Thursday, September 30, 2010

Who Doesn't love BP?

No, no, I'm not talking about the big, bad oil company that is hated by environmentalists and Louisiananians (it will be in Webster's next edition). Can I say that at least we got a special beer out of the tragic spill (Save Our Shore from Abita)?
The BP I am taking about is Ballast Point, the San Diego area brewery that makes such hoppy gems as Sculpin and Double Dorado. Don't get too excited; we aren't getting any of those. But thanks to Stone's latest collaboration, San Diego County Session Ale, done along with homebrewer Kelsey McNair and Ballast Point, we finally get a taste of some BP. The beer is a hoppy American Pale Ale that, at 4.2% ABV, truly is a session ale. Though I love that there is actually a lower alcohol beer that tastes like a good craft beer should, the beer retails at $2.99 per 12 oz. bottle. That keeps it from being the session ale I can have a case of in my fridge at all times. It sure would go down better than that Extra Gold that looks at me every time I open the refrigerator door, though. Kelly Liquor at Mountain Run has plenty of the beer. EDIT: drinking the beer now. I figured out what it tastes like when it warms up: an IPA at the NM IPA challenge on my third or fourth go-round while deciding the winner. Not too bad for a 4.2% Pale Ale. If only they sold this in six-packs at a reasonable price- I'd swear off High Life forever!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Having Some Friends From Back East for Dinner

And if I'm not careful, these friends may be breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next few days. As you can see from the photo, I didn't go along with my original idea of only bringing back pumpkin beers, though five isn't too bad, I guess. I couldn't pass up a couple of Ballast Point Sculpins, even with the $12.75 price tag. And I had to buy the 18.2% ABV BrewDog Tokio Imperial and Weyerbacher Fifteen smoked stouts for my eventual stout challenge. Not to mention the beers I had to drink while away because I didn't have room to bring them all home: Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Wild Belgian IPA, Smuttynose Big A DIPA, Harpoon Leviathan DIPA, and Weyerbacher Double Simcoe DIPA. Even though I lessened the bottle count by drinking those, I was worried my bag would go over the airline's 50 pound weight limit. I was even willing to pay the fee for overweight baggage, but it came in at 42 pounds. Should have packed a few more beers in there! I will try to pick back up on Albuquerque beer news tomorrow.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hotel, Motel...

Holiday Inn! Sorry to be so lax with the updates, but I am in Philadelphia for a funeral of a relative who deserved to live a heck of a lot longer than she did. But let's talk about hotel bars- usually a black hole of taps where you might only find the usual macros along with perhaps Bass, Guinness, and Blue Moon. But the Holiday Inn I am staying in has local beers from Yards, Victory, Stoudts, and Flying Fish. They also have a bottle selection that Troegs, Founders, Bell's, and lots of Dogfish Head. Just look at their beer coolers- looks like a beer store rather than a hotel bar. So while there isn't much of a silver lining to being here, at least I get to try some good beers. So I've got that going for me...which is nice.

Also get a nice view of the stadium that is the home of the 2007, 2008, 2009, and, as of tonight, the 2010 NL East Division champion Philadelphia Phillies. It was cool drinking local beers at the hotel bar and watching the Phils clinch the division with loyal fans. Hopefully there will be a point where you can visit any city and get the local beers from that city on tap. And hopefully my hotel bar will take my advice and stop serving every draft in a frozen pint glass. Kills the taste of the beer. I will try to get some more updates going soon.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Look Mom, I'm a Brewer!

Since I am too impatient to wait for the local breweries to release their big pumpkin beers, I decided to do a little experiment to see if I could come up with something a little bolder than the pumpkiny but light-bodied beers out now. First, go to Marble and get a growler filled with their fantastic Imperial Red. Now, get yourself one of the pumpkin beers popping up around town. Note: Neither of the pumpkin beers pictured were harmed during this experiment. Instead, I used the Uinta Punk'n, which you can find in Albuquerque beer stores. Mix approximately two-thirds of your glass with the pumpkin beer along with one-third Marble Imperial Red. Stir. Drink. Repeat. Get crazy: line the rim of the glass with cinnamon sugar, snort some nutmeg, then forget about the glass and just chug the growler of Red. Get wasted and throw pumpkins at passing cars. Being a brewer is fun!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

