, Thirsty Land Foraged Series (Grisette with Navajo Tea), Nomadico IPA

Boxing Bear

Top pick: Low Rye-der IPA. Hey, it’s new for us, so we will jump on a new dose of hops with copious amounts of rye mixed in, at least as a break from the big and malty.

The rest: Featherweight Session IPA, Iron Lung Smoked Porter, Uppercut IPA, Chocolate Milk Stout

Duel

Top pick: Grunewald Imperial Porter. It has been a while since we have had this behemoth of a beer. The best part is if we like it as much as the last batch, we can always head to the brewery (or taproom) to pick up a bomber to take home. Take note, this and the Titian will not be tapped until after 6:30 p.m.

The rest: Bad Amber, Duchamp, Fiction, Cezanne Magnifique, Dark Ryder, Titian

La Cumbre

Top pick: Business Hammock. Yet another tasty, hazy IPA, this one will make its debut mere hours after another, In the Money, goes on tap and for sale in bombers down at the brewery. Double up on the juice!

The rest: A Slice of Hefen, Malpais Stout, Project Dank, Mind Phoq

Marble

Top pick: Galactica DIPA. OK, so apparently the big, hoppy beers are not as rare as we anticipated. That being said, of course we will snag some of this out-of-this-world hop bomb.

The rest: Double White, Pilsner, Imperial Red, Cholo Smooth

Rio Bravo

Top pick: Level 3 IPA. The brewery just redid the recipe for this one, so we are intrigued to see what the staff has created.

The rest: Snakebite IPA, Roadkill Red, La Luz Lager, Pinon Coffee Porter, Grab ‘Em By the Putin, BA Cherry Wheat Cuvee, Lemongrass Wit, plus possibly Cascade Pale Ale and either Blueberry Gose or Ruby’s Ruckus

Roosevelt

Top pick: Green Chile Beer. Hmm, bringing the spice from the plains? That’s a bold thing to do in Santa Fe.

The rest: Portales Pale Ale, Clovis Point IPA, Happy Heifer Hefeweizen

Rowley Farmhouse Ales

Top pick: Sin Barreras. The imperial stout is back, this batch made with coconut and maple. It is always a delight.

The rest: Aromatherapy (IPA), Ab Initio Festivus, Cote-d’Or Cerise Redux

Santa Fe

Top pick: 14K IPA. Wait, what is this? A single keg of 7K that has been amped up so much that the brewery staff dubbed it 14K? Sold!

The rest: 7K IPA, Lustgarten, Imperial Pastry-Free Porter, Black IPA 2.0, Freestyle Pilsner

Second Street

Top pick: Breaking Plaid Scotch Ale. The first beer made at Rufina is a malty beast. We look forward to finally getting some in our glasses.

The rest: Cereza Negra, Agua Fria Pils, 2920 IPA, Civil Rye, Low Winter Sun Sour, XX ESB

Sidetrack

Top pick: Dark Engine Stout. Yes, there will be a cask of this wonderful elixir. They added dark chocolate and coconut. Hey, ever festival needs a proper dessert beer.

The rest: 3:10 to Belen Brown, Buzz Bomb, Pub Ale, Turntable IPA

Steel Bender

Top pick: The Judy. Snag a bottle pour of this saison, aged in chardonnay barrels with brett and peaches. There are not many bottles left at SBB.

The rest: Red Iron Red, Skull Bucket IPA, Brickie American Stout, Die Dunkel Seite

Taos Mesa

All beers TBA

Tractor

Top pick: Russian Imperial Stout. Oh, hello there Luna de los Muertos. We have missed you!

The rest: Mustachio Milk Stout, Spiced Cider, Turkey Drool, Delicious Red Apple Cider

Turtle Mountain

Top pick: Infinitesimus Imperial Stout. A big beast of darkness to finish things off (alphabetically speaking).

The rest: Arsenal Porter, SCH, Depravity Barleywine, Count Hellesarius

* * * * *

A big thanks to the breweries who responded promptly when we asked for their lists. It is always appreciated.

Enjoy the festival!

— Stoutmeister

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

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