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Beer and BBQ in Bernalillo: 3rd Mountain West Brew Fest brings fun to Labor Day weekend

It’s beer time in Bernalillo this Labor Day weekend during the Mountain West Brew Fest.

“This is its third annual year,” said Mike Kloeppel, director of economic and community development for the Town of Bernalillo. “For many years, we held the wine festival here in Bernalillo and, through the years, the wineries felt it was either not productive for them or felt it was not the type of venue they wanted to participate in for numerous reasons. As things started to go slower in the wine area, the Town of Bernalillo decided to change over to a brew fest, which was one of a few at the time and has been now one of the many around the state, and so we’re going to continue this and see if we can make it work here.”

Take the New Mexico Rail Runner Express to the Sandoval County/U.S. 550 Station and jump on a shuttle bus that will take you to and from the event. Stroll the green grassy field at Loretta Park, and enjoy music and food, purchase items from a variety of vendors and sample local beers from several area breweries: Bosque Brewing Co., Broken Trail Spirits + Brew, Dialogue Brewing, Drafty Kilt Brewing Co., Kaktus Brewing Co., Rio Bravo Brewing Co., Sandia Hard Cider, Starr Brothers Brewing Co., Palmer Brewing and Left Turn Distilling.

“Everybody that purchases a ticket to come in, which are $20, they will receive a commemorative pint glass they get to keep,” Kloeppel said. “They will receive some free tasting tickets. There will be 15 of them per ticket. People can walk around and see which brew, microbrew flavor they would like to taste and they’ll have 15 samples. If they like the beer that they’re drinking or the distilled spirit they’re drinking, they can buy the glass and they’ll purchase a glass full. Most of the brewers are also going to be selling either crowlers or growlers. And so, if you like the flavor or you like the glass, you can take some home with you so you don’t have to go searching for the brewer itself and still enjoy the festivities later.”

Saturday is the day to attend if you’re a barbecue lover. Albuquerque radio station, 99.9 The Beat, held a backyard barbecue takeover program over the summer. Station staff were invited to backyard barbecues at a number of Albuquerque homes. The station picked a lineup of the better ones and the championship round will be held at the Brew Fest.

“We have a culmination of some of the best backyard barbecues in Albuquerque,” Kloeppel said. “We haven’t had any Bernalillo people take a chance, but we’re hoping it will take off and we’ll get some people to try it … . Anybody that shows up on Saturday will be able to savor and vote for whatever they think is the best backyard barbecue.”