Friday, April 7, 2017

Leo vs. Ursus vs. Waldo

Here he is! Waldo's Special Ale is Lagunitas' finest beer in their extra large portfolio of beers, High Westified and Born Yesterday notwithstanding. This year's 11.5% version is as deceptively drinkable as the previous year's, though the high ABV may be the beer's only flaw. Hard for me to justify drinking multiples of these on a weeknight, but it's so hard to stop at one bottle. The drinkability is one of the things that makes this such an accomplishment. What other beers in this ABV range are as light and easy to put down? Maharaja? No way. Devil Dancer? Hell no! Pliny the Younger comes to mind, but you can't walk into Jubilation and buy a six of Pliny the Younger, though I'm sure many have asked! And the price- what, like $12 for a six-pack? Well done, Heineken Jr.

With Fortem, the first rotating DIPA in the Leo vs. Ursus series, Firestone Walker puts its name in the UNFILTERED beer category (also joining Avery in the dead-language Latin category of beer). Because, as we all know, an IPA isn't truly an IPA unless it's UNFILTERED. For one, though, the beer is mostly clear, which is sure to disappoint haze-heads. And second, doesn't Firestone Walker know that an IPA can't be taken seriously unless it comes in a can with a wraparound sticker label? That's how you know an IPA is truly legit. As FW themselves put it, "Fortem has been left unfiltered for a full hop impact." Yeah, impact on their sales by calling it unfiltered!
All idiocy aside, Firestone Walker has released their best DIPA yet. No, it isn't hazy, but it does have that great mouthfeel people are looking for these days. Way toned down from Double Jack's 9.5% to 8.2%, Fortem has the low-bitterness, high juice factor. Non-believers who put it next to a Monkish DIPA to look for flaws should put it next to a Great Divide Hercules DIPA...then tell me it isn't a modern DIPA. A four-pack of 16 oz. cans goes for $13.99 at Whole Foods on Carlisle- certainly a modern DIPA price!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Free Tickets to Food Truck Festival

Yes, this is what it has come down to. I have such little faith in peoples' attention span that I have to offer the giveaway in the title. But that slight wasn't meant for you. No, you care enough to read all the way to the end.Good reader.

Poll any local brewery's beertenders and ask what the main thing people call about is and they will likely say it's people wondering, "What food truck will be there today?" That or, "Uh, yeah, are you guys hiring?" Because nothing shows initiative like sitting at home and calling a business rather than actually showing up and filling out an application.

Food trucks have become a huge part of the experience of visiting Albuquerque breweries, both to my delight and dismay. Dismay because I saw a need for a food truck (at least parked outside downtown bars) back in 2006; even wrote a business plan for it but never followed up on the idea. And look at the phenomenon it has become: trucks outside every brewery that doesn't have its own kitchen, and even a food truck meets craft beer festival.

On Saturday, April 8, from 12-6 pm, Food Truck Festivals of America presents the 3rd Annual Great New Mexico Food Truck and Craft Beer Festival at Anderson Abruzzo International Balloon Museum, or, as locals simply call it, balloon fiesta park. Lots of good beers to choose from, with the list including:

Dogfish Head - Sea Quench, Flesh n Blood, 60 Minute
Avery Brewing- White Rascal, Liliko'i Kepolo, Ellie's Brown Ale
Santa Fe Brewing – Happy Camper IPA, Freestyle Pils, Pale Ale
Sierra Blanca Brewing- Cherry Wheat, Alien Amber, Outlaw Lager
Great Divide Brewing – Colette, Yeti, Titan
Lagunitas Brewing – IPA, 12th of Never, Hop Stoopid
Ska Brewing – Modus Mandarina, Mexican Logger, Pinstripe Red
Abbey Brewing – Monks Ale, Monks Dark, Monks Tripel
Santan Brewing – Mr. Pineapple, Devils Ale, Sex Panther
Breckenridge Brewing- Nitro Vanilla, Dry Irish, Mango Pale
Sandia Cidery – apple, watermelon, cherry
Nuevo Brewing – Nuevo and Bloody Maria
Sierra Nevada- Pale Ale, Sidecar, Torpedo
Green Flash- Pure Hoppiness, Tangerine Soul Style, Passion Fruit
Rio Bravo- Roadkill Red, Pinon Coffee, Snakebite IPA
Wasatch- Hop Rising, Ghost Rider, Off Duty IPA
Pecan Brewing – Hoppin Wheat, Pecan
Upslope- Citra Pale, Craft Lager, Guava
Guns and Oil- Wheat Bock, American Lager
Ballast Point- Longfin Lager, Mango Even Keel, Sculpin

