Written by Chris Jackson, he is a founding member of the Dark Side Brew Crew as well as one of their main bloggers.
Four score and seven years ago … wait, no, that’s too long. OK, a little over five years ago a bunch of metalheads came up with the idea of starting a blog/website providing news on the local craft beer industry. We really didn’t know what we were doing at the time would eventually take on a life of its own.
This Saturday, the NM Dark Side Brew Crew is celebrating our five-year anniversary with a wee little party at Tractor Wells Park. It kicks off at 8 and, naturally, has no cover. We brewed up a special Baltic porter, named Vulgar Display of Porter, and invited two of our favorite local metal bands, The Extinction and Jagged Mouth, to perform.
Why, out of 30 breweries in the metro area, did we select Tractor? Well, that goes back to five years ago, a quite different era for local craft beer. A simple question, “What’s on tap?” had left us confounded at a time when there were only about eight breweries in the metro area. Still, there was little to no media coverage, social media was just becoming a thing, and the brewery websites were, to put it mildly, a tad primitive and rarely updated.
Rather than sit around and keep wondering, we eventually decided to do something about it. The plan was to start a simple blog that just offered up mostly news, minimal opening, about the local brewing scene. All we needed was some sort of catchy name. Under the night sky on New Year’s 2012, having reached the point of forsaking glassware and drinking straight from the growler of Tractor’s PTO Smoked Porter, a moment of inspiration struck.
Dark Side Brew Crew.
The name, despite popular opinion, had nothing to do with Star Wars. It was born out of a shared love of dark beers, dark clothes, and dark metal. The original Crew was a half-dozen friends with the shared goal of knowing more about the local brewing scene and then sharing that information with the general public, filling a void that existed at the time, when the local media rarely if ever covered what was going on in the taprooms and atop the brewhouses.
A whopping 20 people would read each of our initial stories. Then, one tranquil afternoon, I wandered into the Tractor taproom in Nob Hill, where Lauren Poole greeted me with a smile and a “hey, I have a story for your blog!” The story was one of the City of Albuquerque informing the brewery staff that they were not allowed to sell growlers due to an old sector redevelopment plan that banned packaged liquor sales in the neighborhood. It was short and simple and 250 people read it.
Since then, Tractor and the Crew have had a successful, symbiotic relationship. It goes beyond simply they make the beer and we drink it. From news to profiles to events to everything else under the sun, our work together has been a positive one. Tractor was the first brewery in town to consider us a legitimate, albeit offbeat, news site. We in turn continued to cover them through all the ups and downs, from the growler battle to the opening of Wells Park and more.
This weekend we wanted to thank Tractor, the entire brewing industry, and all of you, our readers, for helping us along these past five years. For a job that does not pay, we have strived to keep moving forward along with the industry we cover.
Come join us for a little shindig. Let’s have some fun and toast local craft beer, local music, local art (we will have shirts for sale made by Metal the Brand), and of course, local writers.
Just don’t forget your earplugs.