Tart at Heart

tart at heart

With the warm weather comes a change in palette and as a result, a change in beer styles. Sours is an umbrella term to cover a wide variety of different styles of beers that seem to be becoming more popular year by year. I had the opportunity to attend one of Albuquerque’s most exciting beer events: the 3rd annual Tart at Heart which took place at Sister Bar in downtown Albuquerque (407 Central Ave NW, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102). It featured of 25 different styles of sour and barrel-aged beers.

Upon entry I was given a “Tart at Heart” glass that would accompany me and my “unlimited tastings”. The first thing you are greeted with as a guest of Tart at Heart is a giant bowl of Tums, for pretty obvious reasons. It was both funny and relieving.

I made the rotation around the dance floor where various breweries offered their finest sour and barrel-aged ales.

Top 3 local offerings:

Canteen’s “Social Capital” w/ Orange Peel, Cardamom, and Vanilla Bean

Bright, crisp, and refreshing. It captures Albuquerque’s sun-soaked spring in a bottle. The light satisfaction of a lighter beer with the mouth-watering quality of a sour candy without being too overbearing.

Marble’s “¡Cereza Cerveza!” Aged Cherry Sour

Always delivering quality beer, this beer will not disappoint. Aged in Chardonnay barrels, this beer has a bright and bubbly quality about it. The cherries cause pleasant puckering. I had at least 3 refills of this bad boy.

Dialogue’s “Filth Peddler” Sour Lager

Dialogue has been continuing to impress me with their increasing arsenal of sour/tart beers. This beer is a little more subtle on the tart side to it’s advantage. It finishes nice and smoothly with almost a toasty taste that you might find in their Berliner Weisse or a nice German pilsner. Shining and unpretentious, this beer is not to be missed.

Top 3 National Offerings:

New Belgium’s “La Folie”

A sour brown ale with unmatched complexity. Reportedly from a yeast strain that’s been around since the mid-90’s. This ale packs a nice punch at 7% without taking away at all from the overall flavor profile. Lip-puckeringly tart, sharp, and reminiscent of stone fruit.

North Coast’s “Tart Cherry Berliner Weisse”

Made with Michigan Montmorency cherries, this beer is bright and refreshing and keeps you wanting more. A beautiful color, almost resembling Rosé, this beer is perfect for a warm Spring day.

Firestone’s “Parabola”

This heavy-hitting Russian Imperial Stout (13.1%) is described by Firestone as a “barrel-aged beast” and they could not have described it better. It’s as dark as night and twice as enticing. It is dark, tempting, and sweet with flavor notes of vanilla, dark chocolate, and bourbon undertones. This is a siren of a beer, as it’s smooth and delicious allure can catch up to you quick if you are not careful.

Do not miss this event next year. It is one of the finest organized specialty beer events we are offered in Albuquerque.

 

CHEERS!

Written by  Barney Gumbel

Social Capital

Social Capital 1

Spring is upon us; gracing Albuquerque with warmth, brightness, flowers, and beautifully tasty seasonal beers. My first taste of spring ale was this past Friday at Canteen Brewhouse.

The main taproom is a spacious and unpretentious haven for beer drinkers. It’s comfortable and has plenty of light pouring in to create a friendly environment. It is also a great hub for entertainment hosting events such as live music and trivia.

It is perhaps not known to some that Canteen Brewhouse (f.k.a. Il Vicino Brewing) is Albuquerque’s oldest microbrewery, opening its doors in 1994. With nearly a decade of brewing under its belt, Canteen remains a staple in the Albuquerque craft beer community.

I sat down with Zach Guilmette to talk a bit about Canteen as well as their “Social Capital” series. “Social Capital” is a reoccurring series that features rotating styles of kettle-soured ales. Kettle-souring is a process where the beer is soured using lactobacillus in the brewing process, allowing the beer to become sour very quickly.

I was fortunate enough to have one of the first pints of the most recent batch on it’s release. This batch is brewed with Orange Peel, Vanilla Bean, and Cardamom. The first sip explodes with a bouquet of citrusy brightness. It is unbelievably crisp and refreshing. It is on the very sour side making your mouth water in the best possible way. Coming in at 5.5% ABV this ale is perfect to have on on their spacious patio on a gorgeous spring afternoon.

The next addition of “Social Capital” will be released for ABQ Beer Week and will be Thai-style sour of sorts, combining sweet basil, lemongrass, and coconut.

 

CHEERS!

