Kaktus Brewing’s C-Thru Stout Review

C-Thru Stout – Kaktüs Brewing

ABV: 6.1% – IBU: 23
Blonde Stout

Overall Rating 4.25 of 5 Mugs


MrHoppy 4.25 of 5 mugs

C-Thru Stout is riddle in a glass. Looking like a light ale with a clear golden body and small white head but with a taste resembling a stout, hence the name C-Thru Stout.  Aromas are also “Stouty” with notes of coffee, chocolate, toasted barley and hints of cookies.

Taste is initially sweet from the malts and balanced by the bittering hops just like you would expect in a stout. The mouthfeel has a good “thickness” to it while somehow maintaining a super “light” drink-ability.

This is definitely an interesting style and the first of the kind I have personally tried. The short description I would put on C-Thru Stout is: Chocolate Chip Cookies in a glass! Overall an amazing beer with some complex flavors layered on a tasty golden body. I recommend this beer to anyone looking for something new and interesting. Also to anyone who likes stouts and wants to try a new take on an old style.  Finally anyone who likes beer and cookies would definitely enjoy a pint of Kaktus’ C-Tru Stout!



Albuquerque Hopfest 2017

Albuquerque Hopfest

SATURDAY, August 26th, 2017
Isleta Resort & Casino
@2pm – 6pm

Buy Tickets Here

Use Promo Code: ABQBEER 10% Off* Extra Hoppy or General Admission Tickets!

70 Breweries – Unlimited Sampling – Ciders, Spirits & More

10 Barrel Brewing
Alaskan Brewing Co.
Angry Orchard Hard Cider
Ballast Point Brewing
Bathtub Row
Blue Moon Brewing Co.
Boston Beer Co.
Bow & Arrow Brewing Co.
Breckenridge Brewery
Bridgeport Brewing
Canteen Brewhouse
Cazuelas Mexican Grill and Brewery
Chama River Brewing Company
Coney Island Brewing Co.
Traveler Beer Co.
De La Vega’s Pecan Grill and Brewery
Dialogue Brewing
Drafty Kilt Brewing Co.
Duel Brewing
Dukes of Ale
Durango Brewing Company
Elysian Brewing Co.
Enchanted Circle Brewing
Firestone Walker
Flix Brewhouse
Founders Brewing Co.
Four Peaks Brewing Co.
Golden Road Brewing
Goose Island Beer Co.
Isotopes Brewing Co.
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co.

Kellys Brewpub
Kona Brewing Co.
Lagunitas Brewing Company
Lava Rock Brewing Company
Marble Brewery
Mother Road Brewing
Nuevo Cerveza
Odell Brewing
Omission Beer
Ponderosa Brewing Co.
Quarter Celtic Brewpub
Red Door Brewing Co.
Rio Bravo Brewing Company
Rio Grande Brewing
Rogue Ales & Spirits
Rowley Farmhouse Ales
Sandia Hard Cider
Santa Fe Brewing Co.
SanTan Brewing Co.
Shock Top Beers
Sierra Blanca Brewing
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Shiner Beers
Squatters Craft Beers
The 377 Brewery
Tractor Brewing Company
Truly Spiked & Sparkling
Upslope Brewing Company
VIP Beer & Food Pairings
Wasatch Brewery
Widmer Brothers Brewing Co.
Woodchuck Cider

Buy Tickets Here

Use Promo Code: ABQBEER 10% Off* Extra Hoppy or General Admission Tickets!

3 Stages – Outdoor & Indoor – 7 Bands

Four Peaks Brewing Co. Main Stage
Merican Slang
The Dirty Shades

AARP Acoustic Stage
Oscar Butler
Eryn Bent
Chase Dabney

Greg J Shamas State Farm Outdoor Stage
Lenin & McCarthy
The Real Matt Jones Band

Buy Tickets Here

Use Promo Code: ABQBEER 10% Off* Extra Hoppy or General Admission Tickets!

Cocktail Challenge – Fun Vendors – Educational Seminars & More

Also featuring an educational pavilion with a whole array of Seminars, Sensory Analysis, Beer & Food Pairing, History of Brewing in ABQ, Homebrew Demo. For more information please visit: www.albuquerquehopfest.com

Buy Tickets Here

Use Promo Code: ABQBEER 10% Off* Extra Hoppy or General Admission Tickets!



*10% off Extra Hoppy or General Admission tickets, online only until August 25.