There a quite a few standout beers on that list, and it's a reflection of how times have changed. I remember seeing Pure Hoppiness listed as being on tap at Toronado San Diego a few years ago and the bartender said he had put the sign up but the beer wasn't being tapped till the next day. When I told him we were flying home the next day, he went and tapped the keg for us. That was such a big deal then, but now we can drink it in a park in Albuquerque...thanks, Obama.

The food truck list as of right now (with possible additions to come):

Big Dawg’s BBQ

Castaneda’s Kitchen- Southern fare

Curbside Pies– Italian cuisine

Europa Roaming Kitchen- European cuisine

Gourmet Doner Kebab- Mediterranean cuisine

Joe’s Grub Hub– Specialty sandwiches

JP’s Custard Cart

Karibu CafĂ©– Caribbean cuisine

Lil’ Lunch Box– Chili Cheese Treats

My Sweet Basil– Gourmet sandwiches

Mystique- Burgers, brats & burritos

Nomad’s BBQ

O’Bean's Coffee Cruiser

Rescue Pizza

Saep Fire – Asian fusion

Snow Cone Xpress

Street Food Institute-International street food

I thought I knew most of the food trucks in town, but many of these are new to me. I can vouch for Street Food Institute (which employs CNM culinary students). Nomad's BBQ "truck" resembles something you'd see when you're getting your roof tarred but the BBQ is excellent.
My Sweet Basil decorates the exterior of their truck like a Williams Sonoma store and may be the closest to gourmet that you get on wheels. O'Bean's Coffee Cruiser is an East Mountain-based mobile coffee shop run out of an actual 1971 Volkswagen van. Whoa, is this coffee laced with something? I think I'm trippin', wait- those are just East Mountain people I'm seeing.

Ok, so you could choose from a number of ticket options, including an 11 am early admission VIP ticket or a beer lover's package ticket. Even better, you could get in for free! I have a 4-pack of tickets along with $40 in truck bucks to give away to a lucky reader. Send an email to with "Food Truck Festival" in the subject line and I'll randomly pick a winner. Don't want to get in for free? Go to to purchase tickets.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Canteen Brewhouse Gives You a Little Space

What kind of beer drinker are you? When you go out to your local pub, are you there to quietly contemplate that new offering in front of you, swirling, sniffing, sipping, repeating? Or maybe you're there to get away from drinking at home with the cat again, meeting up with the familiar group of regulars and talking about what you read on Facebook about Trump while you scan your Instagram feed? While both experiences have their worthy place, some breweries try to offer up cultural events to accentuate your drinking experience (or just to get people in the door on a cold Monday night). Art shows are common, Geeks who Drink nights abound, and poetry slams have been held at breweries, though I prefer not to be yelled at while I'm drinking, thanks. Give me some nice e.e. cummings poems instead. Educational events are less common, but Astronomy on Tap is looking to change all that. The group has held events all over the country, and the first event in NM will be held Monday, March 20 at Canteen Brewhouse. From the group's website, "Each FREE event features accessible, engaging science presentations on topics ranging from planets to black holes to galaxies to the beginning of the universe." That sounds good. Most of what I know about space came from watching the Jetsons, and I know astronomy involves a lot more math than most people care to think about. So I don't think you'll have to worry about Kepler's Law ( for each planet orbiting the sun, its sidereal period squared divided by the cube of the semi-major axis of the orbit is a constant). Here, let me put it this way:

