Monday, April 30, 2012

Don't Pick Up Lemons Just Yet

So you've been craving one of ABQ Brew Pub's award-winning burgers but haven't been feeling summer-y enough to go eat it alongside an Alien Wheat? The pub's guest brewer, Ben Miller, has got just what you need to tame the green chile on that burger: his new Double Red Ale is on tap at the bar right now. An Imperial Red Ale that measures 8.5% ABV and 100 IBUs, the beer is perfect for you hopheads who aren't ready for those summertime chugging beers just yet, even though it's getting darn warm outside. A good time to take advantage of ABQ Brew Pub's patio, as a matter of fact...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Dane of my Existence

Danish beers from the king of experimental breweries, Mikkeller, are popping up at our local Jubilation, Bird of Paradise, and Kelly Liquors (Juan Tabo location). I stopped in at the Juan Tabo Kelly's to window shop the arrivals. There is Black, with an outrageously high ABV of 16.5% (!), Goliat, a 10.1% ABV Coffee Imperial Stout collaboration with To OL Brewery (there is one of those foreign slashes through the big O but I'm too lazy to find the keyboard shortcut), and Beer Geek (that's MY name!) Brunch Weasel aged in Calvados barrels. The Brunch uses the ca phe chon coffee know, the one that passes through an animal's digestive system and is excreted and somehow highly coveted...Good Morning Vietnam! The use of that rare bean makes for a price that I can rarely afford, at $14.99 for GASP! 8.5 oz. of beer! You gotta beer both a beer and coffee freak to buy this, but I wouldn't blame you! Prices for the others pictured, the Goliat and Black, are $11.99 and $16.99 and both come in 12.7 ounce bottles. Not pictured is the To Ol Sleep Over Coffee DIPA. That's right, Bill Murray: it equates to cats and dogs living together and all that other crazy stuff. Only $7.99 for that one. You may want to find a friend or two to go in on these beers with you and see what you think.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dark Beers to Brighten Your Day

Spring brings the annual release of Stone's Imperial Russian Stout, consistently good and consistently fair-priced, at $6.99 for a 22 oz. bottle. Its 10.5% ABV is well hidden, though your headache the next morning may not be, so take into account the ABV before chugging through the whole bottle. Stone does barrel aging in small batches for fests and such; I would love to see them do a mass-produced version of the Imperial Russian Stout aged in bourbon barrels. Wouldn't you? Let's call them and bug them about it. You first- I need to save my minutes.

Left Hand Brewing's best beers have been the darker styles, and not just their flagship Milk Stout. All three beers in the Fade to Black line were good, and the Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout...well, did I mention the Fade to Black beers were good?
Continuing in the dark beer tradition is the Imperial Smoke Jumper, a smoked Imperial Porter that is a tribute to the parachuting firefighters who protect our forests and wildland. As if being a firefighter wasn't hazardous enough, they're jumping out of planes as well! These guys should have their own Mountain Dew commericial. The Smoke Jumper is 8.8% ABV and won a Gold in the Smoked Beer category at the 2009 GABF. It retails for $8.99 at local stores.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

You a cigar fan? I have to be blunt and say that I'm not, even though I love the Phillies. The A-Team's Hannibal, Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor in Superman II, Jackie Gleason's US Bates in The Toy, Will Smith (did his character have a name? Who cares?) in Independence Day, and of course Burt Reynolds' JJ McClure in Cannonball Run all make it look cool and are inspiring to me, but not enough to get me to enjoy cigars. But you cigar and beer lovers may be interested in the upcoming event at Monte's Cigars and Tobacco (3636 San Mateo Blvd NE) this Friday, April 20. Starting at 1, Monte's will be featuring Romeo y Julieta Cigars. I don't know anything about those, but I do enjoy the Henry Mancini theme song. At 4, the cigars will be paired with a selection of Sierra Nevada beers. Something a little different that will surely appeal to many of you imbibers out there. Thanks to reader Adam Bunch for making me aware of this event.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Battle of the Clickers

