Posts Tagged ‘Upslope’

We are off and running with 14 events on the opening day!

There are some tough choices to make on the beer front this Tuesday.

Now that the holiday has come and gone, things are starting to rev up again.

From a competition, of a sort, between two breweries, to lots of new food-and-beer pairings, more samplings/tastings, a beer dinner, and an educational class on off flavors, the afternoon and evening are packed with lots of fun.

Good luck picking out which events you want to attend.

Featured event

Every day we will pick what we consider the biggest, most interesting, most unique event. This does not mean you should go to only this event and ignore the rest. All of them deserve your attention, but realistically, you can probably only attend a few. So we will make our daily pick, and you can either jump on it, or declare the Crew is foolish (we kinda are) and pick your own.

What: Battle of the Breweries. Where: The Grain Station. When: 6 p.m. Cost: No entry fee.

Details: It’s a Kill the Keg competition between Santa Fe’s Freestyle Pilsner and Upslope’s Craft Lager. Whichever beer runs out first, that brewery is the victor. There will some swag on hand and you can chat with SFBC and Upslope reps. Plus, of course, The Grain Station’s awesome menu of delectable food will be available.

Why you should go: We can’t really let a Colorado brewery defeat a New Mexico brewery on our turf, right?

All the other great events

What: Beer & Cheese Pairings with Cheesy Street. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 3 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: The folks at Cheesy Street food truck will have trays of grilled cheese slideres, each paired up with a specific selection of Tractor beers. What those are were a mystery at press time, so go find out and let us know if they are as tasty as we expect them to be. Why you should go: Dude, grilled cheese and beer. It’s so American it’s scary.

What: Japanese Beer Tasting. Where: Jubilation. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Jubilation will have beers from Hitachino, Coedo, and Miyazaki Hideji for everyone to sample. Why you should go: It’s no longer all about Sake in Japan these days, see what they have to offer.

What: New Belgium Lips of Faith One Off Tasting. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 4 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Oscar Worthy Coffee Barrel is the beer of choice today, and it will be served on nitro. There will also be additional NB beers on special. Why you should go: Sometimes you just have to see if a beer is worthy of its name. This is one of those times.

What: Beer and Food Pairing. Where: Sandia Chile Grill. When: 5 to 8 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: SCG will serve up some smoked brisket with their Red Ranger Irish Red. Why you should go: Beer and food for hungry/thirsty residents of the Northeast Heights.

What: Lagunitas Special Tapping. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: From the One Hitter Series comes GravensTime Apple-esque Beer, one of those grand rarities that must be tried. Why you should go: It’s the 2015 vintage, so go check it out before it’s gone forever.

What: Tuesday Brewsday Marble Special Tapping. Where: Rock & Brews. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No entry fee. Details: Marble is bringing Saison #1 to tap once again. Why you should go: For all you in the Heights, this is your chance to experience this new creation from Marble.

What: Beer & Taco Night. Where: Rio Bravo. When: 5:30 p.m. Cost: No entry. Details: Order tacos from the Taco Lady for $1 and wash them down with $5 flights of Pilsner, Sommer, DRB, and Red. Why you should go: Next to pizza, tacos may be our favorite food to pair with beer.

What: Ballast Point Special Tapping and Pairing. Where: Canvas Artistry, 3120 Central Ave. SE. When: 6 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: We are working on getting details about this event. Why you should go: TBA.

What: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Beer. Where: Albuquerque Brewing. When: 6 p.m. Cost: TBA. Details: Brewer John “Carnie” Bevz will host a tasting/sampling even to discuss off flavors and more that makes your beer good or bad. Why you should go: Get an education while enjoying some beer.

What: Chef’s Pairing. Where: Ponderosa. When: 7 p.m. Cost: $45 per person ($40 mug club members). Details: Brewer Bob Haggerty and executive chef Knoulan Tanner are teaming up for their first beer dinner featuring Sour Saison paired with a charcuterie plate, Crosscut Kolsch paired with scallop salad, Red Rye Lager paired with a wild mushroom risotto with braised lamb, and Chocolate Stout paired with a pot de creme. Why you should go: Hopefully you signed up, because the deadline was Saturday. Call Ponderosa at (505) 639-5941 to see if there are any late openings.

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Got any questions, comments, complaints, send them to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or leave them here on our site, on Facebook, or on Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy yourselves out there, but please, do it responsibly.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Upslope Brewing finds their own niche in New Mexico

Posted: December 17, 2015 by porterpounder in Interviews, Out-of-Town Brews
Tags:
Yeah, we need to find this beer. (Courtesy of Upslope Brewing)

Yeah, we need to find this beer. (Courtesy of Upslope Brewing)

The other day, Stoutmeister and I met up with Eddy Madani from Upslope Brewing Co., based out of Boulder, Colo. They’re in New Mexico spreading the craft beer love at the moment and we were delighted at the opportunity to have some time with him to talk about their brewery, canning line, origins of the company, and their future, including here in New Mexico. I’ll be sipping on one of their Christmas Ales, in fact, as I write this.

PORTER POUNDER: So what brings you guys down to New Mexico? General expansion?

EDDY MADANI: So, we actually pretty much go up and down the Rocky Mountains. The first two places we started distributing (of) outside Colorado were Arizona and Texas. Right after that we ended up going up to Wyoming, back down to New Mexico, back up to Montana, back down to Utah, and Utah is the last place we ended up distributing. We’re really trying to maintain the Rocky Mountain region. We were thinking about Idaho, but that’s not going to be till 2017.

