February Brewery Tour # 2 – Taos Mesa Brewing

Next stop is New Mexico and Taos Mesa Brewing in Taos of all places. Here is what piqued my interest from their Mothership…

I’ve Got Your Pilsner – “A light, crisp pilsner with absurd amounts of Citra hops.”

Kolsch 45 – “This light and crisp German style ale is made with European pilsner malt.”

Take a Knee IPA – “Bombastic IPA. Makes you want to take a knee.”

Amarillo Rojo – “Lightly toasted malt gives this red ale its ruby color. We think you’ll find that the malt body is wonderfully balanced by generous addition of Amarillo hops.”

Great Scott Scottish Ale – “Six different types of crystal malts are used in this strong scotch ale, creating a sweet and bold malt profile.”

New Mexico Brewery # 3 – Nexus Brewpub

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Straight up, the Nexus website and logo could seriously be for any brewpub. But who can resist when the owner flies the flag for Star Trek love?  Come On, gotta respect putting yourself out like that.

Here is what I would put in my taster tray on my first visit:

Honey Chamomile Wheat
“Local B’s honey, and chamomile flowers make this wheat beer slightly sweet and aromatically refreshing. ABV 6.0% IBU 16%”

Scottish Ale
“Our Flagship Beer! A strong very malty deep brown ale. Malt flavor predominate with nutty flavors mingling within.    7.0% ABV 28 IBU”

Nexus Maximus
Seven varieties of citrusy, piney, grapefruity, floral, tropical, wonderful hops.  Plenty of malty sweetness to back them up.  This Nexus Maximus is one serious DIPA.  7.6% ABV   100 IBU”

Warp 10 Golden Ale
East Kent Golding and Fuggle hops, Maris Otter malt, and Whitbread yeast make this well rounded strong ale exceptionally smooth and quintessentially British.  8.0% ABV  IBU 28″

Imperial Cream Ale
Our World Beer Cup Silver medal winner is back! Crisp, smooth, light and packing one hell of a punch.  9.3% ABV 22 IBU (12oz only)”

New Mexico Brewery # 2 – Kaktus Brewpub

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Kaktus Brewing Company is (as the website boasts) “the only brewery in Bernalillo, New Mexico.”  But since this town is around the 8,300 mark, you can take that as great or sign that another should join the fun.  Because this is a true nano.  Only 500 barrels annually and eight beers on tap at any given time.

Anyway, this is the place in the SW to go for some lagers.  They have a Dunkel and a Green Bottle (a nod to a certain foreign lager) as well as a Cream Stout that caught my eye.  But what really intrigued me was their Basil lager.

To add to my initial taster tray I would try their Oyster Stout and their Gunslinger Smoke beer.

New Mexico Brewery # 1 – Boxing Bear

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We make our first stop along the Rio Grande River in NW Albuquerque. Boxing Bear Brewing Company has a goal of establishing Albuquerque as a national destination for raft beer.  And they also do wines!  Aside from the cool logo.  Here is what I would have in my initial taster tray

Uppercut IPA | 7.6% ABV, 100+ IBUs
“Big citrus aromas dominate this hop forward beer while providing a nice bitter punch. Brewed and dry hopped with an assortment of American hop varieties, this beer holds up to the standards of hop lovers everywhere.”

Hairy Mit Hefe | 5.4% ABV, 12 IBUs
“A classic Hefeweizen with flavors and aromas of banana, clove, and vanilla. Smooth and easy to drink, this beer is perfect for summer sippin’.”

Paw Swipe Pale Ale | 4.9% ABV, 45 IBUs
“This American style pale ale is bright and bitter with nice pine and citrus notes. Punchy hop character with a clean finish make this beer a real crowd pleaser.”

Ambear Ale | 5.2% ABV, 35 IBUs
“This lightly hopped beer has just enough malt to balance the spicy aromas and flavors of the East Kent Golding variety of hops. Refreshing and flavorful, this beer is a great pairing with a sandwich from our food menu.”

