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More Than Beer at the (AMAZING!) NM Brew Fest

Update for 2020: We've been hoping all year that COVID wouldn't cancel the New Mexico Brew Fest, but of course it did. For now, pop open a Coors and live vicariously through last year's post. I'll see you at the 2021 New Mexico Brew Fest!

Update for 2021: Postponed again. Bummer.

Another update: Was that the Culligan water man or not?

My husband and I have seen ads for the New Mexico Brew Fest, which coincides with Albuquerque's world-famous Balloon Fiesta, year after year. Why haven't we ever gone? Obviously, we are ridiculous fools because the New Mexico Brew Fest was the best time ever! It's our all-time favorite beer festival.

(Don't tell the Fall Ale Fest. It was only their first year. They'll get there.)

Best food and drink events in new mexico
You know you're in for a great time when it's socially acceptable to wear food.

For a mere $25 per person, New Mexico Brew Fest patrons receive an entire day of unlimited craft beer from top local breweries, including Boxing Bear, Toltec Brewing, Canteen Brewhouse, and almost 2 dozen more. There is extra-hard cider from Sandia Hard Cider (yes, extra. You'll see what I mean below) and, one of my favorites for food and drinks, Hollow Spirits Distillery will mix you something special featuring their house-made gin, vodka, and rum.

The New Mexico Brew Fest has been ranked one of the 10 Best Fall Beer Festivals in the USA.

Think I'm overselling it? The New Mexico Brew Fest has been as ranked one of the 10 Best Fall Beer Festivals in the USA. Go Albuquerque!

We'd actually expected to spend only a short time at the festival, then hit up the Albuquerque Parade of Homes. (If you're a fan of this blog, you know I looove the parade of homes!) Well, we completely missed seeing any houses and it was completely worth it.

Free Beer Albuquerque NM
Albuquerque's own Crème de la Crème dessert shop was on site with their homemade crème brulée in luscious flavors like maple bourbon. Early-entry VIPs each received a special pumpkin pie crème brulée, which Doug and Morgan at the Marble Brewing tent next door happily paired with a Pumpkin Noir ale.

Crème de la Crème
Would I like a sample of bananas foster crème brulée, in addition to the entire pan of pumpkin pie crème brulée I just polished off? Yes, please!

Whole Foods sponsor
In addition to TWO souvenir glasses, each guest received a tote bag of goodies, including snacks from Whole Foods, a bottle opener, stickers, a beer koozie, and more. My husband and I attend food and wine festivals all over the country and this was our first-ever swag bag. Such a nice touch!

Go Wicked Kettle Corn
Local favorite Go Wicked Kettle Corn was selling enormous bags of popcorn and cotton candy.

Beer and Kettle Corn
Samples galore! I need more hands.

The ladies at Go Wicked Kettle Corn couldn't have been more friendly. They gladly let me taste every flavor, including Dapple Apple, Cinnamon, and 505 Flavor Bomb, which is made with red and green chile.

Pet-A-Bulls pitbull adoption
Pet-A-Bulls pitbull adoption was spreading the furry love (wait, that sounds...wrong) at the New Mexico Brew Fest. This guy thought it would be fun to bring his kid, but little did he know he'd be going home with a new (drooling sooo much) dog.

German drinking garments
Some attendees dressed for the occasion! German drinking garments were encouraged. Sexy Nerd and I are going to have to put together outfits for next year. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if he already has this exact outfit somewhere in his closet.

Affordable Solar NM review
Guess my electric bill? It's ZERO. I hovered around the Affordable Solar booth, casually mentioning to anyone within earshot that they did our solar panels and we love them. 
(Also, you'll totally receive a discount if you let them know I referred you.)

Beer soap
The New Mexico Brew Fest even had beer soap! It kinda changes the meaning of your mom's old threat to wash your mouth out with soap, doesn't it?

What's that? You don't attend a beer festival for solar panels or soap or dogs or even swag bags? Ah, I know what you're getting at.

Pretzel necklaces for brewing fest
You attend a beer festival for pretzels, right?


(By the way, each of the Whole Foods goody bags included a pretzel necklace and they were awesome.)

Zia Glasses
Oh, you must be thinking of the beer! Well, you're in luck. There was more beer than you could possibly drink.

Beer Against Humanity - Rio Bravo Brewing
Rio Bravo Brewing Company gets my vote for the most clever beer names. In addition to a Starbucks-like Basic Witch Pumpkin Spice and a Beer Against Humanity, they served me something called "Witch's Tit." Ordering it felt wrong, but it tasted so right.

La Cumbre ABQ
La Cumbre is Sexy Nerd's favorite. He insists their IPA is the best, but he's wrong. You have to try their Mango Pineapple Gose!

Hollow Spirits events
I've been a fan of Hollow Spirits ever since I won 1st place at their Simpsons Trivia night. (They also host epic Mario Cart tournaments.) With popular menu items like the Hollow Buddha Bowl and the 50/50 Burger, which is made with chorizo, they need to get a food truck for events like these. Please, Hollow Spirits?