Written by Barney Gumbel

Boxing Bear’s Black & Blue Sour Review

black and blue sour

Black & Blue – Boxing Bear Brewing

ABV: 5.6% – IBU: 10
Sour Fruit Beer

Overall Rating 4 of 5 Mugs


Barney Gumbel – 4 of 5 mugs

Boxing Bear rests off of Alameda Blvd. right by the beautiful Rio Grande river. For the readers in the heights/midtown area I could not recommend this lovely drive enough. You get a great sight of the river as well as all the abundant plants/wildlife. I get there around 2pm and am immediately put at ease by the plentiful amount of foliage in the patio area; plenty of shade for the warm weather.

Being an enormous fan of sours I immediately order their newer Black and Blue Sour. It is a gorgeous wheat-based sour made from a purée of blackberries and blueberries. It is bright and sweet with a lovely lactic/acidic finish. It sports an attractive dark opaque purple color. 10 IBU’s and a 5% ABV it is a pint made for a pleasurable spring afternoon.

It is one of many of the fantastic selections that Boxing Bear offers. Boxing Bear has a history of making fantastic specialty ales such as: Bear Fuzz (peach-based wild ale), watermelon gose, Iron Lung smoked porter, and the chocolate milk stout to name a few.

MrHoppy – 4 of 5 mugs

Black & Blue’s name is fitting. A beautiful bluish purple hued brew served in a tulip glass with a small purple foamy head. Not much aroma but there is a faint fruity presence most likely from the hops or berries. Initial taste is sweet and fruity. It’s hard to pinpoint an exact flavor profile but it is definitely “berry”.  There are virtually no malt or hop flavors present as expected with the style. Flavor finishes with a long moderately sour taste that lingers on the back of the tongue long after the first sip.  Very acidic but not overly sour. More on the lighter side of the sour scale for my preference.

I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. Before I could even taste this one, I knew I would like it judging by it’s perfect glass appeal.  Taste was very balanced, masterfully mixing the berry and sour flavors. I’m a big fan of anything sour so this one gets a few bonus points from me. I would definitely recommend this beer to anyone who enjoys sours and fruit beer lovers looking to get into sour beers.

CHEERS!

Enchanted Brewing Challenge 2017

Deadline April 14th!

If you want to see how your Brewing, Cider making, Mead making skills stack up to other talents, this is the event for you! We’ll have quality judges that will give you valuable feedback on your creations, and there’s lots of winner’s medals and some excellent prizes as well. So check the the “Competitions” menu for more details as we get closer to the event.

We’ll be using the BJCP 2015 guidelines Entry registration starts March 11th. And if you just want to help us out, you can also volunteer as a steward, judge, or general volunteer help……all much appreciated!!

http://dukesofale.com/

DOA: Club Brew at Broken Trails

Dukes of Ales Members Event

Initial order limited to 5 gallons Irish wort at $4.00/gallon and two bottles of spirits at $15.00/bottle. (Limited supply based on estimated 217 gallons wort and 100 bottles spirits.)

March 11: Small group to help with mash of Irish whiskey spirit.
March 18: Wort-share mash, boil, and distribution, same time as spirit distillation and barrel fill.
Sept. Bottling session after 6+ month barrel aging. Bottle distro’ and Homebrew evaluation.

Fine print: Current Dukes of Ale club membership required.

Signup now to reserve shares of wort and spirits.
Additional shares may be available at time of distribution.
Activity times will be published later and all are welcome to participate.

http://dukesofale.com/

Piñon Coffee Porter

Written By Barney Gumbel

With the Albuquerque winter here without much notice, stronger and darker ales are popping up at all the breweries around town. I found myself wandering into Rio Bravo Brewing located in Albuquerque’s increasingly popular “brewery district” just North of downtown. I was pleasantly surprised by their enormous selection with a brew for everyone (lagers, hefes, stouts, IPAs, and many more.) But there were 3 new ales that caught my attention.

rio-bravo

First off was the Piñon Coffee Porter. A harmonious blend of velvety maltiness  and bold, roasty coffee flavors. This beer is a collaboration with the New Mexico Piñon Coffee Co. using their cold brew coffee and roasted beans.  Rocking a 5.4% ABV, this ale is sessionable and almost feels like drinking a carbonated cold brew that provides a warm buzz.

rio-bravo2The Oatmeal Stout was a perfect follow up. (5.9%). A robust ale with cacao and mild coffee notes that perfectly compliment the frigid weather.

I wanted to end my time at Rio Bravo on a strong note. The Belgian Ale was my answer. It yields a hefty 10.5%. It had all the desirable traits of a Belgian-style ale. Prominent and complimentary flavors of coriander, honey, and citrus hide the bold ABV brilliantly. It is a beautiful ale to drink on a cold Albuquerque night.

Rio Bravo not only offers fantastic beers, but exciting events. This Friday, December 9 Rio Bravo Brewing Company will be celebrating the release of these beers as well as the can release of the Piñon Coffee Porter. The facility is enormous with a huge outdoor area equipped with a gorgeous outdoor stage that are available for private events. The Noms will be playing music in the actual brewery, a unique and exciting way to see music and enjoy local beer.