NM IPA Champion 2017

Round 3 – NM IPA Challenge 2017

The final round of the 2017 New Mexico IPA Challenge took place this past Saturday, July 29th, 2017.  Round 3 was hosted on the Patio at Steel Bender Brewyard with plenty of space to accommodate the hoards of hop zombies that would descend upon the challenge. This year the final round was completely sold out and there were no sales at the door! (Great job NM)

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the challenge as I had another meeting scheduled at the same time. Luckily since I’m in marketing, my meetings often take place at a brewery. So I just happened to be inside the winning brewery drinking the winning IPA at the same time… Coincidence, maybe.  Possibly my palette is so advanced it can taste the winning IPA from the future… lol

Anyway on to the results!

Let me introduce to you(Bill Buffer voice) the two time reigning NM IPA Challenge Winner: BOXXXXXXXXXXXXING BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAARRRRRR!

Final Placements – Top 8 of 15

# of Votes – Brewery

104 – Boxing Bear
101 – Bosque
82 – Quarter Celtic
76 – Canteen
59 – Starr Bros
49 – Marble
43 – Tractor
40 – Bow & Arrow

Congrats to Boxing Bear on the back to back wins! Also like to give a shout out to Bosque for taking second place and Quarter Celtic in third. All three IPAs are amazing beers, brewed by top notch New Mexico Craft Breweries. The people of New Mexico truly are spoiled in the IPA department!

Now get down to Boxing Bear and try some of that Award Winning IPA! (Bear Knuckle) I also recommend their 3rd anniversary TKO triple IPA while you are there.
(10200 Corrales Rd, Albuquerque, NM 87114)


Bow & Arrow’s Hazillionaire Review

Hazillionaire – Bow & Arrow

ABV: 6.8% – IBU: 65
IPA (w/Saison Yeast)

Overall Rating 4.5 of 5 Mugs

MrHoppy 4.5 of 5 mugs

Hazillionaire has a hazed orange body and foamy white head, served in a tulip glass to help retain aroma. The first smell gives way to an array of citrus aromas with orange being dominant. Also present are tangerine, and grapefruit aromas. Flavor matches aromas with strong citrus, juiciness. Slightly sweet initially but quickly transitions into the hop bitterness we all know and love. A lot of orange and grapefruit “juice” flavors.  The finish is long and dry from the Saison yeast yet buttery and from the hops.

The bitter and juiciness off the hops blend really well with the Saison yeast in what tastes like a citrus Saison without any fruit.  Overall Hazillionaire is a great tasting and enjoyable, yet unique IPA.

IPAs and Saisons are two of my favorite styles and I am very please with this love-child of the two. Personally I really loved this beer and only took points away for being a little out of style for an IPA. I would definitely recommend Hazillionaire to anyone looking for a new take on the NE style IPA and anyone who enjoys Saisons and Farmhouse Ales.

Seeing how most 505ers will be judging by taste alone and not style guides, I would put Hazillionaire in the running to take the NM IPA Challenge. They are currently a little behind in votes but from years past we have learned anything can happen in Round 3!


DOA August Meeting: FLIX Brewhouse

Dukes of Ale August Meeting

Will Moorman, Dukes member and head brewer, will give a brewery tour and discuss making a German Wit.  We’ll also discuss making Kolsch beers, and have samples.  Starts @ 6:30 and I’d suggest eating there as well…..great food and selection.

From website: Flix Brewhouse is America’s only first-run Cinema Brewery. Stop and think about that for a minute — the best blockbuster movies, amazing on-site brewed beer and delectable hand-made food all crafted by serious movie-beer-food folks. For those who believe that movie going should be so much more than just staring at a screen, Flix Brewhouse is a game-changer.

Date: Thursday, August 3rd, 2017
Time: 6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: Flix Brewhouse – Albuquerque
3236 La Orilla Rd NW, Albuquerque, NM 87120




NM IPA Challenge 2017 – Round 2 Results

Round 2 of the 2017 NM IPA Challenge  took place at Second Street Brewery, (Rufina St) Santa Fe NM on July 22, 2017 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm.