Want to prove to everyone that Albuquerque is America's best beer city? the only way to prove that is by having people vote on it. Over and over again. If there are enough votes, it must be so. I'm not begrudging anyone their right to show support and pride in their city's beer scene, but a popularity contest doesn't do it for me. The way Albuquerque is going about it is fine with me: great breweries producing consistently great beer, new breweries pushing the current ones to stay sharp, and a whole city opening up their senses to the craft beer movement. Let others stay home and click on their cities- or if you must, take your computer to your local brewpub while you do your voting.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Beer for you Deviants

You can finally get a taste of Oskar Blues latest canned release, Deviant Dale's. Somehow, the beer made it as far away as New Jersey over a month ago but just hit our shelves yesterday. Distributing is such a convoluted process, but at least we were sent a fresh batch (canned 3/30/12). You may recall Deviant Dale's took the Silver medal winner in the IPA category (behind our own La Cumbre Elevated IPA) at the 2011 Great American Beer Fest. What struck me when that was announced was how an 8% ABV beer could be entered in the regular IPA category, as I'd think an ABV that high would qualify it as a DIPA. Either way, I've been excited to try this, though I know reviews have been mixed on it. Maybe the price factors into those reviews: $13.99 a four-pack of 16 oz. cans- and here I was the other day complaining about Torpedo's canned price. Dale's pricing makes Torpedo look like something you get at Dollar Tree. You can get Deviant Dale's at Jubilation.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Chairman Will Be Very Pleased

But I hope the Chairman has deep pockets if he plans on buying more than a bottle of Rogue's Morimoto Imperial Pilsner. Sure, it comes in a pretty ceramic 25.4 oz. bottle, but does that make it worth...$17.99?? My problem with it (as with many Rouge varities)is the packaging overprices the beer. That is a shame, because a lot of people will be missing out on a great version of the Imperial Pilsner style due to the inflated price, and the bottles will collect dust on the shelves. I can barely afford a can of Wolfgang Puck soup, and this Morimoto Imperial Pilsner equates to a $50+ six-pack. Maybe I can borrow some money from Alton Brown.

Finally, prices that are a little more down to Earth with a new release from Sierra Blanca Brewing. Their previously draft-only Imperial Stout (which is always on tap at ABQ Brew Pub)is now available in four-packs and is dubbed Alien Imperial Stout, no doubt playing upon the successful name recognition of the Alien Amber and Wheat beers. It is a very approachable version of the style, at 7.2% ABV and a modest IBU level. The price is modest too, at $7.99 per four-pack. You can find both the Alien and the Rogue beers at Kelly Liquors and Jubilation.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Odell Double Pilsner Tapping

Mondays suck for the working class, but at least we have this Monday, April 16 to look forward to: Two Fools (home of, "NO! You may NOT have a shot of liquor!") will be tapping a keg of Odell Brewing's Double Pilsner. One of the very few lagers produced by Odell, the Double Pilsner is 8.1% ABV and has enough body to please those who usually eschew (bless you!) the Pilsner style. Odell rep Ryan Bogart will be there to chat with you, and he'll be bringing a limited supply of Odell pint glasses to give to those who purchase a pint of Double Pilsner. Just don't offer to buy him a shot.
The event will begin at 6 pm.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Been Waiting Since 2010 For This

I know a lot of you out there have been eagerly anticipating the release of Marble's Reserve Ale for more than a year, as it hadn't been bottled since late 2010. But yesterday the Marble sales team stepped up and took their punishment of individually hand-dipping the Reserve bottles in wax as a final step before getting the beer in area stores. And you know a beer is special if it has a wax top- it's been proven by NASA, I think. Aged for months in Woodford Reserve barrels, this 9% ale takes on lots of vanilla from the barrel but doesn't have the harsh booziness of some barrel-aged beers. The 22 oz. bottles will vary in price depending on where you buy it. You could pay $14 or $15, though Marble is selling them at the brewery for $12+ tax, and that's about as low as you're going to find it. Bird of Paradise and Trader Joe's may have it for that same price.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Widmer: More Than Just a Hefeweizen

It;s good to see a brewery that has been around for a long time adapt to the changing tastes of craft beer consumers- in this case, Portland's Widmer Brewing. Their series of innovative releases has brought us beers like Barrel Aged Brrrbon , Dark Saison, and Lemongrass Wheat (ok, not all change is great). Latest in the series is a Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout. I'm not a fan of those fruity chocolates like the chocolates shaped and flavored like oranges, but I'm will to try raspberry in my Imperial Stout. This one is 9.3% ABV and 70 IBUs, so you know there is some heft in there that won't leave you feeling like you just drank a bottle of cough syrup. Not that there's anything wrong with that feeling...
I first saw this beer at the majestic Bird of Paradise liquor store.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Longshot 2012

The annual Samuel Adams Longshot release, comprised of three winning homebrewers' recipes, is now available in area stores. You probably remember our own Rio Rancho homebrewer Ben Miller's smiling mug gracing the Longshot bottle a few years back when his Barleywine was one of the winners. Well, you don't have to worry about his face staring back at you while you enjoy this year's winning beers: a Munich Dunkel, a Sticke Alt, and an Imperial Stout. You have to hand it to Samuel Adams for not picking an IPA or DIPA to enhance sales and actually choosing beers of less popular styles on merit alone. Good for them, and congratulations to the winners. Maybe we will see their creations at ABQ Brew Pub in the future???
Expect to pay around $10 for a six-pack of Longshot. I found this at Kelly Liquors on Wyoming.

And from Marble pub manager Josh Morales: the 2012 Marble Reserve has been tapped, $6 a goblet and $20 a growler refill. Enjoy bourbon barrel aged rarity while it lasts.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shift-y New Packaging for New Belgium

Kind of a disturbing new trend going on in the craft beer world recently with companies packaging beers in smaller quantities but charging the same as you'd pay for a six-pack. For instance, Green Flash used to sell their West Coast IPA in six-packs, but changed to the four-pack format (before we started getting it here in Albuquerque) and still selling it for $9.49. Sierra Nevada's Torpedo can be purchased for $7.99 for a six-pack of bottles (72 oz.) or $7.99 for a four-pack of 16 oz. cans (64 oz.). Hmmm. I'll take the bottles and NOT go camping, thanks. And now New Belgium has jumped on the "less for more" bandwagon with Shift Pale Lager. A 5.0% session beer hopped with Nelson Sauvin, Liberty, Cascade, and Target, it is no doubt aimed at those outdoorsy craft-beerloving types that Colorado is known for. But at $7.99 for 64 oz., the same price as their six-packs, over time that missing 8 oz. will equate to added dollars people will be spending on more beer. And that means less money to spend at REI. Let's hope, as good as the beer may be, that this trend doesn't become the norm.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

TBA: Time for the Broom Again

I know these posts have been less frequent than Comcast billing department phone calls, but new releases have been few and far between lately. My ability to actually get the few new releases in my house in one piece is even rarer, as you can see in the picture. At least this one made it into the house, but it fell out of the Il Vicino bag that held contents of errands to Smiths and Jubilation as well as the Il Vic salads. The unfortunate victim here was TBA, or Texas Brown Ale, the new Stone Brewing Company collaboration with Bear Republic and Fat Head's. The Texas Brown Ale style is far less conservative than the rest of Texas- more like a Brown Ale base that is too hoppy to fit the style due to the liberal use of Cascade hops; no surprise that Bear Republic and Fat Head's would play a part in this one. You traveling hopheads are no doubt familiar with Bear Republic's Racer 5 IPA, and Pittsburgh PA's Fat Head's are the makers of Head Hunter IPA, two-time medalist at the GABF and also two-time (and reigning) winner of the National IPA Challenge.
This version of Texas Brown Ale utilizes brown sugar and molasses along with the Bravo, Columbus, Brewer's Gold, and of course Cascade. As an homage to the style, Stone's Randy Clemens says they used Cascade for the VERY FIRST TIME in their 15 years of brewing...whaaaat? Couldn't they have borrowed a cup or two from Sierra Nevada in all that time? You know Sierra has enough to stretch around the world.
Jubilation has enough TBA to fill your fridge, $3.99 per 12 oz. bottle.