PP: That’s still something to look forward to down the road.

EM: Exactly! And Idaho’s craft brewing market is still at it’s infancy, it’s still very small, so as awesome as it would be to come in and dominate, we want them to grow, and the people to get a little more used to craft beer before we come in.

PP: Totally, you see the over-saturation in some cities and states, they get all excited about one craft beer brewery, and then more come in and it becomes too much at once.

EM: Absolutely, and they also try to become neighborhood bars, which is cool, if the brewery’s intention was that in the beginning. If that’s not their intention, it kinda sucks for them, because then they’re taking up a bunch of other people’s shelf space. Distribution is a lot harder than expected. Like, one of my constant battles with New Mexico is there’s a hardcore New Mexico (breweries) following. It doesn’t matter how close the restaurants are to the breweries themselves, they can literally say walk down from the brewery, there’s still a local passion, pretty much.

PP: So, for your expansions, have you opened up taprooms or anything else anywhere, or just in-store sale distribution?

EM: So … we did, but unintentionally. We have our original location which is in North Boulder.  When we expanded into our bigger location, a manufacturing facility, we wanted to decide on two paths, like we can either shut down our original location, or we could keep it going. There isn’t any law against keeping a second third of fourth taproom open, so they just decided to keep it open.  It’s kind of morphed into our creative “beast.” That’s where all our barrel aging goes, any sort of new beer that we think of …

Stoutmeister: It’s nice, though, to have that mad scientist lab, cause brewers, I’m sure they enjoy their jobs and all, but doing the same beers every day for weeks would kinda get monotonous for them. It’s nice to still be able to go back to their roots, you know, let’s play around with stuff. Let’s throw these hops together and see what happens.

EM: Yeah! Absolutely! That’s one of the reasons we left it the way it was, cause that’s pretty much how they started. Creativity, in the process of brewing. Another cool thing, too, is that it’s a lot more manual. So, our manufacturing facility is pretty much touch and go, touch and go. With this place, it’s like originally how you brewed.

PP: So, what’s your staples? What’s your typical mainstays at the brewery?

EM: So, we have a core five year-round beers: An Imperial IPA, IPA, Pale Ale, Craft Lager, and a Brown Ale. Craft Lager seems to be our staple, it’s our number one selling beer. It’s our longest running, and it also took us a while to get our recipe down, just cause we hadn’t really messed around with lagers in the craft beer scene at that time.

PP: Everyone’s immediate go to seems to be IPA.

EM: Well, ours is actually Pale Ale.

PP: Different, I like it already. Cause you know, similar kind, but still different and doing your own thing.

EM: We have three founders, one of them is the original founder, and he found a guy from Argentina to help start up the brewery. Cause Sierra Nevada was a pretty big Pale Ale out there, and he wanted to try to emulate that. So, that’s how the Pale Ale became the flagship.

SM: I know the tough thing with lagers is the ‘ales for sales thing,’ because fermentation time and everything else. I mean, do you feel you haven’t had the pressure to make that, ‘Hey we gotta ramp up sales even more, push the Lager aside!’

EM: Actually, it just does, Lager just dominates sales for us. I think it’s a great introduction into the brand; our mixed boxes emphasize a little bit more of the Lager, they offer three each, where as our Pale Ale, Brown Ale, and IPA offer two in a 12-pack. We do a lot of good things with our Lager, too. One percent of all our proceeds, too, go to a local chapter of Trout Unlimited. Luckily enough there’s Trout Unlimiteds all over the places that we distribute in, so everyone gets a little effect from that.

PP: What exactly is Trout Unlimited?

EM: Trout Unlimited, they go around cleaning up rivers, lakes, things like that. Really awesome non-profit.

PP: That’s great! I’m a very outdoors guy myself, so I love hearing stuff like that!

EM: So, I work with a local chapter here in Albuquerque, one up in Santa Fe, and it’s nice knowing that the Craft Lager sales, a certain percentage of the proceeds goes to their markets.

PP: So the Craft Lager, that’s a great year-round beer, too. Some people like me, I could drink a stout middle of summer, or drink something light middle of winter. I don’t care what time of the year it is, but I know a lot of people want stout in the winter cause it’s rich and heavy. But Lager, especially since it’s intended to be cold, I think it fits in general with any season. In winter it’s cool and fits the mood, but in summer it’s crisp, light, and cold. I can see how it can become a great staple, especially in a place like Colorado.

EM: Well, it’s definitely attracted youth into our brewery, because everyone kinda brings in their own way of shotgunning a beer, and our way of shotgunning a beer is our Craft Lager.

PP: I get that, because it’s smooth and light, you’re not doing that with a Baltic Porter. Definitely not an Imperial IPA.

EM: Although, it has been tried … non successfully …

PP: Although, I play beer pong with stouts, but clearly I have to bring my own, but it’s worth it.  So, obviously you’ve got this Christmas Ale available now, what manifested this compared to another seasonal?

EM: So we actually have four seasonals that rotate with the seasons: springtime it’s our Belgian Style Pale Ale. For summertime its our Thai Style White IPA. For falltime it’s our Blood Orange Saison. (2015) is the first year it’s come out and for it’s first time it sold incredibly.

PP:  That actually sounds amazing.

EM: And wintertime (it’s) Oatmeal Stout. Kinda into that fact that we have our core, but also understand the seasons.

PP: And oatmeal stout is kinda like winter comfort food.

