Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Face Your Beers at the Bird of Paradise

Like the scary movies? I don't watch them anymore. Pet Sematary was enough to make me swear off horror until I could afford to keep all the lights on 24 hours a day. But I know there are a ton of you horror buffs out there. So here's something that might interest you, straight from an organizer of the fest, "On Saturday, Dark Matters Film Festival celebrates the Solstice by presenting another annual installment of Horror Bites! This all-day collection of short films features shadowy selection of hand-picked horror, science fiction and dark fantasy from around the globe. Shorts are organized into several themed programming blocks, so you can choose your favorite form of darkness. Horror Bites will take place starting at 2 p.m. at the Guild."

Sounds like a good time for those of you who don't piss themselves when you hear the John Carpenter music from "Halloween", but there's a nice beer event the night before for those of you who do. And I'll bring an extra diaper to the beer event in case you are afraid that someone there will have the "Halloween" theme as their ringtone. Bird of Paradise (5409 Gibson Blvd. SE) will be hosting their first Dark Beer Festival on Friday, December 21st (the "darkest" day of the year...BOO!) at 6 pm. A really nice list of drafts has been compiled as a complementary event to the Film Festival. Check out the list of flights available at an $8 per flight price (max. two flights per person):

Flight 1: Enamel Tripel*, Petrus Winter No. 9, Troubadour Imperial Stout*

Flight 2: Sierra Nevada Dunkelweizen, Köstritzer*, Odell Fernet Porter

Flight 3: Alaskan Smoked Porter, Widmer Chocolate Russian Imperial Stout 2013, Rogue XS Imperial Stout

Flight 4: Sierra Nevada Narwahl, Alaskan Stout*, Old Rasputin

The * denotes kegs that will be tapped for the very first time in New Mexico! So, the problem here is not deciding whether or not to go, but which two flights to pick. Those choices not enough? There will also be specialty cocktails and Bronco Winery selections, and...oh. This: 6 oz. pours of Goose Island Bourbon County Stout and Goose Island Bourbon Coffee Stout bottles (2 pours for $10.) You can get into the bar and warm your taste buds up a but at 5 pm, but the real fun starts at 6. Check out for any updates to the event.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

We're Hefen a Party...

...everybody's swingin'!
While I'm not sure if the release of La Cumbre's Third Anniversary beer will have people acting as if they are extras in a remake of Eyes Wide Shut, I guarantee some will be making poor parking choices in order to renew their mug club memberships while getting a bottle of the very limited Belgian-Style Quad aged on cocoa nibs. The fun is only beginning there- how about some Shitty Beer (insert joke about your least favorite brewery here)? Cumbre brewers took their Second Anniversary Wine Barrel Aged Imperial Stout and cold-steeped in $180 per pound how-in-the-world-did-anyone-think-hmmm-this-will-make-for-a-nice-cup "animal processed" coffee. That not enough for you? How's a cask of the new Project Dank dry hopped with Citra sound? Citra is one of my favorite hops, so it sounds like you might have to fight me to even get a sip. Or you would, that is, if I didn't have to work. You're lucky. Finally, El Jefe himself, La Cumbre owner Jeff Erway, will be leading a tour of the brewery at 6. Expect to get the full story on what the brewery started with compared to what they have now, and a preview of what they have planned for the future. Brewery tours- a lot like walking around the Creamland dairy factory, but with a beer instead of a Tru-Moo.
Congratulations to La Cumbre on three great years!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Gift That Gives...Well, a Good Hangover at Least

Having trouble finding a gift for that beer lover who has everything? Yeah, I guess you could go to Cost Plus and buy one of those "Beers of the World" gift pack for your geeky friend or family member, but...they will hate it. Just speaking the truth. The thought may be what counts, but knowing that the gift recipient is thinking, "Man, more beer I don't want" should be enough to dissuade you. How about giving this early Christmas treat instead: a spot at O'Niell's Nob Hill Stone Beer Dinner on Monday, December 16 at 6 pm. You'll be treating that beer lover to a five course meal that includes fanciness like "leek garnish" and "honey balsamic reduction". And that's just the stuff that goes on top of the dishes. Garlic cream shrimp and pomegranate BBQ pulled pork are just a couple of the highlights of the menu. The real highlight, of course, comes in the beers selected for the dinner: Vertical Epic 12.12.12, Red Wine Barrel Aged Double Bastard, Arrogant Bastard aged in Templeton Rye Whiskey barrels, Crime (that Lucky Basartd with chile peppers...little sips.), and the new Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean. $65 gets you a lifetime of gratitude from your beer lover. Just make sure they have the 16th free or else you'll have to go yourself. Darn. To reserve spots, call 977-1836, email, or visit

Monday, December 2, 2013

Can We Get the Florida Weather Instead?

If you've been following the craft breweries outside of NM, you've surely heard of Tampa, Florida's Cigar City Brewing. The makers of Jai Alai IPA and Hunahpu's Imperial Stout collaborated with New Belgium Brewing to give you a taste of what you've been missing...or have they? The beer sounds like a beer worth buying: New Belgium's Bier De Garde yeast along with Anaheim and Marash chiles, a hop bill of Target, Centennial, Cascade, Pacific Jade, Wakatu, and Simcoe, with the beer aged on Spanish cedar. But, for a 22 oz. beer priced at $13.99, I was expecting more- especially from the Cigar City side. There's plenty of New Belgium influence, with the Belgian yeast playing the starring role throughout. But the chiles are hardly noticeable, and it's not like I'm looking for heat like you get in Stone's Punishment beer- another chile beer that really is punishment to drink. And as a huge fan of Cigar City's Humidor Series of beers that are aged on cedar, I was hoping for a pronounced cedar influence. It's not quite there, at least not at the Cigar City levels I'm used to. It's still a pleasant enough beer to drink, though I won't be spending another $14 on this beer.

Maybe we'll have more luck with a beer from "Colorado's First Microbrewery": Boulder Brewing. As long as it's not Mojo IPA, we may be in luck. Shake is the latest to come to us from Boulder, and it's a beer you may want fries with: Shake Chocolate Porter utilizes chocolate wheat and cacao nibs to produce a beer with aromas of cedar and chile. Sorry, still hung up on that $14 I spent. No, Shake promises chocolate, toffee, and caramel in the 5.9% ABV Porter. Haven't tried it yet so can't say. Once bitten, twice shy. Saw the Cigar City/New Belgium collaboration at Jubilation and Shake at Kelly Liquors on Wyoming, $7.99 a six-pack.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Grandaddy of Double Whites

I made my semi-annual visit to downtown bars the other night and found myself looking at Anodyne's bottle selection for something interesting, as the draft selection rarely changes and what is on tap is hardly exciting. I was surprised to see bottles of Double White from Southampton Publick House, a New York brewery that is probably best known for popularizing the "Imperial Witbier" style (is that even an official style?). Fans of Marble's Double White should be on the lookout for this GABF Silver medal winning beer, as it was an inspiration for Ted Rice to brew his own version of the style. Do a side by side comparison of the two beers; compare and contrast, if you will. Use in place of champagne for that morning Mimosa. I haven't noticed it sold anywhere but Anodyne, but I also haven't been to any stores since my downtown excursion, so it may be in stores right now. Anyway, you're probably getting growlers filled today and not worrying about bottled beers, but thought you should know anyway. Enjoy your holiday!

