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Beer Town: Proof of Concept & Beyond

Beer Town: Proof of Concept & Beyond

Ty Bannerman takes flight at Freight House Kitchen + Taps and flits from brewery to brewery, keeping N.M. tipplers informed.

BY TY BANNERMAN

A golden flight at Freight House. (Courtesy of Freight House Kitchen + Tap)

A golden flight at Freight House. (Courtesy of Freight House Kitchen + Tap)

Freight House transcends concept

From the ruins of the once-mighty Flying Star in Bernalillo, a new restaurant and taproom has emerged. Actually, the owners of the Freight House Kitchen + Tap (200 South Camino del Pueblo) refer to it as a ‟concept” in their promotional material, which is pretty inside baseball if you ask me. Let’s not hold it against them, though. As ‟concepts” go, it’s a great one.

Freight House is similar in spirit to the Nob Hill-based Matanza and Lobo Beast 101. Picture a lengthy lineup of micro-brewed beers, many local, and a menu of items designed to complement their consumption.

The restaurant uses the old Flying Star space well; it’s roomy without seeming cold, and the massive fireplace erupting from center field will be a treat in the chill. A wide-ranging selection of beers on draft with a nucleus heart of local options such as Red Door, Ponderosa, Santa Fe and La Cumbre.

Swirling around those hometown favorites are the likes of Ballast Point, Beckenridge, Left Hand and so on. I ordered a pint of La Cumbre’s Malpais stout, a heavy-hitting (7.5 percent ABV), velvety and rich pour that’ll get you tipsy right quick.

What really shines at Freight House is the food. We started with beer cheese and homemade pretzel rails. The cheese was as gooey and savory as you could hope for, and the pretzel rails were a delightful stick of saltiness to dip into it.

Got a hot tip on Albuquerque’s beer scene? Know of a seasonal draft I’ve simply got to try? Drop me a line at beertownabq@gmail.com.

For my entrée, I had the Freight—er, I’m sorry, ‟FR8”—burger, which was a wonderful mess of bison, mushrooms and blue cheese. My wife had the green chile cheese grits and deemed them ‟Uhhhhhhmazing.” And that’s not a word she uses lightly, especially in regards to grits, seeing as she’s from Tennessee and all.

Freight House proves a fine addition to Bernalillo’s main street. It’s sure to be an epicenter of New Mexico beer culture; the fact that the Great Southwestern Brew Fest is staged just down the street at Loretto Park on Labor Day weekends for the foreseeable future sure doesn’t hurt.

Still truckin’ at Marble

A post in the Albuquerque subsection of Reddit caused some panic among brewery and food truck lovers: A poster claimed that Marble Westside (5740 Night Whisper NW) would no longer be scheduling food trucks to serve their wares outside the establishment.

My Sweet Basil’s Mediterranean Chicken Wrap poses with Marble’s seasonal Barke pilsner. (Courtesy of Marble Brewery)

Given the longstanding symbiotic relationship between these businesses and the increasingly precarious position that food trucks find themselves in due to restrictive city regulations, their concern was understandable. But, as the good folks at the Dark Side Brew Crew (nmdarksidebrewcrew.com) ascertained, the truth was less worrisome than the rumors.

It turns out that Marble Westside is forming a strategic alliance with one truck in particular, Karibu Café, which will serve up in-house African cuisine seven days a week. And a rotating roster of food trucks will still sling their wares on weekends, Friday through Sunday.

Marble-versary

Speaking of Marble, it’s somehow been less than a decade since the ‟old school” brewery opened its doors. Sometimes, it seems Marble, part of Albuquerque’s craft beer revolution vanguard, has always been with us, but no, this April marks the eighth anniversary.

Celebrate at an anniversary party on Thursday, April 21, at the Downtown location (111 Marble NW). ¡Revíva! will soundtrack the party, the new rooftop deck will be open and they’re serving festive hors d’oeuvres aplenty.

Or show up between noon and 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, for the Food Truck Frenzy, wherein five food trucks will offer items to be paired with five Marble beers. For $25, you can try it all. Are you feeling drunk with power?

Starr Brothers ready to shine

Starr Brothers’ American-style wheat ale Electric Su (Courtesy of Starr Brothers Brewery)

Starr Brothers’ American-style wheat ale Electric Su (Courtesy of Starr Brothers Brewery)

After a few months serving up other breweries’ local beers, the Starr Brothers Brewing (5700 San Antonio NE) is finally ready to send a few of its own up into the heavens. Last week, they unveiled the first four official Starr Brothers Brews: Thunderr Ale, Lampshade Porter, Redd Zeppelin and Starstruck IPA. I haven’t had a chance to try them yet, but I can’t wait.

Rio Bravo can can

The next step in Rio Bravo Brewery’s (1912 Second St. NW) world domination plan—and I assume that’s how all businesses refer to long-term goals—is coming together. The Wells Park-based business is planning to put its eight core microbrews, including Snakebit IPA and the popular Old Town Porter, into cans in the near future. Keep an eye on the coolers at your friendly local liquor store.

Ty Bannerman is a beer drinker, co-host of the City on the Edge podcast, and author of “Forgotten Albuquerque” as well as a forthcoming memoir. He most recently served as feature and food editor at Weekly Alibi.

 

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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