We all have favorite traditions, places we like to visit, friends we like to hang out with, things we like to drink, etc. In fact, every Thursday night, I go out with friends (some I’ve known since grade school even — Sing Lum Lions FTW!) and we have some good, clean, gentlemanly fun. It often involves a cocktail or two (lately, it’s been Margaritas), but that’s not to say we don’t enjoy a good brew. However, while constancy is good — dare I say vital — it shouldn’t come at the expense of trying new things. A great place to try some new beers? Babi’s Beer Emporium in Los Alamos.
The ladies over at Babi’s invited Alice and me over to their shop to chat, have some nibbles and, this is obviously my bias speaking now, sample some tasty, funky beers.
A friend of mine had been for months telling me, “Morgan, you need to get up to Los Alamos. They’re doing amazing stuff up there. There’s a wine tasting room sure, and an amazing pizza place, but there’s this funky beer joint that’s amazing. You. Must. Go.”
Naturally, being a good friend, I ignored him. Sorry.
However, what I’m not sorry about is that rather than going on the weekend when it’s jumping, Alice and I first got to experience it and chat with the ladies there while it was quiet.
That way, I could (over a beer, as you do), ask them what they see as the purpose of the Babi’s.
As Sonja Magdevski, owner of Babi’s and owner/winemaker at Casa Dumetz explained, there are many places in the area to get good beer. Just check out what they’re doing over at Fig Mountain or the funky beers they’re producing over at Barrelworks as proof positive. The thing is, people know those beers — and they should, they’re great. What they want to do at Babi’s is get you a new discovery from the land of beer.
You’re going to learn something new, taste something a little different and pick up some exciting new flavor sensations.
(While we were there they had these beers on tap: King Harbor Abel Brown, Firestone Walker Stickee Monkey, New Belgium Love Apple Felix, Phantom Carriage Broad Acres, New Belgium Pear Ginger Beer.)
What you’re not going to find there is typical beers. In fact, if you go in there and know every single beer that they have, I owe you a Coke. As I’m currently talking about beer, that’s a strange thing to offer, but there it stands (not actually binding).
How do they go about collecting such unusual and rare brews? Oh, that’s the easy to explain, happy I don’t have to do part: they talk to suppliers and hunt down specialty items. They know that their clientele expect something new, want to learn something exciting. They’ll go so far as to secure a case of something extra special and sell it until it’s completely gone. Then? Oh, they’re out.
Miss out? You should have come sooner.
Want to know what they were serving there a few months ago that you loved so much? Good luck, they might not know. Such is the price of uniqueness. That’s why you should always keep notes on what you’ve drank. (I do, but I’m a nerd.)
Heck, it’s in the spirit of discovery that they have a bottle share. You bring in a unique bottle that you’ve stashed away to appreciate and other likeminded individuals do the same. Then, you all get to taste many unique, interesting and often funky beers.
If you absolutely, positively can’t stand the idea of missing their uniquely curated and funky beer collection (I’m right there with you) they have a monthly beer club. This is (drumroll) a monthly beer sampler pack for discriminating fans.
Is it worth it? Oh lord yes.
Unless you like the same beer every single day, that is. Then no, it’s probably not worth it for you.
For everyone else, however, it’s 100% worth it.
Listen, we all know how good microbreweries and brewers in general have gotten. It’s easy to fall down the pit of trying every new IPA you can get your hands on, or hunting down every brewery’s version of a brown ale.
What you need during these new and exciting days of beer is a guide; ideally, you need a Sherpa to help you up the mountain of knowledge — a Tenzing Norgay to your Sir Edmund Hillary, a Ra’s al Ghul to your Bruce Wayne or a Professor X to your Cyclops.
This is exactly what they’re doing over at Babi’s: they’re guiding willing beer drinkers to new, wonderful and enlightening brews.
If you like beer, hell even if you don’t like beer, it’s worth a visit. Turns out if you don’t really like beer, but some other drink, they’ll probably have one that you can try to change your mind.
Or, worst case, there’s a winery right next door that they’re also running.
That, my friends, is what we call the best of both worlds.
Now time to start planning that next trip to Babi’s…