Friday, November 15, 2013

New Bastards Friday

Tis the season for the annual release of Double Bastard from Stone Brewing Co., though this year we have three exciting variations on the regular version. There are numbers involved here, so pay attention, please: first up is Southern Charred, 2012 Double Bastard blend with 51% of the beer aged in bourbon barrels for 10 months, 41% aged in second-use bourbon barrels for 13 months (the first use was for the Suitable for Cave Aging beer, a tribute to GABF cellarmaster Danny Williams), and the final 8% aged for 10 months in charred oak barrels. Got all that? My head is throbbing like I already chugged one of these 12.6% monsters.
Next is Crime, which uses the popular once released Lukcy Basartd (blend of Arrogant Bastard, OAKED Arrogant Bastard, and Double Bastard), ages it in bourbon barrels, and adds a particularly nasty-sounding blend of peppers: red and green jalapenos, black Nagas, Carribean red hots, and Moruga scorpions and fatalis. And you seriously expect me to drink that? I wouldn't even want to try a salsa with those ingredients. Those of you less wimpish than me might be excited about this one...I'll just have a sip.
Finally, Punishment is this year's Double Bastard aged in bourbon barrels and with the same hot pepper bill as Crime. I don't know what we did to piss Greg Koch off, but he is getting back at us with these firey blends. Keep some milk nearby and give these beers a go. Jubilation has all three for sale now.

Friday, November 8, 2013

New Beer Friday

Finally, a beer gets released at the time when people might actually want to drink it. November marks the month that Alaskan Brewing releases its classic Smoked Porter, and Albuquerque residents can finally buy it without leaving the state. Is it any good? The 6.5% ABV Smoked Porter has won medals at the Great American Beer Festival some 20 times, if that tells you anything. Olde English 800 has also won medals at the festival. You can find this legendary Porter at Jubilation and other well-stocked craft outlets.

And keeping with the mindset that an IPA will sell at any time of year, New Belgium has ditched its Snow Day winter seasonal in favor of Accumulation, a White IPA. I'm not the biggest fan of Winter Warmer styles like Jubelale or Isolation, as they always seem like Brown Ales with extra brown in them. However, those feel more in line for winter drinking than a White IPA, but what sells, sells. And New Belgium sells. And Mosaic and Amarillo hops together sound enticing. $7.99 a six-pack also sounds pretty good. White IPA might not be the first beer you think of reaching for when sitting in front of the fireplace, but at least you have the choice. Enjoy your weekend drinking!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

With Santa Fe Rents Soren, Marble's Tap Room Peters Out

Santa Fe is poised to lose one of the few reasons to visit there, as reported in the Santa Fe New Mexican:
The article pretty much sums it up, so I won't bother with a follow-up sum-up. I did talk to Marble's Ted Rice (name spelled correctly in the article, unlike Marble President Jeff Jinnett's) and he seemed positive about the whole situation. Could Marble have something entirely outside of a Santa Fe location in the works? Could they be planning to put another tap room somewhere in Albuquerque, maybe in the Northeast Heights? Probably not- I have to make it clear that this is only me thinking that it would be a good idea- I haven't heard one rumor that they would ever do this. But it would be nice for residents up there, and it worked for other multi-unit local businesses. O'Niell's, for one. And Farina did it, but they only had to haul flour and mozzarella up there, not a bunch of heavy kegs. In any case, it will be sad for the locals who called the Santa Fe Tap Room their home bar, but Second Street and Santa Fe Brewing are nearby options.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Lobo Fans, Get Ready to Hurl?

Who isn't ready for some Lobo basketball??? I'll admit that at one time I got mad because the radio broadcast of the Lobo game superseded my usual nighttime AM show,Coast to Coast with George Noory. I had to rely on my friend Andreas to tell me of the daily UFO sightings. Funny how a lot of those happen around places with airports. And now that Coast to Coast is no longer here, I welcome the Lobo basketball broadcasts. Will I welcome the new Lobo beer? Come out to Kelly's Brewery for the coaches show to find out. Or keep reading:
I don't know, as I didn't buy any. Don't hold it against my school spirit, but I just had a feeling that the Lobo (5% ABV)and Lobo Lito (4% ABV), both products of the Pedernales Brewing Company out of Fredericksburg, TX, might not be what people were looking to read about on a "craft beer" page. But you thought it was just fine to write about a hoppy cider on this "craft beer" page, didn't you?? I did, evil Siri. And though I didn't try Lobo beer, I thought it might appeal to the college crowd reading this site. Instead of drinking the Lobo beers, I instead tried to gain my way into a party at Lobo Village armed with a six-pack of Lobo and Lobo Lito but was denied. Lobo beer may serve well to those who want to do a little pregame imbibing (without getting that DIPA coma by halftime feeling) before heading to the Pit to watch the Lobos defeat another opponent. Available at finer stores. Used Lobo 15 times in that post. I should get some free tickets.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Santa Fe Brewing Hosts a Fancy Food Truck

What gives? First, you write about a cider. Then you write about food in Santa Fe. I thought this was supposed to be about the "Albuquerque Beer Scene", not Apple Juice Weekly. And I don't want to read about uppity foodies, I want to read about uppity beer geeks.
Yeah, well, it's been slow on the beer release front. And a dry-hopped cider is...kinda cool, maybe?
Well why not write about Hopfest? How come I didn't even see you there?
I admit, I missed NM's biggest beer fest this year- I was sick. And as much as I enjoy Hopfest, I'm not standing in line while delirious with fever just to get a sample of Abita Amber. Not happening.
I'm also not driving up to Santa Fe to taste food made in the Four Seasons Taste Truck, but I know some of you out there might be interested in this: Yes, the Four Seasons hotel chain that few of us can afford has gotten in on the food truck craze. Foie gras from a food truck? From anywhere? No thanks. But you foodies out there can get a sample of what four star dining is like while still wearing your skinny jeans. The main reason I'm writing about this food truck is that its arrival coincides with the release of Santa Fe Brewing's winter seasonal, the Black IPA. On Saturday, November 9 from 2-6, the brewery will be hosting a party to celebrate the release, complete with music, games, fire eaters, unicyclists, biker gangs, linen napkins, and the guy with Mickey Mouse ears who sits out in front of Anodyne. The Four Seasons Taste Truck will be there, making Santa Fe the last stop on its 8 city tour. Come out and turn your nose up at that Motel 6 food truck you used to go to. The Four Seasons Taste Truck: No bedbugs!