Standing 8 Stout | 6.3% ABV, 45 IBUs
“Dark and delicious, this malt forward beer is perfect for those who enjoy the darker side. A full-bodied stout with a fabulously roasted character.”

 

In the Tap Lines for January 2015

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A new year of new beer possibilities lies in front of us. What beer will wow us? What beers will disgust us? I literally had not heard of the beers that made my personal Top 10 at this time last year. Will that happen again? The slate is clean and ready for the adventure ahead.

~ e-visits to three breweries from The Land of Enchantment, New Mexico.
~ special reviews of FIVE home brewed beers that I received for Christmas
~ Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark
~ Beer-centric podcast reviews
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world
~ … and Session # 95 will converge bloggers onto a single topic, this month it is What Beer Book Still Needs to be Written?

Here are two events to get your January started in the Los Angeles craft beer world:
1) January 16th Brew Wings at King Harbor Brewing
2) January 25th Eagle Rock Brewing 5th Anniversary

Stop

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Most of us in SoCal probably don’t know about the voluntary “Three beer Limit” in New Mexico which was started by La Cumbre Brewery.

The main thesis behind it is encapsulated in this quote from founder and brewer Jeff Erway, ” We don’t want people pounding our beers,” Instead, the goal is to have people savor the beer.

Personally, I like the idea. It is so much easier to cut off at three instead of figuring out if someone is drunk. You don’t have to argue because 1+1+1 = done. Two, it makes the brewery seem more responsible in the eyes of both police and the community. Plus it encourages repeat visits to sample the beers that were missed the last visit.

Those are just off the top of my head thoughts. But there are longer term effects of this idea. An impetus to create “high margin” beers might force breweries to only brew what makes bigger bucks. And what if a new brewery opens near you that does not abide by the self-imposed limit?

On the other side of the ledger, if a city wide (or county) initiative was in place, would that make opening a new brewery easier? I would rather see a limit and more breweries then none and less.

Much like restaurants that pay fair wages instead of forcing servers to rely on tips, I think the limit idea is one poised to break through in the long term.

Breaking Beer

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I am not a fan of the Breaking Bad.  My wife loves it more and more with each passing episode.  But maybe with a beer in hand celebrating the show, I could get “hooked”

“Breaking Bad” is getting its own beer. Marble Brewery in Albuquerque, New Mexico will brew the “Breaking Bad” tribute beer Heisenberg’s Dark, an India Black Ale. The company announced the special brew on Instagram.The Emmy-winning AMC series has featured its characters drinking Marble Brewery beers before as well as brews from the local Santa Fe Brewery.”Breaking Bad” kicks off its final eight-episode run on Sunday, August 11.”

Review – Monks’ Ale

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Made with Care & Prayer is the motto of Abbey Beverage. They are semi-new now to the L.A. area and this is my first beer from them.  Here is the review: Love the stained glass look on the label though I would like to read more about the brand on it. Pours a light orange with minimal head. Has some of the dubbel spice to it. A touch viscous. Some orange notes in the background too. A bit of a bready cinnamon roll aroma. Simply, I enjoyed it.

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Here is what the Abbey says about their beer, “Monks’ Ale is an excellent session ale that is distinctively spicy with moderate fruity esters (particularly stone fruits).  The yeast lends a note of clove and in combination with the malts, hints of plum and apricot. The malts provide a distinct honeyish quality up front and round full middle.  The malts and yeast provide a clean, crisp, dry, finish to Monks’ Ale.”

Marble Brewing

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Back to New Mexico for the Marble Brewery.

Here are my two suggestions…
Simcoe Pale Ale
This single hop pale ale is a great spring beer, with big citrus hop aroma and flavor, little malt character and a nice crisp and refreshing finish. 5.4% ABV

TIPA
Yes, it?s what you think it is. Loads of hops, rich pale malt, long bitter-sweet finish. 11% ABV. $6.00 a pint. No 22s. $20 growlers.