Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Four in Hand Worth Two Cans of Busch

More beer from your favorite high-end grocery store, Whole Foods. First they added Copper Bell, a low-priced lager to lure shoppers away from WalMart, if at least for that one item. Now they have a couple of "craft" beers to lure me away from the free samples: St. Cloud Belgian White and Four in Hand IPA. Though these are both private label beers made for Whole Foods, they carry a $7.99 price tag, higher than house brand beers at Trader Joe's and Costco. Are they worth the price? I haven't purchased any yet; I decided to wait until there are some singles for sale.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Craft Beer a Big Part of This Pie

I’ve been eager for Nob Hill’s Slice Parlor to open ever since I saw the sign, which promises a “Tap House” as part of the attraction. The restaurant opened quietly this weekend, but unfortunately I didn’t realize it until I had already eaten lunch at Flying Star. Slice Parlor is located almost directly across the street from the venerable Il Vicino, so it will be interesting to see how the businesses affect each other. Slice Parlor does offer the convenience of an individual slice of pizza, though they don’t offer salads or pasta as Il Vicino does. A slice of pizza goes for $3.25, with a choice of 17 toppings costing $.50 each. You can also get a whole pizza, either an 18” for $13.89 or a 12” gluten-free version for $6.89. I wanted to get a photo of the pizza, but none of the customers had food when I was there and I wasn't going to stand around waiting to see someone else's pizza.

Besides, as much as I like to try a new pizza place, the "tap house" component of Slice Parlor is what I was interested to see. The draft list consists of twelve beers, with Marble taking of a third of the taps. Three New Belgium beers along with offerings from Deschutes, Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada, and Left Hand round out the list. A draft will run you $4.50, though they have a special featuring a different draft daily for $3.50. Another special combines a slice of pizza and your choice of beer for $6.49. Slice Parlor may not be the place I’d stop into just to drink a beer, but I don’t think that is what they are going for anyway- much like bRgR, the new restaurant I wrote about the other day, Slice Parlor is a food-first establishment that offers a quality list of craft beer to complement the food. I hope future restaurants in the area follow their lead.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

bRgR oPnS iN bRqE

No, I'm not trying to channel my inner teenager with that headline. I'm trying to become more popular- I figure if bRgR, Albuquerque's newest gourmet burger/beer destination (3rd and Central), can quickly gain as many followers as it has then a little wordplay on my part will surely up my hits. But a quirky name doesn't get you far in the restaurant business if you are selling inferior food (unless that name is Lucky Boy...will never understand the popularity of that place). bRgR seems to have found the right combination, with around 20 burger concoctions from various wild and not-so-wildlife. Apart from the beef (NM grown and NM ground!), bRgR is doing lamb, bison, yakity-yak, and kangaroo...it's Australian for beef! Aside from the exotic meats, what makes this place worthy of a writeup is that bRgR has even more beeRs on tap than burgers on the menu- 32 in all. Locals make up most of the taps, with Marble, Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande, Chama River, Abbey, Santa Fe, and Isotopes all represented. There are also taps featuring pours from New Belgium, Ska, Kona, Sierra Nevada, Breckenridge, and Odell. Finally, bRgR has a line of five house beers, with an Amber, Pale Ale, Porter, IPA, and (ugh) Cider. Try them and see if you can tell who brews the beers for bRgR. Also, discuss why bRgR's website photo is of a girl holding a burger and seemingly being smacked on the ass by an imaginary assailant.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What's Next? Farm Raised Malt Liquor?

Whole Foods, purveyors of expensive organic produce and meats and the source of the joke that everyone has heard but keeps getting repeated as if it were as fresh as the produce, "My friends call Whole Foods "Whole Paycheck! Hahaha!" ", now have their own line of inexpensive Premium style beer. Copper Bell Lager and Light Lager are the latest of the Whole Foods private label beers, with Lamar. St. (made by Goose Island) being the former. Sourced from a company that owns the names of over 30 different beer brands, including Wingwalker (Albertsons) and Big Flats 1901 (Walgreens), Copper Bell is contract brewed by the Genesee Brewery out of New York. The Lager is 4.5% ABV and the Light Lager is 3.9% ABV. Both are available in 12-packs at local Whole Foods (Whole Paycheck! Hahaha!) for $7.99.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hitch a Ride on the Ale Trail

Play Lewis and Clark, or Vasco de Gama, or the town drunk who sleeps on the bus as you explore Albuquerque breweries this Saturday, June 11, as ABQ Trolley Co. presents "The Ale Trail", a Burque Brewpub Tour. Participants will be meet at Marble Brewery to start the tour and then will be driven by trolley to La Cumbre and Il Vicino breweries. At each stop there will be a brewery tour and beer samples for trolley riders. Each rider also gets a souvenir growler glass and two pint glasses at each stop. Along the way, you can test your knowledge of beer trivia. One wrong answer gets you kicked right the hell off the trolley (that isn't true, but it sure would be funny). The group will convene at 1:45 outside Marble, with the tour beginning at 2:00. The cost is $60 for drinkers, $45 for non-drinkers. To buy tickets, visit https://www.abqtrolley.com/tix/index.cfm?fuseaction=userinput2&timeid=7190

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Stout for All Seasons

Stone's Imperial Russian Stout has hit area shelves, and the timing couldn't have been better. I love drinking a 10.5% Imperial Stout with temps in the 90's, just lounging around the pool while midget hookers slather me with sunscreen. Not Stone's fault for the late release, though. The beer should have been here a month ago, but issues beyond their control held up the process. And we get two versions this year: the old standby and a new version using Belgian yeast, with additions of star anise and oak chips. Both of the 22 oz. releases retail for $6.99. Don't be afraid to wait for cooler weather to try this one out- Stone's IRS has always been one of the hoppier Imperial Stouts and is good both fresh and with age on it. Just don't fall asleep by the pool after drinking it- those hookers can't be trusted with your personal belongings.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pajarito SummerFest

If you don't have the energy to get out the old Huffy and take part in the Tour de Beer de Burque this Saturday, perhaps you'll hop in the old Volvo instead and head to Los Alamos for the Pajarito SummerFest. The fest is much more than a beer fest, with the lifts running for you hikers and mountain bikers along with live music for you dancing hippies. Getting away from that awful vision, imagine sixteen New Mexico Breweries pouring beer in one place. That's right: my mouth. I don't think I've beer to a NM fest with that many in-state breweries represented. This will be my first time going north of Bernalillo for anything other than Colorado in five years, so that's saying something.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

You Know It's a Slow Week...

When all you have to write about beer-wise is this Saturday's Tour de Beer de Burque. The event centers around a bunch of way too happy people riding bikes to five participating breweries (Hallenbrick Brewery, Marble Brewery, Il Vicino Brewery, Nexus Brewery, and La Cumbre Brewery), where they receive discounted pints. There will be "fun" contests at each stop...stuff like hula-hooping. Yeah. The entry fee is $25, or only $20 if you wear a costume. I used to always wear a costume when I rode my bike, but I got tired of my cape getting caught in the chainwheel. If you would like to be a part of this rolling sideshow, you may register at Hallenbrick Brewery on Saturday beginning at 11:45 am. The event is a fundraiser for the AIO (Americans for Indian Opportunity) Ambassador program, though I'm unclear if it is for the entire program or just to send one person on an ambassador mission. Either way, people will be having a good time, getting some exercise, and drinking beer. Can't fault them for that.