Friday, December 21, 2012

Reserve Tapping Today

Just a heads up for those of you who hadn't already heard- Marble Brewery will be releasing the 2013 Reserve Ale (aged in bourbon barrels) at 4 today to members of their mug club and at 6 to non-members. Bottles will also be sold today for $12. If barrel-aged strong ales aren't your thing, Marble will also be tapping Daisy Mae, a Farmhouse Ale with brettanomyces.
It was weird being in Costco the other day (actually, horrible being in Costco) but weird seeing Marble Imperial Stout bottles sold there alongside the 3 liter bottles of Dewars. And now you can find Marble along with the Kroger products, as Marble is being sold in area Smiths stores.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mistletoe Beers

These aren't Christmas beers. Don't let that headline fool you. I only wrote it because it popped into my head because the beers I'm telling you about are from New Belgium's Lips of Faith series can see...yeahhh.
First up is a collaboration between New Belgium and Grand Rapids, Michigan's Brewery Vivant. Who? You know you have to be doing something special for one of the big Americans like New Belgium to invite a Michigan brewery with a French name brewing Belgians to collaborate, and to further confuse matters, they flew to Belgium and brewed an Irish Red!
No, actually they stayed in the states and brewed a Biere de Garde, a French somewhat-relative of the Saison style but with more maltiness. Citrus notes come from the lemony Sorachi Ace hops and the orange peel addition. Retails for around $9.

The second New Belgium beer is the Imperial Coffee Chocolate Stout, a beer that New Belgium did all by itself. I guess they didn't think Starbucks needed any hype. Nor The Candy Lady in Old Town, though a collaboration with The Candy Lady would surely bring about a more interesting label...yeah, we know you only go there for the x-rated chocolates. You buy the regular chocolate at the deserted third floor candy section of the department store at the mall. That's the good stuff. Does New Belgium need any help in the Imperial Stout department? I only wonder because, well, how many stouts can you remember New Belgium ever brewing?? This 9% ABV beer delivers what it advertises, which is 1 pint, 6 fl. oz. of beer. It also delivers the chocolate and coffee it promises, so you may not want to make this beer your nightcap if you have to wake up early. Both of these New Belgium releases are available at the Juan Tabo Kelly Liquors, where they are keeping an eye out for old IPAs while playing music that reminds me of when Anodyne used to play good music.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tis the Season for...Saisons?

A little bit of Portland-flavored weather here in Albuquerque today has already put me in a bad mood. I don't know how people in the northwest deal with it, and I also don't know if it's a good idea to just let the dog out to walk herself for a while and see if she comes home, but it sounds like a great idea right now.
And while the chilly weather might have you thinking about opening something stout, I thought I'd let you know of a lighter option, should the mood strike you. Horse and Angel Tavern, where the beer is always better than the service, has tapped the only keg of Goose Island Sofie in the state of NM. Sofie is a Saison blend with 20% aged in wine barrels and the addition of orange peel. Amarillo hops add citrus notes, and the wild yeast give the beer some tartness. Expect to pay about $6 for an 8 oz. pour. I give the service at Horse and Angel a hard time, but it's been a few years since I actually tried to get a drink there. I failed, but that doesn't mean the service is still poor. I'm willing to give them a shot if they keep putting interesting beers on tap (and I hear Goose Island Matilda is coming up next).

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Seasons in the Abyss

The 2012 Deschutes Abyss has hit Jubilation, but it wasn't enough for those guys to be one of the few places in town that already has it. No, they had to go and bust out bottles of 2009, 2010, and 2011 to sell as well. I love that they keep vintages of different beers, it's just perfect for those of us who said, "I'll get that one next time", only to come back and having the beer be gone for the year. There is a markup for the older ones (example: the 2009 is $21.99, while the 2012 is $14.99). Partially aged in wine, oak and bourbon barrels, The Abyss tastes a little different every year- especially in 2009, when there were some infection issues. Be careful if you're thinking about picking that one up. I'd like to see Deschutes use more than 6% of the bourbon barrel Abyss in the finished product, but it's still a beer I seek out every year.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

12.12.12 Gets Here Early

It's been a long time coming, hasn't it?
Finally, the last installment in the Stone Brewing Co.'s Vertical Epic series, 12.12.12, has been brewed, bottled, and distributed. Kind of sad to see it end, but what are you gonna do? The series started with the 02.02.02, and if you have any of those laying around you might want to use it as down payment on a Maybach. Hopefully, you at least saved some of the previous years' vintages and will have a nice tasting on the actual 12.12.12 date...and invite me to it. This year's version, of course, uses Belgian yeast just as the previous vintages did. 12.12.12 sees the addition of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, orange peel, and rosehips. I honestly don't have a clue as to what rosehips are, or why someone would add them to a beer. But Stone has had a lot of practice, so I give them the benefit of the doubt. Besides, I'm sure they want to make this last Vertical Epic beer a special one. I'm looking forward to bringing out what I have left of my Vertical Epics next week and doing a side by side tasting with the new one. I saw this at both the Kelly's on Wyoming and the one at Mountain Run, though I'm sure Albuquerque's Stone headquarters of Jubilation must have it as well. It was $9.99 at Kelly's. Enjoy your 12.12.12 everybody!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Legal Way to Get Home With a Buzz

Who wants to get handcuffed by a person in uniform?
Yeah, I thought so. Me too. But it isn't as fun as it sounds when it comes to being pulled over for drunk driving. And as we all know from living here in Albuquerque, you don't have to be legally drunk to be put in those handcuffs. How many people do you know who blew something like a .05 and still went to jail? It happens all too often, and, regardless of the validity of the offense, there are ways to avoid it. I've written about alterna-cab independent car companies in the past, and thought I'd revisit the subject today by telling you about Buzz Home.

