Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Little Hair of the Dog, a Lot of Money

Barrel-aging makes for tasty beer, but things sure do get expensive. Case in point: Collage No. 1, a collaboration between Deschutes and Portland's famed Hair of the Dog. Deschutes contributes The Stoic, a Quad style that honestly didn't do much for me, and the Dissident, an Oud Bruin that Albuquerque folk may remember getting meager samples of during last year's Beer Week. We never see it in distribution here. Hair of the Dog threw in Fred and Adam, a Strong Ale and Old Ale, respectively. The only barrel type not used in the process was a barrel of monkeys, it seems, as rye whiskey, cognac, American oak, pinot noir, sherry, and local Oregon oak barrels all played a part in the making of this beer. Any barrel-aged versions of Hair of the Dog's Fred or Adam are highly sought after, so this is an exciting beer to get in our market. Unfortunately, this is an expensive beer to make, and the 11.6% ABV beer costs $10.99 just a 12 oz. bottle. Is it worth it to you? Make up your mind quick, as this beer saw a very limited distribution in our area. Got mine at the Kelly's on Wyoming.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Beer Week Friday

Hey, on my way to Denver so sorry that I have to keep this short, but I felt it was important to pass this on: For anyone who felt burned by the $10 beers they were charged for at Imbibe the other night, there is hope for your wallet. During the Santa Fe tasting today at Imbibe (starting at 5, with Black IPA and Chicken Killer Barleywine on tap), if you let them know you were one of the people who overpaid at the Ska event, you will get a pint on the house. That's great to hear. Ok, it's hard to drive and hold this computer so I gotta go.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Beer Week: Thursday, 5/24

The Beer Pong madness continues as ABQ Beer Week moves on to Thursday. Spectators will be again hosting the Beer Pong Tournament. 7 pm start time allows you to hit up an event before and after the royal ponging. Also:

The very congenial brewers over at Kelly's Brewpub have whipped up a batch of special Beer Week brew. A Belgian Trippel will be poured back in the brewhouse area so you can try the beer and talk to the brewer about the process as well. always makes a beer taste better, when you can appreciate what went into it.

Red Hook makes some of the best beers to enjoy at a bar with a rooftop-ish bar like Ibiza has...or so it seems. I haven't actually been in the place, but I hear it is really nice. Nicer when you add in tasting 4 Red Hook beers, a pint of your favorite, and a free pint glass as well? Hanging out on a rooftop bar, drinking Red Hook Pilsner...it's like living in a beer commercial. The event will go from 6 to 8 pm.

O'Niell's in Nob Hill had a great lineup of New Belgiums, and is following it up with a night of Rogue beers. Double Dead Guy, Dead Guy, John John Dead Guy, Hazelnut Brown Nectar, Mocha Porter
For Sale on draft-
XStreme Imperial Porter
Dead Guy Ale
Wow, that Imperial Porter tap will be the first XS Series beer I can remember in Albuquerque...ever, maybe? Probably not, but it's always nice to see a beer on tap that makes you look twice.

The copy and paste method works perfectly to describe the Thursday tasting at Two Fools Tavern. But I also have to say I like that place. If I lived closer and they showed good sports on TV I might hang out there.
"Left Hand Brewing Co. presents their Beer Week Special Brew named Week Sauce. Made especially for all the beer weeks across the nation, Beer Week Sauce is a stealthy coffee ported brewed with Allegro Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans and is not for the weak palate! The beer pours jet black with aromas of intense cold extracted coffee including blueberries and cinnamon. Strong and powerful, Beer Week Sauce is a dream come true for beer lovers and coffee fanatics everywhere! ABV 6.0%"
Very cool to be included on the list of Beer Week cities getting this beer. Recognize!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Beer Week: Wednesday, 5.23

I was going to say this month has been unseasonably hot, but we live in the desert and I haven't actually checked the data from previous years. All I know is I'm bent over the computer, and my neck fat is making me sweat. In other words, perfect Pilsner weather. Red Hook Pilsner will be on tap at Two Fools Tavern at 5 pm, with a free, cool Red Hook glass to rub against your chafing neck. The Pilsner is ABV 5.3% and 25 IBUs.