EM: Yeah, we know our market, and we know in winter people want stouts! This allows us to supplement that.

PP: Darker the better …

EM: Exactly!

PP: What about the Thai IPA? That sounds really interesting.

EM: Thai Style IPA is pretty interesting … It uses a lot of Asian-inspired spices — coriander, basil, ginger, black pepper, all at once. It hits you on the very front end, and then kinda trickles off on the back end. It’s really nice! It may take a little while to get used to cause it’s different, but now it’s pretty much my go to beer in summertime. Second, of course, is the Craft Lager!

PP: Are there any other specialties? Cause obviously the Christmas Ale isn’t a regular offering of winter like the Oatmeal Stout is. Any other stand-alone specialties like this one?

EM: Yes, the Christmas Ale really is only for Christmas; we try to sell completely out of it after Christmas obviously, and out of pumpkin beer. Our pumpkin beer is made out of real pumpkins, and when they’re harvested we roast them in-house, and it’s always a little bit later than when most pumpkins are available …

PP: Because you have to wait for the actual crop. When I do my yearly pumpkin it’s the same reason, cause I have to wait for ample pumpkins to be ready, so that puts mine out a little later.

EM: Exactly! You have to wait for the real thing, you can’t just throw in some pumpkin spice and that’s it.

SM: Thanks for that. I remember last time looking around thinking ‘well what haven’t I had from you guys?’ and I’d had the Belgian Pale in the spring, Imperial IPA …

EM: Well we came into the (New Mexico) market in the springtime, and Belgian Style Pale Ale was still out and about.

SM: Then I had the (Ozo) coffee brown.

EM: You did?

SM: It was GOOD!

EM: That was great, right?

SM: Oh, man …

EM: So that coffee roaster (Ozo) is actually right next door to our manufacturing facility.

SM: I think I heard that story actually, that at the start of the day the brewers go in and get their coffee. At the end of the day, the coffee staff walks next door and gets their beers.

EM: Yeah, we’ve had a working relationship for the longest time. It was awesome. Our brewer got to roast the beans with them, and then from there they came over and helped brew the beer with us, too, so it was cool. We kinda try to create that symbiotic relationship, not just within the beer industry but within other craft fields, too.

PP: So what else are you guys doing? Any other specialties or single type beers like the pumpkin or … ?

EM: That list … is always rotating. The ideas are always constantly floating, both for in-can and in-house at the brewery. We did have an ex-head brewer that wanted to create the highest ABV beer ever.

PP: Just in general!?

EM: Just in general. He said screw it, I’m gonna give it a try. He thought that a barleywine would be the right start, and yeah, what ended up happening, was the sugars pretty much started eating themselves, and later we pretty much ended up having to dump that beer. But, that pretty much just goes to show that the ideas that we bring up to our founders, they don’t care. They don’t care how many batches we dump, it’s that when you make something perfect, that that’s worth it to keep in circulation. It’s that one idea you’re trying to obtain constantly.

SM: For the longest time everything (craft) was bottled. Did you guys start off right away with cans? Did Oskar Blues inspire that?

EM: They didn’t inspire it, but they were pretty much like our big brother. We used to hand can all of our beers, and it wasn’t until we started getting to ‘People actually like our beer. We want to actually start selling this beer a little bit faster, and don’t wanna spend eight minutes on one can,’ so, we went to Oskar Blues. They were selling their canner line at the time. And we were the only ones in the entire state of Colorado aside of Oskar Blues that was canning their beer. And they totally came out and showed as much love as possible. We always had questions, because the damn thing was in Chinese, I kid you not. It was a bitch sometimes, too. But, yeah, they’d always come out, they’re literally just like a town over from us in Lyons, and would come out and help us. It just kinda shows that camaraderie between breweries. It’s not a competition, it’s a collaboration really.

SM: It’s probably been the craziest year so far for other breweries heading into New Mexico at once — Founders, Ballast Point, Mother Road came in. What sort of feedback are you getting from people down here right now?

EM: Surprisingly, a lot of love! A lot of people have been pretty appreciative of the fact we make more of a well-balanced beer, as opposed to something overly hoppy or overly malty. It’s kind of what we go for. We all go for that well-balanced beer. It’s nice to see you guys share that same affinity for it. We were really worried about our IPA down here, because we understand New Mexico is a very hop-heavy state.

PP: And as you said, there are a lot of very die-hard followers here for their breweries.

EM: Absolutely! Like, (La Cumbre’s) Elevated … I mean, it’s … it’s almost impossible to compare, but all I can say is, give it a try. This is a much maltier, less hoppy, about 65 IBUs.

PP: That’s great for me. I personally prefer a maltier, less hoppy IPA in the end.

EM: Right, so we try and show those well-balanced characteristics.

SM: And a lot of people just want to try something different. I mean, how many breweries have a brown in a can? It’s like it becomes a throwaway seasonal or keep it on tap cause eventually someone wants a brown or an amber. ‘It pairs well with the BBQ!’ It’s good to be varied up, including in the canning business, as a lot of places don’t let you bring glass. People love to go camping, and it’s a lot easier than bringing a bunch of glass bottles.

PP: And it floats better when you’re going down the river.

SM: Not the beer! Paddle! Before it hits the rocks!

EM: Absolutely! A lot of people forget glass isn’t allowed in national parks, but you can bring cans in. And we’re pretty big purveyors of pack it in, pack it out philosophy. Plus, that’s a bonus of brightly colored cans, you can never lose your beer if you wander away in the dark!

