Enchanted Circle Brewing rolls toward their grand opening this month

Posted: April 7, 2016 by cjax33 in New Brewery Preview
They're getting ready for the grand opening April 16 for Enchanted Circle Brewing in Angel Fire.

They’re getting ready for the grand opening April 16 for Enchanted Circle Brewing in Angel Fire. (All photos courtesy of Kyle Yonan and Lyna Waggoner)

The best laid plans rarely go according to, um, plan. That can be true just about anywhere, but it can often happen to new breweries as they work toward opening. Thankfully for the folks up at Enchanted Circle Brewing in Angel Fire, they managed to overcome one major hurdle with the help of not one but two brewers.

Lyna Waggoner is an Albuquerque-based brewer whose own operation, The 377 Brewery, is moving closer to opening in the near future near Yale and Gibson. While she was waiting for things to get going here, she heard from Enchanted Circle owner Steve Larson. The two had met when they were both searching for brewing systems and had remained in contact since.

“They hired a brewer and when the brewer didn’t work out, they had to open, they had to make money,” Lyna explained over pints at the Bosque Public House in Nob Hill, where we met up earlier this week. “They asked me to come up (since) they had no brewer. I became a guest brewer right then and there and I said let’s get this place open.”

Lyna had no plans to move to Angel Fire full-time, but she did have a friend who was a fellow brewer looking for a new job. Kyle Yonan, the former head brewer at New Mexico Craft Brewing in Las Vegas, had parted ways with Blue Corn Brewery after a short stint there. He was in the market for a new opportunity.

“He came up and we brewed the last two beers together,” Lyna said. “Now he’s head brewer over there starting, well, now.”

“I’m a mountain guy, I was in Vegas for 12 years, even living in the sticks outside of there,” Kyle said. “I’ve always known Angel Fire as a very beautiful place. Now there’s finally an opportunity there. It’s a big growth opportunity from a professional standpoint.

“It’s really nice to work in a company where you work directly with the owners. Blue Corn’s pretty fantastic opportunity, great brewhouse, great history, and it was an incredible experience. But, it’s very nice to work in a private ownership kind of (setting).”

The beers that Lyna mentioned were the five she brewed up for the grand opening celebration at Enchanted Circle, which is set for Saturday, April 16. Those beers were the Red River Red, Palisades Pils (a Kolsch style), Glory Hole Black IPA (named after a nearby ski hill, get your minds out of the gutter), Wheeler Peak Pale Ale, and Maxwell’s Grant Porter.

The first beer kegged at Enchanted Circle is their black IPA.

The first beer kegged at Enchanted Circle is their black IPA.

Steve Larson and his wife Shelly went big with Enchanted Circle, purchasing a 20-barrel brewhouse for the 5,000 square-foot building.

“It’s the size of system they can grow into,” Kyle said. “They plan on making 1,500 barrels in the first year and growing into 5,000 barrels a year. Packaging and distribution is a big part of the idea there.”

“They do have to figure out how to do that, since that’s a lot of beer to have on tap and not a lot of people living in town,” Lyna added.

Kyle said the packaging plans will be can-centric, but without a canning/bottling line in place, they will have to rely on Mother Road Mobile Canning to start things up. Once things get going, beer lovers as far away as Albuquerque can expect to see Enchanted Circle cans on the shelves.

That all stems from what Lyna said about the lack of a permanent population in Angel Fire, which is a popular destination in the winter for skiing and then the summer for hiking, golfing, and the like. In between, well, she put it best: “They have the ski season, but as of March 24 it ended, and you should see, there’s nobody but a lazy dog on that street.”

Kyle is ready to embrace the challenge of brewing for such a season-oriented population.

“It’s a very seasonal place,” he said. “The boom times are really very big, during motorcycle rally time and of course ski season.”

It's an appropriately cozy place, be it summer or winter.

It’s an appropriately cozy place, be it summer or winter.

The Larsons’ goal is to make Angel Fire even more of a destination for folks from outside the area, even outside the state, to visit. Capitalizing on the popularity of craft beer is a good way to start that process.

“We want to get as many people up there as we can,” Lyna said. “I know it’s 2 hours, 15 minutes away, but it’s a destination.”

That will all start a week from Saturday when the doors swing open for the first time to the public.

“The grand opening is the 16th,” Lyna said. “The five beers that were brewed in their system will be served. Then I’m bringing two beers that we’ll call 377 guest taps, a hefeweizen and a saison.”

As for her own brewery, Lyna said the buildout is underway. She expects to start cleaning tanks and getting them ready for use around April 18. The 377 has not set a firm opening date yet, but she will keep the Crew posted as to when things are close to being ready.

Look for this logo on cans in the near future.

Look for this logo on cans in the near future.

In the meantime, folks can trek north and get a glimpse of what Kyle will be offering as he gets his own beers added to the menu.

“I like my stout stouts and my punchy IPAs,” Kyle said. “I like hop-forward beers. My pale ale reads more like a session IPA, that kind of stuff. A lot of crisp things.

“The hefeweizen is the first thing on the list. There’s a lot of nice grains sitting around there. I’m excited to root through it all.”

“The previous brewer had given Shelly a heck of a long list,” Lyna added. “There’s a heck of a lot of bags (of malt) in there.”

“There’s a lot of specialties; it’s hard to go through that many specialties, but I’ll try,” Kyle said with a laugh.

We wish Kyle and everyone at Enchanted Circle the best of luck as they open. Hopefully we can get someone from the Crew up there, if not for the grand opening then soon after (yours truly will be covering the Isotopes right after coming back from the great Denver/Iron Maiden adventure).

Thanks to Lyna and Kyle for being able to meet up and chat, plus all the pictures.


— Stoutmeister

  1. Rodger Johnson says:

    Good Luck Enchanted Circle!

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