Monday, November 29, 2010

Double Black Attack

The Black IPAs have been increasing their presence on our local shelves, with Hop in the Dark, Sublimely Self-Righteous, Dogzilla, and Pitch Black having all shared cooler space. But none have been as big as the latest release in the Odell Mountain Standard Reserve series, Double Black IPA. This 9.5% beer was brewed with hops grown in Colorado, a state not known for a hop-friendly climate. The beer works, though. Odell knows their way around hoppy beers, and they don't let the roasted malts dominate. You will still taste the malt presence (the Black part of the name), of course, but the hops (Double IPA part of the seeing how this works yet?) still come through. The end result is a harmonious blend that makes Reese's jealous. This 25.4 oz. Mountain Standard Reserve release is not as pricey as previous beers in the series: $12.99 at Jubilation, $14.99 at Whole Foods on Carlisle.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I Got Lucky at Kelly's Last Night

And you can too! As long as you are 21 or older, Kelly will let you get Lucky for only $6.99. Try matching that price with the going rate on Central Avenue! Kelly Liquors on Wyoming is the first to carry the new Lucky Bastard from Stone Brewing. Lucky Bastard is a blend of Arrogant Bastard, Oak-Aged Arrogant Bastard, and Double Bastard. That's so many Bastards, even Wilt Chamberlain would be proud! The resulting beer comes out to be 8.5% ABV. Stone says this is a one-time brew, so get Lucky while you have the chance. Otherwise, you may find yourself sober and trolling Central for he/she's at 4 am.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

You Think Homeless People Have it Bad??

Well, they do. I can't compare my Thanksgiving experience with theirs. But I do have this tale of woe to share:
This year, Thanksgiving happens to fall on my little brother's birthday, so my mom took the easy way out and decided that instead of cooking, she would let him pick a restaurant for our Thanksgiving meal.
He chose Golden Corral.
Golden Corral, where the South Valley and East Mountain elite meet to eat.
So I was able to have a globetrotting meal of turkey, spring rolls, and alfredo sauce. And cotton candy for dessert. Luckily, I have a second dinner to go to later at an actual house, where the the cooks aren't required to wear hair nets. I will be armed with a growler of Marble's Dark Holiday, though that is more for the other attendants than for myself. Responsible boy has to drive home from Rio Rancho afterwards. To keep with the poultry theme, I am going to open up Santa Fe's Kickin' Chicken Bourbon Barrel Barleywine. I have heard great reviews of the beer, and what better day to judge for myself?
I hope your Thanksgiving is joyous and buffet-free this year!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

99 Barrels of Beer on the Wall

While Marble may not have that many barrel-aged beers sitting in their brewery, they do have an impressive stash. And in the past week they have started tapping these rarities as part of the Archive Release series. They started with a keg of their Reserve, which didn't stand a chance of staying full long. The 2009 Winter Warmer disappeared soon after, and there may still be a chance you can get some of the Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout that was put on tap on Sunday. With only one or two kegs of each of these styles, it is a real game of chance as to whether you are going to be able to try all of the releases. That's why I suggest camping out overnight on Marble's patio. I've see a pile of rags in the corner of the patio that may be some hippies who set up camp, waiting for the Squash Blossom Boys to perform when Marble brings back live music in the spring. If you don't have the fortitude to make a temporary home at Marble, don't lose hope: the beers are only served in 13 oz. glasses, meaning there are a possible 153 pours from an Archive Release. What will be the next beer tapped? What am I, the Amazing Kreskin? Could be a Barleywine, could be a Quad. I doubt it will be a Barrel-Aged Raspberry Wheat. Whatever is on tap is sure to make you happy.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sierra Nevada's Grand Cru Finale

Sierra Nevada has released the final beer celebrating their 30th anniversary. The series began with Fritz and Ken's Ale, an Imperial Stout. Then came Charlie, Fred, and Ken's Bock. The third installment was Jack and Ken's Ale, which is a Barleywine. In the finale of the anniversary series, we finally get a beer without Ken's name in it: Our Brewers Reserve Grand Cru. The Grand Cru is a unique 78% blend of Sierra's Pale and Celebration ales, and 22% Oak-Aged Bigfoot Barleywine. See? Blending your beers is cool! They may not be blending their beer with Miller High Life, and I don't use the percentage ratio when I blend, but who knows? Sierra and Miller could be in talks for a 31st Anniversary collaboration. $9.99 gets you the 25 oz bottle with the fancy cork and the 9.2% blend inside.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Always the First to Bring You Last Week's News