Friday, October 25, 2013

New Beer Friday

One of New Belgium's finest creations, Le Terroir, has been re-released in area stores. With mishmash styles like black Saisons and White IPAs being the norm these days, you probably won't bat an eye at the fact that Le Terroir is a dry-hopped Sour. But when this beer first came out, it was a revelation, thanks to the use of Amarillo hops. The Amarillo hops somehow turn out to create a perfect fruity balance to the sour side of the beer. Glad to see New Belgium chose to bring back one of their successful recipes rather than making a new beer with a fruit only seen before in dried versions at Trader Joe's. Expect to pay $14-15 for a 22 oz. bottle.

It's the time of the year that beer geeks have been saving up their pennies for: to buy a bottle of Odell Woodcut. One of the priciest annual releases at around $20 for a 750 ML bottle, Woodcut is now on its 7th version- and probably the one I'm most excited to try: a Russian Imperial Stout. As with all Woodcut releases, the beer is aged in new oak barrels. Expect to get notes of vanilla, toffee, maple, and chocolate out of this one. Also expect to catch a healthy buzz, as Woodcut #7 is 12.5% ABV, and, according to an Odell brewer, "Our biggest beer yet." Pick this one up at Jubilation and other fine stores. You might want to save this one until after the weekend, as you have to be in shape for Hopfest tomorrow.

Friday, October 18, 2013

New "Beer" Friday

Scoff if you must...and I wouldn't blame you, but there are beer-loving people out there who just can't imbibe anymore due to a gluten intolerance, and I feel it necessary to inform them of a "beer-like" option that may give them a taste of the good old days. Yeah, it's a cider. I'm not ashamed to write about it. A little uncomfortable, maybe, but look- this cider is different: It's dry-hopped, just like your favorite IPAs, and not with Fuggles or Styrian or East Kent Golding. It uses the tried and true American Cascade variety. In fact, rumor has it that this Woodchuck Dry Hop Cider has IBUs that rival Elevated IPA. Now, that's just a rumor, that I started, but feel free to pass it along to your Celiac challenged friends. The Woodchuck Dry Hop is part of their Cellar Series, with future releases including a Maple Bacon Cider and a cider blended with Mott's apple juice. "Finally, a Cider With Apples!" is the tagline for that version. Rumor has it. $5.99 for a 22 oz. bottle.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Great New Mexico Beer Fest

As you probably know, I just got back from the Great American Beer Fest- still have some things to write about that, but I wanted to take a minute and remind you that there are still tickets available to New Mexico's largest beer fest: Hopfest, held at Isleta Resort and Casino, or as I like to call it: Hard Rock Casino. I bought the Isleta Hard Rock jacket, I'm going to call the place what I want.
Hopfest takes place on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 2-6 pm. From 2 to 3 is the Extra Hoppy Hour, with limited admission for that extra sampling space, and tickets selling for $35. If you're feeling like a high roller and have a leather Hard Rock jacket, consider the $50 VIP ticket. VIP gets you into the Extra Hoppy Hour and the special VIP area where special beers will be pouring on the hour, with food pairings like beer candied bacon and chocolate truffles. Just want to go to the regular ol' fest and sample around 170 beers from 62 breweries? A $25 tickets gets you in at 3.
This is a big beer fest as far as the amount of beers available, and from someone who has been to many around the country, I can tell you that it is very well organized event that does a great job showcasing both local and national breweries. And the option of staying right upstairs after the fest makes this one even more enticing. I've done it before, and though I can't recommend the after fest hotel room bottle share as the smartest idea for a "frequent sampler" like myself, you certainly can do so. The festival floor allows for a good amount of drinking space, and the bands won't drown out your beer talk. Please invite me to your bottle share.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Late With the Breaking News

Thanks, technology! Going into today's 10:30 am GABF Awards Ceremonies I thought that my biggest problem would be getting enough coffee in me to stay awake for the entire thing after another full day of drinking- but no. It turns out that just after Il Vicino won the Gold in the Coffee beer category, I was no longer allowed to upload anything to any sort of social media...a blessing in most cases, but I wanted to bring you all the awards news. And now that I am finally back in the hotel room, I can do that, and thanks to the Crowne Plaza for still providing free internet. I guess that's the trade-off for the sheets that crinkle like paper every time I move.
Marble took a Silver in the German-Style Pilsner category and a Bronze in the Dortmunder category. Their crew, pictured, is not looking at me because I refused to wave my hand at them like a paparazzi photographer at a red carpet event. Also, I was holding a complimentary donut so it was hard to wave and eat at the same time.
La Cumbre won a Bronze in the highly competitive IPA category (252 entries, the most ever in any category) with their Project Dank IPA.
How about Santa Fe's Second Street Brewery getting a Gold for Rod's Steam Bitter in the Amber-Style Lager category? Great for the underdog brewery!
I would call Sierra Blanca an underdog as well but they won a medal last year. Ditto for this year, where their Nut Brown took Silver in the English-Style Brown category.
Blue Corn took two medals: Silver in the American-Style Brown Ale category and coming up just short of their named Gold Medal Stout with a Silver in the Oatmeal Stout category.
I'm sorry that I am apparently still on dial-up in a fiber optics world, but let's hear it for eight New Mexico medals at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Notes From GABF Thursday Session

Memo to the Brewers Association: don't ever go cheap on us and get rid of the bagpipers. They are as much of a mainstay as attendees in costumes, and much more welcome. As loud and crazy as the festival floor gets, people quiet down and make a path to watch the pipers come through.
Started off the evening with Duck Gooze, as did the 25 or so people lined up ahead of us and million behind us. Wasn't blown away but that often happens with a beer of its hype. Wish I could try it in a blind tasting.
Had a ticket to the Farm to Table Pavilion, where chefs pair dishes with beers. Fancy chefs (recognized a former Top Chef contestant), fancy beers, fancy food. Surly Darkness, Bruery White Chocolate, Cigar City Lacto Guava Grove, etc. Great beers, but I'm an unadventurous eater so the food is kind of lost on me. Chicken liver mousse and raw oysters make me queasy. The fried reuben cheese curd things were great though. And each table had a dessert as well. A nice addition to the fest for people with stronger stomachs than me.
Tried about 55 samples at the fest...that's about the usual for me. 1 oz. of beer goes a long way when so many of the beers are high in alcohol. Standouts were Almanac Pumpkin Barleywine, Alesmith Vietnamese Speedway Stout, Boneyard Hop Venom DIPA, Kuhnhenn Double Rice IPA, Captain Lawrence Rosso E Marrone, and Desthil Sour Strawberry. Award for most ambitious beer goes to Short's Pig Pen, "intensely hopped IPA aged in bourbon barrels with brettanomyces".
Best beer of the night was Three Floyds Permanent Funeral, I'm kind of sorry to say. Sorry, because one of the festival veteran and most popular breweries was ill-prepared to serve its fans. How do you run out of Zombie Dust by 7:30 at a festival that goes till 9:45??? And they were out of everything and their booth empty by around 9. I don't like the trend of breweries tapping certain beers at special times during the fest (Bourbon County Stout at 6, Bourbon County Coffee at 8, Parabola at 6:45, Chocolate Rain at 7:15), but maybe Three Floyds should follow those examples. Or bring more beer. And speaking of Chocolate Rain, The Bruery gets the award for longest line, as people must have started lining up for a taste of the beer 20 minutes before they started pouring, and there were probably 150 people in line.
The night ended with me following people who were following/stalking Dogfish Head's Sam Calagione, who was able to disappear during a diversion created by two guys peeing barely ten feet from the festival exit. Oh, how I love the GABF! Still two more sessions to go.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Great American Beer Fest Begins Tonight