Buzz Home is a locally-owned (duh! Of course it's local. The chains still haven't caught on to this idea yet, and I hope I never have to be picked up by a person in khakis and blue shirt ala the Best Buy/Blockbuster uniform...though I've had plenty of badly dressed/smelling cab drivers) business that recently expanded to a seven-day a week operation. From Sunday (6 pm-2am)Monday-Wednesday (9 pm-2 am) and Thursday-Saturday (9 pm-4 am), Buzz Home will come get you AND your car and get you both home for $20 in Albuquerque, $30 to or from Rio Rancho- no membership fee required. I once took a cab from Rio Rancho that cost me $65. I was going to call that bad planning on my part, but I just talked to a friend yesterday who really planned badly and got picked up for drunk driving awhile back. Over $2000 in fines, lawyer fees, no license...yeah, I'll pay $30 in a second, let alone $65. And Buzz Home has rolled out an even better deal: the Buzz Pass, which for $40 a month gets you unlimited use. It's a great deal for anyone who goes out even a few times a month. And the Buzz Home drivers don't require tips! Possibly expect them...most likely hope for if you use the service, throw them a few bucks- you're already saving so much just in peace of mind, not to mention the fact that you don't have to ask a friend/family member to give you a ride back to where you let your car, hoping all the while that you don't pull up to a broken window and missing radio.
Sound good? Give Buzz Home a call at 505-205-1110 or visit their website at They accept cash and credit cards and suggest you call in advance to reserve a ride if you plan to come home during the busy late night drinking hours.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Wow, Someone Reads This Stuff!

I know you can barely keep up with all my posts lately, but think back to when I wrote about old Deviant Dale's in area stores (You'll have to think back exactly one post)? Well, kudos to Marcus DeGroff, the Western Regional Manager for Oskar Blues. He learned of the problem and sent me a message telling me that the old beer is being pulled from stores. As he says, and I agree, "The beer is too good for someone to try an old one and not get the true experience and taste profile."
The old dates have kept me from buying Gubna and G'Knight in the past, and Deviant Dale's more recently (Ten Fidy is good no matter what the date), so let's hope this will be a trend that continues on. It's nice to see that folks at Oskar Blues addressing a serious problem that plagued other breweries. I'm thinking Great Divide as an example. Their stuff sat around getting old, and a good DIPA like Hercules ended up tasting like a muddled Barleywine. It's no wonder they don't distribute here anymore. Keep it up, Oskar Blues. And get us some Gubna and Ten Fidy on draft.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

National Distributing: Anyone Awake?

I like much of National Distributing's lineup; not surprising, considering they carry a majority of the craft beer big names available in Albuquerque. But I have to question why they are passing off old IPAs to the liquor stores- in this case, Oskar Blues Deviant Dale's IPA. The main competitor of Deviant Dale's in our area is naturally La Cumbre Elevated IPA. Dale's took the silver at GABF in the American Style IPA category behind the gold medal winning Elevated. Dale's come's in 16 oz., four-pack cans, as does Elevated. Two big differences, however: 1. Deviant Dale's costs up to $4.00 more depending on the store, and 2. Deviant Dale's is being delivered to stores (today, Nov. 28, as a matter of fact) with a canned on date of May 25. I don't think the Dale's will taste bad or give you rabies but I wonder if anyone at National realizes that there are savvy beer drinkers out there who will pass up the more expensive Deviant Dale's for much fresher, cheaper, and gold medal winninger beer...

Friday, November 23, 2012

You Ate Your Goose, Now Drink It Too

Spending yesterday with all that family around driving you to get out and drink today? May I suggest either Kelly's Brewpub or Fat Squirrel? Both of these places are debuting the Goose Island core brand of beers on tap today: 312 Urban Wheat (one of the few wheat beers I will actually buy), Honkers Ale (basically an ESB), Mild Winter (Goose Island describes it as an American Mild Ale...Mild Ale is a British style and usually low in alcohol, but this is 5.6%...go America!), and IPA (an English-style IPA, this has won the gold medal at both the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup). Try not to get trampled today.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Black Friday

I'm not writing about the upcoming day after Thanksgiving horror that so many take part in, rather I am writing about some new dark beers that have hit the area. I do want to say that it sucks to see so many places open on Thanksgiving- I was in Dollar Tree and saw they have to be open as well that day. Who the hell is going to be in there stocking up on unwanted cans of Campbell's Dry Egg Noodle or Pepper Pot soups? Give people a break to spend a holiday with their families.

Santa Fe has a new one for y'all- Black IPA. The design is minimal but striking nonetheless in a Metallica Black Album kind of way. Originally a recipe of homebrewer John Rowley, the Black IPA was featured at the Santa Fe tap room but is seeing distribution for the first time. And that's a good thing. I enjoyed the original version sample I had of this beer very much. The ABV is 7.1%, a little higher than their Happy Camper. I saw this at Whole Foods on Carlisle selling for $8.49 a six-pack.

Wow, these Stone collaborations are coming out more often than, well, I was going to say ex-Cowboy players but that doesn't really apply. Anyway, the latest collaboration brings us a Black Smoked Saison, thought up by the minds of Evil Twin, Stillwater, and, of course, Stone. Though unusual, we've seen the black Saison done before by Widmer. Never seen a smoked one before, however. Evil Twin makes about 10,000 different beers, much like Mikkeller does. No surprise, as the head of Evil Twin is the brother of the head of Mikkeller. Ambitious guys. Though based in Denmark, many of the Evil Twin beers are brewed by Westbrook Brewing, out of Mt. Pleasant, SC. Stillwater is a Baltimore brewery that specializes in Saisons, and I really like what they do with the style. You can find this 6.8% ABV Saison at Kelly Liquors and Jubilation selling at $3.99 per 12 oz. bottle. Oh, yeah, the beer is called The Perfect Crime, but I don't think it refers to the fact that an equivalent six-pack of this beer would cost you $24.

Good to see that along with Coronado's new distributor comes more beers from their portfolio for us. Stupid Stout is the latest to hit here. Once called Stoopid Stout till someone realized their mistake (or maybe they didn't want it confused with Lagunitas Hop Stoopid?), Stupid Stout is an Imperial Stout that comes in at 10% ABV. And though I have become addicted to Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stouts, I found myself really enjoying the Stupid Stout. Lots of chocolate and some coffee and it's not one of those thin-tasting stouts. I hate those, don't you??? I'd love to see what barrel aging would do for this beer. You can get Stupid Stout at Jubilation in 22 oz. bottles for $6.99.

Monday, November 12, 2012

An Epic Beer Dinner at O'Niell's

How are you preparing for the end of the world this December? Since "You can't take it with you!", may I suggest spending $65 of that savings that will be worth nothing on a special beer dinner at O'Niell's Nob Hill location? I know, even though the world is ending, you are cheap. I get that. But listen: O'Niell's will be serving six years worth (2007-2012) of Stone Brewing Co.'s Vertical Epic Ale along with five courses of food at this dinner! Vertical Epic was first brewed in 2002, and all the versions are a slant on Belgian styles (Belgian Strong Pale Ale, Belgian IPA, Belgian Strong Dark, Pale with Sauvignon and Muscat grapes, Pale with New Mexico green chile). I'm sure the O'Niell's staff put a lot of thought into which beer would pair best with what. Here are the pairings:

Newly Released Stone Vertical Epic Ale 12.12.12
First Course
Lobster bisque with fried leek. Served with 11.11.11
Second Course
Spinach salad with apple, cranberry, feta, and candied walnuts in an Asian vinaigrette. Served with 10.10.10
Third Course
Ribs in sweet red chile glaze with sweet potato fries. Served with 09.09.09
Fourth Course:
Beef Wellington in béarnaise sauce with fresh seasonal vegetables and fingerling potatoes.
Served with 08.08.08
Fifth course
Vanilla cream puff in a chocolate drizzle. Served with 07.07.07

Unique to this dinner is the fact that all of these beers are going to be ON DRAFT. You may have some versions of Vertical Epic hiding away somewhere, but I doubt you have kegs of it! I sure don't- I only have a corny keg with some leftover homebrew from 2010. If I drink it now I'm afraid my world may end even sooner.
The dinner takes place on Monday, December 17 at 6 pm. For reservations, call 255-6782 or email

Friday, November 9, 2012

Coronado Tries Again

I wrote about Coronado Brewing's re-introduction to the Albuquerque market via a tap takeover, and now the bottles are hitting area shelves. We will see if a push from a different distributor makes a difference in Coronado's sales; the quality has always been there. You can see from the picture a new Coronado design- gone are the paper labels (except for some rogue bottles of Red Devil [Bird of Paradise] and Mermaid Red [Kelly's at Mountain Run]. Don't buy them. OLD.). Coronado is also using new packaging for their Idiot Double IPA, going to a 4-pack ala Green Flash. Pricing is in line with Green Flash as well, $9.99 for the Idiot 4-pack as opposed to the $15.99 for the old six-pack design. The one complaint I have about the new bottle design is there is no bottled on date like the old bottles had- or at least I couldn't find one, and I looked really hard. Jubilation is carrying the Idiot as well as the new Blue Bridge Coffee Stout, 5.4% ABV with a strong coffee presence that is selling for $3.99 per 22 oz. bottle.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Freshen Your Breath on International Stout Day

It's once again time to drink a certain style of beer because someone you don't know proclaims it to be the day to honor it. In related news, it's two weeks till we eat turkey again.

Today is International Stout day, a perfect day to pass up that dusty bottle of Left Coast 8 Ball Stout in favor of a stout with a twist- Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout, a collaboration between Stone Brewing Co., Iron Fist Brewing Co., and homebrewer Ken Schmidt. You may remember Mr. Schmidt from the Stone Macadamia Coconut Porter collaboration a few years back- a great beer, and one of the few porters I've actually enjoyed. The latest collaboration is 9.6% ABV and features Mexican cocoa and organic mint from Stone's own farm. No word on if they snuck up to Oregon and stole hops from Rogue's farm. "Natural flavors" were added to enhance the mintiness- I'm thinking a handful of Andes pocketed from a visit to Olive Garden. The Mint Chocolate can be found at Kelly's on Wyoming for $3.99 and at various other stores.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

At Least There's No Christmas Music. Yet.

There are still soft hits playing in between inspirational love stories on the Delilah show, but too soon the sleigh bells will be ringing and Santa Claus will not only be coming to town, he will be reminding you of that fact in every store and dreary office. Holiday beers bring much more cheer than holiday music, and Sam Adams has a new winter seasonal in their lineup: Merry Mischief.
Touted as a gingerbread stout, Merry Mischief has the ingredients you'd expect to find, such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger; there is also lactose, making this 9% ABV seasonal an Imperial Milk Stout. Get your gingerbread cookies ready for dunking! A 32 oz. bottle retail for $6.99 at area stores.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Drink Coronado at Coronado

Still feeling like an IDIOT because you bought some Coronado beer without checking that brewed on date that read 3/26/10? It happens to all of us now and then...I bought some Sweetwater IPA last night (yeah, I'm out of town again) and noticed the enjoy by date of 10/10/12 when I got back to my hotel room. I had to console myself with the Founders Harvest and Westbrook Nelson Sauvin that I also purchased.

Well, have no fear about that happening again with Coronado beer (at least I hope!), as they have changed distributors from National to Premier, which promises to give Coronado a push in our market that they hadn't received before. In the picture you can see my new friend Miguel (I call him Miguel because of the M on his hat...must stand for Miguel, either his name or in honor of Miguel Cabrera, right?) unloading the first delivery of Coronado to Premier's warehouse. To celebrate the arrival, Coronado Crossing restaurant is hosting a Coronado Brewing tap takeover on Friday, 10/26 (you know the place- on Montgomery west of San Mateo, used to be Harrigan's way back in the day with the good fried zucchini, then Zea Rotisserie, or as I call it, Boston Market for rich people). I haven't been in there yet, but if they keep pouring drafts like the following, you can bet I will drive right by on my way home to drink soon!
Coronado Brewing's Orange Ave Wit, Islander IPA, Mermaid's Red, Idiot Imperial IPA (never saw this on tap, very excited that it's here), and Blue Bridge Coffee Stout, which is brand new to New Mexico. So come on out to Coronado Crossing for some Coronado beers...and grits. Yes, they have grits on the menu, but I refuse to call them Waffle House for rich people. Absolutely refuse.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Marble Opens Across the Border

Marble Brewery's seemingly constant expansion continues into uncharted territory this afternoon at 3 when their Westside Tap Room opens its doors to Turtle Mountain expatriates (and other people who like beer). Forgive me if I won't be wading my way across the Rio Grande to seek out this location- as nice as it looks, the location makes this place strictly for the Westside/Rio Rancho locals. Housed at 5740 Night Whisper NW, Marble's Tap Room is off of Unser between McMahon and Westside...I don't know where that is either. I know they built a hospital out that way, presumably for the people who get in car accidents with the roaming wildlife.
This location is scaled down a bit from the original, with room for around 55 inside and 30 on the patio- yes, there is a patio at this location, so don't feel like you have to leave your dog at home drinking alone. The taps will be pouring the same great lineup of standard offerings as well as Brewers Specials. Like food like you like beer? Enjoy both at Marble, which will be getting its menu from nearby Ironwood Kitchen, with items like burgers, sandwiches, burritos, and salads. Marble has also doubled the number of TVs for this spot so watching your choice of sporting event shouldn't be a problem. The Westside Tap Room will be open from 3-11, Monday-Friday, noon-11 Saturday, and noon-10:30 Sunday.