I forgot to write about Stone's Double Bastard being released in town last week. I was busy planning and brewing my own beer. Next time I'll plan not to be chilling my wort at 2:30 in the morning while drunk. Double Bastard wasn't available everywhere last week. Jubilation was the first store to get it in (maybe they won a contest that rewarded them for carrying the most Stone non-beer merchandise in town), but other stores will have it this week. I've written about it the last two years upon release, and I don't really have much different to say this time around. Check the microfiche for back issues. The only significant changes this year are a jump in price, from $6.99 to $7.99 (though as I said, this was only at Jubilation), and the alcohol has increased from 10.5% to 11.2% ABV. I doubt the extra alcohol will be noticeable, and this beer has always been drinkable whether new or aged. Got my bottle to have fresh; just have to pick some up to throw in storage with the last few years' worth. If you go out searching for this one, you should try Sunflower market first. They always seem to sell Stone's limited release beers the cheapest.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Beer at the End of the Universe

Don't worry, this isn't going to be like an edition of Nova on PBS that sounds interesting at first then puts you to sleep. This will put you to sleep right away. For some reason, I was on the west side of Albuquerque, driving along Unser Blvd. Inexplicably, the road somehow morphed into Universe Blvd., which was much more fitting a name considering the area I was driving through. Have you seen Universe Blvd. around Tierra Pintada? There's like six blocks of houses to the west, then nothing. Just black. The world ends right there. Luckily, there is a new-ish Kelly Liquors to keep your spirits up if you have to be stuck in that part of the Universe.

This Kelly Liquors is only a couple of months old and is nice and bright, with craft beers greeting you on the left side of the store as you walk in. There are three coolers of beers that are almost all dedicated to the $9.99 make your own six-pack deal; beers like New Belgium and Full Sail. Another cooler offers beers like Ska, Stone, and Rogue for a more expensive $12.99, too rich for me but this is the last beer you can get west of the Mississippi... or until you get to Route 66 Casino. But why would you want to do that?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Marble Makes its Mark

Just a quick update: The latest edition of Draft Magazine lists our very own Marble Brewery's From the Wood as one of the "Top 25 Beers of 2010"! Congratulations to Ted, Daniel, and all the people you see hard at work back there in the brewhouse!

Beer: It's What's for Dinner

When the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra throws a fundraising dinner, they know better than to call on the cheapo wine snobs!
Gather your pennies and reserve your seat for Saturday, November 20, when O'Niell's Pub in Nob Hill will host a dinner to benefit our New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. The $75 ticket gets you four courses of food and SIX courses of Odell beer! Celtic Tiger Salad, Lamb Stew, Sirloin Steak, and Chocolate Celebration cake will pair up with Odell favorites 90 Shilling, 5 Barrel Pale Ale, Easy Street Wheat, Cutthroat Porter, the seasonal Isolation Ale, and the new and highly anticipated Mountain Standard Reserve Double Black IPA! I'm thinking about dressing as a busboy just so I can sneak in and try some of that. Where's a good busboy uniform store in this town? The dinner begins at 6 pm, and Odell rep Ryan Bogart will be on hand to talk about the beers while you drink them. Sounds like you get the better end of that deal. Visit to purchase your ticket to this very worthy event. The Reader's Digest writer in me wants to end the story with, "A beer dinner to benefit the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra? Now that's music to my ears!", while the me in me tells the Reader's Digest writer, "Shut UP, idiot! JUST. SHUT. UP!!!" That's better.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The shopping center at the southeast corner of Eubank and Montgomery ranks near the top of my least visited list. I don't clean enough ton need the services of the vacuum cleaner/ sewing machine repair shop, and I'm not old enough to eat at Long John Silver's yet. But I did swing by the area today after a tip from my friend Tony Calder. Seems there's a new brewery going in next to Lucky's Lounge, another place that doesn't draw me to that shopping center. In fact, after stopping in Lucky's to inquire whether they had any info on the new brewery, I think Lucky's should be renamed "Lucky if You Make it Out Alive". Bad Ass Brewery is the name of the new place, and you can read about it at Though it seems to be a small operation, it looks like it has some potential- at least from the beer names. With beers like "Tar Baby", "European Whore", and "In the Bush", how could this place not be a success? I am waiting to hear back from the owner and will get you an update on when you can expect your first European Whore. In the meantime, get yourself some fried clam strips from Long John Silver's.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Our Special Time of Year

