Long ago, the Crew heard rumors that Bosque Brewing was looking at moving into the old Jackalope building along Highway 550 just west of the Rio Grande in Bernalillo. Bosque managing director Gabe Jensen told us he was about 50-50 on moving into the property, but could offer up no further details.
Lo and behold, all these months later, Bosque held their second Insider event inside the cleaned-out Jackalope structure, which in the coming months will become the home of their new production facility. It gave all of us, customers and media alike, a chance to view the future of the fast-growing brewery’s biggest endeavor to date.
“What this place really helps us do … we are always feeling like we’re chasing our tail, always trying to figure out how do we fit another fermenter, how do we package?” Gabe said. “Oh, we can’t package, cause Jesse (Hiott) sold all of our beer. Oh, great, John (Bullard) won another award and now we don’t have any beer left. Something always comes up.”
Albuquerque Journal business writer Jessica Dyer got the initial scoop on the overall plan for the entire Riverpointe Vistas site redevelopment, which gives a good summation of what the future holds. The current structure will be expanded from 10,000- to 15,000-square feet, housing a production brewery and a taproom. Since we are not burdened by the space limitations of print, I made sure to get a more detailed breakdown of how Bosque will fit into the project from Gabe on Thursday night.
Blessed with 42-foot ceilings, Bosque will be able to move a whole lot of equipment into the structure. There will be a 30-barrel, four-vessel brewhouse that will enable them to produce 15,000 barrels a year to start.
“The brewery will allow us to (eventually) do up to 30,000 barrels a year,” Gabe said. “That’s not our goal in 2017 or anything like that. We did 4,000 barrels last year and we’re on pace for 5,000 but we are getting some more fermenters (at San Mateo). Hopefully, by summer we’ll be on pace for 7,000 or 8,000 over a 12-month period. Coming in here we should be able to do 15,000 barrels. What that’s going to allow us to do is package.”
Bosque will still do their specialty bombers of Scale Tipper and other unique beers, but for their primary house beers they will install a canning line in the northeast corner of the building. IPA and lager will be the first two beers, with Scotia Scotch Ale and possibly others down the road, Gabe said.
“This room, what this space is for is to make enough beer so we can finally package,” Gabe said. “When we do canning it will be over there in that (northeast) corner. … We’ll have a 30-barrel, four-vessel system over there in that (northwest) corner. Fermenting will be in this general (central) area and bright tanks over there (east wall). Cooler on the back end of the building and dry goods and receiving in the back (north end). If you walk back there, you’ll see a loading dock. (We’ll be) changing some walls and overhead doors and that kind of stuff, too.”
Gabe took me on a tour to give me a better idea of what will go where.
“This front half will be the taproom,” Gabe said, indicating the south end of the building that faces Highway 550. “I don’t know how many square feet it will be, but we’re still working on some of those details. It will be our biggest taproom that we will have, I do know that. There will be a patio outside, an upstairs mezzanine patio, and then from here back is brewery.”
Gabe later added it projects out to about 3,000-square feet or so. There will be an L-shaped bar in the southeast corner, plus there will be a bar outside on the east side of the building. This taproom will rely on food trucks rather than have a kitchen like San Mateo and Nob Hill.
Currently there is a sort of hallway that runs north-south along the east end of the building. That eastern wall will be pushed out some 30 feet, while the ceiling there will be raised up to 14 feet. The hallway will become the packaging area for the brewery, with glass windows so folks outside can watch the work going on inside.
The bulk of the fermenters will go to the middle of the brewery, where the ceiling is the highest.
“The big ones will be (here),” Gabe said. “At the beginning we’re getting some 90-barrels and we’re moving some 30-barrels over here (from San Mateo). That will give us capacity for a ton of beer.”
The bright tanks will be toward the east side, in between the packaging hall and the fermenters. Shipping and receiving will be out with the loading dock in the back, north end of the building. There is already an existing garage door and dock in place.
“The milling room will be on the outside of the brewery,” Gabe added. “We’ll have a silo out there. Then a little bit past that wall will be the (walk-in) cooler. It’s going to be kind of external. They’ll cover it to make it look like it’s part of the building.”
There are some lower-hanging beams in the center area that will be moved.
“They’re going up to the ceiling, is essentially what it is,” Gabe said. “We’ll hang glycol (lines) off them.
“The lights stay, the heaters stay, the AC stays. That’s how we were able to get approval from the landlord. The first plan was to have four suites and retail in here. And he asked if we wanted to take one of them. I said we wanted to take the whole building for the brewery. What do you think? He came back and said maybe we can do that.
“So, we’ve worked with Phil (Lindborg), who’s the developer. We’ve known each other for a long time. We had a (prior) relationship, so he called us first. A Bosque on the Bosque, it just fits.”
Lindborg and Harpal Singh are handling the development end of things. It will also include a 5,500-square foot restaurant and retail buildings that will be added elsewhere on the property.
“This place, which honestly I had my eye on before Phil called me,” Gabe said. “They snatched it up before we could, which ended up being a great thing because I think it’s going to be a great partnership with his development company.”
Angela Benson of Modulus Architects will now take over the massive overhaul of the Jackalope building for Bosque. Gabe, John, and the rest of the staff will continue to work with her on making sure everything is set in place for moving in later this year.
“(Phil) brought in a great architect,” Gabe said. “She sent me this rendering on Monday, we got a lot of good news on Monday including that rendering, and she said she got a little bit nervous because I didn’t respond right away. That’s because I got up from my desk and walked down to John’s office and said you’ve got to see this. We’re so excited because it embodies what we want to see here. I’m not an architect, I had some vision in my brain that I couldn’t explain. She made it even better, so we’re really excited about it.”
The new facility will not crush Bosque from a financial perspective.
“The lease is going to be expensive,” Gabe said. “But we can pay for it as long as we do the volume we did our first year out of San Mateo. I think we’ll be able to do that. 450 barrels, I think we’ll be able to sell that out of here.”
For anyone wondering, the San Mateo location is not going anywhere, not even the brewhouse and equipment already in place there.
“So, for those of you concerned or anxious or anything like that, we are not closing our current or original location,” Gabe said. “We will use that for our specialty beers, hopefully start a barrel-aging program — which we’ve started but I wouldn’t call it a program, just an experiment because we don’t have enough space to do a whole lot — hopefully get into some sours, all that kind of fun stuff. John and his crew have been really great at putting things out that are always something new. Every time you come to a taproom, something new is always coming out. He really thrives on that and that’s what the current location will allow us to do.
“Then, in here, we’ll make IPA. IPA and lager, exactly. We’ll be making IPA and lager all day long, and then sometimes we’ll make some stout, just for you, Chris.”
Aw, thanks, Gabe.
Closing on a serious note, this is all wonderful news for our craft beer scene in New Mexico. One of our most awarded and respected breweries is getting bigger. People outside of Albuquerque and Las Cruces will soon be able to enjoy Bosque beers. It never hurts to have another of our finest establishments packaging their products.
Oh, and speaking of award-winning, we were still hanging out with the Bosque staff when we received word that Scale Tipper has advanced to the semifinals of the National IPA Challenge. It was pretty cool to congratulate John and the staff directly. Scale Tipper will face Barley Brown’s Pallet Jack in one semifinal, while Boxing Bear’s Bear Knuckle IPA will face Comrade Brewing’s Superpower IPA in the other. Bear Knuckle won an all-New Mexico quarterfinal over Turtle Mountain’s Adrift IPA.
The Crew will keep everyone up to date on the progress of the new Bosque facility. We look forward to someday enjoying a few pints while enjoying that amazing view of the river and mountains beyond.