You Wanted More Cliche? Coronado Makes Splash with Mermaid's Red

Gotta give a little love to the Tom Hanks/Daryl Hannah classic. What other movie could you hear John Candy say, "Hey baby, I've got a 12-inch penis!" in Swedish, no less! Ok, I should have said what movie before we had the internet. But though Coronado Brewing has no relation to the movie, they have Mermaid's Red (along with Orange Avenue Wit and Islander IPA) on Albuquerque shelves now. All three styles retail for $9.99 a six-pack, with the Islander being the only one I have tried. For the price, I thought there could have been a little more to this IPA, especially considering how great their Idiot DIPA is. It's a solid 7% ABV, though it used to be 7.5%. I wonder how they changed their recipe. I emailed them once and received no response, so I won't bother again. The Red is a hopped up Red, which I'll never complain about, and the Orange Avenue Wit is made with orange peel and orange blossom honey. Sounds good, but I just want to try one bottle. That's why I love the make your own six-pack deals, because (at least at the Kelly Liquor at Mountain Run) you can buy just one of the single beers on the shelves without being forced to pick six.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Will Fall Bring Smashing Pumpkins (Or Just Cliched Headlines)?

Or will the barrage of pumpkin beers available be the usual group of less than stellar cinnamon water? I tried one of the pumpkin flavored beers last night: Punk'n, from the Four + Brewery (division of Uinta) of SLC, UT. This one is $7.99, and a very mild 4% ABV. It is also on the mild side flavor-wise. Not to say that is necessarily bad; I know plenty of people who don't like a heavily spiced pumpkin beer. These people may also go for the Harvest Moon, Jack's Pumpkin Spice, and Buffalo Bill's pumpkin beers that are out now (all the local Kelly Liquor stores carry these). I prefer the strong pumpkin flavored beers myself, so am eagerly awaiting the releases from Marble and Chama River. If you happen to be out of state and come across any of these pumpkin beers, be sure to pick some up (and send me some too, please!): Dogfish Head Punkin', Four Peaks Pumpkin Porter, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin, Southern Tier Pumpking, and Hoppin' Frog Frog's Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale (GABF Gold medal winner this year).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ready for Another Fest?

Surprisingly, I think I could handle one. Must be the healing powers of Milwaukee's Best Light.
The Pajarito Mountain Ullrfest happens this Saturday, Sept. 25th. You can take part in physical activities like hiking the mountain or zooming down it on your mountain bike (lifts will be running from 9-3), or you can dance around to the Nawlins stylings of the Gumbo Project (playing from 1-5). You can dress as a viking (or Ullr- that's what the "Ullr" in Ullerfest stands for) for the best viking costume contest. Or you can dress as a viking just to dance around for four hours. But you know where you'd find me: On the deck where, from 12-5, just $7 gets you tastings from six NM breweries, including Santa Fe, Second St, Abbey, Sierra Blanca, Marble and Blue Corn. You also get a keepsake glass and a full pint of the beer of your choice. Free transit from Atomic City Transit will be available, with bus service from Los Alamos High School from 9-5. I have a wedding to attend (with a keg of Marble Red, I hear), or else I would be there!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Unleash the Beast on a Budget

If you like to drink the stuff beasts are made of, or if you just stayed at the Marriott and would like to save a few dollars, get over to Kelly Liquors on Wyoming and pick up a 30-pack of "distressed" Milwaukee's Best Light or Ice for only $12.99!!! Did I pick some up? Well... a "partial detox" of light beer after all those high-gravity beers at GABF isn't a bad thing!

GABF Update

Since I'm writing a big piece on GABF for the Alibi, I am going to just put a slideshow up on the website later today. EDIT: It's there now! You'll find it on the right-hand column by the other slideshows. Just click on it to go to the web album with the larger pics. You can read all about the GABF and other beer stuff in the upcoming Alibi beer issue in a couple weeks. Hope you enjoy the pics!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blame Marriott, Not Me!

Those of you who follow the site regularly know that I will go a couple of days now and then without posting. That is usually due to a combination of laziness/lack of news, but I have a legitimate excuse this time. I'm just not going to pay $15 a day for internet when a "lower-budget" hotel charges nothing for internet. I pay $50 to stay at Super 8, which doesn't have the indoor pool and hot tub and steam room and dry sauna and great bar and Starbucks and all, but internet is free. As well as parking. I stay at Marriott for three nights and get a bill for $697. That would have been on its way to $800, had I paid for internet. So, I'm sorry that I've been away for so long, but Marriott can only make me make it rain for so much.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Slight Change of Plans...

Ok, so you know that I planned the first leg of the trip to culminate in a visit to Trinity Brewpub in Colorado Springs, where they serve ten or so of their own beers, and another twenty or more guest taps. And big guest taps, Like Avery Maharaja DIPA and Port Brewing 4th Anniversary, among others. But idiot boy didn't think to check what time they closed. you see, we couldn't get on the road till 5 o'clock, as some people have to work (some people not being me). We weren't estimated to make it to Colorado Springs till 10 or so. But when I checked the hours of Trinity, I found they close at NINE on Tuesday! NINE! We decided to find a liquor store on the way that would have craft beer without much hope...we found HERCULES!