See, that's no fun. So, I'm sure you'll get a more, ahem, down to Earth presentation on the wonders and mysteries of space. Beautiful telescopic images and the like. All you wanted to know about quasars, black holes, and dwarf planets. Maybe some moon landing truthers will be there to really get the party started.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Thoughts on the National IPA Championship

Been following the Brewing News and their annual March Madness style National IPA Championship? I was a little late to the game, but I think I'm caught up now. It took me about a month to actually navigate the Brewing News' website to finally get to the brackets. The site itself may have been designed using someone's Earthlink account. And then, once you get to the brackets, you can't really look at the earlier rounds without seeing the winners from following rounds first, so some of the fun is lost. I understand this is how brackets look, but there should be a separate page where you click on the head to head matchups. And yes, I know I haven't changed anything on my site for 8 years.

Anyway, a few scattered thoughts:

I wish the system was broken into regions so NM breweries wouldn't have to face each other until later rounds.

Good to see 377 Brewery win their first round matchup against Eel River, though I think the last time I changed my website design was more recent than the last time I bought an Eel River beer.

No shame in Canteen's Exodus losing to Tamarack Brewing in the second round. Who? This Montana brewery may not be well known, but they won the Alpha King Challenge in 2016, and they're my dark horse for winning the whole thing.

Whoops. I realized I somehow missed that they lost in the third round. Well, maybe another Alpha King Challenge-winning brewery, Melvin, will win. Their Morris IPA is set to go against IPL, a LAGER from Jack's Abbey. Can't see a lager (as great as it is) beating Morris.

Then again, I couldn't see Tractor actually making it into the third round. Nice going! And even better, they somehow knocked off White Rajah, the 2015 GABF bronze medalist and probably on the short list for many degenerate gamblers. But they went down against Clark (who also knocked out Santa Fe's Snowflake in the 2nd), the hazy IPA from Quarter Celtic. But now Clark has to go up against Hopcelot from Lawson's Finest Liquids. Gulp.

Ponderosa made it out of the first round only to be brought down by NM IPA Challenge winner Bear Knuckle IPA from Boxing Bear. Bear Knuckle is all the way to the 4th round...

As is La Cumbre's former National IPA Champ Project Dank, which had to make it past Canteen's great Hopballer IPA in the third round. Tough one.

Scale Tipper also went down in the third round to a very tough opponent, Head Hunter from Fat Head's. Bosque, you guys had to let another brewery win sometime.

Sorry to see two Rio Bravo entries go out quick. Their two beers should have gone head to head. Everyone gets a trophy!

Hop Shovel from Bear Republic is a really good beer. Not surprised they've made it to the 4th.

Glad to see Dialogue win in the first round. Sorry to see Pi Brewing not.

Glad to see Chama enter a Kolsch in an IPA Challenge. Hey, if Jack's Abbey can make it 4 rounds with a lager...

Is everyone else just taking it for granted that of the 16 breweries remaining, THREE are from Albuquerque? I'd say this is a great time to live in Albuquerque...if it weren't for the damn ART construction.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Portland, Oregon is one of those cities you hear people speak wistfully of when they are talking about places they could live. (Portland, Maine, not so much). And it is a cool city, even though everyone moved there and the housing prices went crazy. Still a great place to visit, with a rich beer culture, foodies, hipsters, and galoshes. Lots of galoshes. And umbrellas. So while I'm happy in a sunnier state, I do love Portland. And now a New Mexican staple will be available there: Al Hurricane Jr. will be performing two shows daily at the PDX Hilton! And while you're waiting for the show, take the edge off with some Marble beer. On 12/14, Marble sent off pallets of Red, IPA, Pilsner, and Double White, as well as a few cases of Reserve Ale, as part of an agreement with Portland's Alebriated Distributing. Alebriated is one of the heavy hitters in the area, so expect to find Marble taps and package beer at all those good beer stores like Belmont, Station, Beer Mongers, Tin Bucket, etc. Under the deal, Marble will be sending beer to Portland about every 3 months. We'll see if that Double White lasts to the end of December, though...