It's become more and more apparent to me that I need at least 12 hours of sleep to prepare for a trip- even something as simple as a one-hour flight to Denver. Even if I do drink enough to actually fall asleep on the eve of a trip, I am so amped to leave that I have a restless sleep and end up stumbling around the airport shops, actually contemplating buying a pair of Beats from Hudson News.
This jaunt to Denver is to cover the Great American Beer Festival for the 5th year, and from the look of downtown Denver on Wednesday, this will be the biggest group of beer geeks in one city in like, ever. To give a perspective: there were almost as many brewery people walking on the 16th St. Mall as there were people asking for money. And the crowd at Falling Rock Tap House was already four deep for beer at the bar at 4 pm, though it did thin out around 7. I didn't stay much longer, I have to admit. It was still the night before the largest gathering of beers under one roof, and I plan to try a respectable amount when the beers pour at 5:30 this evening. The GABF phone app that lets you make a "must try" list of breweries and check off and rate beers will have everyone walking around looking at their phones (even more than usual) and adding beers tried to the database. I'll be one of those fools, I hate to say. I used to carry a little notebook to write down all the beers I tasted, but in the dark ages of 2009 all I could do on my Nokia was play a bowling game, so the notebook was a necessity.
With 3,100 beers from 624 breweries at the GABF this year, I'm not ashamed to say I was in bed by 10 last night to get myself in tip-top sampling shape. Brought a 12-pack of coconut water from Costco, have my milk thistle and ibuprofen handy...I'm ready to do this. Tomorrow may be a different story.

Friday, October 4, 2013

New Beer Friday

Our search for the elusive Triple IPA takes us to New Zealand, where the Green Bullet and Pacific Gem hops grow like USA's America's Cup victories over New Zealand. Nah, I didn't really keep up with that event either, but damn does it look cool on a big TV when you're half-drunk. And the Green Flash release Green Bullet will get you more than halfway with its 10.1% ABV. I'm not really sure where the "Triple IPA" comes into play here. Green Bullet is not as in your face aggressive hop-wise as, say, Avery's Maharaja, and though Maharaja is higher in alcohol, it is still considered a Double IPA. But hey, whatever sells the beer. It's a worthy beer for you hopheads to try out, even without the addition of New Zealand's best hop, Nelson Sauvin. I think I paid $9.10 after tax for a 22 oz. bottle at Jubilation.

I haven't been blown away by all of the Stone collaborations lately, but you have to hand it to the brewing giant for throwing a bone to some smaller breweries in the form of these collaborations. When was the last time you had a beer from 10 Barrel? Have you even heard of them? How about Tonya Cornett? Formerly of Bend Brewing Company? One of the female head brewers before being a female head brewer was cool, now the big boss of 10 Barrel? Or Bluejacket, the other lucky collaborator for Suede, the Imperial Porter that small brewers' dreams are made of. Bluejacket is a Washington, DC brewery that only opened this year, yet has somehow managed to secure a spot to the side of Greg Koch's throne, for this bottle release at least. Suede Imperial Porter is the result of the three breweries coming together, though as with all new Stone releases, it seems, there is a gimmick: in this case, the addition of avocado honey, jasmine, and calendula flowers. You know that I love nothing more than a beer with flowers in it, so I rushed out to Jubilation to get a bottle of this 9.6% ABV beer. Retails for $8.99.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

And I Would Bike 1400 Miles...

And I would walk 500 more. For one, to get away from wherever that song was coming from, and two, for such a great cause as the 1400 Miles event being held Monday, Sept. 30th at Marble Brewery. The event, which takes place from 5-9 pm, helps raise money for Pints for Prostates, a cause that raises prostate cancer awareness. The 1400 Miles group is raising awareness in a unique (and healthy) way: crazy lycra-clad cyclists started on a ride that began in Austin, TX with an average of 100 miles ridden per day. By the final day, the riders will end up in Denver at the Great American Beer Festival. At six of the stops on the ride, events have been organized at a local brewery, with specialty foods served up from the legendary Beerliner- it looks like a tour bus the Allman Brothers may once have used, but has been remodeled on the inside (and hopefully know what happens on rock star buses) to become a giant food truck. That truck will be on hand right here in Albuquerque, at Marble Brewery, along with chefs from Zinc, Seasons, and Savoy who will be serving up dishes they prepared in the Beerliner for around $10 a plate. Also, local breweries have provided special kegs which will be tapped for the event. All proceeds from the sale of food and these beers goes to Pints for Prostates. Come out and meet the riders who donated their time and legs to support the cause, and be a part of the support yourself. Way too many of us have or have had a loved one affected by cancer...please come out for this event, hungry and thirsty!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Alaskan Brewing Night at O'Niell's

If you're not into the Thursday night football thing, come on out to the place with no TVs to distract you from that intellectual conversation you're having, O'Niell's Pub in Nob Hill, for a night with Alaskan Brewing beers. The event is being labeled as a "tap takeover", though with four Alaskan beers getting tapped (Freeride APA, IPA, Amber, White) I'd call it more of a tap co-existence. Along with the opportunity to sample a flight of all the beers comes the chance to talk to Alaskan brewer Terwiliger Paige (with special guest Lemony Snickets?). Just remember when talking to Terwiliger and hinting to him that it sure would be nice to get an Alaskan keychain or pint glass: he is a brewer, not a brewery rep. In fact, he is here on vacation and was nice enough to offer up his time to attend this event. Probably did the Breaking Bad trolley tour and tram thing and said, "Well, there's no balloons to see yet, guess it's time to drink!" The event takes place from 6-8 pm

Monday, September 16, 2013

New Belgium: The Golden Corral of Breweries?

New Belgium is pushing the envelope when it comes to brewing with foody-type stuffs. I'm waiting for their next offering to come with free salad and breadsticks attached.
French Aramis IPA, the latest in their Hop Kitchen series, may not fill you up like a buffet, but it may induce a sneeze or two if you are allergic to flowers. This thing is indeed flowery, thanks to the French Aramis hops. It's so flowery, I think the Babes in Brewland could have played a part in the recipe. Definitely a unique beer that will have both huge fans and detractors. $4.99 per 22 oz. bottle.
An Imperial Berliner Weisse? A Berliner Weisse at all in Albuquerque? Yeah, we've got it. A style that normally comes in at under 4% ABV, Berliner Weisse is normally a delicate beer that still packs flavor thanks to funky yeasts. The New Belgium imperial version includes Lactobacillus and Brettanomyces, along with yuzu fruit. A fruit forgotten about since Iron Chef started filming in the United States, yuzu adds citrus to the funk of a Berliner Weisse. 8% ABV adds the fun. Does it stay true to the style? Find out for $7.99.
A big F you to the Reinheitsghebot German beer purity law, Coconut Curry Hefeweizen is certainly the strangest beer to come to town since the Rogue beer that does not need to be discussed. Ingredients include coconut, cinnamon, coriander, fenugreek, ginger, kaffir lime, and cayenne pepper. Sounds like the perfect beer for dipping your naan. This beer retails for $7.99, but probably comes cheaper in the lunch buffet version. All beers found at Kelly Liquors on Wyoming.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ein Cerveza, Bitte!

