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Steel Bender serves beer, other drinks bright and early during Balloon Fiesta

The biggest event in Albuquerque is back, and balloon enthusiasts have a place in Los Ranchos to enjoy a morning craft beer and food while watching balloons pass overhead.

Steel Bender Brewyard will open early for Balloons & Brews starting Oct. 6. Patrons will be able to enjoy beer, breakfast burritos, mimosas, pastries and more each day of Balloon Fiesta. (SOURCE: Steel Bender Brewyard)

This is the second year Steel Bender Brewyard is hosting its Balloons & Brews. Steel Bender opens each day at 7 a.m. beginning Saturday, Oct. 6, through Oct. 14. Steel Bender will begin serving beer, Vara Cava Brut Silverhead mimosas, and wine, as well as beermosas, which are half orange juice and half beer of your choice, and bloody beer, which is half a beer of your choice with half housemade bloody mary mix, beginning at 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday and starting at noon on Sunday during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Steel Bender will be rolling out two new fall wines: Milagro Zinfandel 2014 and Vara Blanco Especial Albarino Lot #014, according to co-owner Shelby Chant.

Satisfy your hunger and caffeine fix with hand-held burritos, sunrise sandwiches, local pastries from Pastian’s Bakery, local Wake the Dead coffee from Pour Vida Coffee Roasters and Manny’s Now-Famous Hot Cocoa.

Steel Bender will have mini-events throughout Balloon Fiesta. On Saturday, Oct. 6, Steel Bender will have an early-morning tapping of a special cask of Brickie American Stout, which has had Pour Vida coffee added to it. Live music by the Squash Blossom Boys begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9. Steel Bender will tap a cask of its new release, Blackberry Dynamite, which has Pour Vida coffee added, on Oct. 13.

Last year’s pin and patch swap is back.

“People geek out on their balloon pins, so if they bring us in a balloon pin we give them one of our patches and then we display their balloon pins everywhere, so we’ve actually got quite of a collection going,” Chant said. “We’ll be doing that. We get them a lot from pilots, so pilots will be coming in and giving them to our servers and everything, and we give them a cool patch, so we’ll do a pin and patch swap.”

Pilots are also attracted to Steel Bender’s rooftop, which features “BEER HERE” in large letters.

“It’s remarkable; they’re just above us,” Chant said of the hot air balloons. “You could tell the pilots that were trying to get a shot of the roof because they were getting close. … It’s really, really great. It’s a neat experience and cool to see all the (balloon) chase crews out here after the event.”