This here is real! Marble Brewery will be presenting a night of Real Ale, naturally carbonated beer served closer to room temperature so you get get all the nuances of the beer in every sip.Marble's Maibock and Dopplebock will be available, as well as the 505 Five collaboration beer. Stop by anytime for a sample or to purchase a pint.

Rio Rancho residents needn't feel left out of Beer Week. Fat Squirrel Pub and Grille is hosting a La Cumbre beer dinner at 6 pm. The menu: Grilled Chicken-Apple Sausage Stackers with Caramelized Onions and a Golden Raisin Beer Glaze Paired with Kolsch
Hot Bacon-Dressed Spinach Salad with Roasted Beets, Multi-Colored Bell Peppers, Fingerling Potatoes and Stilton Cheese Paired with Pyramid Rock Pale Ale
Oyster "Stout" Rockefeller (Baked Oysters on the Half Shell, filled with Parsley, Fennel, and Bread Crumbs, Drizzled with Stout Balsamic Reduction) Paired with Chew & Swallow Oatmeal Stout
Roasted Thai-Style Half Chicken with Grilled Serrano Peppers, Served with a Pan Jus, Stir-Fried Vegetables and Coconut Milk-Lemongrass Jasmine Rice Paired with Elevated IPA
Squirrel Split (Banana filled with Vanilla Ice Cream and House-made Banana Ice Cream, topped with Cinnamon Clove Syrup and Candied Walnuts) Paired with Jefe's Hefe.
All that capitalization is not mine.
Call 994-9004 for reservations.

Do you have a special place in your heart for one of the two O'Niell's locations in town? With the way the Nob Hill location's parking lot looks right now (note: plenty of street parking for you Nob Hill lovers), it might make the Juan Tabo location more desirable, even if I have to walk past people working out at Defined Fitness on my way to drink. Either location you choose (or both...it's Beer Week!) you will get to taste some great beers. The Nob Hill location will be pouring New Belgium beer, with tastings of Shift, Sunshine Wheat, and Trippel, as well as special Lips of Faith beers Biere de Mars, La Folie, Cocoa Mole, and the rarely seen Tart Lychee!
Juan Tabo will welcome Oregon's Rogue Brewing's with tastes of Hazelnut Brown, Chocolate Stout, Dead Guy, and Juniper Pale Aleas well as having the Hazelnut Brown available for pint purchase. Both locations will start the tasting at 5 pm.

Billy's Long Bar is the place to be for Sierra Nevada's Hoptimum DIPA tapping on Wednesday at 8 pm. I had this beer on tap recently in Chicago and thought it was a highlight of the trip. And I didn't even get free stuff or get to talk about the beer with a Sierra Nevada rep like you have the chance to. And you can bet I paid way more than $3 for a glass of it, but that is all it will cost you. No view of the Willis (always Sears to me, dammit) Tower, but you may spot the top of the Bank of Albuquerque building if you purchased the special glasses.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Beer Week: Tuesday, 5.22

This Beer Week is just flying by, with B vitamin sales in Albuquerque at an all time high. Great work. Tuesday's lineup is a heavy hitter, so be prepared. Maybe hit up Spectators for the continuation of the Beer Pong tournament for a bit as a warmup, then move on for some tastings. And speaking of tastings, I apologize for omitting the O'Niells Nob Hill tasting of Odell beers for Monday, May 21. Free samples of 90 Shilling Ale, Myrcenary Double IPA, St. Lupilin Extra Pale Ale, Cutthroat Porter, and 5 Barrel Pale Ale will be available from 5-7. Very sorry, and hope you can fit that into your busy Beer Week schedule!

