Editor’s note: Adam is our final Brew Crew Bullpen member debuting, though some can point out he did write for us previously as a special correspondent during ABQ Beer Week back in May. Anyway, this is his “official” debut story. So give it a read a let us know how he did! — Stoutmeister
Exciting news in the Heights, we’re getting a new brewery! The new brewery is actually not the first brewery at this location, however. Dan and Ken of Lizard Tail Brewing have taken over the space once used by Farside/Bad Ass in the shopping center on the southeast corner of Eubank and Montgomery. This is of particular interest for me since I can get the bus there from my house!
The space having been vacant for over a year and they have undertaken a thorough renovation behind the scenes in preparation for their launch this month. With plans for an ambitious tap list and a style somewhat in contrast to the other breweries around town, I will watch their progress with interest. Stoutmeister and I went down to talk to them and find out more about the new venture earlier this week.
Q: How did you guys get into brewing?
Dan: “I started brewing when I was in college. And then it’s just always kind of been a hobby. Me and him got serious about it six years ago. We’d brew every weekend, like two batches a weekend. And had people over for parties, stuff like that, have fun with it. I lost my job, went back to school, and then ended up going to the American Brewers Guild. That was it, I was like all right, I’m going for it. It actually started out with the brewing with that dream, that dream of having a little pub.”
Ken: “It was just one day he calls me up and says dude, I just got laid off from work. He was happy about it. But it was part of his plan, he wanted to go back to school. And then he calls me a couple days later and says let’s start brewing. So we ordered all kinds of stuff. We felt sorry for the guy from FedEx or UPS. He unloaded a truck full of equipment and grain. I came home and my car port was just packed with boxes. We brewed over at my house on the weekend. I pretty much had the space. It was always fun.”
Q: How did you find out about this location?
Dan: “Basically it was Kevin over at Grape and Grain one day when I went over there. He just told me the space was open. I’d actually been in here a couple times before. I liked the location. I figured just put a lot of money into the brewery and the location would do the rest, hopefully. We kept some of the tables. Just the two square tables. A lot of these benches.”
Ken: “The counter top was here, the bar was here. We painted the rest of the walls, they were all green. This was concrete, this wasn’t tile. We did put a lot of work into getting it to this point. Then the brewery is completely different. We basically gutted that one. Took everything out, started from the concrete up.”
Q: Do you think this is a good location since there aren’t any breweries nearby?
Ken: “I come here in the mornings a lot and people walk by, they’re peaking in. So I go talk to them and they tell me they live right down the street. We just had one of the presidents from one of the neighborhood associations. He came in with his wife. They’re really excited. They said they want to come in and visit the place.”
Q: The two main brewing philosophies are malt-forward and hop-forward. Which are you guys going to be?
Dan: “We’re more malt-forward. To be totally honest, anything over 70 IBUs gives me a stomach ache. I like a good IPA every once in a while. Then I’ll sip on it for an hour. Other than that, our IPA is 70 IBUs, our India Black Ale is 70 IBUs. I don’t see us going much over that.”
Q: What’s your production capacity on the system?
Dan: “It’s actually, well, what, it’s about three barrels. That’s pushing it. It gets scary, we have boil overs and stuff like that.”
Q: Is mid-August looking likely?
Dan: “We have the fire department and health inspector coming in the next week. Most people told me the feds are easy and the state is kind of hard. For us it was totally backwards. It took the feds six months for us, which is just crazy. It says on their website it takes 90 days. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a new brewer or what.”
Ken: “We ran into that, the government shutdown.”
Dan: “We submitted our app the day before the shutdown, actually.”
Ken: “In a way it’s kind of worked out. There were a lot of things we didn’t realize we needed to get (done).”
Q: Do you see yourselves doing a lot of festivals or competitions or just take it as it goes?
Dan: “Yeah, pretty much just take it as it goes. I’ve always been asked to go a couple (festivals). Socorro Fest and some of the other stuff for the New Mexico Brewers Guild, we just joined them. In terms of competitions, I could care less. We’re just going to make what we like most of the time.”
Ken: “We’ll do that stuff eventually, I’m sure.
Q: What are you offering in the taproom besides beer?
Ken: “We’re going to have sodas, things like that. We’ll have sandwiches, real simple, keep it like that. I like a place where I can have a beer and eat something. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just something to go with (the beer).”
Q: Which of the beers do you think you’re going to have going for launch day?
Dan: “Basically, we have the Blonde, the Amber, the Rye Stout, the Honey Pale Ale, and IPA. Those are all ready to keg. Those are all ready to tap. We hope to get the India Black Ale on there.”
Q: Are you guys thinking of having any live music?
Dan: “Yeah, we’re definitely looking into that. We’ve had a lot of people that have asked us about that or are willing to come in and just play. We don’t have any set gigs. We don’t have Tuesday open mic set or anything.”
So there we have it. The date for the official launch should be confirmed any day now, so watch this space for updates. I hope to see some of you there!
Berliner Weisse 4.2% 8 IBU
Blond Ale 5.0% 20 IBU
IPA 6.5% 70 IBU
Amber 5.5% 40 IBU
Oatmeal Brown 5.5% 25 IBU
Belgian Dubbel 6.8% 20 IBU
India Black Ale 6.6% 70 IBU
Rye Stout 5.5% 35 IBU
Rotating English Ales:
ESB (Spring) 5.8% 40 IBU
Honey Pale Ale (Summer) 6% 35 IBU
Porter (Fall) 5.8% 35 IBU
Oatmeal Stout (Winter) 5.5% 35 IBU
Belgian Tripel (Spring) 8.7% 30 IBU
Belgian Abbey Ale (Summer) 5.8% 25 IBU
Biscochito Brown 8.1% 25 IBU
Belgian Strong Dark (Winter) 9.2% 30 IBU