Friday, December 9, 2016

Remember the Titan?

And Yeti? And Hercules? If so, you are either someone who was drinking in New Mexico back when Great Divide was available here, or you have made a trip up to Colorado and didn't partake too much in that state's greatest tourist attraction. And now you'll have one less reason to travel to Colorado, as Great Divide has added NM back into its distribution area. As of today, Jubilation has Titan IPA, Colette Farmhouse Ale, and Yeti Imperial Stout. Colette is a 2010 silver medal winner at GABF and uses a blend of four yeast strains to achieve a tart yet fruity finish. $9.99 for a sixer of bottles. Yeti is what I would consider a classic in the Imperial Stout category, and there are a number of variations on the basic Yeti: Velvet Yeti, Oatmeal Yeti, Oak-Aged Yeti, Espresso Oak-Aged Yeti, Chocolate Oak-Aged Yeti, Barrel-Aged Yeti.....but we don't have any of these. Yet. Eeeeee. But you can get the original 9.5% Yeti in six-pack CANS for $12.99. Titan IPA, along with Hercules DIPA, were often go-to hoppy beers when Great Divide was last sold here. They have always been malt-forward for IPA/DIPA style beers, and I think the malt in Titan is even more pronounced when compared to some modern IPAs. I tried some Bosque IPA after some Titan and they were completely different animals. And that's fine- I like most animals as long as they aren't trying to eat me. Titan IPA is available in six-pack bottles for $9.99.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Quick Quiz For You...

Question 1 of 1: What has been sold in stores in the states bordering us to the east, west, and north of us for years but never sold here, with trucks dropping off the product in Texas, then driving right on through our state to deliver the product to Arizona? If you said condoms, well, that's funny but wrong. Magnums have been here forever, and I guess they sell other kinds, I don't know. But the correct answer is: Dogfish Head beer. AND WE ARE FINALLY getting beer from Dogfish Head. Yes, the brewery who once sold a malt liquor that came in its own brown paper bag. The brewery that made a beer using ingredients from every continent. The brewery that has made a beer that utilizes lobster. The brewery that has made a beer that utilizes saliva. But the Milton, DE is probably better known for its 60 Minute and 90 Minute IPAs. And 120 Minute IPA. And Chicory Stout. And a bunch of high ABV beers that were extraordinary if only (but not only) for the fact that they were 6+% higher than some of the biggest Barleywines being brewed at the time. And they're on their way to NM. Not sure if Beer Superstar/ Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione will be coming here as well (that's him in the photo, pouring me a glass of My Antonia Pilsner at an event in 2010...What's up brother?...You getting my emails?...I still have the glass you filled for me, never washed!) The news has been around for a bit, but I didn't feel right writing about it until I saw someone had posted it online, so the cat's out of the bag- and probably on its way into a Dogfish Head beer. You'll see their beers hitting the shelves in the weeks to come, but start calling Jubilation five times a day just to ensure you get yours. The Jubilation employees never get tired of people asking if they sell Dogfish Head, and it will be interesting to see if they are able to form and say the word "yes" with their mouths after so many years of replying in the negative.

I'm curious to see how long Dogfish Head sells like crazy before they level out here. Will they live up to the hype/people's memories of the beer? Remember that first 90 Minute that you had years ago on that east coast trip? The one Esquire named "The best beer in America"? The one people lined up for at GABF (that's the Dogfish Head line in the photo, and the closest I am now allowed to get to Sam Calagione). Well, it's still chugging along, though you may find it a bit maltier than the DIPAs you have grown accustomed to in the years since it first opened your eyes to DIPAs. And that's not to say it isn't good; it's a classic beer. But while still Dogfish is still hugely innovative in the beers they are brewing, they aren't necessarily trying to keep up with the latest IPA fad (Though their Indian Brown Ale, formerly referred to as a "well-hopped brown", is now labeled as a "Dark IPA"). Gotta sell those Brown Ales somehow!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Can and Growler Choices Expand

Torrance, California's The Dudes' Brewing Company quietly rolled into town recently, with at least five styles hitting the Kelly Liquors on Wyoming. Four-pack cans include the almost obligatory IPA (CalifornIPA) and DIPA (Double Trunk) styles, but they also offer a Berliner Weisse. Not a whole lot of canned Berliner Weisse to stock up on in Albuquerque, so give these Dudes a try.