Hercules Liquor (112 Broadway Ave, Pueblo, CO), is owner Mike Wells' (pictured) little gem of a store that we came upon when we needed it most. He stocks a nice selection of Russian River beers like Consecration, Supplication, and Damnation, along with Port Older Viscosity and other beers you can't get in Albuquerque. He also has coolers full of craft beer. Oh- and his store is also the closest place to the ABQ where you can get Dogfish Head and Victory beer. In fact, we walked out with a six-pack of Victory Hop Devil and a couple Bombers of Lagunitas Hop Stoopid. You may just want to make a day trip there for your share of those hard to find out of town beers.

So, instead of spending the evening at a local Colorado Springs brewpub as planned (NINE?? Do they have old folks lined up for an early bird special dinner too?), this is our hangout tonight- the Super 8. It's entirely tolerable, too, thanks to Hercules Liquor and the pizza place that delivers till 2 am. And we get three HBO channels. This is living!

On the Road to GABF!!!

The first stop on our journey brings us to picturesque Colorado Springs. Sure, we could have left on Wednesday and done the drive to Denver in one shot, but this gives us a chance to check out Trinity Brewpub. I booked the closest hotel I could find to Trinity, and I'm sure that the Super 8 will live up to its name! Look, it's cheap. You know how much I'm going to be paying at the Marriott in Denver??? And why do nice hotels always charge for internet? I bet it will be free- AND free HBO.
I don't know how much I will be posting this week. I think I may just put up pictures each day, but we will see. Keep checking back!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Who Ordered Extra Crispy?

Well sorry, but all you get is burnt. Saturday promised to be a sunny day with little shade at Marble brewery's annual all day party that is Septemberfest. But in my haste to get in and start the drinking, I neglected to put on any sunscreen. There would have been no haste had I had my way, but when you make plans to go somewhere with a girl, your first plan better be to wait. And wait. So even though I watched her apply sunscreen after we parked at Septemberfest, I was so anxious that I turned down her offer of SPF 45. And, as you can see in the picture, my imagination that had the line to get in reaching around the block was more than a little off, and we were able to get right in.

It didn't take long for the place to start filling up, though. Nor did it take long to start filling up my belly with beer. Marble handed out handy checklists naming what each brewery was pouring and space for comments about each, but I don't have the patience for that. I'm pretty good about remembering the beers I've tried and my thoughts on them. Another of my worthless talents, but it comes in handy at beer fests.


Not that I can remember everything in order. I didn't move down the lane; rather, I popped back and forth to the shortest lines. I know I started with Blue Corn's Atomic Blonde Lager and Lokalweizen, both excellent beers for drinking on a warm day. Had I stuck with just those beers, I may be in better shape today. But I had to jump right into the deep end and drink Marble's barrel aged Quad (11% ABV) and Imperial Stout (10% ABV). I never looked back from there. Santa Fe Happy Camper, Turtle Mountain Hybrid IPA, Second St. Simcoe Pale...I think I did em all. Feels like it, at least. I have to give Tractor Brewery the award for best treatment of the customers: They rinsed your glass for you, then rolled it in ice to cool it off before pouring. That may not actually affect the taste of a beer, but it sure was a nice touch. Kind of like fancy restaurants serving salads on chilled plates with chilled forks. Not that I would know about that. The fanciest salads I ever get start with the word Souper.

My second coveted award, for best overall beers of the day, go to the man pictured pouring his beer here: Majin Garcia. Majin is one of the owners and also the brewmaster of the soon to be open Goat Head Brewery (lots coming on that soon!), and he brewed his guest beers to be poured at the Hallenbrick tent. Along with Marble's Whole Lotta Wood Quad and Second Street's Cream Stout, the Black Bear IPA was one I overheard people praising the most. But the Green Zia IPA took top honors for me- top honors meaning the one I went back for again and again and again. And at 7.8%, Green Zia may be the main reason I go for the ibuprofen today, again and again and again. Occupational hazards. Maybe I should work for a brewery. That way, I could use a hangover as a reason to collect workman's comp.

