Southwest Brewing News December 2010/January 2011 : Page 1
By Tammy Pluym High Desert Brewing Co. patio By Dan Kersting ILLUSTRATION BY HANS GRANHEIM Every day, people are introduced to the won-derful world of craft brewing. Each Christ-mas, new homebrewers are born. Luckily for all brewers and fans of good beer, there are plenty of terriﬁ c items for you to surprise them with this holiday season. Whether it’s a gift of beer, beer-related paraphernalia, or brewing supplies to help them with a terriﬁ c hobby, gift ideas are limitless. No matter what level of expertise your beer lover is at, the right beer-related gifts can make the holiday even brighter for all. For the Beer Connoisseur For lovers of quality beer, there are plenty of great gift ideas to aid in quenching their thirst. For true beginners, one good See BrewhaHoliday p. 5 INSIDE State by State News Event Calendar ................ 2 Business of Beer .............. 2 From The Editor .............. 3 Queen of Quaff ................ 3 Best of Show ..................... 4 Directories & Maps... 12-15 Arkansas Ar A r ............. 8 Oklahoma .......... 9 Ok O N Mexico/SW M TX 10 S C California ....... 16 San Diego .......... 17 Sa S/C S S/ C Texas ........... 18 Austin ................. 19 N Texas............... 20 Nevada ............... 21 C Arizona ........... 22 N Arizona........... 23 S Arizona ........... 23 ourney south toward the border through the Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico, and you will ﬁ nd yourself in some very hot, dry, lonely country. Lonely, until you reach the city of Las Cru-ces that is, when you suddenly ﬁ nd yourself in civili-zation. For readers of SWBN , “civiliza-tion” means, “has a brewpub.” By now you are very, very thirsty. Lucky for you, there is what owner Bob Gosselin Bob Gosselin and Lucky BOTTOM TWO PHOTOS BY: TAMMY PLUYM calls his “oasis in the desert,” otherwise known as High Des-ert Brewing Company. There are 11 taps at HDBC serving the numer-ous styles of beer that Gosselin and his crew work hard to create. That’s right, 11 kinds of brew on tap at all times. Try a few and you’ll be feeling no pain. Gosselin is particularly fond of IPAs. He currently has four types of IPAs on tap: IPA, APA (Gos-selin’s original IPA), a double IPA called Anniversary Ale , and Fresh Hop IPA made with hops grown in New Mexico at De Smet Farms. See Riding High p. 6
Riding High In The Desert
Ourney south toward the border through the Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico, and you will fi nd yourself in some very hot, dry, lonely country. Lonely, until you reach the city of Las Cruces that is, when you suddenly fi nd yourself in civilization. For readers of SWBN, “civilization” means, “has a brewpub.” By now you are very, very thirsty. Lucky for you, there is what owner Bob Gosselin calls his “oasis in the desert,” otherwise known as High Desert Brewing Company.
There are 11 taps at HDBC serving the numerous styles of beer that Gosselin and his crew work hard to create. That’s right, 11 kinds of brew on tap at all times. Try a few and you’ll be feeling no pain. Gosselin is particularly Fond of IPAs. He currently has four types of IPAs on tap: IPA, APA (Gosselin’s original IPA), a double IPA called Anniversary Ale, and Fresh Hop IPA made with hops grown in New Mexico at De Smet Farms. Gosselin recently started growing his own hops at the brewery and fi gures he will harvest enough soon to use them in a batch or two of his beer.
The Trail Begins
Gosselin and business partner Mark Cunningham started High Desert in July of 1996. Both were scientists in the electron microscope department at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces when they decided to do a midlife career change. They purchased an apartment building in 1993 and spent three years remodeling to turn it into the brewery and restaurant. They would have opened their doors a year sooner, but the City of Las Cruces insisted that HDBC pave the parking lot. It took Gosselin and Cunningham a year to raise the money from private investors for the paving, since banks were not inclined to lend to brewpubs back then. Fortunately those days are long behind them and the brewpub has enjoyed continuous steady growth in sales and popularity ever since they opened. Sadly, Cunningham passed away in 2006, but his spirit and HDBC live on.