Elimination Round Results
Round 1 Results

NM IPA CHALLENGE – ROUND 2 Results  2017

# of Votes – Brewery

37 – Boxing Bear
33 – Quarter Celtic
29 – Canteen
24 – Starr Bros
23 – Tractor
23 – Bosque
19 – Second Street
18 – Marble
13 – Bow & Arrow
10 – La Cumbre
8 – Ponderosa
6 – Picacho
4 – The 377
4 – Blue Corn
4 – Steel Bender

Total After 2 Rounds (Round 1 + Round 2)

# of Votes – Brewery

52 – Boxing Bear
42 – Quarter Celtic
42 – Canteen
39 – Bosque
34 – Starr Bros
31 – Marble
30 -Tractor
28 – Second Street
26 – Bow & Arrow
21 – Steel Bender
16 – La Cumbre
12 – Ponderosa
7 – The 377
7 – Picacho
5 – Blue Corn

Round 3, the final showdown will take place in Albuquerque on July 29th at Steel Bender Brewyard.



NM IPA Challenge 2017 – Round 1 Results

After the Elimination Round in ABQ at Duel Brewing, only 15 IPAs were left to compete. The remaining 15 IPAs will now battle in a three city traveling competition that will culminate in Albuquerque on July 29th at Steel Bender Brewyard for Round 3.

Round 1 of the 2017 NM IPA Challenge took place at Picacho Peak Brewing, Las Cruces NM on July 19, 2017 from 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm.


NM IPA CHALLENGE – ROUND 1 Results  2017

# of Votes – Brewery

17 – Steel Bender
16 – Bosque
15 – Boxing Bear
13 – Marble
13 – Bow & Arrow
13 – Canteen
10 – Starr Bros
9 – Quarter Celtic
9 – Second Street
7 – Tractor
6 – La Cumbre
4 – Ponderosa
3 – The 377
1 – Blue Corn
1 – Picacho

Round 2 of the 2017 NM IPA Challenge will take place at Second Street Brewery, (Rufina St) Santa Fe NM on July 22, 2017 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm.


Boxing Bear’s Red Glove Double Red Ale Home Brew Recipe

This homebrew recipe is featured in Top 50 Commercial Clone Beer Recipes.

This double red ale took home a gold medal at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival.

Makes 5 gallons of beer!


  • Original Gravity: 1.074
  • Final Gravity: 1.023
  • ABV: ~6.7%


Single infusion mash at 154° F for 60 minutes.
Conduct a 90 minute boil, following the schedule in the ingredients.
Cool to 66° F, aerate and pitch yeast. Pitch rate should be 750,000 cells per milileter per degree plato.
At 97% terminal gravity, add the dry hops. Remove after 4 days. Carbonate to 2.2 volumes of CO2.

  • 11.75 lb Weyermann Pale Malt
  • 12 oz White Wheat
  • 12oz Dextrin Malt
  • 6 oz Honey Malt
  • 6 oz Crystal 120
  • 5 oz Crystal 140
  • 3 oz Roasted Barley
  • 0.5 oz Columbus hops, 14% a.a. (FWH)
  • 0.3 oz Chinook hops, 13% a.a. (FWH)
  • 0.3 oz Simcoe hops, 13% a.a. (FWH)
  • 1.3 oz Magnum hops, 12% a.a. (90 min)
  • 0.7 oz Centennial hops, 10% a.a. (15 min)
  • 0.5 oz Simcoe hops, 13% a.a. (15 min)
  • 1.3 oz Centennial hops, 10% a.a. (0 min)
  • 1.1 oz Simcoe hops, 13% a.a. (0 min)
  • 2.5 oz Centennial hops (dry)
  • 2.5 oz Cascade hops (dry)
  • 2.5 oz Crystal hops (dry)
  • 2.5 oz Simcoe hops (dry)
  • Whirlfloc (10 min)
  • Yeast Nutrient (10 min)
  • Wyeast 1056, White Labs WLP001 or Safale US-05


Sidetrack’s Switchgear IPA Review

Switchgear IPA – Sidetrack Brewing

ABV: 7% – IBU: 80

Overall Rating 4.5 of 5 Mugs

Sidetrack Brewing - Switchgear IPA

NM IPA Challenge Notes: Switchgear IPA was my top pick of flight 1, beers 1-13 in the NM IPA Challenge, Elimination round. Since Switchgear IPA only got 3 votes (one of which was mine), I decided to go back and re-visit in a review format to see if I had completely lost my mind or not. To be honest Switchgear IPA didn’t get my highest numerical rating on my tray (blind taste test). It did however ultimately win my vote for the winner of that flight (1) as my favorite IPA of the group based on drink-ability and repeat-ability. Basically this was the beer I wanted to drink a another pint of, which is all that really matters at the end of the day. Isn’t it?

