Although not included in the event’s title, the Alibi will be featuring an outstanding beer garden as part of the free samplings being offered at the Friday, April 6 Fine Wine and Art event. The beer garden will host about 30 craft breweries including Ska, New Belgium and, of course, local favorites Marble, La Cumbre and Blue Heron. Ironically, the beer garden actually became the busiest gathering place at Alibi’s last wine event and our spectacular beer lineup garnered rave reviews from attendees.
This year, one of the nation’s most popular craft breweries, Oskar Blues, will be back to sample their revolutionary canned beer that caused what they refer to as a “Canned Beer Apocalypse” in the industry. This brewery has received countless awards across the nation and is considered by most to be one of the best American beers made. Oskar Blues, which has an enormous cult following in Albuquerque, will be handing out samples of favorite such as Dale’s Pale Ale, Old Chub (a Scottish Ale), Mama’s Little Yella Pils (a Bohemian Pilsner), Ten Fidy (an Imperial Stout) and if we are lucky, they will bring samples of their newly released Deviant Dale’s India Pale Ale, which won the 2011 Great American Beer Festival silver medal behind Albuquerque’s own La Cumbre.
Until Oskar Blues’ Canned Beer Apocalypse, nobody had ever thought of caning craft beer because cans were known to impart a tinny flavor to the delicate product. In 2002, by coating the beer cans’ insides with a water-based coating, the extremely environmentally conscious company was able to spark a revolution with their unique process that made the beer much more portable. The funny thing is that although beer in a can is much more environmentally friendly, the company’s owner, Dale Katechis, actually begin using this canning process because he thought it was hilarious to put his Dale’s Pale Ale which is a bold hoppy ale into a can. Today, a large portion of craft brewers use this canning process to ship and sell their beers and it is believed the cans actually keep the product fresher.
Oskar Blues Brewery, which was originally in Lyons, Colorado and referred to as the Canning Bar, is now located in Longmont, Colorado and includes the state of the art brewery, the Tasty Weasel Tap Room and the Homemade Liquids and Solids Restaurant.
If you’re stuck at home on trick-or-treater duty tonight, make sure you stock up on some ABQ Beer Geek-recommended brewskies first. (For you, not the children.) They’re frighteningly goooooood!
Albuquerque’s Marble Brewery is suing the fledgling Marble City Brewing Company for trademark infringement. Knoxville’s first and only microbrewery was slated to open this month. Some Knoxvillians are labeling it a dick move and calling for boycotts of Marble beer. Read the Metro Pulse story, and the volley of reader comments, right here.
At this year's Albuquerque Hopfest, "drinking a 40" will not mean you've resorted to chugging Mickey's, King Cobra or any other man-tasticly named malt liquor that's pretending to be beer. No, it'll mean you're sampling from each and every brewery that's pouring at the Hopfest. At last count, 39 formidable brewing companies had committed to Saturday's event at O'Niell's Irish Pub in Nob Hill (4310 Central SE)—save that 40<SUP>th</SUP> drink for a repeat tasting of your favorite. Beer wristbands are $30 in advance, $40 at the gate, with proceeds benefiting the Make A Wish New Mexico chapter. Designated drivers ($10 entry) won't need to drink to have a good time—they'll get to hear live music and hang out in their own special lounge. Gates open at 2 p.m., with tastings from 3 to 6 p.m. and live music until 8 p.m. Visit albuquerquehopfest.com to see what else is on tap. (Laura Marrich)
This coming and the following Saturdays (August 21 and 28), from 8:00am to noon, you can experience what it's like to be a manual laborer on a farm, except instead of getting paid to do the work, you then have to pay for the produce that you harvested by hand.
Huh? What do you mean by "that doesn't sound appealing?" Oh! I forgot to mention what you'll be picking and how much fun you'll have. This is about hops, grown right here in New Mexico in Bosque Farms. On top of that, they're even good hops and with some characteristics other than the usual fare normally available. I've used these hops before and they're delightfully aromatic. I'm not going to say "Forget the Northwest" but De Smet has definitely put New Mexico on the map. Sure, you might be able to find some beer made with these hops at High Desert (Las Cruces) or Blue Corn (Santa Fe) but there's just nothing like doing it yourself, with ingredients that you took right off the bine.
