Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Founders Tap Takeover and Drumroll Pleases

Nob Hill Bar and Grill, they of the upscalejoint.com website (a name that might keep me from checking the place out if I were visiting from out of town...upscale??? Hell NO! But it turns out that the only time I don't want to be there is after 10 on a weekend night, when suddenly the place transforms into a Vegas dance club) is hosting a Founders tap takeover on Tuesday, featuring a number of favorites from the Grand Rapids, MI brewery. Mango Magnifico, Sumatra Mountain Brown, Devil Dancer Triple IPA, All Day IPA, 2015 and 2016 KBS, and ReDANKulous will all be on tap.
I know I lauded both Founders' ReDANKulous and Jubilation in the same post the other day, so now allow me to bash them both a bit: Founders, I was excited for ReDANKulous, but this batch is a malty mess. If you are expecting a malt bomb, I guess this is the beer for you. But I gave a recommendation based on the hoppy goodness that was previous batches. I can't imagine this current one would come anywhere close to winning a GABF Gold. And Jubilation, I applaud the fact that almost all of the beer you sell is kept refrigerated, and I am sure it is a distributor decision and not yours, but I hate to see the stacks of Devil Dancer displayed out on the floor. That stuff has a window of, oh, a week where it tastes like it could be a "Triple IPA" before it tastes like a Barleywine. Can you please sell all the Devil Dancer and ReDANKulous and get that Double Trouble in already??

Has Odell ever had a mass-marketed American Pale Ale? Their 5 Barrel Pale Ale could kind of stand in for one, but I think the public's need for hops has pushed away that English-style and compelled Odell to create Drumroll American Pale Ale, their first year-round release in two years. 12-pack displays are already up at Whole Foods. Get your nitrite and nitrate-free hot dogs and some American Pale Ale for the upcoming holiday. The beer is easy drinking, and definitely leaning towards Pale Ale category rather than Session IPA, though you do get pleasant tropical notes from the hop bill. Nice. It's the first beer Odell has produced that comes in cans only- hello, future of beer.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Clown Shoes Were Made For Drinking

For years now, Clown Shoes beers were only available in NM at Total Wine stores. Dark days, indeed. But now you can actually get Clown Shoes refrigerated, as Jubilation is now carrying the Massachusetts-based contract brewed beers. I tried fresh (it's true!) bottles of Galactic IPA and Space Cake DIPA and was pleasedwith the product Clown Shoes is making these days. Or having made for them, I should say, Much like "Brooklyn" brewery Sixpoint, Clown Shoes is still facing the stigma of contract brewing. It has worked just fine for Mikkeller and Evil Twin for years, but some breweries are still looking for the craft community's respect. Just make a solid product and I'll buy the damn thing.

ReDANKulous is one of the best Imperial Red ales I've had on tap, and we now have fresh bottles in town. The GABF Gold medalist from Founders is available in four-packs, again at Jubilation. I'm not trying to be a fanboy of the place, but I just can't stress enough how happy I am to see the number of people they have available to help shoppers at any time I go in. It could be 15 minutes before closing on a Monday evening and there will be like six employees ready to answer questions and offer suggestions. I know not all small, local businesses can afford to operate this way but they are certainly still the model for the way I wish businesses could be.

Is taking over your own taps with your beer still considered a tap takeover? If so, then call it a Chama River tap takeover at Draft Station on the 18th (Chama River and Draft Station both being part of the Santa Fe Dining Group, of course). The first 15 beers that most recent Head Brewer Andrew Krosche created when he joined the ever-rotating list of brewers at Chama will be featured, and it's quite the variety of styles, from Gose to Kolsch to a raspberry ginger beer, in case your mom wants to tag along.

Lastly, a thank you to Mitch Steele for helping Stone Brewing Company achieve remarkable growth in his 10 years there with innovative styles and a high-quality product. He will be leaving at the end of June to pursue his own brewery. When he first joined Stone after long working for Anheuser Busch as brewery operations manager, there was an uproar akin to back when people thought Obama was going to take away their guns when he became president. And now we have a world of uproar and overreaction regarding everything, so thanks, social media. But back then, people thought Stone was selling out and trying to become the fourth to the Big Three. No, the Arrogant Bastard didn't become watered down, beachwood-aged, or renamed America. And yes, Mitch Steele had a number of notable successes, particularly the Enjoy By series. So good luck to you Mitch, and I hope to see your beers in Albuquerque soon.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Beer week: Saturday, 6.4

I probably should have written about this before the June 2 entry deadline: Ponderosa is hosting a sidewalk chalk contest on Saturday from 11-5. $100 gift card to the winner, a mug club membership for second, and a $20 gift card for third. I guess spaces are limited so they had to do an early cut off date. Sorry if you are interested but are just finding out about the event. Anyway, come out and support your favorite...sidewalk chalk artist...

