Great New Mexico Beer Festival brings state breweries to the forefront - Albuquerque Journal

Great New Mexico Beer Festival brings state breweries to the forefront

The Great New Mexico Beer Festival will showcase more than 30 breweries from around the state. (Courtesy of Blue River Productions)

Land of Enchantment breweries will take center stage at the Great New Mexico Beer Festival.

The new event, which will be held June 17-18 at Balloon Fiesta Park, is not just about beer sampling. It also incorporates craft beer education, friendly competition and other fun events such as movies and lawn games. The New Mexico Brewers Guild has partnered with Blue River Productions to put on the two day event.

The Brewers Conference and Competition, presented by the New Mexico Brewers Guild, will kickoff at 1 p.m. on June 17. There will be a number of speakers and several breakout sessions on various topics including local ingredient sourcing and sustainable brewing, scaled-down sustainable practices for the small production brewery, and recent changes to cannabis laws and their impact on the brewing industry.

Breweries also will compete in four categories: American Wheat, German Style Pilsner, Hazy IPA, and West Coast IPA.

The conference is open to the public and individual conference passes for non-New Mexico Brewers Guild members are $25. A portion of the proceeds benefit the guild.

“The (conference) theme is sustainability,” said Dean Strober, Blue River Productions founder. “We have speakers and presenters coming in from around the country to present on a wide variety of topics to help New Mexico brewers be more successful.”

The celebration continues from noon to 6 p.m. on June 18 with a festival featuring more than 30 New Mexico breweries. A full list of participating breweries can be found at greatnewmexicobeerfestival.com.

Tasting tickets are $40 and include tastes of 16 beers of your choosing, a commemorative pint glass, and a pint fill of your choice of beer. The Pay As You Go ticket is $10 and includes entry into the festival and a pint glass. Attendees can purchase tastes or pints from participating breweries. A portion of every ticket benefits the participating breweries.

“What’s going to be unique about this event is throughout the event, we’re hoping people will learn a lot more about not just the breweries from New Mexico, but also about the different locations and locales of the state,” Strober said. “The entire festival is going to be mapped out like the state of New Mexico with information and photographs and imagery placed throughout the map.”

Live music, movies with free popcorn, miniature golf, a video arcade and lawn games will be part of the festival. Southwest Grape & Grain will conduct a Beer Styles Tasting Class at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 and include sample pours of eight different styles of beers. It also will hold a Beer Brewing & Tasting Class at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 and include five sample pours of craft beer.

Chef Shawn Weed from The Acre restaurant will conduct a beer pairing session at 2 p.m. Five different food courses will be paired with five different beers. Tickets are $15.

The Great New Mexico Beer Festival was created to only focus on Land of Enchantment breweries.

“There isn’t one big beer festival in New Mexico that celebrates New Mexico breweries,” Strober said. “There isn’t one. That was the realization. There’s none that are exclusively beer and exclusively New Mexico. And so that’s kind of where this came along. It was realizing it hadn’t been done and wanting to do it different. It’s not just about the beer, it’s about the entertainment, the movies, the music, the games, the lawn games. Everything we do is really supporting these local businesses.”

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