:Pardon my French in the title, please. Just wanted to inform you that there is another reason to drive to Bernalillo other than eating at original Range Cafe or making a wrong turn when trying to get to Placitas: the brand new Kactus Brewery, located at 471 S Hill Rd. The brewery is still in the "soft opening" stage, but they do already have five beers on tap: Helles, Hefewizen, London Porter, ESB, and Pale Ale. Yeah, I can see you hopheads frowning, but Kactus' IPA is in the works, don't worry. And though Kaktus utilizes German brewing equipment and methods, you can see by the tap list that they aren't just stuck brewing strictly German-style beers. They will, however, be serving brats (elk and wild boar among them) from Abq's Alpine Sausage Kitchen, so there is German influence in the food. Germany can't just invade Bernalillo in a day, so Frito Pie will also be on the menu (though this one is made with organic buffalo meat).
Kaktus beers are crafted by Brewmaster Mike Waddy, with consultation help from Turtle Mountain veteran Mark Matheson. Don't look for Kaktus beers in stores just yet, or ever, most likely. The brewery will be brewing on a nano scale, as in really nano. For perspective, they plan on 500 barrels a year. New Belgium did about 800...thousand last year.

NM residents off of exits 241 and 242 should be excited to see a new business opening in Bernalillo besides a chain restaurant (or a restaurant that charges $6 for a Marble Wildflower Wheat- yup, one exists), and hopefully Kaktus fares better than that Milagro Brewery from the early 2000's. Remember? The one that offered Gold, Silver, and Bronze beers? Bernalillo has built up a lot since then, though much of it consists of the usual interstate exit fast food places. And craft breweries have gotten to the point where you don't have to order by color anymore, though "I don't want nothing dark" is still heard regularly at brewpubs.
Kaktus has stuff to keep the kids entertained, along with a dartboard and Petanque court (It's French. Ooh la la.)so you families in Bernalillo should skip the Santa Ana buffet for a night and give this startup brewery a shot. Hours are 11:30-8 Sunday through Thursday, 11:30-10 Friday and Saturday.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Pumpkin Varieties/ Who's That in My Beer?

Coming back hot and heavy with the blogging this week, and on a holiday, no less. The pumpkin beers are upon us, not that any but the most out of their gourd pumpkin beer lovers are happy about it. I know that shelf space for the seasonal beers is the reason the breweries have to come out with the beers before people are ready for them, but does anybody else out there making these decisions realize how stupid the whole thing is?? Pumpkin beers are the "truest" of the seasonal styles. You think pumpkins, you think pumpkin pies, Halloween, Thanksgiving, leaves falling, cooler weather. So it stands to reason that sales for these pumpkin offerings would be higher if they were sold when people actually want to drink them, and not when the temperatures are still above 90 degrees and your only thought of Halloween is to remember to keep the porch light off that night.
Well, they're here, so I've got to write about them. Might as well buy them too. And since there are so many pumpkin beers out there that merit some press (Sam Adams Fat Jack, Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin, Anderson Valley Fall Hornin', Rogue Pumpkin Patch), those beers are all of the straight pumpkin variety, so I thought I'd highlight a couple that vary from the norm. Red Hook Pumpkin Porter fits the bill here. Though they may have lost some craft beer cred to other breweries, Red Hook is still putting out drinkable beers. Pumpkin Porter is the newest in their Backyard Series. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger blend into this Porter style to make a 5.8% ABV beer that goes for $7.99-$8.99 a six-pack. Available in local liquor and grocery stores.

A beer born of the one-off New Belgium release Kick, Pumpkick contains the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and pumpkin juice that you see in the traditional pumpkin beer (ok, that last one sounds like something you spit in a cup but the rest are typical) and adds cranberry juice to the mix. The resulting beer adds a tartness that just seems right. It would seems even ore right if New Belgium added a whole uncut shaped-like-the-can cranberry glop in each bottle, but they only had so much time to even get the beer on shelves on time. $8.99 in area stores.

After reading about this beer, you may be salivating over those pumpkin beers, damn the temperature. Rogue Brewmaster John Maier has sported a beard since 1983, and now you can finally drink it. Beard Beer is made with a yeast strain derived from Mr. Maier's beard. That's right. And you could barely choke down that Lean Cuisine today. Rogue should make you feel more sure about buying it: "What does Rogue Beard Beer taste like? Try it, we think you'll be suprised..." Oh, I'll bet! But you bought the Maple Bacon Coffee beer, you have to buy this one. $8.99 per 22 oz. of John Maier's beard at Jubilation.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Septemberfest Lite

Take heart, all you who mourned the passing of Marble's Septemberfest: The New Mexico Brewers Guild has revealed plans for a sort of "mini-Spetemberfest" to be held September 21st at Marble Brewery. Don't go in expecting the parking lot free-for-all sample fest that, let's face it, contributed to much of its popularity. Consider this a fest for the more refined craft drinker, or at least for someone who doesn't need to drink till they feel like they have to hold on to something to keep from falling off the earth. The format will be much like the successful IPA Challenge but without the challenge. There will be 12 NM Breweries represented, and you get a tray with a generous sample of beer from each brewery. You then get a pint of the beer you liked best served in a commemorative mug. $15 gets you into the event, which will be held inside the Marble pub, not in the lot. So, as you can see, a much more toned-down kind of event. No word on musical entertainment, but I was thinking of something along the lines of smooth jazz to complement the event. Food trucks will be on hand, and I would expect breweries to be bringing kegs of something special to make the event great. Time and ticket availability TBA, check the guild's and Marble's website soon for more info.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The 2013 IPA Challenge Results

It was beginning to look like the 1970's/80's Russian National Teams vs. the rest of the world (or perhaps as bad as Ivan Drago vs. Apollo Creed) in recent IPA Challenges. Il Vicino had dominated the event since 2009, leaving many to wonder if another brewery could ever topple Brady McKeown and crew. However, after the first three legs of the Challenge, Blue Corn had established a commanding lead. Would the discerning palates in Albuquerque agree?

To quote Al Michaels, "Do you believe in miracles??? YES!!!!!!" Blue Corn's John Bullard utilized a healthy dose of Citra and Simcoe hops to make an IPA that put it above all the rest, and, perhaps more importantly, as one brewer put it, "I don't even care if I win, just as long as someone finally beats fucking Il Vicino!" And the underdog Blue Corn did it, besting possible favorites Il Vicino, Marble, La Cumbre (which had a strong showing in Albuquerque but may have been held back by voters in areas unaccustomed to such a strong Nelson hop-forward beer), and Chama River. Congratulations to Blue Corn, and thanks to the Brewers Guild and all the hard-working people behind the scenes who helped make the 2013 IPA Challenge a success!

