Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sorry Kumar: Hopfest is going Xtreme!

We've seen Hopfest evolve over the years, from the first two in what was then the Al's NYPD Pizza parking lot (think about the size of that spot, and imagine trying to have a fest there now), to O'Niell's parking lot and the overbearing eye of some of the "pour police" (where a rep from Coronado got thrown out of the fest for sampling beer from another booth), to its rightful home, Hard Rock Isleta Casino Hotel and Resort. This year's takes place on Saturday, August 29 from 2-6. Isleta is a great venue for a fest, where you get to sample beers from over 70 breweries situated both indoors and out. The indoors part is important, meaning there are actual restroom facilities with running water and soap and the guy with the blue jar of combs and the mints and so on. It also means you can enjoy a beer in the NM sunshine, then realize after five minutes that beer and direct sunlight makes for an early nap, so you can head back in for some air conditioning, maybe a couple of hands of 21, then back to sampling from over 200 beers. 22 of the 70 breweries serving at the fest are local, so you can grab samples of familiar favorites as well as exploring national offerings. Cider and spirits makers will be serving as well. Psst: the pours are more generous when fests are held at places like Sandia or Isleta. If you feel the need for a break, take in one or more of the 7 bands performing throughout the day on 3 stages. New for this year is the BMX Xtreme stage, where performers from Stuntmasters Action Sports will perform at 2:50, 4:00, and 5:30. My BMX freestyle repertoire consists of a shaky endo at best, but I do still have a 'Goose that can bunnyhop the curb. Tickets are still available for Hopfest by clicking here. Hope to see you all there!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Four Winds of Change

The Four Winds Travel Center on 12th St between Menaul and I-40 can be an...interesting place to visit. Part gas station, part convenience store, part liquor store; just a parking lot away from a Walgreens. All these forces combine to attract the types of people you might find in the "Most Wanted Property Crimes Offenders" section in the Friday Albuquerque Journal. But Four Winds is a clean place, the alcohol section has a surprisingly good beer selection, and there is now the added bonus of getting a growler fill to go along with your chimichanga. Upon my visit, I found the eight taps comprised solely of local offerings: Tractor, Santa Fe, Marble, and La Cumbre. Math time: $2.99 for a 32 oz. glass plus $4.99 for a fill. 64 oz. glass costs $3.99 plus $8.99 for the fill. They will also fill growlers from other breweries. Thanks to the helpful employee for the info, and also for the security guard for even letting me through the door with my "up and coming neighborhood dweller" look. It's nice to be able to get a growler fill of a GABF gold medal-winning beer at a gas station. See for yourself- they'll fill growlers up until midnight.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Not Your Father's Founders

It's official: Premier Distributing will be bringing Founders Brewing beers to NM in October. The Grand Rapids brewery, known for its Breakfast Stout, Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Centennial IPA, etc., etc., will be a great addition to the national brands carried here. Founders Double Trouble DIPA is one of my personal favorites, as well as their Harvest Ale, though we may be a bit late in getting distribution to get that one. We'll see. Exciting news either way!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Cry Into Your Beer at Santa Fe Tap Takeover

While Albuquerque eagerly awaits the opening of Santa Fe Brewing's new taproom off of Carlisle Blvd. (expect a soft opening late next week), we can take solace in the tap takeover tonight at Sister Bar. Highland Heath (barrel-aged Scotch Ale, part of their Ever Changing Series and available in bottles at Jubilation), Autonomous Collective DIPA (exciting to see Santa Fe doing a DIPA, as it's not something you think of when you think of Santa Fe Brewing, unless you can remember back to Imperial Yippee IPA. Oh, the times, they are a changing), and the first tapping of the 2015 version of Kriek. The 2014 version earned a well-deserved medal at the past GABF.
For some reason, Sister always seems to have these tap takeovers on Friday nights, so I won't be able to attend. But when I found out the takeover coincides with "Honky Tonk Happy Hour", which consists of Steed spinning "classic country, honky tonk and western swing records from 5-9 pm", I realized I could probably survive without making this event. I'm hoping that DIPA is still around for me to try on Saturday, but I wouldn't bet on it.