Are you one of those people who are so into their routine that you get easily thrown off when something small changes, like the supermarket flyers coming on Monday instead of Tuesday? I can sympathize, but it doesn't mean you have to hide in a closet and consult your Google calendar to center yourself. Sometimes, a little wrench in the works like Il Vicino serving a cask on a Tuesday is a great thing. Sometimes, just having the advertised beer is even better, but we'll let that go...right? Anyway, Il Vicino will be serving a cask (a day earlier in the week than usual) of their Scottish Ale, as well as debuting their Albuquerque Hops-pitality IPA, brewed specially for Beer Week! The 6.7% ABV, 90 IBU IPA is full of Amarillo and Simcoe hops...me likey!

It's a La Cumbre tap takeover at O'Niell's Nob Hill location, with tastings of Pyramid Rock Pale Ale, Malpais Stout, South Peak Pilsner, and Barley's Wine. Elevated IPA and Jefe's Hefe will be on tap for pint sales. The IPA, Stout, and Barleywine are all recent medal winners at the World Beer Cup and you can try them all beginning at 5 pm. Just when you thought you were "acclimated" to La Cumbre's lineup, you get to try them in a whole different setting...which mostly means the Burger Basket won't be sitting outside. And no TV, so don't get stuck sitting next to someone you don't want to talk to.

Plow the competition at Tractor's Tournament of Trivia! From the official Beer Week site's description:
"Tractor Brewery will be having a trivia tournament downtown at Tricklock Company's new space. We will have teams of 10 players in a competitive night of fun and beer. Space is limited and the cost is only $10 per person. You will also be able to purchase a growler of your favorite Tractor Beer at this event. Winning team will get a Tractor Prize Pack!! Multiple rounds, each on a particular subject. Each team will have a bell and the first team to ring gets to answer the question. Get it right and get a point. Get it wrong and the other teams get to try. Register at the Tap Room. For added enjoyment Lauren & Nathan will be hosting in character."
Come out and show Albuquerque that you're allll smart. EDIT: So the event will be held at Tractor's Tap Room (thanks, Chris Jackson) and there is no minimum for team members.

Now, this is nice. Two reps for two different distributors coming together and providing beers for the New Belgium vs. Old Belgium event at Nob Hill Bar and Grill. New Belgium Beer Ranger Brian Hart and Crianza rep Fernando Chavez will guide you through tastings of their respective beers, paired with three courses of Nob Hill Bar and Grill's dishes. New Belgium beers will be Abbey, Belgo IPA, and Trippel, and the "Old Belgium" beers will be St. Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition,Delirium Tremens, and either St. Louis Framboise or Ichtegem Grand Cru. The dinner costs $35, and reservations can be made by calling 266-4455.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Beer Week Sunday 5.20-Monday 5.21

Fresh off their Silver medal award at the World Beer Cup for their Imperial Cream Ale, Nexus Brewery is celebrating ABQ Beer Week by hosting a 1st anniversary beer brunch and BBQ, starting at 2 pm. Gives you just enough time to wake up, pop some ibuprofen, belt out some hymns at church, and start the vicious cycle all over again. Nexus will be debuting their Imperial Scottish Ale (ABV 11% 28 IBUs)and smoking beef brisket, pulled pork, and smoked chicken, all featuring the Nexus red chile BBQ sauce. The ever popular Nexus chicken and waffles will be available as well in case you were running late for church and didn't get breakfast.

Now that your belly is full, head over to Two Fools Tavern at 5 pm and enjoy Il Vicino's commercial account come to life with beer on tap at locations other than their brewery and restaurants. Two Fools will be getting a special keg (no bottles available, so I PROMISE this will be a draft beer!) of a peat smoked version of Il Vicino's Scottish Ale. If you're still hungry, pair it with Two Fools fish and chips and watch the Brits and Scots battle it out, Braveheart style.

