Albuquerque Brewing Co. nearly ready to open their doors

Posted: March 5, 2015 by cjax33 in New Brewery Preview
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Say hello to your next local craft beer experience.

Say hello to your next local craft beer experience.

One of the perks of this job, if you can call it a job, is to visit breweries before they open. That often means trekking through skeletal buildings, talking about what might be coming in the weeks and months ahead. Sometimes, though, you get to show up and the beers are ready for sampling. Such was the case when I visited Albuquerque Brewing Co. earlier this week.

Brewer Michael Marsh and co-owner Curt Richter greeted me at the soon-to-open brewery. We took a quick tour before sitting down so I could sample the four beers that were ready. Before I get to the beers, here’s a recap of the tour and more.

Albuquerque Brewing Co. is located at 8610 Pan American Freeway, north of Paseo del Norte and south of Alameda, right where Wilshire Ave. meets the northbound frontage road. The exact location is part of the United Stoneworks building, which is north of Wilshire. Curt and his father own United Stoneworks, and after they met Michael, they decided to join him in opening their own brewery. They took over an old showroom space on the north end of the building. It still has a lot of showroom quality inside. To say that it gives off a different vibe than most places would be an understatement. It feels like you are hanging out inside someone’s upscale house.

This is not your typical taproom.

This is not your typical taproom.

The bar lies directly ahead of you as you walk in the front door. There is a lounge area around a fireplace and a big screen TV above that.  The kitchen area features a large countertop island in the center where Michael will give special demonstrations and the like. Where there is currently an oven will be replaced by a cooler that will store non-alcoholic drinks and the like for designated drivers. Curt said they do not plan to have food in-house, but will have food trucks park outside in the lot.

In a state as sunny as New Mexico, an outdoor patio is a must.

In a state as sunny as New Mexico, an outdoor patio is a must.

Outside on the far north end of the building is a patio area. There will be live music when the weather is good and plenty of seating for folks who want to enjoy the summer air.

Behind the bar area is where the brewhouse and the equipment are kept. They currently have a three-barrel system. It is a good set-up to start things off for ABC. Curt and Michael said they plan to grow slowly and steadily, rather than shoot for the moon right off the bat. However, they do have plans to expand in the future. Curt said part of the reason they called the brewery Albuquerque Brewing was so that someday, they could distribute their beers to other states and people there would know exactly where it came from.

Michael said he, like many others, picked up brewing as a hobby when he was younger in Odessa, Texas.

“I was in biology class in high school and my teacher said you could make alcohol by mixing sugar and yeast,” he said with a smile. “So I went home, grabbed some orange juice, a Dr. Pepper bottle, and some bread yeast. I stuck it in my closet. About four days later it exploded. So about three weeks later me and a buddy went to Austin. We basically grew up on Shiner and Rolling Rock before Rolling Rock got bought out. So we took off to Austin, bought a home brew kit from a guy’s garage. I think now it’s Austin Home Brew Supply Store. We brought it back to Odessa, brewed our first batch, it was a bock. We knew nothing about brewing. It was horrible. We still drank it anyway.”

Eventually Austin beckoned on a full-time basis.

“From there, we moved to Austin about six, eight months later after graduating high school to start brewing,” Michael said. “We hung with some guys at a brewing company that’s now gone. At one time it was the oldest brewing company in Texas, but they closed it up because they were doing the whole condo/retail space. It was a three-story, phenomenal space. So I hung out in Austin during that whole time.”

Michael arrived in Albuquerque a few years later.

“I moved here in ’04,” he said. “Kind of continued to brew, but not all that much. At that time it was hard to find good ingredients and good supplies. About four years ago we got a kit and started taking it really serious, started doing all that studying and that kind of stuff, figuring it all out.

“Cliff and I used to have what was called the 5:30 club, where we’d ride our bikes to the Flying Star on Central. We were trying to figure out something we wanted to do. We were both brewing at the time, so we figured why not do this. It’s been that long since we have been planning this. Then we brought Curt on and things went nuts. That’s when things really took off.”