Billy's Long Bar has started filling growlers. They have their own logo growlers for $5, or they will fill your growler of choice. "They" apparently referring to one of the managers; when I asked the bartenders about the process, I was directed to two non-bartenders who were working. Whatever the case, you should be able to walk out of there with a filled growler with a wide range of beers to choose from. Growler of Backwoods Bastard, growler of Union Jack, growler of Project Dank even! Just don't ask for the Firestone Walker XX or the Bourbon County Stout in a growler. Super premium beers not available for fills. Also, don't expect to be able to get a sample of Firestone XX, as "We don't do samples of it because of the high ABV." Which makes no sense, obviously. You want to tell me you won't do a sample because of the high cost of the keg, fine. I can understand that. In which case I'd be willing to pay $1 for a sample if that keeps me from paying $9.50 for a 10 oz. pour of something I don't like. In the end, I had to be satisfied with a Bourbon County draft served in a MUG. M-U-G.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Black Friday. Black Beer. Don't Blackout.

Black Friday fight day! Take a break from wrestling grandma for that 4K TV and head over to O'Niell's Pub on Central Avenue for a black beer Black Friday event. The good people there have gathered a number of dark beers to take the edge off of what was once just another good day because you didn't have to work. Then it became a day to get good deals on presents. Then it became a day to buy yourself all the cool electronics. I'll be at Sears. Nobody goes there anymore. Probably because Craftsman tools aren't exclusively made in the USA like thy used to be. Is that on Trump's list of things to do in the first 100 days mandate? Should be. Anyway, kegs being tapped at O'Niell's include:

Boxing Bear's multiple medal winning Chocolate Milk Stout
Oskar Blues - Death By Coconut - Irish Porter w/ chocolate and coconut, a GABF silver medal winner
La Cumbre 2015 La Llorana Baltic Porter
Full Sail Black Gold (bourbon barrel-aged Imperial Stout)
Boulder Nitro Chocolate Porter
Deschutes 2015 The Abyss barrel-aged Imperial Stout

The fun begins at 11 am.

Nob Hill Bar and Grill will be tapping both the 2016 and 2015 Bourbon County Brand Stout on Friday. Or maybe that 2015 is the same keg that was sitting on tap for a long time earlier this year...but now that it's an "event", people will be packing the place for it. Funny how that happens.

Jubilation knows you've been making room in your beer fridge just for this day. If you wake up and line up outside early enough, you can take your pick from these limited edition goodies, listed courtesy of Jubilation's Adam Auden:
Limit 1 bottle per customer unless otherwise stated.
Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout 2016 (Limit 2)
BCBS 2015
BCBS 2014
BCBS 2013 (Limit 2)
Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Barleywine 2016
BCBW 2013 (Limit 2)
Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee Stout 2013 (Limit 2)
Goose Island Bourbon County Regal Rye 2015
Goose Island Bourbon County Backyard Rye 2013
North Coast Cellar Reserve Series:
Old Rasputin XIX Bourbon Whiskey
Old Rasputin XVIII Wheat Whiskey
Old Rasputin XVIII Rye Whiskey
Old Rasputin XVII Bourbon Whiskey
Old Stock 2014 Wheat Whiskey
Old Stock 2014 Rye Whiskey
Old Stock 2013 Bourbon Whiskey
Bosque Scotia Limited 2014
Santa Fe Sour Porter
Founders Lizard of Koz (Limit 2)
Firestone Walker XX
Firestone Walker Barrelworks Agrestic
Evil Twin Maple Bourbon Jesus
Blackberry Farm Brewery Brett Red Wine Barrel (GABF Silver Medal!)
Deschutes Dissident 2016
Deschutes Collage #1 2012
Moylan's Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout 2013
Black Diamond Bourbon Barrel Peak XV Imperial Porter 2014
Green Flash Silva Stout 2015