CHEERS!

Dialogue Started

Written By Barney Gumbel

dialogue1Dialogue Brewing is the newest addition to Albuquerque’s impressive arsenal of breweries, but it aims for something new. It offers beers not as frequently created in New Mexico. Only two weeks into the game, Dialogue is offering an impressive and unique selection: a Berliner Weisse, Dark Belgian Strong, Lychee-Mandarin Wheat, Citrus IPA, and a German Lager.

Located at First and Kinley, Dialogue makes a fine addition to the downtown brewery district. The atmosphere is cool and calm with plenty of space; putting forward a minimalist vibe. It is the kind of place you don’t mind spending a couple of hours in. They have a sculpture garden with massive tree-like structures equipped with speakers to create 4D sound.

dialogue3I walked in there last week. The taproom was illuminated with golden New Mexico sunlight thanks to a large west-facing door. I ordered the Berliner Weisse, a rarely-offered beer in the New Mexico brewery scene.

It is gorgeous. A vibrant pale yellow illuminated by the sun it was brewed under. The first sip rushes your palette with a welcoming tartness; but it does not obliterate your tongue or linger with acidity. It is followed with a balanced breadiness. Much like the environment of Dialogue, the Weisse is both bold and refreshing. With an ABV of 4% and a remarkably lively taste, it is a beer that is easy to sip on all day.

Thinking about stopping by? Introduce yourself this Saturday for their block party supporting the 9th Annual Hops + Harvest Festival. Enjoy live music and their new Saison and Sour Brown Ale.

1501 1st St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102

White Out Returns

Written By Barney Gumbel

Marble White Out With the arrival of the summer solstice Albuquerque is blessed once again with the return of Marble’s White Out. White Out is a Witbier that uses the popular ‘Double White’s” blend with the addition of coriander and curacao orange peel. It’s 9% as opposed to it’s 7% sister beer ‘Double White’. The White Out release party was paired with musical accompaniment by The Daily Grind, an alternative rock band from Pittsburgh that brought in the summer vibes all afternoon.

Pale and hazy in a 16oz glass I thought it’d be a waste not to pair it with food by local food truck My Sweet Basil. The pint of White Out and a mint caprese burger paired beautiful combining savory bites with spicy, citrusy sips.

Marble (111 Marble Ave NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102) is consistently releasing quality seasonal and one-off brews and is a place all local beer drinkers should visit. This Thursday they will have a soft-opening of their rooftop for member’s of the brew club. On Friday July 1st, the public can enjoy a beautiful 360 view of downtown Albuquerque and the Sandia Mountains.

 

New seasons, new beers

Written By Barney Gumbel

Out of work early on one the most beautiful day of last week, I drive towards downtown. I make my way into the frequently-crowded Downtown Marble Taproom. I pass the countless happy dogs with their happy beer-drinking owners when I notice an under-construction rooftop area. An exciting edition to one of downtown’s entertainment gems.

 

On the board I notice three new beers since the last time I visited: Pilsner Añejo, Rita!, and an Apricot Sour. I order the Añejo first since Marble has always made my favorite pilsner.

 

Pilsner Añejo is their regular pilsner with the added Brett Yeast and aged in tequila barrels for over a year. It has a lot of the same characteristics as the pilsner but with an acidic finish and a pinch of tequila flavoring as well. An interesting take on the pilsner and a must try for anyone who appreciates anything barrel aged or with sour characteristics. A lovely fit for the warm weather.

 

Next was a pale glass of Rita. The Rita is a kettle-soured ale brewed with salt and limes. With the first sip it almost reminded me of a combination of a gose style ale and a margarita. I was informed Rita goes well combined with the Añejo as a sort of beer margarita with salty-lime base.

 

Last up was “Abricot” a sour wheat ale aged in French oak. It was absolutely lovely with the warm weather. Tart, dry and very easy to drink for having a 7.4% abv. I feel it is often hard to nail fruit based wheat ales. Often the fruit comes forward too much or tastes artificial. Abricot had everything I find perfect about fruit beers: strong, tart, and well-balanced.

 

A couple days prior to my visit they released Red Ale and Double White in cans. These two along with the pilsner are my absolute favorite flagship beers from Marble. My first experience having a Belgian white in a can was in Amsterdam. It was a Hoegaarden, and for some reason tasted far better in the can than in the bottle. The double white is not so different. Of course there is no better place to get beer than from the keg, but when on the go the can is the way to go. The red ale had the same effect, I enjoyed it far better in the can than the bottle.

 

CHEERS!

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