Curt said his business background then helped them when it came time to raise money to get the brewery started.

“I started the granite company and I developed a lot of relationships with business people in town,” Curt said. “That’s where a lot of the investment money came in from, so we didn’t have to take risks with our family (finances). The investors, they used basically money that they would take a risk in the stock market with. They believed enough in us and they liked the beer enough that they felt like it was a good investment. We literally turned investors away at some point because we didn’t want to give away more than about 10 percent. So it was a way to raise capital without going to one of these angel capital places that take 25 percent of your business or more.”

As for the beers, on tap were a blonde ale, pale ale, red ale, and Irish-style dry stout. The red was available on both CO2 and nitrogen. The were also an IPA and a saison in the works. Both should be available by opening day, though the exact date of opening has not been set in stone just yet. When ABC lets the Crew know, we will share it with the world.

The initial lineup, from left to right, blonde ale, pale ale, red ale, red on nitro, and Irish stout.

The initial lineup, from left to right, blonde ale, pale ale, red ale, red on nitro, and Irish stout.

So anyway, here is a quick summation of the debut lineup. The blonde ale is your classic starter/introductory beer, the kind you give to your friends who are not craft beer veterans. It is light, a tad creamy, with some elements similar to a Kolsch or Helles lager. Michael did not use any pilsner malt, so it does not have that almost dry mouthfeel that a traditional pilsner can produce.

The pale ale was the one that still needs some work. It was not dry hopped, so there was not enough aroma to draw you in. The malts are almost stronger than the hops, which have only a slight bite, though one cannot expect a pale to snap the way an IPA does. Michael said he still plans to tinker with this one, so it should taste different, and definitely be dry hopped, by the time it is served to the public.

As for the red, it leans more to the malty end of the spectrum, but there is a bit of hops here, mostly on the back end. I liked it better on CO2 than nitro, which muted the sweeter aspects of the malts and almost dried it out too much. Not many places have done reds on nitro, so it does make for an interesting experiment.

The first thing that catches your eye about the stout is the color. It is almost the same as the red, but it certainly does not taste like it. This is a classic dry stout, smooth and not very sweet. There are some smoky, roasted elements here, but not in overwhelming quantities. Michael said they will work on the stout’s appearance, but the flavor is already pretty solid.

ABC will stick with the traditional styles for now. Curt said his tastes lean more toward malty than hoppy, but expect both ends of the spectrum to be present. After all, no one around here can survive without a hoppy IPA, right?

Thanks to Michael and Curt for taking time out of these busy final days of preparation to sit and chat. It will be nice to have another brewery up here on the northern end of town.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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  1. […] Beers: Pale Ale, IPA, Imperial Red, Dry Stout. Located at 8620 Pan American Blvd., on the east side of I-25 and between Paseo del Norte and Alameda, ABC is now open and ready for business. In addition to the house beers, there are three guest taps from Bosque and Boxing Bear, plus the plan is to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. Brewer Mike Marsh said they’re in the process of installing a phone line and, for now, the website link is to their Facebook page. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. […]

  2. […] Beers: Blonde, Pale Ale, IPA, Imperial Red, Dry Stout. Located at 8620 Pan American Blvd., on the east side of I-25 and between Paseo del Norte and Alameda, ABC is now open and ready for business. In addition to the house beers, there are three guest taps from Bosque and Boxing Bear, plus the plan is to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. Brewer Mike Marsh said they’re in the process of installing a phone line and, for now, the website link is to their Facebook page. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. […]

  3. […] Beers: Blonde, Pale Ale, IPA, Imperial Red, Dry Stout. Located at 8620 Pan American Blvd., on the east side of I-25 and between Paseo del Norte and Alameda, ABC is now open and ready for business. In addition to the house beers, there are three guest taps from Bosque and Boxing Bear, plus the plan is to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. Brewer Mike Marsh said they’re in the process of installing a phone line and, for now, the website link is to their Facebook page. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. […]