PP: So, have you been canning since the beginning? Or was there blowback from trying to adjust all you needed for in-house compared to now needing to sell and ship out?

EM: Of course, I mean it was always in the plan, too. It seems like the push back from only doing canning hasn’t been enough to stop it. In fact, I feel now a lot of other breweries are feeling a lot of after effects of that there are a lot of breweries canning. Like, when New Belgium started canning, or when Odell did with their IPA.

PP: So do you every participate in any local beer weeks or Great American Beer Festival or anything like that?

EM: We absolutely participate in GABF. This last year, we had a 10-by-10 booth end cap, which was pretty sweet. That was our first year doing it, and unfortunately we didn’t get to celebrate any awards this year, but there have been a lot more breweries added to the docket, so …

PP: Well, that’s it, just gotta go back again next year, a little better, a little tighter …

EM: Well, yeah, one of the things we really appreciate from our brewery is that from all the beers we input, the majority are handpicked from our canning line. Not a specialty brew or something that someone can’t just come in and get after hearing about it or tasting it. That’s why we look so highly of our Brown Ale, you can get the exact same recipe that’s been to GABF and won awards as you can in the brewery or in can.

PP: So what’s the prime goal of the coming year? What do you guys hope to accomplish? More expansion or focusing on new beers or raising awareness or … ?

EM: We’re still trying to focus on Albuquerque, Santa Fe, pretty much Northern New Mexico.  Starting next year, we’re going to bringing a lot more emphasis onto Southern New Mexico, Las Cruces, and pretty much the same reason we wanted to is because people look at it as a flyover state, and we realized there is a good flowing of craft beer coming into it. We want to get into it, too. I feel like the southern cities in New Mexico kinda fall into that same thing, where people feel like ‘oh, Las Cruces, it’s way down there, whatever’ and we want to establish ourselves in a town like that and bring more quality new beer to them.

PP: Well, it is a college town, my college town, and it is only the last few years really that craft brewing is really opening up down there with new establishments. There hasn’t even been much of a bar scene there at all until recently. And craft brewing is to thank for that more than just general bars. It’s a great market right now for more to open up, show the students there’s more to beer than they had available.

EM: I can’t even imagine leaving a bad class and not being able to get a good craft beer.

PP: I know, due to the lack of it when I was there, I honestly didn’t even drink very often at all!  Wish these places and craft beers were around when I was a student! Luckily now there’s some great options, but it’s still prime, as is a lot of Southern NM like Carlsbad or Roswell, being open to more to come.

EM: There’s a big shift coming through New Mexico, though, and craft beer is being heavily embraced. Especially the pride in what is locally made.

SM: Totally, people are saying ‘Hey, we make our own wine, we make our own liquor, we make our own beer …’

PP: There’s a lot of do-it-yourself attitude here.

EM: There’s a lot of people around 30 years old in this, but it’s also becoming an even younger crowd, which is great. The shifting of the market. Even using local ingredients, like pecans in Las Cruces. It’s taking what’s here, and the local pride, but it still leaves open for quality craft beer to join. Camaraderie again. What do you guys think about the beer scene here compared to the beer scene in Colorado?

PP: Well there’s a lot more (breweries) there. It’s also been going longer for a craft beer selection.

SM: I think Albuquerque wants to be more like Denver. There won’t be as many mass distribution locations as there, but it shows the amount of people want quality beer.

EM: And that’s whats great about working together and expanding here, everyone loves their locals, but it also shows with the amount of places opening up, or expanding like, again, Ballast Point, that outside great beer will still sell and be desired, and we’re happy to be part of that! It’s collaborative, still to this day, we can even still go to Avery for something simple as pallets, but you can go to the nearest place for anything. Craft beer is a great way to share the world.

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Thank you for Eddy for stopping by to chat with us at Nob Hill Bar & Grill, where you can almost always find a number of Upslope beers on tap.

Upslope is available all over the state, and in Albuquerque you can find four-, six-, and 12-packs for sale at Kelley’s, Whole Foods, Total Wine, and Jubilation, among other places. Their plans for expanding are even looking at hitting the southern end of the state, namely Las Cruces among other options, so throughout the next year keep your eyes open for some quality new Colorado beer being available here!

Prost!

— Porter Pounder

And so it begins!

Get your geek-on with the Crew!

Anyone else need a vacation after the three-day weekend? Yeah, it was jam-packed with beer events, from the two festivals Sunday to Monday’s Battle of the Beer Geeks II (congrats to the Babes in Brewland on their victory). Now it’s back to a simpler slate of tastings and tappings across town.

Today features special events at The Grain Station, El Pinto, Farm & Table, 5 Star Burgers, Bistronomy B2B, and more usual haunts such as Two Fools, Rock & Brews, Tractor Wells Park, and Nob Hill Bar & Grill.

Featured event

Every day we will pick what we consider the biggest, most interesting, most unique event. This does not mean you should go to only this event and ignore the rest. All of them deserve your attention, but realistically, you can probably only attend a few. So we will make our daily pick, and you can either jump on it, or declare the Crew is foolish (we kinda are) and pick your own.

What: Lagunitas and Upslope Special Tappings. Where: Nob Hill Bar & Grill. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge.

Details: Once again, bar manager Thomas DeCaro is pulling out all the stops to bring us great beer. Upslope is bringing two new beers to tap here in ABQ in the form of the Yirgacheffe Coffee Dubbel, a coffee-infused Belgian-style beer brewed in collaboration with Dragonfly Coffee Roasters (which is adjacent to one of Upslope’s taprooms in Colorado). That will be paired alongside the Japanese Dry Lager, made with jasmine and Sorachi Ace hops. At the same time, Lagunitas has their IPA, double dry-hopped, on cask.

Why you should go: Two brand-new beers to New Mexico, plus a hopped-up version of a hugely popular IPA. Throw in some great NHBG food and you have a good way to spend an otherwise quiet Tuesday evening.

All the other great events

NEW EVENT >>> What: Santa Fe Special Tapping. Where: Gecko’s (both locations). When: 11 a.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: SFBC’s new Session Ale will be tapped at both Gecko’s, NE Heights and Nob Hill. Why you should go: A new beer that’s big on flavor, light on ABV, would pair nicely with Gecko’s food for lunch.

What: Stone Stochasticity Project Tasting. Where: Total Wine (both locations). When: 1 to 3 p.m. (Cottonwood), 4 to 6 p.m. (Uptown). Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Santa Fe Sampling. Where: Total Wine Uptown. When: 2 to 4 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Alaskan Sampling. Where: Total Wine Uptown. When: 3 to 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Tupac Tuesday with Tractor. Where: The Grain Station. When: 3 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Tractor has brewed up a fresh batch of Tupac Cali Red and is taking it over to The Grain Station, where they will have it on tap to go with their great food. There will be some live art as well. Why you should go: Enjoy a quality beer with some quality food and pull of a two-for-one in terms of supporting local businesses.

What: Dogs Drink Free Happy Hour. Where: El Pinto. When: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: No, that’s not a typo, your dogs can drink for free on the patio at El Pinto from today through Thursday. They will have Bowser Beer, a special alcohol-free beer made specifically for dogs. As for humans, there will be four Lagunitas beers for you — Cappuccino Stout, Equinox Pale Oat Ale, Brown Shugga’ Barleywine, and the special limited release of Waldo 4/20. Why you should go: Awesome new Lagunitas beers and old favorites, plus a chance to relax with your best friend. Throw in some delicious El Pinto food and it all adds up to a great afternoon.

What: Alaskan Tap Takeover and Special Release. Where: Rock & Brews. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Music for What ALES You. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 5 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Local musician Casey Mraz will provide the tunes, while you can purchase special beer and grilled cheese pairings from the Cheesy Street outside for just $13. Why you should go: Delicious grilled cheese offerings paired with Tractor beers while live music is playing. Sounds like a chill out and relax kind of event, if you ask us.

What: Kona, Redhook, and Widmer Brothers Sampling. Where: Total Wine Uptown. When: 5 to 7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Free beer samples. Why you should go: Free beer samples.

What: Marble and Farm & Table Beer and Food Pairings. Where: Farm & Table. When: 6 p.m. Cost: $50 for six beer tickets and a four-course meal. Details: Farm & Table will host a Spring BBQ event with five different Marble beers on tap — Pilsner, Wildflower Wheat, Oatmeal Stout, Maibock, IPA. There will be stationary appetizer trays of cheeses, chicken wings, and other finger foods. There will also be house-made brats, with baked beans, potato salad, and fresh green salad. There will also be dessert in the form of double chocolate cupcakes with a stout caramel cream (yum). In addition to the food and beer, there will be some games in the courtyard and a live band, Next Three Miles. Why you should go: Food, games, beer, music, it’s like a midweek party that you’ll probably need. Call (505) 503-7123 or email reserve@farmandtable.com for reservations.

What: Goose Island Tapping. Where: Two Fools Tavern. When: 6 to 8 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: We are blessed again to have more Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout on tap at the tavern. Why you should go: The Bourbon County series is the best thing that Goose Island makes, plus you can chow down on some great food while you enjoy a glass.

What: 5 Star Burgers presents an evening with Craft King. Where: 5 Star Burgers Old Town (next door to the Draft Station). When: 6 to 9 p.m. Cost: $20. Details: How about five delicious food items paired with craft beer, plus having Albuquerque’s Craft King (our friend Angelo Orona) on hand to answer all of your beer questions? Sounds like a great way to spend your evening. The food/beer pairings are Potato Chips topped with a gorgonzola drizzle paired with Bosque Lager; Taos Slider paired with Marble Red; Teriyaki Slider paired with Boxing Bear Paw Swipe Pale Ale; BBQ Slider paired with Santa Fe Nut Brown; Sweet Potato served with a Sweet Maple Cream paired with Oskar Blues Old Chub Scotch Ale. Why you should go: Expand your beer knowledge while drinking delicious beers and eating amazing food.

What: Beer Bike 5K. Where: Civic Plaza. When: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Cost: $30, with tickets available online here. Details: Hope on board the Duke City Pedaler at Civic Plaza and ride it around to Marble, Tractor Wells Park, and Back Alley Draft House. You get member prices at each location. This even will repeat Wednesday and Thursday. Why you should go: Burn off some beer calories while, um, adding more beer calories! Hey, it’s a win-win, plus it is one of the most fun and unique ways to enjoy a mini-pub crawl. Just be prepared, it’s a little over 3 miles in length and the DCP is tougher to pedal than it looks. You’ll get a good workout plus good beer.

What: Burgers and Brews. Where: Bistronomy B2B. When: 7 p.m. Cost: None listed. Details: Enjoy some great burgers and some of B2B’s best beers paired together. If you buy a B2B beer, you get a special Yelp! glass. The B2B brewers will be on hand to talk about their creations. Why you should go: B2B always has great food, plus some really unique and different beers. If you have never gone, head over to Central.

