Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Little Puppy That Lost its Way

While so caught up in my attempt to be clever in my last post, I neglected to mention the other beer that Laughing Dog Brewery has on the shelves. Sue me. You could win my LA Gear sneakers and a bag of Wasabi Funyuns.

The third of three Laughing Dog beers here in NM is Dogzilla, a Black IPA. This hybrid style seems to be the new thing in brewing (the new black, if you will), but I don't go nuts over an IPA just because it has roasty malts. Based on its merits as an IPA alone, I think Dogzilla is worth a shot, though $6.99 is steep for a 22 oz. beer that is only 6.9% ABV. If you've got the cash, head over to Jubilation and grab one. If you don't, you can get a 22 oz. Rogue Mogul Madness, on sale for $3.99, instead.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Return of Spuds McKenzie

Have no fear; Spuds is still dead. And the title has no relation to the taste of beers from the latest brewery, Laughing Dog, to bring its beers to Albuquerque. Laughing Dog is based in Ponderay, Idaho. Idaho...Spuds. Spuds...Dog. Dog...Laughing Dog Brewery, Idaho. See? And we are getting two of Laughing Dog's biggest beers: Alpha Dog Imperial IPA and The Dogfather Imperial Stout. I had Alpha Dog on New Year's Eve, as my friend Marcus picked some up from somewhere. The bitterness comes through more than anything, and the malt is barely discernable, especially considering it is a DIPA. I remember liking it, and little else that night. 8.7% ABV, $6.99 at Kelly Liquors on Wyoming. The Dogfather is one I have yet to try, but have some holding a place in the fridge for the next Stout Challenge. 11% ABV, $8.99, also at Kelly Liquors.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sierra's 30th Release Party

Bringing you information on events after they already happened is probably not the smartest idea. So if you missed out on the Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary beer tapping/food pairing at Nob Hill Bar and Grill because you didn't know about it, I'm sorry. Would it make you feel better to know that the food actually outshined the beers? You know I usually avoid mixing beer with food, buth with a menu like this, how could I resist?
melon, fig, prosciutto, manchego skewer, paired with Sierra Pale Ale
fennel pepper ahi with mango coulis, paired with Sierra Kellerweis
bison sausage on herbed flatbread w/ caramelized onions and porter-infused mustard, paired with Sierra Porter
pork shoulder w/ mole, queso fresco, and toasted quinoa, paired with Sierra Glissade
stout-infused ice cream over brownies, paired with the 30th Anniversary beer.

Aside from the 30th, all the beers are easily accessible. They are also solid beers, though it would have been nice to try Sierra's Torpedo IPA or Hopstar or something more obscure than the Porter or Glissade. The 30th Anniversary, as fellow attendee Ryan pointed out, tasted more like an Imperial Porter than a stout. Very roasty, and a little thin tasting. It hides its 9.2% ABV very well. Just what I needed after drinking full glasses of the other beers- no skimpy 5 oz. tasters last night! Good thing there was all that great food to keep me relatively coherent. The food was so good, I even ate the tuna. And I hate seafood! Thanks to Jeff Taylor of Marble fame for the hookup, and Jeff Seymour and his crew at Nob Hill Bar and Grill for putting on a wonderful event. Next time, I'll let you know about things like this in advance.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Damn Dirty Apes Arrive

Nimbus beer out of Tucson, AZ, is now being distributed in Albuquerque. Tucson is famous for being the home of Adams College, with famous alumni such as Louis, Gilbert, Wormser, Poindexter, Booger, and Lamar. Nimbus Brewery's labels all feature monkeys on them for some reason, and I don't like the way they look at me. I'm gonna sic Brian Fellows on them if they excape from their labels. So far, the only beer Nimbus has here is the Oatmeal Stout, and only at Jubilation. It is a decent 5% ABV stout, retailing for $8.99 a six-pack. For the same price, though, I think I'd go for the heartier Left Hand Fade to Black. Or the free, but downright dangerous, Nimbus Pale Ale from 2006 that I found in a box of old beer in my laundry room recently.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mojo Risin' is Shrinking

