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.