Albuquerque Beer Geek's Plan of Attack Part 1
My oh my, ABQ Beer Week, how you've grown! It seems like only yesterday that Beer Week creator Marne and I sat at a table in Two Fools with the Left Hand rep, just waiting for someone to come over and claim some of the schwag the rep had brought. Flash forward to 2015, when there are more events than ever, and the beer awareness has grown so much that we don't even need to bribe people to come out to the events anymore!
There are so many events, in fact, that I'm going to have to break down my highlights a few days at a time, in different posts. I know, you all want me to ramble on with a disjointed fifty paragraph tome, but then I'll get a comment from a new-to-craft-21 year old saying, "TL/DR yuk!yuk!", and I don't need that kind of aggravation. To those of you just getting into the scene: Welcome. You are here at the prime of the boom, where just about every brewery is doing something exciting, new ones are opening monthly, and national breweries are deeming Albuquerque a place they'd like to distribute their wares. To those of you who are longer in the tooth and who have been waiting for this day: remember when all we had to look forward to was Wednesday casks at the three-seat Il Vicino off Comanche and discounted pint nights at Chama?? And now you have a week, no, ten days of events dedicated just to beer. Here. In Albuquerque. Don't know that I would have imagined this happening while I was sitting, entranced by the over 20 taps in Brewster's Pub many years back.
Fine. Here are some of my picks for the first few days of ABQ Beer Week:
Thursday, May 21
Canteen Brewhouse does IPAs exceptionally, well, as evidenced by their 2nd place in the recent National IPA Championships. The problem is, they don't make IPAs often enough. Less boysenberries, more hops please! Thankfully, they brew an IPA especially for Beer Week, Hopspitality IPA. The release happens when the Canteen opens at noon on Thursday.
Scavenger Hunt at lululemon athletica? Sorry, I'm not going near that place unless they start featuring those see-through yoga pants again.
I'd make a point of stopping by Nob Hill Bar and Grill for the Left Hand/New Belgium tappings, specifically for the New Belgium Cocoa Mole Stout. Chiles, cinnamon, stoutiness, good.
Canteen Brewhouse, Chama River Brewing Co, La Cumbre Brewing Co, Marble Brewery, Nexus Brewery, Ponderosa Brewing Co and Turtle Mountain Brewing Co. were part of the expanded Collaboration 2015 beer, this year's being a Session IPA (after the previous two years Imperial Red style). All participating breweries will have this on tap.
Shade Tree is hosting a night of tasting cellared Orval beers. RSVP only, very limited availability. To RSVP email "firstname.lastname@example.org" with the subject line "ORVAL". Don't know if this is full, but a vertical tasting of Orvals is always fun. Orval is an ever-changing beer, and it's nice to see that chef Robert Irvine didn't destroy all the bottles during the recent makeover.
Friday, May 22
Nexus' 4th Anniversary? Wow, congratulations to the brewery that turned out to be a great restaurant! And kudos to them for not giving up on the brewery side of things and continuing to focus on making good beer. The anniversary features the release of Beam Me up Scottie, their Imperial Scottish Ale.
I'm a sucker for barrel-aged stouts, and if you have one aged in Pappy Van Winkle barrels? I'm THERE! Abita's Bourbon Street Imperial Stout, aged in Pappy barrels, will be tapped at Anodyne on Friday. Finally, one of Albuquerque's original craft beer bars is actively participating in Beer Week. Event goes from 4-7.
The place I always thought of as "the brunch place" has quietly become the place to go for the rare keg tapping. Nob Hill Bar and Grill hosts Goose Island's Migration, with Sofie, Illinois, The Ogden, and Bourbon County Coffee Stout, one of the top Imperial Stouts ever created. And we didn't even have to beg Goose Island in emails for a keg of it this time around. Event goes from 5-8.
Beer and bowling go together like peanut butter and jelly, except when you try to sneak a growler into Holiday Bowl and the lady at the desk is eyeballing you every time you try to sneak a pour. Tractor hosts a night at Silva Lanes, with $3 20 oz. Farmers Tan Red Ale. Event begins at 7.
Stereo Bar hosts a night of taps from the only reason to visit Las Vegas, NM Craft Brewing Co. Come see what these boys up north have been brewing beginning at 5. Live music and hopefully good weather, since, you know, they don't have a roof. Can you imagine going to a bank and trying to pitch the idea of a bar with no roof? Good for them for getting it done.
Much, much more going on, and I'll check back in with more picks.