I don't have many holiday traditions that I keep. One of the two I'd say I stick to the most is watching one of the less traditional Christmas movie on Christmas Eve, like Bad Santa. Haven't picked one out for this year- any suggestions? The other holiday tradition I keep involves buying Anchor Brewing's Our Special Ale, drinking a couple, and putting the rest away to age. I just picked up this year's version at Whole Foods on Wyoming. I only have bottles going back to 2006, and I think it would be near impossible to collect every edition of this holiday release- the beer has been coming out since 1975, way before they even invented Christmas. The recipe changes slightly every year, and so does the label artwork. Each year a variety of tree is depicted on the label, and this year's is the Ginkgo Biloba tree. Larry King will be pleased. The beer is a Winter Warmer that goes a little light in the "warmer" category, at only 5.5%. Our Special Ale retails for $10.99. I wonder how much it went for in 1975.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I'd Say It was a Pretty Good Night

Central Waters Brewhouse Coffee Stout, Drake's Imperial Stout, Peche Mortel, Stone 2009 Imperial Russian Stout, 2009 Boulder Obovoid Imperial Stout. That wouldn't be a bad night of beer tasting. But those are the beers that didn't get opened on Saturday night at my house, where I hosted an Imperial Stout tasting.

The beers that we did try: 2008 Terrapin Coffee Oatmeal Stout, Bell's Expedition Stout, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, Victory Storm King, 2006 Avery Mephistopheles, 2009 Port Older
Viscosity, Dark Horizon #2, Allagash Fluxus, Brewdog Rip Tide, HaandBryggeriet Dark Force, Mikkeller Black #2, 2008 Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, 2008 Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, Brew Dog Tokio, DFH World Wide Stout, 2008, 2009 Port Santa's Little Helper, Ballast Point Sea Monster, 2005, 2007 Stone Imperial Russian Stout, Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout, 2008 Deschutes The Abyss, Gooose Island Night Stalker, 2009 Lost Abbey Serpent's Stout, Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee Stout, Hoppin' Frog BORIS the Crusher, 2009 Big Sky Ivan the Terrible, 2009 Great Divide Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti, 2008 Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout, 2008, 2009, 2010 Three Floyds Dark Lord, Surly Darkness. Oh, and homebrewed Imperial Maple Stout from Goat Head Brewing's Majin Garcia and Chocolate Imperial Stout from Sam Adams Longshot winner Ben Miller. Thanks to those guys and also Michael, Gabe, Mel, and Stan for bringing beers to share, and to everyone else who came and made it a great time...and ensured that I will be eating leftover brisket until next year's stout tasting!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Kool and the Gang's Favorite is Here!

Just spotted at Kelly Liquors on Wyoming: My first sighting of 2010 Sierra Nevada Celebration! Celebration is Sierra's annual Winter release, though instead of making a spicy Winter Warmer, Sierra sticks to the good ol' American IPA style. Since it's Sierra Nevada, of course you are getting your Cascade hops, along with Chinook and Centennial. 65 IBS and 6.8% ABV may not make this a Winter Warmer in style, but you'll be feeling pretty warm after a few. The beer holds up surprisingly well over time, I've found. At Mel Pearson's Christmas tasting last year, I thought the 2008 was drinking better than the 2009. But you should definitely try it fresh. The price is reasonable at $7.99.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Things are a Little Slow...

But I gotta type something, dammit! The next great American novel isn't coming from this lame-brain, so I guess I will have to go with this latest Blue Moon release: Winter Abbey Ale. Sigh. Abbey ale my ass. Throw some Belgian candy sugar in a beer and it becomes a Belgian classic, I guess. To be fair, it is a new recipe this year, and I haven't tried it yet. But it stays at the same 5.6% ABV as previous years. Coors folks say it "Conjures up images of a snowy cabin in the woods". To me, it conjures up being stuck at a crackhead motel in Bayonne, NJ during a snowstorm and this being the best choice of beers available at the ShopRite down the street. And in that situation, I wouldn't have a problem with the $7.99 price tag. I'm sure the beer would be just fine. Keep this around to wow friends who don't know better and tell them you are sharing some "Belgian Abbey Ale" with them.

Monday, November 1, 2010

There Will be no Thanksgiving

Please, do not attempt to adjust your bifocals. The photo looks the way it does because my phone is a horrible photographer. I know the cliches about Christmas coming earlier and earlier are old jokes, but listen: a local radio station has already started with the 24 hours a day of Christmas music- the day after Halloween I thought that didn't happen till the day after Thanksgiving. While I can do without that, I have no problem with the Christmastime beers coming out now. Full Sail's Wreck the Halls is available at Jubilation, and you can shop there without worrying about Christmas music being played! Wreck the Halls is a hybrid Winter Warmer/ American IPA that packs 68 IBUs, thanks to the generous amount of Centennial hops added during the brewing and dry-hopping. 6.8% ABV; retail about $5.99. Or you can turn on the radio. I think the choice is clear.