Monday, January 27, 2014

Ed's Back. Heaven Help Us.

Those of you who are fortunate enough to have been drinking beer for years may have a memory of Ed's Cave Creek Chili Beer. It may not be a fond memory, but it may exist. It disappeared from distribution here, and some feel that was for the best. After all, a beer with an actual chile (I'm spelling it the New Mexican way) pepper resting in the bottom of each bottle is an interesting novelty item to view on the shelf, but ingestion caused indigestion. And burning mouth, for hours. Sound tempting? Now you can try an updated version, now known as Original C Cave Creek Chili Beer - Cerveza Con Chili. The name has changed, but the chile pepper remains. It's now brewed in Mexico, where all good beer comes from. And its back in our stores- in Jubilation, for one, where you can buy a single bottle for $1.89. And a single bottle should be plenty.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Maybe This IPA Thing Is Catching On

The folks over at the Boston Beer Company (Jim Koch in particular) had for years talked about the IPA style in a way that made it seem as if they were above it all. So many breweries made serviceable versions, why waste R+D time on one when they could use that time to come up with Cranberry Lambics and Scotch Ales? To be fair, the Sam Adams line has brought us Whitewater IPA and the Latitude 48 line of IPAs, but now they are getting serious, with Rebel IPA- their first true "West Coast Style IPA". Hint: "West Coast Style" is the good kind of IPA. The kind people will buy. Word is the BBC people are getting aggressive about having their share of the IPA market, so much so that Lagunitas chief Tony Magee took to Twitter claiming that BBC was deliberately targeting his tap space in bars in order to replace Lagunitas beers with Rebel taps. Ah, the craft beer business- where everyone who gets into it is just out to fulfill their passion of brewing good beer and money is only an afterthought. It's nice to romanticize the craft movement, but after lifting sacks of grain and filling and lugging kegs for 14 hours a day, a brewer's rugged individualist spirit starts to sag...but sure can be boosted by a having a bank account comfortably in the black. But enough cynicism about "craft beer" (for now, I've plenty stored up for later), let's examine this Rebel IPA. 6.5% ABV, fine, maybe a tad low compared to what many breweries are shooting for nowadays but not every IPA has to be on the verge of being a DIPA. 45 IBUs, way low, you sure this isn't an APA? Hop bill: Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe, Amarillo, Chinook. Yes, I believe successful West Coast Style IPAs have been made with those ingredients. Price: $8.99 per six-pack (at Jubilation), right in line with the other Sam Adams beers- thankfully they didn't try to match the higher price points of some other IPAs. But can they match the flavor? And will your favorite Blue Moon tap at Holiday Bowl be replaced by Rebel IPA? Time will tell.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2014: The Year of the Perpetual Hangover?

Wow, halfway through January and just now writing the first post of the new year...not like there's nothing going on. Plenty of brewery happenings to get you excited, but the proof is in the beer. In Nob Hill, or Pub Hill, as it's becoming, we will welcome stalwarts Bosque Brewing and an offshoot of the ABQ Brew Pub concept under the Alien name (yes, Rio Grande and Sierra Blanca beers). New to the scene will be the Hops Brewery. Not to be confused with thirty or so other beer places with the same name, this one is a creation of the former owner of Hello Deli. Hello, Hops Brewery. Make my brains scrambled, please. Stumbling Steer on the west side of town isn't a chain, so I'm not sure what it's doing in the big box area by Cottonwood Mall, but the space looks promising. Downtown may still be crying for a new grocery store, but residents can cry those tears into a glass at Tractor's upcoming industrial area location or Chama River's new taproom, in the part of Central that Aveda and Vinaigrette have made all fancy. Looking forward to trying outgoing Chama River head brewer Justin Hamilton's new brewery when he gets up and running...even looking forward to the reincarnation of Bad Ass Brewery, under a different name, ownership, and, most importantly, new recipes.
Lots of beer to try this year. Please do your part- I can't drink it all myself.