Brewer's Logic

Brewer's Logic

Now that triple-digit weather has settled in for the season, it’s time to talk about your defense from the cruel dry heat…summer beers! I’d like to use this column to discuss some of my favorites, in hopes that you will keep an eye out for them during the next couple months.

The first brew on my list is German Ale or Kolsch-style beer. Please note that I wrote Kolsch-style and not Kolsch, because if it wasn’t brewed in Cologne, Germany then it simply is not Kolsch. Similarly, if it isn’t grown in Hatch, well it’s not Hatch green chile. But seriously, Kolsch is the beer of Cologne and the only breweries that can rightfully use that name are members of a brewery organization called the Kolsch Konvention. Nomenclature aside, what is this beer all about?

Ingredient-wise this is pretty simple, it is a Pilsner Malt based beer, sometimes a bit of Wheat Malt is added for body, it is slightly bitter, brewed with ale yeast, and filtered. For appearance this beer should be crystal clear like a fine pilsner, but perhaps more bitter with little to no hop aroma and flavor. Yeast-based flavors and aromas should be subdued, and overall this beer should be super clean and very drinkable.

Next on my list is British-style Summer Ale, based on a brew called Summer Lightning that is made by Hopback Brewery in the United Kingdom. This is probably my favorite on the list, but unfortunately, rarely seen in American craft breweries. This beer is definitely hop-centric, but built upon a base of British Pale Ale Malt, which is toastier and more full-flavored than the basic 2-Row that dominates American microbrews. Most importantly, these beers get a big kick of British flavor and aroma hops, like Kent Golding, Fuggle, or Challenger.

These British varieties are quite different than what we consider to be “hoppy” in the United States. British varieties tend to have a subtle citrus character, with more earthy, woody, and herbal tones. Additionally, some spices like ginger, coriander, or grains of paradise can be added for some additional complexity. On our brewery’s pilot system, I made a pretty wicked version of this style that incorporates fresh lavender into the recipe, but unfortunately my brother and business partner Sam, hates lavender, so I sulk and drink alone in my apartment.

Now, let’s move on to the most “en vogue” of all summer beers, the Belgian-inspired Saison. Should we refer to these beers as “Farmhouse Ales” or not, because that terminology carries a fairly bold suggestion? An authentic Farmhouse Ale is brewed on a farm, and fermented by bacteria and wild yeast in the natural environment, unique to a region. Traditional Farmhouse Ales are not fermented in sanitized stainless-steel tanks with beer yeast propagated by a professional laboratory!

But, back to the Saison…as a baseline these are light colored, highly carbonated beers with a prominent spicy and fruity character, indicative of Belgian yeasts. Spices like ginger and citrus peel, almost any kind of fruit, and even souring bacteria like Brettanomyces can also be incorporated into these beers.

Furthermore, some breweries have started adding strong flavor hops for yet another twist on the style. This can be can be very interesting with the lemon and dill flavors of Sorachi Ace, the white wine tones of Nelson Sauvin, or the tangerine-like flavor of Amarillo.

This beer style offers a ton of space for experimentation, which is why I believe it to be so popular. There are lots of great examples being brewed in this state and I would definitely encourage you to try some.

- Cheers! and long live New Mexico Beers!

George Boese
Operation Manager
Boese Brothers Brewery

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NM Green Chile and Craft Beer

NM Green Chile and Craft Beer

Santa Fe Brewing Co.: The 'Low-Down' on their expansion

Article by:
Luke Macias, NM Darkside Brew Crew

I recently checked in on Santa Fe Brewing Co., New Mexico’s oldest brewery, to determine the progress they’re making in the expansion of their new production facility located just off of Highway 14. Bert Boyce, Brew Master of SFBC, gave me the low-down on where the brewery expansion currently stands.

The major expansion happening right now is the great packaging hall. Having gone up in just a few short months, it has already become a major feature on the HW 14 landscape. Patrons continue to ask, “What is that huge building? Is that you guys?” To which the employees answer, “Yes, yes it is.” A high-speed canning line is being assembled in this enormous new warehouse space. Coming all the way from CFT Packaging in Italy, the canning line features high-automation and recipe-driven control, as well as boasts very low dissolved oxygen, which, as you may know is a major killer of packaged products’ shelf-life.