The final results, with the actual beers' corresponding number from today's challenge in parentheses:

1. Blue Corn-`164 votes (12)

2. La Cumbre- 45 votes (9)

3. Il Vicino 43 votes (2)

4. Turtle Mountain- 35 votes (1)

5. Chama River 29 votes (6)

6. Marble 29 votes (5)

7. Santa Fe 28 votes (4)

8. 2nd Street 24 votes (3)

9. Tractor 23 votes (14)

10. 3 Rivers- 21 votes (11)

11.Broken Bottle- 18 votes (7)

12. Bosque Brewing- 17 votes (10)

13. High Desert- 17 votes (13)

14. Taos Mesa- 10 votes (8)

Friday, August 16, 2013

My Spellcheck is Blowing Up

When I think of a typical German beer, I think of malty beers like Oktoberfests and Bocks. IPAs, not at all. But leave it to Stone Brewing Co. to come up with their version of a "German Double IPA" (9.5% ABV, 102 IBUs) with their 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA. Perhaps tying New Belgium's Paardebloem for a beer name that is both annoying to type and impossible for me to pronounce, Götterdämmerung utilizes mostly German hops such as Hersbrucker, Strisselspalt,Magnum, Merkur, Opal, Smaragd and Herkules. Pilsner malt rounds out the beer, along with a yeast strain found in King Ludwig's grave. Ok, that last part isn't true, but who knows? Sam Calagione may have a shovel in his hands as I type. Kelly's on Juan Tabo was the first store I know of in town to feature this beer, though you should be able to find it around town, $7.99-ish retail.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Best Fest Tickets are Cheap Fest Tickets

We all want to hit up as many of the local beer festivals as we can, but after buying all the new release bombers, constantly getting growlers filled, not to mention buying $10 four-packs, finding money to attend all the fests is getting tough. And finding time and money for food in between all that? Impossible.
That's why I thought you'd be interested in the ticket party on Thursday, Aug. 15 at Marble Brewery for the upcoming NM Brew Fest, Saturday, Oct. 5 at Villa Hispana on the NM Fairgrounds. The ticket party, which will go from 5 to 8, features reduced prices that won't have you rushing to the Wal Mart Coinstar to pay for a ticket. Look: the regular $30 general admission ticket drops from $30 to $20 ($25 if you want a Brew Fest shirt- good price for a shirt), or $35 for VIP (regularly $55, and VIP gets you specialty Belgian beers paired with food). $40 for a VIP ticket + shirt. If you don't want to pay the VIP price, you can still get fed- Supper Truck, Rustic, and The Last Call will all be on hand. All your favorite NM breweries will be there pouring beers at this Oktoberfest-themed gathering, as well as Stone, Left Hand, Oskar Blues, Deschutes, and New Belgium. You've probably never heard of any of those breweries, but they're up and coming. Live music rounds out the festival, which takes place from 1-5 pm.

Albuquerque's Kodiak Moment

People have been clamoring for years about getting Alaskan Brewing Company beers in Albuquerque. Beginning September 9th, they'll get their wish. Alaskan IPA, White, Freeride American Pale Ale and the Amber will be available in bottles and on tap. Alaskan Amber has always been kind of special to me ever since I was 16, when my grandfather brought me back an Alaskan Amber t-shirt from a cruise up there. That has absolutely nothing to do with why you should want to buy Alaskan beers, but it helped form the problem drinker before you today. The four beers we are getting are Alaskan's core brands, and I'm not sure if we will see others like their million time gold medal winning Smoked Porter or the Winter Ale brewed with spruce tips. Maybe if we buy enough of the core beers we will be rewarded.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lord of the Flies...and IPAs

Happy now, all of ye who prayed for rain? I saw depressing statistics on how little the monsoon season has affected Albuquerque's drought conditions, leading me to this conclusion: The only thing rain does for New Mexico is bring a migration of all the world's flies, mosquitoes, and weeds. Monsoon season has one positive, at least- the annual IPA Challenge happens this time of year, starting tonight, in fact, at High Desert Brewing in Las Cruces. Tomorrow night, the Challenge moves on to Taos Mesa Brewing. Friday, August 16 brings the Challenge to Santa Fe Brewing, and the event culminates on Saturday at Marble Brewery. 14 Breweries are competing this year, all with one goal in mind: to beat Il Vicino, the champion of the last four years. IPAgate has been brewing, so to speak, a little more every year that Il Vicino wins. Some people seem to think that, while Il Vicino makes a fine IPA, it is more the rabid Il Vicino regulars figuring out which beer in the blind tasting belongs to Il Vic and voting for that one that brings home the prize year after year. Don't get mad at me, Il Vicino regulars, I'm just repeating what I know others believe. Is it just sour grapes on their part? I voted for Il Vicino in 2009 and 2010, and really don't care who wins this year. I'm going to vote for the IPA based on its merit, and I hope you do too.
The format remains the same, where your $25 gets you a few ounces of each of the 14 IPAs, then a commemorative pint glass filled with the one you liked the best (or filled with the Il Vicino offering, if you are a regular there...I'M KIDDING!) Damn, Il Vicino, see what happens when you are on top? Everyone's gunning for you!
It's going to be a great time at all the breweries hosting, and every year just seems to get better and harder to judge. Got to for a ticket, or pick one up at La Cumbre or any of the IPA Challenge sites.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What Was That P.T. Barnum Said?

Ok, a quick show of hands: Who here dislikes IPAs? All right then, handraisers: How many of you are going to the Breaking Bad beers release at Marble on Thursday? Wait, really? All of you?? But, but, you realize that both beers debuting, Heisenberg's Dark Ale and Walt's White Lie, are both IPAs, right? The Heisenberg is a Black IPA, the first of that style that Marble has attempted, and Walt's White Lie is a wheat IPA. Both use plenty of Galaxy hops, a variety that won't have you saying, "Jeez, where's the hop presence?" But that isn't going to scare you away, is it? The name alone will have you and many, many others lining up for a taste of IPAs named after everyone's favorite TV show, Breaking Bad. Why oh why didn't I think of using the Breaking Bad name in any single part of this blog? I could have dozens of viewers by now. And while I want to say I don't really understand people drinking a beer solely because of the name, I know I am guilty of the same thing- I have bought Guy Fieri salsa, Wolfgang Puck soups, Emeril Lagasse mustard, Andy Capp hot fries, Larry the Cable Guy mix with boiling water box of food on clearance at Big Lots...and probably all because of the recognition factor. I don't even like hearing Wolfgang Puck's voice, and I definitely would change the channel on Larry TCG faster than if an Ernest movie came on the TV. Other breweries realize the opportunity to co-brand with the best show to come out of Albuquerque since Dance Dance Dance It's a Teen Thing: both Il Vicino and Kelly's Brewpub will be releasing Breaking Bad beer of their own. And for you IPA haters choking down a glass of Galaxy hop-infused goodness, there's another good reason you bought that beer, as you can purchase an IPA Challenge (August 17 at Marble) ticket for $20, a $5 savings. And for you IPA fans, I hope at least one of you will try to make a black and tan version, or at least mix the two and toast the final season of Breaking Bad.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Well, There's Always Munich