  4. […] Beers: Blonde, Pale Ale, IPA, Imperial Red, Dry Stout. Located at 8620 Pan American Blvd., on the east side of I-25 and between Paseo del Norte and Alameda, ABC is now open and ready for business. In addition to the house beers, there are three guest taps from Bosque and Boxing Bear, plus the plan is to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. Brewer Mike Marsh said they’re in the process of installing a phone line and, for now, the website link is to their Facebook page. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. […]

  5. […] Beers: Blonde, Pale Ale, IPA, Imperial Red, Dry Stout. Located at 8620 Pan American Blvd., on the east side of I-25 and between Paseo del Norte and Alameda, ABC is now open and ready for business. In addition to the house beers, there are three guest taps from Bosque and Boxing Bear, plus the plan is to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. Brewer Mike Marsh said they’re in the process of installing a phone line and, for now, the website link is to their Facebook page. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. […]

  6. […] Beers: Blonde, Pale Ale, IPA, Imperial Red, Dry Stout. Located at 8620 Pan American Blvd., on the east side of I-25 and between Paseo del Norte and Alameda, ABC is now open and ready for business. In addition to the house beers, there are three guest taps from Bosque and Boxing Bear, plus the plan is to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. Brewer Mike Marsh said they’re in the process of installing a phone line and, for now, the website link is to their Facebook page. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. […]

  7. […] Beers: Blonde, Pale Ale, IPA, Imperial Red, Dry Stout. Located at 8620 Pan American Blvd., on the east side of I-25 and between Paseo del Norte and Alameda, ABC is now open and ready for business. In addition to the house beers, there are three guest taps from Bosque and Boxing Bear, plus the plan is to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. Brewer Mike Marsh said they’re in the process of installing a phone line and, for now, the website link is to their Facebook page. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. […]

  8. […] Beers: Blonde, Pale Ale, IPA, Imperial Red, Dry Stout. Located at 8620 Pan American Blvd., on the east side of I-25 and between Paseo del Norte and Alameda, ABC is now open and ready for business. In addition to the house beers, there are three guest taps from Bosque and Boxing Bear, plus the plan is to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. Brewer Mike Marsh said they’re in the process of installing a phone line and, for now, the website link is to their Facebook page. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. […]

  9. […] Beers: Blonde, Session IPA, Imperial Red, Coffee-infused Red on nitro. Located at 8620 Pan American Blvd., on the east side of I-25 and between Paseo del Norte and Alameda, ABC is now open and ready for business. In addition to the house beers, there are often guest taps, plus the plan is to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. […]

  10. […] to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. The new Barefoot is a S.M.A.S.H. […]

  11. […] to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. The Barefoot is a S.M.A.S.H. […]

  12. […] to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. The Barefoot is a S.M.A.S.H. […]

  13. […] to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. The Barefoot is a S.M.A.S.H. […]

  14. […] to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. The Barefoot is a S.M.A.S.H. beer made with Chinook hops. The 505 Bananas is a saison with an […]

  15. […] to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. The new Golden Oak is the regular IPA that has been barrel-aged for a unique twist. The 505 […]

  16. […] to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. The 505 Bananas is a saison with an obvious flavor kick, but let it warm up and you will taste the […]

  17. […] to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. The 505 Bananas is a saison with an obvious flavor kick, but let it warm up and you will taste the […]

  18. […] to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. The Possessive is back on tap after a short absence. For now, the 505 Bananas and SMO Stout are […]

  19. […] to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. The Possessive and Stout are ready now, but the Saison may not be ready to pour just […]

  20. […] Beers: Possessive IPA, SuMariOatmeal Stout, 505 Bananas (Saison). Located at 8620 Pan American Blvd., on the east side of I-25 and between Paseo del Norte and Alameda, ABC is now open and ready for business. In addition to the house beers, there are often guest taps, plus the plan is to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. […]

  21. […] to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. New this week are Brown Eyes, which is served on nitro, and the Belgian […]

  22. […] to have at least one beer on a nitro tap at all times. For more info on ABC, you can check out my advance preview. The SMO Stout is available on CO2 and […]

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