Barrel-aged beers are the theme of the day at Tractor, where they will be pouring Scotcholate Scotch Ale, Luna De Los Muertos, and Barley Wine. A flight of 12 oz. pours is $12. They will also be selling bombers of these beers for $15, limit 3 per person.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co will be bringing Five Hop IPA, Bigfoot Barleywine, and Hoptimum Imperial IPA to Nob Hill Bar and Grill at 5.

Tractor Brewing Wells Park hosts Planned Parenthood Votes New Mexico presents Beer & Bands for Better Sex Ed: an evening of entertainment, activism, and music! You know me, all about the activism. Whatever it takes to keep dummies from having little dummies. Mike Judge was so so so right. This $15 fundraiser will benefit sex ed programs in New Mexico, and there's a lot going on. Music from Le Chat Lunatique, Albuquerque Aerialist Collective, Cali Shaw, Keith Sanchez, Desert Darlings Belly Dance, and Leftover Soul. Doner Kebab, My Sweet Basil, and Pop Fizz provide the eats. The event begins at 5:30.

Another worthy fundraiser, this one for the animals I care about. Watermelon Mountain Ranch can always use your help, and Marble's Westside tap room will host a "Yappy Hour" from 3-5. Raffles, a pet photographer, plenty of adoptable puppies, and beer!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Farewell, Firkin

It's sad to see a brewery close, but especially during Beer Week. Sorry to say Firkin is no longer in business. It was located in a a nearly hidden spot in around the so-called "Brewery District", so unless you were headed for the place you would be unlikely to stumble upon it. The competition is rough these days, so anyone who plans on opening should have their A-game beers dialed in and ready to go. The public often will only give a place one try and be quick to pass on a bad review. I hope the folks who put it all together come out of it ok.

Beer Week: Friday, June 3

A light day for the most part, with multiple beer samplings at the Total Wine stores and Jubilation.

Santa Fe Brewing Company's Albuquerque Taproom will debut their spicy Saison, dubbed Lemon Skynyrd, evoking thoughts of the opening notes of Freebird. Unfortunately, it also brings to mind the sounds of Sweet Home Alabama and Daughtry's awful version of Simple Man. Looking forward to the beer, but if they play any of that crap I'm out!

Welcome newcomer Palmer Brewery to Beer Week. Imbibe will hosts the release of M.W.A. (Malt With Attitude), an 8% Malt Liquor made with New Mexico blue corn. A step up from the regular corn used in Malt Liquor, in which case the beer could have been called Monsanto With Attitude.

The NM Brewers Guild presents the Beer Premiere, where 15 NM breweries are pouring beers never before released to the public. A great concept at a very nice location, the National Hispanic Cultural Center. $35 dollars gets you unlimited samples, a stemmed glass, and a matanza-style pig roast courtesy of M'tucci's.

Art Fight at Tractor Wells Park! This art event does not include Sports Illustrated style body painting, so I won't be there. I do like where the money is going, however. Local artists will be creating pieces live while you drink your Tractor beer. Paint, Pints, and Pups is the theme. The pieces will be auctioned off at the end of the event, with proceeds going to Babes and Bullies and People's Anti-Cruelty Association/Albuquerque Animal Rescue. Event goes from 7-10.

The former Stereo Bar (now Mezcal Tequileria) hosts a tap takeover with Upslope Brewing at 6. I neglected to mention the Odell tap takeover that happened on Thursday, where there were lots of good beers (The Meddler, Friek, Russian Pirate, Tree Shaker, etc.). I hope Upslope represents well there.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Beer Week: Thursday, 6.2

Bourbon County on tap! Twice a year, if we're lucky, Bourbon County Brand Stout gets tapped in Albuquerque: around Black Friday and during Beer Week, and Nob Hill is usually the host both times. They will be tapping it at 6.

Barley Room is an unexpected host for some Ballast Point beers all day Thursday. Sea Monster Imperial Stout, Mango Even Keel Pale Ale, and Calm Before the Storm Coffee Cream Ale will befuddle the crowd.