Mojo Risin', the Double IPA from Boulder Brewing, is now available in four-packs of 12 oz. bottles. This beer is the sibling of Mojo IPA, but with twice the hop addition (Centennial and a heavy dose of Amarillo) and an ABV of 10%. It was previously only available in 22 oz. bottles, and I think Jubliation is the only local store that carries the big bottles, where they are $6.99. The new four-pack, which I found at the Mountain Run Kelly Liquors, had a price tag of $9.99. I say had because when I got to the register, the beer rang up at $10.99. I called them on it and the husband and wife team got into a good ol' Korean yelling match, which ended with her grabbing a price gun and making a beeline for the Mojo Risin' display. I also wanted to tell you that they have the Blue Moon Grand Cru on sale at $7.99, down from $11.99, but who knows what the register will say?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Big or Small, I Drink 'em All

First, the big beer. And it is big, both in size and in stature. Fritz and Ken's Stout, the first of Sierra Nevada's 30th Anniversary collaboration series, is available for a short time. The beer was brewed by, and named for, the owners of Anchor Brewing (Fritz Maytag) and Sierra Nevada Brewing (Ken Grossman), two true pioneers of craft brewing. The style is an Imperial Stout that is 9.2% ABV, and is heavy on the roasted malts. This 25 oz. bottle can go home with you for $9.99. I got mine at Kelly's on Wyoming, and I haven't seen it anywhere since.

The second beer is just another repackaging job by the king of repackagers, Rogue Brewing. They are now putting their XS series of beers into 7 oz. bottles rather than the 26 oz. ceramic flip-top mammoths as in previous versions. Those ceramic bottles were too expensive, going for around $15.99 apiece, though Jubilation had 2008 XS Imperial Stouts on sale for $5.99. I went to get one, but they were all out. Instead, I get one of these 7 oz. bottles for $5.99. So Rogue cuts the size, but if you do the math, you see that the price actually goes up, from 62 cents per ounce for the big bottles to 86 cents per ounce for the new 7 oz. bottles. Since I am usually drinking by myself, it is nice to be able to have a manageable sized Imperial Stout that I can handle in one sitting, so that is the one plus to the new sized bottle.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Winter's Last Hurrah?

I hope we've seen the last of the winter weather this year, with the constant gray skies, the snow flurries, the wind, and the cold. It's hard enough to drink all this beer and wake up in the morning, but when the first thing you see upon waking is a foreboding sky, it is near impossible. Kelly Liquors on Wyoming may be our own version of Punxatawney Phil: they are predicting the end of winter, as they are selling winter beers at a drastically reduced price. If you act fast, you can get a whole case of the Samuel Adams Winter Classics Variety Pack for $12.99! The case includes four each of Boston Lager (my gateway beer to craft beer, way back when), Winter Lager (a lightish Bock beer), Coastal Wheat (this belongs in a summer variety pack, not winter), Cranberry Lambic (never tried; heard bad things; pawn it off to a sweet alcohol loving non-beer drinker), Holiday Porter (heard great things but this is one you'll never get outside of the winter variety pack), and Old Fezziwig Ale (winter warmer with cinnamon and nutmeg, another popular one that is exclusive to the variety pack). I took the time to do the calculations for you (you're welcome), and it breaks down to only $3.25 a six-pack. Drink some of these outside in the nice weather and give winter the finger.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day/ I Wasted my Whole Life This Morning

So first, let me tell you about my long night (oooohhh!). No, nothing like that, sickos. For those of you who have been following the site, you know about Dark Lord Day, the one day release party of Dark Lord Imperial Stout. To be able to buy this beer, you must first purchase a "Golden Ticket", which goes on sale online sometime on March 17. Last year it was 3:20 in the morning, and most felt the same would happen this year. So I woke up at 3, and from then until 8 this morning was alternately refreshing the webpage for info on tickets and sleeping in 15 minute increments. Finally, they make an announcement at 8 that tickets will go on sale "after work today". My precious sleep, lost forever to a night on the internet. Sounds like a typical night of porn surfing for my friend Andreas.

