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Enchanted brews: Some of New Mexico’s best craft beers on tap

Taste many of New Mexico’s best craft beers at the second annual BearFest on May 29.

The event will feature 12 New Mexico breweries serving up their best staple and some specialty beers in the Boxing Bear Brewing Co. parking lot on Albuquerque’s West Side.

Boxing Bear Brewing Co. will host its second annual BearFest on May 29. (Courtesy of Boxing Bear Brewing Company)

Boxing Bear Brewing Co. will host its second annual BearFest on May 29. (Courtesy of Boxing Bear Brewing Company)

The ticket price gets you a commemorative BearFest 2016 pint glass, one free pint from the participating brewery of your choice and four free 4-ounce samples from the breweries of your liking.

“We have a decent amount of new breweries, solid breweries that have made their place in Albuquerque and New Mexico for a long time and on top of that, we’re adding more space, we’re expanding, almost doubling our space,” Boxing Bear head brewer and co-owner Justin Hamilton said. “We’re looking to double our attendance as well. We’re going to have more food trucks, and we’re going to have some more vendors.”

In addition to Boxing Bear, other participating breweries are Albuquerque’s Bosque Brewing Co., Canteen Brewhouse, Chama River Brewing Co., La Cumbre Brewing Co., Quarter Celtic Brewpub and Starr Brothers Brewing Co.; Los Alamos’ Bathtub Row Brewing Co-op; Rio Rancho’s Turtle Mountain Brewing Co.; and Santa Fe’s Blue Corn Brewery, Santa Fe Brewing Co. and Second Street Brewery.

“Our focus is local products,” Boxing Bear co-owner Kevin Davis said. “We don’t bring in anybody from out-of-state. All of our breweries and food trucks, everybody is local New Mexico, including our vendors. We’re really proud of that. New Mexico has the best beer in the country, as far as I’m concerned, and we want to promote New Mexico beer.”

Several of the participating breweries, including Boxing Bear, will have special offerings. Boxing Bear’s Chocolate Milk Stout, which won a gold medal at the recent World Beer Cup, is currently not available at the brewery, but a keg has been set aside for BearFest.

“We sequestered a special keg of the Chocolate Milk Stout that’s actually going to be on nitro,” Davis said.

Food trucks will keep tummies happy, and live bands will get feet dancing. There also will be a solar-powered mecca for gamers this year.

“Our neighbors over at Gamers Anonymous, a retro gaming store, they’re going to set up a small tent to do tournament gaming (with) old school games,” Hamilton said. “Maybe two to four players at a time. It’s going to be solar-powered by a local solar-power truck. They’re going to show up with their solar-power panel truck, and they are going to plug right into the Gamers Anonymous tent and give them solar power.”

This year’s event also will offer a bicycle valet for those who want to pedal their way to the event.

“It’s going to be administered by Bike ABQ, which is a nonprofit group that promotes safe biking in New Mexico and Albuquerque,” Davis said. “They’re really involved with the biking scene in general, so they’re going to come out and they’re going to be offering the service. You don’t have to worry about bringing a lock or anything, because they’re going to be watching your bike and it’s free of charge for the customers. I think it’s going to be really popular.”