Steel Bender Los Ranchos
Hey, I remember these guys from the Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown in Santa Fe. Steel Bender won the well-deserved People's Choice award. Who would have guessed that some of the best burgers and brews in the state can be found in little Los Ranchos?

Sandia Hard Cider
Remember how I said earlier that Sandia Hard Cider was serving "extra" hard cider? They're serving something called Hempberry...with CBD! You've gotta love living in New Mexico. Based on what I've read about CBD, I'm pretty sure this can be considered a healthy beverage option.

My husband would like me to add that he did not sample the Hempberry. In fact, not only would he not try a sip of mine, he refused to even hold my empty glass for me after I tried it, lest there still be some magical Hempberry cooties lingering nearby.

Marble Brewing Hard Seltzer (Raspberry Key Lime and Cucumber Key Lime)
I was thrilled to see Marble Brewery offering their hard seltzer, which is said to be "the drink" of 2019. Through blogging, Sexy Nerd and I have been to more food and wine events this year than I can count, but this was the first time I've ever been able to sample hard seltzer. 

Their Raspberry Key Lime and Cucumber Key Lime flavors are both refreshing. I love sparkling water but might love this even more. White Claw and other hard seltzers have been in short supply around the country, but I think Marble is here to give them a run for their money.

My favorite beer festival
I have a sad confession. Although I always try to stay professional at events like these, I found out my grandma had passed away just a few hours before heading to the Brew Fest. I considered staying home to cry, but my grandma wouldn't have wanted that. The fun and excitement helped me feel much better. To Grandma! 

A few (dozen) beer, seltzer, and cider samples later, Sexy Nerd insisted we get some food in me. 

Apparently, pretzel necklaces don't count.

jackfruit tamale and red chile beer brat
New Mexico does food better than anywhere else in the world. With many food trucks to choose from, we shared a jackfruit tamale and a lobo-style, red chile beer brat. 

Kitty Deschanel and Sexy Nerd
He's totally holding me up.

When we finished our meal, someone asked me how the food was and I replied that it was good, except that the nachos were a little too spicy.

Sexy Nerd was quick to point out that we hadn't had any nachos and insisted we get more food in me before going back for more drinks. He may have confiscated my glass.

Nachos at the NM State Fairgrounds
Nachos! It turns out they weren't too spicy after all.

Funny Culligan water story
Sexy Nerd thought it was safe to let me resume sampling and off I went, high on life and possibly on Hempberry. When I returned, I showed him the photos I'd taken in his absence, including this one "of the Culligan water man, who said he would pose for me. Wasn't that nice?"

An exasperated Sexy Nerd put his hand to his head and insisted that is not the Culligan water man and that it is actually just some guy trying to flirt with me. (Jokes on him because I am oblivious.) Now I don't know what to believe. Was he there to restock the water for the festival or not??

ABQ live entertainment for events
Just when you thought the New Mexico Brew Fest couldn't get any better, there was a parade! The live entertainment, including a DJ playing everyone's favorite songs, was top notch. People were dancing and singing along.

The real Breaking Bad
I'll admit one of the reasons we'd never attended the NM Brew Fest before was that we thought it might be a little too...let's call it "Breaking Bad." (Hey, it's filmed here for a reason.) We were wrong though. 

Saturday in Alb, NM
Everyone was just having a good time, enjoying a gorgeous Saturday afternoon with old and new friends.

This makes me wonder what other amazing New Mexico festivals we've been missing out on. Let's expand our horizons, Sexy Nerd!

NM food and wine events
I assured these ladies I would edit their photo before sharing it on my site, but I couldn't find a darn thing to edit - no blemishes, no sweater lint, not even a stray hair. I'm impressed.

Beer Fest = The Fountain of Youth?

Fun things to do in Albuquerque in the fall
The New Mexico Brew Fest had activities scattered throughout for festival-goers to enjoy. When we first arrived, I doubted many people would participate. A few drinks in, I think you can guess what happened.

Beer pong for a crowd
Giant beer pong!

Oversized yard Jenga
Yard Jenga!

Fun games to play at a beer festival
Yours truly even got in on the cornhole action, social anxiety be darned. It, uhh, totally made it in. Weird that Sexy Nerd didn't get a photo of that. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Pretzel Princess
A few hours into the New Mexico Brew Fest, I apparently became a pretzel princess. I don't remember doing this.

POP Fizz Paletas
I treated my extremely patient designated driver to a well-earned paleta from Pop Fizz. We've visited them at the National Hispanic Cultural Center and were excited to see their food truck at the festival. Try the strawberry banana.

NMBF glasses
Kicking ourselves for missing the 2018, 2017, 2016, and all previous Brew Fests, Sexy Nerd and I vowed to be their #1 fans from now on and attend every year. Just eleven and a half months to go!

2019 NM Brew Fest

Looking for more food & drink fun in the Land of Enchantment? Check out the following: