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Virtual brew: ABQ Beer Week features online tastings, pairing events, tap takeovers

ABQ Beer Week has several virtual events lined up from May 21 through June 3. (Courtesy of Feel Good Festivals)

Thousands of beer enthusiasts congregate each year for Blues & Brews.

This year the event, which was scheduled for May 24, will have to wait, because large gatherings are banned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event is part of ABQ Beer Week, which features food pairing events, beer releases, beer tastings, beer dinners, tap takeovers and more at a number of breweries, restaurants and bars around town. This year, the events are going virtual.

“In the beginning, ABQ Beer Week has been about supporting the local spots, and obviously with this stay-at-home (order), everything, with COVID-19, has been really tough on them, but they’re really scrambling and working hard to do the to-go orders and things like that, and Beer Week wasn’t really top of mind,” said Marne Gaston of Feel Good Festivals. “So we were waiting it out, but then they discovered they’re just not going to be open. … So we decided to do a last-minute pivot to some virtual events so that there are fun things for people to do and get a little more business to some of these breweries and restaurants.”

The New Mexico Brewers Guild and some breweries such as Tractor Brewing Co. and Casa Vieja Brewery have confirmed virtual events. Other breweries are putting together virtual events. A list of the events and where they can be accessed can be found on the ABQ Beer Week website, abqbeerweek.com.

The NMBG is holding Nesh Sesh Fest II (BYOB) from 5-7 p.m. Friday, May 29. The virtual event will feature brewery tours, provide insider news and showcase some brewers’ hidden talents. More information can be found at facebook.com/newmexicobrewersguild.

Tractor has events lined up from May 23-29. Tractor’s Wells Park location will be hosting a Facebook Live virtual tour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, May 22. The tour, hosted by head brewer Mick Hahn and owner David Hargis, will give viewers an inside look at the brewing and distilling facility. Hahn and Hargis will answer viewers questions at the end of the virtual tour. Tractor’s Nob Hill location will hold a Mystery Beer Contest from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 23. A mystery four-pack will be available for pickup during that time frame. Participants are asked to correctly pick the style, write a description, and name the beer. All information should be submitted to jeremy@getplowed.com by 2 p.m. Monday, May 25. A winner will be announced Tuesday, May 26.

Tractor’s Westside location will be holding a Beer & Grilled Cheese Pairing with Cheesy Street from 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 26. Cheesy Street will be serving a flight of four assorted mini-grilled cheese sandwiches with an assorted four-pack of Farmer’s Tan Red Ale, Pilsner #15, Brut IPA and Honey Wheat. The event is limited to 75 orders. In Four Hills, guests can enjoy a Cider & Cupcake Pairing with Cake Fetish from 2 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 27. Tractor-Four Hills will be pairing a mixed cider four-pack of Blood Orange, Berry, Delicious Golden Dry and its flagship Delicious Red Apple with four decadent cupcakes from Cake Fetish. Only 50 orders will be taken for this event. At its Los Lunas location, Tractor will have a Pizza Party Pairing from 2 to 6 p.m. May 29.

In addition to the Tractor events, Casa Vieja Brewery is hosting a virtual Beer 101 event from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 23. Owner and brewer Gary Socha will discuss beer making history and basics, complete with samples and mini-tour of the brewery. Participants will need to pick up a four-pack of beer from the brewery in Corrales before the class, and they will be emailed a link to join the class.

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