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.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Put a Little Swing in Your Schnitzel

I was talking to a guy the other day and he was complaining to me about the lack of German beers on tap in Albuquerque. I asked him what he expected if he only eats at Sadie's, Los Cuates, and El Pinto? And you can tell me all day how Germans brought their brewing traditions to Mexico and how Negro Modelo is a Vienna Lager, I'm not listening. No, if you want to find real German beers on tap, I told him, you have to go to the authentic Bier Garten places in town...places like Billy's Long Bar. A place where all the cool strudels hang. Mixed among what I consider the best tap list in town are a couple of Spaten offerings: Franziskaner Weissbier and Spaten Optimator. The Weissbier is a pretty refreshing hefeweizen that sounds good on a day like today, where the temperature is supposed to go over 90 degrees. The Optimator is a rich, chewy, Dopplebock. Maybe not what you first think of drinking when the weather gets hot, but listen: I ordered one of these at a bar in Oklahoma City on a 100 degree day after driving all day and having no food in my stomach. One glass of Optimator later I was actually saying how beautiful Oklahoma City was. Optimator is a hell of a drug.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Wave if You Like New Beers

Lagunitas Brewing Company's Lucky 13 is available at area stores. That's good. The problem is trying to find a category to place this beer in. It's 8.9% ABV and 77 IBUs. It's described by Lagunitas as a "Mondo large red ale". So it's Imperial Red, right? But they already make an Imperial Red...a really good one at that. And I wouldn't put this beer in the Imperial Red category, more like a hoppy Imperial Amber. Confused? No more than usual on my end. But I also pulled over at an apartment complex that had one of those air-powered wiggly waving people things that you see at car dealerships and I watched it for like ten minutes. Then I went to Whole Foods on Carlisle, where I saw this beer. $4.99 for a 22 oz. bottle.

You may have noticed more and more Uinta beers in Albuquerque lately, like the Hop Notch IPA, Dubhe Imperial Black IPA, and Sea Legs Baltic Porter. Or you may have been staring at the wiggly waving thing like I was. Nobody's judging. But take a sec and check out Uinta's latest release, Birthday Suit Sour Brown Ale. Uinta doesn't delve too often into the sour beers, though they have been doing barrel aging for years (and maybe we will get the Oak Jacked Pumpkin this year, hello?). Grab one of these ($12 for a 25.4 oz. bottle, again at Whole Foods on Carlisle) and try it next to a La Folie. See which one gives you more acid reflux. Everybody wins!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Anderson Valley Makes Your Grandfather's DIPA

Anderson Valley had success with their Anniversary Imperial IPA, and they now have a year-round DIPA joining their regular lineup. Heelch O' Hops is an 8.6% ABV, 100 IBU Double IPA that doesn't mess around with new hop varieties; rather, they go with the old trusted standbys: Cascade, Chinook, and Columbus. Will this cause a trend where breweries go back to tried and true methods and ingredients, like with Batch 19 Pre-Prohibition Lager? In the case of the latter, let's hope not. La Cumbre did a nice IPA in the "older style" of IPAs awhile back, so it can be done. And Anderson Valley makes solid beer, if just a bit under the radar. $9.99 for a four-pack of 12 oz. bottles at Jubilation.

It's getting to be Pilsner weather in these parts, and I can't think of a better way to enjoy it than out of a can, can you? On tap, and maybe in a growler, you say? OK, but I think of all the styles out there, canned beer is best suited for Pilsners. Maybe its all the years of drinking macro lagers from the can. And now you can get a canned Pilsner brewed right here in Albuquerque: Marble has their GABF award-winning Pilsner in cans at the brewery, and soon at all places where you normally buy your packaged Marble beers.

Friday, May 3, 2013

ABQ Beer Week: Finally Friday!

The last day of events before the Blues and Brews finale shapes up to be a good one.

Get your snack on from 4 to 6:30 at the Whole Foods on Carlisle with Odell beer samples alongside artisan cheeses. Sneak over to the salad bar and grab some extra samples. It's Beer Week, after all.

Broken Bottle Brewery will be hosting national musical act You Knew Me When and also releasing a special seasonal beer. The music begins at 8.

Two Fools hosts a 5pm tasting of a Barrel Aged Coconut Never Summer Ale, which promises to amp up Boulder Beer's regular version of this Winter Ale. Reps will be there to chat with you.

Miss the first keg of Goose Island Bourbon County Stout? You will have one last chance to try this very special beer at Billy's Long Bar. This event will go from 5 to about 5:15, judging from the demand for this beer.

O'Niell's in Nob Hill hosts a Left Hand tasting all day with a keg of Beer Weer Sauce as well as free tastings of Stranger Pale Ale, Polestar Pilsner, Good JuJu Ginger, and Twin Sisters DIPA.

O'Niell's Juan Tabo has a Stone Event with Espresso Imperial Russian Stout on tap and free tastings of IPA, Arrogant Bastard, Levitation, and Ruination DIPA. Goes from 5 to 7.

Can't get enough Left Hand? Jubilation has your fix with a free tasting from 4 to 7 along with a rep from the brewery.

Imbibe hosts a Lagunitas tasting with Wilco Tango Foxtrot Strong Ale and Lagunitas Sucks! DIPA on tap. I love Sucks! and am excited for this one. A rep from the brewery will be on hand with some stuff to give away. The event goes from 4 to 7.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

ABQ Beer Week Home Stretch Thursday

Come on now, you've only got two more days of Beer Week to train for Saturday's Blues and Brews extravaganza! Maybe start things off at 4 by going to Kelly's Brewpub, where the brewers will be giving free tours as well as samples of their new Double IPA, The Forgotten Brewer.

If you missed out on the Odell Amuste at Sister, you can head up to Horse and Angel and try it on tap there beginning at 5.

Two Fools will have La Cumbre's Project Dank series IPA on tap, also beginning at 5.

Sister will be tapping 2013 Old Guardian Oak-Aged Barleywine, 2013 Espresso Imperial Russian Stout, and Stone Cali-Belgique IPA at 5. Lots happening right at 5 pm. Hope you don't work late.

You sweet-toothed beer lovers should head to Billy's Long Bar for the tapping of Boulder Beer's Kinda Blue Blueberry Wheat Ale.

Marble's Westside Taproom will have 3 casks for sampling and pint purchase: the 505-Five collaboration, IPA, and Oatmeal Stout beginning at 3 pm.

Both O'Niell's locations are doing tastings. Nob Hill hosts New Belgium, with Hoppy Bock available for pint purchase and free tastings of La Folie (nice!) Rampant Imperial IPA, Shift Lager, and Fat Tire. Goes from 5-7. Juan Tabo location has both Left Hand and Oskar Blues, with a Left Hand Beer Week Sauce keg (naturally) and free tastings of Good Juju, Polestar Pilsner, and Blackjack Porter. Oskar Blues sends a Mama's Yella Pills keg for sale, and for free tastings: Old Chub Scottish Ale, Ten Fidy Imperial Stout, and G'Knight Imperial Red. Also from 5-7.

Finally, if you are in a beer group, you are probably going to the Beer Groups Meet and Greet at Marble, right? ABQ Craft Drinkers Group, New Mexico Dark Side Brew Crew, Babes in Brewland and Worthogs Homebrew Club are some of the social people who would like to recruit your into their cults. Or just enjoy talking to you about beer, I'm still unclear on how these things work. Sounds like a nice way to meet people who are into beer, plus it falls on a night when Marble does a free brewery tour. The event goes from 6 to 7:30. Maybe after the tour, you can officially join one of the groups. Be prepared for 9 weeks of hazing.