All of us in the Crew get some variation of the question, “Why do all of this without getting paid?” on a pretty frequent basis. Well, mostly it is because we just love craft beer and supporting our local scene. But, let’s face it, there are certain fringe benefits. One of these was the fact we got to attend a special invite-only soft opening for Quarter Celtic Brewpub on Saturday night.
IMMEDIATE DISCLAIMER: Quarter Celtic does not have a set date for their grand opening. Yet. They told us as soon as they know, we will know, and then all of you will know.
Four of us got a table, ordered lots of beer and food, and generally had a wonderful time. The place has come a very long way from when Brandon and I first visited the joint. Just in case anyone forgot, Quarter Celtic is located in the ACE Hardware Center on the northeast corner of San Mateo and Lomas. It’s down in the bottom of the complex, so take advantage of all that parking in the underground garage.
The layout is pretty much what they told us it would be during our first visit. The brewhouse and fermenters are on the north side. There is a large dining area with high and low tables in the center. It’s an open kitchen, so you can watch your food being prepared. The clover leaf-shaped bar is near the main entrance on the west side.
They have a full menu with a wide variety of dishes, including our new favorite appetizer, Just Bacon. BOWL OF MEAT! BOWL OF MEAT!! Ahem, sorry, it’s a “modest cup of sliced pork belly grilled to the perfect beer drinking temperature.” Yeah, big, thick slices of pork belly. And regular bacon. They threw bacon in there, too. Sure, after you eat it, you might have to run the five miles home, but it’s worth it. Hey, you’re only shaving off those crappy years at the end of your life, right? (God, we hope so.)
Anyway, besides that delectable dish, others we tried were the Haggerty Skins, which are house made potatoes with bacon and beer braised onions melted together with cheddar cheese. They also have Celtic Nachos, hot wings, and poutine. The soups and salad portion of the menu includes Quarter Porter Stew, which is made with the beer. We will have to get Franz Solo to review that one. Other Celtic Fare includes Bangers & Mash, Sheppard’s Pie, Fish & Chips (Brandon loved their take on this traditional dish), Corned Beer and Cabbage, and Smoked Sausage and Cabbage. You can also get burgers (half- or quarter-pound) with your choice of topping(s), plus they have a Ruben, a Dublin Fish Sandwich, Banger in a Bun, and turkey and roast beer sandwiches.
In other words, if you show up here extra hungry, we cannot be responsible for the fact you will have to buy a larger size of pants the next day.
As for the beer, they had three styles ready for this opening, with a fourth nearly ready, plus two more on the way soon after that. How many will be available for the grand opening will be determined by whenever it takes place. The trio we got to have were as follows.
Knotted Blonde (5.2% ABV, 19 IBU): We debated a bit as to whether or not there was a bit of a wheat-like flavor to this one. I didn’t pick up on that. It was just a solid starter beer, befitting the style, though I felt there was more flavor here than most blonde ales. It just seemed a little heftier. Maybe that was the wheat element others picked up on that I did not.
Rye’t Side of Dublin (6.5% ABV, 65 IBU): Quite the solid rye pale ale, it went well with a lot of the food dishes. The rye gives it more oomph than a lot of pale ales, but not to the point of where it overwhelms the palate. A well-balanced, clean beer that one could drink all night.
Quarter Porter (6% ABV, 24 IBU): A minor equipment issue (now fixed) left this one a bit cloudy in appearance, but that’s quite all right, because it did not affect the flavor. Roasted goodness abounds here. Smooth, rich, quite delightful.
Next up will be Crimson Lass, an Irish Red, with the IPAs (there will be two) and a Kolsch also coming down the pipeline. Oh, darn, we have to go back and try these, too. Shucks. Just grab those and BOWL OF MEAT! (Sorry, we shouldn’t be so excited over such a thing, but the thing we miss most about Stumbling Steer was BAG OF MEAT, so this is our new guilty pleasure in town food-wise.)
Overall, the atmosphere was great, the staff was on point all night, the food was tasty, the beers were solid for just starting out, and you could just see the potential of this pub. Welcome to the ABQ craft beer scene, Quarter Celtic. We cannot wait to bring everyone else over for the grand opening.