Boyce says that SFBC is aiming for early June of 2016 for the line to be operational. Currently, SFBC is doing 30 cans per minute. They hope to push that to 138 at first, expanding to 275, once it reaches completion; that means that SFBC has been doing about 400 cases per run, and will be hitting 5500 cases at peak performance. This will be highly instrumental as the new 12-packs of Happy Camper and 18-packs of Santa Fe Gold start to hit the stores.

With the new horse-power of the high-speed canning line, the brewhouse is obviously going to have to produce a lot more beer just to keep up. To address this, SFBC is about to purchase a new brewhouse within the month. This brewhouse will more than double the size, at 70 bbls, and is about one year out from being Death Star status (before the rebel scum). Of course bigger batches, means a need for more fermenters, and Boyce assured that there will be plenty more arriving as the need arises, in fact, two will be arriving this week.

When asked exactly how many SFBC will be acquiring, Bert said, “A lot.”
We’ll keep you updated on the next phases in Santa Fe Brewing Company’s ongoing expansion, including the new two-story tasting room, beer garden, sky-bridge, barrel-cave, and event space known as The Bridge, as more info develops.

Signing off for now. To all ambitious brewery development in the works, cheers!

-Luke Macias

Happy Hours & Crafty Specials!

Happy Hours & Crafty Specials!

Looking for a local place to enjoy a tasty beer? Find your list of breweries and happy hours here!

2016 Mountain West Brew Fest

2016 Mountain West Brew Fest

How many of you craft beer enthusiasts went to last year's Mountain West Brew Fest? Wasn't is such a fun time?

Last year was the first annual event and the 2016 MWBF is rumored to be bigger and BETTER!

So far, not much information is available, but we do know this:

Date: September 3-4, 2016 (Labor Day Weekend)

Advance ticket sales begin July 1, 2016

Mr. Hops: Is there such a thing as a Mexican Beer?

Mr. Hops: Is there such a thing as a Mexican Beer?

Hello again, my fellow beer lovers. As the weather continues to warm, of course, the beer will continue to brew and chill. The advent of spring is always a great time to shed the winter layers and enjoy the outdoors, unless you get blasted by 50 MPH gusts from an Albuquerque windstorm, which I’m growing ever so tired of.

Luckily, I was able to escape our wind-tunnel for a week and took Lil’ Mama Hops, Teeny-Bop Hops and Baby Hops to Cabo San Lucas this Cinco de Mayo. The weather was perfect, the food was delicious and the party was live [you know I love me a good party!].

I certainly availed myself to the standard Mexican brew culprits – Pacifico, Dos Equis, Tecate, Modelo Especial, etc., but I also sought out and found some delicious and effective micro-brew at the Baja Brew Company. Mr. Hops spent significant time sampling the brew and gourmet munchies, after which I could be heard gritando-ing (yes, you are right, that is a double gerund) like the man who created that word, Primo Hops.

Good times were had by all, but, what goes up…..Wait a minute, not for Mr. Hops. Why, you most certainly ask – because what I understand, appreciate and acknowledge, is that the brew masters and micro-brews in New Mexico continue to rock-on, creating the wonderful goods we can enjoy for as long as we want.

So here we are, back to the wind tunnel. I made the most of my Cinco de Mayo and I hope you did too. Even though it didn’t land on a weekend this year, a Thursday was good enough. It was as good a time as any to have some fun and celebrate the Mexican army’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla.
Yours Truly,

Mr. Hops!!

Q&A:

Dear Mr. Hops:
After celebrating Cinco De Mayo (with maybe one-too many cervezas), I began to wonder, is there such a thing as a Mexican style beer?

