Friday, September 23, 2011

Il Vicino Prepares for Battle

Engage your taste buds in a little kumite on Saturday as Il Vicino unleashes Hop Kwon Do, a lupulin assault with four different IPAs on tap that are sure to get your Yang up. The standard Wet Mountain will of course be on tap, as well as the NM IPA Challenge winner Exodus. Making its loonggg awaited return will be Elsa's Hop Elixir DIPA, and a new IPA featuring the Galaxy hop will be on as well. I had a chance to just smell the Galaxy hops at Il Vicino when they came in, and am very excited to try the beer. I was ready to order a glass of just the hops with a water chaser but was advised to wait until they were used to make an actual beer. No matter which IPA you choose, you're sure to feel the power of The GLOW. I sleep in on Saturdays, so make sure you leave some IPA for me, ok? Don't make me sweep the leg.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Beers to Make You a Hoppy Boy

The female imbibers should not take that headline as a sexist comment- Hoppy Boy is one of the beers brewed by Twisted Pine, the newest brewery to be distributed in Albuquerque. Hailing from Boulder, CO, Twisted Pine is only distributed in six states. Their lineup that I have seen here thus far includes the aforementioned Hoppy Boy, a 6.2% ABV IPA; Billy's Chilies (confused whether to spell it chili or chile? Use both!), brewed with habanero, Anaheim, Fresno, serrano, and jalapeno peppers; Big Shot Espresso Stout, and one of their latest releases: Bough Breaker Barleywine, 9.1% ABV and 120 IBUs. The only store I have seen these in as of Wednesday night, Sept. 21, is the Bird of Paradise liquor store on Gibson. The Hoppy Boy is retailing at $10.99 a six-pack. The Chile beer is $9.99 a four-pack, which at first seems a little pricy, though there aren't many Chile beers to price-compare to. Rio Grande Pancho Verde Chile Cerveza is around for $6.99 and up per six-pack. Rouge Chipotle Ale is, not surprisingly, the hardest on the wallet of the locally available chile beers at $5-6.99 per bomber. I'm sure you'll be seeing Twisted Pine available all around the city soon, so try them out and see what you think.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Summer

Not going to Telluride for Blues and Brews? Skipping the Great American Beer Fest? Boycotting Colorado fests in general? Take that money you saved and head up to Pajarito Mountain in Los Alamos on Saturday, Sept. 24th for the annual Ullrfest. The fest celebrates the end of the wonderful days and nights where you can stroll the streets without near-zero temperatures and freezing wind chilling you to your core. The end of my favorite time of year is celebrated because I guess skiers and snowboarders need that kind of crappy weather to create the right conditions (i.e.: snow), but I don't have to like it. I do like the Ullrfest and its $10 admission fee, which entitles you to numerous samplings from 10 of New Mexico's finest breweries as well as a pint of your choice. Additional pints may be purchased for $4. The fest will go from noon-5, with many other outdoor activities coinciding with the fest. There will be a disc golf tournament, and the lifts will be open for you mountain bikers and people who like to go sledding on grass.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Roll Up For The Magical Brewery Tour

Those of you who frequent Marble Brewery can't help but know Grateful Dave, or as he is now known since cutting off all his hair, Corporate Dave. Good news: you are free to sit on the Marble patio this Saturday without fear of Corporate Dave accosting you with offers of sharing the cheese and crackers he has been carrying around in his fannypack. Dave is organizing a bicycle brewery cruise on Saturday beginning at Tractor's tap room at 2 pm. From there, expect a leisurely cruise along the diversion trail to Hallenbrick, Nexus, La Cumbre, Il Vicino, and finally ending at Marble Brewery. There is no real incentive for doing this ride- no discounts at breweries or free t-shirts or anything like that- but then again you aren't getting charged to ride your bike in a group. And for some reason, people really like to be part of a group. So if you just weren't good enough to make it into that fraternity or sorority, or even to college in general, then you'll fit right in with Corporate Dave's Army of Miscreants. Feel free to bring snacks, though I'm sure Dave will be prepared with plenty of rations from Trader Joe's dumpster.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Late for the Trolley, Early for the Train

ABQ Trolley had such a good response to the first Ale Trail trolley tour that they are doing another this Saturday, Sept. 17. I planned on writing about it sooner, like when they still had tickets available. They already sold out, so writing about it is kind of pointless now. But for the future, check out for the next scheduled Ale Trail tour. For the price you get lots of free samples and glasses and you can wave at cars passing by like you're a tourist. Whaddya mean "red or green"? What the hell is that?

