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.