Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Widmer- a Great Value and Oh, The Beer's Good Too?

Let's face it: when you hear of a brewery such as, oh, let's say Widmer, releasing a new IPA, you probably don't get very excited about it. And I totally understand. Broken Halo IPA was a nice entry level IPA back in the day, but mostly because you could get a 12-pack of it for cheap. And their Rotator IPA series had so many variations coming out that you couldn't keep up with which was the newest/freshest one. But it may be time to give the Widmer IPA line another shot, now that they have released Upheaval IPA, their first true West Coast Style IPA. A promising hop lineup that includes Chinook, Simcoe, and Nelson, along with 85 IBUs, was enough to pique my interest. 7% ABV falls in line with popular versions of the style. And the price- $6.49 at Total Wine (possibly more at other stores, though I haven't found it at other stores) makes it one of the best IPA deals out there. Yeah, it's Widmer. Don't hold that against them. They've brewed an IPA that you may find comparable to ones that cost $3 more per six-pack, and that's admirable considering today's rising craft costs.

Friday, March 21, 2014

New Beer Friday

Well, Lobo fans. A sad day, to be sure. At the very least, you can drown your sorrows with one bracket winner, Brewing News National IPA Champion Project Dank. Anyone else notice how anytime there is any kind of IPA competition, whether it be GABF, World Beer Cup, or this latest IPA Championship, La Cumbre and Fat Heads are always competing at the end? It's high time these two breweries collaborated on a beer.

Look who's canning! Utilizing a mobile canning service, Kelly's Brewpub is now canning their Amber Ale (4.7%) and a new Session IPA, which is 4.8% ABV but purports to have 87 IBUs. Beginning March 31, you can try both of these styles, and you probably will be over that tough loss by then. Which is good, because it would probably take a lot more than a 4.7% beer to make you feel better about it. Expect to pay $7.50-$7.99 for the Kelly's cans, which will be available in stores around town.

What can you say about this DIPA that hasn't been said before? Stone graces us again with Enjoy by IPA, this one being Enjoy By 4.20.14. Perfect timing, as we all know what you'll be enjoying on that day. At over 9% ABV, this may be just the beer you need to drink today. And you can- it's in stores right now. Put down that noose/gun/can of gasoline and start enjoying life again with the pep that only alcohol can give you.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pygmy Owl: Small Ones Are Sweeter?

It's official: craft beer is IN. God help us all. If you need evidence, just look to the latest statistics from the Brewers Association, which today announced that craft brewers saw an 18% increase in total volume and a 1.3% increase in craft's share of the total U.S. beer market (total $ share is up to 14.3%...does that mean we pay double for craft beer? I may have to start buying Hamm's). Statistics are great, unless you are talking about a college class you are taking. And I don't need statistics to tell me craft is hot; I can just look at the latest trend: breweries emulating each other to come out with their own version of the latest "hot trend"- yup, we have them in the craft industry now too- session IPAs. My last post focused on Stone's Go To IPA, and today's brings you the newest wildlife themed beer from Big Sky: Pygmy Owl. Joining Scape Goat, Powder Hound, Brush Tail, a bear, an elk, a trout, a horse, and some poor skinny doggy looking thing named Bobo on a Big Sky beer label, Pygmy Owl is a 4.2% ABV, 30 IBU Session IPA. 4.2%, the same as the Guinness Draught you might be drinking right now. Spotted at a surprisingly quiet Total Wine on the greatest of drinking days. And as far as Session IPAs go, small ones are not sweeter, as the alcohol content just doesn't allow for it. But I felt compelled to throw in a line from the Judy Blume classic Superfudge. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Go To Your Happy Place With Stone's Newest IPA

To keep myself in my perpetually positive state of mind, I like to find things to be thankful for on a daily basis. Today, for instance, I am thankful for the Session IPA style. While I'd love to just sit around and get wasted on 9% and up ABV DIPAs at night, it makes for a groggy and unpleasant experience having to deal with stupid idiots the day after. So enter Go To IPA, a real gem of a beer from Stone Brewing Co. Go To joins Founders All Day IPA and Lagunitas Daytime IPA at the very top of the Session IPAs (loosely defined by me as an IPA under 5% ABV). Go To is 4.5% ABV and 65 IBUs- but doesn't have the super bitter bite that brings down many Session IPAs. Go To captures the fruitiness of a good modern IPA, and somehow smells a lot like Stone's 9.4% Enjoy By while keeping the low alcohol. Low alcohol usually equates to an easier morning after, which allows you to keep thinking happy thoughts throughout the day, just like me. Go to Whole Foods on Carlisle, where stacks and stacks of Go To are on display

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Not So New But New Faces in Old Places

Not only does Albuquerque have an influx of new breweries opening in the coming months (or years, as dealing with the city when it comes to all things ALCOHOL has me thinking we are governed by Quakers), we also have former assistant brewers making the move to head brewers. Zach, the tireless toiler at Il Vicino, will be making the jump to head brewer at Chama River Brewing Company. Congratulations Zach, but please don't try to turn Jackalope IPA into a Wet Mountain clone. Something along the lines of Exodus would be swell.
Former assistant at Chama River, Tim Woodward, will be heading west- all the way to Turtle Mountain Brewing Company, where hopefully he can provide consistency to a product that can be very good at times. I'm sure he will make his mark over there. Good job, Tim. Make some beers that will get me to drive all the way out to that godforsaken part of the world, would you please?
Finally, she's not the first female head brewer ever to lead a New Mexico brewery (anyone remember who that was?), but she's the only one in Albuquerque: Kaylynn McKnight will soon be putting her own touch on Nexus beers, as former head brewer Manuel is heading back to California. Though her place may seemingly be more suited to the kitchen, Kaylynn promises to leave the chicken and waffles recipe alone. But seriously, she's worked hard under Jeff from the start at La Cumbre and brings quite a skill set with her to her new position. I'm excited to see what she will bring to Nexus.
It will take a little time for these brewers to make their mark as they get familiar with their new systems, but there's sure to be some good beers coming from all of them. Congratulations again to all of you!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Not Available to Married Men

Tired of drinking all those flavorful IPAs and Stouts? Looking for a beer that you and the bros can pound over beer pong or foosball tournaments? Leave it to Australia to brew up some of the least flavorful beer you could imagine, and now you can get it right here in Albuquerque! We have been wisely chosen as one of only six states (so far) that has the demographic that could sufficiently appreciate Good Head Beer, a 4.6% ABV Premium Lager style beer. Good Head may be a good change for those of you who like something easier to drink as the weather turns warm, and the price is right for this type of beer- $4.99 for a four-pack of 16 oz. cans.