Friday, October 19, 2012

New Beer Friday

Deschutes is back in local beer news, as we are finally getting bottles of The Dissident here in Albuquerque. We always seemed to have been passed over for distribution of this Flanders Oud Bruin style in the past. The Dissident is brewed with cherries and partially aged in both Pinot Noir and Cabernet barrels. Brettanomyces yeast gives it that funkiness that all the kids are raving over. Jubilation has this one for $14.99, though a distributor error had many places initially selling it at way less- for instance, today the Whole Foods on Carlisle had it still selling at $6.99 per 22 oz. bottle. HAD, I say, because they are sold out. No surprise there. You may still find $14.99 a reasonable price to pay for this very limited release.

You learn something new everyday, or so I'm told. I've already forgotten yesterday, but I learned what a Narwhal is today. A Narwhal is a whale that lives in the Arctic Ocean and has a big unicorn horn-looking tooth sticking out of its face. It, along with the Beluga whale, is a member of the Monodontidae family, which I believe took over took over the Tropicana from Moe Greene. Narwhal is also the Imperial Stout just released by Sierra Nevada, a 10.2% ABV whale of a beer. The beer comes in $8.99 four-packs (Kelly's on Wyoming), so even you tadpoles out there will be able to finish an entire bottle. Sierra touts the beer as having notes of espresso, light smoke, and baker's cocoa. And blubber.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Prepare for a Week With a Woody

The week of Oct. 22-27 is going to be a hard one. Hard, that is, if you aren't up to a week of events featuring beers from Deschutes Brewery. Deschutes is (finally) recognizing Albuquerque as a viable beer city and is bringing their Base Camp here next week. Base Camp is comprised of beer-related events held at bars and restaurants all over Albuquerque, many featuring Woody (pictured), Deschutes' beer barrel on wheels. These events are not designed to be "all the Deschutes you can drink" events, so don't show up with pretzel necklaces and big, stupid hats. Rather, these events are designed to educate about craft beer (as well as get you to buy more Deschutes beer...let's be real here). Lots of fun stuff will be going on, so I'm just going to reprint the list sent to me by the Deschutes folks. I will keep you updated on any changes or additions to the list.


WHAT: Deschutes Brewery Base Camp & Chainbreaker White IPA Release Party

To kick off Deschutes Brewery’s Base Camp week in Albuquerque, Seasons Rotisserie and Grill is debuting the brewery’s new Chainbreaker White IPA for its launch in New Mexico. Come down to sip on a bit of this thirst-quenching hopped-up wit beer with enough IBUs to warrant the IPA name. Also available? The craft beer fanatic’s cornerstone brew Mirror Pond Pale Ale and the brewery’s flagship ale, Black Butte Porter. A giant traveling beer barrel named Woody, good beer and good company. Not bad for a Monday.

WHEN: Monday, October 22, 8-10pm

WHERE: Seasons Rotisserie & Grill, 2031 Mountain Rd. NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104


WHAT: Deschutes Brewery’s Hats Off to Homebrewers

Attention homebrewers…come hone your craft with the gang from Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery and local favorites La Cumbre Brewing. The Deschutes crew, including one of its brewers, David Brendgard, is heading to Albuquerque for Base Camp Week and will be giving away complimentary brewing supplies including clone recipe booklets and bags of malt to use in your next homebrew.Deschutes’ Brendgard and La Cumbre’s Jeff Erway will be available for a formal Q & A session, as well as a Brewers’ Happy Hour from 5 – 6 PM. Take advantage of this opportunity to uncover some mysteries! O’Niell’s will be creating a special menu, pairing culinary samples with one beer from each brewery. Try something new in your next home brew. $20 gets you in the room. $15 for all AHA members. Hope to see you here!

WHEN: Tuesday, October 23, 5-8 pm

WHERE: O’Niell’s, 3301 Juan Tabo Blvd. NE,Albuquerque,NM87111


WHAT: Deschutes Brewery’s Build Your Own Kegerator

You know you’ve been there: jealously inspecting a friend’s home kegerator while at a birthday party or game day gathering. Why not make your own and become the talk of your neighborhood? Beer drinking, beer pouring and beer making experts from Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery will be on hand to provide some finely balanced discussion of these important issues. Have a chat with them (they are here from Oregon for “Base Camp Week”, an event created just for beer fanatics) while sampling some beers like Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Black Butte Porter, Chainbreaker White IPA, Jubelale, and more. The brewery will be giving away some swanky swag, so come down and join us.

WHEN: Wednesday, October 24, 5-7 pm

WHERE: Kelly Liquors, 2226 Wyoming Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87112


WHAT: Deschutes Brewery Celebrates Women and Craft Beer

At Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery, they know the time is always right for ladies night. That’s why they’re throwing a party just for women who love beer (and for the men who love women who love beer). Four locally produced Old Windmill Dairy cheese samples will be deliciously paired with four beers: Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Black Butte Porter, Chainbreaker White IPA and Obsidian Stout. Sample flights are only $10, plus you’ll get some special house-made ice cream to boot. Can’t go wrong!

WHEN: Wednesday, October 24, 6-9 pm

WHERE: Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro,3009 Central Ave. NE,Albuquerque,NM87106


WHAT: Deschutes Brewery Jubel-ation!

We’re jubilant about celebrating craft beer like Deschutes Brewery’s most excellent winter seasonal, Jubelale, paired with locally made sausage from Joe S. Sausage. But Jubelale isn’t the only brew we’ll be celebrating with – try other favorites from Deschutes Brewery like Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Black Butte Porter, and Chainbreaker White IPA.