We all look forward to the time of year when we get to toast the marriage of King Ludwig to Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The usual way we would do it here in Albuquerque was to get together at Marble Brewery for their Septemberfest- "As close as you can get to Germany in a parking lot". It was one of the most popular fests in the New Mexico beer world but will not be happening this year. Marble cites "festival overload" as one of the main reasons. And there are a lot of fests these days. With the Brewers Guild finally resembling a cohesive unit that puts on many events, along with Hopfest, Blues and Brews, something at Pajarito every week or so, breweries' time and the public's dollar are both getting stretched out. If you have some extra dollars to stretch, you can get a round trip ticket to Munich for $1,248, not including any lodging or tickets to the actual Oktoberfest. You know, a bike ride to Marble is a lot more convenient and less expensive for me. It will be interesting to see where the number of festivals overwhelms the rise in craft beer fans, if at all. The Brewers Guild put on the Beer Premier last month with a small turnout, but Nob Hill Summerfest and Cork and Tap were going on at the same time, so that may not be a good gauge. What say you? Would you have had enough festival spirit to go to Septemberfest if it was still on? Or are you saving it up for Hopfest? Or NM Brew Fest? Or the Great American Beer Fest? Or...

Friday, July 26, 2013

What Happens in Vegas Gets Sent to Albuquerque

Don't worry, you guys who overdid it at your bachelor parties in Nevada.I'm talking about scenic Las Vegas, New Mexico. You know, the place where you stop for gas on the way back from Denver. It's also home to the New Mexico Craft Brewing Company, whose beers you may have tried at one of the local festivals. You have another opportunity to try them on Wednesday, July 31 at Charlie's Sandbox (3901 Masthead NE) right here in Albuquerque. I had never heard of Charlie's, but apparently it's a big spot for the sand volleyball crowd. I can't promise you'll run into Misty Mays or Karch Kiraly there, but you will get to try a couple of interesting beers. From the New Mexico Craft Brewing guy himself:
Be it known, ye shluckers of ale: New Mexico Craft Brewing Co. is officially releasing two specialty ales in nano quantities on Wednesday at 8pm at the Sandbar in Charlie's Sandbox ( On tap will be 1/6bbl of Josh's Strong Ale: a burly ol' bitch that defies category. Bold, rounded, with an oaky aura (OG: 1.074, IBU: 100, ABV: 8.5%, steamed). And 1/6bbl of Extra(extra) IPA. A unique, robust, and euphoric hop experience created through continuous hopping and alchemic combinations of strains (OG: 1.086, IBU: 135, ABV: 8.9%). And these ales, like all our ales, don't use sugar or any crap like that to achieve their power. It wasn't easy to let these go, so please enjoy them...

Boom Yonan the Beerbarian

And there you have it, folks. Something to do next week, but guys, please: keep the Speedos at home.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Final Frontier of Collaborations

Who's next on Stone Brewing Co.'s short list of possible collaborators, me? Well, why not? It seems that Stone founder Greg Koch has decided to eschew collabs with working breweries and instead got together with a couple of buddies to make the latest release, Stone Farking Wheaton wOOtStout. The buddies include Drew Curtis, creator of news roundup website, and Star Trek heartthrob(?) Wil Wheaton. You can see that Wheaton has what it takes to make a good beer from the photo, where he sports the prerequisite brewer's beard, that is if George Michael were a brewer. And let's be honest, it doesn't matter who Stone chooses to be a partner in a collaboration, as we will all buy at least one to try, and many more if the beer proves to be good. This one sounds good: rye and wheat malt along with pecans all played a part in the creation of this 13% Imperial Stout style beer, of which 25% was aged in bourbon barrels. While I'd prefer a 40-50% blend in my barrel-aged stouts, any barrel is better than none. But I was never on Star Trek, so my opinion isn't worth much. Expect to pay around $8 for this beer at local stores.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Beer Premier Lineup

Just a follow up to my last post on Saturday's Beer Premier event: I have the full list of beers that will be making their very first appearance in Albuquerque and in your mouth. Don't forget that there will be many other beers to try from the 16 breweries at the Premier besides the newbies. Go to or your local brewery for that ticket before they sell out!
Abbey Brewing Co. - Monk's Kolsch
Back Alley Drafthouse - White Ryeno an Imperial Rye Witbier
Blue Corn Brewery - Belgian IPA
Broken Bottle Brewery - Knight Rider Wheat
Bosque Brewing Co. - Double German Ale
Chama River Brewing Co. - American Session Ale
La Cumbre Brewing Co. - Saison d'Hommel
Marble Brewery - 111 Farmhouse Ale
Nexus Brewery - English Brown
Santa Fe Brewing Co. - "Pirate Booty" - a Pineapple Ginger Hefeweizen
Second Street Brewery - Single Hop Mosaic IPA
Sierra Blanca Brewing Co. - Oak Aged Desert Pils
Tractor Brewing Co. - "Peaotch" - a peach pale ale
Turtle Mountain Brewing Co. - Summer Scotch Ale w/ spices
Taos Mesa Brewing Co. - Notorious ESB

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dust Off That Tux

Y'all know I'm all about getting dressed up for a nice night out. Freshly pressed slacks, monogrammed cufflinks, Windsor knot. Meticulously groomed, like a Squash Blossom Boys fan. So, you can be damn sure that I am psyched for the NM Brewers Guild upcoming event, The Beer Premier. The Beer Premier takes place on Saturday, July 20 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. The premise behind this event is that each of the 16 participating breweries will be debuting a beer never before released at their brewery. For instance: Turtle Mountain will unveil Summer Scotch Ale. Wuuhhh? My brain is swelling at the thought. Breweries will have up to four beers per booth available for you to sample. $30 gets you into the event, which begins at 5:30. Your ticket also gets you a commemorative tasting glass. The VIP admission is $70, gets you in at 4:30 with early samplins' of all the new releases as well as seating at either a 6 or 8 pm four course beer dinner. From the Brewers Guild, "Each beer dinner lasts for approximately 1.5 hours and includes an opening cheese course, roasted beet & goat cheese salad, a pork tenderloin with wild rice pilaf and finally a flourless chocolate cake desert course. Each course will be paired with a New Mexico craft beer and a brewmaster will announce each course and talk about his or her beer." And as we all know, beer tastes better when the person who made it is standing there watching your reaction while you drink it.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Enjoy By, Enjoy for Years

Beers worth talking about have hit the stores recently. Here's a few random selections for your drinking pleasure:

Joining one of the many breweries who have deemed New Mexico worthy of imbibing their beers, Idaho Springs, Colorado's own Tommyknocker has added New Mexico to its 22 states of distribution. Welcome, folks. Enjoy this week, the one where it rains. We won't be getting six kinds of IPAs from this brewery; instead, expect to find a good old traditional Doppelbock style beer (Butt Head Bock, 8.2% ABV), and an Imperial Nut Brown Ale (9.2% ABV). If it's hops you're looking for, they do offer Hop Strike Black IPA (6.5% ABV, 78 IBUs). Great price point, $3.99 for 22 oz. bombers, available at Wyoming Kellys and other fine stores.

