Ever since Bosque Brewing Co. opened in Albuquerque, there was a belief that sooner or later they might have their eye on a second location. That second location is coming closer to fruition in Nob Hill, but the belief had been that Bosque had one eye focused on Las Cruces. After all, the majority of its owners are either from down south or went to college at New Mexico State.
Last week, while I was at my friend’s memorial in Tucson, Bosque co-owner Gabe Jensen sent me a short e-mail stating that they had signed a lease to open a taproom in Las Cruces. I followed up on that message on Wednesday afternoon with Gabe over a pint of Scale Tipper #4 IPA (which is outstanding, hurry over and buy a pint or two).
Bosque is taking over the taproom space formerly occupied by Mimbres Valley, the Deming-based brewery that closed its doors earlier this year. It’s located in the small retail center at the northwest corner of E. University Ave. and S. Espina St., across the street from the NMSU campus.
The big worry is that with Bosque having only recently expanded its primary brewery, plus the ongoing Nob Hill construction, and now Las Cruces, is that they are biting off more than they can chew.
“I was talking to Jess (Bosque GM) earlier today and was like, ‘What are we thinking?’ What the heck?'” Gabe said. “So really it comes down to Nob Hill is taking longer than we’ve expected, longer than anyone expected. … We got the keys (Tuesday), so it’s great. We’re about 60 days out, maybe 90. We’re doing the work now. THe ball is in our court. It’s going to happen now, finally. But I was hoping that was going to happen six months ago.
“We’ve had our eye on Las Cruces. I’m from Las Cruces, born and raised, graduated from State. … We have a tie to Las Cruces. There’s room for more beer in Las Cruces.”
Gabe noted High Desert Brewing is a Las Cruces “icon,” while De La Vega Pecan Grill also brews their own beer, and Spotted Dog Brewery will open soon in neighboring Mesilla. Still, for an area with an estimated metro area population nearing 200,000, that’s not a lot.
“There’s plenty of room in Las Cruces,” Gabe said. “So we were looking at it and then when the whole thing went down with Mimbres, as unfortunate as that is, I had my eye out. A couple people came to me knowing I had an interest in down there.
“It took a little longer than we thought it would. It can be a little sticky to take over a place while it’s still under lease. But eventually, finally we signed a lease last week.”
The exact opening for Bosque’s LC taproom is not known yet. They could host some gatherings via a picnic license from the state starting as early as Oct. 25, but full approval is still pending from all the various government agencies.
“We’re going to slap some paint on it, upgrade the draft system, and that’s it,” Gabe said. “Eventually we might change out the tables, but we don’t have to do that. The cost of entry is not there. It’s where we want to be.”
The taproom is not very large. It can probably hold 30 to 40 customers, but it does have a nice patio that could accommodate another 30 to 40, and Las Cruces is probably capable of having outdoor drinking 1o months out of the year.
Even with two new locations opening and several places around town now having Bosque beers on tap (and more coming), Gabe said patrons should not worry that they are pushing themselves beyond their brewing capacity and wearing out brewer John Bullard and his staff.
“I was talking to John, he’s not worried about it,” Gabe said. “We’re at like a third of capacity. I’ve got more equipment over there, another fermenter. We haven’t had time to put it up. I’ve got another bright tank on order. We can do 75, 80 barrels a week on that. That should be OK. … And I’m definitely interested in some tap accounts in Las Cruces, since we’re going down there anyway.”
We’re sure everyone in Southern New Mexico will look forward to the addition of another quality source of in-state beer. The Crew and Bosque will keep everyone up to date on the progress of both the Nob Hill and LC taprooms. And then we will go to them and enjoy a pint or two.