WHEN: Thursday, October 25, 4:30-6:30 pm

WHERE: Jubilation,3512 Lomas Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106


WHAT: Deschutes Brewery’s Landmarks Beer Dinner

This beer dinner will be so damn good, it’s downright scary! Join Deschutes Brewery for a Halloween-themed evening of delectable dishes paired perfectly with a wide selection of craft beers. Call 505.266.4455 to make your reservations today, and check back for menu items soon.

WHEN: Thursday, October 25, 7 pm

WHERE: Nob Hill Bar & Grill, 3128 Central Ave. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106


WHAT: Deschutes Brewery Beer & Cheese Spectacular

Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery is in town for its craft beer celebration, Base Camp Week. What better way to throw a party than by teaming up with local Old Windmill Dairy for some scrumptious beer and cheese pairings? The brewery will be sampling brews like Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Black Butte Porter, Chainbreaker White IPA, Jubelale, Obsidian Stout and Inversion IPA. Deschutes is coming armed with awesome giveaways and a ginormous giant traveling beer barrel – Woody.

WHEN: Friday, October 26, 4-6pm

WHERE: Sprouts, 5112 Lomas Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110


WHAT: Deschutes Brewery’s Build Your Own Beer Dinner

Not only do you get to try some tasty food paired up with beers from Deschutes Brewery at this special event, but you’ll learn how to cook several recipes using beer. In addition, discover how to design your own beer dinner to try out on unsuspecting guests at your home during Happy Hour from 5 - 6 PM. A stellar lineup of beers will be available for tasting such as Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Black Butte Porter, Chainbreaker White IPA, Jubelale, Obsidian Stout, Inversion IPA, Hop Trip and Chasin’ Freshies. A minimal fee will be charged for entry.

WHEN: Friday, October 26, 5 - 8 pm

WHERE: Whole Foods, 2103 Carlisle Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106


WHAT: Deschutes Brewery Halloween Bash

Hey all you ghosts, ghouls and goblins, it’s time to don your scariest costumes and join Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery for a frighteningly good Halloween party. Party goers can imbibe some Chainbreaker White IPA on draft and bottles of Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Jubelale, while the Dusty Low Band busts out the jams.

WHEN: Saturday, October 27, 7pm - close

WHERE: Monte Vista Fire Station, 3201 Central Ave. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Do You Believe in Magic?

Not the kind of magic that makes me disappear for a couple of weeks, though no one would ever argue that that is a bad thing. The magic I'm talking about here is Magic Hat,which you'd better believe in or people might take you for a real dumbass. I mean, there's a picture there and everything. Believe your eyes, as that picture is from shelves right here in Albuquerque (Jubilation, to be exact). Does it mean you should run right out and grab it up? Well, I dunno. Magic Hat has been around the craft beer scene for a long time,yet has been accused of caring more about packaging and marketing than the beer inside the bottles. I think they have a decent lineup with some inventive beers, though they not have necessarily have kept of with the evolution of craft beers- which really means bolder, more aggressive flavors- so there should be plenty of Magic Hat fans in Albuquerque. The six-packs offered are the #9, an apricot Pale Ale, and Hi.P.A, an IPA that I consider one of their strongest offerings. Both six-packs retail for $7.99. There is also a mixed 12-pack with the two aforementioned beers, as well as Hex (their version of an Octoberfest), and Hocus Pocus, an American Wheat Ale. The 12-pack retails for $15.49.

Wow. a Ska Brewing one-off that actually makes it to Albuquerque? I can't say how many times I've been up to Colorado and seen a Ska beer that we don't get. I'll stop bitching, as we at least get their new Mole Stout, made with cocoa, chiles, and spices. Hey, if a mole stout worked for one Colorado brewery last year, why not Ska?? This version of Mole Stout is 5.5% ABV and retails for $9.49 a six-pack, also at Jubilation. Expect to see it at ABQ Beer Week selling at $15 for a one ounce pour at an unnamed bar.

And finally today, Whole Foods has at last felt your pain in these rough economic times and has brought you Goldmine, a lager that sells for only $3.99 a six-pack. How can they do this, you ask? Simple- it's made in Rochester, NY, home of the cheap beer conveyor that cranks out a million of the same type beers under different names. And it's doubtful that Whole Foods cares about your money problems, but it's a surety that they care about all the Simpler Times and Red Oval beers that fly off Trader Joe's shelves.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Beer Worthy of Its Name

First off, I have to say that I love Alpine Brewing's IPAs. There is something distinct about them that when you drink one, you know you are drinking an Alpine beer. And I'm not going to lament the fact that Alpine is yet another brewery that we don't get distribution from here in New Mexico, as we are one of the 49.5 states that don't get their beers (southern to mid-California is as far as it goes). But thanks to the collaboration craze, you are able to get a taste of what you have been missing. Alpine teamed up with New Belgium to create Super IPA (a play on the original name, Lex Lupulin...which, while a cool name, made the people at Odell Brewing nervous that it might confuse people into thinking that it was the same beer as their St. Lupulin. Which is ridiculous, as one is biblical on the other comical. But anyway...). Super IPA is super to me because New Belgium's brewers seem to allow the distinct Alpine flavor to shine through without turning the beer into "Hoppy Fat Tire". Of the Columbus, Simcoe, Amarillo, and Centennial hops used, the Amarillo is most prevalent, with the tropical fruits dominating with nary a hint of the 99 IBUs or the 9% ABV the beer carries. In fact, the beer reminds me of Alpine's excellent Pure Hoppiness DIPA. And I know I said I wasn't going to lament, but lamenting is kind of what I do- while we got the beer just a few days ago, I was drinking it all the way in South Carolina nearly two weeks ago. I-25, distribution people, I-25!
Jubilation has these 22 oz. bottles for $8.99.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

You Don't Call, You Don't Write...

It's true; I haven't gotten in touch with you in awhile. But I hate talking on the phone, and I was away on a non beer-related trip that I didn't think you would want to read about.