High Desert was actually the third brewpub to open in Las Cruces but now it is the only surviving brewpub that brews their beer on the premises, in town. The brewpub had humble beginnings and started with a 3.5-BBL system rented from a guy in town who was storing it in his garage. This brewing system Was used at HDBC for 10 years until they purchased a 7-BBL brewing system. The equipment upgrade also included more fermenters, a brew kettle called “the copper monster” and a mash tun that was stolen and never seen again. The fi rst year, the brewery produced about 150- BBLs and that has grown to 720-BBLs brewed last year.
Onward and Upward
Gosselin was originally the sole brewer for High Desert, but now he has a team. Matt Valdes is the head brewer, Andres Obregon is the assistant brewer, and Mateo Lawther is the assistant brewer on weekends. All brewers Started out in the kitchen at High Desert and Gosselin has taught them the brewing trade over the years. They brew on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with the other days being cleanup and prep days. There are no rest days at High Desert! All this just to supply the demand at the restaurant and for the 200 growlers sold per week. Valdes says his favorite beer to brew is Holiday Ale, which he calls “pumpkin pie in a glass.” This spiced honey beer is brewed in two batches in the fall to serve between Halloween and New Year’s Day and contains cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, orange zest and vanilla beans. Valdes says his favorite parts of his job are “the staff, the customers, and when it’s beer-thirty.”
The new patio at High Desert is immensely popular since it was recently expanded and remodeled. It now seats 64 people. A new 20-person dining area inside the restaurant was just opened also for a total inside and out capacity of 140. And the rest of the restaurant has new stucco, paint, and tile fl oors, too. Now more of the 90k+ residents of Las Cruces can enjoy the brewpub at any one time. Gosselin describes the clientele as geriatric at noon, followed by the working crowd, graduate students, professors, doctors, and lawyers at happy hour, and students in the later hours. There are live bands playing at HDBC every Thursday and Saturday nights, which also bring in the crowds later in the evening. Gosselin describes his brewpub as “a neighborhood bar where everybody knows your name, like Cheers.”
This Trail Never Ends
High Desert serves a full menu of pub fare, including green chile stew - it would not be New Mexico without it. The best selling food item on the menu is Jumbo Nachos, and they are MASSIVE. The best selling beer is, of Course, Gosselin’s IPA with the 500th batch of this beer to be brewed soon. He also says, “Toasted hop beers have been popular with customers.” Gosselin toasts the hops in an oven but needs to fi nd a better method. He’s considering building some kind of rooftop solar system to toast the hops, along with installing a photovoltaic system in order to use the plentiful sunshine to power his brewpub.
High Desert now has Lucky the Brew Dog as a mascot. Lucky is a small, blonde, aptly-named dog that appeared on the brewpub’s doorstep one day. Lucky was adopted by the staff and now hangs out in the offi ce all day and gets to go home with restaurant manager Donna Almarez, every night. Lucky seems very, very happy.
High Desert Brewing Company also takes its show on the road, serving their beer at about 15 festivals and events per year, all over New Mexico and Colorado. So if you can’t make the trip south to this oasis in the desert, you might still be able to try some of their fi ne craft brews at an event near you. Either way, their brews, food, and attitude are worth the trip.
Read the full article at http://swbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Riding+High+In+The+Desert/571282/54636/article.html.
Giving Brewhat Holiday
Every day, people are introduced to the wonderful world of craft brewing. Each Christmas, new homebrewers are born. Luckily for all brewers and fans of good beer, there are plenty of terrifi c items for you to surprise them with this holiday season. Whether it’s a gift of beer, beer-related paraphernalia, or brewing supplies to help them with a terrifi c hobby, gift ideas are limitless. No matter what level of expertise your beer lover is at, the right beer-related gifts can make the holiday even brighter for all.
For the Beer Connoisseur
For lovers of quality beer, there are plenty of great gift ideas to aid in quenching their thirst. For true beginners, one good Option is purchasing a fine local beer selection they have not tried before. Adam Satz of New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colo., offers, “So many offices have $10-limit Secret Santa gift exchanges. I always recommend a great six-pack with the corresponding glass. I think that works perfectly.” Russ Melton, owner of Diamond Bear Brewing Company in Little Rock, Ark., thinks along the same line. “Our sampler packs are very popular, both from the brewery and at retailers. We also have pint glass gift sets, T-shirts, and hats that seem to go over well this time of year.”