But a night of little sleep will not stop me from drinking a lot of beer on this St. Patrick's Day. Many people consider this holiday "amateur night", but I think many people are amateurs compared to me when it comes to drinking. I'm not about to discriminate against those people today. The question is, how do I celebrate? Do I go out to be among fellow revelers, listen to bagpipers, and avoid checkpoints? I'm afraid I may end up being that lame guy who sits at home with a beer and a mini of Bailey's. But I ain't going out like no punk bitch. If I'm doing beer, I'm doing Moylan's Ryan Sullivan Imperial Stout.Guinness and Murphy's taste like water to me anymore, so I need the 10% ABV backbone that this beer provides. I'll turn on some Irish music (cause Irish music is that easy to come by; you just "turn it on"), and I'll be recreating Riverdance thanks to the magical powers of Imperial Stout. Enjoy the holiday, everybody!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Malt Madness at Il Vicino This Month, and Every Night at my House

Damn it, I meant to write about Il Vicino's Malt Madness last week. I have been a busy boy, though. Certainly not busy updating my Facebook page, as any of you who have seen it can attest to. To the person who befriended me today and suggested I make it a fan page: 1. What is a fan page? 2. What is Facebook?

So Il Vicino's Malt Madness is a tournament of their beers, where everyday two are matched up head to head, with the one receiving the most votes moving on. For instance, Sunday's matchup had the Dark and Lusty Stout besting the Sweet Sanderine Porter, 28 to 21. You can check out the brackets if you click on the picture here in the story. Pencil in Octoberfest, Oatmeal Stout, and Rye Pale Ale in the winners' bracket. Wet Wountain and Citra Pale Ale tied; don't know how they will deal with that. Can last year's winner, Rye Pale Ale, take top honors again? My bet is on Elsa's Hop Elixir. Why waste money on a college basketball pool when you can spend that money on beer at Il Vicino?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Beware the Ides of Marble

That title doesn't make any sense, but I was feeling Caesar-ish today, so there. Maybe I'll get a haircut, or a salad.

Marble Brewery, as always, is in the news today. Whole Foods is promoting Marble beers for the whole month of March with all varieties $1 off. But on Saturday 3/13, look for the six-packs to go down to $5.99 each! Marble rep. Jeff Taylor will be conducting a tasting at the Whole Foods on Academy from 2-4. If you're lucky, you may be able to sneak in a sip between his guzzles. Thanks to local comedian Solis for the tip. You can catch him entertaining a captive audience waiting for prescriptions at Walgreens pharmacy pretty much any day of the week.

Trader Joe's has added Marble bombers to their beer selection. Right now, they have the Double IPA and the Brown Ale, and should have the Oatmeal Stout in a few weeks. The Double goes for $5.79, the Brown $3.79. Good prices, but still not as cheap as Sunflower. Sunflower has the beers for $5.49 and $3.49, respectively. Still, neither stores beat the Whole Foods sale price, $4.99 and $2.99, even more respectfully. Most respectfully wishing you a drunken weekend,
ABQ Beer Geek

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Six of One, a Half Gallon the Other

Having the distinction of being both extremely cheap and relatively poor, I am always excited to get a great deal on beer. But sometimes those great deals are a way for distributors to get rid of beer that is past its prime. Right now, Jubilation has 64 oz. growlers of Rogue's Yellow Snow IPA on sale for $7.99, down from the usual $14.99-$15.99 around town. IPAs, however, lose their character (read: turn into a malty mess) much quicker than other styles. And these growlers were all filled on Sept. 26 of 2009. Almost half a year old. Hmmm. So for once, I was torn between a bargain and maintaining the highbrow standards that keep me from buying crappy beer and the "For Maximum Value" brand of groceries at Smiths. This time around, the cheapskate in me won the battle and I am happier for it. Somehow, Yellow Snow has kept so well that you could have told me the beer was brewed yesterday and I would have believed you [I also would have believed you if you told me that alien ships were spotted floating down the Rio Grande. I've been listening to too much Coast to Coast and not reading any current events lately. I have no idea what is going on in the world, save for the world of beer]. I was also wary of the carbonation holding up because, as those of you who get growlers filled at local brewpubs know, the bubbly brew becomes more like iced tea if you don't drink the growlers soon after purchase. Again, somehow Yellow Snow keeps its integrity so you don't have to add lemon and sugar. So I declare it safe for you to buy one of these while they last at this price, and remember: mom said not to eat yellow snow, but she never told you not to drink it.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Once a Decade Beer