Special ongoing events

All throughout Beer Week, these two events will be running.

Brewery Scavenger Hunt at lululemon athletica at ABQ Uptown
Where: lululemon athletica ABQ Uptown and various other participating sites. When: Today through May 31. What: Pick up a scavenger pass at lululemon and head to six of nine participating locations. Take photos with your pass at the locations and then bring it all back to lululemon to be redeemed for a special pint glass. Participating sites: Routes Bicycle Rentals & Tours, Duke City Trolley, Tractor, La Cumbre, Red Door, Marble, Chama River, The Grain Station, Rock & Brews

Smoked Meats Week
Where: Sandia Chile Grill When: 3 to 8 p.m., from today through Saturday, May 30
What: Beer and smoked meat pairing; beers are $3.50 per pint, $6 per 10-ounce mead sample
Today — Potato Stuffer, Barb’s Barrel Hefeweizen
Wednesday — Stuffed Avocado Street Tacos, Gold Rush Pilsner
Thursday — Smoked Salmon Platter, Red Ranger Irish Red
Friday — Stuffed Avocado Street Tacos, Rattlesnake IPA
Saturday — Smoked Meat Sample Platter, Rattlesnake and Red Ranger and Milk Stout ($3 per 10-ounce)

* * * * *

Got any questions, comments, complaints, send them to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or leave them here on our site, on Facebook, or on Twitter (@nmdarksidebc).

Enjoy yourselves out there, but please, do it responsibly.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Blues & Brews is back and will again feature Adam, center, though Stoutmeister will replace Franz Solo on the right. Dr. Brews Banner might sneak in there again, too.

Blues & Brews is back and will again feature Adam, center, though Stoutmeister will replace Franz Solo on the right. Dr. Brews Banner might appear there again, too.

One of the highlight events for ABQ Beer Week every year is Blues & Brews, a gigantic festival held at Sandia Casino. This year’s event is set for Sunday afternoon, starting at 2 p.m. for VIP ticket holders and 3 p.m. for the general public. It is an unlimited sampling event, so make sure to be selective and careful when you are out there. It never hurts to have a designated driver or to call a taxi or Uber. You can still get your tickets online or at the Sandia box office.

There are 70-plus breweries in attendance, a mix of local, national, and international. You can also listen to plenty of live blues music, as the name Blues & Brews might imply.

So with so many places you can visit, you need to make a plan. No, seriously, make a plan, know which beers you want to sample. Some of these lists are from the guide from the B&B site, so they are subject to change.

Local breweries

The in-state breweries have some good offerings besides just their usual stuff.

Abbey Brewing: Monks’ Ale, Dubbel Reserve, Tripel Reserve, Dark Ale, Wit, Strong Pale Ale Reserve. The last beer on the list is a new one, but if that doesn’t fit what you’re looking for, the Tripel Reserve is always a delight.

Canteen: Dougie Style Amber, Wet Mountain IPA, 28M American Wheat. Three classics, so take your pick. Personally, the GABF gold medal-winning Dougie Style is the way to go, but hopheads love their Wet Mountain.

Duel: Marcel, Fiction, Bad Amber, Dark Ryder, Titian, Tantalus, Cezanne Printemp. Five classics from the Marcel (witbier) to the Titian (Belgian golden strong), plus two newer beers in the Cezanne (imperial saison) and the Tantalus, which will be making its debut. Plus, brewer Todd Yocham said he will be bringing some special beers out of the cellar again for this event.

Kellys: Amber, Session IPA. It’s just their two canned beers, as far as we know.

Marble: IPA, Red Ale, Pilsner, Double White, Brett Stout, Weizenbock, Rauchbier, Oatmeal Stout. Some classics plus a few seasonals. Everyone who has been reviewing the Brett Stout has been singing its praises. Here is your chance to do the same. Or if the Brett isn’t your thing, we highly recommend the Rauchbier.

NM Craft Brewing: Xtra Pale Ale, Session IPA, Wry Blonde, Rye Stout. The guys from Las Vegas are bringing some of their staples down. We haven’t tried them in a while, so in this case, pick your favorite genre and go with it. (So, yeah, Rye Stout for me.)

Pi Brewing: TBA

Ponderosa: Brunch Stout, Rosa’s Gose, Ghost Train IPA, Crosscut Kolsch. The Breakfast Stout was awesome. The Brunch Stout is its cousin. Yeah, sounds like a good bet.

Red Door: Gateway Blonde, Broken Arrow Pale Ale, Trappe Door Wheat, Baby Got Bock, Roamer Red, Threshold IPA, Paint it Black Milk Stout, Unhinged Cider. They are taking their whole lineup over, because that is how much the Red Door staff loves us. For the seasonals, hard to go wrong with Baby Got Back. The Paint it Black is our favorite among the regulars. And for the gluten-free/cider-loving crowd, Unhinged might be the best in the state.

Rio Grande/Sierra Blanca: Isotopes Slammin’ Amber, Bone Chiller Brown, Sun Chaser Pale Ale, Pancho Verde, Desert Pils, IPA, Alien Milk Stout. Plenty of staples from RG/SB, but the standout here is the Milk Stout. It was one of the better beers to stand out at WinterBrew back in January.

