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Newcomers join fest: Participating breweries ready to ‘bring their ringers’ to Winterfest

Two new Albuquerque breweries will make their debut at this year’s Winterbrew in Santa Fe.

Bombs Away Beer Company and Steel Bender Brewyard will be bringing their beers to the annual event featuring 18 New Mexico breweries.

“What’s cool about Bombs Away, first of all, their brewer is David Kimbell and I’ve actually worked with him before,” said John Gozigian, executive director of New Mexico Brewers Guild. “He actually worked at La Cumbre (Brewing Company) a couple of years and before that he worked at Santa Fe Brewing for a couple of years, so he’s got a lot of experience and he’s learned from some really good brewers, and now he’s gone out on his own. He brings a lot of technical brewing knowledge to this new brewery, and he’s the brew master and a partner.”

What is interesting about Bombs Away is its choice of flagship beer, a New England-style IPA.

Steel Bender also has a seasoned brewer at the helm.

“Bob Haggerty, that’s their brewmaster, he also came from La Cumbre,” Gozigian said. “He started out in Maine at a brewery there but, when he moved to New Mexico, he worked at La Cumbre for a couple of years as a basically their head brewer, and he left and moved onto Ponderosa Brewing, and he was there for quite a while until he started working with the Steel Bender people and moved on to Steel Bender, and is their brewer now. But he’s another one that is a very technically proficient brewer. Another example of a brewery I’ve gone to where they brew a range of beers and they’re true to style when they’re supposed to be.”

Other participating breweries are Albuquerque’s Bosque Brewing Company, Bow & Arrow Brewing Co., Boxing Bear Brewing Co., La Cumbre Brewing Co., Marble Brewery, Rio Bravo Brewing Co., Sidetrack Brewing Co., and Tractor Brewing Co.; Portales’ Roosevelt Brewing Co.; Santa Fe’s Blue Corn Brewery, Duel Brewing, Rowley Farmhouse Ales, Santa Fe Brewing Co., and Second Street Brewery; Taos’ Taos Mesa Brewing Co.; and Rio Rancho’s Turtle Mountain Brewing Co.

“With 18 breweries there’s going to be a lot of different beers to try and Winterbrew, more so than any other festival, breweries tend to bring their ringers,” Gozigian said. “They’re bringing interesting stuff, either new styles or something they’ve pulled out of archive or things they’ve had aging in barrels, they bring those to this festival because this is one of the festivals that the brewers happen to really love, so they really try to shine here.”

All ticketholders will receive a commemorative glass with a new look.

“We have a new glass this year,” Gozigian said. “It’s a Nordic Cooler. . I’ve got two different glasses … so one of them has Marble on it and the other one has Santa Fe Brewing.” Both are event sponsors.