Another year, another sold out, sun-soaked Saturday in which Albuquerque gathered for a fun day of enjoying great beer and great people. I take full credit for the sell out, of course. If I didn't write about it, it probably would have been just me, Miss "I can't be on time", and my red leather forehead. So you're welcome for the tip about this little known fest, and it was great drinking with all of you. I learned from my new Kiwi friend the best ways to insult Aussies and the Irish, which always comes in handy. And I learned that sunscreen is best applied before standing in direct sunlight for two hours, but thanks to Ted at Marble, who supplied me with sunscreen later in the day. I'd hate to see myself without that late application. Time to go- gotta put on that Speedo and go sunbathe!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Beg your pardon, Gubna!

Many months have passed since Oskar Blues introduced their Gubna Imperial IPA to the public. We in Albuquerque, also known as the Southwest's stepchild, have had to do without. And not that we have suffered, but I could have driven to Colorado and back for this beer approximately 360 times since its initial release. I had a friend bring me some from California way back in March...show us some love, good neighbor Colorado breweries! Gubna showed up at the wrong time too. I am trying to find money to pay for my hotel during the upcoming Great American Beer Festival trip, where Motel Sleaze chains are charging Four Seasons prices. A four-pack of 12 oz. cans of Gubna will set you back $14.99 at the Kelly Liquors at Mountain Run (the first place I have spotted it in Abq.). I enjoyed this beer very much when I had it in March, but I couldn't bring myself to spend that much tonight. I have to instead daydream about the 10% ABV, 100 IBU beer brewed exclusively with Summit hops. A single-hop DIPA is relatively unusual in itself, and matched with the use of dark Munich and rye malts, the recipe sounds even more strange. But it works, and works in a big way. The guys at Oskar Blues love their hoppy beers, and Gubna will not disappoint.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hopfest Tickets at Reduced Price!

If you are among the uncool minority who still haven't purchased a ticket for this year's Albuquerque Hopfest, DON'T buy one! At least, don't buy one till this Saturday, where at Marble's Septemberfest, general admission tickets will sell for $25.00- a savings of $8.43 off the regular online price! And if you consider the words "general admission" akin to people who buy Shasta or Big K soda instead of Coke and Pepsi, Hopfest has a VIP section for beautiful people like yourself. However, event coordinator extraordinaire Marne Gaston tells me that 87% of these VIP tickets are already sold, so if you don't want to get stuck in a crowd of bus stop refugees, visit www.Albuquerquehopfest.com and get that golden ticket!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Only Idiot That Doesn't Annoy Me

Bring on the California invasion! Coronado Brewing Company, just outside of Dan Diego, has started distributing here in Albuquerque. So far there is only one beer to choose from, but it is their finest effort, in my valuable opinion: Idiot IPA, actually a Double IPA
at 8.5% ABV, is a wonderfully hopped beer (with Chinook, Cascade, Columbus, and Centennial) that is only mildly tempered by the caramel malt. It's hard to temper a beer that uses over three pounds of hops per barrel, after all. I've only seen this one at Kelly Liquors on Wyoming thus far, and it retails for $6.99 a 22 oz. bottle. Bring on more Californians...uhhh...beers only, please!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Full Sail Sanctuary Much for Buying This

The latest in Full Sail's Brewmaster's Reserve Series, Sanctuary, is now hitting our stores. Sanctuary is a Belgian Dubbel style beer that is 7% ABV and 20 IBUs. Sounds like Dubbel specs to me. This beer, like all the Reserve beers from Full Sail, is very reasonably priced at $3.99 for a 22 oz. bottle. I'm sorry I don't like the Dubbels very much, but it doesn't mean you aren't cool if you drink them. I still respect you. Kelly Liquors at Mountain Run has this in stock right now.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Septemberfest!

I'm gonna write a larger story about this in next week's Alibi (reserve your copy today!), but I figured you must be tired of coming to the site and seeing the same "Singles Scene Hits Mountain Run" headline. I am too. So let's talk about the best beer party of the year: Marble's Septemberfest. Saturday, September 11, from 12-6, come out and enjoy as many 1 oz. samples as you can drink from 12 statewide breweries. The $20 fee includes all those samples as well as a commemorative pint glass that you are guaranteed to drunkenly leave on a random table. But first, make sure you get the glass filled with the beer of your choice, as that is included in the admission price! And if you buy your ticket in advance at Marble Brewery, you get a free pint- the beers just keep on coming! Also included is musical performances by Le Chat Lunatique (I had to restrain myself from slapping my face just for typing that name- nothing against the band itself, but I cringe at the thought of them sitting around trying to think of a name for themselves: "Hey, how about Le Chat Lunatique! Can I get a Oui! Oui!), and The Porter Draw (which sounds beery, so I have nothing bad to say). The kitchen crew from Chama River will be on hand, so take advantage of that and fill your stomach- those one oz. samples can add up pretty fast!