Still have a loose belt and money to burn? Walk a block, burn off 4 calories, and settle into Zinc's Marble Beer Dinner. Marble regulars Wildflower Wheat, Pilsner, and Red Ale as well as Abbey Darkness and...Draft Magazine's Top 25 Beers of the Year winner From the Wood (a Dubbel aged in bourbon barrels and spiked with brettanomyces) will be paired with duck l'orange puffs, mini snow crab cakes, brisket, goat's milk custard dessert and more for $35 per person. Reserve at zincabq.com

Starting Monday at noon. ABQ Brew Pub will be serving up guest brewer Ben Miller's Belgian Strong Dark Ale. You may not feel like eating meat ever again after Sunday's events, but ABQ Brew Pub has that award winning green chile burger to wash down Ben's special beer with. Ben is very happy with how this beer has turned out, and I am looking forward to trying it. Ben will be on hand after 5 to let you tell him how much you liked his beer.

One of the 2011 Beer Week's biggest turnouts came at Marble Brewery's Beer and Cheese event. For $15, you get to try St Andre Triple Cream with Double White Ale; Montegrappa with Dopplebock; Bucherondin de Chevre with From the Wood; Satori Monte Amore with DIPA, and Cypress Grove Humbolt Fog with 3 year old Winter Warmer. The event runs from 4-7 pm.

I'm a sucker for bourbon barrel-aged beers, so you can count on me being at Two Fools, where they will be tapping a 5 gallon keg of Widmer Brrrbon, a Kentucky bourbon aged Winter Warmer that clocks in at 9.4% ABV. The beer will be served in 10 oz. glasses, ensuring not only that you get your sample, but that you will be able to dial the number for a cab. I can attest to the fact that sometimes even that becomes a struggle.

Crying the Beer Week Blues

Ok, so things haven't exactly started off so smoothly for ABQ Beer Week, at least at one of the local bars slated to host events during the week: Imbibe. First, the expected keg of Ska DIFF turns out to be a keg of Orange Cream Stout. Not a bad mistake, but not what was promised. But then I get reports of people being charged $10 for a 12 oz. pour- that's a little more than it is worth, don't you think? This isn't Pliny the Younger, for Christ's sake! And then, on top of that, I told you that Imbibe would be tapping kegs of Green Flash Imperial IPA...and honestly, it's a damn shame that I have to make this sound like a big deal, considering pretty much EVERY market that carries Green Flash has kegs of the Imperial IPA on tap in bars on a regular basis- and it turns out we can't even get a keg of it for Beer Week, as the promised kegs turned out to be bottles! So who thinks we don't rate high enough for the "honor" of getting kegs? Not the owner of Imbibe- back when the organizer of Beer Week and I went to talk to him months ago, we specifically talked about getting kegs not normally distributed here and talked about Green Flash. He was all for it, and put in a call to Admiral Beverage, the distributor of Green Flash. Up until the actual event Friday, he apparently thought he was getting the beer in kegs. So as of right now, I don't know if it is Admiral Beverage not trying hard enough to get kegs in our market, or Green Flash not being willing, but I promise I will find out for you. I'm sorry to give you misinformation as to what was being tapped, and I can only hope that this is the last time during Beer Week that we are left disappointed.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

ABQ Beer Week: Friday, 5.18

You've got the rundown for the Thursday kickoff of Albuquerque Beer Week, and I know all you professional drinkers reading this will be recharged and ready for Friday's events! Here's what Friday has in store for you:
Imbibe hosts its second night of beer tastings with a special keg from Green Flash Brewing, Imperial IPA. The Imperial IPA has only been available in bottles here, so this will be the first keg released in Albuquerque. The super hoppy Imperial IPA keg will be tapped at 5 pm. Samples will be available, but just go ahead and buy a pint. It's Friday, after all.
The Whole Foods on Carlisle will be serving up a variety of cheeses (for free!) alongside select Sierra Nevada offerings from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. No need to go to Costco when you have these kinds of samples available. You don't even need to feel guilty about going back for seconds.
Rodney King may not have been the inspiration for this beer, but the idea of everyone just getting along is always a good thing. It certainly worked for five Albuquerque breweries, who collaborated to create 505 Five an 8% ABV Imperial Red Rye Ale for your drinking pleasure. The breweries each brought ingredients and input (always plenty of input) to Marble Brewery, where the beer was made. 505 Five will be released at all the participating breweries: Nexus, Marble, La Cumbre, Chama River, and Il Vicino starting at 4 pm. Pick the brewery closest to you and drink up the creation that these local breweries deemed good enough for Beer Week.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I'll Have the Turkey O'Toole

