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.