25 years of Black Butte Imperial Porter?? I think I missed a few along the way! The recipe has changed from year to year, with #25 including figs, black currants, and Medjool dates. Probably the best thing Deschutes did for this release was increasing the bourbon barrel-aged portion by 20%. This 11.3% ABV annual release retails for $12.99 and up at local stores. It also cellars well, so pick up an extra for aging after the booze mellows out.

Well, Stone Brewing Co. promised us if that if we got the most tweets, we would get Enjoy By again. But we haven't received it since...what? The Enjoy by 2.15.13 release?? Forget stupid tweet contests, just give us the damn beer every release. Enjoy By 8.2.13 is here, $7.99 for a 22 oz. bomber. Whatever, it's back, and I'm happy to have it. It's not going to rot your teeth if you drink it after August 2, but it is meant to be consumed while the hop flavor is at its freshest. Very limited release, so get out there and get yours.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

NM's Oldest Celebrates 25

Santa Fe Brewing Company, New Mexico's first microbrewery, celebrates it's 25th year of business this Saturday at the brewery. Beginning at 1 pm, the party will feature food, live musical acts, and Brewers Olympics. This being New Mexico, you can't have a brewery party with music unless one of the acts is a bluegrass band. Santa Fe's got this covered with Paw and the Clinkers. I'd prefer something along the lines of Amon Amarth, but it's not my party. The Brewers Olympics will pit Santa Fe vs. Second Street and Marble in fierce battles including a dolly race, yeast balloon toss, brewers trivia, six pack builder, and keg toss. No odds out of Vegas as of yet. You will also get to be part of the release of Santa Fe's Saison, available in cans, no less! Santa Fe also released bottles of Kriek recently, available in Albuquerque stores but you may as well grab a bottle while at the party, if only to defend yourself against person uncontrollably flailing away to the bluegrass music.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Stone Brewing Company's RuinTen

A one-time brew celebrating the tenth anniversary of Stone's Ruination DIPA wasn't enough, apparently, as RuinTen is once again available around town. Ok, so the first time around it had a different name: Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA. They shortened the name but held nothing back in the hops department- nor the malts, as evidenced by the 10.8% ABV. Though the hop presence is huge in this beer (the recipe uses double the dry hop amounts of regular Ruination!), I'd suggest drinking this as fresh as possible- the high alcohol lends to a sweetness that is only going to get more pronounced. The limited supply (Jubilation has a two RuinTen, limit, $7.99 per bottle) leads me to think that RuinTen may not last long enough here to attain that sweetness- get yours before it is all gone and you turn sour.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Just in Time for True Blood

It's good to see Albuquerque has received bottles of Ommegang Brewery's Iron Throne, a Blonde Ale brewed in honor of the latest season of Game of Thrones. The latest that just ended, that is. While other markets got the beer in time for last season's premiere, we were a little behind. Kind of like with fixed gear bikes. Caught up plenty with that trend, thanks for asking. Now you can catch up with your TV-themed beers (I still haven't tried the Three Stooges or Monty Python beers, so I'm really far behind), by heading over to Jubilation and picking up one of these for $8.99. Don't forget the mead. Afterwards, shine up that cardboard sword and meet me at the park!

A number of the local breweries have brewed some really nice Saisons, and I plead with them to continue doing this. I look at the green bottles of Saison Dupont on warm liquor store shelves and am still tempted to buy a bottle, having to convince myself that the last bottle tasted like a Heineken Saison. Not the worst, but not what the brewer intended. And I am tempted to buy the beer due to the lack of Saisons available here. Odell has released Celastrina, named for the little baby butterfly frequently found on hop plants in Colorado. The beer is packages in 25.4 oz. bottles, and Jubilation has the 7.5 ABV Saison for $14.99. Hmmm. Hey, there's always Saison Dupont! But at least you know that a dollar from each bottle you buy of Celastrina goes to the Colorado Natural Heritage Program to help funding in research of the Hops Blue butterfly.

This next beer is a little tricky. Sure, it offers you the goodness of a Bourbon Barrel Stout (it's even called that, so it definitely is), but I am used to a base stout that on its has the full-bodied characteristics of an Imperial Stout. The final product after Anderson Valley ages the beer in Wild Turkey barrels comes out to 6.9% ABV. So with a lighter stout, the bourbon flavor is gonna overwhelm you like the smell from a subway (or a Subway®), right? But Anderson Valley kept the beer in barrels for three months, so you can still drink one of these at your next business lunch and still justify that gin martini afterwards. Wait, they only do that on Mad Men? Drink it at home and forget work then; $9.99 for a 22 oz. bottle at Jubilation.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Summerfest at Pajarito

Saturday, June 15 is my unofficial start of summer, as the annual Summerfest event returns to Pajarito. This is sure to be the biggest beer fest there to date, with seventeen NM breweries bringing the goods. There will also be wine (for the non-beer drinkers), mead (for the Game of Thrones crowd), and liquor from Santa Fe Spirits (for the I've got to get really fucked up in the middle of the day people). Shuttles will run every half hour from 9 to 5:30, though the fest doesn't begin till noon. Five hours of drinking fun will only cost you $15, and you get to hear the musical stylings of not only Kitty Jo Creek, but also Anthony Leon and the Chain. That's right. The ski lifts will be open for you mountain bikers and people who like to walk around with ski poles in the summer.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Dandelion Wine, er, Beer

With all due respect to Mr. Bradbury, Dandelion Wine has passed. Long live dandelion beer! New Belgium releases another two new beers destined to make you forget that this is the same brewery that makes Fat Tire.
First up is the beer that has a list of ingredients as long as the one on a bag of Doritos: Paardebloem Ale (that's catchy.) utilizes dandelion greens, "Grains of Paradise" (can hear Jim Koch's voice talking about Samuel Adams Summer Ale..), and peach juice, and blends that beer along with wood-aged beer. Throw in Belgian yeast and you've got Paardeblom. Ima use that one in Words With Friends. $8.99 for a 22 oz. bottle at Whole Foods on Carlisle.
The second New Belgium release uses a more traditional, all natural ingredient: pluots. Monsanto come up with this hybrid of apricots and plums? Before you go boycotting this beer, give it some love for its easy to spell, non-Paardbloem name: Pluot. As in a beer made with pluots. I only have had two pluot beers- Russian River Compunction Sour and our local Goat Head Brewing's Pluot Sour. While this Tripel-inspired beer does use brettanomyces, there is only a mild funk compared to the influence of the pluots. You can also pick up this beer at the Carlisle Whole Foods as well as other liquor stores. Whole Foods has this 22 oz. bottle for $8.99.