Michael De Smet (the farmer) says everyone and anyone who is interested in hops is invited. If you arrive after the crowd and there's no one to greet you at the gate, just walk through the farm (in the direction toward the river) and you'll find the hops at the back.
Bring insect repellent, sunscreen, and some cash (don't worry, the price is absurdly low, at least by homebrew supply standards, call it the "but I did some of the work!" discount). Meet a bunch of grinning brewers who are all ecstatically sniffing their hands for some reason, and the farmer who thinks it’s not quite as fun when you smell it day after day after day after day after day after day. Get your George Orwell on. Learn.
2405 McNew Rd, Bosque Farms, NM (From Albuquerque: South on I-25 to exit 215. Take highway 47 south, thru Isleta reservation into Bosque Farms. Turn right onto South Bosque Loop, then follow it feft onto McNew Rd. You will pass Bonita Dr. and then look for a farm on the right, with a De Smet Dairy sign on the gate.) This is a dog friendly outing (duh, it's a farm!).
New Mexico’s ninth annual cage fight de hops (¿cómo se dice “cage fight” en español?) started at High Desert Brewing in Las Cruces on Tuesday, traveled up to Santa Fe Brewing company Thursday, and settles in for the final stop in Albuquerque tomorrow. The gloves come off at Chama River Brewing (4939 Pan American W Fwy NE, 342-1800) from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
You, citizen drinker, just pay $20 for a tray of samples from all the participating local brewers—11 of em!—and vote on your favorite. The exciting twist is that the tasting and judging is done blind: You won’t know who’s who until all the votes are in and tallied. There are some extra niceties as well, but let’s get right to the breweries (copied and pasted from nmbeer.org, which flickered on again after an almost yearlong hiatus. Welcome back!):
Blue Corn Cafe & Brewery, Santa Fe
Chama River Brewing, Albuquerque
Hallenbrick Brewing, Albuquerque
High Desert Brewing, Las Cruces
Il Vicino Brewing, Albuquerque
Marble Brewery, Albuquerque
Santa Fe Brewing, Santa Fe
Second Street Brewery, Santa Fe
Rio Grande Brewing, Moriarity
Three Rivers Brewing, Farmington
Turtle Mountain Brewing, Rio Rancho
Even if you can’t make it, pick up next week’s Alibi for ABQ Beer Geek’s recap of the challenge and its bitter winners and losers (hops are bitter, you see, so the winners and the losers ... oh, never mind). And be sure to check www.ABQBeerGeek.com for even more constantly updated beer wisdom. On tap right now: The Beer Geek reports that it’s Il Vicino Tap Room’s last night at their current location. (Look for the new place at 2381 Aztec NE sometime in or after September.) He has pictures, too.
Have a hoppy 4th of July? We sure did at the ABQBeerGeek compound, where the third annual 4th of JulIPA Challenge took place. Nine IPAs competed IPAs this time around. Last year we did thirteen beers, but felt that was a bit too many to judge, as people were missing their mouths by the thirteenth beers. Here's how it worked: it was a blind tasting of the all the beers by a panel of near twenty drinkers with good taste in beer. Beers were judged on a scale from 1-5 overall. I didn't bother with different judging for color, smell, or mouthfeel. That's just too much for me to calculate when all is said and done. Besides, IPAs range in color from straw to caramel to black, so it turns into a what's your favorite color contest. And mouthfeel? That sounds dirty.
While watching everyone enjoy the beers, I noticed nobody enjoying the burgers I bought for the event. That's because I picked the cheapest, gnarliest burgers to grill (Flanders brand) and it turns out one of the main ingredients is beef hearts. Not to mention the color of the meat ranged from straw to caramel to black. And don't even ask me about the mouthfeel.
Let's get to the results. I can't take the thought of another hearty meal. I do have to say in advance that last year's number 4, Turtle Mountain IPA, is not represented this year. Sorry. My one friend who lives near there could not make it this year, and I was too busy pouring beer from bottles into growlers to drive over there. You try filling 18 growlers and cooking up Flander heart and driving to Rio Rancho.