Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Person With No IQ Could Have Guessed

But if you picked up this week's Local IQ weekly paper, you may have noticed that readers have voted Marble Brewery "Best of ABQ" in the "Best Locally Brewed Beer" category. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has visited the brewpub this past year. The crowds speak volumes about the quality of the beer, and the outside seating area is a great place to hang out and drink their IPA. In fact, I'd rate it second to sitting on my couch and watching Real Housewives of New York City (I don't really! I swear...Jenn watches it and I just slam my beer until I can't see the TV anymore).

As far as the best local brewery, I'm going to say it's close between Marble and Chama River. Marble's IPA is always on tap at my house, but I think Chama does better with their excellent and inventive rotating taps (and Il Vicino beats Marble in this as well), but I like to spread my business around to all these great local breweries. We are lucky to have them.

Someone Call Susan Powter!

And stop the madness! I was looking around Kelly's on Wyoming today and noticed that the Great Divide 6-packs are all going for $10.99 now. Not long ago, you could pick up their beers for $7.99 a sixer. It doesn't really affect me, as I usually only pick up the Hercules DIPA 22 oz. when I can find it fresh, but an almost 30% increase in 6-pack prices is tough to swallow. It will be interesting to see how this affects their sales against the 7-8.99 Sierra, Odell, Deschutes, and the like.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Maybe a Tease, but Hopefully a Preview

Stone's got a new one out there folks, and by out there I mean Arizona. My friends Kelly and Daddy Eric picked up a few beers for me at Tops in Tempe this weekend, Stone's Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale being one of them. This beer is a renamed version of 2007's 11th Anniversary Ale, which proved to be so popular that it is now a year-round beer. The question is: will Albuquerque ever see it? I'm going to predict that we will get it here. Stone beers seem to have that crossover appeal here that many other craft beers don't. Beer names like Arrogant Bastard seem to help sales, and this would do well too. People could buy an Arrogant Bastard for their boss, and at the same time buy a Self-Righteous Ale for their vegan-protester-anti-everything friend.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Texas Tea and You're Welcome

Couple of goodies new in town this week. First we have Full Sail's Black Gold, a bourbon barrel aged stout from their Brewmaster's Reserve Series. This style has become very popular in the past few years, and if you like a liquor presence in your beer, you will like this one. At 10.5%, this is one to sip or share- and at $10.99 per 22 oz. bottle, splitting the cost with someone would be smart. It will mellow out over time as well, so maybe you can set it aside for a year or so, and maybe by then the friend you split the cost with will have moved to another town and the beer will be all yours!

I'm taking full credit for getting this next beer on the shelves. I left a message for Avery's Albuquerque distributor last week, asking if Maharaja Imperial IPA would be making its way into town anytime soon. Now, the guy never got back to me, but I'm sure when he heard that Abqbeergeek wanted a beer in town, he got right on it, and voila! Two days later it is in Albuquerque stores. So you are welcome, my friends. And if you like a piney IPA, you are gonna go crazy over this one. I drank it last night and had to buy two more bottles today. And this is high praise for a beer I had never cared much for in previous years. The problem is that they only release this once a year, and bottles I have had before were too old and had become overtly malty. Up until a few months ago you could find 2008's version, which was way past its prime. The 2009 is fresh as can be and though it is $7.99, you are missing out if you don't get some now!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It's OK- Your Mom Would Approve

We were all told by our parents not to eat yellow snow, but you won't get punished for ingesting Rogue's Yellow Snow IPA (unless you are under 21, in which case you shouldn't even be here. I'm a bad influence.). This beer has been in town since January but for some reason I never wrote about it. Sorry. If you want up-to-date beer news, read the Albuquerque Journal.

Yellow Snow is an IPA that features more bittering than floral hops, leaving a nice biting aftertaste. The name has been used before by Rogue, years back when their Juniper Pale Ale went under the Yellow Snow moniker. The beer is available around town in 22 oz. bottles for $5.99-$6.99.

Monday, March 16, 2009

St. Patrick's Day

It's a given that you are celebrating St. Patrick's Day, right? No self-respecting beer geek would let a day where you are actually expected to drink pass by without a drop, right? I have a few suggestions, depending on the way you'd like to honor St. Patrick, who, of course, is honored because...umm...he got that malfunctioning tap to work at that keg party back in the day.

Traditional: Straight Irish is the way I used to go when I was into lighter offerings, and this may be what you are after. Beers like Harp and Smtihwicks. Stoutier beers like Murphy's, Beamish, and Guinness. If you go this route, why not do a mix of those three, and then go beat on some British soccer fans. Or any soccer fans.

American Style: Looking for Irish-style but want to get a little more backbone in your beer? I will be drinking Moylan's Dragoon's Irish Stout (pictured). They also make a Celts Golden if you want to stay away from stouts. Another lighter Amer-Irish choice is Kells Irish Lager from Rogue. Avery's Out of Bounds Stout is a dry Irish style stout that is an easy drinker. Or you could go for the Classic Shakespeare Stout from Rogue, or if you want local, Tractor's Oatmeal Stout (or Steamworks Backside Stout if nearly local is close enough). But may I suggest the winner of our stout challenge this past November, Sleeping Dog from Chama River!

