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!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Happy 10th, Ruination!

And now we can finalllly celebrate it! The Stone Brewing Co.'s Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA has been rolling out since June 11, though it hadn't been available in Albuquerque until yesterday. I'm not going to go on a rant about that, though, because I just got back from San Diego and the beer was surprisingly scarce considering how close I was to the source. I'm just happy we can get it here- had it on tap at Stone and it is really something...not surprising, seeing that the Columbus and Centennial hop bill was upped from 2.5 to FIVE pounds per barrel! Then Greg Koch's voice boomed down from above (sounding strangely like Charlton Heston's), "Let there be dry hopping!", and Mitch Steele was quick to add a pound each of Centennial and Citra. The final result brings the 10th Anniversary Ruination to 10.8% ABV (up from the regular Ruination's 7.7%). Jubilation has this one right now, and I know plenty of others did not get it so call your local before heading out to buy.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Russian River is Here!

Don't go rushing out, life savings in hand, looking to pick up bottles of Pliny the Elder. And definitely
don't go asking about bottles of Pliny the Younger...just don't. Russian River still isn't distributed here, and may never be, but you can still go out to a local store (like the Kelly's on Wyoming, as I did) and find a beer that Russian River played a part in brewing. The American masters of the sour ale teamed up with the masters of the Cascade hop, Sierra Nevada, to create BRUX, a Wild Ale brewed with Belgian yeast and bottled with Brettanomyces bruxellensis, which I think is the same thing the dentist gave me for a nasty toothache I had. It also is the ingredient that gives the beer the funkiness that we crave in a Wild Ale, though this won't scrape the tongue like some sours. If you've been dying to get a taste of Russian River here in Albuquerque (and the Rio Grande River isn't good enough for you) then shell out the $13.99 for this 25.4 oz. bottle.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Burque Brewer Moves On

Here's a little bit of local brewery news that might interest you: Daniel Jaramillo will be leaving Marble Brewery at the end of July to assume the position of Head Brewer at La Cumbre. His reason for the big transition? "I like the food trucks out in front of La Cumbre better", Jaramillo was (falsely) quoted by me as saying. But he really is going there. Not sure which trucks he likes better. He and Marble honcho Ted Rice were seen enjoying a beer together yesterday and laughing (no bro-hugs, though), so the split seems amicable.
Good luck to Daniel on his new venture!