But I'm back, and have some actual beer news to write about. O'Niell's Nob Hill location will be hosting a Sierra Nevada tap takeover this Saturday, Sept. 15. From the time they open the doors till the time the beer runs out you can enjoy the likes of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (but why would you go to the tap takeover and order a beer that even bowling alleys carry??), Tumbler Brown Ale, Torpedo IPA, Kellerweis, and the speciality Beer Camp series Oatmeal Stout, Imperial Pilsner, and Floral IPA. a Sierra rep will be there from 7-10 with merchandise to hand out and wisdom to pass on. Be the first to ask the story of how Torpedo got its name. Find out which Grossman brother is the least miserable. Or just go up to the rep and say, "I'd like something better than a keychain, please."

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It's a Pumpkin Beer...I Think

More Pumpkin beer love today. Good news: You don't have to buy the Samuel Adams Harvest Collection 12-pack and sift through the Boston Lager and Dunkelweizen just to get to the Harvest Pumpkin Ale, as the beer is now available in six-packs. That's right, six Pumpkin-only beers. $8.99 around town. And though people lament the other Sam fall seasonal, Octoberfest, as tasting more watered-down every release, this Pumpkin Ale is approachable but solid.

It has to be a Pumpkin beer, right??? I mean, just look at the name: Witch Hunt. It makes you think of Halloween, and Halloween makes you think of pumpkins, damn it. Even the moon in the artwork kind of looks like a pumpkin. But try to find any mention of pumpkin on the label of Bridgeport's new fall seasonal- it's not there. The beer is brewed with cinnamon and nutmeg, so I think we can see the route they are going down. And you don't necessarily have to use real pumpkin to make a Pumpkin-style tasting beer. Using real pumpkin is a pain in the ass, as it can clog things up (I know of one local award-winning brewer who absolutely hates making them). So try one of these next to a beer that uses pupmkin and see what you think. $7.99 at Kelly's on Wyoming.

Finally, how much are you willing to pay for beer artwork? I say this because even though I have had Shipyard's Pumpkinhead many times, each time it hits the shelves I am tempted to buy it, and that's after I know what it tastes like. I just love the way the label looks. The beer is maybe not that not that bad, but the $12.99 (Whole Foods Carlisle)price tag kills it for me. Especially considering it's a 5% ABV beer. The Shipyard Imperial Pumpkin (also on shelves here) is even more expensive per ounce, at $9.99 for a 22 oz. bottle, but at least it's 9% ABV.

Monday, August 27, 2012

It's Fest Time Again

Still feeling sluggish after all those beers at Hopfest? I bet. I hear it was a great time...Couldn't make it this year, and my Beer Geek card should be revoked, I know, but life happens.
So I'm ready for a fest, and the New Mexico Brew Fest is right around the corner-October 6, 2012 from 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm at Villa Hispana at the Fairgrounds. 23 Breweries will be serving up the goods, and you can get a good deal if you show up at Marble this Thursday, August 30. From 7-9, Brew Fest organizers will be on hand to sell discounted tickets ($15, or $20 with a commemorative Fest t-shirt). You can also purchase tickets by going to the website. A beer fest 4 days before I leave for GABF? Sure, why not?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Beer as Unique as its Name

Like those English ales? I have to say, after shunning them in favor of the all-powerful IPAs the past many years, I have come back to appreciate the balance and amount of flavor that can be packed into a 4% beer. However, this new-in-town John Smith's Extra Smooth Ale is done an injustice with the damn widget in the can, a device that nitros all the flavor out of a beer. I know the are many that enjoy the mouthfeel that nitro brings, but I can't enjoy it. I tried a North Coast Old Rasputin on nitro once, and even with the beer's 9% ABV the nitro killed all the goodness in the beer. Great job on the Olympics though, London.

I guess people weren't head over heels in love with New Belgium's summer seasonal, Somersault, or maybe Bird of Paradise just went overboard when buying it. Either way, we win with the sale that this Gibson store is having: $14 gets you an entire case of a beer that was selling for $7-8 a six-pack eariler in the season. Of course, keep in mind that these beers have a best before date of 8/25, but it's only 8/23 as I write this...

And finally, with the increasing availability of craft beer in cans, I didn't want you all to forget that there is still plenty of crap out there too! This malt beverage would love to tag along in your golf bag for the remainder of the summer, and while I admit I'm kind of curious enough to try it, I can't imagine Arnie ever endorsing this.

Monday, August 20, 2012

In Case You Haven't Heard...

I haven't written anything about Hopfest because I figure if you don't already know about it, you don't live in New Mexico and have no intention of going. "Hopfest awareness" is all over Facebook and all over town on flyers and those things sticking out of every six-pack in every beer store. Coincidentally, I think I have spotted little elves in tiny Hopfest shirts scuttling in the shadows.
But just in case you somehow aren't familiar with the event, here is a rundown:
The event takes place at the Hard Rock Hotel this Saturday, August 25. General Admission tickets are $25 if you buy online or at Tractor Brewing $30 at the door, and these tickets get you in at 3. If that's not early enough, there is an Extra Hoppy Hour starting at 2, though these tickets are 92% GONE. Get them quick, $35 online or Tractor, $40 at the door.
This will be the biggest NM beer event yet, with 55 breweries pouring 160 beers! This will also mark the first local fest involving new breweries Broken Bottle and Back Alley.
There will also be a drawing where the winner receives Widmer beer for a year. That's a lotta Hefeweizen.
Want to stay around after and party like someone who buys a $250 denim jacket with Hard Rock patches on it? There is a special room rate of $129 if you use the code HOPG2012 on the Hard Rock Hotel website. Come hang out and watch me lose at the blackjack tables like last year. I don't think there are UFC fights going on this year like there were last, so you'll probably see less Tapout and Affliction shirts and more brewery shirts in the Hard Rock crowd.
Finally, eight bands will be at Hopfest to keep the non-problem drinkers entertained. Eight? It's gonna be like Woodstock down there...hopefully without the smellies, though.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

End of Summer but Time for Camp

The 2012 version of Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp series has hit area stores. Beer Camp invites industry types (read: usually good Sierra customers like distributors, bar owners, beer store owners, but also 10 winners who entered videos to Sierra Nevada saying why they should be chosen) to come and brew some experimental beers that may end up being chosen to represent in the Beer Camp bottle line. The beer comes in a 12-pack of 4 different styles, three beers of each style. This year's choices seem to be right up my alley:

Imperial Red: 8.1% ABV, this beer is described as a DIPA with a large amount of malt, though malt comes through more than the hops.