MrHoppy 4.5 of 5 mugs

Served in a traditional pint glass Switchgear IPA has a golden yellow body with a small foamy white head and a slight haze indicating it has been dry hopped. There is a lot of citrus aroma blended with resinous floral bouquets.  Some interesting fruity aromas become present as the aroma dissipates and the body warms a bit (Zoso hops?). The initial flavor is bitter and delicious backed by the clean ale body and finishing refreshingly smooth. sidetrack switchgear ipaVery drinkable, and refreshing like a session while maintaining the ABV and IBU of a true IPA.

I recommend Switchgear IPA to all IPA lovers especially those looking for the NE style flavor and aroma without sacrificing the classic bitter appeal. If you are looking for something with flavor but moderately bitter this IPA is for you.

Definitely a new player in the ABQ IPA Scene for me. Part of the reason I love the blind taste test format of the NM IPA Challenge is that regardless of what everyone else likes, or what the newest and greatest trends are, or anyone’s new favorite brewery etc., you discover your own personal favorite with none of the preconceptions. I hope to see this beer go into distribution as a 12oz can because Sidetrack Brewing might as well be on the opposite side of the state for me living in Rio Rancho. Just kidding, I’ll be back and next time with a growler!



NM IPA Challenge – Elimination Round 2017

This year’s (2017) New Mexico IPA Challenge was one for the record books. A total number of 39 entries from breweries spanning the entire state. The beers were randomly numbered and assigned into 3 separate flights. Beers 1-13 in the first flight beers 14-26 in the second flight, and beers 27-39in the third flight (3 beers were missing so only 35 IPAs were judged) . I was personally given the first flight of NM IPAs consisting of beers 1-13 (Only 12 beers were on the flight, 1-12).

Despite being a very large venue Duel Brewing was absolutely packed with very little bar space or seating available. I found an empty spot with one of the guys from NM Darkside Brewcrew. There wasn’t a chair but I was just happy to have a spot to put my beer down. Also he was nice enough to let me sit for a while as I judged my flight. So thanks and shout out to Brandon for that!


I started with aroma and quickly sniffed and wrote notes on each as aroma tend to dissipate quickly. I then noted appearance such as color, clarity, head size, etc. Then the final test the taste which included a small sip from each. After I had judged all of the previous factors I sipped again and scored them on my overall impression. I then added the scores together and began my first round of elimination based on the lowest scores.

After my initial elimination leaving only 6 IPAs left on my tray, I put the scores to the side and finish my choice based simply on flavor, drink-ability and repeat-ability.  It should be noted that all of the beers were good and none of the entries I tasted were un-worthy of the challenge, while there were a few beers slightly out of style. The beers I had as my top 6 from flight 1 (1-13) are as follows in order starting with my favorite. #10, #11, #9, #3, #8, #2 and #6 almost making my cut.

MrHoppy’s Picks from Flight 1, Beers 1-13

#10 – Sidetrack Brewing
#11 – Santa Fe Brewing
#9 – Sierra Blanca
#3 – Spotted Dog Brewery
#8 – The 377 Brewery
#2 – Rowley Farmhouse Ales

Now for what you actually want to know, who actually won this thing. Yeah, yeah, no one cares what MrHoppy thinks… j/k I hope!

The Breweries that made the cut and will advance to the next round of the challenge are as follows.




NM IPA Challenge 2017 – Elimination Round Winners

The 377:  27
Bosque: 21
Boxing Bear: 17
Starr Bros: 17
Blue Corn: 16
Tractor: 15
La Cumbre: 14
Bow & Arrow: 12
Marble: 12
Second St: 12*
Quarter Celtic: 11
Ponderosa: 10
Canteen: 10
Steel Bender: 6*
Picacho Peak: NA*

(*Hosting breweries auto advance to next round.)

Not Moving On
Sierra Blanca: 9
Bathtub Row: 7
Rowley: 7
The Wellhead: 7
Santa Fe: 6
Duel: 6
Dialogue: 6
Palmer: 6
Rio Bravo: 6
Chama: 5
Drafty Kilt: 5
Kellys: 5
Spotted Dog: 5
Desert Valley: 3
Nexus: 3
Sidetrack: 3
Turtle Mountain: 3
Cazuela’s: 2
Red Door: 2
Enchanted Circle: 1
Three Rivers: 1

There are some really great beers represented in the NM IPA Challenge this year and we look forward the the ABQ leg of the competition!



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