Sandia Chile Grill: Rattlesnake IPA, Irish Red, Dirty Steve Mead. Brewer Clinton Coker has won numerous medals for his mead. So, yeah, grab a Dirty Steve. That sounds kinda wrong, but rest assured, it’s actually all right.

Santa Fe: Happy Camper IPA, Black IPA, Imperial Java Stout, Freestyle Pilsner, Ever Changing Series #3. The folks at SFBC won’t say what the new ECS is, but we have a feeling it will be excellent. Just in case it’s not to your liking, they are bring four crowd favorites along.

Tractor: Farmer’s Almanac IPA, Farmer’s Tan Red Ale, Mustachio Milk Stout, and TBD specialty beers. Odds are, we will go with one of the specialty beers (if we get an update, we will post it). Otherwise, Mustachio is the way to go.

And …

Firkin Brewhouse: Capo’s Java Stout, Magnum IPA, Giggle Water Wheat Ale. What’s this? A new ABQ brewery is debuting their beers? It appears so. Might have to try all three, but if time is an issue, go with the Java Stout, see how it stacks up against Santa Fe.

National/international breweries

Rather than list every beer they are bringing, it will just be a one-by-one listing of our pick for the best of the bunch. Good luck out there!

Alaskan: Imperial Red

Avery: Out of Bounds Stout

Ballast Point: Sculpin IPA, though pretty much any choice would be good. We expect the line to be long here as the new guys in town typically draw well.

BJ’s: Six choices total, take your pick based on your style preference

Boston Beer/Samuel Adams: Rebel Rouser DIPA

Boulder: Shake Chocolate Porter

Brouwerij St. Bernardus/Verhaeghe: St. Bernardus Abt 12, a clone of arguably the best beer ever made

Deschutes: TBA

Durango: Durango Brewers Reserve

Goose Island: just the standards you get everywhere

Kannah Creek: Broken Oar IPA

Kona: Big Wave is the only one listed

Lagunitas: Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale

Left Hand: Widdershins Barley Wine

Magic Hat: Electric Peel IPA

Mother Road: They are tapping a special firkin right at 3 p.m., whose identity has not been disclosed. Otherwise, Lost Highway Black IPA.

New Belgium: Rampant Imperial IPA

Odell: 90 Shilling

Omission: Just the IPA, but for your gluten-free friend(s), this is the one.

Oskar Blues: Old Chub Nitro

Pagosa: Chile Verde Cerveza (Franz Solo swears it’s the best green chile beer on the planet.)

Pyramid: just the standards you get everywhere

Redhook: they only plan to bring Audible Ale

Sierra Nevada: Hoptimum Whole-Cone Imperial IPA

Sour Power: A collection of foreign sour beers, take your pick if you like the genre

Southern Star: Buried Hatchet Stout

Squatters: Off Duty IPA

Tommyknocker: Maple Nut Brown

Traveler Beer Co.: three citrus-infused beers, take your pick

Upslope: IPL, though again this should be a popular destination for everyone who has never had this newcomer to NM.

Wasatch: Devastator Doppelbock

Widmer Brothers: It’s just Upheaval IPA, but it’s a decent, middle-of-the-road example of the style.

We will update this list for any TBA above. Adam and I will be both be at the event and we will have sign-up sheets for the new NM Brewers Guild Enthusiast Membership. All we are taking down are the names and emails of those interested.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The 16th annual San Juan Brewfest took place on Saturday, August 23, in beautiful downtown Durango. Benefiting the United Way of SW Colorado, the brewfest had a great turnout, despite the rain that threatened to dampen the mood. Held at Buckley Park near the northern tip of Main Street, there couldn’t be an easier event to find, or find your way home from.

There was quite the crowd at the San Juan Brewfest.

There was quite the crowd at the San Juan Brewfest.

There were over 50 breweries, with 35 from Colorado, six from New Mexico, and nine were from breweries ranging from the east coast to the west coast, including a few macrobreweries. Macros always reminded me of the old guy at the college parties. “Dude are you like, a professor or something?” But I kid the big guys. With all that the San Juan Brewfest had to offer, you could sample a beer poured by a familiar face from the likes of Turtle Mountain or Taos Mesa, you could get to know your northern neighbors’ beers a bit better, or you could try a few swallows from far away lands like Boston, Juneau, or Petaluma. (A full list of breweries is below.)

As far as brewfesters go, everyone was very friendly and laid back in that Colorado kinda way. On occasion, there were those folks who were a bit over-excited to talk about their interests, like trail-riding or ciders. Where did that cider guy come from? But there’s nothing wrong with that. Passion is what fuels the craft beer industry, am I right? So keep on keepin’ on, cider guy!

Fans dance to the Hill Stompers.

Fans dance to the Hill Stompers, a band from Los Alamos.

Everyone enjoyed themselves, sampling, noshing on German sausages straight from the grill, and dancing wildly inappropriately (in front of children) to the rockin’ local bands. One of those local bands happened to be local to New Mexico. Have you guys heard the Hill Stompers from Los Alamos? Well do it, already! They’re like a circus marching band fueled by candy corn and cerveza.

Getting to the beer, there were over a hundred beers to try at the brewfest, including some breweries bringing more than the promised two. It was impossible to try them all, or maybe we didn’t try hard enough. With the free taster glass and a handy notepad, we set out to pulverize our palates. And boy did we! My Untappd App sure got a workout the next day. As for my personal favorites, Great Divide had a fantastic dark, roasted, powerful warrior of a beer called the Claymore Scotch Ale (7.7% ABV) that just knocked my hop-socks off. I also really enjoyed Upslope Brewing Co.’s Belgian Style Pale Ale (7.5% ABV), the Face Down Brown by Telluride Brewing Co. (5.7% ABV), and of course the Kriek from Santa Fe Brewing was way up there on my list.