Friday, October 28, 2016

Lagunitas Generates Fresh Hop Hype

Lots of praise being heaped upon this year's Lagunitas Born Yesterday Fresh Hop Pale Ale, not to be confused with Lagunitas Born Again Yesterday Pale Ale. Or maybe they wanted you to be confused when Born Again was released some months after Born Yesterday since the Yesterday was so good that they figured you would buy the Again again and again. Anyway...

Born Yesterday is the wet or fresh hop Pale Ale that everyone is going nuts over, again. The recipe varies each year but the premise is the same: get those freshly harvested hops straight from Yakima and get brewing. This year's version is heavy on the Mosaic, Amarillo, and Equinox hops and is 7% ABV, up a half percent from last year. Investors will be pleased. This year's version also is unfiltered, which I take as Lagunitas' nod to the fact that the New England hazy IPAs are all the rage. Remember when Stone came out with their unfiltered Enjoy By? Rumor has it that 95% of their workforce enjoyed it. And the Lagunitas Born Yesterday is in that Enjoy By category in the fact that they want you to drink it NOW, which is why it was shipped to and available in just about all of their markets by today. Born Yesterday was bottled on 10.17, so while it seems like it could have made it the 1,100 miles from Petaluma, CA to Albuquerque a little faster, it's still not bad. Maybe the driver stopped at In N' Out.

This beer has disappeared quickly in previous years, though I saw a substantial stack of it at Whole Foods on Carlisle. You can get a six-pack of 12 oz. bottles at the reasonable price of $9.99.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

GABF Wrap Up

From the Brewers Association:

"During competition registration, Karl Strauss Brewing Co. self-identified their San Diego location as a Mid-Size Brewpub. After the award ceremony, GABF competition staff realized that this was inaccurate: this location is, in fact, a Mid-Size Brewing Company. Karl Strauss, while it operates brewpubs, is classified as a production facility by GABF competition guidelines.

After reassigning Karl Strauss to the Mid-Size Brewing Company category, and recalculating the Brewery of the Year results, it resulted that Karl Strauss was the winner of the Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year category. In addition, Boxing Bear Brewing Co. is the resulting winner of the Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year category.

All of us with the Great American Beer Festival and the Brewers Association deeply regret this error. Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon, which had originally been identified as the Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year, had a very strong performance in the competition, winning a gold medal in the German-Style Wheat Ale category, a silver medal in Other Strong Beer, and a bronze medal in Fresh or Wet Hop Ale. They were among the top medal-winning breweries in the 2016 competition.

Congratulations to all of the winners in the most-entered Great American Beer Festival competition ever.”

Well, it sucks to be Fat Head's. How does the Brewers Association go about getting the award back? Is someone knocking on a Fat Head brewer's hotel room door Sunday morning and saying, "Heeyyy. So I know you're probably hung over after all that celebrating, but I wanted to catch you before your flight. Anyway, about that Mid-Size Brewing Company award...."

Great that Boxing Bear was able to scoop up that Mid-Size Brewpub award. Their golds for Double Red and Chocolate Milk Stout were the only gold medals awarded NM breweries. La Cumbre's Siberian Silk took a bronze in the Baltic-Style Porter category. Bosque scored big again with two silvers for Bosque Lager and the almost expected to win Acequia Wet Hop. I say "almost expected" because it seems routine now, though none of these medals should be expected. And I'm guilty of thinking this way too, expecting that Marble would win for their Pilsner, which they did take a bronze for. But the competition is so fierce anymore, with 7,227 entries in 2016 (up 9% just from last year!), that no brewery should expect anything, nor should they leave feeling like they failed in some way.

