Once again, the Dark Side Brew Crew was asked to write a little something for this here ABQ Beer Week blog. In the past, we have usually just done a top picks list, noting the one event per day that we feel people have to attend.
Man, that is hard this year.
Our theme? Try new beers and indulge in old favorite events.
Thursday: Tractor Wells Park is hosting the Sour Hour with Rowley Farmhouse Ales again this year, starting at 5 p.m. There will be not one but three new beers in the Ab Initio series of sours made with blueberry and pomegranate, merlot grapes, and methley plums.
On the old favorite front, happening at the same time (because of course) will be Marble’s Beer, Cheese & More. It’s back at the downtown taproom, featuring a lovely selection of tasty cheeses from Whole Foods Market paired with BBBerry Gose, Tickle Factory, Chillsner, Red Ale, and Cholo Stout.
Friday: Get thee to Sister for the 21 and Over event at 6 p.m. Eight breweries that have been around for 21 or more years will be serving up some truly unique stuff. We do love some Helldorado from Firestone Walker, and the Chai Milk Stout Nitro from Left Hand looks great, but the 30th Anniversary Cherry Stout Reserve from Bell’s and Clutch Sour Stout from New Belgium really caught our eyes. Or, go crazy with some of Rogue’s Combat Wombat, a hazy IPA with blood orange and grapefruit.
It’s not an event, per se, but we gotta get to Nexus to indulge in the latest release of one of the best seasonals, Beam Me Up Scotty. That will be tapped all day in advance of the seventh anniversary party, which rolls out Saturday and Sunday at the brewpub.
Saturday: For a little something new, head to one of the newest breweries. High and Dry will be releasing two new beers paired up with special food offerings from Malaguena’s food truck. We like mysteries. We like solving them even better.
As we already mentioned, it’s the Nexus anniversary party all weekend. Head over for some of Ken’s Red Chile Ribs, live music, and more Beam Me Up Scotty.
Sunday: There aren’t a lot of events besides the big one on this day, but we’re intrigued by the La Cumbre Tap Takeover and Beer Brunch at Sister from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. All we know is that Sister’s Sunday brunches are becoming hugely popular, and there will be five-plus LC beers on tap.
For your nostalgia trip, head over to Sandia Casino for ABQ Blues and Brews. Spend a little extra for the tickets that get you in at 2 instead of 3, because that extra hour is crucial to trying all the great beers before the lines get too long. New Mexico breweries we don’t get in ABQ too often will include Bathtub Row, Enchanted Circle, Eske’s, and the new kids from Tumbleroot.
Monday: It’s Memorial Day, so take advantage of the off-day and feast upon a bevy of smoked meats on the patio at Steel Bender. They’ll start serving as early as 11 a.m., and the supply is not unlimited, so get over there early.
Then, once you have stuffed yourself, head back to Marble for the annual tradition of an afternoon featuring four of Albuquerque’s best bands from 3 to 8:30 p.m. As a bonus, if you leave the car at home and ride your bicycle, you will get Mug Club prices on the beer.
Tuesday: We know that Obey the Darkside is not a new beer, but we can guarantee you’ve never had it after being aged in a Two Fools whiskey barrel. We’ve never had it that way, so get to Canteen for the tapping at noon. Basically, get there before we drink it all up.
Another old favorite event is switching locations. Cheesy Street and Tractor are doing their annual pairing of grilled cheeses and beer, but now at the Nob Hill taproom instead of Wells Park. Servings will start at 5 p.m.
Wednesday: The Crew is headed to Denver to see Insomnium, but the rest of you should go to Tractor Four Hills for a special pairing of beer and Rebel Donuts starting at 4 p.m. Mmm, donuts …
An event we are sad to miss is the return of the Quarter Celtic Mini-cask Fest from 4 to 9 p.m. It’s just $4 for four cask samples, including two variations of the World Beer Cup medal-winning Pedro O’Flannigan.
Thursday: While we race back down from Denver, everyone else should aim to get to Flix Brewhouse by 7 p.m. They will have a special screening of the cinematic classic, Beerfest, and there will also be a special beer release of a collaboration, Schnitz and Giggles, made with Steel Bender. Expect games, prizes, a special menu, and a whole lot more.
You should all know the drill for Battle of the Beer Geeks by now. It runs from 5 to 8, costs $10 for a tray of five beers brewed at Tractor Wells Park by different groups of beer enthusiasts (including the Crew), and you vote for your favorite and get a pint of that beer. It will be a 50-50 voting split this year between the public and a judging panel.
Friday: There are only four events this day, so none are a repeat from years past. Instead, just embrace the new, or in this case the aged, as Firestone Walker Barrelworks will have a tap takeover at Nob Hill Bar & Grill from 5 to 7 p.m. We await the beer list for this one.
Saturday: The good dudes at Ponderosa are hosting a Mini Lager Fest starting at noon. A number of local breweries will be showcasing their finest lagers. It’s $20, with further details TBA.
For all you foodies, the annual Food Truck Battle is back at Red Door on Candelaria. It runs from noon to 4 p.m., and Red Door will have beer pairing suggestions for the various food dishes being offered. Vote for the best participating truck with your palate.
Sunday: Steel Bender hosts “Le Cask Lunatique,” a special cask festival featuring local jazz legends Le Chat Lunatique. The six casks will be tapped at noon, the band plays from 1 to 3, and you close out Beer Week on a high note.
Before that, get up in time for a 7 a.m. tee time. It’s time for the 10th Annual NM Brewers Guild Golf Tournament at Santa Ana Golf Course. Support the Guild, enjoy the sport (as much as one can if not terribly good at it), and get some beers in for breakfast.
Those are our daily picks, but there are so, so many other great events, and many great new beers and returning favorites to try. Just remember to pace yourselves, be responsible (Lyft/Uber are your friends!), and we will see you all on the other side.