Cazuela's will host an unusual but welcome event: a tap takeover with beers from New Mexico breweries outside of Albuquerque. That should be pretty cool! They open at the ungodly hour of 8 am, so you can start early.

M'Tucci's Italian Market and Deli will be tapping Santa Fe's Western Bloc IPA at 11 am. Normally, I wouldn't highlight a tapping of a beer that is available at the home tap room and other bars around town, but I enjoyed this beer so much at Sister on Wednesday night that I had to feature this event. I love the look the wheat gives this beer. Reminds me of Tired Hands HopHands.

Red Door hosts their 2nd Annual Food Truck Battle beginning at 2. Multiple food trucks will be pairing a dish with a Red Door beer. Pay as you eat/drink. The competition is purely for fun, so you probably won't see someone from one food truck shooting BB's at another truck's propane tank.

Hand-rolled cigars from Imbibe, chocolates from Chocolate Dude, and barrel-aged beers from Rio Bravo, all in the same cavernous building! Rio Bravo offers $10 flights of barrel-aged Porter, Stout, Belgian Strong Ale and Barleywine paired with Chocolate Dude treats starting at 5. Imbibe will do the custom cigars from 4-6.

Bow and Arrow releases their Wild Rice Pale Ale at 4, the latest in a series of pales with different star ingredients. Will this one be beachwood aged as well???

Battle of the Beer Geeks? Huh. Must have misplaced my invite. Again. For the third year in a row. Anyway, you get a flight of 5 beers from 5 teams who brewed their recipes with guidance from Tractor brewers. Vote for your favorite and receive a pint of it as well. All this for $10. The fun starts at 5.

Marble Brewery and Torino's at Home are pairing up for a beer dinner at 6. Some tickets still remain. $45 per person.

Ponderosa releases Saison Petit Souris on tap and in bottles at 3 today.

Sierra Nevada makes sausages. I did not know this. Beers and mustards weren't enough. O'Niell's in Nob Hill hosts a Sierra sausage tasting along with all the Beer Camp beers on tap at 6.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Beer Week: Wednesday, 6.1

June 1st, and it feels like I've hardly played any golf this year. When picking golf buddies, make sure to find ones without any adult jobs. Try to find the Johnny Manziel types. Maybe they'll pay for your greens fees as well.

Rock and Brews hosts another big Ballast Point tap takeover, with this one featuring a keg of barrel-aged Victory at Sea Imperial Porter. Tapping scheduled at 6.

Another tap takeover is happening right down the street at Billy's Long Bar. Billy's has been kind of quiet this year in Beer Week event involvement. But they will welcome Alaskan Brewing and a multitude of Alaskan beers on tap, also at 6.

Nob Hill Bar and Grill welcomes Ska Brewing and kegs of barrel-aged Dementia and Bump and Grind Coffee Stout. I have to admit, I haven't tried Bump and Grind, and that's not anything to do with Ska. It's just that as a notoriously anti-day drinking person, I can never find a good time to drink coffee beers. You should though. Event starts at 5.

Uptown Sports Bar. Now that's a place I haven't been to in a long time. Maybe tonight I will visit for the rare appearance of a keg of Alpine (with un-improvements by Green Flash) Nelson. They've done a decent job at trying to re-create the distinct Nelson look and flavor after a few disastrous attempts.
Ask a Certified Cicerone and bad beer tasting at Tractor- yet another 6 pm event. This event allows you to talk to Cicerone Skye Devore about study tips for taking the Certified Cicerone exam. The whole Cicerone thing really took off after years of it being pushed...surprised how many bars around the country are hiring based on people having the cert, though I guess it's a better way of hiring for a serious craft beer bar than on looks. I have neither the cert nor the looks, yet I manage to scrape by. Skye will also be guiding folks through bad taste by opening cider, errrr, off-flavor kits to add common "off" tastes to beer (think diacetyl, acetaldehyde, and other unspellable words) to help you identify what makes that bad beer so bad. $5 for the bad beer tasting, free for the Cicerone study tips.

Mother Road achieved what few other Arizona breweries have up to this point: a good IPA. Unfortunately, we can't seem to get any cans fresher than March 7 here, but you can hopefully bug the Mother Road people about that at the Mother Road tap takeover at The Grain Station, starting at, you guessed it, 6 pm. Mother Road will also bring a firkin for your drinking pleasure.