Beer and cheese. The finer things in life brought together by the Santa Fe Southern Railway, which will host a beer and cheese train ride on Oct. 16. For $30 ($23 for NM residents, free for illegal immigrants...I kid) you get cheeses from local providers The Old Windmill Dairy and South Mountain Dairy along with beers from Santa Fe and Blue Corn. Enjoy the ride to the Galisteo Basin in one of the vintage cars and marvel at why anyone would want to live in Santa Fe. The chicken burrito from El Parasol is great but come on- have you seen the construction on Cerrillos Rd.? Forget that! I'll stick to the train where someone else is driving and I get good local beers and cheeses on the way. There is also a wine train on Oct. 2 for those who haven't figured out that beer is classier now that so many have corks. You can find out more about the historic trains by going to I didn't see a place to buy tickets for the beer train so you should call 1-888-989-8600 for ordering info.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pumpkin Beers are Very Gourd

"I am just LOVING this weather!", so says every person I see. Ugh. Yeah, it's nice to get a break from 100+ degree days, but before you know it every day is freezing and you're dreading leaving the house because your car doesn't warm up till you're a minute away from where you're going.
At least we've got the seasonal pumpkin beers for the 5 second transition between summer and winter. Though looking at what we get compared to the rest of the country, ours are some sad choices. Of the three pictured, I have yet to try the Wasatch version, but that is because I don't want to pay $8.99 for a very Utah-like 4% ABV beer. The Uinta Punk'n and Buffalo Bill Pumpkin (the originator of the style) are fine, but I will be holding out for the locals. Il Vicino's version. Chama's Sleepy Hollow. Marble's brand new Belgo Pumpkin! None are out yet, so don't go asking just yet. But when you find yourself deciding between shelf brand Pumpkins and the local breweries takes on the style, the locals blow the nationals away.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Deschutes' The Stoic on Shelves

Deschutes' latest release in their Reserve Series, The Stoic, is now available here in Albuquerque. I was kind of surprised we were getting this one due to the hype surrounding it; thought it might just pass us by, like The Dissident. The beer is described by Deschutes as being of "stirring depth and complexity". Oh, like Ice Age 2. And 3. And 4. And the first one, and any animated/CGI movie that has the animals singing pop and rap hits.
The Stoic certainly sounds interesting: A Belgian Quad style, brewed with pomegranates and aged in both rye whiskey and wine barrels before being wax-sealed and shipped out to us. It ends up at 11% ABV, though from what I heard you shouldn't think of it being a true Quad-style beer when you drink this one. However, you should think of it kindly, as it is sensitive to criticism. Jubilation has this one now for $13.99.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Labor Day Libations

Lots of bargains available at Kelly Liquors on Wyoming this Labor Day. First up, we have Full Sail (in honor of all of you readers spending Labor Day on your yachts...but then, yachts don't have sails, do they?). Full Sail's IPA and Amber are selling for $9.99 per 12-pack, a reasonable deal for perfectly drinkable beers. These middle of the road beers not doing it for you on this celebration of your great job that you never mind waking up for?

Ok. Moving up in the hop world you have your Coronado Mermaid Red and Islander IPA. Personally, I'd like to see the Idiot DIPA at a reduced price, as the latest batch I've come across is from 3/2/2011. Six months old DIPAs aren't worth my $6.99, but I'd be happy to buy 3 for $10, as the Mermaid and Islander are selling for.

You say you want to spend your Tuesday back at work in a hungover haze? I can't say I blame you, and I have just the high-alcohol beer for your holiday that will leave you money to buy something better than Flanders burgers for your holiday cookout. Great Divide Old Ruffian Barleywine, a beer from a brewery that no longer distributes to New Mexico. These 10.2% ABV beers are from late 2009, but we all love our Barleywines with some age on them. At a 3 for $10 price tag, you can't afford to crawl to your cubicle without having downed a beer that was brewed back in the economic boom times of 2009? Old Ruffian also makes a great marinade for your Flanders burgers.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Get Your Kick on Route 66

...or at least closeto Route 66. I don't think any of the Circle Ks or 7-11s along Central Ave. are stocking Kick, the collaboration between New Belgium and Elysian Brewery's pumpkin beer master, Dick Cantwell. Don't think of Kick as your everyday Pumpkin beer that tastes like the pie- well, if you do, think of it as the pie my mom made one Thanksgiving where she forgot one key ingredient- SUGAR. Really. Kick has the New Belgium twist of being a sour-style pumpkin beer made with cranberries and blended with barrel-aged ale. The result is an 8.5% ABV mashup of flavor that is unlike any "pumpkin" style beer you've ever tasted...unless you've had my mom's pumpkin pie.