--Boracho Perdido

Dear Lost Drunk One:
There have been many studies and collaborative experiments done to uncover the answer to your question. The long and short of it is that most beers brewed in Mexico are variations of European and International style beers. A safe go-to is the Vienna-style lager Dos Equis Amber. This reddish-copper color amber lager will have a low to moderate malt aroma, with a smooth caramel or toast flavor that is not too bitter. Another take on the Vienna-style lager from south of the border is Victoria cerveza clara. Victoria will be crisp and refreshing, with a lighter feel than Dos Equis Amber, although it retains the amber color.

If you’re looking for a darker brew, Negra Modelo is a nice choice. This deep-brown to mahogany beer deviates from the typical Mexican Vienna-style lagers, and delves in to the German-style dunkle. With a gentle hop accent, this malty beer is easy-drinking with a rounded finish that is rarely harsh. In contrast to the Negra Modelo, Bohemia is a light gold-colored beer brewed in the German Pilsner style. Bohemia will have a medium to high hop bitterness, with some low sweet to floral flavor. Like any good German Pilsner, Bohemiais not light on flavor, but is smooth and highly drinkable.

Be sure to keep this in mind for next Cinco de Mayo. More importantly, enjoy yourselves by enjoying these brews and local craft beer my Beerthren. Keep on chugging.

And remember to have a cold one for Mr. Hops!!

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CRAFT CULTURE

Here at Brewers Crew Magazine we focus on the people, stories, and events surrounding the craft beer communities of New Mexico.

Drinking a craft beverage is a unique experience for everyone. All of our palates are different, and they continue to grow and change over time. We may choose to have a craft beverage at a bar, restaurant, or in the comfort of our own homes. How we experience drinking craft beverages can be based on who we're with and what we're drinking as well as when, where, and why we are doing so. As we experience more, we learn more about the craft beverage we enjoy, including how it's made.

Brewing is both an art and a science. There is a good amount of chemistry and engineering involved in making a craft beverage along with a great deal of creativity and imagination. Many people first try their hands at home-brewing to make beer for themselves as well as their family and friends. Yet, many people don't get to experience brewing due to the time, money, and space it requires.

When trying to define craft beer, each beer lover has a unique interpretation and story of discovery to share. To make a true craft beverage definition even more difficult, each individual beverage brand is one of a kind.

The Brewers Association, does define the American craft brewer. This definition allows the organization to provide statistics on the growing craft brewery section. This makes up the majority of all breweries in the U.S.
 

An American Craft Brewer is:

Small
Has an annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is credited to the rules of alternating proprietorships.

Independent
Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.

Traditional
A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.

Visit the Brewers Association for more information about the craft brewer definition and details on the craft beer market segments: brewpubs, microbreweries and regional craft breweries.

Craft beer has been described variously as Joy in a glass, liquid gold, authentic, classic, a beverage for the wise that is to be savored not wasted and the list goes on. It is enjoyed for everyday celebrations and is viewed by many as one of the special things in life that makes the day taste and feel a little better.

Each glass projects the creativity and passion of its maker and the complexity of its ingredients and process. Craft beer is treasured by millions around the world who see it as not merely a fermented beverage, but something to be enjoyed in moderation, shared and revered. It is a versatile beverage that not only enhances food when paired, but is also often brought into the kitchen as a cooking ingredient.
 

Craft Beer in the United States

Today is the best time in U.S. history to be a beer lover. The average American lives within 10 miles of a brewery. As a nation, the U.S. now has more beer styles and brands to choose from than any other market in the world. This has not always the case if you look at the History of Beer in the U.S. prior to 1980.

More than 3,400 breweries are responsible for the beer brands available in the U.S., with 99 percent fitting the Brewers Association’s small and independent craft brewer definition.

These craft breweries have had many successes and challenges, but they could not have developed their reputation as producers of the world’s best beer without the support of beer lovers globally.
 

Obstacles

Craft brewers face many challenges including access to market, cost of raw materials and ingredients and operation in a highly regulated and highly taxed industry. Remember, when you support your local brewery, you are supporting the community and culture of craft brewing in the U.S., which helps craft brewers provide jobs and support their local communities