Imperial Pilsner: at 5.6% ABV, I'm not sure that the term "Imperial" fits with this one. 5.6 may work for an Imperial Mild Ale, but it seems light in the Pils category. Haven't tried it yet, though looking forward to it. Sierra does a good job with its Summerfest, a Czech Pilsner.

Oatmeal Stout: If any of the beers deserved to be called "Imperial", this 9.0% Stout certainly is worthy of the title. Oats come through in the mouthfeel and there is also some chocolate and light coffee.

Floral IPA- They got the name right on this 5.9% ABV IPA, with ingredients such as rose hips and rose petals. Rose petals? I tried setting the mood by pouring a path into the bedroom, but it didn't work out so well...

Jubilation has this for $17, and Whole Foods at Academy and Wyoming have it for $21.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Summer Pumpkins and Winter Shandies

I know that Pumpkin beers have their detractors, but count me as a fan. A huge fan. Since I hate cold weather, the only thing about fall that I look forward to is the release of Pumpkin Ales. I'm not ready for the influx of the Pumpkins just yet, but it is happening anyway. Why the breweries didn't check with how I felt first is beyond me, but our shelves are already filling up with Harvest Moon, Wasatch Pumpkin, and two from Samuel Adams: the regular Pumpkin Ale that is part of the Harvest Collection 12-pack, and the first bottling of Fat Jack Double Pumpkin Ale. Fat Jack is 8.5% ABV, with added pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. I picked one up at Kelly's on Wyoming ($6.99) but I'm going to keep it stored away at least until the temperatures drop below 90 degrees.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pass the Poi Mahalo

Muka laka hiki, and welcome to another wonderful Tuesday, Hawaiian-style. I wanted to let you all know that Ibiza in the Hotel Andaluz will be hosting a Kona tap takeover on Thursday, Aug. 16 Thursday, Aug 16 from 6-8 pm. For $8, you get four 3 oz. samples and 1 pint of your choice of Kona Longboard Lager, Kona Wailua Wheat, Kona Firerock Pale Ale or the new Kona Big Wave Blonde Ale. These tap takeovers are a regular feature at the hotel and aren't filled with the regular Andaluzers you might expect to run into, so stop by and enjoy some Hawaiian beers.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Opa! Stone 16th Anniversary is Here

Not to be confused with the Stone Ruination 10th Anniversary, or the Stone Enjoy by 9.21.12 IPA, the 16th Anniversary has something that neither of the other numbered beers have: a lemon twist. The Anniversary series lets the brewers at Stone use their creativity with ingredients, and this year's version boasts lemon verbana and lemon oil. Were they brewing a beer or making avegolemono soup here? They added some rye malt, five hop varieties, and a dollop of tzatzaki sauce (no, of course not). The final result is a 10% ABV, 85 IBU DIPA worthy of being sold at Alex's Lemonade Stand or Olympia Cafe. Jubilation is selling it right now for $7.99.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Spending a Weekend at the Butte

Or rather, I should say spending a weekend with the Butte. I am not talking about driving down to the New Mexican kids' toilet that is Elephant Butte- I instead will be sampling Black Butte XXIV from Deschutes Brewery. The big brother of the flagship Black Butte Porter, this Imperial Porter changes recipe from year to year. Last year saw orange and chiles in the recipe, while this year has added figs and dates. The beer is 11% ABV and retails for $11.99 at the Wyoming Kelly Liquors, and should be available at most liquor stores today. Reviews on this have been very good thus far, so maybe you'll think twice about packing the car up this weekend for Elephant Butte and just cracking a Butte instead. It's so much easier staying home and being lazy.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Day That Will Leave You Feeling Bitter

Bitter, and loving it! 8/2 is of course National IPA Day, which means you have to pick up some IPA to celebrate, be it from a local brewery, liquor store, supermarket, whatever...if you have any money left after buying all the Chick-Fil-A you could eat on 8/1, that is. So, what will it be? Local favorites Il Vicino Exodus, Marble IPA, La Cumbre Elevated, Happy Camper, Nexus, something from Texas? No...Shiner doesn't count. Green Flash West Coast IPA? Does it count if you go to Billy's Long Bar and drink Double IPAs like Odell Myrcenary and Sierra Nevada Hoptimum? I think that would qualify as twice the amount of drinking credits...but it's your choice. If you're thinking DIPAs, may I suggest a growler of Chama River's just tapped The Big Lebrewski? Just make sure to save some for me, as I can't get over there until Saturday.

Falling All Over Autumn Seasonals

It's about 97 degrees outside as I type this, but I'm not longing for fall, because after that comes winter- which means biting winds, numb, non-functioning hands, and the inevitable jacket that I liked when I bought it last winter but I hate now.
I would have thought that with global warming, the Autumn seasonals might come out later this year, but no- they are showing up on shelves in all their various forms: Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale, Samuel Adams Octoberfest, and the newest in New Belgium's ever-changing world of seasonal offerings: Red Hoptober. Now, I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but I'm deducing that this beer is a hoppy Red Ale...maybe in the same vein as a Marble Red, perhaps? The hop bill is Target, Nugget, Cascade, El Dorado, and Centennial, with the beer containing 60 IBUs and a 6% ABV. I first saw this at Whole Foods on Carlisle, but it's New Belgium, so you can get it at a gas station.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


This is getting ridiculous! For the fourth consecutive year, Il Vicino has taken the top spot in the NM IPA Challenge. 114 votes in the final leg (held at Il Vicino) sealed the runaway victory, with Marble, Chama, Santa Fe, and La Cumbre trailing far behind. Congratulations to Brady and the Il Vicino crew for another job well done!

1. Il Vicino 114 vote2

2. Marble 61

3. Chama 38

4. Santa Fe 35

5. La Cumbre 32

6. Turtle Mountain 30

7. TIE Second Street/Three Rivers 24

9. Tractor 15

10. Blue Corn 13

11. Blue Heron 11

12. TIE Nexus/High Desert 10

13. Mimbres Valley 7

Sunday, July 22, 2012

IPA Lineup

IPA Challenge lineup:
1 Blue Heron
2 Tractor
3 La Cumbre
4 Blue Corn
5 Mimbres Valley
6 Marble
7 Il Vicino
8 2nd Street
9 Three Rivers
10 Turtle Mtn.
11 High Desert
12 Santa Fe
13 Chama River
14 Nexus

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I'm Not Endorsing This...

