Blue Grasshopper jumps into local beer fray this weekend

Posted: October 10, 2014 by cjax33 in New Brewery Preview
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On this sometimes dreary Friday, Jason from the Bullpen and I trekked over to Rio Rancho to visit Blue Grasshopper in advance of their weekend-long grand opening. We met with brewer Peter Apers around midday and chatted about everything regarding this small but potential-laden local brewpub.

These tanks will soon be filled with Blue Grasshopper's first batches of beer.

These tanks will soon be filled with Blue Grasshopper’s first batches of beer.

First off, where is Blue Grasshopper? Well, hop on Highway 528/Rio Rancho Blvd. via the Coors Bypass and head north. Once you get to Southern, where you usually turn left (west) to get to Turtle Mountain, keep going north. The third red light north of Southern, amid all the current construction chaos (which Peter hopes, upon completion, will keep things nice and quiet on 528), is where you turn left (west) on Ridgecrest. Once you pass the Conoco station on the southwest corner and the Circle K on the northwest corner, you’ll see a small side road leading north. Take a right there and then Blue Grasshopper will be on your left at 4500 Arrowhead Ridge Dr. SE.

The idea behind Blue Grasshopper for Peter was to create a true neighborhood pub feel in a suburb that’s more known for chain restaurants.

“I’m from Holland and I kind of grew up with beer because I was situated between the southern border of Holland with Belgium and western Germany; that’s ‘Beer Mecca,'” Peter said. “And so I’ve always been interested in beer.”

Peter moved to New York and lived there for 15 years, meeting his wife and starting a family. Once the children arrived, however, it was time to move to somewhere less expensive.

“I’m a hands-on guy, so I built this whole place by myself,” Peter said. “I’m a craft guy. I think we were at Broken Bottle, which is a great bar. So we thought why not open a brewpub? The idea was to be non-pretentious. Have as many New Mexico beers as we can. It sounded like a good idea.”

Pizza plus beer is always a winning combination. Wood-fired pizza adds something extra.

Pizza plus beer is always a winning combination. Wood-fired pizza adds something extra.

The grand opening will run from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on both this Saturday and Sunday, for those who don’t want to trek down to the state fairgrounds for the NM Brew Fest on Saturday afternoon, or for those from the west side who need somewhere to stop on the way home. All food served during the weekend, mostly in bite-sized sample format, will be free. Expect lots of pizza goodness and other fun grub.

Blue Grasshopper’s house beers are still about six weeks away, Peter said, though they already had a dozen-plus beers from other New Mexico breweries on tap, several of which were delivered while we were there.

The initial beer lineup will start with a dunkelweizen, followed by two varieties of amber, an IPA, and a true lager that will take about 12 weeks to fully age in the back. Operating on a three-barrel system with just one bright tank (for now), Blue Grasshopper will be the definition of a small pub for a while.

“For now, keg off the rest, and then hopefully went we start bringing in some money we can bring in some more tanks,” Peter said.

For now, beers from Abbey (Monks’), Nexus, Sierra Blanca, Marble, and more (19 total) will keep customers satiated. The grand opening will also see all foods served for free, with plenty of pizza samples from the wood-fired oven, imported from Italy. Having wood-fired pizzas to go with the beer was a primary impetus behind Blue Grasshopper.

“We knew that beer and pizza is an economy-proof concept,” Peter said. “It never gets old.”

Blue Grasshopper will have plenty of space for customers during their grand opening this weekend.

Blue Grasshopper will have plenty of space for customers during their grand opening this weekend.

In addition, there will be plenty of local, live music acts performing. Local art will adorn the walls, giving artists exposure to folks who might normally shy away from galleries and exhibitions. There will also be plenty of games for customers, from a retro “Galaga” gaming system to a chess board (!) and darts.

“We’re going to be oriented to performing and visual arts,” Peter said. “So we will allow artists to display their arts. We want to get a lot of live music.”

Blue Grasshopper is not built to compete with the big boys west of the Rio Grande, like Boxing Bear, Turtle Mountain, and The Stumbling Steer, but to help fill a niche for a local establishment committed to New Mexico craft beers, both their own and others from around the state.

“We’ve got 27,000 people living behind us,” Peter said. “Why do you think Turtle Mountain is packed every day? … People are hungry for another place and they don’t want to go to Albuquerque.”

We look forward to stopping by, if possible this weekend or at least in the days ahead. When the beers are ready to sample, we’ll surely head over to check them out. There is no such thing as having too many neighborhood brewpubs around the ABQ metro area.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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Comments
  1. 8bithitman says:

    I just checked them out–within walking distance from my house! I can’t wait to check out their own brew! The 19 beers on tap with Growler fills are a bonus!

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