Some other stuff from the week:

If you can get tickets to GABF, you should also treat yourself to the Paired event that coincides with GABF. 21 chefs paired with 21 breweries this year, with two dishes served with two beers at each booth. Mostly high-end stuff, which you'd expect when you have celebrity chefs like Marc Vetri participating. Dishes such as "wild salmon tataki, chimichurri, blistered shishito pepper, lavosh cracker" or "svizzerana beef brisket tartare, dandelion marmalade, cured egg yolk". And then you had Chicago's Haymarket Brewery along with Russell's Smokehouse, pairing beer with hot dogs and sloppy joes. Guess which table I went back to for seconds?

Star Bar held "The Curiosity Ball" in their adjacent parking lot Friday night. The curiosity was whether they were actually going to get the damn thing started, as they didn't let people in until nearly an hour after the scheduled start time (well, there was the NM contingent of BrewsBanner and friends who were even more eager than me and were in the lot waiting before someone who worked there stopped letting people wait there). Even when it got going, they were having trouble with the jockey boxes and some of the beers weren't pouring. But what they did have was great, including what may have been the best beer of the week: Other Half's Double Dry Hopped Double Mosaic Dreams.

I liked that Avery was pouring beer straight from barrels at GABF on Saturday. Their booth is always amazing, even if they are one of the breweries that staggers their pouring times. I feel like a shout out is necessary for the breweries that were pouring their rarer beers all the time at the four sessions (at least until they ran out): Dark Horse Barrel Aged Plead the Fifth, Bell's Black Note, Lost Abbey Cable Car, Goose Island BCBS and Regal Rye.
The highlight of the Saturday session was probably the Coastal Evacuation DIPA from Cape May Brewing Company. I wish I had the luxury of hitting all four sessions just so I could try the breweries without hype behind them. Let's be honest- as much as New Mexicans know the worth of the breweries here, how many of those breweries are getting national recognition to where people are lining up for them at GABF? Taos Mesa made a great IPA for the NM Challenge this year, and they were on my list of breweries to try, but in the rush to get all the big names, I passed them by. I don't expect to be able to get to all 3,800 beers on the festival floor, but I know there has to be be good beer waiting to be discovered if I went to the little known guys. Stephen Hawking did some kind of equation to prove it.

Yes, Melvin Brewing guys. You make excellent DIPAs. But it doesn't help much when I'm trying to discern the differences between Couchlock, Asterisk, and 2x4 when you say, "Yup. Hops. Lots of hops." Somehow, your beer isn't as appealing anymore.

Freshcraft has to be a claustrophobic's nightmare during GABF. During the Surly tap event especially. Can't they take over the ever-changing business next door?

I-25 from Denver where it goes down to two lanes until Colorado Springs has to be some of the most treacherous highway driving there is. I feel like I can be on autopilot most of the way home after that, but there is always some RV that everyone has to pass that all of a sudden slows down the left lane almost to a stop. It's rough enough driving home after a week of GABF without having to test my weakened reflexes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Four Peaks Hits the Rio Grande Valley

Shelf space just got a little tighter in NM markets with the addition of beers from Four Peaks Brewing out of Tempe, AZ. Considering they are our neighbor to the west, Arizona beers are not very well represented in NM. Far less than beers from our neighbors to the south, and that's with that giant wall to get over.
Four Peaks has been a mainstay in Arizona stores and beer bars for years. You may have downed their flagship Kilt Lifter Scottish Style Ale while enjoying a night among the crazy partiers on Mill Ave. near ASU. I always thought it was weird that a Scottish Ale would sell so well in a city that sits above the 100 degree mark so many days of the year, but it works. I've long been a fan of their 8th St. Pale Ale, but we won't be getting that one, at least not right away. Instead. look for Kilt Lifter, Peach Ale (yes, peaches actually do grow in AZ), and their solid Hop Knot IPA. Also, there will be a limited run of their popular seasonal Pumpkin Porter in stores and on tap, though only 8 kegs made it to the entire state.