Bosque Brewing barrels toward its grand opening

Stoutmeister here, fully recovered from Septemberfest (the sun was brutal this year, but the beer was delicious, so that made up for the heat). Before I trekked down there with my friend Cassie on Saturday, I took E-Rock and Shilling over to Bosque Brewing last Thursday.

The Bosque Brewing staff, from left, Jared Michnovicz, Gabe Jensen, Jotham Michnovicz, and Kevin Jameson.

Before anybody is confused, no, you did not miss a new brewery opening in Albuquerque. Bosque is not open yet — they’re aiming for late October/early November — but that did not stop us from stopping by to get a sneak preview of what is to come.

Bosque was started by four friends — Kevin Jameson, Gabe Jensen, Jared Michnovicz and Jotham Michnovicz — who all love craft beer and became interested in the possibility of opening their own brewery.

“We’re all entrepreneurs,” Kevin said. “And so we had to do something. There’s no way we could have not tried some kind of business.

“We just read everything we could, we read every book, every blog, site out there. From the business side we had to get going. So we bought a pilot system, the same pilot system that Stone and New Belgium use. We got some recipes going. There’s only so long that the wives will let you do a really expensive hobby.”

The business of opening a brewery is still covering the bar top, but before long, beer pints will live here.

The quartet obtained a loan from ACCION, a non-profit company, and began the process of setting up their own brewery. They looked into a site in Rio Rancho, but when that fell through they began looking at brewery-deficient areas of town. They found one located at 8900 San Mateo, just north of Alameda. For those unfamiliar with the area, San Mateo (yes, it exists again this far north) is the first red light just west of I-25. Turn right and Bosque will be in a building on your right, next door to a Subway.

“We wanted to be in an area that was kind of … our name was Bosque, so we wanted to bring the Bosque indoors,” Kevin said. “We like how close we are to the Bosque. We wanted to be in this area, north of the balloon park seemed like a good area. There are no other breweries in our vicinity. We thought it was good, close to I-25, it’s pretty easy to explain where it is.”

Jotham pointed out that they are also easily accessible to the “going-home side” of traffic, meaning people heading to the west side via Alameda after work can stop by for a pint or a growler on their way home.

Shilling, left, and Stoutmeister (in his Newcastle jersey, crazy soccer fan) check out the front room of Bosque Brewing.

Of course, no location is perfect, and unfortunately Bosque is still locked in a legal battle with the Wildflower Neighborhood Association, which does not want them to be able to sell growlers.

“We just found out (last) week that the neighborhood association has decided to appeal our approval from the city of Albuquerque,” Jotham said. “We were approved to sell growlers, now the neighborhood association has decided to take it up again. We’re going to go back to the zoning hearing board of appeals, hopefully in about a month.”

While that issue is still to be decided, the rest of the process of opening the brewery has gone relatively smoothly. Bosque has received almost all of its permits, with only a final health inspection due this week before they hope to start brewing on Wednesday.

Gabe, right, shows the Crew around the brewing operations room.

Gabe will be in charge of the day-to-day brewing operation, though all four members will have a say and participate in the creation of beers. So far Bosque plans to keep six styles on tap at all times, with anywhere from two to four seasonals available.

“We squeezed out every last inch of space,” Jared said of the brewing operations room in the back.

The initial list of beers will include an IPA (0f course), a red rye, a porter with chocolate hints (as opposed to smoke), a brown ale with honey, and a summer-style blonde ale. The group said the regular beers will lean toward the maltier side, rather than be overly hopped as many styles are in hop-mad Albuquerque.

“We try not to brew things that only we would like,” Kevin said. “We try to brew with the general public in mind. (But) we don’t want to sell out. We’re not going to go that far.”

All of Bosque’s serving tanks will located inside the walk-in cooler, delivering fresh, cold beer to the taps out front.

Jotham added that the seasonal styles will be Bosque’s means of experimentation with more extreme flavors.

Of course, man (and woman) cannot live off beer alone, so Bosque will have food, though it will be a lighter menu closer to Il Vicino Canteen as opposed to a kitchen-fueled smorgasbord like Chama River or Nexus.

“We’re working pretty diligently on developing the menu,” Jotham said. “It’s going to be a pretty light menu, with sandwiches, appetizers, a couple of soups, that sort of thing. We’re definitely going to be serving. It’s all going to be made up there in the front, a small area.”

Bosque’s primary focus, though, will be on the beer and serving the community.

“We’re native New Mexicans and we want to contribute to the economy, basically,” Kevin said. “We’re all businessmen, we want to see the economy benefit from our business. We want jobs to be created. We want Albuquerque to be the next Portland, Oregon, basically, in terms of microbreweries.”

We look forward to Bosque’s grand opening in the near future.

Speaking for myself, I was impressed by the enthusiasm, preparation, and knowledge of the Bosque quartet. They certainly seem driven to create a fantastic addition to the ABQ-area beer scene. Based on their collective backgrounds in Corporate America, finance, and owning small businesses, they certainly seem to have that side covered. All that remains is to see how four home brewers can truly translate that skill to mass production. The Crew will head back when the beer is ready for sampling, eager to taste what Bosque has created.

“It’s just a labor of love,” Kevin said. “We love beer. We have good foundational friendships. None of us could do it alone so we had to do it together.”

The Crew wishes Bosque Brewing the best of luck and remains thankful that we live in such a great era of craft brewing!


— Stoutmeister

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