No, wait... that would be Bennigan's. I'm talking about Shenanigans, the latest arrival in Odell Brewing's Single Serve series. Shenanigans came about as an experiment in the Woodcut series that just didn't fit, so they added lactobacillus and mildly soured what would have otherwise been a straight oak-aged ale. The 9.1% beer comes in a corked and caged 750 ml bottle and sells for $14.99 at Jubilation. That's more than you would pay for most food at Bennigan's, but Shenanigans probably tastes better than anything at Bennigan's, and you don't have to leave a tip when you buy it. Just don't expect the guys working at Jubilation to sing happy birthday to you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

SummerFest at Pajarito

Come join the beginning of summer celebration at Pajarito Mountain on Saturday, June 2, with the NM Brewers Festival. From 12-5, you can sample sample sample the day away with beers from 15 of New Mexico's finest while enjoying the ska stylings of The Blue Hornets. Ska music lovers: where every day is Halloween. For you more adventurous types, the lifts will be running for hikers and mountain bikers. Come watch JD make his annual drunken ride that ends in the inevitable crash and injury. That in itself is worth the ride to Los Alamos. 15 NM breweries isn't a bad reason to go, either. For more information on the fest, call 505-662-5725.

Monday, May 14, 2012

ABQ Beer Week Begins.

Don't worry, nothing's going on tonight that you have to change plans for...but Thursday, May 17 will be the start of 10 days of celebrating the best craft beer that Albuquerque and national breweries have to offer. Since there are so many events going on, you may have to do some creative schedule juggling to make it to many of them. I won't even be able to make it to all of them- but I'll damn well represent at the ones I can attend...which means driving by the event, yelling, "I'm just trying to find a place to park!" to the people I'm supposed to meet, then driving along to voyeurize the next event. Try to actually attend these events rather than follow my example- I don't need any traffic messing up my schedule. Here's Thursday's rundown:
Cloth napkin restaurants don't equate to wine-only menus, at least at Chama River Brewing Company. At 6:30 pm, they will be hosting a beer dinner featuring Czech Pils, Rio Chama Amber Ale, Hop Slap IPA, and Vanilla Cream Ale paired with non-TV dinner foods like bacon crusted scallop and Kobe beef flat iron steak. $45 per person, call 342-1800 for reservations.
Celebrate the Chinese New Year just a little late with a good game of Beer Pong! Spectators Sports Bar and Grill will host a "2v2" Beer Pong Tournament Thursday at 7 pm. According to event info: "All teams will play four prelim games. The top 8 or 16 teams (depending on turnout) will advance to a double elimination bracket. Cash Prize! $5 per guy, girls free." Remember, NM laws prohibit the use of actual beer in these events, so...yeah...stupid laws. Is there a law that you can't go to the bar and buy a beer on the side while playing?
This class will be even better than the bowling one I took in college! Marble Brewery is hosting a Beer 101 class, hosted by Marble's Angelo Orona. Visit a full spectrum of 10 different beer styles while Angelo reads off the notes he has written on his hand. Kidding; the man samples as many new beers as anybody and knows his styles. Come get schooled in the class where nobody fails, from 6-8 pm. There is a $10 fee- comes out to $1 per style. And there is no matriculation fee.
A rare sighting of Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock will be on tap at three different bars in town: Stone Face Tavern, Horse and Angel Tavern, and Billy's Long Bar. I'd like my experience to consist of: not getting beat up and actually getting waited on, so I'll probably get my Bock at Billy's. Chocolate Bock was on shelves in bottles for a short time in large bottle format and then as part of a mix-pack. Come out and see what the draft version is like.
Bust your best Izod out of the closet and head to Imbibe, one of Nob Hill's fashionable bars and surprisingly one of the biggest supporters of ABQ Beer Week. They begin a long list of special tappings with the only keg of Ska Brewing's DIFF, a Belgian Wit that has the usual orange peel and coriander, but also has oats and oriental lemongrass as part of the recipe! Stop by Imbibe anytime on Thursday and buy a pint of this rarity from Ska.