Marble's tent was a popular spot for beer lovers.

Marble’s tent was a popular spot for beer lovers.

There was also a beer that I won’t name that I really liked but couldn’t put my finger on why. Then it dawned on me as I finished that last swig; it REALLY reminded me of something racked from one of La Cumbre’s tanks. Was it one of Elevated IPAs long-lost sisters? I couldn’t tell! I could, however, go on and on about the beers, but there were so many different styles. Most breweries brought an IPA and a pale ale, others brought reds, Belgians, and there were a handful of saisons and sours. But why not just grab my Untappd name and take a look at my journey? LukeDukeSF. Now, I’ll try not to say too much more about this, but after sampling so many IPAs, I can definitely say I prefer New Mexico IPAs to Colorado IPAs. Nuff said.

The competition that day was as hot as the sun, when it did decide to come out. For the Judge’s Choice, Left Hand Brewing Company won third place for their Milk Stout Nitro. Our very own Marble Brewery won second place with their already-award-winning Pilsner. “505! 505!” I chanted silently in my head as I heard the news. Best beer of the fest went to Elevation Beer Company’s Avis IV. And finally, winning People’s Choice for best beer was the Brown Bear Ale from Aspen Brewing Co.

With great weather, great beers, and great company, it was a brewfest to remember, or try REALLY hard to remember. Thanks, Durango, for a great time. See you next year!

Cheers,

Luke!

Everyone was left smiling at the end of the brewfest.

Everyone was left smiling at the end of the brewfest.

2014 San Juan Brewfest Breweries

AC Golden (Golden, CO), Alaskan Brewing (Juneau), Aspen Brewing (CO), Avalanche Brewing (Silverton, CO), Blue Moon Brewing (Golden, CO), Boston Beer, Bottom Shelf Brewery (Bayfield, CO), Boulder Beer (CO), Breckenridge Brewery (CO), Brew Pub and Kitchen (Durango), Bristol Brewing (Colorado Springs), Carver Brewing (Durango), Durango Brewing, Elevation Beer (Poncha Springs, CO), Eske’s Brew Pub & Eatery (Taos), Fort Collins Brewery (CO), Great Divide Brewery (Denver), Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing (Chippewa Falls, WI), Kannah Creek Brewing (Grand Junction, CO), Lagunitas Brewing (Petaluma, CA), Left Hand Brewing (Longmont, CO), Lumberyard Brewing (Flagstaff, AZ), Marble Brewery, Moab Brewery (UT), Mr. Grumpy Pants Brewing (Ouray, CO), New Belguim Brewing (Fort Collins, CO), Oak Creek Brewing (Sedona, AZ), Odell Brewing (Fort Collins, CO), Oskar Blues Brewery (Longmont, CO), Ouray Brewery (CO), Pagosa Brewing and Grill (Pagosa Springs, CO), Palisade Brewing (Palisade, CO), Riff Raff Brewing (Pagosa Springs, CO), Roaring Fork Beer (Carbondale, CO), Rocky Mountain Brewery (Colorado Springs, CO), San Luis Valley Brewing (Alamosa, CO), Santa Fe Brewing, Shock Top Brewing (St. Louis), Sierra Nevada Brewing (Chico, CA), Ska Brewing (Durango), Steamworks Brewing (Durango), Strange Craft Beer (Denver), Taos Mesa Brewing, Telluride Brewing (CO), Three Barrel Brewing (Del Norte, CO), Three Rivers Brewery, Turtle Mountain Brewing, Two Rascals Brewing (Montrose, CO), Upslope Brewing (Boulder, CO), Wolfe Brewing (Pagosa Springs, CO)

Bikes, Beer, and Coffee…

Posted: February 2, 2012 by Shilling in Out-of-Town Brews
Tags: ,

…what a concept.

It seems like those three things truly go hand in hand.  I’ve done it — ride all day, then go to the bar, and then drink coffee the next morning to kill my hangover.

Well this is our first out-of-town post and it takes place at the Denver Bicycle Cafe in, where else, Denver. (go and “like” their facebook page)

As you can guess, this is a cyclist hangout.  They serve beer, coffee, and a few other goodies that can be found in your everyday mom-and-pop coffee shop.

The one thing that makes this place unique is the full-service bike shop.  I’m not going to lie, this place is pretty awesome.  While writing this small post on my android phone, I’m drinking an Oskar Blues G’knight Imperial Red while my friend is riding the vintage Schwinn Exercise bike.  This red is very smooth, creamy, and light on the hoppy side.  For those that are Santa Fe fans, it’s served in cans.

Another beer worth checking out is the limited-release Upslope Foreign Style Stout from Boulder.  I feel that the big fear of stouts that scares folks away is the bitterness or almost burnt flavor, yet this is a very drinkable beer.  The flavor isn’t burnt or bitter.  Actually, this beer has a flavor all its own.  Upslope doesn’t seem to be imitating anyone.  Both of these Colorado beers are awesome.  If you can get these beers in your area, get off your computer and go to your local liquor store and pick them up.

If you happen to live in or are passing through the Denver metro area, make your way up to the East Colfax Neighborhood and stop in.  You won’t be disappointed.  Tell Jessica, the owner, that Jon from Albuquerque sent you.

— Shilling