Blackout Time!: You want to go for broke and make this a St. Patrick's Day to forget? Then pick up Ten Fidy Imperial Stout (10%) from Oskar Blues, Oak-Aged Yeti (9.5%) from Great Divide, or Avery's Mephistopheles Stout (16%!!!).

Whatever you choose, be safe out there. This holiday can bring out the real amateur drinkers!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Save it for Octoberfest!

Don't know what you are drinking for St. Patrick's Day yet? I can tell you this: if you are planning on drinking a stout, stay away from Samuel Adams Imperial Stout. It has a sweetness that just doesn't belong there; in fact, if given one and told it was a double bock, I would think it was good for the style. I'll be back tomorrow with some suggestions for getting your shamrocks off.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

You People are Getting Spoiled!

And don't start acting like those little shits on My Super Sweet 16, either! Just be happy that there are some great beers in town right now, and don't make fun of those poor Mississippi kids who can't get any good stuff!

Starting off, we have the Sam Adams Imperial Stout, part of their new Imperial Series of beers that are released in 4-packs. The stout is 9.2% and costs $9.99. The other available beers in the series are Imperial White (10.3%), and Double Bock (9.5%, reformulated from the old 8.8% version, but with two less bottles and a higher price tag). I decided on the stout because I want to try it while the weather is still relatively chilly. The White will probably be a nice warmer weather beer, and I am just mad about the redo on the Double Bock, as it was great the way it was.

Here's a shocker- a Goose Island sighting in New Mexico! While they private label beers for Whole Foods (Lamar St. Pale Ale) and Trader Joe's (Trinity Irish Red, Black Toad, Stockyard Oatmeal Stout), never before have we been able to get something they will take credit for. And this is probably their biggest hitter of their lineup: Bourbon County Stout. I have been sitting on a bottle for about six months because I hear the bourbon is still overly prevalent and I want to give it awhile to mellow out. I probably won't be buying any to try fresh either, because this 13% beer carries a $17.99 price tag for four beers. The beer is kind of legendary in beer circles so it may be worth the cost.

You say you want those taste buds destroyed? No problem! Have yourself a Hopsickle, the incredibly bitter DIPA (but labeled triple hoppy, so some call it a Triple IPA) from Moylan's Brewing. This former DIPA Gold winner at the Great American Beer Fest was one of the beers I used to travel almost specifically for, but now it is our own backyard (or will be, once I throw the empty bottle there later). Though $8.99 for a 22 oz. bottle may seem out of hand, once in awhile you should experience this beer.

All are available at Jubilation right this second!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Is This New Red Extra Special Too?

Every beer is special, right? Odell Brewing decided to no longer make the Extra Special Red Ale (or any other beer in the Single Barrel series), but that doesn't mean that their newly released "Red Ale" can't be extra special in its own way. This beer is 6.5%, and claims to use "a variety of aggressive American hops" in the brew. Sounds promising, though you can never be too sure with red ales. Sometimes they are total malt bombs that are unappetizing, but the recent trend in reds is to give them more of a hop bite. See what you think about this one, which I've seen at both Kelly's and Jubilation.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Trader Joe's Does it Again

Trader Joe's, home of the recession-buster Simpler Times Lager $3.99 six-pack, introduces Mission St. IPA. The IPA is the third beer in the Mission St. series, joining the Blonde Ale and Pale Ale (Gold medal winner at the 2008 Great American Beer Fest). Here's a reason to get excited about this beer: Mission St. is actually Firestone Walker Brewing, maker of Union Jack IPA, which also won gold at the GABF. These guys know what they're doing! Another reason to get excited: since the beer is made just for Trader Joe's, it retails for a Trader Joe's price- $5.99 a six-pack. That's the cheapest IPA out there right now, and it worth a shot given its pedigree!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I've Got Friends in High Places

Well, more like high elevations. My friend Marcus was snowboarding at Purgatory this weekend (base elevation 8793 ft.), and while in Durango he picked up SKA Brewing's latest, Modus Hoperandi IPA, and was kind enough to bring some back for me. Surprisingly, he didn't bring back any dislocations or broken bones this time. The beer, which is both bottled and canned, was released only two weeks ago in Colorado. I talked to Melissa, head of distributing for SKA, and she told me that they indeed plan to get this beer to Albuquerque, the only holdup being their Albuquerque distributor (Bacchus). So while this may be a bit of a tease right now, you can look forward to this beer on local shelves in a month or so!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Seriously Muddled, but Seriously Good

Mad River introduces a new beer that further blurs the line between beer styles with their Serious Madness Winter release. They label it as a "black ale", but you shouldn't put it in the same category as New Belgium's 1554 Black Ale. This one has 75 IBUs of hop power to back up the roasted malts, and though the combination is strange, it somehow works. My initial thought was that it tasted like a brown ale, then a stout, then an IPA. I still have a couple left to make my final call on the style, but I do think this is a winner. They have joined in the annoying trend of releasing this beer in 4-packs, which at $9.99 makes for an expensive purchase, but the beer is 8.6% and is a limited release. I have only seen it at Whole Foods, but other stores should get it soon. They better get it out soon, as their Winter release is competing with Spring releases from other breweries!