Friday, May 11, 2012

New Beer Friday

Odell Brewing has released what may be it's most popular seasonal, St. Lupulin. Billed as an Extra Pale Ale, Lupulin has that Odell signature hop character without being overly bitter. The beer is 6.5% ABV and 46 IBUs, and should be available at your local liquor store now. You should also find it on tap in some bars; I remember seeing it at Blackbird Buvette last year, on the one day I went to Blackbird Buvette last year.
Repackage, repackage, repackage, and throw in a new style for good measure. Samuel Adams seems to have this down to a science, and if it sells, who can blame them? The latest box, IPA-Hop-Ology, has six different IPAs, three of which (Third Voyage DIPA, Dark Depths Baltic IPA, and Tasman Red IPA) are seeing 12 oz. bottles for the first time. The variety pack also contains Whitewater IPA and Latitude 48, along with the obligatory new style: Grumpy Monk Belgian IPA. The box o' IPAs retails for $15.99 a 12-pack, and I don't know whether to buy it or wait for Grumpy Monk to show up on its own...or wait for Jubilation to open a box and sell them as singles.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Feeling Flemmy? Have a Monk's!

Monk's Cafe is one of America's premier Belgian beer bars, and an obvious destination for any beer lover visiting Philadelphia. Owners Tom Peters and Fergus Carey are often credited with opening the eyes of American drinkers to these foreign Belgian styles- and not just Chimay. Peters personally traveled to Belgium, creating relationships with the breweries and getting beers to the states that might not have otherwise have crossed the pond were it not for him. He eventually even got Van Steenberge to brew a Flemish Red under the Monk's Cafe label, and that beer is now available in Albuquerque. The 5.5% ABV beer, available at Jubilation, is a mix of slightly sweet fruit along with a mild funky tartness, making for a very drinkable Flemish Red. The 25.4 oz. bottle retails for $10.99.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I'll Have One With The Works, Please

So I'm sitting here drinking the last of Stone's latest beer that I picked up at Jubilation, brewed for Bottleworks' 13th Anniversary (Bottleworks is a Seattle craft beer store legend, and the accompanying Brouwer's Cafe is a must-stop bar while in town). The beer is made up of 13 malts and 13 hops; with so many ingredients, the list on the bottle reminds me of one of those refrigerator magnet poetry thingys. So I made a poem out of it. Can't be any worse than one your friend has on their fridge. Brown Crisp/Magnum/Lightly Peated/Mt. Hood The beer somehow turns out better despite all the ingredients, though I'm still trying to figure out all the flavors. I know that the style is an American Strong Ale, 11% ABV, and that there are lots of dark fruit flavor going on. I keep drinking it, so that must be saying something- though not as much as my next Bottleworks poem will.

We Are the World

The World Beer Cup 2012 Awards were announced today, and Albuquerque once again represented, with medals in four different categories. GABF standouts La Cumbre came away with three medals: a Silver in the Barley Wine Style category for Barley's Wine, a Silver in the Foreign Style Stout category for Malpais Stout, and Bronze in the American Style IPA Category for Elevated IPA. And the underdog Nexus Brewery took the final Albuquerque medal, with a Silver for their Imperial Cream Ale in the Other Strong Beer category. Congratulations to our local medal winners!