Tim Woodward never got into the business of brewing to become a minor celebrity. He said he realizes it comes with the territory these days considering the popularity of craft beer in New Mexico, but it still takes a little getting used to having folks, from customers to beer writers, asking him questions all the time.
When the news broke recently that Tim was moving from Turtle Mountain to joining the brew team at Bosque, he said he knew that eventually, he would have to sit down with someone to talk about why he made the move. Happy to be that someone, Tim.
“You know, as is true in every industry it’s really important for people of a similar position who don’t work together to get together and commiserate,” Tim said. “It’s a healthy thing that everyone does. … And so it was habit for Justin Hamilton and (John) Bullard and I to get together to talk about life and talk about work.
“In some random conversation it was just mentioned in passing, we (John and I) should work together. Then a couple weeks went by and we met up again. Both of us kind of tiptoed around that particular statement. Then I said, so I guess I was a little more serious about that, then he said I guess we’re a little more interested about that.”
Thus, from a random conversation, as Tim put it, an idea was hatched.
“Basically this entire thing developed very organically,” he said. “There was never any intention for me to leave Turtle Mountain and go to Bosque. And, there was never any intention for Bosque to, use the term poach me. It just ended up being a real organic conversation where it developed into they had a need and I had a desire.
“That’s basically what it was. Bullard and I were talking about what they were doing for the Jackalope facility in the future. One thing led to another and it seemed like it was going to be a great opportunity for me and they thought I would be great for the team. We worked together and filled out an offer. The next day I talked to Nico.”
It was not an easy decision for Tim, by any means.
“That’s the other thing, I truly have a very, very special place in my heart for Turtle Mountain and Nico Ortiz, of course,” Tim said. “I love that dude to death. … I spent the last two years rebuilding that place. I put everything I had into it, so I really care about what Turtle Mountain is and what Turtle Mountain will become. The first thing I wanted to do was tell Nico about my decision.”
Once they got that through that part of the conversation, Tim wanted to make sure he did not leave Turtle Mountain up a proverbial creek.
“The next thing I told him after I told him that I would like for it to be my responsibility to find the absolute best person I can to come in and take charge,” Tim said. “Because I wanted to make sure Turtle Mountain was left in the best hands. You would hate to refurbish a 1967 Ford Mustang GT and end up selling it and find out some 16-year-old crashed it. You wouldn’t want that to happen. It was really important for me to find somebody to come in and take over and take the reins and take it in a (direction) I probably would have never even thought about.”
And that brewer is?
“Michael ‘Mick’ Hahn, formerly of Marble Brewery,” Tim said. “He started working at Turtle Mountain (on Monday). Mick worked for three years at Marble. His most recent position was, I’m not sure of the official title, but I believe it was lead brewer. He was responsible for a couple of specials and a lot of brewing over there.”
Tim noted the delicious Mick’s Mac, a Scottish lager, was one of Mick’s creations for Marble. Just as it was for Tim, going from Chama to Turtle in early 2014, another Albuquerque brewery has produced someone ready and capable of taking over a local operation.
As for Tim’s role at Bosque, much is still to be determined as the new production facility is being built out in Bernalillo, but there is a primary intent in his hiring.
“Well, in a broad perspective, at Alameda, what I will be doing is shadowing John and getting to know the team there and how everyone operates,” Tim said. “I don’t know how to say this the right way, (but) working my way into the team, so that the team and I are comfortable with one another.
“As Jackalope comes closer and closer I think John’s going to be more and more busy with buildout and design and all of that. John and I agreed I probably will be taking over some of the week-to-week head brewer responsibilities at Alameda while John is focusing more finalizing Jackalope. Then, at whatever time Jackalope is finished in conception and all the equipment is in house — John and I are both at this point speculating, because we have no (exact) idea — that the idea I believe is that he and I will together fine tune Jackalope, get it operational, get it online.
“And then, at that point we will move some of the brewing staff from Alameda to Jackalope. Then basically I will be overseeing operations at Jackalope. My responsibility for Bosque Brewing Company will be managing and maintaining operations at the Jackalope facility with John, of course, overseeing.”
With Tim on board, John will be able to move back and forth between the two Bosque brewhouses, with the original one being focused on seasonal and specialty beers while the production facility will handle the house beers, especially those that will be packaged.
“It frees him up to do all the amazing, awesome stuff at Alameda while overseeing whatever’s going on at Jackalope, whether it’s details on cans or nuances on dialing in the new brewhouse,” Tim said. “I will be his right-hand man, basically keeping everyone on point, getting the brews done on time, getting the package out on time. I imagine at some point there will be a packaging manager and I will be working closely with him.”
With the build out only starting in Bernalillo, Tim said much is still be to be determined.
“Like I said, though, this is all highly speculative,” he said. “The fact is John and I have a lot of trials and tribulations to experience together starting early 2017. It’s going to be hell and heaven at the same time, I’m sure.
“Because it doesn’t exist, it’s hard to say what will and will not actually happen. The fact remains that Bullard and all of Bosque need someone to manage what’s happening out there and they put their trust in me. And, I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that they made the right choice.”
Tim will officially hand over the reins at Turtle to Mick on Friday, May 27, and start work at Bosque on Monday, May 30.
“Brewers don’t get holidays!” Tim said with a laugh.
All of us in the Crew wish Tim the best of luck in his new job. He has really put Turtle Mountain back on the craft beer map in the last two years. We cannot wait to head over and meet up with Mick and talk about his future plans. It sounds like in this case both breweries will be just fine.