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Blues fest highlight of ABQ Beer Week

ABQ Beer Week is the ideal time to find out why New Mexico breweries have made a name for themselves.

The festivities start Thursday, May 24, and run through June 3, with many events that showcase craft beers from Albuquerque and Santa Fe breweries, including food pairings, beer releases, beer collaborations, tap takeovers, a homebrewing contest, and discussions at various locations as well as the popular Blues & Brews craft beer festival on May 27 at Sandia Resort and Casino.

“One of the things that I always like about Beer Week is a lot of breweries do things together, and this year there is a ton of collaborative events like beers, but also breweries are getting together to do dinners and different tastings,” founder and organizer Marne Gaston said. “It just seems like in such a competitive field and Beer Week just kind of brings people together. I love that part of it.”

New to this year’s Beer Week, Bow & Arrow Brewing Co., Dialogue Brewing, Rio Bravo Brewing Co., and Tractor Brewing Co., are teaming up for the Beer Walk, Run or Crawl from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 24. Participants will receive a free commemorative T-shirt and $1 off all pints at each location. A concert at 7 p.m. at Rio Bravo also is part of the event. Proceeds benefit Behind the Badge, which raises funds to help first responders with problems related to on-the-job trauma, according to Gaston.

Newcomers High and Dry Brewing will hold a food pairing with Malagueña Food Truck from noon to 10 p.m. on May 26. As part of the event, High and Dry will release its Thai Wheat, brewed with lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, Thai chili and sea salt. A shrimp cocktail skewer with curry cocktail sauce is a pairing option. Rye with essence-toasted oak and leather and a pairing option of barbecue brisket burned ends also will be available.

Quarter Celtic Brewpub’s Mini Cask-fest returns. It will be held from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. May 30 and features a variety of cask beers. Newbees Steel Bender Brewyard will hold its Wild & Sour Tap Takeover at M’Tucci’s Market & Pizzeria from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 2. The event will feature some of Steel Bender’s sour and funky beers with meat and cheese pairing options.

One of Beer Week’s largest events, Brews & Blues, will showcase 70 breweries. New to the event are Albuquerque’s Hops Brewery and Steel Bender Brewyard, Santa Fe’s Tumbleroot Brewing, Michigan’s Bell’s Brewery, Oregon’s 10 Barrel Brewery, and Texas’ Karbach Brewing Co. There will be four stages featuring local talent, and proceeds will benefit several charities, including El Ranchito de los Niños, the Freedom in Music Project, Make-A-Wish NM, and the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital.

For eventgoers who prefer something other than beer, there will be a number of ciders as well as spirits at Imbibe’s cocktail lounge.

“We will be doing our cocktail lounge with Imbibe again, so that’s another option with those people who don’t drink beer,” Gaston said. “That’s always a fun and popular booth.”

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