Rio Rancho finally has another hometown beer. If you have ever doubted the demand for craft beers in “The City of Vision,” just keep reading.
The Blue Grasshopper has been serving local beers from other breweries and their own wood-fired pizza since they opened late last year through the help of a Kickstarter campaign. Now, they finally have one of their own beers on tap. I decided to make a quick stop over the weekend to check out this new beer, a 7-percent ABV “Dubbel Dunkel.” It’s a good thing I did because they are already almost out. They went through two kegs in the first four days and I would say that’s pretty impressive for the first offering from a small brewpub located in a strip mall behind a Wendy’s just west of Rio Rancho Blvd./Highway 528. This Dunkel offered some interesting dark, dried fruit notes (date? fig? raisin?) in the middle and a slightly bitter finish. It was not overly sweet. Additional points to them for starting out with something other than an amber or IPA.
There are several other beers coming online soon. The next beer will be an English Pale Ale that is carbonating now. Following the EPA will be a Golden Ale, a Sour Cherry Hefeweisen that is currently aging, and a Maibock, though not necessarily in that order. (Note: The brewer was not in-house at the time, so I was not able to talk to him or tour the production area.)
Patience seems to have paid off for this casual joint that has already gained quite a loyal local following. It’s easy to understand the loyalty, because from the moment you walk in, you are made to feel right at home. And it’s not just the customers who are loyal. Owners Greg Nielsen and Peter Apers are strong supporters of local musicians as well as local beer. I noticed that one of my favorite local performers played there recently. Greg researched the calendar for me to see when he will be playing next, and I could clearly see the calendar is quickly filling with regional talent. The beer list, pictured above, is pretty impressive and the aroma from the pizza oven almost convinced me to order a pizza even though I was on my way to dinner with friends.
So, what’s with the name “Blue Grasshopper?” Head over to their Facebook page and look for the story they posted on Feb. 13, 2015. Better yet, go check them out in person.