Just letting you know it is going on, that's all. Tonight, from 6-8 pm, Hotel Andaluz is hosting a "tap takeover" of...the Shock Top family of beers. $8 gets you a flight of Belgian White (a.k.a. I was made to compete with Blue Moon), Raspberry Wheat (for those who find Zima to be a little too flavorful), Wheat IPA (I do not think this "IPA" stands for what you think it stands for), and Lemon Shandy. Don't even need to say anything else.
I'm giving the beers a hard time but they have their place, and Hotel Andaluz seems like the perfect place. Plus that $8 gets you a pint of the Shock Top you like best. Maybe you need to give your taste buds a re-calibration before the IPA Challenge this Sunday at Nexus. Maybe it's just so damn hot that a Shock Top Belgian White sounds good right about now?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Stone's Smoked Porter Goes 31 Flavors

Ok, just two for now, but I wouldn't mind if they experimented with some other flavors. Right now, 12 oz. bottles of Stone's Smoked Porter are available in vanilla bean and chipotle pepper versions. I've only seen these at the Kelly's on Wyoming so far, but I'm sure Jubilation has them too- especially since Jubilation got the Ruination 10th and Kelly's got shut out so far.

San Diego, Day 2

What's with this "Books" crap? I ain't here to learn! I hear ya, but this is just Alpine, California's version of an Albuquerque strip mall, bookended by Alpine Beer Company! Get schooled by beer, not books; that's my motto. The left side is home to Alpine's restaurant and plenty of beers on tap. For $10, we got to start the day with a sampling of six 5 oz. beers of our choice. Got to try Duet (Simcoe and Amarillo IPA), Chez Monieux (sour with cherries), Captain Stout, Odin's Raven (Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout), Pure Hoppiness (DIPA), and Nelson (IPA with Nelson Sauvin hops, and my favorite).

The right side of Alpine's operation housed fermenters and barrels and a tasting area/t-shirt sales area/growler filling station. We drove the person at the counter crazy while trying to decide what varieties of bottles we wanted to get, "Two Duet, four, wait! Three Nelson, three Pure Hoppiness..., no, I want a hamburger, I want a milkshake. I want a hot dog..." While we didn't get nothing and like it, we left without any growlers, as just the empty glass is $10. I didn't want to pay $10 for a standard screw-top growler, no matter how good the beer is. The place is still awesome, though.

Afterwards, we drove down to Escondido and stopped in at Holiday Wine Cellar. Just look at that sign! Can you imagine the John Williams symphony going through my head when I saw that sign?? We picked up a couple of bottles for the room at the spacious Comfort Inn (Midnight Sun Meltdown IPA and Drake's Denogginizer). Laugh at the hotel, but we had a balcony that let us watch the never ending flow of traffic to the In-N-Out drive in right next door, where we got to hear thousands think they were being unique by ordering "animal-style".

And we didn't stay in the hotel for that long, not with Stone Brewing Co. just a mile and a half up the road! A typically hectic Saturday at the Bistro greeted us, though we shunned a table in favor of seats at the outside bar and a small sampling tray. No, that picture is actually beers for a large group of guys who must have been kicked off the bus to Tijuana, as they had no idea what beers Stone had and just ordered some medium, some dark, etc. We were happy to have the Stone 10th Anniversary Ruination on tap, then went back to the room and finished off some more beers there.
We had an appointment to get "wild" on Sunday morning at 10.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

San Diego, Day 1

Got sick of this Phoenix-like weather going on in Albuquerque and decided to take a quick trip to San Diego, where the weather is warm but bearable. I have to say, though, that I was a little surprised at how chilly it got at night around the city. I think of SoCal, I think of warm weather, you know?? I should have remembered the scene in The Karate Kid, where Daniel-san and his new friends have a fire going to stay warm while at the beach (until Johnny and the Cobra Kais come and ruin it...and Daniel loses his "friends" just because he couldn't beat up a karate champion..."I thought you said this guy was cool." What a bunch of dicks.).

I don't like paying the huge jump in fees that come with renting from Avis, Hertz, National, and the like, but this experience with Advantage has me wondering. We waited an hour and a half just to get a damn rental car! The couple we flew with, Turtle and Majin from the upcoming Goat Head Brewing, had time to get their car and eat lunch at Karl Strauss before we finally got the car. And Advantage had three people behind the counter, but a family from Europe took up one rep's time for a whole HOUR arguing about pre-pay gas and extra drivers and God knows what else.
Once we got the sporty Nissan Versa, we headed downtown for the obligatory stop at Super Jr Mart, a.k.a. Best Damn Beer Shop, for some Russian River Row 2 Hill 56 and Ballast Point Dorado DIPA. Yeah, I know the selection is so big that you can't believe that's all we got, but this was only in the first couple hours of being there.

From there, it was a quick stop into Tiger!Tiger!, sister bar of famed Blind Lady Ale House, for some Firestone Walker Sucaba (Barrel-Aged Barleywine). The Sucaba was on tap as a part of a three-day tapping of four barrel-aged beers over three days. Kind of a rough first beer to drink after not sleeping so great (the usual night before going on a trip for good beer jitters), but I managed without even mixing it with MGD 64. We moved down 30th st. to Hamilton's (pictured), the classic craft bar that gets super-crowded with locals. Luckily, we got there just before the crush and enjoyed Ballast Point Sculpin with Habanero (and it was good!) and Upright Seven Saison.

To end the night, what better place than Toronado? Just a quick 15-minute bus ride up 30th (yup! Took the bus! Technology is such a great thing...looked up the bus route on the phone, saw there was one coming in five minutes, and boom! a $2.25 ride instead of a $15 cab. I'm very proud of myself for taking public transportation...I feel like I'm qualified to be the Green Party candidate for president now. This renowned beer bar didn't let me down- the beer list was heavy on the hops that night, so you know I wasn't crying. The first beer was the Ballast Point Dorado DIPA, on my list of drafts to try for years and it finally happened...along with Bear Republic Double Apex, Hop 15, Lost Abbey Bourbon Barrel Angel's Share...ouch. I can't help but going heavy on the first night.
Had to get up for the second day though...and it was an early start. Coming tomorrow!