If the recipient is more experienced with quality beer, there are options more suited to his or her liking. In lieu of purchasing a membership to a Beer of the Month Club, which can be quite expensive, an alternative gift idea could be buying a “mug club” membership at a local brewery taproom or brewpub. These memberships provide their members with larger pours of their favorite brews for the cost of a regularsized pour, as well as discounts on growlers, and invitations to and discounts on special beer release parties, special beer tappings and beer dinners. Some even include gifts like personalized mugs, a T-shirt, and/or a free dinner for the member’s birthday. For beer-lover Brett Cable of McAlester, Okla., a great way to go would be upgrading beer glassware. “I would like a set of imperial pint nonics, or half-pint nonics for tastings. The ones with the official crown pint seal etched in the glass would be the coolest.” Depending on the person, there is probably some glassware that has eluded his or her collection that would be a treasured addition.
If you want to buy a really special gift, and one that would cost around the price of a twelve-month Beer of the Month membership, a kegerator is probably at the top of any beer-lover’s wish list. Many department stores carry them, and most local breweries and brewpubs have their beers available in kegs. If your beer lover is more of a craftsman, most homebrew shops carry the supplies to convert a refrigerator into a kegerator, and at a much cheaper price.
For the Homebrewer
Christmastime is also a great time to be a homebrewer, and even more so to become one. For those who have mentioned interest in beginning the hobby, there are more creative ideas than getting them a homebrew kit that you have to refer to with a formal salutation from a department store. Most cities have a least one homebrew shop, like Santa Fe Homebrew Supply, The Reno Homebrewer, Fermentables, and DeFalco’s Home Wine and Beer Supplies, and others too numerous to mention here. These shops all have terrific starter kits, which include carboys, bottle cappers, and all necessary supplies. Cable, who is a member of Tulsa’s Fellowship of Oklahoma Ale Makers (FOAM), feels strongly about avoiding the department store kits as well. “It’s not enough beer for the effort, and it rarely yields a good product, both of which discourage further participation in the hobby.”
Scott Birdwell of DeFalco’s in Houston, Texas, has many other gift ideas for the novice homebrewer once he or she moves past starter kits. “A few ideas are draft beer systems like the Party Pig and Tap-A-Draft, flip-top bottles and carbonation caps.” Birdwell thinks that ingredients themselves, like bags of dried malt extract, would be great gifts as well. They even have ingredient kits available, which include malt extract syrup, hop pellets and yeast packets.
For the more seasoned homebrewer, Birdwell lists several items to satisfy brewers’ needs. Refractometers, brew kettles, and oxygenation systems are just a few of the items he suggests. As for Cable, one item is a necessity for all brewers. “Every homebrewer needs temp control! The Johnson A419 is a homebrewer forum favorite.” Items like those, along with other helpful item like wort chillers, are sure to step up the efficiency, as well as frequency, of your favorite homebrewer.
John Bryan, export director at Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Paso Robles, Calif., has an interesting twist on a gift idea: hop rhizomes. Homebrew supply shops sell them at their shop and Online, and brewers can grow their own hops at home. Per Bryan, “They are fun and easy to do. Even if you don’t brew, you can float a homegrown cone in your beer.”
Head brewer Michael Lalli of Choc Beer Company in Krebs, Okla., is a fan of getting and receiving books on beer. “Books seem to be what I buy. I buy every book there is about beer that comes out.” Most homebrew shops have a large selection of books. There are books about the history of beer and brewing, the history of specific breweries, different beers and beer styles, beer and food pairings, and homebrewingrelated books. There are even books written by some of the biggest names in the brewing industry, like Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewing, written to help and inspire others to begin a brewing career. Perform a search online for beer books, and you might be surprised at how many you’ll find.
Now Get Shopping
As Diamond Bear’s Melton states, “The most common and versatile gift is a gift certificate.” While that is a practical and appreciated gift, and takes out any guessing, there are plenty of other options available this holiday season. Question your beerloving friend or family member about what he or she is into this year. Odds are you can pick up a present that will not only be pleasing, but also impress him or her with your thoughtfulness.
Read the full article at http://swbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Giving+Brewhat+Holiday/571284/54636/article.html.