Just when you thought you have saved up enough money for all the beers in Deschutes' Reserve Series, they come out with another one. Jubel 2010, the latest in the series, is one of the rarer beers you will ever come across. It has only been brewed twice, ever; the first batch being brewed in 2000 and this batch ten years later. The legend has it that a man stole an entire keg of Jubelale from Deschutes back in the 90's (I don't think it was me), but abandoned it in the snow because it was too heavy. When Deschutes owner Gary Fish discovered the keg, much of the water content had frozen, leaving a super-concentrated brew. This led Fish to create first batch of an amped-up Jubelale, dubbed Super Jubel. This second version of the beer, now known as Jubel 2010, is again a heavier version of their Winter Warmer but has been aged for 13 months in Oregon Pinot Noir barrels. Jubel 2010 weighs in at 10% ABV, with 55 IBUs. As with the other beers in the Reserve series, Jubel has a "Best After" drinking date, as it is meant to get better with aging. This one has a date of 1/29/11. Great. I wait ten years for this beer and I still can't drink it. Deschutes suggests drinking one now and cellaring one for later consumption, though at $13.99 per 22 oz., I think I may stick with just one. I have heard that it is still pretty boozy tasting, so I'll let it sit for awhile. Maybe till 2020. You can come drink it with me. Put it in your Google calendar and I'll see you in ten years.

ABQ Brew Pub Opens Today

Just like the title says, ABQ Brew Pub opens to the public today (3/6). I might stop by this evening to check it out. If it's packed, I'm out, and will go back on Sunday. I'll give a review soon.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Beer That Wouldn't Go Away

Not that it's a bad thing in this case. Santa Fe Brewing may not make my favorite beers, but they do a great job with their State Pen Porter (recently rated 93 out of 100 by Draft magazine). In 2008, Santa Fe brewed and bottled 3708 State Pen Imperial Porter (10% ABV) beers in 25.3 oz. bottles as part of their 20th anniversary celebration. In 2010, 3708 bottles are still available for purchase. I'm kidding, of course, but there are still some floating around town. And Quarters on Wyoming at Montgomery has these limited edition, amped-up versions of State Pen for $6.99, down from the usual $11.99 price. I remember liking this beer even as I sweated through a glass of it when Marble had a cask fest in June heat; imagine how good it will be when it is still cold (and the sun has gone down- I don't recommend drinking it in direct sunlight). This one may not be around next winter, so pick up yours at the discounted price at Quarters.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Why Didn't Obama Appoint One of These?

Another week, another new beer comes to our fair city. And we need new beers to offset the gloom that these seemingly constant gray skies have been casting on everyone. If we are going to have to put up with Winter in New Mexico, we should at least have sunny skies...and hoppy beers. Because while we can't do anything about the weather except ski or snowboard (and I can't do that, because those things move too fast for me), we can take our pick of IPAs locally. The newest addition is Bridgeport's Hop Czar. Bridgeport claims this one to be an Imperial IPA, and maybe compared to their regular IPA, it is. You see, plain old Bridgeport IPA is a mildly bitter 5.5% IPA, pleasant enough for the masses (enough to have had a keg of it for a New Year's party one year, and you know how I attract the masses), but not something to salivate about. Hop Czar, at only 7.5% ABV, doesn't seem to have that wow factor that an "Imperial" IPA should. And though it has 87 IBUs, there is a big malt presence that keeps the hops from starring in the beer. I'm not writing this beer off, or saying you shouldn't buy it. At $7.99 for a six-pack, it is one of the better deals out there, and Bridgeport makes a good product. I just think that the "Imperial" designation is stretching a bit.